Josiah Morefield, veteran and cattleman
It all started in 1841 when Josiah Morefield was born in Quincy, Ill.. He grew up on a family farm and learned early on to appreciate hard work.
He attended school with his two brothers and graduated in spite of their teasing.
"I was 21 when I joined Co. G of the Illinois Light Infantry. The two battles that stand out in my mind are Fredricksburg and Gettysburg. I served under General Burnside at Fredricksburg. He vainly attacked General Longstreet's position. We had attacked over and over but came up bloodied and no gain every time. It was December the 13th of 1862 and I had only been a soldier six months. Our regiment was in deep trouble and those of us who had survived lay amid the dead in the dark and hoped for a better day.
"It was not a better day. As dawn came we could see strange mounds. Only when the sun came up did we realize they were dead horses. It was my first trial by fire and two days I will never forget. To make matters worse, I was taken prisoner and ended up in the horrible Andersonville prison. No man should be treated like we Northerners were in that death-filled encampment. I saw hundreds of men die and survived only because I and four other men managed to escape. We worked our way north until we were behind the Union lines.
"Gettysburg was another trial by fire. My brigade was assigned to a cannon detachment. I had never fired a cannon but found it far less personal than the bloody mess at Fredricksburg. We traded cannon balls with Lee's army and I never knew if we did any good. I was close to the center of Meade's defenses and on the 4th of July of 1864, I saw thousands of men charging toward the ground where I stood. I saw them cut down as if by a scythe of death and saw stragglers retreating back to the woods. I knew all too plainly this had been another very bloody day.
"I traveled west after the war, and in 1887, married Oregon Texana Hicks. Our daughter, Maybn, was the first baby girl born in the Mancos Valley. We had three other daughters and no son to pass my inheritance on to. When I first started running cattle on Mesa Verde, the Utes tried to force me back off, but with the help of two other cattlemen and allowing the Indians to take what cattle they needed for meat, I had no further problems.
"I served as county treasurer for three years starting in 1893. I was then appointed to serve as county judge for three years. Later I served two terms as county commissioner."
His daughter Cora married Fred Armstrong and they had five sons and two daughters. Josiah passed away in 1924 at the age of 63.
Josiah passed the memories of the Civil War to his family, but the years passed and the memories faded. By chance, I came across a little pamphlet titled "The Life and Times of Josiah Morefield."