George C. Jenkins
Written by: George C. Jenkins
George C. Jenkins was born in Ross County, Ohio, and at age 21, enlisted in the 1st Alabama Cavalry Union Army on March 17, 1864. He served as 2nd Lt. in Company M and mustered out October 20, 1865 in Huntsville, Alabama. The following is a letter he wrote from Washington County, Ohio on April 13, 1900.
I was agreeable surprised a short time ago on receipt of a copy of your newsy little paper - "The Anchor." It refreshed my memory of tried experiences of my own in Winston during the Civil War of 1861 to 1865, where Comrades Barton, Emerick, and myself enjoyed such a lovely time circulating around the many rock houses and caves "beating up" recruits for the Old Loyal 1st Ala. Cav. I never shall forget the events of that expedition.
Six of us left our Lines at Camp Davis on the evening of December 19th, 1863, rode through the woods until dark, where we took the main road and kept it until day dawned next morning. We stopped at the home of a Union man 76 miles south-east of our starting place - Camp Davis. We stayed there rested and slept during the day; and when darkness came again, we mounted our refreshed horses and on we went for another night's ride; and passed the next several days resting in some thickets, and the nights we passed in wandering our way through the mountain paths of North Alabama. When we struck the "Biler road," we discovered several bands of Confederate Cavalrymen; so we divided our forces, Jim Medlin and two Comrades struck out east, while Comrades Barton, Emerick, and myself beat south. On that memorable cold New Years day, we ate dinner at Comrade Barton's residence in the "Black Swamp Beat" on Splunge Creek.
I shall never forget the good "freezing out" we got new year's evening when Barton got so dreadful cold we could hardly keep him on his horse, and finally he came bewildered and we were lost and freezing mid the snow which had made the paths invisible. We finally came to an isolated field after going around this lonely field several times our horses struck the trail leading from it, and followed it down the mountain to "Kelly's tanyard." Barton then knew where we were, and as Kelly was a "Reb" we went a mile or so south of Kelly's and stopped until day again. At the cabin of a good old Loyalist by the name of Weaver, the possession of fire-warmth was never welcomed by no mortal more heartily than it was by me that night at Mr. Weaver's. My feet and fingers were almost frozen off. We laid down on a bed and slept while Mr. Weaver stayed out in the cold and kept guard about half way between his cabin and his neighbors where some Confederate Cavalry men were enjoying their New Year dance. His loyal wife (God bless her) cooked us a warm breakfast and at day we started to Barton's, 5 miles south. Hiding our horses in the thickets at Splunge Creek we reached Mr. Barton's some before noon, his wife cooking us a warm and refreshing dinner, and after dining, we went to the brush until dark, then we returned back to the house where we enjoyed a peaceful night's sleep in a house, this being the only night we slept all night in a house. After this, rock houses were our resting places during the day, and the roads and trails were kept warm through the night. A cave not far from Taylor's store was our headquarters, and we recruited as far south as Vince Rodens in Walker County near Jasper, and if old Tid Walker or any of his family are living, I guess they will remember the visit we paid them one night when we captured old Tid, his musket, and mule, but I can't go into full details about this visit to old "Tids." I often wonder if any of these old boys are living yet.
After the war, I married and have raised and educated a family of six children, but for the past ten years the disabilites from my wounds and four and half years in the war has almost overcome my vigor and ambition. I am almost worn out. Oh! how I would like to visit those old mountain cabins in old Black Swamp, but I shall only hope on for the opportunity - but fear my hope will never be realized.
I very frequently hear from Hinds, and a few others of my old Comrades. If there are any of them left in Winston, I offer my best wishes; and would like to see them. I also offer my kindest regards to any and all of the Confederates that I fought so long and hard, God bless them all! The animosity I once held against them is all gone now, and in its place dwells in my heart, a feeling of respect akin to the fraternal love that I have for my old Comrades. What nation has ever developed better and truer patriotism than our own beloved United States - North and South? I am as proud today of the records of the brave Confederates as I am my Comrades whom I fought with.
With Kind regards to any and all....I am yours truly, George C. Jenkins.