Friday, February 20, 2009

Captain John W. Carroll

John W. Carroll, the eldest child of William and Ellen Carroll of Henderson County, TN, was born November 28th, 1841. William Carroll had served both as a Tax Collector for the county and as Justice of the Peace, in 1860 he owned a farm with $4,000 in real estate and $2,000 in personal estate. William made sure that John was educated and during the last years the 1850s, John became very aware of the events spiraling toward war. In 1861 he enlisted in company that would eventually become part of the 27th Tennessee Infantry in 1861. Carroll would rise to the rank of Captain within a years time and serve until he was wounded at the Battle of Perryville, then afterwards he would be on recruiting duty and serving in the the 21st Tennessee Cavalry. In 1898 he wrote his memoirs, with a refreshing air of honesty concerning his motivation.

The following are some interesting excerpts;

"During this period of life I read the newspapers which were full of the happenings in Kansas Territory. The territorial government had applied to Congress for statehood in the Federal union. The abolitionists of the north wanted it admitted only upon the terms of a free state, while the Southern or pro- slavery people wanted it admitted as a slave state; that is, that a citizen of the United States, owning slaves, should have the right to go into Kansas and have his property and slaves protected, as any other property, which had been done under the constitution of the United States from the beginning of the government. The northern Free Soilers, as they called themselves, sent men and arms to Kansas under the name of the Secret Aid Society, for the purpose of driving out the Southern people. The other side being equally determined, it resulted in frequent collisions at arms between the contending factions. My sympathies naturally went out to the Southern people not that I owned any property in slaves, but I naturally loved the Sunny South together with all her institutions, then as now; whether right or wrong, was no question with me. I am for her and will be, I think, while I have an existence upon the earth. My patriotism began to run pretty high; so I made up my mind that if I had any way of getting over there I would go and help my people. After some reflection I frankly laid the matter before my father, telling him of my intentions. He heard me kindly through my story. When I had finished, he told me that I knew nothing of life in an army; that I had best wait, for he believed that inside of two years a fearful war would be forced upon the people of the Southland; that, when the time came, it would be our duty to aid our people to the best of our ability. After this conversation I abandoned the idea of a trip to Kansas."

"About this time came John Brown's raid into Virginia. Thus every move on the political chessboard was a move in the direction of war the most fearful in the annals of history. Thus John Brown's raid was the first shot fired and the first onslaught made upon the institutions of our country, which burst upon us in all its fury in the year 1861. I was then in my nineteenth year; full of patriotism and hope of success; anxious to take part in the struggle, I enlisted in a company being raised by Richard Barham May, 1861."

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