Contributor: Lee Freeman, October 27, 2004
A War Echo.
In 1864, when the Federal troops were in Florence, a little colored boy named Robert Mitchell, while playing with his companions, was picked up by Capt. Smith of the 7th Illinois Regt. and carried away. He was a bright chap and the man who took him off said he was too likely a boy to remain in slavery. He belonged to the Hawkins family and his departure created quite a stir among those immediately interested. Mitchell was carried along with Capt. Smith’s regiment until the close of the war, when he was taken in hand by Northern friends and educated in a Catholic School and subsequently in law in Chicago. He is now a successful practitioner in Chicago. He is on a visit to Florence now, where his mother (old Aunt Martha Cook) lives, and says notwithstanding he lives in Chicago he feels that he is a loyal Alabamian. Mitchell is a bright, fine looking man and evidently does not regret his capture by the Yankees in 1864.
Source: Florence Times, Saturday, November 9, 1895, p. 3.