Help support

Search for soldier.

Last Name



Browse by Last Name


About Us
E-Mail Comments

More Information on Names in Article

Truth Stranger Than Fiction
Article About Joseph H. and John A. Stevens.
By James A. Stevens, Burnet, Texas.

Joseph H. and John A. Stevens were among the first to respond to the call to arms for the South, enlisting in the spring or summer of 1861 with Company K, 14th Mississippi Infantry. This company was first organized in the year 1837 and did honorable service in the Mexican War, being a part of the 1st Mississippi, Col. Jefferson Davis commander. It still keeps up the organization, although the original members are long since dead. It came into existence at Columbus, Miss. So great were the discipline and intelligence of the company that for several months after the clash of arms began it was detailed as guard on the Mobile and Corinth; was afterwards a participant with the regiment in the Bowling Green campaign under Albert Sydney Johnston; was captured at Fort Donelson and in prison some six months in North Mississpppi, East Tennesee, Georgia, and on to the end at Bentonville, N. C.

This article is written to relate two incidents that happened to the Stevens brothers. During a fight (I think it was at Waterford, Miss.) Joseph H. Stevens shot from his horse a Federal major and thought for many years after the war that he had "killed his man." One day during the seventies or eighties, while he was serving as circuit clerk for Lowndes County, Miss., a stranger from a Northern State called at the office to have some legal papers drawn up, and when the business had been transacted the conversation naturally drifted to the late war. Upon comparing notes it turned out that the visitor did service in a Federal regiment in North Mississippi and was in the fight above mentioned. He proved to be the officer whom my brother thought he had killed. The narrative of both so perfectly fitted that they rejoiced that the shot had not been fatal, and they promptly "shook hands across the once bloody chasm." Gen. John B. Gordon's book, "Reminscences of the Civil War," relates an incident very similar to the above.

The other brother, John A., and the writer of this became prohibitionists before the war began and when about to join different commands signed a paper that neither would drink anything stronger than water or coffee while in the service. It turned out that, though we generally had plenty of water except times on a forced march, coffee was scarcer than ham most of the time toward the last. One day during that terrible Georgia campaign my brother wrote me that after several weeks of fighting, marching, exposure, and starvation, his command had by some means drawn a "ration" of whisky, and he so nearly dead that he violated his pledge and drank his liquor. In his letter he asked me if he had done right. My reply was: "Yes, but don't you do it any more." Soon after this the poor boy, then about nineteen years of age, was shot down in the trenches at Atlanta, a Minie ball tearing out one of his eyes. It was the first time he had ever been off duty, and as he fell bleeding he said: "Boys, I've got a furlough at last." The regimental surgeon was sent for and upon examining the wound said: "John, you must take some whisky." "I'm not going to do it, doctor." The doctor then said: "Well, if you don't, you'll die." The boy calmly answered: "Let me die then; I'm not going to take any liquor." And he didn't. Although gangrene afterwards got into the eye and the other went blind for a little while from what the Macon hospital surgeons called "sympathy," the boy pulled through by the skin of his teeth and lived till the year 1909. Twenty years after the war he was paralyzed in the jaw from the effects of the old wound, but recovered apparently from that visitation.

SOURCE: Confederate Veteran Magazine, October, 1916.

Promote Your Page Too