REMINISCENCES OF THE WAR
Many years have come and gone since the war closed. My mind wanders
back tonight to the commencement of the so-called Civil war, but to me it
was a most cruel and unjust war, a war in which innocent women and
children suffered most. Our homes were invaded and ransacked by the
Federal soldiers and women and children were dragged off to prison. Not
content with all of this, Tom Ewing issued that terrible Order No. 11. I try to
forgive, but I cannot-no, cannot-forget. If Tom Ewing is in heaven today his
inner life must have been greatly changed. Never can I forget the many
scenes of misery and distress I saw on the road when people were ordered
to leave their homes on a few days' notice. The road from Independence to
Lexington was crowded with women and children, women walking with their
babies in their arms, packs on their back, and four or five children following
after them-some crying for bread, some crying to be taken back to their
homes. Alas! They knew not that their once happy homes were gone. The
torch had been applied-nothing left to tell the tale of carnage but the
chimneys. O, how sad! I saw one woman driving an ox team (the soldiers
had taken nearly all the horses); there were three or four small children in the
wagon. We came to a bridge that was almost perpendicular (the teams had
to be taken out and the wagons taken down by hand); the oxen scented
water, and she lost control of them; so here they went helter-skelter down
the bridge. It looked like the wagon would turn a somersault over the oxen.
We all thought the children would be killed, but a kind Providence watched
over them. I will never forget how the mother looked, as she stood there
helpless, crying and wringing her hands as she gave vent to her feelings by
saying, "I wish all the Federals were in ____."

Another woman had two cows hitched to a wagon; a little boy was leading
them. There were some boughs on the wagon, and old-time coverlid
stretched over them; inside the wagon was a very sick child. The wagon
halted, the mother got out with her sick babe in her arms and seated herself
under the friendly shade of a tree. It was apparent to all that the child was
dying. There sat the mother with her child dying in her lap; her husband had
been killed, she was forced to leave her home, driven out into the cold world
with her little children. O, the anguish of that broken-hearted mother as she
sat there, with tears streaming down her pale cheeks, knowing she was
powerless to save her child. Some kind-hearted people of the neighborhood
came to her assistance. The crowd surged on, women and children
dragging their weary limbs through the dust and heat. In our company was a
man whose gray hairs had protected him so far; he was a very dignified,
intelligent man, one who had always commanded the love and respect of all
who know him. A company of soldiers passed us. One of them said to this
old man, "Hello, old uncle; where are you going?" O, how humiliating to this
southern man. He turned to his wife and said, "My God, Kitty, what am I
coming to?" His wife and I had a hearty laugh at his expense. Some of the
people who lived on the road we were traveling, seeing such a dusty, dirty,
woebegone crowd approaching would say, "There come the refugees, take
in your clothes," as though we would steal; too much southern blood in us
for that. We could fight but not steal. They say they whipped us, but did they
conquer us? No, never; for we will love Jefferson Davis and the southern
cause forever. Some of our crowd stopped in Lafayette and Saline
counties. We went to Howard county, where we met with many good and
warm-hearted people who were very kind and helpful to us.

In November we concluded to go to Missouri City, in Clay county, just
across the river from our home. We went up on the north side of the river
through Saline, Ray and Carroll counties. We had many sad and hard trials
on the way. My mother, 72 years old, was with us, besides the doctor,
myself and six children, and we had one two-horse wagon and buggy; the
children were sick, my mother was old and feeble and we traveled on
through snow and sleet; our one incentive was to get as near home as we
could. No one was willing to give us shelter at night.

I will never forget one day’s travel; it was cold and sleeting, the doctor had
been trying all afternoon to get some place to stop in out of the cold. I told
the doctor that it would be death to my mother and our children to camp out
such a night; that we must find shelter and some place where we could have
a fire, for we were all nearly frozen. We tried to rent a room or some
outhouse; the answer was invariably the same—"No, we can’t keep you;" so
we traveled on until it was getting dark when we stopped in front of a farm
house, In response to "hello" from the doctor, a man came out and down to
the fence; another man was just visible on horseback. The doctor asked the
man at the fence if we could rent a room or get shelter in some outhouse.
The answer was emphatically "No." The doctor then said, "I see a
schoolhouse ahead, do you think we could stay in that?" Again came that
heartless word, "No." "I am one of the trustees, but you can’t stop there."
By this time I was getting desperate. I said, "Well, sir, I don not know what
you are, neither do I care; I am a rebel of the deepest dye, and I do not
intend to camp out tonight with my sick family." The doctor said, "Hush,
Fannie." I said I will not keep silent any longer; if he wants to kill me he can
do so; I had rather be shot as other rebels have been than to be tortured to
death. The man at the fence came up to the wagon and said, "Lady, let me
help you out; you and yours will find a welcome in my house, the best we
have; we will share with you and your family." The man on horseback rode
up and said to the doctor, "That crib of corn you see there is mine; help
yourself to all the corn you want, it will not cost you a cent."

We learned from the man of the house that all emigration westward was
supposed to be Yankees, coming to take possession of the home that the
southern people had been driven from. After many trials we succeeded in
reaching Missouri City. Our negro women stayed at home until a short time
before we reached Missouri City. I was arrested several times and came
near being shot twice; our horses were taken from us. But alas! Our worst
troubles were yet to come. Our daughter, just budding into womanhood,
was taken sick and died. She was as lovely as the morning, beautiful as the
evening, fair as the silver queen of night. Sixteen summers had kissed her
cheeks and fanned her brow; she was a good as beautiful, kind and
affectionate, beloved by all who knew her. I looked upon her face in my
young motherhood. O, it was happiness for me to know and feel that she
was my own, my first-born darling. None ever had a lovelier child.

The hardships we had to endure under Order No. 11 were too much for one
of her delicate nature. She was my only daughter. She was too pure for this
earth. God took my darling Julia to dwell with Him. I shall meet her some
sweet day.

The home of my mother, 70 years old, was burned. She had neither
husband or son; she was and invalid, confined to her bed. She was accused
of sending a ham of meat to Quantrill’s camp. It was a false accusation, but
she owned slaves and had to suffer for it although innocent of the charge
against her.

One case or horror that occurred just before Order No. 11 come vividly
before my mind today. Mr. Crawford, an old man with a large family of
children, was a southern sympathizer, but had never taken up arms against
the government. He went to mill one day with a sack of corn to have it
ground to make bread for his wife and children. He left home early in the
morning—was to be back by noon. Noon came, the wife had prepared
dinner as best she could, but was waiting for her husband’s return so she
could have bread for their dinner. Two o’clock came and the husband was
still absent. The children were hungry, crying for something to eat. The
mother would say, "Papa will soon be here, then my darlings shall have
something to eat." Three o’clock came, and the mother saw a company of
soldiers approaching. They rode up to the door; the mother looked out and
saw her husband a prisoner in their midst. He was told to dismount. Then
they shot him down before the eyes of his wife and children—shot down like
a wild beast. The mother was told to get out of the house with her children,
as they were going to burn the house. She asked them to let her give her
little children something to eat as they had had nothing to eat since early
morning. In answer to her appeal one of them snatched a brand from the
fire and stuck it in the straw bed. Everything was soon up in flames. The
mother hastened from the house, snatching up a few things as she went.
Her husband killed, her house burned, she and her little children turned out in
the cold world homeless and destitute. Her only son, 14 years old, went to
Quantrill—he had no other place to go. Such acts as this is what made
Bushwhackers. O, how strange that men, made in the image of God, could
be so cruel and heartless.


Frances Fristoe Twyman;  Reminiscences of the Women of Missouri During the Sixties;  
Missouri Division, United Daughters of the Confederacy