Last of the Lot
The youngest of my great-grandfather Henry’s seven brothers wasn’t just one of the boys. At fifteen, he was the only boy. That should have been enough to keep him out of service to the Confederacy and, for almost all of the war, it did. But there was a problem. By the end of 1864 he looked like a man. “Slocumb is only fifteen,” his sister wrote, “but he is as tall as Brother Fark and wears long coat tails so that I am afraid he will be considered before his time comes.” Not, in other words, the sort of Southern boy who should wait around to see what disposition Sherman’s juggernaut and the fog of war would make of him. Besides, as Slocumb’s sister wistfully noted, “He wants to go.” So, as the war drew within a few hundred yards, he went — first as a courier in the Battle of Averasboro, which was fought on his own family’s plantation, then in the bloodbath at Bentonville, where he was sitting on a fence with the son of Lt. Gen. William J. Hardee when young Hardee was mortally wounded. Slocumb, unhurt, returned to Harnett County with that searing image and a “funny story” about competing with his horse as they tried to hide behind each other.