Thursday, January 27, 2011

January 27, 1861 - An Alabama Professor goes to War

Raw Troops at Pensacola, 1861
January 27, 1861

A remarkable account of the early days of an Alabama professor as a soldier originated from Pensacola, Florida, in January 1861 and was carried by newspapers around the South. If anyone can provide more information on this individual, I would love to hear from you!

The letter was datelined from the camps near Fort Barrancas, where soldiers from Florida, Alabama and Mississippi were in a standoff with the small U.S. garrison of Fort Pickens across Pensacola Bay:

Professor Day is just six and a half feet high in his stockings. His weight is three hundred and ten pounds, and he measures seven feet in the girth. He is the tallest and biggest man in the regiment, and is noted for his great strength as well as for his huge proportions. --He has been known to shoulder a six hundred bale of cotton, and has frequently taken a whiskey barrel by the chines, raised it at arms' length, and drank at the bung hole. On one occasion he threw a mustang pony and his rider over a ten-rail fence. For this offence he was tried and convicted in the Circuit Court of Lauderdale county, and fined five hundred dollars. This remarkable man is the youngest and smallest of seventeen brothers. His father is two and a half inches taller than he is, but not so thick set. His brothers are taller, but none of them are so stout as the Professor. It is necessary to remark that his father has been twice married, and has eight children by his first wife and nine by his present wife. 

The Professor is the Principal of the Marion High School, and is a learned man in every sense of the word. He is master of six languages, and as a mathematician he has no superior. He is, besides, one of the best men living, and is noted for his good nature. He never had but one fight in his life, and then he killed a horse and nearly murdered a man. 

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