Sergeant Henderson Virden of the 2nd Arkansas went to war at the advanced age of twenty-five, and for a year had no word from his wife and children, back in Pea Ridge. In March, he found himself marching through familiar country, and was soon fighting across his own farm in the battle of Pea Ridge, or Elkhorn Tavern.
Virden was wounded and carried into his own house, where his wife tended him until he could return to his regiment. During his convalescence Mrs. Virden conceived a son, Wiley, who became the father of eight children. The youngest of this third generation, Colonel John M. Virden, was in 1960, as the Centennial of the war approached, one of the country’s most devout Confederates, and an editor of military service newspapers in Washington, D.C., after a wartime career with Claire Chenault’s Flying Tigers and a hitch as press-relations man for General Eisenhower at SHAPE headquarters in Paris, France.
Grandpa Virden lived to be ninety-three, with a Yankee Minie Ball under the skin of his back and a huge white scar on his chest.