4/09/1998 NOTES From The White County Historical Society Library

White County Historical Society Library
by Charlene Shields!
This article appeared in THE CARMI TIMES
April 09, 1998

Margaret Land in 1961

The past several columns have related the speech given by Margaret Land in 1961 to the White County Historical Society in which she chronicled the part played by the people of Enfield in the Civil War.

Last week told of the Old Soldiers' Reunion, which was a great event in the lives of the Enfield veterans.

In this, the conclusion of her speech, Mrs. Land tells of a disastrous sham battle which took place at one reunion.

"In 1887, a sham battle was held in the woodland north of town.

A fort was built on one hill with a cannon to help defend it.

The defiant shouts of the Federals were answered by shrill Rebel yells.

As the attacking troops charged down the hill and through the ravine to take the fort, the cannon was fired several times.

Then, through some tragic misadventure, it exploded.

"A number of men suffered minor injures. Robert Johnson had his thumb torn off. James Brockett lost a hand and arm.

Gabriel Sullenger, of McLeansboro, was fatally wounded.

"James Brockett's daughter, Miss Emma Brockett of Brownsville, told me about her father--how they carried him to the house of Dr. Thomas Long.

His house stood on the site of our house today.

After his wounds were cared for, they laid him in a wagon to take him home.

"My mother was a little girl, and she was crying as she followed the men carrying Mr. Sullenger, for she thought he was her father.

She watched through the white picket fence as they placed him beneath the great oak tree that still grows in our side yard, and there her father found her and comforted her.

In the old Presbyterian Cemetery west of McLeansboro is a tall white shaft-Gabriel Sullenger fell mortally wounded at the sham battle of the G.A.R. in Enfield August 19, 1887. He died August 21, 1887.

"A memorial service was held in May 1928 at the Presbyterian Church in Enfield The few remaining Civil War veterans were invited to attend.

When the last bell rang, only three were there--three frail old men.

Then a hack, drawn by two horses, came rattling up the hill from the west.

Boyce Mayberry from Hamilton County had come to the reunion.

He was wearing his old bell-crowned beaver hat in honor of the occasion.

"When the service was over, the old comrades were reluctant to depart.

Finally, Mr. Mayberry said, 'Well, boys, I reckon this will be our last reunion "till we meet on the other side of the river."

"And it was."

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