During the great Civil War between the states in 1861 and 1865, many stories were told and letters were written by both Rebs and Yanks concerning their activities on and off the battlefield.

One of the best storytellers was Private Wiley Pierce Heflin, Company D, “Neshoba Rifles,” of the famed 11th Mississippi Infantry Regiment. Wiley Heflin was twenty-seven years of age when he enlisted in the Rifles at Neshoba Springs, Mississippi in April 1861. Over forty years later in 1905, Heflin, now seventy-one, with the help of a Miss Annette Batson, penned his remembrances, after “loss of sight” but with a mind “not impaired in the least.”

 The work that he dictated “by knowledge, experience and recollection” was entitled, “Blind Man on the Warpath.” Excerpts from this narrative are as followers: (1) “December 1861.

There are always in the army some men who have just sense enough to do whatever they are told and resolution enough to stick to whatever they say. On one occasion when the pickets were posted around the encampment, one of those kind happened to be posted on the road leading from our encampment to the depot. That Rebel had orders to let no one pass there without a pass from Brigadier General [William Henry Chase] Whiting. He quietly rested himself on the corner of a fence, when up rides General [Joseph E.] Johnston and a part of his staff. The sentinel at once halted him and demanded his pass.

The general told him he didn’t have to carry a pass. The soldier told him not to go by without one. Then [Brigadier] General [Daniel Harvey} Hill remonstrated with him, told him that he was General Johnston, the head commander. At that the soldier replied, ‘It don’t make a damn bit of difference who you are. You can’t pass here without a pass from General Whiting.’ The general asked if he did not have orders to salute superior officers.

The sentinel says ‘What?’ ‘Don’t you have orders to salute, present arms to superior officers when they come around?’ ‘Oh!’ said the sentinel, ‘There was some such orders as that when we first came out, but that is played out.’ So the general had to call the corporal of the guard to pass him by.”

During early 1862, the country boys of the 11th Mississippi found a new way to amuse themselves and annoy others, especially their acting commander, Lieutenant Colonel Phillip Franklin “Frank” Liddell.*

Only Neshoba County’s storyteller, Private Wiley Heflin of Company D, could properly relate this camp tale: (2) “January 1862. There would be a detail made every day to go to the butcher pen and most of them when they went would get some horns and they would make blowing horns for pasttime. It seemed that most all the men had a blowing horn, some times one company would break loose blowing the horns and another company would answer them and from that the whole regiment would follow suit.

On one occasion the colonel sent word to the officer of the day to stop that horn blowing or that he would put him under arrest. As fast as he would go from one company to another they would break loose to blowing behind him, he did all he could but could not stop it. It would be almost equal to the horn blowing around the walls of Jericho.

For a long time the 11th Mississippi went by name of the horned regiment. Now I believe, if we had crossed the Potomac River above and compassed Washington City in the rear, then blew our horns and giving a loud shout at the same time, making a rush upon the city, it would have fallen into our hands, as Jericho did into the hands of Joshua.”  There was no way that an event like this would not be reported to the home folk. Private William Fant of Company F, the Noxubee Rifles, 11th Mississippi, wrote to his family, “We have no sickness in Camp, except the cow-horne [sic]  mainier . The slaughter pen is visited almost every hour by the boys who go there for the purpose of gathering the hornes  for the purpose of making blowing hornes. Almost everybody in the regm. has him a horne.”

Note: * Colonel Frank Liddell suffered a mortal wound on September 16, 1862 during the Battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam).

(To be continued—more from “Blind Man on the Warpath”)



World War II Veterans

Partridge,  Edwin Clifton, Jr. – Private to First Lieutenant; enlisted on June 19, 1941 at Jackson, Mississippi, in the United States Army;  age eighteen; chauffeur/taxi driver; nick-named “Cliff;” served and trained in the American Theatre of Operations at the Basic Flying School at Minter Field, Bakersfield, California, January 1942, and at the Avon Bombing Range, Avon Park, Florida, with the Army Air Corps;

Instructed in aerial gunnery at Hickam Field, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii, and at the Aviation Cadet Training School at Williams Field, Arizona; attended the Advanced Training School at Williams Field, September 1942; discharged as a staff sergeant at Avon Park, February 10, 1943, to accept appointment as a flight officer; re-enlisted on February 11, 1943, at Avon Park; served again in the American Theatre as a B-26 Martin Marauder bomber pilot with the 481st Bombardment Squadron, 336th Bombardment Group;

Discharged as a flight officer at Avon Park, June 16, 1943, to accept a commission as a second lieutenant; re-enlisted on June 17, 1943 at Avon Park; stationed as a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber pilot at the Roswell Army Air Base, New Mexico, August 1943, and at the Will Rogers Field, Oklahoma, October 1943 to April 1944; served also in the Asiatic-Pacific of Operations as a pilot aboard a B-24 “Little Max” Liberator bomber with the 392nd Bombardment Squadron, 30th Bombardment Group, May 1944 to October 1945;

Stationed with a Troop Transport Squadron, Territory of Hawaii, May 1944 to May 1945; participated in the campaigns in Eastern Mandates and the Western Pacific; awarded the American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (with two bronze service stars) and the Bronze Star; discharged at Camp Shelby, January 14, 1946, demobilization; described as five feet eleven inches tall, weighing 140 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes.

Vance, Bonny Shull – Private; enlisted on December 14, 1942 in the United States Navy; served and trained in the American Theatre of Operations at Camp Elliot, San Diego, California, with the United States Marine Corps; served also in the Asiatic-Pacific Theatre of Operations; participated in the campaigns on Tarawa, Gilbert Islands, November 1943, and Saipan, Mariana Islands, June 1944 to July 1944; wounded in action on Saipan, June 17, 1944; hospitalized in California, August 1944, and at the Naval Hospital at San Diego, September 1944;  awarded the Purple Heart; discharged at San Diego, December 28, 1944, combat disability.

Philadelphia-Neshoba County Museum                                             Steven H. Stubbs, Curator                                                         

 303 Water Avenue South

Philadelphia, Mississippi, 39350

(601) 656-1284

10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Monday thru Friday