VIEWING A SHAM BATTLE BETWEEN A LOT OF BOYS IN WAR DAYS
By S. C. Turnbo
It is something interesting to think how the war spirit took possession of the little boys in some localities as well as the older people when the Civil War broke out. This was prevalent on several occasions in northern Arkansas. I re-member one beautiful Sunday in the month of February, 1862, that I and Tom Anderson, a merchant of Forsyth, Missouri, were together going from Yellville, Marion County. The main road from Forsyth to Yellville lead down Georges Creek then and we were following this road and just before arriving at the "Southfoot" Bill Woods mill on Georges Creek where the John B. Hudson residence is now which is six and one-half miles north of Yellville we saw a large crowd of big and little boys engaged in a sham fight. The war spirit run high among part of the adult population of Marion County and it seemed that the same spirit had affected the young as well as old. The youngsters were divided into two companies one of which represented the south and the other the north. Both sides were lined up in battle array. We both stopped and sat on our horses and viewed their actions and methods of war. They soon got themselves ready for battle and they went at it as if they were in earnest. Both sides had a commander and when the sham fight opened up it looked like a real fight indeed. One line would charge the other and a mixed-up fight and a hand-to-hand encounter would ensue. Then one side or the other would retreat in disorder a short distance and half and reform and renew the attack. Both sides captured prisoners and paroled them on the spot. It was a long and fierce encounter to be a sham battle but all the boys seemed to be in a splendid humor and laughed and cheered as the fight went on. Finally I and Anderson observed that the boys who represented the south were getting the worst of it and it was not long after this when the exultant boys who represented the stars and stripes captured all the southern side and paroled them and the battle was closed. The outcome of this sham encounter between these juveniles appeared to be a bad omen to our brave southern army. After all the boys had become quiet and had drank water and were seated to rest their weary limbs, Tom Anderson remarked, "If we of the South get threshed that bad we had better make up with the North and quit now."
Springfield-Greene County Library