During January 1862 at Camp Fisher, the country boys of the 11th Mississippi found a new way to amuse themselves and annoy others, especially their acting commander, Lieutenant Colonel Frank Liddell.
Only Neshoba County's storyteller, Private Wiley Heflin of Company D, could properly relate this camp tale: "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 pastime.
"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 the name of the horned regiment.
"Now I believe, if we had crossed the Potomac River above and compressed 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.
After thanking his brother in Noxubee County for the boots forwarded to his other brother, Iley Fant and himself, Private William Fant wrote about the "cow-horne mainier," as well as a subject that was constantly discussed-re-enlistment, corresponding bonus and furlough.
On Friday, Feb. 7, 1862, the men of the 11th Mississippi, after months and months of rumors, finally got the information on the re-enlistment program--re-enlist for two years or enlist for the duration of the war, receive a $50 bounty, and forty-six days of furlough.
Scores immediately re-enlisted, received their bounty two days later, and immediately left for their homes in Mississippi.
They were the fortunate ones as Joseph Johnston quickly canceled the furlough program after he heard of Lincoln's directive for McClellan to move in a matter of days.
Many of the other enlistees received only a notation marked "Bounty Due," and in many cases never received the $50, leaving it to be claimed by the next-of-kin in final settlement proceedings.
One of the major reasons that some of the officers of the companies of the regiment received furloughs was to return to Mississippi and enlist new soldiers to fill ranks ravished by measles, typhoid fever, pneumonia, and other disabilities.
Captain Alexander Franklin returned to Philadelphia as Company D's recruiter and enrolled fifty-six new soldiers in the Neshoba Rifles.
Included in this group were brothers Columbus Martin Cook, Jacob Harrison Cook, James Michael Cook, John Henry Cook, and their first cousin, John W. Cook.
These Cook brothers joined their two older brothers who had enlisted in 1861 in Company D.
During their stay at Camp Fisher, Chase Whiting's brigade consisted of the 11th Mississippi; the 2nd Mississippi, Colonel William C. Falkner commanding; the 4th Alabama under Colonel Evander McIvor Law; and the 6th North Carolina led by Colonel William Dorsey Pender.
On one occasion, Colonel Pender complained to General Whiting at his headquarters about the killing of a hog within the lines of the 11th Mississippi.
When asked by General Whiting as to what evidence he had of this event, Colonel Pender stated that he heard of a gunshot and then a squeal.
General Whiting confidently replied, "I am satisfied that you are mistaken Colonel, when a 11th Mississippian shoots a hog, it don't squeal."
Civil War Veterans
Kilpatrick, Benjamin Franklin, Jr. - Private; enlisted March 1, 1862 at Philadelphia, Mississippi, in Company D; age twenty-one; farmer; nick-named "Frank;" absent ill during Battle of Seven Pines, May 31, 1862; Muster-Roll, May-June 1862: "Absent sick;" hospitalized at the Confederate Hospital at Culpeper Court House, Va., Sept. 24, 1862.
Wounded, probably at Bristoe Station, Va., Oct. 14, 1863; hospitalized with a gunshot wound at the General Hospital at Charlottesville, Virginia, Oct. 18, 1863 to Dec. 4, 1863; wounded, probably at the Wilderness, May 5 or 6, 1864.
Hospitalized with a gunshot wound in the hand at the General Hospital at Danville, Va., June 20, 1864; received allowance of clothing at the Second North Carolina Hospital at Columbia, South Carolina, July 2, 1864; captured at Hatcher's Run, April 2, 1865.
Imprisoned at Point Lookout, Md.; released at Point Lookout, June 28, 1865; transportation furnished to Meridian, Miss.; described as five feet eight inches tall, fair complexion, brown hair and blue eyes.
World War II Veterans
Jackson, Otha Dill -- Private to Private First Class; enlisted on June 29, 1943, at Camp Shelby, Miss., in the United States Army; age eighteen; student/farmer; nick-named "Stonewall."
Served and trained in the American Theatre of Operations at Fort Riley, Kan., July 1943; served also in the Asiatic-Pacific Theatre of Operations as a utility repairman with the Fifth Regimental Combat Team, First Cavalry Division, February 1944 to April 1945.
Stationed in New Guinea, March 1944 to May 1944; participated in the campaigns in New Guinea, Bismarck Archipelago, and the invasion of Leyte and Luzon, Philippine Islands; wounded in action (Japanese sniper fire) in the right knee near the outskirts of Manila, Luzon, Philippine Islands, Feb. 15, 1945.
Also served with Headquarters and Transportation Detachment at the 9206th Technical Unit of the Transportation Corps.
Awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (with four bronze services stars), Philippine Islands Liberation Medal (with two bronze service stars), World War II Victory Medal, Good Conduct Medal and the Purple Heart.
Discharged at Camp Stoneman, California, Nov. 8, 1945; described as five feet nine inches tall, weighing 137 pounds, with red hair and blue eyes.
Philadelphia-Neshoba County Historical Museum Steven H. Stubbs, Curator 303 Water Avenue South Philadelphia, Mississippi 39350 (601) 656-1284 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Monday thru Friday