May 26, 1914
V. Stribling Describes an Act of Cool Daring.
To The Intelligencer.
I have been asked to write some little incident
relative to a river of human gore that fifty years ago ran its hot course
between the tribute paying planters of the cotton fields of the south and the
tribute gathering manufacturers of the north.
The blood flowing
into this river was drawn from the blue veins of the Caucasian tillers of the
soil of the south and the brawn of the north and whoever of hired foreign riff
raff the tribute collected of the south by manufacturers in the north under
name of a tariff tax could buy.
This river of hot
blood flowed freely for about four years and vanished into a great sea now
known as the fathomless sea of commercialism; the sores of which since have
been feverishly lashed with the cry Water! Water! More water! Till everything now from the wine glass at
the sacrament table to railroad stocks and bonds seems to be watered. Oh, yes, hold! Excuse me!
I see! I have taken the wrong
trail to find the little war incident I was asked to write about.
At the time that
river of hot blood began to flow I was a boy very much a boy. A younger brother and I, while at school
thinking more about war than about the three R’s plus x, or the 47th
problem of Euclid at the board of Uncles D. D. and L. H. Verner at Bachelors
Retreat then Pickens District, S. C. One
night Uncle L. H. V. on reading about the Bull Run Battle addressed us sayin: “Boys, my father fought the Cowpens
battle. He saw no Bull Run or running
cattle. At Bull Run, Lincoln’s
affrighted clan fled the battle with the hero in the van. However I got an opportunity to learn first
hand that the Yankees had no monopoly on the art of expediency of running. Yes, I learned Johnnie could readily lay
claim to right title and preferment to run some when he had to.
I vividly recall a
time when a scouting party of us, after being in the running long enough to
think we were _____ _____ ____ too, threw out a vidette ____ _____ ____ down
upon the ground to get a fraction of what we thought we stood in need of.
somehow foiled the vidette and dashed suddenly upon us. We then learned we were not as tired or
sleepy either, as we had thought. My
horse, Joe, was browsing between the enemy’s approach and where I lay dozing
flat upon the ground. The firing waked
me just in time to jump astride Joe as he dashed by and I lost no time or aim
in making good the mount. Lieut. James
R. Tribble, however, preceded me in th egoing and to my great surprise instead
of over taking him, I met him. Being
unwilling to believe he was going to join the enemy or fight them single
handed, curiosity somehow succeeded in twisting me right about face, without checking
my course or speed, however, sufficiently for me to witness a desperately
daring act. The horse of Ezra Cromer was
shot down just at the time of Cromer’s mounting. The fall of Dollie, for that was the name of
the horse, was observed by the brave lieutenant, who having a margin of
probably less than 40 paces, went to Cromer’s rescue, and without words
tendered him a seat on the promptly reversed end of his faithful steed. It is needless to say Cromer (now deceased)
without words readily sprang to the silently proffered seat.
And yet for all
this blood curdling daring they actually caught up with me in less than three
miles run and don’t you forget it my horse, Joe, was some runner; a good
quality, however much to my appreciation on more than one occasion received due
credit on another triumphal day according to statement of Al Young, the negro
servant to his young master, Lieut. William H. Verner and I.
On a certain
occasion Al was sent down the river at the head of the picket line to get a
letter from me. The Yankees day after
day, had been throwing shells high over the bridle path to the picket line in
an attempt to cripple our railroad line, but for some reason about the time Al
started back to camp the cannons were lowered and the shells began to dig some
pretty good sized graves about his pathway.
Later on my going off duty to camp I said: “Well Al how did you come
out?” “ ‘Tween Joe and me we just outrun
them shells; Eph,” (that was the name of his young master’s horse, whose
running qualities he had previous to this time _____ preferred to put ahead of
that of Joe) “Eph, he said, is no slow runner, but it just takes Joe to run
with me.” Lieut. Verner, one of nature’s
noblemen, after many years of usefulness as an educator at Tuscaloosa, Ala.,
passed to his reward. And the servants
one-song-single-tone-gourd-banjo has lost the tuning fingers and frog-in-throat
voice of the running musician, peace to his ashes.
John V. Stribling.
Anderson, S. C., April 28, 1914