Saturday, September 27, 2008

Those boys of Co. D, 1st TN

To tie in with Patrick's posting on Company AYTCH, I thought I would share the following from Adelicia McEwen German's Reminiscences of a School Girl during the War Between the States:
...the elderly people shiver with apprehension, for many of them remembered seeing the soldiers march away to Mexico in the 'forties', where many of them lie today...Not so with the younger element; It was one long drawn out holiday for them. The drilling was constantly going on at the Fair Ground...Seated on the fence on a hill back of our house we had a fine view of the young athletic soldier boys, who with their blood at fever heat, responded so cheerfully to the commands of their officers, Captain James P. Hanner, Lieut. Cary Harris and Lieut John L. House. The drilling kept up through the Spring and they became very proficient in the handling of arms.
The 18th of May, 1861, was the day set for the Williamson Greys, as they were called, to depart for Camp Cheatham, to be drilled for actual service, A never-to-be-forgotten day with the mothers, sweethearts and friends.
Early in the day, the Company was drawn up in front of the Presbyterian church. After a prayer by the Presbyterian pastor, Rev. Morey, the soldiers were presented with a pocket testament. The thoughtless fellows, many of them, threw them in the mud puddles by the road side on their way to the station, others carried them through the war, and one was sent back from Atlanta, stained with the life blood of our young relative [Kit Ridley pictured here] who proved himself the 'noblest Roman of them all'. Three young men sacrificed their blood on their country's altar, Richard Irvin, Henry Walker, and Kit Ridley.
To return to the station...the company marched to the station looking very soldierly in their black pants with gilt side stripes, grey coats rimeed with gilt braid and brass buttons, a grey cap setting off their uniforms. An immense crowd had gathered at the station to say good-bye from all parts of the country. The train blew and the hour for departure had come, brave mothers clung to their sons, fathers, overcome with emotion, shook their hands in farewell, hysterical sisters screamed, shy sweethearts tried to conceal their tears with their bonnets. Altogether it was the most emotional and saddest scene I ever witnessed. As the train moved off, Lieut. House waved his hand from the rear platform asking that the people take care of the ones left behind, and pledging himself to do the same for their sons. Four years hard service proved the truth of his promise; the ones that came home were loyal to him as long as he lived.

It is interesting to note the careless disregard that many of the boys of Company D showed for the bibles that they were given, and for you uniform buffs another cool description.


Jubilo said...

Dear Sir ,
Thank you for this most interesting post . Throwing the testaments in the mud puddles certainly defies the stereotype of the pious Southern SOldier !
cordially ,
David Corbett

Patrick Lewis said...

Fantastic source, Lee. I have said it before, and I'll say it again. I absolutely love that photo of Kit Ridley; it's so 1st Tennessee it isn't funny. And, actually, throwing testaments in the mud is so 1st Tennessee it isn't funny, too.

Watkins did a good job of painting his picture for us.

Also, J.P. Hanner is a tool, couldn't resist that. Spikey haired frat boy. :

Lee White said...

Pat, that came out of that Williamson County Womens book that was left for me last weekend, so thats part of your report on it.