Sam M. Paul’s Reminiscences of the War Between the States

Transcribed from a type written document by 
Ronald P. Evans (great great nephew of Mr. Paul)

I was a small boy, when the war began, living with my father and mother, on their farm in Polk County, Tennessee. Our farm was along the Ocoee River which afforded some splendid hiding places for our farm products, etc. I will try to tell some of the things that impressed me most, one of which was the presence of General Joe Wheeler in our community. He camped on the East side of the Ocoee River, just opposite my father’s farm, on the farm known as the Calvin Hood place. General Wheeler purchased hay and corn from my father, paying Confederate money for it. My father took his receipts for the payment of his produce. Mr. Wheeler having to make report to the Government for the expenditure of their money. I hold some of those receipts now with General Joe Wheeler’ssignature.

My father was too old for service in the Army but the Yankees arrested him one evening and kept him prisoner nearly all night.

One of the most vivid recollections to me is that the Yankee soldiers disturbed my mother’s peace by taking her chickens. They would come into our yard and run her chickens down, catch and take them away over her loud protests.

Although just a small boy, I was allowed to plow and was put on guard to listen for the Yankees and run with the team when I heard them coming. We had a piece of woodland located about two miles from the field in which we were plowing, and when we heard the Yankees coming we would rush to that woodland and hide. It was located between two elevations, making an ideal hiding place for our stock as well as ourselves and produce. We hid part of our corn, hay, and other products in the hollow and part of it in other places so if they found one hiding they might not go further. I remember quite well how this was done. We built rail pens down in the meadow, several of them close together, hauled our corn, hay, etc. during the night and put in these pens. Then we covered them with weeds and grass and they looked like stacks of hay in the meadow. This scheme worked beautifully as the Yankees never did discover them.

Another thing I remember is that Sherman‘s Army which was located at Charleston, Tenn. came to our house, or at least part of that Army. It was soon after we had killed hogs. The man who owned the adjoining farm, Mr. Rickett, and my father killed hogs at the same time and hid their meat together. Father hid everything, heads, feet and all, but Mr. Rickett failed to hide the heads of his hogs so when the Yankees found the heads hanging in the smoke-house, they demanded the balance of the hogs also. Mr. Rickett refused to tell them where the meat was hidden and a Yankee officer ordered one of his men to go to the barn and bring him several bundles of fodder. He then told Mr. Rickett if he did not take them to get the meat he would burn his house. Mr. Rickett’s again refused to reveal the hiding place and the Yankee soldier set the fodder on fire and put in under Mr. Rickett’s house. Then it was the Yankees were shown where our meat was hidden. It was interesting the way they hid that meat. I also remember that fact quite well. There was a cave on the bluff of the Ocoee River, on the Erby Boyd farm. My father and Mr. Rickett took the meat in a canoe, one night, and went down the river and hid it in the cave. Those Yankees could never have found it by themselves. A small portion of our meat was hidden on the bluff of the Ocoee River and that was all we had left. My mother had a Negro woman whose husband was forced, by the Yankees to drive the team that hauled the meat to Charleston to be consumed by Sherman’s Army.

Several of Sherman’s officers made my father’s home their headquarters while in that section, and I can say this – they always paid for their lodging and board, but my mother resented the fact that she was forced to cook for them.

Another of my recollections is that all the stock father had left was a bind mare. She could not see to get about very well. One day Sherman’s men were passing by when a Negro soldier jumped off his horse, put his bridle on that blind mare to take her out of the lot. My father was very angry about it so he picked up a rail, stepped behind the barn gate where the Negro had to pall out and was prepared to give that Negro the full force of that rail, but a Yankee officer come by just in time to catch the Negro and called to him saying – “What are doing there, come away right now.” That Negro did not go out by way of the gate but jumped the fence and fled.

When we dug our potatoes we hid them out in the open woods. We laid logs down and put the potatoes on the logs then covered them over with another layer of logs putting leaves on top of the dirt so the Yankees would not suspicion we had hidden any of them.

I might say that the Negro man who was forced to haul our meat to Charleston for the Yankees came back home and remained with his “White Folks” the balance of his life, together with his wife.

These are a few of my reminiscences of the War between the States.

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