On April 25th I wrote about Union Colonel Streight’s raid into Alabama being a disaster. This was thanks in great part to the daring courage of a young Alabama farm girl. Don’t you just love a good story? Especially a true one! Here is what happened…
Streight arrived just outside of Gadsden and prepared to cross Black Creek, which was swollen due to rain. He thought if he destroyed the only bridge he could outmaneuver Forrest. Seeing the Sanson farmhouse, he demanded some smoldering coal, which he used to burn the bridge.
When Forrest arrived and saw the burned out bridge, he and his men also rode to the nearby Sanson house and asked if there was another bridge. ‘Two miles away” said 15 year old Emma.
“Is there a place where we can get across the creek”, asked Forrest. Emma said she would show them if he would saddle a horse. “No time to wait” said Forrest, and asked her to get on his horse behind him. Emma sprang up behind him, and against her mother’s objection, directed the General where he could cross the river.
After taking Emma back to her home, Forrest continue his pursuit of Streight. Her heroism is noteworthy in that openly aiding Confederate forces could have resulted in her and her family’s prosecution or even death from the Union army, according to Wikipedia.
Sanson married Christopher Johnson in 1864 (at age 16) and moved to Texas in late 1876 or 77. They had 7 children. She died in Upshur County, Texas and is buried in Little Mound Cemetery. There is a monument in honor of her heroism in Gadsden, and also an Emma Sanson Middle School.