Cemetery Hill

Cemetery Hill as it is known to us here, being in London, Ky. was a hill on which a Civil War battle was fought. The trenches are still here. The hill was given to the north to bury their dead by Jarvis Jackson, a great grand father of the Jarvis Jackson who is now city police of London, today. By some reason, the soldiers were taken up and moved to a different place only a few years ago. Mrs. Hoage says “the first daisies that were brought to this contry were put on that hill” and she can remember when the entire hill was covered with them.

The southern side had trenches on the east side of the Dixie Highway on and surrounding the site where the Pennington Hospital is now standing, which are very vivid today. The London City School being in the path bears a hole today from a cannon ball. Shot no doubt from the Southern forces. The new addition to the school hides the hole, but until recent years it could be seen being about ten inches in diameter.

Zollie Coffer a southern general had camped at Wild Cat, Ky. but was forced to retreat when general Garrad and Lucas and Stratton two captains under him, all from Clay county, with a large crowd came in. He, on his retreat came through London and had a battle with an army of Ohioians camped on Cemetery Hill. Quoted a poem by Mrs. Hodge, which she remembered from those days:

“Just raise your eyes to yon grassy hill, View the bold Ohioians working with skill, Their bombs lying around them to spew fiery flames, Among the seceders, till they wont own their names.” Mrs. Hodge quotes another poem from memory about Gen. Coffer’s retreat from Wild Cat:

“Our tigers and bullpups to Wild Cat did go, To fight our brave boys, tho our force they did not know. When they come in gun shot distance, Schelf told them to halt, We’re not Murphey’s honey, nor Alex Whites salt.

His orders to his men, was “go thru” or “go to hell” But our Indiana hoosier bous, heard them too well, In less than thirty minutes, they gave them many balls, Wild Cat had had kittens, Oh; don’t you hear them squall.

They did not stay long, before they did retreat, Went on double quick and left all their meat, As they went back through Barbourville, they say Zollie did say I’ve lost fifteen hundred killed or run away.

Away back in Mississippi, we’re forced to go As for our loss you’ll never know Slipped back when the union fell asleep Hauled off our dead and buried them deep.

To fight against Garrad, it never will do, Stratton and Lucas is hard to out do, They conquered our tigers and bull pups too, In spite of our force and all we could do.” Coffer was killed by Colonel Frye at Mill Springs. A statue is erected to Zollie Coffer at Somerset, Kentucky.

Both sides were cruel during the Civil War. Mrs. McDaniel who lives here tells a story of how her father was killed in Clay County, while eating dinner one day. Some federal soldiers drove up and asked what side he was on and upon saying the confederate side, they took him outside and shot him with a gun in his own yard.

Federal Writers' Project. WPA Slave Narratives. Web. 2007-2024. The WPA Slave Narratives must be used with care. There is, of course, the problem of confusion in memory resulting from (73+ years) of the participants. In addition, inexperienced interviewers sometimes pursued question lines related to their own interests and perspectives and attempted to capture the colloquialism of the informant's speech. The interviews provide fascinating insight and surprisingly candid information, however.

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