Continuing from last time, Clark Millikan was drafted into the Confederate Army and enlisted November 15, 1864. He was in Company A of the 6th North Carolina Infantry. The story of his short time in the Infantry has been recounted through the years. For the most part, the story is the same each time it is told, however, there are a few additions that I have found.
The most common account is the one printed in the book, The History of Hamilton County, Indiana, by John F. Haines, 1915, B.F. Bowen & Co, Indianapolis, IN. The book includes a biographical sketch of Clark Millikan. The Civil War part of that sketch follows:
Mr. Millikan and his family were still living in North Carolina at the opening of the Civil War. He was reared in the Friends church and was opposed to war and slavery. He was drafted for service in the Confederate Army, but hired a substitute to take his place. The limit age was raised later in the war and he was drafted and sent to the front. Before this he and three other members of the Friends church had paid a man $40 to a memorial to the Confederate Congress, asking that Friends be allowed to pay $500 and be relieved from war duty. He and his three friends were ordered to drill and refused to do so until they heard from Congress. They were arrested and tied up by their thumbs for half a day in the rain and snow. During the forenoon that they were thus suspended the water ran down their arms into their shoes, and after dinner they were bucked and bound and punished until one of their member declared he would die if the punishment was not stopped. To save their comrade, the other three agreed to drill. They drilled but watched closely for a chance to escape. After several months at detail work near home, for which they received 65¢ a day and board, they were sent to a regiment and within a month, while on picket duty near Petersburg, Mr. Millikan and a number of others left the lines and slipped over to the Yankee lines, more than one-half mile away. This happened one night while they were on duty and was probably the most exciting night’s experience through which Mr. Millikan ever passed.
On this particular night when he made his escape, Mr. Millikan and three others were guarding with a campfire behind a screen of limbs. Other guards were stationed in little groups along the lines with a fire to each group. In the group of guards next to Mr. Millikan and his friends was stationed one man whose duty was to watch the Friends constantly. About midnight this man who was watching Mr. Millikan and his friends drew his cape up over his head to protect himself from the cold wind and leaned down over the fire to warm. Immediately the four men, of whom Mr. Millikan was one, made a dash for liberty. They crawled rapidly as close to the ground as possible until they were 30 or 40 yards over into the pine brush, then jumped to their feet and made a dash for the Yankee lines, going up to the first Yankee sentry and surrendering. The four men, Millikan, Bell, Stewart and Beckerdite, immediately made themselves known. When they got to the guard and the Yankees saw the Confederate uniforms, the sentry shook hands and said, “Howdy, Johnnies,” and treated them well. The four men had been on one-fourth rations and were now given the first good meal they had had for several days. After they had fully explained their position the United States government took them in charge and pursuant to a proclamation just issued by President Lincoln they were sent where they would be safe from the Confederates. Mr. Millikan and about 80 others accepted the offer of the United States government and Mr. Millikan, along with some of the others, asked to be sent to Hamilton County, Indiana, where he had friends. Thus closed the war experience of Mr. Millikan, and certainly he should be honored as much as those who fought for the flag.
This account almost word for word shows up in the Noblesville Ledger at the time of his 100th birthday in 1925.
Now to add a few more tidbits to the story.
First, the reference to communication to the Confederate Congress. The Guilford College Hege Library in Greensboro, NC has a collection of papers from John B. Crenshaw. He was a prominent Quaker minister who had connections with Union and Confederate government officials during the Civil War. The manuscript collection includes letters sent to Crenshaw from many Quakers who were conscripted into the Confederate Army. They asked for his help with their situations. The collection is digitized and available on the library’s website <library.guilford.edu>. Three letters in the collection were written by Clark & his companions. (transcribed below with no changes to spelling or grammar)
The first letter, written November 13, 1864:
Dear Friend Crenshaw
We the under signed have bin arrested and brought hear under arrest for servis and assined to the sixth N.C. Regt. we the under signed friends wants thee to do something for us if the possibly can as soon as thee can hear we will gave the ouer names and meeting we be long to
Back Creeke Henry Stuart, William F. Bell
Molboro Clark Millikan, John R. Beckerdite
The second letter, written November 15, 1864 (page has piece torn off it):
We the under signed Friends of N.C. have bin taken under arrest and brought heare for field servis we want thee to doo somthing to releave us ef thee posible can as thee posiblely kno soon as thee can we are …signed to the sixth North Carolina Regt
William F. Bell …nry Stuart Belongs Baccreak
Clark Millikan …Beckerdite Belongs at Molboro
we may stay hear several days be fore we go to the Regt. we ar assined we would be glad the would write to us as soon as those lines comes to hand
The third letter, written November 19, 1864:
camp near New Market Va
Friend Crenshaw we the under signed of N.C. Randolph Co. belongs to the Friends Sosiety and was taken by a reste and brought hear for field servis the officers show us no favors we wante the ef they is any thing don or can be don for us we want thee to let us kno it as soon thee possiblely can please come or write and let us kno what can be don for us soon
Henry Stuart, Wm. F. Bell, Clarke Millikan, L.R. Beckerdite
Derect thy letter Co A 6 Regt N.C. Troopes in care of leutenant Harden Richmond Va or Army Northern Va
There is no indication that Crenshaw was able to help the soldiers.
The statement that they worked near home for several months doesn’t make much sense in timing. As they enlisted on November 15 and deserted on December 11, 1864. However, perhaps they worked somewhere before being required to enlist.
I found another account of the story. It was William Bell’s story, recounted in the Fairmount News, from Fairmount Indiana, June 7, 1907. He says he worked for 2 years in the salt mines to avoid bearing arms. (There were salt mines in Wilmington, NC) But this work was “onerous and disagreeable” and he returned home. Then he was required to enlist. Another article from the same newspaper July 6, 1914 tells of a visit between Clark and Mr. Bell, who were “forced into service hauling saltpetre for the Confederate army.” So maybe Clark worked in the salt mines at some time before he enlisted.
Mr. Bell’s story also mentions how the men were hung by their thumbs for 3 hours and then bound for 3 more hours “in uncomfortable positions with ropes.” The practice of “bucking” was to have the man sit with his knees bent & arms out straight, a pole was placed under the knees and over the elbows. The hands and feet were then bound. So the man could not move out of this position. I’m sure it became quite painful after a while.
Mr. Bell also said that the Quakers refused to wear the Confederate uniforms. They were allowed to wear their own plain clothes. He said they were hungry & at one time they subsisted for 3 days on “a spoonful of green coffee and a slice of fat meat.” He said that he and Henry Stewart deserted together.
I found Clark’s service record at a local college library collection & took grainy copies from the microfilm. Now, his Compiled Service record is available on-line at Fold3.com In essence, it consists of 7 cards containing basic information. His name is spelled differently on some of the cards. The Confederate Muster Roll lists him as “C. Milichan” a private in Company A of the 6th Regiment of North Carolina Infantry. Enlisted November 15, 1864 at Camp Stokes, deserted Petersburg Va December 11, 1864. Union Provost Marshal forms spell his name as “Milliken” and indicate that he took the Oath of Amnesty at City Point, Va. on December 13, 1864 & was sent to Indianapolis, IN. He had a Dark Complexion, Black hair and Brown eyes. He was 6ft tall. (copies of records from Fold3.com, Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers who Served in Organizations from the State of North Carolina)
With the fact that Clark deserted from the Confederate Army, then signed the Oath of Amnesty to support the Union, he was better off staying in Indiana after the War. His family eventually joined him there. As far as I know, he did not go back to North Carolina when his parents died in 1869 & 1871. With War wounds still fresh, I doubt he would have been very welcome in the South. He did eventually visit again in 1903.
So there we have it, what we know right now of Clark Millikan’s Civil War story.
© MJM 2017