There are so many sad stories involved with any war, but especially, the Civil War. Basically, the only way to communicate was through letters. The telegraph was fairly new, and was mostly reserved for officers and the wealthy. Therefore, many people had no way of knowing what happened to their loved ones who went off to fight and didn’t return. This is the reason for Confederate monuments and memorials, and it has NOTHING to do with racism. This was how they honored their lost loved ones, and it took decades to save up enough money to erect the monuments.
WHAT THE CIVIL WAR DID TO FAMILIES
(And the Mule Came Home Alone)
Here is the story of what happened to four University of Mississippi students and their families during and after the war. They all lived within 10 miles of each other and all knew each other growing up. Three grew up in Holmes County, Mississippi near Richland, and those three all went to the Little Red Schoolhouse. The fourth lived about 10 miles South in Camden, Mississippi, in Madison County. He may have gone to the Little Red Schoolhouse. If only I could know for sure.
Richard C. Lipsey was his parents only child. His father was a farmer. Richard was UM Class of 1864. He joined the University Greys and he was wounded in the leg in the famous cornfield at Sharpsburg, the bloodiest 40 acres in America. His leg was amputated, and he came home to try to farm. How does a one-legged man farm? He somehow farmed, raised mules, and got elected County Supervisor and then County Treasurer for 20 years. He was the last University Grey to die in 1920. From letters I have of his, he wanted to see any of his old friends for the last 20 years of his life. The Greys never did have a reunion. Lipsey never got to see his friends again.
Jeremiah Gage was one of 4 Gage brothers. Three were military age and one was 11 when the war started. Gage was UM Class of 1860, and UM Law Class of 1861. His Father died in 1860. Gage joined the Greys and he was mortally wounded at Gettysburg. He wrote his mother one last, sad letter before he died.
His older brother, Matthew was killed by a cousin in a business dispute in 1865. He had survived the war only to be killed by a cousin! Jeremiah’s younger brother was wounded in the shoulder during the war, and he lost the use of that arm from nerve damage. He came home to try to farm to support his mother and several younger sisters and brother. How does a one armed man farm?
James F. Walton was UM Class of 1861. His Pastor father died in 1861. His only 2 brothers were at a church picnic in 1855, one of them started to drown in the swimming hole, a friend jumped in and was pulling him to shore. The other brother jumped from the bank to help, he landed on the other two, and they all three drowned. James joined the 29th Mississippi Regiment and he was wounded twice in the war. In 1864 he took sick. His mother heard he was bad sick in the hospital, and went to see him in Georgia. She found his body servant bringing the casket containing her last son home, at a train depot while changing trains. She took him home to bury him.
James R. Montgomery was UM Class of 1858, and UM Law Class of 1861. Montgomery joined the University Greys. One younger brother was killed at Vicksburg. James was mortally wounded at Talley’s Mill in 1864. His only other brother survived the war. In 1869, four years after the war, that brother went out with the family mule to plow a field. Late that afternoon, the mule came back by himself. His father went out looking for his son. Apparently, his son had finished plowing the field, he unhitched the mule, and was leading him home. A lightning bolt hit his son and killed him, and the mule came home alone.
As Jeremiah Gage wrote in a letter just a few months before he died, “War is a terrible thing, I hope another one never comes in my time.”
That is only four families who lived close together, and their sons were friends. I can tell 100 of these stories from my research. Nobody knows, but me.
STARKE MILLER – Miller Civil War Tours
(Article Courtesy of the Southern Comfort, Private Samuel A. Hughey Camp 1452, Sons of Confederate Veterans, President Jefferson Davis Chapter, Military Order of the Stars and Bars, Volume 45, Issue No. 8, August 2021)
VOLUME 45, ISSUE N0. 8 – AUGUST 2021