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from the CONFEDERATE VETERAN Vol XXXVII 1929
by Joe Lee Bomar, Audrain, MO
The ending of the great War between the States found my father, Alexander Bomar, and several thousand Confederates and families of refugees near Shreveport, La. Many refused to surrender to the Union forces and my father and some four or five thousand former soldiers of the Confederacy were of that conclusion.
Shelby was elected by the fugitives and refugees to lead them out of the United States and into Mexico, to join Maximilian and the French invading army that was conquering Old Mexico. In the wake of Shelby, father and others went into Mexico.
The general amnesty law, or proclamation of President Andrew Johnson, opened the way for many of the unsurrendered, unreconstructed Confederates to return to their old, shattered homes, left by four years of invasion.
My father left the Guadaloupe River country, near San Antonio, Tex., in the early spring, with a herd of Texas horses for Missouri, arriving home in June 1866, which was the first time I remember seeing him. He had a McClellan saddle, four six shooters, big spurs, and an old gray Confederate coat, also a saddle gun or Henry rifle.
An ex-slave was laying off corn rows with a single plow, and mother, carrying our baby on her hips, and my Aunt Belle Standiford were dropping corn by hand in the rows, with Joe D. Evans, a crippled ex-confederate, riding on a big flat rock, drawn by a yoke of oxen, dragging it and covering the corn. Her brother, Jim L. Standiford, fifteen years old, who stayed with us, was going over all with a hoe to cover any corn that the rock missed. My mother, a very devout Campbellite, had chastised me and my sister Emma for disobedience, so when the strange man appeared and asked me, "Joe Lee, where is your mother?" I said I did not know. Pa said,"O, hush, child." The old dog "Bonnie" seemed to know him, barking and running to the field as if to tell mother. Great was the meeting on recognition, after months of suspense and separation.
A general holiday was declared with all kin and neighbors, father, mother, and sisters, and talk. After all was over, then came two or three years of strenuous work and self-denial. One of our children died, little Mary Bell, as had a brother, Elza George. Pa's father, George Bomar, in 1867 or 1868 had died. Never was a father and son more devoted, the elder a stanch Union man and the son a rampant Secesh after the Camp Jackson affair. Before the war both were Whigs, afterwards no stronger Democrats lived.
Then my mother, a Virginian, an educated woman, Southern all the way, got my father to close out and leave Audrain County. So in the fall of 1869, pa and family, Alex and Andrew Surber, and their wives, sisters of my mother, with good wagon teams, cattle, household goods, started for Texas, or to Bates County, where many of the former Audrain people and ex-Confederates settled.
On November 10, 1869, we started for the Southwest. A large crowd of friends came to see us off for the then far-away journey. Grandpa Standiford went with us as far as Perche Bridge in Boone County. Emma and I and grandpap were driving a herd of cattle. At Columbia, the Athens of the Missouri Valley, we never saw so many negroes, the town was black with them. Boone was a slave-holding Whig County before the war. Out of Columbia ran a toll road to Rocheport, where we boarded a ferry, the Kitty Kisor. All the way across we saw two magnificent steamboats plowing up the Missouri, the Birdie Brent and the Montana. Father pointed out where the new Confederate recruits and Bill Anderson's command crossed the Missouri in the fall of 1864, soon after the Centralia massacre.
On to where Marmaduke with a handful of men fought with Lyon's army in 1861. He showed us a big gate post that he and Jim Martin took refuge behind for a while, shooting at Lyons' Yanks. A lot of huge carbine or musket balls were buried in the post. Boonville was then a beautiful town with fine buildings and terraced yards, overlooking the great Missouri River. Saw marks on trees and buildings wrought by Shelby's men in the battle and capturing of Boonville from the Federals. Saw a large force of men, teams, plows, wagons, scrapers, and shovels at work on the Tebo and Neosho Railroad now the M.K. and T. Railroad, building as we went to Clinton, where we left the route of the railroad.
The weather was gettimg cold. so Pa left all the loose horse stock and cattle, also an added bunch of seventy blue roan thoroughbreds, Durhams, he had bought of Gum Lackland, of Mexico, and Mr. Scruggs, of Boone County. The animal at the head of the pack won premiums afterwards in the Butler, Fort Scott, Harrisonville, Kansas City sweepstakes. The cattle were left for a while at a Mr. Hepler's, near Pilot Grove, the same Mr. Hepler and family who entertained Capt. Temple Wayne's proslavery company, Kansas bound in 1856.
One of the Heplers soon recognized father, and it was found both had espoused the cause of the Confederacy. Had then to realize the deep fraternal warmth existing among the old soldiers. Came to Sedalia, a small town, and saw the old stockade and breastworks of the Federals, signs galore, even after five years' time, of the encounters with the troops of General Jackman and Colonel Hunter, where they compelled its surrender to the victorious Confederates in 1864.
Colonel Hunter was of Vernon County, the man who named the city of Nevada, Mo., the man who fired the first shot in the battle of Wilson Creek in 1861, and fought at Lone Jack, Mo., and died in California. Jackman was a Howard County man, afterwards residing at Poppinsville, Bates County; fought at Lone Jack and scores of other engagements. He died as a Cleveland appointee and United States Marshal of the West District of Texas.
At Calhoun, Henry county, we saw a man ride up to a hitch rack and throw the reins over a hitch post. The man had both hands off. In conversation with him, Pa found that the poor fellow had lost both hands at the battle of Lexington, Mo. in 1861. He was a gunner in the battle of the peerless renowned Hyram Bledsoe. Pa gave the handless man ten dollars, and mother gave him a pair of woolen mittens she had knitted as we traveled; Mollie gave the man a pair of socks and Aunt Susan gave him two handkerchiefs. He had just arrived from Texas on his pony. He said that he had a friend or kinsman named Slack, a brother of Gen. W. T. Slack, who was killed at the battle of Elkhorn, in 1862.
Proceeded on to Old German Town and Deep Water Creek in Henry County, we found all kinds of tumbled down pole huts, where a great part of the exiles were huddled in squalor during the latter part of the war by the infamous Order No. 11. Bates, North Vernon, part of Cass and Jackson Counties were well-nigh depopulated of loyal home defenders, of women and children, as every man and boy who was able was in the command of some Southern field of activity.
We crossed over to Bates County near old Johnstown. There destruction was supreme, with blackened chimneys everywhere where had been fine old hospitable homes. We saw one man plowing for wheat with a cow and a pony. He had ridden home after his parole in the South, finding his wife and barefoot children in the frost, and their house a pole pen, covered with long prairie grass. This was a sample of the havoc wrought by four years of war between neighbors. Hardly a family had escaped destruction of properties and death. Many of the county records were destroyed in this orgy of infamies. Old Henry Stuster, shot by Kansans for his horses and his family driven into exile, had been a drummer in Colonel Doniphan's regiment in the Mexican War.
Returning refugees and remnants of the Confederate forces, augmented by ex-Union men, such as Captains Newberry, N. A. Wade, and scores of others of the Frank P. Blair type, soon put an end to this order of business, and usurpers and squatter carpetbaggers were swept from power. Before this was done, no man who had worn the gray could vote or one who had sympathized with the Confederacy. I have seen my father and others swept aside by bayonets to make way for the newly freed black men.
The Southerners were soon aroused, and drove the radical carpetbag gangs from power. The slow process of rebuilding and adjustment then moved forward, though the political tension was intense for years.
The Southern patriots wore nothing of a blue color. Republicans were held in detestation, and the name Kansas was an ignominy. It took a man with whiskers and boys with nerve to be a Democrat in those days, and no wonder that it still remains in me and so many more.
The Northern reader has only to reverse the historical picture to get its full meaning to the Southerners of the "Order No. 11" district, where furniture, clothing, bedding, grain and livestock were carried away or burned.
It has often been said that four times as many invaders were killed as the entire Southern force furnished by the "Order No. 11" district. It took a man like Bingham, the artist, to put the scenes of that day on canvas.
The burning and sacking of Oceola by Kansas brought on the destruction of Lawrence, Kans., by Quantrell in retaliation. Jackman struck the burners and looters of Oceola near Pleasant Gap, when they were returning to Kansas, loaded with plunder, and chased them on for miles through Butler. Capt. Cal Martin struck them in the flank at the Miami, west of Butler, and for miles the line of route was strewn with the dead, horses, household and dry goods, abandoned in flight and scattered over the prairie.
At this late day it is hard to realize the intense hatred of the Southerners in the section in which I was reared. The old Constitution, with its provisos for government by consent, not by force, and its assumption that the State existed first, before the Union, was interpreted strictly by the Southerners of that day. These "Order No. 11" people believed themselves inherently right, and so conducted themselves in defense of their homes, views, and opinions. Clothed with these righteous views, it took a preponderant force to overcome the Home and Constitutional Party, designated the Confederates, but in truth the old original Federated Union party.
A great thing to be one of those heroes. More real honor than to be a king of any nation on earth.