For those who have heard this before, bear with me. I'm going to tell the story here again because I just found a newspaper article that confirms the approximate date that my great great grandparents' house was burned by Union forces in NW Alabama. When we were kids, my sister and I sat in the lap of our maternal grandfather and listened to stories. His grandfather, Dr. William Cordwell Cross (my 2x great grandfather), served as a Confederate Surgeon.
Born in 1815, Dr. Cross was 46 years old when the war started. Despite being exempt from service due to his age, he served as a Surgeon through the war and pledged his parole of honor May 12, 1865 at Meridian MS.
As kids, when we would go to Cherokee to visit my grandfather's sister, his other siblings would come over and they would sit around the living room and tell stories. One of the stories we heard many times was how Dr Cross' house was burned by "the Yankees" while he was away, serving in the Confederate Army, and how one of the young sons hid the silver in the well. My grandfather and his siblings knew all about it. But by the time I became interested in seriously studying the war, all of them were dead. One thing I never thought to ask was when it happened.
Kate Cumming served as a nurse in a number of Confederate Hospitals (including The Bragg Hospital.) She kept a diary of her experiences. This excerpt from the diary confirms the substance of the story we had always heard related to the burning of the house:
Dr. Cross was a man of wealth, and when he joined the army left his family well provided for. They lived near Tuscumbia, in the northern portion of Alabama. When the enemy went there they took every thing that Mrs. Cross had: upward of seventy negroes, twenty five thousand pounds of meat, all her livestock, and a large amount of grain and a large supply of groceries for family use. After they took all of these things, they politely asked Mrs. Cross to leave the house, as they intended to burn it. They would not give her time to get a change of clothes for her children. Her old father was an invalid, and had to hobble out on crutches. After getting through with her house, they went to a neighbors and did the same. The officer in charge made a great fuss talking; but as usual did nothing to restore what was lost. I have been intimate with this amiable family for some time, and their uncomplaining endurance of their wrongs has excited my unbounded admiration. I have never heard a complaint from any of them. Mrs. C (sic) tells me that, since she has lost everything nothing annoys her. [A Journal of Hospital Life in the Confederate Army of Tennessee, Kate Cumming, page 156.]
Although I still didn't know exactly WHEN it happened, I had loosely narrowed it down to some time prior to Chickamauga. According to carded records, Dr. Cross arrived at Chattanooga on April 25, 1863 and was ordered to proceed to Ringgold, GA where he joined other surgeons operating a hospital at nearby Cherokee Springs. The Bragg Hospital was first named at Chattanooga and operated at Cherokee Springs from at least April 25, 1863 to Sept. 2, 1863. By Sept 3, 1863 the Bragg Hospital had moved to Newnan, GA and was operated there until about August 16, 1864.
Kate Cumming's diary also makes specific mention of Dr. Cross' wife Mary Ann Frances Harris Cross and his eldest daughter, Minerva.
The Bragg Hospital was on the train with us. Miss Burford and Mrs. Byrom, the matrons, and Dr. Cross's family were with it which made the trip much pleasanter for us. [A Journal of Hospital Life in the Confederate Army of Tennessee, Kate Cumming, page 156.]
So, by the time the Bragg Hospital moved to Newnan, on or before September 3, 1863, his wife and daughter had joined him at the Cherokee Springs Hospital.
But I still didn't know when the house was burned -- until now. Tonight, I was helping @alan polk with his research - looking for period newspaper accounts of the Battle of Big Black - when I found this:
Daily Morning News. (Savannah, Ga.), May 20, 1863, page 1.
So now I know.....my great great grandparents' house was burned prior to May 20, 1863. Now to find some issues of the Huntsville Advocate -- if they exist.
Because of his wealth before the war, Dr. Cross was not allowed to pledge the Oath of Allegiance. After the war, he had to file a Request for Special Pardon through the provisional governor. I won't repeat that story here, but those who are interested can read it here. http://civilwartalk.com/threads/request-for-special-pardon-and-accusations-by-provisional-governor.106283/#post-988950
About 1866, Dr. Cross rebuilt another house on the farm. He had his practice right there in the house, as was common at the time. My great aunt inherited the house from her parents (my g grands) and, when my mother was young, she used to go there to visit/stay with the aunt and her family. I imagine my mother actually wandered in and out of the room Dr Cross used for his office. My aunt and her family sold the house before I was born and moved to "town." The house is still there - standing today outside the little town of Cherokee, Franklin County (now Colbert) AL. I have been there many times and visited the cemetery nearby, but I have never had the opportunity to enter the house. See OP Image Cross House built circa 1866. To the right (out of view), surrounded by a neat stone wall, is the family cemetery where Dr Cross, his wife, and other family members are buried.