Ann Fickle - Southern Heroine

Ann E. Fickle’s Southern sympathy brought her into trouble.  She was one of the most daring of young Southern women sympathizers.  Ann E Fickle was a girl, twenty-years old who, when the war began, lived in Lafayette County, Missouri, near what is now the town of Odessa.  Armed men of either side, sometimes in companies of two or three or more, sometimes alone, rode up and down the country seeking each other with hostile intent, and fighting at every crossroads.  In the midst of it all went Annie Fickle, flitting about hither and thither, sometimes like an angel of mercy ministering to some sick or wounded friend in concealment, sometimes boldly playing the spy on the enemy.  It was all kind with her; anything to assist the men of the south.  Her chosen one was Captain Andy Blunt, a dashing, daring fellow who followed the irregular methods of the guerillas—here today, there tomorrow.  She was the daughter of a substantial farmer and of intense Southern sympathies.  Her father feared not only for his life but that of his daughter for in those days men were killed for opinion's sake.  Though a mere girl, she was a leader among her sex in the work of caring for the wounded, the burial of the dead or the rescuing of the captured. 

Cole Younger recalled that in May of 1862 guerrilla Otho Hinton was found in the house of Mr. Fickle, by a company of Federals and was arrested.  When the arrest was made Annie became so abusive to the Federals that she was taken into custody and carried to Lexington, where she was imprisoned for a week, and then permitted  to return home.  Here came in Annie Fickle.  Otho Hinton was her neighbor and friend.  As soon as she was released from prison she went to Lexington to make her temporary home with a friend.  The place was strongly garrisoned by Federal troops.  Hinton’s jovial good nature and musical accomplishments had so charmed the federal authorities that he was allowed unusual liberties.  In charge of a single guard, he was permitted to visit some of his friends and occasionally dine with them.  At one of these places he often met Annie, and thus became acquainted with the plan for his rescue.  Annie resolved to take the guard into her confidence.  He listened to her story and professed loyalty to her.  Hinton was invited to take supper on a certain evening at the house of a friend where he often met Annie.  The night arrived, and Hinton and the guard arrived, Annie, too, was there.  Blunt and one of his men were to be in town in disguise, call at the house, knock at the door at a certain time.  They were to be admitted, over power the guard, but not harm him, take Hinton away, and restore him to his liberty.  Ann had told the guard all and he had assented. Our frist image is of the lovely Young Ann © CANTEY-MYERS COLLECTION.                                                         

In the face of the plot now about to be developed, Annie, the guard, Hinton and the people of the household sat down to supper just as the shadows of the night came on.  The supper was well nigh concluded, and the appointed moment had arrived.  There was a knock at the door. Blunt was there.  Annie knew it.  Hinton knew it.  The guard knew it.  The guard knew what it meant.  He arose from his seat at the table, drew his revolver and shot Hinton dead.  This was a signal for the entrance through the rear of the house of a squad of soldiers who first arrested Annie and then rushed to the front door to secure Blunt, but he and his men had fled as soon as they heard the pistol shot. 

Annie was hurried away to the same prison that had for many weeks been the home of Hinton. From Lexington she was sent to Warrensburg. Captain Jehu Smith was the provost marshal at Warrensburg and he has related to me the following incident that occurred in the time she was under his charge: “Annie impressed me as an uncommon girl, “said he, “and my attention was particularly attracted to her by the affair in which she was mixed up at Lexington.  I was surprised one day to receive a note from her saying she wanted a private interview.  I went to see her and when we were alone she told me she wanted to lay a matter before me that concerned her honor, and that she had determined to tell me everything and trust me for protection.  She then proceeded to tell me of the proposal by an officer of the regiment, one of high standing and who had access to the prison.  She said she was helpless, that she did not know what to do except lay the matter before me.  I was naturally indignant at the conduct of the officer, as Annie, whatever political crimes might have been charged to her, was a girl of irreproachable character.  I told her she could depend upon me to protect her and that I would have the officer court-martialed and driven from the army.  “No, “she said ”do not do that.” There is enough publicity about me already.  I do not ask that and would not have you take such a step.  Your word that I shall be protected is all I ask.”  Thus the matter ended.  Soon after that Annie was taken from my jurisdiction.”

From Warrensburg she was sent to the Gratiot street prison in St. Louis, where many Missourians of Southern sympathies were confined.  After she had been there a few weeks, she and a Confederate officer imprisoned there dug a tunnel under the prison walls, the officer doing the digging and Annie carrying the dirt away in her apron.  They reached a point where they thought it safe to ascend to the surface and break through.  They were, indeed, after weeks of patient toil, outside the prison enclosure and under the brick pavement of the street.  When they raised the bricks and were about to make their exit a prison guard discovered them and shot the officer.  Annie went back to remain until the close of the war.  In the meantime, her betrothed, Captain Blunt, was killed in a fight near Chapel Hill.

Local legends state that in May of 1862 Annie's family home had been invaded by a company of Federals, and they arrested Annie when she was found to be in the company of a Partisan Ranger.  Later, Annie had been rescued by the Partisans, and she never forgot this.  As a token of her appreciation, Annie made a battle flag for the Partisan Rangers.  They flag was made of four layers of black, quilted alpaca, and was three by five feet.  Running edgewise through the middle of the flag was the name QUANTRELL in dark red letters.  Annie, in the dead of night, took the flag into Quantrill's camp, wrapped in a piece of plain paper.  William C. Quantrill accepted it himself, and gave a deep and heartfelt thank you to Anne.  Quantrill's men gave three cheers, waving their hats, and giving full approvals, honors and recognition to this 20 year old Missouri girl who had risked her life to make this gift.  The men attached the flag to an eight foot pole of oak, attached with twelve nails.  Some claim the flag was carried into many battles, such as Lawrence, Kansas and was riddled with many bullets.  Further claims was that Quantrill even took it with him into Kentucky in 1864 and it whereabouts became unknown.   The next image is of  the fllg Ann made and presnted to Quantrill. © Paul Petersen quantrillsguerrillas.com "Permission should be requested and agreed to before using this copyrighted essay and/or image."

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