86 HISTORY OF THE SEVENTY-EIGHTH REGIMENT O.V.V.I.
After three or four weeks rest and quiet at Jackson, Tennessee, the regiment was ordered to Grand Junction, to hold and repair the railroad, so that communication could be opened up with Memphis and the interior of Mississippi. The position was an important one, being the junction of important railroads leading to the enemy's main lines of communication and assailable positions. The place contained a few scattered houses, one small church and a medium hotel. The country around is not surpassed in Western Tennessee. it is well cultivated and the plantations wealthy and well stocked with the property of the peculiar institution. At Grand Junction were machine shops of several roads, but these were destroyed when Beauregard evacuated Corinth. Many of the inhabitants, especially the more wealthy, had gone South in search of their rights. Here we found some Union men who had been subjects of persecution in consequence, and many who were so by profession, but were found a few weeks afterwards among the enemy's cavalry and guerrillas. We remained here one week, when we were ordered to march to Holly Springs, Mississippi, about twenty-four miles farther south. With this order we could not comply, in consequence of our transportation not having yet reached us from Jackson, Tennessee. We were then ordered to Lagrange to relieve General Hurlbut, who, with his Division was ordered to Holly Springs in our stead. We remained at Lagrange one week, Colonel Leggett in command of the post, and Lieutenant W. W. McCarty, of Company E, Provost Marshal.
The town is one of considerable celebrity in the South, both for commercial importance and educational facilities. It has a population of nearly three thousand inhabitants, and before the rebellion, was one of the most business and beautiful towns in Western Tennessee. Here is located the Presbyterian Synodical College. The building stands on elevated grounds, and present an imposing appearance from every view in the surrounding country. It is now occupied as a hospital; the fate of nearly all educational institutions in the Sonth. It was used as such by the rebels and when they evacuated Corinth and this country many sick were left here for our care and attention. This institution, eminent in past history and long nursed by the churches, is sharing alike the fearful consequences of rebellion and secession, which soon dries up all fountains of learning; which is but the type of what it would do, were they brought into full realization, and the principle permitted to be introduced into the political policy and economy of our national existence.
Dr. Waddell, the President of the Institution, is the Secretary of the Southern General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church. He is a preacher of more than ordinary ability, and who has attained, both North and South, considerable eminence for literary and other logical ability and knowledge, but entered into secession with all the earnestness of the demagogue. He had a large plantation and a great number of slaves which gave to his principle, and believing in the divinity of the institution of negro slavery, led him to espouse the cause of secession and sacrifice all present facilities and blessings in the interest of the slaveholders' Confederacy; and to put forth every effort in its behalf. His sermons were turned into political harangues, inciting the people to rebellion, and cultivating a spirit of malignant hatred against the people of the North. His prayer-meetings were turned into war-meetings, stirring up the people to give their husbands and sons to be sacrifices upon the demon's altar of rebellion. Through his influence all the young men left the college and volunteered. All the young men of the town were driven from their homes by the pressure of public opinion to enter the ranks of the Southern army.
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