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Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922, August 31, 1913, EDITORIAL, Image 9

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The Omaha Sunday Bee
Armies of North and South to Meet in Peace at Lookout
bOR the first, time In tho history" of the
organization, tho Grand Army.or tne
Republic will meet ,ln the south, to
celebrate an anniversary. The forty
seventh anniversary o this organiza
tion will he held In Chattataobga,
Tenn., from September 15 to 20. It
expected that about 300 survivors of the war
from Nebraska In general and thirty from Omaha
In particular will attend. The Nobrask'a veterans
will be under command of John A.' Dempster, de-
par tinent commander of Nebraska,' Grand Army of '
the Republic. ,
It so happens that the forty-seventh encamp
ment occurs oh the fiftieth anniversary of the
battle of. Chlckamauga. It Is planned for a general
attendance of Union and Confederate men at th'a
celebration' of the anniversary of that, desperate
Conflict. While Mr. Dempster was notengaged, in
the, battle of Chlckamauga, he has fought in
twenty-four battles, beginning just-below St.. Louis
and. following the Mississippi river, the Tennessee
river, and marching through Georgia. His hottest
tiitJa was at Bhlloh, Tenn. It was there that he
yEEld'he kijled the only man In the whole war that
'll Knows of,
"He. was a tall, darkMississIppJan," Mr. Demp
ster said. In. recalling the Incident. "He was about
tha coolest man-1 ever saw, I was behind a log,
and he was behind a tree 'about 200 feet In front
of me. It was after the first flurry of the battlo
had passed, and a certain recklessness possessod
me that I noticed him. Every once in a while the
smoke would raise, and then I could see him
calmly standing there with his long, old squirre-JI
"He was an artist at handling that rifle. Ho
would step behind the tree and slowly and deliber
ately load. The barrel was extremely long,' even
for one of those old-fashioned squirrel rifles. Ho
would stand at one side of the tree, draw the gun
over hla left shoulder and slowly and deliberately
bring it. down to a level with his hips. He had al
ready Blgbted the man he 'wanted and when the
gun was Just right, it blazed away with no seem
ing attempt of tho part of the shooter to aim.
And I noticed that every time he did that, one of
our boyjT'blt the dust.
"Tbink's I, 'Now young fellow, that's got to
Btop. I've watched you do that way six times pow,
and that's enough.' Bo I waited, and the next time
he brought the gun into position so coolly, so de
liberately, I let uira have one. His rifle never went
off. I went back the next day. and found him lying
just as he had ftta with one arm thrown across
bis face, and the other hand still holding to the
gun. Maybe I didn't kill him after all; it might
have been Bomebody else. But be is the only, man
In the wholo war that I took aim at," ha vailed.
"I shot high, generally. I had v to kill
anybody. And there were it m the boys who did
the same thing,
"But war is a business; you are there to do all
the damage you can, anrl the enemy also has that
ambition. Although, as I say, I never tried to
kill anybody, I suppose I did. It -was what I was
there for. I met a man years after, who had been
a Confederate in the battle of Sbiloh, and he told
me that our first volley, killed 270 men. Think of
that 270 humans right In one brief second. But
that was what we were there for.
"They formed, one solid line, a perfect . wall,
In front of us, and it seemed . to me there was
1,000,000 'Johnnies' there. They were on higher
. ground. Our volley took effect, and tielr'a went
away over our hcadB. By and by they: swung
around, and I heard, what is' absolutely the most
uncanny and altogether hair-raising sound I ever
heard in my life. Even above the roar of the can
non, the cracking of the artillery, and the buzz and
hum of bullets that fierce, penetrating sound came
to me. It was the rebel yell.
"Thinks I, when I heard, it, 'John, you're a
goner now.' Tho bullets were thick as ball over
and on all Bides; but I made up my tInd to either
go on with the gang, wherever it might have
started for, or Just drop right thefo. So I went.
"Well, he said after a while, "It is all over
now, and it Is about time we get together and for
get those troubles of half a century ago, I think
war Is foolish, and wouldn't go if I was a young
man again."
Dr. S. K. Spalding, a member of the national
council of administration representing the district
of Nebraska, who also will attend the reunion, was
a member of the Second Iowa Calvary. From the
rounlon, he has planned a trip for him and his
wlfd to Panama.
When asked to relate some of the incidents of
tho war. Dr. Spalding thought a moment and said
there was so much well, anyhow,, he was going
down the Tennessee river on a transport, with
gunboat No. 6 as escort and suppose we let tho
Doctor tell It?
"One day we were snailing along down the
river, lazy and contented and thinking that after
all, war Isn't such a hardship. We had food and
lodging ajid ngUllas JLft particular, to do, but fight,
I was Just a-ktd about-18 years and suph a life
appealed to me. I w,as standing -on-deck, and tho
boat was near the shore when I saw a man ride
up a ridge on the bank. He wore a blue coat, like
our boys, and, at first, I thought maybe he was ons
of us.
. '
"But by and by I noticed he acted strangely.
Instead" of just' standing still, like a' UnlOn'soldler
might have .done,' he .kept rldng .up ,to- thotop
of the ridge and then disappearing.' Finally I said
to somebody that tho next time be came to the top,
I Intended to take a shot at him,' I 'did. Just as-1
fired, some one from the gunboat fired. The 'man
disappeared. -
"Somo time afterward, I was on detail duty
up in the mountains, . and our squad captured a
band of guerillas headed by Bert Hays. There
wore four in the party captured. That night we and
the prisoners got to talking quite friendly, consid
ering what might happen to them but then, we
were in the same boat ourselves, being soldiers.
"The incident of the transport was ' brought
up. Bert Hays showed me a hole In his coat sleeve,
and said that is where he was shot. I told him
it was me, maybo, that bad shot him; and I cer
tainly was gratified to know he wasn't dead. A
man never wants to know he killed anybody.
"Well, sir, after the war, I went to Monmouth
college to try-and learn something and I met tho
son of the dean. Bob Wallace, and we became most
friendly. I told him I was in the war, and he said
he was, too, and we discussed this and that cam
paign, I told him I was on a transport, and.lt de
veloped that he, too, had come down the Tennessee
" 'Do .you remember seeing, a man with- a blue
coat riding along the bank?' says I,
" 'I should say so,' says he; 'I shot at him.'
"''You don't say so. Do you recall bearing a
shot from tho transport?'
" 'Yes.'
"'.Well, ihat was mine, I csjtturcd the fellow
later, and I took bis sword. X etll) have it in my
"I haven't seen Bob for years. I don't know
for sure whore, he la."
wnd this euerlllaA-Bert Hays what became
of him?" was asked.
"The last I saw of him," ' the doctor Bald
gravely, "he was goingjup a. mountain trail through
the timber. He was escorted by-a dozen men, who
carried a long rope."
CcPtolU Dexter L, "Thomas, an attorney, ulaa ft
member of tho party, who will leave Omaha for Um
encampment, served In Company II of -the SfefcCar
elghth Indiana Infantry. His activities began at
Louisville and extended through Kentucky, Teni
nesseo, Georgia, Alabama and the Carollnas. Hs
was In the battle of Chlckamauga, among, othes
important engagements.
"Am I going?' You.bet I. am!" Captain Thomas
asserted, "I wouldn't miss attending ft&ftt reunion,
for anything in the -world, Iwant to stand up
there on Lookout mountain and picture that battle
all over. I want to try and find the spot where
my company was advised to retreat. I know tha
very tree right where I stood when tho bullets
were coming like a swarm of bees. I wonder If It
has been chopped down? I want to go back ther
vCConqqued on Page Shjcet-X -pcHi;

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