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History of Kershaw's Brigade by D. Augustus Dickert

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moment, after the enemy had forced a crossing at all points and were
pushing Lee backwards towards the Potomac. Short and decisive was
the work. An advance of the whole right was made. The enemy first
staggered, then reeled, and at last pressed off the field. The
batteries lost in the early part of the day were retaken, and the
enemy was glad to find shelter under his heavy guns on the other side
of the Antietam. But the battle on the left was not so favorable.
Jackson's, D.H. Hill's, and McLaw's troops, jaded and fagged by the
forced marches in the morning, their ranks woefully thinned by the
day's continuous fighting, their ammunition sadly exhausted, could do
no more than hold their ground for the remainder of the day. The enemy
now being re-enforced by Porter's Corps, his batteries enfilading our
ranks. McLaws was forced to move Kershaw and the troops on his right
to the left and rear, nearly parallel to the line first formed during
the day. There had been no material advantage on either side. On
the right the enemy had crossed the Antietam, it is true, but to a
position no better than the night before. Our left and centre were
bent back in somewhat more acute angle than on the morning, but to an
equally good position. Not many prisoners were taken on either side in
proportion to the magnitude of the battle. The enemy's loss in killed
and wounded was a little more than ours, but so far as the day's
battle goes, the loss and gain were about equal. It is true Lee lost
thousands of good and brave troops whose places could scarcely be
filled; yet he inflicted such punishment upon the enemy that it took
him months to recuperate. The moral effect was against us and in favor
of the enemy It had a decided bearing upon the coming elections at the
North, and a corresponding depression upon the people at the South.
The Southern Army, from its many successive victories in the past, had
taught themselves to believe that they were simply invincible upon the
field of battle, and the people of the South looked upon the strategy
and military skill of Lee and Jackson as being far beyond the cope of
any Generals the North could produce. But this battle taught the South
a great lesson in many ways. It demonstrated the fact that it was
possible to be matched in generalship, it was possible to meet men
upon the field equal in courage and endurance to themselves. But
it also proved to what point of forbearance and self-sacrifice the
Southern soldier could go when the necessity arose, and how faithful
and obedient they would remain to their leaders under the severest of
tests. The Confederate soldier had been proven beyond cavil the equal
in every respect to that of any on the globe. After fighting all day,
without food and with little water, they had to remain on the field
of battle, tired and hungry, until details returned to the wagons and
cooked their rations. It may be easily imagined that both armies were
glad enough to fall upon the ground and rest after such a day of blood
and carnage, with the smoke, dust, and weltering heat of the day.
Before the sound of the last gun had died away in the distance one
hundred thousand men were stretched upon the ground fast asleep,
while near a third of that number were sleeping their last sleep
or suffering from the effects of fearful wounds. The ghouls of the
battlefield are now at their wanton work. Stealthily and cautiously
they creep and grope about in the dark to hunt the body of an enemy,
or even a comrade, and strip or rob him of his little all. Prayers,
groans, and curses mingle, but the robber of the battlefield continues
his work. Friends seek lost comrades here and there, a brother looks,
perhaps, in vain for a brother.

The loss in some of our regiments was appalling, especially the
Seventh. Two regimental commanders, of that command had fallen,
Colonel Aiken and Captain White, leaving Captain Hard, one of the
junior Captains, in command. The regiment lost in the two battles of
Maryland Heights and Sharpsburg, two hundred and fifty-three out of
four hundred and forty-six.

General McClellan, in his testimony before the War Investigating
Committee, says: "We fought pretty close upon one hundred thousand
men. Our forces were, total in action, eighty-seven thousand one
hundred and sixty-four." Deducting the cavalry division not in action
of four thousand three hundred and twenty, gives McClellan eighty-two
thousand eight hundred and forty-four, infantry and artillery.

General Lee says in his report: "The battle was fought by less than
forty thousand men of all arms on our side." The actual numbers were:

Jackson, including A.P. Hill ...... 10,000
Longstreet ........................ 12,000
D.H. Hill and Walker ............... 7,000
Cavalry ............................ 8,000

Deduct four thousand cavalry on detached service and not on the field
from Lee's force, and we have of infantry, artillery, and cavalry,
thirty-three thousand. Jackson only had four thousand on the left
until the arrival of A.P. Hill, and withstood the assaults of forty
thousand till noon; when re-enforced by Hill he pressed the enemy from
the field.

The next day was employed in burying the dead and gathering up the
wounded. Those who could travel were started off across the Potomac on
foot, in wagons and ambulances, on the long one hundred miles march to
the nearest railroad station, while those whose wounds would not admit
of their removal were gathered in houses in the town and surgeons
detailed to remain and treat them. On the morning of the 19th some
hours before day the rumbling of the wagon trains told of our march
backward. We crossed the Potomac, Longstreet leading, and Jackson
bringing up the rear. A great many that had been broken down by the
rapid marches and the sun's burning rays from the time of our crossing
into Maryland till now, were not up at the battle of the 17th, thus
weakening the ranks of Lee to nearly one-half their real strength,
taking those on detached service into consideration also. But these
had all come up and joined their ranks as we began crossing the
Potomac. None wished to be left behind; even men so badly wounded that
at home they would be confined to their beds marched one hundred miles
in the killing heat. Hundreds of men with their arms amputated left
the operating table to take up their long march. Some shot through the
head, body, or limbs preferred to place the Potomac between themselves
and the enemy.

Lee entered Maryland with sixty-one thousand men all told, counting
Quartermaster and Commissary Departments, the teamsters, and those in
the Medical and Engineer Department. Lee lost thirteen thousand
six hundred and eighty-seven men killed and wounded on the field
of battle, and several thousand in capture and broken down by the
wayside, most of the latter, however, reporting for duty in a few

McClellan had of actual soldiers in the lines of battle and reserve
eighty-seven thousand one hundred and sixty-four, his losses in battle
being twelve thousand four hundred and ten, making his casualties one
thousand two hundred and seventy-seven less than Lee's. The prisoners
and cannon captured in action were about equal during the twelve days
north of the Potomac, while at Harper's Ferry Lee captured sufficient
ammunition to replenish that spent in battle, and horses and wagons
enough to fully equip the whole army, thousands of improved small
arms, seventy-two cannon and caissons, and eleven thousand prisoners.
While the loss of prisoners, ammunition, horses, ordnance, etc., did
not materially cripple the North, our losses in prisoners and killed
and wounded could hardly be replaced at that time. So in summing up
the results it is doubtful whether or not the South gained any lasting
benefit from the campaign beyond the Potomac. But Lee was forced by
circumstances after the enemy's disaster at Manassas to follow up his
victories and be guided by the course of events, and in that direction
they lead. McClellan offered the gauge of battle; Lee was bound to
accept. The North claimed Sharpsburg or Antietam as a victory, and the
world accepted it as such. This gave Lincoln the opportunity he had
long waited for to write his famous Emancipation Proclamation. It was
not promulgated, however, till the first of January following. Among
military critics this battle would be given to Lee, even while the
campaign is voted a failure. It is an axiom in war that when one army
stands upon the defensive and is attacked by the other, if the latter
fails to force the former from his position, then it is considered a
victory for the army standing on the defensive. (See Lee at Gettysburg
and Burnsides at Fredericksburg.) While Lee was the invader, he stood
on the defensive at Sharpsburg or Antietam, and McClellan did no more
than press his left and centre back. Lee held his battle line firmly,
slept on the field, buried his dead the next day, then deliberately
withdrew. What better evidence is wanting to prove Lee not defeated.
McClellan claimed no more than a drawn fight.

On the 19th the enemy began pressing our rear near Sheperdstown,
and A.P. Hill was ordered to return and drive them off. A fierce and
sanguinary battle took place at Bateler's Ford, between two portions
of the armies, A.P. Hill gaining a complete victory, driving the enemy
beyond the river. The army fell back to Martinsburg and rested a few
days. Afterwards they were encamped at Winchester, where they remained
until the opening of the next campaign.

Before closing the account of the First Maryland campaign, I wish
to say a word in regard to the Commissary and Quartermaster's
Departments. Much ridicule, and sometimes abuse, has been heaped upon
the heads of those who composed the two Departments. I must say, in
all justice, that much of this was ill timed and ill advised. It
must be remembered that to the men who constituted these Departments
belonged the duty of feeding, clothing, and furnishing the
transportation for the whole army. Often without means or ways, they
had to invent them. In an enemy's country, surrounded by many dangers,
in a hostile and treacherous community, and mostly unprotected except
by those of their own force, they had to toil night and day, through
sunshine and rain, that the men who were in the battle ranks could be
fed and clothed. They had no rest. When the men were hungry they must
be fed; when others slept they had to be on the alert. When sick or
unable to travel a means of transportation must be furnished. The
Commissary and the Quartermaster must provide for the sustenance
of the army. Kershaw's Brigade was doubly blessed in the persons
of Captain, afterwards Major W.D. Peck and Captain Shell, of the
Quartermaster Department, and Captain R.N. Lowrance, and Lieutenant
J.N. Martin, of the Commissary. The troops never wanted or suffered
while it was in the power of those officers to supply them.

Major Peck was a remarkable man in many respects. He certainly could
be called one of nature's noblemen. Besides being a perfect high-toned
gentleman of the old school, he was One of the most efficient officers
in the army, and his popularity was universal His greatest service
was in the Quartermaster's Department, but he served for awhile in the
ranks in Captain Wm. Wallace's Company, Second Regiment, as Orderly
Sergeant--served in that capacity at the bombardment of Fort Sumpter
and the first battle of Manassas. On the death of Quartermaster W.S.
Wood, Colonel Kershaw appointed him his Regimental Quartermaster to
fill the place made vacant by Captain Wood, in July, 1861, with the
rank of Captain. When Kershaw was made Brigadier General, on the
resignation of General Bonham, he had him promoted to Brigade
Quartermaster with the rank of Major. On the resignation of Major
McLaws, Division Quartermaster, he was made Division Quartermaster in
his stead, and held this position during the war. He received his last
appointment only one month before his illustrious chief, J.B. Kershaw,
was made Major General. It seems a strange coincidence in the rise of
these two men, who entered the service together--each took different
arms, but rose in parallel grades to the highest position in the
division. Major Peck was seldom absent from duty, and a complaint
against him was never heard. He was a bold, gallant officer, and
when in the discharge of his duties he laid aside every other
consideration. Major Peck had a very striking appearance, tall, erect,
and dignified, and upon horseback he was a perfect cavalier. It
might be truly said he was one of the handsomest men in the army. His
commanding appearance attracted attention wherever he went, and he
was often taken for a general officer. For cordiality, generosity, and
unselfishness he was almost without a rival. It required no effort
on his part to display the elegance of his character--his gentlemanly
qualities and deportment were as natural to him as it is for the
"sparks to fly upward." He was born in Columbia April 4th, 1833, and
died there April 25th, 1870.

The mere fact of Captain G.W. Shell being appointed to such a
responsible position as Quartermaster by so strict a disciplinarian as
Colonel Nance is a sufficient guarantee of his qualifications. Captain
Shell entered the army as a private in the "State Guards," from
Laurens, served one year as such, then as Regimental Quartermaster
with rank of Captain for a part of two years. Then that office in the
army was abolished and put in charge of a non-commissioned officer.
Appreciating his great services while serving his regiment, the
officials were loath to dispense with his services, and gave him
a position in the brigade department and then in the division as
assistant to Major Peck, retaining his rank. All that has been said of
Major Peck can be truly said of Captain Shell. He was an exceptional
executive officer, kind and courteous to those under his orders,
obedient and respectful to his superiors. He was ever vigilant and
watchful of the wants of the troops, and while in the abandoned
sections of Virginia, as well as in Maryland and Pennsylvania,
he displayed the greatest activity in gathering supplies for the
soldiers. He was universally loved and admired. He was of the same age
of Captain Peck, born and reared in Laurens County, where he returned
after the close of the war and still resides, enjoying all the
comforts emanating from a well spent life. For several terms he filled
the office of Clerk of the Court of his native county, and served two
terms in the United States Congress. He was the leading spirit in the
great reform movement that overspread the State several years ago, in
which Ben Tillman was made Governor, and South Carolina's brightest
light, both political and military, General Wade Hampton, was retired
to private life.

* * * * *


As Colonel Aiken saw but little more service with the First Brigade,
I will here give a short sketch of his life. I have made it a rule in
this work, as far as practicable, to give a sketch at the end of
the officer's service in the Brigade, but in this case I make an

Colonel Aiken was born in Winnsboro, Fairfield County, S.C., March
17th, 1828. He graduated at the South Carolina College in the class
of 1849. Was professor at Mt. Zion College for two years, and married
Miss Mattie Gaillard in 1852, settling at "Bellevue" Farm, near
Winnsboro. He became county editor of Winnsboro News and Herald, and
was married the second time to Miss Smith, of Abbeville, and removed
to that county in 1858. Was fond of agriculture, and was editor of
various periodicals devoted to that and kindred pursuits.

In 1861 he volunteered as a private in the Seventh South Carolina
Volunteers, and was appointed Adjutant of that regiment. At the
reorganization of the regiment in 1862 he was elected Colonel to
succeed Colonel Bacon, who declined re-election. At Sharpsburg he
received a wound in the body, which for a long time was feared to be
fatal. He, however, returned in June, 1863, and commanded his regiment
in the Gettysburg battle, after which he was deemed unable for further
active service in the field, and was appointed "commandant of the
post" at Macon, Ga. This position he held for one year, and then
discharged from the army as being unfit for further service.

After the war he was selected for three terms to the State
Legislature. He was "Master of State Grange Patrons of Husbandry," and
was twice President of the "State Agricultural and Mechanical Society
of South Carolina." He was chosen Democratic standard bearer for
Congress in the memorable campaign of 1876, and continually re-elected
thereafter until his death, which occurred on April 6th, 1887.

Colonel Aiken was also one of nature's noblemen, bold, fearless, and
incorruptible. He did as much, or perhaps more, than any of the many
great and loyal men of that day to release South Carolina from the
coils of the Republican ring that ruled the State during the dark days
of Reconstruction.

* * * * *


From Winchester to Fredericksburg.

The brigade remained in camp in a beautiful grove, about four miles
beyond Winchester, until the last of October. Here the regiments were
thoroughly organized and put in good shape for the next campaign. Many
officers and non-commissioned officers had been killed, or totally
disabled in the various battles, and their places had to be filled by
election and promotion. All officers, from Colonel down, went up
by regular grades, leaving nothing but the Third Lieutenants to be
elected. The non-commissioned officers generally went up by promotion
also, where competent, or the Captains either promoted them by regular
grade or left the selection to the men of the company. We had lost
no field officer killed, except Lieutenant Colonel Garlington, of the
Third, and Major Rutherford was promoted to that position, and Captain
R.C. Maffett made Major. Several Lieutenants in all the regiments were
made Captains, and many new Lieutenants were chosen from the ranks, so
much so that the rolls of the various companies were very materially
changed, since the reorganization in April last. Many of the wounded
had returned, and large bodies of men had come in from the conscript
camps since the reorganization. The Seventh Regiment had lost heavier,
in officers and men, than any of the regiments. Colonel Aiken was
wounded at Sharpsburg, and never returned only for a short time,
but the regiment was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Bland until
the resignation of Colonel Aiken, except when the former was himself
disabled by wounds.

Camp guards were kept up around the brigade, and regimental pickets,
some two or three miles distant, about every two weeks. We had company
and regimental drills about four times per week, and, in fact, we
drilled almost every day, now that we were not on the actual march.
The turn-pike road from Winchester to Staunton, ninety miles, for
weeks was perfectly lined with soldiers returning at the expiration
of their furloughs, or discharged from hospital, and our convalescent
sick and wounded from the Maryland campaign going homeward.

On the 27th or 28th of October orders came to move. Longstreet took
the lead, with McLaws' and Anderson's Divisions in front. General Lee
had divided his army into two corps; the Department of Richmond having
created the rank of Lieutenant General, raised Longstreet and Jackson
to that grade in Lee's Army. Longstreet's Corps consisted of McLaws'
Division, composed of Kershaw's, Barksdale's, Cobb's, and Semmes'
Brigades, and Anderson's, Hood's, Pickett's, and Ransom's Divisions.
Jackson's Corps consisted of D.H. Hill's, A.P. Hill's, Ewell's, and
Taliaferro's Divisions. We marched by way of Chester Gap over the Blue
Ridge, and came into camp near Culpepper on the 9th of November.
The enemy had crossed the Potomac and was moving southward, by easy
stages, on the east side of the mountain.

On the 5th of October General McClellan was removed from the command
of the Army of the Potomac and Major General Burnsides, a corps
commander, was made Commander-in-Chief in his stead. This change was
universally regretted by both armies, for the Northern Army had great
confidence in the little "Giant," while no officer in the Union Army
was ever held in higher esteem by the Southern soldiers than little
"Mack," as General McClellan was called. They admired him for his
unsurpassed courage, generalship, and his kind and gentlemanly
deportment, quite in contrast to the majority of Union commanders.

General Burnsides, who had succeeded McClellan, now divided his army
by corps in three grand divisions--General Sumner, commanding the
Right Grand Division, composed of the Second and Ninth Corps; General
Hooker, the center, with the Third and Fifth Corps; and General
Franklin, the left, with the First and Sixth Corps. So both armies
had undergone considerable changes, and were now moving along on
converging lines towards a meeting point to test the mettle of the new
commanders and organizations.

We remained in camp around Culpepper until the morning of the 18th
of November, when the march was resumed, by McLaws taking the road
leading to Fredericksburg, headed by General Longstreet in person, and
another division south along the line of the railroad in the direction
of the North Anna River, the other divisions of the corps remaining
stationary, awaiting developments. Jackson had not yet crossed the
Blue Ridge, and General Lee was only waiting and watching the move of
Burnsides before concentrating his army at any particular place. It
was unknown at this time whether the Federal commander would take the
route by way of Fredericksburg, or follow in a straight course and
make the North Anna his base of operations. The cavalry, making a
demonstration against the enemy's outposts, found the Union Army had
left and gone in the direction of Fredericksburg. Then Lee began the
concentration of his army by calling Jackson on the east side of the
Blue Ridge and Longstreet down on the south side of the Rappahannock.
We crossed the north fork of the Rappahannock at a rocky ford, two
miles above the junction of the Rapidan and just below the railroad
bridge, on a cold, blustery day, the water blue and cold as ice
itself, coming from the mountain springs of the Blue Ridge, not many
miles away. Some of the men took off their shoes and outer garments,
while others plunged in just as they marched from the road. Men
yelled, cursed, and laughed. Some climbed upon the rocks to allow
their feet and legs to warm up in the sun's rays, others held up one
foot for awhile, then the other, to allow the air to strike their
naked shins and warm them. Oh! it was dreadfully cold, but such fun!
The water being about three feet deep, we could easily see the rocks
and sands in the bottom. The men who had pulled off their shoes and
clothing suffered severely.

There was a man in my company who was as brave and as good a soldier
as ever lived, but beyond question the most awkward man in the army.
His comrades called him "mucus," as some one said that was the Latin
for "calf." This man would fall down any time and anywhere. Standing
in the road or resting on his rifle, he would fall--fall while
marching, or standing in his tent. I saw him climb on top of a box car
and then fall without the least provocation backwards into a ten-foot
ditch. But in all his falling he was never known to hurt himself, but
invariably blamed somebody for his fall. When he fell from the car,
and it standing perfectly still, he only said: "I wish the d----n car
would go on or stand still, one or the other." The road leading to
the river makes a bend here, and between the bend and river bank an
abutment of logs, filled in with stone to the height of fifteen
feet, was built to prevent the water from encroaching upon the land.
"Mucus," for no cause whatever that anyone could learn, quit the ranks
and walked out on this abutment and along down its side, keeping
near the edge of the water, but fifteen feet above, when, to the
unaccountability of all, he fell headlong down into the river. The
water at this point was not more than three or four feet deep, but
deep enough to drench him from head to foot. He rose up, and as usual,
quick to place the blame, said: "If I knew the d----n man who pushed
me off in the water, I'd put a ball in him." No one had been in twenty
feet of him. All the consolation he got was "how deep was the
water, 'Mucus'?" "Was the water cold?" But awkward as he was, he was
quick-witted and good at repartee. He answered the question "how deep
was the water?" "Deep enough to drown a d----n fool, if you don't
believe it, go down like I did and try it."

When we reached the other side we were told "no use to put on your
shoes or clothing, another river one mile ahead," the Rapidan here
joining the Rappahannock. Those who had partly disrobed put their
clothing under their arms, shoes in their hands, and went hurrying
along after the column in advance. These men, with their bare limbs,
resembled the Scotch Highlanders in the British Army, but their
modesty was put to the test; when about half-way to the other stream
they passed a large, old-fashioned Virginia residence, with balconies
above and below, and these filled with ladies of the surrounding
country, visitors to see the soldiers pass. It was an amusing sight no
less to the ladies of the house than to the men, to witness this long
line of soldiers rushing by with their coat-tails beating a tattoo
on their naked nether limbs. The other stream was not so wide, but
equally as cold and deep.

General Kershaw, sitting on his horse at this point, amusing himself
at the soldiers' plight, undertook to encourage and soothe their
ruffled feelings by giving words of cheer. "Go ahead, boys," remarked
the General, "and don't mind this; when I was in Mexico--" "But,
General, it wasn't so cold in Mexico, nor did they fight war in
winter, and a horse's legs are not so tender as a man's bare shins,"
were some of the answers given, and all took a merry laugh and went
scudding away.

Passing over, we entered the famous Wilderness, soon to be made
renowned by the clash of arms, where Lee and Hooker met and shook
the surrounding country with the thunder of their guns a few months
afterwards, and where Grant made the "echoes ring" and reverberate
on the 5th and 6th of May, the year following. We found, too, the
"Chancellor House," this lone, large, dismal-looking building standing
alone in this Wilderness and surrounded on all sides by an almost
impenetrable forest of scrubby oaks and tangled vines. The house was
a large, old-fashioned hotel, situated on a cleared plateau, a
piazza above and below, reaching around on three sides. It was called
"Chancellorsville," but where the "ville" came in, or for what the
structure was ever built, I am unable to tell. This place occupied
a prominent place in the picture of the Battle of Chancellorsville,
being for a time the headquarters of General Hooker, and around which
the greater part of his cannon were placed. We took up camp in rear of
Fredericksburg, about two miles south of the city.

While here we received into our brigade the Fifteenth South Carolina
Regiment, commanded by Colonel DeSaussure, and the Third Battalion,
composed of eight companies and commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Rice.
As these are new additions, it will be necessary to give a brief
sketch of their organization and movements prior to their connection
with Kershaw's Brigade.

Soon after the battle of Bull Run or First Manassas, the Richmond
Government made a call upon the different States for a new levy to
meet the call of President Lincoln for three hundred thousand more
troops to put down the Rebellion. The companies that were to compose
the Fifteenth Regiment assembled at the old camping ground at
Lightwood Knot Spring, three miles above Columbia. They were:

Company A----Captain Brown, Richland.
Company B----Captain Gist, Union.
Company C----Captain Lewie, Lexington.
Company D----Captain Warren, Kershaw.
Company E----Captain Davis, Fairfield.
Company F----Captain Boyd, Union.
Company G----Captain McKitchen, Williamsburg.
Company H----Captain Farr, Union.
Company I----Captain Koon, Lexington.
Company K----Captain Bird, ----

(These names are given from the best information obtainable and may
not be exactly correct, but as the fortunes of war soon made radical
changes it is of little moment at this late date.) These companies
elected for their field officers:

Colonel----Wm. DeSaussure.
Lieutenant Colonel----Joseph Gist.
Major ----

The regiment remained in camp undergoing a thorough course of
instruction until Hilton Head, on the coast of South Carolina, was
threatened; then the Fifteenth was ordered in the field and hurried to
that place, reaching it on the afternoon of the day before the battle
of that name. The Fifteenth, with the Third Battalion and other State
troops, was placed under the command of Brigadier General Drayton,
also of South Carolina, and put in position. The next day, by some
indiscretion of General Drayton, or so supposed at that time, the
Fifteenth was placed in such position as to be greatly exposed to the
heavy fire from the war vessels in the harbor. This caused the loss of
some thirty or forty in killed and wounded. The slaughter would have
been much greater had it not been for the courage and quick perception
of Colonel DeSaussure in maneuvering them into a place of safety.
After the battle the regiment lay for some time about Hardeesville and
Bluffton doing guard and picket duty, still keeping up their course
of daily drills. They were then sent to James Island, and were held in
reserve at the battle of Secessionville. After the great Seven Days'
Battles around Richmond it and the Third Battalion were ordered to
Virginia and placed with a regiment from Alabama and one from Georgia
in a brigade under General Drayton. They went into camp below Richmond
as a part of a division commanded by Brigadier General D.R. Jones, in
the corps commanded by Longstreet. When Lee began his march northward
they broke camp on the 13th of August, and followed the lead of
Longstreet to Gordonsville, and from thence on to Maryland. They were
on the field during the bloody battle of Second Manassas, but not
actually engaged, being held in the reserve line on the extreme right.
At South Mountain they received their first baptism of fire in a
battle with infantry. On the memorable 17th of September at Sharpsburg
they were confirmed as veteran soldiers in an additional baptism of
blood. However, as yet considered raw and undisciplined troops, they
conducted themselves on each of these trying occasions like trained
soldiers. Colonel DeSaussure was one of the most gallant and efficient
officers that South Carolina ever produced. He was a Mexican War
veteran and a born soldier. His attainments were such as fitted him
for much higher position in the service than he had yet acquired. Had
not the fortunes of war laid him low not many miles distant one year
later, he would have shown, no doubt, as one of the brightest stars in
the constellation of great Generals that South Carolina ever produced.
After the return to Virginia Drayton's Brigade was broken up, and the
Fifteenth and Third Battalion were assigned to the brigade of General
J.B. Kershaw, and began its service in that organization on the
heights of Fredericksburg.

* * * * *


I am indebted to Colonel W.G. Rice for a brief sketch of the Third
Battalion, or as it was more generally known in the army, "James'
Battalion," after its first commander, (who fell at South Mountain,
Md.,) up to the time of joining the brigade:

"On the fall of Hilton Head and the occupation of Port Royal by the
enemy, the Governor of South Carolina issued a call for volunteers for
State service. Among the companies offering their services were four
from Laurens County. Lieutenant Geo. S. James having resigned from
the United States Army, and being personally known to several of the
officers of said four companies, they united in forming a battalion
and electing him Major. The companies became known thereafter as:

"Company A--Captain W.G. Rice.
Company B--Captain J.G. Williams.
Company C--Captain J.M. Shumate.
Company D--Captain G.M. Gunnels.

"All of Laurens County, the organization being effected at Camp
Hampton, near Columbia, November, 1861, and where Major James assumed
command. In December the battalion was ordered to Charleston, and
from thence to White Point, near the coast. Here the battalion
was strengthened by three more companies, making it now a compound
battalion and entitled to a Lieutenant Colonel and Major. The
additional companies were:

"Company E, from Laurens--Captain M.M. Hunter.
Company F, from Richland--Captain D.B. Miller.
Company G, from Fairfield--Captain A.P. Irby.

"Major James was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and Captain W.G.
Rice, as senior Captain, made Major, while Lieutenant J.M. Townsend
was raised to the grade of Captain in place of Major Rice.

"In April, 1862, a reorganization was ordered, and the troops enlisted
in the Confederate States' service. Both Colonel James and Major Rice
were elected to their former positions, with the following company

"J.M. Townsend--Captain Company A.
O.A. Watson--Captain Company B.
William Huggins--Captain Company C.
G.M. Gunnels--Captain Company D.
W.H. Fowler--Captain Company E.
D.B. Miller--Captain Company F.
B.M. Whitener--Captain Company G.

"Early in June the battalion was ordered to James' Island, arriving
there two days before the battle of Secessionville, but not
participating in it. A short while afterwards it was ordered to
Richmond, and there remained until the great forward movement of
General Lee's, which resulted in the Second Manassas Battle and the
invasion of Maryland. The battalion was now brigaded with Philip's
Georgia Legion, Fiftieth and Fifty-first Georgia, and Fifteenth South
Carolina Regiments, and commanded by Brigadier General Drayton. The
battalion was under fire at Waterloo Bridge and at Thoroughfare Gap,
and the brigade held the extreme right of Lee's Army at the Second
Manassas Battle, but was not seriously engaged. The topography of the
country was such that while the incessant roar of artillery could be
distinctly heard during the day, no infantry could be heard, and the
extreme right did not hear of the result of the great battle until
General Robert Toombs marched by and shouted to his fellow Georgians:
'Another great and glorious Bull Run.' After repeated marches and
counter-marches during the day, night put an end to the bloody
struggle, and the troops lay down to rest. A perfect tornado of shot
and shell tore through the woods all around us until deep darkness
fell and the enemy withdrew, leaving the entire field to the

After resting for nearly a week at Frederick City, Md., the battalion,
with the Fifteenth South Carolina and the Georgians of Drayton's
Brigade, was ordered to re-enforce General D.H. Hill, who was guarding
Lee's rear at Crompton's Gap, in South Mountain. Here the South
Carolinians were for the first time thoroughly baptized with fire and
blood, and in which the gallant Colonel James lost his life. Of this
battle Colonel Rice says:

"Late in the evening of September 14th the brigade reached the
battlefield and deployed in an old disused road that crossed the
mountain some four hundred yards to the right of the turn-pike. No
enemy in sight. Failing to drive D.H. Hill from their front, the
Federals made a detour and approached him by the flank. Two hundred
yards from the road mentioned above was a belt of woods saddling the
mountain, and at this point running parallel with the road. General
Drayton, not seeing the enemy, ordered forward Captain Miller's
Company as skirmishers to ascertain their whereabouts. Captain Miller
had advanced but a short distance when he met the enemy in force.
General Drayton ordered the command to forward and drive them from the
woods. In the execution of this order some confusion arose, and a part
of the brigade gave way, leaving the battalion in a very peculiar and
isolated condition. There was a low rock fence running at right angles
to the battle line, and behind this the battalion sought to protect
itself, but it seemed and was in reality a deathtrap, for it presented
its right flank to the enemy. It thus became only a question of a very
short time when it must either leave the field or surrender. Right
nobly did this little band of heroes hold their ground against
overwhelming numbers, and their front was never successfully
approached; but as both flanks were so mercilessly assailed, a short
time was sufficient to almost annihilate them. Colonel James was twice
admonished by his second in command of his untenable position, and
that death or surrender was inevitable if he persisted in holding
his ground, but without avail. The true soldier that he was preferred
death to yielding. Just as night approached and firing began to cease,
Colonel James was pierced through the breast with a minnie ball, from
the effects of which he soon died."

Colonel Rice was dangerously wounded and left on the field for dead.
But recovering consciousness, he found himself within the enemy's
lines, that portion of his command nearest him having been withdrawn
some distance in the rectifying of the lines. Colonel Rice escaped
capture by crawling in a deep wash in the road, and was rescued by
some skirmishers who were advancing to establish a new line. Colonel
Rice gives this information in a foot-note: "The road in which the
brigade was stationed was as all roads crossing hills, much washed and
worn down, thus giving the troops therein stationed the advantage
of first class breastworks. I do not know that the Fifteenth
South Carolina and the other portion of the brigade were thus
sheltered--have heard indeed that all were not--but within my vision
the position was most admirable, now almost impregnable with good
troops to defend it. To leave such a position was suicidal, especially
when we were ordered to march through open ground and attack the
enemy, sheltered behind trees and rocks. This is my estimate at least,
and the result proved most disastrous to the brigade and General
Drayton himself, as he was soon afterwards relieved of his command."

It has been the aim of the writer of this History not to criticize,
condemn, nor make any comments upon the motives or acts of any of
the officers whom he should have cause to mention, and he somewhat
reluctantly gives space to Colonel Rice's stricture of General
Drayton. It is difficult for officers in subaltern position to
understand all that their superiors do and do not. The Generals, from
their positions, can see differently from those in the line amid the
smoke of battle, and they often give commands hard to comprehend from
minor officers' point of view. General Drayton was an accomplished
and gallant officer, and while he might have been rash and reckless at
South Mountain, still it is hard to conceive his being relieved of his
command through the charge of "rashness," especially when his brigade
held up successfully for so long a time one of the most stubborn
battles of the war.

At the Battle of Sharpsburg or Antietam, the little remnant of the
battalion was again engaged. On Lee's return to Virginia, and during
the last days of November or early in December, the Third Battalion
and the Fifteenth Regiment were transferred to Kershaw's Brigade, and
from thence on it will be treated as a part of the old First Brigade.
At Fredericksburg, on the day of the great battle, the battalion held
the railroad cut running from near the city to the right of Mayree's
Hill, and was well protected by a bluff and the railroad, consequently
did not suffer as great a loss as the other regiments of the brigade.

* * * * *


The first commander of the Third Battalion, and who fell at South
Mountain, was born in Laurens County, in 1829. He was the second son
of John S. James, a prominent lawyer of Laurens, who, meeting with
misfortune and losing a handsome fortune, attempted to retain it
by moving to Columbia and engaging in mercantile pursuits. This he
followed with success. Colonel George S. James received his early
education in the academies of the up-country. While yet a youth
some seventeen years of age, war with Mexico was declared, and his
patriotic and chivalric spirit sent him at once to the ranks of the
Palmetto Regiment, and he shared the triumphs and fortunes of that
command to the close of the war.

After his return to his native State, he entered the South Carolina
College, along with many others, who in after years made their State
and themselves immortal by their fiery zeal in the War of Secession.
At the college young James was a great favorite of all who knew him
best, and while not a close student of text-books, he was an extensive
reader, always delighting his friends with wit and humor. The student
life, however, failed to satisfy his adventurous spirit, and wandering
away to the far distant West, seeking adventure or congenial pursuits,
he received a commission of Lieutenant in the United States Army.

The storm cloud of war, so long hovering over the land, was now about
to burst, and Lieutenant James seeing separation and perhaps war
inevitable, resigned his commission, and hastened to offer his sword
to his native State. He commanded a battery at Fort Johnson, on James'
Island, and shared with General Ruffin the honor of firing the first
gun at Fort Sumter, a shot that was to electrify the world and put in
motion two of the grandest and mightiest armies of all times.

* * * * *


Battle of Fredericksburg--The Fifteenth Regiment and Third Battalion
Join Brigade.

A portion of the Federal Army had preceded Lee, reaching the heights
opposite Fredericksburg two days before the arrival of Kershaw's
Brigade and the other parts of the division. The Federals had been met
by a small body of Confederates doing outpost duty there and held at
bay till the coming of Longstreet with his five divisions. General
Lee was not long in determining the route Burnsides had selected
and hurried Jackson on, and placed him some miles to our right, near
Hamilton's Crossing, on the Richmond and Fredericksburg Railroad.
When Burnsides became aware of the mighty obstacle of Lee's battalions
between him and his goal, the deep, sluggish river separating the
two armies, he realized the trouble that lay in his path. He began
fortifying the ridges running parallel to and near the river, and
built a great chain of forts along "Stafford Heights," opposite
Fredericksburg. In these forts he mounted one hundred and thirty-seven
guns, forty being siege pieces brought down from Washington by
way of the Potomac and Acquia Creek, and lined the entire range of
hills with his heaviest and long-distanced field batteries. These
forts and batteries commanded the river and plain beyond, as well as
every height and elevation on the Southern side. The range of hills on
the opposite side were much higher and more commanding than those on
the Southern side, still Lee began fortifying Taylor's, Mayree's, and
Lee's Heights, and all the intervening hills also, by building forts
and heavy redoubts, with protected embrasures on the flanks. Between
these hills and along their crests the infantry threw up light
earthworks. It could not be said that ours was a fortified position in
any sense, only through natural barriers. There is a plain of a half
to a mile in width between the river and the range to the South,
commencing at Taylor's Hill, half a mile above the city, and widening
as it diverges from the river below, terminating in a broken plateau
down near Hamilton's Crossing. The highlands on the opposite side come
rather precipitous to the water's edge. Along the banks, on either
side, were rifle pits, in which were kept from three to five pickets,
and on our side a brigade was stationed night and day in the city as
a support to the videttes guarding the river front. These pickets were
directed to prevent a crossing at all hazards until the troops at camp
in the rear were all in position in front of Fredericksburg. Stuart,
with the body of his cavalry, guarded the river and country on our
right below Jackson, while Hampton kept a lookout at the crossings
above on the left of Longstreet.

On the morning of the 11th, at 3 o'clock, when all was still and the
soldiers fast asleep, they were rudely aroused from their slumbers
by the deep boom of a cannon away to the front and across the river.
Scarcely had the sound of the first gun died away than another report
thundered out on the stillness of that December night, its echo
reverberating from hill to hill and down along the river side. These
sounds were too ominous to be mistaken; they were the signal guns that
were to put in motion these two mighty armies. "Fall in" was the word
given, and repeated from hill to hill and camp to camp. Drums beat the
long roll at every camp, while far below and above the blast of the
bugle called the troopers to "boots and saddle." Couriers dashed
headlong in the sombre darkness from one General's headquarters to
another's. Adjutants' and Colonels' orderlies were rushing from
tent to tent, arousing the officers and men to arms, and giving
instructions for the move.

I can remember well the sharp, distant voice of Adjutant Y.J. Pope on
that morning, coming down the line of the officers' tents and calling
out to each as he came opposite: "Captain ----, get your company ready
to move at once."

Under such orders, companies have that same rivalry to be first on the
parade ground as exists among fire companies in towns and cities when
the fire bell rings. We were all soon in line and marching with a
hasty step in the direction of the breastworks above the city, Kershaw
taking position immediately to the right of the Telegraph Road. This
is a public highway leading into the city, curving in a semi-circle
around Mayree Hill on the left. From this road the hill rises on the
west and north in a regular bluff--a stone wall of five feet in height
bordering either side of the road. "Deep Run," a small ravine, runs
between the hill on which Kershaw was stationed and that of Mayree's.
Daylight was yet some hours off when we took position, but we could
hear the rattle of the guns of Barksdale's Mississippians, whose turn
it was to be on picket in the city, driving off the enemy's pontoon
corps and bridge builders.

The city was almost deserted, General Lee advising the citizens to
leave their homes as soon as it became apparent that a battle would be
fought here. Still a few, loath to leave their all to the ravages
of an army, decided to remain and trust to fate. But soon after the
firing along the river began, we saw groups of women and children and
a few old men in the glim twilight of the morning rushing along the
roads out from the city as fast as their feeble limbs and tender feet
could carry them, hunting a safe retreat in the backwoods until the
cloud of war broke or passed over. Some Were, carrying babes in their
arms, others dragging little children along by the hands, with a few
articles of bedding or wearing apparel under their arms or thrown over
their shoulders. The old men tottered along in the rear, giving words
of comfort and cheer to the excited and frightened women and little
ones. It was a sickening sight to see these helpless and inoffensive
people hurrying away from the dangers of battle in the chilly morning
of December, seeking some safe haunt in the backwoods, yet they bore
it all without murmur or complaint.

Anderson's Division of Longstreet's Corps rested on the river on the
extreme left, at Taylor's Hill; then Ransom's along the crest of the
ridge between Taylor's and Mayree's, and McLaws' from his left across
Deep Run Valley and along the ridge to Lee's Hill, where Pickett was
posted; Hood extending from Pickett's right, touching the left of
the troops of Jackson's Corps. Three of Cobb's regiments and one from
North Carolina were posted behind the stone wall lining the sunken
road, while two of Cooke's North Carolina regiments were on the crest
of Mayree's Hill overlooking Cobb. Kershaw's Brigade, with the Third
South Carolina on the left, was resting on the ridge running at right
angles to the Telegraph Road, the left resting on the road, the
Second South Carolina next, and so on to the left of Semmes' Brigade.
Barksdale being in the city on picket, was relieved and placed in

As soon as the signal guns gave evidence of an impending battle,
D.H. Hill, who had been sent on detached service down the river, was
recalled and placed in line with the other portion of Jackson's Corps.
Jackson had his entire force closely massed in the woodland around
Hamilton's Crossing and along the Richmond and Fredericksburg
Railroad, one mile from the river. The Light Division of A.P. Hill
occupied the front line, with a heavy battery of fourteen guns on
his right, supported by Archer's Brigade; then Lane's and Fender's in
front, with Gregg's and Thomas' in reserve. Behind the Light Division
lay Early on the right, Taliaferro on the left, with D.H. Hill in rear
of all along the Mine Road, the right of these divisions resting on
Hamilton's Crossing. Hood occupied the valley between Lee's Hill and
the highland around Hamilton's Crossing; Pickett on the ridge between
Hood and McLaws; Stuart's Cavalry ran at right angles to the infantry
line from Hamilton's Crossing to the river, hemming the Federal Army
in the plain between Hamilton's Crossing and Taylor's Hill above the
city, a space three miles long by one wide.

Before day the enemy's pontoon corps came cautiously to the river and
began operations at laying down the bridge, but the pickets in the
rifle pits kept them off for a time by their steady fire. The manner
of putting down army bridges is much more simple and rapid than the
old country mode of building. Large boats are loaded on long-coupled
wagons, the boats filled with plank for flooring and cross beams, with
a large iron ring in the rear end of each boat, through which a stout
rope is to run, holding them at equal distance when in the water.
When all is ready the boats are launched at equal distance so that the
beams can reach, then pushed out in the stream, and floated around in
a semi-circle, until the opposite bank is reached, the rope fastened
to trees on either bank, cross pieces are laid, the flooring put down,
and the bridge is ready for crossing.

After making several ineffectual attempts in placing the bridge, the
destructive fire of Barksdale's Riflemen forcing them back, the enemy
attempted the bold project of filling the boats with armed soldiers,
pushing out in the stream, and fighting their way across, under cover
of their artillery fire. While the dense fog was yet hanging heavily
over the waters, one hundred and forty guns, many siege pieces, were
opened upon the deserted city and the men along the water front. The
roar from the cannon-crowned battlements shook the very earth.
Above and below us seemed to vibrate as from the effects of a mighty
upheaval, while the shot and shell came whizzing and shrieking
overhead, looking like a shower of falling meteors. For more than an
hour did this seething volcano vomit iron like hail upon the city and
the men in the rifle pits, the shells and shot from the siege guns
tearing through the houses and plunging along the streets, and
ricocheting to the hills above. Not a house nor room nor chimney
escaped destruction. Walls were perforated, plastering and ceiling
fell, chimneys tottering or spreading over yards and out into the
streets. Not a place of safety, save the cellars and wells, and in
the former some were forced to take refuge. Yet through all this, the
brave Mississippians stood and bravely fought the bridge builders,
beating them back till orders were given to retire. They had
accomplished the purpose of delaying the enemy's crossing until our
troops were in position. The Federals now hurried over in swarms, by
thousands and tens of thousands, and made their way down the river,
stationing a strong cordon of guards around the point of landing. The
space between was soon a seething mass of humanity, the houses and
streets crowded to overflowing. A second bridge was laid a mile below
at the mouth of Deep Run, and here a continuous stream of all
arms were soon pouring over. General Kershaw rode along our lines,
encouraging the men, urging them to stand steadfast, assuring them
that there was to be neither an advance nor retreat, that we were but
to hold our ground, and one of the greatest victories of the war would
be gained. How prophetic his words! All during the day and night the
deep rumbling sound of the long wagon trains, artillery, and cavalry
could be heard crossing the pontoon bridges above and below.

The next morning, the 12th, as the fog lifted, Stafford Heights and
the inclines above the river were one field of blue. Great lines
of infantry, with waving banners, their bright guns and bayonets
glittering in the sunlight, all slowly marching down the steep
inclines between the heights and the river on over the bridges, then
down the river side at a double-quick to join their comrades of the
night before. These long, swaying lines, surging in and out among
the jutting of the hillsides beyond, down to the river, over and down
among the trees and bushes near the water, resembled some monster
serpent dragging its "weary length along." Light batteries of
artillery came dashing at break-neck speed down the hillsides, their
horses rearing and plunging as if wishing to take the river at a
leap. Cavalry, too, with their heavy-bodied Norman horses, their spurs
digging the flanks, sabres bright and glistening and dangling at their
sides, came at a canter, all seeming anxious to get over and meet the
death and desolation awaiting them. Long trains of ordnance
wagons, with their black oilcloth covering, the supply trains and
quartermaster departments all following in the wake of their division
or corps headquarters, escorts, and trains. All spread out over the
hills and in the gorges lay men by the thousands, awaiting their turn
to move. Not a shot nor shell to mar or disturb "the even tenor of
their way." Bands of music enlivened the scene by their inspiring
strains, and when some national air, or specially martial piece,
would be struck up, shouts and yells rended the air for miles, to be
answered by counter yells from the throats of fifty thousand "Johnny
Rebs," as the Southern soldiers were called. The Confederate bands
were not idle, for as soon as a Federal band would cease playing, some
of the Southern bands would take up the refrain, and as the notes,
especially Dixie, would be wafted over the water and hills, the "blue
coats" would shout, sing, and dance--hats and caps went up, flags
waved in the breeze--so delighted were they at the sight and sound of
Dixie. The whole presented more the spectacle of a holiday procession,
or a gala day, rather than the prelude to the most sanguinary battle
of modern times.

The night following was cold, and a biting wind was blowing. Only a
few days before a heavy snow had fallen, and in some places it still
remained banked up in shaded corners. To those who had to stand picket
out in the plain between the armies the cold was fearful. The enemy
had no fires outside of the city, and their sufferings from cold must
have been severe. My company, from the Third, as well as one from
each of the other regiments, were on picket duty, posted in an open
cornfield in the plain close to the enemy, near enough, in fact, to
hear voices in either camp--with no fire, and not allowed to speak
above a whisper. The night became so intensely cold just before day
that the men gathered cornstalks and kindled little fires along the
beat, and at early dawn we were withdrawn.

All knew full well, as the day preceding had passed without any
demonstrations, only maneuvering, this day, the 13th, would be a day
of battle. A heavy fog, as usual, rose from the river and settled
along the plains and hillsides, so much so that objects could not be
distinguished twenty paces. However, the least noise could be heard
at a great distance. Activity in the Federal camp was noticed early
in the morning. Officers could be heard giving commands, wagons and
artillery moving to positions. At half past ten the fog suddenly
lifted, and away to our right and near the river great columns of men
were moving, marching and counter-marching. These were in front of
A.P. Hill, of Jackson's Corps. In front of us and in the town all
was still and quiet as a city of the dead. The great siege guns from
beyond the river on Stafford Heights opened the battle by a dozen or
more shells screaming through the tree tops and falling in Jackson's
camp. From every fort soon afterwards a white puff of smoke could be
seen, then a vivid flash and a deafening report, telling us that the
enemy was ready and waiting. From the many field batteries between
Jackson and the river the smoke curled up around the tree tops, and
shell went crashing through the timbers. Our batteries along the front
of Longstreet's Corps opened their long-ranged guns on the redoubts
beyond the river, and our two siege guns on Lee's Hill, just brought
up from Richmond, paid special attention to the columns moving to the
assault of A.P. Hill. For one hour the earth and air seemed to tremble
and shake beneath the shock of three hundred guns, and the bursting
of thousands of shells overhead, before and behind us, looked like
bursting stars on a frolic. The activity suddenly ceases in front
of Hill, and the enemy's infantry lines move to the front. First the
skirmishers meet, and their regular firing tells the two armies that
they are near together. Then the skirmish fire gives way to the deep,
sullen roar of the line of battle. From our position, some three
hundred yards in rear and to the right of Mayree's Hill, we could see
the Union columns moving down the river, our batteries raking them
with shot and shell. In crossing an old unfinished railroad cut the
two siege guns played upon the flank with fearful effect. Huddling
down behind the walls of the cut to avoid the fire in front, the
batteries from Mayree's and in the fields to the right enfiladed the
position, the men rushing hither and thither and falling in heaps
from the deadly fire in front and flank. Jackson has been engaged in
a heavy battle for nearly an hour, when suddenly in our front tens
of thousands of "blue coats" seemed to spring up out of the earth and
make for our lines. Near one-half of the army had concealed themselves
in the city and along the river banks, close to the water's edge. The
foliage of the trees and the declivity of the ground having hidden
them thus far from view. From out of the streets and from behind walls
and houses men poured, as if by some magical process or super-human
agency, and formed lines of battle behind a little rise in the ground,
near the canal. But in a few moments they emerged from their second
place of protection and bore down upon the stone wall, behind which
stood Cobb's Georgians and a Regiment of North Carolinians. When
midway between the canal and stone fence, they met an obstruction--a
plank fence--but this did not delay them long. It was soon dashed to
the ground and out of their way, but their men were falling at
every step from Cobb's infantry fire and grape and canister from the
Washington Artillery of New Orleans on the hill. They never neared the
wall nor did they take more time than to fire a volley or two before
they fled the field. This retreating column of Franklin's met that of
Hancock's, formed, and on its way to try issues with the troops behind
the stone wall, Longstreet now saw what had never been considered
before--that Burnsides was determined to possess himself of the key to
Lee's position, "Mayree's Hill," in front of which was the stone wall.
He ordered the two regiments of North Carolinians that were posted on
the crest of the hill down behind the stone wall, to the left of Cobb
and Kershaw, to reinforce the position with his brigade.

The Third Regiment being ordered to the top of Mayree's Hill, Colonel
Nance, at the head of his regiment, entered the Telegraph Road, and
down this the men rushed, followed by the Second, led by Colonel
Kennedy, under one of the heaviest shellings the troops ever
experienced. This two hundred yards' stretch of road was in full view
and range of the heavy gun batteries on Stafford Heights, and as the
men scattered out along and down the road, the shells passed, plowing
in the road, bursting overhead, or striking the earth and ricocheting
to the hills far in the rear. On reaching the ravine, at the lower
end of the incline, the Third Regiment was turned to the left and up a
by-road to the plateau in rear of the "Mayree Mansion." The house tops
in the city were lined with sharpshooters, and from windows and doors
and from behind houses the deadly missiles from the globe-sighted
rifles made sad havoc in our ranks.

[Illustration: Col. William Drayton Rutherford, 3d S.C. Regiment.(Page

[Illustration: Col. E. T Stackhouse, 8th S.C. Regiment. (Page 285.)]

[Illustration: Col. D. Wyatt Aiken, 7th S.C. Regiment. (Page 100.)]

[Illustration: Lieut. Col. B.B. Foster, 3d S.C. Regiment. (Page 164.)]

When the Third reached the top of the plateau it was in column of
fours, and Colonel Nance formed line of battle by changing "front
forward on first company." This pretty piece of tactics was executed
while under the galling fire from the artillery and sharpshooters, but
was as perfect as on dress parade. The regiment lined up, the right
resting on the house and extending along a dull road to the next
street leading into the city. We had scarcely gotten in position
before Nance, Rutherford, and Maffett, the three field officers, had
fallen. Colonel Kennedy, with the Second, passed over the left of the
plateau and down the street on our left, and at right angles with our
line, being in a position to give a sweeping fire to the flank of the
columns of assault against the stone fence. From the preparation and
determination made to break through the line here, Kershaw ordered
Lieutenant Colonel Bland, with the Seventh, Colonel Henagan, with the
Eighth, and Colonel DeSaussure, with the Fifteenth, to double-up with
Cobb's men, and to hold their position "at the sacrifice of every man
of their commands."

All of the different regiments, with the exception of the Third South
Carolina, had good protection in the way of stone walls, this being
the sole occasion that any of Kershaw's troops had been protected
by breastworks of any kind during the whole war. The Second was in a
sunken road leading to the city, walled on either side with
granite, the earth on the outside being leveled up with the top. The
maneuvering into position had taken place while Hancock was making the
first assault upon the wall defended by Cobb. Howard was now preparing
to make the doubtful attempt at taking the stronghold with the point
of the bayonet, and without firing a gun. But with such men as the
Georgians, South Carolinians, and North Carolinians in their front,
the task proved too Herculean. Howard moved to the battle in beautiful
style, their line almost solid and straight, their step in perfect
unison with the long, moving columns, their guns carried at a trail,
and the stars and stripes floating proudly above their heads. The shot
and shell plunging through their ranks from the hills above, the two
siege guns on Lee's Hill now in beautiful play, the brass pieces of
the Washington Artillery firing with grape and shrapnel--but all this
made no break nor halt in that long line of blue. The double column
behind the stone wall and the Third South Carolina on the crest of the
Hill met them in front with a cool and steady fire, while the Second
South Carolina directed its attention to the flank. But the boldest
and stoutest hearts could not withstand this withering blast of
bullets and shells without returning the fire. The enemy opened
upon us a terrific fire, both from the columns in front and from the
sharpshooters in the housetops in the city. After giving us battle
as long as human endurance could bear the ordeal, they, like their
companions before them, fled in confusion.

Before making the direct attack, Howard attempted a diversion by
endeavoring to turn Cobb's left. Passing out into the plain above
the city, he was met by some of Cooke's North Carolinians, and there
around the sacred tomb of Mary Washington was a hand to hand encounter
between some New York and Massachusetts troops and those from the Pine
Tree State. Sons of the same ancestry, sons of sires who fought
with the "Father of his Country" in the struggle for the nation's
independence, now fighting above the grave of the mother for its
dissolution! Thrice were the Confederates driven from the position,
but as often retaken, and at last held at the point of the bayonet by
the hardy sons of North Carolina.

The battle, grand and awful in its sublimity, raged from the morning's
opening till two o'clock, without the least abatement along the whole
line. From the extreme right to our left at Taylor's Hill was a sea
of fire. But Mayree's Hill was the center, around which all the other
battles revolved. It was the key to Lee's position, and this had
become the boon of contention. It was in the taking of Mayree's Hill
and the defeat of the troops defending it that the North was pouring
out its river of blood. Both commanders were still preparing to stake
their all upon this hazard of the die--the discipline of the North
against the valor of the South.

Our loss was heavy, both in officers and men. The brave, chivalric
Cobb, of Georgia, had fallen. Of the Third South Carolina, Colonel
Nance, Lieutenant Colonel Rutherford, and Major Maffett had all been
severely wounded in the early part of the engagement. Captain Hance,
while commanding, fell pierced through the heart. Then the next in
command, Captain Summer, met a similar fate; then Captain Foster.
Captain Nance, the junior Captain in the regiment, retained the
command during the continuance of the fight, although painfully
wounded. The dead of the Third Regiment lay in heaps, like hogs in
a slaughter pen. The position of the Second Regiment gave it great
advantage over the advancing column. From a piazza in rear of the
sunken road, Colonel Kennedy posted himself, getting a better view,
and to better direct the firing Lieutenant Colonel William Wallace
remained with the men in the road, and as the column of assault
reached the proper range, he ordered a telling fire on the enemy's
flank. Men in the road would load the guns for those near the wall,
thus keeping up a continual fire, and as the enemy scattered over the
plain in their retreat, then was the opportunity for the Second and
Third, from their elevated positions and better view, to give them
such deadly parting salutes. The smoke in front of the stone wall
became so dense that the troops behind it could only fire at the
flashing of the enemy's guns. From the Third's position, it was more
dangerous for its wounded to leave the field than remain on the battle
line, the broad, level plateau in rear almost making it suicidal to
raise even as high as a stooping posture.

From the constant, steady, and uninterrupted roll of musketry far to
the right, we knew Jackson was engaged in a mighty struggle. From the
early morning's opening the noise of his battle had been gradually
bearing to the rear. He was being driven from position to position,
and was meeting with defeat and possibly disaster. From the direction
of his fire our situation was anything but assuring.

General Meade, of the Federal Army, had made the first morning attack
upon the Light Brigade, under A.P. Hill, throwing that column in
confusion and driving it back upon the second line. These troops were
not expecting the advance, and some had their guns stacked. The heavy
fog obscured the Federal lines until they were almost within pistol
shot. When it was discovered that an enemy was in their front (in
fact some thought them their friends), in this confusion of troops a
retreat was ordered to the second line. In this surprise and disorder
South Carolina lost one of her most gifted sons, and the South a brave
and accomplished officer, Brigadier General Maxey Gregg.

General Hood, on Hill's left, failing to move in time to give him the
support expected, the whole of Jackson's Corps was forced to retire.
But the tide at length begins to turn. Meade is driven from the field.
Division after division was rushed to the front to meet and check
Jackson's steady advance. Cannon now boom as never before heard, even
the clear ringing of Pelham's little howitzers, of Stuart's Cavalry,
could be heard above the thunder of the big guns, telling us that
Stuart was putting his horse artillery in the balance. His brave
artillery leader was raking the enemy's flank as they fell back on
the river. In our front new troops were being marshalled and put in
readiness to swell the human holocaust before the fatal wall.

Franklin, Hancock, and Howard had made unsuccessful attempts upon this
position, leaving their wounded and dead lying in heaps and wind rows
from the old railroad cut to the suburbs. Now Sturgis, of the Ninth
Corps, was steadily advancing. The Washington Artillery, from New
Orleans, occupying the most conspicuous and favorable position on the
right of the "Mayree House," had exhausted their shot and shell.
The infantry in the road and behind the wall, Cobb's and part of
Kershaw's, were nearly out of ammunition, and during the last charge
had been using that of their dead and wounded. Calls were made on all
sides for "more ammunition," both from the artillery and infantry.
Orders and details had been sent to the ordnance trains to bring
supplies to the front. But the orders had miscarried, or the trains
were too far distant, for up to three o'clock no sign of replenishment
was in sight. The hearts of the exhausted men began to fail them--the
batteries silent, the infantry short of ammunition, while a long line
of blue was making rapid strides towards us in front.

But now all hearts were made glad by the sudden rush of Alexander's
Battery coming to the relief of the Washington Artillery. Down the
Telegraph Road the battery came, their horses rearing and plunging,
drivers burying the points of their spurs deep into the flanks of the
foaming steeds; riders in front bending low upon the saddle bows to
escape the shells that now filled the air, or plowing up the earth
beneath the horses hoofs; the men on the caissons clinging with a
death-like grip to retain their seats, the great heavy wheels spinning
around like mad and bounding high in the air; while the officers
riding at the side of this charging column of artillerists, shouted at
the top of their voices, giving directions to the leaders. Down this
open and exposed stretch of road, up over the plateau, then wheel to
the right, they make a rush through the gauntlet that separates them
from the fort in which stood the Washington Artillery. Over the
dead and dying the horses leap and plunge, dragging the cannon and
ammunition chests--they enter the fort at a gallop. Swinging into
line, their brass pieces are now belching forth grape and canister
into the ranks of the advancing columns. All this takes place in less
time than it takes to record it. The bold dash and beautiful piece
of evolution so excite the admiration of all who witnessed it, that a
yell went up that drowns for a time the heavy baying of the siege guns
on Stafford Heights.

About this time Jackson seems to have reached his limit of retreat,
and was now forging steadily to the front, regaining every inch of the
lost ground of the morning. The Federal Commander-in-Chief, seeing the
stubborn resistance he is met with in front of the city, and Jackson's
gray lines pressing his left back upon the river, began to feel the
hopelessness of his battle, and sent orders to Franklin to attack
Jackson with his entire force. Hooker was to reinforce Sumner on the
right, the latter to take the stone wall and the heights beyond before
night. Sturgis had met the fate of those who had assaulted before him.
Now Getty and Griffin were making frantic efforts to reach the wall.
Griffin had his men concealed and protected in the wet, marshy bed of
the old canal. He now undertook to accomplish that which Howard had
attempted in the morning, and failed--the feat of taking the stone
walls with empty guns.

In this column of assault was the famous Meager's Irish Brigade, of
New York,--all Irishmen, but undoubtedly the finest body of troops in
the Federal Army. When the signal for advance was given, from out of
their hiding places they sprang--from the canal, the bushes on
the river bank, the side streets in the city, one compact row of
glittering bayonets came--in long battle lines. General Kershaw,
seeing the preparation made for this final and overwhelming assault
upon our jaded troops, sent Captain Doby, of his staff, along our
lines with orders to hold our position at all hazards, even at the
point of the bayonet.

As the rifle balls from the housetops and shells from the batteries
along the river banks sang their peculiar death notes overhead and
around us, this brave and fearless officer made the entire length
of the line, exhorting, entreating, and urging the men to redoubled
efforts. How Captain Doby escaped death is little less than

The casualties of battle among the officers and the doubling up
process of the men behind the wall caused all order of organization
to be lost sight of, and each man loaded and fired as he saw best. The
men in the road, even the wounded, crowded out from the wall by force
of number, loaded the guns for the more fortunate who had places, and
in many instances three and four men loaded the guns for one, passing
them to those who were firing from the top of the stone fence.
Each seemed to fight on his own responsibility, and with the same
determined spirit to hold the wall and the heights above. Each felt as
if the safety of the army depended upon his exertions alone.

With a firm and elastic step this long, swaying line of Irishmen moved
to the assault with as much indifference apparently to their fate
as "sheep going to the shambles." Not a shot was fired from this
advancing column, while the shells from our batteries cut swath after
swath through their ranks, only to be closed again as if by some
mechanical means; colors fall, but rise and float again, men bounding
forward and eagerly grasping the fallen staff, indifferent of the fate
that awaited them. Officers are in front, with drawn swords flashing
in the gleam of the fading sunlight, urging on their men to still
greater deeds of prowess, and by their individual courage set examples
in heroism never before witnessed on this continent. The assault upon
Mayree's Hill by the Irish Brigade and their compatriots will go down
in history as only equalled by the famous ride of the "Six Hundred at
Hohenlinden," and the "Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava." They
forge their way forward over the heap of dead and dying that now strew
the plain, nearer to the deadly wall than any of the troops before
them. It began to look for the moment as if their undaunted courage
would succeed, but the courage of the defenders of Mayree's Hill
seemed to increase in ardour and determination in proportion to that
of the enemy. The smoke and flame of their battle is now less than one
hundred paces from the wall, but the odds are against them, and they,
too, had to finally yield to the inevitable and leave the field in
great disorder.

From both sides hopes and prayers had gone up that this charge would
prove the last attempt to break our lines. But Humphries met the
shattered columns with a fresh advance. Those who were marching to
enter this maelstrom of carnage were entreated and prayed to by all of
those who had just returned from the sickening scene not to enter this
death trap, and begged them not to throw away their lives in the vain
attempt to accomplish the impossible. But Humphries, anxious of
glory for himself and men, urged on by the imperative orders from
his Commander-in-Chief, soon had his men on the march to the "bloody
wall." But as the sun dropped behind the hills in our rear, the scene
that presented itself in the fading gloom of that December day was
a plain filled with the dead and dying--a living stream of flying
fugitives seeking shelter from the storm of shot and shell by plunging
over the precipitous banks of the river, or along the streets and
protecting walls of the city buildings.

Jackson had pressed all in his front back to the water's edge, while
his batteries, with those of Stuart's, were still throwing shells into
the huddled, panic-stricken, and now thoroughly vanquished army of the

That night the Federal Commander-in-Chief sat in his tent alone, and
around him the groans of the wounded and the agonizing wails of the
dying greet his ear--the gentle wind singing a requiem to his dead. He
nursed alone the bitter consciousness of the total defeat of his army,
now a scattered mass--a skeleton of its former greatness--while the
flower of the Northern chivalry lie sleeping the sleep of death on the
hills and plains round about. His country and posterity would charge
him with all the responsibility of defeat, and he felt that his brief
command of the once grand and mighty Army of the Potomac was now at an
end. Sore and bitter recollections!

Burnsides had on the field one hundred and thirty-two thousand and
seventeen men; of these one hundred and sixteen thousand six hundred
and eighty-three were in line of battle. Lee had upon the field and
ready for action sixty-nine thousand three hundred and ninety-one
infantry and artillery, and about five thousand cavalry. Burnsides had
three hundred and seventy pieces of field artillery and forty siege
guns mounted on Stafford's Heights. Lee had three hundred and twelve
pieces of field and heavy artillery, with two siege guns, both
exploding, one in the early part of the day.

The enemy's loss was twelve thousand six hundred and fifty-three, of
which at least eight thousand fell in front of the stone wall. It
has been computed by returns made since that in the seven different
charges there were engaged at least twenty-five thousand infantry
alone in the assaults against the stone wall, defended by not more
than four thousand men, exclusive of artillery. Lee's entire loss
was five thousand three hundred and twenty-two killed, wounded, and
missing; and one of the strangest features of this great battle, one
in which so many men of all arms were engaged, the enormous loss of
life on both sides, and the close proximity of such a large body of
cavalry, the returns of the battle only give thirteen wounded and none
killed of the entire cavalry force on the Confederate side.

The men who held the stone wall and Mayree's Hill were three regiments
of Cooke's North Carolina Brigade; the Sixteenth Georgia, Colonel
Bryan; the Eighteenth Georgia, Lieutenant Colonel Ruff; the
Twenty-fourth Georgia, Colonel McMillan; the Cobb Legion and Philip
Legion, Colonel Cook, of General T.R.R. Cobb's Brigade; the Second
South Carolina, Colonel Kennedy; the Third South Carolina, Colonel
Nance, Lieutenant Colonel Rutherford, Major Maffett, Captains Summer,
Hance, Foster, and Nance; the Seventh South Carolina, Lieutenant
Colonel Bland; the Eighth South Carolina, Colonel Henagan and Major
Stackhouse; the Fifteenth South Carolina, Colonel DeSaussure; the
Third Battalion, Major Rice, of Kershaw's Brigade; the Washington
Battery, of New Orleans, and Alexander's Battery, from Virginia.
The brigades from Hood's and Pickett's Divisions, Jenkins, of South
Carolina, being from the latter, were sent to the support of McLaws,
at Mayree's Hill, and only acted as reserve and not engaged.

The next day, as if by mutual consent, was a day of rest. The wounded
were gathered in as far as we were able to reach them. The enemy's
wounded lay within one hundred yards of the stone wall for two days
and nights, and their piteous calls for help and water were simply
heart-rending. Whenever one of our soldiers attempted to relieve
the enemy lying close under our wall, he would be fired upon by the
pickets and guards in the house tops.

On the night of the 15th, the Federal Army, like strolling Arabs,
"folded their tents and silently stole away." The 16th was given up
entirely to the burial of the dead. In the long line of pits, dug
as protection for the enemy while preparing for a charge, these
putrefying bodies were thrown headlong, pell mell, like the filling of
blind ditches with timbers. One Confederate would get between the legs
of the dead enemy, take a foot in either hand, then two others would
each grasp an arm, and drag at a run the remains of the dead enemy
and heave it over in the pit. In this way these pits or ditches were
filled almost to a level of the surface, a little dirt thrown over
them, there to remain until the great United States Government removed
them to the beautiful park around Mayree's Heights. There to this day,
and perhaps for all time, sleep the "blue and the gray," while the
flag so disastrously beaten on that day now floats in triumph over

It must be said to the credit of General Burnsides, that the
responsibility for this disastrous battle should not rest upon his
shoulders. He felt his incapacity for handling so great a body
of troops. Again and again he wrote the authorities in Washington
protesting against the command being given him. "I am unable to handle
so great an army." He wrote his chief, but in vain. The fiat had gone
forth, "Go and crush Lee," and the result was to have been expected.

* * * * *


Incidents of the Battle--Comparisons With Other Engagements.

The Battle of Fredericksburg was not the most desperate nor bloody of
the war, nor was it so fruitful of events as others in its bearing
on future results. Really neither side gained nor lost any great
advantage; nor was the battle any more to the Confederate side than a
great victory barren of ulterior results; the loss to the Federals no
more than the loss of a number of men and the lowering of the morale
among the troops. Within a day or two both armies occupied the same
positions as before the battle. Not wishing to attempt any invidious
comparisons or reflections upon troops in wars of other periods, but
for the information of those who are not conversant with the magnitude
of the Civil War, as compared with the Revolution and Mexican War,
I will here give a few statistics. The reader then can draw his own
conclusions as to the sanguinary effects and extent of some of our
battles. Of course the different kinds of weapons used in the late
war--their deadly effect, long range, better mode of firing--will have
to be considered in comparison to the old.

As the Revolutionary War was more of a guerilla than actual war, I
will speak more directly of the Mexican War. It will be noticed the
difference in the killed to the wounded was far out of proportion in
favor of the latter. This I attribute to the smallness of the gun's
calibre, and in many instances buck-shot were used in connection with
larger balls by the soldiers of the old wars, while the Mexicans used
swords and lances, as well as pistols. During the three days' battle
at Molino del Rey, Chapultepec, and the storming of the City of
Mexico, considered the most bloody and sanguinary of that war, the
four divisions of Scott's Army, of two thousand each, lost as follows:
Pillow lost one officer killed and fourteen wounded, twenty-one
privates killed and ninety-seven wounded. Worth lost two officers
killed and nine wounded, twenty-three privates killed and ninety-five
wounded. Quitman lost four officers killed and thirty wounded,
thirty-seven privates killed and two hundred and thirty-seven
wounded. Smith's Brigade, with Quitman, lost ten officers wounded
and none killed, twenty-four privates killed and one hundred and
twenty-six wounded. Twigg's Division lost three officers killed and
twelve wounded, fifteen privates killed and seventy-seven wounded.
This, with some few missing, making a grand total loss, out of Scott's
Army of nine to ten thousand men, of between six hundred and fifty and
seven hundred killed, wounded, and missing--a number that Kershaw's
Brigade alone frequently lost in three or four hours.

The heaviest casualties in the three days' battle of Mexico in
regiments were in the Palmetto Regiment and the Kentucky Rifles,
where the former lost two officers killed and nine wounded, fourteen
privates killed and seventy-five wounded; the latter lost six officers
wounded and none killed, nine privates killed and sixty-four wounded.
When it is remembered that the Third Regiment in the battle with
about three hundred and fifty and four hundred men in line lost six
regimental commanders killed and wounded, not less than three times
that number of other officers killed and wounded, and more than one
hundred and fifty men killed and wounded, some idea can be had of its
bloody crisis and deadly struggle, in which our troops were engaged,
in comparison to the patriots in Mexico.

But considering the close proximity of the troops engaged at
Fredericksburg, the narrow compass in which they were massed, the
number of elevated positions suitable for artillery on either
side, and the number of troops on the field, the wonder is why
the casualties were not even greater than the reports make them.
Burnsides, from the nature of the ground, could not handle more than
half his army, as by official returns not more than fifty thousand
were in line of battle and in actual combat. There were only two
points at which he could extend his line, and if at one he found a
"Scylla," he was equally sure to find a "Charybdis" at the other.
On his left flank Jackson's whole corps was massed, at Hamilton's
Crossing; at his right was the stone wall and Mayree's Hill. To meet
Hood and Pickett he would have had to advance between a quarter and
half mile through a plain, where his army could be enfiladed by the
guns of Longstreet and Jackson, and in front by the batteries of
Hood and Pickett. It seems from reports since come to light that
the authorities at Washington apprehended more danger in Burnsides
crossing the river than in the battle that was to follow. Lincoln in
giving him orders as to his movements instructed his Secretary of War,
Stanton, to write Burnsides to be very careful in the crossing, to
guard his flanks well, and not allow Lee to fall upon one part that
had crossed and crush it before the other part could come to the
rescue; nor allow that wing of the army yet remaining on the Northern
side to be attacked and destroyed while the other had crossed to the
Southern side. It is said Stanton wrote the order couched in the
best of English, and phrased in elegant terms the instructions above,
telling him to guard his flanks, etc., then read the order to Lincoln
for his approval. Taking up the pen, the President endorsed it, and
wrote underneath, in his own hand: "In crossing the river don't allow
yourself to be caught in the fix of a cow, hurried by dogs, in jumping
a fence, get hung in the middle, so that she can't either use her
horns in front, nor her heels behind."

Many incidents of courage and pathos could be written of this, as
well as many other battles, but one that I think the crowning act of
courage and sympathy for an enemy in distress is due was that of a
Georgian behind the wall. In one of the first charges made during the
day a Federal had fallen, and to protect himself as much as possible
from the bullets of his enemies, he had by sheer force of will pulled
his body along until he had neared the wall. Then he failed through
pure exhaustion. From loss of blood and the exposure of the sun's
rays, he called loudly for water. "Oh, somebody bring me a drink of
water!--water! water!!" was the piteous appeals heard by those behind
the stone wall. To go to his rescue was to court certain death, as
the housetops to the left were lined with sharpshooters, ready to fire
upon anyone showing his head above the wall. But one brave soldier
from Georgia dared all, and during the lull in the firing leaped the
walls, rushed to the wounded soldier, and raising his head in his
arms, gave him a drink of water, then made his way back and over the
wall amid a hail of bullets knocking the dirt up all around him.

The soldier, like the sailor, is proverbial for his superstition. But
at times certain incidents or coincidents take place in the life
of the soldier that are inexplainable, to say the least. Now it is
certain that every soldier going into battle has some dread of death.
It is the nature of man to dread that long lost sleep at any time and
in any place. He knows that death is a master of all, and all must
yield to its inexorable summons, and that summons is more likely
to come in battle than on ordinary occasions. That at certain times
soldiers do have a premonition of their coming death, has been proven
on many occasions. Not that I say all soldiers foretell their end
by some kind of secret monitor, but that some do, or seem to do so.
Captain Summer, of my company, was an unusually good-humored and
lively man, and while he was not what could be called profane, yet he
had little predilection toward piety or the Church. In other battles
he advanced to the front as light-hearted and free from care as if
going on drill or inspection. When we were drawn up in line of battle
at Fredericksburg the first morning an order came for the Captain.
He was not present, and on enquiry, I was told that he had gone to
a cluster of bushes in the rear. Thinking the order might be of
importance, I hastened to the place, and there I found Captain Summer
on his knees in prayer. I rallied him about his "sudden piety," and
in a jesting manner accused him of "weakening." "After rising from his
kneeling posture, I saw he was calm, pale, and serious--so different
from his former moods in going into battle. I began teasing him in a
bantering way about being a coward." "No," said he, "I am no coward,
and will show I have as much nerve, if not more, than most men in the
army, for all have doubts of death, but I have none. I will be killed
in this battle. I feel it as plainly as I feel I am living, but I am
no coward, and shall go in this battle and fight with the same spirit
that I have always shown." This was true. He acted bravely, and for
the few moments that he commanded the regiment he exhibited all the
daring a brave man could, but he fell shot through the brains with a
minnie ball. He had given me messages to his young wife, to whom he
had been married only about two months, before entering the services,
as to the disposition of his effects, as well as his body after death.

Another instance was that of Lieutenant Hill, of Company G, Third
South Carolina Regiment. The day before the battle he asked permission
to return to camp that night, a distance perhaps of three miles. With
a companion he returned to the camp, procured water, bathed himself,
and changed his under-clothing. On being asked by his companion why
he wished to walk three miles at night to simply bathe and change his
clothing, with perfect unconcern he replied: "In the coming battle I
feel that I will be killed, and such being the case, I could not bear
the idea of dying and being buried in soiled clothes." He fell dead
at the first volley. Was there ever such courage as this--to feel
that death was so certain and that it could be prevented by absenting
themselves from battle, but allowed their pride, patriotism, and moral
courage to carry them on to sure death?

In the case of a private in Company C, Third Regiment, it was
different. He did not have the moral courage to resist the "secret
monitor," that silent whisperer of death. He had always asserted
that he would be killed in the first battle, and so strong was this
conviction upon him, that he failed to keep in line of battle on
another occasion, and had been censured by his officers for
cowardice. In this battle he was ordered in charge of a Sergeant, with
instructions that he be carried in battle at the point of the bayonet.
However, it required no force to make him keep his place in line,
still he continued true to his convictions, that his death was
certain. He went willingly, if not cheerfully, in line. As the column
was moving to take position on Mayree's Hill, he gave instructions
to his companions as he advanced what messages should be sent to
his wife, and while giving those instructions and before the command
reached its position he fell pierced through the heart.

Another instance that came under my own observation, that which some
chose to call "presentiment," was of a member in my company in East
Tennessee. He was an exceptionally good soldier and the very picture
of an ideal hero, tall, erect, and physically well developed, over six
feet in height, and always stood in the front rank at the head of the
company. While Longstreet was moving upon Knoxville, the morning
he crossed the Tennessee River before dawn and before there was any
indication of a battle, this man said to me, with as much coolness and
composure, as if on an ordinary subject, without a falter in his tone
or any emotion whatever: "Captain, I will be killed to-day. I have,
some money in my pocket which I want you to take and also to draw my
four months' wages now due, and send by some trusty man to my wife.
Tell her also--" but here I stopped him, told him it was childish to
entertain such nonsense, to be a man as his conduct had so often
in the past shown him to be. I joked and laughed at him, and in a
good-natured way told him the East Tennessee climate gave him that
disease known among soldiers as "crawfishing." This I did to withdraw
his mind from this gloomy brooding. We had no real battle, but a
continual skirmish with the enemy, with stray shots throughout the
day. As we were moving along in line of battle, I heard that peculiar
buzzing noise of a bullet, as if in ricochet, coming in our direction,
but high in the air. As it neared the column it seemed to lower
and come with a more hissing sound. It struck the man square in the
breast, then reeling out of ranks he made a few strides towards where
I was marching, his pocket-book in hand, and fell dead at my feet
without a word or groan. He was the only man killed during the day in
the brigade, and not even then on the firing line. Of course all will
say these are only "coincidences," but be what they may, I give them
as facts coming under my own eyes, and facts of the same nature came
to the knowledge of hundreds and thousands of soldiers during every
campaign, which none endeavor to explain, other than the facts
themselves. But as the soldier is nothing more than a small fraction
of the whole of a great machine, so much happens that he cannot fathom
nor explain, that it naturally makes a great number of soldiers,
like the sailor, somewhat superstitious. But when we speak of moral
courage, where is there a courage more sublime than the soldier
marching, as he thinks, to his certain death, while all his comrades
are taking their chances at the hazard of war?

There are many unaccountable incidents and coincidents in a soldier's
experience. Then, again, how differently men enter battle and how
differently they act when wounded. Some men, on the eve of battle, the
most trying time in a soldier's life, will stand calm and impassive,
awaiting the command, "forward," while his next neighbor will tremble
and shake, as with a great chill, praying, meditating, and almost in
despair, awaiting the orders to advance. Then when in the heat of the
conflict both men seem metamorphosed. The former, almost frightened
out of his wits, loses his head and is just as apt to fire backwards
as forwards; while the latter seems to have lost all fear, reckless
of his life, and fights like a hero. I have known men who at home were
perfect cowards, whom a schoolboy could run away with a walking cane,
become fearless and brave as lions in battle; while on the other
hand men who were called "game cocks" at home and great "crossroads
bullies," were abject cowards in battle. As to being wounded, some men
will look on a mortal wound, feel his life ebbing away, perfectly calm
and without concern, and give his dying messages with the composure
of an every day occurrence; while others, if the tip of the finger is
touched, or his shin-bone grazed, will "yell like a hyena or holler
like a loon," and raise such a rumpus as to alarm the whole army. I
saw a man running out of battle once (an officer) at such a gait as
only fright could give, and when I asked him if he was wounded, he
replied, "Yes, my leg is broken in two places," when, as a matter of
fact, he had only a slight flesh wound. These incidents the reader
may think merely fiction, but they are real facts. A man in Company E,
Third South Carolina Regiment, having a minnie ball lodged between the
two bones of his arm, made such a racket when the surgeons undertook
to push it out, that they had to turn him loose; while a private in
Company G, of the same regiment, being shot in the chest, when the
surgeon was probing for the ball with his finger, looked on with
unconcern, only remarking, "Make the hole a little larger, doctor, and
put your whole hand in it." In a few days he was dead. I could give
the names of all these parties, but for obvious reasons omit them. I
merely single out these cases to show how differently men's nervous
systems are constructed. And I might add, too, an instance of a member
of my company at the third day of the battle of Gettysburg. Lying
under the heavy cannonading while Pickett was making his famous
charge, and most of the men asleep, this man had his foot in the fork
of a little bush, to better rest himself. In this position a shot
struck him above the ankle; he looked at the wound a moment, then
said: "Boys, I'll be ---- if that ain't a thirty days' furlough." Next
day his foot had to be amputated, and to this day he wears a cork.
Such is the difference in soldiers, and you cannot judge them by
outward appearance.

I here insert a few paragraphs from the pen of Adjutant Y.J. Pope, of
the Third, to show that there was mirth in the camps, notwithstanding
the cold and hardships:

* * * * *


There was one thing that always attracted my attention during the war
and that was the warm fellowship which existed amongst the soldiers.
If a man got a trunk or box laden with good things from home, there
was no selfishness about it; the comrades were expected and did share
in the feast. While out on picket on the banks of the Rappahannock
River, when we were told that another regiment had come to relieve
ours, at the same time we were told that Colonel Rutherford had come
back to us; he had been absent since September, and we were all very
anxious to see him, for he was a charming fellow--whole-souled, witty,
and always an addition to any party. We knew, too, that he would
bring something good to eat from home. My feathers fell, though, when
Colonel Nance said to me, "Go yourself and see that every company is
relieved from picket duty, and bring them to the regiment." I knew
what this meant. It was at night, the ground was covered with snow,
and the companies would take a long time to march back to camp. A
soldier is made to obey orders, whether pleasant or unpleasant, so
I rode at the head of the battalion; I was chilled through; my ears
felt--well I rubbed a little feeling into them. At last we reached
camp. Before I did so I could hear the merry laughter of the group
about our regimental headquarter fire. Rutherford greeted me with the
utmost cordiality, and had my supper served, having had the servants
to keep it hot. But I could not forget my having to ride three miles
at the head of the four companies, and how cold I had got in doing so.
Therefore, I was in a bad humor, and refusing to join the merry group
around the fire, went to bed at once. About twelve o'clock that night
I heard the voices in the game of "Anthony over," and was obliged to
laugh. Of course the merry cup had circulated. We lived in a Sibley
tent that had a cap to fit over the top. And that night, as it was
very cold, it had been determined to put the cap on the tent. So the
merry-makers formed themselves into two groups, and pitched the cap
to the top, and when it failed to lodge the other side would try its
hand. One side would call out, "Anthony," to which call the other
party would reply, "over." Then the first crowd would sing out, "Here
she comes," throwing the cap with the uttering of those words. The
peals of laughter from both sides, when the effort to lodge the cap
would fail and the teasing of each side, made me laugh whether
I wished to do so or not. After awhile it lodged alright, then
"good-nights" were exchanged, and then to bed.

I need not add that on the next day all was good humor at
headquarters, and in six days afterwards Colonel Nance, Colonel
Rutherford, and Major Maffett were all painfully wounded in battle.

* * * * *


While Longstreet's troops occupied the City of Fredericksburg in the
winter of 1862, I had learned that at night one of the quartermasters
of McLaws' Division was in the habit of going across to an island in
the Rappahannock River, just above the city, to obtain hay and corn,
and to come down to the main incentive, that there was a very charming
old Virginia family who lived there, and that a bright-eyed daughter
was of that family. I set about getting a sight of this "Island
enchantress," and at last Captain Franks, who was Quartermaster of the
Seventeenth Regiment of Barksdale's Brigade, agreed to take me with
him one night. Here I was, the Adjutant of a Regiment, going over to
an island without leave, with the enemy in strong force just across
the river, and therefore liable to be captured. Nevertheless, the hope
of a peep at bright eyes has got many a man into dangerous ventures,
and my case was not different from the rest. So I went. I saw the fair
maid. She was not only beautiful, but very interesting. After it
was all over prudence whispered to me not to tempt my fate
again--especially as a fair lady in another State would have had a
right to except to such conduct on my part. I never regretted my visit
to the island, though!

* * * * *


In looking back at the incidents of the War Between the States, it is
with great pleasure that an incident highly honorable to the African
slave race is recalled.

It was on the 13th of December, 1862, when the Third South Carolina
Regiment of Infantry was ordered from the position at the foot of
Lee's Hill, at Fredericksburg, Va., to Mayree's House, near but to the
right of the sunken road protected by the rock fence, that in going
down the Telegraph Road the regiment was for a time exposed to the
fire of the Federal batteries on the Stafford Heights. A shell from
those batteries was so accurately directed that it burst near
by Company C, of that regiment, and one of the results was that
Lieutenant James Spencer Piester, of that company, was instantly
killed. His body lay in that road and his faithful body servant,
Simpson Piester, went to the body of his master and tenderly taking
it into his arms, bore it to the rear, so that it might be sent to his
relatives in Newberry, South Carolina. Anyone who had occasion to go
upon the Telegraph Road in that day must appreciate the courage and
fidelity involved in the act performed by Simpson Piester.

* * * * *



After the smoke of the great battle had cleared away and the enemy
settled permanently in their old quarters north of the Rappahannock,
Lee moved his army some miles south of Fredericksburg, on the wooded
highlands, and prepared for winter quarters. This was not a very
laborious undertaking, nor of long duration, for all that was
necessary was to pitch our old wornout, slanting-roof tents, occupied
by six or eight men each. The troops had become too well acquainted
with the uncertainty of their duration in camp to go into any very
laborious or elaborate preparations. Kershaw had a very desirable
location among the wooded hills, but this was soon denuded of every
vestige of fuel of every kind, for it must be understood the army had
no wagons or teams to haul their fire wood, but each had to carry his
share of the wood required for the daily use, and often a mile or mile
and a half distant. At the close of the year the Eastern Army found
itself in quite easy circumstances and well pleased with the year's
campaign, but the fruits of our victory were more in brilliant
achievements than material results.

In the Western Army it was not so successful. On the first of the year
General Albert Sidney Johnston had his army at Bowling Green, Ky. But
disaster after disaster befell him, until two states were lost to the
Confederacy, as well as that great commander himself, who fell at the
moment of victory on the fatal field of Shiloh. Commencing with
the fall of Fort Henry on the Tennessee, then Fort Donaldson on the
Cumberland, which necessitated the evacuation of the lines of defense
at Bowling Green, and the withdrawal of the army from Kentucky. At
Pittsburg Landing Grant was overwhelmingly defeated by the army under
Beauregard, but by the division of the army under the two Confederate
leaders, and the overpowering numbers of the enemy under some of the
greatest Generals in the Union Army, Beauregard was forced to withdraw
to Shiloh. Here the two combined armies of Beauregard and Johnston
attacked the Union Army under Grant, Sherman, Buell, Lew Wallace, and
other military geniuses, with over one hundred and sixteen thousand
men, as against an army of forty-eight thousand Confederates. After
one of the most stubborn, as well as bloodiest battles of the war, the
Confederates gained a complete victory on the first day, but through
a combined train of circumstances, they were forced to withdraw the
second. After other battles, with varied results, the end of the year
found the Western Army in Northern Mississippi and Southern Tennessee.

The Eastern Army, on the other hand, had hurled the enemy from
the very gates of the Capital of the Confederacy, after seven days
fighting, doubling it up in an indefinable mass, and had driven
it northward in haste; on the plains of Manassas it was overtaken,
beaten, and almost annihilated, only failing in a repetition of the
same, ending as the first battle of that name and place; by the same
causes, viz., Sykes' Regulars, the enemy pushed across the Potomac,
putting the Capitol, as well as the whole North, in a perfect state of
panic; the Confederates entered the enemy's own country, capturing one
of their strongholds, with eleven thousand prisoners and munitions
of war, enough to equip an army; fought one of the most sanguinary
battles of modern times almost within sight of the Capitol itself, if
not to a successful finish to a very creditable draw; returned South,
unmolested, with its prisoners and untold booty; fought the great
battle of Fredericksburg, with the results just enumerated. Could
Napoleon, Frederick the Great, or the "Madman of the North" have done
better with the forces at hand and against an enemy with odds of two
and three to one? So Lee's Army had nothing of which to complain, only
the loss of so many great and chivalrous comrades.

We had little picketing to do, once perhaps a month, then in the
deserted houses of Fredericksburg. Guard duty around camp was
abolished for the winter; so was drilling, only on nice, warm days;
the latter, however, was rarely seen during that season. The troops
abandoned themselves to base ball, snow fights, writing letters, and
receiving as guests in their camps friends and relatives, who never
failed to bring with them great boxes of the good things from home,
as well as clothing and shoes for the needy soldiers. Furloughs were
granted in limited numbers. Recruits and now the thoroughly healed of
the wounded from the many engagements flocked to our ranks, making all
put on a cheerful face.

That winter in Virginia was one of the most severe known in many
years, but the soldiers had become accustomed to the cold of the
North, and rather liked it than otherwise, especially when snow fell
to the depth of twelve to sixteen inches, and remained for two or
three weeks. So the reader can see that the soldier's life has its
sunny side, as well as its dark. The troops delight in "snow balling,"
and revelled in the sport for days at a time. Many hard battles
were fought, won, and lost; sometimes company against company, then
regiment against regiment, and sometimes brigades would be pitted
against rival brigades. When the South Carolinians were against the
Georgians, or the two Georgia brigades against Kershaw's and the
Mississippi brigades, then the blows would fall fast and furious.
The fiercest fight and the hardest run of my life was when Kershaw's
Brigade, under Colonel Rutherford, of the Third, challenged and fought
Cobb's Georgians. Colonel Rutherford was a great lover of the sport,
and wherever a contest was going on he would be sure to take a hand.
On the day alluded to Colonel Rutherford martialed his men by
the beating of drums and the bugle's blast; officers headed their
companies, regiments formed, with flags flying, then when all was
ready the troops were marched to the brow of a hill, or rather half
way down the hill, and formed line of battle, there to await the
coming of the Georgians. They were at that moment advancing across the
plain that separated the two camps. The men built great pyramids
of snow balls in their rear, and awaited the assault of the fast
approaching enemy. Officers cheered the men and urged them to stand
fast and uphold the "honor of their State," while the officers on the
other side besought their men to sweep all before them off the field.

The men stood trembling with cold and emotion, and the officers with
fear, for the officer who was luckless enough as to fall into the
hands of a set of "snow revelers," found to his sorrow that his bed
was not one of roses. When the Georgians were within one hundred feet
the order was given to "fire." Then shower after shower of the fleecy
balls filled the air. Cheer after cheer went up from the assaulters
and the assaultant--now pressed back by the flying balls, then to the
assault again. Officers shouted to the men, and they answered with a
"yell." When some, more bold than the rest, ventured too near, he was
caught and dragged through the lines, while his comrades made frantic
efforts to rescue him. The poor prisoner, now safely behind the lines,
his fate problematical, as down in the snow he was pulled, now on his
face, next on his back, then swung round and round by his heels--all
the while snow being pushed down his back or in his bosom, his eyes,
ears, and hair thoroughly filled with the "beautiful snow." After a
fifteen minutes' struggle, our lines gave way. The fierce looks of a
tall, muscular, wild-eyed Georgian, who stood directly in my front,
seemed to have singled me out for sacrifice. The stampede began. I
tried to lead the command in the rout by placing myself in the front
of the boldest and stoutest squad in the ranks, all the while shouting
to the men to "turn boys turn." But they continued to charge to the
rear, and in the nearest cut to our camp, then a mile off, I saw
the only chance to save myself from the clutches of that wild-eyed
Georgian was in continual and rapid flight. The idea of a boy
seventeen years old, and never yet tipped the beam at one hundred, in
the grasp of that monster, as he now began to look to me, gave me the
horrors. One by one the men began to pass me, and while the distance
between us and the camp grew less at each step, yet the distance
between me and my pursuer grew less as we proceeded in our mad race.
The broad expanse that lay between the men and camp was one flying,
surging mass, while the earth, or rather the snow, all around was
filled with men who had fallen or been overtaken, and now in the last
throes of a desperate snow battle. I dared not look behind, but kept
bravely on. My breath grew fast and thick, and the camp seemed a
perfect mirage, now near at hand then far in the distance. The men
who had not yet fallen in the hands of the reckless Georgians had
distanced me, and the only energy that kept me to the race was the
hope that some mishap might befall the wild-eyed man in my rear,
otherwise I was gone. No one would have the temerity to tackle the
giant in his rage. But all things must come to an end, and my race
ended by falling in my tent, more dead than alive, just as I felt
the warm breath of my pursuer blowing on my neck. I heard, as I lay
panting, the wild-eyed man say, "I would rather have caught that
d----n little Captain than to have killed the biggest man in the
Yankee Army."

* * * * *


Campaign of 1863--Battle of Chancellorsville.

On the morning of April 29th the soldiers were aroused from their
slumbers by the beating of the long roll. What an ominous sound is
the long roll to the soldier wrapped in his blanket and enjoying the
sweets of sleep. It is like a fire bell at night. It denotes battle.
It tells the soldier the enemy is moving; it means haste and active
preparation. A battle is imminent. The soldiers thus roused, as if
from their long sleep since Fredericksburg, feel in a touchous mood.
The frightful scenes of Fredericksburg and Mayree's Hill rise up
before them as a spectre. Soldiers rush out of their tents, asking
questions and making suppositions. Others are busily engaged folding
blankets, tearing down tents, and making preparations to move;
companies formed into regiments and regiments into brigades. The
distant boom of cannon beyond the Rappahannock tells us that the enemy
is to cross the river again and try conclusions with the soldiers of
Lee. All expected a bloody engagement, for the Federal Army had been
greatly recruited, under excellent discipline, and headed by Fighting
Joe Hooker. He was one of the best officers in that army, and he
himself had boasted that his was the "finest army that had ever been
organized upon the planet." It numbered one hundred and thirty-one
thousand men of all arms, while Lee had barely sixty thousand. We
moved rapidly in the direction of Fredericksburg. I never saw Kershaw
look so well. Riding his iron-gray at the head of his columns, one
could not but be impressed with his soldierly appearance. He seemed a
veritable knight of old. Leading his brigade above the city, he took
position in the old entrenchments.

Before reaching the battle line, the enemy had already placed pontoons
near the old place of landing, crossed over a portion of their army,
and was now picketing on the south side of the river. One company from
each regiment was thrown out as sharpshooters or skirmishers, under
Captain Goggans, of the Seventh, and deployed in the valley below,
where we could watch the enemy. My company was of the number. Nothing
was done during the day but a continual change of positions. We
remained on the skirmish line during the night without fire or without
any relief, expecting an advance next morning, or to be relieved at
least. The sun was obscured by the densest fog the following morning I
had almost ever witnessed. When it cleared up, about 10 o'clock, what
was our astonishment?--to find no enemy in our front, nor friends in
our rear. There were, however, some Federals opposite and below the
city, but they belonged to another division. We could hear occasional
cannonading some miles up the Rappahannock. By some staff officers
passing, we ascertained that Hooker had withdrawn during the night in
our front, recrossed the river at Ely's and Raccoon fords, or some of
the fords opposite the Wilderness. This was on Friday, May the first.
After a consultation with the officers of our detachment, it was
agreed to evacuate our position and join our regiments wherever we
could find them. We had no rations, and this was one of the incentives
to move. But had the men been supplied with provisions, and the matter
left to them alone, I doubt very much whether they would have chosen
to leave the ground now occupied, as we were in comparative safety and
no enemy in sight, while to join our commands would add largely to
the chances of getting in battle. I am sorry to say a majority of
the officers were of that opinion, too. Some brought to bear one of
Napoleon's maxims I had heard when a boy, "When a soldier is in doubt
where to go, always go to the place you hear the heaviest firing," and
we could indistinctly hear occasional booming of cannon high up
the river, indicating that a part of the army at least was in that

So we moved back and over the breastworks, on to the plank road
leading to Orange Court House. Making our way, keeping together as a
battalion, up that road in the direction of the Wilderness, near noon
we could hear the deep bay of cannon, now distant and indistinct, then
again more rapidly and quite distinguishable, showing plainly that Lee
was having a running fight. Later in the day we passed dead horses and
a few dead and wounded soldiers. On every hand were indications of the
effects of shot and shell. Trees were shattered along the road
side, fences torn down and rude breastworks made here and there,
the evidence of heavy skirmishing in our front. Lee was pressing the
advance guard that had crossed at one of the lower fords back on the
main army, crossing then at fords opposite and above the Chancellor's
House. Near sundown the firing was conspicuously heavy, especially
the artillery. The men of most of the companies evinced a desire to
frequently rest, and in every way delay our march as much as possible.
Some of the officers, too, joined with the men and offered objections
to rushing headlong into battle without orders. I knew that our
brigade was somewhere in our front, and from the firing I was
thoroughly convinced a battle was imminent, and in that case our duty
called us to our command. Not through any cowardice, however, did the
men hesitate, for all this fiction written about men's eagerness for
battle, their ungovernable desire to throw themselves upon the enemy,
their great love of hearing the bursting of shells over their heads,
the whizzing of minnie balls through their ranks is all very well for
romance and on paper, but a soldier left free to himself, unless
he seeks notoriety or honors, will not often rush voluntarily into
battle, and if he can escape it honorably, he will do it nine times
out of ten. There are times, however, when officers, whose keen sense
of duty and honorable appreciation of the position they occupy,
will lead their commands into battle unauthorized, when they see the
necessity, but a private who owes no obedience nor allegiance only to
his superiors, and has no responsibility, seldom ever goes voluntarily

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