Book tells of Camp Pollard
Published 5:24 pm Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Most of your old-time residents of Brewton know about Camp Tattnall (or Camp Pollard) and its usefulness during the Civil War, or, as my Aunt Ethel would say, the War of Northern Aggression.
But, I’ll bet there are some younger folks out there who have heard of Camp Pollard.
During the Civil War, after Pensacola had fallen into the hands of the Union Army, it became necessary to build a Confederate camp to make sure that southeastern Alabama would not be invaded by the federal troops.
Much of the following is taken from Annie Waters “History of Escambia County.”
No records have been found to signify just exactly when the camp was built, but it is thought that it was in 1861. It’s official name was Camp Tattnall, named after Col. John R.F. Tattnall, who was the commander of the camp in 1862, but most people in this area called it Camp Pollard, as it was located near Pollard.
Camp Tattnall was located two miles northeast of Pollard and five miles southwest of what would become Brewton. It consisted of at least three areas; an infantry camp, a cavalry camp, and a battery camp with a butchering area. When Mrs. Waters wrote her book she said that there was still some evidence of the cavalry camp and many artifacts had been gathered and put on display at the museum at JDCC.
Mrs. Waters also said that several springs in the area furnished plenty of water for the camp. Barracks were log cabins and housed four to eight men each. The cabins had dirt floors and a fireplace for cooking and heating. The beds were made of straw.
The forces assigned to the camp maintained a full guard at Burnt Corn Creek (Brewton), Little Escambia (near Pollard), Big Escambia (Flomaton), Perdido and Pine Barren, Fla. (all the bridges in the area).
Troops were constantly busy watching to make sure that advancements were not made into south Alabama by the federals along the coast, and to make sure the railroads were kept open for the shipment of supplies.
Auxiliary camps were also set up around the area and one of those camps was located on the hill where BankTrust is now.
As the war progressed, there came the time when the Union Army were in possession of Pensacola, and the Florida coast. In 1864, Mobile was taken when both Fort Gaines and Fort Morgan were taken by the Union Navy. It became clear that the garrison at Camp Tattnall could not hold its position. Then early in 1865, Union forces arrived in Pollard to find it abandoned. No armed confederates could be found, and the small village of Pollard was peacefully taken.
It was a small village, having, perhaps 20 wooden storehouses, used by the confederates, but there was no property, save a barrel or two of hard-bread. The public storehouses were burned.
Mrs. Waters wrote a story of a legend concerning a desertion from Camp Tattnall. It is not known if it is true or not. It was said that two deserters from the camp were caught and the incident became a story told to a young girl, who would later remember and tell to others.
There was a family living in the area by the name of Barker and and it was a daughter of the family that remembered being told this story. It was of two deserters from Georgia who attempted to return home on their horses. They were captured and hung from a limb of an oak tree in the vicinity of the Catawba Baptist Church. Graves were dug beneath them and the bodies were buried where they died.
John Francis Drury, a member of the 15th Cavalry, Company E, was associated with two men, Dick Solace and a man named Hobbs, at Camp Lomax who became deserters and were collaborators with the Federals. Drury stated that they were captured and that Solace was hung at Pollard, and that Hobbs was also hung, but there were no records to prove the story.
Another tale told relates the story of a group of four deserters that were helped in their escape by a an old man and a girl, who met the men and led them to a house two miles away where a guide was to meet them.
The story was that the girl was the daughter of a man who had been well-to-do, and driven from his home because of his devotion to the Union.
Her mother had died broken-hearted, and the 14-year old girl had found a refuge with the old man. According to tradition, the old man and girl who met the escapes at Burnt Corn Creek were a Mr. Franklin and a Miss Riley.
The stories abound within Mrs. Waters’ book about the war and many other things. If you would like to purchase a book, call the Escambia County Historical Society at 867-7332 or let me know here at The Brewton Standard by writing to P.O. Box 887, email at email@example.com or come by the office at 407 St. Nicholas Ave. The book sells for $50 and is well worth the price.
Hope you enjoyed this story. Let me hear from you with any suggestions as to what you might like to read.