The Civil War in Blount Co., Alabama

From Alabama: Her History, Resources, Ware Record, and Public Men. From 1540 To 1872.
Copyright 1872, Chapter 16, Pg 140-142

The mountain wall on her northern boundary gave a feeling of security to the people of Blount during the progress of the late war. But the closing day of April 1863, was signalized by the clash of resounding arms in the direction Moulton. At dusk on that day Forrest overtook Streight in the passes of Sand Mountain, and the fight lasted for three hours. The enemy were at length driven back, and came hurriedly down the valley into Blount. The scene of this prolonged and desperate conflict on the barren mountain heights of north Alabama is remembered by participants who have mingled in the great battles of the war, as one of peculiar, weird grandeur, impossible to paint with words. With the thunder of artillery, the continuous peal of the musketry, and their infinitely multiplied reverberations from mountain to valley, were mingled the sharp clangor of swords of command, the cheery shouts of the men, and the uproar and cries of affrighted and wounded animals, added to which there was a splendor in the lurid volcanic flashes of the rapidly served artillery, and the fiery blaze of musketry, which excited admiration, attracting notice, even in that moment of fiercest passions, when the air was thick and perilous with deadly missives. Some fifty of the enemy were left behind, dead or wounded, as well as the piece of artillery they captured from the Confederates in Morgan, and about thirty wagons. The Confederates lost several killed and wounded, and Forrest had a horse killed under him.

The pursuit was renewed, and for miles the path of the flying enemy in the direction of Blountsville was strewn with every conceivable portable. They were evidently frightened, and the confederates, like sleuth-hounds, kept at their heels. At 11 o’clock the raiders stood at bay, but a volley of artillery and musketry broke their line, and hurried them on. On they moved, pursuer and pursued, by the light of the stars, and the earth was strewn with the castaway booty and baggage, broken-down beasts, & while the woods swarmed with the negroes who had collected to join the men in blue, but who were dismounted in the exigency to provide for the safety of better men. At one o’clock another stand was made, but easily broken by a well directed volley, which sent them hurriedly on. From two o’clock till daylight Forrest bivouacked; and with the light of the May morning rushed after his prey. At Blountsville, Streight transferred his baggage to pack animals, set fire to the wagons, and took the Gadsden road. Forrest reached the spot at eleven o’clock, saved much of the abandoned stores, replenished the haversack from them, and pushed on. Eight miles further, a running fight occurred, and the federals threw themselves across the rocky ford of the Tuskaloosa, at the cost of several men killed, and a number of pack-mules drowned, to avoid the collision. The confederates rested three or four hours on the bank of the stream, then leaped into the saddle and moved on into the valleys of Etowa.

Just before reaching the Warrior river, two young country girls, seventeen or eighteen years of age, appeared, leading three accoutred horses, and driving before them as many federal soldiers, whose guns they carried on their young shoulders. Asking for the commanding officer, they related with much simplicity how they had captured these men, and wished to deliver them. Their captives, in extenuation of their situation, alleged that they had no stomach for further fighting. These brave girls were poor, dressed in homespun, and barefooted, though clean and neat. They said they would be willing to go on with the troops, but hardly thought their services were necessary. The general gave each a horse, and they went off smiling and proud.
Brave maidens of Blount! The fit brides of heroes! Like Red Earl Gilbert’s daughter –
“They can a warrior’s feelings know
And weep a warrior’s shame;
Can buckle the spurs upon they heel,
And belt thee with they brand of steel,
And send thee forth to fame!”