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    NC Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans

Wednesday 01 Apr 2020

Untaught History - Page 4 PDF Print E-mail

Coming within a mile or less of the ford, a voice sharp and clear called out: "Halt! Who goes there?" "Men from Alexander." Replied Colonel Sharpe. "Who are you?" Oxford's9 men from Caldwell County," came the quick response. "Advance!"


This was indeed good news to us. We found Oxford's men all sleeping soundly in the woods near the road, except two or three who were walking the sentinel's beat. We shared their bed of leaves till break of day, when the call came to "rise and fall in line." The two companies together numbered not more than forty men. We left the road leading to the ford and turned up the river to the left and crossed at a small ford on the farm of a Mr. Tolbart, then ascended a hill to the Valley Road and, dismounting, fed our horses, opened our haversacks, and ate breakfast in the yard of Mr. Tolbart. In his house a woman was dying who, with her husband the day before, was approaching the ford in a wagon and was shot by one of the robbers from the fort, more then a quarter of a mile distant.

Mr. Tolbart was a very nervous man. It was little wonder living so close to those fortified devils. "You men may easily judge," he told us, "what my fears of these robbers are and what are my feelings towards them; yet I dare not say a word. My advice to you all is that you go back home, for with that force you will not be able to take them. They are on the lookout for you, and they have doubtless sent to their sympathizers for recruits; and should you fall into their hands they will surely kill you. No doubt they are lying in those thickets in ambush for you and as soon as you turn the top of that hill you are in danger of sudden death."


Tolbart's words struck fear into many of our men. We held a council of war. A few of our bravest men were in favor of going back and waiting until we could get a larger force, but by a large majority it was decided to go on. After passing the top of the hill and coming to a little narrow footpath heading through a long stretch of thickets and old field pines, the Colonel turned to me. "You take these five men, Gaultney," he commanded, "and follow this path until you reach the hill yonder on the West of the fort, between which hill and fort runs Lewis's Fork. Feel your way carefully through the thicket, and when you reach the hill scout it thoroughly and see that there is no one on it. I will take the company and station them on the North and East of the fort, thus having them surrounded, with the Yadkin River on the south. When the men are all stationed, a gun will be fired on the East to let you know that we are all in place." So saying, he marched away with the company.


I took the five men, and we followed the narrow, dark path in single file, expecting every moment to be ambushed. We breathed not a free breath until we had reached the hill, scoured it, and happily, found no one on it. We had been in many dangerous places during the war, but never was our courage tried more thoroughly than in creeping over that dark, narrow path. We felt that the enemy, whom we could not see, was about to launch us into eternity. Never were we so conscious of safety as when we reached that hill, where we felt that in the fight we could see the foe.

Last Updated on Monday, 22 March 2010 13:15

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