Saturday, October 01, 2005

Georgia Tales

I am reading a book entitled A Treasury of Georgia Tales by Webb Garrison. It is a fairly old book (published in 1987) that I bought in the used book store this week, so it is probably not still in print. It is comprised of 38 mostly little-known stories from Georgia history.

One story I enjoyed was about John Wisdom who made a Paul-Revere-style ride during the Civil War to save his old hometown of Rome, GA from a Union attack. According to this author the credit for preventing the attack is usually given to General Nathan Bedford Forrest to whom the Union force surrendered that day. But in his view the real hero was John Wisdom who rode in his mail-delivery buggy, later a lame pony, later still a fresh mount, and last a worn-out old plow horse to cover more than 50 miles from his East Alabama home to warn the people of Rome that the opposing forces were coming. The entire ride took him from 3:30 PM to midnight on May 2 and 3, 1863.

There were few able-bodied men of fighting age left in the town; so a few boys and some old men with squirrel rifles and shotguns assembled. A handful of wounded soldiers from the local hospital joined them. They dragged a couple of rusted, unusable cannons to the battle line to present the appearance of a threat. The Union forces saw what they perceived as well-staffed and well-equiped defenses in front of them, and they knew that there was a small force of Confederate cavalry behind them; so believing they were surrounded, the commander surrendered.

Another very interesting, and related, story involving Rome was about a young woman named Emma Sansom who helped General Nathan Bedford Forrest find a quicker and shorter way to Rome to defend the city against the threat at the same time as the above story.

I may detail some more of these interesting tales later.


Terry said...

Dear Joan,

I’ve enjoyed being reminded of these stories. They are famous in Rome, of course. I tell these tales to my fourth graders every year. There is a reenactment of the Wisdom ride every October.

Gadsden has a big monument to Emma Sansom and a high school named for her.

And we have a great statue of the “Savior of Rome”

Gen’l Nate Forrest at the base of Myrtle hill, next to the statue commemorating the women of the Confederacy and a few yards from the marker reminding passersby of “Georgia’s Paul Revere”

I’ve lost this comment twice, so I’ll stop.

BTW does Garrison mention Rome’s Von Gammon and his mother? That's another interesting Georgia tale from Rome.

I’m enjoying the blogs!


Anonymous said...

Joan, that sounds like a book I'd like to read sometime. I sure did enjoy seeing you on Friday. I still can't believe I came home with so much stuff from the yard sale! Love you, Debi

Carol said...

Unlike Terry, I have never heard of either of those characters. The book sounds like something I'd like to read. Maybe I can borrow it when you're finished with it. I love reading your blog.
Love, Carol

Ruth said...

Joan I loved the post about Webb Garrison's book. ( Garrison is a well known Methodist pastor and historian) I would like to read the book.