Life in the Past Lane by Carrie Wheeless

The Thomaston Upson Archives is very fortunate to have a wonderful community surrounding us.  One incredible member of this community is Carrie Wheeless.  She is very hardworking and intelligent and has benefited this facility greatly during her tenure.  Below in the first paragraph is a write up by Penny Cliff regarding Carrie’s phenomenal work here and the second paragraph is only a fraction of the remarkable work Carrie has completed.

[Next year’s “The War Between the States and Emancipation bus tour” is being researched by Upson Lee High School senior Carrie Wheeless. Carrie is volunteering with the school’s Work-Based Learning Program.  She is compiling this research in a binder which will be helpful when we create the self-guided tour pamphlet and put together the stops at places of interest.  This is Carrie’s second year volunteering at the Archives.  She is doing a terrific job!  This Life in the Past Lane column focuses on some of history that Carrie has discovered.  General John B. Gordon, who Carrie focuses on, was born in Upson County.]

As I compile my binder, “War Between the States,” I have come across some fascinating information. The binder is full of various topics concerning Thomaston during the War Between the States such as Wilson’s Raid in 1865, Emancipation, Confederate veterans, the mortar shell on the Square, John B. Gordon, and many other topics.  As I was researching John B. Gordon, I came across some intriguing facts.  John B. Gordon was an outstanding man with a lot of his credibility stemming from the war.  He quickly rose through the officers’ rankings until he became a general.  On September 17, 1862, in the Battle of Sharpsburg, he received his first wound. A ball passed straight through the calf of his right leg. Within a few minutes a second ball passed through the same leg, but a little higher up. About an hour later, a third ball went through his left arm. This time it mangled tendons and muscles and severed a small artery. Despite these three wounds, he continued to push his troops on. A fourth ball then went through his left shoulder. This ball left a wad of clothing in the wound as well as the ball’s base. A fifth ball, soon followed the fourth, this ball struck him squarely in the face and passed through his left cheek and out through the jaw. It barely missed the jugular vein. He was still actively involved until the fifth shot. He was knocked unconscious. He fell face first into his hat, and he would have drowned in his own blood had it not been for the hole in his hat that a Yankee had shot. General Gordon was in critical condition for months. His jaw was wired completely shut, and he was out of active duty for about seven months. He returned to duty, March 30, 1863 with his facial wound still unhealed. This is one of the numerous fascinating stories that my binder contains.

C Wheeless

Photo above is Carrie Wheeless, photograph by Penny Cliff.


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