THE SAD STORY OF A SIXTEEN YEAR OLD CONFEDERATE SOLDIER
This article was written in the Courant America Newspaper on May 12,1898
Miss Hattie M. Gibbons, near Cassville, Ga. Reports the following incident, in the hope that it may be the means of clearing up the mystery in some family regarding the fate of WILLIE CARTER:
One bright June morning in 1864 two Confederate soldiers appeared at the residence of MR.G________, five miles from Cassville, Ga. and askedfor food. The older of the two gave his name as Williams, and that of his companion (a handsome, dark-eyes youth of sixteen years) as WILLIE CARTER. They belonged to a cavalry company, and, having lost their horses, were given permission to enter the Federal line and capture horses with which to mount themselves.
Mr. G.’s family, being intense secessionists, gladly gave then food, but warned them not to linger at the house, anticipating scouting – parties from Kingston, then occupied by Federal troops. Sure enough, a detachment of Federals, having heard that there were Rebel soldiers in the neighborhood, came to the house just after the Confederates left, and following, overtook them about two miles beyond. Mr. Williams succeeded in making this escape, and was never heard of afterward. Willie Carter was mortally wounded, and was taken to the nearest house, ----the residence on what was known as the “Crowell” plantation, but then ownedby Mr.G._____ and occupied by his tenants.
The Yankees, on their return telling of having wounded the boy, Hearing of this, Miss G. and several other ladies hastened to his bedside to nurse him. There were then no Physicians in the county, but there was no” lack of women’s nursing,” and dearth of women’s tears,” for these ladies gave him as skillful attention as was in their power, administering to his every want as tenderly as though he had been a brother.
In his delirium he frequently addressed Miss Bettie G _______ as “sister Jane” and had her to sing to him; sweet voice making him happy in the belief that he was at home with his loved ones.
In his lucid moments he said he wasthe son of a widow, who resided at Camp Jackson, Tallapoosa County, Ala. To this address Miss G._____ wrote, but no response was ever received. Perhaps thought some unfortunate circumstance the mother never learned of fate of her boy, who after lingering several days, died far from home and kindred.
This entire country was in possession of the federal troops and the men, except several old men, were gone to war. These old men dressed the soldier for burial in their own best clothing and made a coffin which, with cloth and lampblack ( their only resources) the ladies make as genteel as was possible.
A touching and picturesque spectacle was presented by the funeral cortege, composed of three old men, a wounded Confederate soldier on crutches, and women and children bearing the flowers and weeping, as they followed the wagon contained the rude, stained coffin.
A Baptist minister conducted the religious services, the mortal remains of Willie Carter------ “ a stranger in a strange land ---“ were consigned to rest beneath the primeval oaks, which stand as sentinels over the sleepers in the lowly mounds, in the graveyard at Old Mount Zion Church.
This church gray and crumbling with age, is since the war used as a place to worship by the Black; and on Sabbath morning the solemn, weird hymns of the congregation float over his grave, and, reverberating among the quiet forest, die away to signs in the distance.
The summer breezes, among the quivering leaves, crowns tender lullabies or thunder God’s symphonies as they sweep above the place where the slumbers.
Remote from human’s habitation the red bird with its trembling wings brushing the morning dew drops from the grass, pauses in its flight to sing upon the lonely grave. And over it the evening’s hush, as the divine hand pluck a mantle of moonlight from the breast of night spreads it upon the soldier’s lonely couch, the cooing of the doves and whippoorwills in the trees above repeat over and over again their plaintive songs --- lost in the echoes amid the sobbing pines beyond.
No more does Wille Carter heed the bugle’s blare or cannon’s roar. “ Taps” have sounded; off duty now, he sleeps.
Willie Carter perished “ in behalf of a “cause” that lose but is not forgotten.
In the spring all over fair, sunny Southland memorial exercises are conducted and floral tributes o, loving remembrance are placed by tender hands upon the graves of our gallant boys in gray; whose lives were offered up upon the altar of our beloved country.
At such a time. I think of the unmarked grave of this solitary confederate soldier.
No matter what may have been the lineage and antecedents of this youth; he was a confederate soldier. He was enlisted in the cause of freedom. He wore the gray.
He fought under the flag that represented southern valor and patriotism.
Peace to his ashes!Honor be his memory!
Hattie M. Gibbons
If anyone has a connection to the Willie Carter family please contact us. We have searched like Hattie to find the family of Willie Carter. I hope we will beable to solve this mystery.
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Phone No. 770-382-2294
Hattie's sister wrote letters toWillie Carter's mother but didn't find the answer. After 34 years, Hattie put a article in the newspaper and in the confederate Veterans' book. It was OBVIOUS that Hattie never gave up on Wille Carter's familyhoping that they would soon contact her.
We are searching to find kinpeople of William Carter.