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soldier he was all that the most exacting could desire. He was beloved by his men, and they appreciated his worth. He was kind and affectionate to all, and showed favoritism or privileges to none. It was through that ungovernable impulse that permeates the body and flows through the hot Southern blood that he so recklessly threw his life away, leading his men to the charge. In a moment of hesitancy among his troops, he felt the supreme responsibility of Leadership, placed himself where danger was greatest, bullets falling thick and fast; thus by the inspiration of his own individual courage, he hoped to carry his men with him to success, or to meet a fate like his own.

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Lieutenant Colonel W.G. Rice was born in Union County, S.C., on December 9th, 1831. He was the fourth son of R.S. Rice and Agnes B. Rice, nee Morgan, and resided in the upper portion of the county, near Broad River. His family removed to the lower section of the county, near Goshen Hill, when the son was ten years old, and he attended the schools of the surrounding country until fourteen years of age, when he was sent to the Methodist Conference School, at Cokesbury. He remained a pupil here until October, 1848, then he entered the South Carolina College, graduating from that institution with the class of ’51. He engaged in planting for one year at his original home, then began the study of law in the office of Judge T.N. Dawkins, but did not prosecute the study to graduation.

In March following he married Miss Sarah E. Sims, of Broad River, of which union eleven children were born, seven of whom are living. The year of his marriage he moved to Laurens County, near Waterloo, where we find him surrounded by “peace and plenty” until the outbreak of the Civil War. In October, 1861, he raised a volunteer company, and later, together with three other companies from Laurens County, formed a battalion, and tendered the command to George S. James, who had resigned from the United States Army. Major James assumed command at Camp Hampton in December. During the early months of 1862 three other companies united with the battalion, and Major James was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and Captain W.G. Rice being senior Captain, was made Major.

During the month of April following, a reorganization took place, and Lieutenant Colonel James and Major Rice were re-elected to their former positions by exactly the same vote. Major Rice being detailed on court martial on James’ Island, did not accompany his battalion to Virginia, but joined it soon thereafter, near Richmond.

The battalion marched with the brigade (Drayton’s) from Gordonsville to second battle of Manassas, but was not actively engaged. At the battle of Crompton’s Gap, Md., Colonel Rice was severely wounded, Colonel James killed, and the battalion almost torn to pieces. Colonel Rice was left for dead upon the field, and when he gained consciousness he was within the enemy’s line, and only by exercising the greatest caution, he regained the Confederate camp. By Colonel Rice’s prudence at this battle in ordering a retreat to a more sheltered position, the battalion was saved from utter destruction, but suffering himself almost a fatal wound. He was sent across the Potomac, and next day to Shepherdstown. Returning from leave of absence occasioned by the desperate nature of his wound, he found that he had been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and that his battalion and the Fifteenth Regiment made a part of Kershaw’s Brigade, this being in December, 1862. Colonel Rice led his command through the battles of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville without incident of special interest (wide sketch of battalion).

Returning from an enjoyable leave of absence, he found his command at Chambersburg, Pa. Three days later he commanded the battalion at the bloody battle of Gettysburg. Again Colonel Rice is absent on sick leave, and regains the army just as Longstreet was crossing the Holston. Four days afterwards he was given one company from each of the five regiments to reinforce his battalion, and ordered to feel for and drive the enemy from the position which they held. This proved to be a fortified camp and the enemy in strong line of battle. In the engagement that followed, Colonel Rice was again so severely wounded as to render him unfit for service thereafter.

After this he returned home to the prosecution of his life-work, farming. He removed to Abbeville, now Greenwood County, December, 1869, where he may now be found, as he says, “in the enjoyment of a reasonable degree of health and strength, surrounded by friends and relatives.”

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To show with what devotion and fidelity the private soldier of the Southland served the cause he espoused, I will relate as an example the act of Julius Zobel, who fell so dangerously wounded before Knoxville. This is not an isolated case, for hundreds and thousands were tempted like Zobel, but turned away with scorn and contempt. But Julius Zobel was an exception in that he was not a native born, but a blue-eyed, fair-haired son of the “Fatherland.” He had not been in this “Land of the free and home of the brave” long enough to comprehend all its blessings, he being under twenty-one years of age, and not yet naturalized. He was a mechanic in the railroad shops, near Newberry, when the first call for volunteers was made. He laid aside his tools and promptly joined Company E (Captain Nance), of the Third South Carolina, called “Quitman Rifles.”

He had a smooth, pleasant face, a good eye, and the yellow hair of his countrymen. His nature was all sunshine, geniality, and many a joke he practiced upon his comrades, taking all in good humor those passed upon him. One day, as a comrade had been “indulging” too freely, another accosted him with–

“Turn away your head, your breath is awful. What is the matter with you?”

Zobel, in his broad German brogue, answered for his companion. “Led ’em alone, dare been nodden to madder mid Mattis, only somding crawled in him and died.”

He lost his leg at Knoxville and fell in the enemy’s hands after Longstreet withdrew, and was sent North with the other wounded. While in the loathsome prison pen, enduring all the sufferings, hardships, and horrors of the Federal “Bastile,” he was visited by the German Consul, and on learning that he had not been naturalized, the Consul offered him his liberty if he would take the oath of allegiance to the North.

Zobel flashed up as with a powder burst, and spoke like the true soldier that he was. “What! Desert my comrades; betray the country I have sworn to defend; leave the flag under whose folds I have lost all but life? No, no! Let me die a thousand deaths in this hell hole first!”

He is living to-day in Columbia, an expert mechanic in the service of the Southern Railroad, earning an honest living by the sweat of his brow, with a clear conscience, a faithful heart, and surrounded by a devoted family.

That the campaign against Knoxville was a failure, cannot be wondered at under the circumstances. In the first place Longstreet’s forces were too weak–the two thousand reinforcements to come from Virginia dwindled down to a few regiments of cavalry and a battery or two. The men were badly furnished and equipped–a great number being barefoot and thinly clad. Hundreds would gather at the slaughter pens daily and cut from the warm beef hides strips large enough to make into moccasins, and thus shod, marched miles upon miles in the blinding snow and sleet. All overcoats and heavy clothing had been left in Virginia, and it is a fact too well known to be denied among the soldiers of the South that baggage once left or sent to the rear never came to the front again.

Longstreet did not have the support he had the right to expect from his superiors and those in authority at Richmond. He had barely sufficient transportation to convey the actual necessaries of camp equippage, and this had to be used daily in gathering supplies from the surrounding country for man and beast. He had no tools for entrenching purposes, only such as he captured from the enemy, and expected to cross deep and unfordable rivers without a pontoon train. With the dead of winter now upon him, his troops had no shelter to protect them from the biting winds of the mountains or the blinding snow storms from overhead save only much-worn blankets and thin tent flys five by six feet square, one to the man. This was the condition in which the commanding General found himself and troops, in a strange and hostile country, completely cut off from railroad connection with the outside world. Did the men murmur or complain? Not a bit of it. Had they grown disheartened and demoralized by their defeat at Knoxville, or had they lost their old-time confidence in themselves and their General? On the contrary, as difficulties and dangers gathered around their old chieftain, they clung to him, if possible, with greater tenacity and a more determined zeal. It seemed as if every soldier in the old First Corps was proud of the opportunity to suffer for his country–never a groan or pang, but that he felt compensated with the thought that he was doing his all in the service of his country–and to suffer for his native land, his home, and family, was a duty and a pleasure.

The soldiers of the whole South had long since learned by experience on the fields of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, along the valleys of Kentucky, the mountains and gorges of Tennessee, and the swamps of the Mississippi, that war was only “civilized barbarism,” and to endure uncomplaining was the highest attributes of a soldier. Civilization during the long centuries yet to come may witness, perhaps, as brave, unselfish, unyielding, and patriotic bands of heroes as those who constituted the Confederate Army, but God in His wisdom has never yet created their equals, and, perhaps, never will create their superiors.

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The Siege of Knoxville Raised–Battle of Bean Station–Winter Quarters.

On the night of the 4th of December preparations were made to raise the siege around Knoxville and vacate the fortifications built around the city after a fortnight’s stay in the trenches. The wagons had begun moving the day before, with part of the artillery, and early in the night the troops north and west of the city took up the line of march towards Rutledge, followed by McLaws on the right.

Kershaw being on the extreme right of the army and next to the river on the South, could not move until the troops on the left were well underway, thus leaving us in position until near midnight. Lieutenant Colonel Rutherford commanded the rear guard of skirmishers, deployed several hundred yards on either side of the road. Our march was extremely fatiguing, the roads being muddy and badly cut up by the trains in our front. The weather was cold and bleaky; the night so dark that the troops could scarcely see their way, but all night long they floundered through the mud and slough–over passes and along narrow defiles, between the mountain and the river to their right–the troops trudged along, the greater portion of whom were thinly clad, some with shoes badly worn, others with none. Two brigades of cavalry were left near the city until daylight to watch the movements of the enemy. The next day we met General Ranson with his infantry division and some artillery on his long march from Virginia to reinforce Longstreet, but too late to be of any material service to the commanding General. Bragg’s orders had been imperative, “to assault Knoxville and not to await the reinforcement.”

Burnside did not attempt to follow us closely, as he was rather skeptical about leaving his strong positions around Knoxville with the chances of meeting Longstreet in open field. But strong Federal forces were on a rapid march to relieve the pressure against Knoxville–one column from the West and ten thousand men under Sherman were coming up from Chattanooga, and were now at Loudon, on the Tennessee.

Longstreet continued the march to Rodgersville, some fifty or sixty miles northeast of Knoxville, on the west bank of the Holston, and here rested for several days. It was the impression of the troops that they would remain here for a length of time, and they began building winter quarters. But Burnside feeling the brace of strong reinforcements nearing him, moved out from Knoxville a large detachment in our rear to near Bean Station (or Cross Roads), the one leading from Knoxville by way of Rutledge, the other from the eastern side of the Holston and over the mountain on the western side at Bean’s Gap. Longstreet determined to retrace his steps, strike Burnside a stunning blow, and, if possible, to capture his advance forces at Bean Station.

Here I will digress a few moments from my narrative to relate an incident that took place while encamped near Rodgersville, an incident that will ever remain fresh in the memory of all of the old First Division who witnessed it. It is with feelings of sorrow at this distant day to even recall it to mind, and it is with pain that I record it. But as I have undertaken to give a faithful and true story of the army life of the First Brigade, this harrowing scene becomes a part of its history. It was near the middle of the month. The sun had long since dropped out of sight behind the blue peaks of the distant Cumberland. All is still in camp; the soldiers, after their many hardships and fatiguing marches, rest, and soon all in sound slumber. Even the very voices of nature seemed hushed and frozen in the gloomy silence of the night. All is quiet, save in one lonely tent, apart some distance from the rest, before which walks a silent sentinel, as if he, too, feels the chilling effects of the sombre stillness. Murmurings soft and low in the one lighted tent are all that break the oppressive death-like silence. In the back ground the great forest trees of the mountain stand mute and motionless, not even a nod of their stately heads to a passing breeze, while far away to the south could be seen an occasional picket fire, making the surrounding objects appear like moving, grotesque phantoms. The heavens above were all bedecked with shimmering stars, pouring down upon the sleeping Valley of the Holston a cold and trembling light.

In the lonely tent sits a soldier, who is spending his last night on earth; by his side sits his little son, who has come far away over the mountains to spend the last moments with his father and see him die–not to die like a soldier wishes for death, but as a felon and outcast, the ignominious death at the stake. An occasional sob escapes the lips of the lad, but no sigh or tears of grief from the condemned. He is holding converse with his Maker, for to His throne alone must he now appeal for pardon. Hope on earth had gone. He had no friend at court, no one to plead his cause before those who had power to order a reprieve. He must die. The doomed man was an ignorant mountaineer, belonging to one of the regiments from North Georgia or Tennessee, and in an ill-fated moment he allowed his longings for home to overcome his sense of duty, and deserted his colors–fled to his mountain home and sought to shelter himself near his wife and little ones in the dark recesses and gorges thereabout. He was followed, caught, returned to his command, courtmartialed, and sentenced to death–time, to-morrow.

During the days and nights that passed since the dread sentence had been read to him, he lay upon his rude couch in the guard tent all indifferent to his environments, and on the march he moved along with the guard in silence, gazing abstractedly at the blue vaults of heaven or the star-strewn, limitless space. That far away future now to him so near–that future which no vision can contemplate nor mortal mind comprehend–is soon to be unfolded. Little heed was paid to the comforting words of his sympathetic comrades in arms, who bid him hope, for the condemned man felt inwardly and was keenly conscious of the fact that he had been caught upon the crest of a great wave of destiny, soon to be swept away by its receding force to darkness, despair, death. “Fate had played him falsely.”

To witness death, to see the torn and mangled remains of friends and comrades, are but incidents in the life of a soldier. While all dread it, few fear it. Yet it is upon the field of battle that it is expected–amid the din and smoke, the shouts of his comrades, the rattle of musketry, and the cannon’s roar. There is the soldier’s glory, his haven, his expected end; and of all deaths, that upon the battlefield, surrounded by victorious companions and waving banners, the triumphant shouts of comrades, is the least painful.

The grounds selected for the carrying out of the court’s sentence were on a broad plateau, gently sloping towards the center on three sides. So well were the grounds and surroundings adapted to the end in view, that it seemed as if nature had anticipated the purposes of man.

By 9 o’clock the troops of the division were in motion, all under the command of Colonel James D. Nance, of the Third South Carolina, marching for the field of death. Kershaw’s Brigade took the lead, and formed on the left of the hollow square. Wofford’s on the right, with Bryan’s doubling on the two, while Humphrey’s closed the space at the west end of the square.

A detail of thirty men were made to do the firing, fifteen guns being loaded with powder and ball, the others with powder alone, this arrangement being made, perhaps, with a view to ease the qualms of conscience, should any of the guards have scruples of shedding the blood of a former comrade in arms. None could know positively who held the death-dealing guns. An opening was made at the lower end and the first platoon of guards entered with arms reversed, then the band playing the “Dead March,” followed by the condemned and his son, the second platoon bringing up the rear. The cortege marched around the whole front of the lined-up troops, keeping step to the slow and dismal sounds of the “Dead March.” The prisoner walked with the firm and steady step of a Sagamore, or an Indian brave marching and singing his death chants, to the place of his execution. His son was equally as courageous and self-possessed, not a tremor or faltering in either. At times the father and son would speak in low, soft tones to each other, giving and receiving, perhaps, the last messages, the last farewells on earth, the soldier-outcast being now under the very shadow of death.

After making the entire circuit of the square, the condemned was conducted to the open space at the eastern side, where a rude stake had been driven in the ground. To this he boldly walked, calmly kneeling in front, allowing himself to be bandaged and pinioned thereto. The guards had formed in double ranks, fifteen paces in front, his faithful son standing some distance to his right, calm, unmoved, and defiant, even in the face of all the terrors going on before him. The officer in charge gives the command, “ready,” thirty hammers spring back; “aim,” the pieces rise to the shoulders; then, and then only, the tension broke, and the unfortunate man, instead of the officer, cried out in a loud, metallic voice, “fire.” The report of the thirty rifles rang out On the stillness of the morning; the man at the stake gives a convulsive shudder, his head tails listlessly on his breast, blood gushes out in streams, and in a moment all is still. The deserter has escaped.

The authorities at Washington had grown tired of Burnside’s failure to either crush Longstreet or drive him out of East Tennessee, and had sent General Foster to relieve him, the latter General bringing with him the standing orders, “Crush or drive out Longstreet.” How well General Foster succeeded will be related further on. In obedience to the department’s special orders, General Longstreet had, several days previous, sent Wheeler’s Cavalry back to General Johnston, now commanding Bragg’s Army. Our troops had heard the confirmation of the report of General Bragg’s desperate battle at Missionary Ridge–his disastrous defeat his withdrawal to Dalton, and his subsequent relinquishment of command of the Army of Tennessee. This had no effect upon our troops, no more so than the news of the fall of Vicksburg just after Lee’s bloody repulse at Gettysburg. The soldiers of the eastern Army had unbounded confidence in themselves and their commander, and felt that so long as they stood together they were invincible.

The enemy had fortified a position at Bean’s Station, in a narrow valley between the Holston River and the Clinch Mountains, the valley being about two miles in breadth. This force Longstreet determined to capture, and his plans were admirably adapted to bring about the result. To the right of the enemy was the river; to their left, a rugged mountain spur; passable at only a few points. Part of our cavalry was to pass down the western side of the mountain, close the gaps in rear, the infantry to engage the enemy in front until the other portion of the cavalry could move down the east bank of the river, cross over, and get in the enemy’s rear, thus cutting off all retreat. This part of the Valley of the Holston had been pretty well ravaged to supply the Federal Army, and our troops, with never more than a day’s rations on hand at a time, had to be put on short rations, until our subsistence trains could gather in a supply and the neighborhood mills could grind a few days’ rations ahead. Old soldiers know what “short rations” mean–next to no rations at all.

General Longstreet says of the morale of his army at this time: “The men were brave, steady, patient. Occasionally they called pretty loudly for parched corn, but always in a bright, merry mood. There was never a time we did not have corn enough, and plenty of wood with which to keep us warm and parch our corn. At this distance it seems as almost incredible that we got along as we did, but all were then so healthy and strong that we did not feel severely our really great hardship. Our serious trouble was in the matter of shoes and clothing.”

Early on the morning of the 14th the troops were put in motion and marched rapidly down the almost impassable thoroughfare. Bushrod Johnston’s Division being in the front, followed by McLaws’–Kershaw’s Brigade in the lead. Part of Jenkins’ Division was acting as escort for supply trains in the surrounding country, and that Division did not join the army for several days. Late in the day of the 15th we came in sight of the enemy’s breastworks. The Federal artillery opened a furious fusilade upon the troops, coming down the road with their rifled guns and field mortars. Bushrod Johnston had filed to the left of the road and gotten out of range, but the screaming shells kept up a continual whiz through the ranks of Kershaw. The men hurried along the road to seek shelter under a bluff in our front, along the base of which ran a small streamlet. The greater portion of the brigade was here huddled together in a jam, to avoid the shells flying overhead. The enemy must have had presage of our position, for they began throwing shells up in the air from their mortars and dropping them down upon us, but most fell beyond, while a great many exploded in the air. We could see the shells on their downward flight, and the men pushed still closer together and nearer the cliff. Here the soldier witnessed one of those incidents so often seen in army life that makes him feel that at times his life is protected by a hand of some hidden, unseen power. His escape from death so often appears miraculous that the soldier feels from first to last that he is but “in the hollow of His hand,” and learns to trust all to chance and Providence.

As a shell from a mortar came tumbling over and over, just above the heads of this mass of humanity, a shout went up from those farther back, “Look out! Look out! There comes a shell.” Lower and lower it came, all feeling their hopelessness of escape, should the shell explode in their midst. Some tried to push backwards; others, forward, while a great many crowded around and under an ambulance, to which was hitched an old broken down horse, standing perfectly still and indifferent, and all oblivious to his surroundings. The men gritted their teeth, shrugged their shoulders, and waited in death-like suspense the falling of the fatal messenger–that peculiar, whirling, hissing sound growing nearer and more distinct every second. But instead of falling among the men, it fell directly upon the head of the old horse, severing it almost from the body, but failed to explode. The jam was so great that some had difficulty in clearing themselves from the falling horse. Who of us are prepared to say whether this was mere chance, or that the bolt was guided and directed by an invisible hand?

Bushrod Johnston had formed on the left of the road; Kershaw marching over the crest of the hill in our front, and putting his brigade in line of battle on a broad plateau and along the foot hills of the mountains on the right. Here the troops were halted, to wait the coming up of the rest of the division and Jenkins’ two brigades. The cannonading of the enemy was especially severe during our halt, and General Kershaw had to frequently shift his regiments to avoid the terrific force of the enemy’s shells. It was not the intention of the commanding General to bring on a general engagement here until he heard from his cavalry beyond the river and those to the west of the mountain. The cavalry had been sent to cut off retreat and close the mountain passes, and the infantry was to press moderately in front, in order to hold the enemy in position.

Just before sunset, however, a general advance was made. One of Kershaw’s regiments was climbing along the mountain side, endeavoring to gain the enemy’s left, and as our skirmishers became hotly engaged, the movements of the regiment on the side of the mountain were discovered, and the enemy began to retire. Now orders were given to press them hard. The rattle of Bushrod Johnston’s rifles on our left told of a pretty stiff fight he was having. As the long row of bristling bayonets of Kershaw’s men debouched upon the plain in front of the enemy’s works, nothing could be seen but one mass of blue, making way to the rear in great confusion. Our artillery was now brought up and put in action, our infantry continuing to press forward, sometimes at double-quick.

We passed over the enemy’s entrenchments without firing a gun. Night having set in, and General Longstreet hearing from his cavalry that all in the enemy’s rear was safe, ordered a halt for the night, thinking the game would keep until morning. During the night, however, by some misunderstanding of orders, the commander of the cavalry withdrew from the mountain passes, and the enemy taking advantage of this outlet so unexpectedly offered, made his escape under cover of darkness. Here we had another truthful verification of the oft’ quoted aphorism of Burns, about “the best laid plans of mice and men.”

This last attempt of Longstreet to bring the enemy to an engagement outside of Knoxville proving abortive, the commanding General determined to close the campaign for the season, and to put his troops in as comfortable winter quarters as possible. This was found on the right or east bank of the Holston, near Morristown and the little hamlet of Russellville. The brigade crossed the Holston about the 17th of December, in a little flat boat, holding about two companies at a time, the boat being put backwards and forwards by means of a stout rope, the men pulling with their hands. A blinding sleet was falling, covering the rope continually with a sheet of ice, almost freezing the hands of the thinly clad and barefooted soldiers. But there was no murmuring nor complaint–all were as jolly and good-natured as if on a picnic excursion. Hardship had become a pleasure and sufferings, patriotism. There were no sickness, no straggling, nor feelings of self-constraint.

General Longstreet speaks thus of his army after he had established his camps and the subsistence trains began to forage in the rich valleys of the French Broad and Chucky Rivers and along the banks of Mossy Creek:

“With all the plentitude of provisions, and many things, which, at the time, seemed luxuries, we were not quite happy. Tattered blankets, garments, shoes (the later going–some gone) opened ways on all sides for piercing winter blasts. There were some hand looms in the country from which we occasionally picked up a piece of cloth, and here and there we received other comforts–some from kind, some from unwilling hands, which could nevertheless spare them. For shoes, we were obliged to resort to raw-hides, from beef cattle, as temporary protection from the frozen ground. Then we found soldiers who could tan the hides of our beeves, some who could make shoes, some who could make shoe pegs, some who could make shoe lasts, so that it came about that the hides passed rapidly from the beeves to the feet of the soldiers in the form of comfortable shoes.”

We took up very comfortable quarters, in the way that comfort goes with a soldier–cut off from the outside world. Only a few officers had the old army fly tents; the soldiers were each supplied, or rather had supplied themselves upon the battlefield of the enemy with small tent flies, about five by six feet, so arranged with buttons and button holes that two being buttoned together and stretched over a pole would make the sides or roof and the third would close the end, making a tent about six feet long, five feet wide, and four feet high, in which three or four men could sleep very comfortably. In the bitter weather great roaring fires were built in front during the night, and to which the soldier, by long habit, or a kind of intuition, would stretch his feet, when the cold would become unbearable under his threadbare blanket.

But notwithstanding all these disadvantages, the men of Kershaw’s Brigade were bent on having a good time in East Tennessee. They foraged during the day for apples, chickens, butter, or whatever they could find to eat. Some of sporting proclivities would purchase a lot of chicken roosters and then fight, regiment against regiment, and seemed to enjoy as much seeing a fight between a shanghai and a dunghill, as a match between gaved Spanish games.

Many formed the acquaintance of ladies in the surrounding country, and they, too, Union as well as Southern, being cut off like ourselves–their husbands and brothers being either in the Northern or Southern Army–seemed determined on having a good time also. Dancing parties were frequent, and the ladies of Southern sympathies gave the officers and soldiers royal dinners.

In this connection, I will relate an anecdote told on our gallant Lieutenant Colonel Rutherford, of the Third, by a friend of his.

When the Third South Carolina Regiment of Infantry was in East Tennessee, in the month of January, 1864, not only did the soldiers find it difficult to get enough to eat, but their supply of shoes and clothing ran pretty low. Those who had extra pants or jackets helped their needy friends. Lieutenant Colonel Rutherford had turned over his extra pair of pants to some one, which left him the pair he wore each day as his only stock on hand in the pants line. Heavy snows fell. The regiment was encamped very near a pleasant residence, where a bevy of pretty girls lived. After an acquaintance of sometime, a snow-balling was indulged in. It was observed that Colonel Rutherford used his every endeavor to constantly face the girls, who were pelting him pretty liberally on all sides. After awhile he slipped up and fell, but in his fall his face was downward, when lo! the girls discovered that he had a hole in his pants. Too good-natured to appear to see his predicament, no notice was seemingly taken of his misfortune; but as the officers were about going off to bed that night, the married lady said to him:

“Colonel, lay your pants on the chair at your room door tonight, and you will find them there again in the morning. We hope you won’t mind a patch.”

The Colonel, who was always so gallant in actual battle, and could not bear to turn his back to the Federal soldiers, was just as unwilling to turn his back to snow-balls, who happened to be Confederate lasses, and the reason therefor, although never told, was discovered by them.

The weather had gotten down to two degrees below zero, the ground frozen as hard as brick-bats, and the winds whistled gaily through our tattered tents, our teeth beating tattoo and our limbs shivering from the effects of our scanty clothing and shoes. But our wagons were gathering in supplies from the rich valleys of the French Broad and the Nolachucky, and while we suffered from cold, we generally had provisions sufficient for our want. By the middle of January we had to temporarily break up camp to meet the enemy, who had left Knoxville with the greater part of the army, and was marching up on the right banks of the French Broad to near Dandridge. General Foster seeing the penalty put upon General Burnside for not driving out Longstreet from East Tennessee, the former undertook to accomplish in this bitter weather what the latter had failed to do in comparative good season. Our cavalry, with Jenkins’ Division, headed direct towards the moving column of the enemy, while McLaws’ Division marched in the direction of Strawberry Plains, with a view to cutting off the enemy and forcing him to battle in an open field. But General Granger, in command of the Federal column, was too glad to cross the French Broad and beat a hasty retreat to Knoxville. We returned to our old camps, and waited, like Micawber, “for something to turn up.”

By some disagreement or want of confidence in General McLaws by the commanding General, he was relieved of his command, and General Kershaw being the senior Brigadier General of the division, was placed in command. What the differences were between General Longstreet and his Major General were never exactly understood by the soldiers. While General McLaws may have been a brave soldier and was well beloved by officers and men, still he was wanting in those elements to make a successful General of volunteer troops–dash, discipline, and promptness in action.

General Longstreet had bent all his energies to the repairing of the railroad through East Tennessee and Virginia, and as soon as this was accomplished, a limited number of soldiers were furloughed for twenty-one days. A large lot of shoes and clothing was sent us from Richmond, and this helped to make camp life more enjoyable. Not all the men by any means could be spared by furlough even for this brief period, for we had an active and vigilant foe in our front. Most of the men drew their furloughs by lot, those who had been from home the longest taking their chances by drawing from a hat, “furlough” or “no furlough.”

While in winter quarters, during the spasm of chicken fighting, a difficulty occurred between Lieutenant A and Private B, of the Third, both good friends, and no better soldiers were ever upon a battlefield. These are not the initials of their names, but will answer the purpose at hand, and that purpose is to show the far-reaching results of the courtmartial that followed, and a decision reached under difficulties, that the most learned jurist might feel proud of.

I will say for the benefit of those not learned in the law of army regulations, that for an officer to strike a private he is cashiered, and for a private to strike an officer the penalty is either death or long imprisonment with ball and chain attachments.

Now it appeared to the officers who composed the courtmartial, Captain Herbert, Lieutenant Garlington, and the writer of this (all parties of the Third), that Lieutenant A had knocked Private B down. The officer appeared in his own defense, and gave in extenuation of his crime, that Private B had hit his (Lieutenant A’s) chicken a stunning blow on the head while they were “petting” them between rounds. Now that decision of the courtmartial astonished our Colonel as much as the men who were parties to the combat themselves. Now it read something like this–time, dress parade:

“Whereas, Lieutenant A, of Company —-, Third South Carolina, did strike Private B, of same company and regiment, with his fist in the face, that he should receive the severest of punishment; but, whereas, Private B did strike the game chicken in the hands of Lieutenant A, without cause or provocation, therefore both are equally guilty of a crime and misdemeanor, and should be privately reprimanded by the Colonel commanding.”

Such a laugh as was set up, notwithstanding the grave countenance of the Colonel, was never heard on ordinary occasions.

* * * * *


In Winter Quarters, 1863 and 1864–Re-enlistment.

Christmas came as usual to the soldiers as to the rest of the world, and if Longstreet’s men did not have as “merry and happy” a Christmas as those at home, and in the armies outside, they had at least a cheerful one. Hid away in the dark and mysterious recesses of the houses of many old Unionists, was yet a plentitude of “moon-shine,” and this the soldiers drew out, either by stealth or the eloquent pleadings of a faded Confederate bill. Poultry abounded in the far away sections of the country, not yet ravaged by either army, which it was a pleasure to those fixtures of the army called “foragers” to hunt up. The brotherhood of “foragers” was a peculiar institute, and some men take as naturally to it as the duck to water. They have an eye to business, as well as pleasure, and the life of a “forager” becomes almost an art. They have a peculiar talent, developed by long practice of nosing out, hunting up, and running to quarry anything in the way of “eatables or drinkables.” During the most stringent times in a country that had been over-run for years by both armies, some men could find provisions and delicacies, and were never known to be without “one drink left” in their canteens for a needy comrade, who had the proper credentials, the Confederate “shin-plaster.” These foragers had the instinct (or acquired it) and the gifts of a “knight of the road” of worming out of the good housewife little dainties, cold meats, and stale bread, and if there was one drop of the “oh be joyful” in the house, these men of peculiar intellect would be sure to get it. So with such an acquisition to the army, and in such a country as East Tennessee, the soldiers did not suffer on that cold Christmas day. Bright and cheerful fires burned before every tent, over which hung a turkey, a chicken, or a choice slice of Tennessee pork, or, perhaps, better still, a big, fat sausage, with which the smoke-houses along the valleys of the French Broad were filled.

It was my misfortune, or rather good fortune, to be doing picket duty on the Holston on that day. Here I had an adventure rather out of the regular order in a soldier’s life, one more suited to the character of Don Quixote. I, as commandant of the post, had strict orders not to allow anyone to cross the river, as “beyond the Alps lie Italy,” beyond the Holston lay the enemy. But soldiers, like other men, have their trials. While on duty here a buxom, bouncing, rosy cheeked mountain lass came up, with a sack of corn on her shoulder, and demanded the boat in order that she might cross over to a mill and exchange her corn for meal. This, of course, I had to reluctantly deny, however gallantly disposed I might otherwise have been. The lass asked me, with some feeling of scorn, “Is the boat yours?” to which I was forced to answer in the negative. She protested that she would not go back and get a permit or pass from anyone on earth; that the boat was not mine, and she had as much right to its use as anyone, and that no one should prevent her from getting bread for her family, and that “you have no business here at best,” arguments that were hard to controvert in the face of a firey young “diamond in the rough.” So to compromise matters and allow chivalry to take, for the time being, the place of duty, I agreed to ferry her over myself. She placed her corn in the middle of the little boat, planting herself erect in the prow; I took the stern. The weather was freezing cold, the wind strong, and the waves rolled high, the little boat rocking to and fro, while I battled with the strong current of the river. Once or twice she cast disdainful glances at my feeble and emaciated form, but at last, in a melting tone, she said: “If you can’t put the boat over, get up and give me the oar.” This taunt made me strong, and the buxom mountain girl was soon at the mill. While awaiting the coming of the old miller, I concluded to take a stroll over the hill in search of further adventure. There I found, at a nice old-fashioned farm house, a bevy of the prettiest young ladies it had been my pleasure to meet in a long while–buoyant, vivacious, cultured, and loyal to the core. They did not wait very long to tell me that they were “Rebels to the bone.” They invited me and any of my friends that I chose to come over the next day and take dinner with them, an invitation I was not loath nor slow to accept. My mountain acquaintance was rowed back over the Holston in due season, without any of the parting scenes that fiction delight in, and the next day, armed with passports, my friends and myself were at the old farm house early. My companions were Colonel Rutherford, Dr. James Evans, Lieutenant Hugh Farley, Captains Nance, Cary, and Watts, with Adjutant Pope as our chaperone. Words fail me here in giving a description of the dinner, as well as of the handsome young ladies that our young hostess had invited from the surrounding country to help us celebrate.

Now will any reader of this question the fact that Longstreet’s men suffered any great hardships, isolated as they were from the outside world? This is but a sample of our sufferings. We had night parties at the houses of the high and the low, dinners in season and out of season, and not an enemy outside of the walls of Knoxville. Did we feel the cold? Did the frozen ground cut our feet through our raw-hide moccasins? Did any of the soldiers long for home or the opening of the next campaign? Bah!

It was during our stay in winter quarters, March, 1864, that the term of our second enlistment expired. The troops had volunteered for twelve months at the commencement of the war; this expiring just before the seven days’ battle around Richmond, a re-enlistment and reorganization was ordered in the spring of 1862 for two more years, making the term of Kershaw’s Brigade equal with other troops that had enlisted for “three years or the war.” By an Act of Congress, in 1862, all men between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five years were compelled to bear arms. This had been extended first to forty and then to forty-five and during Grant’s memorable campaign against Richmond, the ages ran from sixteen to fifty-five, though those between sixteen and eighteen and those between fifty and fifty-five were to be used only in State service. This brought out the expression of Grant to the authorities in Washington, that “Lee had robbed the cradle and the grave.” Our re-enlistment was only a form, no change in officers or organization. Some few failed to voluntarily re-enlist, not with any view to quit the army, but some had grown weary of the hard marches of the infantry service and wished to join the cavalry. However, when the morning came for re-enlistment the troops were called out in line of regiments and a call made by the Colonel to all who were willing to enlist for the war to step two paces to the front. All, with the very fewest exceptions, stepped proudly to the front. Of course, none were permitted to leave his company for the cavalry, as that branch of the service was yet filled to its full quota, its ranks had in no discernable degree been depleted by the casualties of war. It seemed that fortune favored our troopers, for battle as they would, none were scarcely ever wounded, and a less number killed. Infantry soldiers were furloughed, through wounds, by the thousands, and artillerymen by the hundreds, after every great battle, but the cavalryman was denied this luxury, and his only hope in a furlough was a short leave of absence to replace a wornout horse that had fallen by the wayside. Their ranks of furloughed men in this line were usually quite full.

As for returning to their homes, no soldier, however humble his station, either in the army or socially at home, would have dared to leave the service had a discharge been offered him. A man in good health and with stout limbs preferred facing bullets and even death, rather than bracing the scorn and contempt the women of the South had for the man who failed his country when his services were needed. No man, however brave, would have had the hardihood to meet his wife or mother unless “with his shield or on it” in this hour of his country’s need. There were some few exemptions in the conscript law; one particularly was where all the men in a neighborhood had gone or was ordered to the front, one old man to five plantations, on which were slaves, was exempted to look after said farms, manage the negroes, and collect the government taxes or tithes. These tithes were one-tenth of all that was raised on a plantation–cotton, corn, oats, peas, wheat, potatoes, sorghum, etc.–to be delivered to a government agent, generally a disabled soldier, and by him forwarded to the army.

During the winter most of the vacancies in company and field officers were filled by promotion, according to rank. In most cases, the office of Third Lieutenant was left to the choice of the men, in pursuance to the old Democratic principle, “government by the will of the people.” Non-commissioned officers usually went up by seniority, where competent, the same as the commissioned officers.

All these vacancies were occasioned by the casualties of war during the Pennsylvania, Chickamauga, and Knoxville campaigns. The Seventh, Fifteenth, and Third Battalion were without field officers. Captain Huggins was placed in command of the Seventh, and Captain Whiter, the Third Battalion. No promotions could be made in the latter, as Major Miller and Colonel Rice had not resigned, although both were disabled for active service in consequence of wounds.

There was considerable wrangling in the Fifteenth over the promotion to the Colonelcy. Captain F.S. Lewie, of Lexington, claimed it by seniority of rank, being senior Captain in the regiment. Captain J.B. Davis, of Fairfield, claimed it under an Act of the Confederate Congress in regard to the rank of old United States officers entering the Confederate service–that the officers of the old army should hold their grade and rank in the Confederate Army, the same as before their joining the South, irrespective of the date of these commissions issued by the war department. Or, in other words, a Lieutenant in the United States Army should not be given a commission over a Captain, or a Captain, over a Major, Lieutenant Colonel, or Colonel, etc., in the Southern Army. As all the old army officers entering the service of the South at different periods, and all wanted a Generalship, so this mode of ranking was adopted, as promising greater harmony and better results. Captain Davis had been a Captain in the State service, having commanded a company in Gregg’s six months’ troops around Charleston. And, furthermore, Davis was a West Pointer–a good disciplinarian, brave, resolute, and an all round good officer. Still Lewie was his peer in every respect, with the exception of early military training. Both were graduates of medical colleges–well educated, cultured, and both high-toned gentlemen of the “Old School.” But Lewie was subject to serious attacks of a certain disease, which frequently incapacitated him for duty, and on marches he was often unable to walk, and had to be hauled for days in the ambulance. Then Lewie’s patriotism was greater than his ambition, and he was willing to serve in any position for the good of the service and for the sake of harmony. Captain Lewie thus voluntarily yielded his just claims to the Colonelcy to Captain Davis, and accepted the position of Lieutenant Colonel, places both filled to the end.

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Colonel J.B. Davis was born in Fairfield County, of Scotch-Irish decent, about the year 1835. He received his early education in the schools of the country, at Mount Zion Academy, at Winnsboro, in same county. Afterwards he was admitted to the United States Military School, at West Point, but after remaining for two years, resigned and commenced the study of medicine. He graduated some years before the war, and entered upon the practice of his profession in the western part of the county. He was elected Captain of the first company raised in Fairfield, and served in Gregg’s first six mouths’ volunteers in Charleston. After the fall of Sumter, his company, with several others, disbanded.

Returning home, he organized a company for the Confederate service, was elected Captain, and joined the Fifteenth Regiment, then forming in Columbia under Colonel DeSaussure. He was in all the battles of the Maryland campaign, in the brigade under General Drayton, and in all the great battles with Kershaw’s Brigade. In the winter of 1863 he was made Colonel of the Fifteenth, and served with his regiment until the surrender. On several occasions he was in command of the brigade, as senior Colonel present. He was in command at Cold Harbor after the death of Colonel Keitt. Colonel Davis was one among the best tacticians in the command; had a soldierly appearance–tall, well-developed, a commanding voice, and an all round good officer.

He returned home after the war and began the practice of medicine, and continues it to the present.

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Colonel F.S. Lewie was born in Lexington County, in 1830, and received his early training there. He attended the High School at Monticello, in Fairfield County. He taught school for awhile, then began the study of medicine. He attended the “College of Physicians and Surgeons” in Paris, France, for two years, returning a short while before the breaking out of hostilities between the North and South.

At the outbreak of the war he joined Captain Gibbs’ Company, and was made Orderly Sergeant. He served with that company, under Colonel Gregg, in the campaign against Sumter. His company did not disband when the fort fell, but followed Gregg to Virginia. At the expiration of their term of enlistment he returned to Lexington County, raised a company, and joined the Fifteenth. He was in most of the battles in which that regiment was engaged. Was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and in 1864 was elected to the State Senate from Lexington. He refused to leave his regiment, and did not accept the honor conferred upon him by the people of his county. While with his regiment in South Carolina, early in the spring of 1865, he was granted a few days’ furlough to visit his home, at which smallpox had broken out, but was captured by Sherman’s raiders before reaching home. He was parolled in North Carolina.

He was elected to the Legislature in 1866, serving until reconstruction. He died in 1877.

There was never a Major appointed afterwards in the Fifteenth.

About the last of January we had another little battle scare, but it failed to materialize. General Longstreet had ordered a pontoon bridge from Richmond, and had determined upon a descent upon Knoxville. But the authorities at Washington having learned of our preparation to make another advance, ordered General Thomas to reinforce General Foster with his corps, take command in person, and to drive Longstreet “beyond the confines of East Tennessee.” The enemy’s cavalry was thrown forward, and part of Longstreet’s command having been ordered East, the movement was abandoned; the inclemency of the weather, if no other cause, was sufficient to delay operations. Foster being greatly reinforced, and Longstreet’s forces reduced by a part of his cavalry going to join Johnston in Georgia, and a brigade of infantry ordered to reinforce Lee, the commanding General determined to retire higher up the Holston, behind a mountain chain, near Bull’s Gap.

On the 22d of February we quit our winter quarters, and took up our march towards Bull’s Gap, and after a few days of severe marching we were again snugly encamped behind a spur of the mountain, jutting out from the Holston and on to the Nolachucky River. A vote of thanks from the Confederate States Congress was here read to the troops:

“Thanking Lieutenant General James Longstreet and the officers and men of his command for their patriotic services and brilliant achievements in the present war, sharing as they have the arduous fatigues and privations of many campaigns in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Tennessee,” etc.

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In Camp on the Holston, East Tennessee. Return to Virginia.

While Longstreet’s Corps had done some of the most stubborn fighting, and the results, as far as victories in battle were concerned, were all that could be expected, still it seemed, from some faults of the Generals commanding departments, or the war department in Richmond, that the fruits of such victories were not what the country or General Longstreet expected. To merely hold our own, in the face of such overwhelming numbers, while great armies were springing up all over the North, was not the true policy of the South, as General Longstreet saw and felt it. We should go forward and gain every inch of ground lost in the last campaign, make all that was possible out of our partial successes, drive the enemy out of our country wherever he had a foot-hold, otherwise the South would slowly but surely crumble away. So much had been expected of Longstreet’s Corps in East Tennessee, and so little lasting advantage gained, that bickering among the officers began. Brigadier Generals were jealous of Major Generals, and even some became jealous or dissatisfied with General Longstreet himself. Crimination and recrimination were indulged in, censures and charges were made and denied, and on the whole the army began to be in rather a bad plight for the campaign just commencing. Had it not been for the unparalleled patriotism and devotion to their cause, the undaunted courage of the rank and file of the army, little results could have been expected. But as soon as the war cry was heard and the officers and men had sniffed the fumes of the coming battle, all jealousies and animosities were thrown aside, and each and every one vied with the other as to who could show the greatest prowess in battle, could withstand the greatest endurance on marches and in the camp.

General Law, who commanded an Alabama Brigade, had been arrested and courtmartialed for failing to support General Jenkins at a critical moment, when Burnside was about to be entrapped, just before reaching Knoxville. It was claimed by his superiors that had Law closed up the gaps, as he had been ordered, a great victory would have been gained, but it was rumored that Law said “he knew this well enough, and could have routed the enemy, but Jenkins would have had the credit,” so that he sacrificed his men, endangered the army, and lost an opportunity for brilliant achievements through jealousy of a brother officer. Much correspondence ensued between General Longstreet and President Davis, and as usual with the latter, he interfered, and had not the Wilderness campaign commenced so soon, serious trouble would have been the result between General Lee and General Longstreet on one side, and President Davis and the war department on the other. But General Law never returned to our army, and left with any but an ennobling reputation.

General Robertson, commanding Hood’s old Texas Brigade, was arrested for indulging in mutinous conversation with his subaltern officers, claiming, it was said, that should General Longstreet give him certain orders (while in camp around Lookout Mountain), he would not recognize them, unless written, and then only under protest. He was relieved by General Gregg.

General McLaws was relieved of his command from a want of confidence in General Longstreet, and more especially for his inactivity and tardiness at the assaults on Fort Sanders, at Knoxville. On ordinary occasions, General McLaws was active and vigilant enough–his courage could not be doubted. He and the troops under him had added largely to the name and fame of the Army of Northern Virginia. He had officers and men under him who were the “flower of chivalry” of the South, and were really the “Old Guard” of Lee’s Army. McLaws was a graduate of West Point, and had seen service in Mexico and on the plains of the West. But General McLaws was not the man for the times–not the man to command such troops as he had–was not the officer to lead in an active, vigorous campaign, where all depended on alertness and dash. He was too cautious, and as such, too slow. The two Georgia brigades, a Mississippi brigade, and a South Carolina brigade, composed mostly of the first volunteers from their respective States, needed as a commander a hotspur like our own J.B. Kershaw. While the army watched with sorrow and regret the departure of our old and faithful General, one who had been with us through so many scenes of trials, hardships, and bloodshed, whose name had been so identified with that of our own as to be almost a part of it, still none could deny that the change was better for the service and the Confederacy.

One great trouble with the organization of our army was that too many old and incompetent officers of the old regular army commanded it. And the one idea that seemed to haunt the President was that none but those who had passed through the great corridors and halls of West Point could command armies or men–that civilians without military training were unfit for the work at hand–furthermore, he had favorites, that no failures or want of confidence by the men could shake his faith in as to ability and Generalship. What the army needed was young blood–no old army fossils to command the hot-blooded, dashing, enthusiastic volunteers, who could do more in their impetuosity with the bayonet in a few moments than in days and months of manoeuvering, planning, and fighting battles by rules or conducting campaigns by following the precedent of great commanders, but now obsolete.

When the gallant Joe Kershaw took the command and began to feel his way for his Major General’s spurs, the division took on new life. While the brigade was loath to give him up, still they were proud of their little “Brigadier,” who had yet to carve out a name for himself on the pillars of fame, and write his achievements high up on the pages of history in the campaign that was soon to begin.

It seems from contemporaneous history that President Davis was baiting between two opinions, either to have Longstreet retire by way of the mountains and relieve the pressure against Johnston, now in command of Bragg’s Army, or to unite with Lee and defend the approaches to Richmond.

A counsel of war was held in Richmond between the President, General Bragg as the military advisor of his Excellency, General Lee, and General Longstreet, to form some plan by which Grant might be checked or foiled in the general grand advance he was preparing to make along the whole line. The Federal armies of Mississippi and Alabama had concentrated in front of General Johnston and were gradually pressing him back into Georgia.

Grant had been made commander in chief of all the armies of the North, with headquarters with General Meade, in front of Lee, and he was bending all his energies, his strategies, and boldness in his preparations to strike Lee a fatal blow.

At this juncture Longstreet came forward with a plan–bold in its conception; still bolder in its execution, had it been adopted–that might have changed the face, if not the fate, of the Confederacy. It was to strip all the forts and garrisons in South Carolina and Georgia, form an army of twenty-five thousand men, place them under Beauregard at Charleston, board the train for Greenville, S.C.; then by the overland route through the mountain passes of North Carolina, and by way of Aberdeen, Va.; then to make his way for Kentucky; Longstreet to follow in Beauregard’s wake or between him and the Federal Army, and by a shorter line, join Beauregard at some convenient point in Kentucky; Johnston to flank Sherman and march by way of Middle Tennessee, the whole to avoid battle until a grand junction was formed by all the armies, somewhere near the Ohio River; then along the Louisville Railroad, the sole route of transportation of supplies for the Federal Army, fight a great battle, and, if victorious, penetrate into Ohio, thereby withdrawing Sherman from his intended “march to the sea,” relieving Lee by weakening Grant, as that General would be forced to succor the armies forming to meet Beauregard.

This, to an observer at this late hour, seems to have been the only practical plan by which the downfall of the Confederacy could have been averted. However, the President and his cabinet decided to continue the old tactics of dodging from place to place, meeting the hard, stubborn blows of the enemy, only waiting the time, when the South, by mere attrition, would wear itself out.

About the 10th of April, 1864, we were ordered to strike tents and prepare to move on Bristol, from thence to be transported to Virginia. All felt as if we were returning to our old home, to the brothers we had left after the bloody Gettysburg campaign, to fight our way back by way of Chickamauga and East Tennessee. We stopped for several days at Charlottesville, and here had the pleasure of visiting the home of the great Jefferson. From thence, down to near Gordonsville.

The 29th of April, 1864, was a gala day for the troops of Longstreet’s Corps, at camp near Gordonsville. They were to be reviewed and inspected by their old and beloved commander, General R.E. Lee. Everything possible that could add to our looks and appearances was done to make an acceptable display before our commander in chief. Guns were burnished and rubbed up, cartridge boxes and belts polished, and the brass buttons and buckles made to look as bright as new. Our clothes were patched and brushed up, so far as was in our power, boots and shoes greased, the tattered and torn old hats were given here and there “a lick and a promise,” and on the whole I must say we presented not a bad-looking body of soldiers. Out a mile or two was a very large old field, of perhaps one hundred acres or more, in which we formed in double columns. The artillery stationed on the flank fired thirteen guns, the salute to the commander in chief, and as the old warrior rode out into the opening, shouts went up that fairly shook the earth. Hats and caps flew high in the air, flags dipped and waved to and fro, while the drums and fifes struck up “Hail to the Chief.” General Lee lifted his hat modestly from his head in recognition of the honor done him, and we know the old commander’s heart swelled with emotion at this outburst of enthusiasm by his old troops on his appearance. If he had had any doubts before as to the loyalty of his troops, this old “Rebel yell” must have soon dispelled them. After taking his position near the centre of the columns, the command was broken in columns of companies and marched by him, each giving a salute as it passed. It took several hours to pass in review, Kershaw leading with his division, Jenkins following. The line was again formed, when General Lee and staff, with Longstreet and his staff, rode around the troops and gave them critical inspection. No doubt Lee was then thinking of the bloody day that was soon to come, and how well these brave, battle-scarred veterans would sustain the proud prestige they had won.

Returning to our camp, we were put under regular discipline–drilling, surgeon’s call-guards, etc. We were being put in active fighting trim and the troops closely kept in camp. All were now expecting every moment the summons to the battlefield. None doubted the purpose for which we were brought back to Virginia, and how well Longstreet’s Corps sustained its name and reputation the Wilderness and Spottsylvania soon showed. Our ranks had been largely recruited by the return of furloughed men, and young men attaining eighteen years of age. After several months of comparative rest in our quarters in East Tennessee, nothing but one week of strict camp discipline was required to put us in the best of fighting order. We had arrived at our present camp about the last week of April, having rested several days at Charlottesville.

General Lee’s Army was a day’s, or more, march to the north and east of us, on the west bank of the Rapidan River. It was composed of the Second Corps, under Lieutenant General Ewell, with seventeen thousand and ninety-three men; Third Corps, under Lieutenant General A.P. Hill, with twenty-two thousand one hundred and ninety-nine; unattached commands, one thousand one hundred and twenty-five; cavalry, eight thousand seven hundred and twenty-seven; artillery, four thousand eight hundred and fifty-four; while Longstreet had about ten thousand; putting the entire strength of Lee’s Army, of all arms, at sixty-three thousand nine hundred and ninety-eight.

General Grant had, as heretofore mentioned, been made commander in chief of all the Union armies, while General Lee held the same position in the Confederate service. Grant had taken up his headquarters with the Army of the Potomac, giving the direction of this army his personal attention, retaining, however, General George S. Meade as its immediate commander.

Grant had divided his army into three corps–Second, under Major General W.S. Hancock; Fifth, Major General G.K. Warren; Sixth, Major General John Sedgwick–all in camp near Culpepper Court House, while a separate corps, under Major General A.E. Burnside, was stationed near the railroad crossing on the Rappahannock River.

Lee’s Army was divided as follows: Rodes’, Johnston’s, and Early’s Divisions, under Lieutenant General Ewell, Second Corps; R.H. Anderson’s, Heath’s, and Wilcox’s Divisions, under Lieutenant General A.P. Hill, Third Corps.

Longstreet had no Major Generals under him as yet. He had two divisions, McLaws’ old Division, under Brigadier General Kershaw, and Hood’s, commanded by Brigadier General Fields. The division had been led through the East Tennessee campaign by General Jenkins, of South Carolina. Also a part of a division under General Bushrod Johnston, of the Army of the West.

Grant had in actual numbers of all arms, equipped and ready for battle, one hundred and sixteen thousand eight hundred and eighty-six men. He had forty-nine thousand one hundred and ninety-one more infantry and artillery than Lee and three thousand six hundred and ninety-seven more cavalry. He had but a fraction less than double the forces of the latter. With this disparity of numbers, and growing greater every day, Lee successfully combatted Grant for almost a year without a rest of a week from battle somewhere along his lines. Lee had no reinforcements to call up, and no recruits to strengthen his ranks, while Grant had at his call an army of two million to draw from at will, and always had at his immediate disposal as many troops as he could handle in one field. He not only outnumbered Lee, but he was far better equipped in arms, subsistence, transportation, and cavalry and artillery horses. He had in his medical, subsistence, and quartermaster departments alone nineteen thousand one hundred and eighty-three, independent of his one hundred and sixteen thousand eight hundred and eighty-six, ready for the field, which he called non-combattants. While these figures and facts are foreign to the “History of Kershaw’s Brigade,” still I give them as matters of general history, that the reader may better understand the herculean undertaking that confronted Longstreet when he joined his forces with those of Lee’s. And as this was to be the deciding campaign of the war, it will be better understood by giving the strength and environment of each army. The Second South Carolina Regiment was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Gaillard; the Third, by Colonel Jas. D, Nance; the Seventh, by Captain Jerry Goggans; the Eighth, by Colonel Henagan; the Fifteenth, by Colonel J.B. Davis; the Third Battalion, by Captain Whiter. The brigade was commanded by Colonel J.D. Kennedy, as senior Colonel.

Thus stood the command on the morning of the 4th of May, but by the shock of battle two days later all was changed. Scarcely a commander of a regiment or brigade remained. The two military giants of the nineteenth century were about to face each other, and put to the test the talents, tactics, and courage of their respective antagonists. Both had been successful beyond all precedent, and both considered themselves invincible in the field. Grant had tact and tenacity, with an overwhelming army behind him. Lee had talent, impetuosity, and boldness, with an army of patriots at his command, who had never known defeat; and considered themselves superior in courage and endurance to any body of men on earth. Well might the clash of arms in the Wilderness of these mighty giants cause the civilized world to watch and wonder. Lee stood like a lion in the path–his capital behind him, his army at bay–while Grant, with equal pugnacity, sought to crush him by sheer force of overwhelming numbers.

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Battle of the Wilderness.

At midnight, on the 3rd of May, Grant put this mighty force of his in motion–the greatest body of men moving to combat that had ever been assembled on the continent. On the 4th his army crossed the Rapidan, at Germania and Ely’s Fords, and began moving out towards the turn-pike, leading from Orange Court House by way of the Wilderness to Fredericksburg.

On the 5th Ewell had a smart engagement on the turn-pike, while Heath’s and Wilcox’s Divisions, of Hill’s Corps, had met successfully a heavy force under Hancock, on the plank road–two roads running parallel and about one mile distant. Both armies closed the battle at night fall, each holding his own field. However, the enemy strongly entrenched in front, while Hill’s troops, from some cause unexplainable, failed to take this precaution, and; had it not been for the timely arrival of Longstreet at a critical moment, might have been fatal to Lee’s Army.

On the morning of the 5th we had orders to march. Foragers coming in the night before reported heavy firing in the direction of the Rapidan, which proved to be the cavalry engagement checking Grant at the river fords. All felt after these reports, and our orders to march, that the campaign had opened. All day we marched along unused roads–through fields and thickets, taking every near cut possible. Scarcely stopping for a moment to even rest, we found ourselves, at 5 o’clock in the evening, twenty-eight miles from our starting point. Men were too tired and worn out to pitch tents, and hearing the orders “to be ready to move at midnight,” the troops stretched themselves upon the ground to get such comfort and rest as was possible. Promptly at midnight we began to move again, and such a march, and under such conditions, was never before experienced by the troops. Along blind roads, overgrown by underbrush, through fields that had lain fallow for years, now studded with bushes and briars, and the night being exceedingly dark, the men floundered and fell as they marched. But the needs were too urgent to be slack in the march now, so the men struggled with nature in their endeavor to keep in ranks. Sometimes the head of the column would lose its way, and during the time it was hunting its way back to the lost bridle path, was about the only rest we got. The men were already worn out by their forced march of the day before, and now they had to exert all their strength to its utmost to keep up. About daylight we struck the plank road leading from Orange Court House to Fredericksburg, and into this we turned and marched down with a swinging step. Kershaw’s Brigade was leading, followed by Humphreys’ and Wofford’s, with Bryan bringing up the rear. The Second South Carolina was in front, then the Third, Seventh, Fifteenth, Third Battalion, and Eighth on extreme right, the brigade marching left in front.

[Illustration: Capt. Chesley W. Herbert, Co. C, 3d S.C. Regiment.]

[Illustration: Capt. Theodore F. Malloy, Co. C, 8th S.C. Regiment.]

[Illustration: Capt. John W. Wofford, Co. K, 3d S.C. Regiment.]

[Illustration: Capt. John Hampden Brooks, Co. G, 7th S.C. Regiment.]

After marching some two miles or more down the plank road at a rapid gait, passing Hill’s field infirmary, where the wounded of the day before were being cared for, we heard a sharp firing in our immediate front. Longstreet’s artillery was far in the rear, floundering along through the blind roads as the infantry had done the night before. Our wagons and subsistence supplies had not been since dawn of the 5th, although this made little difference to the men, as Longstreet’s Corps always marched with three days’ rations in their haversacks, with enough cooking utensils on their backs to meet immediate Wants. So they were never thrown off their base for want of food. The cartridge boxes were filled with forty rounds, with twenty more in their pockets, and all ready for the fray.

As soon as the musketry firing was heard, we hastened our steps, and as we reached the brow of a small elevation in the ground, orders were given to deploy across the road. Colonel Gaillard, with the Second, formed on the left of the road, while the Third, under Colonel Nance; formed on the right, with the other regiments taking their places on the right of the Third in their order of march. Field’s Division Was forming rapidly on the left of the plank road, but as yet did not reach it, thus the Second was for the time being detached to fill up. The Mississippians, under Humphreys, had already left the plank road in our rear, and so had Wofford, with his Georgians, and were making their way as best they could through this tangled morass of the Wilderness, to form line of battle on Kershaw’s right. The task was difficult in the extreme, but the men were equal to the occasion, Bryan’s Georgia Brigade filed off to the right, in rear, as reserves.

The line had not yet formed before a perfect hail of bullets came flying overhead and through our ranks, but not a man moved, only to allow the stampeded troops of Heath’s and Wilcox’s to pass to the rear. It seems that these troops had fought the day before, and lay upon the battlefield with the impression that they would be relieved before day. They had not reformed their lines, nor replenished their ammunition boxes, nor made any pretention towards protecting their front by any kind of works. The enemy, who had likewise occupied their ground of the day before, had reformed their lines, strengthened their position by breastworks–all this within two hundred yards of the unsuspecting Confederates. This fault lay in a misunderstanding of orders, or upon the strong presumption that Longstreet would be up before the hour of combat. Hancock had ordered his advance at sunrise, and after a feeble defense by Heath’s and Wilcox’s skirmish line, the enemy burst upon the unsuspecting Confederates, while some were cooking a hasty meal, others still asleep–all unprepared for this thunderbolt that fell in their midst. While forming his lines of battle, and while bullets were flying all around, General Kershaw came dashing down in front of his column, his eyes flashing fire, sitting his horse like a centaur–that superb style as Joe Kershaw only could–and said in passing us, “Now, my old brigade. I expect you to do your duty.” In all my long experience, in war and peace, I never saw such a picture as Kershaw and his war-horse made in riding down in front of his troops at the Wilderness. It seemed an inspiration to every man in line, especially his old brigade, who knew too well that their conduct to-day would either win or lose him his Major General’s spurs, and right royally did he gain them. The columns were not yet in proper order, but the needs so pressing to check the advance of the enemy, that a forward movement was ordered, and the lines formed up as the troops marched.

The second moved forward on the left of the plank road, in support of a battery stationed there, and which was drawing a tremendous fire upon the troops on both sides of the road. Down the gentle slope the brigade marched, over and under the tangled shrubbery and dwarf sapplings, while a withering fire was being poured into them by as yet an unseen enemy. Men fell here and there, officers urging ion their commands and ordering them to “hold their fire.” When near the lower end of the declivity, the shock came. Just in front of us, and not forty yards away, lay the enemy. The long line of blue could be seen under the ascending smoke of thousands of rifles; the red flashes of their guns seemed to blaze in our very faces. Now the battle was on in earnest. The roar of Kershaw’s guns mingled with those of the enemy. Longstreet had met his old antagonist of Round Top, Hancock, the Northern hero, of Gettysburg. The roar of the small arms, mingled with the thunder of the cannon that Longstreet had brought forward, echoed and re-echoed up and down the little valley, but never to die away, for new troops were being put rapidly in action to the right and left of us. Men rolled and writhed in their last death struggle; wounded men groped their way to the rear, being blinded by the stifling smoke. All commands were drowned in this terrible din of battle–the earth and elements shook and trembled with the deadly shock of combat. Regiments were left without commanders; companies, without officers. The gallant Colonel Gaillard, of the Second, had fallen. The intrepid young Colonel of the Third, J.D. Nance, had already died in the lead of his regiment. The commander of the Seventh, Captain Goggans, was wounded. Colonel John D. Kennedy, commanding the brigade, had left the field, disabled from further service for the day.

Still the battle rolled on. It seemed for a time as if the whole Federal Army was upon us–so thick and fast came the death-dealing missiles. Our ranks were being decimated by the wounded and the dead, the little valley in the Wilderness becoming a veritable “Valley of Hennom.” The enemy held their position with a tenacity, born of desperation, while the confederates pressed them with that old-time Southern vigor and valor that no amount of courage could withstand. Both armies stood at extreme tension, and the cord must soon snap one way or the other, or it seemed as all would be annihilated, Longstreet seeing the desperate struggle in which Kershaw and Humphreys, on the right, and Hood’s old Texans, on the left, were now engaged, sought to relieve the pressure by a flank movement with such troops as he had at his disposal. R.H. Andersen’s Division, of Hill’s Corps had reported to him during the time Kershaw was in such deadly throes of battle. Four brigades, Wofford’s, of Kershaw’s, and G.T. Anderson’s, Mahone’s, and Davis’, of Anderson’s Division, were ordered around on our right, to strike the left of Hancock But during this manoeuver the enemy gradually withdrew from our front, and Kershaw’s Brigade was relieved by Bratton’s South Carolina Brigade. I quote here from Colonel Wallace, of the Second.

“Kershaw’s Division formed line in the midst of this confusion, like cool and well-trained veterans as they were, checked the enemy, and soon drove them back. The Second Regiment was on the left of the plank road, near a battery of artillery, and although completely flanked at one time by the giving away of the troops on the right, gallantly stood their ground, though suffering terribly; they and the battery, keeping up a well-directed fire, to the right oblique, until the enemy gave way. General Lee now appeared on our left, leading Hood’s Texas Brigade. We joined our brigade on the right of the plank road, and again advanced to the attack.

“We were relieved by Jenkins’ Brigade, under command of that able and efficient officer, General Bratton, and ordered to the rear and rest. We had scarcely thrown ourselves upon the ground, when General Bratton requested that a regiment be sent him to fill a gap in the lines, which the enemy had discovered and were preparing to break through. I was ordered to take the Second Regiment and report to him. A staff officer showed me the gap, when I double quicked to it, just in time, as the enemy were within forty yards of it. As we reached the point we poured a well-directed volley into them, killing a large number, and putting the rest to flight. General Bratton witnessed the conduct of the regiment on this occasion and spoke of it in the highest terms.”

But, meanwhile, Longstreet’s flanking columns were steadily making their way around the enemy’s left. At ten o’clock the final crash came. Like an avalanche from a mountain side, Wofford, Mahone, Anderson, and Davis rushed upon the enemy’s exposed flank, doubling up Hancock’s left upon his center, putting all to flight and confusion. In vain did the Federal commander try to bring order out of confusion, but at this critical moment Wadsworth, his leading Division General, fell mortally wounded. Thus being left without a commander, his whole division gave way, having, with Stephen’s Division, been holding Fields in desperate battle. The whole of Hancock’s troops to the right of the plank road was swept across it by the sudden onslaught of the flanking column, only to be impeded by the meeting and mixing with Wadsworth’s and Stephen’s retreating divisions.

At this moment a sad and most regretable occurrence took place, that, in a measure, somewhat nullified the fruits of one of the greatest victories of the war. One of Mahone’s regiments, gaining the plank road in advance of the other portion of the flanking column, and seeing Wadsworth giving such steady battle to Fields, rushed over and beyond the road and assailed his right, which soon gave way. Generals Longstreet, Kershaw, and Jenkins, with their staffs, came riding down the plank road, just as the Virginia Regiment beyond the road was returning to join its brigade. The other regiments coming up at this moment, and seeing through the dense smoke what they considered an advancing foe, fired upon the returning regiment just as General Longstreet and party rode between. General Jenkins fell dead, Longstreet badly wounded. Captain Doby, of Kershaw’s staff, also was killed, together with several couriers killed and wounded.

This unfortunate occurrence put a check to a vigorous pursuit of the flying enemy, partly by the fall of the corps commander and the frightful loss in brigade and regimental commanders, to say nothing of the officers of the line. Captain Doby was one of the most dashing, fearless, and accomplished officers that South Carolina had furnished during the war. The entire brigade had witnessed his undaunted valor on so many battlefields, especially at Mayree’s Hill and Zoar Church, that it was with the greatest sorrow they heard of his death. Captain Doby had seemed to live a charmed life while riding through safely the storms upon storms of the enemy’s battles, that it made it doubly sad to think of his dying at the hands of his mistaken friends. On this same plank road, only a few miles distant, General Jackson lost his life one year before, under similar circumstances, and at the hands of the same troops. Had it not been for the coolness of General Kershaw in riding out to where he heard Jenkins’ rifles clicking to return the fire, and called out, “Friends,” it would be difficult to tell, what might have been the result.

To show the light in which the actions of Kershaw’s Brigade were held in thus throwing itself between Lee and impending disaster at this critical moment, and stemming the tide of battle single-handed and alone, until his lines were formed, I will quote an extract from an unprejudiced and impartial eye witness, Captain J.F.J. Caldwell, who in his “History of McGowan’s Brigade” pays this glowing but just tribute to Kershaw and his men. In speaking of the surprise and confusion in which a part of Hill’s Corps was thrown, be says:

“We were now informed that Longstreet was near at hand, with twenty-five thousand fresh men. This was good matter to rally on. We were marched to the plank road by special order of General Hill; but just as we were crossing it, we received orders to return to the left. We saw General Longstreet riding down the road towards us, followed by his column of troops. The firing of the enemy, of late rather scattering, now became fierce and incessant, and we could hear a reply to it from outside. Kershaw’s South Carolina Brigade, of McLaws’ (afterwards Kershaw’s) Division, had met them. The fire on both sides of the road increased to a continuous roar. Kershaw’s Brigade was extended across the road, and received the grand charge of the Federals. Members of that Brigade have told me that the enemy rushed upon them at the double-quick, huzzahing loudly. The woods were filled with Confederate fugatives. Three brigades of Wilcox’s Division and all of Heath’s were driven more or less rapidly, crowding together in hopeless disorder, and only to be wondered at when any of them attempted to make a stand. Yet Kershaw’s Brigade bore themselves with illustrious gallantry. Some of the regiments had not only to deploy under fire, but when they were formed, to force their way through crowds of flying men, and re-established their lines. They met Grant’s legions, opened a cool and murderous fire upon them, and continued it so steadily and resolutely, that the latter were compelled to give back. Here I honestly believe the Army of Northern Virginia was saved! The brigade sustained a heavy loss, beginning with many patient, gallant spirits in the ranks and culminating in Nance, Gaillard, and Doby.”

No further pursuit being made by Kershaw’s Brigade during the day, it was allowed to rest after its day and night march and the bloody and trying ordeal of the morning. Friends were hunting out friends among the dead and wounded. The litter-bearers were looking after those too badly wounded to make their way to the rear.

Dr. Salmond had established his brigade hospital near where the battle had begun in the morning, and to this haven of the wounded those who were able to walk were making their way. In the rear of a battlefield are scenes to sickening for sensitive eyes and ears. Here you see men, with leg shattered, pulling themselves to the rear by the strength of their arms alone, or exerting themselves to the utmost to get to some place where they will be partially sheltered from the hail of bullets falling all around; men, with arms swinging helplessly by their sides, aiding some comrade worse crippled than themselves; others on the ground appealing for help, but are forced to remain on the field amid all the carnage going on around them, helpless and almost hopeless, until the battle is over, and, if still alive, await their turn from the litter-bearers. The bravest and best men dread to die, and the halo that surrounds death upon the battlefield is but scant consolation to the wounded soldier, and he clings to life with that same tenacity after he has fallen, as the man of the world in “piping times of peace.”

Just in rear of where Colonel Nance fell, I saw one of the saddest sights I almost ever witnessed. A soldier from Company C, Third South Carolina, a young soldier just verging into manhood, had been shot in the first advance, the bullet severing the great artery of the thigh. The young man seeing his danger of bleeding to death before succor could possibly reach him, had struggled behind a small sapling. Bracing himself against it, he undertook deliberative measures for saving his life. Tying a handkerchief above the wound, placing a small stone underneath and just over the artery, and putting a stick between the handkerchief and his leg, he began to tighten by twisting the stick around. But too late; life had fled, leaving both hands clasping the stick, his eyes glassy and fixed.

The next day was devoted to the burying of the dead and gathering such rest as was possible. It was my misfortune to be wounded near the close of the engagement, in a few feet of where lay the lamented Colonel Nance. The regiment in some way became doubled up somewhat on the center, perhaps in giving way for the Second to come in, and here lay the dead in greater numbers than it was ever my fortune to see, not even before the stone wall at Fredericksburg.

In rear of this the surgeons had stretched their great hospital tents, over which the yellow flag floated. The surgeons and assistant surgeons never get their meed of praise in summing up the “news of the battle.” The latter follow close upon the line of battle and give such temporary relief to the bleeding soldiers as will enable them to reach the field hospital. The yellow flag does not always protect the surgeons and their assistants, as shells scream and burst overhead as the tide of battle rolls backward and forward. Not a moment of rest or sleep do these faithful servants of the army get until every wound is dressed and the hundred of arms and legs amputated, with that skill and caution for which the army surgeons are so proverbially noted. With the same dispatch are those, who are able to be moved, bundled off to some city hospital in the rear.

In a large fly-tent, near the roadside, lay dying the Northern millionaire, General Wadsworth. The Confederates had been as careful of his wants and respectful to his station as if he had been one of their own Generals. I went in to look at the General who could command more ready gold than the Confederate States had in its treasury. His hat had been placed over his face, and as I raised it, his heavy breathing, his eyes closed, his cold, clammy face showed that the end was near. There lay dying the multi-millionaire in an enemy’s country, not a friend near to hear his last farewell or soothe his last moments by a friendly touch on the pallid brow. Still he, like all soldiers on either side, died for what he thought was right.

“He fails not, who stakes his all,
Upon the right, and dares to fall; What, though the living bless or blame For him, the long success of fame.”

Hospital trains had been run up to the nearest railroad station in the rear, bringing those ministering angels of mercy the “Citizens’ Relief Corps,” composed of the best matrons and maidens of Richmond, led by the old men of the city. They brought crutches by the hundreds and bandages by the bolt. Every delicacy that the, South afforded these noble dames of Virginia had at the disposal of the wounded soldiers. How many thousands of Confederate soldiers have cause to bless these noble women of Virginia. They were the spartan mothers and sisters of the South.

* * * * *


I do not think I would be accused of being partial in saying that Colonel Nance was the best all round soldier in Kershaw’s Brigade, none excepted. I have no allusion to the man, but the soldier alone. Neither do I refer to qualities of courage, for all were brave, but to efficiency. First to recommend him was his military education and training. He was a thorough tactician and disciplinarian, and was only equaled in this respect by General Connor. In battle he was ever cool and collected–he was vigilant, aggressive, and brave. Never for a moment was he thrown off his base or lost his head under the most trying emergencies. His evolution in changing the front of his regiment from columns of fours to a line of battle on Mayree’s Hill, under a galling fire from artillery and musketry, won the admiration of all who witnessed it. Socially, he had the manners of a woman–quiet, unassuming, tender of heart, and of refined feelings. On duty–the march or in battle–he was strict and exacting, almost to sternness. He never sought comfort or the welfare of himself–the interest, the safety, the well being of his men seemed to be his ruling aim and ambition.

I append a short sketch of Colonel Nance taken from Dr. Barksdale’s book, “Eminent and Representative Men of the Carolinas:”

“Colonel James Drayton Nance, the subject of this sketch, Was born in Newberry, S.C., October 10th, 1837, and was the son of Drayton and Lucy (Williams) Nance. He received his school education at Newberry, and was graduated from the Citadel Military Academy, at Charleston. In 1859 he was admitted to the bar and began the practice of law at Newberry.

“When the State seceded from the Union, December, 1860, and volunteers for her defense were called for, he was unanimously elected Captain of ‘The Quitman Rifles,’ an infantry company formed at Newberry, and afterwards incorporated into the Third Regiment, South Carolina Volunteers. With his company he was mustered into the Confederate service at Columbia in April, 1861, and was in command of the company at the first battle of Manassas and in the Peninsula campaign in Virginia.

“On May 16th, 1862, upon the reorganization of the Third Regiment, he was chosen its Colonel, a position which he filled until his death. As Colonel, he commanded the regiment in the various battles around Richmond, June and July, 1862, Second Manassas, Maryland Heights, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg (where he was severely wounded), Gettysburg, Chickamauga, Knoxville, and the Wilderness, where on the 6th of May, 1864, he was instantly killed. His body was brought home and interred at Newberry with fitting honors. He was a brave, brilliant young officer, possessing the confidence and high regard of his command in an extraordinary degree, and had he lived, would have risen to higher rank and honor. His valuable services and splended qualities and achievements in battle and in council were noted and appreciated, as evidenced by the fact that at the time of his death a commission of Brigadier General had been, decided upon as his just due for meritorious conduct.

“At the age of seventeen he professed religion and united with the Baptist Church at Newberry, and from that time to his death was distinguished for his Christian consistency.”

* * * * *


Lieutenant Colonel Franklin Gaillard is not known to fame by his military record alone, but was known and admired all over the State as the writer of the fiery editorials in the “Carolinian,” a paper published in Columbia during the days just preceding Secession, and noted for its ardent State Rights sentiment. These eloquent, forcible, and fearless discussions of the questions of the day by young Gaillard was a potent factor in shaping the course of public sentiment and rousing the people to duty and action, from the Mountains to the Sea. Through the columns of this paper, then the leading one in the State, he paved the way and prepared the people for the great struggle soon to take place, stimulating them to an enthusiasm almost boundless.

He was in after years as fearless and bold with the sword as he had been with the pen. He was not the man to turn his back upon his countrymen, whose warlike passions he had aroused, when the time for action came. He led them to the fray–a paladin with the pen, a Bayard with the sword. He was an accomplished gentleman, a brave soldier, a trusted and impartial officer, a peer of any in Kershaw’s Brigade.

Colonel Gaillard was born in 1829, in the village of Pineville, in the present County of Berkeley. In his early childhood his father, Thomas Gaillard, removed to Alabama. But not long thereafter Franklin returned to this State, to the home of his uncle, David Gaillard, of Fairfield County. Here he attended the Mount Zion Academy, in Winnsboro under the distinguished administration of J.W. Hudson. In the fall of 1846 he entered the South Carolina College, and graduated with honor in the class of 1849, being valedictorian of the class. Shortly after graduation, in company with friends and relatives from this State and Alabama, he went to California in search of the “yellow metal,” the find of which, at that time, was electrifying the young men throughout the States.

After two or three years of indifferent success, he returned to this State once more, making his home with his uncle, in Winnsboro. In 1853 (or thereabout) he became the proprietor of the “Winnsboro Register,” and continued to conduct this journal, as editor and proprietor, until 1857, when he was called to Columbia as editor of the “Carolinian,” then owned by Dr. Robert W. Gibbes, of Richland, and was filling that position at the time of the call to arms, in 1861, when he entered the service in Captain Casson’s Company, as a Lieutenant, and became a member of the renowned Second Regiment.

In March, 1853, he was married to Miss Catherine C. Porcher, of Charleston, but this union was terminated in a few years by the death of the wife. Colonel Gaillard left two children, one son and one daughter, who still survive, the son a distinguished physician, of Texas, and the daughter the wife of Preston S. Brooks, son of the famous statesman of that name, now of Tennessee.

Colonel Gaillard was a descendant of a French Huguenot emigrant, who, with many others, settled in this State after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, in 1685.

* * * * *


Brock’s Cross Road and Spottsylvania to North Anna.

Having been wounded in the last assault, I insert here Adjutant Y.J. Pope’s description of the operations of Kershaw’s Brigade from the Wilderness to North Anna River, covering a period of perhaps two weeks of incessant fighting. The corps had been put under the command of Major General R.H. Anderson, known throughout the army as “Fighting Dick Anderson.” His division had been assigned to Longstreet’s Corps in the place of Pickett’s, now on detached service. Colonel Henagan, of the Eighth, commanded the brigade as senior Colonel.

* * * * *


How many times, as soldiers, have we crossed this stream, and little did we imagine in crossing that on its banks we would be called upon to meet the enemy. “Man proposes, but God disposes.” In may, 1864, after the battles of the Wilderness, Brock’s Road, and Spottsylvania–stop a minute and think of these battles–don’t you recall how, on that midnight of the 5th day of May, 1864, the order came, “Form your regiments,” and then the order came to march? Through the woods we went. The stars shown so brightly. The hooting of the owls was our only music. The young Colonel at the head of his regiment would sing, in his quiet way, snatches of the hymns he had heard the village choir sing so often and so sweetly, and then “Hear me Norma.” His mind was clear; he had made up his determination to face the day of battle, with a calm confidence in the power of the God he trusted and in the wisdom of His decrees. The Adjutant rode silently by his side. At length daylight appears. We have at last struck in our march the plank road. The sun begins to rise, when all of a sudden we hear the roll of musketry. The armies are at work. General Lee has ridden up the plank road with his First Lieutenant, the tried, brave old soldier, Longstreet.

Nance has fallen, pierced by five balls, but we knew it not. Every hand is full. Presently, our four companies came up, so gallantly they looked as they came. Promptly filling up the broken line, we now move forward once more, never to fall back. We have Nance’s body. The wild flowers around about him look so beautiful and sweet, and some of them are plucked by his friend to send to his sister, Mrs. Baxter.

But go back to the fight. It rages wildly all around. Presently, a crash comes from the right. It is Longstreet at the head of the flanking column, and then Hancock is swept from the field in front. Joy is upon us. Hastily Longstreet rides to the front. Then a volley and he falls, not dead, but so shattered that it will be months before we see him again. Then comes the peerless chieftain, Lee, and he orders the pursuing columns to halt. A line of hastily constructed fieldworks arise. A shout–such a shout rolls from right to left of Lee’s lines. It has a meaning, and that meaning is that Grant’s advance is baffled! But the Federal commander is not to be shut off. If he cannot advance one way, he will another. Hence, the parallel lines are started–the farther he stretches to our right, we must stretch also.

So now comes the affair at Brock’s Road, on the 8th of May. 1864. As before remarked, Grant commenced his attempt at a flank movement, by means of an extension of his columns parallel to ours, hoping to meet some opening through which he might pour a torrent of armed men. Early in the morning of the 8th of May, 1864, we are aroused and begin our march. Soon we see an old Virginia gentleman, bareheaded and without his shoes, riding in haste towards us. He reports that our cavalry are holding the enemy back on Brock’s Road, but that the Federal infantry are seen to be forming for the attack, and, of course, our cavalry cannot stand such a pressure. General Kershaw orders us forward in double-quick. Still we are not then. Then it was that a gallant cavalryman rushes to us and said, “Run for our rail piles; the Federal infantry will reach them first, if you don’t run.” Our men sprang forward as if by magic. We occupy the rail piles in time to see a column, a gallant column, moving towards us, about sixty yards away. Fire, deadening fire, is poured into that column by our men. A gallant Federal officer rides just in rear, directing the movement. “Pick that officer off of his horse,” is the command given to two or three of our cool marksmen. He falls. The column staggers and then falls back. Once more they come to time. We are better prepared for them.

Right here let me state a funny occurrence. Sim Price observed old man John Duckett, in the excitement, shooting his rifle high over the heads of the Yankees. This was too much for Sim Price, and he said, “Good God, John Duckett, are you shooting at the moon?”

Here is the gallant J.E.B. Stuart, Lieutenant General, commanding the cavalry of the Army of Northern Virginia, with hat off, waiving it in an enthusiastic cheering of the gallant men of the old Third. Well he may, for the line they held on that day was that adopted by General Lee for the famous Spottsylvania battle.

Just prior to the battle of Spottsylvania Court House, which was fought on the 12th of May, 1864, sharpshooters were posted in trees in the woods, and kept up a pretty constant fusilade when any head showed itself. It is recalled that when Major R.P. Todd returned to our command an officer, eager to hear from his home in South Carolina, entered a little fly-tent with Todd, and presently one of these sharpshooters put a ball through this tent, between the heads of the two. Maybe they didn’t move quickly. Here it was, that lest a night attack might be made, one-third of the men were kept in the trenches all the time, day and night. One of these nights, possibly the 11th of May, a staff officer stole quietly where the Colonel and Adjutant were lying and whispered, “It is thought that the enemy have gotten betwixt our out posts and the breastworks and intend to make a night attack. So awaken the soldiers and put every man in the trenches.” The Colonel went to one end of the line and the Adjutant to the other, and soon had our trenches manned. The Colonel was observed full of laughter, and when questioned, stated that on going to the left wing of the regiment to awaken the men, he came across a soldier with some small branches kindled into a blaze, making himself a cup of coffee. He spoke to the soldier, saying:

“Who is that?”

The soldier replied, not recognizing the Colonel’s voice: “Who in the h—-l are you?”

The Colonel said: “Don’t you know the Yankees are between the pickets and the breastworks, and will soon attack our whole line?”

He reported the man at these words, saying: “The Jesus Christ, Colonel!” rolling as he spoke, and he never stopped rolling until he fell into the pit at the works. Never was a revolution in sentiment and action more quickly wrought than on this occasion with this soldier.

It is needless to speak of the battle of Spottsylvania Court House, except to remark that here our comrades of McGowan’s Brigade showed of what stuff they were made, and by their gallantry and stubborn fighting, saved the day for General Lee.

Soon after this battle General Grant, though baffled by its result, renewed his effort to reach Richmond. By a rapid march, General Lee was before Grant’s columns at the North Anna River. Here we hoped the enemy would attack us. On the South side of this river, on the road leading to Hanover Junction, good heavy works had been completed, while a fort of inferior proportions on the North side was intended to protect the bridge across the river from raiding parties of the enemy. To our surprise, when the part of our army that was designed to cross the river at this point, had crossed over, the Third Regiment, James’ Battalion, and the Seventh Regiment were left behind about this fort. We had no idea that anything serious was intended; but after awhile it leaked out that General Lee needed some time to complete a line of works from one point of the river to another on the same stream, on the South side, and that it was intended that the bare handful of men with us were intended to hold the approach to the bridge in face of the tens of thousands of Grant’s Army in our front. Trying to realize the task assigned us, positions were assigned the different forces with us. It was seen that the Seventh Regiment, when stretched to the left of the fort, could not occupy, even by a thin line, the territory near them. We were promised the co-operation of artillery just on the other side of the river. Presently the attack opened on the right and center, but this attack we repulsed. Again the same points were assailed, with a like result. Then the attack was made on our left, and although the Seventh Regiment did its whole duty, gradually our left was seen to give way. This emboldened the enemy to press our right and center again, but they were firm. It was manifest now that the enemy would soon be in our rear, and as the sun was sinking to rest in the West, we made a bold dash to cross the river in our rear, bringing down upon us the enemy’s artillery fire of shot and shell, as well as musketry. It looked hard to tell which way across the river was best–whether by way of the bridge, or to wade across. It was said our Lieutenant Colonel, who was on foot when reaching the opposite bank, and finding his boots full of water, said to a soldier: “Tom, give me your hand.” “No, no, Major,” was the reply; “this is no time for giving hands.” The ascent of the long bill on the South side was made under the heavy fire of the enemy. When at its height, a stuttering soldier proposed to a comrade to lay down and let him get behind him. Of course the proposition was declined without thanks. When we reformed at the top of the hill, there was quite a fund of jokes told. Amongst others, the one last stated, Tom Paysinger said: “Nels., if I had been there, I would have killed myself laughing.” Whereupon, the stutterer said: “T-T-Tom Paysinger, I saw a heap of men down there, but not one that laughed.”

War has its humorous as well as its serious side, and many a joke was cracked in battle, or if not mentioned then, the joke was told soon afterwards. It is recalled just here that in this battle an officer, who had escaped being wounded up to that time, was painfully wounded. When being borne on the way to the rear on a stretcher, he was heard to exclaim: “Oh! that I had been a good man. Oh! that I had listened to my mother.” When he returned to the army, many a laugh was had at his expense when these expressions would be reported. But the officer got even with one of his tormentors, who was one of the bearers of the litter upon which the officer was borne away, for while this young man was at his best in imitating the words and tone of the wounded man, he was suddenly arrested by the words: “Yes, I remember when a shell burst pretty close you forgot me, and dropped your end of the litter.” The laugh was turned. All this, however, was in perfect good humor.

It has been shown how Kershaw’s South Carolina Brigade closed the breach in Lee’s Army on the 6th of May, and turned disaster into a glorious victory, and as the 12th of May, at “Bloody Angle,” near Spottsylvania Court house, will go down in history as one among the most memorable battles of all time, I wish to show how another gallant South Carolina Brigade (McGowan’s) withstood the shock of the greater portion of Grant’s Army, and saved Lee’s Army from disaster during the greater part of one day. This account is also taken from Captain Caldwell’s “History of McGowan’s Brigade.” Being an active participant, he is well qualified to give a truthful version, and I give in his own language his graphic description of the battle of the “Bloody Angle.”

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Reaching the summit of an open hill, where stood a little old house, and its surrounding naked orchard, we were fronted and ordered forward on the left of the road…. Now we entered the battle. There were two lines of works before us; the first or inner line, from a hundred and fifty to two hundred yards in front of us; the second or outer line, perhaps a hundred yards beyond it, and parallel to it. There were troops in the outer line, but in the inner one only what appeared to be masses without organization. The enemy were firing in front of the extreme right of the brigade, and their balls came obliquely down our line; but we could not discover, on account of the woods about the point of firing, under what circumstances the battle was held. There was a good deal of doubt as to how far we were to go, or in what direction…. The truth is, the road by which we had come was not at all straight, which made the right of the line front much farther north than the rest, and the fire was too hot for us to wait for the long loose column to close up, so as to make an entirely orderly advance. More than this, there was a death struggle ahead, which must be met instantly. We advanced at a double-quick, cheering loudly, and entered the inner works. Whether by order or tacit understanding, we halted here, except the Twelfth Regiment, which was the right of the brigade. That moved at once to the outer line, and threw itself with its wanted impetuosity into the heart of the battle…. The brigade advanced upon the works. About the time we reached the inner lines, General McGowan was wounded by a minnie ball in the arm, and forced to quit the field. Colonel Brockman, senior Colonel present, was also wounded, and Colonel Brown, of the Fourteenth Regiment, assumed command then or a little later. The four regiments, the First, Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Rifles (the Twelfth had passed on to the outer line), closed up and arranged their lines. Soon the order was given to advance to the outer line. We did so with a cheer and a double-quick, plunging through mud knee deep and getting in as best we could. Here, however, lay Harris’ Mississippi Brigade. We were ordered to close to the right. We moved by the flank, up the works, under the fatally accurate firing of the enemy, and ranged ourselves along the entrenchments. The sight we encountered was not calculated to encourage us The trenches dug on the inner side were almost filled with water. Dead men lay on the surface of the ground and in the pools of water. The wounded bled, stretched, and groaned, or huddled in every attitude of pain. The water was crimson with blood. Abandoned knapsacks, guns, and accoutrements, with ammunition boxes, were scattered all around. In the rear disabled caissons stood and limbers of guns. The rain poured heavily, and an incessant fire was kept upon us from front and flank. The enemy still held the works on the right of the angle, and fired across the traverses. Nor were these foes easily seen. They barely raised their heads above the logs at the moment of firing. It was plainly a question of bravery and endurance now.

We entered upon the task with all our might. Some fired at the line lying in our front on the edge of the ridge before described; others kept down the enemy lodged in the traverses on the right. At one or two places Confederates and Federals were only separated by the works, and the latter not a few times reached their guns over and fired right down upon the heads of the former. So continued the painfully unvarying battle for more than two hours. At the end of that time a rumor arose that the enemy was desirous to come in and surrender. Colonel Brown gives the following in his official report: “About two o’clock P.M. the firing ceased along the line, and I observed the enemy, standing up in our front, their colors flying and arms pointing upwards. I called to them to lay down their arms and come in. An officer answered that he was waiting our surrender–that we had raised a white flag, whereupon he had ceased firing. I replied, ‘I command here,’ and if any flag had been raised it was without authority, and unless he came in, firing would be resumed. He begged a conference, which was granted, and a subordinate officer advanced near the breastwork and informed me that a white flag was flying on my right. He was informed that unless his commander surrendered, the firing would be continued. He started back to his lines, and failing to exhibit his flag of truce, was shot down midway between the lines, which was not more than twenty yards at this point. The firing again commenced with unabating fury.” … The firing was astonishingly accurate all along the line. No man could raise his shoulders above the works without danger of immediate death. Some of the enemy lay against our works in front. I saw several of them jump over and surrender during the relaxation of the firing. An ensign of a Federal regiment came right up to us during the “peace negotiations” and demanded our surrender. Lieutenant Carlisle, of the Thirteenth Regiment, replied that we would not surrender. Then the ensign insisted, as he had come under a false impression, he should be allowed to return to his command. Lieutenant Carlisle, pleased with his composure, consented. But as he went away a man from another part of the line shot him through the face, and he came and jumped over to us. This was the place to test individual courage. Some ordinarily good soldiers did next to nothing, while others excelled themselves. The question became pretty plainly, whether one was willing to meet death, not merely to run the chances of it. There was no further cessation of fire, after the pause before described. Every now and then a regular volley would be hurled at us from what we supposed a fresh line of Federals, but it would gradually tone down to the slow, particular, fatal firing of the siege. The prisoners who ran into us now and then informed us that Grant’s whole energies were directed against this point. They represented the wood on the other side as filled with dead, wounded fighters, and skulkers. We were told that if we would hold the place till dark, we would be relieved. Dark came,