Counting Horses

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Lubliner

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@Lubliner ,

It amazes me you could concoct a story like that from a very brief OR report. I know I couldn't do it. Thanks for posting.
Thank you for commenting. The report struck me as a murder being praised, and that inspired me to wonder how it could be so exalted, like a great pursuit and chase had taken place. It left me with a nagging memory, and nights of restlessness until I could figure it out. It really wasn't what I would call a natural process of thought and creativity.
Lubliner.
 

lelliott19

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Jack Corn is very real and he is supposed to have lived on a farm out near Hillsborough.
Yep the report says 12 miles from Hillsborough. I like to try to figure out where things happened.

The report says the Jack Corn farm was about 12 miles from Hillsboro. Estill Springs is 15.2 miles from Hillsboro and the Corn Cemetery is 14.5 miles from Hillsboro. There were a bunch of Corns living in the vicinity of that old family cemetery. Some of those Corns likely lived closer to Hillsboro. At least it gives you a general idea where the farm was - I'd guess the farm was along the Winchester Road on the way from Hillsboro to Estill Springs, about 12 miles out from Hillsboro.
 
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Lubliner

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Jack Corn is very real and he is supposed to have lived on a farm out near Hillsborough. I would guess his proper name is 'Jacob Corn', and Jack would be common usage, but the 42nd Missouri Infantry made the report. It is not yet 2 months after the battle of Nashville.
I looked into the relevant war maps from the Official Atlas of the Civil War, and knew to figure about 12 miles south of Hillsborough by the Report. I found a farm owned by Reagan, and knew the encampment of headquarters was in the field. That was to create the timeline for midnight as a messenger then delivered the information. Pure conjecture on my part, but realistically the only explanation that made sense.
Lubliner.
@lelliott19, I was adding the bottom half above when you posted, and I see another now. I cannot remember exactly, but figured along those country roads. I wasn't aware Estlll Springs was so close. The Yankees were chasing remnants of the rebel forces, and it is possible the 'Reagan' was the same, cut off from his own and took refuge further out. That is how I saw it. The logic for family with a messenger is deduced. But the travel times and the necessary actions for the facts of the Report to fit were used to outline what may have to occur. Of course dramatization is just an added spice, such as the dead body and its preparation for burial. Easily overlooked.
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Lubliner

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Looks like the Corn Farm was at or near Estill Springs. There's a whole bunch of pre-CW Corns buried at an old family cemetery called Corn Cemetery GPS Coordinates: 35.2564011, -86.1074982
View attachment 332492

In addition, here's a link to a search of Corns buried in Franklin County TN who were born before 1860 and died after 1864.
Link Corn Search
Eliza McCutcheon Corn, 48 years old in 1865.

George Washington Corn, 37 years old in 1865..

Jessee B. Corn, 34 years old in 1865.

Lizzie Wagoner Corn, 7 years old in 1865.

Martha Elizabeth Sublett Corn, 9 years old in 1865.

Susan Corn, 14 years old in 1865.

Tressie Duncan Corn, 24 years old in 1865.

W. Corn, 46 years old in 1865.

@lelliott19 this is a summary of which Corns' were living nearby. Due to the hardships of armies devastating the country in that area it is possible all the extended relations were gathered into one or two places. The report kept preying on my mind and would not clear my thoughts, and I realized how dangerous the predicament of the family was. Then I thought of Jeremiah 1, verse 6 and 7, when he says he is too young to speak, and is told "....you will go wherever I send you and speak whatever I tell you." Somehow this made sense to me, and gave me a 'vehicle' for a message delivery with the idea of what was stated. I hope I did not infringe on current standards of acceptability where 'just the facts' are required. One per cent of inspiration produces a full volume of sweat.
Lubliner.
 

Nathanb1

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I just climbed onto the web (5 p. m.) today and was struck by the number of responses I received. I had not capitalized on the idea of making any splash or waves, and had that worrisome thought the poor story would sink down and drown. You all, all of you, just saved my feelings from utter despair. Thanks for the comment.
Lubliner.
I absolutely loved it. Like @luinrina I do look at grammar and mechanics--lol--long years as a news editor and English teacher--but dang! Your "voice" is excellent. I think you did a wonderful job creating that character and finding his authentic self. It's a real talent, and you're to be commended.
 
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Lubliner

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I absolutely loved it. Like @luinrina I do look at grammar and mechanics--lol--long years as a news editor and English teacher--but dang! Your "voice" is excellent. I think you did a wonderful job creating that character and finding his authentic self. It's a real talent, and you're to be commended.
Thank you for the acknowledgement, and it is humbly received. I am grateful to hear it is acceptable and within a professional standard.
Lubliner.
 
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Lubliner

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I enjoyed it. Thanks for putting yourself out there and being willing to share with us.
@Nathanb1, I found it to be a bit distressing, and was not expecting the volume of noteworthy praise, now allowing me a bit of respite and pleasure. I still feared a sharp reaction from readers to the 'mortification' of how the story ended, enough to almost label it with 'Warning'.
Lubliner.
[:frantic:]
 

Waterloo50

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These events that followed as the night ended and dawn broke will stay with me, I suppose, forever and ever. I can’t even recollect to going back to a time before that morning without seeing this affair unfold before me. I had to talk to Pa about it in a confident heart to heart talk because I was learning to figure my memories, and trying to make things add up so they could all make sense. He was shoveling dirt at the time.

I told Pa about how unfriendly Lieutenant Haines was, and although my support to him had been necessary, I didn’t feel it had been well-placed. Pa would nod as I spoke, and not say much at all, but would instead let me finish sorting out all my thoughts and memories. I could tell he at first was grieved by what I had had to do, and what I witnessed then at fourteen, but he just kept shoveling dirt, quietly.

Our group of eight riders had come back through their outer picket defense, and after some more time, we pulled off into a nearby stand of timber there on the Strickland’s farm. The lieutenant had us all dismount and ordered two guards and one regular soldier to stay put and hold the horses. He made sure the other five of us understood all that was to happen, so we set out and crossed the road and went into the nearby field of my Pa’s, the five of us moving quietly, and making off toward the barn at the far end.

I was staying close to Lieutenant Haines, like I was supposed to do, but all I wanted was to protest. Why was I needed then? I felt I had done my part as they could all find their way just fine from where we stood, but he would have nothing of it. Our barn was situated almost a half mile away, on the other side of the property, and we had a pretty good amount of old ruts and furrows to cross. The house I was born in stood there nearer to us and the road like a vacant sentry with no sign of life. I couldn’t help but look over that way and wonder what all my Ma and Pa were doing and thinking at that time.

We slowly made our way by crossing the field somewhat north of the barn all the way to back fencing and timberline that marked our boundary. This ran on south down behind the barn and then it turned eastward and ran up that way, marking a boundary for the adjoining field. The chicken coop stood about halfway between the barn and the house, with the wood shed attached there to it. Our old mule was tethered there so he could get some refuge in bad weather; besides, Pa said all that stink should stay put in that one place.

This whole time, the other men remained silent, so all the words spoken was when I was asked a question by the Lieutenant. I would only answer what I was supposed to, and a simple ‘I don’t know’ if he pricked any spot my Pa said nothing about. We were soon getting nearer to our positions as we crossed over and as the other three spread out behind us, the one Home Guard fell back and stopped. He didn’t go any further, and the Lieutenant with his two regular soldiers couldn’t coax him without a lot of noise, so we left him there to sneak on up toward the barn.

The morning would dawn on us soon and now all we could cover was the front and one side. It was getting so cold at that point I started to shiver, but I know fear had some influence on that too. We kept creeping closer and closer to the door and soon one of the others spread out toward one side and we halted closer to the door. It is amazing how in one single minute it can be black as pitch and then in an instant, a dull even light appears so shapes and forms start making sense. Then colors appear in another moment casting a different hue upon the face of the earth. All these brief moments are so brief they really can’t be reckoned with.

The Lieutenant was anxiously awaiting the dawn, and after seeing somewhat more before him, he signaled the other in closer. I think he was going to try to storm the barn door once the light came in, and as the morning sounds began to get sharper I got more scared.

I was telling my Pa about it then, later on, when he was shoveling dirt close up to the side of our barn. I had always wanted a horse of my own, especially with all the new adventures to come, and as I had seen those horses of Stearns, Perdham, and Ragan, I figured the Yanks shouldn’t learn of them, so I didn’t tell them. When Pa heard me say I left out the part of the message with the three horses, he stops digging and looks at me sort of funny. I had never seen that look before, and after a minute he just says, “You didn’t?”
“No Pa. I was hoping if they didn’t know about the horses, then maybe I could claim one later.”

Pa was still standing there, looking amazed, then said I ought to have known better that they would be found out. I answered that I hadn’t known all I would have to do while I was there in Captain Lewis’s tent. Later as it became more apparent that they were to be discovered, it got too late for me to mention. Of course Lieutenant Haines could be heard cursing the earth beneath him when those horses took note of our approach and caused enough commotion to give alarm. Suddenly the barn door cracked open and two gray figures could be seen scampering like wounded jack rabbits out of there and around toward the timber. As they disappeared the Lieutenant’s curses fell upon that cold patch of earth we stood upon, and he finally looks over at me.

“Oh hellfire!” says I real disgusted like. “There should still be one left in the barn.”

So Haines takes hold of his shotgun and with the other two soldiers he quickly steps up to the barn and thrusts open the door. I came up close to peer in, and there I saw the three horses, still bridled up, with all their equipment off in one corner, and close by there was the scarecrow man, splayed out and covered partially with straw, head thrown back and him breathing deep, and not ever knowing anything. Pa was listening to me then, too, but he was still shoveling, as I told him how I didn’t like Lieutenant Haines because he wasn’t very nice.

“Pa, he didn’t need to do that; just walk up and level his shotgun and pull the trigger. It blowed his whole face away and the top of his head too. And then he calls me over to ask me if I recognize him.”

Pa shoveled another batch of dirt out and I sort of gazed off toward the house up there close by the road. Pa finally saw fit to speak again, so he asked me if I was ready to listen.

“Jeremy, those men came in this morning and picked everything clean. They got three good horses with all the saddlery, extra clothing, and one Mississippi rifle and one revolver, and left us here to bury the dead body of John Ragan.”

I interjected, “They even took their boots, Pa! Perdham and Stearns have no coat either. What if they come back?”

Pa was now finished shoveling, and all we had left to do was drag the body over to the grave. I think he knew what I was thinking.

“Son, remember you shall not ever covet anything of your neighbor’s. Besides none of this was your fault. Those two men were counting on their horses to save them, and they were saved, but John Ragan, here, what’s left of him anyways, chose that jug of whiskey I had hidden out here in the barn. If there is a fault to be claimed it is his own. Lieutenant Haines has his own credit to account for with the good Lord, and it ain’t left at all to us; just this cold dead body.”

It didn’t take much thinking at all for me to fully understand what Pa was saying, and he never stopped saying it. Each time he spoke up about it, he just would get prouder and prouder, and I could see Jimmie and Janey sitting there with Ma, and knew they could never understand all I had to do that time. And sometimes Pa would look over at me when one of the younger ones would tell a half-truth, and exclaim with a wink at me, “You forgot your horses.”
I’m only a short way into your story and I’d have to say, that you sir have talent. I think that you should continue with this type of story telling because its obviously something that you’re good at.
I do have one thought though, I think perhaps it would have been useful to include some kind of clue to what the young lad looked like, I’d have liked to have known a little more about his personality and his physical appearance. Was he skinny, sickly, healthy or ill; was he short or tall, was he strong or weak!
I’m only pointing this out because (for me personally) I like to picture the character. I remember the movie ‘Cast Away’ with Tom Hanks, what’s the one thing that you remember about him! he suffered a painful abscess. His tooth ache had no bearing on the story but it was included so that the audience could have some empathy and sympathy for him. I fully appreciate that your story is a short fiction and I can clearly see that you have invested a lot of time and effort into your writing and so I hope that you take no offence at my suggestion. I admire your writing skill and I hope that you continue to write more stories, I’m looking forward to your next piece of work.
Kindest regards
Waterloo.
 
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Lubliner

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I’m only a short way into your story and I’d have to say, that you sir have talent. I think that you should continue with this type of story telling because its obviously something that you’re good at.
I do have one thought though, I think perhaps it would have been useful to include some kind of clue to what the young lad looked like, I’d have liked to have known a little more about his personality and his physical appearance. Was he skinny, sickly, healthy or ill; was he short or tall, was he strong or weak!
I’m only pointing this out because (for me personally) I like to picture the character. I remember the movie ‘Cast Away’ with Tom Hanks, what’s the one thing that you remember about him! he suffered a painful abscess. His tooth ache had no bearing on the story but it was included so that the audience could have some empathy and sympathy for him. I fully appreciate that your story is a short fiction and I can clearly see that you have invested a lot of time and effort into your writing and so I hope that you take no offence at my suggestion. I admire your writing skill and I hope that you continue to write more stories, I’m looking forward to your next piece of work.
Kindest regards
Waterloo.
Thank you @Waterloo50 for your compliment. To be honest, I had not thought of descriptive characterization. I had been so caught up with the visions of events and how they would pan out, while trying to explain a moral theme of humanity that I failed to interpret the representative associations you mention. These may have been clear in my mind at the time, but the idea you mentionrd was not. My apology for that shortcoming and hope you still enjoy the story otherwise. Thank you again.
Lubliner.
 

Waterloo50

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Thank you @Waterloo50 for your compliment. To be honest, I had not thought of descriptive characterization. I had been so caught up with the visions of events and how they would pan out, while trying to explain a moral theme of humanity that I failed to interpret the representative associations you mention. These may have been clear in my mind at the time, but the idea you mentionrd was not. My apology for that shortcoming and hope you still enjoy the story otherwise. Thank you again.
Lubliner.
I did enjoy your story and I’m extremely grateful to you for posting it. I hope that your story writing goes from strength to strength. :thumbsup:
 

Lubliner

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I did enjoy your story and I’m extremely grateful to you for posting it. I hope that your story writing goes from strength to strength. :thumbsup:
Thanks again, @Waterloo50. I have been giving some thought now to that overlooked idea, and was curious whether you were able to envision those characteristics I left blank, in your own mind. I am asking, for I had already formed some description as you might toward some moving action, but I failed to connect the importance of it. I would be interested in knowing if the senses of your own mind compensated for my shortcoming, or did it remain vague? Thanks,
Lubliner.
 
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Waterloo50

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Thanks again, @Waterloo50. I have been giving some thought now to that overlooked idea, and was curious whether you were able to envision those characteristics I left blank, in your own mind. I am asking, for I had already formed some description as you might toward some moving action, but I failed to connect the importance of it. I would be interested in knowing if the senses of your own mind compensated for my shortcoming, or did it remain vague? Thanks,
Lubliner.
It’s probably a personal thing but I found that I’d have to pause briefly to conjure up an image of the character. When I read a story I don’t just take in the information but I also imagine the scene being played out which is very similar to my experience of watching a movie. I’ve re-read your story just to make sure that I hadn’t missed any subtle clues as to the description of the characters but I found myself having to go through the same process of creating the image of each character, scarecrow man was easy, you told us why he was called scarecrow man and my imagination filled in the blanks.
As for the rest of the characters I found it pretty easy to imagine how they’d look with regards to their clothing but for some reason I just couldn’t see their faces.
Like I said earlier, it’s probably a personal thing, there may be others that read your story and they have the type of imagination that can create an image of a person but for me, I need prompts/clues. I would add that it was only at the end of your story that I felt that I understood a little more about your main character, he was initially lacking in self confidence and was even a little anxious but by the end of your story I could see that his confidence and feeling of self worth had evolved. You’ve developed a character that you should perhaps include in future stories.
Having said all of the above, it could be that I’ve been spoilt when it comes to historical fiction, my favourite author writes roman military fiction and at the beginning of every story he gives a brief but detailed overview of each character which of course allows my lazy brain to focus on the story rather than spending time on creating the characters for myself.
I have to say that your story was excellent, when I was very young the author Ronald Dahl gave a talk to our school, his advice on writing a story was very simple, he said ‘make sure that your story has a beginning, middle and end’, you had all of that and your story was written with a nice pace, it flowed. You should continue with your work because I reckon you’re story writing will go from strength to strength.
 
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Lubliner

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It’s probably a personal thing but I found that I’d have to pause briefly to conjure up an image of the character. When I read a story I don’t just take in the information but I also imagine the scene being played out which is very similar to my experience of watching a movie. I’ve re-read your story just to make sure that I hadn’t missed any subtle clues as to the description of the characters but I found myself having to go through the same process of creating the image of each character, scarecrow man was easy, you told us why he was called scarecrow man and my imagination filled in the blanks.
As for the rest of the characters I found it pretty easy to imagine how they’d look with regards to their clothing but for some reason I just couldn’t see their faces.
Like I said earlier, it’s probably a personal thing, there may be others that read your story and they have the type of imagination that can create an image of a person but for me, I need prompts/clues. I would add that it was only at the end of your story that I felt that I understood a little more about your main character, he was initially lacking in self confidence and was even a little anxious but by the end of your story I could see that his confidence and feeling of self worth had evolved. You’ve developed a character that you should perhaps include in future stories.
Having said all of the above, it could be that I’ve been spoilt when it comes to historical fiction, my favourite author writes roman military fiction and at the beginning of every story he gives a brief but detailed overview of each character which of course allows my lazy brain to focus on the story rather than spending time on creating the characters for myself.
I have to say that your story was excellent, when I was very young the author Ronald Dahl gave a talk to our school, his advice on writing a story was very simple, he said ‘make sure that your story has a beginning, middle and end’, you had all of that and your story was written with a nice pace, it flowed. You should continue with your work because I reckon you’re story writing will go from strength to strength.
Your input was/is beneficial to me, and very considerate; thank you! To me, reading and writing has not been a comparable quickness to learn. Imitation was a beginning process, and believe it or not it was Ian Fleming's James Bond series (Casino Royale). If you do read it, the movie did not cast Sean Connery, but Fleming wrote Connery to a 'T' down to arm hair; very explicit. Now I can only imagine when I tried to cull my own creative style, subconsciously I have always avoided that 'seed' of inspiration for it was not authentic to me; I don't know. As a hobbyist at this art, I do experiment with style and approach, but I have difficulty in understanding the reader's impressions without constructive criticism. You have done so and it is highly cherished, appreciated, and remembered. Upon the level of instinct in knowing what I suppose a reader would desire, my own shortcoming proves a lack of prescience, unfortunately. I do like flattering compliments, excusing the injustice of dishonesty, but for confidence it can be a slippery snake. My own memory may have forgotten the words of my sentence before I can type it, so this hurdle is always present, obstructing my view of the reader. I know it gives me respite for silent meditation, but without re-grasping that perfect line...I am lost.
I have been rewarded, that is what I was going to say.
Lubliner.
 

Waterloo50

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Your input was/is beneficial to me, and very considerate; thank you! To me, reading and writing has not been a comparable quickness to learn. Imitation was a beginning process, and believe it or not it was Ian Fleming's James Bond series (Casino Royale). If you do read it, the movie did not cast Sean Connery, but Fleming wrote Connery to a 'T' down to arm hair; very explicit. Now I can only imagine when I tried to cull my own creative style, subconsciously I have always avoided that 'seed' of inspiration for it was not authentic to me; I don't know. As a hobbyist at this art, I do experiment with style and approach, but I have difficulty in understanding the reader's impressions without constructive criticism. You have done so and it is highly cherished, appreciated, and remembered. Upon the level of instinct in knowing what I suppose a reader would desire, my own shortcoming proves a lack of prescience, unfortunately. I do like flattering compliments, excusing the injustice of dishonesty, but for confidence it can be a slippery snake. My own memory may have forgotten the words of my sentence before I can type it, so this hurdle is always present, obstructing my view of the reader. I know it gives me respite for silent meditation, but without re-grasping that perfect line...I am lost.
I have been rewarded, that is what I was going to say.
Lubliner.
You are very welcome, I look forward to your next story.
 
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By order of General Milroy, February 1, 1865.

P199.gif


ROBERT HUSTON MILROY

Milroy, Robert H., major-general, was born near Salem,
Ind., June 11, 1816. He was graduated at Norwich university,
Vt., in 1843, taking degrees in both the classical and military
departments, and in the war with Mexico he served as captain in
the 1st Ind. regiment. He was graduated at the Indiana
university with the degree of LL. B. in 1850, and practiced law
until the Civil war, first at Delphi and then at Rensselaer was
a member of the Indiana constitutional convention, 1850-51, and
in 1851 was appointed judge of the 8th judicial circuit of
Indiana. At the beginning of the Civil war he issued a call
for volunteers and was commissioned colonel of the 9th Ind.
volunteers on April 26, 1871. In Dec. 1861, he attacked the
Confederates in front of Cheat Mountain pass, and on Feb. 6,
1862, he was given a commission as brigadier-general to date
from Sept. 5, 1861. He assumed command of the Mountain
Department in Jan., 1862, and adopted stringent and effective
measures against the depredations of guerrillas, as the result
of which President Davis secured the passage of a bill through
the Confederate congress offering a reward of $100,000 for the
body of Gen. Milroy, dead or alive. In May, 1862, Gen. Milroy
was attacked by Jackson at McDowell, and he fought there with
the aid of Shields, who assumed command, the battle of
McDowell. Gen. Milroy's brigade was then attached to Sigel's
corps, Army of the Potomac, and fought in the second battle of
Bull Run. He was promoted major-general of volunteers Nov. 29,
1862, and with his division of 8,000 men he occupied
Winchester. Here he was attacked by nearly the whole of Lee's
army, which was marching toward Pennsylvania, and held out for
three days against the superior force, retreating then, by
night, with great loss of men, to Harper's Ferry. Gen. Milroy
claimed that by thus holding Lee in check he enabled Meade to
meet him at Gettysburg, when otherwise the battle would have
been fought farther north. However, his conduct was made the
object of official investigation and he was held in confinement
until May 13, 1864, for having evacuated Winchester without
orders from Gen. Schenck, his immediate commander. After his
release he was ordered to Nashville, Tenn., and soon thereafter
fought his last battle against Gens. Forrest and Bates,
defeating their combined forces on the old Murfreesboro battle-
ground. He resigned from the army July 25, 1865. In 1868 he
was elected trustee of the Wabash & Erie canal company. He
then held the office of superintendent of Indian affairs in
Washington territory, 1872-75, and that of Indian agent in
Washington territory, 1875-85. Gen. Milroy died in
Olympia,Wash., March 29, 1890.

Source: The Union Army, vol. 8
 
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