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A Wayside Home at Millen

 


Confederate Wayside Home

Only a few of the present inhabitants of Millen know that it was once famous as the location of a Confederate Wayside Home, where, during the Civil War, the soldiers were fed and cared for. The home was built by public subscription and proved a veritable boon to the soldiers, as many veterans now living can testify.

The location of the town has been changed slightly since the 60's, for in those days the car sheds were several hundred yards farther up the Macon track, and were situated where the railroad crossing is now. The hotel owned and run by Mr. Gray was first opposite the depot, and the location is still marked by mock-orange trees and shrubbery.

The Wayside Home was on the west side of the railroad crossing and was opposite the house built in the railroad by Major Wilkins and familiarly known here as the Barrien House. The old well still marks the spot. The home was weather-boarded with rough planks running straight up and down. It had four large rooms to the front, conveniently furnished with cots, etc., for the accommodation of any soldiers who were sick or wounded and unable to continue their journey. A nurse was always on hand to attend to the wants of the sick. Back of these rooms was a large dining hall and kitchen, where the weary and hungry boys in gray could minister to the wants of the inner man, and right royally they performed this pleasant duty, for the table was always bountifully supplied with good things, donated by the patriotic women of Burke County, who gladly emptied hearts and home upon the altar of country. This work was entirely under the auspices of the women of Burke. Mrs. Judge Jones, of Waynesboro, was the first president of the home. She was succeeded by Mrs. Ransom Lewis, who was second and last. She was quite an active factor in the work, and it is largely due to her efforts that the home attained the prominence that it did among similar institutions. Miss Annie Bailey, daughter of Captain Bailey, of Savannah, was matron of the home. She was assisted in the work by committees of three ladies, who, each in turn, spent several days at the home.

This home was to the weary and hungry Confederate soldier as an oasis in the desert, for here he found rest and plenty beneath its shelter. The social feature was not its least attraction, for when a bevy of blooming girls from our bonny Southland would visit the home, and midst feast and jest spur the boys on to renewed vigor in the cause of the South, they felt amidst such inspirations it would be worthy to die, but more glorious to live for such a land of charming women. One of our matrons with her sweet old face softened into a dreamy smile by happy reminiscences of those days of toil, care, and sorrow, where happy thoughts and pleasantries of the past crowded in and made little rifts of sunshine through the war clouds, remarked: "But with all the gloom and suffering, we girls used to have such fun with the soldiers at the home, and at such times we could even forget that our beloved South was in the throes of the most terrible war in the history of any country!"

The home was operated for two years or more and often whole regiments of soldiers came to it, and all that could be accommodated were taken in and cared for. It was destroyed by Sherman's army on their march to the sea. The car shed, depot, hotel and home all disappeared before the torch of the destroyer and only the memory, the well, and the trees remain to mark the historic spot where the heroic efforts of our Burke County women sustained the Wayside Home through two long years of the struggle.

Mrs. Amos Whitehead and others who have "crossed the river" were prominently connected with this work; in fact, every one lent a helping hand, for it was truly a labor of love, and was our Southern women's tribute to patriotism and heroism.

Women of America

Source: The Part Taken by Women in American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.

 

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