NA, RR 4/x/1862

   Statement of F. Wood conductor of the soldiers train that conveyed 300 soldiers from Jackson to Meridian {on the Southern of Mississippi RR} on 22d April 1862, leaving Jackson at 11 PM.
   On reaching Meridian 11:20 A. M. the 23rd the officers asked me when I would leave on my return to Vicksburg. I told them I would leave at 7 the next morning the 24th.
   I was satisfied at 3 o'clock in the afternoon that the officers & soldiers intended to take my train to Mobile. I got my Engineer & fireman and had the Engine fired up ready to start, I had three breakmin that I could not find; I sent a man for those who when they were, with directions that I would wait for them about a mile and a half from town with the train, and to follow immediately. I had not gone a mile before I saw the brakemans coming, the officers arrested these men, knowing they belonged to the train, and made them tell what my intention were. The officers detailed 12 men with officers, and proceeding on the north side of the road and six on the south -- they were not in sight of the train being in the woods, and did not see them until they got so near that it was impossible to escape from them, they jumped on the train and set the breaks, they went to the Engineer and inquired what he meant by running away from them the Engineer referred them to me; they ordered the Engineer to back the train or they would do it for him. so he had to back up of course. The train was taken back to Meridian and by their order it was put in the siding of the Mobile & Ohio R. R. I enquired of the officers several of them being together, who took the responsibility of taking forcible possession of my train? the reply was that we all take the responsibility; their names were Lieut Cleveland Lt His?, Lt McBride, For?hlin & Hubble. Some of them might have been Captains, but I did not know which they were, these men were recruits for the 5th Texas Regiment now in Va.
   The M. & O. Passenger train from Mobile arrived at Meridian that night about 12 M. -- thirty minutes behind time. Genl Withers was on the train, on hearing it I looked him up and communicated to him all the facts and circumstances of their taking possession of my train. He said "you go out and tell them that unless they release that train immediately I will have them all arrested." the M. & O. train being behind time it moved off before I could see the officers and deliver Genl. Withers message to them what Genl Withers said their reply was, Genl Withers ought to have told us that himself we won't take your word for it" I then told them I had nothing more to say. Mr. Holbrook was present at the time and told them that Genl Beauregard had put a Colonel in irons for doing the same thing they had done. they made reply that it made no sort of difference, it was useless to talk to them any more about it they were determined to take the curse. 
   They left Meridian at 6:30 am, ???day the 24th an engine belonging to the M. & O. RR taking the train.
F. Wood