In the spring of 1858, while seeking the benefit of a change of climate and relaxation from laborious duties, I met the late Colonel Whiteside at Chattanooga. Among the many interesting traditions associated with various localities in this beautiful region of country, he related one in explanation of the meaning of the word “Chickamauga,” and how it came to be applied to the two small streams which bear this name. A tribe of Cherokees occupied this region; and when the small-pox was first communicated to the Indians of this continent, it appeared in this tribe, and made frightful havoc among them. It was the custom of the Indians, at the height of the disease, to go by scores, and jump into the river to allay the tormenting symptoms. This of course increased the mortality, and the name “Chickamauga,” or “River of Death,” was applied to the two streams, which they have borne ever since. The remnant of the tribe was also afterwards called the “Chickamauga tribe.” We hope General Bragg will call his great victory the Battle of Chickamauga, and not “Peavine Creek,” or “Crawfish Springs,” as is suggested in Rosecrans’ despatch. He has certainly crawfished out of Georgia, but we prefer “Chickamauga,” or “River of Death.”—Southern correspondent.
Monthly Archives: April 2009
A correspondent gives an account of the gallant conduct of Henry Shaler, of Indianapolis, Indiana, at the battle of Gettysburg, written by a son of Daniel Noble to his mother. Young Shaler more than equalled the mythical performance of the Irishman who “surrounded’ a half dozen of the enemy, and captured them. His parents live on South Alabama Street, in Indianapolis, Indiana. They are Germans. Young Noble says: “Harry is a brick; he did more, that is, he took more prisoners, in the battle of Gettysburg, than any other man in the army. He took in all twenty-five men–one lieutenant and eighteen men at one time. He took them by strategy that was strategy; he ‘surrounded them,’ and they had to give up. On the morning of the fourth he went out with his poncho over his shoulders, so that the rebs couldn’t see his coat; so they thought he was one of their own men. He went up, and told them to lay down their arms, and come and help carry some wounded off the field. They did so. When he got them away from their arms, he rode up to the lieutenant, and told him to give up his sword. The lieutenant refused at first; but Harry drew his pepper-box, and, like Crockett’s coon, the lieutenant came down without a shot. Harry then took them all into camp. He took a captain and five men at another time, making twenty-five in all, which is doing pretty well for a little Dutchman; and he deserves to be remembered for it.”
A slave related this story to a member of the Twenty-seventh Massachusetts regiment, while at Newbern:
“I was owned up the country (the western part of the State) by a man who had a large plantation, and four or five hundred slaves. I was well used, every way, by him, and one day he told me to carry a letter to a man in Raleigh. I knew this man was a speculator in slaves, and I was suspicious that all was not right; but I could not believe my master would deceive me; so I started. On my way, I met a free colored man that I was acquainted with, and he could read. I told him where I was going, and for what. He asked to see the letter. It was not sealed, and he took it out and read it to me. It was a bill of sale, and I was one of the lot; and we were sold to go to Alabama. My master had taken this way to deliver me, rather than have a ‘scene,’ as it is termed; and this speculator was to seize me upon my appearance, and send me South. I had rather have died than gone; so, after thinking it over, and consulting my colored friend, I, with his help, got a couple of knives and a good rifle, a few clothes and some provisions, and took to the bush (woods and swamps), where I could defy pursuit. There I lived and suffered seven years, relying upon my trusty rifle for food, and got so expert that I could kill a coon or bear at forty rods every time. (Bears are, and were, somewhat numerous here in the swamp.)
“I heard when the war broke out, and heard when Burnside took Newbern; so I made tracks for the Union people, and when I came in here, I went straight to Burnside’s headquarters, and told him my story. He told me to take off my coat, which was nothing but rags, and he gave me one of his own coats, and called me a brave fellow.”
The following incident is connected with the remarkable escape of Morgan from his Northern imprisonment:
Having made application to two respectable citizens of Clayton, Rabun County, Georgia, for a night’s lodgings, and been refused because they thought he was an impostor, and recognized him, Mr. N—- invited him to his house, where he spent the night. Meantime, it had been currently reported in the village and vicinity, that an impostor, pretending to be John Morgan, was at the house of Mr. N—– . Next morning about twenty of the “Home Guards” assembled, and, under the direction of their efficient Captain, arrested him. He quietly submitted, and assured them that, if he failed to prove his identity, he would accompany them to Atlanta. About this time, one or two gentlemen, who had seen him, recognized him, and some facts were developed which satisfied the Home Guards that they had captured the veritable John H. Morgan! Of course, he was at once released. Before leaving, he addressed the crowd briefly, commending, in the highest terms, the vigilance they displayed; advised them to arrest all persons who could not give a satisfactory account of themselves; and closed with the playful remark that twenty men had accomplished, in Rabun, what it required forty thousand in Ohio to do!
The crowd gave nine cheers for Morgan, and he proceeded on his way to Walhalla.