MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCES DURING
THE CIVIL WAR OF 1861
Dedicated to my children.
I was born on the 26th day of September, 1850, in Cass County, Missouri,
near the Kansas line. For the first ten years of my life I lived an uneventful
life, just a happy care free girl, by our happy life was not to last. In 1861 the
storm cloud of the Civil war broke and our troubles began. Our cattle and
horses were driven into Kansas and our homes were robbed of provisions,
clothing and bed clothes, leaving us to get along as best we could. The men
who did these things were not regular soldiers, by they would come over into
Missouri and rob and burn houses and many times they would shoot down
innocent men simply because they were Southern sympathizers, and after
doing these things they would go back into Kansas to the Federal Post for
protection. This continued during the summer and winter of 1861. During
the winter of 1861 there was a company of Federal troops stationed at
Aubry, Johnson County, Kansas, and another at Morristown in Cass County,
Missouri. My father's farm was midway between these two places and
almost every day the officers and their lady friends would go from one place
to the other and they made our home a stopping place to order a good
dinner. They would order my mother to get dinner in double quick time and
give them the best we had and consequently we often went hungry.
Early in February 1862, this same gang of Kansas robbers, who had done
so much meanness in 61, came to our home, five in number, with a two
horse wagon which thy proceeded to load with meat and lard and other food,
harness, etc. form the out buildings and then came into the house to finish
loading their wagon. They took all of our bed clothing and best clothes.
Among other things they took was a new bed comfort my mother had just
made and my baby sister, two years old and who could not talk plain,
grabbed hold of it and said, "That's my mamma's tumpit" (her way of saying
comfort" but her tiny hands were not equal to those of that ruffian. Imagine
that big burly man snatching that comfort from a baby. While three of them
loaded their wagon the captain and one other man guarded my father, as if
he, an unarmed man, would try to interfere with five heavily armed men. My
father had been sick for a week and was sitting by the fire when they cam.
After they had completed their devilish work, the Captain ordered my father
to pull off his coat and give it to him. He raised up and took off his coat and
said if you need it worse than I do take it. He was then ordered to put it on
again. That made my father mad and he said I will put it on when I get ready
and not before. At that the Captain pointed a cocked rifle at my father's
breast and the other put a revolver to the side of his head. My mother
jumped between the rifle and his breast and knocked the revolver down and
herself received the ball that would have ended my father's life. My father
caught her in his arms and pulled her down on his lap and held her until they
left. They cursed her and said it might have gone through her heart but she
told them she would gladly take it through her heart to shield my father. Of
course we children were crying and they ordered my father to make us stop
crying and threatened to burst our brains out if we didn't stop. My father told
them they had shot our mother and they knew it was impossible for him to
make them stop crying. They finally left the house but stayed around the
barn for two or three hours, shooting off their guns and watching for my
father to come out. They would have shot him down if he had gone outside
by my mother would not let him leave her until they were gone. When it was
dark he sent for some of the neighbor women to take care of mother and he
got on a horse and went to Pleasant Hill, the nearest place in Missouri,
where there was any doctor and that was twenty miles from our home.
When he got to Pleasant Hill there was not a doctor that would go with him.
They said there was not enough money to hire them to go that close to
Kansas so he had to get wagons and teams to come and move us to
Pleasant Hill before she could get any medical attention. It was two days
and nights before she got to a doctor but by the grace of God her life was
spared and she lived to the good old age of 85.
We stayed with an uncle of my mother until the 1st of March and then rented
a farm 3 1/2 miles from Lone Jack and the same distance from Pleasant
Hill. On August 16th 1862 the battle of Lone Jack was fought. We stood in
our yard and listened to the thundering of the cannons until they ceased.
Then my father went to Lone Jack and was there a week helping to bury the
dead men and horses and care for the wounded. It was terrible. What men
there were to perform these sad rights dug two long trenches and laid the
confederates in one and the federals in the other. They were buried as they
fell with no coffins or shrouds, but were laid, one with his head one way and
the next with his head the other way and so on until the trench was full. In
that way they could lay them closer together.
In March 1863 we moved to a farm near Greenwood and lived there until
General Ewing's famous Order No. 11 by which every one must move from
their homes to a Post where there were Federal Soldiers stationed. We
were given fifteen days to get out. What a scramble there was to find places
to go. A cousin of my mother at Pleasant Hill said all that could get in her
house were welcome and there were six families all crowded in that one
house. We stayed there until November and then went to Lafayette County.
We lived that winter in Berlin, a small town on the Missouri River. In the
Spring of 1864 [partial sentence is unreadable ] comparative peace until the
surrender in 1865. The people in that part of the Country knew nothing of the
hardships of the war as did those in the border Counties. We were called
refugees down there. The last nine months of the war my father served in
the Confederate army under General Joe Shelby.
I wonder what our daughters of the present day would think if they had to go
to town shopping in a farm wagon drawn by a yoke of oxen. I have done
that very thing and was glad we had the oxen.
Mrs. Elizabeth Ann Shepard
Original in possession of Elizabeth Tibbs, Independence, Missouri
Transcribed as written