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JIM: Man's humanity to Man: a Civil War tale of compassion

In a Civil War reunion at Weed, Southwestern Adair County, a reunion of two old soldiers, one who had been just a boy as a Union soldier from Bluff Boom, Green Co., KY, the other a middle-aged Confederate from Tennessee who lived out his last years in Lower End of Adair County, led to a close friendship which lasted throughout the rest of their lives. Theirs is a most unusual story of twists and turns and coincidences, of defiant aid between individuals of enemy camps. In this story there is no inhumanity to man.

By "Jim"

This article appeared in the December 8, 1920 edition of the Adair County News.

The following story has been told us and it is said that the incident which will follow actually occurred. Both of the participants are yet living.


When the war between the States came, "Uncle" Daniel Mooneyham, who lives in the lower part of Adair County, now ninety-three years old, entered the Confederate army. He was then a middle aged man. At about the same time, John Russell, who now lives at Bluff Boom, Green County, a boy in his teens, joined the Union army. The writer does not believe that Russell lived in Green county at that time.

At any rate both Mooneyham and Russell went with their respective commands South, and in a hard fight Russell was taken a prisoner. Mooneyham, seeing that he was a mere boy, sympathized with him, and made up his mind to aid Russell in making his escape. Word reached the Confederate camp that all the Federal prisoners would be sent to a Southern prison next day.

Mr. Mooneyham watched his opportunity, and going to Russell, told him that he would assist him in escaping during the night. At the proper time he had a horse ready, notified Russell, who slipped the guards, mounted the horse, and escaped.

Some months after this, in another battle, Mooneyham was captured by the Federals, and there was talk of putting him to death. Russell came upon the scene, having gotten back to his command, and recognized the prisoner as the same man who had aided him to escape through the Confederate lines.

He went to Mooneyham, told him who he was, and that he was going to see that he escaped. Arrangements were quickly made for a horse, and Mooneyham mounted it, and in a day or two he reached his regiment.

Both men fought all through the war, but did not again meet during hostilities. Some years after the war, at a reunion at Weed, this county, John Russell was present and made a speech and during his address he told of the above incidents. Mooneyham was present, and after the story was related he arose, walked up to the stand, and with tears in his eyes, said, "I am the man who befriended you, and I am also the man you befriended."

The men embraced each other and had a long talk before separating. Mr. Mooneyham was invited to visit Mr. Russell's home, which he did later, and while there was presented with a horse which he rode home, he being in rather poor circumstances.

They have met several times since, and they are happier when they meet than at any other time. In this story there is no inhumanity to man.

Mr. Mooneyham, a native of Tennessee who served in the war from that state, passed away about four months after this article appeared in the News. A brief entry in the May 10, 1920 edition stated that "The passing of 'Uncle' Daniel Mooneyham, whose death occurred about three weeks ago, and [the passing of] Mr. Creed Hood, who died ten days ago, removed the last ex-Confederate soldiers from Adair county..."

Compiled by "Jim."


This story was posted on 2011-07-17 07:31:04
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