MEMOIRS OF THE CIVIL WAR
W. L. TRUMAN
CHAPTER 26 – War’s End
Our battey (Guibore’s 1st Mo) had been in camp at Columbus about a week, when orders came from some source, allowing every eight or ten man in the Missouri command to have a furlow, to return to his home. He was to have so many days to go and return, and so many days to remain at home, the whole time not to exceed ninety days. This order astonished us beyond measure. Not a Missourian ever thought of such a thing, much less asking for it. The truth of the matter was, we did not want it as there was not a man among the brave remnant left, that would bring disgrace upon himself and family by going into the enemy’s lines, take the oath of allegiance to the Northern Goverment for the purpose of getting home. We could get there in no other way. So why force a furlow on men that did not want it, and at a time when every man and boy, old enough to use a gun, was sorely needed by the Confederacy. We all knew this and this furlow measure looked like a bribe to a certain number of Mo. troops, to desert our cause, and take the oath and go home. Well as unexpected and uncalled for as the measure was, we concluded to draw for the furlows allowed, and spend the time among our friends within our lines, and within easy reach of our command.
The battery was formed in line, the roll called, and the drawing commenced, and I was one of the fortunate ones. When the affair was over there was much shouting and rejoicing, and curiousity by the command, to know where the lucky numbers were going to spend their time. It was soon learned that each one had more than one girl they wanted to visit, at our near their soldier homes. The scribe had his furlow made out for eighty days, concluding to spend the remainder of the winter out of camp, something he had not done, since joining the army in Sept. 1861. My old friend and messmate and sargent, now Lieut. Lawrence Murphy, gave me his large iron grey horse and saddle to use and go where I pleased doing my furlough, as he wanted me to have a good time. I packed my grip with a change of undercloths and a good shirt, as I always mamaged to keep a change of good cloths, when others were ragged and shoeless, and bidding the boys a jolly good bye, was off, first to Paneville, Ala. to spend a few days with my friend Rev. Samuel Bingham, his home was the half way house to my real soldier home, wherein dwelt my Alabama Girl, of whom I have spoken many times in these memoirs.
After spending a week very pleasantly with Rev. Bingham, I continued my trip by R.R. to McDowells station, near Demopolis, Ala. and then footed it some four miles to a little village nestled among the oaks and pines, out of the track of the destroying enemy. Arriving at my objective point after dark, two large dogs met me at the gate and disputed my right to enter the premises. The host came out with gun in hand, and demanded, who was there, after much difficulty, owing to the noise the dogs made, I made myself known and received a hearty welcome, and a nice hot supper all to myself.
After a few hours of war talk, my host and hostess retired, and left the soldier and three maidens in possession, and the other two hours of joyous conversation and music, soon made its round, when we had to say goodnight. This soldier spent three weeks of happy days on this visit, at his soldier home. When the elder maiden, resumed her studies at College, my visit for the time seemed ended, bidding my friends adieu, I took the train for Forsyeth, Ga. to pay a pressing invitation from Rev. Haygood and daughter to visit them and to make my home with them as long as I wished. This invitation came about this way, viz, My friend Johnnie Wharton, who was mortally wounded at the siege of Atlanta, was engaged to Miss Haygood, and had told them much about me, and before Johnnie died he told me to write to her and tell her of his death and to return her letters, all of which I did. The young lady and her father, felt grateful to me, and they both wrote begging me to come see them at my first oppotunity, that as I was Jonnie’s bosm friend, I was theris also, and that if I got sick or wounded to come to their home, instead of going to a hospital.
I thanked God for raising me up such friends, and had included in my furlough, a visit to their home, before it was out. Without any notice of my coming, I landed in Forsyth about March 10th, 1865. Learned that Rev. Haygood lived some six miles in the country, and as all livery stables were out of business in those days, and not one fourth as many work stock as needed, everybody walked to church and every where else, in that part of Georgia. I was soon on the road, making at elast three miles an hour, through beautiful rich timbered country, of oak, hickory, and some pine, I had never seen anything iin georgia to surpass it. About three o’clock P.M. I was at his gate, the yard was crowded with roses, shrubery flowers, and a few forrest trees, the house was large, some four feet above the ground, with wide galleries everywhere, everything showed taste comfort and wealth.
I was met at the door by Jonnie’s girl, whom Wharton had told me, was the only single child, and the youngest of the family. When I introduced myself, she seemed greatly astonished and confused. She was slender, rather tall, dark eyes, auburn hair, complexion a little florid, wighed about 112 pounds, with features rather peaked and an unattractive expression, she was not good looking, seemed to be about twenty-four years of age. I was invited into the parlor, a large room, finely carpeted and nicely furnished, but minus a piano, something unusual in a wealthy Southern home. After conversing some twenty minutes, a man some twenty-five years old, scrawny looking came in, and Miss. Haygood as I thought introduced me to him as her husband, (the name I have forgotten, as I kept no diary after the Tenn. campaign) it was my time to be surprised, but I remained quiet, and neither husband nor wife volenteered to explain the situation. The wife knew that I was fully acquainted with her engagement to my lamented friend, who had passed away, breathing his last breath with his head in my lap, some seven months previous. I had told her all about my brave friend by letter, and the pressing invitation to visit them, was fresh in her mind, and she at least seemed to be unwilling to try to give me a satisfactory explination. Old brother Haygood, and wife soon came in and greeted me heartily, and made me feel at home. He was an old dried up man rather small, she a large stout, low Dutch looking woman, both with kind, gentle dispositions.
The young or newly married husband and wife, soon took their departure for their nearby home, and I saw but little of them thereafter. Mrs. Haygood, her mother, told me her daughter had been married some two months or more, that she had been engaged to her husband before meeting my friend Johnnie Wharton, but had broken it off and engaged herself to Wharton. After Wharton’s death, he pressed his suit again, was accepted and they married. Mr. & Mrs. Haygood had an orphan girl, a Miss Foster, living with them at this time, and three grand daughters near by, a Miss Fannie Pippins, and Misses Annie and Lou Simmons, who wereover at their grandfather’s almost continually while I was there, to see that I had a good time, and I fared sumptuously every day. Rev. Haygood, was a Hardshell Baptist preacher, a very consecrated man, had a large plantation and many negroes. His boys were all in the army, except one married son, who played sick, could only eat a light diet with milk. The doctor let him off every time he was examined, I took supper with him many times while there on my visit, and knew he was fooling the doctors. After the war was ended I returned that way, and spent a few days with him, and noticed that he ate as much meat and heavy diet as any well man, and I know his wife and family noticed the sudden change to perfect health. What a pity some men are such cowards, as to be willing slaves.
Several weeks before my furlough was out, news reached me through our daily papers that Gen. Lee had given up Richmond, Va. and was moving towards North Carolina to meet Johnston’s army. I told my freinds, every man should be to his place in the army and I could not spend another day in pleasure, as my country needed my services. So I bid them adieu and left the next day for my battery in Gen. Johnston’s army near Greensboro, N.C. I took the train to Macon, there to Millageville and on to Agusta, Ga. at which place I met my major of artillery, Maj. Storrs. He told me the general in command would not let me go any further as he had orders to hold every man, and organize them into seperate commands, for the service in Georgia. I told Storrs that I was going out of that city that very night, that I did not propose to fight with any command save my own battery. So I statyed at his headquarters until eleven o’clock then told him good bye, went out in the darkness, and by its friendly aid, successfully passed every guard, and was fifteen miles away from the city, when daylight overtook me. I continued my march another fifteen miles, then crossed the Savannah river into South Carolina, and when night overtook me I rolled myself in my blanket under a tree on the roadside, and had a good night’s rest.
I will state that when within thirty miles of the city of Millidgeville I left the train and walked into the city, and also footed it some thirty miles towards Agusta, after leaving Millidgeville, before taking the train, making some sixty miles of the country swept by Sherman’s army. The family residence on every large plantation, along my route had been burned, as well as all mills and ginhouses. All the stock and negroes were gone except an old negro now and then with his family. Many small farmers owned homes along my route, the men if not in their graves were away suffering in defence of their country, while their wives and children were at home suffering the pangs of poverty and starvation. They were kindly treated by the enemy, as far as I can learn, and their homes spared by the torch, but all provisions and stock so far as I can see were gone. I noticed that the poor men’s families and homes were respected generally, but the rich and well to do people were shown but little mercy along my route, in nearly every case their homes were burned, but in the destruction of moveable property, rich and poor fared alike. I passed over a portion of the burned district in South Carolina also, and the destrcution of the beautiful homes on the fine estates was complete.
After three weeks of tramping, I reached Charlotte, N.C. and there was read Gen. Lee’s farewell address to his army posted on the street corner, and was convinced for the first time that Lee had surrenderd. I then walked down to the depot and saw a train load of Lee’s men coming back to their homes that they had not seen in four years. They all looked sad and forlorn, but Oh, how will most of them feel when they reach the place they once called home, everything gone, many of their loved ones missing and others unrecognizable on account of their long half starved condition. Many of our own sick soldiers as well as sick ones at home, died for want of medecine or proper nourishment. Our well soldiers could bearly live at times, on their small rations, and no sick person could eat such food. I continued my march on foot to Greensboro where I found my battery. I will say I saw at the depot in Charlotte, two or three dead soldiers lying on the platform covered with their blankets, the soldier’s shrouding sheet. They had been killed a few hours before, by the R.R. engine leaving the track. It was sad to think those men had been spared through the war, to die that way almost in the sight of home. I found meny of our battery boys absent. I was the only one of the furlough men, that returned.
On May 28th, 1865, the following orders were read to us, and I got sargent Ward Childs, to write a copy of each one in my book, and I will now enter them in this work:
- Terms of a Military Convention entered into, this 26th day of April, 1865, at Burnetts House, near Derhams Station, N.C. between Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, commanding the Confederate Army, and Maj. Gen. W.T. Sherman, commanding U.S. Army in North Carolina.
- 1st. All acts of war on the part of Gen. Johnston commnading, to cease from this date.
- 2nd. All arms and public property to be deposited at Greensboro and delivered to an ordinance office of the U.S.A.
- 3rd. Rolls of all officers and men to be made in duplicate, by the commander of the troops, copy if which will be given to an officer of the U.S. designated by Gen. Sherman.
- 4th. The side arms of the officers and their privates horses and baggage to be retained by them.
- 5th. This being done all the officers and men will be permitted to return to their homes not be disturbed by U.S. authorities so long as they observe their obligations, and the laws in force where they reside.April 27th, 1865By the terms of a military convention made on 26th day of April, by Gen. W.T. Sherman U.S.A. and Gen Joseph E. Johnston C.S.A. the officers and men of this army are to bind themselves not to take up arms against the U.S. until properly released from this obligation, and shall receive guarantees from the U.S. officers against molestation from the U.S. authorities so long as they observe that obligation and obey the laws in force where they reside. For these objects duplicate muster roles will be made immediately and after the distribution of the necessary papers the trooper will march under their officers to their respective states and there be disbanded, all retaining personal property.
The object of this convention is pacification of the extent of the authority of the commanders who made it. Events in Virginia which broke every hope of success by war, imposed on the General the duty of sparing blood of this gallant army, and sparing the country from further devastation and our people from ruin.
By General Sherman: Headqurters Military Division of Miss.
In the Field, Raleigh N.C., April 27th, 1865
Special Field Order NO. 65
The General Commander announces a further suspension of hostilities, and a final agreement with General Johnston, which terminates the war, as to the armies under his command and the country east of the Chattahoochee. Copies of the terms of tyhe convention will be furnished Major General Schofield, Gilmore and Wilson, who are specially charged with the execution of its details in the department of N.C. Dept of the South and at Macon Western Ga. Capt. Jasper Meyers ordanance officer of the U.S.A. is hereby designated to receive the arms at Greensboro. And any commanding officer of a post may receive the arms of any detachment and see that they are properly stored and accounted for. General Schofield will procure at once the necessary blanks and supply the other army commanders that unity may prevail and great care must be taken that all the terms and stipulations on our part be fulfilled with the most scrupulous fidelity. Whilst those imposed on our hitherto enemys be received in a spirit becoming a brave and generous enemy.
Army officers may at once loan to the inhabitants such of the captured mules, horses, wagons and vehicles as can be spared from immediate use and the country Generals of armies may issue provisions, animals or any public supplies that can be spared to relieve present wants and to encourage inhabitants to renew their peaceful pursuits, and to restore the friendly relations of friendship among our fellow citizens and countrymen. Forraging will forthwith cease, and when neccesity ir long marches compel, the taking of forrage provisions or any kind of provate property, compensation will be made on the spot, or when the disbursing officers are not provided with funds, vouchers will be given in proper form payable at the nearest post.
By order of Maj. Generl W.L. Sherman
Signed L.M. Dayton AAG
General Johnston desires that this order be read to the troops.
Signed A. Anderson A.A.G.
Official D.H. Pool A.A.G. Official D. Kemper Lt. Col.
Official L.C. Ingles, Act Adjt
Signed, W.T. Sherman, Maj. Gen Commanding, U.S.A.
Signed J.E. Johnston, Gen. Commanding,C.S. Forces in N.C.
Official, W.G. Gale,
On May 2rd, we received our paroles. Mine read as follows:
- Greensboro, North Carolina, May 2rd, 1865
- In accordance with the terms of the military convention entered into on the twenty sixth day of April 1865 between General Joseph E. Johnston commanding the Confederate army, and Maj. Gen. Sherman commanding the United States army in North Carolina, W.L. Truman private in the 1st Mo. battery has given his solemn obligation not to take up arms against the government of the U.S. until properly released from this obligation, and is permitted to retrun to his home, not ot be disturbed by the U.S. authorities, so long as he observes this obligation, and obeys the laws oin force where he may reside.
Del Kemper, Notary
Gen F. Fouler C.S.A. Commanding.
Major 4th N.H. Vol, U.S.A.
I will now copy the duplicate of my discharge from the MO. State Guards, at the time I joined the Confederate Army,
- Missouri State Guards
- I certify that the within named William L. Truman of Capt. F. McCullough’s Company E of the 2rd Regiment, Missouri State Guards, Borned in Davis County Ky, age 21 years, five feet eight inches high, dark complexion, light eyes dark hair and by profession a planter. Was enlisted by Capt. F. McCollough, at Lexington Mo. on the thirtieth day of Sept. 1861, to serve six months, and is now entitled to a discharge, by reason of his having joined the Confederate States Army. The said William L. Truman has not been paid and has pay due him from that date, to the present date. Given in duplicate at Springfield Mo. this 26th day of Dec. 1861.
- William Wade Capt. Commanding, 1st Mo. Battery of C.S. Volenteers