Julian Christmas was putting as much detail as he could remember into the tiny, faded pages of the diary and in my mind I could see how the tale unfolded. In the strangest of coincidences he sat in a foxhole on a battlefield near Atlanta with a man that had recently been to his plantation, knew his name and held the key to a buried treasure. Sometimes I had to use a magnifying glass to make out the words as now, Lt. Christmas continued writing about his night meeting with the wounded Corporal Paulson and how the treasure was buried.
The Corporal told him that his squad of 10 men were blindfolded and put in a wagon with General Forrest’s second in command, Major Jon Bryan and the cannon barrel. Only the Generals most trusted aides left with them and they traveled a couple of miles with many twist and turns. In the pitch dark they could not have seen where they were or even tell exactly where they were going. The Chief of Staff and the General led the way with one small lantern to guide them. After about an hour they stopped and Major Bryan helped them unload from the wagon. The Major helped them down and then the ordeal started. The men grabbed the heavy cannon and blindfolded they walked for at least 45 minutes fighting the roots and trees every step of the way as they wandered through the thick woods. Several officers helped guide them and they finally came to the spot where the treasure was to be buried. Most of the squad was bruised and battered by the walk and were grateful to lower the cannon and have the blindfolds removed.
It was a small clearing in a creek bottom. It was a dark moonless night and their only light was the one small lantern that the General held. He could not tell where he was but he could hear the trickle of a small creek near him.
In the center of the small clearing was a slight, low mound that he knew was the remnants of an old Indian Mound. The top of the little mound had picks and shovels already arranged and after a few minutes rest, he and his men started to dig. The hole was not big enough for all of them and after his turn digging he watched the General and Major Bryan conferring as they added to the details of their map. Finally the two men were satisfied and the map was folded and put into a leather map case. Major Bryan slipped it inside his tunic for safekeeping.
The hole soon reached a depth of about 6 feet through the mound and he had seen several Indian artifacts thrown out of the hole as they dug.
Meanwhile he and several others had wrapped the barrel in canvas, tied it tight with rope and got ready to lay it in the hole. The men were cleared out as they worked the wrapped bundle down into the dirt and started covering it over. Soon the hole was filled in and after about 10 minutes of talk amongst the officers; the men were all blindfolded again and led back through the woods to the wagon. They made it back to camp and early the next morning the cavalry troop was on the road back to Greenwood.
prologue, Pt.1 Pt.2 Pt.3