Thus begins a “simple statement of my ‘War Record'” penned by George Washington Walling, Sr. a few years before his death in 1916, at the request of his son Thomas Burrowes Walling. (1)
This document is one piece of the Walling Papers, the discovery that I wrote about here. Below is the entire transcription, but I’ve also included a digital image of one line with an illegible word (at least to me!) If anyone has any idea of what that last word is, please comment with your thoughts. It feels like a critical word in an important sentence.This is the first ancestral civil war narrative I’ve read that was not part of pension application file. In other words, its purpose was not to highlight physical infirmities suffered on account of service. (From that standpoint, it’s refreshing.) Nor does it glorify participation. It’s just a matter of fact.
“Yes! I was a soldier in the civil war between the States and I shall endeavor to be as candidly careful to state facts as I should be on any subject whatever even though to day I remember how my dear old Father-in-law [Joseph Wright, you can find his picture here] opposed every step taken to bring about “Secession.” He was a union man and so voted, and to day I love him for his superior action to my own in not doing as he did, and I can only excuse myself now as I recollect now how different people think when only short distances apart tend to weave an effective trend in an opposite direction. I was living less than 20 miles from the old gentleman but I was always busy and when I did come to Austin it was to sell my produce and hurry back and the days passed by and my neighbors had my hearty [–?–].
At that time I saw the great crisis coming. I could not stay at home and farm but as Col. George W. White became sole agent of Texas to supply Beef to the Confederate Army and needed men to drive those beeves to the Mississippi river I was soon in his employ, an[d] as long as men would sell their beeves for Confederate money I stuck to him but the money no longer warranted, impressment took its place and I saw nothing nothing but the army ahead.
Enlisted in the Army
When I arrived home a company was forming and I was a recruit in Company C of the 33rd Regiment of Texas Cavalry. [We] were mustered in at San Antonio under the the following organization Captain John Robinson.
My service under Col. Geo. W. White had carried me about half through the war but in 1863 we were ordered joined to Gen. Coopers command up at Fort Gibson Indian territory which was much like our first service, heavy marching all the time and tired out when sleeping time came to our relief and the last yells of our red allies had died away at last. We were ordered to not attempt going to their wardances to be shot first and halted in reverse order. I have been in scouting parties several times but never enjoyed them as much as I would a good quiet sleep and that is a fact.
As the winter was approaching we were ordered south in winter quarters in Arkansas and my brother John [John E. Walling] and myself had built the best house in those quarters, and we were prepared to pass as pleasant a winter in the sticky mud as a soldier had any right to expect but we had a short time to stay there, for a detail of every mechanic in our regiment was ordered to proceed to Marshal Texas to build up factories where shot and shell and every implement of warfare could be manufactured, and indeed it was all interesting but doubly so for when our days work was over we had a really good home and kind friends till the war was over.”
UPDATE: In response to Elizabeth’s suggestion (below), I looked around for other words that end in “t” and located this “at” — which has the lazy upswing cross:
(1) “Personal Memorial of George W. Walling,” circa 1913; handwritten notes of George W. Walling, Sr. (1828-1916); The Walling Papers, 2-23/1008; Texas State Archives, Austin, Texas; transcription by Malissa Ruffner, 27 September 2010.