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MILLEDGE LUKE BONHAM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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CHAPTER V

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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CHAPTER VI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

CHAPTER VII

Winter Quarters at Bull Run.

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

JOSEPH BREVARD KERSHAW

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Hell! more dan t’ree hours,” was the laconic and good-natured reply.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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COLONEL JAMES H. WILLIAMS, OF THE THIRD SOUTH CAROLINA VOLUNTEERS.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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LIEUTENANT COLONEL FOSTER. OF THE THIRD SOUTH CAROLINA VOLUNTEERS.

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

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

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COLONEL THOMAS G. BACON, OF THE SEVENTH SOUTH CAROLINA VOLUNTEERS.

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

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

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

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COLONEL E.B.C. CASH, OF THE EIGHTH SOUTH CAROLINA VOLUNTEERS.

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

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

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

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

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CHAPTER VIII

Reorganized–“New Officers”–Battle.

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

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