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A Waiting Mother - Civil War story

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A Waiting Mother - Civil War story

Posted: 24 Sep 2003 7:36PM GMT
Classification: Biography
Edited: 23 May 2005 8:15PM GMT
Surnames: Jones, Weller, Sherman, Polk, Breckinridge, Lewis, Hanson, Cobb
A WAITING MOTHER

(By John H. WELLER)

The following article is from the Louisville Times of a recent issue, and speaks of a boy who went from Hopkins county into the confederate army. The William A. JONES mentioned lived near Hanson. His mother, a widow is still living at the old home from which her dear boy departed in 1861 never to return. Capt. T.B. JONES, Alex JONES and Roland JONES, of Madisonville, John JONES, of Nebo, and Willis JONES, of near Slaughtersville, are cousins of the young soldier. The following is the letter referred to:

"The enemy found little difficulty in locating on Pine Mountain after our retreat from Dallas. It was the same old maneuver--back in the stillness of night, right dress, down in the ground, pop, pop! bang, bang! boom, boom!--and stay there till we were outflanked by SHERMAN's army. We fortified a little more scientifically at that place, for our company made a casemate so we could eat our rations and sleep secure from dropping missiles, such as spent balls and pieces from exploding shells. The settling of SHERMAN in our front was very rough business. What constructing abatis chevaux-de frise while the sharpshooters kept us scurrying around dodging and artillery duels endangering our lives from friend and foe, the enemy finally got very close to us. It was during these preliminaries that the loved Gen. (Bishop) POLK was killed and considering his pure life and awful death on the mountain top it was a personal bereavement to every Confederate soldier in the army of Tennessee. We loved our Generals because they were always up front with us, shared our lot, whether it was in a victorious charge, when we were feasting on the sweet fruit of glory, or the sullen, solemn retreat, when the bitter dreggy cup of defeat seemed bound to our lips by an invisible omnipotence, every draught shortening the shadow of despair, then rode our general officers, the type of steadfastness and greatness--nay the reality of greatness. Oftener than all figures of the war arise to memory the features of our Generals. I remember how POLK looked on that mountain, how John C. BRECKINRIDGE looked on Chickamauga, how LEWIS looked at Jonesboro, and HANSON at Murfreesboro. William A. JONES was a member of our company and enlisted in Hopkins county. He was about seventeen years old, not large, but of good form, olive complexion, dark hair and eyes: more like a sister than a veteran companion in arms. He loved his company commander and they were together continually on the march and behind the "works," or on the skirmish line, on the famous campaign. He had a shy affectionate disposition, cheerful for the most part, and quite a desire to playfully lecture or jest with his Captain. During our night retreats he would steal up to the front of the company's column and take the captain by the hand, and they would thus walk and talk.
It will be remembered that the night we retreated from Pine Mountain, the enemy started to withdraw from our front at the same time. This fact being communicated by our skirmishers, COBB ran his guns back into position and reopened fire on his works and shelled the woods beyond. The commanding officer of the Federal regiment first to regain their lines was killed by one of these shots entering the embrasure of the fortifications. Firing was kept up briskly for a short time, and ceasing, we again commenced maneuvering to the rear. Bill JONES came back from the skirmish line with his party and assumed his place in the retreating column. We were nearly an hour forming and reforming the rear of our works and had got possibly 3 quarters of a mile back through the forests, and seemed finally to have led off in retreat. Bill JONES had been telling the Captain about his narrow escape lately on the skirmish line.
"I tell you, Cap., if you ain't careful where you send me I'll never see my mother again. Do you reckon we will live to see Old Kentucky?"
We were passing under a tree whose branches were dimly lit by the moon, and Bill was laughing at the answer the Captain gave:
"Oh, yes, Bill we will see Kentucky again and all our friends"--and something pattered through the leaves of that tree, heard by us all, in the twinkle of the eye--a dull "spat" and Bill JONES sank to his knees and crouched forward in the road. The bullet had certainly traveled a mile and was the random shot of a Federal skirmisher, it entered the back of Bill's head going through the brain and putting out his face just behind the left eye. Bill's mother "Shall go to him, but he shall not return to her." (Source: Madisonville Hustler, Fri., Jan. 4, 1895)

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