The dates on the faded writing in the old diary were sporadic, and as the next couple of years went by, Julian Christmas found himself with a farm to rebuild. He wrote about finally being able to close the large camp of displaced people and gaining on his former life.
He had to build barns, mend fences, and figure out a way to grow food crops along with the cash crop of cotton. Family members returning from the war had taken over old slave quarters and these all needed repair. He bought more land for timber use and started a sawmill. The old map was not mentioned again until the summer of 1868.
He had developed chills to go with his lingering illness. (I think he may have contracted yellow fever) That summer he spent a lot of time at home in bed fighting for his life.
During this time he started writing in the diary on a nightly basis and finally gave the background on what and how the map came into his possession.
Mr. Christmas was in the cavalry of General Hoods division near Atlanta and they had received very simple orders. Defend Atlanta to the last man. Some of the bloodiest fighting of the Civil War was done as Sherman crept closer and closer to the city. General Hood obliged by sending waves of his Army against him in a desperate and futile endeavor.
Julian found himself in a foxhole, next to his dead horse, nursing a fellow wounded soldier named Kevin Paulson during one of those dead still nights that always seemed a prelude to a major battle. He wrote about the horrible moaning of men in the darkness and the knowledge that he could not help any of them, much less himself.
As the two men sat there, they began to talk and the Corporal was very interested in his name of Christmas. He seemed to ask questions until he was satisfied and then a very strange story started to emerge.
The man had been with General Forrest early and as the war spread, he found himself taking the last of the Bank of Greenwoods gold and silver coin toward Vicksburg to keep it from being looted by the Union Army. After several days of fighting and some stealthy maneuvers they found themselves taking a few days rest at the Christmas Place Plantation. They were well taken care of by the mistress which was Julian’s’ wife and the men relaxed there till they could find out any enemy movement in the area. This was fine till General Forrest received an afternoon dispatch. Union soldiers were moving up the Yazoo river toward Greenwood to attack and destroy the shipyard that held the newly constructed ironclad, the C.S.S. Arkansas. He was urged to return to that position immediately.
Late that night Corporal Paulsen was called to the smithy with 9 other of his men to meet with the General. Once gathered together they saw that the largest of their cannons was being worked on. It was loosened from it’s catch and the fuse hole was welded shut. Then all of the gold and silver that they were transporting was poured into the barrel.Wadding was crammed into the end and hot lead was poured in to seal the barrel tight.
Corporal Paulson knew that they were about to bury the treasure but did not know how they would ever find it again if they buried it in an unknown place during the night.
General Forrest laughed and told them that he was making a detailed map.
Prologue, Part 1, Part 2