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battles in Maryland and Pennsylvania, but we were soon to be called upon for work in other fields. General Bragg had been driven out of Tennessee to the confines of Georgia, and it seemed that, without succor from the Army of the East to aid in fighting their battles, and to add to the morale of the Western Army, Bragg would soon be forced through Georgia. It had long been the prevailing opinion of General Longstreet that the most strategic movement for the South was to reinforce General Bragg with all the available troops of the East (Lee standing on the defensive), crush Rosecrans, and, if possible, drive him back and across the Ohio. With this end in view, General Longstreet wrote, in August, to General Lee, as well as to the Secretary of War, giving these opinions as being the only solution to the question of checking the continual advance of Rosecrans–renewing the morale of the Western Army and reviving the waning spirits of the Confederacy, thus putting the enemy on the defensive and regaining lost territory.

It should be remembered that our last stronghold on the Mississippi, Vicksburg, had capitulated about the time of the disastrous battle of Gettysburg, with thirty thousand prisoners. That great waterway was opened to the enemy’s gun boats and transports, thus cutting the South, with a part of her army, in twain.

This suggestion of General Longstreet was accepted, so far as sending him, with a part of his corps, to Georgia, by his receiving orders early in September to prepare his troops for transportation.

The most direct route by railroad to Chattanooga, through Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee, had for some time been in the hands of the enemy at Knoxville. We were, therefore, forced to take the circuitous route by way of the two Carolinas and Georgia. There were two roads open to transportation, one by Wilmington and one by Charlotte, N.C., as far as Augusta, Ga., but from thence on there was but a single line, and as such our transit was greatly impeded.

On the morning of the 15th or 16th of September Kershaw’s Brigade was put aboard the trains at White Oak Station, and commenced the long ride to North Georgia. Hood’s Division was already on the way. Jenkins’ (S.C.) Brigade had been assigned to that division, but it and one of the other of Hood’s brigades failed to reach the battleground in time to participate in the glories of that event. General McLaws, also, with two of his brigades, Bryan’s and Wofford’ (Georgians), missed the fight, the former awaiting the movements of his last troops, as well as that of the artillery.

Long trains of box cars had been ordered up from Richmond and the troops were loaded by one company being put inside and the next on top, so one-half of the corps made the long four days’ journey on the top of box cars. The cars on all railroads in which troops were transported were little more than skeleton cars; the weather being warm, the troops cut all but the frame work loose with knives and axes. They furthermore wished to see outside and witness the fine country and delightful scenery that lay along the route; nor could those Inside bear the idea of being shut up in a box car while their comrades on top were cheering and yelling themselves hoarse at the waving of handkerchiefs and flags in the hands of the pretty women and the hats thrown in the air by the old men and boys along the roadside as the trains sped through the towns, villages, and hamlets of the Carolinas and Georgia, No, no; the exuberant spirits of the Southern soldier were too great to allow him to hear yelling going on and not yell himself. He yelled at everything he saw, from an ox-cart to a pretty woman, a downfall of a luckless cavalryman to a charge in battle.

The news of our coming had preceded us, and at every station and road-crossing the people of the surrounding country, without regard to sex or age, crowded to see us pass, and gave us their blessings and God speed as we swept by with lightning speed. Our whole trip was one grand ovation. Old men slapped their hands in praise, boys threw up their hats in joy, while the ladies fanned the breeze with their flags and handkerchiefs; yet many a mother dropped a silent tear or felt a heart-ache as she saw her long absent soldier boy flying pass without a word or a kiss.

At the towns which we were forced to stop for a short time great tables were stretched, filled with the bounties of the land, while the fairest and the best women on earth stood by and ministered to every wish or want. Was there ever a purer devotion, a more passionate patriotism, a more sincere loyalty, than that displayed by the women of the South towards the soldier boys and the cause for which they fought? Was there ever elsewhere on earth such women? Will there ever again exist circumstances and conditions that will require such heroism, fortitude, and suffering? Perhaps so, perhaps not.

In passing through Richmond we left behind us two very efficient officers on a very pleasant mission, Dr. James Evans, Surgeon of the Third, who was to be married to one of Virginia’s fair daughters, and Captain T.W. Gary, of same regiment, who was to act as best man. Dr. Evans was a native South Carolinian and a brother of Brigadier General N.G. Evans, of Manassas fame. While still a young man, he was considered one of the finest surgeons and practitioners in the army. He was kind and considerate to his patients, punctual and faithful in his duties, and withal a dignified, refined gentleman. Such confidence had the soldiers in his skill and competency, that none felt uneasy when their lives or limbs, were left to his careful handling. Both officers rejoined us in a few days.

We reached Ringold on the evening of the 19th of September, and marched during the night in the direction of the day’s battlefield. About midnight we crossed over the sluggish stream of Chickamauga, at Alexander’s Bridge, and bivouaced near Hood’s Division, already encamped. Chickamauga! how little known of before, but what memories its name is to awaken for centuries afterwards! What a death struggle was to take place along its borders between the blue and the gray, where brother was to meet brother–where the soldiers of the South were to meet their kinsmen of the Northwest! In the long, long ago, before the days of fiction and romance of the white man in the New World, in the golden days of legend of the forest dwellers, when the red man chanted the glorious deeds of his ancestors during his death song to the ears of his children, this touching story has come down from generation to generation, until it reached the ears of their destroyers, the pale faces of to-day:

Away in the dim distant past a tribe of Indians, driven from their ancestral hunting grounds in the far North, came South and pitched their wigwams along the banks of the “river of the great bend,” the Tennessee. They prospered, multiplied, and expanded, until their tents covered the mountain sides and plains below. The braves of the hill men hunted and sported with their brethren of the valley. Their children fished, hunted, played, fought, and gamboled in mimic warfare as brothers along the sparkling streamlets that rise in the mountain ridges, their sparkling waters leaping and jumping through the gorges and glens and flowing away to the “great river.” All was peace and happiness; the tomahawk of war had long since been buried, and the pipe of peace smoked around their camp fires after every successful hunting expedition. But dissentions arose–distrust and embittered feelings took the place of brotherly love. The men of the mountains became arrayed against their brethren of the plains, and they in turn became the sworn enemies of the dwellers of the cliffs. The war hatchet was dug up and the pipe of peace no longer passed in brotherly love at the council meeting. Their bodies were decked in the paint of war, and the once peaceful and happy people forsook their hunting grounds and entered upon, the war path.

Early on an autumn day, when the mountains and valleys were clothed in golden yellow, the warriors of the dissenting factions met along the banks of the little stream, and across its turbid waters waged a bitter battle from early morn until the “sun was dipping behind the palisades of Look-Out Mountain”–no quarters given and none asked. It was a war of extermination. The blood of friend and foe mingled in the stream until its waters were said to be red with the life-blood of the struggling combatants. At the close of the fierce combat the few that survived made a peace and covenant, and then and there declared that for all time the sluggish stream should be called Chickamauga, the “river of blood.” Such is the legend of the great battleground and the river from whence it takes its name.

General Buckner had come down from East Tennessee with his three divisions, Stewart’s, Hindman’s, and Preston’s, and had joined General Bragg some time before our arrival, making General Bragg’s organized army forty-three thousand eight hundred and sixty-six strong. He was further reinforced by eleven thousand five hundred from General Joseph E. Johnston’s army in Mississippi and five thousand under General Longstreet, making a total of sixty thousand three hundred and thirty-six, less casualties of the 18th and 19th of one thousand one hundred and twenty-four; so as to numbers on the morning of the 20th, Bragg had of all arms fifty-nine thousand two hundred and forty-two; while the Federal commander claimed only sixty thousand three hundred and sixty six, but at least five thousand more on detached duty and non-combatants, such as surgeons, commissaries, quartermasters, teamsters, guards, etc. Bragg’s rolls covered all men in his army. Rosecrans was far superior in artillery and cavalry, as all of the batteries belonging to Longstreet’s corps, or that were to attend him in the campaign of the West, were far back in South Carolina, making what speed possible on the clumsy and cumbersome railroads of that day. So it was with Wofford’s and Bryan’s Brigades, of McLaw’s Division, Jenkins’ and one of Hood’s, as well as all of the subsistence and ordnance trains. The artillery assigned to General Longstreet by General Lee consisted of Ashland’s and Bedford’s (Virginia), Brooks’ (South Carolina), and Madison’s (Louisiana) batteries of light artillery, and two Virginia batteries of position, all under the command of Colonel Alexander.

As for transportation, the soldiers carried all they possessed on their backs, with four days of cooked rations all the time. Generally one or two pieces of light utensils were carried by each company, in which all the bread and meat were cooked during the night.

Our quartermasters gathered up what they could of teams and wagons from the refuse of Bragg’s trains to make a semblance of subsistence transportation barely sufficient to gather in the supplies. It was here that the abilities of our chiefs of quartermaster and commissary departments were tested to the utmost. Captains Peck and Shell, of our brigade, showed themselves equal to the occasion, and Captain Lowrance, of the Subsistence Department, could always be able to furnish us with plenty of corn meal from the surrounding country.

The sun, on the morning of the 20th, rose in unusual splendor, and cast its rays and shadows in sparkling brilliancy over the mountains and plains of North Georgia. The leaves of the trees and shrubbery, in their golden garb of yellow, shown out bright and beautiful in their early autumnal dress–quite in contrast with the bloody scenes to be enacted before the close of day. My older brother, a private in my company, spoke warmly of the beautiful Indian summer morning and the sublime scenery round about, and wondered if all of us would ever see the golden orb of day rise again in its magnificence. Little did he think that even then the hour hand on the dial plate of destiny was pointing to the minute of “high noon,” when fate was to take him by the hand and lead him away. It was his turn in the detail to go to the rear during the night to cook rations for the company, and had he done so, he would have missed the battle, as the details did not return in time to become participants in the engagement that commenced early in the morning. He had asked permission to exchange duties with a comrade, as he wished to be near me should a battle ensue during the time. Contrary to regulations, I granted the request. Now the question naturally arises, had he gone on his regular duties would the circumstances have been different? The soldier is generally a believer in the doctrine of predestination in the abstract, and it is well he is so, for otherwise many soldiers would run away from battle. But as it is, he consoles himself with the theories of the old doggerel quartet, which reads something like this:–

“He who fights and runs away,
May live to fight another day;
But he who is in battle slain,
Will ne’er live to fight again.”

Longstreet’s troops had recently been newly uniformed, consisting of a dark-blue round jacket, closely fitting, with light-blue trousers, which made a line of Confederates resemble that of the enemy, the only difference being the “cut” of the garments–the Federals wearing a loose blouse instead of a tight-fitting jacket. The uniforms of the Eastern troops made quite a contrast with the tattered and torn homemade jeans of their Western brethren.

General Bragg had divided his army into two wings–the right commanded by Lieutenant General Leonidas Polk (a Bishop of the M.E. Church, and afterwards killed in the battles around Atlanta.) and the left commanded by that grand chieftain (Lee’s “Old War Horse” and commander of his right), Lieutenant General James Longstreet. Under his guidance were Preston’s Division on extreme left, Hindman’s next, with Stewart’s on extreme right of left wing, all of Major General Buckner’s corps. Between Hindman and Stewart was Bushrod Johnson’s new formed division. In reserve were Hood’s three brigades, with Kershaw’s and Humphries’, all under Major General Hood, standing near the center and in rear of the wing.

The right wing stood as follows: General Pat Cleburn’s Division on right of Stewart, with Breckenridge’s on the extreme right of the infantry, under the command of Lieutenant General D.H. Hill, with Cheatham’s Division of Folk’s Corps to the left and rear of Cleburn as support, with General Walker’s Corps acting as reserve. Two divisions of Forrest’s Cavalry, one dismounted, were on the right of Breckenridge, to guard that flank, while far out to the left of Longstreet were two brigades of Wheeler’s Cavalry. The extreme left of the army, Preston’s Division, rested on Chickamauga Creek, the right thrown well forward towards the foot hills of Mission Ridge.

In the alignment of the two wings it was found that Longstreet’s right overlapped Folk’s left, and fully one-half mile in front, so it became necessary to bend Stewart’s Division back to join to Cleburn’s left, thereby leaving space between Bushrod Johnson and Stewart for Hood to place his three brigades on the firing line.

Longstreet having no artillery, he was forced to engage all of the thirty pieces of Buckner’s. In front of Longstreet lay a part of the Twentieth Corps, Davis’ and Sheridan’s Divisions, under Major General McCook, and part of the Twenty-first Corps, under the command of General Walker. On our right, facing Polk, was the distinguished Union General, George H. Thomas, with four divisions of his own corps, the Fourteenth, Johnson’s Division of the Twentieth, and Van Cleve’s of the Twenty-first Corps.

General Thomas was a native Virginian, but being an officer in the United States Army at the time of the secession of his State, he preferred to remain and follow the flag of subjugation, rather than, like the most of his brother officers of Southern birth, enter into the service of his native land and battle for justice, liberty, and States Rights. He and General Hunt, of South Carolina, who so ably commanded the artillery of General Meade at Gettysburg, were two of the most illustrious of Southern renegades.

In the center of Rosecrans’ Army were two divisions, Woods’ and Palmer’s, under Major General Crittenden, posted along the eastern slope of Mission Ridge, with orders to support either or both wings of the army, as occasions demanded.

General Gordon Granger, with three brigades of infantry and one division of cavalry, guarded the Union left and rear and the gaps leading to Chattanooga, and was to act as general reserve for the army and lay well back and to the left of Brannan’s Division that was supporting the front line of General Thomas.

The bulk of the Union cavalry, under General Mitchell, was two miles distant on our left, guarding the ford over Chickamauga at Crawfish Springs. The enemy’s artillery, consisting of two hundred and forty-six pieces, was posted along the ridges in our front, giving exceptional positions to shell and grape an advancing column.

Bragg had only two hundred pieces, but as his battle line occupied lower ground than that of the enemy, there was little opportunity to do effective work with his cannon.

The ground was well adapted by nature for a battlefield, and as the attacking party always has the advantage of maneuver and assault in an open field, each commander was anxious to get his blow in first. So had not Bragg commenced the battle as early as he did, we would most assuredly have had the whole Federal Army upon our hands before the day was much older. Kershaw’s Brigade, commanded by General Kershaw, stood from right to left in the following order: Fifteenth Regiment on the right, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Gist; Second Regiment, Colonel James D. Kennedy; Third, Colonel James D. Nance; Third Battalion, by Captain Robert H. Jennings; Eighth, Colonel John W. Henagan; Seventh, Colonel Elbert Bland.

* * * * *


The Battle of Chickamauga.

As I have already said, this was a lovely country–a picturesque valley nestling down among the spurs of the mountain, with the now classic Chickamauga winding its serpentine way along with a sluggish flow. It was also a lovely day; nature was at her best, with the fields and woods autumn tinged–the whole country rimmed in the golden hue of the Southern summer. The battling ground chosen, or rather say selected by fate, on which the fierce passions of men were to decide the fortunes of armies and the destiny of a nation, was rolling, undulating, with fields of growing grain or brown stubble, broken by woods and ravines, while in our front rose the blue tinted sides of Mission Ridge.

Both commanders were early in the saddle, their armies more evenly matched in numbers and able Lieutenants than ever before, each willing and anxious to try conclusions with the other–both confident of success and watchful of the mistakes and blunders of their opponent, ready to take advantage of the least opportunity that in any way would lead to success. The armies on either side were equally determined and confident, feeling their invincibility and the superiority of their respective commanders. Those of the North felt that it was impossible for the beaten Confederates to stand for a moment, with any hope of triumph, before that mighty machine of armed force that had been successfully rolling from the Ohio to the confines of Georgia. On the other hand, the Army of Tennessee felt that, with the aid from Joe Johnston, with Buckner, and the flower of Lee’s Army to strengthen their ranks, no army on earth could stay them on the battlefield.

The plan of battle was to swing the whole army forward in a wheel, Preston’s Division on Longstreet’s extreme left being the pivot, the right wing to break the enemy’s lines and uncover the McFarland and Rossville Gaps, thus capturing the enemy’s lines of communication to Chattanooga.

The Union Army was well protected by two lines of earthworks and log obstructions, with field batteries at every salient, or scattered along the front lines at every elevation, supported by the pieces of position on the ridges in rear.

The Confederate commander made no secret of his plan of battle, for it had been formulated three days before, and his manoeuvers on the 18th and 19th indicated his plan of operations. Early in the morning Bragg saluted his adversary with thirty pieces of artillery from his right wing, and the Federal Commander was not slow in acknowledging the salutation. The thunder of these guns echoed along the mountain sides and up and down the valleys with thrilling effect. Soon the ridges in our front were one blaze of fire as the infantry began their movements for attack, and the smoke from the enemy’s guns was a signal for our batteries along the whole line.

The attack on the right was not as prompt as the commander in chief had expected, so he rode in that direction and gave positive orders for the battle to begin. General D.H. Hill now ordered up that paladin of State craft, the gallant Kentuckian and opponent of Lincoln for the Presidency, General John C. Breckenridge, and put him to the assault on the enemy’s extreme left. But one of his brigade commanders being killed early in the engagement, and the other brigades becoming somewhat disorganized by the tangled underbrush, they made but little headway against the enemy’s works. Then the fighting Irishman, the Wild Hun of the South, General Pat Cleburn, came in with his division on Breckenridge’s left, and with whoop and yell he fell with reckless ferocity upon the enemy’s entrenchments. The four-gun battery of the Washington (Louisiana) Artillery following the column of Assault, contended successfully with the superior metal of the three batteries of the enemy. The attack was so stubborn and relentless that the enemy was forced back on his second line, and caused General Thomas to call up Negley’s Division from his reserves to support his left against the furious assaults of Breckenridge and Cleburn. But after somewhat expending their strength in the first charge against the enemy’s works, and Federal reinforcements of infantry and artillery coming up, both Confederate divisions were gradually being forced back to their original positions. Deshler’s Brigade, under that prince of Southern statesmen, Roger Q. Mills, supported by a part of Cheatham’s Division, took up Cleburn’s battle, while the division under General States R. Gist (of South Carolina), with Liddell’s, of Walker’s Corps, went to the relief of Breckenridge. Gist’s old Brigade (South Carolina) struck the angle of the enemy’s breastworks, and received a galling fire from enfilading lines. But the other brigades of Gist’s coming up and Liddell’s Division pushing its way through the shattered and disorganized ranks of Breckenridge, they made successful advance, pressing the enemy back and beyond the Chattanooga Road.

Thomas was again reduced to the necessity of calling for reinforcements, and so important was it thought that this ground should be held, that the Union commander promised support, even to the extent of the whole army, if necessary.

But eleven o’clock had come and no material advantage had been gained on the right. The reinforcements of Thomas having succeeded in checking the advance of Gist and Liddell, the Old WarHorse on the left became impatient, and sent word to Bragg, “My troops can break the lines, if you care to have them broken.” What sublime confidence did Lee’s old commander of the First Corps have in the powers of his faithful troops! But General Bragg, it seems, against all military rules or precedent, and in violation of the first principles of army ethics, had already sent orders to Longstreet’s subalterns, directly and not through the Lieutenant General’s headquarters, as it should have been done, to commence the attack. General Stewart, with his division of Longstreet’s right, was at that moment making successful battle against the left of the Twentieth and right of Twenty-first Corps. This attack so near to Thomas’ right, caused that astute commander to begin to be as apprehensive of his right as he had been of his left flank, and asked for support in that quarter. Longstreet now ordered up the gallant Texan, General Hood, with his three brigades, with Kershaw’s and Humphreys in close support. Hood unmercifully assailed the column in his front, but was as unmercifully slaughtered, himself falling desperately wounded. Benning’s Brigade was thrown in confusion, but at this juncture Kershaw and Humphreys moved their brigades upon the firing line end commenced the advance. In front of these two brigades was a broad expanse of cultivated ground, now in stubble. Beyond this field was a wooded declivity rising still farther away to a ridge called Pea Ridge, on which the enemy was posted. Our columns were under a terrific fire of shells as they advanced through the open field, and as they neared the timbered ridge they were met by a galling tempest of grape and canister. The woods and underbrush shielded the enemy from view.

Law now commanding Hood’s Division, reformed his lines and assaulted and took the enemy’s first lines of entrenchments. Kershaw marched in rear of the brigade, giving commands in that clear, metallic sound that inspired confidence in his troops. At the foot of the declivity, or where the ground begun to rise towards the enemy’s lines, was a rail fence, and at this obstruction and clearing of it away, Kershaw met a galling fire from the Federal sharpshooters, but not a gun had been fired as yet by our brigade. But Humphreys was in it hot and heavy. As we began our advance up the gentle slope, the enemy poured volley after volley into us from its line of battle posted behind the log breastworks. Now the battle with us raged in earnest.

Bushrod Johnson entered the lists with his division, and routed the enemy in his front, taking the first line of breastworks without much difficulty. Hindman’s Division followed Johnson, but his left and rear was assailed by a formidable force of mounted infantry which threw Manigault’s (South Carolina) Brigade on his extreme left in disorder, the brigade being seriously rattled. But Twigg’s Brigade, from Preston’s pivotal Division, came to the succor of Manigault and succeeded in restoring the line, and the advance continued. Kershaw had advanced to within forty paces of the enemy’s line, and it seemed for a time that his troops would be annihilated. Colonel Bland, then Major Hard, commanding the Seventh, were killed. Lieutenant Colonel Hoole, of the Eighth, was killed. Colonel Gist, commanding the Fifteenth, and Captain Jennings, commanding the Third Battalion, were dangerously wounded, while many others of the line officers had fallen, and men were being mown down like grain before a sickle.

General Kershaw ordered his men to fall back to the little ravine a hundred paces in rear, and here they made a temporary breastwork of the torn down fence and posted themselves behind it. They had not long to wait before a long line of blue was seen advancing from the crest of the hill. The enemy, no doubt, took our backward movement as a retreat, and advanced with a confident mien, all unconscious of our presence behind the rail obstruction. Kershaw, with his steel-gray eyes glancing up and down his lines, and then at the advancing line of blue, gave the command repeatedly to “Hold your fire.” When within a very short distance of our column the startling command rang out above the din of battle on our right and left, “Fire!” Then a deafening volley rolled out along the whole line. The enemy halted and wavered, their men falling in groups, then fled to their entrenchments, Kershaw closely pursuing.

From the firing of the first gun away to the right the battle became one of extreme bitterness, the Federals standing with unusual gallantry by their guns in the vain hope that as the day wore on they could successfully withstand, if not entirely repel, the desperate assaults of Bragg until night would give them cover to withdraw.

The left wing was successful, and had driven the Federal lines back at right angles on Thomas’ right. The Federal General, Gordon Granger, rests his title to fame by the bold movement he now made. Thomas was holding Polk in steady battle on our right, when General Granger noticed the Twentieth Corps was being forced back, and the firing becoming dangerously near in the Federal’s rear. General Granger, without any orders whatever, left his position in rear of Thomas and marched to the rescue of McCook, now seeking shelter along the slopes of Mission Ridge, but too late to retrieve losses–only soon enough to save the Federal Army from rout and total disaster.

But the turning point came when Longstreet ordered up a battalion of heavy field pieces, near the angle made by the bending back of the enemy’s right, and began infilading the lines of Thomas, as well as Crittenden’s and McCook’s. Before this tornado of shot and shell nothing could stand. But with extraordinary tenacity of Thomas and the valor of his men he held his own for a while longer.

Kershaw was clinging to his enemy like grim death from eleven o’clock until late in the evening–his men worn and fagged, hungry and almost dying of thirst, while the ammunition was being gradually exhausted and no relief in sight. Hindman (Johnson on the left) had driven the enemy back on Snodgrass Hill, where Granger’s reserves were aiding them in making the last grand struggle. Snodgrass Hill was thought to be the key to the situation on our left, as was Horse Shoe Bend on the right, but both were rough and hard keys to handle. Kershaw had driven all before him from the first line of works, and only a weak fire was coming from the second line. All that was needed now to complete the advance was a concentrated push along the whole line, but the density of the smoke settling in the woods, the roar of battle drowning all commands, and the exhaustion and deflection of the rank and file made this move impossible.

But just before the sun began dipping behind the mountains on our left, a long line of gray, with glittering bayonets, was seen coming down the slope in our rear. It was General Grade, with his Alabama Brigade of Preston’s Division, coming to reinforce our broken ranks and push the battle forward. This gallant brigade was one thousand one hundred strong and it was said this was their first baptism of fire and blood. General Gracie was a fine specimen of physical manhood and a finished looking officer, and rode at the head of his column. Reaching Kershaw, he dismounted, placed the reins of his horse over his arm, and ordered his men to the battle. The enemy could not withstand the onslaught of these fresh troops, and gave way, pursued down the little dell in rear by the Alabamians. The broken lines formed on the reserves that were holding Snodgrass Hill, and made an aggressive attack upon Gracie, forcing him back on the opposite hill.

Twigg’s Brigade, of the same division, came in on the left and gave him such support as to enable him to hold his new line.

The fire of Longstreet’s batteries from the angle down Thomas’ lines, forced that General to begin withdrawing his troops from their entrenchments, preparatory to retreat. This movement being noticed by the commanding General, Liddell’s Division on the extreme right was again ordered to the attack, but with no better success than in the morning. The enemy had for some time been withdrawing his trains and broken ranks through the gaps of the mountain in the direction of Chattanooga, leaving nothing in front of the left wing but the reserves of Granger and those of Crittenden. These held their ground gallantly around Snodgrass Hill, but it was a self-evident fact to all the officers, as well as the troops, that the battle was irretrievably lost, and they were only fighting for time, the time that retreat could be safely made under cover of darkness. But before the sun was fairly set, that great army was in full retreat. But long before this it was known to the brilliant Union commander that fate had played him false–that destiny was pointing to his everlasting overthrow. He knew, too, that the latter part of the battle, while brief and desperate, the lurid cloud of battle settling all around his dead and dying, a spectre had even then arisen as from the earth, and pointing his bony fingers at the field of carnage, whispering in his ear that dreaded word, “Lost!”

As night closed in upon the bloody scenes of the day, the Federal Army, that in the morning had stood proud and defiant along the crests and gorges of the mountain ridges, was now a struggling mass of beaten and fleeing fugitives, or groups groping their way through the darkness towards the passes that led to Chattanooga.

Of all the great Captains of that day, Longstreet was the guiding genius of Chickamauga. It was his masterful mind that rose equal to the emergency, grasped and directed the storm of battle. It was by the unparalleled courage of the troops of Hood, Humphreys, and Kershaw, and the temporary command under Longstreet, throwing themselves athwart the path of the great colossus of the North, that checked him and drove him back over the mountains to the strongholds around Chattanooga. And it is no violent assumption to say that had the troops on the right under Polk supported the battle with as fiery zeal as those on the left under Longstreet, the Union Army would have been utterly destroyed and a possible different ending to the campaign, if not in final, results might have been confidently expected.

The work of the soldier was not done with the coming of night. The woods along the slopes where the battle had raged fiercest had caught fire and the flames were nearing the wounded and the dead. Their calls and piteous wails demanded immediate assistance. Soldiers in groups and by ones and twos scoured the battlefield in front and rear, gathering up first the wounded then the dead. The former were removed to the field infirmaries, the latter to the new city to be built for them–the city of the dead. The builders were already at work on their last dwelling places, scooping out shallow graves with bayonets, knives, and such tools that were at hand. Many pathetic spectacles were witnessed of brother burying brother. My brother and five other members of the company were laid side by side, wrapped only in their blankets, in the manner of the Red Men in the legend who fought and died here in the long, long ago. Here we left them “in all their glory” amid the sacred stillness that now reigned over the once stormy battlefield, where but a short while before the tread of struggling legions, the thunder of cannon, and the roar of infantry mingled in systematic confusion. But now the awful silence and quietude that pervades the field after battle–where lay the dreamless sleepers of friend and foe, victor and vanquished, the blue and the gray, with none to sing their requiems–nothing heard save the plaintive notes of the night bird or the faint murmurs of grief of the comrades who are placing the sleepers in their shallow beds! But what is death to the soldier? It is the passing of a comrade perhaps one day or hour in advance to the river with the Pole Ferryman.

Bragg, out of a total of fifty-nine thousand two hundred and forty-two, lost seventeen thousand eight hundred. Rosecran’s total was sixty thousand eight hundred and sixty-seven (exclusive of the losses on the 18th and 19th). His loss on the 20th was sixteen thousand five hundred and fifty. The greater loss of the Confederates can be accounted for when it is remembered that they were the assaulting party–the enemy’s superior position, formidable entrenchments, and greater amount of artillery.

The Battle of Chickamauga was one of the most sanguinary of the war, when the number of troops engaged and the time in actual combat are taken into consideration. In the matter of losses it stands as the fifth greatest battle of the war. History gives no authentic record of greater casualties in battle in the different organizations, many of the regiments losing from fifty to fifty-seven per cent, of their numbers, while some reached as high as sixty-eight per cent. When it’s remembered that usually one is killed out right to every five that are wounded, some idea of the dreadful mortality on the field can be formed.

* * * * *


Notes of the Battle–Pathetic Scenes–Sketches of Officers.

The Seventh Regiment was particularly unfortunate in the loss of her brilliant officers. Colonel Bland and Lieutenant Colonel Hood both being killed, that regiment was left without a field officer. Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Gist, of the Fifteenth, being permanently disabled, and Major William Gist being soon afterwards killed, the Fifteenth was almost in the same condition of the Seventh. So also was the Third Battalion. Captain Robert Jennings, commanding the battalion as senior Captain, lost his arm here, and was permanently retired, leaving Captain Whitner in command. Major Dan Miller had received a disabling wound in some of the former battles and never returned. Colonel Rice returning soon after this battle, he likewise received a wound from which he never sufficiently recovered for active service, so the Third Battalion was thereafter commanded by a Captain, Captain Whitner commanding until his death one year later. The Eighth Regiment met an irreparable loss in the death of Lieutenant Colonel Hoole. No officer in the brigade had a more soldierly bearing, high attainments, and knightly qualities than Colonel Hoole, and not only the regiment, but the whole brigade felt his loss. He was one of those officers whose fine appearance caused men to stop and look at him twice before passing. The many fine officers, Captains as well as Lieutenants, that were killed or wounded here made a death and disabled roll, from the effects of which the brigade never fully recovered. Then the whole army mourned the supposed death of the gallant and dashing Texan, General Hood, but he lived to yet write his name in indelible letters on the roll-of fame among the many officers of distinction in the Army of Tennessee.

In our first general advance in the morning, as the regiment reached the brow of the hill, just before striking the enemy’s breastworks, my company and the other color company, being crowded together by the pressure of the flanks on either side, became for the moment a tangled, disorganized mass. A sudden discharge of grape from the enemy’s batteries, as well as from their sharpshooters posted behind trees, threw us in greater confusion, and many men were shot down unexpectedly. A Sergeant in my company, T.C. Nunnamaker, received a fearful wound in the abdomen. Catching my hand while falling, he begged to be carried off. “Oh! for God’s sake, don’t leave me here to bleed to death or have my life trampled out! Do have me carried off!” But the laws of war are inexorable, and none could leave the ranks to care for the wounded, and those whose duty it was to attend to such matters were unfortunately too often far in the rear, seeking places of safety for themselves, to give much thought or concern to the bleeding soldiers. Before our lines were properly adjusted, the gallant Sergeant was beyond the aid of anyone. He had died from internal hemorrhage. The searchers of the battlefield, those gatherers of the wounded and dead, witness many novel and pathetic scenes.

Louis Spillers, a private in my company, a poor, quiet, and unassuming fellow, who had left a wife and little children at home when he donned the uniform of gray, had his thigh broken, just to the left of where the Sergeant fell. Spillers was as “brave as the bravest,” and made no noise when he received the fatal wound. As the command swept forward down the little dell, he was of course left behind. Dragging himself along to the shade of a small tree, he sought shelter behind its trunk, protecting his person as well as he could from the bullets of the enemy posted on the ridge in front, and waited developments. When the litter-bearers found him late at night, he was leaning against the tree, calmly puffing away at his clay pipe. When asked why he did not call for assistance, he replied: “Oh, no; I thought my turn would come after awhile to be cared for, so I just concluded to quietly wait and try and smoke away some of my misery.” Before morning he was dead. One might ask the question. What did such men of the South have to fight for–no negroes, no property, not even a home that they could call their own? What was it that caused them to make such sacrifices–to even give their lives to the cause? It was a principle, and as dear to the poorest of the poor as to him who counted his broad acres by the thousands and his slaves by the hundreds. Of such mettle were made the soldiers of the South–unyielding, unconquerable, invincible!

An old man in Captain Watts’ Company, from Laurens, Uncle Johny Owens, a veteran of the Florida War, and one who gave much merriment to the soldiers by his frequent comparisons of war, “fighting Indians” and the one “fighting Yankees,” was found on the slope, just in front of the enemy’s breastworks, leaning against a tree, resting on his left knee, his loaded rifle across the other. In his right hand, between his forefinger and thumb, in the act of being placed upon the nipple of the gun, was a percussion cap. His frame was rigid, cold, and stiff, while his glossy eyes seemed to be peering in the front as looking for a lurking foe. He was stone dead, a bullet having pierced his heart, not leaving the least sign of the twitching of a muscle to tell of the shock he had received. He had fought his last battle, fired his last gun, and was now waiting for the last great drum-beat.

A story is told at the expense of Major Stackhouse, afterwards the Colonel of the Eighth, during this battle. I cannot vouch for its truthfulness, but give it as it was given to me by Captain Harllee, of the same regiment. The Eighth was being particularly hard-pressed, and had it not been for the unflinching stoicism of the officers and the valor of the men, the ranks not yet recruited from the results of the battle at Gettysburg, the little band would have been forced to yield. Major Stackhouse was in command of the right wing of the regiment, and all who knew the old farmer soldier knew him to be one of the most stubborn fighters in the army, and at the same time a “Methodist of the Methodists.” He was moreover a pure Christian gentleman and a churchman of the straightest sect. There was no cant superstitions or affectation in his make-up, and what he said he meant. It was doubtful if he ever had an evil thought, and while his manners might have been at times blunt, he was always sincere and his language chosen and chaste, with the possible exception during battle. The time of which I speak, the enemy was making a furious assault on the right wing of the Eighth, and as the Major would gently rise to his knees and see the enemy so stubbornly contesting the ground, he would call out to the men, “There they are, boys, give them hell!” Then in an under tone he would say, “May God, forgive me for that!” Still the Yankees did not yield, and again and again he shouted louder and louder, “Boys, give it to them; give them hell!” with his usual undertone, “May God, forgive me for that,” etc. But they began closing on the right and the center, and his left was about to give way; the old soldier could stand it no longer. Springing to his feet, his tall form towering above all around him, he shouted at the top of his voice, “Give them hell; give them hell, I tell you, boys; give them hell, G—- souls” The Eighth must have given them what was wanting, or they received it from somewhere, for after this outburst they scampered back behind the ridge.

[Illustration: Lieut. James N. Martin, Co. E., 36 S.C. Regiment.]

[Illustration: Maj. Wm. D. Peck, Quarter Master of Kershaw’s Division. (Page 162.)]

[Illustration: Col. James D. Nance, 3d S.C. Regiment. (Page 353.)]

[Illustration: David E. Ewart, Major and Surgeon, 3d S.C. Regiment.]

Years after this, while Major Stackhouse was in Congress, and much discussion going on about the old Bible version of hell and the new version hades, some of his colleagues twitted the Major about the matter and asked him whether he was wanting the Eighth to give the Union soldiers the new version, or the old. With a twinkle in his eye, the Major answered “Well, boys, on all ordinary occasions the new version will answer the purposes, but to drive a wagon out of a stall or the Yankees from your front, the old version is the best.”

Major Hard, who was killed here, was one of the finest officers in the brigade and the youngest, at that time, of all the field officers. He was handsome, brilliant, and brave. He was one of the original officers of the Seventh; was re-elected at the reorganization in May, 1862, and rose, by promotion, to Major, and at the resignation of Colonel Aiken would have been, according to seniority, Lieutenant Colonel. Whether he ever received this rank or not, I cannot remember. I regret my inability to get a sketch of his life.

But the Rupert of the brigade was Colonel Bland, of the Seventh. I do not think he ever received his commission as full Colonel, but commanded the regiment as Lieutenant Colonel, with few exceptions, from the battle of Sharpsburg until his death. Colonel Aiken received a wound at Sharpsburg from which he never fully recovered until after the war. Colonel Aiken was a moulder of the minds of men; could hold them together and guide them as few men could in Kershaw’s Brigade, but Bland was the ideal soldier and a fighter “par excellence.” He had the gift of inspiring in his men that lofty courage that he himself possessed. His form was faultless–tall, erect, and well developed, his eyes penetrating rather than piercing, his voice strong and commanding. His was a noble, generous soul, cool and brave almost to rashness. He was idolized by his troops and beloved as a comrade and commander. Under the guise of apparent sternness, there was a gentle flow of humor. To illustrate this, I will relate a little circumstance that occurred after the battle of Chancellorsville to show the direction his humor at times took. Colonel Bland was a bearer of orders to General Hooker across the Rappahannock, under a flag of truce. At the opposite bank he was met by officers and a crowd of curious onlookers, who plied the Colonel with irrelevant questions. On his coat collar he wore the two stars of his rank, Lieutenant Colonel. One of the young Federal officers made some remark about Eland’s stars, and said, “I can’t understand your Confederate ranks; some officers have bars and some stars. I see you have two stars; are you a Brigadier General?”

“No, sir,” said Bland, straightening himself up to his full height; “but I ought to be. If I was in your army I would have been a Major General, and in command of your army.” Then with a merry chuckle added, “Perhaps then you would not have gotten such a d—n bad whipping at Chancellorsville.” Then all hands laughed.

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Elbert Bland was born in Edgefield County, S.C., and attended the common schools until early manhood, when choosing medicine as a profession, he attended the Medical College of New York, where he graduated with distinction. Ardently ambitious, he remained sometime after graduation, in order to perfect himself in his chosen profession. Shortly after his graduation, war broke out between the States and Mexico, and he was offered and accepted the position of Assistant Surgeon of the Palmetto Regiment, Colonel P.M. Butler commanding. By this fortunate occurrence he was enabled to greatly enlarge his knowledge of surgery. At the close of the war he came home, well equipped for the future. Shortly after his return from the war he was happily married to Miss Rebecca Griffin, a daughter of Hon. N.L. Griffin, of Edgefield. Settling in his native county, he entered at once into a lucrative practice, and at the beginning of the late war was enjoying one of the largest country practices in the State. When the mutterings of war began he was one of the first to show signs of activity, and when Gregg’s Regiment went to the coast in defense of his native State, he was appointed Surgeon of that Regiment. Having had some experience already as a Surgeon in the Mexican War, he determined to enter the more active service, and in connection with Thos. G. Bacon, raised the Ninety-Six Riflemen, which afterwards formed part of the Seventh South Carolina Regiment. Bacon was elected Captain and Bland First Lieutenant. Upon organizing the regiment, Bacon was elected Colonel of the regiment and Bland was to be Captain.

Whilst very little active service was seen during the first year of the war, still sufficient evidence was given of Eland’s ability as a commander of the men, and upon the reorganization of the regiment, Captain Bland was elected Lieutenant Colonel. From this time until September 20th, 1863, his fortunes were those of the Seventh Regiment. He was conspicuous on nearly every battlefield in Virginia, and was twice wounded–at Savage Station, seriously in the arm, from which he never recovered, and painfully in the thigh at Gettysburg. At the sanguinary battle of Chickamauga, on September 20th, 1863, whilst in command of his regiment, and in the moment of victory, he fell mortally wounded, living only about two hours.

No knightlier soul than his ever flashed a sabre in the cause he loved so well, and like Marshall Nay, he was one of the bravest of the brave. He sleeps quietly in the little cemetery of his native town, and a few years ago, upon the death-bed of his wife, her request was that his grave and coffin should be opened at her death, and that she should be placed upon his bosom, which was done, and there they sleep. May they rest in peace.

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Axalla John Hoole was of English decent, his grandfather, Joseph Hoole, having emigrated from York, England, about the close of the Revolutionary War, and settled at Georgetown, S.C.

James C. Hoole, the father of A.J. Hoole, was a soldier of the war of 1812. He removed to Darlington District and married Elizabeth Stanley, by whom he had five children, the third being the subject of this sketch.

Axalla John Hoole was born near Darlington Court House, S.C., October 12th, 1822. His father died when he was quite small, leaving a large family and but little property, but his mother was a woman of great energy, and succeeded in giving him as good an education as could be obtained at St. John’s Academy, Darlington Court House. Upon the completion of the academic course, at the age of eighteen, he taught school for twelve years, after which he followed the occupation of farming.

While a young man he joined the Darlington Riflemen, and after serving in various capacities, he was elected Captain about 1854 or 1855. He was an enthusiastic advocate of States Rights, and during the excitement attending the admission of Kansas as a State, he went out there to oppose the Abolitionists. He married Elizabeth G. Brunson, March 20th, 1856, and left the same day for Kansas. Taking an active part in Kansas politics and the “Kansas War,” he was elected Probate Judge of Douglas County by the pro-slavery party, under the regime of Governor Walker.

He returned to Darlington December 5th, 1857, and shortly afterwards was re-elected Captain of the Darlington Riflemen. At a meeting of the Riflemen, held in April, 1861, on the Academy green, he called for volunteers, and every man in the company volunteered, except one. The company went to Charleston April 15th, 1861, and after remaining a short while, returned as far as Florence, where they were mustered in as Company A, Eighth S.C.V.

The Eighth Regiment left Florence for Virginia June 2d, 1861. At the expiration of the period of enlistment, the regiment was reorganized, and Captain Hoole was elected Lieutenant Colonel, in which capacity he served until he was killed at the battle of Chickamauga, September 20th, 1863. He was buried at the Brunson graveyard, near Darlington.

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As I have made some mention of Major Stackhouse, he being promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and afterwards Colonel of the Eighth, I will take this opportunity of giving the readers a very brief sketch of the life of this sterling farmer, patriot, soldier, and statesman, who, I am glad to say, survived the war for many years.

Colonel E.T. Stackhouse was born in Marion County, of this State, the 27th of March, 1824, and died in the City of Washington, D.C., June 14th, 1892. He was educated in the country schools, having never enjoyed the advantages of a collegiate course. He married Miss Anna Fore, who preceded him to the grave by only a few months. Seven children was the result of this union. In youth and early manhood Colonel Stackhouse was noted for his strict integrity and sterling qualities, his love of truth and right being his predominating trait. As he grew in manhood he grew in moral worth–the better known, the more beloved.

His chosen occupation was that of farming, and he was ever proud of the distinction of being called one of the “horny-handed sons of toil.” In the neighborhood in which he was born and bred he was an exemplar of all that was progressive and enobling.

In April, 1861, Colonel Stackhouse was among the very first to answer the call of his country, and entered the service as Captain in the Eighth South Carolina Regiment. By the casualties of war, he was promoted to Major, Lieutenant Colonel, and Colonel, and led the old Eighth, the regiment he loved so well, in some of the most sanguinary engagements of the war. All that Colonel Stackhouse was in civil life he was that, and more if possible, in the life of a soldier. In battle he was calm, collected, and brave; in camp or on the march he was sociable, moral–a Christian gentleman. As a tactician and disciplinarian, Colonel Stackhouse could not be called an exemplar soldier, as viewed in the light of the regular army; but as an officer of volunteers he had those elements in him to cause men to take on that same unflinching courage, indominable spirit, and bold daring that actuated him in danger and battle. He had not that sternness of command nor niceties nor notion of superiority that made machines of men, but he had that peculiar faculty of endowing his soldiers with confidence and a willingness to follow where he led.

He represented his county for three terms in the State Legislature, and was President of the State Alliance. He was among the first to advocate college agricultural training for the youth of the land, and was largely instrumental in the establishment of Clemson College, and became one of its first trustees.

He was elected, without opposition, to the Fifty-first Congress, and died while in the discharge of his duties at Washington.

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In Front of Chattanooga.

Early on the morning of the 22d we were ordered forward towards Chattanooga, the right wing having gone the day before. On nearing the city, we were shelled by batteries posted on the heights along the way and from the breastworks and forts around the city. It was during one of the heavy engagements between our advanced skirmish lines and the rear guard of the enemy that one of the negro cooks, by some means, got lost between the lines, and as a heavy firing began, bullets flying by him in every direction, he rushed towards the rear, and raising his hands in an entreating position, cried out, “Stop, white folks, stop! In the name of God Almighty, stop and argy!”

In moving along, near the city we came to a great sink in the ground, caused by nature’s upheaval at some remote period, covering an acre or two of space. It seemed to have been a feeding place for hogs from time immemorial, for corn cobs covered the earth for a foot or more in depth. In this place some of our troops were posted to avoid the shells, the enemy having an exact range of this position. They began throwing shells right and left and bursting them just over our heads, the fragments flying in every direction. At every discharge, and before the shell reached us, the men would cling to the sides of the sloping sink, or burrow deeper in the cobs, until they had their bodies almost covered. A little man of my company, while a good soldier, had a perfect aversion to cannon shot, and as a shell would burst just overhead, his body was seen to scringe, tremble, and go still deeper among the cobs. Some mischievous comrade took advantage of his position, seized a good sound cob, then just as a shell bursted overhead, the trembling little fellow all flattened out, he struck him a stunning blow on the back. Such a yell as he set up was scarcely ever heard. Throwing the cobs in every direction, he cried out, “Oh! I am killed; I am killed! Ambulance corps! Ambulance corps!” But the laugh of the men soon convinced him his wound was more imaginary than real so he turned over and commenced to burrow again like a mole.

Rosecrans having withdrawn his entire force within the fortifications around Chattanooga, our troops were placed in camp, surrounding the enemy in a semi-circle, and began to fortify. Kershaw’s Brigade was stationed around a large dwelling in a grove, just in front of Chattanooga, and something over a mile distant from the city, but in plain view. We had very pleasant quarters in the large grove surrounding the house, and, in fact, some took possession of the porches and outhouses. This, I think, is the point Grant stormed a few months afterwards, and broke through the lines of Bragg. We had built very substantial breastworks, and our troops would have thought themselves safe and secure against the charge of Grant’s whole army behind such works.

If those who are unfamiliar with the life of the soldier imagines it is one long funeral procession, without any breaks of humor, they are away off from the real facts. The soldier is much the same as the schoolboy. He must have some vent through which the ebullition of good feelings can blow off, else the machinery bursts.

While encamped around this house, a cruel joke was played upon Captain–well we will call him Jones; that was not his name, however, but near enough to it to answer our purpose. Now this Captain Jones, as we call him, was engaged to be married to one of the fairest flowers in the Palmetto State, a perfect queen among beauties–cultured, vivacious, and belonging to one of the oldest families in that Commonwealth of Blue Bloods. The many moves and changes during the last month or two considerably interrupted our communications and mail facilities, and Jones had not received the expected letters. He became restless, petulant, and cross, and to use the homely phrase, “he was all torn up.” Instead of the “human sympathy” and the “one touch of nature,” making the whole world akin, that philosophers and sentimentalists talk about, it should be “one sight of man’s misery”–makes the whole world “wish him more miserable.” It was through such feelings that induced Captain I.N. Martin, our commissary, with Mack Blair and others, to enter into a conspiracy to torture Jones with all he could stand. Blair had a lady cousin living near the home of Jones’ fiancee, with whom he corresponded, and it was through this channel that the train was laid to blow up Jones while said Jones was in the piazza engaged in a deeply interesting game of chess. Martin was to be in the piazza watching the game, when Blair was to enter reading a letter. Then something like the following colloquy took place:

“Well, Mack, what is the news from home?”

“Nothing very interesting,” replies Blair. Then, as a sudden recollection strikes him, “Oh, yes, there is to be a big wedding at Old Dr. Blanks.”

“You don’t say so?” (The game of chess stands still.) “And who is to be married, pray?” innocently enquires Martin.

“Why it will surprise you as much as it did me, I suppose, and I would not believe it, only Cousin Sallie says she is to be bride’s maid.” (Jones ceases to play and listens intently.) “It is nobody else than Mr. —- and Miss ‘Blank.'”

Now, this Miss “Blank” is Jones’ intended. Jones is paralyzed. His face turns livid, then pale, now green! He is motionless, his eyes staring vacantly on the chessboard. Then with a mighty exertion Jones kicked the board aside and sprang to his feet. Shaking his trembling finger in the face of Blair, his whole frame convulsed with emotion, his very soul on fire, he hissed between his teeth: “That’s an infernal lie, I don’t care whose Cousin Sallie wrote it.”

Jones was nearly crazed for the balance of the day. He whistled and sang strange melodies while walking aimlessly about. He read and re-read the many love missives received long ago. Some he tore into fragments; others he carefully replaced in his knapsack.

But those evil geniuses were still at work for further torture, or at least to gloat over Jones’ misery. It was arranged to formally bury him, allegorically. At night, while Jones was asleep, or trying to sleep on the piazza, a procession was formed, headed by Major Maffett, who was to act as the priest, and I must say he acted the part like a cardinal. We had a little rehearsal of the part each was to play, and those who “couldn’t hold in” from laughing were ruled out, for it was expected that Jones would cut some frightful antics as the ceremony proceeded. I was not allowed to accompany the procession, as it was decided I could not “hold in,” and under no condition was there to be a laugh or even a smile; but I took up position behind the balusters and watched events as the shadows were cast before. Major Maffett was dressed in a long dark overcoat, to represent the priestly gown, with a miter on his head, carrying Hardee’s Tactics, from which to read the burial service. All had in their hands a bayonet, from which burned a tallow candle, in place of tapers. The procession marched up the steps in single file, all bearing themselves with the greatest solemnity and sombre dignity, followed by the sexton, with a frying-pan as a shovel, and took their places around the supposed corpse. Maffett began the duties by alluding to that part of the service where “it is allotted that all men shall die,” etc., waving his hand in due form to the sexton as he repeated the words, “Earth to earth and dust to dust,” the sexton following the motions with the frying pan.

I must say, in all truthfulness, that in all my life I never saw a graver or more solemn set of faces than those of the would-be mourning procession. Captain Wright appeared as if he was looking into his own grave, and the others appeared equally as sorrowful. Major Maffett gave out in clear, distinct tones the familiar lines of–

“Solemn strikes
the funeral chime,
Notes of our departing time.”

Well, such grotesque antics as Jones did cut up was perfectly dreadful. He laughed, he mimicked the priest, kicked at the mourners, and once tried to grab the tactics. The Major and his assistants pitched the tune on a high key. Captain Wright braced it with loud, strong bass, while Martin and Sim Pratt came in on the home stretch with tenor and alto that shook the rafters in the house. Then all dispersed as silently and sorrowfully as they had come.

In a few days Jones got a letter setting all things straight. Martin and Blair confessed their conspiracy against his peace of mind, and matters progressed favorably thereafter between Jones and Miss “Blank,” but Jones confessed afterwards that he carried for a long time “bad, wicked blood in his heart.”

But soldiers have their tragedies as well as their comedies in camp. It was here we lost our old friend, Jim George, the shallow-pated wit–the man who found us the flour on the Potomac, and who floundered about in the river “for three hours,” as he said, on that bitter cold night at Yorktown. It was also told of Jim, that during the first battle he was loading and shooting at the wounded enemy for all his gun was worth, and when remonstrated with by his Captain, Chesley Herbert, telling Jim he “should not kill them,” Jim indignantly asked, “What in the hell did we come to the war for, if not to kill Yankees?” But this, I think, is only a joke at Jim’s expense. Nevertheless, he was a good solider, of the harmless kind, and a good, jolly fellow withal, taking it as a pleasure to do a friend a kindness.

As I have said, however, Jim was a great boaster and blusterer, glorying in the marvelous and dangerous. Had he lived in the heroic age, I have no doubt he would have regaled the ears of his listeners with blood curdling stories of his battles with giants, his fights with dragons and winged serpents. He claimed to possess a charm. He wore an amulet around his neck to protect him against the “bullets of lead, of copper, or of brass” of his enemies, through which, he said, nothing could penetrate but the mystic “balls of silver,” the same with which “witch rabbits” are killed. He would fill his pockets, after battle, with spent and battered bullets, and exhibit them as specimens of his art in the catching of bullets on “the fly.”

He professed to be a very dangerous and blood-thirsty individual, but his comrades only laughed at his idiosyncrasies, knowing him as they did as being one of the best and most harmless soldiers in the army. He often boasted, “No Yankee will ever kill me, but our own men will,” his companions little dreaming how prophetic his words would prove.

One night while Jim, in company with some companions, were on a “foraging expedition,” they came to a farm house on Missionary Ridge and ordered supper. A cavalryman was there, also, waiting to be served. A negro servant attending to the table gave some real or imaginary affront, and the soldiers, in a spirit of jest, pretended as if they were going to take the negro out and flog him. Now Jim, as well as the cavalryman, thought the midnight revelers were in earnest, and Jim was in high glee at the prospect of a little adventure. But nothing was further from the thoughts of the soldiers than doing harm to the negro. When they had him in the yard the cavalryman came on the porch, and in an authoritative manner, ordered the negro turned loose.

This was a time Jim thought that he could get in some of his bullying, so going up on the steps where the cavalryman stood, jesticulating with his finger, said, “When we get through with the negro we will give you some of the same.”

In an instant the strange soldier’s pistol was whipped out–a flash, a report, and Jim George fell dead at his feet, a victim to his own swagger and an innocent jest of his companions. So dumbfounded were the innocent “foragers,” that they allowed the cavalryman to ride away unmolested and unquestioned.

The bones of the unfortunate Jim lie buried on the top of Missionary Ridge, and the name of his slayer remains a mystery to this day.

While in Tennessee our diet was somewhat changed. In the East, flour, with beef and bacon, was issued to the troops; but here we got nothing but corn meal, with a little beef and half ration of bacon. The troops were required to keep four days’ rations cooked on hand all the time. Of the meal we made “cart wheels,” “dog heads,” “ash cakes,” and last, but not least, we had “cush.” Now corn bread is not a very great delicacy at best, but when four days’ old, and green with mold, it is anything but palatable. But the soldiers got around this in the way “cush” was manipulated. Now it has been said “if you want soldiers to fight well, you must feed them well;” but this is still a mooted question, and I have known some of the soldiers of the South to give pretty strong battle when rather underfed than overfed.

For the benefit of those Spanish-American soldiers of the late war, who had nothing to vary their diet of ham and eggs, steak, pork, and potatoes, biscuits, light bread, coffee, and iced teas, but only such light goods as canned tomatoes, green corn, beans, salmon, and fresh fish, I will tell them how to make “cush.” You will not find this word in the dictionaries of the day, but it was in the soldier’s vocabulary, now obsolete. Chip up bacon in fine particles, place in an oven and fry to a crisp. Fill the oven one-third or one-half full of branch water, then take the stale corn bread, the more moldy the better, rub into fine crumbs, mix and bring the whole to a boil, gently stirring with a forked stick. When cold, eat with fingers and to prevent waste or to avoid carrying it on the march, eat the four days’ rations at one sitting. This dish will aid in getting clear of all gestion of meat, and prevent bread from getting old. A pot of “cush” is a dish “fit for a king,” and men who will not fight on it would not fight if penned.

The forest and farms around abounded in sheep and hogs. In fact, Tennessee and North Georgia were not the worst places in the South in which to live through a campaign. We had strict orders to protect all private property and molest nothing outside of camp requirements, but the men would forage at night, bring in a sheep or hog, divide up, and by the immutable law of camps it was always proper to hang a choice piece of mutton or pork at the door of the officers’ tent. This helped to soothe the conscience of the men and pave the way to immunity from punishment. The stereotyped orders were issued every night for “Captains to keep their men in camp,” but the orders were as often disregarded as obeyed. It was one of those cases where orders are more regarded “in the breach than in the observance.” Officers winked at it, if not actually countenancing the practice, of “foraging for something to eat.” Then again the old argument presented itself, “If we don’t take it the Yankees will,” so there you were.

Most of the soldiers took the opportunity of visiting Lookout Mountain and feasting their eyes upon the finest scenery of the South. While they had crossed and recrossed the Blue Ridge and the many ranges of lesser note in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania–had gazed with wonder and admiration at the windings of the Potomac and Shenandoah from the Heights of Maryland overlooking Harper’s Ferry–yet all these were nothing as compared to the view from Lookout Mountain. Standing on its brow, we could see the beautiful blue waters of the Tennessee flowing apparently at our feet, but in reality a mile or two distant. Beyond lay the city of Chattanooga, nestling down in the bend of the river, while away in the distance occasional glimpses of the stream could be had as it wound in and out around the hills and mountains that lined its either side, until the great river looked no larger than a mountain brooklet. From the highest peak of Lookout Mountain we catch faint streaks of far away Alabama; on the right, North Carolina; to the north, Tennessee; and to the south and east were Georgia and our own dear South Carolina. From this place many of our soldiers cast the last lingering look at the land they loved so well. On the plateau of the mountain was a beautiful lake of several acres in extent, surrounded by lovely little villas and summer houses, these all hurriedly deserted by the necessities of war–the furniture and fixtures left all in place as the owners took their hastened departure. In one house we visited was left a handsome piano, on which those who could perform gave the soldiers delightful music.

There was a roadway winding around the base of the mountain and gradually up its slopes to the plateau above, where wagons and other vehicles passed to the top. Most of the soldiers who wished to visit this beautiful and historic place passed up this road way, but there was another route–just a foot-path–up its precipitous sides, which had to be climbed hundreds of feet, perpendicularly, by means of ladders fastened to its sides. After going up one ladder, say fifty or seventy-five feet, we would come to a little offset in the mountain side, just wide enough to get a foot-hold, before taking another ladder. Some of the boldest climbers took this route to reach the summit, but after climbing the first ladder and looking back towards the gorge below, I concluded it was safer and more pleasant to take the “longer way round.” It certainly takes a man of stout heart and strong nerves to climb those ladders up to the “lands of the sky.”

The scenery in and around Chattanooga and Lookout Mountain is grand, far beyond pen picturing. The surroundings had a kind of buoyancy even to the spirits of the badly clad and badly fed soldiers, which caused their stale bread and “cush” to be eaten with a relish. The mountain homes seemed veritable “castles in the air.” Looking from the top of Lookout Mountain–its position, its surroundings, its natural fortresses–this would have made an old Feudal lord die of envy. Autumn is now at hand, with its glorious sunsets, its gorgeous coloring of the leaves and bushes away to the right on Missionary Ridge, the magnificent purple draperies along the river sides that rise and fall to our right and left, its blue waters dwindling away until they meet the deeper blue of the sky–are all beautiful beyond description. Lovely though this scenery may be in autumn, and its deeper coloring of green in the summer, how dazzled must be the looker on in beholding it in its tender, blushing mantle of spring?

For quite a time rumors came of Burnside’s advance through East Tennessee and of Longstreet’s detachment from the army to meet him. The troops were kept in constant expectation, with the regulation “four days” cooked rations on hand. It is not our purpose to criticise the acts of Generals, or the schemes and plans of the Southern Government, but future historical critics will not differ as to the ultimate results of the East Tennessee move. That Longstreet’s advance to East Tennessee was without results, if not totally disastrous, all will agree. To divide an army in the face of an enemy, is dangerous at best, and, with few exceptions, has been avoided by Generals and commanders of all time. Lee could afford it, because he was LEE and had a JACKSON to execute the movements, but on occasions when the enemy in front are more numerous and commanded by the most able and astute Generals of the time, the movement is hazardous in the extreme. Lee and his Lieutenants had already “robbed the cradle and the grave” to replenish their ranks, and what real benefit would accrue to the South had Longstreet captured the whole of Burnside’s Army, when the North had many armies to replace it? The critics of the future will judge the movement as ill-timed and fraught with little good and much ill to the Confederacy. However, it was so ordered, and no alternate was left the officers and soldiers but to obey.

On the 9th of October President Davis came out to Chattanooga to give matters his personal attention and seek, if possible, some “scape-grace” upon which to saddle the blame for not reaping greater fruits of the battle, and to vindicate the conduct of his commander in chief.

General Bragg had already preferred charges against Lieutenant General Polk, commander of the right wing of the army, for his tardiness in opening the battle of the 20th, and General Hindman was relieved of the command of his division for alleged misconduct prior to that time. Many changes were proposed and made in the corps and division commanders, as well as plans discussed for the future operations of the army. All agreed that it should be aggressive.

Major General Cheatham was temporarily placed in command of Folk’s Corps after the downfall of that General, and he himself soon afterwards superseded by lieutenant General Hardee. President Davis had thought of placing Pemberton, who had capitulated to Grant at Vicksburg, but who had been exchanged, in command of the corps; but the officers and troops demurred at this, and public opinion was so outspoken, that Mr. Davis was forced to abandon the idea. It was, therefore, given to Hardee. For some offense given by Major General D.H. Hill, who commanded the right of the right wing on the 20th, he was relieved of his command and his connection with the Army of Tennessee. Major General Buckner, commanding the divisions on the left of Longstreet’s wing, also came under the ban of official displeasure and was given an indefinite leave of absence. There was wrangling, too, among the Brigadiers in Hood’s Division, Jenkins, Law, and Robertson. Jenkins being a new addition to the division, was senior officer, and commanded the division in Hood’s absence by virtue of his rank. Law had been in the division since its formation, and after Hood’s disabilities from wounds, commanded very acceptably the balance of the days at Gettysburg. For this and other meritorious conduct, he thought the command should be given to him as senior in point of service with the division. Robertson had some personal difficulty with General Longstreet, which afterwards resulted in a call for a courtmartial. The advanced ideas and undisguised views of Longstreet himself were considered with suspicion by both the President and the General commanding the army, and had it not been for the high prestige and his brilliant achievements in the East, the unbounded love and devotion of his troops, the loyalty and confidence of General Lee in the high military ability of the old War Horse, his commander of the First Corps, in all probability his official head would have fallen in the basket. But President Davis was strong in his prejudices and convictions, and as usual, tenacious in his friendship and confidence towards his favorites. Bragg, in President Davis’ estimation at least, was vindicated, but at the expense of his subalterns, and was, therefore, retained in command in the face of overwhelming discontent among the Generals and the pressing demands of public opinion for his recall from the command of the army.

General Lee in the meantime had sought to relieve the pressure against Bragg as much as possible by making a demonstration in force against Meade, forcing the Federal Army back behind Bull Run, thereby preventing a further reinforcement of Rosecrans from the Army of the Potomac.

I digress thus far from the thread of my story, that the reader may better understand the conditions confronting our army–the morale, and esprit de corps of the officers and troops composing it.

On the 19th of October General Rosecrans was superseded by Major General George B. Thomas, in command of the Union Army, with Grant, who was rapidly climbing to the zenith of this renown, marching to his relief as commander of the department.

A considerable commotion was caused in camp about the last of October by the news of a large body of Union soldiers making a demonstration against our left flank and rear. It seems that a body of troops had embarked on board pontoon and flat boats in Chattanooga, and during the night had floated eight miles down the river and there were joined by a similar body marching over land on the north side. This formidable array was crossed over to the south side and moved in the direction of our rear and our line of communication under cover of the hills and mountain ridges. Jenkins’ and McLaw’s Divisions were ordered to intercept them and drive them off. A night attack was ordered, but by some misunderstanding or disobedience of orders, this movement on the part of the Confederates miscarried, and was abandoned; not, however, until General Bratton, of Jenkins’ old Brigade, came up and attacked the rear guard with such vigor that the enemy was glad enough to get away, leaving their wounded and dead upon the field. No further movements were made against the army until after our removal to East Tennessee.

About the first of November orders were issued for the transfer of Longstreet to begin, and on the 5th and 6th the greater part of his army was embarked on hastily constructed trains at Tyner’s Station, some five or six miles out on the E.T. & K.R.R. The horses, artillery, and wagon trains took the dirt road to Sweetwater, in the Sweetwater Valley, one of the most fertile regions in East Tennessee.

Longstreet’s command consisted of Kershaw’s (South Carolina), Bryan’s and Wofford’s (Georgia), and Humphreys’ (Mississippi) Brigades, under Major General McLaws; Anderson’s (Georgia), Jenkins’ (South Carolina), Law’s (Alabama), Robertson’s (Arkansas and Texas), and Benning’s (Georgia) Brigades, under Brigadier General M. Jenkins, commanding division; two batteries of artillery, under General Alexander; and four brigades of cavalry, under Major General Wheeler.

General Hood had been so desperately wounded at Chickamauga, that it was thought he could never return to the army; but he had won a glorious name, the prestige of which the war department thought of too much value to be lost, but to be used afterwards so disastrously in the campaign through Middle Tennessee. General Hood was, no doubt, an able, resolute, and indefatigable commander, although meteoric, something on the order of Charles, the “Madman of the North;” but his experience did not warrant the department in placing him in the command of an expedition to undertake the impossible–the defeat of an overwhelming army, behind breastworks, in the heart of its own country.

The movement of Longstreet to East Tennessee and Hood through Middle Tennessee was but the commencement of a series of blunders on the part of our war department that culminated eventually in the South’s downfall. But it is not our province to speculate in the rosy fields of “might-have-been,” but to record facts.

General Longstreet had of all arms fifteen thousand men, including teamsters, guards, medical and ambulance corps. General Burnside had an army of twenty-five thousand men and one hundred pieces of artillery, and this was the army Longstreet was expected to capture or destroy.

General Grant was marching from Mississippi with a large portion of his victorious troops of the Vicksburg campaign to reinforce Rosecrans, Sherman coming down through Tennessee, and Meade was sending reinforcements from the East, all to swell the defeated ranks of Rosecrans. With the knowledge of all these facts, the department was preparing to further reduce the forces of Bragg by sending Longstreet up in East Tennessee, with soldiers badly clad, worse equipped, and with the poorest apology of camp equipage, for an active and progressive campaign.

Both governments were greatly displeased with the results of the battle of Chickamauga–the Federals at their army failing to come up to their expectations and gaining a victory, instead of a disastrous defeat; the Confederates at their commanders in not following up their success and reaping greater results. Under such circumstances, there must be some one on whom to place the blame. General Rosecrans censured General McCook and General Crittenden, commanders of the Twentieth and Twenty-first Corps, and these two able soldiers were relieved of their commands, while General Rosecrans himself was severely censured by the department in Washington, and soon afterwards relieved of his command.

The regiments of the brigade were now all short of field officers–the Seventh and Battalion with none, and the Eighth and Fifteenth in charge of Majors. However, Colonel W.G. Rice joined us on the way to East Tennessee and took command of his battalion.

After a stay of a week in the beautiful Valley of Sweetwater, we were moved to Loudon, the railroad crossing of the Tennessee River, the railroad bridge having been burned by the enemy. The country in East Tennessee was greatly divided in sentiment, some for the Union cause and some for the Confederate cause. Rumors of outrages and doings of desperadoes were rife, and the soldiers were somewhat dubious in going far into the country, for fear of running up against bushwhackers, of which the country was said to be full.

While one train with the Third was being pulled over the East Tennessee Railroad towards Sweetwater by a strange engineer over a track long unused, and cars out of repair, an occurrence took place which might have ended more seriously than it did under the circumstances. The train, composed of box cars, one company inside and one on top, was running along at a good, lively rate. A stampede took place among the troops on top, who began jumping right and left down a steep embankment and running with all their speed to the woods in the distance. It was just after daylight, and those inside the cars not knowing what the trouble was, and a great many on the top being roused from their slumbers and seeing the others leaping in great disorder, and hearing the word “bushwhackers” being called out, threw their blankets aside and jumped likewise. Soon the cars were almost empty, those above and within all thinking danger was somewhere, but invisible. Just then a train of passenger cars, containing General McLaws, General Kershaw, their staffs, and others, rounded the cut in our rear, and was running at break-neck speed into the freight train in front. Those in the passenger cars seeing those from the train in front running for dear life’s sake for the woods, began to climb through windows and off of the platforms, the engineers and firemen on both trains leaping like the men. So we had the spectacle of one train running into another and neither under control, although the levers had been reversed. In a moment the rear train plunged into the front one, piling up three or four cars on their ends. Fortunately, only one or two were hurt by jumping and none by the collision. It seems almost miraculous to think of two car loads of soldiers jumping from trains at full speed and on a high embankment and a great many from top, and so few getting hurt.

General Longstreet’s plan of campaign was to move up the east side of the Holston, or, as it is now called, the Tennessee River, pass through Marysville, cross the river in the vicinity of Knoxville with his infantry, the cavalry to take possession of the heights above and opposite the city, thus cutting off the retreat of the Federals in front of Loudon, and capture the garrison in the city of Knoxville. But he had no trains to move his pontoon bridge, nor horses to pull it. So he was forced to make a virtue of necessity and cross the river just above the little hamlet of Loudon in the face of the enemy. On the night of the 12th the boats and bridge equipment were carried to the river, the boats launched and manned by a detachment of Jenkins’ South Carolina Brigade, under the command of the gallant Captain Foster. This small band of men pushed their boats across the river under a heavy fire of the enemy’s pickets, succeeded in driving off the enemy, and took possession of the opposite side. The boats were soon joined together and the bridge laid. The troops then began to cross rapidly and push their way out far in advance. By morning the greater part of the army was on the west side of the river.

General Wheeler, with his cavalry, started simultaneously with the infantry, but on the east side, with the view of taking possession of the heights around Knoxville, which he partly accomplished after several severe engagements with the Union cavalry, in which the young Confederate cavalier came off victorious.

The next morning after our crossing the enemy showed some disposition to attack our lines, but did no more than drive in our skirmishers, and then began to fall slowly back. Longstreet remained near the river constructing some defensive earthworks to protect the bridge, and to allow the supply train, which had been out on a foraging expedition, time to come up. By his not making as rapid advance as was expected, the enemy again, on the 14th, returned to feel our lines and to learn the whereabouts of his foe.

On the morning of the 15th, just at daylight, we took up our line of march through a blinding mist or fog, our skirmishers not being able to see an object fifty paces in front. Our line of advance was along the dirt road, on the west side of the little mountain range, a spur of the clinch, while the main body of the enemy kept close to the railroad, on the east side, and between the mountain range and the river, traversing a narrow valley, which gave him strong positions for defensive battle. The mountain was crossed in several places by dull roads and bridle paths, and it was the intention of the commanding General to take possession of these passes and turn the enemy’s flank, or to move around the head of the mountain, where the two roads followed by the armies came together on converging lines, then to either close him in between the mountain and the river and give battle, or fall upon his rear and crush him. Some few miles out Jenkins’ skirmishers came upon those of the enemy and a running fight took place, the Federals retreating through the mountain gap to the east side.

Jenkins kept up his advance (not following the enemy, however, over the mountain), with Alexander’s Battalion of Artillery, while McLaws followed closely, with Leydon’s Battery as a support. Thus the march was continued all day, taking up camp at night far in advance of the enemy on the other side o: the mountain. Jenkins was ordered at midnight, with a part of his command, to take possession of a gap in the mountain, and at daylight throw himself across the line of the enemy’s retreat. But for some unforeseen circumstance, or treachery or ignorance in Jenkins’ guide, he failed in his undertaking, and the enemy passed in safety during the night beyond our lines to a place of comparative security.

Early next morning the army was in motion, but instead of an enemy in our front we found a park of eighty wagons, well laden with supplies of provisions, camp equipage, tools, etc., deserted by the retreating column. The horses had been cut loose, still this capture was a very serviceable acquisition to the outfit of the army, especially in entrenching tools. Jenkins followed close on the heels of the retreating army, occasionally coming to a severe brush with the enemy’s rear guard, using every exertion to force Burnside to battle until McLaws, with Hart’s Brigade of Cavalry, could reach Cambell’s Station, the point where the two converging roads meet. McLaws marched nearly all day in full line of battle, Kershaw being on the left of the main thoroughfare and under a continual skirmish fire. But all too late. The wily foe had escaped the net once more and passed over and beyond the road crossing, and formed line of battle on high ground in rear. Longstreet still had hopes of striking the enemy a crushing blow before reaching Knoxville, and all he desired and all that was necessary to that end was that he should stand and give battle. The attitude of the Union Army looked favorable towards the consummation of the Confederate leader’s plan. Our troops had been marching all the forenoon in one long line of battle, near a mile in length, over ditches, gullies, and fences; through briars, brambles, and undergrowth; then again through wide expanse of cultivated fields, all the while under a galling fire from the enemy’s batteries and sharpshooters, and they felt somewhat jaded and worn out when they came upon their bristling bayonets, ready for combat. A great number of our men were barefooted, some with shoes partly worn out, clothes ragged and torn, not an overcoat or extra garment among the line officers or men throughout the army, as all surplus baggage had been left in Virginia. But when the battle was about to show up the soldiers were on hand, ready and willing as of old, to plunge headlong into the fray. McLaws was on the left wing and Jenkins on the right.

Preparation for a general engagement was made. McLaws was ordered to throw forward, Wofford on his extreme left, supported by cavalry, while Jenkins was to send two of his brigades, under General Law, far to the right, on the flank and rear of the enemy’s left. Law was first to make the attack on the enemy’s flank, then the columns in front were to advance and make direct assault. But the “best laid plans of mice and men oft’ gang aglee.” Law missed his line of direction–failed to come upon the enemy’s flank, night was upon us, and it must be remembered that all these movements took time, thus giving the Union Army an opportunity, under the sable curtains of night, to “fold their tents and gently steal away.”

General Longstreet, in his book written nearly thirty years after the occurrence of Cambell’s Station, severely criticises General Law, who commanded the two flanking brigades, and in withering and scathing terms directly charges him with the loss of a great victory. He quotes one of his staff officers as saying that it was the common camp rumor that General Law had made the remark “that he could have made a successful attack, but that Jenkins would have reaped the credit of it, hence he delayed until the enemy got out of the way.” This is unjust and ungenerous to a gallant and faithful officer, one, too, who had, by his many and heavy blows in battle, added largely to the immortal fame of Longstreet himself. That there was a laudable ambition and rivalry among all officers and men in the Confederate Army, there can be no question–an ambition to outstrip all others in heroic actions, noble deeds, and self-sacrificing, but jealously never. As for treachery, as General Longstreet clearly intimates in the case of General Law, why the poorest, ragged, starved, or maimed soldier in the South would not have sold his country or companions for the wealth of the Indies, nor would he have unnecessarily sacrificed a life of a comrade for the greatest place on this continent, or the fairest crown of Europe. It must be remembered in this connection that there were personal differences between the corps commander and General Law at times, and with one of his division commanders, all during our Western campaign. That General Law was obstinate, petulant, and chafed under restraint, is true, but this is only natural in a volunteer army, and must be expected. And had General Longstreet, so rigid a disciplinarian as he was, but a breath of suspicion at the time of disobedience, lack of courage, or unfaithfulness in his subaltern, General Law would have been put under immediate arrest, and a courtmartial ordered. The old General, in several places in his memoirs, makes uncomplimentary remarks and insinuations against some of his old compatriots in arms, but these should not be taken seriously. It will be remembered by all the old Confederates in this connection that during the period just succeeding the war mighty social convulsions took place in the South–political upheavals, whereby one party was as bitter against the other as during the mighty struggle of the North against the South, and that General Longstreet, unfortunately for his name as a civilian, aligned himself along with the party whom the whites of the South acknowledged as antagonistic to their welfare and interest. This roused the ire of all his old army associates, and many of his former friends now began to hurl poisoned and fiery shafts at the old “War Horse” of the South, and no place so vulnerable as his army record. This, of course, was resented by him, and a deadly feud of long standing sprang up between Generals Longstreet, Mahone, and a few others, who joined him on the one side, and the whole army of “Codfederate Brigadiers” on the other. This accounts, in a large measure, for many of Longstreet’s strictures upon the conduct of officers of the army, and, no doubt, a mere after thought or the weird imaginations of an old and disappointed politico-persecuted man.

No, No! The officers and men of the Confederate Army were patriots of diamond purity, and all would have willingly died a martyr’s death that the Confederacy might live.

* * * * *


Around Knoxville–The Siege and Storming of Fort Sanders.

After the fiasco at Cambell’s Station, the enemy retired behind his entrenched position in the suburbs of Knoxville. Longstreet followed rapidly, with McLaws in front, in line of battle, but all hopes of encountering the enemy before he reached his fortified position around the city had vanished. We reached the rolling hillsides just outside of the city limits about noon on the 17th, and found the enemy’s dismounted cavalry, acting as sharpshooters, posted on the heights in front and between the railroad and the river, well protected by rail piles along the crest of the hill.

Colonel Nance was ordered with the Third South Carolina Regiment to dislodge those on the hill, near the railroad, by marching over and beyond the road and taking them in flank, which was successfully done by making a sudden dash from a piece of woodland over an open field and gaining the embankment of the railroad immediately on the right flank of the enemy’s sharpshooters. But scarcely had the Third got in position than it found itself assailed on its left and rear by an unseen enemy concealed in the woods. Here Colonel Nance was forced to sacrifice one of his most gallant officers, Lieutenant Allen, of Company D. Seeing his critical and untenable position, he ordered the Lieutenant, who was standing near him, to report his condition to General Kershaw and ask for instruction. This was a hazardous undertaking in the extreme, but lieutenant Allen undertook it with rare courage and promptness. Back across the open field he sped, while the whole fire of the sharpshooters was directed towards him instead of to our troops behind the embankment. All saw and felt that the brave officer was lost as soon as he got beyond the cover of the railroad, and turned their heads from the sickening scene. But Allen did not hesitate or falter, but kept on to the fulfilment of his desperate mission, while hundreds of bullets flew around him in every direction–over his head, under his feet, before, and behind–until at last the fatal messenger laid him low, a heroic martyr to the stern duties of war. Colonel Nance seeing the hopelessness of his attack, ordered a retreat. Then the whole regiment had to run the same gauntlet in which young Allen lost his life. Away across the open corn field the troops fled in one wild pell mell, every man for Himself, while the bullets hummed and whistled through our scattered ranks, but luckily only a few were shot. Jenkins’ Division came up late in the day and took position on McLaws’ left, then with the cavalry commenced the investment of the city on the west side of the Holston or Tennessee River. To advance McLaws’ lines to a favorable position, it was first necessary to dislodge the sharpshooters on the hill tops between the river and the railroad. General Kershaw was ordered to take the works in front by direct assault. The Third was on the extreme left of the brigade, next to the railroad, while the Second, Seventh, Eighth, and Third Battalion were in the center, with the Fifteenth, under Major Gist, between the dirt road on which we had traveled and the river on extreme right. The Third had to assault the same troops and position that they had failed to dislodge some hours before.

Major William Wallace was in command of the skirmishers. The heavy siege pieces at Fort Sanders had been hammering away at us all day, as well as the many field batteries that bristled along the epaulments around Knoxville. The skirmishers were ordered forward, the battle line to closely follow; but as Colonel Wallace was in front and could see the whole field, I will allow him to give his version of the engagement.

“We were stationed on a high hill,” says Colonel Wallace, “west of said town, which descended gradually some two hundred yards, then rose to a smaller hill nearer to Knoxville. Between these two hills was a smooth valley, the middle of which was distinctly marked by a line running north and south by different crops which had been planted on opposite sides of it. Brigade skirmishers were ordered to advance towards Knoxville and drive in the enemy’s pickets. I was in command of the left wing, and drove the enemy from my front, across the creek, which was beyond the smaller hill. On reaching the creek and finding our skirmishers on my right, did not advance over the hill. I returned to my original position where I found them. Soon afterwards the skirmish line was again ordered forward to the line in the valley above described, and to lie down. Just then I heard a yell behind me and saw the Third South Carolina advancing rapidly towards the smaller hill. I did not order my skirmishers to lie down, but as soon as the regiment was abreast of me I advanced and drove the enemy again across the creek. On hearing firing on the west of the hill, I closed up my skirmishers and advanced south towards the crest of the hill. I found a regiment of Union sharpshooters lying behind a breastwork of rails and firing on the Third, which was within forty yards of them. As soon as the enemy saw us on their flank, they threw up their hands and surrendered. The Third had lost forty men up to this time.”

Colonel Wallace tells also of how a Federal soldier, who had surrendered, was in the act of shooting him, but was prevented from doing so by the muzzle of a rifle being thrust in his face by a member of Company E.W.W. Riser, afterwards Sheriff of Newberry County. Colonel Nance was much gratified at the able assistance rendered him by Colonel Wallace, and made special and favorable mention of him in his report.

The Second, Seventh, Eighth, and Third Battalion swept across the plain like a hurricane, driving everything before them right in the teeth of the deadly fire of Fort Sanders, but the Third and Fifteenth Regiments were unusually unfortunate in their positions, owing to the strength of the works in their front. The Fifteenth got, in some way, hedged in between the road and river, and could make little progress in the face of the many obstacles that confronted them. Their young commander, Major William Gist, son of ex-Governor Gist, becoming somewhat nettled at the progress his troops were making, threw aside all prudence and care, recklessly dashed in front of his column, determined to ride at its head in the assault that was coming, but fell dead at the very moment of victory. How many hundreds, nay thousands, of brave and useful officers and men of the South wantonly threw away their lives in the attempt to rouse their companions to extra exertions and greater deeds of valor.

The Third fought for a few moments almost muzzle to muzzle, with nothing but a few rails, hastily piled, between assailants and the assailed. At this juncture another gallant act was performed by Captain Winthrop, of Alexander’s Battery. Sitting on his horse in our rear, watching the battle as it ebbed and flowed, and seeing the deadly throes in which the Third was writhing, only a few feet separating them from the enemy, by some sudden impulse or emotion put spurs to his horse and dashed headlong through our ranks, over the breastworks, and fell desperately wounded in the ranks of the Federals, just as their lines gave way or surrendered. This was only one of the many heroic and nerve-straining acts witnessed by the soldiers that followed the flag of Kershaw, McLaws, and Longstreet.

Colonel Rice, of the Battalion, was so seriously wounded that he never returned to active duty in the field. Major Miller, in a former battle, had been permanently disabled, but no other field promotions were ever made, so the gallant little Battalion was commanded in future by senior Captains.

By morning of the 19th of November the enemy had retired within the walls of Knoxville, and the investment of the city completed. During the nights our sharpshooters were advanced a little distance at a time until they were under the very walls of the city, and there entrenched themselves in rifle pits. The troops began building works to protect against attacks, and laying parallels, so that every few nights we advanced a little nearer the city.

Jenkins, with three brigades and a part of the cavalry, stretched around the city on the north and to the river on the opposite side of us. A pontoon bridge was laid across the river below the city, and Law, with two brigades of Jenkins’ Division and a battery of our best artillery, crossed the Holston River and took possession of some heights that were thought to command the city on the south side. Burnside had also some strong works on the south of the Holston, strongly guarded by infantry, dismounted cavalry, and some of their best rifled pieces of artillery. This force was just opposite the city, having easy access thereto by a military bridge and a pontoon bridge. Burnside had twelve thousand regular troops in his outer trenches, several thousand recent volunteers from Tennessee in his inner lines, with fifty-one pieces of artillery in place, ready for action, in Knoxville alone. Longstreet had between fifteen and seventeen thousand, after some reinforcements had reached him, and three battalions of artillery, inclusive of the horse artillery.

Night and day the work of entrenchment went bravely on in both armies, each working in plain view of the other; without any disposition to disturb the operations of either by shelling from the forts in our front or from our works in the rear. Each commander seemed willing and disposed to give his opponent an open field and a fair fight. No advantage was asked and none taken on either side, and the coming contest appeared to be one between the hot blood of the South in assault and the dogged determination of the North in resistance–valor, impetuosity, dash, impulsive courage against cool, calculating, determined resistance. Greeks of the South were preparing to meet Greeks of the North–the passionate Ionian was about to measure swords with the stern Dorian, then of a necessity “comes the tug of war.”

On the 22d, McLaws reporting as being ready for the assault, he was ordered to prepare for it on the night of the 23d. But a report coming to the commanding General that a large body of the enemy’s cavalry was moving upon our rear from near Kinston, General Wheeler, with his troopers, was detached from the army to look after them, and did not return until the 26th, having frightened the enemy away in the meantime. The officers of McLaws’ assaulting column protested against the night attack, preferring daylight for such important work, which in the end was granted.

The night of the 24th the enemy made a sally, attacking Wofford’s front; but was soon repulsed and driven back within his lines. Longstreet now awaited the reinforcement that was approaching with all speed. Jones’ Brigade of Cavalry, from Southwest Virginia, came up on the 28th, while Bushrod Johnston, with his own Brigade of Tennessee Infantry and Gracie’s Brigade of Alabamians, was near at hand and moving with all haste. The infantry and artillery promised from Virginia were more than one hundred miles away, and could not reach us in time to take part in the pending attack. General Bragg, commanding the Army of Tennessee after his disastrous defeat at Missionary Ridge, in front of Chattanooga, was at the head of the war department, and ordered Longstreet to assault Knoxville at once.

Orders were given and preparations made to commence the attack on Fort Sanders at early dawn on the 29th by the brigades of McLaws. Fort Sanders, the key to Burnside’s position, was a formidable fortress, covering several acres of ground, built by the Confederates when in possession of Knoxville, and called by them “Fort London,” but named “Fort Sanders” by the Federals, in honor of the brave commander who fell in wresting it from the Confederates. The enemy had greatly strengthened it after Longstreet’s advent in East Tennessee. It was surrounded by a deep and wide moat, from the bottom of which to the top of the fort was from eighteen to twenty feet. In front of the moat for several hundred yards was felled timber, which formed an almost impassable abattis, while wire netting was stretched from stump to stump and around the fort. The creek that ran between our lines and the enemy’s had been dammed in several places, forcing the water back to the depth of four to five feet. The fort was lined on three sides with the heaviest of field and siege pieces, and crowded to its utmost capacity with infantry. This fort was on an acute angle of the line of entrenchments. From the right and left ran the outer or first line of breastworks, manned by infantry, and at every salient position cannons were mounted, completely encircling the entire city.

In the early gray of the morning Longstreet had marshalled his forces for the combat, while the troops in Fort Sanders slept all unconscious of the near approaching storm cloud, which was to burst over their heads. The artillery was all in position, the gunners standing by their guns, lanyard in hand, awaiting the final order to begin the attack. The armies were separated by a long, shallow vale–that to our left, in front of Jenkins, was pierced by a small stream, but obstructed by dams at intervals, until the water was in places waist deep. But the men floundered through the water to the opposite side and stood shivering in their wet garments, while the cool air of the November morning chilled their whole frames. All along the whole line the men stood silent and motionless, awaiting the sound of the signal gun.

Wofford, with his Georgians, and Humphrey, with his Mississippians, were to lead the forlorn hope in the assault on Fort Sanders, supported by Bryan’s (Georgia) Brigade and one regiment of Mississippians. Kershaw stood to the right of the fort and Anderson, of Jenkins’ Division, on the left, supported by the other two brigades then present of Jenkins’. The battle was to focus around the fort until that was taken or silenced, then Kershaw was to storm the works on the right, carry them, charge the second line of entrenchment, in which were posted the reserves and recent Tennessee recruits. Jenkins, with Anderson’s Brigade on his right and next to McLaws, was to act as a brace to the assaulting column until the fort was taken, then by a sudden dash take the entrenchments to the left of the fort, wheel and sweep the line towards the north, and clear the way for Jenkins’ other brigades.

The expectant calm before the great storm was now at hand. The men stood silent, grim, and determined, awaiting the coming crash! The crash came with the thunder of the signal gun from Alexander’s Battery. Longstreet then saluted his enemy with the roar of twenty guns, the shells shrieking and crashing in and around Fort Sanders. Burnside answered the salutation with a welcome of fifty guns from the fort and angles along the entrenchments. Salvos after salvos sounded deep and loud from the cannon’s mouth, and echoed and re-echoed up and down the valleys of the Holston. After the early morning compliments had continued ten or fifteen minutes, the infantry began to make ready for the bloody fray. Wofford commenced the advance on the northwest angle of the fort, Humphrey the South. Not a yell was to be given, not a gun to be fired, save only those by the sharpshooters. The dread fortress was to be taken by cold steel alone. Not a gun was loaded in the three brigades. As the mist of the morning and the smoke of the enemy’s guns lifted for a moment the slow and steady steps of the “forlorn hope” could be seen marching towards the death trap–over fallen trees and spreading branches, through the cold waters of the creek, the brave men marched in the face of the belching cannon, raking the field right and left. Our sharpshooters gave the cannoneers a telling fire, and as the enemy’s infantry in the fort rose above the parapets to deliver their volley, they were met by volleys from our sharpshooters in the pits, now in rear of the assaulting columns, and firing over their heads. When near the fort the troops found yet a more serious obstruction in the way of stout wires stretched across their line of approach. This, however, was overcome and passed, and the assailants soon found themselves on the crest of the twelve foot abyss that surrounded Fort Sanders. Some jumped into the moat and began climbing up upon the shoulders of their companions. The enemy threw hand bombs over the wall to burst in the ditch. Still the men struggled to reach the top, some succeeding only to fall in the fort. Scaling ladders were now called for, but none were at hand. Anderson had moved up on Wofford’s left, but finding the fort yet uncovered, instead of charging the entrenchment, as ordered, he changed his direction towards the fort, and soon his brigade was tangled in wild confusion with those of Worfford and Humphrey, gazing at the helpless mass of struggling humanity in the great gulf below.

Kershaw’s men stood at extreme tension watching and waiting the result of the struggle around the fort. Never perhaps were their nerves so strung up as the few moments they awaited in suspense the success or reverse of the assaulting column, bending every effort to catch the first command of “forward.” All but a handful of the enemy had left the fort, and victory here seemed assured, and in that event the result of Kershaw’s onslaught on the right and Jenkins’ South Carolinians and Benning’s Georgians on the left would have been beyond the range of conjecture. Just at this supreme moment Major Goggans, of McLaws’ staff, who had been at the fort and took in the worst phases of the situation, rode to General Longstreet and reported the fortress impregnable without axes and scaling ladders. Under this misapprehension, General Longstreet gave the fatal order for the assaulting columns to retire, and all the support back to their entrenchments. Thus was one of the most glorious victories of the war lost by the ill judgment of one man. General Longstreet bitterly regretted giving this order so hastily, but pleads in extinuation his utmost confidence in Major Goggans, his class-mate at West Point.

In the twenty minutes of the assault Longstreet lost in his three brigades, Wofford’s, Humphrey’s, and Anderson’s, eight hundred and twenty-two; Burnside, six hundred and seventy-three. During the campaign Longstreet lost twelve hundred and ninety-six. During the campaign Burnside lost fourteen hundred and eighty-one.

Kershaw’s Brigade lost many gallant officers and men during the sanguinary struggles around Knoxville, and it must be confessed in sorrow and regret, all to no purpose. Not that the commanding general was wanting in ability, military training, or tactical knowledge; nor the soldiers in courage, daring, and self-denials. None of these were lacking, for the officers and men of the line performed deeds of prowess that have never been excelled by any soldiers on the planet, while in skill or fearlessness the regimental brigade and division commanders were equal to Ney, Murat, St. Cyr, or any of the host of great commanders of the Napoleonic era. But in the first place the Confederate forces were too weak, poorly equipped in all those essentials that are so requisite to an invading army.

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Major William M. Gist was a son of Governor W.H. Gist, the Governor just preceding Secession, and Mrs. Mary E. Gist; born in Union County in 1840. He was educated in the common schools of Union and York Counties and by private tutors, until January, 1854. He then went to school at Glenn Springs to Rev. C.S. Beard for six months. His health failing, he returned to his home, and in January, 1855, entered the Mt. Zion College, at Winnsboro, Fairfield County, taught by Hon. J.W. Hudson, and spent one year at that institution. He next entered the South Carolina College, in January, 1856, and graduated in the class of ’59. The class which Major Gist was in at the time, the Junior, did not participate in the great “college rebellion” of March 28th, 1858. Through that rebellion one hundred and eleven of the students were suspended for six months.

When the first alarm of war was sounded, Major Gist responded promptly, with the same chivalric spirit that was so characteristic of his whole life. He joined, as a private, Captain Gadberry’s Company, from Union, and left for Charleston on January 12, 1861, the company forming a part of Colonel Maxey Gregg’s First Six Months’ Volunteers, and remained with the command until their term of service expired. A vacancy occurring, Colonel Gregg appointed him his Sergeant Major.

After the fall of Sumter a part of Colonel Gregg’s Regiment was disbanded, and Major Gist returned to Union and began at once organizing a company for the Confederate States Army. He was elected Captain of the company and was joined to the Fifteenth Regiment, then collecting at camp near Columbia for drill and instruction. He served as Captain until the death of Colonel DeSaussure, then was promoted to Major. There being no officer senior to him, his way was open to the Colonelcy of his regiment at the time of his death.

Major Gist was a young man of rare qualities–open, frank, generous, and brave. He commanded the respect and esteem of all. Just verging into mature manhood as the toscin of war sounded, he had no opportunity to display his great qualities as a civilian, but as a