At the outset of this famous raid of Griersonís, [Confederate Brigadier General Daniel] Ruggles [commanding at Columbus] sent Capt. L. D. Sandidge, his Adjutant and Inspector-General, with two guns [i.e., artillery pieces] on platform railroad cars, and Col. Thomas A. Burgin, with a part of the State troops at Columbus, to reconnoitre the railroad and to protect the bridges across the Tibbee and Noxubee [Rivers] and the public stores at Macon.Griersonís raiders did not pass through Lowndes County, but they did sweep through Oktibbeha, passing just east of Starkville, its county seat. Judge Carroll, the Oktibbeha County historian, saw the raid from a personal perspective:Yankee Armies were frequently in Mississippi, and often marched deep into the State. In spite of the vigilance and activity of the Confederate soldiers, the Yankee forces kept our people in almost constant fear of a raid. Yet the Yankees visited Oktibbeha County only once during the War. In 1863 Griersonís raiders, in their wide swing in Mississippi, plundered much of the county. Though they moved at great speed for fear of encountering Confederate cavalry, they succeeded in stealing many horses, mules, cattle, hogs, and other things that could serve them, and in destroying other property that they thought might serve the Confederacy. My family is in possession of an old mahogany bureau which, locked at the time, the raiders broke open in search for valuables. They battered it with rifle-barrels; today it shows the marks of their violence. It is now in almost the same condition as it was when the raiders finished with it more than a half- century ago. On their way back to the southwest, these raiders burned the tanning yard and the mill . . .Back in Mayhew, Martha Ann Davis Burgin, then 44, was running the plantation and her all-female family as best she could under the trying wartime conditions. Aunt Duck, her daughter, preserved and later quoted one paragraph written by Martha Ann:ďWe did not know much about hard work until during the war, had to spin and weave cloth to clothe us all at home, negroes included, made clothes for the soldiers, gave away to soldiers what the Yankees didnít take. They would come and take my fine horses out of the stables and leave their old poor mules for me to feed. We had about 50 slaves at the surrender. Some of them stayed for a while but most of them went off but a great many came back. I had to get on my horse and ride over the plantation and see about my farms. During the time Mr. Burgin was in camp I would take my girls and go over and spend a while in camp. One of our fine horses was taken out of the stable and shaved clean by the rebels.ĒTalk of Emancipation was in the air. With almost all the white males away from their homes at war, isolated slave insurrections were a definite possibility, and that atmosphere of insecurity led to a family tale that I take no pride in reporting. Martha Ann, realizing that idle slaves had more time to think dangerous thoughts, improvised busywork when there were no legitimate chores for them.
[ Back ] [ Next ]