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The Burning of the
an excerpt from the 1906 Corolla
It was in April of 1865. The
great Civil War that had swept
over our fair Southland had
almost spent its course. My
grandfather was President of
the University at the time and
was living in the same presi-
dent's house that stands to-day.
For some days the town had
been excited, for it was known
that the Yankees were march-
ing in its direction. On the
third of April news came that
CroXton's Brigade was quite near, and a guard of citizens was stationed to guard the bridge, which was in
the same place as the present one. Assistance was asked from the cadets and my grandfather said that he
himself with the cadets, would take charge the next night. Alas! the next night was too late. That very
night, about twelve oiclock, the family was awakened by a loud knocking at the front door. Going down,
grandfather was met with, "The Yankees are crossing the bridge!"
Hurrying over to the University, he gave the command to sound the "long roll," which soon floated out
on the night air. In a minute the whole corps of cadets was drawn up ready for action. Under the command
of Captain Murfee, they were marched at a double-quick in the direction of town. On reaching the girl's
college, they could see flashes and hear the shots of the battle then going on between the two skirmish lines
about the brow of the hill. The battalion was then moved as fast as it could run into a position in the rear
of the skirmish line. Captain Murfee gave the command to his platoon to lie down and cautioned them to
fire at the "flashes" of the enemy's guns. Though the enemy were veterans, armed with Spencer magazine
carbines, while the cadets had never been under fire before and were armed with muzzle-loading Spring-
field rifles, the enemy soon fell back across the bridge, having suffered some loss, while the cadets had but
Grandfather, fully realizing that if he permitted that handful of boys, few of them of age, to be
butchered by the Yankee brigade, he would be execrated by every mother in the State of Alabama, ordered
the cadets to retreat, much to the disgust and chagrin of those fiery rebel youths. On reaching the Univer-
sity they were told to get together only what could be carried in their knapsacks. Again they were mustered
and marched down the Huntsville road. It was farewell forever to the dear old University!
.In the meantime, grandfather had returned home and prepared the family for flight. Grandmother
wished to stay, thinking by so doing she could save the house but he was firm and said that he would
rather have the roof burned from over his head than that his wife and daughters ,should meet with any in-
sult from Yankee soldiers.
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