Jackson County Times

Top Story News

Monday, September 7, 2009

“The Yankees Are Coming And I Can Not Leave Marianna”

Memoirs of Sarah Ann Austin Cooper, who will be among the re-enactors on Marianna Day
By Sheilia Young
“You can meet me on Saturday, September 26 in downtown Marianna during the Parade.”
“My name is Sarah Ann Austin Cooper. I was born on August 28, 1827 in Barbour County, Alabama. My parents are John Austin and Sarah Youngblood Austin of Johnson, South Carolina. I married Captain Reuben Cooper on December 24, 1844.
Tragically, my husband and sixteen others were killed in a train wreck in Cleveland, Tennessee. He and the boys of the Alabama 33rd Infantry had fought at Perryville, Kentucky, and were in a hurry to get back to Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Some wood fell off of the tender car and derailed the train. They were all buried alongside the tracks.
After hearing this news, our son Matthew Cooper took a horse and rode away to enlist in Captain Morrison’s Company, Lewis’ Battalion, of the Alabama Calvary. I haven’t seen him since.
I have come to Marianna to visit my nephews, John and William Joseph Austin. I have learned William enlisted last April in Captain Poe’s Company of the 1st Florida Reserve Regiment. John is in the Home Guard Unit here in Jackson County, under Captain Norwood. They call themselves “The Cradle to Grave Unit” because of the ages of their members.
Just now the church bells started ringing an alarm! A courier told us the Union Army is coming! They are supposedly at the Old Fort Road, only fifteen miles away to the northwest. John and William have gone to the courthouse to help defend the town. I do not have a means to leave, so I will stay and do what I can. I hope and pray all will be well.”
This sentiment could have been expressed by the Great-Great-Great Grandmother of my husband, Lionel Young. All the facts are true. History has shown us: John Austin fought and was captured by Union forces during the Battle of Marianna. He died in prison at Ship Island off the Mississippi coast, January 1865. William Austin fought in the Battle of Marianna and the Battle of Natural Bridge. He was discharged in Madison, Florida, May of 1865. Sarah’s son, Matthew, became a prisoner of war, was paroled on May 14, 1865 and walked home to Marianna from Gainesville, Alabama.
Come to the Marianna Day Fall Festival and learn more of our local history.

No comments:

Post a Comment