AUTHOR: Linda Lancaster Harmon
John Suggs’ elder brother Joshua Franklin Suggs belonged to the North Carolina Volunteer Troops. Before Confederate Volunteers were called for, these troops were ordered below New Bern to safeguard the coast. Joshua had just been married and when John saw the bride in tears, he offered himself as a substitute for his brother. The captain of this company was Colonel George Whitfield of LaGrange of the 27th North Carolina Regiment.
John Suggs and Frank Aldridge (son of Howell Aldridge and Mary Faircloth) were placed in the military band. John gave this account to his wife, Winifred Aldridge Suggs, regarding the aftermaths of the battle of Chancellorsville.
“They had been caring for the dying and wounded and were resting on the ground when a horseman rode up and said, “Boys, play me a tune”. It was Stonewall Jackson, and we were on our feet in a moment. “What will you have General?’ said our leader. “Ah play, Thou art gone from …, Be kind to the loved ones at home”, said the General. We played better and more harmoniously that evening than we ever did before I thought. Jackson remained listening till the tune ceased. Then, after the usual salutes he rode on, never to return, never to repeat the courtesy shown to us on that evening of the great battle of Chancellorsville, when he asked the band to play for him and I have always thought that we played his funeral dirge. General Stonewall Jackson was shot by the men who executed his own orders that night.”
“This is a true story. I have told it just as my husband told it to me and as long as he lived he either whistled or hummed that tune when he arose from his bed in the morning. He never forgot the great General and his request, “Boys play me a tune”.
John Suggs bought land one mile west of Lenoir County Court House. His tobacco barns were situated where Kinston Country Club now stands.
A picture of John Suggs taken at that time shows him as a Provost Marshal at New Bern. He was armed with a short sword made in a blacksmith’s shop and he had a pistol.
Born 28 Jan 1844
Died 29 May 1899 – Kinston, NC