A PATHETIC STORY OF THE WAR
By S. C. Turnbo
Among many accounts of the suffering and deprivations brought on by the Civil War was told me by Mr. Rila Mullens, a minister of the Christian Church, who said that one day when he was 10 years old or in 1862, while my mother and we children were stopping awhile on South Fork of Spring River 3 miles north of Salem in Fulton County, Ark., I and my two brothers, John and Ben Mullen, in company with Tilman Hatfield, son of Mrs. Al Hatfield and William Hatfield, son of Bald Hatfield, while playing together near the road we saw an ox wagon coming along the road loaded with beds, chairs and other household goods traveling the road going north. The only persons with the wagon was a woman and two little boy children. The oldest child was 5 or 6 years old and the other was just old enough to walk a little. The woman was driving the oxen. I did not know her name nor where she was from or where she was going, but supposed she was going north for protection. About this time we noticed a band of horsemen 4 or 5 in number gallop up behind the wagon and made the woman halt the oxen and the men dismounted and after consulting together a few moments, they unhitched the oxen loose from the wagon and leading the cattle away from the wagon a short distance they set the wagon and its contents on fire and burned it up. The poor helpless woman pleaded so hard with the ruthless bandits to not destroy her bed clothes and wearing apparel for it was all she had, but her pitiable begging fell on deaf ears. They had no mercy, their hearts were of stone and her little possessions were soon consumed by the flames and there was nothing left but cinders and smoke. While the wagon and its contents were burning, the guerrillas put several rigid questions to we boys who were spectators to the destruction of the womans outfit. They seemed to want to aggravate us and get us angry enough to say something rough to them so they could kill us but they did not threaten to kill or hurt us. Our ages ranged from 1O to 12 years. The men stayed around the wagon and stirred the fire until the last remnant of the wagon and its contents were entirely destroyed and they now mounted their horses and rode off taking the yoke of cattle with them. The weeping woman picked up the least child and taking the other by the hand went on up the road northward. She was greatly distressed. This was the last we ever saw or heard of her.
Springfield-Greene County Library