Publisher: StClairCountyAl.com Date: 5/17/2004 Alabama's Last Surviving Confederate Soldier
Taps sounded Monday night, 31 December 1951, for Colonel Pleasant Riggs Crump. Just as the old year was breathing its last, so did Colonel Crump. Nearly 86 years had passed since the guns of war were stilled. The last of Alabama's gray-clad warriors who battled valiantly under the Stars and Bars in the War between the States had quietly gone to the last great Camping Grounds, joining many thousands of his gallant comrades in gray, in the Valhalla of heros where they will be together for all eternity. Colonel Crump died in Lincoln, Alabama, a town oddly enough bearing the same name of the Commander-in-Chief of the United Forces against whom he had fought.
Colonel Crump, 104 years old on 23 December, was an eye-witness to the surrender of General Robert E. Lee's forces to General U. S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse. Friends and neighbors of the old soldier and members of Talladega's Civitan Club helped him celebrate around a birthday cake decorated with 104 candles. He was made an honorary member of the Civitan Club.
Crump was born 23 December 1847 in Crawford's Cove, near Ashville, St. Clair County, Alabama. The year he was born, James K. Polk was President of the USA, and Indians were on the warpath in sections of the country.
Sometime during his second century, he received the Honorary Title of "Colonel" from President Harry Truman.
In 1863, just when the hopes of Confederate armies were waning, one of his young neighbors, who had been fighting in the 10th Alabama Regiment in the Virginia Campaign, came home on leave. Crump decided to enlist and took off at the age of 16 with his neighbor boy for Petersburg and joined the forces of Northern Virginia.
He fought through many of the Virginia battles and saw the end of the Confederacy at Appomattox .
Forty-eight years after, Colonel Crump recalled how he was just across the road from the McLean House that Sunday, and how, later, he took his little part in the awful drama of the Stacking of the Arms. He would become its last surviving soldier-witness from Alabama.
Ex-private Crump returned to St. Clair County, and when he was 22 he married Mary Hall of Lincoln. He settled on 38 acres of land given to him by his father-in-law. His farm was just over the St. Clair County line from Lincoln. He lived there, in the house he built, for 78 years until his death.
He and Mary had five children and were a family until she died in 1901, fifty years to the day before her husband died. In 1905 he "took" Ella Wall s of Childersburg. Their home lasted 36 years until her summons came in July 1942.
Colonel Crump left behind only 20 Civil War Veterans who had borne the battles in this long-ago: twelve Rebs and eight Yanks. It had been a goodly distance from Appomattox and, for Pleasant Crump, one well worth traveling. Perhaps it gave him a certain spiritual uplifting in being one of the few boys in gray to share their astounding final Confederate Victory in number over the existing Union Army. Best of all, though, he went to his maker calmed that the bitter wounds of long ago's defeat had healed. "Behold how good and how PLEASANT it is for brethren to dwell together in Unity." Psalm 133:1