Monroe County Answer the Call?
Will Monroe County Answer the Call?
By E. P. Blanton
the call comes, if one does come, for volunteers to go to Mexico, will our
county of Monroe be represented? Fifty
six years ago, when the Civil War broke out Monroe was represented, not only
with the home guard or militia but also with companies of troops which took
an active part in many of the great battles.
Does the patriotism that fired the hearts of our fathers and
grandfathers to such an extent still burn within us so that if our country
calls we will not be deaf? Let
us hope so.
way back in 1862 when the nation was at war with itself, a company of
soldiers was organized at Florida under the captaincy of Brackston Pollard.
That was in the spring and in the following August it went into
battle at Newark where three of its members were killed and several severely
wounded, among them the captain.
you ever heard of Brace's company? It
was our own Judge Theodore Brace who lives just west of town.
Soon after its organization it combined with four other companies to
make a battalion and chose Mr. Brace as Lieutenant-Colonel.
He was succeeded in the captaincy by Elliott W. Major, another Monroe
few days after Brace's company was organized, it went into camp at
Higginbotham's mill, on Elk Fork. In
1861 they had a slight skirmish with the Federals at Monroe City but it was
not until the next month that they had to face a real invasion of this
county. Two thousand men from
Kansas and Iowa came to Paris early one morning for the purpose of relieving
the Farmers Bank of the responsibility of guarding a large amount of money.
However, the money was secreted by O. P. Gentry, cashier, while Frank
L. Pitts, a private in Brace's company rode away to warn his commander of
the prescence of the enemy. His
ride was somewhat similar to that of Paul Revere, only he was hastened on by
shots from Union soldiers who saw him leaving town.
Only skirmishing between a few soldiers of each side followed, but
fortune favored Brace's men as they killed one Federal and captured several
was Captain Major who conducted the attack on Paris, a bloodless fight in
October 1864, but which left the Old Glenn Hotel without windows and full of
bullet holes, still to be found on the north side.
The town was in charge of about twelve federal soldiers and a company
of the Home Guard under the command of Bill Fowkes, about a hundred and
fifty strong. Captain Major was
returning to this vicinity for the purpose of recruiting more men for the
Southern forces. He approached
the town from three sides, one force being stationed in the old grave yard,
another by the Harley House, now Major's Livery Satble, and the third at
Washington and Caldwell streets. They
gradually closed in, firing at the windows but hoping to hurt no one but
friends and neighbors within. The
Home Guard feared that Major intended to burn down the town foe sheltering
the Federal troops and were barricaded in the hotel to resist the towns
capture. Major went to Fowke's
wife, who had been a neighbor before the war and aked her to interced with
her husband for a surrender. When
it was found that the attacking party meant no harm to the town, the white
flag was hoisted and surrendered with unconditional parole made.
Everybody was feeling good and so ended Paris' biggest battle of
Civil War days.
Swinney, of Middle Grove, later sheriff of this county, and Steve Mason,
another man from that neighborhood, won recognition in the war.
Probably the most widely known soldier from this vicinity was Captain
Thomas A. Sidener who gave his life to the cause.
He was one of the ten men of General Porter's command whom Mcneil
ordered to be shot at Palmyra in revenge for the death of a Federal
so I could go on naming scores of Monroe county men who have shouldered a
gun and marched off to fight for the cause of their country and should the
time come when their nation is in need of troops, undoubtedly something
within us will say, "Young man, do as your fathers did."