Part 9 out of 12
of Pegram's four guns. I had in my company one officer, Lieutenant
W.J. Lake, of Newberry, S.C., and thirty-four enlisted men. This rear
line was so constructed that I could fire over Pegram's men on the
The enemy in our front had two lines of works. He had more men in his
line nearest our works than we had in his front. From this nearest
line he tunnelled to and under Pegram's salient, and deposited in a
magazine prepared for it not less than four tons of powder, some of
their officers say it was six tons. We knew the enemy were mining, and
we sunk a shaft on each side of the four-gun battery, ten feet or more
deep, and then extended the tunnel some distance to our front. We were
on a high hill, however, and the enemy five hundred and ten feet in
our front, where they began their work, consequently their mine was
far under the shaft we sunk. At night when everything was still, we
could hear the enemy's miners at work. While war means kill, the idea
of being blown into eternity without any warning was anything but
* * * * *
THAT TERRIBLE SATURDAY MORNING.
On that terrible Saturday morning, July 30, 1864, before day had yet
dawned, after the enemy had massed a large number of troops in front
of our guns, the fuse which was to ignite the mine was fired. The
enemy waited fully an hour, but there was one explanation, the fuse
had gone out. A brave Federal officer, whose name I do not know,
volunteered to enter the tunnel and fire it again, which he did.
A minute later there was a report which was heard for miles, and the
earth trembled for miles around. A "Crater" one hundred and thirty
feet long, ninety-seven feet in breadth, and thirty feet deep, was
blown out. Of the brave artillery company, twenty-two officers and
men were killed and wounded, most of them killed. Hundreds of tons of
earth were thrown back on the rear line, in which my command was.
* * * * *
A WHOLE COMPANY BURIED.
Here was the greatest loss suffered by any command on either side
in the war, myself, my only Lieutenant, W.J. Lake, and thirty-four
enlisted men were all buried, and of that little band thirty-one were
killed. Lieutenant Lake and myself and three enlisted men were taken
out of the ground two hours after the explosion by some brave New
Yorkers. These men worked like beavers, a portion of the time under
* * * * *
BURIED THIRTY FEET DEEP.
Colonel Dave Fleming and his Adjutant, Dick Quattlebaum, were also in
the rear line, only a few feet to my left, and were buried thirty
feet deep; their bodies are still there. I do not know how many of
the Federal troops stormed the works, but I do know the Confederates
captured from them nineteen flags. The attacking columns were composed
of white men and negroes; sober men and men who were drunk; brave men
One of the latter was an officer high in command. I have lost his
name, if I ever knew it. He asked me how many lines of works we had
between the "Crater" and Petersburg, when I replied, "Three." He asked
me if they were all manned. I said, "Yes." He then said, "Don't you
know that I know you are telling a d----d lie?" I said to him. "Don't
you know that I am not going to give you information that will be of
any service to you?" He then threatened to have me shot, and I believe
but that for the interference of a Federal officer he would have done
* * * * *
DEATH TO ADVANCE AND DEATH TO RETREAT.
I had just seen several of our officers and men killed with bayonets
after they had surrendered, when the enemy, who had gone through the
"Crater" towards Petersburg, had been repulsed, and fell back in
the "Crater" for protection. There was not room in the "Crater" for
another man. It was death to go forward or death to retreat to their
own lines. It is said there were three thousand Yankees in and around
the "Crater," besides those in portions of our works adjacent thereto.
Then the Coshorn mortars of the brave Major Haskell and other
commanders of batteries turned loose their shells on the "Crater." The
firing was rapid and accurate. Some of these mortars were brought up
as near as fifty yards to the "Crater." Such a scene has never before
nor never will be witnessed again. The Yankees at the same time
were using one hundred and forty pieces of cannon against our works
occupied by Confederate troops.
Elliott's Brigade in the day's fight lost two hundred and
seventy-eight officers and men. Major General B.R. Johnson's Division,
Elliott's Brigade included, lost in the day, nine hundred and
thirty-two officers and men. This was the most of the Confederate
* * * * *
FEDERAL TOTAL LOSS OVER FIVE THOUSAND.
While the enemy acknowledged a loss of from five to six thousand
men--and that I am sure is far below their real loss--I make another
quotation from Major General B.R. Johnson's official report:
"It is believed that for each buried companion they have taken a
tenfold vengeance on the enemy, and have taught them a lesson that
will be remembered as long as the history of our wrongs and this great
Virginians, Georgians, North Carolinians, South Carolinians and others
who may have fought at the "Crater," none of you have the right to
claim deeds of more conspicuous daring over your Confederate brethren
engaged that day. Every man acted well his part.
What about the four cannons blown up? you ask. One piece fell about
half way between the opposing armies, another fell in front of our
lines, not so near, however, to the enemy, a third was thrown from the
carriage and was standing on end, half buried in the ground inside the
"Crater," the fourth was still attached to the carriage, but turned
bottom side up, the wheels in the air, and turned against our own men
when the enemy captured it. That day, however, they all fell into the
hands of the Confederates, except the one thrown so near the enemy's
works, and in time we regained that also.
* * * * *
CAPTAIN LAKE A PRISONER.
Before the fighting was over the Yankee officer who could curse a
prisoner so gallantly ordered two soldiers to take charge and carry me
to their lines, no doubt believing that the Confederates would succeed
in recapturing the "Crater." We had to cross a plain five hundred and
ten feet wide that was being raked by rifle balls, cannon shot and
shell, grape and canister. It was not a very inviting place to go, but
still not a great deal worse than Haskell's mortar shells that were
raining in the center. I had the pleasure of seeing one of my guards
die. The other conducted me safely to General Patrick's headquarters.
Patrick was the Yankee provost marshall.
When I was placed under guard near his quarters he sent a staff
officer to the front to learn the result of the battle.
After a short absence he galloped up to General Patrick and yelled out
"We have whipped them!"
Patrick said: "I want no foolishness, sir!"
The staff officer then said: "General, if you want the truth, they
have whipped us like hell."
* * * * *
Leaves the Trenches in the Shenandoah Valley.
To relieve the tension that oppressed both Richmond and Petersburg,
General Lee determined to dispatch a force to the Valley to drive the
enemy therefrom, to guard against a flank movement around the north
and west of Richmond, and to threaten Washington with an invasion of
the North. The Second Corps of the army was ordered Northwest. General
Ewell being too enfeebled by age and wounds, had been relieved of his
command in the field and placed in the command of Henrico County.
This embraced Richmond and its defensive, the inner lines, which were
guarded and manned by reserves and State troops. General Early, now
a lieutenant General, was placed in command of the expedition. Why
or what the particular reason a corps commander was thus placed in
command of a department and a separate army, when there were full
Generals occupying inferior positions, was never known. Unless we take
it that Early was a Virginian, better informed on the typography of
the country, and being better acquainted with her leading citizens,
that he would find in them greater aid and assistance than would a
stranger. The department had hopes of an uprising in the "Pan Handle"
of Maryland in recruits from all over the States. The prestige of
Early's name might bring them out. Early was a brave and skillful
General. Being a graduate of West Point, he was well versed in the
tactical arts of war; was watchful and vigilant, and under a superior
he was second to none as a commander. But his Valley campaign--whether
from failures of the troops or subaltern officers, I cannot say--but
results show that it was a failure. There could be no fault found
with his plans, nor the rapidity of his movements, for his partial
successes show what might have been accomplished if faithfully carried
out. Still, on the whole, his campaign in the Valley was detrimental,
rather than beneficial, to our cause. Early had already made a dash
through the Valley and pushed his lines beyond the Potomac, while his
cavalry had even penetrated the confines of Washington itself. It was
said at the time, by both Northern and Southern military critics, that
had he not wavered or faltered at the critical moment, he could have
easily captured the city. No doubt his orders were different--that
only a demonstration was intended--and had he attempted to exceed his
orders and failed, he would have received and deserved the censure of
the authorities. The bane of the South's civic government was that the
Executive and his military advisors kept the commanders of armies too
much under their own leading strings, and not allowing them enough
latitude to be governed by circumstances--to ride in on the flow tide
of success when an opportunity offered. But the greatest achievements,
the greatest of victories, that history records are where Generals
broke away from all precedent and took advantage of the success of the
hour, that could not have been foreseen nor anticipated by those who
were at a distance. Be that as it may, Early had gone his length, and
now, the last of July, was retreating up the Valley.
Kershaw, with his division, was ordered to join him, and on the 6th of
August the troops embarked at Chester Station and were transported to
Mitchel Station, on the Richmond and Mannassas Railroad, not far from
Culpepper. On the 12th the troops marched by Flint Hill, crossed the
Blue Ridge, and camped near the ancient little hamlet of Front Royal.
The next day we were moved about one mile distant to a large spring,
near the banks of the beautiful and now classic Shenandoah. How
strange to the troops of the far South to see this large river running
in the opposite direction from all our accustomed ideas of the flow
of rivers--that water seeks its level and will therefore run South, or
towards the coast. But here the stream rises in the south and runs
due north towards the Potomac. After long and fatiguing marches, the
soldiers here enjoyed a luxury long since denied them on account of
their never ceasing activity. The delight of a bath, and in the pure,
clear waters of the Shenandoah, was a luxury indeed. On the 17th of
August the march was again resumed, and we reached Winchester, Va., on
the next day. Remaining two days near the old city which had become so
dear to the hearts of all the old soldiers through the hospitality and
kindness of her truly loyal people, and being the place, too, of much
of our enjoyment and pleasure while camping near it two years before,
we left on the 21st, going in the direction of Charleston.
On nearing the latter place we found the enemy in force, and had to
push our way forward by heavy skirmishing. When within two miles
of Charlestown, we halted and went into camp, and threw our pickets
beyond the town on the north. On the 25th we moved through the city
and took the Harper Ferry Road, two miles beyond. Here we took up
camp, and were in close proximity to the enemy, who lay in camp near
us. A heavy skirmish line was thrown out about half a mile in our
front. Lieutenant Colonel Maffett of the Third, but commanding
the Seventh, was deployed in a large old field as support. We were
encamped in line of battle in a beautiful grove overlooking and in
full view of our skirmishers.
The enemy seemed to display little activity. Now and then a solitary
horseman could be seen galloping away in the direction of his camp.
The want of alertness on the part of the enemy threw our pickets off
their guard. Colonel Maffett was lounging under the shade of a tree in
the rear of the skirmish line, with a few of the reserves, while those
on the picket line lay at convenient distances, some with their coats
off, others lying under the shade of trees or in the corners of a
fence, all unconscious of an approaching enemy. The Federals had
surveyed the field, and seeing our pickets so lax, and in such bad
order for defense, undertook to surprise them. With a body of cavalry,
concealed by the forest in their front, they made their way, under
cover of a ravine, until within a short distance of the unsuspecting
pickets. Then, with a shout and a volley, they dashed upon the line
and over it, capturing nearly all, made their way to the rear, and
there captured lieutenant Colonel Maffett and many of his reserves.
Commotion struck our camp. Drums beat, men called to arms, line of
battle formed, and an advance at double-quick was made through the old
field, in the direction of our unfortunate friends. But all too late.
The surprise had been complete and the captured prisoners had been
hurried to the rear. Colonel Maffett's horse, which was grazing near
the scene of the skirmish, galloped through the enemy's disorganized
lines, some trying to head him off, others to capture him, but he
galloped defiantly on to camp. The enemy amused themselves by throwing
a few shells into our lines.
The horse of Colonel Maffett was carried home by his faithful body
servant, Harry, where both lived to a ripe old age. Not so with the
unfortunate master. Reared in the lap of luxury, being an only son
of a wealthy father and accustomed to all the ease and comforts that
wealth and affluence could give, he could not endure the rigor and
hardships of a Northern prison, his genial spirits gave way,
his constitution and health fouled him, and after many months of
incarceration he died of brain fever. But through it all he bore
himself like a true son of the South. He never complained, nor was his
proud spirit broken by imprisonment, but it chafed under confinement
and forced obedience to prison rule and discipline. The Confederacy
lost no more patriotic, more self-sacrificing soldier than Lieutenant
Colonel Robert Clayton Maffett.
On the 27th we marched to Princeton, and remained until the 31st,
picketing on the Opequan River, then returned to Charlestown. On
the day before, the Third Regiment went out on the Opequan, being in
hearing of the church bells and in sight of the spires of Washington.
What an anomaly! The Federals besieging the Confederate capital, and
the Confederates in sight of Washington.
From Charlestown we were moved back to Winchester and went into camp
for a few days. So far Early's demonstration had been a failure.
Either to capture Washington or weaken Grant, for day in and day
out, he kept pegging away at Petersburg and the approaches to it
and Richmond. These seemed to be the objective points, and which
eventually caused the downfall of the two places. The enemy in our
front had moved up to Berryville, a small hamlet about eight miles
from Winchester, and on the 30th of September we were ordered out to
attack the plan. The Federals had fortified across the turn-pike
and had batteries placed at every commanding point. In front of this
fortification was a large old field, through which we had to advance.
The Brigade was formed in line of battle in some timber at the edge
of the opening and ordered forward. The frowning redoubts lined with
cannon and their formidable breastwork, behind which bristled the
bright bayonets, were anything but objects to tempt the men as they
advanced to the charge. As soon as we entered the opening the shells
came plunging through our ranks, or digging up the earth in front. But
the Brigade marched in good order, not a shot being fired, the enemy
all the while giving us volley after volley. The men began to clamor
for a charge, so much so that when we were about half way through the
old field the command came "charge." Then a yell and a rush, each man
carrying his gun in the most convenient position, and doing all in
his power to reach the work first. The angle in front of the Third was
nearer than the line in front of the other Regiments. Just before we
reached the works the enemy fled to a grove in rear under an incline
and began firing on our troops, who had now reached the work and began
to fire from the opposite side. The firing in this way became general
all along the line. The Artillery had withdrawn to the heights in rear
and opened upon us a tremendous fire at short range. The enemy could
be seen from our elevated position moving around our right through a
thicket of pines, and some one called out to the troops immediately
on the right of the Third Regiment, "The enemy are flanking us." This
caused a momentary panic, and some of the Brigade left the captured
work and began running to the rear. Colonel Rutherford ordered some
of his officers to go down the line and get the demoralized troops to
return to the ranks, which was accomplished without much delay.
The enemy in front began slackening their fire, which caused some of
the men to leap over the works and advance to the brow of a hill
just in front of us to get a better view. The enemy rallied and began
pouring a heavy fire into the bold spirits who had advanced beyond the
lines, wounding quite a number. General Kershaw, with a brigade of the
division, crossed over the turn-pike and began a counter-move on the
enemy's right, which caused such panic, that in a few minutes their
whole line withdrew beyond the little town. Acting Assistant Adjutant
General Pope, on the brigade staff, received a painful wound in the
cheek, but outside of a sprinkling throughout the brigade of wounded,
our loss was slight.
That night the enemy was reinforced, and about 9 o'clock next day
there was a general advance. The enemy had changed his direction, and
now was approaching parallel to the turn-pike. I was in command of the
brigade skirmishers during the night, posted in a large old field on
left of the turn-pike. Just as a detail, commanded by an officer
of the Twentieth, came to relieve me, the enemy was seen advancing
through a forest beyond the old field. The officer, not being familiar
with the skirmish tactics, and never being on a skirmish line during
action before, asked me to retain the command and also my line of
skirmishers and conduct the retreat, which I did. The brigade at that
time was on the retreat, and this double skirmish line covered and
protected the rear. If there is any sport or amusement at all in
battle, it is while on skirmish line, when the enemy is pressing you.
On a skirmish line, usually, the men are posted about ten paces apart
and several hundred yards in front of the main line of battle, to
receive or give the first shock of battle. In our case the line was
doubled, making it very strong, as strong, in fact, as some of the
lines of General Lee's at that time holding Petersburg. When the
enemy's skirmishers struck the opening our line opened upon them,
driving them helter-skelter back into the woods. I ordered an advance,
as the orders were to hold the enemy in check as long as possible to
give our main line and wagon train time to get out of the way. We kept
up the fire as we advanced, until we came upon the enemy posted behind
trees; then, in our turn, gave way into the opening. Then the enemy
advanced, so forward and backward the two lines advanced and receded,
until by the support of the enemy's line of battle we were driven
across the turn-pike, where we assembled and followed in rear of the
brigade. There is nothing in this world that is more exciting, more
nerve stirring to a soldier, than to participate in a battle line of
skirmishers, when you have a fair field and open fight. There it
takes nerve and pluck, however, it is allowed each skirmisher to take
whatever protection he can in the way of tree or stump. Then on the
advance you do not know when to expect an enemy to spring from behind
a tree, stump, or bush, take aim and fire. It resembles somewhat the
order of Indian warfare, for on a skirmish line "all is fair in war."
We returned without further molestation to the vicinity of Winchester,
the enemy not feeling disposed to press us. It was never understood
whose fault it was that a general engagement did not take place, for
Early had marched and began the attack, and pressed the enemy from his
first line of works, then the next day the enemy showed a bold front
and was making every demonstration as if to attack us.
General Kershaw having been promoted to Major General, General James
Connor was sent to command the brigade. He was formerly Colonel of
the Twenty-second North Carolina Regiment, promoted to Brigadier, and
commanded McGowan's Brigade after the battle of Spottsylvania Court
House. After the return of General McGowan, he was assigned to the
command of Laws' Brigade, and about the 6th or 7th of September
reached us and relieved Colonel Henagan, of the Eighth, who had
so faithfully led the old First Brigade since the battle of the
While in camp near Winchester, the Eighth Regiment, under Colonel
Henagan, was sent out on picket on the Berryville road. In the morning
before day General Sheridan, with a large force of cavalry, made
a cautious advance and captured the videttes of the Eighth, which
Colonel Henagan had posted in front, and passing between the regiment
and the brigade, made a sudden dash upon their rear, capturing all of
the regiment, with Colonel Henagan, except two companies commanded by
the gallant Captain T.F. Malloy. These two companies had been thrown
out on the right, and by tact and a bold front Captain Malloy saved
these two companies and brought them safely into camp. The whole
brigade mourned the loss of this gallant portion of their comrades.
Colonel Henagan, like Colonel Maffett, sank under the ill treatment
and neglect in a Northern prison and died there.
* * * * *
COL. J.W. HENAGAN.
Col. J.W. Henagan was born November 22nd, 1822, in Marlboro County,
S.C., Was the son of E.L. Henagan and wife, Ann McInnis. His father
was a Scotch-Irishman. His mother Scotch. Was educated at Academy in
Bennettsville and Parnassus. Was elected Sheriff of Marlboro County
in October, 1852, and went into office February, 1853. In 1860 was
elected to the Legislature. Was re-elected to the Legislature in 1863.
Prior to the war was prominent in militia service, serving
consecutively as Captain, Colonel and Brigadier General. In March,
1861, volunteered, and in April became Lieutenant Colonel of Eighth
Regiment South Carolina Volunteers and went with the Regiment to
Virginia. Was in battle of Bull Run or First Manassas. In 1862 he
became by election Colonel of the Eighth South Carolina Volunteers and
served in that capacity until his capture near Winchester in the fall
of 1864 when he was sent a prisoner to Johnson's Island, Ohio. Here he
died a prisoner of war, April 22, 1865.
No Regiment of the Confederacy saw harder service or was engaged in
more battles than the Eighth South Carolina of Kershaw's Brigade
and no officer of that Brigade bore himself with more conspicuous
gallantry than Colonel Henagan. He was always at his post and ready to
go forward when so ordered. There was little or no fear in him to move
into battle, and he was always sure, during the thickest of the fight,
cheering on his men to victory.
Colonel Henagan, as a citizen of the County, was as generous as brave.
His purse was open to the needs of the poor. Did not know how or could
not refuse the appeals to charity. He was the eldest son of a large
family. When about twenty years old his father died and left on his
shoulders the responsibility of maintaining and educating several
younger brothers and sisters. He never swerved from this duty, but
like the man that he was, did his work nobly. He was a dutiful son,
a kind brother, a friend to all. He knew no deception, had no respect
for the sycophant. Loved his country. A friend to be relied on. Was
a farmer by profession. A good politician. Was a very quiet man, but
always expressed his views firmly and candidly when called upon.
* * * * *
COLONEL ROBERT CLAYTON MAFFETT.
Colonel Robert Clayton Maffett was born in Newberry County, about
the year 1836. Was the only son of Captain James Maffett, long time a
member of the General Assembly of South Carolina. At the breaking out
of the war Colonel Maffett was Colonel of the Thirty-ninth Regiment of
State Militia. From this regiment two companies were formed in answer
to the first call for volunteers. One of these companies elected
him Captain, which afterwards became Company C, Third South Carolina
Regiment. His company was one of the few that reorganized before the
expiration of the term of the first twelve months' enlistment, and
again elected Colonel Maffett as its Captain. After a thirty days'
furlough, just before the seven days' battle, he returned with his
company and became senior Captain in command. He soon became Major
by the death of Lieutenant Colonel Garlington, Major Rutherford being
promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. After the death of Colonel Nance, 6th
of May, he became Lieutenant Colonel. He participated in nearly all
the great battles in which the regiment was engaged, and was often in
command. He was several times wounded, but not severely. At the time
of his capture he was in command of the Seventh Regiment. Colonel
Maffett was conspicuous for his fine soldierly appearance, being a
perfect type of an ideal soldier.
He was loved and admired by the men as few officers of his station
were. In camp he was the perfect gentleman, kind and indulgent to his
men, and in battle he was cool, collected, and gallant. He died in
prison only a short while before the close of the war, leaving a wife
and one daughter of tender age.
* * * * *
Reminiscences of the Valley.
Y.J. Pope, Adjutant of the Third South Carolina, but then acting as
Assistant Adjutant General on General Connor's Staff, gives me here
a very ludicrous and amusing account of a "Fox hunt in the valley."
A hunt without the hounds or without the fox. No man in Kershaw's
Brigade was a greater lover of sport or amusement of any kind than
Adjutant Pope. In all our big snow "festivals," where hundreds would
engage in the contest of snow-balling, Adjutant Pope always took a
leading part. It was this spirit of sport and his mingling with the
common soldier, while off duty, that endeared Pope so much to the
troop. With his sword and sash he could act the martinet, but when
those were laid aside Adjutant Pope was one of the "boys," and engaged
a "boat" with them as much as any one in the "Cross Anchors," a
company noted for its love of fun.
Says, Adjutant Pope, now a staid Judge on the Supreme Court Bench.
"The Third South Carolina Infantry had been placed on pickets in front
of Early in September, 1864. The point at which picket were posted
were at two fords on the Opequan River, Captain Dickert, with his
company, was posted at some distance from the place where the other
portion of the Regiment was posted to cover one of the fords. I can
see now the work laid cut for Captain Dickert, ought to have been
assigned to the Cavalry for a company of Infantry, say a half mile
from the Regiment, might have been surrounded too quickly for the
company to be retired or to receive assistance from the Regiment.
Well, as it was, no harm came of it for the company held the ford
unassailable. A company of the Regiment was placed at a ford on the
highway as it crossed the river. While a few officers were enjoying a
nice supper here comes an order to call in the companies on picket and
to follow the Regiment with all possible speed towards Winchester,
to which latter place the army of Early had already gone. Guides were
sent to us, and our Regiment had marched by country road until
we struck the turn-pike. The march was necessarily rapid lest the
Regiment might be assailed by overwhelming numbers of the enemy. The
soldiers did not fancy this rapid marching.
"To our surprise and horror, after we had reached the turn-pike
road, and several miles from our destination, the soldiers set up an
imitation of barking, just as if a lot of hounds in close pursuit of a
fresh jumped fox. Now any one at all familiar with the characteristic
of the soldier know imitation is his weak point, one yell, all yell,
one sing, all sing, if one is merry, all are merry. We were near the
enemy, and the Colonel knew the necessity of silence, and caution
Colonel Rutherford was, of course indignant at this outburst of good
humor in the dark watches of the night, and the enemy at our heels
or flank. He sent back orders by me (Pope) to pass down the lines
and order silence. But 'bow-wow,' 'bow,' 'bow-wow,' 'yelp, yelp,' and
every conceivable imitation of the fox hound rent the air. One company
on receiving the orders to stop this barking would cease, but others
would take it up. 'Bow-wow,' 'toot,' 'toot,' 'yah-oon,' 'yah-oon,'
dogs barking, men hollowing, some blowing through their hands to
imitate the winding of the huntman's horn. 'Stop this noise,' 'cease
your barking,' 'silence,' still the chase continued. 'Go it, Lead,'
'catch him, Frail,' 'Old Drive close to him,' 'hurah Brink,' 'talk to
him old boys.' The valley fairly rung, with this chase. Officers even
could not refrain from joining in the encouragement to the excited
dogs as the noise would rise and swell and echoe through the distant
mountain gorges to reverberate up and down the valley--at last wore
out by their ceaseless barking and yelling, the noise finally died
out, much to the satisfaction of the Colonel commanding, myself and
the officers who were trying to stop it. As mortified as I was at my
inability to execute the orders of Colonel Rutherford, still I never
laughed so much in my life at this ebullition of good feelings of the
men, after all their toils and trials, especially as I would hear some
one in the line call out as if in the last throes of exhaustion, 'Go
on old dog,' 'now you are on him,' 'talk to him, old Ranger.' What
the Yankees thought of this fox chase at night in the valley, or what
their intentions might have been is not known, but they would have
been mighty fools to have tackled a lot of old 'Confeds' out on a lark
The negro cooks of the army were a class unique in many ways. While
he was a slave, he had far more freedom than his master, in fact had
liberties that his master's master did not possess. It was the first
time in the South's history that a negro could roam at will, far
and wide, without a pass. He could ride his dead master's horse from
Virginia to Louisiana without molestation. On the march the country
was his, and so long as he was not in the way of moving bodies of
troops, the highways were open to him. He was never jostled or pushed
aside by stragglers, and received uniform kindness and consideration
from all. The negro was conscious of this consideration, and never
took advantage of his peculiar station to intrude upon any of the
rights or prerogatives exclusively the soldier's. He could go to the
rear when danger threatened, or to the front when it was over. No
negro ever deserted, and the fewest number ever captured. His master
might fall upon the field, or in the hands of the enemy, but the
servant was always safe. While the negro had no predilection for war
in its realities, and was conspicuous by his absence during the raging
of the battles, still he was among the first upon the field when it
was over, looking after the dead and wounded. At the field hospitals
and infirmaries, he was indispensable, obeying all, serving all,
without question or complaint. His first solicitude after battle
was of his master's fate--if dead, he sought him upon the field; if
wounded, he was soon at his side. No mother could nurse a child with
greater tenderness and devotion than the dark-skinned son of the South
did his master.
At the breaking out of the war almost every mess had a negro cook,
one of the mess furnishing the cook, the others paying a proportional
share for hire; but as the stringency of the Subsistence Department
began to grow oppressive, as the war wore on, many of these negroes
were sent home. There was no provision made by the department for his
keep, except among the officers of the higher grade; so the mess had
to share their rations with the cook, or depend upon his ability as a
"forager." In the later years of the war the country occupied by the
armies became so devastated that little was left for the "forager."
Among the officers, it was different. They were allowed two rations
(only in times of scarcity they had to take the privates' fare). This
they were required to pay for at pay day, and hence could afford to
keep a servant. Be it said to the credit of the soldiers of the South,
and to their servants as well, that during my four years and more of
service I never heard of, even during times of the greatest scarcity,
a mess denying the cook an equal share of the scanty supply, or a
servant ever found stealing a soldier's rations. There was a mutual
feeling of kindness and honesty between the two. If all the noble,
generous and loyal acts of the negroes of the army could be recorded,
it would fill no insignificant volume.
There was as much cast among the negroes, in fact more, as among the
soldiers. In times of peace and at home, the negro based his claims
of cast upon the wealth of his master. But in the army, rank of his
master overshadowed wealth. The servant of a Brigadier felt royal as
compared to that of a Colonel, and the servant of a Colonel, or even
a Major, was far ahead, in superiority and importance, to those
belonging to the privates and line officers. The negro is naturally
a hero worshiper. He gloried in his master's fame, and while it might
often be different, in point of facts, still to the negro his master
was "the bravest of the brave."
As great "foragers" as they were, they never ventured far in front
while on the advance, nor lingered too dangerously in the rear on the
retreat. They hated the "Yankee" and had a fear of capture. One day
while we were camped near Charlestown an officer's cook wandered too
far away in the wrong direction and ran up on the Federal pickets.
Jack had captured some old cast-off clothes, some garden greens and an
old dominicker rooster. Not having the remotest idea of the topography
of the country, he very naturally walked into the enemy's pickets.
He was halted, brought in and questioned. The Federals felt proud of
their capture, and sought to conciliate Jack with honeyed words and
great promises. But Jack would have none of it.
"Well, look er here," said Jack, looking suspiciously around at the
soldiers; "who you people be, nohow?"
"We are Federal soldiers," answered the picket.
"Well, well, is you dem?"
"Dem who?" asked the now thoroughly aroused Federal.
"Why dem Yankees, ob course--dem dat cotched Mars Clayt."
The Federal admitted they were "Yankees," but that now Jack had no
master, that he was free.
"Is dat so?" Then scratching his head musingly, Jack said at last, "I
don know 'bout dat--what you gwine do wid me, anyhow; what yer want?"
He was told that he must go as a prisoner to headquarters first, and
then dealt with as contrabands of war.
"Great God Almighty! white folks, don't talk dat er way." The negro
had now become thoroughly frightened, and with a sudden impulse
he threw the chicken at the soldier's feet, saying, "Boss, ders a
rooster, but here is me," then with the speed of a startled deer Jack
"hit the wind," to use a vulgarism of the army.
"Halt! halt!"--bang, whiz, came from the sentinel, the whole picket
force at Jack's heels. But the faithful negro for the time excelled
himself in running, and left the Federals far behind. He came in camp
puffing, snorting, and blowing like a porpoise. "Great God Almighty!
good people, talk er 'bout patter-rollers, day ain't in it. If dis
nigger didn't run ter night, den don't talk." Then Jack recounted his
night's experience, much to the amusement of the listening soldiers.
Occasionally a negro who had served a year or two with his young
master in the army, would be sent home for another field of
usefulness, and his place taken by one from the plantation. While a
negro is a great coward, he glories in the pomp and glitter of war,
when others do the fighting. He loves to tell of the dangers (not
sufferings) undergone, the blood and carnage, but above all, how the
cannon roared round and about him.
A young negro belonging to an officer in one of the regiments was
sent home, and his place as cook was filled by Uncle Cage, a venerable
looking old negro, who held the distinguished post of "exhorter" in
the neighborhood. His "sister's chile" had filled Uncle Cage's head
with stories of war--of the bloodshed on the battlefield, the roar
of cannon, and the screaming of shells over that haven of the negro
cooks, the wagon yards--but to all the blood and thunder stories of
his "sister's chile" Uncle Cage only shook his head and chuckled, "Dey
may kill me, but dey can't skeer dis nigger." Among the other stories
he had listened to was that of a negro having his head shot off by
a cannon ball. Sometime after Uncle Cage's installation as cook the
enemy made a demonstration as if to advance. A few shells came over
our camp, one bursting in the neighborhood of Uncle Cage, while he was
preparing the morning meal for his mess.
Some of the negroes and more prudent non-combattants began to hunt
for the wagon yard, but Uncle Cage remained at his post. He was just
"Dese yer young niggers ain't no account; dey's skeered of dere own
"Boom, boom," a report, and a shell explodes right over his head,
throwing fragments all around.
Uncle Cage made for the rear, calling out as he ran, "Oh, dem cussed
Yankees! You want er kill er nudder nigger, don't you?" Seeing the men
laughing as he passed by in such haste, he yelled back defiantly, "You
can laff, if you want to, but ole mars ain't got no niggers to fling
"Red tape" prevailed to an alarming extent in the War Department, and
occasionally a paroxysm of this disease would break out among some of
the officers of the army, especially among the staff, "West Pointers,"
or officers of temporary high command--Adjutant Pope gives his
experience, with one of those afflicted functionaries, "Where as
Adjutant of the Third South Carolina," says he, I had remained as such
from May, 1862, till about the 1st of September, 1864, an order came
from brigade headquarters, for me to enter upon the responsibilities
of acting Assistant Adjutant General of Kershaw's Brigade. When
General Connor was disabled soon after, and the Senior Colonel of the
brigade, present for duty, the gallant William D. Rutherford, received
his death-wound, General Kershaw, commanding division, sent the
Assistant Adjutant General of the division, (a staff officer), Major
James M. Goggans, to command the brigade. About the 17th of October
there came a delegation to brigade headquarters, to learn, if
possible, whether there could be obtained a leave of absence for
a soldier, whose wife was dead, leaving a family of children to be
I was a sympathetic man, and appreciated the sad condition of the poor
soldier, who had left his all to serve his country, and now had at
home, a house full of motherless children. I said "wait till I see
the brigade commander," and went to Major Goggans, relating the
circumstances, and was assured of his approval of the application
for leave of absence in question. This news, the spokesman of the
delegation, gladly carried back to the anxiously awaiting group. Soon
papers were brought to headquarters, signed by all the officers below.
When the papers were carried by me to the brigade commander for his
approval, it raised a storm, so to speak, in the breast of the newly
appointed, but temporary Chieftain. "Why do you bring me this paper
to sign this time of day?" it being in the afternoon. "Do you not know
that all papers are considered at nine o'clock A.M.?" In future, and
as long as I am in command of the Brigade, I want it understood that
under no considerations and circumstances, I wish papers to be signed,
brought to me before or after nine o'clock A.M. The faces of the
officers composing the delegation, when the news was brought to them,
plainly expressed their disgust; they felt, at the idea, that no
grief, however great, would be considered by the self-exalted Chief;
except as the clock struck nine in the morning.
Circumstances and occurrences of this kind were so rare and
exceptional, that I record the facts given by Judge Pope, to expose an
exception to the general rule of gentlemanly deportment of one officer
to another, so universal throughout the army. The kindness, sympathy
and respect that superiors showed to subalterns and privates became
almost a proverb. While in a reminiscent mood, I will give a story of
two young officers as given by the writer of the above. He claims to
have been an eye witness and fully competent to give a true recital.
It is needless to say that the writer of these memoirs was one of
the participants, and as to the story itself, he has only a faint
recollection, but the sequel which he will give is vivid enough, even
after the lapse of a third of a century. Judge Pope writes, "It
is needless to say that the Third South Carolina Regiment had a
half-score or more young officers, whose conduct in battle had
something to do with giving prestige to the regiment, whose jolly good
nature, their almost unparallel reciprocal love of officers and men,
helped to give tone and recognition to it, their buoyancy of spirits,
their respect for superiors and kindness and indulgence to their
inferiors, endeared them to all--the whole command seemed to embibe of
their spirit of fun, mischief and frolic." Captains L.W. Gary, John
W. Watts, John K. Nance, Lieutenants Farley and Wofford, Adjutant Pope
and others, whom it may be improper to mention here, (and I hope I
will not be considered egotistical or self praise, to include myself),
were a gay set. Their temperatures and habits, in some instances, were
as wide as the poles, but there was a kind of affinity, a congeniality
of spirits between them, that they were more like brothers in reality
than brothers in arms, and all might be considered a "chip of the old
block." Nor would our dearly beloved, kind, generous hearted Colonel
Rutherford, when off duty, feel himself too much exalted to take a
"spin with the boys" when occasions and circumstances admitted. Many,
many have been the jolly carousals these jolly knights enjoyed while
passing through some town or city. The confinement and restrictions of
camp life induced them, when off duty and in some city, to long for a
"loosening of the bit" and an ebullition of their youthful spirits.
Judge Pope, continuing, says: "In the spring of 1864 Longstreet's
soldiers were ordered from East Tennessee, to join Lee in Virginia,
and it follows that there was joy in the camp among the soldiers,
for who does not love Virginia? In route the command was halted
in Lynchburg, and what was more natural for the fun-loving, jovial
members of the old brigade, after being isolated so long, cut off
from civilization as it seemed to them, shut up in the gorges of the
mountains, than to long for a breath of fresh air--to wish for the
society and enjoy the hospitality of the fair ladies of old Virginia,
especially the quaint old city of Lynchburg. With such feelings, two
handsome and gallant Captains of the Third Regiment applied for and
obtained leave of absence for the day. I will call this jolly couple
John and Gus. To say that these two young Captains--one of the right
and the other of the left color company--were birds rare, would scarce
express it. They were both in their 'teens,' and small of statue
withal. They were two of the youngest, as well as the smallest,
officers in the brigade. Notwithstanding their age and build, they
would not hesitate to take a 'bout' with the strongest and the
largest. As one would say to the other, 'When your wind fails you, I
will leg him.' Now, these two knights, out on a lark and lookout for
adventure, did not hesitate to shie their castors in the ring and
cross lances the first opportunity presented. No doubt, after being a
while with the famous Sancho Panza at the wine skins, they could
see as many objects, changed through enchantment, as the Master Dan
Quixote did, and demanded a challenge from them. In walking up a side
street in the city, they, as by enchantment, saw walking just in front
of them, a burly, stout built man, dressed out in the finest broad
cloth coat. What a sight for a soldier to see! a broad cloth coat!"
and he a young man of the army age. Ye gods was it possible. Did their
eyes deceive them, or had they forgotten this was a Sabbath day, and
the city guard was accustomed to wear his Sunday clothes. There were
a set of semi-soldiers in some cities known as "city guards," whose
duties consisted of examining soldier's furloughs and passes in cities
and on trains. Their soft places and fine clothes were poison to the
regular soldiers, and between whom, a friendly and good natured feud
existed. There was another set that was an abomination to both, the
gambler, who, by money or false papers, exempted themselves. Richmond
was their city of refuge, but now and then one would venture out into
a neighboring town.
"'Come out of that coat; can't wear that in the city to-day,' was the
first salutation the jolly knights gave the fine dressed devotee of
the blue cloth.
"'What, do you wish to insult me?' indignantly replied the man,
turning and glaring at the two officers with the ferocity of a tiger.
"'Oh, no,' says John, 'we want that coat;' and instinctively the young
Captains lay hands upon the garment that gave so much offense.
"'Hands off me, you cowardly young ruffians!'
"'Oh, come out of that coat,' replied the jolly couple.
"'Rip, rip,' went the coat; 'biff, biff,' went the non-combattant's
fist. Right and left he struck from the shoulders, to be replied to
with equal energy by the fists of the young men.
"'Rip, rip,' goes the coat, 'bang, biff,' goes the fists. Down in the
street, over in the gutter, kicks and blows, still 'rip, rip,' goes
"'Help!' cries the non-combatant.
"'Yes,' cries Gus, 'help with the coat John.'
"The noise gathered the crowd. With the crowd came Lieutenant H.L.
Farley. The burly frame of Farley soon separated the fighters. The
gambler seeing his hopelessness in the face of so much odds, rose to
his feet, and made a dash for liberty, leaving in the hands of each of
the boys a tail of the much prized coat, all 'tattered and torn.' The
gambler made quite a ludicrous picture, streaking it through town with
his coat-tails off."
This is Pope's story, but I will here tell the sequel which was not
near so amusing to me.
Sometime afterwards, the writer and participant in the fray of the
"coat-tail" was slightly wounded, and was sent to Lynchburg to the
hospital, formerly a Catholic college, if I am not mistaken. After
being there for a time with my wounded brother officers (this was a
hospital for officers alone) I became sufficiently convalescent to
feel like a stroll through the city. I felt a little tender, lest I
might meet unexpectedly my unknown antagonist and erstwhile hostile
enemy; but one night I accepted the invitation of a tall, robust-built
Captain from Tennessee (a room-mate, and also convalescent from a
slight wound) to take a stroll. Being quite small, friendless, and
alone, I did not object to this herculean chaperone. After tiring of
the stroll, we sauntered into a soldier's cheap restaurant and called
for plates. While we were waiting the pleasure of "mine host," the
tread of footsteps and merry laughter of a crowd of jolly roisters met
our ears, and in walked some soldiers in the garb of "city police,"
and with the crowd was my man of the "long coat-tail." My heart sank
into the bottom of my boots, my speech failed me, and I sat stupified,
staring into space. Should he recognize me, then what? My thought ran
quick and fast. I never once expected help from my old Tennessean.
As we were only "transient" acquaintances, I did not think of the
brotherhood of the soldier in this emergency. The man of the "long
coat" approached our table and raised my hat, which, either by habit
or force of circumstances, I will not say, I had the moment before
pulled down over my eyes.
"Hey, my fine young man, I think I know you. Aren't you the chap that
torn my coat sometime ago? Answer me, sir," giving me a vigorous shake
on the shoulder. "You are the very d----n young ruffian that did it,
and I am going to give you such a thrashing as you will not forget."
I have never yet fully decided what answer I was going to
make--whether I was going to say yes, and ask his pardon, with the
risk of a thrashing, or deny it--for just at that moment the "tall
sycamore of the Holston" reached out with his fist and dealt my
assailant a blow sufficient to have felled an ox of the Sweetwater.
Sending the man reeling across the room, the blood squirting and
splattering, he said:
"Gentlemen, I came here with this boy, and whoever whips him has first
got to walk my log, and that is what few people can do."
The old "sycamore" from Tennessee looked to me at that precious moment
as tall as a church steeple, and fully as large around. In all my
whole life never was a man's presence so agreeable and his services so
acceptable. It gave me a confidence in myself I never felt before nor
since. His manly features and giant-like powers acted like inspiration
upon me, and I felt for the time like a Goliath myself, and rose to
my feet to join in the fray. But my good deliverer pushed me back and
"Stand aside, young man, I have tickets for both in here," and
with that he began to wield his mighty blows first here and then
there--first one and then another went staggering across the room,
until the crowd gathered outside and put an end to the frolic. No
explanations were given and none asked. Taking me by the arm, the big
Captain led me away, saying, after we had gone some little distance:
"Young man, that was a narrow escape you made, and it was lucky I was
He spoke with so much candor and logic, that I did not have the heart
nor disposition to doubt or contradict it.
I would be willing to qualify before a grand jury to my dying day that
I had had a close call.
* * * * *
Leaves the Valley--Return to Early--Second Valley Campaign.
On the 15th of September we began our return to Lee, marching about
six miles south of Middleton. The next day we took up the march again
to within fifteen miles of Luray Court House, then to within eleven
miles of Sperryville, on the turn-pike, between the two points.
Virginia or that part of it is blessed for her good roads on the main
thoroughfares. The road from Staunton to the Potomac is one of the
finest in America, being laid with cobble stones the entire length,
upwards of one hundred and twenty-five miles. Then the road engineers
did one thing that should immortalize them, that is in going around
hills instead of over them, as in our State. Those engineers of old
worked on the theory that the distance around a hill was no greater
than over it, and much better for travel.
Over the Blue Ridge at Thornton Gap and to within five miles of
Woodville, reaching Culpepper at three o'clock P.M., the 9th. Our ears
were greeted with the distant roar of artillery, which proved to be
our artillery firing at a scouting party of United States cavalry. On
through Culpepper we marched, to within one mile of Rapidan Station,
our starting point of near two months before. And what a fruitless
march--over the mountains, dusty roads, through briars and thickets,
and heat almost unbearable--fighting and skirmishing, with nightly
picketing, over rivers and mountain sides, losing officers, and many,
too, being field officers captured. While in camp here we heard of
Early's disaster in the Valley, which cast a damper over all the
troops. It seems that as soon as Sheridan heard of our detachment from
Early's command he planned and perfected a surprise, defeating him in
the action that followed, and was then driving him out of the Valley.
Could we have been stopped at this point and returned to Early, which
we had to do later, it would have saved the division many miles of
marching, and perhaps further discomfiture of Early and his men. But
reports had to be made to the war department.
Orders came for our return while we were continuing our march to
Gordonsville, which place we reached on the 23rd of September, at 4
o'clock, having been on the continuous march for exactly fifty days.
On the morning of the 24th we received the orders to return to the
relief of Early, and at daylight, in a blinding rain, we commenced to
retrace our steps, consoling ourselves with the motto, "Do your
duty, therein all honor lies," passing through Barboursville and
Standardville, a neat little village nestled among the hills, and
crossed the mountain at Swift Run Gap. We camped about one mile of the
delightful Shenandoah, which, by crossing and recrossing its clear,
blue-tinged waters and camping on its banks so often, had become near
and dear to all of us, and nothing was more delightful than to take
a plunge beneath its waters. But most often we had to take the water
with clothes and shoes on in the dead of winter, still the name of the
Shenandoah had become classic to our ears.
The situation of Early had become so critical, the orders so
imperative to join him as soon as possible, that we took up the march
next morning at a forced speed, going twelve miles before a halt, a
feat never before excelled by any body of troops during the war.
When within two miles of Port Republic, a little beyond its two roads
leading off from that place, one to Brown's Gap, we encountered the
enemy's cavalry. Here they made an attack upon our brigade, but were
repulsed at first fire from the infantry rifles. There was one
thing demonstrated during this war, that whatever might have been
accomplished in days of old, the cavalry on either side could not
stand the fire of the infantry. And it seemed that they had a kind
of intuition of the fact whenever the infantry was in their front.
Nothing better as an excuse did a cavalry commander wish, when met
with a repulse, than to report, "We were driving them along nicely
until we came upon the enemy's infantry, then we had to give way."
This report had been made over and over again, until it became
threadbare; but a cavalry officer thought it a feather in his cap to
report his defeat or repulse by, "We met their infantry." We made a
junction with Early near Brown's Gap, on the 26th, and camped at night
with orders to be prepared to march at daylight. The troops of Early's
were in a despondent mood, but soon their spirits revived at the
sight of Kershaw's Division. We moved forward in the direction of
Harrisonburg, our duty being to guard the two roads leading thereto.
Early sent the other part of the army to the left and forward of us,
and in this order we marched on to Waynesboro. Reaching there next
day, the enemy's cavalry scattered when our troops came in sight.
We began, on October 1st, moving in the direction of the turn-pike,
leading from Winchester to Staunton, striking near Harrisonburg on the
We began the forward movement down the Valley on the 7th, the enemy
slowly giving way as we advanced. We passed through those picturesque
little cities of the Valley, Harrisonburg, New Market, and Woodstock,
marching a day or two and then remaining in camp that length of
time to give rest to the troops, after their long march. It must be
remembered we had been two months cut off from the outside world--no
railroad nearer than Staunton, the men being often short of rations
and barefooted and badly clad; scarcely any mail was received during
these two months, and seldom a paper ever made its appearance in
camp. We only knew that Lee was holding his own. We reached and passed
through Strausburg on the 13th. In the afternoon of this day, while
we were on the march, but at the time laying by the side of the
turn-pike, the enemy tried to capture some of our artillery. We had
heard firing all day in our front, but thought this the effects of the
enemy's sullen withdrawal. While resting by the road side, the enemy
made a spirited attack upon the troops in front. We were hurriedly
rushed forward, put in line of battle, advanced through an uneven
piece of ground, and met the enemy posted behind a hill in front. They
opened upon us at close range, killing and wounding quite a number,
but as soon as our brigade made the first fire, they fled to a brick
wall, running at an angle from the turn-pike. General Connor fell at
the first fire, badly wounded in the knee, from the effects of which
he lost his leg, and never returned, only to bid his brigade farewell
in the pine regions of North Carolina. Colonel Rutherford being next
in command, advanced the troops to the top of the hill and halted. In
going out in front to reconnoitre in the direction of the stone wall,
a party of the enemy, who had concealed themselves behind it, rose
and fired, mortally wounding the gallant and much beloved Colonel. A
charge was made, and the enemy fled to a thicket of pine timber and
made their escape. This was a bloody little battle for the brigade,
and some of its loss was irreparable. We halted after driving the
enemy away, and at night withdrew to Fisher's Hill and camped for
the night. Fisher's Hill is a kind of bluff reaching out from the
Massanutten Mountain on our right; at its base ran Cedar Creek. It
is a place of great natural strength. In the presence of some of his
friends Colonel Rutherford passed away that night, at one o'clock, and
his remains were carried to his home by Captain Jno. K. Nance. General
Connor had his leg amputated. The brigade was without a field officer
of higher grade than Major, and such officer being too inexperienced
in the handling of so large a number of men, Major James Goggans,
of the division staff, was ordered to its command. While some staff
officers may be as competent to handle troops in the field as the
commanders themselves, still in our case it was a lamentable failure.
Major Goggans was a good staff officer, a graduate of West Point, but
he was too old and inexperienced to command troops of such vigor and
enthusiasm as the South Carolinians who composed Kershaw's Brigade.
We remained a short time on Fisher's Hill, throwing up some slight
fortifications. Kershaw's Brigade was encamped in a piece of woods on
the left of the turn-pike as you go north.
* * * * *
COLONEL WILLIAM DRAYTON RUTHERFORD.
Colonel William Drayton Rutherford was the son of Dr. Thomas B.
Rutherford and Mrs. Laura Adams Rutherford, his wife. He was born on
the 21st of September, 1837, in Newberry District, South Carolina.
By his father he was a descendant of Virginians, as well as of that
sturdy and patriotic stock of Germans who settled what was known as
the "Fork." By his mother he was a descendant of the New England Adams
family--what a splendid boy and man he was! He was educated in the
best schools in our State, and spent sometime abroad. At the sound of
arms he volunteered and was made Adjutant of the Third South Carolina
Infantry. At the reorganization of the regiment, in May, 1862, he
was elected Major of his regiment. When Lieutenant Colonel B. Conway
Garlington was killed at Savage Station, June 29th, 1862, Rutherford
became Lieutenant Colonel of his regiment. When Colonel James D. Nance
fell in the battle of the Wilderness, on the 6th day of May, 1864, he
became Colonel of the Third South Carolina Regiment. He was a gallant
officer and fell in the front of his regiment at Strausburg, Va., on
the 13th of October, 1864.
He married the beautiful and accomplished Miss Sallie H. Fair, only
daughter of Colonel Simeon Fair, in March, 1862, and the only child
of this union was "the daughter of the regiment," Kate Stewart
Rutherford, who is now Mrs. George Johnstone.
Colonel Rutherford was in the battles of First Manassas, Williamsburg,
Savage Station, Malvern Hill, First Fredericksburg (12th December,
1862, where he was badly wounded), Knoxville, Wilderness, Brock's Road
(and other battles about Spottsylvania), North Anna Bridge, Second
Cold Harbor, Deep Bottom, Berryville, and Strausburg.
He was a delight to his friends, by reason of his fare intelligence,
warm heart, and generous impulses; to his family, because he was
always so considerate of them, so affectionate, and so brimful of
courtesy; but to his enemies (and he never made any except among the
vicious), he was uncompromisingly fierce.
I will state here that General James Connor had been in command of
the brigade for about two or three months, Colonel Kennedy, the senior
officer of the brigade, being absent on account of wounds received at
the Wilderness. There is no question but what General Connor was one
of the best officers that South Carolina furnished during the war. But
he was not liked by the officers of the line or the men. He was
too rigid in his discipline for volunteers. The soldiers had become
accustomed to the ways and customs of Kershaw and the officers
under him, so the stringent measures General Connor took to prevent
straggling and foraging or any minor misdemeanor was not calculated to
gain the love of the men. All, however, had the utmost confidence
in his courage and ability, and were willing to follow where he led.
Still he was not our own Joseph Kershaw. Below I give a short sketch
of his life.
* * * * *
GENERAL JAMES CONNOR.
General James Connor, son of the late Henry Connor, was born in
Charleston, S.C., 1st of September, 1829. Graduated at the South
Carolina College, 1849, same class with D. Wyatt Aiken, Theo G.
Barker, C.H. Simonton, and W.H. Wallace (Judge). Read law with J.L.
Pettigrew. Admitted to the bar in 1852. Practiced in Charleston.
Appointed United States District Attorney for South Carolina in
1856, Hon. A.G. Magrath then District Judge. As District Attorney,
prosecuted Captain Carrie, of the "Wanderer," who had brought a
cargo of Africans to the State; also prosecuted T.J. Mackey for
participation in Walker's filibustering expedition. Always justified
the expectations of his friends in their high opinion of his talents
and marked ability in all contingencies. Resigned as District Attorney
in December, 1860. Was on the committee with Judge Magrath and W.F.
Colcock, charged to urge the Legislature to call a convention of the
people to consider the necessity of immediate Secession, and upon the
passage of the Secession Ordinance, prepared for active service in the
army. But upon the formation of the Confederate States Government
he was appointed Confederate States of America District Attorney for
South Carolina, but declined. Went into the service as Captain of
the Montgomery Guards, and in May, 1861, was chosen Captain of the
Washington Light Infantry, Hampton Legion. In July, 1861, he became
Major, and in June, 1863, was appointed Colonel of the Twenty-second
North Carolina Volunteers. Being disabled for field duty, temporarily,
was detailed as one of the judges of the military court of the
Second Army Corps. With rank of Colonel, June, 1864, was commissioned
Brigadier General, and by assignment commanded McGowan's and Laws'
Brigades. Subsequently, as Acting Major General, commanded McGowan's,
Laws', and Bushrod Johnson's Brigades. On return of McGowan to duty,
was assigned permanently to command of Kershaw's Brigade.
He engaged in the following battles: Fort Sumter, First Manassas,
Yorktown, New Stone Point, West Point, Seven Pines, Mechanicsville,
Chancellorsville, Riddle's Shop, Darby's Farm, Fossil's Mill,
Petersburg, Jerusalem, Plank Road, Reams' Station, Winchester, Port
Republic, and Cedar Run. Severely wounded in leg at Mechanicsville and
again at Cedar Run, October 12th, 1864. Leg amputated.
Returning to Charleston after the war, he resumed law practice with
W.D. Portier. Was counsel for the South Carolina Railway. In 1878
was Receiver of the Georgia and Carolina Railway. Was candidate
for Lieutenant Governor in 1870. Elected Attorney General in 1876,
resigned in 1877. Was at one time since the war M.W.G.M. of the Grand
Lodge of Masons in this State.
One of the most distinguished looking and fearless officers of the
Twentieth South Carolina Regiment was killed here, Captain John M.
Kinard. Captain Kinard was one of the finest line officers in the
command--a good disciplinarian and tactician, and a noblehearted,
kind-hearted gentleman of the "Old School." He was rather of a
taciturn bend, and a man of great modesty, but it took only a glimpse
at the man to tell of what mould and mettle he was made. I give a
short sketch of his life.
* * * * *
CAPTAIN JOHN MARTIN KINARD.
Captain John Martin Kinard was born July 5, 1833, in the section
of Newberry County known as the Dutch Fork, a settlement of German
emigrants, lying a few miles west of Pomaria. In 1838 his father,
General Henry H. Kinard, was elected Sheriff of Newberry County,
and moved with his family to the court house town of Newberry. Here
Captain Kinard attended school until he was about seventeen years
old, when he went to Winnsboro, S.C., to attend the famous Mount Zion
Academy. He entered South Carolina College in 1852, but left before
finishing his college course to engage in farming, a calling for which
he had had a passionate longing from his boyhood days. Having married
Mary Alabama, the daughter of Dr. P.B. Ruff, he settled on his
grandfather's plantation now known as Kinards. While living here his
wife died, and a few years afterwards he married Lavinia Elizabeth,
the daughter of Dr. William Rook.
When the State called her sons to her defense, he answered promptly,
and enlisted as First Lieutenant in a company commanded by his uncle,
John P. Kinard. His company was a part of the Twentieth Regiment,
Colonel Lawrence Keitt, and was known as Company F. During the first
years of the war he was engaged with his company in the defense of
Charleston Harbor, rising to the rank of Captain on the resignation of
While serving with his regiment in Virginia, to which place it had
been moved in 1864, Captain Kinard came home on furlough. Very soon,
however, he set out for the front again, and was detailed for duty
in the trenches around Richmond. While engaged here he made repeated
efforts to be restored to his old company, and joined them with a glad
heart in October, 1864. On the 13th of October, a few days after his
return, he warned his faithful negro body-guard, Ham Nance, to keep
near, as he expected some hot fighting soon. And it came. The next
day the enemy was met near Strausburg, and Captain Kinard fell, with a
bullet in his heart. He died the death of the happy warrior, fighting
as our Anglo-Saxon forefathers fought, in the midst of his kinsmen
and friends. Ham Nance bore his body from the field, and never left it
until he returned it to his home in Newberry.
Captain Kinard left three children. By his first wife, a daughter,
Alice, now the wife of Elbert H. Aull, Esq.; by his second wife, two
sons, John M. Kinard, Commandant of the John M. Kinard Camp, Sons of
Veterans, and James P. Kinard.
* * * * *
Battle of Cedar Creek or Fisher's Hill, 19th October, 1864.
After the retreat of the enemy across Cedar Creek, on the 13th, the
brigade returned to Fisher's Hill, and encamped in a beautiful grove.
It was now expected that we would have a long, sweet rest--a rest so
much needed and devoutly wished for, after two months of incessant
marching and fighting. The foragers now struck out right and left
over the mountains on either side to hunt up all the little delicacies
these mountain homes so abounded in--good fresh butter-milk, golden
butter--the like can be found nowhere else in the South save in
the valleys of Virginia--apple butter, fruits of all kinds, and
occasionally these foragers would run upon a keg of good old mountain
corn, apple jack, or peach brandy--a "nectar fitting for the gods,"
when steeped in bright, yellow honey. These men were called "foragers"
from their habit of going through the country, while the army was on
the march or in camp, buying up little necessaries and "wet goods,"
and bringing them into camp to sell or share with their messmates. It
mattered not how long the march, how tired they were, when we halted
for the night's camp, while others would drop, exhausted, too tired
to even put up their tents or cook a supper, these foragers would
overcome every obstacle, climb mountains, and wade rivers in search
of something to eat or drink, and be back in camp before day. In every
regiment and in almost every company you could find these foragers,
who were great stragglers, dropping in the rear or flanking to the
right or left among the farm houses in search of honey, butter, bread,
or liquors of some kind. Some of these foragers in the brigade were
never known to be without whiskey during the whole war. Where, how, or
when they got it was as a sealed book to the others. These foragers,
too, when out on one of their raids, were never very particular
whether the owner of the meat or spring house, or even the cellar, was
present or not, should they suspicion or learn from outside parties
that these places contained that for which they were looking. If at
night, they would not disturb the old man, but while some would watch,
others would be depredating upon his pig pen, chicken roost, or milk
house. It was astonishing what a change in the morals of men army life
occasioned. Someone has said, "A rogue in the army, a rogue at home;"
but this I deny. Sometimes that same devilish, schoolboy spirit that
actuates the truant to filch fruit or melons from orchards of others,
while he had abundance at home, caused the soldier oftentimes to make
"raids," as they called these nocturnal visits to the farm houses
outlying the army's track. I have known men who at home was as
honorable, honest, upright, and who would scorn a dishonest act, turn
out to be veteran foragers, and rob and steal anything they could get
their hands on from the citizens, friend or foe alike. They become
to look upon all as "fish for a soldier's net." I remember the first
night on Fisher's Hill, after fighting and marching all day, two of
my men crossed over the Massanutton Mountain and down in the Luray
Valley, a distance of ten miles or more, and came back before day
with as unique a load of plunder as I ever saw. While in some of the
mountain gorges they came upon a "spring house" a few hundred feet
from the little cabin, nestled and hid in one of those impenetrable
caves, where the owner, no doubt, thought himself safe from all the
outside world. They had little difficulty in gaining an entrance, but
all was dark, so kneeling down and examining the trough they found
jars of pure sweet milk, with the rich, yellow cream swimming on top.
This, of course, they could not carry, so they drank their fill. While
searching around for anything else that was portable, they found a lot
of butter in a churn, and to their astonishment, a ten-gallon keg
of peach brandy. Now they were in the plight of the man who "when it
rained mush had no spoon." They had only their canteens, but there was
no funnel to pour through. But the mother of invention, as usual, came
to their assistance. They poured out the milk in the jars, filled two
for each, and returned over the mountain with a jar of brandy under
each arm. The next morning I found, to my surprise, hanging to the
pole of my tent, my canteen filled with the choicest brandy. Whiskey
sold for $1.00 per drink, so their four jars of brandy added something
to their month's pay. As a Captain of a company, I could not give
leave of absence, nor could I excuse any who left camp against orders
or without permission. So I had it understood that should any of my
men wish to undertake a foraging expedition, not to ask my permission,
but go; and if they did not get caught by outside guards, I would
not report nor punish them, but if they got caught, not to expect any
favors or mercy at my hands. While I never countenanced nor upheld
foraging, unless it was done legitimately and the articles paid for,
still when a choice piece of mutton or pork, a mess tin of honey, or
canteen of brandy was hanging on my rifle pole in the morning, I only
did what I enjoined on the men, "say nothing and ask no question." And
so it was with nearly all the Captains in the army. And be it said to
the credit of the Southern troops, pilfering or thieving was almost an
unknown act while camping in our own country. It was only done in
the mountains of Virginia or East Tennessee, where the citizens were
generally our enemies, and who were willing to give aid and comfort
to the Federals, while to the Southern troops they often denied the
smallest favors, and refused to take our money.
On the night of the 18th of October we received orders to prepare for
marching at midnight. No drums were to be beaten, nor noise of any
kind made. From this we knew an advance was to be made, as Gordon's
Division had orders to march soon after nightfall. The most profound
secrecy, the absence of all noise, from rattling of canteens or tin
cups, were enjoined upon the men. They were to noiselessly make their
way over the spur of the Massanutton Mountain, which here butted out
in a bold promontory, dividing the Shennandoah and the Luray Valleys,
and strike the enemy in the flank away to our right. The other
divisions were to be in readiness to attack as the roll of battle
reached their front or right. The enemy was posted on an almost
impregnable position on the bluff overlooking Cedar Creek, while in
their rear was a vast plateau of several miles in extent. The enemy's
breastworks were built of strong timbers, with earth thrown against
them, with a deep trench on the inside, being deeper from the bottom
of the trench to the top of the works than the heights of the soldiers
when standing. Thus a step of three or four feet was built for the
troops to stand on and fire. The breastworks wound in and out with the
creek, some places jutting out almost to the very brink; at others,
several hundred yards in the rear; a level piece of bottom land
intervening. This ridge and plateau were some fifty feet or more above
the level of the creek, and gave elegant position for batteries. In
front of this breastwork, and from forty to fifty feet in breadth, was
an abattis constructed of pine trees, the needles stripped, the limbs
cut and pointed five to ten feet from the trunks. These were packed
and stacked side by side and on top of each other, being almost
impossible for a single man even to pick his way through, and next to
impossible for a line of battle to cross over. All along the entire
length of the fortifications were built great redoubts of earthwork in
the form of squares, the earth being of sufficient thickness to turn
any of our cannon balls, while all around was a ditch from twelve to
fifteen feet deep--only one opening in the rear large enough to admit
the teams drawing the batteries. Field pieces were posted at each
angle, the infantry, when needed, filled the space between. These
forts were built about two hundred yards apart, others being built
in front of the main line. This I believe was the most completely
fortified position by nature, as well as by hand, of any line occupied
during the war, and had the troops not been taken by surprise and
stood their ground, a regiment strung out could have kept an army at
General Gordon's troops left camp earlier than did Kershaw's,
beginning their winding march at single file around the mountain side,
over the great promontory, down in the plain below, through brush and
undergrowth, along dull trails, catching and pulling themselves along
by the bushes and vines that covered the rough borders and ledges of
the mountain. Sometime after midnight Kershaw moved out across the
turn-pike in the direction of the river, the Second South Carolina
in front, under Captain McCulcheon; then the Third, under Major Todd;
then the Eighth, Twentieth, Fifteenth, and the Seventh. The James' or
Third Battalion having some months before been organized into brigade
sharpshooters, adding two companies to it, preceded the brigade, and
was to charge the fords and capture the pickets. When near the river
the brigade was halted, and scouting parties sent ahead to see how the
land lay. A picked body moved cautiously along in front, and when all
was in readiness, a charge was made--a flash, a report or two, and the
enemy's out post at this point was ours. As we were feeling our way
along the dull road that led to this ford, one poor fellow, who had
been foremost in the assault on the pickets, was carried by us on
a litter. Nothing but a low, deep groan was heard, which told too
plainly that his last battle had been fought. The river crossed, the
brigade continued in columns of fours, moving rapidly forward that
all would be in readiness by the time Gordon's guns opened to announce
that he was in position and ready.
Now our line of battle was formed, and never before or since was the
brigade called in action with so few officers. Not a Colonel, nothing
higher than a Major, in the entire brigade, the brigade itself being
commanded by a staff officer, who had never so much as commanded a
company before. At the close of the day there were but few officers in
the command of the rank of Captain even.
Just at the beginning of dawn we heard the guns of Gordon belching
forth far to our right. The cannon corps of the enemy roused up from
their slumbers and met the attack with grape and cannister, but Gordon
was too close upon them, the assault so sudden, that the troops gave
way. Nearer and nearer came the roll of battle as each succeeding
brigade was put in action. We were moving forward in double-quick to
reach the line of the enemy's breastworks by the time the brigade on
our right became engaged. Now the thunder of their guns is upon
us; the brigade on our right plunges through the thicket and throw
themselves upon the abattis in front of the works and pick their way
over them. All of our brigade was not in line, as a part was cut off
by an angle in Cedar Creek, but the Second and Third charged through
an open field in front of the enemy's line. As we emerged from a
thicket into the open we could see the enemy in great commotion, but
soon the works were filled with half-dressed troops and they opened a
galling fire upon us. The distance was too great in this open space
to take the works by a regular advance in line of battle, so the men
began to call for orders to "charge." Whether the order was given or
not, the troops with one impulse sprang forward. When in a small swale
or depression in the ground, near the center of the field, the abattis
was discovered in front of the works. Seeing the impossibility to make
their way through it under such a fire, the troops halted and returned
the fire. Those behind the works would raise their bare heads above
the trenches, fire away, regardless of aim or direction, then fall
to the bottom to reload. This did not continue long, for all down the
line from our extreme right the line gave way, and was pushed back
to the rear and towards our left, our troops mounting their works and
following them as they fled in wild disorder. "Over the works, cross
over," was the command now given, and we closed in with a dash to the
abattis--over it and down in the trenches--before the enemy realized
their position. Such a sight as met our eyes as we mounted their works
was not often seen. For a mile or more in every direction towards the
rear was a vast plain or broken plateau, with not a tree or shrub
in sight. Tents whitened the field from one end to the other for a
hundred paces in rear of the line, while the country behind was one
living sea of men and horses--all fleeing for life and safety. Men,
shoeless and hatless, went flying like mad to the rear, some with
and some without their guns. Here was a deserted battery, the horses
unhitched from the guns; the caissons were going like the wind,
the drivers laying the lash all the while. Cannoneers mounted the
unhitched horses barebacked, and were straining every nerve to keep
apace with caissons in front. Here and there loose horses galloped at
will, some bridleless, others with traces whipping their flanks to a
foam. Such confusion, such a panic, was never witnessed before by the
troops. Our cannoneers got their guns in position, and enlivened
the scene by throwing shell, grape, and cannister into the flying
fugitives. Some of the captured guns were turned and opened upon the
former owners. Down to our left we could see men leaving the trenches,
while others huddled close up to the side of the wall, displaying a
white flag. Our ranks soon became almost as much disorganized as those
of the enemy. The smoking breakfast, just ready for the table, stood
temptingly inviting, while the opened tents displayed a scene almost
enchanting to the eyes of the Southern soldier, in the way of costly
blankets, overcoats, dress uniforms, hats, caps, boots, and shoes all
thrown in wild confusion over the face of the earth. Now and then a
suttler's tent displayed all the luxuries and dainties a soldier's
heart could wish for. All this fabulous wealth of provisions and
clothing looked to the half-fed, half-clothed Confederates like the
wealth of the Indies. The soldiers broke over all order and discipline
for a moment or two and helped themselves. But their wants were few,
or at least that of which they could carry, so they grab a slice of
bacon, a piece of bread, a blanket, or an overcoat, and were soon in
line again following up the enemy. There was no attempt of alignment
until we had left the breastworks, then a partial line of battle was
formed and the pursuit taken up. Major Todd, of the Third, having
received a wound just as we crossed the works, the command of the
regiment devolved on the writer. The angle of the creek cutting off
that portion of the brigade that was in rear, left the Second and
Third detached, nor could we see or hear of a brigade commander. The
troops on our right had advanced several hundred yards, moving at
right angle to us, and were engaging the enemy, a portion that had
made a stand on the crest of a hill, around an old farm house.
Not knowing what to do or where to go, and no orders, I accepted
Napoleon's advice to the lost soldier, "When a soldier is lost and
does not know where to go, always go to where you hear the heaviest
firing." So I advanced the regiment and joined it on the left of
a Georgia brigade. Before long the enemy was on the run again, our
troops pouring volley after volley into them as they fled over stone
fences, hedges, around farm houses, trying in every conceivable way
to shun the bullets of the "dreaded gray-backs." I looked in the rear.
What a sight! Here came stragglers, who looked like half the army,
laden with every imaginable kind of plunder--some with an eye to
comfort, had loaded themselves with new tent cloths, nice blankets,
overcoats, or pants, while others, who looked more to actual gain in
dollars and cents, had invaded the suttler's tents and were fairly
laden down with such articles as they could find readiest sale for. I
saw one man with a stack of wool hats on his head, one pressed in
the other, until it reached more than an arm's length above his head.
Frying-pans were enviable utensils in the army, and tin cups--these
articles would be picked up by the first who came along, to be thrown
aside when other goods more tempting would meet their sight.
After getting the various brigades in as much order as possible,
a general forward movement was made, the enemy making only feeble
attempts at a stand, until we came upon a stone fence, or rather a
road hedged on either side by a stone fence, running parallel to our
line of battle. Here we were halted to better form our columns. But
the halt was fatal--fatal to our great victory, fatal to our army,
and who can say not fatal to our cause. Such a planned battle, such
complete success, such a total rout of the enemy was never before
experienced--all to be lost either by a fatal blunder or the greed
of the soldier for spoils. Only a small per cent comparatively was
engaged in the plundering, but enough to weaken our ranks. It was late
in the day. The sharpshooters (Third Battalion) had been thrown out
in a cornfield several hundred yards in our front. The men lay in the
road behind the stone fence without a dream of the enemy ever being
able to rally and make an advance. Some were inspecting their captured
plunder; others sound asleep, after our five miles' chase. The sun was
slowly sinking in the west. Oh, what a glorious victory! Men in
their imagination were writing letters home, telling of our brilliant
achievements--thirty pieces of artillery captured, whole wagon trains
of ordnance, from ten to twenty thousand stands of small arms, horses
and wagons, with all of Sheridan's tents and camp equippage--all was
ours, and the enemy in full retreat!
But the scenes are soon to be shifted. Sheridan had been to
Winchester, twenty miles away. He hears the firing of guns in the
direction of Fisher's Hill, mounts his black charger, and with none
to accompany him but an orderly, he begins his famous ride from
Winchester. Louder and louder the cannon roar, faster and faster his
faithful steed leaps over the stoney pike, his rider plunging the
steel rowels into the foaming sides. Now he is near enough to hear the
deep, rolling sound of the infantry, accompanied by the dreaded Rebel
yell. He knew his troops were retreating from the sound he hears.
A few more leaps, and he comes face to face with his panic stricken
troops. The road was crowded, the woods and fields on either side
one vast swarm of fleeing fugatives. A few of the faithful were still
holding the Confederates at bay, while the mass were seeking safety
in flight. His sword springs from its scabbard, and waving it over his
head, he calls in a loud voice, "Turn, boys, turn; we are going back."
The sound of his voice was electrical. Men halt, some fall, others
turn to go back, while a few continue their mad flight. A partial line
is formed, Sheridan knowing the effect of a show of forward movement,
pushes his handful of men back to meet the others still on the run.
They fall in. Others who have passed the line in their rush, return,
and in a few moments this wild, seething, surging, panic stricken
mass had turned, and in well formed lines, were now approaching the
cornfield and woods in which our pickets and skirmishers lay, all
unconscious of the mighty change--a change the presence of one man
effected in the morale of the routed troops. They rush upon our
sharpshooters, capturing nearly the whole line, killing Captain
Whitner, the commander, and either capturing or wounding nearly all
the commissioned officers. Before we knew it, or even expected it, the
enemy was in our front, advancing in line of battle. The men hadn't
time to raise a gun before the bullets came whizzing over our heads,
or battering against the stone wall. We noticed away to our right the
lines give way. Still Kershaw's Brigade held their position, and beat
back the enemy in our front. But in the woods on our left some troops
who were stationed there, on seeing the break in the line beyond us,
gave way also. Someone raised the cry and it was caught up and hurried
along like all omens of ill luck, that "the cavalry is surrounding
us." In a moment our whole line was in one wild confusion, like
"pandemonium broke loose." If it was a rout in the morning, it was
a stampede now. None halted to listen to orders or commands. Like
a monster wave struck by the head land, it rolls back, carrying
everything before it by its own force and power, or drawing all within
its wake. Our battle line is forced from the stone fence. We passed
over one small elevation, down through a vale, and when half way up
the next incline, Adjutant Pope, who was upon the staff of our brigade
commander, met the fleeing troops and made a masterly effort to stem
the tide by getting some of the troops in line. Around him was formed
a nucleus, and the line began to lengthen on either side, until we had
a very fair battle line when the enemy reached the brow of the hill we
had just passed. We met them with a stunning volley, that caused the
line to reel and stagger back over the crest. Our lines were growing
stronger each moment. Pope was bending all his energies to make
Kershaw's Brigade solid, and was in a fair way to succeed. The troops
that had passed, seeing a stand being made, returned, and kept up the
fire. It was now hoped that the other portion of the line would act
likewise and come to our assistance, and we further knew that each
moment we delayed the enemy would allow that much time for our wagon
train and artillery to escape. But just as all felt that we were
holding our own, Adjutant Pope fell, badly wounded by a minnie ball
through the eye, which caused him to leave the field. Then seeing no
prospects of succor on our right or left, the enemy gradually passing
and getting in our rear, the last great wave rolls away, the men
break and fly, every man for himself, without officers or orders--they
scatter to the rear. The enemy kept close to our heels, just as
we were rising one hill their batteries would be placed on the one
behind, then grape and cannister would sweep the field. There were no
thickets, no ravines, no fences to shield or protect us. Everything
seemed to have been swept from off the face of the earth, with the
exception of a lone farm house here and there. Every man appeared to
be making for the stone bridge that spanned the creek at Strausburg.
But for the bold, manly stand made by Y.J. Pope, with a portion of
Kershaw's Brigade (the brigade commander was seldom seen during the
day), the entire wagon train and hundreds more of our troops would
have been lost, for at that distance we could hear wagons, cannons,
and caissons crossing the stone bridge at a mad gallop. But in the
rush some wagons interlocked and were overturned midway the bridge,
and completely blocked the only crossing for miles above and below.
Teamsters and wagoners leave their charge and rush to the rear. In
the small space of one or two hundred yards stood deserted ambulances,
wagons, and packs of artillery mules and horses, tangled and still
hitched, rearing and kicking like mad, using all their strength to
unloosen themselves from the matted mass of vehicles, animals, and
men, for the stock had caught up the spirit of the panic, and were
eager to keep up the race. As by intuition, the flying soldiers felt
that the roadway would be blocked at the bridge over Cedar Creek, so
they crossed the turn-pike and bore to the left in order to reach the
fords above. As I reached the pike, and just before entering a thicket
beyond, I glanced over my shoulder toward the rear. One glance was
enough! On the hill beyond the enemy was placing batteries, the
infantry in squads and singly blazing away as rapidly as they could
load and fire, the grape and cannister falling and rattling upon the
ground like walnuts thrown from a basket. The whole vast plain in
front and rear was dotted with men running for life's sake, while over
and among this struggling mass the bullets fell like hail. How any
escaped was a wonder to the men themselves. The solid shot and shell
came bouncing along, as the boys would laughingly say afterwards,
"like a bob-tailed dog in high oats"--striking the earth, perhaps,
just behind you, rebound, go over your head, strike again, then
onward, much like the bounding of rubber balls. One ball, I remember,
came whizzing in the rear, and I heard it strike, then rebound, to
strike again just under or so near my uplifted foot that I felt the
peculiar sensation of the concussion, rise again, and strike a man
twenty paces in my front, tearing away his thigh, and on to another,
hitting him square in the back and tearing him into pieces. I could
only shrug my shoulders, close my eyes, and pull to the rear stronger
The sun had now set. A squadron of the enemy's cavalry came at
headlong speed down the pike; the clatter of the horses hoofs upon
the hard-bedded stones added to the panic, and caused many who had not
reached the roadway to fall and surrender. About one hundred and fifty
of the Third Regiment had kept close at my heels (or I had kept near
their front, I can't say which is the correct explanation), with a
goodly number of Georgians and Mississippians, who had taken refuge in
a thicket for a moment's breathing spell, joining our ranks, and away
we continued our race. We commenced to bend our way gradually back
towards the stone bridge. But before we neared it sufficiently to
distinguish friend from foe, we heard the cavalry sabering our men,
cursing, commanding, and yelling, that we halted for a moment to
listen and consult. In the dim twilight we could distinguish some men
about one hundred yards in front moving to and fro. Whether they were
friends, and like ourselves, trying to escape the cavalry in turn and
creep by and over the bridge, or whether they were a skirmish line of
the enemy, we could not determine. The Captain of a Georgia regiment
(I think his name was Brooks), with four or five men, volunteered to
go forward and investigate. I heard the command "halt," and then a
parley, so I ordered the men to turn towards the river. The command
came after us to "halt, halt," but we only redoubled our speed, while
"bang, bang," roared their guns, the bullets raining thick and fast
over our head. I never saw or heard of my new found friends again, and
expect they, like many captured that day, next enjoyed freedom after
Lee and Johnston had surrendered. When we reached the river it was
undecided whether we could cross or not. So one of my men, a good
swimmer, laid off his accoutrement and undertook to test the depth. In
he plunged, and was soon out of sight in the blue waters. As he arose
he called out, "Great God! don't come in here if you don't want to be
drowned. This river has got no bottom." Our only alternative was to go
still higher and cross above the intersection of the north and south
prongs of the Shenandoah, where it was fordable. This we did, and
our ranks augmented considerable as we proceeded up the banks of the
stream, especially when we had placed the last barrier between us and
the enemy. We had representatives of every regiment in Early's Army,
I think, in our crowd, for we had no regiment, as it naturally follows
that a man lost at night, with a relentless foe at his heels, will
We returned each man to his old quarters, and as the night wore on
more continued to come in singly, by twos, and by the half dozens,
until by midnight the greater portion of the army, who had not been
captured or lost in battle, had found rest at their old quarters. But
such a confusion! The officers were lost from their companies--the
Colonels from their regiments, while the Generals wandered about
without staff and without commands. The officers were as much dazed
and lost in confusion as the privates in the ranks. For days the
men recounted their experiences, their dangers, their hair-breadth
escapes, the exciting chase during that memorable rout in the morning
and the stampede in the evening, and all had to laugh. Some few took
to the mountains and roamed for days before finding an opportunity to
return; others lay in thickets or along the river banks, waiting until
all was still and quiet, then seek some crossing. Hundreds crowded
near the stone bridge (the Federal pickets were posted some yards
distance), and took advantage of the darkness to cross over under the
very nose of the enemy. One man of the Fifteenth came face to face
with one of the videttes, when a hand to hand encounter took place--a
fight in the dark to the very death--but others coming to the relief
of their comrade beat the Confederate to insensibility and left him
for dead. Yet he crawled to cover and lay concealed for a day and
night, then rejoined his regiment in a sickening plight.
A man in my company, Frank Boozer, was struck by a glancing bullet on
the scalp and fell, as was thought, dead. There he lay, while hundreds
and hundreds trampled over him, and it was near day when he gained
consciousness and made his way for the mountain to the right. There he
wandered along its sides, through its glens and gorges, now dodging a
farm house or concealing himself in some little cave, until the enemy
passed, for it was known that the mountains and hills on either side
were scoured for the fugitives.
Captain Vance, of the Second, with a friend, Myer Moses, had captured
a horse, and they were making their way through the thickets, Moses
in front, with Vance in rear, the darkness almost of midnight on them.
They came upon a squad of Federal pickets. They saw their plight in
a moment, but Moses was keen-witted and sharp-tongued, and pretended
that he was a Yankee, and demanded their surrender. When told that
they were Federals, he seemed overjoyed, and urged them to "come on
and let's catch all those d----n Rebels." But when they asked him a
few questions he gave himself away. He was asked:
"What command do you belong to?"
"Eighty-seventh New York," Moses answered, without hesitation.
"What brigade?" "What division?" etc. "We have no such commands in
this army. Dismount, you are our prisoners."
But Captain Vance was gone, for at the very outset of the parley he
slid off behind and quietly made his escape. In such emergencies it
was no part of valor to "stand by your friend," for in that case both
were lost, while otherwise one was saved.
What was the cause of our panic, or who was to blame, none ever
knew. The blame was always laid at "somebody else's" door. However
disastrous to our army and our cause was this stampede--the many good
men lost (killed and captured) in this senseless rout--yet I must say
in all candor, that no occasion throughout the war gave the men so
much food for fun, ridicule, and badgering as this panic. Not one
man but what could not tell something amusing or ridiculous on his
neighbor, and even on himself. The scenes of that day were the "stock
in trade" during the remainder of the war for laughter. It looked so
ridiculous, so foolish, so uncalled for to see twenty thousand men
running wildly over each other, as it were, from their shadows, for
there was nothing in our rear but a straggling line of Federals, which
one good brigade could have put to rout.
Both Colonel Boykin and Lieutenant Colonel McMichael, of the
Twentieth, were captured and never returned to the service, not being
parolled until after the surrender. The Twentieth was commanded by
Major Leaphart until the close.
As Adjutant Pope never returned in consequence of his wounds. I will
give a few facts as to his life. No officer in the army was parted
with greater reluctance than Adjutant Pope.
* * * * *
ADJUTANT YOUNG JOHN POPE.
Y.J. Pope was born in the town of Newberry, S.C., on the 10th of
April, 1841. Was the son of Thomas Herbert Pope and Harriett Neville
Pope, his wife. He was educated in the Male Academy, at Newberry, and
spent six years at Furman University, Greenville, S.C., from which
institution he graduated in August, 1860. After studying law under his
uncle, Chief Justice O'Neall, he entered the Confederate Army on April
13th, 1861, as First Sergeant in Company E, of Third South Carolina
Regiment of Infantry. He participated in the battles of First Manassas
and Williamsburg while in his company. In May, 1862, he was
made Adjutant of the Third South Carolina Regiment, and as such
participated in the battles of Savage Station, Malvern Hill, Maryland
Heights, Sharpsburg, First Fredericksburg (where he was slightly
wounded), Chancellorsville, Gettysburg (where he received three
wounds), Chickamauga (where he was severely wounded), Wilderness,
Brock's Road and other battles around Spottsylvania Court House, North
Anna River Bridge, Second Cold Harbor, Berryville (where he was
shot through the mouth), Strausburg, and Cedar Creek, on the 19th of
October, 1864, where he lost his left eye, which was totally destroyed
by a minnie bullet.
Since the war he has been elected Mayor of his native town at five
elections. He was elected by the Legislature District Judge of
Newberry, in December, 1865, and served as such until June, 1868,
when Radicals abolished that office. He was elected to the House of
Representatives of his State in the year 1877, and was by the Joint
Assembly of the Legislature elected Associate Counsel for the State to
test the legality of State bonds, when more than two million dollars
were saved the State. He was elected State Senator in 1888, and served
until he was elected Attorney General of the State, in 1890. He served
in this office until the 3rd of December, 1891, when he was elected
Associate Justice of Supreme Court of the State, and on the 30th of
January, 1896, he was unanimously re-elected Associate Justice of the
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
On the 3rd of December, 1874, he married Mrs. Sallie H.F. Rutherford.
By this union there were two daughters, Mary Butler Pope and Neville
Pope. The former died in October, 1893, and left a wound which has
During a part of the year 1864 Adjutant Pope served on the brigade
staff as Assistant Adjutant General, and was acting in this capacity
when he received the wound that incapacitated him from further service
in the field.
Lieutenant U.B. Whites, formerly of my company, but later in command
of Company G, Third Battalion, writes a very entertaining sketch
of prison life, which I very willingly give space to, so that the
uninitiated may have some idea of prison life, and the pleasure of
being called "fresh fish" by the old prison "rats." Lieutenant Whites
was a gallant soldier and a splendid officer. He was what is called in
common parlance "dead game" in battle and out. He is a commercial man,
and at present a member of the South Carolina colony of Atlanta, Ga.
* * * * *
HOW IT FEELS TO BE TAKEN A PRISONER OF WAR.
After being flushed with the most signal victory of more than half
a day's fighting, and while gloating over the brilliant success and
planning and scheming future glories, and after having captured a
great number of Federal soldiers, together with a large number of
field pieces, and then in turn to be captured yourself, especially
after having boasted and affirmed oftentimes that you never would be
taken a prisoner unless sick or wounded, is exceedingly humiliating,
to say the least of it, and the feelings of such an one can better
be imagined than described. Yet such was the exact condition of
the writer on the evening of October 19th, 1864, at the battle of
Strausburg, or as it is known at the present day among the veterans,
It is proper to note here that the writer was a line officer belonging
to Company H, Third Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, but several
months previous had been assigned to command a company of "picked"
men made from the various companies and regiments of the old brigade
(Kershaw's), and this company was assigned to duty in the Third
Battalion. This battalion was to do the skirmishing and sharpshooting
for the brigade. This explanation is necessary in order that the
reader may better understand my position and place when captured.
Late in the afternoon of this exciting day General Phil Sheridan
succeeded in rallying his routed columns and led the attack on our
line. Our skirmish line was in excellent condition. We had no trouble
in effectually resisting and driving back the enemy's skirmish line.
When within short range of our rifles we opened fire, and for nearly
half an hour held them in check, while they fairly rained lead into
our ranks. The command "retreat" was given, and we retired, firing.
During the retreat brave Captain Whitener was killed. I rallied the
remnant of my company in rear of the Third South Carolina. General
Kershaw rode rapidly up to where I had rallied what few men I had left
and enquired for Captain Whitener. I replied, "He is killed, General."
He then ordered me to take what few I had and could gather and
double-quick to a point on the extreme left of his division. When
I arrived at the point designated, which was in thick woods, to
my horror I found the place literally alive with Yankees. I
had double-quicked right into the midst of the "blue bellies."
"Surrender," came in tones of thunder. I stood amazed, astonished
beyond conception. "Surrender," again came the command. There was
absolutely no alternative. There was no chance to fight and less
chance to run. My brave boys and I were prisoners of war. This was
one of the consequences of war that I had never figured upon, and was
wholly unprepared for it. I said to the officer who demanded my sword
that I would rather give him my right arm. He preferred the sword and
got one--I had two, having captured one that morning. Just then an
unusual incident occurred.
"Hello, Lieutenant Whites, my old friend, I am glad to see you."
I looked and recognized a Federal Sergeant, whom I had befriended
while en route with him and many other Federal prisoners from East
Tennessee to Richmond. I replied:
"My dear fellow, I know, under the circumstances, you will excuse
me when I tell you that I am truly sorry that I cannot return the
I was ordered to the rear under guard of one soldier. I was turned
over to the provost guard. My other sword was demanded. Of course I
gave it up without a word. My emotions were too intense for utterance.
I was a disarmed, helpless prisoner of war. My feelings can better be
described by relating an incident which occurred later on. After Lee's
surrender, a few uncompromising, unconquered Confederates attempted to
make their way to Johnston's Army in North Carolina. The way was full
of obstacles, and one of the party, nearly overcome, sat with his
elbows on his knees and his face in his hands, when a comrade accosted
"Hello, John, what is the matter with you?"
"O, I was just thinking," replied John.
"Well, what in the world were you thinking so deeply about that you
were lost to every other environment?"
"Well, Jim, to tell you the truth, I was thinking I wished I was a
"Wish you were a woman! Great Scotts, John, are you gone crazy? A
brave soldier like you wishing to be a woman!"
"Now, Jim, I'll tell you the truth; if I were a woman I could just cry
as much as I pleased, and no one would think that I was a fool."
I felt very much like John. I wished I was a woman, so that I could
cry as much as I pleased.
That night all the prisoners were marched to General Sheridan's
headquarters, where we went into camp without supper. Some said their
prayers, while others cursed the Yankees inaudibly, of course. Next
morning we were lined up and counted. Eleven hundred Confederates
answered at Sheridan's roll call. It looked like Kershaw's whole
Brigade was there, though there were many Georgians among us. Sheridan
then inspected the prisoners, and at his personal instance--shame be
it said to his memory--we were all robbed of our good blankets and
dirty, worn out ones given in their stead.
After the inspection by Sheridan, we began the march (we knew not
where to) under a heavy guard--a whole regiment of infantry to guard
eleven hundred prisoners. This guard was old soldiers, who knew how
to treat a prisoner. They were kind to us. Nothing of special interest
occurred on this day. We arrived at Winchester about sundown. We got
some rations, ate supper, lay down to sleep, when we were hurriedly
aroused and ordered to "fall in line quickly," "fall in," "fall in."
"What is the trouble?" I ventured to ask.
"Mosby! Mosby is coming."
The name of Mosby was a holy terror to the Federals in that part of
Virginia. Silently we prayed that Mosby might make a dash and rescue
us. All night long we vainly listened for the clatter of the hoops of
Mosby's troopers. But, alas! Mosby did not come. The rumor was false.
We took up the night march under double guard. A line of cavalry was
placed outside the already heavy infantry guard. The night was dark
and drizzly--a good night to escape, had not the guard been so heavy.
There were two infantry guards to every four prisoners, besides the
outer cavalry guard. The hope of an escape was a forlorn one, but
I made the attempt and succeeded in passing both guards, but in my
ecstacy I foolishly ran in the dark, and ran right squarely against
a plank fence with so much force as to attract the attention of
a cavalryman, who was soon at my side and escorted me back with a
"d----n you, stay in your place." Several prisoners more fortunate
than myself did succeed in making their escape in the darkness.
The guards had kindly informed us that at Harper's Ferry we would
be searched and relieved of all valuables, and if we had a knife or
anything that we desired to retain, they would keep it for us until
after the search. This promise they sacredly kept. The search, or
robbery as I call it, was very rigid. Like vandals, they searched
every pocket and relieved us of all money, pocket-books, knives,
keys, and every other thing, except our tobacco. I beat them a little,
notwithstanding their rigid search. I had a five-dollar greenback note
inside of my sock at the bottom of my boot. This they failed to find.
From Harper's Ferry to Baltimore, the trip was by rail at night. The
guard had now been greatly reduced, only eight to each coach. They
had got plenty of whiskey for themselves and for all who wanted it. We
were having a jolly good time. At this point, knowing that we were in
a friendly part of Maryland, I conceived the idea of making a dash for
the guns of the guard, uncoupling the rear coaches, put on the
brakes, and make our escape across the Potomac. This plan was quietly
communicated to all the prisoners in this the rear coach. All agreed
to the plan, except Lieutenant Colonel McMichael, of the Twentieth
South Carolina Regiment. He protested so strongly that the plan was
abandoned. The trip from this on to Fort Delaware was without incident
or special interest.
On our arrival at Fort Delaware we were again subjected to a rigid
examination and search, and what few trinkets the kind guards saved
for us at Harper's Ferry, were now taken away from us. I, however,
saved my five-dollar greenback note, which was safely ensconced
inside my sock at the bottom of my foot. Here officers and privates
were separated and registered, each as to command, rank, and state.
The heavy gates swung open with a doleful noise. We marched in amid
the shouts of the old prisoners, "fresh fish," "fresh fish." I wanted
to fight right then and there. I did not want to be guyed. I wanted
sympathy, not guying. "Fresh fish" was the greeting all new arrivals
received, and I being an apt scholar, soon learned to shout "fresh
fish" as loud as a Texas cowboy.
The heavy prison gates closed around with a dull sepulchral sound, and
prison life began in earnest, with Brigadier General Schoeff master of
ceremonies. The prison was in the shape of an oblong square, with the
"shacks" or "divisions" on the long side and at the short sides or
ends. At the other long side was built a plank fence twelve or fifteen
feet high. This fence separated the officers and privates. Near
the top of this fence was erected a three-foot walk, from which the
strictest guard was kept over both "pens" day and night. Fifteen feet
from this plank fence on either side was the "dead line." Any prisoner
crossing the "dead line" was shot without being halted. There was not
an officer shot during my eight months' sojourn there, but it was a
frequent occurrence to hear the sharp report of a guard's rifle,
and we knew that some poor, unfortunate Confederate soldier had been
murdered. The cowardly guards were always on the lookout for any
semblance of an excuse to shoot a "d----n Rebel."
There was a rigid censorship placed over all mail matter being sent
from or received at the "pen." All letters were read before being
mailed, and all being received were subjected to the same vigilant
censorship. They were all opened and read by an official to see that
they contained nothing "contraband of war." Money was "contraband."
Only such newspapers as suited the fastidious taste of General Schoeff
were permitted to come inside the "pen." The officers and privates
were supposed to be strictly "incommunicado," but even these found
means of communication. The open, spacious courts on both sides of the
separating fence, on fair days, were always thronged with men
taking exercise. A short note--a small piece of coal was the "mail
coach"--the route was the "air line"--the note securely tied to the
piece of coal, and at an opportune moment, when the guard's face was
in a favorable direction, the "mail" passed over the "air line" into
the other pen, and vice versa. This line kept up a regular business,
but was never detected.
A large majority of prisoners (officers) had some acquaintance,
friend, or relative in Baltimore, New York, or other Northern cities,
who would gladly furnish money or clothing to them. Provisions
were not permissible under the rules and regulations of the prison
authorities. Baltimore, especially, and New York did much toward
relieving the burdens of prison life. Such inestimable ladies as Mrs.
Mary Howard, of Baltimore, and Mrs. Anna Hoffman, of New York, deserve
an everlasting monument of eternal gratitude for the great and
good service rendered the unfortunate Confederate prisoners. These
philanthropic ladies, with hundreds of other sympathizing men and
women of the North, kept many of us furnished with money and clothing.
The money itself we were not permitted to have. In its stead the
prison officials issued the amounts of money on bits of parchment
in denominations of five cents, ten cents, twenty-five cents, fifty
cents, and one dollar pieces. This was the prison currency. The prison
name for it was "sheepskin." The prison officials would not allow us
to have the "cold cash," lest we should enter into a combination and
bribe an important guard, thereby effecting an escape. The "sheepskin"
answered every other purpose for trade. We had a suttler who was a
suttler right. He was a real, genuine, down-east Yankee. He loved
money ("sheepskins" were money to him), and he would furnish us with