Unit Served: 18th Tennessee Infantry
Cemetery and Address: Evergreen Cemetery, Greenland Drive Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Archibald James Patterson, was born on October 18, 1842 in Cainsville on the Wilson/ Rutherford County line. His Parents were Turner and Martha Patterson, he was the third oldest child of five children. They lived a peaceful life until the talk of war and Abe Lincoln’s call for 50,000 troops to end the insurrection in the South made us take up arms to defend our homeland. On April 29, 1861 he and his brother William Nathan joined the Cainsville guards, made up of men in the community. On May 15th a grand farewell dinner was prepared for the boys as we were going off to war. May 20, 1861, the Cainsville Guards marched into Murfreesboro and became Co. I of the 18th Tennessee Infantry, serving under Joseph Palmer who had been Mayor of Murfreesboro . They were sent to Camp Trousdale in June, where they learned the life of a soldier, marching and shooting their new muskets. On August 7, 1861 at Camp Trousdale, the unit was transferred to the Confederate States. In September, they moved to Bowling Green Kentucky to attack a Railroad Depot. When they got there the Yankees were gone. They captured seven trains, a cannon and 200 rifles. One of the boys climbed the flagpole and took down the yankee flag, and since they hadn’t had a chance to fire our new weapons, they all shot it full of holes. In February of 1862 they were at Fort on February 16, 1862 for the big battle there. They fought for four days in the snow, only to be surrendered to the yankees. They were loaded onto steamboats and sent to Camp Butler in Springfield Illinois, Ole Bedford Forrest escaped with most of his men and headed back to Nashville.
When the boats got to Saint Louis and they were unloaded, the citizens came out to see the wild Rebels that had been captured. There were a lot of southern sympathizers in Missouri; they were giving tobacco, cigars and a few flasks of whiskey to the captured Confederates. One old fellow got excited and hollered out “Hurray for Jeff Davis”, they arrested him and sent him on to prison with the rest of them. About June, his brother William Nathan and Archibald made their escape from prison. Illinois was full of Copperheads and anyone that escaped was sure to be helped back to the South. They hid out during the day and traveled at night. When they made it back to Murfreesboro, the rest of the boys had been exchanged and beat them home. But it was Christmas time and they were home. Then the yankees decided to march into town. The Battle of Murfreesboro was fought and they thought we had whipped the yankees, then General Bragg retreated to Shelbyville.
The next big fight was Chickamauga, September of 1863, a great victory for the Confederate army of Tennessee. They had the yankees beat and surrounded in Chattanooga. Bragg thought he would starve them out, but they were sending supplies across the river. Then on November 24th, the battle of Missionary Ridge. The yankees swarmed up the side of lookout mountain and they were captured again. This time there wouldn’t be any escape. They were sent to Rock Island prison in Illinois. They had to ride in cattle cars and it was thirty two degrees below zero when we arrived. The Southern boys had never faced that kind of cold. Some of the boys froze to death on the ride up north. Out of the 12,409 prisoners confined there nearly 2,000 died of disease, cold and starvation. On May 21, 1865, Archibald signed the Oath of allegiance and made his way home. The war had ended and his four years as a Confederate soldier were over.
After the war he moved to Murfreesboro, married Olivia Rankin and we had 10 children. His son James Bates was a decorated hero in the Spanish American war, he died of appendicitis on a train tip to Texas several years later. His sons William and Samuel both were in WWI, they were hit with Mustard gas and died not long after they came home. He made $4-$5 per week as a carpenter and in June of 1915 received his Confederate pension. The UDC gave him the Southern Cross of Honor. Some of his best memories came from the Confederate reunions, meeting with my old comrades. Many memorials were held at the Confederate Circle. He was a Mason, serving as Tyler for 40 years and a devoted member of the Presbyterian church. On February 9th 1928 at 85 years of age he bid his final adieu. His headstone reads: “A Confederate soldier”.