Lee Family


Screven County GA Family Bios

J. M. Lee Family Data provided by

Alice Caroline Wilson Lee copied Jan. 25, 1983.

"A Few Experiences of Capt. J.M. Lee and Wife During the Civil War"

Mr. Lee joined the army in 1861, and was sent to Savannah where he was appointed quarter-master and remained about 2 years. He was then sent to Dorchester (Liberty Co.) for a short time:  from here was ordered to Virginia where, in a short while, they were engaged in battle and he was captured a prisoner, and then taken to Point Lookout.  After staying there about 3 months, volunteers were called for to go to Elmira N.Y.  Thinking that he could not make matters worse as the drinking water was very bad, and their health endangered, he among others volunteered and from there was sent to N.Y.  While in Elmira Prison he had charge of the Cook Department and was treated very kindly.  At the expiration of 7 months, there was an exchange of soldiers and he received a Parole of Honor and came home. Soon after his arrival came news that Sherman's Army was on its "March to the Sea."  Now came the perplexing question.  What are the wisest things to do, as who could tell the results of the march of such an army of the enemy.  We, as others did along the route of the march, stored and hid away all valuables and souvenirs of by gone days in hopes that we would at least preserve these. The men, who were at home were now hiding in the Oqeechee River Swamp fearing capture or they know not what at the mercy of such an army. Two weeks after Mr. Lee's arrival from Elmira, one afternoon he ventured from his hiding place and came home.  I had packed his lunch basket, and we were sitting on the steps, while he gave me advice as what to do when the army reached our home, as we then lived in direct line of their march, in Effingham Co. on road from Augusta to Savannah:  When looking up we saw a cloud of dust and several men on horse-back.  Of course, Mr. Lee left hurriedly, and very hurriedly indeed, for the swamp.  These proved to be only scouts in advance of the army and soon passed on.  Now began a night of ceaseless apprehension as only those of us who had like experience can imagine, my only companion being a sister and two small children and servants.  Next morning at sun-rise the army reached our home, and from then until sunset the throng passed by.  Some on horse-back, some in carriages and wagons. I asked for protection, which one of the officers kindly gave, telling me that he would protect myself, children, and house.  But such pillaging and devastion!  Everyplace was searched and everything carried away or destroyed.  Milk dairies were gone through and the milk and cream drank or thrown out, syrup turned out, and groceries of all kinds taken or destroyed.  The bee hives were also robbed, they, when stung by the bees, cursing them for little rebels.  They found the horses, cows, and hogs which were hidden in the swamp, and took them with all the chickens except one hen and five little ones.  Instead of our collie, they left in the barn yard several dead horses, horses that had given out, been shot and one old cow which could go no farther but which with our care proved to be a great treasure.  We had no clothing left except that what we wore.  One effort to save as many garments as I could proved rather amusing.  I had put as much clothing on my little boy as he could well carry, but this proved to be uncomfortable, and all day he would complain of being "too heavy" until one of the officers asked what he meant when I told him.  They were very kind to the children feeding them on hard-tack and talking to them.  But what of the servants?  Ours, as did hundreds of others, were true to their masters.  The cook fearing that they would take her acted as if sick and went to bed and no indicements could make her leave.  But the little Negro boys were taken away, one riding my favorite horse and calling and begging me not to let them have him.  With the army were a great many slaves, some in carriages while the horses were covered with fine quilts and wraps, the handiwork of our Southern Women.  But the throng has passed and it is near dusk, and we go out to view the surroundings and find something to eat.  We view destruction on every side while the ground looks as if it had been plowed where the soldiers had run their bayonets hunting for hidden valuables and treasures, most of them being found.  And we find only a few wasted potatoes and rice without even salt for our supper.  All the accumulations of years gone, we rise on the tomorrow to begin life anew. And we, with thousands of others who had given besides property, fathers, brothers, sons, and husbands, begin the task of bringing his loved South-land to the state of prosperity which we have since enjoyed.

A.E. Lee

Note; J.M. Lee is Joseph Marion Lee, son of  James Lee and Mary E. Anderson.

A.E. Lee is Alice Caroline Wilson daughter of John W. Wilson and Jane Edwards.

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