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Title: Personal Reminiscences of the War of 1861-5

Author: W. H. Morgan

Release date: April 23, 2016 [eBook #51838]

Language: English



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OF THE WAR OF 1861-65

W. H. Morgan


Personal Reminiscences of
the War of 1861-5




Lynchburg, Va.
J. P. Bell Company, Inc.
2Copyright, 1911
3To the Memory of
"The Loved Ones at Home"
this book is tenderly and lovingly dedicated


I launch this little volume upon the great ocean of books, craving the indulgence of the kind reader for its shortcomings and imperfections, with the hope that it will not be viewed with a critic's eye, and that its imperfections may be charitably passed by. I have endeavored to relate my experiences in the great war of 1861-5 just as events occurred, as if I were detailing them to family or friends in private, or, as I have sometimes done in the past, at gatherings of veterans and friends during the past years.

The old huntsman delights to tell of his tracking game in the snow, the chase through the woods and fields of the fox, deer and bear; the old sailor spins his yarns of the adventures and perils of the deep; the old fisherman will sometimes tell a big fish tale, and the old soldier is wont to join in with the rest and tell of his life in camp and field. This last I have endeavored to do in the following pages after the lapse of many years. I might have spun out the story much longer, but believing that brevity is often the soul of writing, as well as of wit, I have endeavored to "be brief and to the point."

W. H. Morgan.
Floyd, Va., January 23, 1911.


Chapter I

Personal—Organization—Roll of company.

Chapter II

Enter the service—Trouble about arms.

Chapter III

On to Manassas—The 11th Regiment—The 1st Brigade.

Chapter IV

Battle of Blackburns Ford—The battle begins—The enemy driven back—Incidents of the battle.

Chapter V

Battle of First Manassas—General Johnston to the rescue—Gen. Kirby Smith turns the tide of battle—The Rebel Yell—Under shelling—The news of victory—The enemy not pursued—Gathering the spoils.

Chapter VI

To Centreville and Fairfax C. H.—Picket close to enemy—Exciting times on picket—Back to Centreville—The fight at Drainesville.

Chapter VII

Fall back from Centreville—The Peninsular campaign—Yorktown lines evacuated—The battle of Williamsburg—"Give it to them"—Into a hot fire—Colonel Garland wounded—Incidents of the battle—Garland and Kemper promoted.

8Chapter VIII

Back to Richmond—Battle of Seven Pines—The brigade in reserve—Into the fight at double-quick—Incidents of the battle—On the picket lines.

Chapter IX

Seven days fights around Richmond—Battle of Gaines' Mill.

Chapter X

Second Manassas and Maryland campaign—Sharpsburg—Back to Virginia—From Winchester to Culpeper—To Fredericksburg.

Chapter XI

The battle of Fredericksburg—Kemper's Brigade in reserve—Spectacular scene—Behind Marye's Hill—Sharpshooting—At home; sad loss.

Chapter XII

To Richmond, Chester Station and Petersburg—To North Carolina—Back to Virginia at Suffolk—To Taylorsville—On to join General Lee.

Chapter XIII

Pennsylvania Campaign—Gettysburg—Back to Virginia—General Lee and the army of Northern Virginia.

Chapter XIV

To Taylorsville—At Chafin's Farm—To North Carolina again—Marching through swamps and sand—The capture of Plymouth—Companies C and G have serious experience—Incidents of the battle—The gunboat Albemarle—Col. James Dearing wins promotion—On to Washington, N. C.—Newberne again invested.

9Chapter XV

Back to Petersburg, Va.—Beast Butler—The battle of Drewry's Bluff—General Gracie's courage—Into a heavy fire at close range—Col. Richard F. Maury—Yankee brigade captured—General Whiting's failure—The Yankee flags.

Chapter XVI

To Milford and to capture—Prisoner of war—On to Washington—To Fort Delaware.

Chapter XVII

To Fort Delaware—Short Rations—Song—Prison rules.

Chapter XVIII

Off for Charlestown—Alleged retaliation—On shipboard—Run aground—Short of water—In stockade—Under fire—Prison rules.

Chapter XIX

To Fort Pulaski—Rotten cornmeal and pickled rations—A plot laid.

Chapter XX

Back to Fort Delaware—Disappointment and great suffering—Deaths on ship and burials at sea.

Chapter XXI

Yankee infamy—Conduct of the war—Sherman's march through Georgia—The dismemberment of Virginia.

10Chapter XXII

Lee's surrender—Lincoln's assassination—Out of prison and at home.

Chapter XXIII

Reconstruction and since.



When I first undertook to write my war experiences, I had no thought of ever publishing what I wrote. It was only intended as a family paper, written at the solicitation of my children.

If I had undertaken to write a history of Kemper's Brigade, or the Eleventh Regiment, or even of the Clifton Grays (Company C), the story would have been far less personal than are these "Personal Reminiscences," and doubtless more interesting to others, but of less interest to those for whom the sketches were originally designed.

This is my apology for using the personal pronoun so often, and referring so frequently to those who were nearest and dearest to me, all of whom—wife, father, mother, and brothers—have passed away, and I am left al—— no, not alone; I have friends and old comrades still living whom I esteem highly and who I am sure esteem me, and children and grandchildren whom I love and who I know love me.

And it was but natural that I should desire to transmit to these last, recollections of those nearest and dearest to me, and of the comrades in arms with whom I was most intimately and closely connected during those years of blood and strife.

12If I had undertaken to give in detail all the brave deeds performed by the men of Company C, and those who made up the Eleventh Regiment and Kemper's Brigade, this book would have been much larger than it is.

The Yankees had a custom of promoting men from the ranks for brave conduct on the field of battle. If this custom had prevailed in the Confederate army, as I have often remarked, there would have been more officers than privates in that army; for no army ever had so many men so deserving and so capable of being officers. Having, at the solicitation of friends, determined to publish my Reminiscences, I now have only to say as to the following pages. "What I have written I have written," and will let it go at that; trusting that old comrades who may read this book will find therein something to remind them that they were "there or thereabout," and that they and their sons and daughters may find something to interest, if not something entertaining, and perchance instructive to the young.

To those who may be disposed to criticize the accuracy of dates and incidents, and doubtless there are inaccuracies and errors, too, I beg them to remember that nearly fifty years have passed over all our "memory boxes" since these war scenes were enacted, and that the events herein related are from my viewpoint and place on the stage of action, and that they saw and heard many things I did not see nor hear, and vice versa.

13Any one who has heard witnesses testify in court as to a personal difficulty between two men, if only a common assault and battery case, or a more serious encounter with knives and pistols, know that no two will tell exactly the same story; so it is with war stories. We all did not see and hear and feel alike at the same time and place. What impressed one and fixed an event or date indelibly on the mind, did not impress another. And now "I don't remember," "I forget," "I was there, but don't recollect," are common expressions heard from old soldiers when they meet and talk over the old, old times.

To all comrades of Company C and all the other companies of the Eleventh Virginia and of Kemper's Brigade and Pickett's Division, Longstreet's Corps, and the army of Northern Virginia, to whom these greetings may come, I extend the right hand of comradeship most heartily. We marched and camped and bivouacked and fought together. We suffered and sacrificed all save honor, and thousands of our comrades died for a cause which we knew and still know was just and right and holy.

And know ye that we will not be forgotten as long as truth and chivalry shall live upon the earth, and that generations yet unborn will be proud to trace their genealogy back to the men who fought under Lee and Jackson.

And now, old comrades, good-bye, and may God bless you all. At a reunion some years ago, I heard 14a veteran say, "God will never send an old Confederate soldier to hell!" My prayer is that none of them may ever go, or be sent to that bad place; but let us not forget that, "By grace are ye saved, through faith in Jesus Christ."

Personal Reminiscences of the War of 1861-5
—In Camp—En Bivouac—On the March—
On Picket—On the Skirmish Line
—On the Battlefield—and in

Personal—Organization—Roll of Company

After a lapse of more than forty years, I here record brief sketches of my experiences as a Confederate soldier, beginning about the 1st of May, 1861, and ending the 21st day of May, 1865, and some things since. Many of the occurrences herein related remain indelibly fixed on my memory through all these years and can never be effaced.

The scenes and events of the battles are burned into the faculty of recollection so deep that they remain more firmly fixed than any other events in my experience. Amidst the rush and roar and crash of battle, every fibre of the brain is intensified and highly wrought, and receives the scenes and events of the hour with the accuracy and permanency of the camera.

As to many of the dates, marches and camps, my memory has been refreshed by memoranda and 16data collected during the years, since the close of that memorable struggle, and by the perusal of wartime letters, and some assistance from old comrades.

I have headed these sketches "Personal Reminiscences," which I have designed to be a simple narrative of what I saw, heard and felt, without any desire to recount deeds of my own; but rather, at the solicitation of my children and others, that they may know something of my comrades and that I may leave to those who come after me some record of the part, inconspicuous as it was, which I took in that fierce and bloody conflict, my reasons, therefor, and my convictions and actions since. These things alone have prompted me to undertake this task.

I find already that the personal pronoun will appear in the narrative much oftener than I would wish. This seems unavoidable, according to the plan and scope designed.

I read sometime ago Gen. Fitzhugh Lee's life of Gen. Robt. E. Lee. When the book was finished, I remarked that I had a higher opinion of Fitz Lee than ever before, for the reason that his modesty caused him to leave himself out of the book, only a few times mentioning Fitz Lee's Brigade or Division incidentally, showing him to be a great man. I would like to do likewise, but this will be impossible.



In the year 1860, at Pigeon Run—now Gladys, Campbell County, Va.,—near where I was born and reared, the young men of the neighborhood, catching the military spirit that swept over the State and South immediately after the John Brown raid at Harper's Ferry the year before, organized a volunteer infantry company, "The Clifton Grays," named after a small stream near by, the name being suggested by my father, the late Richard Morgan.

At the organization of the company, Adam Clement was elected captain; Jos. A. Hobson, first lieutenant; H. H. Withers, second lieutenant; Jas. A. Connelly, third lieutenant, and R. M. Cock, fourth lieutenant. When mustered into service only three lieutenants were allowed. I was elected orderly sergeant, which position I preferred at that time.

The following is as complete a roll of the company as I have been able to make up from memory, and by the aid of old comrades from the beginning to the end:


Adam Clement; promoted to major; wounded and disabled at Sharpsburg, Md.



Jos. A. Hobson; retired at the end of the first year.

H. H. Withers; retired at the end of first year.

Jas. A. Connelly; missing at Gettysburg.

Jabe R. Rosser.

Robt. M. Cock; captured at Five Forks, Va.


W. H. Morgan; promoted to first lieutenant and captain; captured at Milford, Va., May 21, 1864.


Thos. M. Cock; promoted to orderly sergeant; died since war.

E. M. Hobson; detailed as regimental ordinance sergeant.

E. G. Gilliam; badly wounded at Five Forks, Va.

Geo. Thomas Rosser.

Robt. M. Murrell.

Geo. W. Morgan; died since war.


Ed. A. Tweedy; captured at Milford, on the 21st of May, 1864.

G. A. Creacy; wounded at Drewry's Bluff, May 16, 1864.

19Chas. A. Clement; promoted to orderly sergeant; captured at Five Forks, April 5, 1865; died since war.

W. T. Tynes; killed at Five Forks, Va.

W. H. Hendricks; killed at Second Manassas, August 30, 1862.


Allen, Chas.; killed at Drewry's Bluff, May 16, 1864.

Allen, Reuben; died since the war.

Brooks, John J.; died since the war.

Bailey, Allen; killed at Drewry's Bluff, April 16, 1864.

Bailey, Miffram; killed at Williamsburg, May 5, 1862.

Bailey, Harvey; died near Yorktown, April, 1862.

Bateman, Abner; wounded at Plymouth, N. C., April 18, 1864; died since the war.

Barber, Silas; killed at Seven Pines, May 31, 1862.

Brown, Geo. A.; captured at Milford.

Brown, Jas. A.; captured at Milford.

Brown, W. Lee; wounded at Gettysburg and Milford on the 21st of May, 1864, and captured; dead.

Bell, Geo. W.; lost arm near Petersburg on March 30, 1865.

Blankenship, Chas. E.

Blankenship, Leslie C.

Cocke, Jas. B.; died since war.

20Clement, Geo. W.

Creacy, Thos. C.

Caldwell, Daniel R.

Caldwell, Samuel; died since war.

Cary, Peter.

Callaham, Moses H.; captured at Milford, on 21st of April, 1864.

Callaham, Chas. M.

Dunnavant, Lee.

DePriest, Jno. R.; killed at Drewry's Bluff, May 16, 1864.

Daniel, John A; died since war.

Eads, Hairston; died since war.

Eads, William.

Elliott, Robt. A.; died since war.

Elliott, H. O.; color sergeant; killed at Second Manassas.

Franklin, Samuel T.

Franklin, Edmond L.; died since war.

Farris, Benjamin; killed at Williamsburg, May 5, 1862.

Frazier, John B.; now blind.

Gardner, John.

Hobson, W. H.; mortally wounded at Dranesville, Va., January, 1862.

Hobson, Nathaniel R.; died since war.

Hughes, Andy.

Hughes, Crockett; killed at Williamsburg, May 5, 1862.

Harvey, Richard C.; died since war.

21Hall, Stephen; died since war.

Harvey, Thos. W.; died since war.

Hendricks, Joseph.

Holcome, Ellis H.

Jones, Robt. H.

Jones, Geo. W.

Jones, Joshua.

Jones, Jas. T.; captured at Milford, April 21, 1864.

Jones, J. Wesley; captured at Milford, April 21, 1864.

Jones, Chas.; killed at Gettysburg, July 3, 1863.

Jones, Walker; wounded at Gettysburg.

Jones, Jas. Chap.; lost arm at Gettysburg.

Jones, Linneous; killed at Gettysburg, July 3, 1863.

Jones, Robt. W.; wounded at ——.

Jones, Jasper; died since war.

Jennings, Monroe; died since war.

Kabler, Fred; captured at Milford, April 21, 1864.

Kabler, W. S.; captured at Milford, April 21, 1864.

Kabler, Jack.

Kelley, Len.; died since war.

Keenan, John; detailed as drummer.

LeGrand, Peter A.; died since war.

Layne, David; killed at Williamsburg, May 5, 1862.

Layne, John; died near Fredericksburg, January 1863.

22Layne, Miffram; died since war.

Morgan, Robt. W.; wounded at Second Manassas and Gettysburg; captured at Milford; dead.

Moorman, Thos. E.

Martin, James; detailed as cook; died since war.

Monroe, John; killed at Drewry's Bluff, May 16, 1864.

Monroe, William; killed at Plymouth, April 18, 1864.

Monroe, William T.; captured at Milford, May 21, 1864.

Martin, Henry; killed at Second Manassas, August 30, 1862.

Murrell, Chas.; killed at Second Manassas, August 30, 1862.

Moore, Richard; died since war.

Murrell, Emory.

Matthews, William; died since war.

Mason, Maurice M., Jr.; killed at Gettysburg.

Miles, Chas.; shot accidentally; died since war.

Organ, Jas.; died since war.

Organ, John; killed at Williamsburg, May 5, 1862.

Pillow, Daniel; missing at Gettysburg.

Pillow, William; detailed as cook.

Puckett, John; died since war.

Phillips, Thornton; died in service.

Pugh, James.

Pugh, Nat.

Quilly, Michael.

23Rosser, Walter C.; wounded at Williamsburg and Drewry's Bluff.

Rosser, Alfred S.; killed at Drewry's Bluff.

Rosser, Granville; killed at Williamsburg.

Rosser, Thos. W.; died since war.

Rosser, John W.; captured at Five Forks.

Rice, Joe; killed at Sharpsburg, September, 1862.

Roberts, Pleasant; deserter.

Rice, Alec W.; captured at Milford; died in prison; buried at Arlington.

Terrell, James; killed at Seven Pines, May 31, 1862.

Tweedy, G. Dabney; killed at Gettysburg, July 3, 1863.

Tweedy, Bennett; killed at Plymouth, July 18, 1864.

Tweedy, Ferdinand.

Tweedy, Joseph; died since war.

Tweedy, Robt. C.

Walthall, Isaac; company commissary; died since war.

Walker, Geo. W.; mortally wounded at Drewry's Bluff.

Wood, Wash. W.; killed near Petersburg, 1865.

Woody, Bruce; killed at Drewry's Bluff, 1864.

Wood, John; killed at Williamsburg, May 5, 1862.

Watkins, James L.; died since war.

Woodall, Jno. J.

Wilkerson, W. A.; captured at Milford, May 21, 1864.

24Williams, Whit B.; wounded at Williamsburg; dead.

Wilson, Wm. H.; killed at Williamsburg, May 5, 1862.

Withers, W. S.; detailed as hospital steward.

Wingfield, W. H.; died since war.

Wood, James; killed at Seven Pines.

No doubt several names have been omitted, and others were killed or died from wounds and disease not now remembered. It has been impossible to give the number and names of all the killed and wounded in the battles in which the company was engaged. From three to five wounded to one killed is about the average, I think.

One man on this roll has "deserter" written after his name. He was a good soldier while with the company. Unfortunately he was a nullius filus; I suppose he thought he had nothing to fight for. We heard later he went to Ohio, where he drove a stage during the war. I have never heard of him since.

I wish I could mention by name each one of these men, what they did, and how faithfully they served their country; but time and space and lack of memory as to many interesting incidents will not permit this. I can only say that, with very few exceptions, they were good and faithful soldiers.

The uniform of the company was steel-gray, with cap of same color.


Enter the Service—Trouble about Arms—Cause
of Secession

The company was drilled from time to time, but was not armed until it entered the service about the 1st of May, 1861, at Lynchburg, Va., enlisting for one year. It was mustered into service by (then) Col. Jubal A. Early, as one of the ten companies of the Twenty-eighth Regiment of Virginia Infantry, Col. Robt. T. Preston, commanding. At that time there were about eighty-five men in the company, made up of the young men from several miles around Pigeon Run. I had one brother, Geo. W., called "Coon"; a brother-in-law, Robt. M. Cocke, and many kinsmen and connections in the company; the young Joneses, the Hobsons, the Baileys, and others were relations of myself or wife. We were all friends and neighbors, and many were former schoolmates. Most of them young unmarried men, many in their teens. I had been married not quite five months when the war came on.

None of the officers or men had any military education, but little training in drilling and none in camp life, and were all, officers and men, quite green and inexperienced in military affairs generally. But we all knew how to handle guns and how to shoot straight.

26These young men made as brave and faithful soldiers as any in the army; always ready to do their duty, to go wherever ordered; standing firm in action. But I think none of them liked to fight just for the fun of it; I did not for one, I well know. It was of this class of men that the army of Northern Virginia was made up.

That army was composed of the very pick and flower of the Southern youth, and made a name and fame that will live always.

At the beginning of the war, at Manassas, Gen. G. T. Beauregard issued a general order, in which he said that strict military rules of discipline would not be enforced, that the general commanding would depend upon the good breeding of the men, rather than harsh military discipline, to insure good order and efficiency in the army. This kind of discipline prevailed all through the war. General Grant soon after he met Lee in the Wilderness said in a dispatch to Washington that the Rebel army was very hard to drive, so well was it disciplined. It was not discipline that made this army so effective, but rather the courageous and patriotic spirit of the men who carried the guns.


As before said, the company had not been armed up to the time of enlistment. The company was organized as a rifle company; we expected to be armed with the "Mississippi Rifle."

27Soon after we got to Lynchburg it was learned that rifles could not be procured, the only arms available being old flint-lock muskets changed to percussion. All guns in those days were muzzle-loaders; the breech-loaders had not been invented.

We were much disappointed, and many of the men very much disgruntled, at the prospects of going to war with those antiquated, cumbersome and inferior arms. Other companies were in the same predicament, and many of the men threatened to disband and go home. The companies had not yet been mustered into service. It was a very critical time in the military experience of all. The companies were formed in line and addressed by some of their officers. Captain Clement made a speech to his company, and I spoke briefly and earnestly to my comrades, telling them that the State of Virginia was doing the very best she could to arm and equip her soldiers, that they might go forth to meet the invaders of her sacred soil; that it was our duty to go to the front with the best arms available, even if armed with nothing but "rocks and sticks," and closed by calling on every man who was willing to go to war under the existing circumstances to follow. I marched out through the camp; the whole company following.


I had fully determined if the company disbanded to join another immediately, as I knew it was the 28duty of every son of Virginia to enlist under her banner when called. I have never been of any other mind since, and if it were all to do over again I should act in the same manner. I never thought of deserting to the enemy during the war nor since. While I was not an original secessionist and voted for the Union candidates for the Convention, yet when the North determined to wage war on the South; when Lincoln called on Virginia for her quota of troops to coerce the seceding States, and when Virginia seceded, it did not take me two seconds to cast my lot with Virginia and the other Southern States. Here I took my stand then, now and forever, and will never give aid in any way to those who were enemies to my State and section, many of whom are still haters and traducers of the Southern people, the avowed purpose at the close of the war being to put the negro, the late slave, over the white people of the South, to rule and govern as brave and chivalrous a people as ever lived on God's green earth. To make the highest type of the Anglo-Saxon subject to the African! Ye gods! What a crime was attempted! And for a time the outrage was in force. This, if nothing else, justified the South in its attempt at separation from the North. The people of the South had gotten tired of the sectional and domineering, hectoring spirit of the North, especially the New England Yankees, manifested in many ways before the war, and determined to sever the bonds that bound them together; 29peacefully if they could, forcibly if they must. They did not want war, but the North forced the issue. The question of slavery in the Southern States was not an issue at the beginning of the war, as many believe.

In the presidential election of 1860, the right of the slaveholder to take his slaves—property recognized by the Constitution and laws of the land—into the territories, was an issue made by the Republican party, but no question as to slavery where it already existed, was involved. On the other hand, Lincoln, in his inaugural address on the 4th of March, 1861, expressly declared that he had no authority to interfere with slavery in the States, and no intention of doing so. And not until the promulgation of Lincoln's emancipation proclamation, which went into effect on the 1st of January, 1863, made without shadow of right or law, and in direct violation of his solemn declaration and oath of office, was this issue raised, as a war measure, to strengthen the Union cause, which was then on the wane, among the abolitionists at home and abroad. The New England Yankees, who first imported the negro to America, and who had sold their slaves to the Southern planters, because slave labor was unprofitable at the North, and who had engaged in the African slave trade until this was prohibited by law, at the instigation of the South and against the protest of New England shipping interests which was largely engaged in the African slave trade, and 30had become rabid abolitionists, now demanded emancipation as the price of their loyalty to the Union cause.

France had all the while been friendly inclined towards the South, and was urging England to join her in the recognition of the Southern Confederacy as an independent nation. England, who had years before abolished slavery in all her provinces, and was known to be a nation of abolitionists, was now appealed to, and urged to stand for emancipation in not recognizing the independence of the South. The cotton factories of England were closed, the Southern ports being blockaded, the operatives were clamoring for work or food; bread riots prevailed in the manufacturing cities, the people urging the recognition of the South, so that the ports could be opened and cotton, work, and food procured.

Henry Ward Beecher and other abolitionists went to England, faced and spoke to these howling mobs, appealing to them in behalf of the Union cause and the Southern slaves. Not so much, I opine, for the good of the slaves as for the success of the Union cause. They all knew if the Southern ports were opened the South would be victorious.

These are the true facts and the reasons for Lincoln's emancipation proclamation, as I verily believe, and well known at the time. New England was always jealous of the South, opposed everything that would extend the influence and power of the Southern States: fought bitterly the acquisition 31of the Louisiana territory and also the annexation of Texas, because it would tend to destroy the "balance of power," as they called it; and one of these states, Massachusetts, threatened to withdraw from the Union, boldly claiming the right so to do. As all know, New England was the manufacturing section of the country—the South, the agricultural section. New England wanted to control the policy of the government as to the tariff, and thereby protect their industries, and could not brook the extension of Southern influence and power against their protection policy. They still to this day maintain this policy, but now we are beginning to hear the rumblings of discontent in the West, and I am curious to know what will be the result. I know one thing—that the Yankees of New England will hold on to their pet policies, "like grim death to a dead nigger." What the great West will do, future events only can develop. The North has held the West in political slavery, by abusing and vilifying the South, and by waving the "bloody shirt"; but that old rag is about worn out. I repeat, I am curious to know the result, and want to live to see the end of it.

We remained in Lynchburg until about the 1st of June, 1861, doing camp duty and drilling. Several of the company, including my brother and myself, had negro cooks the first year, after which, few, if any, remained, except ours, who stayed until the last. Rations became too scarce to divide with 32cooks, so the men did their own cooking, forming messes of from four to six and eight men to a mess, cooking by turns when in camp. We also had two or three company cooks detailed from the company, who did much of the cooking when not in permanent camp, one of whom, Isaac Walthall, acted as company commissary, drawing the rations from the regimental commissary and distributed them to the messes, when in camp, or cooking them and distributing to men when in line of battle or near the enemy.

Our camp equipments, as far as cooking facilities were concerned, were very poor, and never much better.

At first, we had only sheet-iron pans and boilers, called camp kettles, which did very well for boiling beef, but the sheet-iron pans were very poor for baking bread and frying meat. No wonder the biscuits were called "sinkers," being burned on the outside, tough and clammy through and through. We afterwards got ovens and skillets, "spiders," as the Tar Heels called them, and had better bread. We were in camp in a grove west of College Hill, which was afterwards the fair grounds, and is now Miller Park.


On to Manassas—The Eleventh Regiment—The
First Brigade

About the 1st of June, 1861, the regiment was ordered to Manassas, which name afterwards became historic as a great battle-ground. The first battle of Bull Run, on the 18th of July, 1861, and the ground on which the first battle of Manassas was fought on the 21st of July, 1861, and the second battle of Manassas on the 30th of August, 1862, are all in close proximity, and General Jackson, a few days before the last-named fight, by a bold movement captured the place, which was then Pope's dépôt of supplies, burning what his soldiers could not eat and carry off, which no doubt was a plenty.

The place was occupied by one side or the other during nearly the whole war, being, in the beginning, considered a strategic point in the defence of Richmond by the Confederates, and for the defence of Washington and for the advance on Richmond by the Yankees.

At Lynchburg we had no equipments except the old muskets, no belts, cartridge or cap boxes, only some little cotton-cloth bags such as mothers make children to gather chinquapins in, little tin shop-made 34canteens, home-made haversacks of cotton cloth or cheap oilcloth, home-made knapsacks of poor material and very cumbersome, the latter packed full of clothes, hair-brushes and shoe-brushes, needle cases, and many other little tricks which mothers, wives, and sweethearts made for their soldier boys. Many of these things were superfluous and were not carried after the first year of the war; for the next three years about all a Confederate soldier carried was his gun, cartridge and cap box, a blanket, an oilcloth captured from the Yankees, and an extra shirt—very often not the latter.

Many a Confederate soldier has taken off his shirt, washed it, hung it on a bush, lying in the shade until it was dry. He also carried a haversack which was often empty.

There was considerable excitement when it was known we were to go to the front, to meet the enemy; hasty preparations were made, tents were struck, which, with the cooking utensils and all camp equipment, were sent to the dépôt for shipment.

At the appointed hour the regiment, with Colonel Bob Preston mounted on his big nicked-tailed bay horse, handsomely caparisoned, at its head, marched through the city down to the Orange & Alexandria Railroad, now the Southern. The streets were lined with people, the men cheering, the ladies waving their handkerchiefs to the soldiers as they marched in proud array to martial music—the fife and drum. 35Boarding the train, in box cars, we rolled away to the seat of war.

The train was stopped at Culpeper Court House, the troops detrained, and marched out into a field northwest of the town and prepared to go into camp; very much disappointed that we had been stopped before reaching Manassas. I remember it was a very windy day, and we had great difficulty in raising the tents. Before this was fully accomplished, orders came to strike tents at once, board the cars and hurry on to Manassas. The rumor was that the Yankees were advancing on Manassas and we were to rush forward as fast as possible, to meet and drive them back. All was now bustle and excitement; in an incredible short time the tents were struck, rolled up, taken to the dépôt, placed on the cars, and the regiment was soon off again for the front. Of course, discussion as to the probability of soon being in a battle went on as we sped along.

Up to this time, no cartridges had been issued to the men; some cases or boxes of ammunition were now placed aboard each car, but were not opened. The men were very anxious to be supplied with cartridges, fearing the Yankees would be on us before the boxes could be opened and the guns loaded.

In due time, the train reached Manassas without running into the enemy or the enemy running into us. It was said a scouting party had come out from the Yankee lines near Alexandria, and hence the 36false alarm which caused our hasty and exciting exit from Culpeper.

The regiment went into camp at Manassas station, a short distance to the right of the railroad, where we remained for about two weeks, drilling and doing guard duty around the camp and at General Beauregard's headquarters not far away. Not long before the first battle, Captain Clement's company, and Captain Hutter's company from Lynchburg, were transferred to the Eleventh Virginia Regiment, commanded by Colonel Samuel Garland, Jr., of Lynchburg, a V. M. I. man, and a fine officer. In the regiment there were already three companies from Lynchburg and one from Campbell County.


The Eleventh Regiment, which was camped immediately on the north side of the railroad, just west of the dépôt, was now composed of ten companies, with the following named field and staff officers and company commanders:

Colonel, Sam Garland, Jr., of Lynchburg; Lieut.-Colonel, David Funston, of Alexandria; Major, Carter H. Harrison, of Lancaster County; Adjutant, J. Lawrence Meem; Sergeant Major, Chas. A. Tyree; Chaplain, Rev. J. C. Granberry; Surgeon, Dr. G. W. Thornhill; Assistant Surgeon, Dr. Chalmers; Quarter-Master, R. G. H. Kean; Commissary, L. F. Lucado; Commissary Sergeant, W. L. Akers.

37Company A, Capt. Morris S. Langhorne; Company B, Capt. Robert C. Saunders; Company C, Capt. Adam Clement; Company D, Capt. D. Gardner Houston; Company E, Capt. J. E. Blankenship; Company F, Capt. Henry Foulks; Company G, Capt. Kirk Otey; Company H, Capt. J. Risque Hutter; Company I, Capt. —— Jamison; Company K, Capt. Robert Yeatman.

Colonel Garland was promoted to brigadier-general in May, 1862, and was killed at Boonsboro Mountain, Md., in September, 1862. Lieutenant-Colonel Funston succeeded Colonel Garland in command of the regiment, and was disabled by wounds at Seven Pines, on the 30th of May, 1862, and retired from the service; he was later elected to the Confederate Congress, and I think still later was in the service again. Major Harrison was mortally wounded at Bull Run, July 18, 1861. Captain Langhorne succeeded him as major and was afterwards promoted lieutenant-colonel. He was disabled by wounds at Seven Pines on the 30th of May, 1862, and never returned to the army.

Captain Clement was promoted to major just before the Seven Pines fight, was disabled at the battle of Sharpsburg, Md., the 17th of September, 1862, while in command of the regiment, and never returned to the field.

Captain Saunders retired at the end of the first year, and was afterwards in the commissary department as collector of tax in kind.

38Captain Houston was killed at Gettysburg on the 3d of July, 1863.

Captain Blankenship retired at the battle of Blackburn's Ford on the 18th of July, 1861; he secured a position in the engineering corps, I think.

Captain Foulks was killed at Seven Pines. I was in a few feet of him when he was shot dead.

Captain Yeatman resigned.

Lieut. G. W. Latham succeeded Captain Langhorne in command of Company A, and he was succeeded by Lieut. Robt. M. Mitchell, Jr. Lieut. Thos. B. Horton succeeded Captain Saunders of Company B, and I succeeded Captain Clement of Company C; Lieut. Thos. Houston succeeded his brother, D. G. Houston, of Company D; Lieut. C. V. Winfrey succeeded Captain Blankenship of Company E; Lieut. Robt. W. Douthat succeeded Captain Foulks of Company F; Lieut. J. Holmes Smith succeeded Captain Otey of Company G; Lieut. Jas. W. Hord succeeded Captain Hutter of Company H; Lieut. A. I. Jones, I think, succeeded Captain Jamison of Company I; Lieut. Andrew M. Houston, a brother of the other Houstons already mentioned, succeeded Captain Yeatman of Company K; Captain Otey was promoted to major, lieutenant-colonel and colonel. Captain Hutter was promoted to lieutenant-colonel, and was in command of the regiment at the battle of Five Forks on the 5th of April, 1865, when he and nearly all of the regiment were captured.

39Capt. C. V. Winfrey, of Company E, was afterwards succeeded by Lieut. John C. Ward. Several of these officers were V. M. I. men, as I now remember, as follows: Garland, Harrison, Otey, Hutter, Blankenship, Ward, D. G. Houston, and perhaps others.

Company G, the old "Home Guard," was the crack company of the regiment. Company A, the "Rifle Grays," also of Lynchburg, was a close second to Company G, armed with the Mississippi rifle, and generally acted as skirmishers, and one of these rifles brought down the first Yankee on the 18th of July, 1861, as hereinafter related.

Company D was also armed with Mississippi rifles and was often on the skirmish line. Company B was made up of men from the western section of Campbell County; Company C, as before said, from the Pigeon Run section, Mt. Zion, and Falling River neighborhoods. Company D came from Botetourt County—large, hardy, hale fellows they were too, many of them with German names. Company E was made up largely of college boys from Lynchburg College, its first captain being one of the professors.

Company F, a sturdy lot of men, came from the hills of Alleghany Mountains in Montgomery County around Christiansburg.

Company H was a new Lynchburg company, recruited by its captain, then in his teens, with many sons of Erin in its ranks.

40Company I was made up of men from Culpeper County.

Company K was from the James River section of Rockbridge County—its commander, a canal freight-boat captain, and many of the men boatmen on the canal when the tocsin of war was sounded. All classes, from the college-bred and the professional man to the country schoolboy, were represented in the regiment.

The following are the rolls of the four Lynchburg companies of the Eleventh Regiment. I have been unable to get the rolls of the other companies of the regiment:










The Eleventh Regiment soon won an enviable reputation; it was well officered, well drilled and not excelled by any regiment in the First Brigade, which was first commanded by Longstreet, then by A. P. Hill, then by J. L. Kemper, and later by Wm. R. Terry. This brigade was as good as any brigade in Pickett's Division; Pickett's Division was not surpassed by any division in Longstreet's corps; Longstreet's Corps was equal to any corps in the army of Northern Virginia, and the world never saw a better army than the army of Northern Virginia.

50While at Manassas, many troops came on from the South. All were organized into regiments and brigades. The First, Third, Seventh, Eleventh and Seventeenth Virginia Regiments composed the First Brigade of Virginia Infantry, commanded by Brig.-Gen. James Longstreet. In September, 1862, the Seventeenth Regiment was put in Corse's Brigade, and the Twenty-fourth Virginia was added to Longstreet's old brigade.

The Twenty-fourth was then commanded by Col. W. R. Terry, Lieut.-Col. Peter Hairston, and Maj. Richard F. Maury.

The First Regiment was commanded by Col. P. T. Moore, of Richmond, Lieut.-Col. G. W. Palmer, I think, and Maj. John Dooly, and was made up entirely of Richmond companies.

The Third Regiment was commanded by Col. Joseph Mayo, Jr., Lieut.-Col. Wm. H. Pryor, and Maj. John D. Whitehead.

The Seventh Regiment was commanded by Col. J. L. Kemper, of Madison County; Lieut.-Col. W. Tazwell Patton, and Maj. C. C. Floweree.

The Seventeenth Regiment was commanded by Col. M. D. Corse, of Alexandria; Lieut.-Col. Morton Mayre, and Maj. Wm. Munford.

There were many changes in these field officers. Perhaps I have failed to name correctly all the original field officers.


Battle of Blackburn's Ford—The Battle
Begins—The Enemy Driven Back—Incidents
of the Battle

There were frequent rumors while in camp at Manassas that the Yankees were advancing. On the 17th of July the report proved true; the Yankees were coming sure enough this time. Longstreet's Brigade marched down to Blackburn's Ford on Bull Run some mile and a half or two miles north of Manassas. The regiments, except the Eleventh, were formed in line of battle above and below the ford, along the south bank of the creek, or run, as it is called, a small wooded stream with the ground rising on the north side to quite a bluff, heavily timbered, the road from the ford leading up through a narrow ravine. Other brigades were posted along Bull Run above and below Blackburn's Ford.

The men on the line of battle made temporary breastworks along the bank of the run, with old logs, driftwood, and fence rails, and awaited the coming of the enemy—skirmishers having been thrown well forward on the high ground beyond the stream and woods.

52The Eleventh Regiment, held in reserve, was placed behind a small bluff, a short distance south of the stream and above the ford. This bluff was pretty good protection except from fragments of shells bursting overhead.

The enemy did not appear until the next day in the afternoon, when the attack was made on the position at the ford about three o'clock. Company A of the Eleventh Regiment was on picket, or skirmish line, across the run, when a Yankee quartermaster captain rode down the road, and enquired of one of the company if he knew where General McDowell's (the Yankee commander's) headquarters were. The man replied, "No, I don't know where General McDowell's headquarters are, but I can show you to General Beauregard's very quick." The captain seeing his mistake wheeled his horse and dashed away.

Several of the pickets fired on him, when he tumbled from his horse dead, shot through the body. The captain had on a pair of spurs, which one of the men took off, and when the company returned to the regiment after the Yankees advanced in force, gave the spurs to Major Harrison, who put them on and in a short time thereafter received his death wound. Unlucky spurs these! My recollection is, as I heard it after the battle, that when the Yankee fell from his horse, Henry Beckwith said, as they approached him, "If he is shot through the belt, I killed him. I aimed at his 53belt"; and that the ball had entered the body at or near the belt. Tom Davis, Leslie Price, and Jim Foulks, I think, were the other men who fired. Who really fired the fatal shot was not known.


Pretty soon after the captain was shot, the Yankees advanced in line of battle, the skirmishers in front engaging in a lively fight over on the hill beyond the run, the Confederates retiring as the main body of the enemy advanced. All knew then that the fight was beginning and would soon be on in earnest. After the Confederate skirmishers returned to the south side of the run everything was quiet—a deathlike stillness prevailed for some time, which was intense and oppressive. All nerves were strung to a high tension. We were on the eve of a battle, a sure enough battle in which men would be wounded and killed, and who would be the victims no one knew.

Perhaps not a single man in the brigade, with the exception of General Longstreet, had ever heard the sound of a hostile gun before that day.

It was not long, however, until this silence was broken by the big boom of a Yankee cannon away over on the hill, and simultaneously, a long shell came shrieking through the air, making a noise that can not be described; it was more like the neigh of an excited or frightened horse than anything I can compare it to; a kind of "whicker, whicker, 54whicker" sound as it swapped ends in the air. This shell passed over high above all heads, striking the ground on the hill in the rear, making the dirt fly, and tearing a hole in the ground, as some of the boys said, "Big enough to bury a horse in."

I have said that all nerves were highly strung while waiting for the battle to begin. This shot and shell not only broke the silence and relaxed the nerve tension, but severely tried not a few nerves, caused many a heart to stand still, and face to blanch. I saw many pale faces; don't know how I looked, but felt rather pale.

This shell struck near a Confederate battery, which immediately limbered up and went to the rear at a gallop—why, I never knew; the supposition was that the battery withdrew in order to draw the Yankees on; if so, it had the desired effect, for in a few minutes the musketry firing began down at the ford. At first it was pop—pop—pop, then pop, pop, pop—and then a continuous roar in which no single shot could be distinguished; it was like a loud, continuing peal of heavy thunder. The roar was punctuated by frequent cannon shot and bursting shells, which sounded louder than the musketry. The noise was frightful, almost deafening, and such as we never heard before, but knew full well it was the "noise and din of battle," about which we had heard and read, but never experienced. I must say it was more terrific and awe-inspiring than I expected. Many of the balls and shells passed a few 55feet above us; shells and grapeshot struck among the trees and bushes that crowned the small bluff behind which the regiment was posted, with the rushing, swishing, fear-creating noise heard many times afterwards, but which I never learned to like or admire.

History records that General Washington, in his youthful days, in writing to a friend describing a battle with the Indians, said, "The sound of the bullets was music to mine ear." Now, I never had much ear for music, though I like good music, and can distinguish between good and bad music. I here and now record that the sound of shell, solid shot, grapeshot, shrapnel, minie ball, or any other kind of battle noise, was never "music to mine ear"; therefore, I conclude that any and all of these sounds, if music at all, is very poor music.

During the battle, Company G, of the Eleventh Regiment, was deployed as skirmishers along the run on the left flank of the Confederate line of battle, not far from the position occupied by the regiment, the men all lying down behind a fence that ran along the bank of Bull Run, in plain view of the other companies of the Eleventh Regiment; no Yankees appeared on this part of the line. And, I think, Company F was also deployed below Company G near the run.

The heavy firing in this battle did not last long, not over half an hour perhaps, but it seemed a long time.

56In the midst of the heaviest firing, one of General Longstreet's staff officers galloped up to the Eleventh Regiment and called for two companies to go down to the ford. When asked how the battle was going, he said, "They have the advantage of us just now, but we will drive them back with these two companies." Some of the Yankees had charged across the creek, or run, at the ford. Colonel Garland called out at the top of his voice, "Major Harrison, take Company E and Company H down to the ford." These two companies, with Major Harrison leading them on horseback, rushed off through the bushes in double-quick time and into the fight they went.


The Yankees were quickly driven back. Dr. G. W. Thornhill, surgeon of the Eleventh Regiment, who went along to look after the wounded, captured a Yankee who had crossed over the run and was hiding in the bushes. Very soon, Major Harrison was borne back from the line of battle on a stretcher, or litter, as it was called, shot through the body, and as before said, mortally wounded. Major Harrison was a good officer and a splendid man, very popular in the regiment, and his untimely death was deeply lamented by all. It was rumored through the brigade that Colonel Garland had been mortally wounded. When he heard this rumor, he said, "It was a better man." A fine tribute this, to Major Harrison.

57Soon after the two companies went into the fight, the Twenty-fourth Virginia Regiment, led by Col. Peter Hairston on horseback, came double-quicking down the road leading to the ford.

Company A of the Twenty-fourth was the leading company and was commanded by Capt. C. M. Stigleman, and Dr. B. P. Elliott was orderly sergeant. This company was from Floyd County. I did not know any of the officers or men; but since I came to Floyd, have been well acquainted with nearly all of them, and have often talked about the incidents of this day. I have heard Dr. Elliott relate that, as they started into the fight they passed by General Beauregard standing by the roadside, and that the General spoke to each company as it passed saying, "Aim low, men."

The doctor, in telling it, would laugh and say, "These words sent a chill down my spinal column," and that when they emerged from the pines into the open field, and saw the men of Company G lying down in skirmish line, they thought these men had been killed and laid out there in a row, and some one exclaimed, "Good God, look at the dead men!"

Dr. Elliott also related, as they passed by Major Harrison, being borne to the rear on the stretcher, the Major said, "Hurry up, men, or you will be too late"; and that Colonel Early said to them as they started, "Now, boys, if you don't run, the Yankees will." And when the command was given the regiment to load, one of the captains stepped out in front of his company and gave the command, "Load 58in nine times—load!" Then "old Jube" in his piping voice at a high pitch, exclaimed, "Load in nine times? Hell and damnation! Load in the most expeditious manner possible."

The Twenty-fourth was the leading regiment of a brigade commanded by Col. Jubal A. Early. About the time the front files of the regiment was half-way across the field between the pines and the run, Colonel Early came riding along down by the line, his black horse in a long trot, calling out, "Halt in front!" Colonel Hairston could not hear him on account of the noise of the battle. Finally, Colonel Early reined in his horse so hard that the war steed was thrown well back on his haunches, and called out in a loud and emphatic tone, "Tell Colonel Hairston to halt." From the position occupied by the Eleventh Regiment, we could see and hear all these incidents.

The word "halt" was passed rapidly along to the front of the regiment, and just before the head of the column (the troops were marching by the flank) reached the bushes bordering the run, they came to a halt, and Colonel Early went forward to find General Longstreet and ascertain where to place his brigade in line of battle. Just then the firing slackened and in a few moments the musketry firing ceased altogether. The Yankees had been driven back, retiring out of sight over the hill; the artillery fire was kept up for some time, however.

Up to this time the Confederates had no artillery engaged in the fight, though a few shots were fired 59at the right flank of the enemy from Mitchell's Ford, where General Bonham of South Carolina commanded.

Soon after the musketry firing ceased, and while the Yankees were still throwing shot and shell from their guns on the hill, scaring many but hurting few, a battery of the New Orleans Washington Artillery came in a gallop into the open field, and wheeling to the right into battery, about midway between the pines and the run, unlimbered and opened up a lively fire at the Yankee battery over on the hill beyond the run. These batteries were not in sight the one of the other, the woods on and beyond the run intervening to obstruct the view, the gunners firing at the puffs of smoke from their opponents' guns.

This was a lively and spirited artillery duel for a while, but the plucky Louisianians proved too much for their opponents. When the Yankee gunners got the range on them, they moved their guns by hand to the right or left and poured shot and shell into the enemy thick and fast, soon knocking their opponents out of action, disabling one or more of their guns, and causing them to get out of range in great haste. The Washington Artillery won laurels in this their first fight, which they wore proudly and deservedly through the whole war, being conspicuous in all the great battles in which the army of Northern Virginia engaged, and always performing their part bravely and well.



In the midst of the battle General Longstreet's big bay horse came galloping out from the bushes along the run, riderless, and wild with the noise and excitement of battle, dashing across the field with head high in air, swaying from right to left, with bridle reins and stirrups flying over his neck and back. We thought sure our General was either killed or badly wounded, but it turned out that General Longstreet had thrown himself off his horse to the ground to escape the fire of some of his own men. The general was unhurt, and was soon again mounted on his horse, though there was dirt on his clothes from the fall to the ground. The smoke of the battle, which was thick and heavy along the run, soon cleared away, the wounded were all carried to the field hospital in the rear, the dead were laid away, and ere the shades of night set in, all was peaceful and quiet along Bull Run, except that now and then the words, "Friends on the other side, pass it down the line," were passed from company to company along the line, our scouts, at intervals, crossing over the run to watch the Yankees, lest, peradventure, they might make another attack. But no other efforts were made to dislodge the Confederates at Blackburn's Ford.

The Yankees were very much surprised at the stubborn resistance they met here. Their newspapers, and other writers since, gave conflicting statements 61of the affair, some making light of it as a battle, claiming that it was only a reconnoissance in force, a mere skirmish. Others attributed it to the "rash enthusiasm" of Gen. E. B. Tyler, who thought he could easily brush aside the rebels and march on to Manassas. General McDowell, the commander-in-chief, who had established his headquarters at Centreville, contemplated, it was said, turning the Confederates' left flank when all his troops were up and everything ready for the attack. General Tyler had in the fight, Richardson's and Sherman's Brigades of Infantry, and Ayres's Battery. These were met and successfully resisted by Longstreet with his brigade, with eight companies of one of the regiments, the Eleventh, in reserve.

The loss in this engagement was small for the amount of shooting done. The Confederates' loss was about twenty and the Yankees' about one hundred. This engagement on the 18th made General McDowell stop and ponder until the 21st of July, when the battle of Manassas was fought, and won by the Confederates.

About sundown on the 18th the Eleventh Regiment and Early's Brigade relieved the troops who had been engaged, taking position along the run above and below the ford, where they remained on the qui vive all night and the next day, without seeing or hearing of a single Yankee.

The trees and bushes along and in the rear of the line of battle were scarred by big and little shot. The 62Yankees, being above on the bluff, overshot the Confederates.

Up on the bluff we saw the first dead Yankee—he lay stark and cold in death upon the hillside among the trees in the gloom of the gathering twilight: the pale face turned towards us, upon which we looked with feelings mingled with awe and dread. We had heard and seen many new and strange things that day. Later on in the war, we could look upon the slain on the battlefield with little less feeling than upon the carcass of an animal. Such are some of the hardening effects of war. I don't think we were again as badly scared as on that day; I was not, I am sure.

Longstreet's Brigade remained at and near Blackburn's Ford all through the 19th and 20th of July, waiting for and expecting another attack, discussing the events of the battle, and conjecturing as to what would be the next move in the game of war. I remember talking with Lieut. Jim Hord of Company H along this line, when he remarked, "There will be a big battle Sunday—most all of the big fights come off on Sunday." This prophecy came true. The brigade had received its baptism of fire, the nerves and mettle of the men had been tried, and while it was a nerve-racking ordeal, yet all had stood the test, so far as I remember, except one officer in command of a company in the Eleventh Regiment, whose nerve seemed to fail him. He was taken sick and collapsed; was taken to the rear and never returned to his company.

63I think if it had not been for pride and regard for reputation, a good many of us would have been like a negro cook in Company C: George, who belonged to my brother-in-law, Robert Cocke, and had been with the company as one of the cooks, brought down from the camp at Manassas about noon on the 18th some cooked rations, and when the battle commenced, was back in the rear near the hospital. When the Yankee shells began to fall and burst in his vicinity, George broke and ran for dear life back to camp, stopping only long enough to say, "Dem big balls come flying over me saying, 'Whar is you? whar is you?' an' I lit out from dar in a hurry," and away he went up the railroad track four miles to Bristow Station. The boys laughed at George a great many times about his ignominious flight; George, however, never expressed a regret that he took to his heels and made good time out of danger.

The Confederate lines extended along the south side of Bull Run about eight miles, that small and insignificant stream having been chosen by General Beauregard as his line of defense, instead of waiting, as was expected by the inexperienced, for the enemy to come on to Manassas, which position had been fortified and the forts mounted with big guns. Of course, the enemy would have never attacked this place, but flanked it, viz., marched around the place and forced the Confederates to evacuate. On Bull Run the right of the Confederate lines was at Union Mills, with General Ewell in command. Next up the run was McLean's Ford, where General Jones and 64his brigade were posted. Next came Blackburn's Ford, where, as before said, was posted Longstreet's Brigade; then came General Bonham at Mitchell's Ford with his brigade; next above this was Ball's Ford, with Gen. Phillip St. George Cocke in command of a brigade, and lastly the Stone Bridge, the extreme Confederate left, in charge of General Evans with his brigade. The general direction of Bull Run is from west to east, or rather, from northwest to southeast.

General Holmes with his brigade and Colonel Early with his brigade, and maybe others, were back in reserve, and when Generals Jackson, Bee, and Bartow arrived with their brigades, they were also held in reserve. There were also batteries of artillery along the lines near the several fords, with cavalry on the flanks, and at intervals back from the run.

Along Bull Run, nearly all the way, grew trees and bushes, and much of the ground back of the stream on either side was covered with second-growth pines and scrub-oaks, the ground being rolling, though tolerably level.

McDowell's command was concentrated at and near Centreville, about a mile north of Bull Run, and consisted of thirty-five or forty thousand men. Beauregard had twelve or fifteen thousand men; Gen. Jos. E. Johnston brought to his relief in the very nick of time on the 21st some ten or twelve thousand men.


The Battle of First Manassas—General Johnston
to the Rescue—Gen. Kirby Smith
Turns the Tide of Battle—The Rebel
Yell—The News of Victory—The
Enemy Not Pursued—Gathering
the Spoils

On Sunday morning, the 21st of July, quite early, on the left, up the run, the ball opened again, and "partners, to your places," was the order, or in army parlance, "Fall in!" "Attention!" The Yankee General, McDowell, stole a march on General Beauregard that morning.

Beauregard had planned to take the aggressive, by making an attack on McDowell's left near Centreville, and when General Johnston reached Beauregard about noon on the 20th, he approved the plan; accordingly orders were issued that night to begin the battle the next morning at sunrise. The right wing of the Confederate forces was to cross the run and attack the left wing of the Yankee army. McDowell had also been doing some planning himself, and as he got in the first lick, frustrated the Confederate general's scheme.

He, too, proposed to use his right arm in an attack on the Confederate left wing. McDowell put his 66army in motion before daybreak on the morning of the 21st of July, moving out from Centreville. A small column of infantry, artillery and cavalry, in battle array, marched out on the road leading to the stone bridge, the Confederate left, and at daylight formed line of battle and opened fire at long range, while the main body of the army was making a detour through the woods still higher up the run, and crossing at Sudley's Ford two miles above the stone bridge unopposed, marched down on the Confederate left flank and rear. As soon as General Evans, who was in command at the stone bridge, was apprised of this movement on the left, he changed front with a part of his brigade to meet the attack and sent for reënforcements. Generals Bee and Bartow first came to his relief, and in a short time the battle was raging fiercely. Generals Johnston and Beauregard hearing the firing to the left, and learning the extent and object of this movement of the enemy, at once abandoned their contemplated attack with their right wing, and bent every energy to resist the attack on their left. Beauregard went immediately to the front and displayed great gallantry, personally leading the troops in the charge, while Johnston remained back to direct the forwarding of the troops to reënforce the hard-pressed left.

Before sufficient reënforcements could reach the scene of conflict, the heavy columns of the enemy drove back the small forces confronting them. The 67position at the stone bridge being flanked by the enemy and abandoned by the Confederates, the Yankee column in front of this position crossed over and joined the flanking column of the enemy. Some desperate fighting was done here, and noble deeds of valor performed by men and officers never before in battle.

Bee and Bartow, two young generals from South Carolina and Alabama, won immortal fame, both giving their lives to the cause on that (to them) fateful day. Reënforcements were hurried forward as fast as possible, but still the Confederate lines were pressed slowly back, contesting every foot of ground, which was covered in many places with second-growth pines.


By preärrangement, of which none but the chief Confederate officers knew, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, who was confronting a Yankee army in the Valley under General Patterson, who had orders to hold Johnston in the Valley while McDowell attacked Beauregard at Manassas, was to come to General Beauregard's support at the proper time. And if General McDowell stole a march on Beauregard on the morning of the 21st, General Johnston had on the 18th stolen a march on Patterson. On the 18th, about noon, Johnston got word from Beauregard that McDowell was in his front with an army much 68larger than his own, and that now was the time to help. Johnston, who was then at Winchester, at once put his army in motion up the Valley pike, then marching across towards the Blue Ridge to Piedmont, with Jackson's Brigade in the lead, which marched seventeen miles that afternoon. Jackson boarded the cars at Piedmont, and on the 20th by noon was at Manassas, the other troops following. Jackson, as before said, was placed in rear of the line along Bull Run as a reserve, and now, at a critical moment on the 21st, arrived on the battlefield, and noting the situation, remarked, so it was said, "We will give those people the bayonet," and forming his brigade in line of battle, stood firmly awaiting the propitious moment, as the Yankees were ascending the pine-covered hill on which he and his men stood. General Bee called on his broken and retreating men of the far South to "rally on the Virginians." "Look," exclaimed Bee to the South Carolinians and Alabamians, "see Jackson and his men standing like a stone wall!" Then and there the sobriquet of "Stonewall" was given to this demigod of war and his brigade, which will live forever.

As the Yankee line pressed up the hill, Jackson charged, driving them back in confusion, thus giving the first substantial check to the enemy, who had pressed back the Confederate lines for a mile or more.



And there was to be another "Richmond on the field," very soon. Generals Kirby Smith and Elzey, of Johnston's command, were on the train on the Manassas Gap road, hurrying as fast as steam could carry them to Manassas Junction.

Hearing the firing to the left and knowing that the battle was not far away, instead of going on to Manassas Junction, General Smith stopped the trains before reaching that place, detrained the troops, and following the rule of war, "marched across the country to the sound of the heaviest firing," struck the enemy on his flank, with a wild yell that terrified the Yankees, and caused them to break in great confusion.

General Smith was shot from his horse, though not killed. General Elzey, who, with his brigade, had just arrived on the scene of action, then assumed command, and pushing his troops still further to the rear of the Yankee lines, completed the rout.

Such a rout and stampede as then and there occurred has scarcely been equaled in the annals of war. Of course, the Yankees had some troops back towards Centreville and on the left of their line, who were not routed and panic stricken, but I am quite sure from what I afterwards heard, and saw the next day, every mother's son of them who crossed to the west or south side of Bull Run that day were completely routed and demoralized.



While a prisoner during the last year of the war, I talked with a Yankee sergeant who was in the battle, and asked him why they were so badly routed. His answer was, "Well, when Kirby Smith came in on our flank and raised that yell, we just thought the Rebels were rising up out of the ground in those pines, everywhere, when we broke and ran, and never stopped until we crossed the Long Bridge into Washington City." This Yankee laid stress on the "yell." The Yankee cheering was done in unison and in time. It was "hip, hip, huzza, huzza, huzza," which sounded coarse and harsh to the ear, while the "Rebel yell" was one continuous shout of mingled voices, without any intermission, unisonance or time. Each man just opened his mouth as wide as he could, strained his voice to the highest pitch and yelled as long as his breath lasted, then refilling the lungs, repeated it again and again. It was a commingling of shrill, loud sounds, that rent the air and could be heard for a distance of two miles or more, often carrying terror to the enemy. It was awe-inspiring to the Yankees, but joyous sounds to the Confederates when victory was achieved. The "Rebel yell" was a child of victory, born that day on the plains of Manassas, and was afterwards, by common consent, adopted as the battle shout of the army of Northern Virginia.

71I have given at some length, principally from hearsay, the main features of the battle on the left of the Confederate lines, in order that what occurred at and near Blackburn's Ford, where Longstreet's Brigade was posted, may be better described and understood.

During the whole of this day, the Yankees kept up a show of fight at Blackburn's Ford, in order to prevent the Confederate troops on the right from going to the relief of the hard-pressed left. Bonham, Holmes, Ewell, Early (except the Twenty-fourth Regiment, which remained at Blackburn's Ford), and Cocke, or the greater part of these brigades, were sent to the left. Early was late in getting upon the scene of action, owing to the miscarriage of the order for him to move, which was, from some unknown cause, delayed three hours. He rendered good service, however, pressing still further on the enemy's right and rear than Kirby Smith and Elzey had done. Jones and Longstreet remained at McLean's and Blackburn's Ford.


Throughout the whole day the Yankees shelled these positions at intervals of every five or ten minutes.

In the afternoon the two brigades and the Twenty-fourth Regiment crossed over the run, formed in column of regiments and lay down in 72the woods, expecting every moment to be ordered forward and charge the battery in front, the shells from which were continually bursting among the tree-tops, cutting off branches, these, and the fragments of shells, falling around, now and then striking some one.

I remember how sleepy I was, lying there in the woods that hot July day, often dozing between the shots. We had slept but little the past three nights. The boom of the guns, the scream of the shells, the dull thud of the pieces striking the ground and sometimes a man, was enough to awake the dead almost, and made all lie low and hug mother earth pretty closely, but still I dozed between shots.

It is surprising how close men can get to the ground when lying under a good, brisk shelling; great affection seems to be manifested for the dust, from which all sprung. At such times, a lizard, when rocked by a boy, never laid flatter on a fence rail than the soldiers lay on the ground. It was afterwards said, that orders were sent Jones and Longstreet to advance on the enemy's left near Centreville, but the order was not delivered; it was conjectured that the messenger was killed by a shell.

All day at Blackburn's Ford we could hear the battle raging up the run to the left; the booming of cannon, the explosion of the shells, and the noise of the musketry could be distinctly heard.

Sometimes the sounds would die down, the musketry firing amounting to little more than a 73sharp skirmish; then again the noise of the battle would rise higher and louder, sometimes drawing nearer and then recede and die down almost entirely, then fiercely rise again, while the loud peals of the battery in our front waked the echoes far and near. All this time the strain and suspense were terrible; no tidings as to how the battle was going came to us; no news came, only the roar of the battle two or three miles away could be heard. I thought this fight was the biggest that had ever occurred in the history of the world; others were of the same opinion. Col. Bob Preston in the midst of the battle remarked to Colonel Withers, as I heard Colonel Withers relate afterwards, that "the battle of Waterloo was a mere skirmish to it." I could not conceive on the 18th, while the fighting was in progress, how any could escape where so much shooting was going on. And, now on this, the 21st, the shooting was going on all day.

What must be the result! How many dead and dying were lying on the field of strife? Were our friends getting the best of the fight, or were the Yankees going to be victorious? How soon would we be called into action, and charge through the open fields up "to the very cannon's mouth"? And what would be the result? Would we capture the battery and drive away the infantry support, or be repulsed and driven back? Who and how many would be left on the field wounded, bleeding, dying and dead? All this and much more we had time 74to think of on that hot, never-to-be-forgotten 21st day of July, 1861. This was one of the days that the sun seemed to stand still, or move slower than usual. I never saw our company, regiment or brigade falter in battle or fail to respond to any call, but I never saw them "eager for the fight," as it is sometimes expressed. My observation of men, and my own feelings on the eve of the battle, going into the fight, or in the midst of strife, was that the bravest realized the danger and dreaded the fiery ordeal, yet did their duty when bidden.

Dr. W. H. Taylor in his "Experiences of an Assistant Surgeon," says, "I freely admit that I was never in a battle but that I should have felt the most exultant joy if I had been out of it." I freely concur in this statement as to myself and all whom I observed in battle.


At last, as the sun was sinking over the western hills, and the shadows lengthening, tidings from the battlefield came, and joyful news it was.

The firing had just ceased, except now and then a cannon shot in the distance; the battery in our front had ceased firing—there was an ominous silence; the very air around us, hot and sultry as it was, seemed surcharged with something more than summer heat and sulphuric fumes from exploding shells. Every man was now on his feet, all nerves 75were strung to the highest pitch; every one, from the highest officer to the humblest private, wore a look of intense anxiety, all in silent expectancy. What did all this portend? Was it a calm before a mightier storm than we had heard during the day, that was about to burst? Or had the storm already spent itself, and what was the result? Or had the contestants in the deadly all-day strife up the run been exhausted, and lay limp and impotent on the ground, unable to strike another blow, the one at the other? Or had they, like the Kilkenny cats, devoured each other, leaving none to tell the tale?

As the noise of battle died away, from away up the run we heard shouts and cheers, at first scarcely audible, then louder and nearer came the cheers, rolling along down the valley of Bull Run in seeming waves of mingled voices, each wave rising higher and more distinct. Messengers mounted on fleet-footed steeds, which that day had become war horses that sniffed the smoke of battle, not "from afar," but on the very field of strife and carnage, hurried down the lines along the run, shouting, "Victory! victory! victory; complete victory!" Each detachment took up the joyous shout and wafted it on to those below. From Mitchell's Ford, just above us, where Bonham and his South Carolinians on the 18th held the fort and let fly the dogs of war on the enemy's flank, Longstreet's Brigade caught the inspiration and raised its first "Rebel yell" that made the welkin ring, and sent the 76glad and glorious news on down to Jones and his men at McLean's Ford, and quickly came the echo back in ringing peals.

Then details of the victory began to come in. The enemy was completely routed; many prisoners and many guns had been captured. Then it came that "Long Tom," a noted Yankee cannon, was captured; then that Sherman's Battery, the crack artillery of the United States Army, was taken; then that Rickett's, another noted battery, and also Griffin's, had all been captured. The first mentioned battery, with Capt. W. T. Sherman in command, won laurels in the Mexican War, and had been known ever since as Sherman's Battery.

Longstreet at once led his brigade forward into the open field, at the farther side of which was a redoubt with abattis in front, where had been stationed the Yankee guns that shelled us all day. How different were our feelings now from what they would have been if we had entered this field during the day, and been met by a shower of shot, shell, grape and canister! Now, we were without fear, exultant and in high spirits; before, we would have been rent with missiles of death, great gaps would have been torn through the column of regiments, and many would have been left wounded and dead on the field.

The brigade marched on into the woods beyond the field towards Centreville, bivouacking on the ground of a Yankee camp, which the enemy had just 77abandoned, leaving evidences of hasty departure; coffee, sugar, hard-tack, and many articles of food and equipments lay scattered around. Some of the men shouted, "Don't eat them things, they may be pizened." Later on the "pizen" was not for a moment considered when a Yankee camp was raided, and when many a hungry Rebel ate to his full once more.

As the Eleventh Regiment was taking position in camp for the night, General Longstreet, "Old Pete," as he was sometimes called, rode close by, when Colonel Garland called on the men of the Eleventh to give three cheers for General Longstreet, which were given with a will, then some one, Captain Clement, I think, called out, "Three cheers for Colonel Garland," and again the shouts were raised. Warnings were sent not to use the water from Bull Run; it was said the stream up about the stone bridge was filled with dead Yankees and overflowing its banks from the obstructions of the bodies. This was a great exaggeration; in fact, few, if any, Yankees were dead in the stream.

The Yankee army was in full retreat, and more; the larger part of it was in complete rout and panic. The cry of "On to Richmond" was quickly changed to "Back to Washington."

A soldier, unless panic stricken, will hold on to his gun to the last; only when completely demoralized does he cast away his weapon of offense and defense, then he is little more than a frightened animal. The 78army of Northern Virginia was never panic stricken. General Lee said, "My men sometimes fail to drive the enemy, but the enemy does not drive my men," which was literally true up to the very beginning of the end, or rather, if the expression is permissible, up to the very ending of the end. Let the mind run back over the long list of desperate encounters that this army had with the enemy during those four bloody years, and this will be found to be literally true.


Much has been said about the failure of a vigorous pursuit of the enemy at and immediately after this battle of Manassas. Without going into details or giving reasons in in extenso for my opinion, I have always contended that Johnston and Beauregard acted wisely and prudently under all the circumstances. No one in the Confederate army at the close of that day knew or had any means of knowing how panic stricken the Yankee soldiers really were. There were several thousand soldiers in and around Centreville, who had not been engaged, in position and condition to resist a pursuit by any force the Confederates could have sent against them that night; it's a very risky business to pursue a retreating army in the night time; traps, ambuscades, and surprises are easily planned and executed, into which the rash pursuers are sure to fall. A large majority of the Confederate troops had been 79marching or fighting, or both, all day, many without rations, and were in no condition to pursue the enemy ten, fifteen or twenty miles that night. The bulk of the fleeing enemy had gotten several miles away, and was still going, before it could have been possible to organize anything like a systematic and immediate pursuit. Even if the enemy had had no organized rear guard, it would have been one mob pursuing another mob.

The Confederate army could not have possibly reached the vicinity of the Potomac River opposite Washington City before the next day, and then not before noon. Here all approaches were well fortified, mounted with siege guns and manned, and the capture of Washington would have been an impossibility.

So then, away with the cry then raised by bomb-proof generals in editors' chairs a hundred miles or more away, and, as has been since often repeated, that "if Johnston and Beauregard had pursued, or if Jeff Davis, who came upon the scene of action late in the afternoon, had not prevented a pursuit, Washington could have been captured and the war then and there ended." I did not believe then, have not since, nor now believe, that any such thing could have been accomplished.

And above and far beyond all opinions and speculations on this question is the fact, that Joseph E. Johnston, G. T. Beauregard, and Jefferson Davis were all on the ground, and if these three men, with 80all their experience, wisdom and information did not know what was the right thing to do, who could, would, or should have known?

In this battle the losses were nothing like as large as expected, when all was summed up. The Confederate loss was estimated at a little less than four hundred killed and not quite fifteen hundred wounded.

The enemy lost about five hundred killed, one thousand wounded, and about fifteen hundred prisoners.

The Confederates captured many pieces of cannon, thousands of small arms, accoutrements, camp equipage, etc.


On the next day, the 22d of July, Longstreet's Brigade was detailed to scour the country between Centreville and the Stone Bridge to secure the cast-away arms and equipments the Yankees left in their wild flight from the battlefield. The whole brigade was deployed, as if in skirmish line, on either side of the Warrenton turnpike, converging as it moved on to the crossing at the Stone Bridge. The greater part of the day was spent in picking up muskets, cartridge-boxes, belts, knapsacks, haversacks, canteens, coats, hats, blankets, etc. It was a dark, drizzly, foggy day, much of the way through second growth pines. I remember as we were crouching 81beneath the low-hanging branches of the pines late in the afternoon, some of Company C were considerably startled by a cry of "halt." It proved to be a little Yankee soldier, a mere youth, who was hatless and had been wounded in the head, which was bound up with a bloody bandage. He had been in hiding since the day before in the pine thicket, presenting a forlorn appearance as he crept out from his hiding place. He had called out "halt," doubtless from habit formed while on guard duty, to attract attention. He was not badly wounded and was taken along and turned over to the provost guard who had charge of the prisoners.

Crossing over the stone bridge, the brigade went into camp for the night at the top of the long hill on the Warrenton pike, on a part of the battlefield where there were many dead horses and men, broken cannon carriages, caissons, and ammunition wagons.

Along the road between the stone bridge and Centreville much flotsam and jetsam, cast-away and abandoned things, lay strewn around on all sides. Large numbers of people, men and women, had followed in the wake of the army to witness the battle, and to join in the "On to Richmond," which all expected to follow at once. It was currently reported and believed among the Yankee soldiers and people of the North that the "Rebel army" was but a half-organized mob, armed only with flint-lock muskets and shotguns that could be easily brushed out of the way. Great preparations had been made 82for a big ball in the city of Richmond within the next few days. Many carriages filled with women, with all their ball costumes, were also along; Congressmen and other dignitaries came from Washington to witness the battle, and see the "Rebels run"; wagons and carts loaded with baskets of wines, liquors, and other things; stacks of pound-cake, confectioneries and fruits, oranges, lemons, etc. During the day, while the "Rebels" were being driven back, these spectators followed along the road and drew near the stone bridge, all, no doubt, in high feather and glee with much eating and drinking, and watched the scenes at the front.

When the tide of battle turned and the stream of flying Yankee soldiers, artillery, caissons, ammunition wagons and ambulances came rushing back, these spectators, in dismay and horror, turned to fly, but the mad rush of the army fleeing was upon them; no respect was paid to sex or person. It was, "Every man for himself and the devil take the hindermost."

The Confederate batteries galloped to the top of the hill south of the run and sent shells screaming along the road. The cavalry crossed the stone bridge and dashed into the rearmost ranks, all causing confusion worst confounded. Carriages, carts and wagons were upset, their occupants and contents dumped out and scattered along the road. Some of these civilians were taken prisoners, including Congressman Eli, of percussion-cap fame, whose 83carriage had broken down or overturned; I think he was taken to Richmond and soon afterwards released, and returned to Washington, doubtless a wiser, if not a better man. At the stone bridge a wagon or gun-carriage had been overturned or broken down; here there was a perfect jam of all kinds of vehicles that blocked the bridge.

After this our men were much better supplied with guns, cartridge-boxes, haversacks, canteens, knapsacks, oilcloths, blankets, and many other things; and all during the war until the last year, 1865, the Yankees supplied Lee's army with such things, leaving them laying around loose on almost every battlefield.

The next day the brigade marched back to camp at Manassas, passing over much of the battlefield, where still lay among the scrub-pines many swollen, blackened corpses yet unburied, though details were at work at the gruesome task. Conspicuous among the dead bodies could be seen the New York Zouaves with flashy uniforms and red fez with tassel, loose, red knee-pants and long stockings; big stalwart fellows they were, with bronzed faces and necks, but now they lay dead upon the battlefield. And doubtless some, if not all of us, in the words of the "good old Rebel," "wished we'd killed some more."

These men had invaded Virginia with guns in their hands, and we knew they had met their just deserts. Virginia and the South only wanted to be let alone; peacefully to withdraw from the compact, 84leaving the states north of Mason and Dixon's line with their "Union and their Flag," to cherish and love as they pleased. Only this and nothing more. But the North would not, as Horace Greeley advised, "Let their erring sisters of the South depart in peace." Instead, they waged upon the South a most cruel and devastating war. The Yankees are still charging that the South tried to break up the United States Government. This is a false charge. The South made no attack on the United States Government. The South only attempted to get from under the yoke of the North and be a free people.


To Centreville and Fairfax Court House—Picket
Close to the Enemy—Exciting
Times on Picket—Back to Centreville—The
Fight at

On the 24th of July, the brigade broke camp at Manassas and marched to Centreville, where the Eleventh Regiment pitched its tents, just on the outskirts of that little hamlet of a few houses.

Other troops were camped round about, all in fine spirits, fast learning to be soldiers, always keeping up the drills, company and regimental. Colonel Garland was a fine drill officer and had the regiment well drilled. While here General Longstreet had brigade drills a few times, but this did not amount to much, and was never tried again. In battle the maneuvers practiced in drilling were seldom used; but drilling learned the men to keep together, rally and get into line quickly when separated. In battle few orders were heard except "fall into line," "load," "commence firing," "cease firing," "forward," "charge," and the like. Sometimes, but not often, in the army of Northern Virginia, the command was heard, "fall back."



On the 10th of August, 1861, the brigade moved to Fairfax Court House, seven miles. The day was intensely hot, and many fell by the wayside, going into camp just north of the town; not a very desirable camping ground, as it was rather low and flat. It rained a good deal and there was a great deal of sickness, measles, typhoid fever, and diarrhea. It was surprising how many men had never had measles; it seemed that half or more of the army had the disease the first year of the war, and large numbers died from the effects. Typhoid fever frequently followed the measles, often proving fatal. While here my brother Coon had measles which was followed by fever. He was taken to the field hospital near camp, and after remaining there in a tent a few days, Dr. Thornhill said if he was not sent away he would die. I immediately went to work and got a sick-furlough for him, carried him to Manassas in an ambulance, put him on the train the next day on a mattress and started him for Lynchburg; he was too sick and weak to sit up, but I could not go with him. On the train, as good fortune would have it, was the Rev. H. M. Linney, a Methodist preacher, who was or had been the year before on the Campbell County circuit. Mr. Linney acted the part of the Good Samaritan and ministered to his wants until the train reached Lynchburg, where he was met by my brother-in-law, Mr. Geo. 87A. Burks, to whom I had wired. Mr. Burks took him to his house where he had a long and severe spell of fever.


After the brigade moved to Fairfax Court House, we did a great deal of picket duty down towards Alexandria and Washington City, close to the enemy's line. We were sometimes in sight of the dome of the capital, and could see the Yankees drilling on the high hills on the south side of the Potomac River. The Yankees often had a balloon up in the air, anchored by a long cable, at which a cannon shot would sometimes be fired, and a shot brought it down. This shot, I think, was fired by Lieut. Thos. L. Rosser, afterwards General Rosser. The principal picket posts were at Mason's, Munson's and Upton's Hill's, Falls Church, and near Annandale.

One night Company C, and a cavalry company commanded by Captain —— Carter, were on picket near Annandale, close to the enemy's line, when, about midnight, a squad of Company C, on outpost duty, came in to the reserve post, and reported that a body of cavalry was approaching along the road by which we had come from Centreville. It was at once conjectured that the Yankee cavalry had, by another road, flanked our position, gotten in the rear and was attempting to bag the Confederate pickets. Captains Clement and Carter made disposition of 88the two companies to give the enemy a warm reception. Company C was posted along the fence by the roadside, while Captain Carter formed his company in the field a short distance in the rear. Instructions were given to the men to let the cavalry approaching pass along the road until the head of the column reached the extreme right of our line, and then, at a signal from Captain Clement, to open fire on them, when Captain Carter and his company would charge; this was the plan and instructions in case the approaching horsemen proved to be, as was believed, Yankees.

The night was dark; objects could be distinguished only a few feet away. In silence we anxiously awaited the coming of the approaching cavalrymen, the noise of whose horses' hoofs we soon heard coming down the hill; the suspense was intense. Every man had his gun at a "ready," determined, at the proper signal, to pour a volley into the enemy, who, when along the road in our immediate front, would not be more than ten feet from the muzzles of the guns. On, the horsemen came in silence, right along in our front; each man clutched his musket tighter; not a word or whisper was uttered, until the front files of the column had reached the right of the line, when Captain Clement, who had taken position at that point, called out in his deep bass voice, in a firm tone, "Halt! Who comes there?" In an instant the horsemen came to a standstill and the answer to the challenge came from the front files, 89"Friends, with the countersign;" whereupon Captain Clement called out, "Advance one and give the countersign." One of the men came up and in a low tone gave the word, which, as I remember, was "Richmond." Captain Clement at once called out, "Countersign correct, advance, friends," and the scare was over, and each party felt much relieved.

Explanations followed, which developed that this company had been sent down to strengthen the picket post, and had not taken the precaution to send a single horseman in front to notify us of their coming.

These men thought, they said, when they were halted and heard the click of some of our men's musket locks, as they made ready to fire, that they were right in the midst of the Yankees. If a single shot had been fired by either side (and it is often hard to restrain men under such circumstances), there would have been many friends slain by friends. I think this was after we moved back to Centreville in the fall.

Another, and for a time rather serious, but in the end, amusing incident occurred while on picket near Falls Church. Here the lines were close together and the pickets often in sight of each other. The picket forces were heavy, sometimes with a battery of artillery along. On one occasion the Yankees had a post in a house a few hundred yards away, across a wooded ravine, and the captain of the 90battery concluded he would shell this Yankee post. Company C was drawn up in line, near by, as a support in case the Yankees made a dash to capture the guns. Two guns were let loose on the house, and it was fun to watch the Yankees scamper out and take to their heels. Pretty soon some one said, "Don't you hear the Yankees bringing up their guns? They are going to shell us." This changed the humor of the men very quickly from hilarity and good feelings to solemnity and anxiety for their own safety. Just as it was expected the Yankee guns were about to open fire, one of the men, looking pretty nervous and rather pale about the gills, like most of us, turned to Captain Clement and said with earnestness, "I don't think it is far to have cannon on picket." It was great fun to see the Yankees skedaddle, but quite another thing to be shelled. The Yankees did not shell us, but we laughed at Peter Cary many times afterwards about this remark.

While on picket down there at Falls Church we fared fine. I remember some of us would go every morning to a house for breakfast, where we feasted on buckwheat cakes, butter, honey and milk.

Near Mason's Hill, at a picket post, there was a large farm occupied by a Yankee, who had abandoned it upon the approach of the Confederates, and gone within the Yankee lines, leaving a fine garden, large cornfields, fruit, etc. The soldiers were told these things had been confiscated by the Confederate authorities for their use, on account of 91the disloyalty of the owner, and they fairly feasted on roasting-ears, potatoes, tomatoes, etc.,—boiling camp kettles full of potatoes and corn. Some of the men would eat as many as twelve or fourteen ears of corn at one time; Ned Gilliam, I believe, was the champion corn eater, and Tom and Jabe Rosser, Sam Franklin, the Tweedy and Jones boys, and others, were close seconds. I think maybe they appropriated some bee-gums, or their contents, and perhaps some jars of preserves and other sweets. I must say that Company C had very few men in it who would forage illegally. On one occasion a year or two afterwards, I suspected some of the company of killing a hog while down in the south-side of Virginia, though I did not know it, and took no pains to investigate, as meat was very scarce about that time: in fact, we had none, and it was right hard for a soldier to let a hog bite him and not kill it when hungry. I have heard soldiers say that they would kill a sheep if it tried to bite them. Some of the boys told a story on R. H. Jones about eating, or rather, not eating "stolen hog." Bob was quite young and very conscientious. On one occasion his mess had fresh pork for breakfast which they did not draw from the commissary. When the chops were fried brown and crisp, the boys gathered around the frying-pan and began eating. Bob sat aloof, munching on his corn pone, when some one said, "Bob, have some meat." "No," drawled Bob, "I don't eat stolen hog," all the while looking at the 92pan and nibbling away on his dry bread. Again some one said, "Bob, you better have some, it's mighty good." Bob reached over towards the pan with his bread and said, "I won't eat any of the meat, but will take a little of the gravy."

While encamped around Fairfax Court House, the whole army was thrown into a high fever of excitement one day by the beating of the long roll. Under the army regulations the long roll is never beaten except in cases of emergency—the sudden and unexpected attack or approach of the enemy. When the long roll is sounded it is the duty of every drum corps in hearing to take it up and repeat it, and every man is hastily called to arms. On this occasion the long roll was started without cause by a fresh "officer of the day," as he said, "to see what effect it would have." For miles around the drums rolled and there was much hurrying and scurrying of staff officers and couriers. I think the "officer of the day" got a court-martial for his freshness, and very likely, if "old Jube" had the say-so, a good cussing.


On the 19th or 20th of October, 1861, the army moved back to Centreville and went into camp—the Eleventh Regiment on the same ground it had before occupied.

The whole army was encamped round about and along Bull Run; rations were plentiful and the men 93passed a very comfortable winter, making pipes and trinkets from ivy roots dug up along Bull Run, which had now become historic.

The Fifth Louisian Regiment was camped about one-half mile from the Eleventh Virginia. The Louisian Regiment had a fine band, and every afternoon would play many patriotic pieces, including "Dixie," "The Bonnie Blue Flag," etc. The Eleventh Regiment also had a very good band, led by Geo. W. Lyman, of Lynchburg.

We still picketed down close to Fairfax Court House. While on picket there during the winter I was taken with break-bone fever and sent home on a sick furlough. It was a rainy time, and I slept one night on a pile of rails, and the next morning every bone in my body was aching. I remember telling old Dr. Withers of this after I got home, when he remarked, "Sleeping on rails is well calculated to make one's bones ache." I had never seen our little boy, Dixie, who was born on the 25th of September, 1861, and was then about five months old. He was a fine little fellow, and a great comfort to his mother in my absence. Of course, we all enjoyed the home-coming.

While I was away the regiment went on a foraging expedition, in support of Stuart's Cavalry, north of Centreville. Near Drainesville they got into a fight with the Yankees, when Wm. H. Hobson, of Company C, a cousin of my wife, was mortally wounded, being shot through the bowels, dying soon 94afterwards. He was the first man of Company C killed. Lieut. H. C. Chalmers, of Company A, lost an arm in this fight.

As soon as I was well again, I returned to the army, which was still at Centreville, where it remained for some time.

While in camp here, Governor Letcher visited the army and presented each Virginia Regiment with a new State flag. The troops were all drawn up around one of the forts, the colonels going up into the fort, the Governor making a speech to each as he presented the flags, and the colonels, on receiving them, replying. I remember Col. Eppa Hunton, of the Eighth Virginia, said in his speech, "Every man in Fauquier County shall be carried home feet foremost before his flag will be surrendered." I think this was the summer or fall before or during our first encampment at Centreville.


Fall Back From Centreville—The Peninsula
Campaign—Yorktown Line Evacuated—The
Battle of Williamsburg—"Give
it to Them"—Into a Hot Fire—Colonel
Garland Wounded—Incidents
of the Battle—Garland
and Kemper

Gen. Joseph E. Johnston had been for some time sole commander of the army, General Beauregard having been ordered south some months before. Gen. George B. McClellan, who succeeded General McDowell, was in command of the Yankee army, and had been all winter recruiting, reorganizing, equipping and drilling what he claimed to be "the finest army on the planet," some 125,000 strong. When winter began to break, General Johnston knew his adversary would soon move against him, and thinking it not prudent to stand his ground at Centreville or Manassas, against so powerful an army, with only about 40,000 men, just as McClellan was preparing to advance, the Confederate army, on the 9th of March, 1862, broke camp, having first made dummy cannons of wood, painted black, mounting them in the forts and redoubts 96around Centreville, also dummy soldiers, in order to deceive and delay the enemy. The army retired leisurely at first, stopping several days at a time in camp.

The terms of enlistment of most of the Confederate troops were about to expire, and the men were called upon to reenlist for the war, which nearly all did. On this march, while in camp a few days, Company C elected officers to take the place of those who had been at first elected and whose terms would expire about the 1st of May. Captain Clement was reëlected captain, I was elected first lieutenant, James Connelly was reëlected second lieutenant, and Jabez R. Rosser was elected third lieutenant. J. A. Hobson and H. H. Withers, first and second lieutenants, not being reëlected, left the company at the end of their terms. About this time the company received a number of recruits, the militiamen up to thirty-five years old having been called out and given the privilege of joining the companies of their choice. The recruits were mostly married men, from twenty-five to thirty-five years old.

McClellan did not essay to follow Johnston, but determined to change his base and plan of campaign from Northern Virginia to the Peninsula. His army was accordingly embarked on transports, sailing down the Potomac and Chesapeake Bay, landing at the lower end of the Peninsula at Fortress Monroe.

As soon as General Johnston was aware of this move, he put his army in motion and marched 97rapidly to Richmond. The march was through Prince William, Spottsylvania, Hanover, and Henrico counties, into Richmond, where we arrived on the 12th of April, 1862. This march was very laborious, through rain and mud, the troops often marching through fields to avoid the muddy roads, and to give place to the trains of artillery and baggage and commissary wagons. At that time each regiment had thirteen wagons, but never again after the Peninsula campaign; after that year about three was the limit.

This was the first real hard marching we had done. Some of the men gave out on the route, and had to be hauled in wagons and ambulances; many had their knapsacks hauled. Only one man of Company C besides myself carried their knapsacks, blankets and guns through without any help.


On arriving at Richmond on the 12th of April the troops were embarked on boats, steamed down the James to King's Landing, seven miles from Williamsburg, marching through that quaint and dilapidated old town, on down the Peninsula to the lines near Yorktown, where General Magruder was in command with fifteen or twenty thousand men, confronting McClellan and his "grand army" on the lines stretching across the Peninsula from the York to the James. McClellan had 125,000 men; Johnston about 50,000, all told.

98The lines, at the point the Eleventh Regiment faced the Yankees, were about one thousand yards apart; at other places the lines were much closer, and there were frequent skirmishes and sharp-shooting. Forts at intervals along the lines were mounted with big guns, and shots were often exchanged.

One day I was standing behind one of the Confederate guns, when a shot from a thirty-two-pounder was fired at a Yankee fort one thousand yards off, across an open level field, and saw the ball, a black mass, as it sped across the field, go right into the fort and explode. Of course, we could not see from that distance what damage was done, but heard afterwards from prisoners that this shell played havoc in the Yankee fort, killing and wounding men right and left, and tearing up things generally. This was a splendid shot, aimed and the fuse timed exactly right; it went to the very spot desired, exploding at the very second to do the most damage. The Yankees did not return the fire.

The service on the Peninsula was arduous and disagreeable; in the muddy trenches, or back in the woods, lying on the rain-soaked ground, or marching along the cut-up and muddy roads, was trying indeed, and caused no little sickness among the troops. Harvey Bailey, of Company C, died of disease while here. One night while the regiment lay back in the woods, the men sleeping on their arms, that is, every man lying with his gun by his side, instead 99of being stacked, there was a night alarm, with sharp musketry firing along the trenches; all were aroused and under arms in a moment. It was a cloudy, pitch-dark night, and we did not know what the trouble was. Just as the firing ceased the hooting of a big owl was heard in the distance. "There now," was whispered along the lines, "we are cut off; that is a Yankee signal." Nothing came of it, however, except a good scare. When soldiers are thus suddenly aroused at night by a call to arms, it causes a chilling sensation, and they shake like one with the "buck ague."

General Johnston was often seen riding along the lines, sitting his horse very erect, and presenting a soldierly appearance. He always reminded me of a gamecock trimmed and gaffed ready for the main. While here our first year of enlistment expired, and I entered upon the duties of first lieutenant; I had been orderly sergeant up to this time, carrying a musket.


General Johnston, getting information that McClellan was preparing to send a force by transports up York River to West Point, and which he, Johnston, had no means of preventing, and thus get in his rear and between him and Richmond, it was determined to evacuate the Yorktown line of defense. Accordingly, about the 3d or 4th of May, 1862, the trenches were evacuated and the whole army began 100falling back up the Peninsula, the wagons and artillery in front. The Yankees made a landing at West Point, but were driven back to their transports by a force sent to meet them. As we marched up the Peninsula we could hear the booming of the big guns in this fight.

The roads were in wretched condition, muddy and badly cut up by the long trains of wagons and artillery, making the march very trying and disagreeable, for it rained nearly every day about this time. No one who has not marched on foot behind army wagon and artillery trains has any conception of what muddy roads are. Horses and mules were sometimes literally buried in the mud and left to perish, or shot dead on the spot.

It is surprising how much fatigue and hardship men can stand when put to it. Soldiers were often put to the supreme test of endurance, and, no doubt, many an old Confederate soldier often says to himself, "How did we stand those long, tiresome marches, through the rain and mud of spring, through the dust and heat of summer, and midst snow and ice of winter, often poorly shod, scantily clothed, and on short, very short rations, sometimes none at all." A man can stand more than a horse. But the Confederate soldiers did stand these things, enduring more, perhaps, than any soldiers ever endured before. It took men to do these things—men with muscles, sinews, and nerves in their bodies, and courage in their hearts; and then, on the battlefield, 101to meet the foe two, three, and four to one, and vanquish that foe, took men of the highest valor. Of such was the Confederate soldier. The service of our Revolutionary fathers was not comparable to the arduous trials and privations of the Confederate soldiers. The privations and suffering of the army at Valley Forge during the winter of 1777-78 was as nothing to the experiences of the Confederates around Petersburg during the winter of 1864-5.

On February 8, 1865, General Lee wrote to the Secretary of War to this effect: "For three days and nights the right wing of the army has been in line of battle; some of the men have had no meat for three days, and all suffering from reduced rations and scant clothing, exposed to the fire of the enemy, cold, hail and sleet." About the same time General Lee issued a circular letter to the farmers in the surrounding country, beseeching them to "loan the army all the cornmeal and sorghum they could spare." But I am anticipating, so back to the Peninsula.


I should have stated before, that about the time the army fell back from Centreville and Manassas, General Longstreet was promoted to major-general, and Col. A. P. Hill of the Thirteenth Virginia Regiment was promoted to brigadier-general, and assigned to Longstreet's old brigade, which now formed a part of Longstreet's Division.

102On the afternoon of the 4th of May, the brigade marched through the town of Williamsburg; slept on their arms in an open field just west of the town. Early next morning it was evident to all that a fight was on hand—staff officers and couriers were riding hither and thither in great haste. McClellan was pressing on General Johnston's rear a little too closely to suit him, and Johnston determined to give him a taste of what was in store for him later on.

Hill's Brigade, as well as other troops, infantry and artillery, were marched back through the town. Just at the eastern limits of the town the brigade turned off the road to the right, through the fields, and was massed in a deep hollow. Other troops were known to be in the woods a few hundred yards in front, and we were in position as their support.

Other troops had passed on down the Yorktown road towards Fort McGruder, and the other forts east of Williamsburg, some of which the Confederates had abandoned. I remember Latham's Battery dashing by, as we marched through the streets, at a gallop. Latham's Battery was from Lynchburg, and the men well known to many of the Eleventh Regiment. Some one in the Eleventh called out to them as they passed, asking if they were going into the fight. "Yes," shouted back Jim Ley, one of the battery; "Latham's Battery is always in the fight." Artillery firing could already be heard at the front. As the men passed along the streets, they unslung their knapsacks, depositing them in 103the front yards of the houses on the street—stripping for the fight. There were no forts or breastworks in our front, nor was there any artillery with the brigade or with the troops in front. The position was the extreme right of the Confederate lines.


We did not have to wait long. Sharp musketry firing soon commenced in the woods—lasting only a short time, however. About the time the firing ceased, the brigade was ordered forward, not in line of battle, but marching by the flank. As we entered the woods Gen. Roger A. Pryor and a few men came out and moved off to the left, along the edge of the field. Soon after getting into the woods the brigade was formed in line of battle by the maneuver, "By the right flank into line." The woods were thick with much undergrowth, and we could see only a few yards in front.

For some time after the line was formed, everything was quiet. It was a cloudy, misty morning, and the air was filled with the smoke of the recent firing; no enemy was in sight nor could we see any of the Confederates who had been engaged. It has always been a mystery to me what became of these troops. We could see and smell the smoke from their guns, but not a man was seen, except perhaps fifteen or twenty who came out as we entered.

104Company C was on the left of the Eleventh Regiment, and the Seventh Regiment, commanded by Col. James L. Kemper, was the next regiment on the left. Colonel Kemper took position at the right of his regiment. My place, as first lieutenant of Company C, being near the left of the company, placed me close to Colonel Kemper, and it is of the fighting along the line of these two regiments I propose to tell, as I saw and heard it that day.


While standing here in line of battle some of Company C saw a line of men through a slight opening in the woods about one hundred yards away, obliquely to the left. Only a few files of the men were visible through the vista; some one called my attention to these men. I looked; they seemed to have on blue uniforms, and the brass buttons on their coats could be plainly seen; they were standing at rest. I called Colonel Kemper, who came and said he believed they were Yankees, but was not certain. Just then General Hill, on foot, came along down in the rear of the line of battle from the right, and Colonel Kemper called his attention to these men. General Hill leveled his field-glasses on the line, and in a moment said: "Yes, they are Yankees; give it to them!" Colonel Kemper's clear-ringing voice broke the stillness with, "Now, boys, I want you to give it to those blue-coated fellows; ready, aim, fire." At the first command every musket was 105raised to the shoulder and leveled, every eye ran along the barrel at the command "aim," and at the word "fire" a sheet of flame burst forth from the line with a deafening roar.

Very few of our men could see the enemy, but every man shot straight to the front—the guns on a level. No doubt, the first volley did much execution, the men reloading as quickly as possible and continuing to fire rapidly. In the midst of the firing Colonel Kemper's clarion voice rang out above the roar of the muskets. He said: "General Hill says the line must be advanced." Not a man moved forward, but all continued loading and shooting as fast possible. Again Colonel Kemper shouted louder than before: "General Hill says the lines must be advanced." At this moment General Hill came to the front, immediately in front of Company C, pistol in hand. General Hill wore a dark blue blouse or overshirt, gathered at the waist by the sword belt, had on a military cap with a sprig of pine fastened in front, and as he went forward, waving his pistol over his head, looking back over his shoulder and calling on the men to follow, made a splendid picture of the heroic and gallant soldier that he was. This picture was photographed on my memory never to be forgotten.


The whole line rushed forward over a fence and down a slight slope in the ground, about fifty 106yards, and was met by a close and deadly fire from the enemy, whom we could not see, but the sharp, quick "sip, sip" of the minie balls, as they whacked the trees and cut the bushes and twigs, told plainly that we were in very close quarters. On the hill where the firing commenced, I don't remember that we suffered any casualties—I think the Yankees shot too low; but now the men were falling on every hand. The firing was kept up here for some little time, the men sitting or kneeling on the ground, loading and shooting into the bushes in front whence the balls were coming, though no enemy was in sight. While here I looked to the left, oblique from our front, and saw a Yankee standing beside a tree some seventy-five yards away, about where the line had been first seen. Up to this time I had carried a pistol, a Colt's five-shooter, and drawing this I aimed at this Yankee, snapped the pistol several times, which, failing to fire, I threw it down, picked up a loaded musket that had fallen from the hands of some man, killed or wounded, and fired at the Yankee; where he was hit, I never knew. About this time the cry came along our lines from the right, "They are running." The line again pushed forward, but we did not catch sight of the Yankees, that is, live ones, but a short distance, some twenty yards in front, their line of battle was plainly marked by the dead men lying strewn along through the woods. The lines continued to press forward through the woods for a quarter of a mile or more, 107until the eastern edge of the woods was reached, where the timber had been felled.

While pushing along through the woods I saw to my left several of Company C around a gray-haired Yankee officer with side-whiskers and mustache, seemingly rifling his pockets. I shouted at the men, "Stop robbing that officer." They replied, "We are just loosening his belt." The officer said the same when I approached him. He had been desperately wounded and left by his men.

In the felled timber, some thirty yards from the woods, the Yankees had taken refuge, lying down behind the logs and stumps, and as the Confederates came up, opened a close and rapid fire, our men protecting themselves behind trees and logs at the edge of the woods and returning the fire. Here the firing was fast and furious, both sides being under cover. The casualties here were not serious, on the Confederate side, at least, the Yankees shooting too high, riddling the trees and bushes overhead.


In the midst of this severe fighting, Colonel Garland, with his left arm bandaged and in a sling, came up. He had been shot through the forearm early in the action, had his wound dressed, and continued in the fight to the end.

As soon as Colonel Garland came up, he shouted out, "Charge 'em!" Captain Clement, a brave man, 108whose courage was beyond question and who still lives in Campbell County, a scarred veteran, remonstrated, saying: "For God's sake, Colonel Garland, don't send the men over there into that fire. They will all be killed." Colonel Garland replied: "Well, hold on a while then." It was not long before the fire of the enemy began to slacken—the well-aimed shots of the Confederates were telling. Our lines rose up without orders, and over the logs the men rushed right among the Yankees. Some of the enemy jumped up and ran; many were shot down as they ran; others lay still behind the logs and stumps and were captured; some were hauled from brush piles, and many lay killed and wounded on the ground, most of whom were shot in the head. This scene reminded me of a lot of boys hunting rabbits in thickets.

While engaged in gathering up the prisoners, sending them to the rear and exulting over the victory, the noise of artillery wheels was heard (it was impossible to see far, on account of the smoke and fog), and the men were ordered back to the woods whence they had just charged. There were several abandoned Yankee cannon in the road in our front; I don't remember whether these were taken off the field or not, but think they were. We held this position during the remainder of the day, without seeing or hearing anything of the enemy in our front.

109Pretty soon after we fell back to the edge of the woods, a terrific musketry fire opened up to the right of this position, which seemed to be a little to the rear of the extension of the line, the minie balls flying thick and fast through the woods in the rear. As this firing increased in volume and seemed to be drawing nearer, some of the Seventh Regiment began to look anxiously to the rear, like a balky horse, as if contemplating a retreat. All eyes were turned in the direction of the firing, which was only a few hundred yards to the right, and seemed to be drawing closer. Colonel Kemper, who was still at the right of the Seventh, noticed the anxiety of his men, and spoke out in firm and defiant tones: "Steady, men, steady. The old Eighth Virginia is out there." I never knew whether or not the Eighth Regiment was out there—I don't think it was; but Kemper's words had the desired effect.

The men remembered Ball's Bluff, where the Eighth Virginia had some time before distinguished itself, and whatever fears they may have had of being flanked were allayed, and every man stood firmly at his post.

It was not long until the firing ceased all along the lines. The brigade remained here until darkness closed over the bloody scenes and thrilling events of the day, which were, no doubt, indelibly fixed in the minds of every participant.

In the meanwhile, the battle was raging to the left over towards Fort McGruder, where the fighting 110first commenced in the morning, and was kept up pretty much all day. Here the Twenty-fourth Virginia and the Fifth North Carolina distinguished themselves, as Pickett's Division did at Gettysburg, in an unsuccessful, but gallant charge. There were no better fighting regiments in the army.

Soon after dark the brigade moved silently off by the left flank, marching back to the edge of Williamsburg, where we had turned off the road early in the morning. We slept on the wet, muddy ground until daybreak next morning, when we again marched through the old town towards Richmond, the men gathering up their knapsacks deposited along the street in the front yards the day before, and which the people had taken care of.

On the march we did not hurry, camping four or five days on the east bank of the Chickahominy; but the enemy did not crowd us again, the work of the 5th of May having taught General McClellan a lesson, the moral of which was, "Don't crowd Joe Johnston too closely on a retreat." Some of the Yankee historians claim a victory at Williamsburg, a dear-bought victory to be sure. They lost about five hundred killed, fifteen hundred wounded, and four hundred unwounded prisoners, twelve cannon, and ten stand of colors.

The Confederate loss was much less. We drove the enemy back, held the battlefield, and marched off the next morning at our leisure, and did not have a chance to fire another shot at the Yankees for 111weeks; indeed, not until the 31st day of May, when Johnston again attacked and defeated them at Seven Pines. We had whipped them in a fair, stand-up fight with muskets at Williamsburg. It is a little singular and surprising that McClellan with his "grand army" never made an attack on the Confederates, but on the contrary, was always on the defensive in all the battles from Williamsburg to Malvern Hill.

I saw nothing of the fighting on the 5th of May on the left of the lines, nor on the right, except along the lines of the Seventh and Eleventh Regiments. I know full well we cleaned them up here in nice style, with small loss, comparatively. We drove them from their first line in the woods, charged and captured their second position in the fallen timber, killing, wounding, capturing and scattering everything in front of Hill's Brigade. If this was not a victory, I'd like to know what it was.

This was the first regular fight in which the Eleventh Regiment had been engaged. The regiment, except two companies, was only under fire on the 18th of July at Blackburn's Ford, but did not fire a gun. On the 21st of July the regiment lay all day under a shelling, but did not see a Yankee or fire a gun. In the skirmish at Drainesville, in which Company C lost its first man, I am not certain, but I don't think there was much shooting done by the regiment.

112At Williamsburg we got into it right. Company C lost eight men killed and many wounded. The killed were Miffram Bailey, who married my wife's sister, and had only been with the company about a month; Benj. Farris, Crockett Hughes, Granville Rosser, David Layne, John Organ, John J. Wood, another recruit, and Wm. H. Wilson, a first cousin of my wife, all of whom were good soldiers. I noticed Billy Wilson, during the fight in the bottom, some distance in front of the line, fighting with deadly intent. I have often thought that he determined to distinguish himself in this fight, but alas! he was stricken down, shot through the body, dying in a few minutes. In this fight, so far as I could see, every officer and man, from General Hill down to the humblest private, did his whole duty. I never saw troops fight better on any field.


I have often said this was the most satisfactory fight I was ever engaged in, and I have read somewhere that General Kemper had said the same thing. I noticed among others a member of Company C, Jim Brown, from "Hell Bend" (a rather disreputable section of Campbell County), an humble private of no pretentions, standing up and fighting like mad, loading and shooting rapidly, with the corners of his mouth blacked by the powder as he bit off the cartridges. I never forgot this, and it 113stood Jim in good stead when, months afterwards, he was court-martialed for absence without leave, and sentenced to wear a ball and chain for sixty days. At Goldsboro, N. C., in 1863, when Chas. Clement drew up a petition for his pardon, I gladly approved it, making an endorsement on the petition to the effect, that "Brown was a brave soldier, had been tried in battle and found not wanting in courage, fighting like a hero." The paper was forwarded to headquarters, and quickly came back with an endorsement granting the pardon prayed for. I remember it was at night when it was returned to me. I at once repaired to Brown's quarters, and found him and several others in their "dog house," under their blankets, with the ball and chain at the foot, lying on the ground. I called to Brown, telling him his pardon had come, that he could now take off the ball and chain. Brown raised up on his elbow, looked down at the ball and chain and said: "I have gone to bed now; I believe I will wait till morning before I take it off." And so he did. Brown remained true to the end, and was captured at Milford, May 21, 1864.

After the firing had all ceased, Colonel Kemper and Colonel Garland met on the lines in the rear of Company C and exchanged congratulations, both in high spirits and well pleased with the day's work. Colonel Garland said among other things, "Kemper, honor's easy with you to-day." I was standing 114near, and pointing to Garland's bandaged arm in the sling, said: "Colonel Garland, you have the best of it, you have a wound." "Yes," replied Garland, "I always wanted an honorable wound in this war." Poor fellow, he got his death-wound at Boonsboro Gap, Md., a few months afterwards while trying to rally his brigade. Colonel Garland was a fine soldier, and if he had lived, would doubtless have attained higher rank. He had a worthy ambition, was cool and steady in action, not possessed so much of that brute courage that makes men reckless in battle, but in an eminent degree of that high moral courage and pride that enable true soldiers to do their duty in the face of the greatest danger. He was highly endowed intellectually, a learned lawyer, a brilliant and eloquent speaker, and possessed of considerable wealth. Colonel Garland had a bright future before him, but alas! like so many others, was cut down in his early manhood, in that cruel and ruthless war waged by the North against the South.


Garland and Kemper both won the stars and wreath of a brigadier at Williamsburg. The former was first promoted and assigned to a North Carolina Brigade, the latter soon afterwards succeeding Gen. A. P. Hill as commander of the First Brigade, which he led into battle the first time at Seven 115Pines, in less than one month after the Williamsburg fight.

I remember, when Colonel Kemper took command of the brigade, he had his old regiment, the Seventh Virginia, formed, and, mounted on his horse in front of the regiment, made a stirring and patriotic speech, eulogizing the men for their courage and devotion to the cause, and expressing his love and devotion to all of them, declaring that, "Next to the child that sprang from my own loins, I love the Seventh Regiment."

Before closing the account of this battle, I will relate one of the many incidents of cool and deliberate bravery exhibited by the Confederate soldiers on that day. While the firing at the edge of the woods was going on, Daniel Pillow, a private of Company C, Eleventh Virginia, when ready to fire, would raise up on his knees as high as he could, look intently out among the logs and stumps in front, then raise his gun, take deliberate aim and fire, and after firing raise his head again and look in the direction he had shot. I called to him, saying, "Daniel, when you have fired, don't expose yourself in that way by looking over there; get down and load as quickly as possible." Pillow turned his face towards me and said quietly in measured tones, "I reckon I want to see what I am doing," and continued firing.

I also noticed Robt. Cocke, pressing forward in the hottest of the fight in the attitude of one breasting 116a storm, leaning forward with a determined expression on his face; in fact, I did not see a single man of the company flinch.

Captain Clement wrote home highly complimenting the men and officers of his company for their conduct in this fight.


Back to Richmond—Battle of Seven Pines—The
Brigade in Reserve—Into the Fight
at Double-Quick—Incidents of the
Battle—On the Picket Lines

As before said, on the 6th of May we again marched through Williamsburg on towards Richmond. The roads were deep in mud; it was a hot, sultry May morning. A few miles out on the road I was taken suddenly very sick, and lay down on the roadside utterly unable to march any further. Visions of capture and prison rose before me like a nightmare. The regimental ambulance was in the rear, and when it came up I was taken in and rode all day, camping that night with the wagon trains, and the next day rejoined the command.

On the 9th of May we reached the Chickahominy River at Bottom's Bridge, where we remained for several days, waiting for the Yankees, but they did not come so fast as they did at Williamsburg. On the first day's march from here it was raining, the marching being very fatiguing. I remember that night when we turned off the road into woods partially cleared with the brush piled, I spread my blanket on one of the piles of brush, with a Yankee oilcloth over me, and slept soundly till morning. It 118rained nearly all night, but I was dry and ready for the march the next morning. The next day we trudged on up the Peninsula, passing by some historic old homesteads, among others, if I remember aright, Ex-President John Tyler's old place and his grave (the tombstone a simple white slab) by the roadside.

On the 15th of May the brigade went into camp in the vicinity of Richmond, near what was called Darbytown (though I don't remember seeing anything like a town or village), where it remained for a few days. This locality, I later learned, is called Darbytown after a family of Enroughties, whose local cognomen is Darby. How Darby could have been evolved out of Enroughty has always been, to me, one of the mysteries of evolution. Yet quite as reasonable as that man sprang from a monkey. I got a pass from here into Richmond, where I bought an officer's uniform, having before only a jacket.

On the 27th of May we moved to a camp near Howard's Grove, remaining there only four days, when the battle of Seven Pines came off.


Early on the morning of the 31st of May, 1862, the brigade marched out of camp to go into the battle of Seven Pines. Orders were issued the night before to take every available man, even the cooks.

Every one knew that a battle was to be fought 119that day. I remember as we marched along the road that morning, it somehow occurred to me that I would be wounded in this battle. Dr. Thornhill was passing along and I remarked to him that I felt I would be wounded, and that he must see after me. The doctor replied, "Oh, you must not think that." W. T. Withers, of Company C, who had been detailed as hospital steward, also came along and remarked that I had a chance to win my spurs that day, I having a short time before taken command of Company C. Captain Clement promoted to major, had gone home for his horse and equipments.

I didn't get wounded that day nor win any spurs that I ever saw, but was in a very hot fight, and had three bullet holes through my clothes. So my presentment came near being thrice fulfilled.

Two corps of the Yankee army had crossed over the Chickahominy at Bottom's Bridge, fortifying their position at Fair Oaks and Seven Pines, near Richmond, while three corps remained on the other side of the river. General Johnston and his generals had conceived the plan of falling suddenly on these two corps and crushing them before relief could reach them from the other side. It was said General Longstreet first made the suggestion. The night before, it had rained very hard; this it was thought would add to the success of the scheme, as the rain would raise the Chickahominy and keep back reënforcements, but the swollen streams and muddy 120roads delayed the movements of the Confederate troops, so that the attack upon the enemy's lines was delayed until three o'clock P. M., while the plan was for it to be made in the morning by nine or ten o'clock.

Longstreet with his own and D. H. Hill's Division was to make the attack at Seven Pines, and was ready early in the morning, but other troops who were to assist on other portions of the line failed to come up and take position until three o'clock P. M. This no doubt caused a partial failure of the enterprise.

While the Yankees were soundly thrashed and driven from their breastworks and camps, yet they were not crushed and captured, as it was hoped they would be.

Gen. Jas. L. Kemper was now in command of the brigade, which, as before said, was first commanded by Longstreet, and then by A. P. Hill, who was now a major-general. The brigade was held in reserve while the other brigades of Longstreet's and D. H. Hill's divisions advanced on the Yankee lines, who were in their fortified camps at Seven Pines.


It is one of the rules of war to hold the best troops in reserve, and put them into the fight at the critical moment. No brigade in the army stood higher than the "First Virginia," as it was called. 121The Eleventh Regiment, which stood as high as the highest, was in reserve at the battle of July 18, 1861, at Blackburn's Ford. The brigade was in reserve at Williamsburg on the 5th of May, and now again at Seven Pines on the 30th of May, and also soon afterwards at Gaines' Mill on the 27th of June, and in many other battles during the war.

The brigade was posted in an open field about three-fourths of a mile from the Yankee lines, the enemy's first line being in the woods at the edge of a field, the woods extending to within two hundred yards of the Yankee camps, and in front of the camp were breastworks and redoubts mounted with big guns. The attacking Confederate troops were in these woods also. The brigade was first marched off the road some distance to the right, then marched back, the left resting on the road leading down to Seven Pines, where it remained standing in line until ordered into the fight. While here the firing commenced in the woods at the front. About this time the command was given to load. The ramrods rattling down the musket barrels created a sensation akin to that of the clods falling upon the coffin lid, which is a reminder that some one is dead, and suggested the question, Who will be the next? The first suggested death to many, and who will be the victims? While loading, I spoke a few words to the men of the company, exhorting them to do their duty, and remember what they were fighting for.

122The fighting was very heavy in front for some time, and we expecting every moment to be called into action. Such suspense is very trying, but not as bad as lying under a shelling.


General Longstreet, with his staff about him, was sitting on his horse in the road close by, looking intently in the direction of the firing. I don't remember how long after the firing began, half an hour or perhaps more (time seems to move slow on such occasions), it was not long, however, before the brigade was ordered to go to the front in double-quick time, and down the road we went in a run. About the time the woods were reached, the wounded men began to appear in large numbers going to the rear, some on foot, some on stretchers, and some in ambulances; some limping along, shot in their feet or legs; some holding a wounded hand or arm; all bleeding and bedraggled, having charged through a swamp; some groaning and moaning, lamenting their sad fate, in utter despair and helplessness; others, in grim and heroic silence, bearing the pain and shock of their wounds in silence, with fortitude and bravery.

One man I remember, who was completely demoralized, called out as we passed him, making his way to the rear, "Oh, men," he wailed, "don't go down there, you will all be killed; they are killing 123our men, they have wounded me. It is no use to go; don't go." A little further on, came another man, shot in the head or face, bleeding profusely, bareheaded, swinging his arms and shouting at the top of his voice, "Go in, boys, and give 'em hell. They have shot me, but I gave them the devil first; go in, boys, and give it to 'em." These two incidents illustrate how some men are affected in battle. The one was completely undone, perhaps he had no relish for the fight in the start, and was probably what was called in the army, "a whiner"; always low spirited and complaining of everything that happened. The other brave and resolute, who took things as they came, making the best of everything. Of such were a large majority of Confederate soldiers—this last class.

On, the brigade went still at a run, the Eleventh Regiment leading, Company C in front. Capt. J. Lawrence Meem, of Lynchburg, who, until Garland's promotion was adjutant of the Eleventh Regiment, and was now General Garland's chief of staff, met us with word from the front to "hurry." By this time all were well out of breath, but rushed on at increased speed through mud and water almost knee-deep in some places. Again a messenger is sent from Gen. D. H. Hill to "hurry, it is a critical time at the front; the enemy has been driven from his breastworks and camps, but there are not enough men of the assaulting column left to occupy and hold the works. The men are doing all that mortal 124men can do, some are falling by the wayside from sheer exhaustion, nothing but the excitement keeps any on their feet." General Kemper said to the messenger, "Tell General Hill I am left in front and would like to change." The messenger replied, "No time to change now, hurry on." Soon the brigade emerged from the woods into the open field, on the farther side of which the Yankee breastworks and camps were located, but not a living soldier, Yankee or Confederate, was in sight. I have said "living soldier," because as we rushed along by the edge of this field, over which the Confederates had charged, the ground was thickly strewn with dead Confederates close up to the Yankee breastworks and redoubts, where stood their abandoned cannon. Passing beyond these works, Generals Hill and Garland, with their staff officers, were seen waiting, behind a big pile of cord wood, the coming of the brigade, which was directed to file to the right through the Yankee camp, with their small fly-tents still standing, where, facing towards the enemy, the rear rank was in front, but this made little or no difference. Like the English "Fore and Aft," the men fight from front or rear rank just the same. As the brigade filed out through the camp, a terrific fire was opened by the Yankees, who had rallied or been reënforced by fresh troops, a hundred or two yards beyond their camp. The Yankee lines could not be seen on account of the smoke and fog, but the balls flew thick through the air, killing and wounding 125many. The men lying flat on the ground, returned the fire as best they could. In a short time some one gave the order to fall back to the abandoned Yankee breastworks, some forty or fifty yards in the rear, which afforded protection from the enemy's shots. This order was obeyed in double-quick time, all hurrying over the breastworks, getting on the reverse side, into the ditch half filled with water, preferring the cold water to hot lead. I did not hear the order to fall back, and the others got the start of me. I think I was the last man to go over the works, and was sure a Yankee bullet would hit me as I did so. I expect it was here that one or more of the bullets passed through my clothes. I thought about being shot in the back, of which I always had a dread, but did not take time to turn around, face the enemy and go over backwards, making all haste possible to get out of danger. From the breastworks the fire was kept up for some time, until General Kemper sent a detachment around on the enemy's left flank, when the firing ceased.


The brigade lost a good many men in this fight, Colonel Funston and Lieutenant-Colonel Langhorne, of the Eleventh Regiment both being badly wounded and permanently disabled. Company C lost three men killed, namely: James Wood, Silas Barber, and James Terrell, all recruits, and several wounded. 126Terrell was in the Mexican War. Capt. Lawrence Meem, Garland's chief of staff, was killed dead on the field, shot through the head; a fine soldier he was too, brave, handsome and accomplished. Capt. Henry Fulks, of Company F, was killed in a few feet of me. He had rushed into the Yankee camp exhausted from the double-quicking, sat down on a Yankee fly-tent, which sank to the ground with his weight, and had just raised his head to look to the front when a ball struck him about the head or face, when he sank back and was dead in a few minutes. I heard the whack of the ball as it struck him and saw the blood trickling down his neck. About this time Color-Bearer Hickok, of the Eleventh Regiment, who was standing close by with his flag in hand, and who was about the only man or officer I saw on his feet, was shot down, badly wounded, when Color-Guard Jim Haynes, of Company F, seized the colors and rushed to Captain Foulks, taking him in his arms, but still holding the flag aloft, and cried out, "Oh, my poor captain is killed; my poor captain is killed." So Captain Foulks died with the Confederate battle-flag waving over him, its folds partly enveloping his body.

I must again refer to Daniel Pillow, of Company C, who was so cool and deliberate and fought with such deadly intent at Williamsburg. When the troops fell back to the breastworks, Pillow, instead of getting down in the ditch as the others did, took his seat on the parapet while several comrades 127behind him loaded guns which he fired at the enemy with deliberate aim. At one time the order was given to cease firing; it was thought some Confederates were in front between the lines. Pillow paid no heed to the order. Colonel Corse, of the Seventeenth Regiment, came along the lines, and said to Pillow, "My man, cease firing, our men are over there." Pillow turned towards the Colonel and said with determination and sternness: "Don't I see the Stars and Stripes? I am going to shoot"; and continued firing as before. Colonel Corse stooping down, looked under the smoke and fog, and seeing the Yankee flag, said, "Well, fire away then."

Daniel Pillow was an humble private, an "overseer" at the beginning of the war, without education or pretensions, but he was a soldier, every inch of him. He was always at his post, ever ready for any duty. Being six feet or more tall, he marched at the head of the company, being always near me on the march and in battle; never grumbled or whined, and was one of the bravest of the brave. He was reported missing at Gettysburg, and never heard of again. I have no doubt that he fell with his face to the foe in that desperate charge in which Pickett's Division was immortalized, and that he sleeps in an unknown soldier's grave. All honor to his memory.

Walter Rosser, Jim Cocke, Sam Franklin, and Daniel Pillow were the big, or rather the tall, four of Company C, being over six feet high; were always at the head of the company, and all good fighters, too.

128There was no more fighting on this part of the line. The Confederates had driven the Yankees from their works and camp, capturing all their camp equipage and stores, several pieces of cannon, 7,000 muskets, and about 350 prisoners. Longstreet's and D. H. Hill's divisions had soundly thrashed a Yankee corps under General Keys.

Gen. G. W. Smith was on the Confederate left towards Fair Oaks station, but was not engaged until nearly night, when General Sumner's Corps, crossing over the Chickahominy, came to the relief of Hientzleman and Kasey, whose troops fell back in that direction and were joined by Sumner in resisting Smith's attack. General Johnston, who was on this part of the line, was wounded about seven o'clock, when the command devolved on General Smith.

The wounding of the Confederate commander-in-chief at this critical moment was a great misfortune to the Confederates, and no doubt lessened their chances of the complete success aimed at—the destruction and capture of the two corps that had crossed over the Chickahominy.

For the number of troops engaged, this was one of the bloodiest battles of the war. The Confederate loss both days was estimated at a little over 6,000 killed and wounded; the Yankee loss a little over 5,000. The Confederates attacked the enemy in his breastworks, which accounts for the heavy loss sustained. The Confederates also captured many prisoners and several pieces of cannon.

129The brigade remained behind the breastworks until after dark, then other troops took its place, when we marched back a short distance and slept under some scrub-oak trees. I remember that night a young kinsman of mine, George Bright, from Prince Edward County, who was acting as courier for General Kemper, came to where we were to enquire how we fared in the fight, and gave me a first-rate new blanket he had picked up in the Yankee camp, which I carried and used through the rest of the war, only parting with it when I left Fort Delaware, in May, 1865. I remember also that Dr. Thornhill got General Kasey's large camp-chair, with the General's name on it, which the doctor used as long as he remained in the field.

The next morning, which was Sunday, the brigade marched back to the breastworks, formed in line of battle at right angles with the works, facing towards Fair Oaks, where it remained during the day, lying in the hot (first day of June) sun, without any protection from its rays, all day long. There was considerable fighting towards Fair Oaks early that Sunday morning, but none on this immediate line.

That night the Confederates marched out from the lines back towards Richmond, Kemper's Brigade, as it was now called, going into camp just northeast of Richmond, where it remained until the 26th of June, 1862, when the Seven Days' battles around Richmond began.



After the battle of Seven Pines, picket duty was very heavy—whole regiments going on duty, some on the advance line and others in reserve. The Eleventh Regiment picketed near Seven Pines. The advance lines or posts were in the woods, near where the fighting commenced on the 31st of May, and very close to the Yankees.

I remember one morning, when the Eleventh Regiment was ordered on picket, while getting ready to go, I heard one of the men say, "I understand picket firing are very fatal down there." The pickets would fire on each other at every opportunity.

On this trip the Eleventh Regiment was in reserve, while some North Carolina troops occupied the advanced posts. During the time a North Carolina captain came running back from the front where there was some sharp firing, and reported that the Yankees had charged the picket lines, capturing and killing all of his company—he alone being left to tell the tale.

Company C and Company H were ordered from the reserves to go to the front and retake the picket lines. Accordingly the two companies were formed in line of battle in the open field, a few hundred yards from the woods, Captain Hutter, of Company H, being the senior officer, commanding. We 131marched on towards the woods, expecting every moment to be fired upon, Captain Hutter leading in front of the line.

The woods were reached without seeing or hearing of the enemy. Advancing into the woods some distance, the Confederate pickets were discovered at their posts on the alert, watching for the Yankee pickets through the bushes. They motioned to us and spoke in low tones, warning us to keep under cover, that the Yankees would fire on sight of any one. So it turned out that the pickets had not been killed or captured, the Tar Heel captain being the only man who had been demoralized and run away.

I walked out into the road running through the woods along which we had gone into the fight on the 31st of May, and as I did so, one of the pickets close by waved me back, saying: "Don't go out there, you will be shot." I remained long enough in the road to see, a few hundred yards away, at the farther edge of the woods, a column of blue-coated Yankees passing across the road, moving to the right, with the Stars and Stripes—a very large flag—flying above them. That flag looked hateful to me then, and on other occasions, when I saw it flying above the heads of men with guns in their hands, who were our deadly enemies, invaders of the sacred soil of Virginia, doing their utmost to kill her sons who dared to defend their rights, and who burned houses and devastated the country ruthlessly and cruelly; and now I here record, that I 132have never since that day looked very admiringly or adoringly on that flag, nor have I since the war worn any blue clothes.

In a short time I went back to the general commanding the picket lines and reported that the pickets were on their posts, with the line intact, also that I had seen the column moving to the right. The general remarked, "They are massing on our right," and ordered a battery to open fire in that direction. This fire drew no response from the enemy, and in a short time the two companies were ordered back to the reserves, and all was quiet.

As I was going back to report to the general I met the Tar Heel captain, a small, pale-faced youth. He seemed much relieved when I informed him that his company was not captured, and hastened down to rejoin them, saying, "That's all right," mortified, no doubt, that he ran away. I felt sorry for him.


Seven Days' Fight Around Richmond—Battle
of Gaines' Mill

The brigade remained near Richmond some weeks longer. On the afternoon of the 26th of June, 1862, the Seven Days' fights around Richmond commenced at, or near, Mechanicsville, north of Richmond on the upper Chickahominy. McClellan's army lay on both sides of the Chickahominy, his right wing extending as far up the stream as Mechanicsville.

Gen. R. E. Lee was now in command of the army around Richmond, and determined to strike a blow at the enemy instead of waiting to be attacked at Richmond. On the morning of the 26th of June we marched out of camp, going north. As we crossed the York River Railroad an engine, with an inflated balloon attached to a heavy cable, passed along. This balloon was used by the Confederates in observing the movements of the enemy.

By a master stroke of strategy Stonewall Jackson was brought from the Valley, where he had just out-generaled and whipped three Yankee armies in detail, each larger than his own, and before any of the Yankee generals anywhere knew of his movements, 134joined General Lee and helped thrash McClellan and his "grand army," now 160,000 strong; Lee had about 80,000 all told.

A. P. Hill's division crossed the upper Chickahominy on the 26th of June, and in the afternoon attacked the Yankees in a strong position on Beaver Dam Creek, driving them from their first lines. It was expected that Jackson's forces would join with A. P. Hill's in this attack by striking the enemy on the right flank and rear, but from some unknown cause, Jackson's men were delayed, and did not arrive in time. The battle lasted until nightfall. The Confederates lost heavily in this fight, from assaults on the enemy's works.

The Yankees withdrew from their position during the night and fell back to Gaines' Mill, lower down the Chickahominy, where the next day a terrific and bloody battle was fought and won by the Confederates.

Longstreet's Division crossed over the Chickahominy at Meadow Bridge, below where Hill had crossed the day before, and moved down towards Gaines' Mill, as the right wing of Lee's army, on the north side of the Chickahominy, with Hill in the center and Jackson on the left. Kemper's Brigade halted as it was crossing the bridge, with the Eleventh Regiment, or a part of it, on the bridge. While waiting here, General Lee rode by on "Traveler," picking his way carefully along through the ranks. When close to Company C, General Lee asked what 135regiment this was. Perhaps a dozen men spoke out, saying, "Eleventh Virginia."

Up to this time, the 27th of June, no one but the generals knew that Jackson was anywhere near. During the day it was rumored that Jackson had come from the Valley or was coming. That afternoon I saw some men from Campbell County who belonged to Jackson's army, and asked them if it were true that Jackson was near. They replied, "Yes, Jackson and all his men are right over there," pointing to the left. This was, indeed, good news. This piece of strategy had been worked to perfection by General Lee. I remember a few days before, it was reported, in fact well known, that Lee was sending reënforcements to Jackson in the Valley. General Whiting's Division was sent by train via Lynchburg, around-about way—no doubt to attract attention and deceive the enemy—to Staunton, where it remained until the proper time, when it came back with Jackson's troops via Charlottesville and Gordonsville.


At this battle of Gaines' Mill, on the 27th of June, 1862, Kemper's Brigade was again in reserve, and was not actually engaged in the fight, the Yankees breaking just as it was called in to reënforce after sundown. This was one day the sun set before we got into the fight.

136The brigade lay back in the pine woods, where now and then a stray shell would come, anxiously awaiting the issue of the battle at the front—not "eager for the fight," but ready to go when called on. It was about sunset when Capt. J. W. Fairfax, of General Longstreet's staff, on his war horse, came bounding over the logs and brush, through the woods, towards where the brigade lay. All knew then what was up; the men knew they were wanted whenever Captain Fairfax was seen dashing up on his gray charger in time of a fight. Then some one was sure to say, "Boys, we've got to go in now; yonder comes Captain Fairfax after us." Longstreet with the rest of his division was hotly engaged at the front.

This was one of the hardest fought battles of the war. We lay in full hearing, though not in sight of the battle-ground, on account of the woods and hills intervening. I never before or afterwards heard such heavy musketry firing. I have read somewhere that General Lee said it was the heaviest he ever heard.

The Confederates lost heavily in this fight, as they attacked the enemy in strong, fortified positions. The Yankees admitted a loss of 9,000 killed and wounded, and twenty-two cannon.

The brigade went down the road towards the battlefield. It was nearly dark by the time we got down to the creek, when the firing ceased, and the battle was over. The Yankees had been driven from 137every part of the field, and that night crossed to the south side of the Chickahominy, and McClellan commenced his retreat by the left flank to James River.

I remember, as we were going down the road, seeing Chaplain John C. Granberry, later Bishop Granberry, going along with the men. I said to him, "Mr. Granberry, you ought not to go into this fight; you have no gun and may get shot." He replied, "I have an object in going," and on he went. A few days afterwards, at Malvern Hill, he was badly wounded and left on the field for dead, but recovered, losing the sight of an eye, however, from the effects of a wound on the brow. I remember also, as we were going down the hill, we heard that Col. R. E. Withers had been mortally wounded. As we crossed the bridge over Powhite Creek I saw the surgeon of the Eighteenth Virginia, which the Colonel commanded, and asked the doctor if Colonel Withers was badly wounded. "Yes, sir," he replied, "he can not live an hour." He did live, however.

I was sick that day, but stayed with the company until the fighting was all over, when I started back to Richmond, the surgeon having given me a sick-pass during the afternoon.

I determined, however, to go into the fight if the regiment was called on, but as before said, the Yankees gave it up before we got at them, to which I had not the slightest objection; in fact, I was 138very glad of it. I made my way back towards Richmond next day, walking very slowly, and resting often by the wayside, went to the camp where the tents were still standing, where the man Pillow I have spoken of was also sick. In a few days several old men from Campbell County, who had come to Richmond to look after the sick and wounded men of Company C, took us to Richmond to a hotel where we went to bed. In a day or two we were sent with other sick and wounded to Lynchburg, and from there I went home and remained until restored to health, after a long spell of sickness.

The brigade was engaged in the fight on the 30th of June at Frazier's Farm, though I don't think many were killed.

As I lay in the tent, I could hear the booming of the big guns in this battle. The Yankees made a last stand at Malvern Hill, where, on the 1st of July, a desperate battle was fought, the Yankees holding their position until after nightfall, when they retired to Harrison's landing under the protection of their gunboats. McClellan was afterwards called Gunboat McClellan, he having sought the safety of the gunboats. His initials were G. B.

In the Seven Days' fighting around Richmond, the Confederates, according to General Lee's report, captured more than 10,000 prisoners, fifty-two pieces of artillery, and 35,000 muskets. The Yankees admit they had 160,000 in the Peninsula 139campaign, and that there were only 85,000, when it ended at Harrison's landing on the James River, fit for duty. The Confederate loss was heavy, but nothing to compare with the Yankee loss.


Second Manassas and Maryland Campaign—Sharpsburg—Back
to Virginia—From
Winchester to Culpeper—To


Some time after the battles around Richmond, the brigade set out on what is called the Maryland campaign. It took part in the second battle of Manassas, on the 30th of August, 1862, when my brother, Robert W., who was just eighteen years old, and had joined the company the day before, was badly wounded in the thigh. He was taken to Warrenton, where his father came to him. While there the latter had a severe spell of typhoid fever.

In the fight Company C lost four men killed, as follows: Harvey Martin, W. H. Hendricks, Chas. Murrell, and H. O. Elliott, and several wounded. In this battle the brigade charged and captured a Yankee battery.


The brigade was also engaged in the battle of Sharpsburg, Md., on the 17th of September, 1862, 141when Major Clement was in command of the Eleventh Regiment and was desperately wounded. He never again returned to the army. He still lives in Campbell County, respected and honored by his people. Adam Clement was a true man, among the bravest of the brave.

I have heard some of Company C relate that on the evening of September 15th, when near Sharpsburg, they saw General Lee by the roadside. When the head of the column, which was falling back before the Yankee army from the direction of South Mountain, reached a certain point, General Lee remarked, as the troops by his order filed off the road to form line of battle, "We will make our stand on these hills," and here the Confederates did make a desperate stand before a largely superior force, 30,000 against 80,000, and held their ground to the end. This was a bloody fight, many thousand men being killed and wounded on both sides. General Jackson had a few days before captured Harper's Ferry, with 11,000 prisoners and large quantities of stores and munitions of war. Jackson and his men then set out to rejoin General Lee at Sharpsburg, arriving, some of them, late in the afternoon on the 17th inst., with ranks much depleted by the hasty march. But "old Jack" got there in time to save the day.

Company C lost two, and perhaps more, men killed, as follows: Joe Rice and John Rice, and several wounded.



After the battle of Sharpsburg the brigade, with the Confederate troops, re-crossed the Potomac River and camped about Winchester until the latter part of October.

I rejoined the army near Winchester about the 25th of September, 1862, going by railroad to Staunton in company with several men of Company C, who had been home on sick and wounded furloughs, from whence we tramped down the pike and back road, a distance of ninety-odd miles to and beyond Winchester.

The second day, I think it was, we left the rock road, crossing over to the back road in order to procure rations more easily along the way, which we did without any trouble, buying our food from the farm-houses along the road, and sleeping in the woods at night. It took four or five days to make the trip.

With the main army, the brigade left Winchester about the 25th of October, marched up the rock road some distance, then struck across towards the Blue Ridge, wading the Shenandoah River, waist-deep or more. Along the farther side of the river, I remember there were some grand old sycamore trees growing with wide-spreading branches. Whenever I read of or hear Stonewall Jackson's dying words, "Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees," I think of those sycamores 143on the Shenandoah, under which I have no doubt Jackson and his men rested in the long ago.

We crossed the Blue Ridge at Thornton's Gap, not far from Sperryville, passing through Madison, Rappahannock, Orange, and Culpeper counties. Through Madison County the road ran for some distance along Robinson River, which has the rockiest bed I ever saw, literally covered with small boulders, not very small at that, some of them. We arrived at Culpeper Court House about the 3d of November. In the meantime, the enemy had crossed the Potomac and were then near Warrenton, Fauquier County, and about the middle of November moved towards Fredericksburg.

The army remained in Culpeper and Orange counties until about the 19th of November, 1862, when it moved on towards Fredericksburg, where the brigade arrived about the 25th of November, stopping by the way several times, going through the Wilderness country—large tracts of woodlands, miles and miles in extent, which afterwards became famous as the ground on which several bloody battles were fought—a part of the way along the old plank-road, going into, as was thought, winter quarters, building "dog houses," some two miles south of Fredericksburg.

The Yankee army, now commanded by General Burnside, was in camp on the opposite side of the Rappahannock River, on what was called Stafford Heights, which overlooked the town and country on 144the south side, their thousands of white tents being in plain view from the hills on the south side of the river.

The Yankees always camped in the open fields, where they pitched their tents. The Confederates camped in woods after the first year, when improvised shelters were used, for few were the tents they had.

The camps of both armies extended along the river, on either side, some twelve or fifteen miles. The picket lines were along the river banks, in sight of each other, but no firing was done; instead, the soldiers sometimes clandestinely crossed over, swapping tobacco and coffee—the "Johnnies," as the Yankees called the Confederates, having the tobacco, and the "Yanks" the coffee. Newspapers were also exchanged.

While here many of the men were without shoes, and beef hides were issued to make moccasins, but this was a poor shift for shoes, and did little or no good.


The Battle of Fredericksburg—Kemper's
Brigade in Reserve—Spectacular Scene—Behind
Marye's Hill—Sharp-Shooting—At
Home—Sad Loss


Longstreet was in command of the corps, and Gen. Geo. E. Pickett was the division commander, having been assigned to the division in September. The hills along the south side of the river on which Lee's army was encamped are from a half to a mile back from the river, broad bottom lands intervening between the river and hills. When the line of battle was formed, Jackson's Corps was on the Confederate right, Longstreet on the left, and Kemper's Brigade on Longstreet's right flank, and about the center of the line of battle, which was some four miles long.

Jackson being on the right, no one was uneasy about that wing; Longstreet on the left, with General Lee near him, all felt at ease, and with Pickett's Division about the center, we were sure of success.

I don't know whether the Yankees knew Kemper's Brigade was in the center or not; one 146thing certain, they did not attack this part of the line. I for one was very glad of it, and I think I had company.

It had been rumored about camp for some time that the Yankees were about to cross the river and give battle. On the morning of the 11th of December the rumor proved true—the Yankees were preparing to cross now, beyond a doubt. I remember when we were aroused early that morning by the Yankee guns shelling the town, I exclaimed, "Poor old Fredericksburg!" It was not a part of General Lee's plan to seriously contest the crossing; only one brigade, Barksdale's Mississippians, who occupied the river front, in and just below the town as pickets, made any resistance. They, however, drove back several times the pontoon bridge-builders before they succeeded in laying their bridges across the river, which is here about 300 yards wide. It was not until the afternoon of the 12th that the Yankee army had crossed over. On the morning of the 13th of December, 1862, when the line of battle was finally formed for the big fight, I remember General Kemper rode out in front of each regiment of his brigade and spoke to the men, urging them to do their duty, saying among other things, "If we can whip the enemy here to-day, I tell you from what I know, the Confederacy is surely established." But alas! he did not know. The enemy was badly whipped that day, but the Confederacy failed.

147As before said, the Yankees did not attack the center of the Confederate lines, but tried both the right and left wings about the same time. The morning of the 13th of December was very foggy along the river bottoms, and it was some time after sun-up, perhaps nine or ten o'clock, before the fog lifted and the battle commenced. Soon after the firing began on the right and left, Kemper's Brigade was marched back off the line of battle up on a hill, so as to be in position to give support wherever needed. While lying down there a big shell from a Yankee gun across the river was fired at the line. The big, long shell, "camp kettles," as they were called, struck the ground near by, but did not explode—it just tipped along through the chinquapin bushes like an old hare and then lay still; no one went out to investigate—all were glad it did not burst, and just "left it be." They did not throw any more over there; all were glad of that, too, but did not let the Yanks know it; we just laid still, and like Pete Vaughan's bear, "never said a word," nor made any sign of approval or disapproval.

From where the brigade lay on this hill, the Yankee lines advancing on Jackson's position could be plainly seen, but Jackson's men could not be seen—only the smoke from their guns, the men being concealed in the woods.



This battle scene was a grand spectacle—more like some great panoramic picture of a battle than anything I saw during the war. Ordinarily, very little of a battle is seen by the troops engaged or in reserve, the reserve forces being generally concealed as much as possible from the enemy, and the troops engaged too busy to pay any attention to what is going on except in their immediate front. Most of the fighting is done in the woods.

Three times with triple lines of battle the Yankees advanced across the open field to within musket range of Jackson's men, the artillery on each side belching forth shot and shell, grape and canister the while, and each time upon receiving a deadly fire, halted and then began to waiver, give back, scatter and finally disappear over the rise in the ground, out of sight and out of range, leaving many dead and wounded behind.

The Yankee officers on horseback could be seen riding hither and thither among the men. One fellow on an iron-gray horse was particularly active and conspicuous, seeming to be doing his utmost to urge his men forward, but all to no purpose. They had run up against "Stonewall," and they had no better success than their comrades, who about the same time were butting up against a rock wall at the foot of Marye's Hill, on the Confederate left. 149We could see the Yankee ambulances busy hauling the wounded across the river and up the hills beyond, to the hospitals.

All the time we could hear the roar of the battle-tide to the left, as well as see and hear it on the right. The booming of the cannon, the bursting of the shells, and the long, deep, continuous roar of the musketry, made a noise as if all nature was in convulsion.

"Then shook the hills with thunder riven,
Then rushed the steed to battle driven,
And louder than the bolts of heaven,
Far flashed the red artillery."

The big Yankee guns over the river punctuating the noise with frequent loud and long sounding booms, followed by the screams of the big shells, as they sped across the river, the reply of the Confederates' heavy guns—all sounded like "pandemonium broke loose"—whatever that is—or like the crash of worlds in the coming clash of the spheres, if ever God Almighty lets loose the reins that hold them in their orbits. It has been said that during this battle, General Lee remarked to some one, "This is grand; it is well that it does not come often. We would become too fond of such things."


Soon after the Yankees got enough of Stonewall's men on the right, and while the battle was still 150raging on the left, Kemper's Brigade was called to "attention," and marched off in quick time to the left towards Fredericksburg; going to support the troops on Marye's Hill, who had borne the heat and burden of the day on that wing, passing Gen. R. E. Lee on the road, standing by his war horse, "Traveler," with his staff about him, on a high point from where he could "view the landscape o'er," and a large part of the battlefield as well; I think, however, General Lee was giving more attention to the battle than to the landscape. A battery of heavy artillery was near by, engaged in a duel with the Yankee guns across the river. The brigade did not halt to act as a second in that duel, but hurried on down the telegraph road towards Fredericksburg.

Just about the time the head of the column reached the foot of the long hill, and filed to the left, a Yankee battery from somewhere, presumably from across the river, commenced throwing shells right into the line, exploding in the midst, and knocking men right and left. A few feet in front I saw a shell explode and knock several men of Company H heels over head. All were now moving at a run and soon got out of range of this battery, crossing Hazel Run, and going in the rear of Marye's Hill, lying down there until dark, expecting to be called into action at any moment. But Generals Ransom and Cobb, with their gallant North Carolinians and Georgians, stood like statues behind the rock wall—with the now famous Washington 151Artillery, under Colonel Walton, behind them on the crest of the hill—and repulsed with great slaughter the frequent and desperate assaults made by the enemy in columns of whole divisions, literally covering the ground with dead Yankees. Not during the war was any piece of ground so thickly covered with dead men as this.

Some years ago I talked with a Yankee soldier who was in one of the assaulting columns at this place, who described the situation there in front of the Confederate lines as, "a hell on earth."

Six separate and distinct assaults the Yankees made with divisions heavily massed, but all failed.

While the brigade lay just back of the hill, spent balls came over from the front, dropping among the men, and now and then wounding some one—a very uncomfortable position to be in, though not very dangerous; the balls had hardly force enough to kill, yet they hit pretty hard. I remember Captain Houston, of Company K, had the breath fairly knocked out of him by being struck about the short ribs with a spent minie ball. The surgeon made an examination and found the skin had not been broken, only a severe bruise, whereupon he remarked, "It is only a furlough wound." No enemy was in sight upon whom the fire could be returned; all that could be done was to lay low, hug mother earth, and await events.

About sundown the firing ceased and the battle of Fredericksburg was over, though no one knew it.

152The Yankees had been beaten back at every point they assailed the Confederate lines, but were not routed nor driven back across the river. General Lee, standing on the defensive all this day, still stood awaiting another attack, but none came.

I have often thought how presumptuous it was in Burnside to attack Lee and Jackson in their chosen position; although his forces greatly outnumbered theirs, yet he stood no earthly chance of driving the Confederates from their position. General Burnside used no strategy or tactics in this battle; he just hurled his massed forces against Lee's lines.

"On to Richmond" was the clamor at the North, and Burnside had to do something. He got soundly whipped, for a fact.


At dark the brigade went around the hill to the left and relieved the troops who had been fighting all day. The Eleventh Regiment was placed in a cut in the road on the outskirts of the town, just to the left of the stone wall, remaining here that night, and the next day, sharp-shooting with the Yankees posted in the houses of the town. If a head was raised above the bank for half a minute, "sip" would come a minie ball, the Confederates returning the fire, giving the Yankees tit-for-tat—shot for shot.

It was fun for some of Company C to place a hat or cap on a ramrod, raise it slowly above the bank, and as soon as the Yankee ball whizzed by, rise up 153and fire at the door or window from whence the puff of smoke came. Some of them would raise a hand above the bank and say, "Look, boys, I am going to get a furlough wound," but they would hold it there only a second, lest it be struck sure enough. I saw here one of the men fire upon two Yankees, one on the back of the other, who let his charge drop at the crack of the gun. I have often regretted not preventing this shot. It was a case of one comrade helping a sick or wounded friend. Then we looked upon them as deadly enemies, and they were, too; revengeful, vindictive, and cruel.

All that day and the next, the 14th and 15th, the two armies lay still, only engaging in sharp-shooting and picket-firing along some parts of the line. On the night of the 15th, the Yankees, like the Arab, folded their tents and quietly stole away in the night, re-crossing the river on their pontoon bridges, which they drew ashore on the north bank, and again all was quiet along the banks of the Rappahannock; "no sound save the rush of the river." But many a soldier was "off duty forever."

In the battle of Fredericksburg the Yankees admitted the loss of between twelve and fifteen thousand men killed, wounded and captured, while the Confederate loss was comparatively light.

The brigade, on the 16th, marched back a mile or two south of Fredericksburg, camping in the woods near Guinea Station, on the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac Railroad, where big snowball battles were fought, regiment pitted against regiment, 154the field officers on horseback taking part, and getting well pelted too.

While in camp near Fredericksburg, John Lane, a young soldier of Company C, died. He had been sick only a few days. One evening we had orders to be ready to march at sun-up the next morning. I got up that morning quite early to look after him and get him in the ambulance. I first went to where he was sleeping to enquire how he was. I found him lying between two of his sleeping comrades, stark and cold in death, his bed-fellows being unaware that he had passed away while they slept. Blood-stains on his lips told that he had died of hemorrhage. We remained in the vicinity of Fredericksburg until the latter part of February, 1863. Just before the brigade moved from here, an order came to detail one officer from each regiment to go home for supplies of shoes, socks, and clothing for the men. Maj. Kirk Otey, who was in command of the regiment, very kindly gave me this detail without solicitation on my part. Of course, I was delighted to go home, and be with the loved ones, but this great pleasure ended very sadly indeed. A terrible stroke fell on my wife and myself in the death of our little boy, Dixie, who was then nearly eighteen months old. We had gone from my father's, where my wife made her home during the war, to her father's, Capt. William Cocke, when our little boy was taken with a severe spell of acute indigestion, which threw him into 155convulsions, caused congestion of the brain, and in spite of all that loving hearts and hands and medical skill could do, he died in a few days. We laid him to rest in the old family graveyard at Shady Grove with sad, sad hearts. The day after he was buried I had to leave home for the army, the time of my detail having expired, and the rules of war being inexorable, I had to go. My wife was inconsolable. It was with a sad and heavy heart I left her in care of those I knew full well would do all for her that human love and sympathy could do. Duty called me hence and I had to obey.


To Richmond, Chester, and Petersburg—To
North Carolina—Back to Virginia, at
Suffolk—To Taylorsville—On to
Join General Lee


While I was away Pickett's Division and other troops under Longstreet left the vicinity of Fredericksburg, marched to and through Richmond, and camped on the 13th of February, 1863, near Chester Station, on the Richmond & Petersburg Railroad. I heard some of the men say, that when bivouacked here, while the army slept under their blankets a heavy snow fell, enveloping all in a mantle of white while sleeping comfortably and quietly until day dawned, unconscious of the additional cover spread over them during the night. I rejoined the command about that time, and later we marched to the south side of Petersburg, protecting forage trains down towards Suffolk.

After marching in Southside, Va., for a few days, through Southampton and other counties, where we got some of the splendid hams—the finest I ever ate—for which this section is justly famous, one afternoon our mess bought some fresh herring. 157That night we ate all we could for supper and covered the rest up in the leaves for breakfast. But we were aroused at daybreak the next morning, and left for Petersburg, leaving the herring there in the woods. I often afterwards thought of and wished for those fish.


About the 20th of March, 1863, the brigade took the train at Petersburg for North Carolina. We were in box-cars, and built fires of pine wood on piles of dirt in the cars. It was very cold, and all were well smoked. We went by way of Weldon to Goldsboro, going into camp in the long-leaf pine woods just north of the town.

While here three men were shot for desertion. All the regiments were drawn up around the victims, who were bound to stakes in hollow square formation, one side of the square being open. A detail of eighteen men, one-half of whom had balls in their guns and the other half without balls, did the shooting. I don't remember to what commands these deserters belonged; I am sure none of them belonged to the Eleventh Regiment. This was to me a sickening spectacle, never witnessed before or afterwards. Very few Confederate soldiers suffered a like fate. It was necessary to make examples sometimes.

From Goldsboro we went to Kinston, on Neuse River, remaining here several days, and then 158marched to New Berne, lower down the Neuse—where there was some fighting with the Yankees who occupied the town. The Eleventh Regiment was not engaged. It was expected the place would be attacked, but it was not. General Pickett was in command.

I remember it was after night when the vicinity of New Berne was reached by Kemper's Brigade. Company C was detailed for picket duty. The company was conducted out through the pitch darkness, the night being foggy and very dark, by a guide sent for the purpose, who led us for some distance across an open field, finally posting the company with instruction to keep a sharp lookout for the Yankees in our front. When morning dawned, it was discovered that the company was one-half mile away from where it was intended to be posted, and facing in the wrong direction.

While in North Carolina, rations were plentiful, sweet potatoes and rice especially, also black-eyed peas, cornbread and bacon, all of which were greatly enjoyed, for rations had been pretty short in Virginia for some time. The country down on Neuse River was very rich and productive, large quantities of corn being raised, and while the troops occupied the country and kept the Yankees in their strongholds near the coast, foragers were busy with the wagons hauling out provisions and supplies for the army in Virginia.

159There were some fine old plantations and homes in this rich lowland country, where once prosperity, peace and happiness reigned; but now all was changed; the ruthless hand of a cruel and relentless enemy had been laid upon the country along the coast, the towns were in his possession, and the country and people for many miles back wore an aspect of gloom and despair, with many lone chimneys standing out as grim monuments to Yankee vandalism.

While at Kinston, Lieut. John W. Daniel, later United States Senator, who was then adjutant of the Eleventh Regiment, was promoted to major and ordered to report to Gen. Jubal A. Early, for duty as chief of staff, which position he filled with credit and distinction until he fell desperately wounded at the battle of the Wilderness, and as all know, maimed for life. What a name and fame he won in civil life is known of all men.


About the 4th of April, 1863, the brigade left North Carolina by train for Franklin Station, Va., south of Petersburg, on Blackwater River. In a few days, with other troops under the command of General Longstreet, we crossed Blackwater River and marched down near Suffolk, and had several skirmishes with the Yankees, who occupied the town. No attempt was made to capture the place. I 160think the object of the expedition was to give the Confederates an opportunity of gathering supplies along the Blackwater River and beyond, and by threatening Suffolk, prevent the Yankees sending reënforcements to Hooker, whom Lee was confronting on the Rappahannock.

The Confederates had a line of breastworks extending out from the Dismal Swamp at right angles on either side of the main road to Suffolk to another swamp on the left, with an abattis in front, but as usual the Yankees did not attack. There was also one or more batteries of artillery along, and some cavalry.

The picket line was about 1,000 yards to the front, at the further edge of a pine thicket, with open fields in front, extending towards Suffolk, though we were not in sight of the town; there were rifle-pits every few yards along the picket line.

One day while here the Yankees came out from Suffolk in force, drove in the pickets, and placed a battery in position in sight of the breastworks 800 yards away, and opened fire. The works were at once manned, and two batteries vigorously returned the fire of the enemy. All were expecting an attack on the breastworks and were prepared to meet it, but it did not come. It was not long before a shell from one of the Confederate guns struck and exploded an ammunition chest of a Yankee gun, at which a wild cheer went up from the Confederate lines, whereupon the Yankees broke and ran for 161dear life, leaving a disabled limber and one or more dead men on the ground. The captain of our battery had measured the distance from the breastworks to the point where the Yankees planted their battery, and knew exactly how to cut the fuse to do effective work. A Yankee detail returned the next day under flag of truce to get their dead, and said, "When you fellows raised that yell, we thought you were charging us, and we decamped in short order." The "Rebel yell" had terrified them again.

Another day, when Company C and Company D were on picket, the Yankees came out again. We could see the skirmishers deploying across an open field half a mile or more to the front, while their main body marched along the outside of the road fence in columns of fours, partially hid by trees and bushes. On they came, nearer and nearer, until the skirmishers reached a fence running parallel with our line some distance in front, rather out of range of our guns; here they halted and commenced shooting at long range. Expecting the main body to advance and attempt to drive us back from the picket line, we occupied the rifle-pits, and Captain Houston and myself tried to restrain the men from returning the fire until the enemy was in good range, but when the balls would come whizzing by, whacking the trees behind us, some of the men would crack away now and then in spite of us, but did not hit any of the Yankees.

162While this was going on, a black smoke burst forth from a large dwelling-house about 150 yards in our front, on the right of the road, the inmates, women and children, running and screaming from the burning house. The vandals had set fire to that house and burned it with all its contents, leaving those women and children homeless and helpless, only, as they said, because some of the Confederate pickets had been going there and getting something to eat. The miscreants left when the flames enveloped the house.

The Confederates gave them a parting volley, together with a loud cheer of derision and defiance. One of the Yankees was seen to fall, but got up again and went on. Sam Franklin, of Company C, took deliberate aim at this man in the road. At the crack of his gun the Yankee fell prone to the ground, when Sam cried out exultingly, "I got him; I got him." As the Yankee struggled to his feet and moved off down the road, Sam's exultant tone changed to one of chagrin, as he said, "No, I didn't; he's got up and gone." The Yankee went off; we never knew whether he had a bullet hole in his measly hide or not. No doubt all of us hoped he had, and that it had reached a vital spot.

After remaining near Suffolk several days longer, the command returned to Franklin Station, which place was abandoned on the —— day of May. Marching through the country, Petersburg was reached the 9th of May, 1863. From thence we went 163to Taylorsville, in Hanover County, remaining at the latter place until about the 3d of June.

This falling back from Suffolk was done in regular military order, as if expecting the enemy to make a hot pursuit. The trees along the roadside were chopped nearly down by the corps of sappers and miners—"sappling miners," as some of the boys called them—ready to be felled across the road by a few licks of the axe when the rear guard had passed. At the bridge across Blackwater, troops were deployed in line of battle on either side of the road; the artillery was also in position, in battery, unlimbered and ready for action; General Longstreet was at the bridge seeing to it that every detail was carried out. But the enemy made no effort to pursue. I think the bridge was destroyed after all had crossed over.

In the meantime General Lee had, on the 1st to 5th of May, fought and won the battle of Chancellorsville, where the immortal "Stonewall" Jackson fell.

While down on the Dismal Swamp the echoes of the great guns, away up on the Rappahannock, could be heard rolling through the swamps and lowlands; loud-mouthed messengers, telling of the deadly struggle raging far away.


Pennsylvania Campaign—Gettysburg—Back
to Virginia—General Lee and Army
of Northern Virginia


These troops—Pickett's Division and others—that had been in North Carolina and southeast of Petersburg since February, as before said, halted at Taylorsville, where they remained until the 3d of June, 1863. Leaving Corse's Brigade at Taylorsville, they then set out to join General Lee's army. Of course, no one knew where we were going, nor what General Lee's plans were. We were going to join "Mars Bob," and follow where he might lead. The Gettysburg or Pennsylvania campaign having been determined on, General Lee was gathering in all available troops. The battles around Chancellorsville had been fought and won without Longstreet and his legions, except McLaw's Division, but now they were again to play an important part in the army of Northern Virginia. We marched through the counties of Hanover, Spottsylvania, Orange, and Culpeper.

On the march I was taken sick, riding in an ambulance part of the way; the night before reaching 165Culpeper Court House I was quite ill. The next morning I was sent in an ambulance to Culpeper Court House to be forwarded to Lynchburg. At Culpeper I stopped at the hotel, where I went to bed until the next morning, when I got aboard the train for Lynchburg. The ladies at Culpeper were very kind to me, as they were to all soldiers, doing everything in their power for the Confederates all over the South.

On the train near Charlottesville I met Dr. G. W. Thornhill, who had been the regimental surgeon until a short while before, and with whom I had become quite intimate. The doctor was very kind, and before we got to Lynchburg, told me I need not go to the hospital, he being the chief surgeon in charge, but to a private house, and that his ambulance would be at the dépôt. When we got to Lynchburg, he took me to his ambulance, telling the driver to take me wherever I wished to go, saying he would come to see me every day. I went out on College Hill to my brother-in-law's, Mr. Geo. A. Burks, where, of course, I had the best of attention, and Dr. Thornhill, true to his promise, visited me daily. My wife and father came up at once, the former remaining with me until I was able to go out home in a carriage, which was in about two weeks. Dr. Thornhill said he had no authority to issue sick furloughs, but that I could go home, stay until I was well and report back to him, which I did in about three weeks.



General Lee led his army on towards the Potomac, maneuvering, so as to force the enemy to evacuate Virginia. The Southern army crossed the river and invaded Pennsylvania, when the bloody and ill-fated battle of Gettysburg was fought on the 1st, 2d and 3d days of July, 1863.

On account of this sickness I missed the Pennsylvanian campaign and the Gettysburg battle, in which Pickett's Division greatly distinguished itself, making a name that will live forever. I have often regretted not being in that charge; may be, if I had been there I would not now be writing these reminiscences.

In the battle of Gettysburg the loss was very heavy. Company C lost six men killed as follows: Lieut. James Connelly, M. M. ("Boy") Mason, Daniel Pillow, Charles Jones, Dabney Tweedy, and Lanious Jones. Lieutenant Connelly and Daniel Pillow were reported missing; that is, no one saw them fall and they were never heard of afterwards, and no doubt died on that bloody field doing their duty. They were brave and faithful soldiers. I was told by some of the company that when the command came to charge, after the heavy cannonading had ceased, Charles Jones was among the first on his feet, and although only a private, called out, "Come on, boys, let's go and drive away those infernal Yankees." He died game. It was also 167said of Dabney Tweedy, that as he was borne to the rear on a stretcher, his lifeblood fast flowing, he sang with his last breath a hymn he and his mess were wont to sing in camp. The company also had a number of men wounded. J. C. Jones lost an arm; my brother Robert W., was wounded in both feet. While going forward in that desperate charge the latter was struck with a minie ball on the instep of the right foot. Stopping to ascertain the extent of the wound, and "to see if I was hurt bad enough to go to the rear," as he expressed it, another ball struck his left foot just at the root of the third or fourth toe, tearing its way through the full length of his foot, and stopping in the heel. Hesitating no longer, he picked up his own and another musket that lay near by, which had fallen from the hands of some dead or wounded comrade, and using them as crutches, hopped to the rear, when he was taken charge of by the faithful negro servant, Horace, who had been with us from the beginning and remained faithful until the end. Horace, by taking Robert on his back, when no other means of conveyance was at hand, and by getting him in an ambulance or wagon when possible, brought him safely out of the enemy's country, across the Potomac, on down the Valley to Staunton, and in due time landed him safely at home, where our mother showered thanks on, and almost embraced, the faithful servant for bringing her boy home. I was at home when he arrived. The negroes were very faithful during 168the war, and I have always had kindly feelings towards them.

Robert remained at home until his wounds were healed, when he joined the command, and did faithful service to the end.


General Lee re-crossed the Potomac ten days after the battle of Gettysburg, and crossed the Blue Ridge into Culpeper County soon afterwards.

I rejoined the command about the last of July in Orange or Culpeper County.

There was no more fighting that summer between the main armies of Northern Virginia and the army of the Potomac, as the Yankees called their "grand army," greater by far in numbers and resources than the army of Northern Virginia, but deficient in leaders when compared with Lee and Jackson, and not equal in the courage and dash that enabled the much smaller army of Southerners to beat them on nearly every battlefield.

Lee and Jackson had a way of throwing a large body of men upon certain portions of the Yankee lines during a battle, generally striking them in the flank. Both as strategists and tacticians they were unsurpassed. They could combine armies and concentrate forces in action with the greatest skill, which are the true tests of military genius.

169Lee's army was much exhausted and depleted by the spring and summer campaigns—the great battles around Chancellorsville—which began on the 1st of May and ended on the 5th, on the night of which day the Yankees, badly beaten, stole back over the Rappahannock River, glad to escape; the three days' fighting at Gettysburg, in the first two of which the Confederates were successful, but failed on the third day because Pickett's men were not properly supported.

The armies lay on either side of the Rapidan, on the south side of which General Lee had taken position, while the Yankees confronted him on the north side, the two armies stretching up and down the river for many miles. Later General Lee retired south of the Rappahannock.

The army of Northern Virginia, while its ranks were much depleted by the many bloody battles of the year (and many were footsore and weary from the long marches, ragged and dirty as they were), yet the men were not dispirited nor had they lost faith in their great leader, upon whom all looked as the greatest captain of the age. I know full well the sentiment among the men was, that the failure at Gettysburg was due, not to General Lee's want of skill and ability as a leader, but to the tardiness of Longstreet, and his failure to support Pickett's charge. The men knew well where the fault lay, and were not slow to express themselves.



In August or September, after the men had rested and the army had been recruited by the return to duty of many sick and wounded, there were general reviews. The whole army, of every branch—infantry, artillery, and cavalry—was drawn up in columns of regiments, brigades, and divisions, in large open fields, General Lee and his staff riding along the lines of each command, and then all marched by the reviewing station, showing by the steady and firm step and soldierly bearing that they were not disheartened, but ready to go whenever their trusted and beloved commander might point the way. While other commanders were often criticized, never a word of censure of General Lee escaped the lips of his men; he was "Mars Bob" and "Uncle Bob" with them, and whatever he did was right, in their estimation.

I have just spoken of General Lee as the greatest captain of the age, and so he was; I am equally sure that the army of Northern Virginia was never excelled in the annals of the world.

Without this army Lee and Jackson could never have made the name and fame they did. These generals had confidence in their men, and the men had confidence in their generals; there was not only mutual confidence, but mutual love and esteem.

171History records no incidents like those in which, on two occasions, Lee's men, when he had placed himself in front to lead desperate charges, cried out, "General Lee, to the rear"; and private soldiers actually seized his bridle reins and led his horse through the lines to the rear saying, "General Lee, we will attend to this; you go to the rear." I did not see this, but it is too well authenticated to admit of question. I am sure there were men in Company C, and the other companies of the Eleventh Regiment, who would have done and said the same thing under like circumstances.

At the Bridge of Lodi, Napoleon, after his men had made two unsuccessful attempts to cross the bridge and capture a battery, seized the colors and led a successful charge. Lee's men compelled him to go to the rear and then made successful charges. Some one, in writing of this incident in Napoleon's career, remarked that "any corporal in the French army should have been capable of carrying the flag over that bridge." Lee had thousands of privates capable of leading his horse to the rear and commanding him to go to the rear. General Lee fully recognized the prowess of his men, and always gave them due credit in general orders.

I believe the time will come when some great historian will be raised up to tell the true story of the Southern Confederacy, of her heroic armies and matchless leaders; some Gibbons, Burke or Macaulay; and another Virgil or Homer in a great 172epic poem will sing of arms and of men, the like of which the world has never known. An Englishman has truly said, "It was an army in which every virtue of an army, and the genius of consummate generalship, had been displayed."

If Lee and Jackson had lived in the mythological ages of the world they would have been called the sons of gods, if not very gods, and the men they led classed with the heroes who fought under the walls of Troy.

When this history is written the world will be astonished at the disparity in numbers, equipments, and resources of the contending armies.

"True greatness will always bear the test of time. The greatness of really great men will grow as the ages roll by." The fame of Lee and Jackson, and the army that helped to make them great, will go down the eons of time, ever increasing, and when time shall be no more, the echo will be heard resounding through the corridors of eternity.


To Taylorsville—At Chafin's Farm—To
North Carolina—Marching Through
Swamps and Sand—The Capture of
Plymouth—Companies C and G
Have Serious Experiences—Incidents
of the Battle—The
Gunboat "Albemarle"—Col.
Dearing Wins
to Washington, North Carolina—Newberne


In the early fall of 1863, the brigade now commanded by Gen. ("Buck") W. R. Terry, General Kemper being disabled by wounds received at Gettysburg, moved down towards Spottsylvania County, and later, about the 1st of October, 1863, went into camp near Taylorsville, Hanover County, which seemed a favorite stopping place. I remember on this march I wore a pair of new boots. My feet becoming sore and blistered, I had to fall back in the rear. I took off the boots and walked in my socks until the sand worked through, when the 174bottoms of my feet began to burn as if walking on hot embers. I then took off my socks and walked on, barefooted, until the sand and gravel began to wear away the cuticle, when I put on my boots without socks, and limped on, coming up with the command after dark, which was bivouacked by the roadside.

The brigade remained at Taylorsville until about the 1st of January, 1864, guarding the railroad bridges over the North and South Anna rivers, and doing picket duty to the east down on the Pamunky. I remember while on picket that fall, the weather was delightful, the atmosphere pure and clear as that under the far-famed Italian skies, and how the boys used to watch the morning-star as it rose high in the heavens, keeping track of it as late as 10 and 11 o'clock A. M., when it could be seen plainly with the naked eye, by knowing exactly where to look, some one always keeping it in sight.

The command was quite comfortably situated here, some building huts or "dog houses" and chimneys to tents, and as the picket duty was not very arduous, we had a pretty good time, though rations were scarce. My memory is at fault as to the time the brigade was in camp below Richmond at Chafin's Farm, nearly opposite Drury's Bluff. At any rate, we were there at one time, and relieved Gen. Henry A. Wise's brigade. Here we had a fine camping ground in high, level fields, and expected to remain some time, but did not tarry very 175long. While here I visited the batteries at Drury's Bluff, and saw the big guns mounted there, pointing down a long stretch of the river half a mile or more. The men here said, that lower down on the bluff other big guns were in position near the water's edge, which, they declared, "could blow clear out of the water any Yankee gunboat that attempted to pass up the river." The Yankee gunboats at one time attacked this place, but were driven off in short order. The Confederate ironclad gunboat, Patrick Henry, lay at anchor in the river just above the bluff. This I also visited, going on board, and inspecting the little monster, small though formidable, with its ribs of railroad iron, and big guns. I was struck with how neat and clean everything was kept—spic and span as any ladies' parlor or drawing-room—the floors highly polished, the brass work clean and shining, and the officers and crew very polite, taking pains and seeming pride in showing visitors over the boat.

Soon after we arrived at Chafin's Farm I went on some errand for General Kemper or General Terry (I forget now which was in command) to Gen. Henry A. Wise's headquarters. I had seen General Wise before and had heard him speak more than once, but had never met him. I was struck with his polite and pleasing manner, and the courtesy with which he received me. But the man of the most pleasing and delightful manners I met during the war was Col. Isaac H. Carrington, provost 176marshal of Richmond. I had occasion once to visit his office on business and was perfectly charmed with his urbanity not profuse or embarrassing to a visitor, but delightfully easy and pleasing was his manner; I am sure he was a born gentleman.

I should have stated before, that in the early fall of 1863, soon after the brigade and the other brigades of Pickett's Division had been detached and sent to Taylorsville, thence below Petersburg, Longstreet and his other two divisions, Hood's and McLaw's, were also detached and sent to Tennessee, where they rendered distinguished service in the battle of Chickamauga, and later at Knoxville.


On the 10th of January, 1864, the brigade embarked on the cars at Petersburg for Goldsboro, N. C, via Weldon; remained at Goldsboro until near the last of the month, going thence to Kinston, on Neuse River.

About the 1st of February the brigade, with other troops under General Pickett, marched to New Berne, lower down on the Neuse. The town was invested and there was some fighting, some outposts taken and prisoners captured as well as considerable stores, but the town was not attacked, nor was the Eleventh Regiment actively engaged, though at one time the brigade was drawn up in line of battle, and all thought that we were going into a 177fight. I remember as the line was being formed, seeing the drummers with their drums slung over their shoulders going back to where the surgeons had selected a position for the field hospital, to assist the doctors. I remarked to some one that if I lived through the war, I intended to have all my boys learn to beat the drum. Whenever the drummers and the cavalry were seen going to the rear, some one was sure to say, "Look out, boys, we are going to have a fight." The troops marched back to Kinston, thence to Goldsboro, where we remained until the 20th of February, when we again marched to Kinston.

About this time, I got a twenty-days' furlough and went home. Many of the officers and men got furloughs during the winter, as there was little or no fighting going on.


We lived pretty well while marching and tramping around through the swamps and sands of Eastern North Carolina, but some of the marches were very trying. In places the roadbeds were worn down a foot or two; in rainy weather the roads would be full of mud and water half-leg deep, through which we tramped for miles on a stretch, the roadside being closely bordered with thick-growing bushes and intertwining vines; it was impossible to avoid the slush and water. Often when a particularly muddy stretch of road, or a big, deep 178mudhole was encountered, some wag would call out, "Boys, you have been looking for a soft place, here it is." By the "soft place" was meant an easy, bomb-proof detail, where there was no fighting, picket or guard duty to perform.

Some of these marches were made in the night time, when the men would splash and flounder along through the mud, some swearing, some laughing and cracking jokes, and ever and anon, the "Bonnie Blue Flag," "Dixie," or some other patriotic song would be started, when the woodland would ring for miles with the songs, and the echoes go rolling through the swamps and marshes.

In some sections the roads ran through high and dry lands, the roadbeds filled with loose, white sand, over which the marching was very laborious; sometimes through the long-leaf pine turpentine orchards, as they were called—great forests of tall pines, the bark from two sides of the trees being scraped off, with steel-bladed knives on long poles, many feet from the ground, so that when the sap rises it exudes freely, running down the trunks of the trees into deep notches near the ground, cut with long-bladed axes, made for the purpose, and then dipped out into buckets and conveyed to the turpentine distillery.

During the winter these scraped-off surfaces are incrusted with dried rosin, which burns freely when set on fire, the blaze running up the trees many feet. On these night marches sometimes the soldiers 179would apply the torch to the rosin-covered trees along the roadside, when the woods and country around would be lighted up, the flames leaping up the tall pines to the very tops; the long, gray moss hanging in festoons from the branches of the live oaks interspersed among the pines, the glare of the long streaks of flame reflecting on the white sand, scintillating like carpets woven of silver threads and sprinkled with tiny diamonds; the gloom off in the woods beyond the penetration of the light, and anon the hooting of the big owl and the scream of the nighthawk—all brought to mind scenes described in fairy tales, where witches and goblins in fantastic attire and shapes participate in high carnival, reveling with kindred spirits in some vale of tangled wild-wood, deep hidden and embossed in the gloom, save for the glare of the torches of the devotees—while the gray lines of the soldiers, like grim spectral figures stalking along betwixt the blazing trees, the red lights flashing from their burnished muskets and bayonets, reflected on their begrimed faces, resembled gigantic and uncanny figures moving amidst the flames of some plutorion realm.

These high, sandy roads traverse the country between Goldsboro, Kinston, and Tarboro.

While I was on furlough, the command went by train to Wilmington, thence by steamer down Cape Fear River to Smithville, opposite Fort Fisher, camping on the seashore, where the men feasted on oysters and fish.

180After the expiration of my furlough I returned to the command, which was, when I left home, still on the seashore, but on my arrival at Wilmington I met the brigade on the return trip up the river on the way to Goldsboro, where we remained until the 1st of April, then marched to Tarboro on Tar River, when some one started a report that "Tar River was on fire," but the report, like many others circulated in the army, proved untrue. These rumors were called "grapevine dispatches," and were about on a par with the weather man's reports of to-day. While at Manassas the first year of the war a report was circulated that the Black Horse Cavalry had captured the Yankee gunboat Pawnee on the Potomac River.


On the 15th of April, 1864, the brigade, with other troops—infantry, artillery, and cavalry, under the command of Gen. R. F. Hoke, of North Carolina—marched on Plymouth, which was captured on the 20th of April, with a brigade of Yankees, and large quantities of stores, arms, and provisions. Our little army lived high for a few days, literally feasting on the fat of the land. While besieging the town, Company C and Company G of the Eleventh Regiment had an experience worth relating; a very trying and disastrous one it was, too, for these two companies, which I will presently 181relate. Plymouth is situated on the south bank of Roanoke River, not far from where it empties into the Albemarle Sound.

The Yankees had erected several forts and redoubts around the place, one of which, Fort Warren, was about a mile up the river and not in sight of the town. When the town was invested, Terry's Brigade, except the Twenty-fourth Regiment, which went below near the town, was placed in front of this fort, which could not be seen from where the lines were first formed, for the woods intervened. As soon as the lines were established, Company C was detailed for picket duty and placed along the farther edge of the piece of woods in which the line was formed. I walked out in the field to see what could be seen, and pretty soon came in sight of the Yankee pickets to the left, one of whom took off his cap and waved it; I did not return his salute. About that time there appeared beyond the Yankee pickets, still further to the left, what I at first thought was a train of cars. While I was looking on in astonishment, a puff of smoke burst from the supposed train with a loud boom and shriek through the air, which I at once recognized as a cannon shot and shell. I divined at once, that what I had taken for a train of cars was a Yankee gunboat steaming up Roanoke River, though I could not see the river for the high banks. I don't know whether that shell was fired at me or not—they may have just been "shelling the woods"; I was the only Confederate 182in sight of the boat in the direction which it was fired. If it was, it was a poor shot, it went high overhead and crashed into the woods beyond. I did not run, but am pretty certain I ducked my head, and walked back to the picket line; I did not return the salutation of the Yankee picket, but bowed to the shell. It was very hard to keep from dodging when a shell went by, or a minie ball whizzed close. I heard a story on one of our generals who, on one occasion when his men were dodging at the minie balls, upbraided them, saying, "Stand up like men and don't dodge," when pretty quick a shell came very close to the general, who ducked his head. The men began to laugh, and the general said, "It is all right to dodge them big ones."

The gunboat steamed on up the river out of sight. That afternoon or the next morning the Confederate pickets advanced nearer to, and in sight of the fort, wading through a swamp in the woods for several hundred yards from half-leg to knee-deep in water, to the edge of the field in which the fort was situated, some 800 or 1,000 yards away.

The companies took daily turns at this duty while the siege of the town lasted.


Now I come to the relation of that trying and disastrous experience mentioned above. The scare 183I had from the Yankee gunboat and shell was as nothing compared to this. One morning before day, Company C and Company G were aroused from sleep, called to arms, and received instructions from Colonel Otey, coming from General Terry, to "march out in the field in front of the fort to within musket range, open fire and keep down the Yankee gunners while the Confederate battery shells the Yankees out of the fort." Company G was commanded by Lieut. James Franklin, of Lynchburg, and I, being the senior officer, had charge of the expedition. As soon as the orders were received, off we started. Wading through the swamp, we came out at the picket posts at the edge of the field when the first streaks of daybreak could be seen in the east. Company G had not yet gotten out of the swamp. It being important to get position as near the fort as possible while it was yet dark, I at once deployed Company C in skirmish line and moved forward, leaving word with the pickets for Company G to come on as soon as they got through the swamp.

We marched on in silence until within about 400 yards of the fort, when all at once, without any warning, or even saying, "by your leave," the Yankees let loose the dogs of war upon us, with, as it seemed to me, all kinds of guns and shot, big and little—shells, grapeshot, canister, and minie balls. At this warm and sudden salutation, the men fell prone to the ground. Thinking that we were 184not close enough to the fort to do much execution with muskets, I gave the command, "Forward," when every man rose to his feet and rushed forward some distance. When the command, "Lie down and commence firing," was given, this was at once obeyed. About this time Company G came up at double-quick and joined in the firing. All the while the Yankees were pouring it into us, killing and wounding a good many. Here the two companies lay out in the open field without any protection whatever, without a tree or rock, stump or log to shelter them, firing at the fort until after sun-up, while the Confederate battery was trying to shell the Yankees out of the fort. They were only trying, sure enough, for I could see the shells bursting high in the air over the fort, while never a one entered or exploded near it. I had sent back for more ammunition, some of the men saying their supply was running short from the rapid firing, but before the messenger returned I concluded the right thing to do was to get away from that place as soon as possible; so I gave the command, "Skirmish in retreat; double-quick, march," which was done in full double-quick time. Sad to say, we left five or six men, good soldiers, dead on the field, while a number of others were wounded.

Company C lost two good men killed, as follows: Bennett Tweedy, Wm. Monroe, and I think another, whose name I do not remember. Among the wounded was Abner Bateman, who had his right 185arm shattered above the elbow. A section of the bone was removed by the surgeon, so that afterwards he had an extra joint, as it were, in his arm. Company G lost several men also. That night a detail was sent out and brought off the dead bodies, which were buried down there in the sands of the Old North State, where, no doubt, they still lie mouldering into dust, if not already dust, ere this.

I remember when we came back to the line of battle that morning, F. C. Tweedy, a brother of Bennett, who from some cause had not gone with us, came to us and said, "Where is Bennett?" Some one replied, "Bennett was killed." "Ferd" then threw up his hands and exclaimed, "Oh, my God!" I shall never forget the agonized tone of Ferd's voice; it was if his very soul was pierced through and through.

This fort was manned by 200 men with muskets, besides the big guns, 32-pounders, mounted on the parapet; also had sandbags arranged along the parapet, so as to form loopholes for muskets. These 200 men in the fort, well protected, were shooting at the 75 or 80 men laying out there in the field, without the slightest protection—an equal contest indeed!

I have always thought it a "fool order" that sent these companies out that morning.

It was said afterwards, and no doubt true, that a little lieutenant who had been doing some scouting, suggested the project to General Terry. This 186lieutenant was standing out in the field alone while the firing was going on that morning, some distance from the firing line, when the Yankees took a crack at him with a charge of grapeshot, one of which struck him in the heel and maimed him for life. We did not know that he was anywhere near, nor that he had been wounded until after the fighting was over. When it was known that he had suggested the "fool project," I don't think he got much sympathy from any one.

On the 20th of April, the troops near the town, by an assault on and capture of the forts near the place, compelled the surrender of the enemy. We could hear the fighting going on down the river a mile away. All at once the firing ceased and cheering commenced, when the men began to say, "They are cheering—sh! sh! Listen, listen! See which side is cheering!" It was not long before the "Rebel yell" was recognized, then all knew the day had been won, when the troops above sent up a mighty shout in answer to their comrades below.

Pretty soon two men in a small boat was seen pulling up the river towards Fort Warren; all knew it meant the surrender of the fort, and it was not long after they landed before the Stars and Stripes were hauled down, and a white flag run up in its place. Another mighty cheer went up—the "Rebel yell"—three times three. It was a glad time when "Old Glory" slid down the flagpole. Col. Jim Dearing and a Yankee officer were in this boat.

187The brigade marched down and took possession of the fort and garrison. Some of the Yankees said they wanted to see the men who came out in the field that morning, and lay under their fire for nearly an hour. They saw them and greatly admired such courage as was then and there displayed. They only lost one man, their best gunner, who was shot through the body while aiming one of the big guns. The brigade with the prisoners then marched down to the town, where the other prisoners and Confederate troops were assembled, when congratulations and good cheer among the Confederates were exchanged; all feasting on the good things to eat and drink captured in the forts and town.


The capture of Plymouth was greatly aided by the Confederate ironclad gunboat, Albemarle, built at Weldon, and commanded by Captain Cooke, of the navy, which dropped down the river as the troops marched by land, the movements of each being timed so as to coöperate in the attack. The Albemarle glided by the upper fort in the night-time, the night after the troops invested the town, dropping down the river near Plymouth, where the Yankees had three gunboats lying in the river.

The Yankees in Fort Warren, which is situated on the river bank, said they saw the Albemarle as it passed down the river that night, and had their 188guns trained on it, but did not fire, thinking it was one of their boats which had passed up the river that afternoon, which I have already mentioned, but had returned by another channel, unknown to the occupants of Fort Warren.

These Yankee gunboats were the Southfield, the Miami, and the Bombshell. There were three other forts on the land side of the town: Fort Williams, Fort Wessels, and Fort Comfort. Captain Cooke lay at anchor until daylight. The Yankees during the night became aware of his presence, and made preparations to give him a warm reception when day dawned. They conceived the idea, so it was said, of fastening the ends of a long chain to two of their gunboats, with which they proposed to drag off the anchor of the Albemarle, by running a boat on either side of it. Captain Cooke heard the hammering on these boats during the night, and divining their scheme, when daylight dawned, turned the prow of the Albemarle towards the Southfield, one of the boats to which the chain was attached, with full steam ahead, and struck the Yankee boat with terrific force, sending it to the bottom at once.

Captain Cooke then turned on the Bombshell, which surrendered. The Miami was next attacked, when it made its escape by flight down the river. Her captain was killed, and some of her guns disabled before she got out of range.

189By this bold and successful stroke of the Albemarle, the whole river front of the town was exposed to the fire of the gunboat, and it may be depended upon that Captain Cooke made good use of the advantage thus gained. I heard General Wessels, the Yankee commander, after the capitulation, berating the gunboats for their failure to protect his water front, attributing his defeat and capture to this. This may have been true, but I hardly think so. General Hoke was a fine soldier and officer, had gone there to capture Plymouth, and would have been almost sure to have succeeded without the aid of the Albemarle, but would have no doubt lost many more men than he did. The Confederate loss was small.

It was said that there were some negro soldiers at Plymouth, who took to the swamps, were pursued by Dearing's Cavalry and left in the swamp, dead or alive; none of them were taken prisoners, or brought out of the swamp. Some of the prisoners captured were identified as deserters from the Confederate service; a court-martial was convened later, and several of them were hung. These men were North Carolinians.


Col. Jim Dearing, of Campbell County, won his brigadier-generalship at Plymouth. He was put in command of the artillery and cavalry by General 190Hoke. Dearing was a dashing officer, and in this battle performed his part with great skill and bravery, charging a fort with artillery, running the guns by hand right up to the fort, pouring shot and shell into it until the white flag was sent up. The first day he surprised, by a quick dash with his troopers and artillery, another fort, running in on the Yankees so suddenly that they had no water to cool their guns, and could only fire a few rounds, when they sent up a white flag. General Dearing was mortally wounded in a hand-to-hand fight with a Yankee officer a few days before the surrender. This officer also received his death wound in the encounter. It has been said that General Dearing was shot by one of his own men, who was trying to shoot the Yankee officer. Dearing was brought to Lynchburg where he died in a few days.


After securing the trophies of the victory won at Plymouth, which consisted of 1,600 prisoners, 2,000 muskets, and 25 cannon, and a large quantity of ammunition and provisions, and sending them up the country, General Hoke and his little army marched on Washington, situated about 30 miles south of Plymouth, on Tar River, near the head of Pamlico Sound. The town was reached about the 25th of April. The troops formed in line of battle, ready for the attack, when it was found that the 191place had been evacuated by the Yankees, who doubtless had heard of the fate of Plymouth and its garrison, and fearing lest they should share a like fate, had decamped, bag and baggage.


From Washington the command marched towards Newberne, situated, as before said, on Neuse River, not far from where it also enters into Pamlico Sound, some 35 miles still further south.

On the 2d of May, the town was invested and preparation made for the attack, when orders were unexpectedly received to withdraw and march up the Neuse to Kinston with all possible speed.


Back to Petersburg, Va.—Beast Butler—The
Battle of Drury's Bluff—General Gracie's
Courage—Into a Heavy Fire at
Close Range—Col. Richard F.
Maury—Yankee Brigade Captured—General
Yankee Flags


Leaving Newberne at night (a pitch-dark night it was), with the Eleventh Regiment as the rearguard, we marched up to Kinston, where the brigade boarded the cars for Goldsboro. As the rearguard moved off from Newberne, after the other troops were well on the road, a body of cavalry was heard approaching, when the regiment halted. A lone horseman approached, who was stopped by a cry of "Halt! who comes there?" The horseman replied, "It's some of we all's men"—a non-committal reply, to be sure.

It was a squadron of North Carolina cavalry coming back to get in the rear of the infantry. These Tar Heels were as badly scared as we were, each side taking the other for the enemy. Every 193man had bundles of fodder tied on behind his saddle, and presented a grotesque appearance in the darkness, as they passed to the rear.

It was soon rumored that we were needed in Virginia to protect Richmond and Petersburg from Beast Butler and his army, who had sailed up James River, and was threatening Petersburg.

Arriving at Goldsboro, the train was sent on to Weldon as fast as steam could carry it, and from Weldon on towards Petersburg. On reaching Jarratt's Station, it was found that a body of Yankee cavalry had come up from Suffolk and destroyed the railroad, tearing up the track and burning the bridge over Stony Creek, several miles further on. Leaving the train at Jarratt's, the troops marched along the torn-up railroad track to Stony Creek, when another train was taken for Petersburg, where we arrived on the —— of May, 1864, none too soon for the safety of the city.


Beast Butler had come up James River on transports, with an army of about 40,000 men, landing some at City Point, and marched on Petersburg, while the main body landed at Bermuda Hundred, higher up the river. This move was no doubt intended as a diversion to draw troops from General Lee, who was confronting Grant in the Wilderness, but was checkmated by drawing troops from other 194points, threshing old Butler, and sending some of these men on to join General Lee, as we shall presently see.

On the day before we arrived, or that day, I am not sure which, Butler had advanced a strong column as far as the Richmond & Petersburg Railroad, between Richmond and Petersburg, and destroyed a portion of the same; the column had been driven back, however.

The people of Petersburg gave a joyous welcome to the Confederates, the ladies greeting and feeding the soldiers as they marched through the streets.

Until the arrival of these troops there was only a thin line, principally old men and boys, with some regular troops, holding back the Yankees from Petersburg. General Beauregard also had, with other troops, hurried on from the south about the same time.

Butler, with the bulk of his army, now being between Petersburg and Richmond, threatening both cities, it was necessary to have troops to defend each. Dispositions were accordingly made to that end: General Whiting was left at Petersburg with about 3,000 troops; Beauregard, who was now chief commander, with the others, passed on towards Richmond, and took position opposite Drury's Bluff, the line extending southwest to the Richmond & Petersburg Railroad.

As Terry's Brigade marched along the country road towards Richmond, we knew the Yankees were 195only a short distance to the right of the road, though not in sight. Along the road at Swift Creek the trees were scarred with bullets fired in the fight a day or two before.

Company C marched on the right flank of the regiment in single file, and about fifty yards from the road, as skirmishers, moving silently along through the pines and bushes, the men five paces apart, looking out for the Yankees to the right, and expecting every moment to be fired upon by the enemy; a right ticklish position.

We got through, however, without being attacked. Hardly had the column passed before the Yankees came into the road we had marched over, firing upon the rearguard. The brigade was then halted and formed in line of battle, expecting an attack, but none came. The command in the afternoon moved on a little farther towards Richmond, occupying the lines between Drury's Bluff and the railroad, abandoning a line of breastworks, which the Yankees afterwards occupied.

During the next few days there was considerable fighting along the front lines, principally with artillery, but our regiment was not engaged.


The army lay here on this line until the night of the 15th of May. Late that afternoon, General Beauregard had orders given to all the officers, from 196the major-generals down to the company commanders, for an attack on the enemy's lines at daybreak the next morning.

I remember well, Col. Kirk Otey calling up all the company commanders of the Eleventh Regiment, and telling them that General Beauregard had determined to attack the enemy the next morning, and had ordered that the troops at dark march to positions to be assigned them in front of the enemy's lines, sleep on their arms, and at daybreak the next morning charge the breastworks in their front. This was an unusual order; the Commanding General did not often disclose his plans in this way.

And so it was done. Terry's Brigade was moved to the extreme left of the Confederate lines near Drury's Bluff. There the brigade lay in the thick pines with their guns by their sides until morning.

I have spent many more pleasant and less anxious nights than that one. Knowing that when the morning dawned we would have to face death in front of the enemy's breastworks was not very pleasant to contemplate, to say the least. Before daybreak on the morning of the 16th of May, 1864, the army was aroused and the men on their feet, ready to do or die. Many did die that morning, and something was done, too.

The brigade took position in an open field not far from where the night had been spent, first marching along the river road, crossing a branch or small creek near an old mill site, then filing to the 197right off the road, and forming line of battle close to the bushes growing along the branch, with the open field in front. The morning was dark, a heavy fog arising from the river enveloping the country around.

About fifty yards in front of the brigade, an Alabama brigade, commanded by General Gracie, was forming in line of battle also. This brigade was the front line. Terry's Brigade was the supporting line, with orders to keep 200 yards in the rear of Gracie while advancing, until called on to go forward. Maj.-Gen. Bushrod Johnson was in command of this part of the line; General Pickett, I believe, was at Petersburg; Major-General Ransom, I think, commanded the front lines.

On the right flank of Gracie's Brigade, Hankin's Battery, of Surry County, was taking position also. No unnecessary noise was made, no one spoke unless giving orders, and then in a low tone. The artillery moved into position slowly, and with as little noise as possible. I remember well the cluck of the iron axles as the guns moved slowly into position as quietly as a funeral procession.

When all was ready, and while it was yet dark, the Alabamians moved forward up the hill, the artillery keeping pace with them, firing by sections, each section moving forward after firing.

Pretty soon the Yankee pickets opened fire on the advancing column, which it returned, the column moving on the while, driving the pickets from their 198rifle pits near the top of the hill. On down the hill General Gracie took his men right into a very heavy fire, the artillery halting at the top of the hill, still firing away into the darkness beyond, throwing shot and shell into the woods in front, where the enemy is supposed to be.

It was a grand spectacle that dark morning—the firing of the battery by sections as it advanced; the roar of the guns; the flames of fire bursting forth in the darkness. Though rather awe-inspiring at the time, it was grand, nevertheless. I shall never forget the scene.

Terry's Brigade followed on and halted at the top of the hill, some 150 yards in rear of Gracie's, which was now hotly engaged at the foot of the hill, many of the Yankee bullets flying over the hill, killing and wounding several, as the men knelt or sat on the ground.

I remember while here, one of Company H, the next company to Company C, was shot through the body, and how tenderly an Irish comrade, who was sitting by his side, took him in his arms and said, "Poor —— (I forget the name) is killed; poor fellow," and, "his poor wife and children." It was truly a pathetic scene in the midst of a battle. I shall never forget the tender, sympathetic tone of that Irishman's voice.

Until reaching this position we were not exposed to the fire of the enemy, but now the bullets were whizzing by pretty thick. The enemy seemed to 199have no artillery on this part of the line. By this time day was breaking, but it was still very foggy and dark.


Through the mist could be seen stragglers and wounded men from Gracie's Brigade coming back from the front, some of them loading and firing as they fell back; soon larger squads of them came breaking to the rear, and up the hill came General Gracie on his horse, cursing and swearing like a sailor, apparently oblivious of the danger from the balls that were flying through the air, calling his men "d——d cowards," and using much strong language. General Gracie was a stout man with iron-gray hair and mustache, and was blowing like a porpoise while riding among his men trying to rally them. One of his men, a tall, light-haired, good-looking young man, seemed to resent his harsh words, saying, "General Gracie, we stayed there as long as we could." "Yes," replied the General, "you ran away, too, like d——d cowards"; or, to be a little more accurate, though not quite exact in quoting the General's words, "Like d—ned cowardly sons of —" (female canines).

General Gracie rode up to General Terry and said, "General Terry, send me a regiment down there to take the place of one of mine that has run away." Just then one of Company C came up to 200me and said, "It is no use for us to go there; don't you see they have driven back them men?" I replied, "Then this is the very time we are needed."

General Terry called on the Eleventh and Twenty-fourth regiments to go forward, and down the hill the two regiments went at double-quick, with a wild yell that sounded above the roar of battle.

The Twenty-fourth was just on the right of the Eleventh, with Col. R. F. Maury, sword in hand, in front, walking backwards, calling on and beckoning to his men to come on. I noticed Ned Gillam, a sergeant in Company C, dash to the front as the line started, look back, open wide his mouth, raise the "Rebel yell" and press forward, as if breasting against a heavy storm of wind and rain. (Men in battle did do this; why, I do not know. The body would be leaning forward, the face averted as if the going forward required great physical exertion.)

Addison says, "Courage that grows from constitution often forsakes a man when he has occasion for it; courage which arises from a sense of duty acts in a uniform manner." I opine the courage displayed by General Gracie that morning was of both kinds. It did not fail him then or thereafter; while Ned Gillam's was more from a sense of duty. But I must stop philosophizing in the midst of a battle, and go on with the fight.


On reaching the foot of the hill, the Eleventh and Twenty-fourth halted in the edge of the woods, 201where the enemy's fire was very heavy and destructive at very close range. The minie balls were flying thick, the "sip, sip, sip" sound they made indicating unmistakably that the Yankees were close by, though hidden by the fog, smoke and bushes, and our men, standing or kneeling, returning the fire with a will. Here these regiments suffered a heavy loss in a very short space of time.


I remember passing Colonel Maury just at the edge of the woods, lying on his back looking ghastly pale. I said to him, "Colonel, are you badly wounded?" He replied calmly, "Yes, very badly." He recovered from the wound, however, and still lives in Richmond. Colonel Maury is a son of the late Commodore Matthew F. Maury, "the pathfinder of the seas." (Since this was first written the gallant Colonel Maury has answered the last roll call; peace to his ashes.) Colonel Maury was a strict disciplinarian and not very popular in camp, but in a fight his men stood by him, and died by him.

I also remember while kneeling here in the woods, in this terrific fire, when the twigs around me on every side were being cut by bullets, and men shot down on every hand, I felt a sense of safety and security; it seemed there was a small space or zone just around my person into which no balls came. I have often thought and spoken of this, but never 202could account for the impression clearly and distinctly made upon my mind in the midst of imminent danger. It may be, at that early hour of morning, a loved one at home—wife or mother—at her morning devotions, was at that very moment sending up an earnest petition to the God of Heaven and earth, the Maker and Ruler of all things, for my protection, and that though the petitioner was far away, the prayer reached the throne of grace and mercy, and the answer came down there to me in the midst of that scene of carnage, "Safe"! Who knows? Maybe in the sweet bye-and-bye I may know more of this. So mote it be.

While here G. A. Creasy, a young soldier of Company C, who was at my side, spoke out, saying, "Captain, I am wounded, what must I do?" Looking at him, I saw the blood running from a wound in the face. I replied, "Go to the rear," and he went. Gus still lives in Pittsylvania County.


It was not long before the word came along the lines from the left, "Cease firing." The other regiments of the brigade, and part of Gracie's, on the left, had advanced, overlapping the enemy's lines on his right flank, and swinging around, came in on the enemy's flank and rear.

They had surrendered; a whole brigade—General Heckman, their commander, and all.

203The Eleventh and Twenty-fourth at once went forward and came upon the Yankee breastworks, not over twenty steps in front. There the Yankees stood with their guns in their hands, very much frightened and bewildered, apparently, and looking greatly astonished as if something had happened, but not knowing exactly what; they found out very soon, though, when, after surrendering their guns, they were marched to the boat-landing at Drury's Bluff (escorted by the Seventh Virginia Regiment) and sent up the river by the boat to Richmond, and into Libby Prison. My brother Bob said that as he approached the Yankee breastworks, an officer fired his pistol into his face, but his aim was bad. Color-Bearer Hickok also went forward among the foremost, and was told by the Yankees not to come into the works, presenting their guns. Hickcock brought down his flag-staff at a rest, and went ahead, heedless of their protestations. I saw Major Hambrick, of the Twenty-fourth Regiment, after the battle was over, who was also wounded, shot through the thigh, who said, when asked about his wound, "D—n 'em, I will live to fight them again." Poor fellow, he died in Richmond soon afterwards from his wound.

By this time the battle was raging along the lines for a mile or more. The plan of battle was to first strike the Yankees on their right flank and follow it by successive attacks on their line from right to left, all of which was successfully and handsomely done before the sun was well up.



A further plan of the battle was, that General Whiting, who, as before said, had been left in command of the troops at Petersburg, was to attack the Yankees in the rear at the same time they were assailed in front. This, however, was a miserable failure. It was said at the time that Whiting was drunk; how true this was I never knew, he only marched out of Petersburg and then marched back again. If the attack in the rear had been made simultaneously with the one in front, there is no doubt but that Butler's army would have been completely crushed, as if caught between the upper and nether millstones, and captured almost to the last man, when there would have probably been a first-class hanging. Butler had been outlawed; that is, proclamation had been issued by the Confederate authorities to hang Butler on the spot, if captured, for his beastly conduct towards the people, especially the women, of New Orleans, while in command of that city. Butler had threatened to turn his soldiers loose upon the women.

Col. Geo. C. Cabell used to tell, that when in Congress he had a talk with Butler about this battle, and upon Butler's asking him what would have been his fate if he, Butler, had been captured, Colonel Cabell said he replied, "I do not know as to the others, but if my regiment had made the capture, you would have been strung up at once." A Richmond 205paper described this battle as a contest between a great eagle and a buzzard. Of course, the Beast was the buzzard, and Beauregard the eagle.

By the time the sun was an hour high the Yankee army was in full retreat for its base, Bermuda Hundred, the Confederates following on, though the pursuit was not a very vigorous one. All who knew of the plan of battle were anxiously awaiting the sound of Whiting's guns in the rear of the Yankee army, but alas! those guns were silent, and Beast Butler and his badly beaten army made good their escape.

Some of the prisoners captured that morning said they were taken completely by surprise; that orders had been issued to attack the Confederates at sunrise. So Beauregard stole a march on them by attacking at daybreak. The early bird caught some of the worms that morning, if not all, as was planned.

Beauregard followed on to the top of the river hills overlooking Bermuda Hundred, where the Yankees were well fortified, with gunboats in the river to assist in the defense of the strong position. Here there was some artillery firing, but no attempt to assault the position was made. Butler was "bottled up." In this fight, Company C lost seven men killed and mortally wounded, as follows: Chas. Allen, John DePriest, Allen Bailey, John Monroe, Bruce Woody, Alfred Rosser, and Geo. W. Walker, and many wounded.

206In a few days the bulk of the Confederate army went to join General Lee in his death struggle with Grant and Meade, which had been going on since the early days of May in the Wilderness and around Spottsylvania Court House.


On the 20th of May, Terry's Brigade marched through Richmond, each regiment proudly carrying a Yankee flag, captured on the 16th of May. The brigade marched into the Capitol Square, where there was assembled a great crowd of Congressmen, high Confederate dignitaries, and others. The troops were massed in columns of regiments, and there, beneath the grand equestrian statue of Washington, these flags were delivered to the War Department officials. I have no doubt that if Washington was there in spirit, he looked on approvingly.

That afternoon part of the brigade went by train to Hanover Junction, where troops were assembling from different quarters to reënforce General Lee, who had been fighting and holding his own for nearly three weeks against tremendous odds. But his ranks had been greatly depleted, while Grant's army was being reënforced almost daily. Gen. John C. Breckenridge was here with his troops also. It was said Breckenridge was the handsomest man in the army; some of Company C saw him here and declared he was the finest-looking man they ever 207saw. I could have seen him by walking a hundred or two yards, but did not do so, being very tired and worn out generally, and sad on account of the loss of seven good men a few days before.


To Milford and to Capture—A Prisoner of
War—On to Washington

The same afternoon we arrived at Hanover Junction, the First Virginia Regiment and five companies of the Eleventh, A, B, C, E and K, under the command of Major Norten, of the First Regiment, boarded the cars and went to Milford Station in Caroline County, on the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac Railroad, arriving there about night, and going into camp across the Mattapony River, just west of the station. The Mattapony here is quite a small stream, spanned by a wooden bridge. The First Regiment at that time was very small, numbering perhaps not over 100 to 150 men. The five companies of the Eleventh Regiment numbered about eighty-five or ninety men—Plymouth and Drury's Bluff had depleted their ranks. Pickets were posted on the roads, and there were some cavalry videts still farther out. The rest of the command bivouacked in the woods a short distance from the bridge.

Early the next morning, the 21st of May, 1864, the cavalry videts came in and reported the Yankees were making a raid on the station with the intention 209of burning it. Major Norten declared they should not do this, and made his dispositions to prevent it, posting the men of the First Regiment to repel the attack on the station, while the companies of the Eleventh were held in reserve.

It was not long before the supposed raiders made their appearance. At first they were few in number and shot at long range, firing on the First Regiment at the bridge from a grove on a hill some 600 yards away, with long-range guns, dropping a few balls about them, while too far away for them to return the fire with their muskets. Major Norten ordered up the reserves, directing them to "Take that hill and hold it at all hazards"—a very positive and unwise order, I thought.

The five companies of the Eleventh Regiment crossed over the bridge, formed in line of battle, and moved forward at double-quick across the broad river bottom, crossing over the railroad track right up to this hill, taking possession of it without firing a single gun, the few Yankees who occupied it retreating before the line was in shooting distance.

As soon as the hill was occupied, no Yankees being in sight, I walked up on the northeast side of the grove of trees and saw half a mile away, thousands of Yankee cavalry; the hills were blue with them. It turned out to be General Torbet's Division, the advance division of Grant's army, instead of a raid to burn Milford Station. I went back and told Capt. Bob Mitchell, of Company A, who was 210the ranking officer, that we could not hold that hill—that there were ten thousand Yankees over on the next hill. Mitchell replied, "We have orders to hold the hill at all hazards." I said, "All right, we will all be captured." I have often thought Captain Mitchell should have sent a messenger to inform Major Norten of the situation, but he did not. The Yankee skirmishers, dismounted cavalry, soon began to advance on two sides of the hill, when a long-range skirmish began, which continued for some time, growing hotter as the Yankees approached nearer and nearer, protecting themselves behind trees and whatever they could. They were held at bay for an hour or more. During this time the Confederates had several men wounded. The Yankees were being hit also. Captain Mitchell was shot in the chin and left the hill. Lieutenant Atkins, of Company K, was also wounded. I saw him clap his hand on his side as the ball struck him. I never learned his fate, and I am not certain that I have his name correct, but know he was a lieutenant of Company K. Capt. Thomas B. Horton, of Company B, was next in command. Going again to the crest of the hill, on the northeast side, I saw a regiment of dismounted Yankee cavalry forming in line of battle a few hundred yards away; a colonel or general with gray hair and mustache was riding along the rear of the men getting them into position, the men seeming very awkward and hard to get straightened out. I called up one of Company C, 211either Tom Rosser or Sam Franklin, both good fighters, and told him to raise the sight of his Enfield rifle to 400 yards and shoot that officer. The order was obeyed promptly; I did not see the result of the shot however. Just as he fired, one of Company B, who was lying on the ground on the crest of the hill firing at the enemy, in a few feet of where I was standing, attracted my attention by calling out at the top of his voice, "Run here, ambulance corps; run here, ambulance corps." Seeing he had only a scalp wound on the side of the head, and thinking a man who could call out so lustily for the ambulance corps to come to his aid, although his head was bleeding profusely, could aid himself by getting up and running, I told him so, whereupon he jumped up and ran like a deer off the hill. I suppose he got away safely.

The men of the companies were scattered around on the hill, among the trees, embracing about an acre in area, without any regard to lines, fighting on the Indian style, some protecting themselves behind trees, some lying down, while most of them stood out in the open, watching for and shooting at every Yankee who showed himself within range. The Yankees, too, were under cover as much as possible with longer range guns than ours, slipping around behind trees, bushes and fences, and at every opportunity popping away at the Confederates, all the while getting a little closer and extending their lines around the hill. They were not very good shots, however.

212Captain Horton and myself consulted, or held a small council of war, upon the situation. It was beyond question that if we remained on the hill, all would be killed or made prisoners in a short time. Some, or all of us, might escape by beating a hasty retreat. We agreed to try the latter, orders or no orders. Turning to the men who were by this time pretty close together about the center of the hill, with the Yankees still closing in, we told them we would all make a break and attempt to escape. Many of the men so earnestly demurred to this, saying, "We will all be killed as we run across the bottom," that Captain Horton and myself concluded not to make the attempt. I said to the men, "We will stay with you then." Near the top of the hill there was a ditch leading from what appeared to be an old icehouse, and in this ditch we made the last stand and fought the Yankees until they were close up. I remember Marion Seay, of Company E, who still lives in Lynchburg, was at the upper end of the ditch, shooting at a Yankee not thirty steps away, and then calling out and pointing his finger, saying, "D—n you, I fixed you," repeating it several times. Seay was then a little tow-headed boy, but he was game to the backbone.

Pretty soon our men ceased firing, as all knew that the inevitable had come. The Yankees then rushed up to the ditch, and all the Confederates dropped their guns—the seventy-five men left were prisoners of war.

213I think we were justifiable in surrendering. If we had fought until the last man fell, nothing would have been accomplished for the good of the cause. There was no possibility of rescue, so it was die in that ditch in a few minutes or surrender; we chose not to die then and there. It was not a forlorn hope we were leading or defending, which demanded such a sacrifice of life.

As the Yankees came up, one of their men was shot through the head, and fell dead into the ditch; killed, I think, by one of his own men who was some distance off, firing, as he thought, at the Rebels. Some of the Confederates were bespattered with the brains of the dead Yankee.

At Plymouth, N. C., thirty-one days before, and again just five days before, at Drury's Bluff, we had been at the capture of brigades of Yankees, and exulted in the captures—now the tables are turned and we are prisoners, and the Yankees are exulting at our capture. Such are the fortunes of war.

I can testify that the sensations of the captors are very different from those of the captives, but shall not attempt to set forth the contrast; words are inadequate.

The Yankees said they had thirty-five or forty men killed and wounded in the fight; so that for every "Rebel" captured that day, they had half a man killed or crippled—not a bad showing for the "Rebs," if they did surrender, when outnumbered by more than one hundred to one. I don't remember 214that we had any killed on the field; nearly all the wounded got away.

Capt. Thos. B. Horton, Company B; Lieut. Peter Akers, Company A, and Lieuts. J. W. Wray and Geo. P. Norvell, of Company E., were captured. I have no means of getting the names of the men of the other companies captured.

Beside myself, the following men of Company C were captured: W. L. Brown, G. T. Brown, J. A. Brown, H. M. Callaham, H. Eads, J. T. Jones, J. W. Jones, W. S. Kabler, Fred Kabler, W. T. Monroe, R. W. Morgan, S. P. Tweedy, E. A Tweedy, W. A. Rice, W. C. J. Wilkerson—seventeen in all. W. L. Brown and S. P. Tweedy were wounded; the former slightly, the latter a bad flesh wound in the thigh. Some of the company were on picket duty and escaped capture, and some who were wounded got away, others were at home, or in hospitals, sick or wounded.

Not long ago, in looking over some old papers and letters, I found a letter written by Lieut. Robert Cocke to my wife, telling her about the fight and capture; it is dated the 22d of May. Among other things he says: "I was sent out the night before to guard a road that the Yankees were expected to come, but fortunately for the Yankees, they did not come that way; if it had not been for that, I would have been taken or killed myself, I expect."

Our negro boy, Horace, just as we were ordered forward to charge the hill, came up to me and said, 215"Where must I go?" I replied, "Stay with the surgeon." There were no wagons with us, with which he usually stayed. Horace, after we were captured, made his way home, taking with him what little baggage I had left in his care.

Thus ended my experience as a Confederate soldier in the field. I had been in active service for three years and more.


Now another experience was to be tried, of which I will tell in the closing pages of these reminiscences; long, bitter, and trying, too, that experience was.

The truth shall be told, setting down nothing in malice, giving credit where credit is due, with condemnation and reproach when deserved.

While these seventy-five men were sacrificed by what was another "fool order," in the light of subsequent events an advantage was gained.

These companies were sent out to that hill simply to protect the dépôt at Milford from the torch of supposed Yankee raiders, when in truth and in fact, Grant's whole army was approaching, and in a few hours were upon the scene, marching by the dépôt in which the prisoners were confined.

General Grant was then on his famous flank movement from Spottsylvania Court House, while General Lee was moving on parallel lines in the direction of Hanover Junction, all the while keeping 216his army between the enemy and Richmond, the goal that the enemy had been endeavoring to reach ever since the beginning of the war, in the spring of 1861; yet in May, 1864, the goal was far from being attained, although hundreds of thousands of lives had been sacrificed, and billions of dollars expended in the effort.

When it was known that the men captured at Milford on the 21st of May were from the army which, on the 16th of May, under Beauregard, had soundly thrashed Beast Butler at Drury's Bluff, and then "bottled him up at Bermuda Hundred on James River," as General Grant expressed it, and had come on to join forces with General Lee, General Grant halted his army that morning, and made dispositions to repel an attack, threw up breastworks, and remained near Milford for two days, giving General Lee ample time to concentrate his forces near Hanover Junction and select a strong position on the south bank of North Anna River. Grant, I have since learned, mentioned these men captured at Milford from Beauregard's army in a dispatch to Washington, and called for more troops. So that when General Grant finally moved forward he was confronted by Lee with his whole army, in a strong and commanding position, that Grant dared not assail; instead, he again side-stepped, flanking off towards Cold Harbor, where Lee's army was again in his front, and where the Confederates inflicted a loss of 12,000 men in a few hours, in 217repelling assaults on their hastily formed breastworks. This battle was fought on the ground on which the battle of Gaines' Mill occurred on the 27th of June, 1862, only the position of the two armies being reversed.

From Cold Harbor Grant made a long side-step, not halting until he had crossed to the south side of James River at City Point, where he could have gone by water months before without the loss of a single man. In the campaign from the Rappahannock to the James, Grant had lost more men than Lee had in his whole army.

Grant had boasted in the early days of the campaign in the Wilderness that he would, "fight it out on this line if it takes all summer." But he changed his mind as well as his line. From Cold Harbor, it was said, Grant sent this dispatch to Washington: "All the fight is knocked out of this army." This was after his order to renew the assaults on the Confederate lines had been disobeyed; the men standing still and mute when ordered to renew the charge. Then it was that Grant struck out across the Peninsula to the James.

The Confederate prisoners were first marched over on the hill where the main body of Torbet's Cavalry was posted, surrounded by a strong guard, the Yankee officers celebrating their victory, 10,000 against 85, by feasting on wine and cake. Lieut. Peter Akers, of Company A, marched up to a group of these officers, sitting on their horses, 218saying: "Hello, fellows, ain't you going to treat?" The Yanks laughed, handed around the wine and cake to the "Rebel" officers, with whom they chatted in a very friendly way. Like Bob Jones was with the stolen hog, I took some of the cake, but none of the wine.

Pretty soon we were marched down to the dépôt and confined there. It was not long until Grant's Infantry began to march by, Hancock's corps leading, in serried ranks of brigades, divisions, and corps, marching on across the little Mattapony out on the hills beyond, where lines of battle were formed, and the digging of entrenchments begun, and redoubts for cannon were thrown up.

The prisoners were marched out later, sleeping that night in an old barn, where they were guarded until the army moved forward, the prisoners being taken along. That night one of the guards said to me, "Old man, were you drafted?" I replied, "No, I volunteered." The reason he called me "old man" was, my hair was gray, though I was not then twenty-seven years old. While in prison many thought I was a political prisoner and not a soldier, for the same reason.

I was forcibly struck with the difference in the discipline in the two armies. In the Confederate army the officers and privates often messed and slept together, and were on equal terms, socially. In the Yankee army there was a great gulf between the officers and enlisted men, the officers rarely 219ever speaking to the men except when giving orders.

Rations were short with the Yankees at this time; the "Rebs" were, of course, very hungry, having none at all; there were no rations at hand to issue. Some of the Yanks, however, divided hard-tack from their haversacks, and some fresh beef was issued that night, which we briled on the coals and ate without salt or bread. The next day the commissary trains came up, when hard-tack was issued; not very plentiful, however—five crackers to the man.

On the morning of the 23d the Yankee army moved on, and that night camped on the high hills on the north side of the North Anna River, opposite General Lee's position.

The prisoners slept in a clump of bushes not far from General Grant's headquarters. The next morning, as the army moved out, the prisoners still going along, Grant and his staff rode along the lines, when we got a good look at him.

I never see a picture of Grant but that morning is called to mind, when I recall and distinctly remember Grant's face and figure.

His appearance was not striking or prepossessing; he reminded me of my uncle, Mack Morgan.

Grant had nothing about his form, features or bearing that compared with the handsome, noble, and majestic appearance of Robert E. Lee.

General Lee far excelled Grant in personal appearance, as he did in generalship.

220Grant's final success over Lee was not accomplished by his genius as a general, but by the recognition and application of the well-known laws of physics—that a larger body put in motion will overcome the force of a smaller one; that a greater mass of material thrown upon a smaller mass of the same material will crush it. To use a homely expression, Grant overcame Lee by "main strength and awkwardness."

It was not the flashing blade of a strategist and tactician that cut its way to victory, but the heavy hammer of a Thor that crushed Lee and his valiant band.

Suppose Lee had had an army of anything like equal strength in numbers, equipments and supplies, to Grant's, is there any one who would contend that Lee would not have prevailed over Grant? Why, Lee would not have left a "grease spot" of Grant and his "grand army" in the Wilderness, and there would have been no Appomattox.

On the afternoon of the 23d, there was some fighting at the front on the North Anna River.

Some of the Yankees crossed over above where Lee had taken his position. Here other Confederate prisoners were captured and added to our squad; among them, I remember Colonel Brown, of South Carolina, who was in the command of a brigade of A. P. Hill's Corps. Colonel Brown said, in advancing in line of battle, two of his regiments got separated in the thick woods, and he walked 221through the gap in the line, right into the Yankees. On the afternoon of the 24th of May, or the next morning, I am not certain which, the prisoners were turned back and headed for Port Royal, on the Rappahannock River, under a strong cavalry guard, a part of the way riding in wagons going back for supplies, but marched a greater part of the distance. As we marched, to the rear could be heard the thunder of Lee's guns on the North Anna, bidding defiance to Grant, saying, if not in words, in effect, "Thus far shall thou come and no farther." On the march to the rear, we passed large numbers of fresh troops going to reënforce Grant, many of them negroes. These were the first negro troops we had ever seen. One of them remarked as we passed by, "They ought to have gin 'em (us) Fort Pillow. If we had cotch 'em we would have gin 'em Fort Pillow."

On the last day's march I was taken very sick, getting dizzy, and came near fainting, and dropped down by the roadside. My brother Bob, was also taken sick about the same time and stopped with me. When the rearguard came up to where we were, they commenced to shout at us, "Get up, go on, go on." I told them we were sick and unable to go. We did not know what would be done, but we received humane treatment. The officer commanding the rearguard put us in charge of a big Dutch corporal and another man, with instructions to bring us on when able to march.

222After a short time we were able to go on to a house close by, on the roadside, where we rested in the yard under the shade of the locust trees, when the good woman of the house gave us ice-water and something to eat, peach preserves and cold biscuits, as I remember, which greatly refreshed and strengthened us. God bless the Confederate women, who were always kind to the soldiers, who suffered so much anxiety, and endured so many privations during the war, who, with their daughters of to-day, are still true to the memory of the dead and the honor and welfare of the living.

A Tribute to Confederate Womanhood
Ye survivors of that gallant band,
A scanty remnant thinned by time;
Crown her, love, honor, cherish her,
And hail her queen of womankind.
Ye present generation, those unborn,
Both now and hereafter, through all time,
Crown her, love, honor, cherish her,
And hail her queen of womankind.
Ye of all nations, every tribe,
Of every age and every time,
Crown her, love, honor, cherish her,
And hail her queen of womankind.

We remained here perhaps half an hour, when the guards let us ride their horses, walking at the 223horses' heads, holding the bridles by the bits. This was very kind and duly appreciated. After going a mile or so, the Dutch corporal, with the perspiration streaming from his face (it was a very hot, sultry morning), stopped and said, "I ish proke down and can't valk no farder." I told him all right, we could make it then, and thanking him for his kindness, we marched on, the guard telling us to take our time.

By this time we were feeling much better and stronger, and that night, May 26th, after dark, came up with the other prisoners at Port Royal. I am able to fix this date from an old letter I found some time ago, written to my wife from that place, in which I gave the names of all the men of Company C who were captured with me, and requested her to have the names published in the Lynchburg papers, that their friends might know their fate.


The next day the prisoners were put aboard an old freight ship, which steamed down the Rappahannock River, out into the bay, and up the Potomac River to Washington City. Here the officers and men were separated. My brother Bob was very anxious to go with me, but, of course, this was not permissible; and there on the wharf, on the 28th of May, 1864, I parted with him and the other members of Company C, not to meet any of them again until that "cruel war was over," and many 224of them never again. Some of the company not captured were killed during the last year of the war, and many have died since the war. Some still live. Every now and then I read in the papers of the death of some of them, which always recalls memories of long ago. It will not be many years before the last one of us shall have answered the final roll call. May we all meet again in a better world, where there is no war, is my fervent prayer. War is horrible. General Sherman said, "War is hell." Few, if any, did more than William Tecumseh Sherman to make war hell, and if I had to guess, I should say that ere now Sherman knows all about the horrors of both—war and hell. There may be something in a name after all. "Tecumseh!" The savage.

The enlisted men were sent to Point Lookout, and the officers incarcerated in the old Capitol Prison.

I remember as we entered from the street, when the door closed, the key turned and the bolt went into its place with a grating sound, Captain Horton turned to me and said, "This is the first time the bolts were ever turned on me." So we all could say. There were other prisoners confined here.

While here, we could often see from the windows ambulances moving along the streets filled with wounded Yankee soldiers. When Peter Akers would see these loads of wounded Yanks, he would remark, "There goes more dispatches from General Lee to old Abe."


To Fort Delaware—Short Rations—Song—Prison

These officers remained here for about two weeks, when we were taken by boat down the Potomac and Chesapeake Bay, passing out into the ocean between Cape Charles and Cape Henry; thence up the coast into Delaware Bay to Fort Delaware, where we were placed in prison barracks with several thousand other Confederate officers. While at the Old Capitol Prison we were well treated, and the rations were all we could wish. At Fort Delaware it was very different. The rations were badly cooked and scarcely sufficient in quantity to sustain life, besides being very inferior in quality. There were only two meals a day; breakfast at eight A. M., and dinner at four P. M.

We got to Fort Delaware in the afternoon. I was not feeling very well and did not go to dinner. We had some rations brought from Washington. Captain Horton went, and the first thing he said when he came back was, "Take care of that meat, it is as scarce as hen's teeth here." In truth it was very, very scarce.

My brother, J. L. Morgan, who was living in Brooklyn, N. Y., very kindly furnished me with 226clothes, and supplied me with money with which to supplement the poor and scanty prison fare, saving me from much suffering, and I have but little doubt, saved my life; for many who had to depend alone on what they got in prison died from lack of sufficient and proper food and clothing. My brother also furnished money to Robt. Morgan and W. L. Brown, who was his brother-in-law, and to other Confederate prisoners.

For breakfast, we had a slice of light-bread, about four ounces, and about one and one-half or two ounces of bacon; for dinner the same bread and about two or three ounces of loud-smelling pickled beef—"red horse," as it was called—and a tin cup of miserable stuff, called soup, so mean that I could not swallow it. This was all, day in and day out, week after week, and month after month. Men who lived on these rations were always hungry. Even those who had money did not fare much better, as the prices at the sutlers' were so exorbitant that a dollar did not go far. I shared the money sent me with my bunk-mate, Capt. Thos. B. Horton.

Prison life was hard and very monotonous, though many things were resorted to to while away the tedious hours.

All kinds of games were played, "keno" being the most popular, and much gambling went on. Concerts were given, debating societies formed, and many other things resorted to to kill time. My brother sent me a set of chess-men. There were 227other sets in the prison, and this game was played a good deal. There were some fine players among the officers; Capt. J. W. Fanning, of Alabama, and Capt. H. C. Hoover, of Staunton, Va., being the champion players.

I here give a song composed and sung by Confederate prisoners at Fort Delaware, at a concert given by the prisoners, for the benefit of the destitute among the 600 Confederate officers, who were put under fire on Morris Island, and afterwards sent to Fort Pulaski and Hilton Head, and confined there during the winter of 1864-65, and who were sent back to Fort Delaware in March, 1865, in a pitiable plight:

"Come listen to my ditty, it will while away a minute,
And if I didn't think so, I never would begin it;
'Tis 'bout a life in prison, so forward bend your head,
And I'll tell you in a moment how dey treat the poor Confed.
"In the prison of Fort Delaware, Delaware, Delaware,
In the prison of Fort Delaware, Del.
228"Dey put you in de barrack, de barrack in divisions,
Den dey 'lect a captain who bosses the provisions;
He keeps the money letters, keeps order in the room,
And hollers like the debbil if you upset the spittoon.
"Wheneber dey take de oath, dey put dem near de ribber,
Dey work dem like de debbil, worse dan in de Libby;
Dey shake 'em in de blanket, thow stuff into der eyes,
And parole dem on de island, and call 'em "galvanized."
"Some officers do washing, many makes de fires,
So hot upon a sunny day, dat every one expires;
Some working gutta-percha, some walking in de yard,
Many make dey living by de turning ob de card.
"Dar's tailors and shoemakers, some French and Latin teaching,
Some scratching ob de tiger, while some odders am a-preaching;
Some cooking up de rations, some swapping off dey clothes,
While a crowd of Hilton Headers are a-giving nigger shows.
229"Dar's anoder lot ob fellers and cunning dogs dey are,
Dey get an empty barrel and den set up a bar,
Git some vinegar and 'lasses—fer whiskey am too dear—
And mix it wid potato skins and den dey call it beer.
"No matter what you're doin', one thing am very sartin,
Dat ebery one is ready from dis prison to be startin';
De very sad reflection makes eberybody grieve,
For not a single debbil knows when he's gwine to leave.
"Now white folks here's a moral: There's nothin' true below,
This world am but a 'tater patch, de debbil has the hoe;
Ebery one sees trouble here, go you near and far,
But the most unlucky debbil am the prisoner of war."

These lines give in a crude way, a pretty correct account of the doings in the prison barracks.

I preserved a copy of Prison rules, which follows:

"Headquarters, Fort Delaware, Del.,
July 8, 1864.

  I. Roll call at reveille and retreat.

 II. Police call at 7 A. M. and 4 P. M.

III. Breakfast at 8 A. M. Dinner at 4 P. M.

 IV. Sergeants in charge of prisoners will exact from them strict compliance with the above calls, which will be regularly enforced, and must promptly report to the officer in charge the number present and absent, sick, etc., and any who are guilty of insubordination or any violation of the Rules of Prison. They must also notify their men that if they do not promptly obey any order given them by a sentinel, officer or man in charge of them, they will be shot.

  V. Sergeants in charge will be held responsible for the due execution of these Rules, and for the regular accounting for the full number of their men.

By command of—

Brig.-Genl. A. Schoepf.
Geo. W. Ahl,
Capt. & A. A. A. G."

Off for Charleston—Alleged Retaliation—On
Shipboard—Run Aground—Short of
Water—On Morris Island—In Stockade—Under
Fire—Prison Rules

I remained at Fort Delaware until the 20th of August, 1864. Some time previous to this, seventy-five field officers confined at Fort Delaware were selected for retaliation, as the Yankees called it, to be put under fire of the Confederate guns, on Morris Island in Charleston Harbor.

The Confederates had hospitals in one section of the city of Charleston, S. C., with yellow flags flying over them. The Yankees, in shelling the city from their batteries on Morris Island, were in the habit of shelling these hospitals, and were notified that some of their officers, who were held as prisoners of war, would be placed in or near the hospitals. The Yankees did not heed this, but prepared to put Confederate prisoners under fire of Confederate guns, when firing on Yankee batteries on Morris Island.

Firing on hospitals, which were designated by yellow flags, was begun by the Yankees on the 18th of July, 1861, at Blackburn's Ford, and kept up 232during the war, contrary to the usage of all civilized nations the world over.

These seventy-five field officers were taken to Charleston Harbor, but were not put under fire; instead, they were exchanged for a like number of Yankee officers.

When orders came to Fort Delaware, soon after this exchange, for 600 field and company officers to be put under fire, there was a general desire among the prisoners to be one of the 600, but we had no say-so as to who should go. On the 19th of August, all the prisoners were called out and formed in line, when 600 names were called, and those on the list were notified to be ready to embark the next morning for the trip. Some were so anxious to go that they paid others, whose names had been called, for the privilege of surreptitiously answering to their names. One officer gave a fine gold watch, and after remaining away seven months, and suffering untold privations, was landed back at Fort Delaware.


At the appointed hour on the 20th of August, 1864, the 600 officers embarked on board the steamer Crescent, which steamed away down the bay, out into the broad Atlantic, and down the coast to Charleston Harbor, where they were landed on the 7th day of September, having been eighteen days aboard ship. Capt. Thos. B. Horton and 233myself were among the number, also Lieut. Peter B. Akers, of Lynchburg.

It was a nasty trip on board this old freight ship, in the summer-time. The prisoners were on the lower or freight deck, nearly on the water line. Two rows of temporary bunks had been built around the sides of the ship, two tiers high. These bunks were about six feet long and three feet wide, with two men in each bunk; a pretty close fit, especially if both occupants were good-sized men. The bunks did not afford sufficient room for all the prisoners, consequently a good many lay on the floor of the deck between the bunks. Here the prisoners laid and sweltered through eighteen days, the boilers running up through the middle, making it much hotter. I occupied a lower bunk on the inside row with Captain Horton, who was my messmate while a prisoner; a good fellow he was, too, and a good soldier. There was a guard of 150 soldiers on board, who occupied the upper deck. The Crescent was escorted by a gunboat.


Off the coast of South Carolina, before reaching Charleston, one night the pilot, who was a Southern sympathizer, attempted to run the ship under the guns of a Confederate battery on the coast, changing the course of the ship, and heading it for land, but unfortunately ran aground near some low-lying 234islands near the coast, not far from, but not in sight of the mainland. When it was known at dawn of day that the ship was aground, all hands were aroused. Some of the prisoners who knew the coast, said the pilot had missed the channel by only a narrow margin, which led to the Confederate batteries not far away, but not in sight. Nor was the Yankee gunboat in sight; the pilot had given the escort the slip in the darkness. It was plain to see that the guards were very much excited and scared, for they assembled on the top or hurricane-deck with their guns in their hands. The crew of the Crescent went to work to get the ship off the sand-bar on which it was grounded. The prisoners came on deck at will, the guards abandoning their post at the hatchway, where they had been stationed to keep all the prisoners below, except a certain number, who were allowed to come on deck at intervals. All hands were very anxious. Some of the prisoners consulted and determined to make an effort to capture the ship and guard. Col. Van Manning, of Arkansas, was the leading spirit in the movement. I had just come on deck and was standing right by the colonel while he wrote a note to the Yankee officer who commanded the guard. I think I can give the note verbatim: "Sir—We hereby demand the surrender of your guard and this ship. If you comply, you and your men shall be treated as prisoners of war; if you refuse, you will have to take the consequences." The plan was to make a 235rush on the guard and overpower them by making the attack with such things as were at hand about the deck, if they refused to surrender. Just as Colonel Manning finished writing this note, some one looked out to sea and there was the old gunboat bearing down upon us, and all hope of the capture of the ship and guard was dashed to the ground. And how quick the demeanor of the guard changed; before the gunboat appeared they were very much frightened, and as before said, were gathered together on the upper deck, taking no control of the prisoners, who came on the deck at will, but now they were insolent and dictatorial, ordering the prisoners to assist the crew, and taking control again. The crew pretty soon worked the ship off the bar and we sailed on down the coast, accompanied by the gunboat. I have often thought what a good joke it would have been on the Yankees if we could have captured the ship and guard and taken them all into port on the coast.

The pilot was at once arrested and put in irons. We learned afterwards he was court-martialed and given a term at hard labor.


While on the Crescent the supply of water ran short; then the only water the prisoners had was sea water condensed in the ships, and issued out scalding hot in limited quantities. We would 236pour the hot water from one tin cup to another until cool enough to swallow without burning the throat.

Think of it! Nothing but hot water to drink in the month of August on shipboard on the southern coast. The Yankees had ice on board, but the prisoners got none of it.

The Crescent steamed on down the coast, passing Charleston Harbor—preparations to receive the prisoners not being completed—to Port Royal Sound, where we remained a few days on shipboard. Here two or three prisoners escaped from the ship in the night-time, by dropping in the water and swimming ashore. Only one, however, made good his escape.

While here we could see sharks swimming about the ship. It took pretty good nerve to get in the water and swim for the shore.


When the stockade was ready, we went up to Charleston Harbor, landing on Morris Island, as before said, on the 7th of September, and marched between two lines of negro soldiers (big black, slick negro fellows they were) two miles up the island, and into a stockade made of pine logs set on end in the ground, about twenty feet high, enclosing an acre of ground. In the stockade were small fly-tents arranged in regular military order. Four men occupied each tent.

237The negro soldiers guarded us—the sentries, on platforms on the outside of the stockade, about three feet from the top. These sentries would fire upon the slightest provocation, though I must say that the negro soldiers treated the prisoners better than the white officers who commanded them. For these officers the prisoners had a perfect contempt. They were a low-down, measly set. One Lieut.-Col. William Gurney was in command, and the most despisable in the lot was he.

While here the rations were scant and sorry. For breakfast, we had three crackers, sometimes two, and sometimes only one and a half, and a very small piece of bacon, about two ounces; towards the last, five crackers per day were issued. For dinner, we had soup made of some kind of dried peas, about one pint, very unpalatable—for supper, a pint of very thin mush or rice. The mush was made of stale cornmeal, full of worms. One prisoner picked out and counted 125 small, black-headed worms from a cup of this mush. I would pick out worms a while, and then eat the stuff a while, then pick out more worms until all were gone. Some just devoured worms and all, saying they could not afford to loose that much of their rations; that if the worms could stand it, they could. The detestable Yankee lieutenant-colonel would sometimes come into the camp while we were devouring the mush and worms and with a contemptible sneer and Yankee nasal twang, say: "You fellows need 238fresh meat to keep off scurvy, so I give it to you in your mush."

One day all the prisoners were taken out of the stockade, marched down to the wharf and put aboard two old hulks or lighters and towed out in the bay, where the hulks remained all night. The next morning we were again landed and marched back to the stockade. I never knew why this was done, unless it was to search the tents for contraband articles, or to see if there was any tunneling going on from the tents, in order to effect escapes. I think some efforts were made at tunneling out, but without success.

While here we were not allowed to purchase anything to eat from the sutler unless directed by the surgeon when sick, consequently, every man was hungry all the while, as a whole day's rations were not sufficient for one meal. During the time a flag-of-truce boat passed between the island and Charleston, by which the good women of Charleston sent the prisoners a good supply of pipes and tobacco, and something good to eat, which was highly appreciated.


After the prisoners were placed here near the Yankee batteries, so as to be exposed to the fire of the Confederate guns, the Confederate batteries did not fire a great deal. What shelling was done 239was mostly at night. Some of the shells burst over the stockade and the pieces would fall around, but I don't remember that any of the prisoners were hit. It was rather uncomfortable, though, to lie there and watch the big shells sailing through the air, which we could see at night by the fuse burning, and sometimes burst above us, instead of bursting in or above the Yankee forts 100 yards further on, and then listen at the fragments humming through the air and hear them strike the ground with a dull thud among the tents. We would first hear a distant boom, two miles away towards Charleston, and then begin to look and listen for the shell which was sure to follow that boom. Peter Akers used to say, "That is trusting too much to the fuse to shoot two miles and expect the shell to burst 100 hundred yards beyond the stockade."

The prisoners were located about midway between two Yankee forts, Gregg and Wagner. Through the interstices between the pine logs forming the stockade, we could see indistinctly Fort Sumter, which looked like a pile of ruins. The outer walls of brick had been battered to pieces by the Yankee batteries on Morris Island and the breaks filled up with sand bags. The city of Charleston was also visible, though indistinctly. We were not permitted to go near the stockade.

One day a Yankee monitor, which, with other blockading ships, lay near the entrance of the harbor or bay, moved up about opposite the stockade, and 240engaged in a fight with the Confederate batteries. We could see the Confederate shots strike the water and skip along towards the Monitor, which pretty soon got enough of it, and moved out of range.


I also preserved a copy of the Prison Rules here, which is as follows:

"Headquarters, U. S. Forces,
Morris Island, S. C.,
September 7, 1864.

"The following Rules and Regulations are hereby announced for the government of the camp of the prisoners of war:

"The prisoners will be divided into eight detachments, seventy-five in each, lettered A, B, C, etc., each prisoner numbered 1, 2, 3, etc. Each detachment will be under the charge of a warden, who will be detailed from the guard for that duty. There will be three roll calls each day, the first at one-half hour before sunrise, at which time the prisoners will be counted by the wardens, and the reports will be taken by the officer of the day at the company streets before the ranks are broken. Each warden will see that the quarters in his detachment are properly policed, and will make the detail necessary for that duty. Sick-call will be at 9 o'clock A. M. each day. Each warden will make a 241morning report to the officer in charge on blanks suitable for that purpose. There will be two barrel sinks for each detachment, which will be placed on the flanks of the companies during the day and in the company streets at night. They will be emptied after each roll call by a detail from each detachment. No talking will be allowed after evening roll call, and no prisoner will leave his tent after that time except to obey the calls of nature. During the day the prisoners will be allowed the limits of the camp as marked by the rope running between the stockade and the line of tents. Prisoners passing this line under any pretense whatever will be shot by the sentinels. No persons except the guard and officers on duty at the camp will be allowed to communicate with the prisoners without written permission from these or superior headquarters. The sentinels will always have their guns loaded and capped. If more than ten prisoners are seen together, except at meal-time and roll call, they will be warned to disperse, and if they do not obey at once, they will be fired upon by the sentries.

"If there is any disturbance whatever in the camp or any attempt made by the prisoners to escape, the camp will be opened upon with grape and canister, musketry, and the Requa Batteries.

"If a prisoner is sick, he may be allowed to purchase such luxuries as the surgeon in charge may direct. The prisoners will be allowed to purchase only the following named articles: Writing materials, pipes, tobacco, and necessary clothing.

242"Everything bought by or sent to them will be inspected by the provost marshal. The prisoners will be allowed to write letters, one a week, not more than one-half sheet of paper to each letter. The letters will be opened and pass through the hands of the provost marshal before being mailed. No candles or light of any kind will be allowed. The hours for meals are as follows: Breakfast, 7 A. M.; dinner, 12 M.; supper, 5 P. M. The rations will be cooked and served under the direction of the provost marshal.

By order of—

"Lieut.-Col. William Gurney,
127th Regt. N. Y. Vol., Com. Post.
"R. H. L. Jevoett,
Capt. 54 Mass. Vol., A. A. A. G."
"Official: Geo. N. Little,
1st. Lt. 127th R. N. Y. V.,
A. A. A. C."

To Fort Pulaski—Rotten Cornmeal and
Pickled Rations—A Plot Laid

On the 17th of October the prisoners were notified to be ready to move at daylight next morning. In one of the tents the next morning, in order to see how to get ready, one of the prisoners struck a light, when the negro guard fired into the tent, wounding two of the occupants badly, one through the knee and the other in the shoulder. On the 18th we were marched to the wharf and put aboard two old hulks and towed out to sea. We had been forty-two days in this stockade and were glad enough to get away. But alas! we did not know what was in store for us later on. Three days' rations, so-called, had been issued—fifteen crackers and about five or six ounces of bacon. After being at sea three days and two nights, one hulk-load of 300 were landed at Fort Pulaski, on Tybee Island, Ga., at the mouth of the Savannah River, and the other 300 were landed at Hilton Head, a short distance up the coast.

Fort Pulaski was built of brick, with very thick walls, surrounded by a wide moat, was very damp, and when the east winds blew, very cold and disagreeable, 244there being no window-lights in the embrasures to the casements in which the prisoners were confined—only iron bars. Here the prisoners were guarded by the 127th N. Y. Regiment, commanded by Col. W. W. Brown, who treated the prisoners kindly.

In this regiment there were a great many youths in their teens. I remarked on this in a conversation with a Yankee sergeant, who stated that these boys were put into the army by their fathers for the sake of the large bounties paid, which, in many cases, amounted to $2,000 and over, and that these fathers were using the money to buy homes and lands for themselves.

Just like a Yankee—he would sell his own flesh and blood for money!

The Confederate soldiers were patriots, fighting for their country, while a large majority of the Yankee army were hirelings, fighting for money. Yet these hirelings are lauded as patriots by the North and pensioned by the United States Government!

For a time the rations were better here than on Morris Island. All the men and officers of this regiment had seen service in the field and had a fellow-feeling for a soldier, although he was a "Rebel" prisoner. Whenever we were guarded by Yankees who had never seen service in the field, they were as mean as snakes. The guards at Fort Delaware were of the latter kind—they shot several 245prisoners without cause. One instance I remember was that of Colonel —— Jones, of Virginia, who was sick and very feeble, scarcely able to walk. He had gone to the sink and had started back when a guard ordered him to move faster, which he could not do, and was shot through the body, dying the next day. The miscreant boasted that, "This makes two Rebels my gun has killed."


While at Fort Pulaski, Gen. J. G. Foster, the Yankee general commanding the department, and a cruel, unfeeling wretch he must have been, issued an order to put the prisoners on ten ounces of cornmeal and half pint of onion pickles per day.

This cornmeal was shipped from the North, was completely spoiled and utterly unfit for food, being mouldy, in hard lumps, and full of worms, big and little, some of them an inch long. The brands on the barrels showed that this cornmeal was ground at Brandywine in the year 1861. This was done, it was said, in retaliation for the Confederates feeding the Yankee prisoners on cornbread and sour sorghum. We would have been very glad to have gotten cornbread and sorghum, such as the Yankee prisoners had. They did not even give us salt, absolutely nothing but this ten ounces of rotten, wormy cornmeal and pickles, and would not allow those who had money to buy anything to eat from 246the sutler's. Some say that Edward M. Stanton, the Yankee Secretary of War, the arch-fiend of South-haters, was responsible for this cruel treatment. It savored of many of Stanton's acts during and after the war. In consequence of this inhuman order, there was a great deal of sickness and many deaths among the prisoners. "Starved to death," said the Yankee surgeon who attended the sick, "medicine will do them no good." Scurvy, a loathsome disease, prevailed to an alarming extent; the gums would become black and putrid, the legs full of sores, drawn and distorted. Many a poor fellow, in attempting to make his way to the sinks, would fall fainting to the ground. I remember, in one day, assisting three of these unfortunates to rise from the ground and back to their bunks. To substantiate what I have here recorded as facts, I give the following from the "War of the Rebellion, Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series II, Vol. VIII, page 163":

"Headquarters, District of Savannah,
Savannah, Ga.,
February 1, 1865.
"Assistant Adjutant General,
Headquarters, Department of the South:

"My medical director yesterday inspected the condition of the Rebel prisoners confined at Fort Pulaski, and represents that they are in a condition 247of great suffering and exhaustion for the want of sufficient food and clothing; also that they have the scurvy to a considerable extent. He recommends as a necessary measure, that they be at once put on full prison rations ("full prison rations," God save the mark!), and also that they be allowed to receive necessary articles of clothing from their friends. I would respectfully endorse the surgeon's recommendation and ask authority to take such steps as may be necessary to relieve actual sickness and suffering.

(Signed) "C. Grover,
Brevet Major-General,

Now, here it is from their own records, showing how wantonly and cruelly the Yankees treated these prisoners.

During these frightful days I made a ring out of a gutta-percha button, which was traded to a Yankee soldier, on the sly, for a good chunk of middling meat, which was a Godsend. I escaped the scurvy, but my messmate, Captain Horton, had it pretty badly, although I shared the meat with him. The prisoners killed and ate all the cats they could catch. I ate a small piece of a cat myself, and would have eaten more if I could have gotten it. One of the Yankee officers had a fat little dog that followed him into the casemates when making his tours of 248inspection; the hungry prisoners longed to get this dog, but he kept close to his master's heels, as if cognizant of the fact that he was on dangerous ground. With half a chance he would have been caught, killed, skinned, and devoured in short order. Some one may have nabbed this dog; I don't know.

These starvation days lasted about two months. During this time a Yankee major, out of compassion for the starving prisoners, went out with a boat and net one day, caught and gave to the prisoners a number of fresh fish, which were greatly enjoyed. This kindness was duly appreciated. But those higher in authority forbade its repetition, and we got no more fish.

While at Fort Pulaski the "Lee Chess Club" got out a paper, in pen and ink, foolscap size; I was one of the scribes and preserved a copy. A few years ago I sent this copy to the Confederate Museum at Richmond, Va., where it is now preserved in a glass case in the Virginia Room, in the White House of the Confederacy.


While here, six officers laid a plan to capture the ship when we were removed from the place, it being often rumored we were to be taken away. These six officers each selected ten others to act with them. No one else knew anything of the plot. I do not remember the names of the leaders. Captain 249Horton and myself were among the number selected.

About the 1st of March, rumors were rife that we were to be moved, and the plot was perfected as far as possible. The plan was to overpower the guard when at sea, take charge of the ship and run it to Nassau, or some other neutral port, in the West Indies. While here, some of the prisoners escaped from the hospital. Only one, however, made good and got safely away. Those recaptured were put in irons, cast into a foul dungeon, and cruelly treated.


Back to Fort Delaware—Disappointment and
Great Suffering—Three Deaths and
Burials at Sea

About the 3d or 4th of March, I think it was, the soldiers guarding us said an order had been received from General Grant, "an autograph letter," they said, to take us to Norfolk; thence up James River to City Point, for exchange. This was joyful news, indeed, and with eagerness and high hopes the prisoners made preparations to leave that dismal place. The next day we boarded a small steamer and were off for Dixie, as all believed. We left many a poor comrade buried in the sand on that Tybee Island, victims of Yankee cruelty and hatred.

After taking on board the prisoners at Hilton Head, the ship was so heavily loaded that the captain refused to put to sea. All the prisoners were then transferred to the steamship Illinois, a larger and better boat, which sailed for Norfolk. So certain were all that an exchange would be effected, no effort was made to carry out the plan to capture the ship. The guards on the ship paid little or no attention to the prisoners; they virtually had the freedom of the ship, could go on deck at will, and could have taken possession without the loss of a single man. There was no gunboat escort.

251On this trip up the coast there was a great deal of seasickness. There was no storm, but the ship rolled considerably. I was sick myself, and as I lay in a bunk down on the lower deck, looking out a small porthole at the huge billows, feeling very miserable, I made up my mind if anything happened to the ship, to just lay still and go down with it without making any effort to save myself. I remember one poor fellow who was suffering terribly, groaning and heaving as if trying to throw up his very "gizzard," when some one called out, "Give that man a piece of fat meat, it will help him." The sick man cried out in his agony, "O Lord God, don't talk about fat meat to me." Any one who has been sea-sick knows what an aversion the nausea produces to food, especially fat meat.

On the night of the 7th of March we dropped anchor at Norfolk, thinking of nothing but that the next morning we would steam up the historic James to City Point, and there be exchanged.


The next morning the ship weighed anchor, with many of us on deck in high spirits. Soon after getting under way, the ship was hailed by a gunboat, lying in Hampton Roads, with "Where are you bound?" The captain of the Illinois shouted back through his trumpet, "Fort Delaware." Oh, horror of horrors! our hearts sank within us; visions of exchange, of home and friends, vanished in a 252twinkling. Doomed to further incarceration in a detestable Yankee prison, when we had expected in a few short hours to be free and with friends! With hope, aye, certainly of relief, dashed to the ground, our feelings may be better imagined than expressed in words. The doom of the damned, "Depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire," can not be much worse. The Yankee guards on board the ship were at once on the alert, and with harsh and insolent commands, ordered and compelled, at point of bayonet, all the prisoners to get off the deck, and would not allow, after this, more than six or eight men on deck at a time; sentinels with loaded guns and fixed bayonets stood at the hatchways above us, and there was no chance to take the ship. One scoundrel threatened to shoot me as I stood at the foot of the ladder, with my hand on it, awaiting my turn to go on deck. He said to me in an insolent tone, "Take your hand off that ladder." I did so, then he said, "If you are an officer, why don't you dress like an officer?" I replied, "It is none of your business how I dress." Then he said, "Damn you, I will shoot you," bringing down his cocked gun on me, when I stepped back out of sight, thinking "discretion the better part of valor." How much the seventy men in the plot regretted not putting that plot into execution can never be told.


While on the way up the coast to Fort Delaware, the suffering among the prisoners was greatly 253intensified. The sick and disabled especially were downcast, and in utter despair; a more miserable set of men were perhaps never seen on board a ship. The floor of the lower deck was covered with vomit, which sloshed from side to side as the ship rolled back and forth.

Gloom and despair sat like a black pall on every face. Before Fort Delaware was reached, three officers died and were buried at sea. I witnessed one of the burials. The body was sewed up in a blanket with a cannon ball at the feet, then placed on a plank, feet foremost, which was pushed out over the side of the ship and the plank tilted up, when all that was mortal of the poor fellow slid off, and dropped into the sea, many feet below, to rest in a watery grave until the final roll call at the Judgment Day, "when the sea shall give up its dead."

Seventy-five sick were taken from the ship to the hospital, and many more were hardly able to walk, but the hospital was full. We disembarked at Fort Delaware on the 12th of March, 1865.

It was said the reason we were not exchanged, was that upon the arrival of the prisoners at Hampton Roads their condition was so horrible the Yankees did not want the Confederate authorities and the world to know their condition, hence they were shipped back to Fort Delaware.

That the exchange was ordered by General Grant I here present proof from the same volume of "War 254Records," before quoted from, on page 417, where will be found the following:

"City Point, Va., March 21, 1865.

"Brigadier-General Mulford, Commanding General: I do not know what has been done with the officers at Fort Pulaski; I sent orders to have them delivered at Charleston. Before the order had been received, Charleston had fallen into our possession. I then sent orders to have them sent to the James River. Before that order was received, General Gilmore wrote to me that, having received my first order, which had been directed to General Foster, he had sent a flag to find the enemy to deliver the prisoners to. I have heard nothing since.

(Signed) "U. S. Grant,

Proof of Grant's order to Foster for exchange at Charleston is in the same volume, page 219, and is dated 14th of February, 1865. "So near," we were to exchange and relief from suffering, "and yet so far."


Yankee Infamy—Conduct of the War—Sherman's
March—Virginia Dismembered

The Yankees were continually giving out to the world exaggerated accounts of the conditions of their soldiers in Confederate prisons, and are still at it, all the while refusing to exchange prisoners, except in a few instances.

The Yankees during the war did many mean, contemptible and uncivilized things, but I have always thought about the most contemptible and meanest thing they did was when, sometimes, there was an exchange of sick and wounded prisoners, they would strip to the skin their sick and wounded men, the most emaciated, have their pictures taken and sent broadcast over the country, to fire the Northern people and prejudice the world against the Confederates, when they knew the Confederate sick from Northern prisons were equally emaciated; but never a picture of these did they take and scatter abroad. I have seen some of these pictures. They are still harping on the horrors of Andersonville, but never a word do they utter about the wilful, malicious and cruel treatment of prisoners on Morris Island, and in Fort Pulaski, and Hilton Head.

256The Confederates fed the Yankee prisoners, as best they could, the same rations issued to Confederate soldiers—cut off as they were from the world, a large part of their country overrun by a brutal and merciless foe, who carried desolation and destruction through the land, wherever their worse than Hessian hoards went. There was much suffering everywhere in the South.

Food was scarce in the South, women and children suffered, and our own soldiers in the field had scanty rations, very often nothing but bread and not enough of that, while the Yankees, with plenty of supplies, their ports open to the world, less than half fed the Confederates in all their prisons, through malice and revenge.

It is a well-known fact, established by the records, that while there were more Yankee prisoners in Southern prisons than there were Confederates in Northern prisons, many thousands more of Confederate prisoners died in Northern prisons than Yankees in Southern prisons. It is established by the records of the war office at Washington that, during the war, Yankee prisoners to the number of 270,000 were captured and that 220,000 Confederates were captured. Of these prisoners 20,000 Yankees died in Southern prisons (about eight per cent.), while 26,000 Confederate prisoners died in Northern prisons (about sixteen per cent. of those captured). Most of the Confederate prisoners were confined in prisons in cold lake regions, and at Point 257Lookout, where they suffered untold miseries from exposure in those bleak locations. Confined in open, board barracks and tents with a very, very scant supply of fuel, with only a few thin blankets, thin, worn out clothing, and less than half fed, no wonder many of them died, victims of Yankee cruelty.

Let it ever be remembered that all this suffering, privation, and tens of thousands of deaths, were caused by the Yankees during the last two years of the war refusing to exchange prisoners, while the Confederates were always willing and anxious to exchange. General Grant said, when urged to agree to exchanges to prevent suffering and death in prison of his own men, "It is hard on our men confined in Southern prisons, but it would be harder on our soldiers in the field to consent to an exchange, because, if the 30,00 Rebel prisoners were released, they would go back to the army and fight, while our men would return to their homes." The Confederate authorities offered the Yankees the privilege of sending food, medicine, and hospital supplies to their prisoners in the South to be dispensed by Yankee doctors, but the offer was coldly and cruelly declined.

As proof of this, I refer to Col. Robt. Olds' letter to General Grant, dated Richmond, Va., January 24, 1865, in "War of the Rebellion, Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies," Series II, Vol. 2, pages 122-23, published by the United States Government.

258Not only this, but in truth no reply was made. They made medicine contraband of war; that is, they would not allow medicine to be shipped into the South any more than they would powder and lead or food or clothing—something no other nation of modern times has ever done. These things here recorded are historic, known and read by all men.


The conduct of the war on the part of the North was cold-blooded and cruel in the highest degree. The Northern soldiers burned and pillaged thousands of homes, and ruthlessly destroyed millions of dollars' worth of private property. The beautiful and fertile Valley of Virginia, "the garden spot of the world," was made a howling wilderness by wanton destruction and devastation; every mill and barn was burned, together with many dwellings; every kind of food for man or beast was destroyed, and the women and children left in a pitiable plight, the vandal Sheridan sending a message to Grant after the dastardly work was done, that "A crow flying over the Valley would have to take his rations with him." Gen. U. S. Grant had ordered this destruction and devastation, and found in Sheridan a willing tool to execute the infamous order.

The annals of history, ancient or modern, furnish few if any atrocities equal to those perpetrated by the Northern armies. The monster, Sherman, 259in his march through Georgia and North Carolina, burned and pillaged as no army ever did before, leaving a burned and blackened swath behind him forty to sixty miles wide. A few years ago, when the world was horrified at the cruelty the United States soldiers practiced on the Philippinos, including the "water cure," which consisted of inserting a rubber tube into the throat while the victim lay bound on his back, and pouring water in the tube and down the throat until the stomach was filled and distended to its fullest capacity, then jumping on the victim's stomach with the feet, forcing the water out, repeating the operation time and time again—when I read of this I remarked to some one that I was not surprised: that the Yankees were mean enough to do anything; that I knew them of old.


General Sherman, in his official report of his operations in Georgia, says: "We consumed the corn and fodder in the country thirty miles on either side of a line from Atlanta to Savannah: also the sweet potatoes, hogs, sheep, poultry, and carried off more than 10,000 horses and mules. I estimate the damage done to the State of Georgia at one hundred million dollars, at least, twenty millions of which inured to our benefit, and the remainder was simply waste and destruction." Could anything be more diabolical?

260From Gen. Bradley Johnston's "Life of Gen. Jos. E. Johnston," I take the following extracts, descriptive of Sherman's march: "A solid wall of smoke by day forty miles wide, and from the horizon to the zenith, gave notice to the women and children of the fate that was moving on them. At early dawn the black veil showed the march of the burners. All day they watched it coming from the northwest, like a storm-cloud of destruction. All night it was lit up by forked tongues of flame, lighting the lurid darkness. The next morning it reached them. Terror borne on the air, fleet as the furies, spread out ahead, and murder, arson, rapine, enveloped them. Who can describe the agonies of mothers for their daughters, for their babes, for their fathers and young boys?

"This crime was organized and regulated with intelligence and method. Every morning details were sent out in advance and on the flanks. The burners spread themselves over the whole country for miles beyond either flank of the marching columns, and they robbed everything.

"All valuables, gold, silver, jewels, watches, etc., were brought in at night and a fair division made of them among all parties. The captain was entitled to so much, the colonel to his share, the general to his portion.

"Let a few other things also speak. Major-General Halleck, then, I believe, commander-in-chief, under the President, of the armies of the Union, on 261the 18th of December, 1864, dispatched as follows to General Sherman, then in Savannah: 'Should you capture Charleston, I hope that by some accident the place may be destroyed, and if a little salt should be sown upon its site, it may prevent the growth of future crops of nullification and secession.'"

On the 26th of December, 1864, General Sherman made the following answer: "I will bear in mind your hint as to Charleston, and don't think that 'salt will be necessary.' When I move, the Fifteenth Corps will be on the right wing, and the position will bring them naturally into Charleston first, and if you have watched the history of that corps, you will have remarked that they generally do their work pretty well. The truth is, the whole army is burning with an insatiable desire to wreak vengeance upon South Carolina."

The Northern people have immortalized these dastardly deeds in the song, "Marching Through Georgia," and still exultingly sing and play it, which but perpetuates an infamy which should and does cause every American, worthy of the name, to hang his head in shame.

Here we have it from those high in authority approving and urging on the demons in human form who were perpetrating the most dastardly atrocities, and gloating over it, too. Who can doubt but that Hades burned hotter and his Satanic Majesty rubbed his hands in glee, when Stanton, Halleck, Sherman, et id genus omne, were hurled headlong into the bottomless pit?

262How different was the conduct of General Lee and his army when invading the enemy's country! I give here General Lee's order when in Pennsylvania:

"Headquarters Army Northern Virginia,
June 27, 1863,
"Gen. Orders No. 73.

"The Commanding General has observed with marked satisfaction the conduct of the troops on the march. There have, however, been instances of forgetfulness on the part of some that they have in keeping the yet unsullied reputation of this army, and that the duties exacted of us by civilization and Christianity are not less obligatory in the country of the enemy than our own.

"The Commanding General considers that no greater disgrace could befall the army, and through it our whole people, than the perpetration of barbarous outrages upon the unarmed and defenseless, and the wanton destruction of private property that have marked the course of the enemy in our own country....

"It will be remembered that we make war only upon armed men.

(Signed) R. E. Lee, General."

What a contrast! Robert E. Lee would have thrust his right hand into the fire and burned it 263off inch by inch before he would have written such words as Halleck and Sherman wrote.

W. T. Sherman was utterly incapable of entertaining or expressing such high and noble sentiments as emanated from Lee in the above-quoted order.

It is true that Early burned Chambersburg, but this was done in retaliation for wanton destruction of private houses in Virginia by the Yankee General Hunter, upon the refusal of the town to pay an indemnity in money.


A most atrocious act of the Yankee Government during the war, high-handed and inexcusable and without any semblance of law, right or necessity, was the dismemberment of the State of Virginia, when the old Mother of States was despoiled of one-third of her territory. West Virginia, cleft as it was from the side of the old Mother State by the sword, when in the throes of war, left that mother bleeding, and robbed of her richest mineral territory. Not that it would make the United States Government any stronger or richer, but only to satiate the hatred, revenge and malice of the Yankee nation. Virginia! The proud Old Dominion, that in 1795 voluntarily gave to the young Republic that vast northwestern domain, 250,000 square miles in extent, which her sons, during the Revolutionary 264War, single-handed and alone, under the leadership of the indomitable George Rogers Clark, wrested from the British and their Indian allies, and which now comprises the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and that part of Minnesota east of the Mississippi River; yet her original domains, as one of the thirteen States as fixed and adjusted after Kentucky was formed, and the ceding to the United States of this great western empire; the oldest, foremost, and proudest of the States, on whose shores the first English settlement on the continent was made, whose ter-centennial in this year of Grace, 1907, is being celebrated, and on whose sacred soil the fires of liberty were kindled and fanned into flame by the burning words, "Give me liberty or give me death," which fell from the lips of her own Patrick Henry; yet Virginia, the proud old Mother of States and statesmen, her borders extending from the sands on the ocean shore on the east to the Ohio River on the west, must be cut in twain, in hatred, in malice and in revenge.

These facts, the treatment of prisoners, and destruction of private property, are here recorded that the truth of history may be vindicated, and that the cold-blooded and cruel atrocities of the enemies of the South may not be forgotten. Multiplied instances of cruelty and vandalism might be here written down, but the subject is distasteful.

All this cruelty and these wanton acts of devastation 265and destruction were visited on the South and her people, not because they were criminals and outlaws, but to satiate Yankee hatred and revenge. That the South acted within her rights in withdrawing from the Union is now conceded by all unbiased and fair-minded men who have intelligence enough to investigate the rights of the states under the original compact—the Bill of Rights, the constitutions of several states, and the Constitution of the United States.

Impartial history will accord the South honor, genius, skill, bravery and endurance, under adverse conditions, unexampled; victories many, against great odds. Truthfully has it been said of the Confederacy:

"No nation rose so white and fair,
Or fell so pure of crime"—

While to the North will be accorded success through unlimited resources and vastly superior numbers, together with dishonor and shame for cruelty, revengefulness and wanton destruction of private property, unequaled in modern history.


Lee's Surrender—Lincoln's Assassination—Out
of Prison and at Home

Prison life at Fort Delaware had not improved any during the absence of the 600; the same bad, scanty rations were still served, with no surcease of the tedious, weary hours. When General Lee surrendered at Appomattox on the 9th of April, 1865, the prisoners were very much depressed, and almost the last hope of the establishment of the independence of the South vanished. A meeting of the Virginia officers was held to consult as to what was best to be done. Gen. Jos. E. Johnston was still in the field with an army in North Carolina, and Gen. Kirby Smith, commanding the Trans-Mississippi Department, was in Texas with a few thousand men. Whether we would abandon all hope and get out of prison as soon as possible by taking the oath of allegiance to the United States Government, which was offered, or await future events, were the questions discussed. Several speeches were made. Among the speakers I remember Capt. Jas. Bumgardner, of Staunton; Capt. H. Clay Dickerson, of Bedford, and Capt. Don P. Halsey, of Lynchburg. Captain Halsey 267closed his speech by submitting a motion: "That the meeting take no action at present," which motion I seconded, and it was carried unanimously. We were not yet ready to surrender to what seemed to be the inevitable. General Johnston was still standing before the enemy with his tattered, battered, and shattered battalions, and we considered our unqualified allegiance was still due to the Confederacy while he thus stood. The remaining days of April were anxious and exciting ones.


When the news of the assassination of Lincoln, which occurred on the night of the 14th of April, 1865, reached Fort Delaware the next morning, there was great excitement among the Yankee guards and prisoners also. The Yankee soldiers looked mad and vindictive, and the guards were doubled. Visions of retaliatory measures—banishment to Dry Tortugas, or worse—rose up before the Confederate officers. If retaliation was resorted to, no one knew how many Southern lives it would take to appease the wrath and vengeance of the North. If lots were cast for the victims, no one knew who would draw the black ballots. While all were discussing these questions in all seriousness, Peter Akers, the wit of the prison, broke the tension with the remark, "It was hard on old Abe to go through the war and then get bushwhacked in a theater."

268The Yankees almost moved heaven and earth to implicate the Confederate authorities in the assassination of Lincoln, but failed most signally. No doubt, they would have given worlds, if at their command, if President Jeff Davis and other leaders could have been connected with the plot and crime. As is well known, Boothe, the assassin, was shot dead in the attempt to capture him, and that a man named Harold, who was with Boothe when killed: Payne, who the same night attempted to assassinate Secretary of State, Wm. H. Seward, and Mrs. Surratt—were hung, the latter in all probability innocent of any crime; there was no evidence to connect her with the assassination or the plot. Some of the assassins boarded at her house and her son fled.

The assassination of Lincoln was the act of a scatter-brained actor, John Wilkes Boothe, and did the South no good, if, indeed, it was so intended. Many people think that if Lincoln had lived the South would have fared much better after the war. I do not think so. Lincoln might have been disposed to have dealt more justly with the South, but in my opinion he would have been overruled by the Sewards, the Stantons, the Mortons, the Garrisons, and the Thad Stevenses, and many more of that ilk, who lived and died inveterate haters and vilifiers of the Southern people. Meanness is bred in the bone of some people. If Lincoln ever did a kindly or generous act in behalf of the South, I do not recall it.

269When Gen. Joseph E. Johnston surrendered on the 26th day of April, 1865, the last vestige of hope against hope vanished. We felt like saying, "'Tis the last libation that Liberty draws from the heart that bleeds and breaks in her cause."


I remained at Fort Delaware until the 21st day of May, 1865, when I was released by a special order from Washington, which my brother had procured, and who brought the order to Fort Delaware and accompanied me to New York and to his home in Brooklyn. So that I was a prisoner of war one year to a day. I came out of prison in a much worse condition, physically, than when captured. Three years of active service in the field was as nothing to my experience in prison, although I did not suffer as much as thousands of poor fellows who received no aid from friends. I was sick several times while in prison, but had no serious illness, but was much debilitated at the end.

We left Fort Delaware on the steamer Mentor, going up Delaware River to Philadelphia, and thence by train and boat to New York.

After remaining in New York about two weeks recuperating, my brother and family and myself left for Virginia and home, going by steamer to Norfolk; thence up James River to Richmond, where we found a large part of the city in ashes. Gloomy and distressing was the scene. Here I met 270General Kemper and other comrades. The next day we took the train for Lynchburg—on the old Richmond & Danville Railroad. At Burkeville we found the road to Farmville destroyed. My brother and family went by private conveyance to Farmville, while I remained at Burkeville, sitting up all night guarding the baggage, as the railroad system was so out of joint and deranged that no care could be taken of baggage by the officials. The next morning I went by wagon to Farmville with the baggage, when we again took the train to another break in the road at James River below Lynchburg. Here we got aboard an old-fashioned canal boat, drawn by an old mule or two, which landed us at Lynchburg. The next day we went to my father's, twenty-one miles, in Campbell County, and joined the loved ones there. The reunion was a happy one. But what a change! Scores of thousands of dollars' worth of property gone forever, and the future, with reconstruction and attempted negro domination, staring us in the face, the prospect was anything but encouraging. But all was not lost; honor and truth still lived, though might had triumphed over right.

Thus ended my four years of service to the Confederacy, which I served loyally and willingly, and my only regret is that we all could not have rendered our dear Southland more efficient service, even to the full fruition of our fondest hopes in the beginning.

271I had three brothers in the army, all of us escaping without the loss of life or limb. The youngest, Taylor, was only in service a short time, being only thirteen years of age when the war began. He was in the cavalry service, as was my brother, Coon, towards the end.


Reconstruction and Since

As a fit climax to, and exhibitory of, Yankee hatred, malice, revenge, and cruelty practiced during the war, the North bound the prostrate South on the rock of negro domination, while the vultures, "carpet-baggers" and "scalawags," preyed upon its vitals. Unlike Prometheus, however, the South did not have its chains broken by a Hercules, but rose in its own might and severed the fetters that bound it, and drove away the birds of prey, and her people are now free and independent, controlling their own state affairs without let or hindrance; though many at the North are still growling and snarling, threatening reduction of representation in Congress, howling about negro disfranchisement, and the separation of the races in schools and public conveyances.

Let it never be forgotten that in Virginia in 1868, 80,000 "carpet-baggers," "scalawags," and negroes voted to disfranchise every Confederate soldier who fought for home and native land, and every man in the State, young or old, who would not swear that he had never given aid or comfort to the soldiers in the field, or sympathized with the Southern cause. 273Armed Yankee soldiers were posted at every courthouse in the land. Civil law gave place to arbitrary military rule. The names of states were obliterated, the states being designated as "Military Districts Nos. 1, 2, 3," etc. Detectives were abroad in the land. Everything that Yankee ingenuity and malignancy could conceive of was done to humiliate the Southern people. This service was very distasteful to some of the Yankee officers and soldiers, but they were urged on by the venom of a majority at the North. Peaceful citizens were hauled up before the military courts on complaints of worthless and vicious negroes, whose word was taken before that of the white man.

The "carpet-baggers" were unprincipled Northern men who came South after the war—political adventurers and freebooters—to steal and plunder as office-holders. The "scalawags" were native white men, many of them skulkers and deserters during the war, who, like the "carpet-baggers," sought political office—"apostates for the price of their apostasy." They took sides against their kith and kin, fawning on the Northern South-haters and traducers, joining in with the despoilers of the South, "that thrift might follow fawning."

And all these atrocities practiced by the North in the name of "liberty and freedom," and, as it was often expressed, that, "treason might be made odious." "Oh, Liberty, what crimes are enacted in thy name!" Treason, indeed! Lee and Jackson 274"traitors"? Blistered be the tongue that utters it. The brave men of the South who for four years fought as never men fought before. "Traitors"? Palsied be the hand that writes it. The charge of treason against the South is as black as the hearts that conceived it, and as false as the tongues that uttered it.

Henrich Heine, in speaking of England's banishment of Napoleon and his death on the lonely island of St. Helena, says, "Brittania! thou art queen of the ocean, but all great Neptune's ocean can not wash from thee the stain that the great Emperor bequeathed thee on his deathbed."

Well might it be said of the Washington Government, both during the war and afterwards, that not all the waters of all the oceans can wash away the stains of infamy practiced by it upon the South and her people. The cruel torture of President Davis at Fortress Monroe is a "damned spot that will not out," along with thousands of other acts, some of which I have enumerated.

A large majority of the Northern people were bitter enemies of the South, vilifying and slandering the Southern people, and sought to degrade and oppress them in many ways, but not all of them were so disposed, and many others are beginning to see the heinousness and folly of Reconstruction.

A late Northern paper, the Brooklyn Eagle, says: "Under Reconstruction the Republican party outlawed character, dispensed with fairness, degraded 275decency, elevated ignorance and invested in barbarism, under all the forms of politics which covered the fact of brigandage." A true and just arraignment by a Northern man, it gives a true statement of facts in a few words.

No wonder, then, the great mass of the people of the South have stood together for their section, and are political opponents of their traducers and persecutors.

There are, however, many just and good men at the North who were opposed to the invasion of the South by the Northern armies and the waging of that cruel war, who have, since the war, battled for the rights of the South, and held in check, to some extent, that puritanical element which, like the Pharisee, ascribes to itself all the virtue and intelligence of the land.

The original Puritans came to this country, as they said, to escape persecution. I think the truth is, they left their native country for that country's good. I have often thought that if the Mayflower had landed at the bottom of the ocean instead of on Plymouth Rock, it would have been much better for this country.

The New England Yankees are, in a large measure, responsible for the events that brought on the war, and for the atrocities committed in the South during and since the war. I don't believe the West and South would ever have gone to war had it not been for this puritanical spirit of New 276England. Envy is the ruling attribute of the Puritan; magnanimity is foreign to the Puritan nature. One thing formerly practiced by the New Englanders, they utterly failed to establish in this country. A good thing it was too for the old women, or else many more of them might have been burned, hanged or drowned as witches, as was done in New England when the Puritan spirit prevailed in its undiluted state.

The following is a copy of an old-time Massachusetts legal document, reproduced here that early history may be perpetuated:


"To George Corwin Gent'n, High Sheriffe of the County of Essex Greeting:

"Whereas Bridgett Bishop al's Olliver, the wife of Edward Bishop of Salem in the County of Essex Lawyer at a speciall Court of Oyer and Terminer held at Salem the second Day of this instant month of June for the Countyes of Essex Middlesex and Suffolk before William Stoughton Esque. and his associates of the said Court was Indicted and arraigned upon five several Indictments for using practising and exerciseing on the ... last past and divers other dayes and times the felonies of Witchcraft in and upon the bodyes of Abigail Williams, Ann Puttnam ... Mercy Lewis, Mary Walcott and Elizabeth Hubbard of 277Salem Village ... single women; whereby their bodyes were hurt, offlicted, pined, consumed and tormented contrary to the forme of the statute in that case made and provided. To which Indictm'ts the said Bridgett Bishop pleaded not guilty and for Tryall thereof put herselfe upon God and her Country whereupon she was found guilty of the Felonyes and Witchcrafts whereof she stood indicted and sentence of Death accordingly passed ag't her as the Law directs. Execution whereof yet remaines to be done. These are therefore in the names of their maj'ties William and Mary now King and Queen over England &c. to will and command That upon Fryday next being the Tenth Day of this instant month of June between the hours of eight and twelve in the aforenoon of the same day you safely conduct the s'd Bridgett Bishop al's Olliver from their maj'ties Gaol in Salem afores'd to the place of execution and there cause her to be hanged by the neck untill she be dead and of your doings herein make returne to the clerk of the s'd Court and of this pr'cept. And hereof you are not to faile at your peril. And this shall be your sufficient warrant Given under my hand & seal at Boston the eighth of June in the fourth year of the reigne of our Sovereign Lords William and Mary now King and Queen over England &c., Annoq'e Dom. 1692.

"June 10, 1692. Wm. Stoughton."

278"According to the within written precept I have taken the body of the within named Brigett Bishop out of their majesties goal in Salem and safely conveighd her to the place provided for her execution and caused y sd Brigett to be hanged by the neck untill she was dead and buried in the place all which was according to the time within required and so I make returne by me.

"George Corwin,

As before said, the sentiment at the North is changing in favor of the South; many are beginning to learn the true history of the past and present state of affairs, though the South still has its traducers and slanderers there, for in this year of grace, 1907, a Sunday-school magazine up North printed in its columns the following: "And when General Lee invaded Pennsylvania, at the time of the battle of Gettysburg, destruction and rapine followed in the wake of the invaders. There was evil and misfortune at every turn." A bigger lie was never told. A fouler slander was never uttered.

The South, despite its enemies, is advancing rapidly in material interests, and is destined to be the most prosperous portion of the United States. "King Cotton" is coming to his throne again. The South has always been the most chivalrous, conservative and American-like, holding more closely 279to the traditions, customs, and manners of the old days, where the high and unselfish principles of right, justice and honor, which go to make up the true gentleman and patriotic citizen, have always prevailed. The pure Anglo-Saxon blood still predominates in the South, as well as the spirit of the cavalier. Blood will tell.

The average Yankee has a very poor conception of what is right and honorable in his transactions and intercourse with his fellow-man, and very faint conceptions of those principles of right and justice which are the same among men of honor, world without end. To drive a sharp bargain, to get money no matter how, but to get money, and diffuse and enforce his own ideas and notions, seem to be the summa summorum of all his ends—as witness the developments in the past few years of rascality and thieving being brought to light at the North, as it exists among the "great captains of finance," as they are wont to be called; I think "great thieves" would be a much more suitable appellation. The foundations of many of the great, overgrown fortunes at the North were laid during the war by swindling and stealing by Government contractors, and they are still at it. Graft, graft; fraud, fraud, everywhere and in everything they touch.

As before said, the South is coming to its own again. I firmly believe the days of retribution will come when the evil deeds the North perpetrated in the South during and since the war, will be avenged, 280not in kind perhaps, but in some way. "The gods wait long, but they are just at last;" their "mills grind slowly, but they grind exceeding fine." God is just; His will be done.

I have written much more than I anticipated in the beginning—the subject and occurrences opened up the "cells where memory sleeps." The more I wrote, the more I recalled.

These reminiscences were commenced several years ago and virtually completed last February. Since then they have been gone over, revised, added to and some parts rewritten, and now on this, the 31st day of December, in the year of our Lord, 1907, the last day of the year, are completed.

W. H. Morgan



  1. Silently corrected simple spelling, grammar, and typographical errors.
  2. Retained anachronistic and non-standard spellings as printed.
  3. Deleted the word thousand on p. 138.