The Civil War in a Bottle: Battle at Fayetteville, Arkansas

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THE TERRIFYING MORNING of April 18, 1863, seemed like an eternity for Sarah Yeater as she cowered in a*damp Fayetteville cellar. Muffled sounds of rapid gunfire, shouting men, and jingling harnesses coming from the yard above caused Sarah to tremble violently as she hugged her three-year-old son Charley and stared wild-eyed at the other civilians who huddled with her in the darkness. Sick with ague and five months pregnant to boot, Sarah had ample reasons for trembling beyond the sounds of battle raging overhead, yet an additional shock to the young housewife's nerves was about to be cruelly delivered. As Sarah rose from her mattress to speak to her sister-in-law, Sallie, the cellar rang from the sudden concussion of an artillery shell. The missile shattered the jamb of the basement door, knocked down fragments of brick and mortar from the chimney in the kitchen above, and cracked in two a large iron kettle of lye that rested on the hearth. Choking with dust and screaming in terror, die helpless women and children saw the flash of the iron shell as it bounded rapidly into their midst and just as suddenly disappeared. Sarah could not have known it at the time, but the broken kettle in the kitchen had actually saved her and the others from certain death: the lye had miraculously extinguished the fuse an instant before the projectile dropped down to the refugees below.



American history, Military history


Scott, Kim Allen. "The Civil War in a Bottle: Battle at Fayetteville, Arkansas." Arkansas Historical Quarterly 54, no. 3(Autumn 1995): 239-68.
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