Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

History of Kershaw's Brigade by D. Augustus Dickert

Part 1 out of 12

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.5 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

The spelling inconsistencies of the original have been preserved
in this e-text.

HISTORY OF KERSHAW'S BRIGADE

With Complete Roll of Companies, Biographical Sketches, Incidents,
Anecdotes, etc.

by

D. AUGUSTUS DICKERT

[Illustration: LT. COL. AXALLA JOHN HOOLE Eighth South Carolina
Volunteer Regiment Kershaw's Brigade October 12, 1822-September 20,
1863]

INTRODUCTION.

For three reasons, one purely personal (as you will soon see), I am
pleased to play even a small part in the reprinting of D. Augustus
Dickert's The History of Kershaw's Brigade ... an undertaking in my
judgment long, long, overdue.

First, it is a very rare and valuable book. Privately published by
Dickert's friend and neighbor, Elbert H. Aull, owner-editor of the
small-town weekly Newberry (S.C.) Herald and News, almost all of
the copies were shortly after water-logged in storage and destroyed.
Meantime, only a few copies had been distributed, mostly to veterans
and to libraries within the state. Small wonder, then, that
Kershaw's Brigade ... so long out-of-print, is among the scarcest of
Confederate War books--a point underscored by the fact that no copy has
been listed in American Book Prices Current in fifty years. Only one
sale of the book is recorded in John Mebane's Books Relating to
the Civil War (1963), an ex-library copy which sold for $150. More
recently, another copy, oddly described as "library indicia, extremely
rare," was offered for sale by second-hand dealer for $200. Under
these circumstances it is difficult to determine why, amidst the
ever-increasing interest in the irrepressible conflict, this unique
book has had to wait seventy-five years to make its reappearance on
the American historical scene.

My second reason is that, in company with other devotees of the
Confederacy, I consider Kershaw's Brigade ... one of the best
eye-witness accounts of its kind, complete, trustworthy, and intensely
interesting. Beginning with the secession of South Carolina on
December 20, 1860, Dickert describes in detail the formation,
organization, and myriad military activities of his brigade until its
surrender at Durham, N.C., April 28, 1865. During these four years
and four months, as he slowly rose in rank from private to captain,
Dickert leaves precious little untold. In his own earthy fashion he
tells of the merging of the Second, Third, Seventh, Eighth, Fifteenth,
and Twentieth regiments and the Third Battalion of South Carolina
Volunteer Infantry into a brigade under the command of General Joseph
Brevard Kershaw, McLaws' division, Longstreet's corps, Lee's Army of
Northern Virginia. First Manassas was the brigade's, baptism of
fire. Seven Pines, the Seven Days, Second Manassas, Harper's Ferry,
Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg followed.
And when the enemy began knocking at the back door of the Confederacy
in late 1863, it was Longstreet's corps that Lee rushed to the aid of
Bragg's faltering Army of Tennessee. After the victory at Chickamauga
and a winter in Tennessee, the corps was recalled to Virginia--and
to the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, and the
Shenandoah Valley. Then, once again, as Sherman's mighty machine
rolled relentlessly over Georgia and into South Carolina in 1865,
Kershaw's Brigade was transferred "back home," as Dickert proudly put
it, "to fight the invader on our own native soil."

But Kershaw's Brigade ... is much more than a recounting of military
movements and the ordeals of battles. It is at once a panorama of the
agonies and the ecstacies of cold-steel war. Few such narratives are
so replete with quiet, meditative asides, bold delineations of daily
life in camp and on the march, descriptions of places and peoples,
and--by no means least--the raucous, all relieving humor of the common
soldier who resolutely makes merry to-day because to-morrow he may
die. Thus, to young Dickert did the routine of the military become
alternately matters grave or gay. Everything was grist for his mill:
the sight of a pretty girl waving at his passing troop train, the
roasting of a stolen pig over a campfire, the joy of finding a keg
of red-eye which had somehow fallen--no one knew how--from a
supply wagon; or, on another and quite different day, the saddening
afterthoughts of a letter from home, the stink of bloated, rotting
horses, their stiffened legs pointed skyward, the acrid taste of
gun-powder smoke, the frightening whine (or thud) of an unseen
sharpshooter's bullet, and the twisted, shoeless, hatless body of
yesterday's friend or foe.

E. Merton Coulter, in his Travels in the Confederate States: A
Bibliography (1948), called Dickert's "a well-written narrative,
notably concerned with the atmosphere of army life," adding that
"there is no reason to believe that he embellished the story beyond
the general outlines of established truth." Douglas S. Freeman
considered Kershaw's Brigade ... a reliable source for both his R.E.
Lee (1934-1935) and Lee's Lieutenants ... (1942-1944), and Allen
Nevins et al., in their Civil War Books: A Critical Bibliography
(1967), described it as "a full, thick account of a famous South
Carolina brigade," alive with "personal experiences of campaigns in
both East and West."

With these comments I agree. The book is indeed intimate, vigorous,
truthful, and forever fresh. But, as I stated earlier, there is
a third and personal reason why I am proud to have a hand in the
republication of Kershaw's Brigade.... My grandfather, Axalla John
Hoole, formerly captain of the Darlington (S.C.) Riflemen, was
lieutenant colonel of its Eighth Regiment and in that capacity fought
from First Manassas until he was killed in the Battle of Chickamauga,
September 20, 1863. (His photograph is inserted in this edition and
Dickert's tributes to him are on pages 278, 284-285.)

Two days before his death Hoole pencilled his last letter to his wife.
Previously unpublished, it frankly mirrors the esprit de corps of
the men of Kershaw's Brigade on the eve of battle. En route from
Petersburg to Chickamauga by train, the men of the Eighth Regiment
passed through Florence, just ten miles from their homes in
Darlington. Upon arrival at Dalton, Ga. on September 18 Hoole wrote
"Dear Betsy":

I don't know how long we will remain here, so I am hurrying to write
you a few lines, with the sheet of paper on my knee to let you know
that I am as well as could be expected under [the] circumstances.... I
feel pretty well. I heard yesterday that [General W.S.] Rosecrans had
fallen back, so there is no telling how far we may have to march or
how long it will take before we have a battle here.... Oh, my dear
wife, what a trial it was to me to pass so near you and not see you,
but it had to be. About 40 of our Regt. stopped, and I am sorry to
inform you that all of Company A, except the officers, were left at
Florence. That company did worse than any other.... But I know with
some it was too hard a trial to pass. There were some, however, who
left, who had seen their families in less than a month....

We left our horses at Petersburg to follow us on. I left Joe [his
servant] in charge of mine, and I don't know when they will come up.
I feel the need of Joe and the horse, as I can't carry my baggage, and
fare badly in the eating line. [We] took our two days rations and
went to a house last night to have it cooked, but I can't eat it. The
biscuits are made with soda and no salt and you can smell the soda
ten steps.... If I can't buy something to eat for the next two days, I
must starve.... I made out to buy something occasionally on the way to
keep body and soul together.... I must close, as I may not be able
to get this in the mail before we have to leave here.... Kiss my dear
little ones for me, tell all the Negroes howdy for me.... Write as
soon as you get this. Direct it to me at Dalton, as I expect this will
be our post office for the present. Do my dear wife don't fret about
me. Your ever loving Husband....

D. Augustus Dickert, the author of Kershaw's Brigade ... was born on
a farm near Broad River, Lexington County, S.C., in August, 1844,
the son of A.G. and Margaret (Dickinson) Dickert, both from nearby
Fairfield County. In June, 1861, at age seventeen, he enlisted as a
private in Company H, Third Regiment, South Carolina Volunteers, made
up of men mostly from Fairfield, Lexington, and Newberry counties.
Wounded four times (at Savage Station, Fredericksburg, the Wilderness,
and Knoxville), he was gradually promoted to captain and during the
latter part of the war, according to his friend Aull, "he was in
command of his regiment acting as colonel without ever receiving his
commission as such."

After the war Colonel Dickert, as he was best known, returned to his
farm, and took an active part in community life, including leadership
in the local Ku Klux Klan. Meantime, he read widely to improve his
education--as a boy he had attended a country school for only a
few months--and by middle-age had become "better educated than many
college graduates." Well versed in history, astronomy, and literature,
he turned to writing as an avocation, producing numerous stories which
were published in the Herald and News and several magazines. One of
his stories, A Dance with Death, considered by his contemporaries "one
of the most thrilling narratives," was based on true experiences
which earned him the reputation of being a "stranger to danger and
absolutely fearless." His Kershaw's Brigade ... was written, as
he announced, at the request of the local chapter of the United
Confederate Veterans and published by Aull "without one dollar in
sight--a recompense for time, material, and labor being one of the
remotest possibilities."

Dickert was married twice. By his first wife, Katie Cromer of
Fairfield County, he had four children, Roland, Claude, Alma, and
Gussie; and by his second, Mrs. Alice Coleman, also of Fairfield, one
child, Lucile, now Mrs. A.C. Mobley of Denmark, S.C.

Dickert died suddenly at his home of a heart attack on October 4,
1917, aged seventy-three, and was buried in Newberry's Rosemont
Cemetery.

University of Alabama

W. Stanley Hoole

* * * * *

In preparing this preface I have enjoyed the assistance of Mrs. Lucile
Dickert Mobley, Dickert's only surviving child; Mrs. A.S. Wells,
a niece, of 1120 West 46 St., Minneapolis, Minn.; Mrs. Kathleen S.
Fesperman, librarian of Newberry College; Inabinett, librarian, South
Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, and his student
aide, Miss Laura Rickenbacker; and Robert J. and Mary E. Younger,
owners of the Morningside Bookshop, Dayton, Ohio. Besides the letter
(which I own) and the books mentioned in the text I have also used The
Dictionary of American Biography, X, 359-360 (New York, 1933); Battles
and Leaders of the Civil War, ed. by Robert U. Johnson and Clarence
C. Buell, III, 331-338 (New York, 1884-1888); James Longstreet, From
Manassas to Appomattox ... (Philadelphia, 1896); The Photographic
History of the Civil War, ed. by Francis T. Miller, II, III, X, passim
(New York, 1911); W.A. Brunson, Glimpses of Old Darlington (Columbia,
1910); and Elbert H. Aull, "D. Augustus Dickert" in the Newberry
Herald and News, Oct. 5, 1917.

* * * * *

INTRODUCTION.

More than thirty-four years have passed away since the soldiers who
composed the Second South Carolina Regiment of Infantry, the Third
South Carolina Regiment of Infantry, the Eighth South Carolina
Regiment of Infantry, the Fifteenth South Carolina Regiment of
Infantry, the Twentieth South Carolina Regiment of Infantry, and the
Third South Carolina Battalion of Infantry, which commands made up
Kershaw's Brigade, laid down their arms; and yet, until a short
time ago, no hand has been raised to perpetuate its history. This
is singular, when it is remembered how largely the soldiers of this
historic brigade contributed to win for the State of South Carolina
the glory rightfully hers, by reason of the splendid heroism of her
sons in the war between the States, from the year 1861 to that of
1865. If another generation had been allowed to pass, it is greatly
feared that the power to supply the historian with the information
requisite to this work would have passed away forever.

The work which assumes to perpetuate the history of Kershaw's Brigade
should not be a skeleton, consisting of an enumeration of the battles,
skirmishes, and marches which were participated in--with the names of
the commanding officers. What is needed is not a skeleton, but a body
with all its members, so to speak. It should be stated who they were,
the purposes which animated these men in becoming soldiers, how they
lived in camp and on the march, how they fought, how they died and
where, with incidents of bravery in battle, and of fun in camp.
No laurels must be taken from the brow of brave comrades in other
commands; but the rights of the soldiers of Kershaw's Brigade must
be jealously upheld--everyone of these rights. To do this work, will
require that the writer of this history shall have been identified
with this command during its existence--he must have been a soldier.
Again, he must be a man who acts up to his convictions; no toady
nor any apologist is desired. If he was a Confederate soldier from
principle, say so, and apologize to no one for the fact. If he loved
his State and the Southland and wished their independence, say so, and
"forget not the field where they perished." Lastly, he ought to have
the ability to tell the story well.

The friends of Captain D. Augustus Dickert, who commanded Company H of
the Third South Carolina Regiment of Infantry, are confident that he
possesses all the quality essential to this work. He was a splendid
soldier--brave in battle, clear-headed always, and of that equilibrium
of temperament that during camp life, amid the toil of the march, and
in battle the necessity for discipline was recognized and enforced
with justice and impartiality. He was and is a patriot. His pen is
graceful, yet strong. When he yielded to the importunities of
his comrades that he would write this history, there was only one
condition that he insisted upon, and that was that this should be
solely a work of love. Captain Dickert has devoted years to the
gathering together of the materials for this history. Hence, the
readers are now prepared to expect a success. Maybe it will be said
this is the finest history of the war!

Y.J. POPE. Newberry, S.C., August 7, 1899.

History of Kershaw's Brigade. By D. Augustus Dickert. (9x5-3/4, pp.
583. Illus.) Elbert H. Aull Company, Newberry, S.C.

* * * * *

The name of Kershaw's Brigade of South Carolinians is familiar to all
who wore the gray and saw hard fighting on the fields of Virginia, in
the swamps of Carolina and the mountains of Tennessee. This was "the
First Brigade of the First Division of the First Corps of the Army of
Northern Virginia," and many of its members volunteered for service
before the first gun was fired at the Star of the West, while its
ragged regimental remnants laid down their arms at Greensboro not
till the 2d of May, 1865, nearly a month after the fateful day of
Appomattox. Its history is a history of the war, for, as will he seen,
there were few pitched battles in the East that did not call forth its
valor.

The author of the book is D. Augustus Dickert, who, at the age of
15, ran away to fight and surrendered as captain in the Third South
Carolina Volunteers. He was a gallant soldier all through, and he has
written a good book, for the broader lines of history are interwoven
with many slight anecdotes and incidents that illustrate the temper of
the times and impart to the narrative a local coloring. The following
is a good example of its style: "The writer was preparing to enter
school in an adjoining county. But when on my way to school I boarded
a train filled with enthusiasts, some tardy soldiers on their way to
join their companions and others to see, and, if need be, to take old
Anderson out of his den. Nothing could be heard on the train but war
'taking of Sumter,' 'old Anderson' and 'Star of the West.' Everyone
was in high glee. Palmetto cockades, brass buttons, uniforms and gaudy
epaulettes were seen in every direction. This was more than a youthful
vision could withstand, so I directed myself toward the seat of war
instead of schools." Although somewhat theatric, this is an accurate
presentation of those early days.

The chief merit of Captain Dickert's book is that it presents the gay
and bright, as well as the grave side of the Confederate soldier's
experience. It is full of anecdote and incident and repartee. Such
quips and jests kept the heart light and the blood warm beneath many a
tattered coat.

The student of history may wish a more elaborate sketch. But the
average man who wishes to snatch a moment for recreation will be
repaid as he takes up this sketch. There are some faults of style and
some of typography; but, all in all, this is a hearty, cheery, clean
book. It extenuates some things, maybe; but it sets down naught in
malice. As a local history it is an interesting contribution to the
chronicle of the period. R. MEANS DAVIS. S.C. College. 10-31-01

CAPT D. AUGUSTUS DICKERT. Company H 3d S.C. Regiment.

* * * * *

AUTHOR'S ANNOUNCEMENT.

Comrades: Years ago I was asked by the members of a local camp (James
D. Nance Camp, United Confederate Veterans, Newberry, S.C.,) of
Veterans to write a history of Kershaw's "Old First Brigade in the
Civil War," in order that the part taken by you in that memorable
struggle might be transmitted to posterity through the instrumentality
of a proud and loving participant in all the events that went to make
up the life of an organization second to none, that has ever stood
face to face with an invading foe upon the face of earth.

This request was not based upon a supposition of superior educational
qualifications on my part, for the parties who made it know that my
school days ended at twelve, and that the time usually devoted to
instruction of youth was spent by many of us, from '61 to '65, on the
northern side of Richmond. Consequently, to the love that I treasure
in my heart for the "Old First" is due whatever of distinction attaches
to the position of recorder of actions which prove the worth and
heroism of each constituent part of the brigade. In accepting this
trust I shall repress all desire for rhetorical display. I will not
even attempt to do that justice, which is beyond the power of mortals;
but shall simply try to be your faithful chronicler or recorder of
facts as they appeared to me and others, who have so kindly assisted
me in the compilation of these records, and shall confine myself to
the effort to attain my highest ambition--absolute correctness. It is
true that inaccuracies may have crept in; but these will be found
to be mostly among proper names--due in a great measure to the
illegibility of the manuscripts furnished me by correspondents. Again,
apparent errors will be explained, when it is recalled to your minds
that no two men see the same circumstance from the same standpoint.
Honest differences will appear, no matter how trivial the facts are
upon which they are based.

I have endeavored to be fair and just, and in so doing have laid aside
a soldier's pardonable pride in his own regiment, and have accorded
"honor to whom honor was due." Despite all that maybe alleged to
the contrary, ours was not a "War of the Roses," of brother against
brother, struggling for supremacy; but partook more of the nature of
the inhuman contest in the Netherlands, waged by the unscrupulous and
crafty Duke of Alva at the instance Philip (the Good!), or rather
like that in which the rich and fruitful Province of the Palatine was
subjected to fire and rapine under the mailed hand of that monster of
iniquity--Turenne.

How well the men of Kershaw's Brigade acted their part, how proudly
they faced the foe, how grandly they fought, how nobly they died, I
shall attempt not to depict; and yet--

Could heart and brain and hand and pen
But bring to earth and life again
The scenes of old,
Then all the world might know and see;
Your deeds on scrolls of fame would be
Inscribed in gold

I am indebted to many of the old comrades for their assistance, most
notably Judge Y.J. Pope, of the Third South Carolina; Colonel Wm.
Wallace, of the Second; Captain L.A. Waller, for the Seventh; Captains
Malloy, Harllee, and McIntyre, of the Eighth; Captain D.J. Griffith
and Private Charles Blair, of the Fifteenth; Colonel Rice and Captain
Jennings, of the Third Battalion, and many others of the Twentieth.
But should this volume prove of interest to any of the "Old Brigade,"
and should there be any virtue in it, remember it belongs to Y.J.
Pope. Thrice have I laid down my pen, after meeting with so many
rebuffs; but as often taken it up after the earnest solicitation of
the former Adjutant of the Third, who it was that urged me on to its
completion.

To the publisher, E.H. Aull, too much praise cannot be given. He has
undertaken the publication of this work on his individual convictions
of its merit, and with his sole conviction that the old comrades would
sustain the efforts of the author. Furthermore, he has undertaken it
on his own responsibility, without one dollar in sight--a recompence
for time, material, and labor being one of the remotest possibilities.

D. AUGUSTUS DICKERT.

Newberry, S.C., August 15, 1899.

* * * * *

CHAPTER I

SECESSION.

Its Causes and Results.

The secession bell rang out in South Carolina on the 20th of December,
1860, not to summon the men to arms, nor to prepare the State for war.
There was no conquest that the State wished to make, no foe on her
border, no enemy to punish. Like the liberty bell of the revolution
that electrified the colonies from North to South, the bell of
secession put the people of the State in a frenzy from the mountains
to the sea. It announced to the world that South Carolina would be
free--that her people had thrown off the yoke of the Union that bound
the States together in an unholy alliance. For years the North had
been making encroachments upon the South; the general government
grasping, with a greedy hand, those rights and prerogatives, which
belonged to the States alone, with a recklessness only equalled by
Great Britain towards the colonies; began absorbing all of the rights
guaranteed to the State by the constitution, and tending towards a
strong and centralized government. They had made assaults upon our
institutions, torn away the barriers that protected our sovereignty.
So reckless and daring had become these assaults, that on more than
one occasion the States of the South threatened dissolution of the
Union. But with such master minds as Clay, Webster, and Calhoun in
the councils of the nation, the calamity was averted for the time. The
North had broken compact after compact, promises after promises, until
South Carolina determined to act upon those rights she had retained
for herself in the formation of the Union, and which the general
government guaranteed to all, and withdrew when that Union no longer
served the purposes for which it was formed.

Slavery, it has been said, was the cause of the war. Incidentally it
may have been, but the real cause was far removed from the institution
of slavery. That institution existed at the formation of the Union, or
compact. It had existed for several hundred years, and in every State;
the federation was fully cognizant of the fact when the agreement of
the Union was reached. They promised not to disturb it, and allow
each State to control it as it seemed best. Slavery was gradually but
surely dying out. Along the border States it scarcely existed at all,
and the mighty hand of an All-wise Ruler could be plainly seen in the
gradual emancipation of all the slaves on the continent. It had begun
in the New England States then. In the Caribbean Sea and South America
emancipation had been gradually closing in upon the small compass of
the Southern States, and that by peaceful measures, and of its own
volition; so much so that it would have eventually died out, could not
be denied by any who would look that far into the future, and judge
that future by the past. The South looked with alarm and horror at a
wholesale emancipation, when they viewed its havoc and destruction
in Hayti and St. Domingo, where once existed beautiful homes and
luxuriant fields, happy families and general progress; all this
wealth, happiness, and prosperity had been swept away from those
islands as by a deadly blight. Ruin, squalor, and beggary now stalks
through those once fair lands.

A party sprang up at the North inimical to the South; at first only a
speck upon the horizon, a single sail in a vast ocean; but it grew and
spread like contagion. They were first called agitators, and consisted
of a few fanatics, both women and men, whose avowed object was
emancipation--to do by human hands that which an All-wise Providence
was surely doing in His own wise way. At first the South did not look
with any misgivings upon the fanatics. But when Governors of Northern
States, leading statesmen in the councils of the nation; announced
this as their creed and guide, then the South began to consider
seriously the subject of secession. Seven Governors and their
legislatures at the North had declared, by acts regularly passed and
ratified, their determination "not to allow the laws of the land to be
administered or carried out in their States." They made preparation to
nullify the laws of Congress and the constitution. That party,
which was first called "Agitators," but now took the name
of "Republicans"--called at the South the "black Republicans"--grown to
such proportions that they put in the field candidates for President
and Vice-President of the United States. Numbers increased with each
succeeding campaign. In the campaign of 1860 they put Abraham Lincoln
and Hannibal Hamlin forward as their standard bearers, and whose
avowed purpose was the "the liberation of the slaves, regardless of
the consequences." This party had spies all over the Southern States,
and these emissaries incited insurrection, taught the slaves "that by
rising at night and murdering their old masters and their families,
they would be doing God's will;" that "it was a duty they owed to
their children;" this "butchery of the sleeping and innocent whites
was the road to freedom." In Virginia they sent down armed bands of
whites, roused the negroes at night, placed guns, pikes, and arms of
every kind in the hands of the poor, deluded creatures, and in that
one night they butchered, in cold blood, the families of some of the
best men in the State. These cold blooded butcheries would have done
credit to the most cruel and blood thirsty of the primeval savages of
the forest. These deeds were heralded all over the North as "acts of
God, done by the hands of men." The leader of this diabolical plan and
his compeers were sainted by their followers and admirers, and praises
sung over him all over the North, as if over the death of saints. By
a stupendous blunder the people of the South, and the friends of the
Union generally, allowed this party to elect Lincoln and Hamlin. The
South now had no alternative. Now she must either remain in a Union,
where our institutions were to be dragged down; where the laws were
to be obeyed in one section, but not in another; where existed open
resistance to laws in one State and quiet obedience in another; where
servile insurrections were being threatened continuously; where the
slaves were aided and abetted by whites at the North in the butcheries
of their families; or secede and fight. These were the alternatives
on the one part, or a severance from the Union and its consequences
on the other. From the very formation of the government, two
constructions were put upon this constitution--the South not viewing
this compact with that fiery zeal, or fanatical adulation, as they
did at the North. The South looked upon it more as a confederation
of States for mutual protection in times of danger, and a general
advancement of those interests where the whole were concerned. Then,
again, the vast accumulation of wealth in the Southern States,
caused by the overshadowing of all other commodities of
commerce--cotton--created a jealousy at the North that nothing but
the prostration of the South, the shattering of her commerce, the
destruction of her homes, and the freedom of her slaves, could answer.
The wealth of the South had become a proverb The "Wealthy Southern
Planter" had become an eyesore to the North, and to humble her haughty
pride, as the North saw it, was to free her slaves. As one of the
first statesmen of the South has truly said, "The seeds of the
Civil War were sown fifty years before they were born who fought her
battles."

A convention was called to meet in Columbia, in December, 1860, to
frame a new constitution, and to take such steps as were best suited
to meet the new order of things that would be brought about by this
fanatical party soon to be at the head of the government. Feeling ran
high--people were excited--everywhere the voice of the people was for
secession. The women of the South, who would naturally be the first
sufferers if the programme of the "Agitators" were carried out, were
loud in their cries for separation. Some few people were in favor of
the South moving in a body, and a feeble opposition ticket for the
delegates to the convention was put in the field. These were called
"Co-operationists," i.e., in favor of secession, but to await a union
with the other Southern States. These were dubbed by the most fiery
zealots of secession, "Submissionists" in derision. The negroes, too,
scented freedom from afar. The old cooks, mammas, house servants, and
negro eavesdroppers gathered enough of "freedom of slaves," "war,"
"secession," to cause the negroes to think that a great measure was
on foot somewhere, that had a direct bearing on their long looked for
Messiah--"Freedom." Vigilance committees sprung up all over the South,
to watch parties of Northern sentiment, or sympathy, and exercise a
more guarded scrutiny over the acts of the negroes. Companies were
organized in towns and cities, who styled themselves "Minute Men," and
rosettes, or the letters "M.M.," adorned the lapels of the coats worn
by those in favor of secession. The convention met in Columbia, but
for some local cause it was removed to Charleston. After careful
deliberation, a new constitution was framed and the ordinance of
secession was passed without a dissenting voice, on the 20th of
December, 1860, setting forth the State's grievances and acting upon
her rights, declaring South Carolina's connection with the Union at
an end. It has been truly said, that this body of men who passed the
ordinance of secession was one of the most deliberate, representative,
and talented that had ever assembled in the State of South Carolina.
When the news flashed over the wires the people were in a frenzy of
delight and excitement--bells tolled, cannons boomed, great parades
took place, and orators from street corners and hotel balconies
harangued the people. The ladies wore palmetto upon their hats or
dresses, and showed by every way possible their earnestness in the
great drama that was soon to be enacted upon the stage events. Drums
beat, men marched through the streets, banners waved and dipped,
ladies from the windows and from the housetops waved handkerchiefs or
flags to the enthusiastic throng moving below. The bells from historic
old St. Michael's, in Charleston, were never so musical to the ears of
the people as when they pealed out the chimes that told of secession.
The war was on.

Still with all this enthusiasm, the sober-headed, patriotic element
of the South regretted the necessity of this dissolution. They, too,
loved the Union their ancestors had helped to make--they loved the
name, the glory, and the prestige won by their forefathers upon the
bloody field of the revolution. While they did not view this Union as
indispensable to their existence, they loved and reverenced the flag
of their country. As a people, they loved the North; as a nation,
they gloried in her past and future possibilities. The dust of their
ancestors mingled in imperishable fame with those of the North. In the
peaceful "Godsacre" or on the fields of carnage they were ever willing
to share with them their greatness, and equally enjoyed those of
their own, but denied to them the rights to infringe upon the South's
possessions or rights of statehood. We all loved the Union, but we
loved it as it was formed and made a compact by the blood of our
ancestors. Not as contorted and misconstrued by demagogueism and
fanaticism. We almost deified the flag of the Union, under whose folds
it was made immortal by the Huguenots, the Roundheads, the Cavaliers,
and men of every faith and conviction in the crowning days of the
revolution. The deeds of her great men, the history of the past, were
an equal heritage of all--we felt bound together by natural bonds
equal to the ties of blood or kindred. We loved her towering
mountains, her rolling prairies, her fertile fields, her enchanting
scenery, her institutions, her literature and arts, all; all were
equally the South's as well as the North's. Not for one moment would
the South pluck a rose from the flowery wreath of our goddess of
liberty and place it upon the brow of our Southland alone. The
Mississippi, rising among the hills and lakes of the far North,
flowing through the fertile valleys of the South, was to all our
"Mother Nile." The great Rocky Mountains and Sierra Nevada chained our
Western border together from Oregon to the Rio Grande. The Cumberland,
the Allegheny, and the Blue Ridge, lifting their heads up from among
the verdant fields of Vermont, stretching southward, until from their
southern summit at "Lookout" could be viewed the borderland of
the gulf. In the sceneries of these mountains, their legends and
traditions, they were to all the people of the Union what Olympus was
to the ancients. Where the Olympus was the haunts, the wooing places
of the gods of the ancient Greeks, the Appalachian was the reveling
grounds for the muses of song and story of the North and South
alike. And while the glories of the virtues of Greece and Rome, the
birthplace of republicanism and liberty, may have slept for centuries,
or died out entirely, that spirit of national liberty and personal
freedom was transplanted to the shores of the New World, and nowhere
was the spirit of freedom more cherished and fostered than in the
bright and sunny lands of the South. The flickering torch of freedom,
borne by those sturdy sons of the old world to the new, nowhere took
such strong and rapid growth as did that planted by the Huguenots on
the soil of South Carolina. Is it any wonder, then, that a people
with such high ideals, such lofty spirits, such love of freedom, would
tamely submit to a Union where such ideals and spirits were so lightly
considered as by those who were now in charge of the government--where
our women and children were to be at the mercies of a brutal race,
with all of their passions aroused for rapine and bloodshed; where we
would be continually threatened or subjected to a racial war, one of
supremacy; where promises were made to be broken, pledges given to be
ignored; where laws made for all were to be binding only on those who
chose to obey? Such were some of the conditions that confronted South
Carolina and her sister States at this time, and forced them into
measures that brought about the most stupendous civil war in modern or
ancient times.

To sum up: It was not love for the Union, but jealousy of the South's
wealth. It was not a spirit of humanity towards the slaves, but a
hatred of the South, her chivalry, her honor, and her integrity. A
quality wanting in the one is always hated in that of the other.

* * * * *

CHAPTER II

ENROLLMENT OF TROOPS.

Troops Gathered at Charleston--First Service as a Volunteer.

The Legislature, immediately after the passage of the ordinance
of secession, authorized the Governor to organize ten regiments of
infantry for State service. Some of these regiments were enlisted for
twelve months, while Gregg's, the First, was for six, of, as it was
understood at the time, its main duties were the taking of Sumter.
The first regiments so formed were: First, Gregg's; Second, Kershaw's;
Third, Williams'; Fourth, Sloan's; Fifth, Jenkins'; Sixth, Rion's;
Seventh, Bacon's: Eighth, Cash's; Ninth, Blanding's; besides a
regiment of regulars and some artillery and cavalry companies. There
existed a nominal militia in the State, and numbered by battalions
and regiments. These met every three months by companies and made some
feeble attempts at drilling, or "mustering," as it was called. To the
militia was intrusted the care of internal police of the State. Each
company was divided into squads, with a captain, whose duties were to
do the policing of the neighborhood, called "patrolling." They would
patrol the country during Sundays, and occasionally at nights, to
prevent illegal assemblies of negroes, and also to prevent them from
being at large without permission of their masters. But this system
had dwindled down to a farce, and was only engaged in by some of the
youngsters, more in a spirit of fun and frolic than to keep order
in the neighborhood. The real duties of the militia of the State
consisted of an annual battalion and regimental parade, called
"battalion muster" and "general muster." This occasioned a lively
turn-out of the people, both ladies and gentlemen, not connected with
the troops, to witness the display of officers' uniforms, and bright
caparisoned steeds, the stately tread of the "muster men," listen to
the rattle of the drums and inspiring strains of the fifes, and horns
of the rural bands.

From each battalion a company was formed for State service. These
companies elected their captains and field officers, the general
officers being appointed by the Governor. Immediately after the call
of the Governor for troops, a great military spirit swept the country,
volunteer companies sprang up like magic all over the land, each
anxious to enter the service of the State and share the honor of going
to war. Up to this time, few thought, there would be a conflict. Major
Anderson, U.S.A., then on garrison duty at Fort Moultrie, heard of the
secession of the State, and (whether by orders or his own volition, is
not known and immaterial,) left Fort Moultrie, after spiking the guns
and destroying the carriages; took possession of Fort Sumter. The
State government looked with some apprehension upon this questionable
act of Maj. Anderson's. Fort Sumter stood upon grounds of the State,
ceded to the United States for purposes of defence. South Carolina
now claimed the property, and made demands upon Maj. Anderson and the
government at Washington for its restoration. This was refused.

Ten companies, under Col. Maxey Gregg, were called to Charleston
for the purpose of retaking this fort by force of arms, if peaceful
methods failed. These companies were raised mostly in towns and
cities by officers who had been commissioned by the Governor. College
professors formed companies of their classes, and hurried off to
Charleston. Companies of town and city volunteers offered their
services to the Governor--all for six months, or until the fall of
Sumter.

On the 9th of January, 1861, the State was thrown into a greater
paroxism of excitement by the "Star of the West," a Northern vessel,
being fired on in the bay of Charleston by State troops. This steamer,
laden with supplies for Sumter, had entered the channel with the
evident intention of reinforcing Anderson, when the Citadel guards,
under Captain Stevens, fired several shots across her bow, then
she turned about and sped away to the sea. In the meantime the old
battalions of militia had been called out at their respective "muster
grounds," patriotic speeches made, and a call for volunteers made.
Companies were easily formed and officers elected. Usually in
selecting the material for officers, preference was given to soldiers
of the Mexican war, graduates of the military schools and the old
militia of officers. These companies met weekly, and were put through
a course of instructions in the old Macomb's tactics. In this way
the ten regiments were formed, but not called together until the
commencement of the bombardment of Sumter, with the exception of those
troops enlisted for six months, now under Gregg at Charleston, and a
few volunteer companies of cavalry and artillery.

The writer was preparing to enter school in a neighboring county when
the first wave of patriotism struck him. Captain Walker's Company,
from Newberry, of which I was a member, had been ordered to Charleston
with Gregg, and was stationed at Morris' Island before I could get
off. Two of my brothers and myself had joined the company made,
up from the Thirty-ninth Battalion of State militia, and which
afterwards formed a part of the Third S.C. Volunteers (Colonel
Williams). But at that time, to a young mind like mine, the war looked
too remote for me to wait for this company to go, so when on my way to
school I boarded a train filled with enthusiasts, some tardy soldiers
on their way to join their companies, and others to see, and if need
be, "take old Anderson out of his den." Nothing on the train could be
heard but war, war--"taking of Sumter," "Old Anderson," and "Star
of the West." Everyone was in a high glee--palmetto cockades, brass
buttons, uniforms, and gaudy epaulettes were seen in every direction.
This was more than a youthful vision could withstand, so I directed my
steps towards the seat of war instead of school. By this time the city
of Charleston may be said to have been in a state of siege--none could
leave the islands or lands without a permit from the Governor or the
Adjutant and Inspector General. The headquarters of Governor Pickens
and staff were in the rooms of the Charleston Hotel, and to that
place I immediately hied and presented myself before those "August
dignitaries," and asked permission to join my company on Morris'
Island, but was refused. First, on account of not having a permit of
leave of absence from my captain; secondly, on account of my youth (I
then being on the rise of 15); and thirdly, having no permission from
my parents. What a contrast with later years, when boys of that age
were pressed into service. The city of Charleston was ablaze with
excitement, flags waved from the house tops, the heavy tread of
the embryo soldiers could be heard in the streets, the corridors of
hotels, and in all the public places. The beautiful park on the water
front, called the "Battery," was thronged with people of every age and
sex, straining their eyes or looking through glasses out at Sumter,
whose bristling front was surmounted with cannon, her flags waving
defiance. Small boats and steamers dotted the waters of the bay.
Ordnance and ammunition were being hurried to the island. The one
continual talk was "Anderson," "Fort Sumter," and "war." While
there was no spirit of bravado, or of courting of war, there was no
disposition to shirk it. A strict guard was kept at all the wharves,
or boat landings, to prevent any espionage on our movements or works.
It will be well to say here, that no moment from the day of secession
to the day the first gun was fired at Sumter, had been allowed to pass
without overtures being made to the government at Washington for a
peaceful solution of the momentous question. Every effort that tact
or diplomacy could invent was resorted to, to have an amicable
adjustment. Commissioners had been sent to Washington, asking, urging,
and almost begging to be allowed to leave the Union, now odious to
the people of the State, without bloodshed. Commissioners of the North
came to Charleston to treat for peace, but they demanded peace without
any concessions, peace with submission, peace with all the chances of
a servile war. Some few leaders at the North were willing to allow
us the right, while none denied it. The leading journal at the
North said: "Let the erring sisters depart in peace." But all of our
overtures were rejected by the administration at Washington, and
a policy of evasion, or dilly-dallying, was kept up by those in
authority at the North. All the while active preparations were going
on to coerce the State by force of arms. During this time other States
seceded and joined South Carolina, and formed the "Confederate States
of America," with Jefferson Davis as President, with the capital at
Montgomery, Ala.

Being determined to reach my company, I boarded a steamer, bound for
Morris' Island, intending, if possible, to avoid the guard. In this I
was foiled. But after making several futile attempts, I fell in with
an officer of the First South Carolina Regiment, who promised to pilot
me over. On reaching the landing, at Cummings Point, I was to follow
his lead, as he had a passport, but in going down the gang plank we
were met by soldiers with crossed bayonets, demanding "passports." The
officer, true to his word, passed me over, but then my trouble
began. When I reached the shore I lost my sponsor, and began to make
inquiries for my company. When it was discovered that there was a
stranger in the camp without a passport, a corporal of the guards
was called, I was placed under arrest, sent to the guardhouse, and
remained in durance vile until Captain Walker came to release me. When
I joined my company I found a few of my old school-mates, the others
were strangers. Everything that met my eyes reminded me of war.
Sentinels patrolled the beach; drums beat; soldiers marching and
counter-marching; great cannons being drawn along the beach, hundreds
of men pulling them by long ropes, or drawn by mule teams. Across the
bay we could see on Sullivan's Island men and soldiers building and
digging out foundations for forts. Morris' Island was lined from the
lower point to the light house, with batteries of heavy guns. To the
youthful eye of a Southerner, whose mind had been fired by Southern
sentiment and literature of the day, by reading the stories of heroes
and soldiers in our old "Southern Reader," of the thrilling romances
of Marion and his men, by William Gilmore Simms, this sight of war was
enough to dazzle and startle to an enthusiasm that scarcely knew any
bounds. The South were "hero worshipers." The stories of Washington
and Putnam, of Valley Forge, of Trenton, of Bunker Hill, and Lexington
never grew old, while men, women, and children never tired of reading
of the storming of Mexico, the siege of Vera Cruz, the daring of the
Southern troops at Molino del Rey.

My first duty as a soldier, I will never forget. I went with a detail
to Steven's Iron Battery to build embrasures for the forts there. This
was done by filling cotton bags the size of 50 pound flour sacks with
sand, placing them one upon the top of the other at the opening where
the mouths of cannons projected, to prevent the loose earth from
falling down and filling in the openings. The sand was first put upon
common wheel-barrows and rolled up single planks in a zig-zag way to
the top of the fort, then placed in the sacks and laid in position. My
turn came to use a barrow, while a comrade used the shovel for filling
up. I had never worked a wheel-barrow in my life, and like most of my
companions, had done but little work of any kind. But up I went the
narrow zig-zag gangway, with a heavy loaded barrow of loose sand. I
made the first plank all right, and the second, but when I undertook
to reach the third plank on the angles, and about fifteen feet from
the ground, my barrow rolled off, and down came sand, barrow,
and myself to the ground below. I could have cried with shame and
mortification, for my misfortune created much merriment for the good
natured workers. But it mortified me to death to think I was not man
enough to fill a soldier's place. My good coworker and brother soldier
exchanged the shovel for the barrow with me, and then began the first
day's work I had ever done of that kind. Hour after hour passed, and
I used the shovel with a will. It looked as if night would never
come. At times I thought I would have to sink to the earth from pure
exhaustion, but my pride and youthful patriotism, animated by the acts
of others, urged me on. Great blisters formed and bursted in my hand,
beads of perspiration dripped from my brow, and towards night the
blood began to show at the root of my fingers. But I was not by
myself; there were many others as tender as myself. Young men with
wealthy parents, school and college boys, clerks and men of leisure,
some who had never done a lick of manual labor in their lives, and
would not have used a spade or shovel for any consideration, would
have scoffed at the idea of doing the laborious work of men, were
now toiling away with the farmer boys, the overseers' sons, the
mechanics--all with a will--and filled with enthusiasm that nothing
short of the most disinterested patriotism could have endured. There
were men in companies raised in Columbia, Charleston, and other towns,
who were as ignorant and as much strangers to manual labor as though
they had been infants, toiling away with pick and shovel with as much
glee as if they had been reared upon the farm or had been laborers in
a mine.

Over about midway in the harbor stood grim old Sumter, from whose
parapets giant guns frowned down upon us; while around the battlements
the sentinels walked to and fro upon their beats. All this preparation
and labor were to reduce the fort or prevent a reinforcement.
Supplies had been cut off, only so much allowed as was needed for the
garrison's daily consumption. With drill every two hours, guard
duty, and working details, the soldiers had little time for rest
or reflection. Bands of music enlivened the men while on drill,
and cheered them while at work by martial and inspiring strains of
"Lorena," "The Prairie Flower," "Dixie," and other Southern airs.
Pickets walked the beach, every thirty paces, night and day; none
were allowed to pass without a countersign or a permit. During the day
small fishing smacks, their white sails bobbing up and down over
the waves, dotted the bay; some going out over the bar at night with
rockets and signals to watch for strangers coming from the seaward.
Days and nights passed without cessation of active operations--all
waiting anxiously the orders from Montgomery to reduce the fort.

General G.T. Beauregard, a citizen of Louisiana, resident of New
Orleans, a veteran of the Mexican War, and a recent officer in the
United States Engineering Corps, was appointed Brigadier General and
placed in command of all the forces around Charleston. A great many
troops from other States, which had also seceded and joined the
Confederacy, had come to South Carolina to aid in the capture of
Sumter. General Beauregard was a great favorite with all the people,
and the greatest confidence felt in his skill and ability by the
soldiers. The State officers and troops obeyed him cheerfully, and had
implicit faith in his military skill. As he was destined to play an
important part in the great role of war that was soon to follow, I
will give here a short sketch of his life. General G.T. Beauregard was
born near the city of New Orleans, May 18th, 1818. His first ancestors
were from Wales, but engaging in an insurrection, they were forced to
flee from their country, and sought an asylum in France. In the last
of the thirteenth century one of them became attached to the Court of
Philip the IV, surnamed the "Fair." He then married Mademoiselle de
Lafayette, maid of honor to the sister of Philip. When Edward, King of
England, married the sister of Philip, he followed with his wife the
fortunes of the English King, and became a member at the Court of St.
James. He was afterwards assigned to a British post on the continent.
And again this family of the early Beauregards, then called Toutant
Beauregard, became citizens of France. Jacques Beauregard came
to Louisiana from France with a colony sent out by Louis XIV. The
grandson of this Jacques is the present Gustav Toutant Beauregard.
At the early age of eleven years he was taken to New York and placed
under a private tutor, an exile from France, and who had fled the
Empire on the downfall of Napoleon. At sixteen he entered West Point
as a cadet, and graduated July 1st, 1838, being second in a class
of forty-five. He entered the service of the United States as Second
Lieutenant of Engineers. He served with distinction through the
Mexican War, under Major General Scott, in the engineer corps. For
gallant and meritorious conduct he was twice promoted--first to the
Captaincy and then to the position of Major. For a short time he was
Superintendent of the West Point Military Academy, but owing to the
stirring events just preceding the late war, he resigned on the first
of March, 1861. He entered the service of the Confederate States; was
appointed Brigadier General and assigned to the post of Charleston.
Soon after the fall of Sumter he was made full General, and assigned
to a command on the Potomac, and with J.E. Johnston fought the
memorable battle of Bull Run. He was second in command at Shiloh with
A.S. Johnston, then the "Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and
Florida." With J.E. Johnston he commanded the last remnant of a once
grand army that surrendered at Greensboro, N.C. He returned to his old
home in New Orleans at the close of the war, to find it ruined, his
fortune wrecked, his wife dead, and his country at the feet of a
merciless foe. He took no further part in military or political
affairs, and passed away gently and peacefully at a ripe old age,
loved and admired by his many friends, and respected by his enemies.
Such, in brief, was the life of the man who came to control the
destinies of South Carolina at this most critical moment of her
history.

On March 6th he placed Morris' Island under the immediate command of
Brigadier General James Simonds, while the batteries were under the
command of Lieutenant Colonel W.G. DeSaussure. Sullivan's Island was
under the command of General R.G.M. Dunovant, and the batteries of
this island were under Lieutenant Colonel Ripley. Captain Calhoun
commanded at Fort Moultrie, and Captain Thomas at Fort Johnston. A
floating battery had been constructed by Captain Hamilton, and moved
out to the western extremity of Sullivan's Island. This was under
command of its inventor and builder. It consisted of very heavy
timbers; its roof overlaid with railroad iron in a slanting position,
through which trap doors had been cut for the cannon to project.
The Stevens' Battery, as it was called, was constructed on the same
principle; was built at Cummings' Point, on Morris' Island, and
commanded by Captain Stevens, of the Citadel Academy. It was feared
at this time that the concussion caused by the heavy shells and solid
shots striking the iron would cause death to those underneath, or so
stun them as to render them unfit for further service; but both these
batteries did excellent service in the coming bombardment. Batteries
along the water fronts of the islands were manned by the volunteer
companies of Colonel Gregg's Regiment, and other regiments that had
artillery companies attached.

On the 8th of April a message was received at Montgomery to the effect
that a fleet was then en route to reinforce Sumter, "peaceably if they
could, but forcibly if necessary."

General Beauregard was instructed to demand the immediate evacuation
of the fort; Anderson failing to comply with this demand, he was to
proceed to reduce it. The demand was made upon Major Anderson, and was
refused. General Beauregard had everything in readiness, only waiting
the result of the negotiations for the surrender or evacuation, to
give the command to fire. The night of the 11th was one of great
excitement. It was known for a certainty that on to-morrow the long
looked for battle was to take place. Diplomacy had done its work, now
powder and ball must do what diplomacy had failed to accomplish.
All working details had been called in, tools put aside, the heating
furnaces fired, shells and red-hot solid shot piled in close proximity
to the cannon and mortars. All the troops were under arms during the
night, and a double picket line stretched along the beach, and while
all seemed to be life and animation, a death-like stillness pervaded
the air. There was some apprehension lest the fleet might come in
during the night, land an army on Morris' Island in small boats, and
take the forts by surprise. Men watched with breathless interest the
hands on the dials as they slowly moved around to the hour of four,
the time set to open the fire. At that hour gunners stood with
lanyards in their hands. Men peered through the darkness in the
direction of Sumter, as looking for some invisible object. At half
past four Captain James, from Fort Johnston, pulled his lanyard; the
great mortar belched forth, a bright flash, and the shell went curving
over in a kind of semi-circle, the lit fuse trailing behind, showing
a glimmering light, like the wings of a fire fly, bursting over the
silent old Sumter. This was the signal gun that unchained the great
bull-dogs of war around the whole circle of forts. Scarcely had
the sound of the first gun died away, ere the dull report from Fort
Moultrie came rumbling over the waters, like an echo, and another
shell exploded over the deserted parade ground of the doomed fort.
Scarcely had the fragments of this shell been scattered before General
Stevens jerked the lanyard at the railroad battery, and over the water
gracefully sped the lighted shell, its glimmering fuse lighting its
course as it, too, sped on in its mission of destruction. Along the
water fronts, and from all the forts, now a perfect sheet of flame
flashed out, a deafening roar, a rumbling deadening sound, and the war
was on. The men as a whole were alive to their work; shot after
shot was fired. Now a red-hot solid shot, now a shell, goes capering
through the air like a shower of meteors on a frolic. The city was
aroused. Men, women, and children rush to the housetops, or crowd each
other along the water front of the battery.

But Sumter remained silent, grim, defiant. All there seemed to be in
peaceful, quiet slumber, while the solid shot battered against her
walls, or the shells burst over their heads and in the court yard
below. Round after round is fired. The gunners began to weary of their
attempt to arouse the sleeping foe. Is the lion so far back in his
lair as not to feel the prods of his tormentors? or is his apathy
or contempt too great to be aroused from his slumber by such feeble
blows? The grey streaks of morning came coursing from the east, and
still the lion is not angry, or is loath to take up the struggle
before he has had his morning meal. At seven o'clock, however, if
there had been any real anxiety to rouse his temper, it was appeased.
The stars and stripes ran up the flag staff, and from out the walls of
the grim old stronghold burst a wreath of smoke--then a report, and
a shot comes whizzing through the air, strikes the iron battery,
and ricochets over in the sand banks. He then pays his respects to
Moultrie. From the casements and barbette guns issue a flame and
smoke, while the air is filled with flying shot. The battle is general
and grand. Men spring upon ramparts and shout defiance at Sumter,
to be answered by the crashing of shot against the walls of their
bomb-proof forts. All day long the battle rages without intermission
or material advantages to either side. As night approached, the fire
slackened in all direction, and at dark Sumter ceased to return
our fire at all. By a preconcerted arrangement, the fire from our
batteries and forts kept up at fifteen-minute intervals only. The next
morning the firing began with the same vigor and determination as the
day before. Sumter, too, was not slow in showing her metal and paid
particular attention to Moultrie. Early in the forenoon the smoke
began to rise from within the walls of Sumter; "the tort was on fire."
Shots now rain upon the walls of the burning fort with greater fury
than ever. The flag was seen to waver, then slowly bend over the
staff and fall. A shout of triumph rent the air from the thousands of
spectators on the islands and the mainland. Flags and handkerchiefs
waved from the hands of excited throngs in the city, as tokens of
approval of eager watchers. Soldiers mount the ramparts and shout in
exultation, throwing their caps in the air. Away to the seaward the
whitened sails of the Federal fleet were seen moving up towards
the bar. Anxiety and expectation are now on tip-toe. Will the fleet
attempt the succor of their struggling comrades? Will they dare to run
the gauntlet of the heavy dahlgreen guns that line the channel sides?
From the burning fort the garrison was fighting for their existence.
Through the fiery element and hail of shot and shell they see the near
approach of the long expected relief. Will the fleet accept the gauge
of battle? No. The ships falter and stop. They cast anchor and remain
a passive spectator to the exciting scenes going on, without offering
aid to their friends or battle to their enemies.

General Beauregard, with that chivalrous spirit that characterized all
true Southerners, when he saw the dense curling smoke and the flames
that now began to leap and lick the topmost walls of the fort, sent
three of his aids to Major Anderson, offering aid and assistance in
case of distress. But the brave commander, too proud to receive aid
from a generous foe when his friends are at hand yet too cowardly to
come to the rescue, politely refused the offer. But soon thereafter
the white flag was waving from the parapets of Fort Sumter. Anderson
had surrendered; the battle was over; a victory won by the gallant
troops of the South, and one of the most miraculous instances of a
bloodless victory, was the first battle fought and won. Thousands of
shots given and taken, and no one hurt on either side.

A remarkable instance of Southern magnanimity was that of W.T.
Wigfall, a volunteer aide to General Beauregard. As he stood watching
the progress of the battle from Cummings' Point and saw the great
volume of black smoke curling and twisting in the air--the storm of
shot and shell plunging into the doomed walls of the fort, and the
white flag flying from its burning parapets--his generous, noble, and
sympathetic heart was fired to a pitch that brooked no consideration,
"a brave foe in distress" is to him a friend in need. Before
orders could be given to cease firing, or permission granted by the
commanding general, he leaped into a small boat, and with a single
companion rowed away to the burning fortress, shells shrieking over
his head, the waves rocking his frail little craft like a shell in
a vast ocean, but the undaunted spirit of the great man overcame all
obstacles and danger, and reached the fort in safety. Here a hasty
consultation was had. Anderson agreed to capitulate and Wigfall
hastened to so inform General Beauregard.

It was agreed that Major Anderson should leave the fort--not as a
prisoner of war, but as a brave foe, who had done all in human power
to sustain the dignity of his country and the honor of his flag. He
was allowed to salute his flag, by firing a number of guns, and with
his officers and troops and all personal belongings placed upon a
transport, was carried out to the fleet.

The only melancholy event of the memorable bombardment was the sudden
death of one of the soldiers of the garrison, caused by the premature
explosion of a shell while firing the salute to the flag.

The prominence given to Wigfall's exertion, and erratic conduct at
the time, and his meritorious career during the existence of the
Confederacy, prompt me to give a short sketch of this meteoric
character. He was born in Edgefield County along in the first quarter
of the century of good old South Carolina stock, and educated in
the common schools and in South Carolina College. His large means,
inherited from a long line of wealthy ancestors, afforded him
opportunities to enjoy life at his pleasure. He was full of that
fiery zeal for honor, hot headed and impulsive. His hasty and stubborn
nature caused him many enemies; yet his charitable disposition
and generous impulses gave him many friends. He could brook no
differences; he was intolerant, proud of his many qualities, gifted,
and brave to rashness. In early life he had differences with Whitfield
Brooks, the father of Preston S. Brooks, Congressman from South
Carolina, but at that time a student of South Carolina College. While
the son was in college, Wigfall challenged the elder Brooks to a duel.
Brooks, from his age and infirmities, refused. According to the rules
of the code duello, Wigfall posted Brooks at Edgefield Court House,
and guarded the fatal notice during the day with a loaded pistol.
A relative of Brooks, a feeble, retiring, and unassuming young man,
braved the vengeance of Wigfall, and tore the degrading challenge from
the court house door in spite of the warning and threats of the Knight
of the Code. A pistol shot rang out, and the young champion of Brooks
fell dead at his feet. Preston Brooks, hearing of the indignity placed
upon his father, the death of his kinsman and defender of his family
honor, now entered the list, and challenged the slayer of his father's
protector. Wigfall accepted the challenge with eagerness, for now
the hot Southern blood was thoroughly aroused, and party feelings had
sprung up and ran high. The gauge of battle was to be settled at Sand
Bar Ferry, on the Savannah River near Augusta, Ga., the noted duelling
ground of the high tempered sons of Georgia and the Carolinas. It was
fought with dueling pistols of the old school, and at the first fire
Brooks was severely wounded. Wigfall had kindled a feeling against
himself in the State that his sensitive nature could not endure. He
left for the rising and new born State of Texas. Years rolled by, and
the next meeting of those fiery antagonists was at the Capital of the
United States--Brooks in Congress, and Wigfall in the Senate.

* * * * *

CHAPTER III

Reorganization or the Troops--Volunteers for Confederate Service--Call
from Virginia. Troops Leave the State.

INCIDENTS ON THE WAY.

There was much discussion at the time as to who really fired the first
gun at Sumter. Great importance was attached to the episode, and
as there were different opinions, and it was never satisfactorily
settled, it is not expected that any new light can be thrown on it at
this late day. It was first said to have been General Edmond Ruffin,
a venerable octogenarian from Virginia, who at the secession of South
Carolina came to this State and offered his services as a volunteer.
He had at one time been a citizen of South Carolina, connected with a
geological survey, and had written several works on the resources and
possibilities of the State, which created quite an interest at that
day and time. He was one of the noblest types of elderly men it has
ever been my fortune to look upon. He could not be called venerable,
but picturesque. His hair hung in long silvery locks, tied in a queue
in the fashions of the past centuries. His height was very near six
feet, slender and straight as an Indian brave, and his piercing black
eyes seemed to flash fire and impressed one as being able to look into
your very soul. He joined the "Palmetto Guards," donned the uniform
of that company, and his pictures were sold all over the entire South,
taken, as they were, in the habiliments of a soldier. These showed
him in an easy pose, his rifle between his knees, coat adorned with
palmetto buttons closely buttoned up to his chin, his hair combed
straight from his brow and tied up with a bow of ribbon that streamed
down his back, his cap placed upon his knee bearing the monogram
"P.G.," the emblem of his company, worked in with palmetto.

The other aspirant for the honor of firing the first gun was Captain
George S. James, afterwards the Colonel of James' Battalion, or "Third
Battalion," as it was known in Kershaw's Brigade. It has been said
that this honor was granted him, at his special request, by Captain
Stephen D. Lee, on General Beauregard's staff (afterwards a Lieutenant
General of the Confederate Army). Captain James' claim appears to
be more valid than that of General Ruffin from the fact that it is
positively known that James' company was on duty at Fort Johnston, on
James' Island, while the Palmetto Guards, of which General Ruffin was
a member, was at the railroad battery on Morris Island. However, this
should not be taken as conclusive, as at that time discipline was,
to a certain extent, not strictly enforced, and many independent
volunteers belonged to the army over whom there was very little, if
any control. So General Ruffin may have been at Fort Johnston while
his company was at Cummings Point. However, little interest is
attached to this incident after the lapse of so many years.

Perhaps never in the history of a State was there such a frenzy of
excitement--not even in the days of Indian insurrections or the raids
of the bloody Tarleton--as when the news flashed over the country that
Sumter was being bombarded, and a call was made for all the volunteers
to assemble in Charleston. There were not the facilities in those days
as now for the spreading of news, there being but few telegraph lines
in the State. Notwithstanding this, every method possible was put into
practice for gathering in the troops. There were no assemblages
of troops outside of Charleston. Men were following their daily
vocations. Extra trains were put in motion; couriers dashed with
rapid speed across the country. Private means, as well as public, were
resorted to to arouse the men and bring them to the front. Officers
warned the private, and he in turn rode with all the speed his horse,
loosed from the plow, could command, to arouse his comrades. It was
on Saturday when word was first sent out, but it was late the next
day (Sunday) before men in the remote rural districts received the
stirring notice. Men left their plows standing in the field, not to
return under four years, and many of them never. Carpenters came down
from the unfinished roof, or left their bench with work half finished.
The student who had left his school on the Friday before never recited
his Monday's lesson. The country doctor left his patients to the care
of the good housewife. Many people had gone to church and in places
the bells were still tolling, calling the worshippers together to
listen to the good and faithful teachings of the Bible, but the sermon
was never delivered or listened to. Hasty preparations were made
everywhere. The loyal wives soon had the husband's clothes in the
homemade knapsack; the mother buckled on the girdle of her son, while
the gray haired father was burning with impatience, only sorrowing
that he, too, could not go. Never before in the history of the world,
not even in Carthage or Sparta, was there ever such a spontaneous
outburst of patriotic feeling; never such a cheerful and willing
answer to the call of a mother country. Not a regret, not a tear;
no murmuring or reproaches--not one single complaint. Never did the
faithful Scott give with better grace his sons for the defense of
his beloved chief, "Eric," than did the fathers and mothers of South
Carolina give their sons for the defense of the beloved Southland.

The soldiers gathered at the railroad stations, and as the trains
that had been sent to the farthest limits of the State came along, the
troops boarded them and hurried along to Charleston, then the seat
of war. General M.L. Bonham had been appointed Major General of State
troops and called his brigades together. Colonel Gregg was already in
Charleston with the First Regiment. Col. Joseph B. Kershaw with the
Second, Colonel James H. Williams with the Third, Colonel Thomas Bacon
with the Seventh, and Colonel E.B.C. Cash with the Eighth, formed
their regiments by gathering the different companies along at the
various railroad stations. The Second, Seventh, and Eighth came on
to Charleston, reaching there while the bombardment was still in
progress, but not early enough to take active part in the battle.
Colonel Williams with the Third, for want of transportation, was
stopped in Columbia, and took up quarters in the Fair Grounds. The
other regiments went into camp in the suburbs of Charleston and on the
islands. After the surrender of Sumter the troops on the islands and
mainland returned to their old quarters to talk upon the incidents
of the battle, write home of the memorable events and to rejoice
generally. Almost as many rumors were now afloat as there were men in
the army. It was the generally conceded opinion of all that the
war was at an end. A great many of the Southern leaders boasted of
"drinking all the blood that would be shed in the war." The whole
truth of the entire matter was, both sections underrated each other.
The South, proud and haughty, looked with disdain upon the courage of
the North; considered the people cowardly, and not being familiar with
firearms would be poor soldiers; that the rank and file of the North,
being of a foreign, or a mixture of foreign blood, would not remain
loyal to the Union, as the leaders thought, and would not fight. While
the North looked upon the South as a set of aristocratic blusterers,
their affluence and wealth having made them effeminate; a nation
of weaklings, who could not stand the fatigues and hardships of a
campaign. Neither understood the other, overrating themselves and
underrating the strength of their antagonists. When Lincoln first
called for 50,000 troops and several millions of dollars for equipment
and conduct of the war, the South would ask in derision, "Where would
he get them?" When the South would talk of resistance, the North would
ask, "Where are her soldiers?" "The rich planters' sons cannot fight."
"The poor man will not do battle for the negroes of the rich." "The
South has no arms, no money, no credit." So each mistook the strength,
motives, spirits, and sentiments that actuated the other. A great
change came over the feelings of the North after the fall of Sumter.
They considered that their flag had been insulted, their country
dishonored. Where there had been differences before at the North,
there was harmony now. The conservative press of that section was
now defiant and called for war; party differences were healed and the
Democratic party of the North that had always affiliated in national
affairs with the South, was now bitter against their erring sisters,
and cried loudly for "Union or coercion." The common people of the
North were taught to believe that the Nation had been irretrievably
dishonored and disgraced, that the disruption of the Union was a
death knell to Republican institutions and personal liberty. That the
liberty and independence that their ancestors had won by their blood
in the Revolution was now to be scattered to the four winds of heaven
by a few fanatical slave holders at the South. But up to this time the
question of slavery had not been brought into controversy on either
side. It was not discussed and was only an after thought, a military
necessity.

Virginia, three days after the fall of Sumter, joined her sister
State. This act of the old commonwealth was hailed in the Gulf States
with great rejoicing. Bells tolled and cannon boomed and men hurrahed.
Until now it was not certain what stand would be taken by the Border
States. They did not wish to leave the Union; neither would they be
a party to a war upon their seceding sisters. They promised to
be neutral. But President Lincoln soon dispelled all doubt and
uncertainty by his proclamation, calling upon all States then
remaining in the Union to furnish their quota of troops. They were
then forced to take sides for or against and were not long in reaching
a conclusion. As soon as conventions could be assembled, the States
joined the Confederacy and began levying troops to resist invasion.
Tennessee followed Virginia, then Arkansas, the Old North State being
the last of the Atlantic and Gulf States to cross the Rubicon into the
"plains of Southern independence." The troops that had been called for
six months were now disbanded, and those who had enlisted for
twelve months for State service were called upon to volunteer in
the Confederate Army for the unexpired time. They volunteered almost
without a dissenting voice. Having left their homes so hurriedly,
they were granted a furlough of a week or ten days to return to their
families and put their houses in order. They then returned and went
into a camp of instruction.

General Bonham had not gotten all of his regiments together up to this
time. The Second, Seventh, and Eighth were around Charleston, while
the Third was at Lightwood Knot Spring, four miles from Columbia. This
camp was called "Camp Williams," in honor of their Colonel. That in
Columbia was called "Camp Ruffin," in honor of General Ruffin. It
was customary to give all the different camps a name during the
first year's service, generally in honor of some favorite officer or
statesman. Colonel Gregg's regiment remained on Morris Island until
early in May, when it was sent to Norfolk, Va., to take charge of the
large amount of government property there, now very valuable to the
South.

At the reorganization of the First Regiment I came to Columbia and
joined the company I had before enlisted in. I had two older brothers
there, and I was given a place as Second Sergeant in the company.

At the secession of South Carolina, Colonel Williams was in Arkansas,
where he had large estates, but on being notified of his election, he
joined his regiment while at Lightwood Knot Springs. He was met at
the railroad by his troops with great demonstrations of joy and pride.
Stalwart men hoisted him upon their shoulders and carried him through
the camp, followed by a throng of shouting and delighted soldiers.
The regiment had been commanded up to that time by Lieutenant Colonel
Foster, of Spartanburg, with James M. Baxter as Major, D.R. Rutherford
as Adjutant, Dr. D.E. Ewart Surgeon, John McGowan Quartermaster.

Cadets were sent from the Citadel as drill masters to all the
regiments, and for six hours daily the ears were greeted with
"hep-hep" to designate the "left" foot "down" while on the drill. It
took great patience, determination, and toil to bring the men under
military discipline. Fresh from the fields, shops, and schools they
had been accustomed to the freedom of home life, and with all their
patriotism, it took time to break into the harness of military
restraint and discipline these lovers of personal freedom. Many
amusing incidents occurred while breaking these "wild colts," but
all took it good humoredly, and the best of feelings existed between
officers and men. Some few, however, were nettled by the restraint and
forced obedience to those whom they had heretofore been accustomed
to look upon as equals, but now suddenly made superiors. The great
majority entered upon the duties of camp life with rare good will. All
were waiting patiently the call to Virginia. Here I will give a short
description of the regiments and their officers up to the time that
all were brought together as a brigade. After that time we will treat
them as a whole.

The regiments were uniformed by private donations, each neighborhood
uniforming the company raised in its bounds. The tents were large
and old fashioned--about 8 x 10 feet square, with a separate fly on
top--one of these being allowed to every six or seven men. They were
pitched in rows, about fifty feet apart, the front of one company
facing the rear of the other. About the first of June all the
regiments, except the Second, were ordered to Manassas, Va. The
regiments were formed by companies from battalions of the militia from
various counties, one company usually being formed from a battalion.
These companies were organized into regiments, very much as at
present, and like the old anti-bellum militia. At times some
ambitious citizen would undertake to raise a volunteer company outside
of those raised from battalions, and generally these were called
"crack companies." Afterwards a few undertook to raise companies in
this manner, i.e., selecting the officers first, and then proceeding
to select the men, refusing such as would not make acceptable
soldiers, thus forming exclusive organizations. These were mostly
formed in towns and cities. At other times old volunteer companies,
as they were called, of the militia would enlist in a body, with such
recruits as were wanted to fill up the number. In the old militia
service almost all the towns and cities had these companies as a kind
of city organization, and they would be handsomely uniformed, well
equipped, and in many cases were almost equal to regular soldiers.
Columbia had at least three of these companies in our brigade--the
Governor's Guards, Richland Rifles, and one more, I think, but on this
point am not positive. Charleston had two or more, the Palmetto Guards
and others; Greenville, the Butler Guards; Newberry, the Quitman
Rifles; while the other counties, Abbeville, Anderson, Edgefield,
Williamsburg, Darlington, Sumter, and almost all the counties
represented in our brigade had one of these city volunteer companies.
When all the companies called for had been organized, they were
notified to what regiment they had been assigned, or what companies
were to constitute a regiment, and were ordered to hold an election
for field officers. Each company would hold its election, candidates
in the meantime having offered their services to fill the respective
places of Colonel, Lieutenant Colonel, and Major. After the elections
thus held, the returns would be sent up to the Adjutant and Inspector
General's office and there tabulated, and the result declared. The
candidates for field officers were generally Mexican War Veterans, or
some popular citizen, whom the old men thought "would take care of
the boys." At first the qualification of a commander, be it Colonel
or Captain, mostly required was clemency. His rules of discipline,
bravery, or military ability were not so much taken into
consideration.

* * * * *

SECOND SOUTH CAROLINA REGIMENT.

Early in May or the last of April four companies of the Second
Regiment, under Colonel Kershaw, volunteered for Confederate service,
and were sent at once to Virginia. These companies were commanded by--

Captain John D. Kennedy, Kershaw County. Captain W.H. Casson,
Richland County. Captain William Wallace, Richland County.
Captain John Richardson, Sumter County.

They were afterwards joined by companies under--

Captain Ferryman, of Abbeville County, (formerly of the
Seventh Regiment). Captain Cuthbert, Charleston. Captain
Rhett, Charleston. Captain Haile, Kershaw. Captain McManus,
Lancaster. Captain Hoke, Greenville.

These were among the first soldiers from the "Palmetto State" to go to
Virginia, and the regiment when fully organized stood as follows:

J.B. Kershaw, Colonel, of Camden. E.P. Jones, Lieutenant
Colonel. Fred Gaillard, Major. A.D. Goodwin, Adjutant.

Company A--W.H. Casson, Richland. Company B--A.D. Hoke,
Greenville. Company C--William Wallace, Richland. Company
D--T.S. Richardson. Company E--John D. Kennedy, Kershaw.
Company F--W.W.Perryman, Anderson. Company G--I. Haile,
Kershaw. Company H--H. McManus, Lancaster. Company I--G.B.
Cuthbert, Charleston. Company K--R. Rhett, Charleston.
Surgeon--Dr. F. Salmond, Kershaw. Quartermaster--W.S.
Wood, Columbia. Commissary--J.J. Villipigue. Chaplain--A.J.
McGruder.

* * * * *

THIRD SOUTH CAROLINA REGIMENT.

The Third Regiment had originally twelve companies enlisted for State
service, but in transferring to Confederate Army only ten were allowed
by the army regulations. Two companies were left out, viz.: Captain
J.C.S. Brown's, from Newberry, and Captain Mat. Jones', from Laurens.
The privates, however, enlisted in the other companies as a general
rule, for the companies were allowed a maximum number of 100. The
Eighth and Third made no changes in their companies or officers
from their first enlistment in the State service until their second
enlistment in 1862, only as occasioned by resignations or the
casualties of war. The two regiments remained as first organized, with
few exceptions.

The Third stood, when ready for transportation to Virginia, the 7th of
June, as follows:

James H. Williams, Colonel, Newberry. B.B. Foster, Lieutenant
Colonel, Spartanburg. James M. Baxter, Major, Newberry. W.D.
Rutherford, Adjutant, Newberry.

Company A--B. Conway Garlington, Laurens. Company B--S. Newton
Davidson, Newberry. Company C--R.C. Maffett, Newberry. Company
D--T.B. Furgerson, Spartanburg and Union. Company E--James D.
Nance, Newberry. Company F--T. Walker, Newberry and Laurens.
Company G--R.P. Todd, Laurens. Company H--D. Nunnamaker,
Lexington. Company I--Smith L. Jones, Laurens. Company
K--Benj. Kennedy, Spartanburg. Surgeon--Dr. D.E.
Ewart, Newberry. Quartermaster--John McGowan, Laurens.
Commissary--Sergeant J.N. Martin, Newberry. Chaplain--Rev.
Mayfield.

* * * * *

SEVENTH SOUTH CAROLINA REGIMENT. Colonel, Thomas G. Bacon.

The following companies were from Abbeville:

Company A, Captain W.W. Perryman. Company B, Captain G.M.
Mattison. Company C, Captain P.H. Bradley. Company D, Captain
S.J. Hester.

The following companies were from Edgefield:

Company E, Captain D. Dendy. Company F, Captain John S. Hard.
Company G, Captain J. Hampden Brooks. Company H, Captain
Elbert Bland. Company I, Captain W.E. Prescott. Company K,
Captain Bart Talbert.

Captain Perryman with his company, the "Secession Guards," volunteered
for the Confederate service before the other companies, and left for
Virginia on April 28th and joined the Second South Carolina Regiment.
Captain Bland took his place with his company in the regiment as
Company A.

The companies of the Seventh came together as a regiment at the
Schutzenplatz, near Charleston, on the 16th of April. In about
two weeks it was ordered to Edgefield District at a place called
Montmorenci, in Aiken County. While here a company came from Edgefield
County near Trenton, under Captain Coleman, and joined the regiment.
But this company failed to enlist.

The Seventh Regiment elected as officers: Colonel, Thomas G. Bacon, of
Edgefield District; lieutenant Colonel, Robert A. Fair, of Abbeville;
Major, Emmet Seibles, of Edgefield; Adjutant, D. Wyatt Aiken, of
Abbeville. All the staff officers were appointed by the Colonels until
the transfer to the Confederate service; then the medical department
was made a separate branch, and the Surgeons and Assistant Surgeons
were appointed by the Department. Colonel Bacon appointed on
his staff: B.F. Lovelass, Quartermaster; Fred Smith, Commissary;
afterwards A.F. Townsend.

Surgeon Joseph W. Hearst resigned, and A.R. Drogie was made Surgeon
in his stead, with Dr. G.H. Waddell as Assistant Surgeon. A.C.
Stallworth, Sergeant Major, left for Virginia about the first of June
and joined the Second a few days afterwards.

* * * * *

EIGHTH SOUTH CAROLINA REGIMENT.

The Eighth Regiment was organized early in the year 1861, but the
companies were not called together until the 14th day of April,
arriving in Charleston in the afternoon of that day, just after the
fall of Fort Sumter. It was composed of ten companies, as follows:
Three from Chesterfield, two from Marion, two from Marlborough, and
three from Darlington, with Colonel, E.B.C. Cash; Lieutenant Colonel,
John W. Henagan; Major, Thomas E. Lucas; Adjutant, C.B. Weatherly.

Companies first taken to Virginia:

Company A--A.I. Hoole, Darlington.
Company B--M.I. Hough, Chesterfield.
Company C--Wm. H. Coit, Chesterfield.
Company D--John S. Miller, Chesterfield.
Company E--W.E. Jay, Darlington.
Company F--W.H. Evans, Darlington.
Company G--John W. Harrington, Marlboro.
Company H--R.L. Singletary, Marion.
Company I--T.E. Stackhouse, Marion.
Company K--D. McD. McLeod, Marlboro.

After remaining in Charleston until the 4th of May it was moved to
Florence. On the 1st of June the regiment re-enlisted for Confederate
service. They were ordered to Richmond and arrived there on June 4th,
and left on the 15th to join the Second then at Bull Run. On the 22nd
of June they went into camp at Germantown, near Fairfax Court House,
where all the regiments were soon joined together as Bonhams' Brigade.

The first real exciting incident connected with the Third South
Carolina Regiment--the first panic and stampede--happened as the
troops were returning from their ten days' furlough to their camp
of instruction, near Columbia, just after their enlistment in the
Confederate service. I record this occurrence to show what little
incidents, and those of such little moment, are calculated to stampede
an army, and to what foolish lengths men will go when excited. The
train was rattling along at a good speed, something like ten or
fifteen miles an hour, just above Columbia; a long string of box
cars loaded with soldiers; the baggage of the troops scattered
promiscuously around in the cars; trunks, valises, carpet bags, and
boxes of all conceivable dimensions, holding the belongings of several
neighborhoods of boys; spirits flowed without and within; congenial
friends in a congenial cause; congenial topics made a congenial whole.
When just below Littleton, with long stretches of lowlands on one side
and the river on the other, the curling streaks of a little grey smoke
made its appearance from under one of the forward cars. At first the
merry good humor and enlivening effects of some amusing jest, the
occasional round of a friendly bottle, prevented the men from noticing
this danger signal of fire. However, a little later on this continuing
and increasing volume of smoke caused an alarm to be given. Men ran to
the doors on either side, shouted and called, waved hats, hands, and
handkerchiefs, at the same time pointing at the smoke below. There
being no communication between the cars, those in front and rear had
to be guided by the wild gesticulations of those in the smoking car.
The engineer did not notice anything amiss, and sat placidly upon his
high seat, watching the fast receding rails as they flashed under and
out of sight beneath the ponderous driving-wheels of the engine. At
last someone in the forward car, not accustomed to, but familiar with
the dangers of a railroad car by the wild rumors given currency in his
rural district of railroad wrecks, made a desperate leap from the car.
This was followed by another, now equally excited. Those in the front
cars, clutching to the sides of the doors, craned their necks as
far as possible outward, but could see nothing but leaping men. They
fearing a catastrophe of some kind, leaped also, while those in the
rear cars, as they saw along the sides of the railroad track men
leaping, rolling, and tumbling on the ground, took it for granted
that a desperate calamity had happened to a forward car. No time for
questions, no time for meditation. The soldier's only care was to
watch for a soft place to make his desperate leap, and in many cases
there was little choice. Men leaped wildly in the air, some with their
heels up, others falling on their heads and backs, some rolling over
in a mad scramble to clear themselves from the threatening danger.
The engineer not being aware of anything wrong with the train, glided
serenely along, unconscious of the pandemonium, in the rear. But when
all had about left the train, and the great driving-wheels began to
spin around like mad, from the lightening of the load, the master of
the throttle looked to the rear. There lay stretched prone upon the
ground, or limping on one foot, or rolling over in the dirt, some
bareheaded and coatless, boxes and trunks scattered as in an awful
collision, upwards of one thousand men along the railroad track. Many
of the men thinking, no doubt, the train hopelessly lost, or serious
danger imminent, threw their baggage out before making the dangerous
leap. At last the train was stopped and brought back to the scene of
desolation. It terminated like the bombardment of Fort Sumter--"no one
hurt," and all occasioned by a hot-box that could have been cooled in
a very few minutes. Much swearing and good-humored jesting were now
engaged in. Such is the result of the want of presence of mind. A wave
of the hat at the proper moment as a signal to the engineer to
stop, and all would have been well. It was told once of a young lady
crossing a railroad track in front of a fast approaching train, that
her shoe got fastened in the frog where the two rails join. She began
to struggle, then to scream, and then fainted. A crowd rushed up, some
grasping the lady's body attempted to pull her loose by force; others
shouted to the train to stop; some called for crow-bars to take up
the iron. At last one man pushed through the crowd, untied the lady's
shoe, and she was loose. Presence of mind, and not force, did it.

Remaining in camp a few days, orders came to move, and cars were
gotten in readiness and baggage packed preparatory to the trip to
Virginia. To many, especially those reared in the back districts, and
who, before their brief army life, had never been farther from
their homes than their county seat, the trip to the old "Mother of
Presidents," the grand old commonwealth, was quite a journey indeed.
The old negroes, who had been brought South during the early days of
the century, called the old State "Virginy" and mixing it with local
dialect, in some parts had got the name so changed that it was called
"Ferginey." The circus troops and negro comedians, in their annual
trips through the Southern States, had songs already so catchy to our
people, on account of their pathos and melody, of Old Virginia,
that now it almost appeared as though we were going to our old home.
Virginia had been endeared to us and closely connected with the
people of South Carolina by many links, not the least being its many
sentimental songs of that romantic land, and the stories of her great
men.

The baggage of the common soldier at this stage of the war would
have thrown an ordinary quartermaster of latter day service into
an epileptic fit, it was so ponderous in size and enormous in
quantities--a perfect household outfit. A few days before this the
soldier had received his first two months' pay, all in new crisp
bank notes, fresh from the State banks or banks of deposit. It can
be easily imagined that there were lively times for the butcher, the
baker and candlestick maker, with all this money afloat. The Third
South Carolina was transported by way of Wilmington and Weldon, N.C.
Had there ever existed any doubts in the country as to the feelings
of the people of the South before this in regard to Secession, it was
entirely dispelled by the enthusiastic cheers and good will of the
people along the road. The conduct of the men and women through South
Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, showed one long and continued
ovation along the line of travel, looking like a general holiday. As
the cars sped along through the fields, the little hamlets and towns,
people of every kind, size, and complexion rushed to the railroad and
gave us welcome and Godspeed. Hats went into the air as we passed,
handkerchiefs fluttered, flags waved in the gentle summer breeze from
almost every housetop. The ladies and old men pressed to the side of
the cars when we halted, to shake the hands of the brave soldier boys,
and gave them blessings, hope and encouragement. The ladies vied
with the men in doing homage to the soldiers of the Palmetto State.
Telegrams had been sent on asking of our coming, the hour of our
passage through the little towns, and inviting us to stop and enjoy
their hospitality and partake of refreshments. In those places where a
stop was permitted, long tables were spread in some neighboring grove
or park, bending under the weight of their bounties, laden down with
everything tempting to the soldier's appetite. The purest and best of
the women mingled freely with the troops, and by every device known to
the fair sex showed their sympathy and encouragement in the cause we
had espoused. At Wilmington, N.C., we crossed the Cape Fear River on a
little river steamer, the roads not being connected with a bridge.
At Petersburg and Richmond we had to march through portions of those
cities in going from one depot to another, union sheds, not being in
vogue at that time, and on our entry into these cities the population
turned out en masse to welcome and extend to us their greeting. Every
private house stood open to the soldiers and the greatest good will
was everywhere manifested.

Much has been said in after years, since misfortune and ruin overtook
the South, since the sad reverses of the army and the overthrow of
our principles, about leaders plunging the nation into a bloody
and uncalled for war. This, is all the height of folly. No man
or combination of men could have stayed or avoided war. No human
persuasion or earthly power could have stayed the great wave of
revolution that had struck the land; and while, like a storm widening
and gathering strength and fury as it goes, to have attempted it would
have been but to court ruin and destruction. Few men living in
that period of our country's history would have had the boldness or
hardihood to counsel submission or inactivity. Differences there may
have been and were as to methods, but to Secession, none. The voices
of the women of the land were alone enough to have forced the measures
upon the men in some shape or other. Then, as to the leaders being
"shirkers" when the actual contest came, the history of the times
gives contradictions sufficient without examples. Where the duties
of the service called, they willingly obeyed. All could not fill
departments or sit in the councils of the nation, but none shirked
the responsibility the conditions called them to. Where fathers filled
easy places their sons were in the ranks, and many of our leaders of
Secession headed troops in the field. General Bonham, our Brigadier,
had just resigned his seat in the United States Congress; so had
L.M. Keitt, who fell at Cold Harbor at the head of our brigade, while
Colonel of the Twentieth Regiment. James L. Orr, one of the original
Secessionists and a member of Congress, raised the first regiment of
rifles. The son of Governor Gist, the last Executive of South Carolina
just previous to Secession, fell while leading his regiment,
the Fifteenth, of our brigade, in the assault at Fort Loudon, at
Knoxville. Scarcely was there a member of the convention that passed
the Ordinance of Secession who had not a son or near kinsman in the
ranks of the army. They showed by their deeds the truth and honesty
of their convictions. They had trusted the North until trusting had
ceased to be a virtue. They wished peace, but feared not war. All this
idle talk, so common since the war, of a "rich man's war and a poor
man's fight" is the merest twaddle and vilely untrue.

The men of the South had risked their all upon the cast, and were
willing to abide by the hazard of the die. All the great men of South
Carolina were for Secession, and they nobly entered the field. The
Hamptons, Butlers, Haskells, Draytons, Bonhams, all readily grasped
the sword or musket. The fire-eaters, like Bob Toombs, of Georgia,
and Wigfall, of Texas, led brigades, and were as fiery upon the
battlefield as they had been upon the floor of the United States
Senate. So with all the leaders of Secession, without exception; they
contributed their lives, their services, and their wealth to the cause
they had advocated and loved so well. I make this departure here to
correct an opinion or belief, originated and propagated by the envious
few who did not rise to distinction in the war, or who were too young
to participate in its glories--those glories that were mutual and will
ever surround the Confederate soldier, regardless of rank.

After stopping a few days in Richmond, we were carried on to Manassas
and Bull Run, then to Fairfax, where we joined the other regiments.
The Third Regiment camped first at Mitchell's Ford, remained at that
point for a week or ten days, and from thence moved to the outpost
just beyond Fairfax Court House. The Eighth and Second camped for a
while at Germantown, and soon the whole brigade was between Fairfax
and Bull Run.

* * * * *

CHAPTER IV

Camp at Fairfax--Bonham's Staff--Biography of General Bonham--Retreat
to Bull Run. Battle of the 18th.

General Bonham had gathered around him, as staff officers, a galaxy of
gentlemen as cultured, talented, and patriotic as South Carolina
could produce, and as gallant as ever followed a general upon the
battlefield; all of whom won promotion and distinction as the war
progressed in the different branches of service.

Colonel Samuel Melton, one of the staff, writing in a pleasant mood,
thirty-five years afterwards, says: "That with universal acclamation
it may be said, that the retinue gathered around the General of the
old First Brigade was a gorgeous one. I am proud of it 'until yet.'"

This staff of General Bonham's was the one allowed by the State
service, and the appointments were made under State laws. However, all
followed him into the Confederate service, and, with a few exceptions,
remained until after the battle of Manassas, serving without pay.
The Confederate Government was much more modest in its appointment
of staff officers, and only allowed a Brigadier General three or four
members as his personal staff.

The following is a list of officers who followed General Bonham to
Virginia, or joined him soon after his arrival:

W.C. Morayne, Assistant Adjutant General, with rank of
Colonel.

W.D. Simpson, Inspector General.
A.P. Aldrich, Quartermaster General.
R.B. Boylston, Commissary General.
J.N. Lipscomb, Paymaster General.

Aides, with rank of Major: S.W. Melton, B.F. Withers, T.J. Davis,
E.S. Hammond, S. Warren Nelson, Samuel Tompkins, W.P. Butler, M.B.
Lipscomb.

Colonel S. McGowan, Volunteer Aide.

Dr. Reeves, of Virginia, was Brigade Surgeon.

Colonels Morayne and Boylston remained only a few weeks. Captain
George W. Say, an officer of the Confederate staff, succeeded Colonel
Morayne, and remained a short while, when he was promoted and sent
elsewhere. Colonel Lipscomb became the regular aide, with rank of
First Lieutenant.

When Captain Say left, S.W. Melton was put in his place as Assistant
Adjutant General, without appointment or without pay, and discharged
the duties of that office until August, when he left on sick leave.
When he returned he was appointed Major and Assistant Adjutant
General, and assigned to duty upon the staff of Major General G.W.
Smith, commanding Second Corps of the Army of the Potomac. In 1863
he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and assigned to duty in the war
department.

William F. Nance, of Newberry, was appointed Captain and Assistant
Adjutant General, and in September, 1861, was assigned to duty
upon General Bonham's staff, where he remained until the General's
resignation. In 1864 Nance was on duty in Charleston, where he
remained on staff duty until the end.

S. McGowan and W.D. Simpson returned to South Carolina after the
battle of Manassas, and assisted in raising the Fourteenth South
Carolina Regiment of Volunteers, of which the former was elected
Lieutenant Colonel and the latter Major. Colonel McGowan became
Colonel of the regiment, and afterwards Brigadier of one of the most
famous brigades (McGowan's) in the Confederate Army. Colonel Simpson
served in the Confederate Congress after his retirement from the army.

All the others of the staff filled prominent positions, either
as commanding or staff officers, or serving in the departments in
Richmond. I have no data at hand to give sketches of their individual
services.

Fairfax Court House was the extreme limit at which the infantry was
posted on that side of the Blue Ridge. Cavalry was still in advance,
and under the leadership of the indefatigable Stuart scouting the
whole front between the Confederate and Federal armies. The Third
South Carolina was encamped about a mile north of the little old
fashioned hamlet, the county seat of the county of that name. In this
section of the State lived the ancestors of most of the illustrious
families of Virginia, Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and Lee.
It is a rather picturesque country; not so beautiful and productive,
however, as the Shenandoah and Luray Valleys. The Seventh, Eighth, and
Second Regiments were encamped several miles distant, but all in the
hearing of one another's drums. Our main duties outside of our regular
drills consisted in picketing the highways and blockading all roads by
felling the timber across for more than a hundred yards on either side
of the roads. Large details armed with axes were sent out to blockade
the thoroughfares leading to Washington and points across the Potomac.
For miles out, in all directions, wherever the road led through wooded
lands, large trees, chestnut, hickory, oak, and pine, were cut pell
mell, creating a perfect abattis across the road--so much so as to
cause our troops in their verdant ignorance to think it almost an
impossibility for such obstructions to be cleared away in many days;
whereas, as a fact, the pioneer corps of the Federal Army cleared it
away as fast as the army marched, not causing as much as one hour's
halt. Every morning at nine o'clock one company from a regiment would
go out about two miles in the direction of Washington Falls church or
Annandale to do picket duty, and remain until nine o'clock next
day, when it would be relieved by another company. The "Black Horse
Cavalry," an old organization of Virginia, said to have remained
intact since the Revolution, did vidette duty still beyond the
infantry. Their duties were to ride through the country in every
direction, and on every road and by-way to give warning of
approaching danger to the infantry. These were bold riders in those
days, some daring to ride even within view of the spires and domes of
Washington itself. On our outposts we could plainly hear the sound
of the drums of the Federalists in their preparation for the "on to
Richmond" move. General Bonham had also some fearless scouts at this
time. Even some of the boldest of the women dared to cross the Potomac
in search of information for the Confederate Generals. It was here
that the noted Miss Bell Boyd made herself famous by her daring rides,
her many escapades and hair-breadth escapes, her bold acts of crossing
the Potomac sometimes disguised and at other times not, even entering
the City of Washington itself. In this way she gathered much valuable
information for the Confederate Generals, and kept them posted on the
movements of the enemy. She was one of the best horsewomen of that
day; a fine specimen of womanhood, and as fearless and brave as
a stout hearted cavalier. She generally carried a brace of Colt's
revolvers around her waist, and was daring enough to meet any foe who
was so bold as to cross her path. Bell Boyd was one of the many noble
Virginia women who staked and dared all for the cause of the South.
William Parley, of South Carolina, another bold scout, was invaluable
to General Stuart and General Bonham. It was he that John Esten Cooke
immortalized in "Surry of Eagle's Nest" and was killed at the battle
of Chancellorsville. He was a native of Laurens County.

The duties of picketing were the first features of our army life that
looked really like war. The soldiers had become accustomed to guard
duty, but to be placed out on picket or vidette posts alone, or in
company with a comrade, to stand all day and during the dead hours of
the night, expecting some lurking foe every moment to shoot you in
the back, or from behind some bush to shoot your head off, was quite
another matter. As a guard, we watched over our friends; as a picket,
we watched for our foe. For a long time, being no nearer the enemy
than the hearing of their drums, the soldiers had grown somewhat
careless. But there was an uncanny feeling in standing alone in the
still hours of the night, in a strange country, watching, waiting
for an enemy to crawl up and shoot you unawares. This feeling was
heightened, especially in my company, by an amusing incident that
happened while on picket duty on the Annandale road. Up to this
time there had been no prisoners captured on either side, and it was
uncertain as to what would be the fate of any who would fall in the
enemy's hands. As we were considered traitors and rebels, the penalty
for that crime was, as we all knew, death. The Northern press had kept
up quite a howl, picturing the long rows of traitors that would be
hung side by side as soon as they had captured the Confederate Army.
That there was a good deal of "squeamishness" felt at the idea of
being captured, cannot be doubted. So videttes were stationed several
hundred yards down the road with a picket post of four men, between
the outside sentinels and the company, as reserve. A large pine
thicket was to our right, while on the left was an old field with here
and there a few wild cherry trees. The cherries being ripe, some of
the men had gone up in the trees to treat themselves to this luscious
little fruit. The other part of the company lay indolently about,
sheltering themselves as best they could from the rays of the hot July
sun, under the trees. Some lay on the tops of fences, and in corners,
while not a few, with coats and vests off, enjoyed a heated game of
"old sledge." All felt a perfect security, for with the pickets in
front, the cavalry scouring the country, and the almost impassable
barricades of the roads, seemed to render it impossible for an enemy
to approach unobserved. The guns leaned carelessly against the fence
or lay on the ground, trappings, etc., scattered promiscuously around.
Not a dream of danger; no thought of a foe. While the men were thus
pleasantly engaged, and the officers taking an afternoon nap, from out
in the thicket on the right came "bang-bang," and a hail of bullets
came whizzing over our heads. What a scramble! What an excitement!
What terror depicted on the men's faces! Had a shower of meteors
fallen in our midst, had a volcano burst from the top of the Blue
Ridge, or had a thunder bolt fell at our feet out of the clear blue
sky, the consternation could not have been greater. Excitement,
demoralization, and panic ensued. Men tumbled off the fences, guns
were reached for, haversacks and canteens hastily grabbed, and, as
usual in such panics, no one could get hold of his own. Some started
up the road, some down. Officers thus summarily aroused were equally
demoralized. Some gave one order, some another. "Pandemonium reigned
supreme." Those in the cherry trees came down, nor did the "cherry
pickers" stand on the order of their coming. The whole Yankee army was
thought to be over the hills. At last the officer commanding got the
men halted some little distance up the road; a semblance of a line
formed, men cocked their guns and peered anxiously through the cracks
of the rail fence, expecting to see an enemy behind every tree. A
great giant, a sergeant from the mountain section, who stood six feet,
three inches in his stockings, and as brave as he was big, his face
flushed with excitement, his whole frame trembling with emotion, in
his shirt sleeves and bareheaded, rushed to the middle of the road,
braced himself, as waiting for some desperate shock, and stood like
Horatio Cockles at the Bridge, waving his gun in the air, calling out
in defiant and stentorian voice, "Come on, I'll fight all of you; I'll
fight old Lincoln from here to the sea." Such a laugh as was set up
afterwards, at his expense! The amusing part of it was the parties who
fired the shots at the time the stampeding was going on with us,
were running for dear life's sake across the fields, worse scared, if
possible, than we ourselves. They were three of a scouting party, who
had eluded our pickets, and seeing our good, easy, and indifferent
condition, took it into their heads to have a little amusement at
our expense. But the sound of their guns in the quiet surrounding, no
doubt excited the Yankees as much as it did the Confederates. This was
an adventure not long in reaching home, for to be shot at by a real
live Yankee was an event in every one's life at the time not soon to
be forgotten. But it was so magnified, that by the time it reached
home, had not the battle of Bull Run come in its heels so soon, this
incident would no doubt have ever remained to those who were engaged
in it as one of the battles of the war. The only casualty was a
hole shot through a hat. I write this little incident to show the
difference in raw and seasoned troops. One year later such an incident
would not have disturbed those men any more than the buzzing of a bee.
Picket duty after this incident was much more stringent. Two men were
made to stand on post all night, without relief, only such as they
gave each other. Half of the company's reserve were kept awake all
night. Orders were given that the utmost silence should prevail, the
men were not even to speak above a whisper, and on the approach of
anyone they were to be hailed with the command, "Halt, who comes
there?" If a satisfactory answer was given, they were allowed to pass.
If not, to remain standing, and an officer of the guard called. At
night they were to call "halt" three times, and if no answer, they
were to fire and retreat to the reserve.

One night, shortly after this, one of the companies from Spartanburg
had been sent out about three miles to the intersection of a country
road leading off to the left. Down this country road, or lane, were
two pickets. They concealed themselves during the day in the fence
corners, but at night they crawled over into a piece of timber land,
and crouched down behind a large oak. The shooting incident of a few
days before made the two pickets feel somewhat tender at thus being
alone in the forest, when at any moment an enemy might creep upon
them sufficiently near as to shoot them in the dark. Everything was
as quiet as the grave. The stars, peeping faintly out from behind the
clouds, midnight came, and each began to nod, when a twig breaks some
distance in front, then another, then the rustling of dry leaves.
Their hearts leap to their throats and beat like sledge hammers. One
whispers to the other, "Whist, some one is coming." They strain their
ears to better catch the sound. Surely enough they hear the leaves
rustling as if some one is approaching. "Click," "click," the two
hammers of their trusty rifles spring back, fingers upon the triggers,
while nearer the invisible comes. "Halt," rang out in the midnight
air; "halt," once more, but still the steady tread keeps approaching.
When the third "halt" was given it was accompanied by the crack of
their rifles. A deafening report and frightful squeal, as an old
female porker went charging through the underbrush like mad. The crack
of the rifles alarmed the sleeping companions in reserve, who rushed
to arms and awaited the attack. But after much good humored badgering
of the two frightened sentinels, "peace reigned once more at Warsaw"
till the break of day. The company returned next morning to camp, but
the two sentinels who had fired on the old innocent porker were glad
enough to seek the quietude of their quarters to escape the jests of
their comrades.

A simple system of breastworks was thrown up just beyond our camp at
Fairfax on a little eminence to the right of the road. This we thought
sufficient to defeat quite an army, or at least keep them at bay.
General Bonham had his headquarters at Fairfax Court House, but rode
out daily to examine the work done on the entrenchments, or inspect
the picket and outposts. General Bonham was one of the finest looking
officers in the entire army. His tall, graceful figure, his commanding
appearance, his noble bearing, and soldierly mien were all qualities
to excite the confidence and admiration of his troops. He wore a
broad-brimmed hat, with a waving plume floating out behind, and sat
his horse as knightly as Charles the Bold, or Henry of Navarre. His
soldiers were proud of him, and loved to do him homage. He endeared
himself to his officers, and while he was a good disciplinarian as far
as the volunteer service required, he did not treat his officers with
that air of superiority, nor exact that rigid military courtesy that
is required in the regular army. I will here give a short sketch of
his life for the benefit of his old comrades in arms.

Book of the day: