John Newton Waddel.

Memorials of academic life: being an historical sketch of the Waddel family, identified through three generations with the history of the higher education in the South and Southwest online

. (page 30 of 43)
Online LibraryJohn Newton WaddelMemorials of academic life: being an historical sketch of the Waddel family, identified through three generations with the history of the higher education in the South and Southwest → online text (page 30 of 43)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

of refuge. As my children were at the time making their
homo near Meridian, with my friend, Eev. Mr. Emerson, I also
removed them, as speedily as possible, to Montgomery, Ala.,
and placed them there in my brother's family. In this p]ace
they had a comfortable home for nine months, while I was
almost entirely devoted to the work of visiting the various
points of the western army and the many hospitals in Ala-
bama and Mississippi, making my headquarters at Mont-
gomery. I spent the 3'ear 1863 in hard work among the
soldiers and chaplains, in this way having little time to rest,
and often sufifering from loss of sleep, and being obliged to


404 John N. Waddel, D. D., LL. D.

avail myself of modes of transportation of the most uncom-
fortable and disagreeable sort. I was received most cordi-
ally always by the ofHcers and private soldiers, and the
church chaplaincy with which I was charged as commis-
sioner and superintendent, during 1863-4, was, I have no
doubt, attended wiih great benefit to the army, as I know
that many of our most godly and zealous ministers devoted
themselves to the work of preaching to the soldiers in camp
and in visiting the hospitals and ministering to the spiritual
wants of the sick and wounded, and soothing and cheering
the last hours of many a brave and gallant soldier.

It was previous to the fall of Vicksburg that I determined
to jDay a visit to our boys, J. T>. West, C. V, Thompson, and
my son George, in camp at Shelby ville, Tenn. I left Mont-
gomery on June 12th, and reached Chattanooga on Satur-
day evening, and spent the night there. Here I met with
some of my La Grange friends in the hospital, who gave me
a considerable budget of news in regard to the state of mat-
ters in our old home. On awaking, I passed through a
mental conflict on the subject of ni}' duty as regards prose-
cuting my onward travel on the Sabbath. I arrayed the
arguments /^ro and con about as follows .

1. The evils of going forward on the one side, and those
of resting on the other: 1st, If I remain I shall incur addi-
tional expense. 2. Be lonely : 1st, If I travel I shall fall in
with uncongenial company ; 2nd, Shall be apprehensive of
peril for travelling. 3. My conscience will condemn me.
What are the reasons for travelling *? 1. I shall be with the
boys; 2. May attend divine service in camp, perchance even
have the privilege of listening to Dr. Palmer. Even with
these thoughts passing through my mind I saw that the de-
cision was that I should remain in Chattanooga. But when
I considered, 1st, that by remaining I should enjoy the
privilege of reading my Bible ; 2nd, could attend divine ser-
vice in some of the churches ; 3rd, the travel was not a work

Preaching in Camp, 405

of necessity or of mercy; 4tli, I should have a clear con-
science ; 5tli, it was certainly right to remain ; I hesitated
no longer as to this question, and sx^ent the Sabbath read-
ing my Bible, attending preaching both morning and even-
ing, by a young brother then a stranger to me, but since
then well known as Kev. H. B. Boude, V>. D., pastor of sev-
eral churches in various parts of the Southern Presbyterian
Church, and President of Austin College, Sherman, Texas.
At the time to which I refer he was a chaplain in the Con-
federate army. His text of the morning was Matt. xvi. 26.
In the evening heard Rev. Mr. Boude again, text not now

I reached Shelby ville about G o'clock p. m., and by the
kindness of a friend, who was Post-commandant, I obtained
the use of a horse, and rode out to the camp, about three
miles, and found the boys well, and glad to see me. I re-
mained in camp and in the town about a w^eek, during
which time I preached to the soldiers of Vaughan's and
Walthall's commands four times, and had the pleasure of
meeting Dr. Palmer and of hearing him preach to a vast
assembly in the open air ; and as he stood upon a rocky
mound, and the audience stood, and sat, and lay upon the
slope before him, the scene was unspeakably solemn, and
the sermon equally solemn and impressive. Among the va-
rious regiments I met many of my old pu^oils, former stu-
dents of the l^niversity and of La Grange College, some of
whom survived the war, and others passed away during its
continuance, either in battle or in the hospital.

In leaving the camj). Dr. Palmer and I called on General
Bragg at his headquarters, and were received courteously.
I obtained from the General a passport, and, leaving Shel-
byville on Saturday, 20th June, arrived at AVartrace, the
point of junction of the branch road from Shelby ville with
the main road to Chattanooga ; found myself checked by
orders from headquarters that all citizens should leave the

406 John N. Waddel, D. D., LL. T>.

train, as a brigade of soldiers had been unexpectedly ordered
to Chattanooga, and thence to East Tennessee, to reinforce
General Buckner, to meet a raid of the enemy on Knoxville.
I returned by next train to camp, and after spending Sab-
bath there, left again on Tuesday, and arrived, ^Yithout
further interruption, at Montgomery.

With the exception of my trip to Lj-nchburg, Va., to
meet the Joint Committee of the Southern Presbyterian
Church and the United Synod, to which I have referred, I
spent my time as usual in travelling from post to post, from
hospital to hospital, in prosecution of my duties as commis-
sioner. The most important event of the war, the fall of
Vicksburg, occurred on July 4th. This rendered it neces-
sary to remove my children to a more secure place of refuge,
inasmuch as there were immediately in circulation flying
rumors of the approach of the Federal troops toward Me-
ridian. There were immense crowds of refugees passing
through the place, and the trains on the railroads were filled
to their utmost capacity, so that I found great difficulty in
securing transportation for m}' family and their baggage.
I was successful, however, in getting to Montgomery via
Mobile, and placing them in care of my brother, James P.
Waddel, where they were in perfect safety and comfort. I
returned to Mississippi very soon, as the rumors of an east-
ern advance of General Grant's army proved to be false. A
very large number of the Vicksburg soldiers having been re-
leased on parole, and among them all their officers in com-
mand, an encampment was formed at Enterprise, on the
Mobile and Ohio railroad, and there I spent a great deal
of my time, and preached much in the camp and in the
Presbyterian church, and thus I worked on through the
winter of 1863-'64.

I must not omit to mention that Eev. Dr. E. II. Ruther-
ford, having been pastor of the Presbyterian church in
Vicksburg previous to the beginning of the siege, remained

A Marriage Ceremony. 407

in the city during the entire time of its investment by
Grant, suffering all the hardships to which the besieged army
and the citizens had been subjected, and came out with the
soldiers who were on parole. He soon became actively en-
gaged as a missionary chaplain to the troops in camp at
Enterprise, at the same time supplying the Presbyterian,
church at that place.

We were associated in many such works in the camps and
hospitals. There were many other chaplains with whom it
was my privilege to associate during those times of gloom
and trial. Among them I call to mind Rev. Dr. Thomas K.
Markham, Eev. Dr. J. H. Bryson, and the brethren, Rev.
Dr. Richmond Mclnuis, and Rev. Dr. H. M. Smith, Rev. D.
D. Sanderson, and A. P. Silliraan, Rev. S. J. Bingham, and
Rev. Dr. W. T. Hall, with many others of our most devoted
and prominent ministers, all of whom were faithful and
zealous in supplying the religious wants of the army.

The year 1864 began darkly and gloomily, both within me
and in the prospects of the country. The first service I was
called to perform was to officiate at the marriage of Miss
Kate Calhoun to a Lieut. George Jones, of our army. The
lady w as the daughter of James L. Calhoun, (a nephew of
the great J. C. Calhoun,) who had been a pupil of mine in
the first school I ever taught, w^hen I was in my nineteenth
year, but who was not much younger than I. He now held
some office under the Confederacy, having his place of busi-
ness in Montgomery. The ceremony was solemnized at the
town of Tuskeegee, in the presence of a fine assemblage of
friends and relatives of the bride, who was a most charming

The next incident that occurred in my private history was
that my youngest boy, now just having passed his seven-
teenth birthday, entered the army of the Confederacy in
January, and thus I had furnished to the cause of my native
South, in her struggle for independence, my two sons and

408 JoHxN N. Waddel, D. D., LL. D.

an almost innumerable host of young friends and former
pupils, among whom was the husband of my eldest daughter,
Hev. James T>. West, and the affianced of my younger
daughter, C. V. Thompson.

The months rolled slowly on through the winter and
spring, with one additional incident in my narrative which I
propose to record, which, while it was in the line of my
work, was exceedingly perilous, and unpleasant at times, un-
til its final and fortunate denouement. About February 1st
I left Meridian with a view of paying a visit to North Mis-
sissippi, to raise mone}^ for arm}^ missions, and visit Forrest's
division of cavalry, then in camj) at Oxford. I arrived at
Oxford on the 3rd of February, and made my home with my
long-tried and devoted friends, Mr. Rascoe and family, visit-
ing many friends beside, all of whom seemed glad to sec me.
3 preached in Oxford to a crowd, and raised $318.75 for the
army mission. Also preached iil College Church, and raised
for army missions ^"^181, for the Bible cause $200, and for
Foreign Missions $G0— total at both jDlaces, $759,75. I re-
mained in and about Oxford until February 8th. During
this interval the town was filled with exciting rumors of the
Yankees having caj^tured Jackson and Canton and going on
eastward, our troops falling back. It was also reported that
a strong column of Federal cavalry was moving out of Mem-
phis. We were told also that the forces under Forrest were
to evacuate Oxford, and all the army stores were to be moved,
and every one was to abandon Oxford who could get awa}^
Of course, under these circumstances of peril and confusion,
nothing could be accomplished by stopping longer there ;
accordingly, I obtained from a friend a mule, and rode out
to the neighborhood of Hopewell Church, and spent the
night with Brother Patton, pastor, preached the next day
(Tuesday, 9th), and raised $53 for army missions and $10
additional fiom Brother Patton. On Thursday, 11th, I rode
over to Lebanon Church, driven in a buggy by Daniel Mc-

A Federal Invasion. 409

FarlancI, Jr., then a boy of twelve or fourteen years, now
Bev. Dr. McFarland, of Staunton, Va. I preached at Le-
banon Church on the 12th of February, and raised $106 for
the mission.

I spent the night there, and we were still assailed with
rumors of a confused and unsatisfactory nature. On the
loth, by another relay on a borrowed horse, and accom-
j)anied by a young friend, I rode over to Pontotoc and spent
the night (Saturday) with my afflicted friends, the Miller
family, of my murdered friend and brother, Eev. J. H. Mil-
ler, having an aj)pointment to preach the next day at 11
o'clock. Early the next morning (Sabbath), just after dress-
ing and coming from my room, I was met by a Confederate
artilleryman in the hall, who told me that, having learned
tlitit I was at Mrs. Miller's, and supposing that I was not
willing to be captured, he had come to warn me to leave
Pontotoc as quickly as possible, as he had received reliable
information that at New Albany, a small town about nine-
teen miles above Pontotoc, 1'2,000 cavalry troops, under a
commander who was best known as "Whiskey Smith," had
encamped the night before, and would probably reach Pon-
totoc about 10 o'clock A. M. Of course, I expressed my
thanks to my unknown friend for his kindness in giving me
this timely warning, and my mind was quickly made up to
letive at once. But I had no horse, nor had I made any
preparation to obtain one. Making known my decision to
the family that I would leave at the earliest moment, and at
the same time the fact of my being without a horse or con-
veyance of any kind whereby to make my escape, the whole
difficulty was removed by the quick perception and generous
proposal of Miss Mary Miller, the daughter of my friend,
whose brutal murder has been recorded in a preceding
chapter. To set the matter in its just light, it is worthy of
the reader's time and attention to understand the circum-
stances connected with Miss Miller's conduct on this occa-

410 John N. Waddel, D. D., LL. D.

pion. Her eldest brother, Edward G, Miller, inheriting the
ardent patriotism of his father, and iired with the martial
spirit and unflinching courage which characterized his fel-
lows-students of La Grange College, had volunteered in 1861,
and joined a company of cavalry ; and on occasion of an en-
gagement which occurred between his company and a body
of Federals near Moscow, ten miles west of La Grange, on
the Memphis and Charleston railroad, young Miller was
killed, and his horse and all his accoutrements were, of
course, taken possession of by the enemy, as this engage-
ment was disastrous to our forces. The sad intelligence of
the death of this beloved young soldier having reached the
family. Miss Mary heroically resolved to go to the camp of
the enemy at Moscow and recover her brother's remains.
She put her resolve into execution as soon as possible, went
to the battle-field, and lecovered from the commander the
remains of her brother, and, by her eloquent appeals, also
obtained his horse, saddle, and bridle, and succeeded in
having all brought homo in safety. The body lies buried
by the side of the remains of his father in the cemetery at
Pontotoc. The horse, a sacred and cherished memorial of
the beloved brother, was taken care of, and it was on this
occasion offered to me, in my dire extremity, as the means
of my escape from the threatened capture. I shall never
lose the sense of profound gratitude to Mr-s Ma'ry, nor my
admiration for her heroic character.

I w^as thus again, in the kind, protecting providence of
God, enabled to escape what I conceived to be imminent
peril, and I left Pontotoc, immediately after an early break-
fast, for Okoloua, the nearest station on the Mobile and
Ohio railroad, at which place I proposed to take the train
for Meridian. Here, however, I experienced the truth of
the proverb, "Man proposes, but God disposes"; for as I
approached Okolona I met a solitary horseman, just from,
the place-, and from him I learned that the train I had pro-

Preparing for Flight. 411

posed to take had left Okolona, and that no other train was
to be run on the road under present arrangements. He
gave as the reason for this state of matters that the tele-
graph operator at Meridian had just sent his last dispatch
over the wires to Okolona previous to his departure, to the
effect tbat the advance of Sherman's army was just entering
Meridian as he left.

Again I found myself "at my wdts end," and surely knew
not " what next ? " or whither to direct my steps. I rode on
to the station, nevertheless, and, calling at the residence of
an elder of our church, Mr. Shepherd, who received me
kindly, I mad 3 known to him my pressing strait and my in-
formation in regard to the prospective invasion of the coun-
try by Smith's cavalry force, expressing my belief that the
enemy would reach Okolona that day. He directed me to
the house of another elder, Mr. "Wiley Dearing, an old
friend of mine, who lived four miles in the country, as the
safest place of refuge. In the meantime he informed me
that a lady at his house was just then expecting to leave fur
Georgia or South Carolina in a small vehicle or carriage,
and that she wished, if possible, to leave next day, if not
prevented, and she would be glad of my company and pro-
tection. He planned for me to go out at once to Mr. Dear-
ing's and sj)end the night, and that he (Mr. Shepherd)
would keep me informed as to the arrival or non-arrival of
the Federal cavalry. If they should fail to come, he would
send a horse for me on the next day, and I could then leave
in safety. I carried out this plan ; rode out and spent the
night very pleasantly and very comfortabty with my friend,
Mr. Dearing, and next day, after leaving Miss Mary Miller's
horse, etc., with him, with a letter informing her where the
horse would be found, I rode back to Okolona. I foimd
that the expected raid had not reached there, and that the
arrangement which I had considered decided, that I should
leave with the lady aforesaid, had failed, as she had aban-

412 John N. Waddel, D. D., LL. D.

doned the idea of leaving. So, once more, I was disap-
pointed as to a way of escape, and the troops I so much
dreaded were constantly expected. But the good providence
of God was still over and round about me for my protection.
I found at Okolona that a Confederate quartermaster's
train, which had made O!volona headquarters all along, was
preparing to leave and escape the enem}^, and were to go
east to Aberdeen that night. On calling on the officer in
charge, I found, to my great gratification, that one of the
men in the train was Captain Street, who had married a
lady friend of my daughter, and making known to hi:_i my
condition, he at once most kindly offered me a fine horse,
saddle, and bridle, which I could use as far as Aberdeen.
IMailiug my letter to Miss Miller (informing her about her
horse), I left about ten o'clock p. m., in company with my
friend and his wife (Avho travelled in his buggy), with quite a
cavalcade. We did not pause until about one o'clock a. m.,
having accomplished about ten miles. We remained there
in perfect safety until next morning after breakfast, when
we renewed our journey uninterruptedly to Aberdeen, which
we reached about eleven o'clock a. m. Hero w^e parted, my
friend. Captain Street, having orders to proceed no farther
on my route, and I gave up his horse, with earnest thanks
for his great kindness.

I now began to realize that we were in no great danger of
the pursuit I had so much dreaded, but, at the same time,
there was the anxiety still resting upon my mind as to my
future return to Montgomery, and as to the mode of prose-
cuting my route eastward.

At Aberdeen I was fortunate in meeting quite a number
of old friends who had patronized the University at Oxford,
T>r, Sykes, Mr. Kandall, Mr. Evans, and others, besides also
Ira G. Holloway and Lucien Sykes, former students at Ox-
ford, and I am sure I never was more cordially received
at any place in all my life. I found, however, at first.

A Y/ay of Escape. 413

very great difficulty in securing a plan of prosecuting my
onward travel. After seeing my friends, and trying ear-
nestly to get on in some way or other, one expedient after
another having failed, I met with a gentleman, Mr. Walton,
a citizen of Aberdeen, who had a pair of line horses and a
carriage which he was very anxious to save from the " Yan-
kees." His plan was to send them to his son-in-law, a Dr.
Green, who was a surgeon in the Confederate army. He
had learned that Dr. Green, with all the Meridian medical
staff, had, on the approach of Sherman's forces, made their
escape, and taken up their headquarters at Marion, Ala.
Still there remained another obstacle to the full and entire
carr^dng out of the plan, and that was to have with me some
companion or companions to aid me in the enterprise of
driving the horses and taking care of them, for about one
hundred miles across the country, and delivering everything
safely to Dr. Green. Let me not omit to record another in-
stance of the continual care and kindness of Divine Provi-
dence manifested toward me in all these perilous times.
There were then in Aberdeen two officers of Gen. Joseph E.
Johnson's army, on furlough, very anxious to get away be-
fore the enemy should reach there (for it was confidently
expected that the forces of Smith would be in Aberdeen
sooner or later), and when we met and compared notes we
very quickly and successfully arranged to take charge of
the entire establishment and deliver it to Dr. Green in Mar-
ion, Ala., this point being on the direct route which they
must travel back to their command. These gentlemen were
a Ma^'or Pegram, of Tippah county. Miss., and a Mr. Peck,
of Aberdeen. A still more favorable circumstance for us
was that the latter gentleman had a servant who would re-
turn with him to the army. So we had nothing to do but
to make ourselves ready to go on our way rejoicing, in the
most comfortable way possible, Avith a fine family caiTiage,
a pair of fine horses, and a driver. Having stored away

414 John N. AVaddel, D. D., LL. D.

our small amount of baggage in tlie veliicle, we left
Aberdeen on Wednesday about sunset, and drove on over
bad, miry roads, and spent the nigbt very comfortably at a
farm-house distant some six miles. How thankful was I
that we were now evidently safe from pursuit, and that
the way was now clear for an uninterrupted retreat from
the dreaded foe ! Our journey was successfull}^ prosecuted
through Pickens county, Ala., via Columbus, Miss , having
a brief interview in the street of that city with my friend
and brother, Rev. J. A. Lyon, D. D., who agreed with me
that it was wise in us to place as great a distance as possi-
ble between the enemy and our fine establishment I We
passed through Clinton, Eutaw, and Greensboro to MaTion.
As I passed the cemetery in Eutaw I recalled the fact that,
just within a few hundred yards, la}^ buried the ashes of my
first-born little boy, which we had laid to rest a quarter
century previously, and nature even then claimed for his
memory from my troubled heart the tribute due. We
reached Marion on Saturday afternoon in perfect safety, and
gladly delivered over to Dr. Green the equipage with which
we had been entrusted by his father-in-law, Mr. Walton, of


Finale of the Shekman-Smith Baid. — Retukn to Mississippi with
MY Children. — MARKiAf^E of my Youngest Daughter. — Fourth
Meeting op the General Assembly. — Change of Location in
Army Work.

I MET in Marion all the medical men who were in Meri-
dian when I left there on my expedition of visiting the
noi-thern part of Mississippi, the account of "which I have
given in extenso in the preceding chapter. Dr. Isom, and
Dr. John Smith, and Dr. Branham were of Oxford i)revious
to the war ; and besides them, I met also Dr. Frazier, an
old friend, of Tupelo, Miss. I was greatly gratified also to
meet again Eev. Dr. Raymond, pastor of the Presl^yterian
Church in Marion. I took up my quarters in the same
building with the medical men, and preached twdce on Sab-
bath, and collected $210 for army missions. I only re-
mained in Marion imtil Monday morning, 22nd; when on
my way to Montgomery, passing through Marion Junction
Station, saw our troops in considerable numbers passing on
to reinforce General Polk at Demopohs, who, with his army,
was awaiting the advance of Sherman from Meridian. From
them I learned that General Cheatham's Division was on
the way to join General Polk, and accordingly I found this
to be so on my arrival at Selma, for all of my boys were
there awaiting orders to go b}^ next train on to Demopolis.
It was soon ascertained, however, that this expedition was
needless, as General Sherman had evacuated Meridian,
after burning the little village, and had marched back to
Vicksburg. So far as I was able to learn the facts of these
movements on the part of the enemy, they were about as


416 John N. Waddel, D. D., LL. D.

follows: It was the design of General Sherman to march
his forces from Vicksbiirg eastward across the State, and
that he, with these troops, would eifect a junction at Meri-
dian with a large body of cavalry from Memphis, under
Smith, ard then both bodies of troops united should con
tinue their march across to Montgomery, and take possession
of Alabama and Georgia. The entire plan was defeated by
the cavalry under General Forrest, who met Smith in the
prairies in the northeastern part of Mississippi, and drove
him back, after a disastrous battle, with terrible loss. This
being ascertained by Sherman, he left without further at-
tempts at the grand invasion, and the troojos which he had
led in such formidable array were led back again by him,

Online LibraryJohn Newton WaddelMemorials of academic life: being an historical sketch of the Waddel family, identified through three generations with the history of the higher education in the South and Southwest → online text (page 30 of 43)