United Daughters of the Confederacy remembers Farmington battle

Friday, October 21, 2011
Clothed in a mourning dress and veil, Martha Watt is seated on a buggy with a coffin ready for transport to the Confederate Cemetery in Farmington.

From staff reports

FARMINGTON - Decades after the War Between the States, the Civil War was also gingerly referred to as "the unpleasantries."

Indeed, the conflict was fought over an issue dodged by the founding fathers, as well as taxation, industrialization and a myriad of other reasons that generated ghastly results.

Still controversial on clothing labels, flags and on heritage trails, the conflict also generated ghost stories across the south. In Virginia, a widow's seen once and again at a grand hotel that was her home where - still - she holds a lantern for her soldier's return.

In Marshall County, the aftermath of the Battle of Farmington included sisters looking for fallen brothers' remains. The battle prompted one community woman to rush to the scene to see what she could do since she heard recurring gunfire.

Such are the tales told again by the United Daughters of the Confederacy chapter for this area as provided last Saturday evening. It was a pre-Halloween reflection on the Civil War at the Farmington Confederate Cemetery.

Re-enactors, dressed in period garb, portrayed characters who participated in the Battle of Farmington, a clash between Union and Confederate soldiers who'd confiscated supplied in Shelbyville. The supplies, according to a re-enactor's version told several years ago, included two barrels of Jack Daniel's whiskey.

During the battle, a Confederate physician was shot.

"I guess that's a Yankee for you," Jerry Watt said during the Ghost Walk to visitors who were told Union troops didn't recognize the universal symbol of neutrality - a doctor's white coat - in the battle field.

The UDC Ghost Walk was a show and tell of the stories and people from during the battle on Oct. 7, 1863.

Luminaries were placed along the walkway to the cemetery and the characters had lanterns to help visitors see.

Calm wind, clear skies and an unseasonably warm autumn afternoon and evening made the Ghost Walk an enjoyable and instructive event.

Here, then, are the characters and their actors:

* Dr. J.W. Gouley, a physician, was with the Texas Rangers. He's buried in Farmington and his actor was Jerry Watt. He was the first costumed re-enactor during the Ghost Walk toward the cemetery. Watt, of Lewisburg, wore a white lab coat to indicate he was a non-combatant, but he was shot and killed during the battle, according to Watt's telling of the tale.

* Jolee Boyd, 8, of Nashville, portrayed an 1863 student at the Athenaeum, an all-female school in Columbia. The student she portrayed was Louise Mosely, according to Boyd's script read to visitors during their walk to the cemetery.

* Courtney Howard of Chapel Hill portrayed Martha Love, whose brother was buried at the Confederate cemetery. Love, according to Howard, went to the battlefield to retrieve he brother's body.

* Laura Watt of Chapel Hill portrayed Evelyn Milton, whose husband, Phillip, was injured while mounting his horse, she said. The horse slipped and fell on him and broke Phillip's leg. He was taken in by a Farmington family, and cared for. He did not die from that injury.

* Martha Watt, of Chapel Hill, portrayed Mary Kennedy Lane White, who was married to Dr. Rufus White of Pulaski, Watt said. Her brother was killed during the battle of Farmington and, like Martha Love, Mary White went to the battleground to retrieve her brother's body.

Her father, Thomas Lane, built Lairdland Farmhouse in Giles County, she said. He sold the farm in 1856 and moved his family to Burleson County, Texas. Mary and her doctor husband stayed in Pulaski.

* Joyce and Ed Johnson of Columbia portrayed Lea and Glen Moore, they said. Lea's brother, Lt. Daniel Hoffman, fought and died at Farmington. He was missing for a long time after the battle. Then she learned that he was killed and buried at Farmington.

* Sue Thompson of Columbia portrayed a teacher from the Athenaeum and spoke with visitors who came to the Ghost Walk.

* Sharon Bell of Columbia portrayed a community lady from Chapel Hill who heard the battle's gunfire and went to Farmington to assist the wounded.

* Chris Watt of Chapel Hill portrayed an unnamed Confederate soldier

In much of the same fashion that there's a Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington Cemetery, Chris Watt of Chapel Hill portrayed an unnamed Confederate soldier who was buried at Farmington.

* Nathan Derryberry of Lewisburg was a guide for visitors and he waved the Texas Rangers' flag.