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He Wrote of “Southern
Gallantry and Privations”






My great grandfather William Meshack Abernathy was from Early Grove, Mississippi. When he was seventeen years old he and many of his cousins enlisted in the Army of the South. He served in Company B, the 17th Mississippi Infantry, Barksdale's Brigade, McLaw's Division, Longstreet's Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, Robert E. Lee, General.

He was wounded several times during his service and was a P.O.W. in a New York hospital, where he was very impressed by his treatment. "When we got to Newark, NJ, the ladies turned out,

brought us linen, gave us jellies, contributed everything in their power to make captivity pleasant, and told us they had no sympathy for the cause in which we were engaged, but they did sympathize with suffering humanity." He was later exchanged for a Federal prisoner and continued fighting for the Confederacy.

That excerpt was taken from a little memoir he wrote about his military service entitled: Our Mess: Southern Gallantry and Privations.

He served for the duration and was present at the surrender. In fact, he was courier at Longstreet's headquarters and "when these officers completed their labors he carried the dispatch to General Lee, which was the last dispatch carried in that army."

One of my favorite stories in this book is called "Tobacco for Coffee". The con-federate soldiers were camped along the Rappa-honnack River; the Yankees were camped on the other side. During a lull in the fighting, William

fashioned a tiny boat, loaded it with tobacco and sent it sailing across the river. He said, "The Yankees on the other side loaded it with coffee and sent the boat back. This was strictly against orders, and in an effort to catch the boys that did it our commanding officer had roll call in the middle of the day. He got no information."

After the war, my great grandfather married Lucy Roberts, went to law school and moved his family to McKinney, Texas. William and Lucy had seven children. My grandfather Roger was one of them. William was an organizer of St. Peter's Episcopal Church, and organizer and chief of the local fire department and established one of the most prominent law firms in North Texas.