A Boy named Sue

Jadon Gibson

Kentucky was a neutral state during the Civil War and her people were evenly divided in their sentiment toward the north and south. It resulted in Kentuckians fighting against their own brothers and neighbors in many battles during the war.

In the Battle of Murfreesboro there were seventeen Kentucky regiments on the side of the Confederates and fourteen regiments fighting for the Federals. In the second Battle of Murfreesboro there were 23,500 combatants. A total of 3,024 were killed, 15,747 wounded and 4,744 unaccounted for. Never had so many Kentuckians killed each other for any cause.

In the Battle of Missionary Ridge, Kentuckians manned ten Yankee and seven Confederate regiments.

In another battle Gen. Stephen G. Burbridge of the Federals and his four thousand Kentuckians attempted to destroy the salt works at Saltville, VA, but were repulsed by Gen John S. Williams’ Confederate forces from the bluegrass state.

There were other battles that were largely fought by Kentuckians such as the Battle of Clinch Mountain and the Battle of Laurel Gap. It carried over to many conflicts back home before and after the end of the War Between the States.

Toward the end of 1864 and early in 1865 there were many bands of guerillas roaming through Kentucky, robbing, killing, burning and performing other forms of mischief.

Marcellus Jerome Clark assumed the monicker Sue Mundy because he didn’t want his family and friends to hear and read about the daring acts, dastard deeds and barbaric murders for which he was responsible.

The Federal Home Guard went to Bloomfield on January 28, 1865, and were plundering stores in the town when sixty guerillas under Sue Mundy and Billy Magruder arrived, engaged them in battle, killing seventeen members of the home guard.

The following day Mundy’s guerillas fought the Fifty-fourth Kentucky Federals before aborting their effort. On March 3 another battle with the Home Guard resulted in the death of one of the guerillas but Billy Magruder was seriously wounded and carried away. It would result in Mundy’s capture.

A couple days thereafter the post commander in Louisville, Col. Dill, learned that Magruder was desperately wounded, laying in a tobacco barn in a small community ten miles from Brandenburg. His interest heightened when he learned the wounded man was being aided by Sue Mundy and another guerrilla outlaw by the name of Henry Medkiff.

He sent fifty men of the 30th Wisconsin Volunteers down the river to capture the outlaws. They arrived at the barn and surrounded it at sunrise on Sunday morning.

“We have you surrounded by a hundred men,” the commander yelled, inflating his numbers to give a greater urgency for Sue Mundy and the others to surrender. “Lay down your arms and give yourselves up immediately.”

When no response was given they broke down the door and entered, immediately facing a hailstorm of bullets from Sue Mundy and Henry Medkiff. Four soldiers were wounded, one mortally.

It then became a standoff with Mundy and Medkiff not agreeing to surrender unless they were treated as prisoners of war until the party reached Louisville. They were given that assurance and they laid down their arms.

Mundy and Medkiff were both heavily ironed with chains and taken to Louisville. Magruder was deathly injured and it was not known if he could survive the journey in his weakened condition.

Upon their return the trial was immediately ordered before a military commission with General Whitaker presiding.

Historic and criminal events often take on variations from family members over a period of time. This story is based on information gathered at the time of the events. copyright 2018 Jadon Gibson

Editor’s note: Sue Mundy is sentenced to hang in the next segment From the Mountains. Jadon Gibson is a freelance writer from Harrogate, TN. His writings are both historical and nostalgic in nature and can be read periodically at bereaonline.com. Don’t miss a single posting.

A voice for God – a voice for good

My good Lord in Heaven has been so good to me.

The Wilderness Road Kiwanis Club was formed in Harrogate not long after we moved here from Missouri in 1985. It was a good way to help with some community activities. Kiwanis was only open to men initially but membership was opened to the fairer sex when we became a club. The ladies have been some of our best members through the years.

There used to be several service clubs in Claiborne County but with the loss of the Lions Club now our Kiwanis Club is the only one remaining. The clubs have always been good for the surrounding area. In addition to having various fund raisers to help with local needs the speakers at the meetings keeps members in tune with interesting and valuable information.

While we lived In Missouri a service club honored one of the outstanding lawmen in the area periodically. After Lee County (VA) Deputy John L. Martin was shot in the early morning hours on November 4, 1988, dying three days later, I suggested that our club institute the John L. Martin Award to honor lawmen in our region. The award has been presented to over 20 officers in our area. We need to support our police and firemen. This is a different age that we are living in and they perform a valuble service. Thank them and buy their lunch sometime if you can.

Our meetings are generally held in a public setting and the pledge of allegiance, song and prayer gives rise to not only the attendees but to other patrons. It’s nostalgic… Americana.

I enjoy helping with membership and getting speakers for our meetings. Other members do various tasks to keep our club alive.

Thank God for allowing us to work for a club based on public service.
Lord, help us to be more effective in our efforts!

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