Sword unites descendants of Civil War soldiers

By The Associated Press

CORINTH – The sword taken off the body of Col. W.P. Rogers at the Battle of Corinth during the Civil War made its return to the city Saturday, uniting two people who’s ancestors fought under different flags 150 years earlier.
Allen Wandling of Athens, Ohio, bought a Confederate scabbard and sword in 2006, not knowing until later it was taken off Rogers’ body in the same battle his ancestors John and Adam Wandling fought in.
When Wandling decided to bring the sword to Corinth for this weekend’s Corinth Civil War & Militaria Show and Sale, he was contacted by Leslie Eckert of Austin, Texas, who is a descendant of Rogers.
“We met at the battlefield and when I was holding that sword on the same ground where Rogers fought and died, my hair stood on end,” Wandling said.
Eckert agreed that the experience was out of this world.
“I really felt like there’s been a force that’s been guiding me,” she said. “It’s chilling and hard to explain.”
Wandling purchased the sword from a man in Joplin, Mo., who inherited the sword from his sister. The sister got the sword from her husband, who was a police officer in Belleville, Ill.
“The 9th Illinois was here fighting and they took the sword back to Belleville,” Wandling said. “It was in the post until the 1920s.”
Rogers didn’t know the sword’s connection to his family until after he purchased it, getting the scabbard first and the sword later.
Wandling’s ancestors fought in the 63rd Ohio, which engaged in hand-to-hand combat near the end of the Battle of Corinth with Rogers’ 2nd Texas.
“The different pieces were in different places in the house,” Wandling said. “They contacted me when they found the sword to see if I was interested in it. I wasn’t interested in the sword particularly, it was just another relic for my collection.”
Eckert brought copies of letters Rogers wrote to his wife during the Civil War and Mexican American War.
The letters detail his travels and even talk about his visit to Corinth, which would be his final resting place.
Rogers died after charging Fort Robinette three times and being shot 11 times.
jb.clark@journalinc.com

For Your Information
WHAT: Corinth Civil War Relic and Militaria Show

WHEN: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. today

WHERE: Crossroads Arena Convention Center, South Harper Road at Highway 45, Corinth

ADMISSION: $5; $3 for children under 13

FOR MORE INFORMATION: (662) 286-6779 or www.battleofcorinth.com