The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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Virginia reel, that kept us active. I never had such a sweat in all my life, and was glad when he stopped. He told us that it would not always do 'to play tricks upon travellers.' He then offered us, politely, a drink of brandy, which we took, shook hands, and parted friends. We had the lead, he followed suit, beat us with our own cards, and won the odd trick. But all was fair."

        "In the fall of 1782," says Dr. Johnson, already just quoted, "I remained two or three months at Charlotte, and saw much of General Polk and his sons. The General was plain and unassuming in his deportment; more like an old farmer or miller than a soldier or General."

        His sons, Ezekiel, William, James and "Devil Charley" Polk, were wild and frolicsome, and in their fun, did not even spare their father. On one occasion the General, speaking of "highway robberies committed by one man, as impossible and ridiculous, that no one man could rob him--that he never was robbed, nor would any one man dare attempt it."

        Charley who by his mad cap freaks had won the sobriquet, throughout the whole country, of "Devil Charley," heard all this and he resolved to try the pluck of the General. Hearing that his father was going on some by road to receive a sum of money, he way-laid him and demanded instant delivery of all he had. The General grasped at his pistols, but Charles was too quick for him, and the General seeing a pistol aimed at his breast, surrendered the money. He went home, fretted and mortified at the result. The young men condoled with their father, and inquired the cause of his depression. He, then narrated his mishap: "that he had been robbed of a large sum of money on the public road." They all expressed surprise that he had not gone armed on the occasion. He acknowledged he was armed and had pistols, but had no time to use them. They then with much increased surprise as they stated concluded that there must have been several men who attacked him; but the General acknowledged that there was only one; but he added he was taken by surprise and was off his guard. Charley then returning the money acknowledged that he had taken it from him.

        "What!" said the General, "and did you endanger and threaten your old father's life;"

        "No sir!" said Charles.

        "Did you not present a pistol at my breast?"

        "No, sir," said Charles,

        "How can you say that?" said the father.

        "I assure you sir, it was only mother's brass candlestick that I took off from your ownmantlepiece," said Charles producing them.

        Of his son William, we have already written.

        Leonidas Polk, son of William Polk and Sarah Hawkins, was a Christian, a soldier and a scholar.

        He was educated at the United States Military Academy, at West Point, and graduated 1827; one year before Jefferson Davis, and two years before Generals Lee and Johnson. After a few years service, he exchanged the sword for the gown, and became such a shining light in the church, that he attained the position of Bishop in the Episcopal church for his piety, zeal and ability,*

        * This State has furnished liberally, her portion of ability to the church.

        Bishop Beckwith to Georgia; Bishop Davis to South Carolina; Bishop Green to Missouri; Bishop Cicero Hawks to Mississippi; Bishop Polk to Lousiana.

        The Civil War aroused his military instincts implanted by a long line of ancestry, and by his own predilections and education. He tendered his services in defence of his home; he was commissioned a Major General in the Confederate Army, ordered to command at Memphis. He achieved a decided victory at Belmont (November 27, 1861) over General Grant.

        At the battle of Murfreesboro, December 31, 1862, between Bragg and Rosencrans, General Polk, commanded the left wing; General Bragg in his official report commended him for his skill and ability in that sanguinary engagement. In
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