R. L. George
[Source: The Booneville Pleader, September 24, 1926]
Submitted by Julia Taylor
ONE OF THE FEW SURVIVORS OF THE LOST CAUSE-R.L. GEORGE
R.L. George was born October 9th, 1846 in McNairy County, Tennessee.
He enlisted in the Confederate Alabama, with Capt. Bob Damons, Co. F.,
Col. Jeff Forest's Regiment, Bell's Brigade, Bluford's Division.
His first actual service was at Bear Creek where they were engaged in
burning bridges and tearing up railroads. They made a stand at
Cherokee, Alabama, had a skirmish and fell back about two miles, then
threw all their forces in a skirmish line and kept falling back to
Little Bear Creek where they made another stand, with Col. Forest
wounded and one man killed. They were reinforced by Gen. Lee's troops
that night. Next they went to the mountains where they got in behind
the enemy and found them falling back to Eastport. They put in the
balance of the summer helping out the recruits from West Tennesse.
On Christmas Eve, Mr. George and three other boys were on a scouting
party following (as they thought) army on May 1st, 1863, at Cherokee,
eight Yankees, but which proved to be 48. To have a little fun, they
charged them but had to fall back. George was thrown from his horse,
was taken prisoner and then shot in the shoulder. They left him at
Savannah, Tennessee. The next day his father came and carried him
home. Upon receiving news that the Yankees were coming after him, from
Glendale, he was tied to a horse and his sister started with him to
Pleasant Site, Alabama. They got through safely by crossing Yellow
Creek on the ice. He remained at Pleasant Site until the following
spring, when he went back to his company.
The next combat was at Crump's Landing. Two Yankees were seen on
horseback and George and his party charged. The Yanks took them for
their own men and stood still and the scouting party captured a man
apiece-11 in all. Mr. George and one of his comrades captured the two
on horseback and the others took those behind them. The balance of the
enemy pursued them and they lost all of their prisoners and one of
their own men.
The next engagement worthy of mention was at Fort Piller. The Yanks
gave up the first fort about the middle of the day. The rebels crept
up to the second fort and General Forest sent in a flag of truce. He
received word back that they asked no quarters nor would they show
any. The walls were scaled and the flag pulled down and the white men
gave up. The gunboats that were aiding the Yanks moved up the river.
Next his company went to Pontotoc and entertained the Yanks while
General Forest went to Memphis. He was in the Harrisburg fight. They
had a fight with the Yankees the evening before the big Harrisburg
battle and lost about twenty men. The next morning, both sides
constructed breastworks of rails. General Lee took command of his
detachment and ordered them over the breastworks. They drove in the
Yankee skirmish line. Three times they charged and three times they
were driven back. His company was in with about 60 men and came out
with about 20. When the roll was called Col. Nuser and Col. Wisdem
were wounded and Major Meeks was killed. Captain Bob Damons was the
only commissioned officer left.
They were then ordered back to the Tennessee River where they were
engaged in scouting the river and West Tennessee.
Mr. George was not with the main army anymore until winter, when at
Fort Hindman they attempted to capture a boat and failed. Next day
they moved up to the mouth of Big Sandy, captured a steamboat and
gunboat which they moved up to Johnsonville where they were burned.
They threw a pontoon across the river there, but the river was rising
and the pontoon was broken. Mr. George and Mr. Ashby, who were on
picket duty, were forgotten during the excitement and left to shift
for themselves. In trying to get out they were captured, but the
second night they made their escape. Mr. George got back to Purdy,
Tennessee, where he met Col. Wisdem, and asked him for a pass. He was
told to go on home and do the best he could as he (Col. Wisdem)
thought the war was over. Later Mr. George met Col. Damons who said he
was not going to give up as he had learned that the Yanks were not
going to show them any quarters. Later a truce was arranged and Capt.
Damons got his company together and went to Corinth where they were
Mr. George was united in marriage Dec. 31st, 1873 to Miss Mollie
Pickens. To this union were born 11 children, all of whom are living
and all are married except one.
Mr. George bears his age well-doesn't look a day over 65 and is still
spry. We enjoyed our talk with this old veteran who remembers the
incidents of the war well, although he had forgotten many of the
dates. Many of the grizzled fighters of the sixties have quit work,
but not so with Mr. George. He will continue on until the end or until
such time as he can no longer till the soil. He says he would rather
wear out than rust out.