Wimbledonís Raiders

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Grandpa Wimbledon’s Raiders
Wednesday 24 September 2014

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Those of us of the 21st century are aware, as to the position our ‘Elderly Citizens’ hold in today’s society!  We see them hobble about with their walking canes or wheeled about in wheel chairs.  But seldom do we appreciate the accumulated knowledge, let alone the long years of invaluable experience, locked up inside those gray, white or balding heads.  Us Southerners read of the heroic exploits of our heroes in gray, inasmuch as all but a precious few were, relatively young and vibrant at the time.

Our story tells of such forgotten elderly heroes, those who no longer had the strength to march the endless miles, or to charge across battlefields of glory.  They had only their wit and imagination remaining to them, with which to fight against the seemingly endless hordes of Yankee Invaders.  Come with us now as we look in on these heretofore-unknown and forgotten band of Confederate Soldiers, Gray-backs known as Grandpa Wimbledon’s Raiders!
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"We feel that our cause is just and holy; we protest solemnly in the face of mankind that we desire peace at any sacrifice save that of honor and independence; we ask no conquest, no aggrandizement, no concession of any kind from the States with which we were lately confederated; all we ask is to be let alone; that those who never held power over us shall not now attempt our subjugation by arms." --- President Jefferson Davis - 29 April 1861
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By Daniel Wimbledon
The year was 1864; it is late July, in the little community known as Thurston Georgia, which at the time was located some 70 miles southeast of Atlanta.  Word came down to our family that Confederate General John Bell Hood has been defeated at the hands of Yankee General William Tecumseh Sherman, on 22 July.  The Wimbledon Clan all knew that in due course of time, a sizeable portion of ‘Sherman’s Barbarians’ would come visiting.  A meeting was called by Grandpa Wimbledon himself, which took place on a beautiful moonlit night!  The place chosen for the meeting was Grandpa’s often used barn, where many a barn dance had taken place over the years.

Because of the possibility that a stray band of Yankees might discover their meetings, no lanterns were lit, howbeit with the large doors open; the moonlight was sufficient for their purpose.  In attendance were all of the men, and the women of the community, plus a sizeable number of teenage boys and girls, all of who were of the Wimbledon Clan.  Counted among the senior adults were Joel, Jeremiah, Isaac, Andrew, James, John, Luke, Mark, Mathew, Peter, Philip and Timothy, all but Grandpa of course, were brothers, or else at the vary least cousins!  All save the vary young teenagers were, as the term goes, ‘old Codgers, the fighting age men having departed for the war several years before.
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The subject of discussion for this meeting was, how to give the Yankees a suitable reception, should they come their way, as surely they would.  Now Grandpa Wimbledon being the Patriarch of the family had a lifetime of, well, what might be called uncommon experience.  Jeremiah Wimbledon brought the meeting to order, and the entire Clan turned their attention to Grandpa, old Joel Wimbledon by name, better known to his wife along with the young-ins, simply as Grandpa Joel.  Grandpa Joel paced back and forth a wee bit, picking up a piece of straw along the way, and gnawing on it!

All the locals respected Grandpa, feeling like he knew best, as to how to confront such a force, as was about to descend upon their tiny community, so they waited for his words of wisdom.  Finally the old man began to speak, “It seems obvious to me, that we cannot defeat these Yankees with the few rusty old Revolutionary War Flint Locks remaining in our possession, so we must use a few down home tactics.”  Peter Wimbledon’s wife Doreen, who was from the Ramey Clan, began to poke at her husband, go ahead Pet; ask him!  Peter, who had been sitting on an old chopped up wooden stump, stood to his feet!
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“Grandpa, what sort of down home, I believe you used the word, tactics?  What do we have in these parts, that can defeat those well armed, and well fed Yankees?”  Grandpa glanced over at Jeremiah and his grandson, the eldest of his middle age generation!  Who was even then standing nearby, leaning against a barn support pole, which did more to hold up Jeremiah then it did the barn.  “What do we have in these parts Grandpa, responded Jeremy, as he was better known?”   The elderly gray haired Grandma Angie Wimbledon, the only one who held any measure of control over Grandpa’s sometimes-uncouth mannerisms, urged him, “Go ahead Joel, tell them!  You’ve been around since the time of Moses, and must have learned some things!”

All right Grandma, responded Grandpa, I guess it is the only way; sometimes Grandma Angie proved to be a better General then did the old man.  As Grandpa began to explain his strategy, everyone in the sizeable Family Clan, gathered in the barn that day, concentrated on the ole codger, Grandpa Joel.  “Well, here it goes, we all hide as if the entire area around these parts has been deserted, then as those ‘Blue-bellies’ get close enough, we cause them to scratching and itching so bad, they can no longer fight.  Then we top it off by throwing a stink on them, … a stink so terrible it would turn a skunk cross-eyed!”

Grandpa had spent his entire life in these parts, and was well acquainted with every type of plant, animal, bird and creeping thing that crawled upon the earth, for miles in any direction.  Grandpa continued, “Y’all know about the stink plant, you likely know, from having had more then a few bad experiences, and you also know how to set these plants off.  But first we must trick the Yankees into chasing us through that oversize stick and poison ivy patch, just northwest of here.  Then we throw at them a few hand held stick bombs, made from a special concoction, put together by Luke and his wife Arlene.  I feel a small measure of pity already for those Yankees!

Preparing an Invitation


Luke seems to have invented the strongest stink ever known to man; enough to turn a man’s nostrils inside out, it took me two weeks to get over the stench, and even now it lingers in my head.  It nearly killed ‘Ole Spooks’ {our pet dog}, back before the war!  But be careful, don’t get any of Luke’s stink bomb on your skin or cloths, it’ll take years to wear off, and you’ll have to sleep in this ole barn for quite a spell.  About then James Wimbledon, known as Jim, came charging into the barn and approached his Grandpa. “Grandpa he said, the Yankees are about two days ride up Dog Leg Road, and heading this way!
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These Yankees are wearing out horses heading this way, and riding some pretty fine horse flesh!"  Grandpa looked at Jim, as he described the band of Yankee Barbarians riding toward their quaint little settlement, “How did you get back so quickly, if, as you say, those Yankees are two days ride away?”  Jim responded with a smile on his face, “Grandpa, you know there’s a short cut through them woods over yonder, a short cut unknown to those Blue-bellies.  They are coming straight down that crooked ole road, with obviously no intention of changing their direction!”
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Grandpa looked at his Grandsons with a pleased look on his face, “We got them, we got them sure enough, so how about we get to work, and make preparation for our soon to arrive Yankee guests.”  The Wimbledon Clan, both men and women, knew Grandpa’s thinking all to well, and had no need of waiting around for details!  The white haired ‘Old Southern Codger’ had roamed these parts, for longer then most of the Clan had been alive, and they’d often listened to his thrilling tales, plenty enough times.  And no one doubted, Grandpa Joel could sure enough tell some whoppers!

Strangely enough, there was a heap of truth behind Grandpa’s tales; he was one smart, cunning ‘Old Southern Gentleman!’  The adults divided themselves into four distinct teams, at least two adults in each team along with three teenagers; the fourth team served as a kind of reserve force.  The first team tracked through the woods, moving around the stink patch and onto the ole-crocked road, well in front of the approaching Yankees.  Once in place, they waited for the Yankee Cavalry to come riding their way.  The second and third team position themselves forward and to the rear of the poison ivy, stink patch.

The strategy was in place, wanting to make sure the Yankees got the full effect of both types of plants!  Luke and Arlene stayed behind with Grandpa Joel and Grandma Angie, so that together they might stand as a kind of Wimbledon General Staff.  Everyone had by now gotten into position, equipped with the extra strong stink bombs laced with Grandpa’s itching plants, crushed into power.  All this served to ensure that the Yankees received a most appropriate welcome into their friendly community.  Phillip and Timothy Wimbledon were the two adults assigned, along with several young teens, which would to divert the Yankee Blue-bellies into the patch.

Their wives Elaine and Charlene served as the first to get the attention of the northern guests then disappeared back into the woods.  Suddenly the signal was given, which was that of a Bullfrog, and all the locals for miles knew from experience, the Wimbledon’s could sound precisely like a big healthy Bullfrog.  By now Grandpa Joel’s battle strategy was well underway, and woe to any Blue-belly that fell into his trap!  Down the ole dirt road they came, like a herd of elephants, with all the arrogance of a well heeled bore hog.  Out of the woods came two lovely Southern Belle’s, acting as if they had no idea the Yankee Cavalry were anywhere near.
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Then after being sure they had gained the Blue-bellies undivided attention, back into the woods they went, and out came two men and several teenagers, all wearing gray.  Timothy, better known as Tim, gave out a low toned laugh, as they lead the Yankees down into the stink patch.  The way Grandpa’s described them, “Those Yankees are like buffalo charging through Grandma’s fine glassware!” and that they did, their Lieutenant gave the order; so down into the woods they went.  It was mid morning as the Yankee entered the stink patch, loosing everything, including whatever dignity they may have possessed, which was precious little.
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Yankees Meet Grandpa
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The Wimbledon’s knew the safe but narrow pathway through the stink patch, but not so with the Yankees, who spread out like blinded Badgers.  As commotion spread throughout the Blue-belly ranks, it took only the first few horses stomping all over those stink weeds to where nature had its way, setting off the entire patch.  Then James and John on one side, along with Mark and Mathew on the other, along with the teenagers, not wanting to be left out, began throwing stink bombs, laced with itching power.
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Everything was falling into place, just as Grandpa Joel had planned!  About now all the Wimbledon’s moved back, allowing the Yankees to complete their own demise!  The Cavalry Horses lost their training, they all began bucking and kicking, throwing their riders onto the ground, thereby stirring up even more stink.  Yankee horses, riders and weapons, all went in separate directions!  Even their sabers were lost, having been cut loose or else pulled out of their sheaths by the long heavy thistles and briar bushes.

After a lengthy period of total confusion, the Yankees finally began to exit the stink patch, and into the warm welcome of their neighborly hosts, the Wimbledon’s.  However they were minus their horses, weapons and most of them, their boots, along with whatever dignity a Yankee Blue-belly may possess.  There they stood, or else laid out on the ground, in all their Yankee Glory, before the four squads of Grandpa Wimbledon’s victorious Army.  James was the first to comment, “Whew, what do they feed you Blue-bellies, that makes you stink so bad?
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I find it a wee bit strange to see any lack of discipline in yawl’s army, given your reputation, and how it is that here you are, a Cavalry riding on its belly, while lying on the ground?”  The first Yankee to raise his voice, a Lieutenant Simon Brantley, howbeit, knowing he and his invisibles were now helpless before, what they though of as a band of back country bumpkins.  “To whom are we forced to surrender, and who are you people?”  We Yankee, are the Wimbledon Raiders, and you’ve arrived in our homeland uninvited!
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The Wimbledon’s now divided into just two groups, the one guarding the Yankees, while the other gathered up whatever of weapons and equipment was salvageable, given the enormous stink.  The ladies, Elaine and Charlene stood in front of the Yankees like unto over zealous Army Commanders, satisfied within themselves, knowing they had gotten the best of Abraham Lincoln’s Blue-boys.  Charlene the more outspoken of the two Southern Belles looked over their guests!
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“Alright, how about we take these Yankees to Grandpa, ha, I mean General Wimbledon?”  Phillip looked at the two women, Charlene and Elaine, while using the finest Southern English known in these parts, their beloved backcountry, which was their home.  “Ladies, give the order, march our prisoners to General Wimbledon, and keep your distance from them.  Wouldn’t want their Yankee Stink to get all over such lovely Southern Belles!”  As the ladies lead the Yankees away, they could be heard calling out; close ranks, stay close in and tight!
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An hour later they were all standing before Grandpa Joel, or General Wimbledon, to the Yankees prisoners!  As Grandpa slowly paced about his new prisoners, while doing so at a distance, he could be heard mumbling to himself.  “So these are the blue jays that are running hop shod over our men in gray; what a sorry mess they are.  Now what do we do with them!  I never give serious thought a to what to do with a herd of Yankee Blue-bellies, particularly after a stink shower!”
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Then Grandpa came to himself, just as   Lieutenant Simon Brantley, their commander, decided he had something to say.  “As prisoners, we expect…” The Grandpa Joel broke in!  “I wouldn’t expect to much Blue-belly, all over our homeland, you Yankees are butchering, raping, pillaging and burning every one and everything in sight.  You surely know Yankee, that given our Southern principles, we won’t treat you like the barbarians you are.  Thou we just might hand you!”

Grandpa then turned to Jeremiah, “Put our prisoners in that pen back yonder, the old shed has plenty of straw, and should make suitable bedding.  Then put a guard on them make, and be sure the guards are armed with those repeating rifles salvaged from the stink patch, along with ammunition.”  Grandpa turned to the Lieutenant, “Watch your P’s and Q’s; if you try to escape we will put you down, behave yourselves, and you just might catch me in a good mood.  I may tray to swap you skunks for our men in gray, now being held by Sherman.
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If we are force to shoot I’ll bury you as close as possible to the stink patch out yonder, a suitable place for your kind.  Old Grandpa Joel, still being referred to by our Yankee prisoners as the General, shook his head in discussed.  Then turning to the two lovely ladies, which lead them to him, “Lead them away, I feel ill just looking at these evil, arrogant barbarians.”  The heretofore-lost story of Grandpa, as told by his descendents, along with a little historic revisionism, and retold by the prisoners themselves, after the war.

The Wimbledon Clan may not have possessed grapeshot, modern rifles, and long columns of battle hardened soldiers.  But what they lacked in such items, they more then made up for in plain down home backcountry chicanery.  Which shows, there are many ways to fight an aggressive invader, and as it turned out, if old Grandpa Wimbledon had been in command of our Confederate Armies, we would have stunk up the entire south, but we just might have won.

God save the Confederacy
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Log onboard the below {hyperlinks attached}

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Deep Space Mission
Feminine Gray-backs
Ghosts of Confederate Past
Phantoms of Crooked Lane
 

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"The contest is not over, the strife is not ended. It has only entered upon a new and enlarged arena." --- Jefferson Davis, address to the Mississippi legislature - 16 years after the wars end.

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