The Rebel’s Way Home …

I love the history behind the Civil War, particularly those little known facts that make for great conversation.  I came across one such oddity and thought it’d be fun to share it with you all.

It was often necessary to deliver goods, as well as medical supplies, behind enemy lines. My story is about Joshua Moon, Jr. and his young son, Columbus.

The southern Wagoner often delivered goods behind Union lines and was able to help escaping Confederate prisoners both night and day … on his way back home “down South.”

By night the father and son duo could ride the otherwise empty wagon in the relative safety of the dark. By day, though, any interested Union soldier could take a gander at what was in their wagon. However, in most cases the Yankees taking a look paid little attention to the tree boughs laid out on the wagon bed. Only once did an inspecting Yankee ever ask about them and he was easily put off by the elder Moon’s explanation that the branches were just a fool notion of his son.

Their real purpose was quite different. One of the little known facts about the Civil War.

The Moons were using the tree boughs to mark the route home for Rebel compatriots following on foot during the daylight as best they could. To avoid detection, the escaping prisoners clung to the wood along the road, as much as possible, but they at least knew where they were going thanks to the Wagoner and his son. That was because at crucial turns and forks in the road, the Moons dropped off the tree boughs to point out the proper pathway leading to their homeland in the South.

Do you have any little down oddity of the Civil War, or any other war for that matter, that you’d like to share? I know we’d all love to hear about them.

With the holiday season coming on, I’ll give away to one lucky winner a copy of our anthology “A Texas Christmas”.


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A native Texan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Phyliss Miranda still believes in the Code of the Old West and loves to share her love for antiques, the lost art of quilting, and the Wild West.

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37 thoughts on “The Rebel’s Way Home …”

  1. Like you I’m intrigued by the history of this period. It really is quite amazing the different ways people have found to mark the way for others. Lots of good story fodder there.

    Thanks for sharing the Moon’s story.

  2. Love the post,an im a big Civil War history buff,love reading stories about that time,,I live in TN born an raised there,,an then I married a”Yankee”omg,I thought my MOther was going to have a stroke,,she called him the Damn Yankee for 2 yrs after we were married,an I finally had to tell her that that was not his first an alast name,lmao,,so she stopped,,He was from NH an I Moved there for 5 yrs an was called REB by some of the family,lol,then was took to functions for show an tell just so I could talk southern an they would not understand half of what I said,but it was fun unlike the real war when families were torn apart an being a damn yankee wasnt funny at all it could be deadly,,so in some instances the north an south are still unforgiving but at least we arent shooting or hanging someone for their beliefs,,thanks VIckie

  3. Good morning Elizabeth. I never thought about it, but that story would make a great beginning for a Civil War Short Story. Even a big book. I thought it was interesting. Have a great day, Sister Filly. Hugs, P PS: And, what in the world are you doing up on the computer at 3:00 a.m.? LOL But, I’m glad you dropped by to read my blog.

  4. Lizzie Star, thanks for stopping by. I thought it was interesting and glad you enjoyed it. Yep, fodder for a story for sure. Have a great day. Hugs, Phyliss

  5. People like Joshua Moon, Jr. and Columbus are so brave. I can definitely see the danger and necessity in their mission. This is an interesting time to learn about.

  6. Thanks for the interesting post Phyliss. I too love stories from the Civil War. What a brave family this was to take on this mission, which may have seemed unimportant, but turned out to be perhaps lifesaving to some. I am sure that there are many of these stories to be told…and I hope to hear more in the future. 🙂 Thanks Phyliss.

  7. Good morning, Vickie C. What a funny story you told, and one I can relate to a bit. My Grannie was raised on a Plantation in Louisiana, but my mama was anything but a Southern Belle. Last night when I was thinking about what to write for New Year’s Day, I thought back to my Mama and Daddy. The custom of eating black eyed peas for New Year’s luck came to mind. Mama moved to the Texas Panhandle in her early years and we had an air base here. She fell in love with my Daddy who was a “fly boy” as they were called around here (before the Air Force, when they were known as the Army Air Corp). One big problem, he was also a “Yankee”, I say that with a ton of love in my heart. It took her years for Daddy’s family to warm up with a woman from the South! Anyway, Daddy wouldn’t touch black eyed peas. He said they were food for hogs up North. He was a meat and potato man and I don’t recall him ever eating true southern food. My Grannie and aunt were both fabulous cooks, and he’d eat a lot of their food, but none of the traditional food of the South! Loved your story. Thanks for stopping by and sharing. Hugs, Phyliss

  8. Civil War is one of my fav era’s to read about. If I think back it was probably one of the first “historial romances” i read about. Thanks for another great history lesson.. I always learn so many things I never knew about, but learn on P&P site..

  9. Good morning, Na S. Thanks for stopping by. They were brave for sure. One of the other people we sometimes forget who crossed enemy lines was Clara Barton. She has such an interesting story.

    Hi Tammy. Appreciate you coming over and reading my blog. No doubt the Moon’s work saved many, many lives, plus the soldiers, many prisoners, were able to be reunited with their families. What a wonderful gift.

    Thanks, ladies. Big Hugs, P

  10. Kathleen, appreciate your kind comments. One of the reasons I love to write historicals is because I learn so much in my research and then can pass some of it along to my readers. I have a four book series about the second generation in the Texas Panhandle after the Civil War and I’m waiting to hear something about it from my regular publishing house. I did a ton of research on Andersonville Prison. Thanks for stopping by, Kathleen. Hugs, Phyliss

  11. Wow! This is so interesting. I can only imagine how grateful those soldiers were to this man and his son. Thanks for sharing something I didn’t know. I love hearing little known facts.

    Big congrats on your new contract. Yay!!!

  12. Thanks for sharing this interesting info I didn’t know about. It’s great to learn things about our history!

  13. Hi anon101 and Stefanie D. Glad you stopped by and enjoyed the post. I thought it was something interesting. Your name’s in the hat for the drawing, as is everyone else who has commented.

    Morning Fellow Filly, Linda. Can you imagine how thankful these soldiers were for the help? And, thanks for the congrats. I’m looking forward to writing book #2, which hopefully, I’ll begin in earnest tomorrow or Thursday, since tomorrow is my granddaughter’s 15th birthday! I’d love to be writing on my Civil War stories but right now contemporary small town Texas will be fun or at least the first book was enjoyable to write. Have a great day, friend. Hugs, P

  14. We were watching History Detectives on PBS.. There was an episode regarding a civil war era pistol that ended up in another family’s hand.. it was unclear [at the airing date] if it had been stolen from the original owner’s family or possibly sold by a family member who didn’t want any of the rest of the family to realize it had been sold.. There wasn’t any indication if the item had been reported stolen or reported as an insurance loss.. The original owner was a paroled southern officer who married his sweetheart and moved from KY to Virginia [I believe it was VA]… any way it was very interesting how the gun was traced back to the original owner.. I just love history!

  15. I can’t think of any tidbits myself but I found yours very fascinating. Kind of reminds me of the underground railroad for the slaves but out in the very open!

  16. Hi Melinda, good to see you again. No doubt the soldiers were thankful and were glad to find their way home with the help of Mr. Moon and his son. I found the tidbit interesting.

    Wow, Cate S! How interesting. Now that’s a story in itself. Thanks for sharing.

    Thanks for dropping by catslady. You are right about the similarities between the underground railroad and the story about Mr. Moon and his son. History is simply interesting in itself.

    Ladies, I hope you all have a great day. Hugs, Phyliss

  17. Great post, Phyllis. I love reading about the Civil War. I’ve got a whole cool book on Civil War Trivia. Better pull it out for a blog some time. Our visit to Gettysburg was absolutely a spiritual experience. A light rain fell, almost like tears. I think it’s interesting that many “hauntings” are reported at Gettysburg College. Wish I’d gone there, sheesh. xoxox

  18. Great post, Phyllis. I, too, love studying about the Civil War — one thing I found interesting is that the “banking interests” at the time — in England — had set up the French in Canada and I believe it was the Spanish in Mexico — to invade the country and take it over — guess they were mad after Andrew Jackson kicked them out of the country — I love all the interesting things that you don’t learn in history classes — it takes a bit of research — but it’s what I love best about research — great post!

  19. Hi Philiss,
    Fascinating! There are many such stories, I am sure. If we could only know what they are. It is now way over 150 years and we are still finding out what some are. Amazing.

    Out here in California, we are a bit removed from that war. We have our own history with Mexico, and the Californios and land mass.

    Thanks for an interesting post.

  20. Phyliss, I love historical tidbits like this.
    We’ve probably all heard of the Kansas/Nebraska act and all the tension of bringing in new states to the union, the fuss over whether those states would be slave or free. But did you realize just how high tensions ran?
    It was so bad that the Civil War almost started multiple times. The country was right on the verge of fighting for almost the whole first half of the 19th Century because so many people were working to free the slaves. They were working state by state and the states were getting lopsided in favor of majority free and there’d be trouble, shooting trouble, many many times before finally the shots were fired that set off the war and made the southern states start seceding.
    Verbally the north and south were at war almost from the moment the Constitution was radified. It was only a matter of time until it exploded into a shooting war.

  21. Hi Tanya, I bet your trivia book is full of great information. I’ve visited Gettysburg, but it’s been a while ago, long before I got interested in the Civil War through research. There’s a great documentary I’ve recorded about how Gattsburg changed the complexion of the Civil War. Very interesting. I’m such a believer is walking the walk. I got to visit Andersonville, Georgia, during their annual festival and reenactment a few years ago. That’s when I got interested in Andersonville Prison Camp. As a matter of fact, we went back the following weekend on our way back to Texas from Florida. I can still smell the sulphur and feel the pressure on my chest when they shot off the cannons. Thanks for dropping by Sister Filly. Hugs, P

  22. Hi Filly Winnie and Filly Karen. I totally agree with you, Winnie. If I could research and plot then have someone else write my books, I’d be in hog heaven. Karen, very interesting about the “banking issues” at the time. You’re probably right. Great information. Thanks for sharing. Hope you all have a great rest of the day. Love, Phyliss

  23. Hi Mary J. Thanks for coming by and commenting. California, like Texas, had our own messes to deal with. The last battle of the Civil War was fought in Brownsville a month after the end of the war. Needless to say, since the Panhandle wasn’t settled until years after the War Between the States ended we had no problems … I should say our Native American Indians and buffalo hunters, had no problems. I’ve often thought about what would have happened if the Union Soldiers had really gotten into the Houston, Galveston, and Austin areas of Texas. I wonder if it would have changed anything. Hope you have a great rest of the day. Hugs, Phyliss

  24. Enjoyed reading the comments. Something similar happened to my relatives. My father’s great- grandmother came from Atlanta during the end of the Civil War heading West. She drove a wagon with their sparse furnishings and 3 children while her husband rode a horse ahead of them. They traveled at night and slept in the tree areas during the day to avoid the patrols. It was an arduous journey and they made it to western Missouri where the wagon finally gave out. They settled there and raised children and crops. When I was growing up, that was the story i heard my father tell when I complained a lot. He said “You have it a lot better than the women of old” Boy was he correct.

  25. Mary, that’s what I love about P&P we all learn things even the blogger. I knew somewhat about Kansas/Nebraska but you gave me so much more to think about. How cool. I love learning from great teachers like yourself. Thanks for sharing and adding so much to the blog! Love you Sister Fillies, Phyliss

  26. Hi Charlene, I think most historical writers love the Civil War because it has so much rich history to offer and appeals to most of the people because we’re all likely from the North or the South!

    Joye, thanks for stopping by. What fond memories. Thanks for sharing. I love “they raised children and crops”!

    And, Colleen, thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. I’m glad you enjoyed my tidbit of history.

    I hope you all have a great evening. Big hugs, Phyliss

  27. I love reading about the Civil war but know no tidbits about it. My father was with a tank unit during WWII. One time he asked me if I knew why so many of the old churches in Europe had no steeples explaining that it had been his job to shoot them as his tank was the first into a town to keep snipers from using them. He always felt a little bad about shooting at churches but as a soldier he followed orders.

    I am looking forward to your Christmas story.

  28. Connie, what an interesting story about your father. I think everyone (or at least most everyone) understands that soldiers do things in a time of war that they are ordered to do and what seems at the time the thing to do by the powers that be to survive and make our country stronger. I never thought about the steeples of the old churches in Europe, but it’s really something to think about. Thank you for sharing a fantastic tidbit of history. What a great ol’ story. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Hugs, Phyliss

  29. I love reading about the Civil War. The battle of Perryville KY was fought on Oct. 8, 1862 about fifteen miles from where I live. They have a reinactment every year but I have never been to it. It was the largest Civil War battle fought in KY

  30. Evening Quilt Lady, glad you stopped by. After going to a reinactment at Andersonville, I’d really encourage you to attend the one at Perryville, since you love reading about the Civil War. Like I said earlier, no imagination can come up with the feeling of the ground beneath your feet move and the pressure on your chest from a cannon shot. The sulpher burnt my nostrils, so I can only imagine what it’d be like to have it hit you hour after hour. The uniforms they wore were something like five layers. I’d not thought about the fact that they didn’t have “summer” and “winter” uniforms. Try to go, you’ll be amazed. Again, thanks for dropping by and leaving a message. Have a great evening. Hugs, Phyliss

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