This was a handwritten account of the Civil War in McKenzie. Mrs. Mary Stewart
is owner of the book and gave permission for printing. Mrs. Hawkins was the
sister of Mrs. Stewart's mother, this book was hand illustrated on almost every
By Annie Cole Hawkins 

contributed by Joe W. Stout and Charles Holmes, Jr.  (Annie was his gr-aunt)

Notes from Joe W. Stout


About twenty-five years ago, yielding to the request of over partial friends, I
was beguiled into writing some of the incidents and happenings of the great
cruel war, which we, a while back had passed through. These sketches, crude and
imperfect as they are, I will copy for the perusal of the old time friends and
their children. Many of the characters have died since these little war leaflets
were written, time has changed, and people changed with it, and I am no
exception to the general rule.

It was not for the eye of the critic, but for the loving eyes of kind friends
who can better understand and appreciate the motive that prompt me to write my
own memories and experiences of those awful days. 

I am trying to treat little incidents and trifles truthfully and naturally as
they actually happened. I hope I have not gone beyond the bounds of propriety,
and may meet a charitable judgment of those, of some of the old time friends who
are still living, and of those who come after them. 

If what I have written shall serve to amuse an idle hour, or rescue from
oblivion anything worthy of remembrance I shall feel amply paid for my time and
Yours truly, 
Annie Cole Hawkins McKenzie, Tennessee 


My earliest recollection of the public affairs date back to the time of the
execution of John Brown at Harper's Ferry in Virginia. I can remember the dark
oppressive fears we children had of the Negroes rising, as it was called. 

We could see no special reason for these fears. My father owned some Negroes and
in daytime it seemed impossible to associate such thoughts and suspicions with
the familiar, satisfied, sable faces that surrounded us, but when night came we
would assemble in a corner by the fireside and talk, and tell in whispers of how
the Negroes were holding secret meetings everywhere in the South, planning and
thirsting for our blood. 

We pictured in our childish imagination how they would come at the dark hour of
midnight, armed with hoes, axes, and clubs to knock down, drag out and slay on
every side as they came to us. Our parents never talked such things to us but
the fear was there. We would go to sleep with it in nervous terror We had heard
of John Brown's mad attempt to free slaves in Virginia, his subsequent hanging
with the comments and opinions that generally follow such tragic episodes. 

At that time, John Brown's name was familiar in every house- hold and always
associated with the whispers of the "uprising" of Negroes. 

Although we passed the time and enjoyed the days in our homes, our, parents felt
that peace was going or had gone from our country. 

In the year of 1860, the papers were full of secession talk and the matter was
the topic of conversation at the tables, firesides, and wherever acquaintances
met. Some were slow to accept or believe the suggestions of a coming war while
others less confident looked with ominous dread on the gathering cloud that was
destined ere long to drench our fair southern land with blood. 

When President Lincoln called for seventy-five thousand men to coerce and over-
throw secession, gloom and dread hung over the land, and the bravest of our
southern sons felt it their duty to shoulder the muskets and march out to defend
the land of their birth. 

I am not trying to write history. Volumes have been written recounting the
causes of that great war and many true souls now live who still remember those
sad farewells when our brave boys in gray started with proud steps and youthful
hopes far away to fight and die if need be on those dark and bloody battle
fields. There are many brave hearts who yet shudder at the recollections of that
awful period when thousands of firesides were darkened by its shadows, and
mothers, wives, daughters, sisters, and sweethearts were left alone to wait and
hope for the return of those loved ones who never came back. 

I was too young at the beginning of the war, to realize the danger and trouble
that threatened our country, but the memory of my mother's tear-stained face,
and the anxious, fearful look that shone on my father's brow, will never be
erased from my memory. 

I remember how my joyous feelings and happy playfulness was held in check by a
sight of their troubled faces, and in two years after when the war was at its
worst, how often I stopped in the midst of some pleasant game or play to listen
with fear and trembling, to the horrible details of the last battle, or some
terrible destruction of the enemy. 

At such times I would go off alone to weep, and wish for the war to stop, only
in a few hours to forget and feel gay and happy again. Some of the happiest
hours of my life were spent amid the exciting scenes of the great Civil War, and
tales and reminiscences of that unfortunate period will be a fascinating subject
to me always in spite of the years that have flown since our brave and beloved
old hero, Gen. Robert E. Lee, gave up and surrendered his ragged but unconquered
boys at Appomattox. 

My father was past the age for military duties and my brothers too young to know
what war and fighting meant, but we had a cousin who had spent part of his child
days with us whom we loved as a brother, who did go off to war. There are many
of our old play-mates and friends, who have not forgotten little Richmond
Crawford, bright, rosy-faced Rich. I shall ever remember how one day he brought
out and drew from its motheaten cover an old rusty sword which our paternal
grandfather had carried in the days of revolutionary fame. How his face beamed
with pride as he sat polishing the old sword with a woolen rag and showing us
how he would go into the battles and slay those Lincolnites on every side.

He was too young for the service that first year, but days, months, and years
passed and the time came when honor compelled him to go and risk his young life
in the cause of the South. Poor boy. He came home once dressed in soldier
clothes, sat in the home circle by the fireside, and told to the eager listeners
of cold, wet, hungry, sleepless nights, and then the jokes and funny experiences
of camp life at which we all laughed in spite of the tears of pity and sympathy,
for the soldier lad who after a few short, half-happy days left us again in
tears to join his comrades in arms and was one of the many who never returned. 

Dear, adopted brother, though you sleep beneath the soil of a strange and
distant land, and thoughtless feet tread over your head, we loved you and will
never forget you.

It is amusing to think of how the children caught on and took in the times in
the early part of the war. 

The little boys played soldier, fought battles, and put each other in prison.
The girls would get off together and play like they were the brides of big
captains in the army. 

One time in '61 we were spending the night with Nannie Snead and after supper
when the cooks had left the kitchen, we stole in there to play housekeeping. 

Our little Negro maids always shared equally in our plays. Nannie's little black
maid, Sall, played like she was Mrs. Captain Grundy and made her playhouse in a
corner where there was an old fashioned cupboard.

We had gotten fairly settled down to housekeeping when Nannie's mother concluded
she would go down to the kitchen and see what mischief we were up to. She
brought the handy switch always ready for action and came silently in unobserved
by any of us. Taking view of the whole scene of amateur house- keepers, she
spied Sall standing on a high stool reaching up in the cupboard, and asked in a
mild tone, what are you doing up there? 

The little Negro thinking it was the voice of one of us lady callers answered,
"Oh, I'm des er dittin er little drease ter drease taptain drundy's head."

One light soft rap of the hickory across the little black legs brought Mrs.
Captain Grundy off the stool head over heels. The housekeeping was broken up and
we were marched off to bed. When the battles and great struggle commenced in
earnest, I was just getting old enough to enjoy life. 

Our home was in the country and surrounded by every comfort and the most
pleasant associations. Our house was known for miles around as a center of
cheerful hospitality. My father's family was too large to look novel like but
was just the thing for spicy reality.

I had two grown sisters, Susan and Mary, and Sallie younger than myself besides
the two little brothers, James and John, and the baby sister Beulah. 

We all had our friends and associations and our days were spent in pleasure and
excitement from dewy morn till dusky eve. We rode to school at Caledonia
College, which was three miles from our house. 

My father and other farmers round old Caledonia built a long shed with stalls
for our horses to stand in during the long day. Many of the boys who had no
claim in the stable and fed their animals under the trees near by. 

Sometimes we were carried to and from school in buggies and family carriages
driven and attended by Negro slaves. We carried corn for the horses in little
white cotton sacks attached to the saddle. Our dinner in a tin bucket swung on
the left arm, a riding switch in the right hand and our books last but not least
hung in a reticule with long straps on our necks and shoulders. 

It is pleasant to recall and think ,of the days of laughter and song when school
hours closed. The girls and boys mounting the horses while some whirled off in
buggies and carriage. Others walking in groups to the near boarding houses. Each
and all happy or miserable as the cases might be in the thought and plans of

The horse back riders were happiest of all and quite a number had to start out
on our road among whom were Reuben Burdet, Lue and Billie Dinwiddie, Bernard
Gordon. Jack Swain, Armstead Gordon, Wash Ridley, Brutus Gaines, Bettie and John
Harris, John Pate, Tom Barker, Mollie Baker, Sallie McKenzie, and four brothers,
John, Albert, George and Malcolm. 

Professor E. H. Randle, was the principal and the rules of school were that the
boys and girls would not ride together or run the horses. 

We would ride off laughing and talking while the boys came slowly along behind
till we got out of sight of the faculty and in to the main road. Then we would
begin to ride slow, and the boys to ride faster. Somehow, not intentionally, of
course, we would all get together and then challenge each other, for a race
galloping off down the long shady road with the book satchels dancing up and
down on our backs and the empty corn sacks flying in and out in every direction.

Sometimes we would all sing together a revised version of the first war song,
"John Brown Body Lies Moldering in the Grave"; we fairly shouted the chorus,
Glory, Glory in secession as we go marching on. The beautiful green woods, far
and near, ringing with our happy voices. "Such fun and pleasure too nice to last
gradually ceased is the excitement of war increased." 

The Yankee troops began to make raids taking our best horses, bridles, and
saddles, and destroying the carriages and buggies. The college boys who were old
enough went out to fight, and some of the girls to distant places never to sing
and laugh in the dear old halls and rooms again.

The school was broken up, the college deserted and left to the bats and owls
till some heartless wretch burned it to the ground. The dear old building that
had for so long echoed the happy voices of a quiet, loving and peaceful
community. I shall never forget my feelings when a company of home-made Yankees
came and took Reelie, my school horse.

As I sat at the window and saw them lead the horse away, thinking of the
hardships it would suffer at their hands, I prayed for a company of southern
soldiers to come and attack them. I believe I could have joined in the fray. Oh!
I thought my heart was breaking that day. I couldn't cry and didn't want anybody
to look at me. 

Sister Sallie was so mischievous she would walk around me and repeat: 

My bird is dead, said Nancy Ray, My bird is dead, I cannot play. 

And when a little Negro came under the window and said "Miss Annie, de Yankums
done got Reelie and gone wid him", I grabbed an old almanac and sailed it at his
innocent head. In times afterward, I became used to seeing fine horses led away
by the blue coats, but nothing touched me like seeing my school horse taken by
the home-made Yankees. 

I will say here for the understanding of my young readers that what we called
home-made Yankees were southern men who had joined the North and were fighting
against their own country and committing ravages in their native state. 

MY first vivid impression of war and what our soldiers had to suffer was during
a day and nights encampment of a regiment of Confederate soldiers near our home.

They were on a long march through the country , tired, hungry and some of them
sick. Detachments were sent out over the neighborhood to seek provisions for the
men and feed for the horses. 

Our cooks were set to baking bread and the rebel girls fairly bubbling over with
enthusiasm hastened to the kitchen to lend their own white dimpled hands to the
work of preparing food for the hungry boys in gray who were. standing in the
yard, in the house, sitting on the doorsteps, fences, benches, and everywhere. 

Most of them were dressed in the uniform of private and had left and given up
homes of ease and luxury for the right to wear them. 

They were too hungry to wait for the provisions to be thoroughly cooked. Some of
them stood over the ovens and begged for the half baked bread. When one of the
cooks opened the oven door, two very young fellows, in making a quick grab at
the half Cooked dough, bumped their heads together with a fearful collision. 

It was as much effort for us to keep from laughing as it had been to keep from

There were several sick ones among them. I shall never forget how sick they
looked. Our father had them lying on a long pallet with their feet stretched out
to a good fire giving them medicine, bathing their chests with liniment, feeding
them on soup and trying to make them comfortable for a nights sleep when the
bugle sounded for them to saddle up and march. 

We thought it awful that they must rise and go with the well ones. Some of the
men having their clothing washed, had to snatch them from the water and stuff
them ringing wet into the knapsacks and rush off to obey the bugle call.

We looked with surprise and wonder at it all then, but in the days to come when
we looked back on the time as being nothing compared to other sufferings and

It was wonderful to think of how the southern people stood such awful sufferings
and at the same time kept cheerful spirits. Each confederate soldier and every
southern woman seemed to {and I believe did) make it their own individual duty
and business to uphold the cause and fight the great fight to the bitter end.

That was how, and why the South could and did fight an overpowering enemy for
four 1ong hard, bitter years.

The northern soldiers had the world to back them, had the treasury, good
clothes, good food, fine equipment, and everything else except grit. We had that
and we had it when the fighting stopped, and we have shown the world that we
have it now. 

I have seen the confederate soldiers laugh and make merry when they were half
starved and nearly frozen. 

In times of battle when we could hear the firing cannons, as we listened to the
long sullen boom-boom. I have seen pale distressed faces trying to smile and
aching, beating hearts, trying to cheer up when they knew that hundreds of our
brave boys were falling and dying so far away, and we were powerless to help

Oh! the agony of wives, mothers and sisters who waited with anxiety of the soul
to hear from the bloody ground.

By the year of 1862 home-made goods came into use. Communication with the North
had been cut off and we realized the fact that the South had been actually
dependent upon the northern factories for hundreds of articles for daily use. 

Many of the wealthiest and most cultured ladies made and wore the coarsest
homespun dresses. 

Shoes were in great demand. The farmers rudely tanned the skins of their own
cattle for shoe Leather, many or them cutting up the flaps of old saddles for
the soles.

For lights we used an iron lamp or a saucer of lard with a cotton wick or
sometimes a ball from the sycamore tree. The tallow candle being a supreme light
for the parlor.

Coffee and sugar became a memory. We roasted rye, wheat, dried potatoes and
sometimes okra seeds as a substitute for coffee and for sugar sorghum was the
sole reliance.

Such things could be obtained sometimes through the blockade runners but of
course the mass of the people had to go without. School books, pens, and pencils
were too scarce to mention. Our parents would have to cut a pencil into several
parts and divide it out among us.

Those who had on hand a supply of shoes and clothing from the northern factories
began to save them to wear on special occasions. But in the last two years of
the War a southern girl was not considered in the swim unless she wore a home
spun dress and the confederate hat which was plaited and fashioned at home. The
homemade shoes worried us more than anything else. We used to say that we
couldn't walk graceful enough with our feet in raw hides. I had a pret~ pair of
northern make which I treasured and saved to wear to church and when I went to
the parties. I always spoke of them as my party shoes. I would recognize a
fragment of those shoes today. 

We even had homemade beads, gathering the little seeds from a kind of lilly or
flag that used to grow in profusion in our yards and gardens and after boiling
them in wood ashes to remove the black husk, we would string the little pearly
seeds, which had a soft pith through the center as if intended for the purpose,
and would discard the prettiest necklace for the sake of wearing them. 

How vividly I can recall the picture of Sister Sallie and Sallie McKenzie as
they sat bent over a bowl or saucer of seeds stringing the confederate beads. 

I remember I made a pretty string and carried them to school and made trade for
a long lead pencil with Mo11y Stephens. the beauty, and belle of school who took
such a 1ively interest in the war and loved the Confederacy. 

She wore them in preference to anything finer, and called them her confederate
pearls. Sweet, bright, Mollie, loved by everyone. Death closed her beautiful
brown eyes in this world and she went to that far away home of the soul before
the cruel war was over.

We are so often reminded of those past sorrows and pleasures by a sound or a
gentle breeze, the sweet perfume of a flower or, who can listen to the sad
mournful song of the whippoorwill and not think on the long ago, or of some lost
friend and playmate. 

There was no treat for the southern girls like the coming of confederate
soldiers. No sight so pretty as a long column of boys in gray uniforms with
pistols buckled round them, and guns and sabers at their sides. All mounted on
beautiful horses. We always waved our hands and handkerchiefs in appreciation
when they would yell, 'Hurrah.. for Jeff Davis and southern confederacy." 

The whole earth would seem to ring with melody as they sang together, "The
Bonnie Blue Flag", and "The Girl I Left Behind Me." 

One day when General Forrest's command was passing and the men and boys were
cheering and singing all along the line. a brave handsome little fellow, not yet
out of his teens, was riding in the rear and singing in a sweet melodious voice
the words: 

They have dressed me up In soldier's clothes And treated me so kindly I'll go to
the war And fight for the rights And the girl I left behind me. 

We school girls had never seen anything so pretty and romantic, of course,
cheered and waved at him with, our whole soul. Those were days of romance and
excitement with a succession of welcomes and farewells in which we younger girls
in our way shared with the older ones. 

Every time a new regiment or company of soldiers came in, we would claim a new

It was a great pleasure and quite the thing for the rebel to make tiny
confederate flags and present to the boys in gray. All the scraps of silk and
ribbon were gathered and saved for the purpose. A party of girls get together
and each make a bonnie flag for the soldier boy, the darling of her heart. We
set our nicest stitches on them. and passed many a happy hour in joking and
trying to find out who was to get each one's flag. My confident, and best
friend. Bettie Snead, lived at Hico.   She would come and stay for days at a time
at our house. We were almost inseparable and it always happened that we would
both claim the same soldier boy.

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