Reminisces Of Days During The Civil War
(Editor's Note: The following article was written by James L. Olive of
Wheeler, Miss., a Confederate soldier who died April 24, 1935. He and
his wife lived together 70 years. Children who are still living [in
1961] are Mrs. Jesse Hardin, Baldwyn, Mrs. B. B. Bullock, Shawnee,
Oklahoma, Mrs. Walter Picks, Jackson, Tenn., Mr. L.L. Lokey, Wheeler,
Miss., and Jim Olive, also of Wheeler.)
I was born in Lawrence County, Tenn., near Wayland Springs on Shoal
Creek, Aug. 5, 1848. Three cousins and I, all near the same age,
volunteered in April of 1864, and joined Capt. Bob Ham's Company,
9th Tenn. Regiment, under Col. Jake Biffle, who, with Major Byers'
Battalion and Dibbles Brigade, were under command of Gen. Forrest.
When I joined the regiment it numbered about 960, and it, with another
regiment, was sent to Clifton, Tenn., where the Yankees were
stationed. Upon our arrival we drove the Yankees into their stockade
and captured about 300 head of horses and mules, all branded "U.S."
For lack of cannon we were unable to tear down the stockade. We
remained there for some time, waiting for artillery promised and had a
number of skirmishes. In one engagement when bullets were humming over
our heads like a swarm of bees, one of our men, said to be Jim Cox,
cried out, "shoot lower." Our colonel said if he could find out who it
was he would have him court martialed.
Forrest had ordered that no prisoners were to be taken at Fort Pillow,
so a little later, when the Yankees were crowding us towards the
Tennessee River we could hear them shouting "Remember Fort Pillar." In
crossing the river, Forrest ordered all able horses to be put in the
river to swim across. Forrest took Bill Olive by the shoulder and
shaking him roared, "Take that mare off the boat and put her in the
river." After that we called Bill Olive "Forrest." We could see hats,
shawls, cows and horses in the river.
We were then ordered to go to the assistance of Hood in Georgia.
Leaving the Tennessee River, I saw the largest army I had ever seen up
to that time; it was two deep for more than a mile. Heading south we
passed through Booneville; camped one night at Old Carroll[ville],
near Baldwyn, on to Aberdeen, camping there a week, getting our horses
shod. From there we went to Columbus, on to Tuscaloosa and across
Alabama to the foothills of the Blue Ridge in Ga., only to find out
that Hood had gone north into Tennessee, where we followed, overtaking
him at Nashville.
When Lee surrendered, April 9, I went to Courtland, Ala., and was
paroled. Going back home, I started to school, but did not go long.
After someone stole my horse I migrated to Mississippi, taking up
farming in the Geeville neighborhood.
January 15, 1871, Paralie Kemp and I were joined in matrimony. Elder
L.R. Burress performing the ceremony. To this union ten children were
born, eight yet living. And if God ever joined two people
together we believe we were joined, having lived and worked together
happily for fifty-six years. I feel that when she leaves I want to go
and where she is buried I want to be buried.
James L. Olive
Wheeler, Miss. Jury of 1893
© 1961 The Banner-Independent, Booneville, Mississippi