The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

Mr. W. F. Stone of near Protem, Missouri, an old pioneer settler of Maries County, Missouri, and who was a member of Co. F. 10th Mo. (confederate) Infantry, furnished the writer this sketch.

"In the early part of 1862 I had went with part of our command into the state of Arkansas from where I was sent back into Missouri to organize a company of Southern men. I recollect that on my way back I passed through Yellville in Marion County and crossed White River at Tolbert’s Ferry and crossed Big North Fork east of where Mountain Home in Baxter County now stands. I was horseback and passed through the mountains as fast as my horse was able to travel. I was not molested by anyone until I got into Howell County, Missouri, and one day when near 15 miles northwest of West Plains I noticed a horseman north of where I was coming toward me as fast as his horse could run. The country was open and I could see objects a long distance. When the man had approached closer to me I stopped for I was pretty well convinced that he was not running his horse for the fun that was in it. When he got up still nearer me I could see that he was whipping and spurring his tired horse to urge him along at his best speed but I was not able to discern anything in his rear that he should be afraid of. As the fast fleeing horseman galloped up to me he slowed up a little and yelled out,, "Unless I am not mistaken you had better be going the other way." "What is the matter?" says I. "Look back yonder and you will receive your answer, "said he, and I looked and behold a mounted war party had hove in sight which I took to be a squad of federal cavalry which had just come into view. They were in pursuit of the lone horseman and were a mile behind him. I had on a suit of citizens clothes and did not resemble a soldier, but the moment I caught sight of the men in blue I did not ask anymore questions and reined my horse around quickly and galloped my horse over the way I had come. My horse was not as tired as my newly made friend’s horse was and I was soon in the advance of him. We did not halt a moment to converse but talked as our horses went galloping over the road. We went along as fast as our steeds could move along. We kept together 12 miles before we separated which we did in 3 miles of West Plains. When I turned to the right and traveled over the same road I had come over on my way out of Arkansas. The man informed me as we were speeding along that he was a preacher and that he was a southern sympathizer and lived in the north part of Howell County. He said that his decision in favor of the southern people was all that his enemies could justly hold against him, land they want to arrest and probably kill me and I do not want to fall into their hands, and this explains why I am trying to get away from them, said he. Though this was the longest and hardest and fastest horseback ride I ever experienced in those turbulent days of war to escape the hands of an enemy, but I sometimes think now that the federals did not intend to kill the old mad and would have soon gave up the chase and turned back but on observing another man fall in with the old fellow I think they concluded to continue the pursuit of us just to see us run. If that was the case they certainly enjoyed themselves watching us getting over the road in a hurried manner. My horse was almost give out when we separated. We had passed out of view of the enemy just before we parted but this did not lessen my fears and I urged my jaded horse along to get further away. I did not see the federals any more, but I went on until I found a suitable place to conceal myself and horse where we got a breathing spell, and then I traveled on and did not stop for good until I reached the residence of Jim Young who lived in the Tolbert Barrens in Baxter County, Arkansas, where I stopped a few days to let my horse rest and made my way back up north to Maries County, Missouri, where I raised a company of men for the south."

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