While William and thousands of other men were away from their homes, their families left behind also suffered. From the History of Old Tishomingo County Mississippi Territory, Fan Alexander Cochran complied the following information:
Back on the home front of Tishomingo County, the most important decision to come before the county government was how best to take care of all the women and children left behind by the men mustering for war. A committee was formed to inquire into and report the best means to support the destitute families of soldiers. On July 3, 1861, the following order was entered. ‘There are other portions of our county from which many men of small and helpless families, and having mothers and others almost entirely dependent upon their labors for the necessities of life now are or expect in a short time to enter the camp, and which would make it burdensome, if not impossible, for their immediate neighbors to afford the necessary relief; and believing that this burden should be born by each citizen and those owning property in our county in proportion to his pecuniary ability, and believing it to be within the spirit and meaning of the powers conferred upon our honorable body the constitution and laws of the State so to do, do recommend that you raise such amount by taxation as may be necessary to supply necessary provisions to the families of those dependent upon their labor of our volunteers who now are or may hereafter be engaged in the army whilst they are so engaged.’
While William was busy fighting the war in the east, his hometown of Burnsville, Mississippi was near ground zero for the Siege, Battle and occupation of Corinth by the Union Troops which took place between May and October 1862. As I mentioned in my post I Asked About…John C. nothing more was ever learned about William’s wife, Tarsy and their daughter Martha. With battles raging all around and the lack of necessary provisions, it would be most likely that Tarsy left the area with Martha to a part of the country which was a safer place to raise her and John C.
Thomas D. Christie, a member of the Northern Army wrote to his sister on September 21, 1862. He was stationed with the 1st Minnesoa Light Artillery Battery near Iuka. He writes:
Our handsome General McArthur led us out on the Iuka road, through the Rebel fortifications and down in the great swamp that sweeps around the town on the north and east…By this time, it rained in torrents, the infantry threw on their rubber ponchos and pressed bravely on through the mud, and we, having none donned our overcoats and sat in silence on the ammunition chests, while the splattered horses plunged through the holes and over the rough corduroys of the narrow road. After getting through the swamp we ascended to the level of the cotton and corn fields of last year, now a wilderness of weeds, with no and then a cotton press or gin standing solitary and dilapidated by the side of the road.
The country we had passed through was alternate swamp and high pine land with, here and there a clump of chestnut trees loaded with their green burrs. Scarcely a house had we seen since leaving Corinth and those we did see were of the rudest construction, built of rough pine logs with the chimney running up the end outside…The next morning we proceeded to Iuka without opposition and the road being strewn with clothing thrown away by the Rebels. We stopped at the town about an hour and then started back to Burnsville 9 miles this side…the soldiers…fired every rebel house on the road that was unoccupied, which was the case with nearly all. They were mostly built of pitch pine and burned like so many matches….The immense flames crackled and roared and threw their light for into the deep woods that surrounded them, the buildings with a crack sending up millions of sparks and the heat was so intense that we had to drive by on the gallop on account of the caissons.
To read the posts in chronological order: