A STIRRING MOMENT JUST BEFORE THE BREAK OF DAY
By S. C. Turnbo
No doubt there are many Civil War incidents that have never been written and never will be printed and will be entirely lost. Though many of them may be small affairs yet they are worthy of a place in history and ought to be preserved. The following account was furnished me by Mr. Levi Sallie. "During the closing scenes of the Civil War, said he, Man old vacant house stood near the base of the Washington Bald hill and some 3 miles northwest of Lutie, Missouri. This cabin was on what was then known as the Sam Merritt place. One night near the period of time that peace was declared between the contending forces of the north and south four or five men who had been soldiers in the federal army and who were passing through the country stopped at this building to pass the night. Two or three of the men had their wives and children with them and they all stayed in the house together. On the following morning a short time before the break of day the party were unexpectedly attacked by 15 mounted men who were federal soldiers and who had been on a scouting expedition and were on their return back. The soldiers supposed that those in the house were confederates and they began shooting at an opening or crack in the house. Through this space they observed a light in the house which they were convinced was caused by a fire in the fireplace. Several shots were fired at this crack some of which passed through the open space into the building. The men on the inside of the house promptly returned the fire. There was a commotion in the house. Women screamed, children cried and men cursed, for they thought the outsiders were confederates. Directly the soldiers ordered the men in the house to come out and surrender which they refused to do. They not only thought they were confederates but the worst type of bushwhackers or guerrillas and they did not propose to surrender to them. If they knew they were regular confederates no doubt they would have surrendered but as it was it was cheaper, to fight until they died than surrender and be put to death afterward like a lot of fatening hogs. The outside men now says, "We will burn you out if you do not give up your arms." and the inside party replied, Burn the house if you want to we will fight you by the light of the fire." Then the inside party continued, "Who are you fellows." "We are federal soldiers." the spokesman answered. "Good, we are all of the same stripe," said one of the insiders " and there is no need of us fighting and an explanation followed and peace was made between the two parties at once. Not one in the house was touched. How the women and children as well as the men escaped the bullets is a wonder. One of the soldiers on the outside was slightly wounded in the hand."
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