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History of Kershaw's Brigade by D. Augustus Dickert

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Was born near Red Bank in that part of Edgefield District now included
in Saluda County, South Carolina, on the 25th day of December, 1813.
His father, Captain James Bonham, who had come from Virginia to South
Carolina about the close of the last century, was the son of Major
Absalom Bonham, who was a native of Maryland, but who enlisted for the
war of the Revolution in a New Jersey regiment, and became a Major of
the line on the establishment of that State. After the Revolution he
moved to Virginia. Captain James Bonham was himself at the siege of
Yorktown as a lad of fifteen, in a company whose captain was only
twenty years old. He first settled in this State in the District of
Colleton, and there married. After the death of his wife, he moved to
Edgefield District, and there married Sophie Smith, who was the mother
of the subject of this sketch. She was the daughter of Jacob Smith and
his wife, Sallie Butler, who was a sister of that Captain James Butler
who was the forefather of the illustrious family of that name in
this State, and who with his young son, also named James, was cruelly
massacred along with others at Cloud's Creek, in Edgefield District,
by "Bloody Bill" Cunningham.

Milledge L. Bonham received his early education in the "old field"
schools of the neighborhood, and his academic training under
instructors at Abbeville and Edgefield. He entered the South Carolina
College and graduated with second honor in 1834. Soon thereafter the
Seminole or Florida war broke out, and he volunteered in the company
from Edgefield, commanded by Captain James Jones, and was Orderly
Sergeant of the company. During the progress of the war in Florida,
he was appointed by General Bull, who commanded the South Carolina
Brigade, to be Brigade Major, a position which corresponds with what
is now known in military circles as Adjutant General of Brigade.

Returning from the war, he resumed the study of law and was
admitted to the Bar and settled at Edgefield for the practice of his
profession. In 1844 he was elected to the Legislature. He always took
an ardent interest in the militia, and was first Brigadier General
and afterwards Major General of militia. When the war with Mexico was
declared, he was appointed lieutenant Colonel of the Twelfth United
States Infantry, one of the new regiments added to the army for that
war. With his regiment he went to Mexico and served with distinction
throughout the war, being promoted to Colonel of the regiment, and
having, by the way, for his Adjutant, Lieutenant Winfield Scott
Hancock, afterwards a distinguished Major General of the Federal Army
in the late war. After the cessation of hostilities, Colonel Bonham
was retained in Mexico as Military Governor of one of the provinces
for about a year. Being then honorably discharged, he returned to
Edgefield and resumed the practice of law. In 1848 he was elected
Solicitor of the Southern Circuit, composed of Edgefield, Barnwell,
Orangeburg, Colleton, and Beaufort Districts. The Bars of the various
Districts composing this Circuit counted among their members many of
the ablest and most distinguished lawyers of the State, and hence
it required the possession and industrious use of talents of no mean
order to sustain one's self as prosecuting officer against such an
array of ability. But General Bonham continued to hold the office
until 1856, when, upon the death of Hon. Preston S. Brooks, he was
elected to succeed that eminent gentleman in Congress, and again in
1858 was elected for the full term. Those were the stirring times
preceding the bursting of the cloud of civil war, and the debates in
Congress were hot and spicy. In all these he took his full part. When
South Carolina seceded from the Union, he promptly resigned his seat
in Congress, and was appointed by Governor Pickens Commander-in-Chief
of all the forces of South Carolina with the rank of Major General. In
this capacity, and waiving all question of rank and precedence, at the
request of Governor Pickens, he served on the coast on Morris' Island
with General Beauregard, who had been sent there by the Provisional
Government of the Confederacy to take command of the operations
around Charleston. On the permanent organization of the Confederate
Government, General Bonham was appointed by President Davis a
Brigadier General in the Army of the Confederate States. His brigade
consisted of four South Carolina regiments, commanded respectively by
Colonels Kershaw, Williams, Cash, and Bacon, and General Bonham used
to love to say that no finer body of men were ever assembled together
in one command. With this brigade he went to Virginia, and they were
the first troops other than Virginia troops that landed in Richmond
for its defense. With them he took part in the operations around
Fairfax, Vienna, Centerville, and the first battle of Manassas.

Afterwards, in consequence of a disagreement with the Department of
War, he resigned from the army. Soon thereafter he was elected to the
Confederate Congress, in which body he served until he was elected
Governor of this State in December, 1862. It was a trying time to fill
that office, and President Davis, in letters, bears witness to the
fact that no one of the Governors of the South gave him more efficient
aid and support than did Governor Bonham. At the expiration of his
term of office, in January, 1865, he was appointed to the command of
a brigade of cavalry, and at once set to work to organize it, but the
surrender of Johnston's army put an end to the war.

Returning from the war broken in fortune, as were all of his people,
he remained for a year or more on his plantation on Saluda River, in
Edgefield County. He then moved to Edgefield Court House, again to
take up his practice, so often interrupted by calls to arms. He was
elected to the Legislature in 1866, just preceding Reconstruction, but
with the coming of that political era he, in common with all the white
men of the State, was debarred from further participation in public
affairs. In the movement known as the Tax-payers Convention, which had
for its object the relief of the people from Republican oppression
and corruption, he took part as one of the delegates sent by this
convention to Washington to lay before President Grant the condition
of the people of the "Prostrate State." He took an active interest and
part in the political revolution of 1876 and warmly advocated what was
known as "the straightout policy" and the nomination of Wade Hampton
as Governor.

In 1878 Governor Simpson appointed him the first Railroad Commissioner
under the Act just passed, and subsequently when the number of the
Commissioners was increased to three, he was elected Chairman of the
Commission, in which position he continued until his death, on the
27th day of August, 1890. He died suddenly from the rupture of a blood
vessel while on a visit to Haywood White Sulphur Springs, N.C.

General Bonham married on November 13th, 1845, Ann Patience, a
daughter of Nathan L. Griffin, Esq., a prominent lawyer of Edgefield.
She survived him four years, and of their union there are living eight

Attached to Bonham's Brigade was Kemper's Battery of light artillery,
commanded by Captain Dell Kemper. This company was from Alexandria,
Va., just over the Potomac from Washington. This organization was part
of the old State militia, known as volunteer companies, and had been
in existence as such for many years. It being in such close proximity
to Washington, the sentiment of the company was divided, like all
companies on the border. Some of the company were in favor of joining
the Union Army, while others wished to go with the State. Much
discussion took place at this time among the members as to which side
they would join, but Captain Kemper, with a great display of coolness
and courage, cut the Gordian knot by taking those with him of Southern
sentiment, like himself, and on one dark night he pulled out from
Alexandria with his cannon and horses and made his way South to join
the Southern Army. That was the last time any of that gallant band
ever saw their native city for more than four years, and many of the
poor fellows looked upon it that night for the last time. Between them
and the South Carolinians sprang up a warm attachment that continued
during the war. They remained with us as a part of the brigade for
nearly two years, or until the artillery was made a separate branch of
the service. While in winter quarters, when many troops were granted
furloughs, those men having no home to which they could visit like
the others, were invited by members of the brigade to visit their own
homes in South Carolina and remain with their families the length
of their leave of absence. Many availed themselves of these kind
invitations, and spent a pleasant month in the hospitable homes of
this State. The ladies of South Carolina, appreciating their isolated
condition and forced separation from their homes, with no kind mother
or sister with opportunities to cheer them with their delicate favors,
made them all a handsome uniform and outfit of underwear, and sent to
them as a Christmas gift. Never during the long years of the struggle
did the hearts of South Carolinians fail to respond to those of the
brave Virginians, when they heard the sound of Kemper's guns belching
forth death and destruction to the enemy, or when the battle was
raging loud and furious.

On the morning of the 16th of July, when all was still and quiet in
camp, a puff of blue smoke from a hill about three miles off, followed
by the roar of a cannon, the hissing noise of a shell overhead, its
loud report, was the first intimation the troops had that the enemy
had commenced the advance, it is needless to say excitement and
consternation overwhelmed the camp. While all were expecting and
anxiously awaiting it, still the idea of being now in the face of a
real live enemy, on the eve of a great battle, where death and horrors
of war, such as all had heard of but never realized, came upon them
with no little feelings of dread and emotion. No man living, nor any
who ever lived, retaining his natural faculties, ever faced death
in battle without some feeling of dread or superstitious awe. The
soldiers knew, too, the eyes of the world were upon them, that they
were to make the history for their generation. Tents were hurriedly
struck, baggage rolled and thrown into wagons, with which the excited
teamsters were not long in getting into the pike road. Drums beat
the assembly, troops formed in line and took position behind
the breastwork; while the artillery galloped up to the front and
unlimbered, ready for action. The enemy threw twenty-pound shells
repeatedly over the camp, that did no further damage than add to the
consternation of the already excited teamsters, who seemed to think
the safety of the army depended on their getting out of the way. It
was an exciting scene to see four-horse teams galloping down the pike
at break-neck speed, urged forward by the frantic drivers.

It was the intention of McDowell, the Federal Chief, to surprise the
advance at Fairfax Court House and cut off their retreat. Already a
column was being hurried along the Germantown road, that intersected
the main road four miles in our rear at the little hamlet of
Germantown. But soon General Bonham had his forces, according to
preconcerted arrangements, following the retreating trains along the
pike towards Bull Run. Men overloaded with baggage, weighted down with
excitement, went at a double quick down the road, panting and sweating
in the noonday sun, while one of the field officers in the rear
accelerated the pace by a continual shouting, "Hurry up, men, they
are firing on our rear." This command was repeated so often and
persistently that it became a by-word in our brigade, so much so that
when anything was wanted to be done with speed the order was always
accompanied with, "Hurry up, men, they are firing on our rear." The
negro servants, evincing no disposition to be left behind, rushed
along with the wagon train like men beset. While we were on the
double-quick, some one noticed a small Confederate flag floating
lazily in the breeze from a tall pine pole that some soldier had put
up at his tent, but by the hurried departure neglected to take down.
Its owner could not entertain the idea of leaving this piece of
bunting as a trophy for the enemy, so risking the chance of capture,
he ran back, cut the staff, and returned almost out of breath to his
company with the coveted flag. We were none too precipitate in our
movement, for as we were passing through Germantown we could see the
long rows of glistening bayonets of the enemy crowning the hills to
our right. We stopped in Centerville until midnight, then resumed the
march, reaching Bull Run at Mitchell's Ford as the sun was just rising
above the hill tops.

Colonel Kershaw and Colonel Cash were filing down the east bank to the
left, while Colonels Williams and Bacon occupied some earthworks on
the right. These had been erected by former troops, who had encamped
there before us. General Beauregard had divided his troops into six
brigades, putting regiments of the same State together, as far as
possible, Bonham's being First Brigade. Beauregard was determined to
make Bull Run his line of defense. This is a slow, sluggish stream,
only fordable at certain points, its banks steep and rather rocky with
a rough plateau reaching back from either side. The western being the
more elevated, gave the enemy the advantage in artillery practice.
In fact, the banks on the western side at some points came up to the
stream in a bluff--especially so at Blackburn's Ford. In the rear and
in the direction of the railroad was the now famous Manassas Plains.
The Confederate line extended five miles, from Union Mills Ford
to Stone Bridge. At the latter place was General Evans, of South
Carolina, with two regiments and four pieces of artillery. On the
extreme right, Ewell with his brigade and a battery of twelve-pounders
was posted at Union Mills. McLean's Ford was guarded by D.R.
Jones' brigade, with two brass six-pounders. Longstreet with two
six-pounders, and Bonham with two batteries of artillery and a
squadron of cavalry, guarded the fords at Blackburn's and Mitchell's
respectively. Early's Brigade acted as reserve on the right. In rear
of the other fords was Cooke's Brigade and one battery. The entire
force on the roll on July 11th consisted of 27 pieces of light
artillery and 534 men; cavalry, 1425; foot artillery, 265; infantry,
16,150--18,401, comprising the grand total of all arms of General
Beauregard one week before the first battle. Now it must be understood
that this includes the sick, guards, and those on outpost duty.
McDowell had 37,300 of mostly seasoned troops.

The morning of the 18th opened bright and sunny. To our rear was all
bustle and commotion, and it looked like a vast camp of wagon trains.
From the surrounding country all wagons had been called in from the
foraging expeditions laden with provisions. Herds of cattle were
corralled to secure the troops fresh beef, while the little fires
scattered over the vast plains showed that the cooking details were
not idle. General Beauregard had his headquarters on the hill in our

At eight o'clock on the 18th, McDowell pushed his leading division
forward at Blackburn's Ford, where two old comrades, but now facing
each other as foes, General Tyler and General Longstreet, were to
measure strength and generalship. The Washington Artillery, under
Captain Richardson, of New Orleans, a famous battery throughout the
war, which claims the distinction of firing the first gun at Bull Run
and the last at Appomattox, was with Longstreet to aid him with their
brass six-pounders.

The enemy advanced over the plain and up to the very bluff overlooking
the stream, and a very short distance from where Longstreet's force
lay, but the Washington Artillery had been raking the field all the
while, from an eminence in the rear, while the infantry now began to
fire in earnest. The elevated position gave the enemy great advantage,
and at one time General Longstreet had to call up his reserves, but
the advantageous assault was speedily repulsed as soon as the Southern
troops became more calm and better accustomed to the fire and tension
of the battlefield. Several assaults were made, one immediately after
the other, but each time Southern valor overcame Northern discipline.
From our position at Mitchell's Ford, we could hear the fierce,
continual roll of the infantry fire, mingled with the deafening
thunder of the cannon. Bonham was under a continual shelling from long
range, by twenty pounders, some reaching as far in the rear as the
wagon yard. After the fourth repulse, and Longstreet had his reserves
well in hand, he felt himself strong enough to take the initiative.
Plunging through the marshes and lagoons that bordered the stream, the
troops crossed over and up the bluff, but when on the heights they met
another advance of the enemy, who were soon sent scampering from the
field. Then was first heard the famous "Rebel yell." The Confederates
finding themselves victorious in this their first engagement,
gave vent to their feelings by uttering such a yell as suited each
individual best, forming for all time the famous "Rebel Yell."
Longstreet withdrew his forces to the east side, but a continual
fusilade of artillery was kept up until night. Some of our soldiers
visited the battlefield that night and next day, and brought in
many trophies and mementoes of the day's fight, such as blankets,
oilcloths, canteens, guns, etc.

* * * * *


The Battle of Manassas--Rout of the Enemy. Visit to the Battlefield.

Of the battle of the 18th, the enemy seemed to make little, and called
it a "demonstration" at which General Tyler exceeded his orders, and
pushed his troops too far. However, the Confederates were very well
satisfied with the contest where the first blood was drawn. General
Johnston, who at this time was up in the Shenandoah Valley, near
Winchester, was asked by General Beauregard to come to his relief. He
was confronted himself by General Patterson, an able Federal General,
with a largely superior army. This General Johnston had assurance to
believe was preparing to advance, and his own danger great. Still by
a strategem, he succeeded in quietly withdrawing his troops, and began
the hazardous undertaking of re-enforcing Beauregard. Some of his
troops he placed upon the cars at Piedmont, and sped along o'er
mountains and glens with lightning speed, while the others on foot
came over and through the torturous mountain passes without halt or
rest, bending all their energies to meet Beauregard upon the plains of
Manassas. Couriers came on foaming steeds, their bloody sides showing
the impress of the riders' spurs, bringing the glad tidings to the
Army of the Potomac that succor was near. Beauregard was busy with
the disposition of his troops, preparing to give battle, while the
soldiers worked with a will erecting some hasty breastworks.

At this point I will digress for the moment to relate an incident of
the Federal march, to show the brutal cowardice and baseness of
the Federals in making war upon the non-combatants--women and
children--and also the unyielding spirit and inflexible courage of
our Southern people. Those dispositions were manifested on both sides
throughout the whole war. It is unnecessary to say that feeling ran
high on the border, as elsewhere, and everyone was anxious to display
his colors in order to show to the world how his feelings ran.
Confederate flags waved from many housetops along the border, and
on the morning the Federals crossed the Potomac from Washington to
Alexandria, many little pieces of bunting, displaying stars and bars,
floated from the houses in that old sleeping city of Alexandria.
Among that number was a violent Secessionist named Jackson. Colonel
Ellsworth, commanding the New York Zouaves, the advance guard, ordered
all flags with Confederate devices to be torn down by force. The
soldiers thus engaged in the debasing acts of entering private
dwellings, insulting the inmates with the vilest epithets, ruthlessly
tore down the hated emblems of the South everywhere. When they came to
Jackson's house they met the fiery defender of his home on the landing
of the stairs, rifle in hand, who with determined air informed the
Federal soldiers that whoever lowered his flag would meet instant
death. Staggered and dazed by such a determined spirit, they lost no
time in reporting the fact to Colonel Ellsworth. Enraged beyond all
control by this cool impudence, Ellsworth rushed to Jackson's house,
followed by a squad of soldiers. On reaching the landing he, too, met
Jackson with his eyes flashing fire and determination, his whole
frame trembling with the emotion he felt, his rifle cocked and to his
shoulder, boldly declaring, "Whoever tears down that flag, dies in his
tracks." Ellsworth and party thought this threat could not be real,
and only Southern braggadocio. Brushing past the determined hero,
Ellsworth snatched the hated flag from its fastening, but at that
instant he fell dead at the feet of his adversary. The report of
Jackson's rifle told too plainly that he had kept his word. The
soldiers who had followed and witnessed the death of their commander,
riddled the body of the Southern martyr with bullets, and not
satisfied with his death, mutilated his body beyond recognition. Thus
fell the first martyr to Southern principles. The South never showed
this disposition of hatred on any occasion, for in after years while
marching through Pennsylvania Union flags floated unmolested from
housetops, over towns, and cities. The soldiers only laughed and
ridiculed the stars and stripes. The South feared no display of
sentiment, neither did they insult women and non-combatants.

A like occurrence happened in New Orleans a few years later, where
General Butler commanded, and gained the unenviable sobriquet of
"Beast" by his war upon the women and those not engaged in the
struggle, and by trampling upon every right and liberty sacred to the
people. He had issued some degrading order, which the citizens were
bound in pain of death to obey. One brave man, Mumford, refused,
preferring death to obeying this humiliating order. For this he was
torn from the embrace of his devoted family, and, in sight of his wife
and children, placed in a wagon, forced to ride upon his own coffin,
and in the public square was hanged like a felon.

General Johnston, with a portion of his troops, reached the field on
the 20th, and his forces were placed in rear of those of Beauregard
as reserves. On the night of the 20th, both opposing generals, by a
strange coincidence, had formed plans of the battle for the next day,
and both plans were identical. Beauregard determined to advance his
right by echelon of brigades, commencing with Ewell at Union Mills,
then Jones and Longstreet were to cross Bull Run, with Bonham as a
pivot, and attack McDowell in flank and rear. This was the identical
plan conceived and carried out by the enemy, but with little success,
as events afterwards showed. The only difference was McDowell got his
blow in first by pushing his advance columns forward up the Warrenton
Road on our left, in the direction of the Stone Bridge. He attacked
General Evans, who had the Fourth South Carolina and Wheat's Battalion
of Louisiana Tigers, on guard at this point, with great energy and
zeal. But under cover of a dense forest, he moved his main body of
troops still higher up the Run, crossed at Sudley's Ford, and came
down on Evans' rear. Fighting "Shanks Evans," as he was afterwards
called, met this overwhelming force with stubborn resistance and a
reckless courage. The enemy from the opposite side of the Run was
sending in a continued shower of shot and shell, which threatened
the annihilation of the two little six-pounders and the handful of
infantry that Evans had. But support soon reached him, the Brigade of
Bee's coming up; still he was pressed back beyond a small stream in
his rear. Bee, with his own and Bartow's Brigade, with a battery of
artillery, were all soon engaged, but the whole column was forced back
in the valley below. Jackson came upon the crest of the hill in their
rear at this juncture, and on this column the demoralized troops were
ordered to rally. It was here Jackson gained the name of "Stonewall,"
for Bee, to animate and reassure his own men, pointed to Jackson and
said: "Look at Jackson, he stands like a stonewall." But the gallant
South Carolinian who gave the illustrious chieftain the famous name of
"Stonewall" did not live long enough to see the name applied, for in
a short time he fell, pierced through with a shot, which proved fatal.
Hampton, with his Legion, came like a whirlwind upon the field, and
formed on the right, other batteries were brought into play, still the
enemy pressed forward. Stone Bridge being uncovered, Tyler crossed his
troops over, and joined those of Hunter and Heintzelman coming from
Sudley's Ford. This united the three divisions of the enemy, and
they made a vigorous and pressing assault upon the demoralized
Confederates. The roar of the cannon became continuous, the earth
trembled from this storm of battle, sulphurous smoke obscures the sky,
the air vibrates with shrieking shot and shell, men rush madly to
the charge. Our small six-pounders against their twelve and
twenty-pounders, manned by the best artillerists at the North, was
quite an uneven combat. Johnston and Beauregard had now come upon the
field and aided in giving order and confidence to the troops now badly
disorganized by the fury of the charge. The battle raged in all
its fierceness; the infantry and artillery, by their roaring and
thunder-like tone, gave one the impression of a continued, protracted
electrical storm, and to those at a distance it sounded like "worlds
at war." On the plateau between the Lewis House and the Henry House
the battle raged fast and furious with all the varying fortunes of
battle. Now victorious--now defeated--the enemy advances over hill,
across plateaus, to be met with stubborn resistance first, then driven
flying from the field. Around the Henry House the battle was desperate
and hand to hand. Here the Louisiana Battalion, under Major Wheat,
immortalized itself by the fury of its assault. Again and again was
the house taken and lost, retaken and lost again; the men, seeking
cover, rushed up around and into it, only to be driven away by the
storm of shot and shell sent hurling through it. Now our troops would
be dislodged, but rallying they rushed again to the assault and retook
it. Twelve o'clock came, and the battle was far from being decided.
Bartow fell, then Bee. The wounded and dead lay strewn over the entire
field from the Henry House to the bridge. Away to the left is seen the
glitter of advancing bayonets, with flags waving, and the steady tread
of long lines of soldiers marching through the open field. They are
first thought to be the enemy, seeking to turn our left. Officers and
men turned pale at the sight of the unexpected foe. Couriers were sent
to Longstreet and Bonham to prepare to cover the retreat, for the
day was now thought to be lost, and a retreat inevitable. The troops
proved to be friends. Elzeys and Kirby Smith on the way from the
Valley to Manassas, hearing the firing of the guns, left the cars and
hurried to the scene of action. Cheer after cheer now rent the air,
for relief was now at hand. They were put in on the left, but soon
General Kirby Smith fell wounded, and had to be borne from the field.
Other reinforcements were on the way to relieve the pressure that was
convincing to the generals commanding, even, that the troops could not
long endure. The Second and Eighth South Carolina Regiments, under
the command of Colonels Kershaw and Cash, were taken from the line at
Mitchell's Ford and hurried forward. When all the forces, were gotten
well in hand, a general forward movement was made. But the enemy met
it with a determined front. The shrieking and bursting of shells shook
the very earth, while the constant roll of the infantry sounded like
continual peals of heavy thunder. Here and there an explosion, like a
volcanic eruption, told of a caisson being blown up by the bursting of
a shell. The enemy graped the field right and left, and had a decided
advantage in the forenoon when their long range twenty-pounders played
havoc with our advancing and retreating columns, while our small four
and six-pounders could not reach their batteries. But in the after
part of the day, when the contending forces were nearer together,
Rickett's and Griffin's Batteries, the most celebrated at that time
in the Northern Army, could not stand the precision and impetuosity
of Kemper's, the Washington, Stannard's, Pendleton's, and Pelham's
Batteries as they graped the field. The Second and Eighth South
Carolina coming up at a double quick, joined Hampton's Legion, with
Early, Cox, and the troops from the Valley just in time to be of
eminent service at a critical moment. The clear clarion voice
of Kershaw gave the command, "Forward!" and when repeated in the
stentorian voice of Cash, the men knew what was expected of them,
answered the call, and leaped to the front with a will. The enemy
could no longer withstand the desperate onslaught of the Confederate
Volunteers, and McDowell now began to interest himself with the
doubtful problem of withdrawing his troops at this critical juncture.
With the rugged banks of the deep, sluggish stream in his rear, and
only a few places it could be crossed, with a long sheet of flame
blazing out from the compact lines of the Confederates into the faces
of his men, his position was perilous in the extreme. His troops must
have been of like opinion, for the ranks began to waver, then break
away, and soon they found themselves in full retreat. Kershaw, Cash,
and Hampton pressed them hard towards Stone Bridge. A retreat at first
now became a panic, then a rout. Men threw away their baggage, then
their guns, all in a mad rush to put the stream between themselves
and the dreaded "gray-backs." Cannon were abandoned, men mounted the
horses and fled in wild disorder, trampling underfoot those who came
between them and safety, while others limbered up their pieces
and went at headlong speed, only to be upset or tangled in an
unrecognizable mass on Stone Bridge. The South Carolinians pressed
them to the very crossing, capturing prisoners and guns; among the
latter was the enemy's celebrated "Long Tom." All semblance of order
was now cast aside, each trying to leave his less fortunate neighbor
in the rear. Plunging headlong down the precipitous banks of the Run,
the terror-stricken soldiers pushed over and out in the woods and
the fields on the other side. The shells of our rifle and parrot guns
accelerated their speed, and added to their demoralization by hissing
and shrieking above their heads and bursting in the tree tops. Orders
were sent to Generals Bonham, Longstreet, and Jones, who were holding
the lower fords, to cross over and strike the flying fugitives in
the rear near Centerville. Colonels Williams and Bacon, with their
regiments, led by General Bonham, in person, crossed the stream at a
double quick, and began the pursuit of the stampeded troops. When we
reached the camps of the enemy, where they had bivouaced the night
before, the scene beggared description. On either side of the road
were piled as high as one could reach baggages of every description,
which the men had discarded before going into action. Blankets rolled
up, oilcloths, overcoats, tents, all of the very best material, piled
up by the hundreds and thousands. Pots and camp kettles hung over
fires, and from within came the savory smell of "rich viands with
rare condiments," being prepared to appease the keen appetite of the
battle-worn veterans after the day's victory. Great quarters of fresh
beef hung temptingly from the limbs of the trees, wagons filled with
arms and accoutrements, provisions, and army supplies, with not a few
well-laden with all the delicacies, tid-bits, and rarest old wines
that Washington could afford, to assuage the thirst of officers and
the men of note. Many of the high dignitaries and officials from the
Capitol had come out to witness the fight from afar, and enjoy the
exciting scene of battle. They were now fleeing through the woods
like men demented, or crouched behind trees, perfectly paralyzed with
uncertainty and fright. One old citizen of the North, captured by the
boys, gave much merriment by the antics he cut, being frightened out
of his wits with the thought of being summarily dealt with by the
soldiers. Some would punch him in the back with their bayonets, then
another would give him a thrust as he turned to ask quarters of the
first tormentor. The crisis was reached, however, when one of the
soldiers, in a spirit of mischief, called for a rope to hang him;
he thought himself lost, and through his tears he begged for mercy,
pleaded for compassion, and promised atonement. General Bonham riding
up at this juncture of the soldiers' sport, and seeing the abject fear
of the old Northern Abolitionist, took pity and showed his sympathy
by telling the men to turn him loose, and not to interfere with
non-combatants. He was told to run now, and if he kept the gait he
started with through the woods, not many hours elapsed before
he placed the placid waters of the Potomac between him and the
blood-thirsty Rebels. Strict orders were given to "stay in ranks," but
the sight of so much valuable plunder, and actual necessaries to the
soldiers, was too much for the poorly provided Confederates; and not
a few plucked from the pile a blanket, overcoat, canteen, or other
article that his wants dictated. A joke the boys had on a major was
that while riding along the line, waving his sword, giving orders not
to molest the baggage, and crying out, "Stay in ranks, men, stay in
ranks," then in an undertone he would call to his servant, "Get me
another blanket, Harvy." The artillery that had been ordered to take
part in the infantry's pursuit were just preparing to open fire upon
the fleeing enemy, when by some unaccountable order, the pursuit was
ordered to be abandoned. Had not this uncalled for order come at this
juncture, it is not hard to conceive the results. The greater portion
of the Federal Army would have been captured, for with the exception
of General Sykes' Brigade of regulars and a battery of regular
artillery, there was not an organization between our army and
Washington City. All night long the roads through Centerville, and the
next day all leading through Fairfax, Falls Church, and Anandale were
one continual throng of fleeing fugitives. Guns and accoutrements,
camp equipage, and ordnance strewed the sides of the road for miles;
wagons, ambulances, cannon, and caissons had been abandoned, and
terror-stricken animals galloped unbridled through the woods and
fields. The great herds of cattle, now free from their keepers, went
bellowing through the forest, seeking shelter in some secluded swamp.

At night, we were all very reluctantly ordered back to our old camp
to talk, rejoice, and dream of the wonderful victory. Beauregard
and Johnston had in this engagement of all arms 30,888, but 3,000 of
Ewell's and part of Bonham's Brigade were not on the field on that
day. The enemy had 50,000 and 117 cannon. Confederate loss in killed
and wounded, 1,485. Federal loss in killed, wounded, and captured,
4,500. There being no enemy in our front and little danger of
surprise, the soldiers were allowed to roam at will over the
battlefield the next few days. Almost the entire army availed
themselves of this their first opportunity of visiting a real
battlefield and witnessing the real horrors and carnage of which they
had often read and seen pictures but had never seen in reality.

Who is it that has ever looked upon a battlefield and could forget the
sickening scene, or obliterate from his mind the memory of its dreaded
sight? It was recorded of the great Napoleon, by one of his most
intimate friends and historians, that after every great battle the
first thing he did the next day was to ride over the field, where lay
the dead and wounded, and when he would come to those points where the
battle had been desperate and the dead lay thickest, he would sit as
in a trance, and with silence and meditation never witnessed on other
occasions, view the ghastly corpses as they lay strewn over the field.
The field of carnage had a fascinating power over him he could not
resist, and on which his eyes delighted to feast. With a comrade
I went to visit the field of Manassas. Passing over the uneven and
partly wooded country, we witnessed all the effect of the enemy's
rifled guns. Trees were cut down, great holes dug in the ground where
shells had exploded, broken wagons, upset ambulances, wounded and dead
horses lining the whole way. The first real scene of carnage was on
the plateau of the Lewis house. Here the Virginians lying behind the
crest of the hill as the enemy emerged from the woods on the other
side, gave them such a volley as to cause a momentary repulse, but
only to renew their attack with renewed vigor. The battle here was
desperate. Major Wheat with his Louisianians fought around the Henry
house with a ferocity hardly equalled by any troops during the war.
Their peculiar uniform, large flowing trousers with blue and white
stripes coming only to the knees, colored stockings, and a loose
bodice, made quite a picturesque appearance and a good target for the
enemy. These lay around the house and in front in almost arm's length
of each other. This position had been taken and lost twice during the
day. Beyond the house and down the declivity on the other side, the
enemy's dead told how destructive and deadly had been the Confederate
fire. On the other plateau where Jackson had formed and where Bee and
Bartow fell, the scene was sickening. There lay friend and foe face
to face in the cold embrace of death. Only by the caps could one be
distinguished from the other, for the ghouls of the battlefield had
already been there to strip, rob, and plunder. Beyond the ravine to
the left is where Hampton and his Legion fought, as well as the troops
of Kirby Smith and Elzey, of Johnston's army, who had come upon the
scene just in time to turn the tide of battle from defeat to victory.
On the right of Hampton was the Eighth and Second South Carolina under
Kershaw. From the Lewis house to the Stone Bridge the dead lay in
every direction. The enemy in their precipitate flight gave the
Confederates ample opportunity to slay at will. The effects of
artillery here were dreadful. Rickett's Battery, the best in the
North, had pushed their guns far in advance of the infantry, and swept
the field with grape and canister. Here was a caisson blown up by
a shell from Kemper's Battery, and the havoc was frightful. Six
beautiful horses, all well caparisoned and still attached to the
caisson, all stretched as they had fallen, without so much as a
struggle. The drivers lay by the side of the horses, one poor fellow
underneath and badly mutilated. To one side and near by lay the
officer in command and his horse, the noble animal lying as he had
died in the beautiful poise he must have been in when the fatal shot
struck him. His hind legs straightened as if in the act of rearing,
his forefeet in the air, one before the other, the whole looking more
like a dismantled statue than the result of a battlefield. Fragments
of shells, broken guns, knapsacks, and baggage were scattered over
the plains. Details were busy gathering up the wounded and burying the
dead. But from the looks of the field the task seemed difficult. In
the little clusters of bushes, behind trees, in gullies, and in every
conceivable place that seemed to offer shelter, lay the dead. What
a shudder thrills the whole frame when you stand and contemplate
the gruesome faces of the battle's dead. In every posture and all
positions, with every conceivable shade of countenance, the glaring,
glassy eyes meet you. Some lay as they fell, stretched full length
on the ground; others show a desperate struggle for the last few
remaining breaths. There lay the beardless youth with a pleasant smile
yet lingering on his face as though waiting for the maternal kiss; the
cold stern features of the middle aged as he lay grasping his trusty
rifle, some drawn up in a perfect knot of agony, others their faces
prone upon the earth, all dead, dead. Great pools of blood here and
there had saturated the earth, the victim perhaps crawling to a nearby
shelter or some little glen, hoping to gain a mouthful of water to
cool his parched lips, or perhaps some friendly hand had carried him
away to a hospital. Few of our troops had been molested by the body
snatchers of the battlefield, but the enemy had almost invariably been
stripped of his outer clothing. On the incline of the far side of a
little hill spots were pointed out where the gallant South Carolinian,
Bee, had fallen, while rallying his men for the final assault, and
also the brave Georgian, Colonel Bartow, in a like endeavor.

We came to the Henry house, on the opposite plateau from the Lewis
house, the former at this time almost as noted as the little log hut
at Waterloo that stood half a century before as a landmark to the fall
of Napoleon. They were common, old fashioned frame houses, occupied
by some poor people on this frightful day. The battle came with such
suddeness and unexpectancy, the unfortunate inmates could not get
away, and there throughout the bloody day these three Henry women had
endured all the dread, excitement, and dangers of a great battle, and
forced to remain between the opposing armies. The house was perfectly
riddled with minnie balls, while great openings were torn in the side
and roofs by the shells shattering through. There was no escape or
place of safety. They stretched themselves at full length upon the
floor, calmly awaiting death, while a perfect storm of shot and shell
raged without and within. As we went in the house two women sat around
the few mouldering embers that had answered the purpose of cooking
a hasty meal. It was a single room house, with two beds, some cheap
furniture, and a few cooking utensils. These were torn into fragments.
In one corner lay the dead sister, who had been shot the day before,
with a sheet thrown over to shield her from the gaze of the curious.
The two sisters were eating a morsel unconcernedly, unconscious of the
surroundings, while the house was crowded during the day with sight
seers and curious questioners. On the other side of the room were some
wounded soldiers, carried in to be shielded from the rays of the July
sun, while all without lay in heaps the mangled dead. The exceeding
tension of excitement, fright, untold fear, that had been drawn around
them during the continuous struggle of the day before, had rendered
those women callous and indifferent to all surrounding appearance;
but their haggard faces told but too plainly their mental anguish and
bodily suffering of yesterday. The eyes tire of the sickening scene,
and the mind turns from this revolting field of blood, and we return
heartstricken to our camp. The poor crippled and deserted horses limp
over the field nibbling a little bunch of grass left green in places
after the day of mad galloping of horses. Everywhere we saw friends
hunting friends. Relief corps had come up from Richmond and were
working night and day relieving the suffering and moving the wounded
away. Cars were run at short intervals from Manassas, carrying the
disabled to Warrentown, Orange Court House, Culpepper, and Richmond.
President Davis had come up just after the battle had gone in our
favor, and the soldiers were delighted to get a glimpse at our
illustrious chieftain. It was needless to say Beauregard's star was
still in the ascendant.

* * * * *


Vienna--Flint Hill--Duel Sports--July to October.

Much discussion has taken place since the rout at Manassas as to
reasons for not following up the victory so gloriously won, and for
not pushing on to Washington at once. It is enough to say the two
commanders at the time and on the field saw difficulties and dangers
sufficient in the way to rest on their spoils. The President, who was
in council with them, after due consideration was convinced of
the impracticability of a forward movement. In the first place, no
preparation had been made for such an event; that the spoils were
so out of proportion to their most sanguine expectations; that the
transportation for the troops had to be employed in its removal;
that no thought of a forward movement or invasion had ever been
contemplated; so there were no plans or specifications at hand. Then
again, the dead and wounded of both armies had to be attended to,
which crippled our medical department so as to render it powerless
should another engagement take place. And again, a large portion of
our people thought this total defeat of the enemy at the very outset
of the war would render the design of coercion by force of arms
impracticable. The South was conservative, and did not wish to inflame
the minds of the people of the Union by entering their territory or
destroying their capital. Knowing there was a large party at the
North opposed to the war, some of our leaders had reason to think
this shattering of their first grand army would so strengthen their
feelings and party that the whole North would call for peace. They
further hugged that fatal delusion to their breast, a delusion that
eventually shattered the foundation of our government and betrayed the
confidence of the troops, "foreign intervention." They reasoned that a
great victory by the South would cause our government to be recognized
by the foreign powers and the South given a footing as a distinct,
separate, and independent nation among all other great nations of
the earth. That the South would no longer be looked upon as an
"Insurrectionary Faction," "Erring Sisters," or "Rebellious Children."
Our ports had been ordered closed by the North, and an imaginary
blockade, a nominal fleet, stood out in front of our harbors. Our
people thought the world's desire for the South's cotton would so
influence the commercial and laboring people of Europe that the powers
would force the North to declare her blockade off. Such were some of
the feelings and hopes of a large body of our troops, as well as
the citizens of the country at large. But it all was a fallacy, a
delusion, an ignis fatuus. The North was aroused to double her former
fury, her energies renewed and strengthened, tensions drawn, her
ardor largely increased, her feelings doubly embittered, and the
whole spirit of the North on fire. Now the cry was in earnest, "On to
Richmond," "Down with the rebellion," "Peace and unity." The Northern
press was in a perfect blaze, the men wild with excitement, and every
art and device was resorted to to arouse the people to arms. The
stain of defeat must now be wiped out; a stigma had been put upon the
nation, her flag disgraced, her people dishonored. Large bounties were
offered for volunteers, and the recruiting was earnest and energetic.
Lincoln called for 300,000 more troops, and the same question was
asked at the South, "Where will he get them and how pay them?"

We were moved out near Centerville, and a few days afterwards took up
camp at Vienna, a small station on the Baltimore and Ohio railroad.
The day after our arrival all of the troops, with the exception of the
ordinary detail, were put to work tearing up the railroad track. It
being Sunday, loud complaints were made against this desecration of
the Lord's Day, but we were told there was no difference in days in
times of war. The railroad was a good one and well built on a roadbed
of gravel and chips of granite, with solid heart pine or chestnut
ties, laid with "T" rails. The cross-ties were piled in heaps, on
these were laid the rails, and all set on fire; then for miles and
miles up and down the road the crackling flames, the black smoke
twining around the trees and curling upward, shrouded the whole earth
with a canopy of black and blue, and told of the destruction that
was going on. Here the troops suffered as seldom during the war for
provisions, especially breadstuff. Loud murmurings were heard on all
sides against the commissary department, and the commissary complained
of the Quartermaster for not furnishing transportation. The troops on
one occasion here had to go three days and at hard work without one
mouthful of bread, except what little they could buy or beg of the
citizens of the thinly settled country. Meat was plentiful, but no
bread, and any one who has ever felt the tortures of bread hunger may
imagine the sufferings of the men. For want of bread the meats became
nauseating and repulsive. The whole fault lay in having too many
bosses and red tape in the Department at Richmond. By order of these
officials, all commissary supplies, even gathered in sight of the
camps, had to be first sent to Richmond and issued out only on
requisitions to the head of the departments. The railroad facilities
were bad, irregular, and blocked, while our wagons and teams were
limited to one for each one hundred men for all purposes. General
Beauregard, now second in command, and directly in command of the
First Army Corps of the Army of the Potomac, of which our brigade
formed a part, wishing to concentrate his troops, ordered all to
Flint Hill, three miles west of Fairfax Court House. General Johnston,
Commander-in-Chief, directed the movements of the whole army, but more
directly the Second Army Corps, or the Army of the Shenandoah. The
army up to this time had not been put into divisions, commanded
by Major Generals, nor corps, by Lieutenant Generals, but the two
commanders divided nominally the army into two corps, each commanded
by a full General--Brigadier General Beauregard having been raised to
the rank of full General the day after his signal victory at Manassas
by President Davis.

[Illustration: Brig. Gen. James Connor Adjt.]

[Illustration: Y.J. Pope, Acting Asst. Adjt. Genl. of
Kershaw's Brigade]

[Illustration: Brig. Gen. John D. Kennedy.]

[Illustration: Dr. Thos. W. Salmond Surgeon of Kershaw's Brigade.]

In the Confederate Army the grades of the Generals were different to
those in the United States Army. A brigade consisted of a number of
regiments joined together as one body and commanded by a Brigadier
General, the lowest in rank. Four, more or less, brigades constituted
a division, commanded by a Major General. Three or four divisions
constituted a corps, commanded by a Lieutenant General, and a separate
army, as two or more corps, was commanded by a General, the highest
in rank. Their rank is the same, but the Seniors are those whose
commissions had been granted first, and take precedence where two are
together. So it is with all officers in the army--age is not taken
into consideration, but the date of commission. Where a brigade,
from any cause, temporarily loses its commander, the Colonel with the
oldest commission takes the command; where a division loses its Major
General, the Senior Brigadier in that division immediately assumes
command; and the same way in the corps and the army. The Major General
takes command of the corps where its commander is absent, and in case
of absence, either temporary or permanent, of the Commander-in-Chief
of an army, the ranking Lieutenant General takes command until a
full General relieves him. In no case can an officer of inferior rank
command one of superior rank. Rank gives command whether ordered
or not. In any case of absence, whether in battle, march, or camp,
whenever an officer finds himself Senior in his organization, he is
commander and so held without further orders.

The soldiers had rather a good time at Flint Hill, doing a little
drilling and occasional picket duty out in the direction of Munson and
Mason Hill. The Commanding General wished to advance his pickets
to Munson Hill, a few miles from Washington, and to do this it was
necessary to dislodge the enemy, who had possession there. The
Second Regiment, under Colonel Kershaw, was sent out, and after a
considerable brush he succeeded in driving the enemy away. After this
one regiment at a time was sent out to do picket duty. When our South
Carolina regiments would go out orders were given to be quiet, and
during our stay at Mason and Munson Hill the utmost secrecy prevailed,
but when Wheat's Louisiana Battalion had to relieve a regiment we
could hear the beating of their drums, the loud shouts of the men on
their way out, and all would rush to the side of the road to see the
"tigers" pass. Down the road they would come, banners waving, the
swinging step of the men keeping time to the shrill notes of the fife
and the rattle of the drums. Their large flowing pants, their gaudy
striped long hose, made quite an imposing spectacle. This was a noted
band of men for a time, but their brave commander, Wheat, and almost
all of his men, were killed in the battles that followed around
Richmond. Major Wheat had been in the Turkish Army when that nation
was at war with Russia, and in several other foreign wars, as well as
the Mexican War. When his State seceded he returned to Louisiana
and raised a battalion of the hardest set of men in New Orleans.
The soldiers called them "wharf rats," "sailors," "longshoremen,"
"cutthroats," and "gutter snipes." They knew no subordination and
defied law and military discipline. While in camp here several of them
were shot at the stake. Major Wheat had asked to be allowed to manage
his men as he saw best, and had a law unto himself. For some mutiny
and insubordination he had several of them shot. Afterwards, when the
soldiers heard a volley fired, the word would go out, "Wheat is having
another tiger shot."

The fields were green with the great waving corn, just in roasting
ears, and it was a sight to see hundreds of men in these fields early
in the morning plucking the fine ears for breakfast. In most cases the
owners had abandoned their fields and homes, taking what was movable
to other places in Virginia. What was left the soldiers were at
liberty to "slay and eat." At first it was determined to protect the
stock, but the soldiers agreed that what the Southern soldiers left
the enemy would be sure to take. I remember the first theft I was
engaged in during the war. I say "first" advisedly. Now soldiers
have different views as to rights of property to that of the average
citizen. What he finds that will add to his comfort or welfare, or his
wants dictate, or a liability of the property falling into the hands
of the enemy, he takes without compunction or disposition to rob--and
more often he robs in a spirit of mischief. A few fine hogs had been
left to roam at will through the fields by the refugee farmers, and
orders were given not to kill or molest them, to eat as much corn
as we wished, but to spare the hogs. When the regiments were sent on
pickets, a detail was left in camp as guard, also to watch around the
fields to prevent trespass. While our regiment was on its three days'
picket, I was left as one of the detail to guard the camp. Some one
reported a fine hog in the yard of a house some distance away. It was
agreed to kill it, divide it up, and have a rare treat for the weary
pickets when they returned. How to kill it without attracting the
attention of the other guards was a question of importance, because
the report of a rifle and the proverbial squeal of a hog would be sure
to bring down upon us the guard. One of the men had a pistol, still
we were afraid to trust this. A cellar door stood temptingly open.
We tried to drive the hog into it, but with a hog's perverseness it
refused to be driven, and after rushing around the yard several times
with no results, it was decided to shoot it. The man claimed to be a
good shot, and declared that no hog would squeal after being shot by
him, but, as Burns says, "The best laid plans of mice and men aft'
gang a glee." So with us. After shooting, the porker cut desperate
antics, and set up a frightful noise, but the unexpected always
happens, and the hog took refuge in the cellar, or rather the basement
of the dwelling, to our great relief. We were proceeding finely,
skinning away, the only method the soldiers had of cleaning a hog,
when to our astonishment and dismay, in walked the much dreaded guard.
Now there something peculiar about the soldier's idea of duty, the
effects of military training, and the stern obedience to orders. The
first lesson he learns is obedience, and the longer in service the
more convinced he is of its necessity. While he may break ranks, pass
guards, rob roosts, or pilfer fruits and vegetables himself, yet put a
gun in his hand, place him on duty, order him to guard or protect
men or property, and his integrity in that respect is as unyielding,
inflexible, and stern as if his life depended upon his faithful
performance. The Roman soldiers' obedience to orders made them
immortal, and their nation the greatest on earth. But to resume the
thread of my story. When the guard came in we thought ourselves lost.
To be punished for hog stealing, and it published at home, was more
than our patriotism could stand. The guard questioned us about the
killing, said it was against orders to fire a gun within range of
camp, and furthermore against orders to molest private property. We
tried to convince the guard that it was contraband, that the owners
had left it, and to crown the argument, insisted that if we did not
take the hog the Yankees would. This was the argument always last
resorted to to ease conscience and evade the law. In this case,
strange to say, it had its effect. After some parleying, it was agreed
to share the booty equally between the guard and ourselves. They
helped us cut brush and cover it nicely, and after tattoo all were to
return and divide up. We did not know the guards personally, but knew
their command. And so we returned to the camp to await the return of
our pickets and night. It was soon noised in camp that there was
a fine fat porker to be distributed after tattoo, and no little
eagerness and inquisitiveness were manifested, as all wished a piece.
Armed with a crocus-sack, we returned to the house; all was dark and
still. We whistled the signal, but no answer. It was repeated, but
still no reply. The guard had not come. Sitting down on the door step,
we began our long wait. Moments passed into minutes, minutes into
hours, until at last we began to have some forebodings and misgivings.
Had we been betrayed? Would we be reported and our tents searched next
day? Hardly; a soldier could not be so treacherous. We entered the
cellar and began to fumble around without results, a match was struck,
and to our unspeakable dismay not a vestige of hog remained. Stuck
against the side of the wall was a piece of paper, on which was
written: "No mercy for the hog rogue." Such swearing, such stamping
and beating the air with our fists, in imitation of the punishment
that would be given the treacherous rascals if present; the atmosphere
was perfectly sulphurous with the venom spit out against the foul
party. Here was a true verification of the old adage, "Set a rogue
to catch a rogue." Dejected and crestfallen, we returned to camp,
but dared not tell of our misfortune, for fear of the jeers of our

Measles and jaundice began to scourge the camp; the green corn, it was
said, did the army more damage than the enemy did in battle. Wagons
and ambulances went out daily loaded with the sick; the hospitals
were being crowded in Richmond and other cities; hotels, colleges, and
churches were appropriated for hospital service, and the good people
of Virginia can never be forgotten, nor amply rewarded for the
self-sacrifices and aid rendered to the sick soldiers. Private houses
were thrown open to the sick when their homes were far distant, or
where they could not reach it. The soldier was never too dirty or
ragged to be received into palatial homes; all found a ready welcome
and the best attention.

Generals Johnston and Beauregard had now concentrated all their forces
in supporting distance around Fairfax Court House, and were preparing
for a movement across the Potomac. Bonham's Brigade was at Flint Hill,
Cox's at Centerville, Jones's at Germantown, Hampton and Early on the
Occoquon, the Louisiana Brigade at Bull Run, and Longstreet at Fairfax
Court House. The troops were all in easy distance, and a gigantic plan
of General Beauregard, with the doubtful approval of General Johnston
and others, was for a formidable invasion of the North. General
Johnston evinced that same disposition in military tactics that he
followed during the war, "a purely defensive war." In none of his
campaigns did he exhibit any desire to take advantage of the enemy by
bold moves; his one idea seemed to be "defensive," and in that he was
a genius--in retreat, his was a mastermind; in defense, masterly. In
the end it may have proven the better policy to have remained on the
defensive. But the quick, impulsive temperament of Beauregard was ever
on the alert for some bold stroke or sudden attack upon the
enemy's weaker points. His idea coincided with Longstreet's in this
particular, that the North, Kentucky, Tennessee, or Maryland should
be the theatre of war and the battleground of the Confederacy. General
Lee, according to the ideas of one of his most trusted lieutenants,
was more in accordance with the views of General Johnston, that is,
"the South should fight a defensive war"--and it was only when in the
immediate presence of the enemy, or when he observed a weak point
in his opponent, or a strategic move, that he could not resist the
temptation to strike a blow. In several of his great battles it is
reported of Lee that he intended to await the attack of the enemy, but
could not control his impatience when the enemy began to press him;
then all the fire of his warlike nature came to the surface, and he
sprang upon his adversary with the ferocity of a wild beast. But Lee
in battle was not the Lee in camp.

The middle of summer the two commanding Generals called President
Davis to Fairfax Court House to enter a conference in regard to the
projected invasion. The plans were all carefully laid before him.
First a demonstration was to be made above Washington; then with the
whole army cross below, strike Washington on the east, crush the enemy
in their camps, march through Maryland, hoist the standard of revolt
in that State, make a call for all Southern sympathizers to flock to
their banners, and to overawe the North by this sudden onslaught. But
President Davis turned a deaf ear to all such overtures; pleaded the
want of transportation and the necessary equipment for invasion. It
was the feeling of the South even at this late day that much could yet
be done by diplomacy and mild measures; that a great body of the North
could be won over by fears of a prolonged war; and the South did not
wish to exasperate the more conservative element by any overt act. We
all naturally looked for peace; we fully expected the war would end
during the fall and winter, and it was not too much to say that many
of our leaders hugged this delusion to their breast.

While in camp here an incident occurred which showed that the men
had not yet fully recognized the importance of military restraint and
discipline. It is well known that private broils or feuds of any
kind are strictly forbidden by army regulations. The French manner
of settling disputes or vindicating personal honor according to code
duello was not countenanced by our military laws; still the hot
blood and fiery temper of the proud South Carolinians could brook
no restraint at this time when an affront was given or his honor
assailed. Captain Elbert Bland, of Edgefield, and Major Emett Seibles,
both of the Seventh Regiment, were engaged in a friendly game of
chess, a difference arose, then a dispute, hot words, and at last
insult given that could not be recalled nor allowed to pass unnoticed.
Challenge is offered and accepted, seconds appointed, pistols chosen;
distance, twenty paces; time, sunrise next morning on a hillside near
the outskirts of the camp. Early next morning a lone ambulance is seen
moving out of camp, followed by two surgeons, then the principals with
their seconds at a respectful distance. On reaching the spot chosen
lots were cast for choice of stations. This fell to Captain Bland.
The distance was measured with mechanical exactness, dueling pistols
produced, each second loading that of his principal. The regular
dueling pistol is a costly affair and of the very finest material.
Long slim rifle barrel with hammer underneath, the stock finely
chiseled and elaborately ornamented with silver or gold; the whole
about ten inches in length and carrying a bullet of 22 calibre. The
seconds took their places at an equal distance from each other and
midway between the principals. Captain Bland takes his position at
the west end of the field, and Major Seibles the east. Both stood
confronting each other, not fierce nor glaring like two men roused in
passion, or that either wished the blood of the other, but bold, calm,
and defiant; an insult to be wiped out and honor to be sustained. They
turned, facing the rear, hands down, with pistols in the right.
The seconds call out in calm, deliberate tones: "Gentlemen, are
you ready?" Then, "Ready, aim, fire!" "One, two, three, stop." The
shooting must take place between the words "fire" and "stop," or
during the count of one, two, three. If the principal fires before or
after this command it is murder, and he is at once shot down by the
second of his opponent. Or if in any case the principals fail to
respond at the hour set, the second promptly takes his place. But no
danger of such possibilities where two such men as Major Seibles and
Captain Bland are interested. There was a matter at issue dearer than
country, wife or child. It was honor, and a true South Carolinian of
the old stock would make any sacrifice, give or take life, to uphold
his name unsullied or the honor of his family untarnished. As the word
fire was given the opponents wheeled and two pistol shots rang out
on the stillness of the morning. Captain Bland stands still erect,
commanding and motionless as a statue. Major Seibles remains steady
for a moment, then sways a little to the left, staggers and falls
into the arms of his second and surgeon. A hasty examination is made.
"Blood," calls out the second of Major Seibles. A nod of satisfaction
is given and acknowledged by both seconds. Captain Bland retires on
the arm of his friend, while the Major, now bleeding profusely from
a wound in the chest, is lifted in the ambulance and carried to
his tent. It was many months before Major Seibles was sufficiently
recovered from his wound to return to duty. The matter was kept quiet
and no action taken. Major Seibles died the following year, while the
gallant Bland was killed at Chickamauga while leading as Colonel the
Seventh Regiment in battle.

While at Flint Hill, another stirring scene took place of quite a
different nature. In front of the Third Regiment was a beautiful
stretch of road, and this was selected as a course for a race to be
run between the horse of Captain Mitchell of the Louisiana Tigers and
that of the Colonel of a Virginia regiment of cavalry. The troops now
so long inactive, nothing to break the monotony between drills, guard
duty, and picketing, waited with no little anxiety the coming of the
day that was to test the metal of the little grey from the Pelican
State and the sorrel from the Old Dominion. Word had gone out among
all the troopers that a race was up, and all lovers of the sport came
in groups, companies, and regiments to the place of rendezvous. Men
seemed to come from everywhere, captains, colonels, and even generals
graced the occasion with their presence. Never before in our army
had so many distinguished individuals congregated for so trivial an
occasion. There was Wheat, fat, clean shaven, and jolly, his every
feature indicating the man he was--bold as a lion, fearless, full of
life and frolic as a school boy, but who had seen war in almost every
clime under the sun. There was Turner Ashby, his eyes flashing fire
from under his shaggy eyebrows, his long black beard and flowing
locks, looking more like a brigand than one of the most daring
cavaliers of the Confederate Army. Fitzhugh Lee, too, was there, with
colonels, majors, and captains without number. Nothing seemed farther
from the horizon of these jolly men than thoughts of the triumphs of
war. Captain Mitchell's horse was more on the pony order than a racer,
but it was said by those who knew that on more occasions than one
the pony had thrown dirt into the eyes of the fastest horse in the
Crescent City, and the Louisianans were betting on him to a man. The
wiry sorrel was equally a favorite with the Virginians, while the
South Carolinians were divided between the two. After a great amount
of jockeying, usual on such occasions, judges were appointed, distance
measured, horses and riders in their places, and hundreds of men
stretched along the side of the road to witness the heated race.
No little amount of Confederate money had been put upon the race,
although it was understood to be merely a friendly one, and for
amusement only. When the drum sounded, the two horses almost leaped
into the air, and sped away like the wind, "little grey" shooting
away from her larger adversary like a bullet, and came flying down the
track like a streak, about a length ahead of the Virginia horse. The
favorites on the Louisianan rent the air with their yells, hats went
into the air, while the friends of the Virginian shouted like mad to
the rider: "Let him out, let him out." When the distance was about
half run he was "let out;" the rowels went into the side and the whip
came down upon the flanks of the thoroughly aroused racer, and the
Virginian began forging to the front, gaining at every leap. Now he is
neck and neck, spur and whip are used without stint, he goes ahead and
is leaving the "grey" far in the rear; Captain Mitchell is leaning
far over on the withers of the faithful little pony, never sparing
the whip for a moment, but all could see that he was running a losing
race. When about the commencement of the last quarter the "grey"
leaves the track, and off to the right he plunges through the trees,
dashing headlong by the groups of men, till at last the Captain brings
him up with one rein broken. A great crowd surround him, questioning,
swearing, and jeering, but the Captain sat as silent, immovable, and
inattentive as a statue, pointing to the broken rein. It had been cut
with a knife. The Captain and his friends claimed that the friends of
the Virginian had, unnoticed by him, cut the leather to a bare thread,
while the friends of the other party, with equal persistency, charged
the Captain with cutting it himself. That when he saw the race lost,
he reached over and cut the rein about six inches from the bit, thus
throwing the horse out of the track and saving its credit, if not the
money. No one ever knew how it happened, but that there had been a
trick played and foul means employed were evident. A great many had
lost their money, and their curses were loud and deep, while the
winners went away as merry as "marriage bells."

* * * * *


Winter Quarters at Bull Run.

Sometime in October the brigade was withdrawn to the vicinity of
Centerville for better facilities in the way of provisions, water,
etc., and to be nearer the wooded section of the country. The water
had been scarce at Flint Hill, a long distance from camp, and of
inferior quality. The health of the troops was considerably impaired,
a great many having been sent to the hospitals, or to their homes. The
sickness was attributed, in a large measure, to the quality of green
corn and fresh meat, salt being an object now with the Confederacy,
and was issued in limited quantities. We fared sumptuously while at
our camp near Centerville. Our wagon train going weekly up towards
Warrenton and the mountains, returning laden with flour, meat, and the
finest beef we had ever received. The teamsters acting as hucksters,
brought in a lot of delicacies to sell on their own account--chickens,
turkeys, and vegetables, and not unfrequently a keg of "Mountain Dew"
would be packed in the wagon with the army supplies, and sold by the
wagoners at an enormous profit. There being no revenue officers or
"dispensary constables" in those days, whiskey could be handled with
impunity, and not a little found its way into camp. The citizens, too,
had an eye single to their own welfare, and would bring in loads of
all kinds of country produce. Sometimes a wagon would drive into camp
loaded with dressed chickens and turkeys to the number of one hundred
or more. A large old-fashioned wagon-sheet would be spread over the
bottom and side of the wagon body, and filled with as much as two
horses could pull. I never knew until then how far a man's prejudice
could overcome him. Our mess had concluded to treat itself to a turkey
dinner on Christmas. Our boss of the mess was instructed to purchase a
turkey of the next wagon that came in. Sure enough, the day came and a
fine fat turkey bought, already dressed, and boiling away in the camp
kettle, while all hands stood around and drank in the delightful aroma
from turkey and condiments that so temptingly escaped from under the
kettle lid. When all was ready, the feast spread, and the cook was in
the act of sinking his fork into the breast of the rich brown turkey,
some one said in the greatest astonishment: "Well, George Stuck, I'll
be d----d if you haven't bought a goose instead of a turkey, look at
its short legs." There was a go, our money gone, appetites whetted,
and for a goose! Well up to that time and even now I cannot eat goose.
A dispute arose, some said it was a goose, others held out with equal
persistency that it was a turkey, and I not having discretion enough
to judge by the color of the flesh, and so overcome by my prejudice,
did not taste it, and a madder man was not often found. To this day I
have never been convinced whether it was a turkey or a goose, but am
rather inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to the goose.

We did not get into our regular winter quarters until after the first
of January, 1862. These were established on the south Banks of Bull
Run, near Blackburn's Ford, the place of the first battle of the name,
where Longstreet fought on the 18th of July. Large details were sent
out from camp every day to build foundations for these quarters. This
was done by cutting pine poles or logs the right length of our
tents, build up three or four feet, and over this pen the tent to be
stretched. They were generally about ten feet square, but a man could
only stand erect in the middle. The cracks between the logs were
clinked with mud, a chimney built out of poles split in half and
notched up in the ends of the log parts of the tent. An inside wall
was made of plank or small round poles, with space between the two
walls of five or six inches. This was filled with soft earth or mud,
packed tightly, then a blazing fire started, the inner wall burned
out, and the dirt baked hard and solid as a brick. In this way we
had very good chimneys and comfortable quarters. From six to eight
occupied one tent, and generally all the inmates messed together.
Forks were driven into the ground, on which were placed strong and
substantial cross-pieces, then round pipe poles, about the size of
a man's arm, laid over all and thickly strewn with pine needles, on
which the blankets are laid. There you have the winter quarters for
the Southern soldiers the first year of the war.

But some of the men did not like so primitive an order of architecture
and built huts entirely out of logs, and displayed as much originality
as you would find in more pretentious cities. These were covered over
with poles, on which straw and sand were tightly packed, enough so
as to make them water-tight. Some would give names to their quarters,
marked in large letters above their doors in charcoal, taxing their
minds to give ingenious and unique names, such as "Uncle Tom's Cabin,"
"The House that Jack Built," "Park Row," "Devil's Inn," etc. To
while away the long nights and cold days, the men had recourse to the
soldier's game, "cards." Few ever played for the money that was in it,
but more for an amusement and pastime. While almost all played cards,
there were very few who could be considered gamblers, or who would
take their comrades' money, if they even won it. There would be
stakes played for, it is true, on the "credit system" generally, to be
evened-up on pay-day. But when that time came around such good feeling
existed that "poker debts," as they were called, were seldom ever
thought of, and the game would continue with its varying successes
without ever a thought of liquidation. You might often see a good old
Methodist or a strict Presbyterian earnestly engaged in a "five cent
antie" game, but never take his friend's money, even if honestly won.
Something had to be done to pass away the time, and card-playing was
considered an innocent amusement.

The long inactivity made men naturally think and dream of home. The
soldiers had left home quite suddenly, and in many cases with little
preparation, but the continual talk of "peace in the spring," and the
daily vaporing of the press about England or France recognizing the
South's belligerency--and the opening of her ports--buoyed up the
spirits of the soldiers, and fanned the flame of hope. A great many
of the old army officers of the United States, hailing from the South,
had resigned their commissions on the Secession of the States, and
tendered their services to the Confederacy. Of course it mattered not
what was their former rank, or what service, if any they had seen,
all expected places as generals. President Davis being a West Pointer
himself, had great partiality for graduates of that institution.
It was his weakness, this favoritism for West Pointers; and the
persistency with which he appointed them above and over the generals
of the volunteers, gave dissatisfaction. These appointments caused
such resentment and dissatisfaction that some of our very best
generals resigned their commissions, refusing to serve under men of no
experience and doubtful qualifications. Longstreet, Van Dorn, McLaws,
G.W. Smith, and a host of others, who had been captains and majors in
the United States Army, were here or in Richmond waiting for some high
grade, without first winning their spurs upon the field. McLaws, a
Major in the regular army, was made a Major General, and Longstreet
had been appointed over General Bonham, the latter having seen varied
service in Mexico, commanding a regiment of regulars, doing staff
duty, and Military Governor of one of the provinces after the war.
At such injustice as this, gave General Bonham reason to resign his
command and return to South Carolina, where he soon afterwards was
elected to Congress, and later elected Governor of the State. This
left the command to Colonel Kershaw as senior Colonel, but he was
soon thereafter made Brigadier General. While the troops felt safe
and confident under Kershaw, they parted with General Bonham with
unfeigned reluctance and regret. Although none blamed him for the
steps taken, for all felt keenly the injustice done, still they wished
him to remain and lead them to victory, and share the glory they felt
sure was in store for all connected with the old First Brigade.

In future we will call the brigade by the name of Kershaw, the name by
which it was mostly known, and under whose leadership the troops
did such deeds of prowess, endured so many hardships, fought so many
battles, and gained so many victories, as to shed a halo around the
heads of all who marched with him and fought under the banner of
Joseph B. Kershaw. Here I will give a brief biography of General

* * * * *


Was born January 5th, 1822, at Camden, S.C. He was a son of John
Kershaw and Harriet DuBose, his wife. Both of the families of Kershaws
and DuBoses were represented by more than one member, either in the
Continentals or the State troops, during the War of the Revolution,
Joseph Kershaw, the most prominent of them, and the grandfather of
the subject of this sketch, having lost his fortune in his efforts
to maintain the patriot cause. John Kershaw died when his son, Joseph
Brevard, was a child of seven years of age. He attended first a "dame
school" in his native town. Afterwards he attended a school taught
by a rigid disciplinarian, a Mr. Hatfield, who is still remembered by
some of the pupils for his vigorous application of the rod on frequent
occasions, with apparent enjoyment on his part, but with quite other
sentiments on the part of the boys. He was sent at the age of fifteen
to the Cokesbury Conference school, in Abbeville District, as it was
then known, where he remained for only a brief time. Leaving this
school, after a short sojourn at home, he went to Charleston, S.C.,
where he became a clerk in a dry goods house. This life not being
congenial to him, he returned to Camden and entered as a student in
the law office of the late John M. DeSaussure, Esq., from which, at
the age of twenty-one, he was admitted to the Bar. He soon afterwards
formed a copartnership with James Pope Dickinson, who was subsequently
killed at the battle of Cherubusco, in the war with Mexico, gallantly
leading the charge of the Palmetto Regiment. Both partners went to the
Mexican War, young Kershaw as First Lieutenant of the Camden company,
known as the DeKalb Rifle Guards. Struck down by fever contracted
while in the service, he returned home a physical wreck, to be
tenderly nursed back to health by his wife, Lucretia Douglass, whom
he had married in 1844. Upon the recovery of his health, the war being
over, he resumed the practice of law in Camden. But it was not long
before his services were demanded in the State Legislature, which
he entered as a member of the lower house in 1852. From this time on
until the opening of hostilities in the war between the States, he
practiced his profession with eminent success, and served also in the
Legislature several terms, being handsomely re-elected when he stood
for the place. He took a deep interest in the struggle then impending,
and was a member of the Secession Convention from his native district.
As it became more and more evident that there would be war, he ran
for and was elected to the office of Colonel of the militia regiment
composed of companies from Kershaw and adjacent districts, which,
early in 1861, by command of Governor Pickens, he mobilized and led to
Charleston and thence to Morris' Island, where the regiment remained
until it volunteered and was called to go to Virginia to enter the
service of the Confederacy. Several of the companies then in his
regiment consented to go. These were supplemented by other companies
which offered their services, and the new regiment, now known as the
Second South Carolina Volunteers, proceeded to Richmond, thence to

From this time until 1864 it is unnecessary to trace his personal
history in this place, because the history of the brigade, to the
command of which he was elected at the reorganization in 1862, and of
its commander cannot be separated. In May, 1864, he was promoted to
the rank of Major General and assigned to the command of a division,
of which his brigade formed a part. His was the First Brigade of the
First Division of the First Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia. On
the retreat from Richmond his division, with other troops, numbering
in all about 6,000 men, was surrounded and captured at the battle of
Sailor's Creek, April 6th, 1865. In this disastrous battle Lieutenant
General Ewell, Major Generals Kershaw and Custis Lee, Brigadier
Generals D.M. DuBose, Semmes, Hunter, and Corse, and Commodores Hunter
and Tucker, of the Confederate States' Navy, ranking on shore duty as
Brigadiers, were captured, together with their respective commands,
almost to a man, after a desperate and sanguinary struggle against
immense odds. Those officers were all sent to Fort Warren, Boston
Harbor, where they remained in prison until some time in August, 1865,
when they were allowed to return to their respective homes.

General Kershaw resumed the profession of law in Camden immediately
upon his return, and enjoyed a large and lucrative practice for many
years, until called to serve his State as Circuit Judge in 1877, when
the government was wrested from the hands of the Republicans. He took
an active part in politics, having been elected to the State Senate in
the fall of 1865. He ran for Congress from his district in 1874, but
was counted out, as it was believed, at the election. He was also
summoned to Columbia by Governor Hampton after his election in 1876,
and rendered important service in securing the peaceable outcome of
that most trying struggle. Upon the convening of the Legislature, he
was at once elected Judge of the Fifth Circuit, a position which he
held with distinguished honor for sixteen years, rendering it to Judge
Ernest Gary in June, 1893, on which occasion there was tendered him
a farewell probably unique in the judicial history of the State,
by eminent representatives of the Bar of his Circuit. With impaired
health, but with unwavering faith and carefulness that no adversity
diminished, he once more returned to the practice of his profession.
It was a gallant effort in the face of tremendous odds, but the
splendid health that he had enjoyed for many years had been undermined
slowly and insidiously by disease incident to a life that had ever
borne the burdens of others, and that had spent itself freely and
unselfishly for his country and his fellowman, and it was evident to
all that his days were numbered. Devoted friends, the names of many
of whom are unknown to me, offered him pecuniary help at this trying
juncture, and these the writer would wish to hold, as he would have
wished, "in everlasting remembrance." In his message to the General
Assembly that year, 1893, Governor B.R. Tillman proposed him as the
proper person to collect the records of the services of South
Carolina soldiers in the Civil War, and to prepare suitable historical
introduction to the volume. The Legislature promptly, and I believe
unanimously, endorsed the nomination and made an appropriation for
the work. To this he gave himself during the two succeeding mouths,
collecting data, and even preparing in part the proposed introduction.
But growing infirmities compelled him to lay it down, and in the
latter part of March, 1894, he became alarmingly ill. All was done for
his relief that the most competent skill and gentle care could do, but
to no avail, and in the night of April 12th, just before midnight, be
breathed his last. Among his last words to his son were these, spoken
when he was perfectly conscious of what was before him: "My son, I
have no doubts and no fears." On the occasion of his funeral there
was a general outpouring of people from the town and vicinity for many
miles, who sincerely mourned the departure of their friend. The State
was represented by the Governor and seven members of his official
family. On the modest monument that marks his last resting place is
inscribed his name and the date of his birth and death. On the base
the legend runs: "I have fought a good fight; I have kept the faith."

It may prove of interest to the surviving members of the old brigade
to know that after the fight of Sailor's Creek, when General Kershaw
and his companions were being taken back to Petersburg and thence to
City Point to be shipped North, he spent a night at a farm house,
then occupied as a field hospital and as quarters by the surgeons and
attendants. They were South Carolinians, and were anxious to hear all
about the fight. In telling of it the pride and love which he reposed
in the old brigade received a wistful testimonial. It was then
confronting Sherman somewhere in North Carolina. Its old commander
said in a voice vibrant with feeling: "If I had only had my old
brigade with me I believe we could have held these fellows in check
until night gave us the opportunity to withdraw."

The roads in every direction near the army had become almost
impassable--mud knee deep in the middle and ruts cut to the hubs on
either side. The roads leading to Manassas were literally strewn with
the carcasses of horses, some even sunk out of sight in the slough and
mud. It would remind one of the passage of Napoleon across the Arabian
desert, so graphically described by historians. The firewood had
become scarce, and had to be carried on the men's shoulders the
distance of a mile, the wagons being engaged in hauling supplies
and the enormous private baggage sent to the soldiers from home. I
remember once on my return from home on a short furlough, I had under
my charge one whole carload of boxes for my company alone. Towards
night every soldier would go out to the nearest woodland, which was
usually a mile distant, cut a stick of wood the size he could easily
carry, and bring into camp, this to do the night and next day. The
weather being so severe, fires had to be kept up all during the night.
Some constructed little boats and boated the wood across the stream,
Bull Run, and a time they generally had of it, with the boat upsetting
the men and the wood floundering and rolling about in the water, and
it freezing cold.

The Department granted a thirty days' leave of absence to all
individuals and companies that would re-enlist for the remaining two
years or the war. Many officers were granted commissions to raise
companies of cavalry and artillery out of the infantry commands, whose
time was soon to expire. Lieutenant T.J. Lipscomb, of Company B, Third
South Carolina Regiment, was given a commission as Captain, and he,
with others, raised a company of cavalry and was given a thirty days'
furlough. A great many companies volunteered in a body, not knowing
at the time that the Conscript Act soon to be enacted would retain in
service all between certain ages in the army, even after their time
had expired.

About the middle of February President Davis called General Johnston
to Richmond to confer with him upon the practicability of withdrawing
the army to the south banks of the Rappahannock. It was generally
understood at the time, and largely the impression since, that the
army was withdrawn in consequence of McClellan's movements on the
Peninsula. But such was not the case. This withdrawal was determined
on long before it was known for certain that McClellan would adopt the
Peninsula as his base of operations. The middle of February began the
removal of the ordnance and commissary stores by railroad to the south
of the rivers in our rear. These had been accumulated at Manassas out
of all proportion to the needs of the army, and against the wishes of
the commanding General. There seemed to be a want of harmony between
the army officers and the officers of the Department in Richmond. This
difference of feelings was kept up throughout the war, greatly to the
embarassment at times of the Generals in the field, and often a great
sacrifice to the service. The officials in Richmond, away from the
seat of war, had a continual predilection to meddle with the internal
affairs of the army. This meddling caused Jackson, who became
immortal in after years, to tender his resignation, and but for the
interference of General Johnston, the world would perhaps never have
heard of the daring feats of "Stonewall Jackson." He asked to be
returned to the professorship at the Military Institute, but General
Johnston held his letter up and appealed to Jackson's patriotism and
the cause for which all were fighting, to reconsider his action and to
overlook this officious intermeddling and remain at his post. This he
did under protest.

Our brigade, and, in fact, all regiments and brigades, had been put
in different commands at different times to suit the caprice of
the President or whims of the Department, and now we were Early's

On the night of the 9th of March we broke up quarters at Bull Run and
commenced our long and tiresome march for the Rappahannock. We were
ordered by different routes to facilitate the movement, our wagon
trains moving out in the morning along the dirt road and near the
railroad. All baggage that the soldiers could not carry had been sent
to the rear days before, and the greater part destroyed in the great
wreck and conflagration that followed at Manassas on its evacuation.
In passing through Manassas the stores, filled to the very tops with
commissary stores, sutler's goods, clothing, shoes, private boxes, and
whiskey, were thrown open for the soldiers to help themselves. What a
feast for the troops! There seemed everything at hand to tempt him to
eat, drink, or wear, but it was a verification of the adage, "When
it rains mush you have no spoon." We had no way of transporting these
goods, now piled high on every hand, but to carry them on our backs,
and we were already overloaded for a march of any distance. Whiskey
flowed like water. Barrels were knocked open and canteens filled.
Kegs, jugs, and bottles seemed to be everywhere. One stalwart man of
my company shouldered a ten gallon keg and proposed to hold on to it
as long as possible, and it is a fact that a few men carried this
keg by reliefs all night and next day. This was the case in other
companies. When, we got out of the town and on the railroad, the men
were completely overloaded. All night we marched along the railroad
at a slow, steady gait, but all order and discipline were abandoned.
About midnight we saw in our rear great sheets of flame shooting up
from the burning buildings, that illuminated the country for miles
around. Manassas was on fire! Some of the buildings had caught fire
by accident or carelessness of the soldiers, for the firing was not to
begin until next day, after the withdrawal of the cavalry. The
people in the surrounding country had been invited to come in and get
whatever they wished, but I doubt if any came in time to save
much from the burning mass. A great meat curing establishment at
Thoroughfare Gap, that contained millions of pounds of beef and pork,
was also destroyed. We could hear the bursting of bombs as the flames
reached the magazines, as well as the explosion of thousands of small
arm cartridges. The whole sounded like the raging of a great battle.
Manassas had become endeared to the soldiers by its many memories,
and when the word went along the line, "Manassas is burning," it put a
melancholy feeling upon all. Some of the happiest recollections of the
soldiers that composed Kershaw's Brigade as well as all of Johnston's
Army, were centred around Manassas. It was here they had experienced
their first sensations of the soldier, Manassas was the field of their
first victory, and there they had spent their first winter. It seemed
to connect the soldiers of the Confederacy with those of Washington
at Valley Forge and Trenton, the winter quarters of the army of the
patriots. It gave the recollection of rest, a contrast with the many
marches, the hard fought battles, trials, and hardships.

The next day it began to rain, and a continual down-pour continued for
days and nights. Blankets were taken from knapsacks to cover over the
men as they marched, but they soon filled with water, and had to be
thrown aside. Both sides of the railroad were strewn with blankets,
shawls, overcoats, and clothing of every description, the men finding
it impossible to bear up under such loads. The slippery ground and the
unevenness of the railroad track made marching very disagreeable to
soldiers unaccustomed to it. Some took the dirt road, while others
kept the railroad track, and in this way all organizations were lost
sight of, but at night they collected together in regiments, joined
the wagon trains, and bivouaced for the night. Sometimes it would be
midnight before the last of the stragglers came up. We crossed the
Rappahannock on the railroad bridge, which had been laid with plank
to accommodate the passage of wagon trains, on the 11th and remained
until the 19th. Up to this time it was not fully understood by the
authorities in Richmond which route McClellan would take to reach
Richmond, whether by way of Fredericksburg or Yorktown, but now scouts
reported large transports, laden with soldiers, being shipped down the
Potomac to the mouth of the James and York Rivers. This left no doubt
in the minds of the authorities that the Peninsula was to be the
base of operations. We continued our march on the 19th, crossed the
Rapidan, and encamped around Orange Court House.

Beauregard, whom the soldiers loved dearly, and in whom they had every
confidence as a leader, was transferred to the West, to join General
A.S. Johnston, who had come from California and was organizing an army
in Southern Tennessee.

Magruder, commanding at Yorktown, reporting large bodies disembarking
in his front, Kershaw's Brigade, with several others, were placed upon
cars and hurried on through Richmond to his support, leaving the
other portion of the army to continue the march on foot, or on cars,
wherever met. At Richmond we were put on board small sail boats and
passed down the James River for the seat of war. This was a novel mode
of transportation for most of the soldiers on board. It was a most
bitter day and night. A cold east wind blowing from the sea, with a
mist of sleet, the cold on the deck of the little vessel became almost
unbearable. About two hundred were placed on board of each, and it
being so cold we were forced to go below in the "hold," leaving only a
little trap door of four feet square as our only means of ventilation.
Down in the hold, where these two hundred men were packed like
sardines in a box, caused us to almost suffocate, while to remain on
deck five minutes would be to court death by freezing. Thus one would
go up the little ladder, stick his head through the door a moment for
a breath of fresh air, then drop back and allow another the pleasure
of a fresh breathing spell. So we alternated between freezing and
smothering all the way, a distance of one hundred and fifty miles
or more. I had read of the tortures of the "middle passage" and the
packing of the slave ships, but I do not think it could have exceeded
our condition.

Now it must be remembered that for the most of the time on our march
we were separated from our wagon trains that had our tents, cooking
utensils, and other baggage. Many novel arrangements were resorted to
for cooking. The flour was kneaded into dough on an oil cloth spread
upon the ground, the dough pulled into thin cakes, pinned to boards or
barrel heads by little twigs or wooden pegs, placed before the fire,
and baked into very fair bread. Who would think of baking bread on a
ram-rod? But it was often done. Long slices of dough would be rolled
around the iron ram-rods, then held over the fire, turning it over
continually to prevent burning, and in this way we made excellent
bread, but by a tedious process. It is needless to say the meats were
cooked by broiling. We parched corn when flour was scarce, and
often guards had to be placed over the stock at feed time to prevent
soldiers from robbing the horses of their corn.

At midnight the captain of the sloop notified us that we were now at
our place of disembarkation, and we began to scramble up the ladder,
a small lamp hanging near by and out on deck. The wooden wharfs were
even with the deck, so we had no difficulty in stepping from one to
the other. But the night was pitch dark, and our only mode of keeping
direction was taken from the footsteps of the soldiers on the wharf
and in front. Here we came very near losing one of our best soldiers.
Jim George was an erratic, or some said "half witted" fellow, but was
nevertheless a good soldier, and more will be said of him in future
In going out of the hold on deck he became what is called in common
parlance "wrong shipped," and instead of passing to the right, as the
others did, he took the left, and in a moment he was floundering about
in the cold black waves of the river below. The wind was shrieking,
howling, and blowing--a perfect storm--so no one could hear his call
for help. He struck out manfully and paddled wildly about in the
chilly water, until fortunately a passing sailor, with the natural
instinct of his calling, scented a "man overboard." A line was thrown
Jim, and after a pull he was landed on shore, more dead than alive.

"How long were you in the water, Jim?" someone asked.

"Hell! more dan t'ree hours," was the laconic and good-natured reply.

Had we lost Jim here, the regiment would have lost a treat in after
years, as time will show.

We went into camp a mile or so from the historic old Yorktown, if a
few old tumbled down houses and a row of wooden wharfs could be
called a town. The country around Yorktown was low and swampy, and the
continual rains made the woods and fields a perfect marsh, not a dry
foot of land to pitch a tent on, if we had had tents, and scarcely a
comfortable place to stand upon. Fires were built, and around these
men would stand during the day, and a pretense of sleep during the
night. But the soldiers were far from being despondent; although some
cursed our luck, others laughed and joked the growlers. The next day
great numbers visited Yorktown through curiosity, and watched the
Federal Fleet anchored off Old Point Comfort. Here happened a "wind
fall" I could never account for. While walking along the beach with
some comrades, we came upon a group of soldiers, who, like ourselves,
were out sight-seeing. They appeared to be somewhat excited by the way
they were gesticulating. When we came up, we found a barrel, supposed
to be filled with whiskey, had been washed ashore. Some were swearing
by all that was good and bad, that "it was a trick of the d----n
Yankees on the fleet," who had poisoned the whiskey and thrown it
overboard to catch the "Johnny Rebs." The crowd gathered, and with it
the discussion and differences grew. Some swore they would not drink
a drop of it for all the world, while others were shouting, "Open her
up," "get into it," "not so much talking, but more drinking." But who
was "to bell the cat?" Who would drink first? No one seemed to care
for the first drink, but all were willing enough, if somebody else
would just "try it." It was the first and only time I ever saw
whiskey go begging among a lot of soldiers. At last a long, lank,
lantern-jawed son of the "pitch and turpentine State" walked up and

"Burst her open and give me a drink, a man might as well die from a
good fill of whiskey as to camp in this God-forsaken swamp and die of
fever; I've got a chill now."

The barrel was opened. The "tar heel" took a long, a steady, and
strong pull from a tin cup; then holding it to a comrade, he said:
"Go for it, boys, she's all right; no poison thar, and she didn't come
from them thar gun boats either. Yankees ain't such fools as to throw
away truck like that. No, boys, that 'ar liquor just dropped from
Heaven." The battle around the whiskey barrel now raged fast and
furious; spirits flowed without and within; cups, canteens, hats, and
caps were soused in the tempting fluid, and all drank with a relish.
Unfortunately, many had left their canteens in camp, but after getting
a drink they scurried away for that jewel of the soldier, the canteen.
The news of the find spread like contagion, and in a few minutes
hundreds of men were struggling around the barrel of "poison." Where
it came from was never known, but it is supposed to have been dropped
by accident from a Federal man-of-war. As the soldiers said, "All
gifts thankfully received and no questions asked."

General J. Bankhead Magruder was in command of the Peninsula at the
time of our arrival, and had established his lines behind the Warwick
River, a sluggish stream rising near Yorktown and flowing southward
to the James. Along this river light entrenchments had been thrown up.
The river had been dammed in places to overflow the lowlands, and
at these dams redoubts had been built and defended by our heaviest

In a few days all our division was in line, and soon thereafter
was joined by Longstreet's, D.H. Hill's, and G.W. Smith's, with the
cavalry under Stuart. General Johnston was Commander-in-Chief.
We remained in camp around Yorktown about two weeks, when General
Johnston decided to abandon this line of defense for one nearer
Richmond. One of the worst marches our brigade ever had was the night
before we evacuated our lines along the Warwick. Remember the troops
had no intention of a retreat, for they were going down the river
towards the enemy. It was to make a feint, however, to appear as if
Johnston was making a general advance, thus to enable the wagon
trains and artillery to get out of the way of the retreating army, and
Kershaw was to cover this retreat.

At dark we began our march through long ponds and pools of water, and
mud up to the knees, in the direction opposite Gloucester Point, and
near a point opposite to the enemy's fleet of gunboats. Through mud
and water we floundered and fell, the night being dark. Mile after
mile we marched at a snail's gait until we came to a large opening,
surrounded by a rail fence. This was about midnight. Here we were
ordered to build great fires of the rails near by. This was done, and
soon the heavens were lit up by this great stretch of roaring fires.
Some had spread their blankets and lay down for a good sleep, while
others sat around the good, warm, crackling blaze, wondering what
next. Scarcely had we all became quiet than orders came to "fall in."
Back over the same sloppy, muddy, and deep-rutted road we marched,
retracing the steps made only an hour before, reaching our old camp
at daylight, but we were not allowed to stop or rest. The retreat had
begun. Magruder, with the other of his forces, was far on the road
towards Williamsburg, and we had to fall in his rear and follow his
footsteps over roads, now simply impassable to any but foot soldiers.
We kept up the march until we had left Yorktown ten miles in our rear,
after marching a distance of nearly thirty miles, and all night and
day. A council of war had been held at Richmond, at which were present
President Davis, Generals Lee, Smith, Longstreet, Johnston, and the
Secretary of War, to determine upon the point at which our forces were
to concentrate and give McClellan battle. Johnston favored Richmond
as the most easy of concentration; thereto gather all the forces
available in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina around
Richmond, and as the enemy approached fall upon and crush him. G.W.
Smith coincided with Johnston. Longstreet favored reinforcing Jackson
in the Valley, drive the enemy out, cross the Potomac, and threaten
Washington, and force McClellan to look after his Capitol. The others
favored Yorktown and the Peninsula as the point of concentration.
But General Johnston found his position untenable, as the enemy could
easily flank his right and left with his fleet.

On May 3rd began the long, toilsome march up the York River and the
James. The enemy hovered on our rear and picked up our stragglers, and
forced the rear guard at every step. At Williamsburg, the evening of
the 4th of May, Johnston was forced to turn and fight. Breastworks and
redoubts had been built some miles in front of the town, and it was
here intended to give battle. The heavy down-pour of rain prevented
Anderson, who was holding the rear and protecting the wagon trains,
from moving, and the enemy began pressing him hard.

Kershaw and the other brigades had passed through Williamsburg when
the fight began, but the continual roar of the cannon told of a battle
in earnest going on in the rear and our troops hotly engaged. Kershaw
and Simms, of our Division, were ordered back at double quick. As we
passed through the town the citizens were greatly excited, the piazzas
and balconies being filled with ladies and old men, who urged the men
on with all the power and eloquence at their command. The woods had
been felled for some distance in front of the earthworks and forts,
and as we neared the former we could see the enemy's skirmishers
pushing out of the woods in the clearing. The Second and Eighth South
Carolina Regiments were ordered to occupy the forts and breastworks
beyond Fort Magruder, and they had a perfect race to reach them before
the enemy did. The battle was raging in all fierceness on the left,
as well as in our front. More troops were put in action on both sides,
and it seemed as if we were going to have the great battle there. D.R.
Jones, Longstreet, and McLaws were more or less engaged along their
whole lines. The Third Regiment did not have an opportunity to fire
a gun that day, nor either the Seventh, but the other two had
a considerable fight, but being mostly behind breastworks their
casualties were light. The enemy withdrew at nightfall, and after
remaining on the field for some hours, our army took up the line of
march towards Richmond. It has been computed that McClellan had with
him on the Peninsula, outside of his marines, 111,000 men of all arms.

As the term of first enlistment has expired, I will give a brief
sketch of some of the field officers who led the regiments during the
first twelve months of the war.

* * * * *


Colonel James H. Williams, the commander of the Third South Carolina
Regiment, was born in Newberry County, October 4th, 1813. He was of
Welsh descent, his ancestors immigrating to this country with Lord
Baltimore. He was English by his maternal grandmother. The grandfather
of Colonel Williams was a Revolutionary soldier, and was killed at
the battle of Ninety-Six. The father of the subject of this sketch was
also a soldier, and held the office of Captain in the war of 1812.

Colonel Williams, it would seem, inherited his love for the military
service from his ancestors, and in early life joined a company of
Nullifiers, in 1831. He also served in the Florida War. His ardor in
military matters was such he gave little time for other attainments;
he had no high school or college education. When only twenty-four
years old he was elected Major of the Thirty-eighth Regiment of State
Militia, and in 1843 took the Captaincy of the McDuffie Artillery, a
crack volunteer company of Newberry. In 1846 he organized a company
for the Mexican War, and was mustered into service in 1847 as Company
L. Palmetto Regiment. He was in all the battles of that war, and,
with the Palmetto Regiment, won distinction on every field. After his
return from Mexico he was elected Brigadier General and then Major
General of State Militia. He served as Mayor of his town, Commissioner
in Equity, and in the State Legislature.

Before the breaking out of the Civil War, he had acquired some
large estates in the West, and was there attending to some business
connected therewith when South Carolina seceded. The companies that
were to compose the Third Regiment elected him their Colonel, but
in his absence, when the troops were called into service, they were
commanded for the time by Lieutenant Colonel Foster, of Spartanburg.
He joined the Regiment at "Lightwood Knot Springs," the 1st of May.
He commanded the Third during the term of its first enlistment, and
carried it through the first twelve months' campaign in Virginia.

At the reorganization of the regiment, the men composing it being
almost wholly young men, desired new blood at the head of the
volunteer service, and elected Captain James D. Nance in his stead.
After his return to the State, he was placed at the head of the Fourth
and Ninth Regiments of State Troops, and served as such until the

After the war, he returned to Arkansas and continued his planting
operations until the time of his death, August 21st, 1892. He was a
member of the Constitutional Convention of that State in 1874.

Colonel Williams was a born soldier, considerate of and kind to
his men. He was cool and fearless to a fault. He understood tactics
thoroughly, but was wanting in those elements of discipline--its
sternness and rigidity that was required to govern troops in actual
war. His age counted against him as a strict disciplinarian, but not
as a soldier. He was elected to the Legislature of this State before
Reconstruction, as well as a member of the Constitutional Convention
of Arkansas in 1874.

* * * * *


Lieutenant Colonel C.B. Foster, of the Third South Carolina Regiment,
was born in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, at the old Foster
homestead, near Cedar Springs, in 1817. His father was Anthony Foster,
a native of Virginia. Colonel Foster was a member of the Legislature
before the war, and represented Spartanburg County in the Secession
Convention, along with Simpson Bobo, Dr. J.H. Carlisle, and others.
After the Convention adjourned he returned to his home in Spartanburg
and immediately began drilling a company for the war. He was elected
Captain of the Blackstock Company, which was Company K, in the Third
Regiment of South Carolina Volunteers. The Blackstock Company reported
for duty as soon as volunteers were called for, and went immediately
to the camp of instruction at Lightwood Knot Springs. Colonel Foster
was elected Lieutenant Colonel of the regiment. After spending about
three months at the camp of instruction, the Third Regiment was
ordered to Virginia. Colonel Footer served until some time after the
battle of First Manassas, having participated in that campaign. He
remained in Virginia until the fall of 1861, when he was ordered to go
home by the surgeon, his health having completely given way. It took
long nursing to get him on his feet again. He was devoted to the
Confederate cause, and was always willing and ready to help in any way
its advancement. He gave two sons to his country. One, Captain Perrin
Foster, also of the Third Regiment, was killed at Fredericksburg
leading his command. His other son, James Anthony Foster, gave up
his life in the front of his command during the frightful charge on
Maryland Heights. He was a member of Company K, of the Third Regiment.

Colonel Foster was considered a wealthy man before the war, but when
it ended he was left penniless. At that time he lived near Glenn
Springs, Spartanburg County. In 1867 he moved to Union County and
merchandised until 1884. He was also County Treasurer for a long time.
He died on June 9th. 1897, at the residence of his daughter, Mrs.
Benjamin Kennedy, at Jonesville, Union County. In early life Colonel
Foster married Miss Mary Ann Perrin, a sister of Colonel Thomas
C. Perrin, of Abbeville. She died in 1886. Three daughters survive
Colonel Foster, Mrs. I.G. McKissick, Mrs. Benjamin Kennedy, and Mrs.
J.A. Thompson. Colonel Foster was one of God's noblemen. He was true
to his friends, his family, and his country. He never flinched from
danger nor from his duty. He was faithful at all times and under all
circumstances to the best principles of the Anglo-Saxon race.

* * * * *


Thomas Glascock Bacon was born in Edgefield Village of English
ancestry on the 24th of June, 1812. He was the youngest son of Major
Edmund Bacon, the eloquent and distinguished member of the Edgefield
Bar, and author of the humorous "Georgia Scenes," written under the
nom de plume of Ned Brace. Colonel Bacon's mother was a sister of
Brigadier General Thomas F. Glascock, of Georgia, a gallant and
distinguished officer of the Revolutionary War, and after whom Colonel
Bacon was named. He received the early rudiments of education at the
Edgefield Academy, and when at the proper age he was sent for his
classical education to the Pendleton English and Classical Institute,
under the tutilage of that profound scholar and educator, Prof. S.M.
Shuford. Colonel Bacon was fond of the classics, and had acquired rare
literary attainments, and had he cultivated his tastes in that line
assiduously, he no doubt would have become the foremost scholar of the
State, if not the South. He was passionately fond of manly sports and
out-door exercise. He was a devotee of the turf, and this disposition
led him early in life to the development of fast horses and a breeder
of blooded stock. He was a turfman of the old school, and there were
but few courses in the South that had not tested the mettle of his
stock. But like his brother in arms, Colonel Cash, of the Eighth, and
brother turfman, he became disgusted with the thievery and trickery of
later day sports and quit the turf, still owning at his death some
of the most noted racers of the times, Granger Lynchburg, John Payne,
Glengary, Father Ryan, Ned Brace, and others of lesser note.

He paid much attention to military matters, and held several offices
in the State militia before the war. He, with his friend and superior,
General M.L. Bonham, enlisted in the "Blues" and served in the
Palmetto Regiment in the war with the Seminoles. At the breaking out
of the Civil War he, with Elbert Bland, afterwards Colonel of the
Seventh, organized the first company from Edgefield, and was elected
Captain. The companies assigned to the Seventh Regiment unanimously
elected him the Colonel, and in that capacity he led his regiment to
Virginia, being among the first regiments from the State to reach the
seat of war. He was at the battle of Manassas, and participated in
the Peninsular campaign. At the reorganization of the regiment at the
expiration of the term of enlistment, his failing health forced him
to decline a re-election as Colonel. Returning home, and the State
needing the services of trained soldiers to command the State troops,
notwithstanding his failing health, he cheerfully accepted the command
of the Seventh Regiment State troops. In 1863 he was elected to the
State Senate. He died at his home, Pine Pond, in Edgefield County,
September 25th, 1876, leaving a widow, but no children.

Strong in his friendship and earnest in his affection, but with a
peaceable and forgiving temperament, pure in his motives, charitable
in all things, generous to the needy, affectionate to his friends and
relatives, chivalric and honorable in every relation of life, brave in
action, and with that fortitude under adverse circumstances that makes
heroes of men, just and impartial to the officers and men under his
command, pleasant and sociable towards his equals in rank, obedient
and courteous to his superiors, few men lived or died with so much
respect and admiration, genuine friendship, and love from all as
Colonel Thomas G. Bacon, of the Seventh South Carolina Volunteers.

* * * * *


Ellerbe Boggan Crawford Cash was born near Wadesboro, Anson County,
North Carolina, on July 1st, 1823. His father was Boggan Cash, a
Colonel in militia of that State, merchant, and member of Legislature.
His mother was Miss Elizabeth Ellerbe, of Chesterfield County, S.C.
He was the only child. His father died when he was near two years old,
and his mother returned to her father's, in South Carolina. He was
educated at Mt. Zion Institute, Winnsboro, S.C., and South Carolina
College. He read law under General Blakeney, at Cheraw, S.C., and
practiced in partnership a short while with Alexander McIver, Esq.,
the Solicitor of the Eastern Circuit, and father of Chief Justice
Henry McIver, of South Carolina. But his mother owning a large landed
estate, and several hundred negroes, he soon retired from the Bar to
look after her affairs, and devoted himself to planting and raising
fine horses and cattle. He married in 1847 his cousin, Miss Allan
Ellerbe, of Kershaw, S.C. He was elected to the Legislature from his
County, Chesterfield. He was elected Colonel, Brigadier General, and
Major General of State militia.

When the war commenced he was one of the Major Generals of the State.
He volunteered and was elected Colonel of the Eighth South Carolina
Regiment. At the reorganization he did not offer for re-election, but
came home and was made Colonel in State troops. He was kind to the
poor the whole war, and gave away during the war over 50,000 bushels
of corn and large quantities of other provisions to soldiers'
families, or sold it in Confederate money at ante bellum prices. After
the war all notes, claims, and mortgages he held on estates of old
soldiers he cancelled and made a present of them to their families.
In one case the amount he gave a widow, who had a family and small
children, was over $5,000, her husband having been killed in his

After the war he continued to farm. In 1876 he took an active part in
redeeming the State, and contributed his time, advice, and services,
and a great deal of money. In 1881 he fought a duel with Colonel Wm.
M. Shannon, in which he killed Colonel Shannon. Colonel Cash was the
challenged party. His wife died in May, 1880. Colonel Cash died
March 10, 1888, and was buried in the family burying ground at his
residence, Cash's Depot, S.C.

Colonel Cash was a man of strong character, fearless, brave, generous
and true, a good friend and patriot. He made no religious profession.
He was charitable to the extreme, and was the soul of honor, and while
he had many enemies, being a fearless man and a good hater, he
had such qualities as inspired the respect and admiration of his

* * * * *


Reorganized--"New Officers"--Battle.

On the 13th of April the term for which the twelve months' troops had
enlisted was now soon to expire, the great number which had not
re-enlisted were looking forward with longing anticipation for orders
to disband and return to their homes. On the 14th, their obligations
being at an end, officers and men were making rapid preparation to
depart for home--not to quit the service, however, but more to enjoy a
short leave of absence with their families, and to join other branches
of the services, more especially cavalry. Some of the companies had
actually left, and were a mile or two from camp when orders came to
return. The Conscript Act had been passed, making it obligatory on
all, between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five, to enter or remain
in the army. The men took their sudden return in good humor, for
really it was only the married men, who had left their families so
unprepared twelve months before, who cared to return home; for some
of the young men, who were under the conscript age, refused to leave.
Those who had to return received a lot of good-natured badgering at
their sudden return to the army. "Hello, boys, when did you get back?
What's the news at home?" "How did you find all?" were some of the
soothing jeers the "returned sinners" had to endure; and as so great
a number had expressed a desire to join the cavalry, not a few
were asked: "Did you bring your horses with you?" But all was soon
forgotten, for in a few days a reorganization was ordered to take
place, and new officers elected.

The Conscript Act was condemned in unmeasured terms in many places at
the South, but its necessity and expediency was never doubted. To have
allowed so great a number to absent themselves from the army at this
time, in the face of an overwhelming enemy, and that enemy advancing
upon our Capitol, was more than the morale of the army would admit.
Not altogether would the absence of the soldiers themselves effect the
army, but in the breaking up of organizations, for in some companies
all had re-enlisted, while in others one-half, and in many cases
none. New regiments would have had to be formed out of the re-enlisted
companies, and new companies out of the large number of recruits, now
in camps of instruction. So by keeping up the old organizations, and
filling up the ranks by the conscripts at home, the army would be
greatly benefited.

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