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JIM: How the Neatsville Home Guards saved Jamestown, KY

Jim has uncovered one of the dandiest stories of the Civil War. The late Pete Walker and I read it a few decades back and both agreed it should never be forgotten. Now, thanks to JIM it has been found and is reprinted below. It is recommended reading for both Native Born Adair Countians and Born Again Adair Countians by Choice. And if, perchance, a Jamestonian is grateful and hugs a Neatsvillager for saving the Capitol of the County, and if the story is a reminder to those in the Sprangs who think it was a bad idea to save Jamestown at all that Jamestown had to be saved to assure peaceful habitation of their own town, so much the better, so much greater our indebtedness to JIM for this fresh revelation. - EW


An eyewitness account of how the Neatsville Home Guards marched to Jamestown and saved the Green River country from the Johnny Rebs.

The following is a true and faithful transcription of the original "Reminiscences," penned by a mysterious "J.W.B." and printed in the Adair County News nearly thirty-six years after the events described therein. It appeared in the February 22, 1899 edition of the newspaper.

Reminiscences of War Times

The people of this country have doubtless lost very much in historical facts, not knowing the prominent part the Neatsville Home Guards took in the suppression of the great rebellion.

It was in the Autumn of 1863 that our narrative begins. The leaves were as yellow as gold, and the sun shone beautifully over the landscape; and our quiet village was full of expectation--people anxious to get news of the war.

Suddenly there was discovered a dense cloud of dust rising towards Bartlett's Ford in the South. Every body was excited; was it Champ Fergerson or Bill Richardson or some other desperate freebooter coming to kill and loot our quiet town? We were not kept long in suspense, for a half-dozen persons came galloping into town -- brave Union boys -- and made the terrible announcement that the rebels were crossing the Cumberland river at Rowena in large forces, and that an attack on Russell Springs and Jamestown was expected every hour; and that Judge Green had sent them to inform our Captain to reinforce him with our Home Guards as soon as possible.

Then confusion and excitement reigned--men hallooing at the top of their voices, throwing their hats in the air, saying down with rebels. It looked for a while like the inferno had broken loose. Right here I will say that your humble writer was on the other end of the cloth. That is to say, he was not for the last man and last dollar to subjugate our brethren of the South - still he was patriotic enough to want to defend our homes from the desolating hands of marauders.

The anvils boomed all night, and the beating of the large bass drum brought the boys together. Next morning it was agreed that all should register at the Drak_ Saloon and form for inspection, this duty being performed by our brave Major R., who was an old veteran of the Mexican War.

This being done, our patriotic Captain stepped upon the platform and gave order No. 1: that the first thing to be done was to remove those rebels from the bushes and then we would give them a fair fight. All received this declaration with great joy; and being in readiness, the command moved out on the Russell Springs road, not, however, until some precautionary measures were taken; hence the selection of two brave and true men to lead the advance skirmish lines.

Uncle Billy and Hickman were chosen unanimously for this picket duty. and two better men could not be found, while our esteemed friend, Bob Jones, discoursed with the claronet, those sweet notes of Dixie, while our fellow citizen, John S. D., familiarly known as Sugar John, beat the bass drum incessantly.

Over hill and dale, on we went through the almost unbroken forest until the Springs were reached--there we were informed that the rebels anticipated an attack on Jamestown, hence we were ordered to double quick to that place.

In the meantime our musicians were notified to beat longer and louder until the town was reached. On and on we went until we found ourselves in the public square at Jamestown. Houses and windows were brilliantly lighted and our command "perambulated" the square three or four times while our fifer and drum-major discussed Yankee Doodle to perfection.

Our brave Captain called us to halt and told us there was no immediate danger of an engagement that night; that the rebels had smelt a mouse and had returned back across the river. Thus the timely appearance of our Home Guards, and their heroic daring, certainly did save all this Green River country from the devastation of guerrilla warfare, and they should be remembered as having taken some humble part in suppressing the great rebellion. - J.W.B.

This story was posted on 2011-12-24 10:11:12
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