My great great grandfather Pleasant Bohanon Collins was a Civil War Veteran and a prisoner of war who fought as a Son of the Confederacy. There, I said it, it may not be politically correct these days; but, at one time the Sons of the South and the Sons of the Union would have reunions because they respected one another. There was an admiration between the soldiers on both sides because they knew what each had endured. Also, a tinge of regret for what happened during the ten years deemed as reconstruction which was really retaliation and retribution for President Lincoln’s asassination. Pleasant Bohannon Collins never owned a slave nor did he aspire to own slaves. He fought the war as most southerners did, not for slavery, but to end the surge of The North into the government of the southern states.
At twenty-one he left the farm and joined the Confederate Army in 1861. When he was asked how many he had shot during the war, he replied that he didn’t know because ‘so many were lined up shooting and so many were lined up dying’. He never knew what his shot struck but he was known as a “sure shot ” when squirrel hunting.
Fighting in the infantry in Richmond, in what was called “The Seven Day’s Fight”, the line he marched in was firing on command when hit by cannon fire. His eardrum burst. In the excitement, he was unable to hear the command to file in and was hit by a brass mini ball. When he came to, he recalled the ‘terrible thirst’ and how he wandered around disoriented for a while. He must have fallen out again when he was rolled off his blanket by a childhood friend thinking he was dead. He might have been had his fellow soldiers not needed his blanket themselves. They made a litter, a type of cot, out of the blanket and carried him to the hospital where the doctor made an incision in his back and removed the ball which had pierced the top of his lung. This hospital was captured by the Union Army. Pleasant, or PB as he was known, was transported by train to Illinois and placed in a federal hospital. He and another prisoner, with only one leg, escaped and headed south as fast as they could travel by night. He never shirked his duties as he fought in many battles before being wounded and captured. There is no disgrace in how he served his country nor is there any disgrace in fighting for freedom against tyranny whether political or religious.
PB was eighty-six when he died. He outlived three wives and had ten children all together. I am one of his descendants.