WRITTEN BY JARED TOWNSEND
Liane T. Fenimore
Great Granddaughter of Jared Townsend of the 32nd Wisconsin Infantry
CopyrightÓ 2002, all rights reserved
In the fifth paragraph of Dr. Kitching's account of the county he mentions J.C. Hardy 'who killed six Yankees'. This must be either John C. Hardy who was 42 in the 1850 census or his son John C. Hardy who was 14 in 1850. Well, one of the Yankees he killed was Rob Powell of the 32nd Wisconsin Infantry and one of the Yankees he tried to kill was Jared Townsend my great-grandfather and a neighborhood friend of Powell's. Jared had dropped back to help Rob when they were 'set upon by bushwhackers', I believe he says in his account. They killed Rob. Jared managed to shoot one of their horses ... and in case he was killed himself, he left his belongings - a notebook and a few other things - hidden, so he thought. He was hit with buckshot (and later lost his eye) but managed to escape. In the 1890's he saw a notice in the newspaper the vets subscribed to and it turned out to be Jack Hardy, the man who had shot him. Hardy had found the notebook at some point and later tried to trace him through the paper. Jared contacted Hardy and his things were sent to him in Minnesota where he then lived. Jared left an account of what happened to him.
My great-grandfather, Jared Townsend (1842-1917), was a farmer who was born in Wayne County NY, lived in Wisconsin and Minnesota, and after he was widowed moved to Canon City, Colorado for his health. During the Civil War, he and 5 brothers served in Wisconsin regiments.
On 20 February 1864, the 32nd Wisconsin Infantry was returning to Vicksburg from Marion by way of Union, Hillsboro and Eaton (WI Adj. Gen. records). Jared Townsend was in Company E of this regiment and this is his account of that day, written down about 40 years later:
"On the morning of the 24th of February, 1864 our Colonel told us that there was no way of carrying any more sick, and if one of us saw one of the boys by the roadside we should fall out and help him along. Before noon I saw Rob Powell, a boy from my neighborhood. He was very sick but was trying to keep up with the company. I fell out to help him and we were soon far behind.
The woods thereabout came close to the road on both sides. The road was more like a narrow trail through the woods than like the broad highways we now have in this state (MN). We knew there were rebel bushwhackers in the neighborhood and it wasn't long before we saw three ahead of us. Rob had no gun, only his canteen and haversack. We knew they would take no prisoners. Our one chance seemed to be to get around them in the woods and we started to run. They had seen us. Two came down the road and the third went into the woods to head us off. All were mounted.
The man trying to head us off and I saw each other at the same time. Both fired. His bullet missed me. Mine killed his horse. By this time the others were quite close. I tried to load but didn't have time and the load from his double-barreled shotgun struck me in the body and face. One buckshot went through my right arm. Another entered between my right eye and nose. Another buried itself in my chest and lodged behind my breast bone. An ounce ball went through my left thigh.
As I lay on my face in the weeds and bushes, I heard the man whose horse I had shot asking the negroes (there had been a group walking along the road-LF) where I had gone. Just as I thought he must find me, he turned and walked away. After what seemed a long time I dragged myself to the road leaving my portfolio, haversack and gun where I fell. The blood was running from my eye and I couldn't tell whether the body of troops a few rods ahead were Confederates or Union troops. I had a pocket book with a few dollars in it and a gold pen. These I threw into the brush so that if captured the rebels wouldn't get them. When I managed to get the blood out of my eyes a little I recognized the troops ahead as Company B of my own regiment, the rear guard for that day.
Some of them turned and saw me and the captain detailed two men to help me into camp. That night my wounds were dressed and the next day they sent me to the hospital in Vicksburg. Later I was sent to Memphis. (Four months later he rejoined his regiment, surviving the hospitals-LF).
A few years ago, more than thirty years after the day, I saw a note in the National Tribune from a Confederate soldier saying he had found a portfolio and telling his side of the same incident. I wrote to him and he sent me my portfolio, kept as I had left it. He was the man whose horse I had shot. He told me they had killed Rob Powell while he was trying to escape. Rob probably felt he would be killed anyway. The Confederate veteran, Jack Hardy, says the reason he walked away from me that day and then failed to find me was that he heard his father blow his horn which he always used when he wanted help. The older man had just caught Rob and wanted Jack to say what they should do with him.
That saved my life. By the time he came back, I had dragged myself back to the road. He says that my portfolio and haversack were neatly piled up as though I had expected to come back for them. He has urged me to visit him, and sometime I would like to see him and the region of the Meridian march again."
(The buckshot that entered his face stayed behind his right eye and he lost much of his sight in that eye. He also had problems with his arm-LF)
Note: There is a John C. Hardy senior and junior in the 1850 census of Scott county which may be the J.C. Hardy mentioned in Dr. Kitching's account. The Wisconsin Adjutant General records Robert Powell as 32nd Regiment, Co. E, killed in action 24 Feb. 1864 at Hillsboro, MS.
Liane (Townsend) Fenimore