The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

Turnbo Home | Table of Contents | Keyword Search| Bibliography | Biography

By S. C. Turnbo

During the turbulent days of the war between the states if any of the troops of either side fell into the hands of regular soldiers they were usually treated well, if otherwise they hardly ever escaped abuse and suffered many hardships. Especially this is true if they were sent to prison where inexperienced officers and men of an overbearing and abusive nature had control of them. There is no question in my mind but that hundreds of prisoners of war on both sides who were confined in large prisons suffered untold misery while in charge of haughty and domineering guards who never knew any-thing about marching to the front and fighting the enemy face to face. But let it be said that all good hearted, true and brave men of either army were never guilty of mistreating a prisoner of war when he was obedient to the rules of war.

John Mahan who was a union soldier in war days and served in Capt. William J. Piland’s company 46 Mo. regiment of mounted men, was captured twice before peace was made. He said the last time he was taken he fell into rough hands and was ill treated which came about in this way. "I and my father, Isaac Mahan, P. R. (Dick) Martin, Pate Johnson and John Nave had been down together from where we lived in Douglas County, Missouri, to our old homes on Little North Fork collecting our stock that we had left there when we moved away for better protection. We had found about 27 head of hogs that belonged to us and started home with them and while on our way back we stopped one night where Mose Martin lived on Beaver Spring Creek to stay over until the following morning. During the night Jim Helms with 10 men swooped down on us and made us prisoners and captured our horses and equipments. They stripped us of our boots, hats and over-coats and set Dick Martin, Mose Martin and Pate Johnson at liberty. It was Christmas Eve night, 1864, the weather was cold and the ground froze, but the sky was clear of clouds and the moon was full. The enemy who were irregulars made me and my father and John Nave go with them down the creek and we were forced to walk on the frozen ground in our sock feet and without hats and coats which was rough treatment and we suffered with cold, but we dare not complain. While they were robbing us one of the men put his hand in my fathers pockets and took out an old Barlow knife, a silk handkerchief and a dollar in money which he kept of course. When we got some distance down the creek John Nave seeing that they intended to kill him made an attempt to escape by running and Helms men fired at him as he run. They pursued him and over-hauled him in a gully or deep swag in the ground where Nave begged hard for his life but it was a waste of words for they shot him to death with shotguns about 100 yards from the road. It was a critical moment for myself and my father for I really believed that I and him would have to meet death there too. But after they taken us further down the creek and after having made me trot on the frozen ground in my sock feet a while they released us both and told us to go on our way. John Nave is buried in the cowskin graveyard on Cowskin Creek in Douglas County, Missouri, where his brother, Abe Nave, is buried."

Next Story

Turnbo Home | Table of Contents | Keyword Search| Bibliography | Biography

Springfield-Greene County Library