tv The Civil War Confederate Cavalryman Thomas Wallace Colley CSPAN August 10, 2021 1:24pm-2:18pm EDT
thank you for the presentation today. a wonderful discussion. >> next historian michael shaffer looks at the life of thomas wallace colley who served in the confederate first virginia calvary during the civil war. using journal entries and letters mr. shaffer discusses the trooper's experiences at key battles such as bull ran and antietam as well as his severe
wounding in 1863 and amputation of his left foot a year later. the civil war round table hosted this event. >> thank you again for the invitation to speak here in the old dominion home and i want to take just a couple seconds to thank two specific groups. a long story short, i was invited to speak at a church in washington county in july of 2016. the chump was celebrating their 150th anniversary and they invited me to come up and talk about what it had been like trying to start a church in the immediate aftermath of the american civil war. my wife and i drove up from kennesaw and we walked into the back of the sanctuary, got there early and there was one lady
sitting in the sanctuary and she jumps up, runs to the back, shakes my hand and says my family and i have something we think you may have an interest in, would you come out to my car after the program? i said sure. so i go out to the car after we finish, she opens the trunk and tells me to hold my arms out. she's in and out of the trunk and the stack is growing taller and taller. i said to her, what do we have here? and she says, these are my great-grandfather thomas wallace colley's seven volumes handwritten journals of his service in the first virginia calvary and his post-war life. and i thought i was going to fall over in the parking lot because as a historian you dream about things like that. so i want to thank all of the colley family, they are the most wonderful people i have ever had
the pleasure to work with and i would be remiss if i did not thank the university of tennessee press who published the book. so the family is happy, the publisher is happy so i'm happy. so a little bit about this man now that you've heard how this journey began. this obviously is the cover of the book, tom much later in life, and as you can see he's pictured with a couple of crutches. i will briefly talk about why he was missing a left foot and he became quite popular man in southwest virginia, was photographed a great deal, i will show you a few of the photographs. i got the photos from his grandson who is still living, necessary florida, he is 95 years old, he does email better than i do and he has shared so
many of the photos and in the interest of time we can't see them all, but i will close with my very favorite photograph and that's also the only time i will read anything is at the end. so this is tom much later in life, we will come back to the story of the foot in just a little bit. this is the earliest photograph that we have of tom, it was taken on his wedding day, he was married on christmas day 1872. i will show you another photograph shortly of he and his young bride and the lady that probably saved his life, and i will elaborate on that as we go through. tom was born in 1837, about two miles outside of a bing don. he went into abbingdon while the
delegates were still in richmond in the secession convention, contemplating whether or not they were going to take virginia out of the union. well, there was an old army officer, william edmondston jones, commonly known as grumble jones, some of you probably heard that name, he was a brigadier general in the confederate calvary. he got along great with everybody in the confederate war effort except one person and unfortunately that person was his boss, jeb stewart. he got along very well with everybody else. so jones having graduated west point, been in the old army, stationed out on the front tier, while virginia is still voting whether or not she's going to leave the union, i guess jones could see the war clouds forming on the horizon so he went into
abbingdon and started trying to enlist young men to learn the art of war, if you will, and tom colley was one of those 100 or so young men that wanted to participate in this new -- they all thought at that point in time an adventure, there would probably be one great battle, there would be a winner, there would be a loser, everyone would go home and everything would all end. i could spend hours talking about the people that went through the first virginia calvary, it almost reads like an all star list, certainly of the confederate calvary service. i mean, first colonel was jeb stewart, you had grandpa jones, you had john singleton mosby, the list goes on and on and on. mosby was there training in abbingdon with tom colley. he and tom served together for almost the first year of the war
and then jeb stewart figured out this mosby guy is pretty good at going behind the enemy lines often at night, typically by himself and gathering reconnaissance and bringing that information back. mosby as many of you know eventually got his own independent command. but for about the first year of the war he and tom were riding saddle to saddle on many different mission that is they went on with the first virginia calvary. i say this as the earliest known photograph that we have of tom after i met the great-granddaughter and then the grandson, i started doing some more research and at virginia tech in blacksburg i discovered that they had over 50 letters, actual letters that tom wrote during the war on the battlefield starting with the very first letter number one in the archives was a letter that he wrote to his family after he
had fought at first manassas or bull run in july of 1861. so all of those letters are in the book but in one of the letters to his mother he wrote often to his mother, he had several sisters and his father, his brother was also in the confederate calvary, but he was in a different regimen, he was up here in northern virginia so he typically would see his brother on occasion. so not too many letters to his brother, but a lot to his mother and his sisters and his father. and he mentioned in a letter to his mother that he had recently gone into richmond and had his likeness taken. that's how they would say in those days they had gone to a studio to have a portrait taken, and he was enclosing it with the letter. well, we know the letter made it back home, that's how it ended up at virginia tech, another family member had the letters and they donated them when they added in their will when they passed away they donated the
letters to the archives in blacksburg. whatever happened to that photograph no one including his grandson who has all of his grandpa's photos, he doesn't have that one. i keep hoping it will pop up one of these days. this is grumble jones that i've already spoke about on the left and of course john singleton mosby on the right. once jones and w.w. blackford who sort of later became a right-hand man for jeb stewart wrote a fabulous book war years with jeb stewart. black vernon jones once they finished training in abbingdon in virginia decided to leave the union. jones and about 100 of these young troopers wrote to richmond and eventually they received orders to report to at the time colonel jeb stewart and they were mustered into the confederate service as the first
virginia calvary from the washington mounted rifles which was the name jones had given the company that he formed in abbingdon. a lot of groups that i speak to i added this slide not too long ago because many groups especially out west, they are not that familiar with the first virginia calvary and often i would get a question like, well, what battles were they in? and i've always very careful not to be short, i certainly don't want to appear rude in an answer, but, i mean, basically the first virginia calvary was in virtually all of the battles here in the eastern theater. however, tom colley was not in all of those battles. you see on the screen we've already talked about first manassas or bull run, we know that he was there, there's one glaring omission that i will come to in just a minute. just quickly going through, he was participating on the peninsula campaign when major
general george b. mcclellan landed troops at fortress monroe, planned to traverse up the peninsula and sort of come into the back door to richmond, so to speak, tom was there with jeb stuart and doing salve ri reconnaissance. first of three wounds and by far the least severe of the three that tom received was at waterloo bridge two days before the second battle of manassas when a spent mini ball, spent meaning it had already traveled a great distance, i guess it had run out of steam, tom was mounted and he saw the ball strike the dirt, it ricocheted up and hit the insole of his right boot. he didn't miss any service time, but as he rode he had a very sore foot and a very bruised foot for several weeks and it was quite painful to mount and dismount his horse.
that was mild compared to the injuries he would receive later. he participated in the seven days campaign, probably most famously known today, that's after general joseph v. johnston was very seriously wounded at the battle of seven pines or fair oaks the last day of may of 1862 and somebody that i'm sure everyone in this room has heard the name took command, robert e. lee, and formally named the army of virginia. tom almost missed the battle of antietam or sharpsburg. if you were in the confederate calvary you had to provide your own horse and when he left washington county he left riding one of his father's horses, it was not a rich family, but they had some land and his father had a few horses. the army of northern virginia was already north of the potomac river on maryland soil and tom's
horse became ill. it wasn't shot or anything. if he knew what was wrong with the horse he didn't write about it. he probably didn't know. he wasn't a veterinarian. well, the army of northern virginia is not going to wait on tom to find a horse so they continue marching northward and tom scurrying around, has never been to maryland in his life, he doesn't know anyone and after several hours he said, and you can use your own imagination on filling in this potential clue, he secured a horse. he had no idea where the army of northern virginia was, as most of you know they were not planning to fight along the banks of antietam creek. tom goes riding north and as he gets closer to sharpsburg in the far distance he can hear the sound of the guns so he
continues riding. by the time he arrived at antietam the battle had been raging for hours. he can't find any of the calvary. during a battle certainly horrendous battle with still the most costly day in our nation's history in terms of casualty, september 17th, 1862 at antietam, in the middle of the battle like that you can't say, excuse me, has anyone seen the calvary or can you point me in the direction of jeb stuart? i'm looking for stewart and his boys, you can't do that. tom is there, they're fighting, he doesn't want to miss it, he's just secured a new horse so he takes it to the rear ties it to a tree, you don't want your horse to get shot and he gets in the trenches and fights out the rest of the battle with the second south carolina infantry. and i just think he writes a
great deal about that. it was a unique experience for him and it was important for him to find a horse because if you were in the confederate calvary and you lost your horse you better find another one quickly or you are going into the infantry. nothing wrong with boots on the ground at all, but by that point in the war the troopers had grown very fond of life in the saddle, especially with jeb stewart. so they did not want to transfer from the calvary to the infantry. kelly's fort, i will come back to that in just a minute with a map. st. patrick's day 1863 when tom was left on the field for dead. that's why you do not see gettysburg on the slide. first virginia calvary was definitely at gettysburg, they participated on day three when general lee sent stewart around
trying to attack george b. meade's army of the potomac from the center, about the same time that the picket pettigrew tremble charge was hitting from the front. tom was still lying in a hospital bed in richmond and every surgeon that looked at him said, son, i'm sorry, you're not going to make it. so that's why he was not a gettysburg. after convalescing for a little over a year and in the interim after the surgeons in richmond believed that he had gained enough strength they thought probably the best thing that could aid in the healing process was to let him board a train and travel back home to washington county and nothing like a mother's love that can help in the healing process. so tom is lying there in the home he was born in, upstairs, second floor in the bedroom that he had slept in every night since he was a wee little baby and he hears horses draw up out
on his mom and dad's front lawn and before he can even get out of bed someone yells out, colley, can you ride? and he goes to the window, he recognizes the voice as he wrote and he goes to the window and it's grumble jones. jones had just recently been appointed to head up the newly created confederate military district of southwest virginia and upper east tennessee. major general ambrose burnside's forces had captured knoxville weeks prior and they were advancing up through eastern tennessee, probably headed towards southwest virginia, specifically saltville, which by that point of the war was the only remaining supply of salt for the entire confederacy. all of the states of the
confederacy leased well space in saltville. so jones was going south to try to block burnside's troops' advance and he knew tom, he had trained him early in 1861, tom told jones, well, i don't have a uniform. when i describe and i'm not going to get gross, we just ate, i don't have a uniform yet, they haven't given me another one. jones says it doesn't matter. do you have a horse? colley said, well, sure, i can borrow one from my dad. he said, come on, i need you. so colley goes with jones to bluntville and here you have a man in colley dressed as a civilian and a brigadier general is giving him directions and orders and colley is deploying infantry, artillery and calvary during the battle. everybody in bluntville they see this guy, they had never seen him before, most of them had
never seen jones before. he's new in command of the new district. so they assumed this guy obviously knows what he's doing so they were calling colley everything from colonel colley to major colley to captain colley and he loved it. he was a private. but he did his job very, very well and eventually the confederate monuments war department thought he had regained enough strength that there was something surely they could find for him to do so they brought him not too far away from where we are to gordonsville and he worked in the horse depot tending sick horses to get them healthy to be sent back to the army of northern virginia. tom went before the surgical review board on numerous occasions and he finally got a clean bill of health. the only thing that was on his
mind where is the first virginia calvary? and someone in there in gourd onsville said last we heard they were somewhere out on the peninsula. so tom goes riding off by himself, took him about three days to find them and he rejoined them, it was a very happy moment, he always called all of the troops he served with as comrades, i think you mentioned that when you were speaking earlier about comrades and it was very happy moment that quickly turned sad because after he had hugged and saw a lot of his old friends that he hadn't seen in a little over a year, they informed him that jeb stewart had passed away a couple of days before from the mortal wound he received at the battle of yellow tavern. so tom went from a high to a very deep low just in a matter of minutes because he thought highly of stewart and he was sad
he would not be able to see him again, at least on this earth. so the first engagement that he participated with the first virginia was at wilson's war for kenin landing. actually has a third name, y'all know a lot of these battles have two names, some of them have a lot of names. ft. pocahontas you don't hear that much, but it's all the same thing, and tom was so happy to be back fighting with the first virginia. about a week after wilson's war about six months due north of richmond at hall's shop, some of you had probably been there, it was an all calvary engagement, the day before the fighting at hall's shop tom had received paperwork from the war department notifying him that he had been promoted to a corporal. so he's pretty happy, you know, finally got a promotion and then in the battle of hall's shop he
had his left foot blown off which led to amputation and i will speak a little bit more about that in just a minute. back to kelly's ford and i have to thank george skoke, there are a lot of people who make maps for books, but in my opinion george is the best of the best. he did a fabulous job, the guy is a mind reader. this is a small version of the full page map and the book and i will point out this stone wall here which is still standing on the battlefield at kelly's fort. i was there this year on the anniversary of the battle, st. patrick's day and i went out at the crack of dawn that morning and walked every foot of that wall, it's 300 yards and it was 23 degrees that morning and in tom's writings he had never mentioned anything about it being cold that morning, but he
had been fighting this mountain, he was trained early to fight this mountain as a sharp shooter. he had a special carbine fitted to assist him in that objective and hall's shop actually was fought in sort of three waves, this map is about midway between wave one and wave two. so you've got tom and several other confederate calvary troopers fighting on this side of the stone wall, pardon me, i will silence the phone, but you got to hear my ring tone. tom's fighting dismounted on this side of the wall, this is where the gallant pellum was killed, major john pellum, who was in the artillery. what's he doing there? he was close by, heard the sound of the guns, he didn't want to miss the fighting, he asked jeb stewart if he could have a horse, stewart said sure, gabe
pellum goes charging in and an artillery shell fragment entered the back of his skull and he never regained consciousness and died later this evening. so tom fienting dismounted. jeb stewart is on the way with reinforcements. fitz houly orders tom and the other boys fighting behind the stone wall to mount up and fall back because federal brigadier general williams woods ave rel is crossing at kelly's ford in rapidly increasing numbers and all these confederates, tom and others, behind that stone wall are getting ready to be overrun and probably captured and taken as prisoners. as i mentioned, tom didn't say anything about the weather, but he had on a long heavy overcoat and he did write that he decided -- and i don't know why, maybe it would be more
comfortable, he decided before he mounted up he was going to take the coat off so he took the heavy coat off, threw it over the back of his saddle. already had his left hand on the pommel getting ready to swing the right leg over and a federal mini ball entered his left side, penetrated to about the naval area, hit something, deflected and exited his back a fraction of an inch from his spine. in 19th century medical knowledge a wound like that there's nothing surgeons can do for you. so tom is lying there in the mud, he had a pocket watch that belonged to his father, he quickly gave that to one of his comrades before they scampered away or they would end up in a federal prison and gave his carbine to another. so here he is, he's lying in the mud waiting to die.
who knows how many federal calvary troopers had ridden by tom and there was one in the 16th pennsylvania calvary, i don't know if he saw tom move, but he rode over to tom and he dismounted and he got down on his hands the trooper from pennsylvania and i can't use his name because tom colley never knew the man's name that probably saved his life. he had few regrets, tom. but that was a big one. he spent the rest of his life trying to find man who saved his life so co-shake his hand. get to know his name and say thank you.
and he was never able to do so. there was still a lot of fighting left. this is march of 1863. whomever that trooper from pennsylvania was could have been killed the next week, the next month or the day before the surrender at the courthouse. so this trooper from pennsylvania calls the surgeon. he gets down on his hands and knees. takes a quick look and says nothing left we can do for you. you have minutes left to live. the best we can do is is there something we can do to make you comfortable. and tom was somewhat acquainted with the wheatley family. their farm house is long gone. he told the surgeon, i guess i would rather die at home than out here in the mud. so the trooper from pennsylvania picked him up. carried him to an ambulance
wagon. the wagon goes up to the wheatley farm house. the trooper picks him up, gets him comfortable on the floor and goes out the door and tom never sees him again. jed stewart arrives with reinforcements. they counter charge. drive them from the field. a couple hours have gone by. one of the first confederate cavalry troopers in the front door of the farm house was one of top's cowses. and he said, i thought you died two hours ago. he was still alive. his conditions were so delicate that they were afraid to move him so they came to the home for several weeks and treated him there. i think hopefully his story will make sense. i think it probably was only by the grace of god that tom colley
survived that. he had no way of knowing that at the time but there are no other explanations. again, i won't get gross about the amputation at hall's shop on the 28th of may, 1864. but the surgeon, they amputated his foot on the field. and they threw him in the back of a wagon. went bouncing on the way to richmond. and they must not have given tom anything for pain. he didn't say that they bandaged the amputation. they would have had to or he would have bled to death but he was in excruciating pain. and the ambulance driver was, i think, trying to qualify for the daytona 500 on his way to the hospital in richmond. and it got so bad, tom always carried at least one revolver
stuck down in the front of his trousers. he pulled the gun out, cocked it, put it to the ambulance driver's head and i will not repeat exactly word for word what em. he got the message across, if you don't slow this wagon down, i'll blow your brains all over the top of it. the guy slows the wagon down. then they get into richmond and they got lost. it took them three hours to find the old jackson hospital which stood not far, within sight. very close, to hollywood cement in richmond. as soon as they unloaded tom and took him into the old jackson hospital, the surgeons there went ballistic when they saw the amputation. and they demanded to know. they went on a witch hunt. whatever happened to this guy tom probably never knew. if he did, he didn't write about it. the surgeon that amputated his
foot on the battlefield was intoxicated. and he botched the amputation with a capital "b." the surgeons in richmond, and tom learned a lot. he wrote very detailed information about what the surgeons did and contrary to popular belief and opinion, you hear all these horror stories, the surgeons were so bad, the hospitals were just atrocious. tom actually had some very good things to say about the surgeons and specifically the old jackson hospital. this on the far left is the only known photograph of that church in washington county where i spoke in july of 2016. it looks absolutely nothing like that today. then it was a one-room, very small little building. today it's a modern brick structure. probably ten times the size of
this one. in 1866 when they got the idea of building this church, tom colley owned the land. also, tom. >> caller: colley was drunk 24 hours a day. he had a very violent temper. he was withdrawn from society. and oh, by the way, while he was drunk 24 hours a day, he was serving as deputy sheriff of the county. and he donated the land for them to build this church on. was he going to ever set foot in the church at that point in time? had you asked them, he would have said no way. and he wouldn't have said it that cleanly. but i think it was probably god speaking to him. i saved your life at kelly's ford. you should have died.
and tom is battling the demons of ptsd. and i'll talk a little more about that in just a minute. but, so he gives them the land to build the church on. he had some timber on his property. he had some of the trees cut down. hauled to a saw mill, cut into boards and he donated lumber to build the church. little did peng a few years later, in 1872, he was going to meet a young lady that probably saved his life. this in the middle is tom's bible. this is the inside of the front cover. this is the actual bible. king james version. his great grand daughter has that. she let me borrow the bible and i went through every page from the old testament through the new testament. a few places he made a mark on certain passages of scripture. then i came to 2 samuel 22:7.
i don't know if he was trying to make asterisks or not. if he was, he was about as good at making them as i am. there were quite a few of these marks and i'll read it to you because i know it is hard probably for you to see from where you're sitting. in my distress, i called upon the lord and cried to my god. and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears. and all seven volumes of tom's journals, he did not mention any particular passage of scripture. however, he did say when he was lying on the floor of the wheatley farm house and every surgeon who looked at him and said son, i'll sorry. you're going to die. you won't make it. he was holding this bible. and he mentioned in his writings that occasionally, he would read three passages of scripture.
i don't know about you. but if i've been shot like he was shot and everyone that has examined me tells me, son, you won't make it. this particular passage, i think, would have special meaning for me. all right. let's see here. this thing is supposed to -- there we go. they all jump together. ptsd. i'll briefly touch on that. tom eventually benefited from something starting with meeting and marrying analiza. they had 12 children. four of them died at either child birth or shortly after, which was all too common in that part of the 19th century. not long ago i finished reading a book on federal veterans after the end of the war that were suffering from what we now know
is post-traumatic stress disorder. we didn't even give that a name until after the troops started coming home from vietnam. we're still learning about that. but i've talked on specialists in that field and they have read tom's writings and they've told me, if you go down the list at the ptsd symptoms, tom had virtually every single one of them. and i think this book i was referencing a moment ago about federal veterans suffering from ptsd, it is shocking, the number of them that eventually committed suicide. and i'm not standing here and telling that you tom colley would have eventually committed suicide. i have no way of knowing that. but i can tell you that he was headed down a very dark path. he was a cruel man. these are his words.
not mine. and leading a very, very bad life. and then he met the young lady that saved his life. and here the two of them are together. a little trick photography here. i learned something in this process. i learned something new every day. i think the day we stop learning is the day we die. i did not know in that part of the 19th century, i don't think we do this today. when the bride and group were photographed on their wedding day, this picture was taken on their wedding day. christmas 1872. it was considered proper if the bride or the group, one or the other was much taller. that they elevated so they would appear to be exactly the same height. ana liza was over a foot shorter than tom. when you see the picture up
close, you can barely make out the legs of the stool that she was standing on. his grandson, tom's grandson, has this photograph. it has no photographer's name on the image so i do not know who to credit with that. but this guy was very good. he must have got out a measuring stick. they appear to be the identical same height. the sad part about ptsd and amputations and everything else. there's nothing pretty about war. our servicemen and women are still suffering from that today. when they come back home, and i've had an opportunity to speak with some of the wounded warriors. and it is sad, many of them do not have a family to speak of. they're not involved in a church. ana liza, the first thing she did was get tom off the bottle. got him cleaned up. got him sober.
got him involved in the church that he had given the land to build the church upon. and some of the building materials. he was baptized in that church. eventually became a leading member of the community. but i don't know that any of that would have happened had it not been for this young lady that you're looking at on the screen now. and then of course, having a large supportive family network is very, very important still today to our servicemen and women. 1897. fast forwarding a little bit. and i'm almost done. i've got my timer going. i have 4:38 left. tom was broke. he had gone into several different business ventures, including going over into kentucky and doing some mining work for andrew carnegie. several other things.
and he and another gentleman who tom trusted had gone into business together and opened a store in southwest virginia mercantile. that was doing very well. and this business partner turned out to be a crook during the wee hours of night. he went in and he had several people with him, obviously. they stole all the inventory out of the store. they took all the money out of cash register. they even stole the cash register. so tom lost every penny that he had invested. he was absolutely broke. so he and ana liza and all eight of the children moved to south carolina and went to work in this textile mill that you're looking at. from 1897 to the latter part of 1899, the entire family worked in this building six days a week
from sun up to sun down. and tom writes in great detail about what life was like. how tough it was. and they had some children that were very young. but they've swept the floors and other things. there was something for everybody to do. and they eventually made enough money that they got back on their feet financially and they were able to come back home to washington county. tom loved to travel. when he came back to washington county, that's when he really started writing extensively. and he loved to travel. and you know, if you would have turned the clock back a few years, you probably would not have seen tom colley at reunions because one of the symptoms of ptsd which is still valid today with our servicemen and women, when they come back from iraq or afghanistan or wherever, the last thing they want to do is be
around people they served with. and early on, tom probably would have not have been seen in the photograph like this. but he went to several of the united confederate veteran reunions. this happens to be a reunion of the first virginia cavalry. they had a reunion every year somewhere different in virginia. this one happened to be in abbingdon. i think this was 1902. this is his gravesite. i know it is hard to see from where you're sitting. the stone is weathered a little bit. it was cleaned. you should have seen it before they cleaned it. you couldn't read anything on it. he is bur '40 here to the back wall behind the church that he gave them the land to build the church on. he had no intentions of going in the church until he met ana liza. most of the rest of the family
are interred down to the left where he and anna liza rest will he was buried with his rank of corporal which he received one day before he lost his foot. this is the final slide. and the only thing i'm going to read. and i have one minute left. as soon as i saw this picture, it instantly became one of my favorites. i got this from his grandson bob in florida. this is tom in the center and his two oldest sons in their dough boy uniforms. we know where they're getting ready to go. washington county was the departure point for all of the dough boys of all the counties in southwestern virginia that were getting ready to board the ships to go across the big pond, so to speak, and fight in world war i. and you can see in this image,
the only one really that tom does not have his crutches or a cane. any time he was photographed, and like i've mentioned earlier, he was photographed quite a bit because he eventually became a pretty prominent citizen. he always removed his artificial left foot. i think that was sort of his badge of honor. so i'm sure that his two sons are propping their dad up so he doesn't topple over. but it is an amazing photograph. and i close with this because i think it goes very well with tom's obituary. we remember the 100th anniversary of tom's death on september 24th of this year which means historians don't do math. so i had to sit down and ask my wife who major in the math.
1919, right? i can at least do that much math. 100 years ago. and many years before he passed, no one asked tom to do this. certainly no one told him to do this. he thought it was the proper and right thing to do. he tried to keep tabs on all the comrades he had served with in the first virginia. wherever they were. and they had scattered to the four corners. there were some in california, texas, all over the country. and whenever they died, tom wrote their obituaries and sent them to the newspapers. well, now tom has passed. it was not common in those days at all for people to pre write their obituaries. i know some people do that today. i don't plan to do that. and tom didn't do that either.
i found his obituary in the archives at appalachian state university in boone, north carolina. they have no idea who gave it to them or how long they've had it. all they could tell me was we've had it long before anybody had ever heard the word computer. but i was able, it's four pages. and one of the comrades that had served with tom, and i promise i won't read all four pages. i'm only going to read the last three sentences because i think they work well with this photograph. so tom's obituary closed by saying this. he was one of the most daring confederate soldiers in the cavalry service. he was a man of powerful physique and was conspicuous in any crowd clad as he always was in a suit of gray. he took great interest in looking after the welfare of all
his comrades. thank you all very much. six seconds. i couldn't do that again if i tried. the church in washington county? kelly's chapel? it is not too far away. probably less than 10 miles from kelly's chapel. oh, really. wow. i'll be happy to take questions. is that okay? his hand was up first. yes, sir. >> his the prosthetic foot. did he make it or buy it? >> the teacher in me coming out. i'll repeat it. the question was, did his prosthetic foot, did he make it or did he buy it? >> it was given to him by the
commonwealth of virginia. they gave him one early on. he hated it. he threw it away. they gave him another one. it hurt his stump. when you have an amputation, they took the foot off at the ankle. and he threw that one away, too. and eventually, as prosthetics improved, they finally did give him one that was comfortable. and he would wear it and did he wear it unless he was having his photograph taken. and every single picture of him that i've ever seen, he does not have the artificial foot on him. so i have to believe that was sort of his badge of honor so to speak. yes, sir. his hand was up next. >> i gather both the world war i sons -- >> they both survived. both of his sons survived. and they were able to return back to the united states and
spend some time at least with their father before he died in september of 1919. didn't spend a lot of time with their dad but they got to spend a little time with him. i saw a hand somewhere. i lost -- oh, yes. >> what time of work did tom do after the civil war? i assume it wasn't physical labor, minus the foot. what kind of business was he in? >> the question was what kind of business did tom do after the war? he served, the first job he had was deputy sheriff of the county. and it is an amazing part. he wrote extensively about that. here he is, mounted on horseback. and he was not wearing the artificial foot. because it was one that he hated. he had already thrown it away. and he's chasing someone maybe that has just robbed a bank. and tom is thinking to himself,
please don't let them dismount. as long as they stay on horseback, i'm good. i can chase them. he gets close enough, he carried a couple of revolvers. he could apprehend them. he did that. i mentioned the mining business did he in kentucky. there are probably ten or 12 other jobs. anything you can think of. he eventually served as commissioner of revenue for the county. he was over the poor house. you all know what that means. that's what they call the compounds or houses for people that were really destitute and had nothing. counties, most of the counties here in the commonwealth and many other states, too, have them and they would go there and live and be tended to and provided with food and tom was over that for a period of time. so he did a lot of things. he still farmed some up until he
died. but nothing obviously of real hard manual labor with the foot. and ironically, that wound that would have killed any of us in this room, in 1863. never gave him any problems. he did have problems from the botched amputation. the surgeons in richmond cleaned it up and made it much better than it probably would have been. but that wound was just a miracle. i spoke to the national museum of civil war medicine up in frederick, maryland. and they're scratching their heads. they're actually studying his case right now. because of the time of wound. and no one can explain how he possibly lived. the surgeons initially, their major concern once they got the bleeding stopped which was not
easy. they thought that the mini ball had struck his spine and they were afraid he would be paralyzed. but i don't know how in the world the mini ball would travel right through the middle of the torso and hit something and deflect and come out the back and not hit any vital organs. i mean, that was just, i think, like i said. i think god had something else in store for him that tom didn't know about at that point in his life. did i see a hand over here somewhere? well, thank you all again very much.
during the civil war, animals served in a variety of roles from transporting supplies to acting as regimental mascots. next, brad stone talks about general lee's hen, jeff davis, the marching pig, goats on boats and doug the camel. the national museum of civil war medicine hosted this program. they provided the video. hi there. i'm brad stone with the national museum of civil war medicine. and i'm here today to talk about the role that animals played during the civil war. they affected nearly every major aspect. war. and i'm really fortunate to be doing it today at this wonderful farm south mountain creamery in middletown, maryland.
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