Legend Of The South


When the war ceased, Captain Lloyd wrote me from St. Louis and asked me to address my answer to Kansas City. Next I heard from him from San Francisco. In this letter he enclosed his photograph. My answer was to thank him for the courtesy. Then followed a beautiful love letter, in which he addressed me. I had no alternative but to answer that I was “too patriotic to fall in love with a gentleman from the North.” But I added that I would always “cherish his friendship.” He never wrote again. I’ve aways been thankful that he allowed me to keep his picture.

The surrender of the South was a bitter pill to swallow, but it was good to have the war over. The coming home of the boys, even in defeat, brought occasions of great joy. Newstead once more became the center of social activities. Everyone tried to make the best of the situation. My brother brought home his friends, both old and young, and with them came “Captain” Ligon.

During the last battle at Vicksburg, shortly before the surrender, Lieutenant Ligon, while in action, saw his commanding officer shot off his horse. Just previous to that Lieutenant Ligon’s mount had been killed under him. It happened in the twinkle of an eye—the daring young officer, seeing the soldiers wavering and falling back at the loss of their captain, mounted the riderless horse, took command, and effectively beat back the enemy for that day. A commission as captain was offered him, but the war was practically over. However the title was his from that day on and stories of his daring feat spread rapidly.

Courtships were brief right after the war. I looked forward with great pleasure to every meeting with Captain Ligon. Once we were entertaining with a quadrille at Newstead and Captain Ligon was a guest. He chose me for his partner, not once but many times throughout the evening. The day following he asked my mother for my hand in marriage. Of course Uncle Jerry and Aunt Melissie had to be consulted. The old Negro mammy wiped tears from her eyes with her big homespun apron, but Uncle Jerry came right out with a piece of his mind. “Cap’n Ligon,” he said, “I’se done rais’ dis here child. She ain’t fully growed yit. Soon I be daid an’ gone. Ifen yo’ don’t treat ‘er right, I’se gwinter come back an’ hant yo’ ‘til yo’ dyin’ day.”