The Laurel Ledger Newspaper, Laurel, MS--Sep 28, 1906
written as told by Joseph Benjamin Lightsey
REMINISCENCES OF THE WAR
The night we spent on the battlefield of Iuka as we lay on our arms was one of horror to me. The many dead and wounded men amongst whom we were lying, the groans, prayers and curses of men calling for water which we were not able to help, the uncertainty of our position preventing us for we were expecting to be again attacked every moment all combined, made an impression on my mind never to be forgotten. But as Price found out by his scouts that Rosecrans the Federal Gen. was rapidly reinforcing and had 3 men to his 1, he adopted Santa Anna's tactics, "He that fights and runs away, Will live to fight another day", and we silently but rapidly withdrew leaving our wounded men but taking all our rations and munitions of war. Our teamster were transformed into Johnnies and did some furious driving, there was traveling in hot haste and the shells from the enemy's cannon came whistling over our heads. I had quite a ludicrous mishap which was funny to others but not much so to me. In attempting to jump over a mudhole instead of going around a few steps farther i jumped into the middle of the mud which was worked to the consistency of good mortar and just as adhesive. It came up to my cartridge belt. I had not taken into account the weight of my accoutrements which with my knapsack, 40 pounds of cartridges, musket, and blanket, weighted some 40 pounds or more. I was stuck in the mud but one of those whistling shells came pretty close by and with an extra exertion I extricated myself, a deplorable aspect with the mud sticking closer to me than a brother, a part of which rubbed off when it got dry. The enemy's cavalry covering our retreat. Pretty soon in the morning we passed through a long wide lane at the exit of which Gen. Price masked five cannon loaded with grape and canister. As soon as our cavalry passed the cannon the enemy coming pell mell after then the cannon belched forth with a deafning roar leaving 60 men dead and many wounded and left the enemy "hors de combat". This checked the enemy's pursuit and we were harassed no more that day. By the time we boys got through this days work we were mad enough to have bit biscuit but we drew our rations of flour and bacon and with our knowledge of the culinary art we soon manged to refresh the innerman. After we had rested a few days we made another forced march of a day and night to Corinth. There was drenching rain falling during night the and if you ever hear cursing it was there that night. It was so dark you could not see your right hand man and could only keep in line by touch and occasionally a man would slip and strike some fellow with the muzzle of his gun then you would hear words not complimentary to Jeff, Lincoln, or any of the officers. it was in Oct. 1862 we fought the battle of Corinth. It was truly a sanguinary battle and we lost many good men from the 37th Miss. reg't. Col. McLean, Capt. A. F. Dantzler, Milton Terral, Elijah Munger, Richard Lightsey, Tom Bender, and Tom Walters were all killed in this battle. I was captured owning to the army having to retreat and leaving the wounded in the hands of the enemy. i remained a prisoner 3 days then managed to make my escape from the guard detailed to watch me. I did some pretty tall walking for 5 days in succession after I left Corinth 150 miles, 30 miles per day on half rations. There was one day I came near missing my daily bread for which I never then failed to pray. I had gone all day without anything to eat and about 8 o'clock at night, tired and hungry, I lay my head on the railroad track a negro woman and child came along and came near stepping on me. I sat up and she in a rather excited voice said, "Who are you?" I replied, "I am a soldier". She said, "What are you doing here?" I said, "I escaped from the Yankees and am going home". "What are you doing for something to eat?", she said. I replied, "I have been getting something every day until today". She then said, "I have plenty in my cabin on the hill and if you will wait until I can cook it I will bring it to you". It was not long before she came back, her husband with her with a jug of good water, some fine bread, fried bacon, potatoes, and the sauce I had made it a most acceptable meal. Tell me ye skiptice that she was not a Christian though she was as dark as the ace of spades, though she claimed no reward for it. I gave her 25c in silver which was then worth as much as one dollar Confederate.
J. B. LIGHTSEY
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