Capt. William F. Gibson, Co I, 8th Arkansas Infantry

A descendant of William F. Gibson sent me this picture of the Arkansas Confederate who served in Govan’s Brigade, Cleburne’s Division while at Franklin. The 8th Arkansas Infantry fought near the Cotton Gin.

According to family records and post-war accounts, Gibson was carrying the colors of the 8th Arkansas when the Confederate assault upon the Cotton Gin took place.  He was shot through the face with a ball, and in the stomach.  Lying on the field, and bleeding to death, a Union soldier noticed the wounded Confederate and was apparently going to finish him off when another Union soldier noticed Gibson was wearing a Masonic pin [see pic of an 1863 Masonic pin]. Despite being enemies on the field their Masonic fraternity rose beyond the blood of the battlefield.

The nearly fatally wounded Gibson was allowed to be carried to a local resident’s home, the Cummins’ – whose house was used as a civilian post-battle hospital. A local resident named Laura attended to Gibson and saved his life.  Mrs. Lucy Cummins attempted to disguise the Confederate soldier from Arkansas who wanted to escape from Franklin and take his chances of recovering further south.

However, his flight to Columbia took place the same time the Federal Army came back through Franklin in mid December as they were chasing Hood’s whipped Army of Tennessee that had just been decimated at Franklin and Nashville (Dec 15-16, 1864).  Gibson was captured and sent to Camp Chase in Ohio as a Union prisoner of war.

Gibson survived the war and moved back to Arkansas where he died in 1907. There is a lot more to this story. Stay tuned.

The Cummins’ home

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