It has been so long since I have written about the treasure that was buried by General Forrest at the famous Christmas Place that I figured I had better give a quick rundown of what happened.
1. I discovered the hidden journal of Julian Christmas one day while cleaning out the old house at camp; thanks to a bowling ball and a bad hook shot.
2. I read how he had been wounded near Atlanta and made his way home at the end of the war. I also read that he had a map and two $10 gold pieces hidden in the stock of the worthless rifle he used as a crutch.
3. The journal then described the heartache of the Reconstruction Era. How the many people of that area both black and white had to band together just to survive in a lawless time. He told how they managed to learn to sharecrop the land, protect each other and provide for the people when there was no place left to go. A sad time in our history.
4. Mr. Christmas was ill with yellow fever or pneumonia that would not go away and began to tell the story of how fate had thrown him together with a soldier that had been with General Forrest at the Christmas Plantation. He described what happened and why they had to bury the treasure and how a cannon barrel was used to pour the coin into and sealed shut.
5. He wrote in the journal the fantastic story of how a group of soldiers were blindfolded in the night and led to a small Indian Mound in the middle of nowhere and buried the cannon full of gold.
6. Lt. Christmas wrote about how the strange encounter with this soldier occurred in a foxhole near Atlanta. the long night he spent tending the injured man and the tale that unfolded. The Private and the Lieutenant shook hands on splitting the treasure and starting over (if it was still there) after the war. Unfortunately, the soldier died in the night and Lt. Christmas took the map case in hopes of surviving and going home.
7. Julian Christmas wrote about his stay in several hospitals as the war raged around him. He wrote how he converted his twisted rifle into a crutch, carved a hidden space in the stock to carry the map and two gold pieces that were with it and the start of his long trip home as the war ended. He also wrote how his strength was failing and he was unable to search for the treasure. He ended that part of the journal with a strange entry that I knew was a clue to the map.
8. The journal continued in his wife’s handwriting and mentioned that the strange rock carvings on our property were the key to the mystery.
9. I finally told Dad about the journal. He laughed and said the treasure was long gone but was sure I would have a good time looking for it. I also realized an old lawman in New York named Cookie could help me figure it out.
10. Cookie, by accident discovered that hidden in the rock carvings was a message in the Confederate Naval semaphore code and after much trying was able to decode it enough for me to follow the message and finally dig up a strange looking wrench buried in the woods.
This is where I ended the story but now it is time to tell you how Me, Marian, GuyK and a few others managed to figure it all out over a 4th of July holiday.