It was late winter and Uncle Seth and the boys were out at the barn getting some nubbins and larger ears of corn out of the corn crib to feed to the mules. Winters in south-central Mississippi were generally mild. The farm animals usually did not need too much extra feeding to get through the winter. Farmers in the area would usually keep an eye on their mules and cattle to make sure their “fat layer” was sufficient to keep them warm and carry them through until the spring grass emerged. Uncle Seth and the boys were feeding the mules and milk cows—milch cows as Uncle Seth correctly referred to them. All they really needed was a small amount just to make sure they would come in to the stomp-lot every evening. Uncle Seth and the boys would inspect each animal; mules and milk the cows; and if they had work that required a mule the next day they would close the gate in order to keep the mules in the stomp-lot overnight. “Now boys,” Uncle Seth shouted, “you all make sure that you break those large ears of corn in half before you give them to the mules—they can handle the nubbins alright but those darn fool mules will chock themselves to death trying to eat one of those ears of corn whole.” Uncle Seth had found a cozy place to sit in the corn crib. The boys came in and began climbing on the huge mound of corn pilled high in the crib. Uncle Seth eyed the pill of corn thinking to himself that there should be enough corn to last through ‘til next fall’s corn harvest. “Boys,” the old Confederate veteran announced, “I remember a fight we had in a corn crib in February of 1864 up in Lake Village, Arkansas—just a little ways up river from Vicksburg, Mississippi.” The boys slid down from the top of the corn coming to rest next to Uncle Seth and waited for him to begin his story. “I was with a group of Missourians who were a part of Captain Tuck Thorp’s Company E. Elliot’s Battalion, of Joe Shelby’s brigade. About twenty-four of us had been detailed to a small town in southeast Arkansas about twenty-five miles from the Louisiana state line. The town was Lake Village, I believe it is in Chicot County.” “The Yankees under General Grant were attacking Vicksburg, Mississippi and were busy shelling Confederate military positions as well as civilian population areas. It was so bad the people in Vicksburg had to leave their homes and dig bomb-proofs into the side of the hills to avoid being killed in their homes by the United States navy on the river and the United States army on the hills surrounding Vicksburg.” “Things were rather boring for us—we could hear the bombardment at Vicksburg but there were no action for us. Then on Valentine Day some citizens came in and reported to Captain Thorp that some of the Yankees who had been attacking Vicksburg had steamed up river and landed troops at the Tecumseh plantation owned by Joe Johnson. Joe was well known in that part of Arkansas for his Indian War adventures. The Yankees were looking for forage and were planning to empty the three corn cribs on the plantation before burning the house and barns. Captain Thorp called us together and told us that we would be outnumbered and it was up to us to decide to go or not go—to a man we all voted to go!” (continued on page 7) Uncle Seth Fought the Yankees by James Ronald Kennedy Stories not previously published—Uncle Seth’s stories are taken from actual accounts of individuals who witnessed or participated in the adventures. Chasing Yankees Out of the Corn Crib 7 “The plantation had three corn cribs and we did not know which one they would be in or if they would be in all three when we arrived. We traveled through three miles of canebrakes and then came out on a well-traveled road that took us by the slave quarters and a cotton gin. As we turned the corner we came face to face with a Yankee carrying a bushel basket full of corn. A Yankee standing next to him immediately raised his Enfield and fired at us and we immediately returned the fire but no one, Yankee or Confederate, was hit on that initial exchange but every Yankee there knew the Confederates had crashed their looting party. Several of us dismounted, drew our navy revolvers and rushed into the corn crib. Before the Yankees could grab their weapons we cut them down—all except a few who jumped out of the crib window. The other Yankees came a-running and formed into a small battle line in the stomp-lot—almost ready to do battle. Before they could get completely organized one of our boys, Ben Krigler, opened the gate to the stomp-lot and the rest of the Missourians charged down on the Yankees. Our boys were using their Colt navy pistols with effect, Yankees dropped right and left as they rode through the invaders. In less than two minutes after clearing the gate the Yankees were dead, wounded, or surrendered.” “Every soldier there did their duty that day—the Missourians were hundreds of miles from home but they never hesitated to do their duty in defense of our country’s freedom. Neither a man nor horse on our side was killed or wounded. Just shows that numbers are not always the determining factor in a fight,” Uncle Seth said in conclusion. The old Confederate veteran always liked to point out to the young generation of Southerners the fact that numbers alone are not always the deciding factor. He hoped that one day new generations of Southerners would realize that even though the Yankee Empire was larger than the South—the South still deserved to be free—and numbers alone could not prevent the rise of freedom if the people truly believed in themselves and their right to be free.