Friday, August 28, 2015

Question: How many raids did Holly Springs have during the Civil War?

Answer:  Sixty times.  According to Ruth Watkins' research, "Holly Springs was subjected to more than sixty distinct raids."

One raid was the famous General Van Dorn's Raid in December of 1862 "by which Grant's immense stores of ammunition and supplies amounting to millions of dollars were entirely destroyed.  The old courthouse was burned by Grant, and many business houses suffered the same fate at the hands of Van Dorn."
Yellow star represents the location of the paymaster's room where the Union money was retrieved during Van Dorn's Raid.

During the raid some of Van Dorn's men lit their cigars with $20 bills, while others used the sheets of union bills for shooting practice.   One man kept thousands of dollars worth of sheets and became a wealthy man after the war!

The paymaster's room was located in one of the above three buildings from the corner.

Sam Finley, a Holly Springs citizen,  tried to rescue greenbacks from the paymaster's room by rolling "up a big lot of the money in a rug."  The next thing he remembered was waking up with "a horrible wound on his face" that ended up being "a terrible scar" until the day he died.  He was told that this "was caused by the premature explosion of Grant's magazine, a piece of exploded shell having entered his cheek.  He never knew what became of his money."

Watkins, Ruth. "Reconstruction in Marshall County", ed. Franklin L. Riley. Publications of The Mississippi Historical Society Volume 12. (1912): 155-213 p. Book.

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