The Civil War: Man Serves in Confederate Army Calvary Unit

Under command of Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, man was captured twice during the Civil War.

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My grandfather, William P. Johnson, enlisted in the Confederate Army, May 15, 1861, at Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. He was with Lt. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Calvary Division. According to the testimony of one of his comrades during those trying times, he was one of the bravest of Forrest’s men.

Grandfather was captured February 16, 1862, at Fort Donelson, Illinois C.S.A. (Confederate States of America). He was in a prisoner exchange seven months later and was appointed corporal at that time. He also accompanied Forrest on scouting trips.

Another time he was the only one captured, and the Yankees put him in a jail cell in a small town. The jail also served as a Yankee hospital and aid station. When a Yankee officer walked in and demanded to see that Rebel, Grandfather picked up the slop jar (chamber pot) from under the cot and hit the officer in the face with its contents. In the ensuing confusion, he got past the guards and back to his own outfit the next day.

Gillie Riley
Rogers, Arkansas


Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then CAPPER’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from CAPPER’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.