Louis Napoleon Nelson

August 21, 2009

Nelson Winbush

Louis Napoleon Nelson rode with Nathan Bedford Forrest during the  War.  He was a member of Co M of the 7th Tennessee Cavalry.  He saw action in battles at Shiloh, Lookout Mountain, Brice’s Crossroads, and Vicksburg.  Forrest said that he had 45 black slaves who went with him to war.  He said “…these boys stayed with me…and better Confederates did not live.”  Louis Napoleon Nelson was buried in his full Confederate uniform with the Battle Flag draped over his casket.  His grandson Nelson Winbush is a proud member of the Jacob Summerlin Camp #1516 of the SCV.  Winbush still treasures the flag that adorned his grandfather’s coffin.  The picture shows Nelson at the Memphis train station in 1932 before leaving for a Confederate reunion—one of 39 that he attended.   The young man shaking his hand is his grandson, Nelson Winbush.

Nathan Bedford Forrest



The Thompson Family

August 21, 2009



Matthew Grigg Thompsonmaurice thompson 1will and maurice thompsonMatthew and Maurice Thompson                         THE THOMPSON FAMILY


One of the most famous of the Confederate soldiers who settled in Montgomery County was Maurice Thompson, the distinguished author, who along with Lew Wallace, the Union General who wrote the best seller Ben Hur, a Tale of the Christ, was thought to be one of the most gifted authors of his day.  Maurice Thompson was actually born in Fairfield, Indiana, the son of a Baptist minister named Matthew Grigg Thompson.  The pastor’s callings led him to Missouri, where another son, Will H. Thompson was born and finally to Georgia about the time the  War started.  All three Thompsons joined the Confederate Army in Georgia.   Matthew became chaplain of the 46th Georgia Inf., Maurice was a scout for the 63rd GA Inf., and Will was a scout for the 4th Georgia Inf.  The Thompson family holdings were devastated by the War and all three ended up in Indiana.  Maurice and Will studied for the bar and had successful law practices in addition to their literary activities.  Maurice wrote a best seller about the Revolutionary War entitled Alice of Old Vincennes and a book on archery which is still considered the definitive book on the subject.  It was entitled, The Witchery of Archery.  Will wrote two  poems about the War Between the States that were anthologized in many high school literature books.  One was entitled “High Tide at Gettysburg,” and the other “The Bonds of Blood.”  Maurice died at Crawfordsville in 1901 and is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery beneath a large memorial obelisk.  Will moved to Seattle, Washington where he practiced law for the rest of his life.  He is buried at Lakeview Cemetery in Seattle.  Matthew Grigg Thompson returned to Missouri and settled at Ashland where he was killed in a fall from a horse.  He is also buried at Oak Hill Cemetery at the Thompson Memorial.

Maurice Thompson

August 21, 2009

by Maurice Thompson
I was a rebel, if you please,
  a reckless fighter to the last,
Nor do I fall upon my knees
  and ask forgiveness for the past.

A traitor? I a traitor? No!
  I was a patriot to the core;
The South was mine, I loved her so,
  I gave her all,–I could no more.

You scowl at me. And was it wrong
  To wear the gray my father wore?
Could I slink back, though young and strong,
  From foes before my mother’s door?

My mother’s kiss was hot with fight,
  My father’s frenzy filled his son,
Through reeking day and sodden night
  My sister’s courage urged me on.

And I, a missile steeped in hate,
  Hurled forward like a cannonball
By the resistless hand of fate,
  Rushed wildly, madly through it all.

I stemmed the level flames of hell,
  O’er bayonet bars of death I broke,
I was so near when Cleburne fell,
  I heard the muffled bullet stroke!

But all in vain. In dull despair
  I saw the storm of conflict die;
Low lay the Southern banner fair
  And yonder flag was waving high.

God, what a triumph had the foe!
  Laurels, arches, trumpet-blare;
All around the earth their songs did go,
  Thundering through heaven their shouts did tear.

My mother, gray and bent with years,
  Hoarding love’s withered aftermath,
Her sweet eyes burnt too dry for tears,
  Sat in the dust of Sherman’s path.

My father, broken, helpless, poor,
  A gloomy, nerveless giant stood,
Too strong to cower and endure,
  Too weak to fight for masterhood.

My boyhood home, a blackened heap
  Where lizards crawled and briers grew,
Had felt the fire of vengeance creep,
  The crashing round-shot hurtle through.

I had no country, all was lost,
  I closed my eyes and longed to die,
While past me stalked the awful ghost
  Of mangled, murdered Liberty.

The scars upon my body burned,
  I felt a heel upon my throat,
A heel that ground and grinding turned
  With each triumphal trumpet note.

“Grind on!” I cried “nor doubt that I,
  (If all your necks were one and low
As mine is now) delightedly
  Would cut it by a single blow!”

That was dark night; but day is here,
  The crowning victory is won;
Hark, how the sixty millions cheer,
  With Freedom’s flag across the sun!

I a traitor! Who are you
  That dare to breathe that word to me?
You never wore the Union blue,
  No wounds attest your loyalty!  

I do detest the sutler’s clerk,
  Who dodged and skulked till peace had come.
Then found it most congenial work
  To beat the politician’s drum.

I clasp the hand that made my scars,
  I cheer the flag my foemen bore,
I shout for joy to see the stars
  All on our common shield once more.

I do not cringe before you now,
  Or lay my face upon the ground;
I am a man, of men a peer,
  And not a cowering, cudgeled hound!

I stand and say that you were right,
  I greet you with uncovered head,
Remembering many a thundering fight
  While whistling death between us sped.

Remembering the boys in gray,
  With thoughts too deep and fine for words,
I lift this cup of love to-day
  To drink what only love affords.

Soldier in blue, a health to you!
  Long life and vigor oft renewed,
While on your hearts, like honey-dew,
  Falls our great country’s gratitude.



Braxton Delaney Cash

August 21, 2009



Braxton Cash was another prominent farmer who came to Montgomery County after the war and settled southwest of Crawfordsville.  His obituary indicated that he was, “…a Confederate soldier who served in Stonewall Jackson’s Black Horse Cavalry.”  He was buried with Masonic honors and was surrounded by fellow Masons who fought on the Union side.  The speaker observed that, “The boys in blue filed around the grave of the boy in gray, depositing a sprig of evergreen upon his remains.  Beneath these tributes of respect, the ex-confederate sweetly sleeps in peace.  His last march is ended, his last battle fought and he silently bivouacs in the tentless field of the dead where he calmly awaits the bugle call when the blue and the gray will be marshaled under the one flag, the flag of peace.”  Braxton Cash died in 1899 and is buried in the Masonic Cemetery on Grant Street.

Archibald Walter Strickler

August 20, 2009



Archibald Strickler was the brother of William Lewis Strickler.  He was also buried in the Ladoga Cemetery.  Archibald resided on Kerr’s Creek before the war and enlisted into the Confederate Army on July 10, 1861.  He was assigned to the 1st Virginia Artillery and also spent some time in the 52nd Virginia Infantry.  He was wounded at the Battle of Allegheny Mountain and again at the Battle of Bristoe Station.  He was captured at the Battle of Petersburg and sent to Point Lookout.  For his valiant service, he rose to the rank of Sergeant.  He stood 5’11” tall and was described as a man of great physical stature.  He moved to Ladoga after the war and lived there until his death in 1914.

The Obenshain Brothers

August 20, 2009

Martin V.B. ObenshainPeter ObenshainZEBULON OBENSHAIN  1850   PETER OBENSHAIN 1849

Civil_War_Drummer_BoysSouthern Drummer Boys in the War 

There are six Confederate stones in the memorial section of the Ladoga Cemetery.  These six along with several Union soldiers have memorial stones even though they are not buried in that section.  Some are buried in unmarked graves in the cemetery and some were taken to their original homes for burial after their deaths.  All spent a significant amount of time in Ladoga and considered Ladoga their second homes.  There are four Obenshain brothers in the memorial section.  All were attached to the 28th Virginia Infantry.  Three were musicians and one was a normal soldier.  The two youngest, Zebulon and Peter were drummer boys.  Neither brother could have been more than 12 or 13 years old when they faced the Union lines before Pickett’s Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg.  The other two brothers were Martin Van Buren Obenshain and James Obenshain.

James Obenshain

Peter Obenshain

Sam Davis

August 18, 2009

sam davis

A Tribute to Sam Davis

August 18, 2009

A Tribute to Sam Davis

by John Trotwood Moore


“Tell me his name and you are free,”  The general said, while from the tree The grim rope dangled threat’ningly

The birds ceased singing—happy birds. That sang of home and mother-words.

The sunshine kissed his cheek—dear sun, It loves a life that’s just begun.

The very breezes held their breath To watch the fight ‘twixt life and death.

And O, how calm and sweet and free  Smiled back the hills of Tennessee!

Smiled back the hills as if to say: “O save your life for us to-day!”

 “Tell me his name and you are free,” The General said, “and I shall see You safe within the Rebel line—

I’d love to save such life as thine.”  A tear gleamed down the ranks of blue.

(The bayonets were tipped with dew); Across the rugged cheek of war  God’s angels rolled a teary star.

The boy looked up, and this they heard:  “And would you have me break my word?”

 A tear stood in the General’s eye: “My boy, I hate to see thee die;

Give me the traitor’s name and fly!” Young Davis smiled, as calm and free As He who walked on Galilee:

“Had I a thousand lives to live, Had I a thousand lives to give,  I’d lose them—nay, I’d gladly die  Before I’d live one life a lie!”

He turned, for not a soldier stirred.  “Your duty, men; I gave my word.”

The hills smiled back a farewell smile, The breeze sobbed o’er his bier awhile,

The birds broke out in glad refrain,  The sunbeams kissed his cheek again,

Then gathering up their blazing bars, They shook his name among the stars.

 O stars, that now his brothers are, O sun, his sire in truth and light, Go tell the listening worlds afar

Of him who died for truth and right. For martyr of all martyrs he

Who died to save an enemy!

William Lewis Strickler

August 17, 2009

William Lewis Saintley Strickler was born in Rockbridge County, Virginia and served in the 1st Rockbridge Artillery. The 1st Rockbridge Artillery was attached to the Stonewall Brigade. He rose through the ranks until he became a 2nd Sergeant, a rank which he held until the surrender at Appomattox. He was described as,  “A man of remarkable physique, six feet high, broad shoulders and powerful limbs. One of the best soldiers in the Rockbridge Artillery.  ”At the Battle of Winchester, one of the guns became lodged against a gatepost while changing position. Cpl. A.S. Whitt and Cpl. William Strickler went out under heavy fire to free the gun. Cpl Whitt retreated while Cpl. Strickler admirably stood amidst the storm of shrapnel to chop down the hitching post with an axe.” Strickler moved to Ladoga after the war, living there until his death in 1893. He is buried in the Ladoga Cemetery.William Strickler

John Henry Coffman

August 17, 2009

The Liberty Hall Volunteers dedicated the stone of John Henry Coffman.  Their flag read, "For Altar and Hearth."John Henry Coffman John Henry Coffman was born in Botetourt County, Virginia.  When the war started, he enlisted in Co I, 4th Va Regiment.  He was a member of the Liberty Hall Volunteers, a unit attached to the Stonewall Brigade.  He was badly wounded at Cedar Creek and sent home.  He rejoined his regiment in the spring of 1865 and fought in a heavy engagement just before Petersburg.  He was captured and sent to Lookout where he remained until the end of the war.  He moved his family to Indiana in 1877 and prospered in the lumber business.  He died in 1904 and is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery.

The Liberty Hall Volunteers honor John Henry Coffman

The Liberty Hall Volunteers honor John Henry Coffman