Francis Marion Wilcox Journal
Our regiment was engaged at Mr. Sterling, Kentucky in two battles or skirmishes with Peter Everch commanding Rebel forces in the fall of 1863 and with Rebel John H. Morgan in July 164. Morgan's forces were repulsed with a loss of over 100 killed and some 200 wounded and missing. Next day he was attacked again at Cynthiana, Kentucky where our regiment again was engaged, killing and capturing over 300 men and defeating Morgan to the degree that he never rallied in sufficient force to come to Kentucky afterwards. During this raid I was 16 days and nights in the saddle, stopping only long enough to let the horses graze. We slept on our horses for miles at a time and when the raid was ended, we were almost ended.
No man can describe how we suffered with the heat, fatigue and for water and rations, going often three days without enough to eat one meal. I remember Noah Blankenbeckler of Company E. He bought two loaves of corn bread about as big as a man's hand. He gave 75 cents for the two. He gave me one and it tasted so well that I've always liked it ever since. It was good! An old hen boiled, minus sale, was good! I don't want to attempt to go over this part of my life. Scouting and raids made in the cold, hear or show. Too much for physical man to endure.
In the hospital for more than five months - took out by one Sarah E. Norvel of Paris, Kentucky - saved my life. I was placed in Camp Nelson Hospital, Camp Nelson, Kentucky in Ward 5 on July 19, 1864. I remained there until October 19, 1864. I got a furlough home on November 23rd and mustered out by an empowered ally on December 31, 1864 at Charletsburg, Kentucky. Left at Grayson sick and I never got home until April of 1865. The was nearly over and peace had begun to be talked about all over the land. In a very short time the dark clouds of was that for more than four years had darkened our political scene began to move off. The skies grew brighter once more. Then Rebel Lee surrendered to Gen. U.S. Grand on April 9, 1875. Joe Johnson to General Sherman a few days later at Raleigh, NC. Jeff Davis, the leader is captured in Petticoats and imprisoned at Fort Monroe. Other commanders of less note on the Confederate side surrendered in fast succession. The war ends.
The boys return home, both north and south. Slavery is no longer a curse or institution in this land. The Union is preserved and all rejoice who followed the Old Flag. But in the midst of our rejoicing at the harbinger of peace again, the country is destined to gloom and the saddest hour was yet to be mourned. Abraham Lincoln, the modern Moses and inspired President who had wished, prayed and longed for peace upon terms made in accordance to the Constitution he had sworn to defend, is assassinated on April 14, 1865 by John Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C. A cowardly villain courting notoriety and from subjugated traitors had not the usual courage to aid or defend while they were in need. They did not sympathize with such a wretch. Neither can any other. This cowardly act was one that lost to the Union soldiers their truest and best friend and to the common country, both north and south, its blessed leader. It robber the loyal men of this nation their glory in a welcome and dearly bought peace.
The was over and history records its doings so I bid it goodbye. After coming home in 1865, I worked a little on the farm, taught school in the fall on the Brushey Fork of the Little Sandy River. I then attended school and taught on Little Turk at Penington Place, then at Little Fork at Joe Clark District. Then I went to Willard Fairview in 1868, then to Olive Hill and hire to J.A. Watson, a clerk, until 1870. At that time I was nominated as Assessor and elected for four years. I taught in the fall at Olive Hill, Kentucky during 1871 and 1872.
In the fall of 1872 on September 16 I got married to Hattie Abbott, the daughter of William Abbott who was, on his father's side of English decent, American born, coming from Virginia. His mother was of Scotch-Irish decent and named Murphy. On the mother's side, she was of Irish decent, crossed with German, best I can tell. Hattie's mother being Mary Ann Coleman, the daughter of Charles Coleman, his wife being of Irish decent and named Fuller - All American born, all residing in Ohio mostly in Athens and Morgan Counties where are to found their descendants in numerous proportions today.
After getting married in 1872, we settled in Carter, Kentucky at upper Tygart and remained there until March 15, 1889 when we came to Iowa. In 1869 I joined the Masonic Fraternity, Trimble Lodge 145, Grayson, Kentucky; in 1885 admitted and joined Olive Hill Lodge 625 at Olive Hill, Kentucky. Admitted in 1887 and joined Leighton Lodge, Beacon Iowa 3951. Joined the M.E. Church at home under Rev. H. Baker's preaching in fall of 1890. Was baptized by pouring kneeling by the side of Little Fork of the Little Sandy River in the fall of 1871, I think by Rev. Baker. The Lord blessed me after I turned to him in various years, yet by neglect of duties to be performed, I lost his spirit that attended me most powerfully after my coming to Him, though in many ways He manifested His love towards me. Yet I want to say that nothing should ever deter a man from following God and I hope my children profit by these remarks. When a boy, hear the top of a high mountain in Pike County, I was moved to pray and did so and was blessed. Yet I looked for more to happen and did not realize my blessings as it came. Oh, that I had understood how to realize a blessing that time in my youth and build my foundation on it. 'Twas God calling me. I cannot say that after leaving Dixie land I ever enjoyed myself religiously as I should have. It was not until after the war that I found God's refreshing power.
I regard cowardice as the meanest of all things. Cowardice listens to the agents of satan and leads one to commit willful and uncalled for sins. Let not the fear of man, devil or agent of Hell ever keep you, my children, from doing what your conscience dictates to be true and right. The greater portions of lost blessings can be attributed to cowardice. Stan uses this weapon in various ways. Next to cowardice comes false pride, prompted by Satan to entrap the mind the delude the soul. Watch and pray and let humility ever grace your lives and this will elevate you and give you peace that the world cannot give. Never curse or swear or use bad words. They neither make one better or wiser or braver, but degrade all and debase those in the sight of God and all that is good. I detest a profane swearer and have no place for them. We should try and make the world better and not worse for having lived in it. Remember the Sabbath day and keep it Holy. Never break the Sabbath. God instituted this day for His own praise and glory. He gives us six days and certainly we should be too good to want to steal the seventh.