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The "Sallie Craig" of the Troup Artillery

By

William S. Smedlund
101 Barrington Ridge Ct.
Sharpsburg, GA 30277

 

Sallie Craig

Sallie Craig

 

The Troup Artillery from Athens, Georgia has often been referred to as an "elite" company.  With Athens the home of the State University of Georgia and the center of Georgia aristocracy in the mid nineteenth century, it is not too surprising that seven members were related to Georgia Governors with another the grandson of Moses Waddel, Chancellor of Franklin College which became the University of Georgia just prior to the War Between the States.  They were also the privileged company to be the first to leave Athens for the war.

The news of "Sallie" Craig's bravery and daring was the talk around Athens, Georgia in the early summer of 1861, and her name is still familiar to a dwindling few even though time has erased many of the details.  Only her closest relatives and friends knew the details of her intriguing story until the recent discovery of several scattered pieces.  Pieced together after one hundred and forty years, the story reflects the bravery of only one of many young women of the Confederacy.

While the Troup Artillery was in "Camp Lawton" in Savannah, June 1861, Lieutenant Pope Barrow wrote a letter to Mary Ann Cobb, wife of Howell Cobb: "You have I suppose seen account of Miss Sallie Craig's defying a whole regiment of Lincoln's troops at Bethlehem.  It appeared in the Charleston Courier when I saw it.  There is some talk of naming our new howitzer for her. The names will then be Olivia, Helen, Frank Hill and Sallie Craig." 1   The naming of their guns took place in Richmond, Virginia, on July 11.

It was during the War Between the States that the beautiful teenaged "Sallie" Craig became the sobriquet to a cannon of the elite Corps of the Troup Artillery.  The pre-war company, organized in 1858 in Athens, Georgia, as the "National Artillery," had obtained three of their guns prior to the war.  On January 2, 1861, the day Clarke County voters elected Thomas Reade Rootes Cobb as their delegate to what would be Georgia's secession convention, the "National Artillery" members appropriately voted to change their name to the "Troup Artillery."  The name was chosen to honor former Georgia Governor, George Michael Troup, "the great champion of States Rights - the author of the Georgia sentiment, 'The argument is exhausted, let us stand by our arms'." 2

The naming of guns would become customary in the Confederate artillery.  Even when Union guns were captured, they were renamed by their Confederate captors.  The "Long Tom" and "Long Charlie," two guns captured from Rickett's Battery at the battle of 1st Manassas, were mentioned many times in a variety of communications.  No doubt the most famous guns of the war were the "Matthew," "Mark," "Luke," and "John," named by the theological students of "Stonewall" Jackson's artillery, the Rockbridge Artillery.  Less known were the guns of the elite Artillery Company from Athens, Georgia.

Connections to the University of Georgia were numerous; thirty-four members of the Troup Artillery were students at the University.  Private John O. Waddell was the grandson of the President of Franklin College (the University of Georgia), Moses Waddell (1818-1829).  Captain Marcellus Stanley was a tutor at the University.  Private Howell Cobb, Jr. was the son of Howell Cobb, ex-Georgia Governor and later a major general.  Three sons of Georgia's first Chief Justice, Joseph Henry Lumpkin, whose brother, Wilson, was another of Georgia's governors.  Tom and Pope Barrow were maternal grandsons of Wilson Lumpkin and brothers of David Crenshaw Barrow, who became Chancellor of the University soon after the turn of the 20th century.

In Richmond, the men were divided into two sections with two detachments per section, one detachment for each gun.  The first section, commanded by 1st Lieutenant Henry H. Carlton, had the six-pounder rifled gun and twelve-pounder howitzer and the second section, commanded by 2nd Lieutenant Frank Pope, had the two six-pounder smooth bore guns. Positions were then assigned for each gun and were then named in honor of three patriotic young ladies and a soldier of Athens.  The smooth bores or howitzers were thought of as being feminine since they were less powerful than the rifled guns.  Thus, a feminine name was always given to the smooth bores. 3  The first detachment of the first section had the "Frank Hill," their original Type I James Gun, named for their first Captain, A. A. Franklin Hill, and commanded by Lieutenant Carlton.  The second detachment of the first section had the twelve-pounder howitzer they named "Sallie Craig" in honor of sixteen-year-old Sarah "Sallie" Church Craig.  3rd Lieutenant Ed Lumpkin commanded this section. The second section had two bronze six-pounder smoothbore guns that they named for sisters Helen and Olivia Newton.  Their brother George was a Sergeant in the Troup Artillery. The third detachment, commanded by 4th Lieutenant Pope Barrow had the "Helen." Helen Newton, sweetheart of Lt. Carlton, later Captain, would marry Captain Carlton after the war.  The fourth detachment had the "Olivia" and was commanded by 2nd Lieutenant Pope. Olivia Newton would marry Lamar Cobb on July 30, 1861, and become daughter-in-law of Mary Ann Lamar Cobb and Colonel Howell Cobb. 4

Sallie Craig was born September 18, 1844 in Fort Jesup, Louisiana. At this time, Colonel David Emanuel Twiggs, a veteran of the war of 1812, the Mexican War, and a native Georgian commanded troops of the 2nd U. S. Infantry at the fort.  Seventeen years later he would be appointed major general in the Confederate States Army.  Fort Jesup, as a military fort, existed from 1822 until January 1846.  Now, the Fort Jesup State Commemorative Park is located on the site of the old frontier fort.  It is located on the old road between the two towns named for the fabled Indian brothers, Natchitoches, Louisiana and Nacogdoches, Texas. 5

Sallie was the daughter of brevet Lieutenant Colonel Louis Stevenson Craig and Elizabeth Church Craig and granddaughter of Dr. Alonzo Church, Chancellor of Franklin College from 1839 to 1859.  Sallie's father served with honor in the Mexican War and was decorated several times, lastly on August 20, 1847 for gallantry and meritorious conduct in the battles of Contreras and Churubusco, Mexico.  At that time, he received his rank of brevet Lieutenant Colonel. 6   He was a career soldier, serving with many of the men who would become officers in the War Between the States.  From the time her father entered the Mexican War, Sallie and her mother lived in the home of Dr. Alonzo Church.

Shortly after the Mexican War, citizens along the Rio Grande had their farms raided and plundered, and many were murdered by organized gangs of Mexicans and Indians.  Lieutenant Colonel John Bankhead Magruder 7 had ordered Lt. Col. Craig and others to escort the Mexican Boundary Commission from the mission of San Diego to Camp Yuma to protect them from the marauding raiders.  On June 6, 1852, while en route across the desert, two deserters ambushed the party and murdered Lt. Col. Craig and Sgt. Beales after taking their arms.  Lt. Col. Magruder immediately sent word to all the Indian Chiefs in the area to capture the murderers, and shortly Chief Pablo Apiz of the Temecula Valley Indians captured the two after tricking them into selling their weapons. 8   The murderers were court-martialed and eventually hung in San Diego. 9   Two years later, Fort Craig, New Mexico, was established and named in honor of Lt. Col. Craig. 10

Sallie had been a student at the Moravian Female Seminary in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania since 1858, where nearly half of the student body was Southern-bred girls. 11   Every ounce of fiber and every drop of blood in this brave young girl was Southern.  She heard a regiment would be marching by the school on their way to Washington City and decided to challenge Lincoln's regiment against all warnings by her Southern compatriots. 12   Sallie being from a military family was not intimidated by their masses.

It was nearly time for Sallie to make her appearance.  The cheering crowd signaled the approaching regiment.  She had made a secession flag, hid it in the folds of her dress and stood in the crowd waiting for the regiment to appear.  As the regiment was now in sight she stepped forward from the crowd, waved her flag and exclaimed, "Three cheers for Jeff Davis and the Confederate States!" Although nearly half the student body was Southern belles, the immediate crowd became silent, no doubt in shock and expecting some form of reprisal.  This was not enough for Sallie. She stepped closer to the troops, and extending her arms yelled out, "Now kill me - - now kill me! But, remember, for every drop of my blood that is shed, fifty Southerners will be ready to kill you Yankees."  The teachers had heard enough.  They scurried Sallie off to her room and locked her up for her own protection, fearing possible violence or imprisonment. Fortunately no attempt was made. 13

Sallie immediately wrote her grandfather in Athens to have someone come to take her home.  As soon as she had packed her trunk, she took the train to her mother's home in Chicago.  Sallie's mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Church Robb, remarried to James Robb of New York in 1860 and shortly after moved to Chicago.  Mrs. Robb's obituary described her as a soldier's friend, administering to the sick and wounded Confederate prisoners at Camp Douglas near Chicago in 1862.  In addition, she acted as nurse at other Confederate prisons: Rock Island, Point Lookout, Fort Warren and on board the steamship Vermont. 14

With Northern feelings toward the South growing more hostile daily, it became urgent that Mr. Edward Reginald Hodgson, Sr. take the train to Illinois to pick up his seventeen-year old daughter, Miss Elizabeth "Lizzie" Preston Hodgson. Lizzie was also attending school in the North and was a former schoolmate of Sallie. 15   Mr. Hodgson and his family had moved from Carlinville, Illinois to Athens, Georgia in 1839.  There, in 1842, Mr. Hodgson and his three brothers established one of the first carriage, coach, and wagon factories in the southeast U. S. In addition, he was a partner in a stage coach line from Athens to Gainesville, Georgia, carrying mail and passengers.  They learned their trade well, as their forebears also made carriages in England and Illinois.

While Sallie was in Chicago waiting on someone to escort her back home, Mr. Hodgson had picked up Lizzie and quickly headed toward Chicago. Friends at Lizzie's school warned them to leave immediately, or he would be suspected of being a spy.  They took the first train at midnight and arrived in Chicago the next morning.

Stephen Douglas, Presidential opponent to Abraham Lincoln, died on June 3, 1861 and the group took the time to attend his funeral.  They also saw the body of Colonel Elmer E. Ellsworth, which had been taken by special train across the northern states, and was now lying in state in Chicago. 16   Colonel Ellsworth was a former student in Lincoln's law office, a former presidential escort, and a "pet" of President Abraham Lincoln.  From his White House window, the President could look through his spyglass and see across the Potomac River a defiant Confederate flag waving in the spring breeze.  He ordered Colonel Ellsworth to remove it.  On May 24, 1861 Colonel Ellsworth marched his regiment of New York Zouaves across the chain bridge into Alexandria, Virginia, personally climbed onto the roof of the Marshall House, and yanked the flag from its mast.  As he descended the staircase with the flag, he was met by the proprietor, James W. Jackson, who killed him with a shotgun blast to his heart.  Ellsworth's men immediately turned their guns on Jackson and murdered him in retaliation. 17   They were the first two martyrs of the war for Southern independence.

It was time for Sallie and her escorts to head for home.  At the railroad station, the baggage men were overheard to say the girls' trunks were unduly heavy; they must have guns in them.  They were allowed to pass, but later the owners of the trunks were called to have them inspected.  The girls' trunks held no contraband and were slammed shut and the sides of the trunks were marked with chalk.  The chalk marks would let them pass without further inspection.

On arrival at Louisville, it was necessary to change trains.  The delay of a day gave the three time to visit the hotel where General Robert Anderson greeted them courteously.  It was Major Anderson who surrendered Fort Sumter to the Confederates April 13, 1861 and now the General commanded the Department of Kentucky in Louisville.  General Anderson was a fellow officer with Sallie's father in the United States Army and on learning Sallie was the daughter of his old comrade, conversed with them openly about the time he served with her father.  The conversation changed when Sallie asked for assistance in getting through the lines. He stated that he was unable to give them a pass, that even the Governor of Kentucky could not get through the lines without being searched, but they should not fear any mistreatment.  He recommended they board the next train south.

As the three sat in the passenger car waiting for the train to pull away from the station, they recognized an old friend from Athens coming through the car. Mr. R. L. Bloomfield, a garment maker in Athens, approached them carrying an unusually large umbrella.  He sat beside them, turned the umbrella over and shook it, spilling its contents.  A package fell out for each of them. He then asked them to pay him no attention and walked away.   After the train had pulled away from the station, they opened the packages and found they were now smuggling priceless surgeon's silk for sewing up incisions and wounds.

Near midnight, the train came to a stop where the Dixie train was waiting to accept the passengers from the Louisville train.  It was pitch dark with only the conductor's lantern to see to get off one train and onto the other.  Shadowy figures of Northern guards and Southern guards moved silently back and forth, in and out of the darkness, watching for any suspicious moves by the passengers, when one of them dropped a package of the priceless surgeon's silk.  Near panic seized the three.  One of the Confederate guards saw the package fall and grabbed it almost as soon as it hit the ground and stuffed it into his jacket.  All finished boarding the train, and it pulled away slowly into the darkness.

Shortly after the Dixie train steamed safely into Southern territory, the women in the train began pulling various hidden contraband from their clothing.  Surgical instruments, morphine, quinine, bandages, lint, etc. had all been smuggled by Southern patriots visiting the North.  All of the articles were given to someone assigned to gather them and deliver them to Southern hospitals.  There was an aggravating delay of a day in Atlanta, waiting for the train to take them east toward home.  Finally, the train reached the Georgia depot in Athens, where friends and family received the three who had a thrilling story to share. 18

Sallie remained with her grandfather, Dr. Alonzo Church until he passed away May 18, 1862.  She then decided to return to her mother in Chicago and was a witness to and possible assistant nurse with her mother at Camp Douglas, named for Stephen Douglas, whose funeral she had attended the previous year.  The former Lieutenant Middleton Pope Barrow, who first suggested that one of the guns of the Troup Artillery be named for the beautiful and spunky Sallie Craig asked the real Sallie to become his wife.  They were married March 5, 1867 in Athens.  The next year Sallie's mother passed away in New York City from a disease contracted while treating Confederate prisoners.  Only Sallie could have given the details for her mother's obituary. Sallie also died at an early age on December 28, 1881.

 


 

1.  University of Georgia Hargrett Library, Special Collections, Ms. 1376, Howell Cobb Papers, June 19th 1861 letter of Pope Barrow to Mrs. Cobb. 
2.  Athens Southern Banner newspaper, January 16, 1861, 2: 7.
3.  James Fielding Dillard, Confederate Soldier, by Lucy Virginia Dillard, A. B. in Ed., University of Georgia, 1935, A Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts at the University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 1940.
4.  Manuscript, The Troup Artillery in the Army of Northern Virginia, by William S. Smedlund.
5.  Encyclopedia of Forts, Posts, Named Camps, and Other Military Installations in Louisiana, 1700-1981, by Powell A. Casey, Claitor's Publishing Division, Baton Rouge, LA 1983.
6.  Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, From Its Organization, September 29, 1789, to March 2, 1903, by Francis B. Heitman, Washington 1903.
7.  The Troup Artillery served under General John Bankhead Magruder on the Peninsula in the first half of 1862.
8.  Southern Banner newspaper, July 29, 1852, 2: 5-6.
9.  Southern Banner newspaper, September 9, 1852, 1: 4.
10.  New Mexico Magazine, Jan. 1995, "Fort Craig" by David Grant Noble, San Diego, CA.
11.  Information provided by Albert Frank, archivist at the Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, PA.
12.  Athens Southern Banner newspaper, June 19, 1861, 2: 7.
13.  ibid.
14.  The Southern Watchman newspaper, February 12, 1868, 3: 4.
15.  Reminiscences of Confederate Soldiers, Collection of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, Georgia Division, Vol. XI, pp. 87-88, "How Two Athens Girls Came Through the Lines in 1861," Anonymous [written by Elizabeth Preston Hodgson].
16.  ibid.
17.  Abraham Lincoln, the Prairie Years and the War Years, By Carl Sandberg, The Reader's Digest Association, Pleasantville, New York 1970.
18.  Reminiscences of Confederate Soldiers, Collection of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, Georgia Division, Vol. XI, pp. 87-88, "How Two Athens Girls Came Through the Lines in 1861," Anonymous [written by Elizabeth Preston Hodgson]. 

 

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