Allen Burnett, Wounded in Army, Was in Peril in Time of Peace

HE TELLS OF BATTLES Fought With Other Missourians
in Engagement at Pea Ridge

This newspaper article was in the University Missourian on February 11, 1913. He died September 15, 1918 and is buried in the New Liberty Cemetery near Ashland, MO.

[The ceremony will be held Saturday August 23, 2003 at 2:00 p.m. after our reunion dinner at the Ashland shelter house. The Sons of the Confederate Veterans of Boone County have recently installed military type gravestones on both of their graves. After our noon dinner we will drive to the New Liberty cemetery west of Ashland where the service will be conducted at Allen's grave.]

"No, the war went through me" was the answer Allen Burnett, who lives near Seventh Street and North Boulevard, when asked if he did not go through the war.

Mr. Burnett is now 77 years old. His home has been in Boone County all of his life.

"There are only a few that know Columbia better than I" he said. "I first saw Columbia over sixty years ago. There were only two stores here then. One of them was owned by James I. Stephens, Sr. and stood where Miller's store now is. The other stood where Lyon's grocery store was."

"I can well remember," Mr. Burnett continued, "the trips my father and I used to make from our home which was at that time six miles southeast of Ashland and about twenty miles from Columbia. We made the trip in a one horse cart and it took two days to make the twenty mile trip."

Mr. Burnett considers himself fortunate to be alive today after his war experiences and other "close calls," as he expressed it, since the war.

"Seventeen men, neighbors of mine, and myself decided that we would go to the war together in January 1862. We met at my house near Ashland and started. We crossed the river on the ice near Hartsburg. It was an awful night. It was raining and thawing and we expected that any minute the ice would break up. When we got across, we spent the night in corn shocks to keep out of the weather. When we awoke the next morning the ice on the river was breaking rapidly. We had crossed just in time."

"We made our way to Springfield, Mo., where we enlisted in the First Missouri Regiment, Company No. 1. These were busy times in the army and we did not have long to wait for a battle. We fought the battle of Sugar Creek and one of our seventeen was killed there. On about March 8, 1862 we fought the battle of Pea Ridge."

Mr. Burnett could hardly recall the day without a shudder. It was there that he was shot in the hip and was bedfast from the wound for many months.

"I had been commissary for our company," said Mr. Burnett. "We had a pair of old merchant scales and on March 6 I was weighed. I then weighed 188 pounds. After being wounded and suffering for several months, I was weighed here in Columbia on the second Saturday in September and weighed only 74 pounds - just bones."

In the battle of Pea Ridge ten of the seventeen who had started out from home together were killed and five were seriously wounded.

"Bill Wilson, who was standing near me after I was wounded, received the most peculiar wound I ever saw," said Mr. Burnett. "We were back in a woods not far from the field and they were shelling us. I was lying on the ground after being shot in the hip. Shells were bursting all around us. One piece of shell, big as a flatiron, had just buried itself in the ground so close to me that I dug it out with my hands as I lay there. Wilson was standing by me when a shell passed over our heads, burst and a fragment came back striking him in the side. All of the muscle was torn from his left arm, three ribs torn loose so they had to be cut off and his heart and lungs left visible."

"Wilson is alive today. He lives in Fulton. You can see the rising and falling of his lungs when he breathes."

The closest call Mr. Burnett thinks he ever had was when Jim Jackson, Bill Anderson's first lieutenant, came to the house and attempted to make him tell him something about the whereabouts of some soldiers. Jackson forced Mr. Burnett back against an old fashioned feed trough made of a split log and at the point of a revolver threatened to kill him if he did not tell what he wanted to know." "I wished that he would kill me at the time," said Mr. Burnett. "I supposed he would kill me directly and I wanted it over with. I did not want to listen to his profanity and threats. Finally I braced up and told him that I never would tell him anything so he let me go."

Mr. Burnett's harrowing experiences did not end with the war. Once in the year 1875 he had a large Spanish oak log to roll over his body.

"We were sawing the tree down," he said, "and I was afraid it was going to split up and spoil the bottom cut. I went around on the back side of the tree to chop it to save the cut when it fell. It rolled over my body. Five of my ribs were broken, my pelvis was broken and my jaw bone broken. I was unconscious for six weeks."

Mr. Burnett's face show some remembrance of the suffering as he talked about the broken bones but at the end it brightened up and he said, "And would you believe it that log made forty seven ten-foot rails."