The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

An old veteran soldier who fought on the union side and was a member of Co. I, 2nd Mo. light artillery and who helped defend Springfield, Missouri, from an attack made on the town by Gen. Marmaduke’s confederate forces on the 8 of January, 1863. The name of the veteran we allude to is A. C. (Alph) Mullenax and when Springfield was attacked his command had charge of fort no. 4 on the south road. Mr. Mullenax gives an account of a horrible torture and death during the Civil War which he told in this way.

"Joe Cooper, son of George Cooper, lived on Grand Prairie 13 miles northwest of Springfield. One day in winter time during the war a party of armed men taken Joe Cooper out into the timber bordering the prairie and put him to death in a cruel manner. He was found dead 3 days afterward with his toe nails and fingernails pulled out and his eyes had been gouged out. His remains were found in a thick cluster of timber where the black crime was committed. It was supposed that the brutal men tried to compel the unfortunate young man to reveal the whereabouts of his father’s money. There were no other marks of violence found on his body except there mentioned. Cooper was a young unmarried man. Mr. Mullenax said that the finding of Cooper’s mutilated body aroused great indignation against the young man’s murderers who were supposed to be southern bushwhackers and a number of men in that locality took sides with the union at once and enlisted in the Federal army." Mr. Mullenax said that he was discharged from the federal army at St. Louis, Missouri, at the close of the war.

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