Book: John P. Gatewood: Confederate Bushwhacker
About the author: A Marietta native, Larry Stephens is a reference librarian at Georgia Highlands College in Rome. He grew up just a short distance from Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park. His proximity to the battlefields sparked a life-long interest in the American Civil War.
He attended Georgia Southern University and the University of West Georgia. He has written several other books on the Civil War and is a Civil War reenactor. He lives in Rome.
About the book: Based on historical accounts, Stephens pieces together the tumultuous and tragic life of John Gatewood — growing up against the backdrop of the coming war and seeing families and neighbors torn apart by different loyalties, then leaving his parents and sister behind to fight in the war.
But when he sneaks away from camp and visits home, he finds that his sister has been raped and killed by Yankee soldiers which begins a terrifying turn of events. Gatewood becomes a formidable bushwhacker, leading guerilla soliders to hunt, rob and viciously killing anyone perceived as a Yankee supporter.
Stephens realized that Gatewood’s name kept appearing in accounts of the period but nothing extensive was ever written about him. So using records of the time and newspapers from the period, he pieced together the activities of John P. Gatewood. The book contains illustrations by Brian Barr, art instructor at Georgia Highlands College.
An excerpt from “John P. Gatewood.”: Following Gurley’s murder, Gatewood led his men into the nearby town of Benton. Here they stopped to refresh themselves and water their horses....At least one citizen, Thomas Kincer, a shoe shop owner well known for his outspoken Union sympathies, saw what was happening and surmised that he was on their extermination list. Locking the front door and grabbing a claw hammer, Kincer began frantically working to remove a wide board from the front of his shop. But within seconds the Rebs had kicked the door open and they found Kincer in the acting of crawling through the hole in his floor.
With upraised hands, he begged them for mercy. Columbus Mooney, one of Gatewood’s riders, raised his Colt revolver and fired one round that went clean through one of Kincer’s hands, striking him in the throat. He slumped over and died in that position, his upper body still exposed above the floor.
Where to get the book: Copies of “John P. Gatewood” are available locally at Barnes and Noble Booksellers and online at Amazon.com.