Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

History of Kershaw's Brigade by D. Augustus Dickert

Part 5 out of 12

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

into battle; if so, once is enough.

Under these circumstances, as the sun was near setting, we learned
from some wounded soldier that Kershaw was moving in line of battle
to the left of the plank road. Another Captain and myself deserted our
companions and made our way to our regiments with our companies. As we
came upon it, it was just moving out from a thicket into an open field
under a heavy skirmish fire and a fierce fire from a battery in our
front. We marched at a double-quick to rejoin the regiment, and the
proudest moments of my life, and the sweetest words to hear, was as
the other portion of the regiment saw us coming they gave a cheer of
welcome and shouted, "Hurrah! for the Dutch; the Dutch has come;
make way to the left for the Dutch," and such terms of gladness and
welcome, that I thought, even while the "Dutch" and its youthful
commander were but a mere speck of the great army, still some had
missed us, and I was glad to feel the touch of their elbow on the
right and left when a battle was in progress.

Companies in the army, like school boys, almost all have "nick-names."
Mine was called the "Dutch" from the fact of its having been raised in
that section of the country between Saluda River and the Broad, known
as "Dutch Fork." A century or more before, this country, just above
Columbia and in the fork of the two rivers, was settled by German
refugees, hence the name "Dutch Fork."

After joining the regiment, we only advanced a little further and
halted for the night, sleeping with guns in arms, lest a night attack
might find the troops illy prepared were the guns in stack. We were
so near the enemy that fires were not allowed, and none permitted to
speak above a whisper. Two men from each company were detailed to go
to the rear and cook rations. It is not an easy task for two men, who
had been marching and fighting all day, to be up all night cooking
three meals each for thirty or forty men, having to gather their own
fuel, and often going half mile for water. A whole day's ration is
always cooked at one time on marches, as night is the only time
for cooking. The decrees of an order for a detail are inexorable. A
soldier must take it as it comes, for none ever know but what the next
duties may be even worse than the present. As a general rule, soldiers
rarely ever grumble at any detail on the eve of an engagement, for
sometimes it excuses them from a battle, and the old experienced
veteran never refuses that.

At daylight a battery some two hundred yards in our front opened a
furious fire upon us, the shells coming uncomfortably near our heads.
If there were any infantry between the battery and our troops, they
must have laid low to escape the shots over their heads. But after a
few rounds they limbered up and scampered away. We moved slowly along
with heavy skirmishing in our front all the morning of the second.
When near the Chancellor's House, we formed line of battle in a kind
of semi-circle, our right resting on the river and extending over the
plank road, Kershaw being some distance to the left of this road,
the Fifteenth Regiment occupying the right. Here we remained for
the remainder of the day. We heard the word coming up the line, "No
cheering, no cheering." In a few moments General Lee came riding along
the lines, going to the left. He had with him quite a number of his
staff and one or two couriers. He looked straight to the front and
thoughtful, noticing none of the soldiers who rushed to the line to
see him pass. He no doubt was then forming the masterful move, and
one, too, in opposition to all rules or order of military science
or strategy, "the division of his army in the face of the enemy,"
a movement that has caused many armies, before, destruction and the
downfall of its commander. But nothing succeeds like success. The
great disparity in numbers was so great that Lee could only watch
and hope for some mistake or blunder of his adversary, or by some
extraordinary strategic manoeuver on his own part, gain the advantage
by which his opponent would be ruined. Hooker had one hundred and
thirty thousand men, while Lee had only sixty thousand. With
this number it seemed an easy task for Hooker to threaten Lee
at Fredericksburg, then fall upon him with his entire force at
Chancellorsville and crush him before Lee could extricate himself from
the meshes that were surrounding him, and retreat to Richmond. The
dense Wilderness seemed providential for the movement upon which Lee
had now determined to stake the fate of his army and the fortunes of
the Confederacy. Its heavy, thick undergrowth entirely obstructed
the view and hid the movements to be made. Jackson, with Rhodes,
Colston's, and A.P. Hill's Divisions, were to make a detour around
the enemy's right, march by dull roads and bridle paths through
the tangled forest, and fall upon the enemy's rear, while McLaws,
Anderson's, and Early's Divisions were to hold him in check in front.
Pickett's Division had, before this time, been sent to Wilmington,
N.C., while Ransom's Division, with Barksdale's Mississippi
Brigade, of McLaws' Division, were to keep watch of the enemy at
Fredericksburg. The Federal General, Stoneman, with his cavalry, was
then on his famous but disastrous raid to Richmond. Jackson commenced
his march early in the morning, and kept it up all day, turning back
towards the rear of the enemy when sufficiently distant that his
movement could not be detected. By marching eighteen or twenty miles
he was then within three miles of his starting point. But Hooker's
Army stood between him and Lee. Near night Jackson struck the enemy a
terrific blow, near the plank road, just opposite to where we lay, and
the cannonading was simply deafening. The shots fired from some of the
rifled guns of Jackson passed far overhead of the enemy and fell in
our rear. Hooker, bewildered and lost in the meshes of the Wilderness,
had formed his divisions in line of battle in echelon, and moved out
from the river. Great gaps would intervene between the division in
front and the one in rear. Little did he think an enemy was marching
rapidly for his rear, another watching every movement in front, and
those enemies, Jackson and Lee, unknown to Hooker, his flank stood
exposed and the distance between the columns gave an ordinary enemy an
advantage seldom offered by an astute General, but to such an enemy as
Jackson it was more than he had hoped or even dared to expect. As he
sat watching the broken columns of the enemy struggling through
the dense undergrowth, the favorable moment came. Seizing it with
promptness and daring, so characteristic of the man, he, like Napoleon
at Austerlitz, when he saw the Russians passing by his front with
their flanks exposed, rushed upon them like a wild beast upon
its prey, turning the exposed column back upon its rear. Colston,
commanding Jackson's old Division, led the attack, followed by A.P.
Hill. Rhodes then fell like an avalanche upon the unexpectant and
now thoroughly disorganized divisions of the retreating enemy. Volley
after volley was poured into the seething mass of advancing and
receding columns. Not much use could be made of artillery at close
range, so that arm of the service was mainly occupied in shelling
their trains and the woods in rear. Until late in the night did the
battle rage in all its fury. Darkness only added to its intensity,
and the fire was kept up until a shot through mistake lay the great
Chieftain, Stonewall Jackson, low. General A.P. Hill now took command
of the corps, and every preparation was made for the desperate
onslaught of to-morrow. By some strange intuition peculiar to the
soldier, and his ability to gather news, the word that Jackson had
fallen burst through the camp like an explosion, and cast a gloom of
sorrow over all.

As our brother South Carolinians, of McGowan's Brigade, were on the
opposite side of us, and in the heat of the fray, while we remained
idle, I take the liberty of quoting from "Caldwell's History" of that
brigade a description of the terrible scenes being enacted on that
memorable night in the Wilderness in which Jackson fell:

"Now it is night. The moon a day or two past full, rose in cloudless
sky and lighted our way. We were fronted, and then advanced on the
right of the road into a thick growth of pines. Soon a firing of
small arms sprang up before us, and directly afterwards the enemy's
artillery opened furiously, bearing upon us. The scene was terrible.
Volley after volley of musketry was poured by the Confederate line
in front of us upon the enemy. The enemy replied with equal rapidity;
cheer, wild and fierce, rang over the whole woods; officers shouted at
the top of their voices, to make themselves heard; cannon roared and
shells burst continuously. We knew nothing, could see nothing, hedged
in by the matted mass of trees. Night engagements are always dreadful,
but this was the worst I ever knew. To see your danger is bad enough,
but to hear shells whizzing and bursting over you, to hear shrapnell
and iron fragments slapping the trees and cracking off limbs, and not
know from whence death comes to you, is trying beyond all things. And
here it looked so incongruous--below raged, thunder, shout, shriek,
slaughter--above soft, silent, smiling moonlight, peace!"

The next morning A.P. Hill was moving early, but was himself wounded,
and General Jeb. Stuart, of the cavalry, took command. The fighting of
Jackson's Corps to-day surpassed that of the night before, and
after overcoming almost insurmountable obstacles, they succeeded in
dislodging Hooker from his well fortified position.

Kershaw remained in his line of battle, keeping up a constant fire
with his skirmishers. An advance upon the Chancellor's House was
momentarily expected. The long delay between the commencement of
Jackson's movement until we heard the thunder of his guns immediately
in our front and in rear of the enemy, was taken up in conjecturing,
"what move was next." All felt that it was to be no retreat, and as we
failed to advance, the mystery of our inactivity was more confounding.

Early next morning, however, the battle began in earnest. Hooker had
occupied the night in straightening out his lines and establishing a
basis of battle, with the hope of retrieving the blunder of the day
before. Stuart (or rather A.P. Hill, until wounded,) began pressing
him from the very start. We could hear the wild yells of our troops as
line after line of Hooker's were reformed, to be brushed away by the
heroism of the Southern troops. Our skirmishers began their desultory
firing of the day before. The battle seemed to near us as it
progressed, and the opening around Chancellor's House appeared to be
alive with the enemy's artillery. About two o'clock our lines were
ordered forward, and we made our way through the tangled morass, in
direction of our skirmish line. Here one of the bravest men in our
regiment was killed, private John Davis, of the "Quitman Rifles." He
was reckless beyond all reason. He loved danger for danger's sake.
Stepping behind a tree to load (he was on skirmish line) he would
pass out from this cover in plain view, take deliberate aim, and fire.
Again and again he was entreated and urged by his comrades to shield
himself, but in vain. A bullet from the enemy's sharpshooters killed
him instantly.

A singular and touching incident of this family is here recorded.
Davis had an only brother, who was equally as brave as John and
younger, James, the two being the only children of an aged but wealthy
couple, of Newberry County. After the death of John, his mother
exerted herself and hired a substitute for her baby boy, and came on
in a week after the battle for the body of her oldest son and to take
James home with her, as the only hope and solace of the declining
years of this aged father and mother. Much against his will and
wishes, but by mother's entreaties and friends' solicitations, the
young man consented to accompany his mother home. But fate seemed to
follow them here and play them false, for in less than two weeks this
brave, bright, and promising boy lay dead from a malignant disease.

As our brigade was moving through the thicket in the interval between
our main line and the skirmishers, and under a heavy fire, we came
upon a lone stranger sitting quietly upon a log. At first he was
thought an enemy, who in the denseness of the undergrowth had passed
our lines on a tour of observation. He was closely questioned, and it
turned out to be Rev. Boushell, a methodist minister belonging to
one of McGowan's South Carolina regiments, who became lost from his
command in the great flank movement of Jackson (McGowan's Brigade
belonged to Jackson's Corps), and said he came down "to see how the
battle was going and to lend aid and comfort to any wounded soldier
should he chance to find one in need of his services."

The batteries in our front were now raking the matted brush all around
and overhead, and their infantry soon became aware of our presence,
and they, too, began pouring volleys into our advancing column. The
ranks became confused, for in this wilderness we could not see twenty
paces in front. Still we moved forward with such order as was under
the conditions permissible. When near the turn-pike road General
Kershaw gave the command to "charge." The Fifteenth raised the yell;
then the Third dashed forward; the Seventh was somewhat late on
account of the almost impassable condition of the ground, but still it
and the Third Battalion, with the Second on the left, made a mad
rush for the public road, and entered it soon after the Fifteenth and
Third. A perfect sea of fire was in our faces from the many cannon
parked around the Chancellor House and graping in all directions but
the rear. Lee on the one side and Stuart on the other had closed upon
the enemy, their wings joining just in front of the house. Some of the
pieces of the enemy's artillery were not more than fifty yards in
our front, and the discharges seemed to blaze fire in our very ranks.
Infantry, too, was there massed all over the yard, and in rear of this
one vast, mingling, moving body of humanity, dead horses lay in all
directions, while the dead and wounded soldiers lay heaped and strewn
with the living. But a few volleys from our troops in the road soon
silenced all opposition from the infantry, while cannoneers were
hitching up their horses to fly away. Some were trying to drag away
their caissons and light pieces by hand, while thousands of "blue
coats," with and without arms, were running for cover to the rear. In
less than twenty minutes the firing ceased in our front, and men
were ordered to prepare breastworks. Our soldiers, like the beaver in
water, by this time had become accustomed to burrow in the ground as
soon as a "halt" was made. A shovel and a spade were carried at all
times by each company to guard against emergencies. The bursting of a
shell near my company caused a fragment to strike one of my own men on
the shoulder. He claimed to be desperately wounded, and wished to go
to the hospital. I examined him hastily to see if I could give him any
assistance. He claimed his shoulder was broken. Just then the order
was given to "commence to fortify." "G.," the wounded man, was the
first to grasp the shovel, and threw dirt with an energy that caused
my Orderly Sergeant, a brave and faithful soldier, but who never
allowed the comic side of any transaction to pass him, to say:
"Captain, look at the 'wild pigeon;' see how he scratches dirt."
All soldiers carried a "nick-name," a name given by some physical
disability or some error he had made, or from any circumstance in his
life out of the usual order. Hardly had we taken possession of the
turn-pike road and began fortifying, than the sound of shells down the
river was heard, and we were hurriedly marched down the road. McLaws'
and Andersen's Divisions were doubled-quicked down the turn-pike
road and away from the battle to meet Sedgwick, who had crossed the
Rappahannock at Fredericksburg, stormed Mayree's Heights, routed and
captured the most of Barksdale's Mississippi Brigade, and was making
his way rapidly upon Lee's rear.

This Battle of Chancellorsville certainly had its many sides, with its
rapid marching, changing of positions, and generalship of the highest
order. On the day before Jackson had gone around the right flank of
Hooker and fell upon his rear, while to-day we had the novel spectacle
of Sedgwick in the rear of Lee and Stuart in rear of Hooker. No one
can foretell the result of the battle, had Hooker held his position
until Sedgwick came up. But Lee's great mind ran quick and fast. He
knew the country and was well posted by his scouts of every move and
turn of the enemy on the chessboard of battle. Anderson, with his
division, being on our right, led the advance down the road to meet
Sedgwick. We passed great parks of wagons (ordnance and commissary)
on either side of the road. Here and there were the field infirmaries
where their wounded were being attended to and where all the surplus
baggage had been stacked before the battle.

On reaching Zoar Church, some five miles in rear, we encountered
Sedgwick's advance line of skirmishers, and a heavy fusilade began.
Anderson formed line of battle on extreme right, and on right of plank
road, with the purpose of sweeping round on the enemy's left. McLaws
formed on left of the corps, his extreme left reaching out toward the
river and across the road; Kershaw being immediately on right of the
road, with the Second resting on it, then the Fifteenth, the Third
Battalion, the Eighth, the Third, and the Seventh on the right. On
the left of the road leading to Fredericksburg was a large open
field extending to the bluff near the river; on the right was a dense
thicket of pines and undergrowth. In this we had to form. The Seventh
experienced some trouble in getting into line, and many camp rumors
were afloat a few days afterwards of an uncomplimentary nature of the
Seventh's action. But this was all false, for no more gallant
regiment nor better officered, both in courage and ability, was in
the Confederate service than the "Bloody Seventh." But it was the
unfavorable nature of the ground, the difficulties experienced in
forming a line, and the crowding and lapping of the men that caused
the confusion.

Soon after our line of battle was formed and Kershaw awaiting orders
from McLaws to advance, a line of support came up in our rear, and
mistaking us for the enemy, commenced firing upon us. Handkerchiefs
went up, calls of "friends," "friends," but still the firing
continued. One Colonel seeing the danger--the enemy just in front, and
our friends firing on us in the rear--called out, "Who will volunteer
to carry our colors back to our friends in rear?" Up sprang the
handsome and gallant young Sergeant, Copeland, of the "Clinton
Divers," (one of the most magnificent and finest looking companies in
his service, having at its enlistment forty men over six feet tall),
and said, "Colonel, send me." Grasping the colors in his hand, he
carried them, waving and jesticulating in a friendly manner, until he
convinced the troops that they were friends in their front.

While thus waiting for Anderson to swing around the left of the enemy,
a desperate charge was made upon us. The cannonading was exceedingly
heavy and accurate. Great trees all around fell, snapped in twain by
the shell and solid shot, and many men were killed and wounded by the
falling timber. Trees, a foot in diameter, snapped in two like pipe
stems, and fell upon the men. It was growing dark before Anderson
could get in position, and during that time the troops never
experienced a heavier shelling. It was enough to make the stoutest
hearts quake. One of my very bravest men, one who had never failed
before, called to me as I passed, "Captain, if I am not here when the
roll is called, you may know where I am. I don't believe I can stand
this." But he did, and like the man he was, withstood it. Another, a
young recruit, and under his first fire, almost became insane, jumping
upon me and begging "for God's sake" let him go to the rear. I could
not stand this piteous appeal, and knowing he could not be of any
service to us in that condition, told him "to go." It is needless to
say he obeyed my orders. Dr. Evans, our surgeon, told me afterwards
that he came to his quarters and remained three days, perfectly crazy.

At last the order came after night to advance. In a semi-circle we
swept through the thicket; turning, we came into the road, and over
it into the opening in front. The enemy was pushed back into the
breastworks on the bluff at the river. These breastworks had been
built by our troops during the Fredericksburg battle, and afterwards
to guard and protect Raccoon and Ely's fords, just in rear. As night
was upon us, and the enemy huddled before us at the ford, we were
halted and lay on the field all night. This was the ending of the
battle of Chancellorsville.

Next morning the sun was perfectly hidden by a heavy fog, so much so
that one could not see a man twenty yards distant. Skirmishers were
thrown out and our advance made to the river, but nothing was found
on this side of the river but the wounded and the discarded rifles and
munitions of war. The wounded lay in all directions, calling for help
and heaping curses upon their friends, who had abandoned them in their
distress. Guns, tent flies, and cartridge boxes were packed up by the
wagon loads. Hooker's Army was thoroughly beaten, disheartened, and
disorganized. Met and defeated at every turn and move, they were only
too glad to place themselves across the river and under the protection
of their siege guns on Stafford's Heights. Hooker's losses were never
correctly given, but roughly computed at twenty-five thousand, while
those of Lee's were ten thousand two hundred and eighty-one. But the
Confederates counted it a dear victory in the loss of the intrepid
but silent Stonewall Jackson. There was a magic in his name that gave
enthusiasm and confidence to the whole army. To the enemy his name was
a terror and himself an apparition. He had frightened and beaten Banks
out of the Shennandoah Valley, had routed Fremont, and so entangled
and out-generaled Seigle that he was glad to put the Potomac between
himself and this silent, mysterious, and indefatigable chieftain, who
oftened prayed before battle and fought with a Bible in one hand and
a sword in the other. He came like a whirlwind upon the flank of
McClellan at Mechanicsville, and began those series of battles and
victories that terminated with the "Little Giant" being hemmed in
at Drury's Bluff and Malvern Hill. While Pope, the "Braggart," was
sweeping the fields before him in Northern Virginia, and whose boast
was he "saw only the enemy's back," and his "headquarters were in
the saddle," Jackson appeared before him like a lion in his path.
He swings around Pope's right, over the mountains, back through
Thoroughfare Gap; he sweeps through the country like a comet through
space, and falls on Pope's rear on the plains of Manassas, and sent
him flying across the Potomac like McDowell was beaten two years
before. While pursuing the enemy across the river and into Maryland,
he turns suddenly, recrosses the river, and stands before Harper's
Ferry, and captures that stronghold with scarcely a struggle. All this
was enough to give him the sobriquet of the "Silent Man," the man of
"mystery," and it is not too much to say that Jackson to the South
was worth ten thousand soldiers, while the terror of his name wrought
consternation in the ranks of the enemy.

* * * * *


From Chancellorsville to Gettysburg--Camp, March, and Battle.

Again we are in our old quarters. Details were sent out every day to
gather up the broken and captured guns, to be shipped to Richmond for
repairs. The soldiers had gathered a great amount of camp supplies,
such as oil cloths, tents, blankets, etc. When a soldier captured
more than a sufficiency for his own wants, he would either sell to his
comrades or to the brigade sutler. This was a unique personage with
the soldiers. He kept for sale such articles as the soldier mostly
needed, and always made great profits on his goods. Being excused from
military duty, he could come and go at will. But the great danger
was of his being captured or his tent raided by his own men, the risk
therefore being so great that he had to ask exorbitant prices for
his goods. He kept crackers, cards, oysters and sardines, paper and
envelopes, etc., and often a bottle; would purchase all the plunder
brought him and peddle the same to citizens in the rear. After the
battle of Chancellorsville a member of Company D, from Spartanburg,
took the sutler an oil cloth to buy. After the trade was effected, the
sutler was seen to throw the cloth behind a box in the tent. Gathering
some of his friends, to keep the man of trade engaged in front, the
oil cloth man would go in the rear, raise the tent, extract the oil
cloth, take it around, and sell it again. Paying over the money, the
sutler would throw the cloth behind the box, and continue his trade
with those in front. Another would go behind the tent, get the cloth,
bring it to the front, throw it upon the counter, and demand his
dollar. This was kept up till everyone had sold the oil cloth once,
and sometimes twice, but at last the old sutler began to think oil
cloths were coming in too regularly, so he looked behind the box, and
behold he had been buying the same oil cloth all night. The office was
abolished on our next campaign.

Lee began putting his army in splendid trim. All furloughs were
discontinued and drills (six per week) were now begun. To an outsider
this seemed nonsensical and an useless burden upon the soldiers, but
to a soldier nothing is more requisite to the discipline and morale of
an army than regular drills, and the army given a good share of what
is called "red tape." By the last of May, or the first of June, Lee
had recruited his army, by the non-extension of all furloughs and
the return of the slightly wounded, to sixty-eight thousand. It is
astonishing what a very slight wound will cause a soldier to seek
a furlough. He naturally thinks that after the marches, danger, and
dread of battle, a little blood drawn entitles him to at least a
thirty days' furlough. It became a custom in the army for a man to
compute the length of his furlough by the extent of his wound. The
very least was thirty days, so when a soldier was asked the nature of
his wound he would reply, "only a thirty days'," or "got this time
a sixty days;" while with an arm or foot off he would say, "I got my
discharge" at such battle.

On the 27th of June Hooker was superseded by General Geo. B. Meade,
and he bent all his energies to the discipline of his great army.

General Kershaw, on his promotion to Brigadier, surrounded himself
with a staff of young men of unequalled ability, tireless, watchful,
and brave to a fault. Captain C.R. Holmes, as Assistant Adjutant
General, was promoted to that position from one of the Charleston
companies. I fear no contradiction when I say he was one of the very
best staff officers in the army, and had he been in line of promotion
his merits would have demanded recognition and a much higher position
given him. Captain W.M. Dwight, as Adjutant and Inspector General, was
also an officer of rare attainments. Cool and collected in battle,
his presence always gave encouragement and confidence to the men under
fire. He was captured at the Wilderness the 6th of May, 1864. Captain
D.A. Doby was Kershaw's Aide-de-Camp, or personal aid, and a braver,
more daring, and reckless soldier I never saw. Wherever the battle
raged fiercest, Captain Doby was sure to be in the storm center.
Riding along the line where shells were plowing up great furrows, or
the air filled with flying fragments, and bullets following like hail
from a summer cloud, Doby would give words of cheer and encouragement
to the men. It seemed at times that he lived a charmed life, so
perilous was his situation in times of battle. But the fatal volley
that laid the lamented Jenkins low, and unhorsed Longstreet at the
Wilderness, gave Doby his last long furlough, felling from his horse
dead at the feet of his illustrious chieftain. Lieutenant John Myers
was Brigade Ordnance officer, but his duties did not call him to the
firing line, thus he was debarred from sharing with his companions
their triumphs, their dangers, and their glories, the halo that will
ever surround those who followed the plume of the knightly Kershaw.

The Colonels of the different regiments were also fortunate in
their selection of Adjutants. This is one of the most important and
responsible offices in the regimental organization. The duties are
manifold, and often thankless and unappreciated. He shares more
dangers (having to go from point to point during battle to give
orders) than most of the officers, still he is cut off, by army
regulation, from promotion, the ambition and goal of all officers.
Colonel Kennedy, of the Second, appointed as his Adjutant E.E. Sill,
of Camden, while Colonel Nance, of the Third, gave the position to his
former Orderly Sergeant, Y.J. Pope, of Newberry. Colonel Aiken, of
the Seventh, appointed as Adjutant Thomas M. Childs, who was killed at
Sharpsburg. Colonel Elbert Bland then had Lieutenant John R. Carwile,
of Edgefield, to fill the position during the remainder of the
service, or until the latter was placed upon the brigade staff.
Colonel Henagan made Lieutenant Colin M. Weatherly, of Bennettsville,
S.C., Adjutant of the Eighth. All were young men of splendid physique,
energetic, courteous, and brave. They had the love and confidence of
the entire command. W.C. Hariss, Adjutant of the Third Battalion, was
from Laurens. Of the Fifteenth, both were good officers, but as they
were not with the brigade all the while, I am not able to do them

The troops of Lee were now at the zenith of their perfection and
glory. They looked upon themselves as invincible, and that no General
the North could put in the field could match our Lee. The cavalry of
Stuart and Hampton had done some remarkably good fighting, and they
were now looked upon as an indispensable arm of the service. The
cavalry of the West were considered more as raiders than fighters,
but our dismounted cavalry was depended upon with almost as much
confidence as our infantry. This was new tactics of Lee's, never
before practiced in any army of the world. In other times, where the
cavalry could not charge and strike with their sabres, they remained
simply spectators. But Lee, in time of battle, dismounted them, and
they, with their long-ranged carbines, did good and effective service.

Grant had been foiled and defeated at Vicksburg. At Holly Springs,
Chickasaw Bayou, Yazo Pass, and Millikin's Bend he had been
successfully met and defeated. The people of West Virginia, that
mountainous region of the old commonwealth, had ever been loyal to the
Union, and now formed a new State and was admitted into the Union on
the 20th of April, 1863, under the name of "West Virginia." Here it
is well to notice a strange condition of facts that prevailed over the
whole South, and that is the loyalty to the Union of all mountainous
regions. In the mountains of North Carolina, where men are noted for
their hardihood and courage, and who, once in the field, made the very
best and bravest of soldiers, they held to the Union, and looked with
suspicion upon the heresy of Secession. The same can be said of South
Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama. These men would often go
into hiding in the caves and gorges of the mountains, and defy all the
tact and strategy of the conscript officers for months, and sometimes
for years. It was not for want of courage, for they had that
in abundance, but born and reared in an atmosphere of personal
independence, they felt as free as the mountains they inhabited, and
they scorned a law that forced them to do that which was repugnant to
their ideas of personal liberty. Living in the dark recesses of the
mountains, far from the changing sentiments of their more enlightened
neighbors of the lowland, they drank in, as by inspiration with their
mother's milk, a loyalty to the general government as it had come down
to them from the days of their forefathers of the Revolution. As to
the question of slavery, they had neither kith nor kin in interest or
sentiment with that institution. As to State's rights, as long as
they were allowed to roam at will over the mountain sides, distill the
product of their valleys and mountain patches, and live undisturbed
in their glens and mountain homes, they looked upon any changes that
would effect their surroundings as innovations to be resisted to the
death. So the part that West Virginia and the mountainous regions of
the South took in the war was neither surprising to nor resented by
the people of the Confederacy.

By the middle of June Lee began to turn his eyes again to the tempting
fields of grain and army supplies of Pennsylvania and Maryland. The
Valley had been laid waste, West Virginia given up, the South was now
put to her utmost resources to furnish supplies for her vast armies.
All heavy baggage was sent to the rear, and Lee's troops began
moving by various routes up and across the river in the direction of
Culpepper Court House. But before the march began, General Lee renewed
the whole of Longstreet's Corps, and the sight of this magnificent
body of troops was both inspiring and encouraging. The corps was
formed in two columns, in a very large and level old field. The
artillery was formed on the right, and as General Lee with his staff
rode into the opening thirteen guns were fired as a salute to the
Chief. Certain officers have certain salutes. The President has, I
think, twenty-one guns, while the Commander-in-Chief has thirteen, and
so on. Wofford's Georgia regiment was on the right, then Barksdale's
Mississippi, Kershaw's South Carolina and Cobb's Georgia constituted
McLaws' division. The column wheeled by companies into line and took
up the march of review. The bands headed each brigade, and played
National airs as the troops marched by.

Barksdale had a magnificent brass band, while Kershaw had only a fife
corps headed by that prince of players, Sam Simmonds, who could get
more real music out of a fife or flute than some musicians could out
of a whole band. The music of the fife and drum, while it may not be
so accomplished, gives out more inspiring strains for the marching
soldier than any brass band. The cornet, with its accompanying pieces,
makes fine music on the stillness of the night, when soldiers are
preparing for their night's rest, but nothing gives the soldier on
the march more spirit than the fife and drum. When a company nears the
reviewing officer they give the salute by bringing their pieces from
"right shoulder" to "carry," while on the march, and from "carry" to
"present arms" when stationary. The officers raise the hilt of the
sword, grasped firmly in the right hand, till the hilt is opposite the
chin, the point of the blade extending outward about eighteen inches
from the eyes, then, with a quick movement, to the side, the point
downward and forward, and kept in this position till the reviewing
officer has passed about eighteen paces.

The army had been placed under three Lieutenant Generals: Longstreet,
with McLaw's, Hoole's and Pickett's first corps; General Ewell, with
Early's, Rhodes' and Trimble's constituting the 2d; while General A.P.
Hill commanded Anderson's, Heath's and Pendar's, the 3d. Colonel James
D. Nance commanded the 3d South Carolina, Colonel John D. Kennedy the
2d, Lieutenant Colonel Bland the 7th, Colonel Henagan the 8th.
Colonel Dessausure the 15th, and Lieutenant Colonel W.C.G. Rice the 3d
battalion, which had now been recruited by one man from each company
in the brigade, forming two new companies, and formed a battalion of
sharpshooters and skirmishers.

The great army was now ready for the ever memorable second invasion
of Maryland and Pennsylvania, which culminated in Gettysburg. The army
was never before nor afterwards under better discipline nor in better
fighting trim.

I will say here, that Colonel Aiken soon joined the brigade and took
command of his regiment until after the great battle, and then retired
permanently from active service.

On the 3d of June McLaws led off, Hood following on the 4th. Pickett
followed Hood. On the 4th and 5th Ewell broke camp and followed in
the wake of Longstreet. A.P. Hill, with 3d corps, was left at
Fredericksburg to watch the movements of the enemy. After some delay,
the enemy threatening a crossing, the 3d corps followed the other
troops, all congregating near Culpepper Court House. Reaching the Blue
Ridge mountains at Ashby's Gap on the 12th of June, at the western
base of which runs the Shenandoah, we forded the stream, it being
somewhat swollen, so much so, indeed, that men had to link hands as a
protection. The water came up under the armpits, and four men marched
abreast, holding each other by the hands. Some caught hold of horses
belonging to officers of the regimental staff. In this way we crossed
over, and took up camp in the woods beyond. The wagon trains were in
advance, and the march was slow and much impeded. Very few of the
men had divested themselves of their clothing in crossing, and
consequently when we went into quarters it was a very wet army. The
soldiers had built fires and were rinsing out their clothes, when an
order came to "fall in ranks at once." The men hastily drew on their
now thoroughly wet clothes, with all haste got into line and took up
the march back towards the river. A rumor was started "the cavalry was
pressing our rear." Kershaw's Brigade was marched back over the river,
much to their disgust, and posted on the right and left of the road
on top of the mountain. Here we were stationed all night, and being
on the watch for the enemy, no fires were allowed. Towards day a
cold mountain wind set in, and the troops suffered no little from the
chilly wind and wet clothing. At sun-up we were marched for the third
time across the river, and prepared our meals for the morning in the
quarters of the evening before. Up to this time no intimation was
given us of our destination, but while preparing our breakfast
Adjutant Pope came around with orders stating we were on our way to
Hagerstown, Md. At first some seemed to regard this as a joke, but as
Adjutant Pope was so noted for his truthfulness and lack of jesting in
business matters, we were compelled to take the matter seriously. Of
all the officers in the 3d South Carolina, Adjutant Pope, I believe,
was the most beloved. His position kept him in close contact with the
officers and men, and all had the utmost confidence in his honor and
integrity and none doubted his impartiality. He had to keep the list
of companies, to do picket duty, and detail, and he was never accused
of showing preferment to any company. He was kind and courteous to
all, and while he mingled and caroused with the men, he never forgot
his dignity nor the respect due to his superiors. Whenever a favor was
wanted, or a "friend at court" desired, he never failed to relieve and
assist the poorest private the same as the highest officer. While a
strict disciplinarian, he was indulgent to almost a fault, and was
often seen to dismount and walk with the troops and allow some tired
or sick soldier to ride his horse. Adjutant Pope and old "Doc,"
the name of his horse, were indispensable to the 3d South Carolina
regiment. The trusty old horse, like his master, survived the war and
did good service after its close.

The next day, the 13th, we took up our march in earnest. No straggling
under any circumstances was allowed. The greatest respect was to
be paid to all property, no pilfering of hen roosts, no robbery of
orchards nor burning of palings or fences along the march. Some miles
in front we struck the Staunton and Winchester turn-pike, and at
regular intervals the troops were halted for a few minutes' rest.
Occasionally the bands struck up a march and the soldiers were ordered
into line and to take up the step.

So away down the valley we marched with banners flying, bands playing
and the soldiers with a swinging step. Our march was regulated
to about eighteen miles a day. But with all the orders and strict
discipline, a great many of the soldiers who were given the name of
"Foragers" could leave camp at night and often cross the mountain into
the Luray valley, a valley, strictly speaking, laden with "milk and
honey." It had never suffered the ravages of the Shenandoah, and there
everything enticing to the appetite of the soldier was found. Before
day the forager would return with butter, bread, and often canteens
filled with pure old "Mountain Corn" or "Apple Jack." How men, after
an all day's straggling march, which is far more tiresome than an
ordinary walk, could go from ten to fifteen miles over the mountains
at night in search of something to eat or drink, is more than I could

In a day or two we heard the news of Ewell capturing Milroy at
Winchester, with 500 prisoners, and on the way a part of their troops
passed us in high glee on their way to Richmond prison. I always
noticed that the Federals, on their march to Richmond, were generally
in better spirits when being escorted by Confederates than when
commanded by their own officers with the Confederates between them and
the Southern Capital.

On the fifth day of our march we passed through Winchester, with A.P.
Hill marching parallel to us, some eight or ten miles to our right.
Ewell had pushed on to the Potomac, and was turning Washington wild
and frantic at the sight of the "Rebels" so close to their capital.
As we neared the border we could discover Union sentiment taking the
place of that of the South. Those who ever sympathized with us had to
be very cautious and circumspect. Now and then we would see a window
slowly raise in a house by the roadside, or on a hill in the
distance, and the feeble flutter of a white handkerchief told of their
Confederate proclivities. Generally the doors of all dwellings in
the extreme northern portion of Virginia, and in Maryland and
Pennsylvania, were mostly closed.

On the morning of the 25th of June we crossed the Potomac at
Williamsport. Here was shouting and yelling. Hats went into the air,
flags dipped and swayed, the bands played "Maryland, My Maryland,"
while the men sang "All Quiet on the Potomac To-night." We were now
in the enemy's country, and scarcely a shot was fired. We had
lost Stuart. "Where was he?" "Stewart has left us." These and like
expressions were heard on all sides. That bold and audacious cavalier,
in a sudden fit of adventure, or hardihood unequalled, had crossed the
Potomac in sight of the spires of Washington, almost under its very
guns, and had frightened the authorities out of their wits. Every
citizen that could possibly get out of the place was grabbing his
valuables and fleeing the city on every train. The Cabinet officers
were running hither and thither, not able to form a sensible or
rational idea. Had it been possible to have evacuated the city, that
would have been done. A Confederate prison or a hasty gibbet stared
Staunton in the face, and he was sending telegrams like lightning
over the land. Lincoln was the only one who seemingly had not lost his
head. But Stuart pushed on toward York and Carlisle, while Ewell had
carried fear and trembling to Philadelphia and Baltimore. Mead was
marching with the energy of despair to head off Lee and his victorious
troops. Longstreet halted at Chambersburg and awaited developments.
The troops lived in clover. The best of everything generally was given
freely and willingly to them. Great herds of the finest and fattest
beeves were continually being gathered together. Our broken down
artillery horses and wagon mules were replaced by Pennsylvania's
best. But in all, duly paid for in Confederate notes given by our
Commissaries and Quartermasters.

At Hagerstown, Hill's troops came up with those of Longstreet, both
moving on to Chambersburg, and there remained until the 27th.

General Lee had issued an address to the people of Maryland setting
forth the reasons and causes of his army invading their country,
offering peace and protection, and calling upon them to repair to his
standard and throw off the tyranny and oppression that were bearing
them down. He claimed to come, not as a conqueror, nor as one in
pursuit of conquest, but as a liberator. But the people seemed to be
in a state of lethargy, and to take little interest in the contest
one way or the other. Guards were placed at all homes where such
protection was asked for, and their fields of grain and orchards, as
well as their domestic possessions, were sacredly guarded.

It was the general plan of Lee not to fight an aggressive battle in
the enemy's country, but to draw the army of the North away from his
lines of communities, and fight him on the defensive at favorable

Ewell had been sent on towards Carlisle and York, both those places
being promptly delivered to the Confederates by the civil authorities.

In passing through Pennsylvania, many curious characters were found
among the quaint old Quaker settlers, who viewed the army of Lee
not with "fear" or "trembling," but more in wonder and Christian
abhorrence. When the front of the column came to the line dividing
Pennsylvania and Maryland, it was met by a delegation of those
rigorously righteous old Quakers who, stepping in the middle of the
road, commanded, as in the name of God, "So far thou canst go, but
no farther." After performing this seemingly command of God, and
in accordance with their faith, a perfect abhorrence to war and
bloodshed, they returned to their homes perfectly satisfied. It is
needless to say the commander of Lee's 2d corps paid little heed to
the command of the pious Quakers.

After remaining near Chambersburg Kershaw, with the other portion of
the division, marched on to a little hamlet called Greenwood, leaving
a part of Pickett's division at Chambersburg to guard our trains.

On the 29th the troops in advance began gradually to concentrate in
the direction of Cashtown, some eight or ten miles west of Gettysburg.
Ewell was bearing down from Carlisle, A.P. Hill was moving east, while
Longstreet was moved up to Greenwood.

On the first of July A.P. Hill had met the enemy near Gettysburg, and
fought the first day's battle of that name, driving the enemy back
and through that city, part of his lines occupying the streets of
Gettysburg and extending north and around the city. The distance
intervening and the mountainous condition of the country prevented
us from hearing the roar of the guns, and little did any of us think,
while enjoying the rest in our tents, one portion of our army was in
the throes of a desperate battle. Up to this time not a word had been
heard from Stuart and his cavalry, and this seriously disturbed
the mind of our great commander. The positions of the enemy, moving
against our rear and flank, necessitated a battle or a withdrawal,
and to fight a great battle without the aid of cavalry simply seemed
preposterous. General Stuart has been greatly censured for his conduct
during these stirring times, just on the eve of this, the greatest
battle fought in modern times.

Near sundown, June 1st, we got orders to move along a dull road over
hills, mountains and valleys. We marched with elastic step, every
one feeling the time had come for active work. Early on our march we
encountered General J.E. Johnston's brigade of Early's division, that
had been left at Chambersburg, together with all of Ewell's wagon
trains. This delayed our march until it was thought all were well out
of the way. But before midnight it was overtaken again, and then the
march became slow and tedious. To walk two or three steps, and then
halt for that length of time, was anything but restful and assuring
to troops who had marched all night without sleep or rest. About three
o'clock at night, when we had reached the summit of an eminence, we
saw in the plain before us a great sea of white tents, silent and
still, with here and there a groan, or a surgeon passing from one tent
to another relieving the pain of some poor mortal who had fallen in
battle on the morning of the day before. We had come upon the field
hospital of Hill, where he had his wounded of the day before encamped.
Here we first heard of the fight in which so many brave men had
fallen, without any decided results. As we had friends and relatives
in A.P. Hill's corps, all began to make inquiries for Gregg's old
brigade. We heard with delight and animation of the grand conduct
of the banner brigade of South Carolina, "Gregg's" or McGowan's,
and listened with no little pride to the report of their desperate
struggle through the streets of Gettysburg, and to learn that the flag
in the hands of a member of a Palmetto regiment first waved over the
city. I heard here of the desperate wounding of an old friend and
school-mate, Lieutenant W.L. Leitsey, and left the ranks long enough
to hunt him up in one of the many tents to the left. I found him
severely wounded, so much so that I never met him afterwards. While
marching along at a "snail's gait" among the wagons and artillery
trains, with a long row of tents to the left, tired and worn out and
so dark that you could not distinguish objects a few feet distant, a
lone man was standing by the road side viewing, as well as he could in
the dark, the passing troops. The slowness of our march enabled me to
have a few words of conversation with him. At its end, and just as I
was passing him, I heard, or thought I heard him say, "I have a drink
in here," pointing to a tent, "if you feel like it." Reader, you may
have heard of angel's voices in times of great distress, but if ever
an angel spoke, it was at that particular moment, and to me. I was so
tired, sleepy and worn out I could scarcely stand, and a drink would
certainly be invigorating, but for fear I had not heard or understood
him clearly I had him to repeat it. In fact, so timely was it that I
felt as if I could have listened all night, so much like the voice
of a syren was it at that moment. I said "Yes! Yes!!" But just then
I thought of my friend and companion, my next Color Captain, John
W. Watts, who was just ahead of me and marching under the same
difficulties as myself. I told the man I had a friend in front who
wanted a drink worse than I did. He answered "there is enough for
two," and we went in. It was Egyptian darkness, but we found a jug and
tin cup on the table, and helped ourselves. It may have been that in
the darkness we helped ourselves too bountifully, for that morning
Watts found himself in an ambulance going to the rear. Overcome by
weariness and the potion swallowed in the dark perhaps, he lay down by
the roadside to snatch a few moments sleep, and was picked up by the
driver of the ambulance as one desperately wounded, and the driver was
playing the Good Samaritan. Just before we went into action that day,
I saw coming through an old field my lost friend, and right royally
glad was I to see him, for I was always glad when I had Watts on my
right of the colors. Our brigade lay down by the roadside to rest and
recuperate for a few hours, near Willoughby's Run, four miles from

[Illustration: R.C. Carlisle Major and Surgeon, 7th S.C. Regiment]

[Illustration: Capt. J. A, Mitchell, Co. E, 7th S.C. Regiment.]

[Illustration: Capt. D.J. Griffith, Co. C, 15th S.C. Regiment]

[Illustration: Capt. Andrew T. Harllee, Co. I, 8th S.C. Regiment.]

* * * * *


Battle of Gettysburg--July 2d.

When the troops were aroused from their slumbers on that beautiful
clear morning of the 2d of July, the sun had long since shot its rays
over the quaint old, now historic, town of Gettysburg, sleeping down
among the hills and spurs of the Blue Ridge. After an all-night's
march, and a hard day's work before them, the troops were allowed all
the rest and repose possible. I will here state that Longstreet had
with him only two divisions of his corps, with four brigades to a
division. Pickett was left near Chambersburg to protect the numerous
supply trains. Jenkins' South Carolina brigade of his division had
been left in Virginia to guard the mountain passes against a possible
cavalry raid, and thus had not the opportunity of sharing with the
other South Carolinians in the glories that will forever cluster
around Gettysburg. They would, too, had they been present, have
enjoyed and deserved the halo that will for all time surround the
"charge of Pickett," a charge that will go down in history with
Balaclava and Hohenlinden.

A.P. Hill, aided by part of Ewell's corps, had fought a winning fight
the day before, and had driven the enemy from the field through the
streets of the sleepy old town of Gettysburg to the high ground on
the east. But this was only the advance guard of General Meade, thrown
forward to gain time in order to bring up his main army. He was now
concentrating it with all haste, and forming in rear of the rugged
ridge running south of Gettysburg and culminating in the promontories
at the Round Top. Behind this ridge was soon to assemble an army, if
not the largest, yet the grandest, best disciplined, best equipped of
all time, with an incentive to do successful battle as seldom falls to
the lot of an army, and on its success or defeat depended the fate of
two nations.

There was a kind of intuition, an apparent settled fact, among the
soldiers of Longstreet's corps, that after all the other troops had
made their long marches, tugged at the flanks of the enemy, threatened
his rear, and all the display of strategy and generalship had been
exhausted in the dislodgement of the foe, and all these failed, then
when the hard, stubborn, decisive blow was to be struck, the troops of
the first corps were called upon to strike it. Longstreet had informed
Lee at the outset, "My corps is as solid as a rock--a great rock. I
will strike the blow, and win, if the other troops gather the fruits
of victory." How confident the old "War Horse," as General Lee called
him, was in the solidity and courage of his troops. Little did he know
when he made the assertion that so soon his seventeen thousand men
were to be pitted against the whole army of the Potomac. Still, no
battle was ever considered decisive until Longstreet, with his
cool, steady head, his heart of steel and troops who acknowledged no
superior, or scarcely equal, in ancient or modern times, in endurance
and courage, had measured strength with the enemy. This I give, not
as a personal view, but as the feelings, the confidence and pardonable
pride of the troops of the 1st corps.

As A.P. Hill and Ewell had had their bout the day before, it was a
foregone conclusion that Longstreet's time to measure strength was
near at hand, and the men braced themselves accordingly for the

A ridge running parallel with that behind which the enemy stood, but
not near so precipitous or rugged, and about a mile distant, with a
gentle decline towards the base of the opposite ridge, was to be
the base of the battle ground of the day. This plain or gentle slope
between the two armies, a mile in extent, was mostly open fields
covered with grain or other crops, with here and there a farm house,
orchard and garden. It seems from reports since made that Lee had not
matured his plan of battle until late in the forenoon. He called
a council of war of his principal Lieutenant to discuss plans and
feasibilities. It was a long time undecided whether Ewell should lead
the battle on the right, or allow Longstreet to throw his whole corps
on the Round Top and break away these strongholds, the very citadel
to Meade's whole line. The latter was agreed upon, much against the
judgment of General Longstreet but Lee's orders were imperative,
and obeyed with alacrity. At ten o'clock the movement began for the
formation of the columns of assault. Along and in rear of the ridge
we marched at a slow and halting gait. The Washington artillery had
preceded us, and soon afterwards Alexander's battery passed to select
positions. We marched and countermarched, first to the right, then to
the left. As we thus marched we had little opportunity as yet to view
the strongholds of the enemy on the opposite ridge, nor the incline
between, which was soon to be strewn with the dead and dying.
Occasionally a General would ride to the crest and take a survey of
the surroundings. No cannon had yet been fired on either side, and
everything was quiet and still save the tread of the thousands in
motion, as if preparing for a great review.

Longstreet passed us once or twice, but he had his eyes cast to the
ground, as if in a deep study, his mind disturbed, and had more the
look of gloom than I had ever noticed before. Well might the great
chieftain look cast down with the weight of this great responsibility
resting upon him. There seemed to be an air of heaviness hanging
around all. The soldiers trod with a firm but seeming heavy tread. Not
that there was any want of confidence or doubt of ultimate success,
but each felt within himself that this was to be the decisive battle
of the war, and as a consequence it would be stubborn and bloody.
Soldiers looked in the faces of their fellow-soldiers with a silent
sympathy that spoke more eloquently than words an exhibition of
brotherly love never before witnessed in the 1st corps. They felt
a sympathy for those whom they knew, before the setting of the sun,
would feel touch of the elbow for the last time, and who must fall
upon this distant field and in an enemy's country.

About noon we were moved over the crest and halted behind a stone wall
that ran parallel to a county road, our center being near a gateway
in the wall. As soon as the halt was made the soldiers fell down, and
soon the most of them were fast asleep. While here, it was necessary
for some troops of Hill's to pass over up and through the gate. The
head of the column was lead by a doughty General clad in a brilliant
new uniform, a crimson sash encircling his waist, its deep, heavy
hanging down to his sword scabbard, while great golden curls hung in
maiden ringlets to his very shoulders. His movement was superb and he
sat his horse in true Knightly manner. On the whole, such a turn-out
was a sight seldom witnessed by the staid soldiers of the First Corps.
As he was passing a man in Company D, 3d South Carolina, roused up
from his broken sleep, saw for the first time the soldier wonder with
the long curls. He called out to him, not knowing he was an officer of
such rank, "Say, Mister, come right down out of that hair," a foolish
and unnecessary expression that was common throughout the army when
anything unusual hove in sight.

This hail roused all the ire in the flashy General, he became as
"mad as a March hare," and wheeling his horse, dashed up to where the
challenge appeared to have come from and demanded in an angry tone,
"Who was that spoke? Who commands this company?" And as no reply was
given he turned away, saying, "D----d if I only knew who it was
that insulted me, I would put a ball in him." But as he rode off the
soldier gave him a Parthian shot by calling after him, "Say, Mister,
don't get so mad about it, I thought you were some d----n wagon

Slowly again our column began moving to the right. The center of the
division was halted in front of little Round Top. Kershaw was then on
the right, Barksdale with his Mississippians on his left, Wofford and
Semmes with their Georgians in rear as support. Everything was quiet
in our front, as if the enemy had put his house in order and awaited
our coming. Kershaw took position behind a tumbled down wall to await
Hood's movements on our right, and who was to open the battle by the
assault on Round Top. The country on our right, through which Hood had
to manoeuver, was very much broken and thickly studded with trees and
mountain undergrowth, which delayed that General in getting in battle
line. Anderson's Georgians, with Hood's old Texas Brigade under
Robertson, was on McLaws' immediate right, next to Kershaw. Law's
Alabama Brigade was on the extreme right, and made the first advance.
On McLaws' left was Wilcox, of General "Tige" Anderson's Division of
the 3d Corps, with Posey and other troops to his left, these to act
more as a brace to Longstreet as he advanced to the assault; however,
most of them were drawn into the vortex of battle before the close of
the day. In Kershaw's Brigade, the 2d under Colonel John D. Kennedy
and Lieutenant Colonel Frank Gilliard, the 15th under Colonel W.D.
Dessausure and Major Wm. Gist, the 3d under Colonel James D. Nance
and Major R.C. Maffett, the 7th under Colonel D. Wyatt Aiken and
Lieutenant Colonel Elbert Bland, the 3d Battallion under Lieutenant
Colonel W.G. Rice, the 8th under Colonel John W. Henagan, Lieutenant
Colonel Hool and Major McLeod, went into battle in the order named, as
far as I remember. Major Wm. Wallace of the 2d commanded the brigade
skirmish line or sharpshooters, now some distance in our front. A
battery of ten guns was immediately in our rear, in a grove of oaks,
and drew on us a heavy fire when the artillery duel began. All troops
in line, the batteries in position, nothing was wanting but the signal
gun to put these mighty forces in motion. Ewell had been engaged
during the morning in a desultory battle far to our left and beyond
the town, but had now quieted down. A blue puff of smoke, a deafening
report from one of the guns of the Washington Artillery of New
Orleans, followed in quick succession by others, gave the signal to
both armies--the battle was now on.

It was the plan of action for Hood to move forward first and engage
the enemy, and when once the combat was well under way on the right,
McLaws to press his columns to the front. Law, with his Alabamians,
was closing around the southern base of greater Round Top, while
Robertson, with his three Texas regiments and one Arkansas, and
Anderson with his Georgians, were pushing their way through thickets
and over boulders to the front base of the Round Tops and the gorges
between the two. We could easily determine their progress by the
"rebel yell" as it rang out in triumph along the mountain sides.

The battery in our rear was drawing a fearful fire upon us, as we lay
behind the stone fence, and all were but too anxious to be ordered
forward. Barksdale, on our left, moved out first, just in front of the
famous Peach Orchard. A heavy battery was posted there, supported by
McCandless' and Willard's Divisions, and began raking Barksdale from
the start. The brave old Mississippian, who was so soon to lose
his life, asked permission to charge and take the battery, but was
refused. Kershaw next gave the command, "forward," and the men sprang
to their work with a will and determination and spread their steps to
the right and left as they advanced. Kershaw was on foot, prepared to
follow the line of battle immediately in rear, looking cool, composed
and grand, his steel-gray eyes flashing the fire he felt in his soul.

The shelling from the enemy on the ridge in front had, up to this
time, been mostly confined to replying to our batteries, but as soon
as this long array of bristling bayonets moved over the crest and
burst out suddenly in the open, in full view of the cannon-crowned
battlements, all guns were turned upon us. The shelling from Round
Top was terrific enough to make the stoutest hearts quake, while the
battery down at the base of the ridge, in the orchard, was raking
Barksdale and Kershaw right and left with grape and shrapnell. Semmes'
Georgians soon moved up on our right and between Kershaw and Hood's
left, but its brave commander fell mortally wounded at the very
commencement of the attack. Kershaw advanced directly against little
Round Top, the strongest point in the enemy's line, and defended by
Ayer's Regulars, the best disciplined and most stubborn fighters in
the Federal army. The battery in the orchard began grapeing Kershaw's
left as soon as it came in range, the right being protected by a
depression in the ground over which they marched. Not a gun was
allowed to be fired either at sharpshooters that were firing on our
front from behind boulders and trees in a grove we were nearing, or
at the cannoneers who were raking our flank on the left. Men fell here
and there from the deadly minnie-balls, while great gaps or swaths
were swept away in our ranks by shells from the batteries on the
hills, or by the destructive grape and canister from the orchard. On
marched the determined men across this open expanse, closing together
as their comrades fell out. Barksdale had fallen, but his troops were
still moving to the front and over the battery that was making such
havoc in their ranks. Semmes, too, had fallen, but his Georgians never
wavered nor faltered, but moved like a huge machine in the face of
these myriads of death-dealing missiles. Just as we entered the woods
the infantry opened upon us a withering fire, especially from up
the gorge that ran in the direction of Round Top. Firing now became
general along the whole line on both sides. The Fifteenth Regiment
met a heavy obstruction, a mock-orange hedge, and it was just after
passing this obstacle that Colonel Dessausure fell. The center of the
Third Regiment and some parts of the other regiments, were partially
protected by boulders and large trees, but the greater part fought
in the open field or in sparsely timbered groves of small trees. The
fight now waged fast and furious.

Captain Malloy writes thus of the 8th: "We occupied the extreme left
of the brigade, just fronting the celebrated 'Peach Orchard.' The
order was given. We began the fatal charge, and soon had driven the
enemy from their guns in the orchard, when a command was given to
'move to the right,' which fatal order was obeyed under a terrible
fire, this leaving the 'Peach Orchard' partly uncovered. The enemy
soon rallied to their guns and turned them on the flank of our
brigade. Amid a storm of shot and shell from flank and front, our
gallant old brigade pushed towards the Round Top, driving all before
them, till night put an end to the awful slaughter. The regiment went
in action with 215 in ranks, and lost more than half its number. We
lost many gallant officers, among whom were Major McLeod, Captain
Thomas E. Powe, Captain John McIver, and others." The move to the
right was to let Wofford in between Barksdale and Kershaw.

Barksdale was pressing up the gorge that lay between little Round
Top and the ridge, was making successful battle and in all likelihood
would have succeeded had it not been for General Warren. General
Meade's Chief Engineer being on the ground and seeing the danger,
grasped the situation at once, called up all the available force and
lined the stone walls that led along the gorge with infantry. Brigade
after brigade of Federal infantry was now rushed to this citadel,
while the crown of little Round Top was literally covered with
artillery. Ayer's Regulars were found to be a stubborn set by
Kershaw's troops. The Federal volunteers on our right and left gave
way to Southern valor, but the regulars stood firm, protected as they
were by the great boulders along their lines. Barksdale had passed
beyond us as the enemy's line bent backward at this point, and was
receiving the whole shock of battle in his front, while a terrific
fire was coming from down the gorge and from behind hedges on the
hillside. But the Mississippians held on like grim death till Wofford,
with his Georgians, who was moving in majestic style across the open
field in the rear, came to his support.

General Wofford was a splendid officer, and equally as hard a fighter.
He advanced his brigade through the deadly hail of bullets and took
position on Bardsdale's right and Kershaw's left, and soon the roar
of his guns were mingling with those of their comrades. The whole
division was now in action. The enemy began to give way and scamper up
the hillside. But Meade, by this time, had the bulk of his army around
and in rear of the Round Top, and fresh troops were continually being
rushed in to take the places of or reinforce those already in action.
Hood's whole force was now also engaged, as well as a part of A.P.
Hill's on our left. The smoke became so dense, the noise of small arms
and the tumult raised by the "Rebel Yell," so great that the voices of
officers attempting to give commands were hushed in the pandemonium.
Along to the right of the 3d, especially up the little ravine, the
fire was concentrated on those who held this position and was terrific
beyond description, forcing a part of the line back to the stone
house. This fearful shock of battle was kept up along the whole line
without intermission till night threw her sable curtains over the
scene of carnage and bloodshed and put an end to the strife. Wofford
and Barksdale had none to reinforce them at the gorge, and had to
fight it out single-handed and alone, while the Regulars, with
their backs to the base of little Round Top, protected by natural
formations, were too strong to be dislodged by Kershaw. As soon as the
firing ceased the troops were withdrawn to near our position of the

The work of gathering up the wounded lasted till late at night.
Our loss in regimental and line officers was very great. Scarcely a
regiment but what had lost one of its staff, nor a company some of its
officers. Dr. Salmond, the Brigade Surgeon, came early upon the field
and directed in person the movements of his assistants in their work
of gathering up the wounded. "The dead were left to take care of the
dead" until next day.

When the brigade was near the woodland in its advance, a most deadly
fire was directed towards the center of the 3d both by the battery to
our left, and sharpshooting in the front. It was thought by some that
it was our flag that was drawing the fire, four color guards having
gone down, some one called out "Lower the colors, down with the flag."
Sergeant Lamb, color bearer, waved the flag aloft, and moving to the
front where all could see, called out in loud tones, "This flag never
goes down until I am down."

Then the word went up and down the line "Shoot that officer, down him,
shoot him," but still he continued to give those commands, "Ready,
aim, fire," and the grape shot would come plunging into our very
faces. The sharpshooters, who had joined our ranks, as we advanced,
now commenced to blaze away, and the cannoneers scattered to cover in
the rear. This officer finding himself deserted by his men, waved his
sword defiantly over his head and walked away as deliberately as on
dress parade, while the sharpshooters were plowing up the dirt all
around him, but all failed to bring him down. We bivouaced during the
night just in rear of the battle ground.

* * * * *


Gettysburg Continued--Pickett's Charge.

The next morning, July the 3rd, the sun rose bright and clear. Rations
were brought to the men by details, who, after marching and fighting
all day, had to hunt up the supply train, draw rations and cook for
their companies for the next day--certainly a heavy burden on two men,
the usual detail from each company.

No one could conjecture what the next move would be, but the army felt
a certainty that Lee would not yield to a drawn battle without, at
least, another attempt to break Meade's front. Either the enemy would
attempt to take an advantage of our yesterday's repulse and endeavor
to break our lines, crush Lee by doubling him back on the Potomac,
or that Lee would undertake the accomplishment of the work of the day
before. After the heavy battle of yesterday and the all night's march
preceding, the soldiers felt little like renewing the fight of to-day,
still there was no despondency, no lack of ardor, or morale, each
and every soldier feeling, while he had done his best the day before,
still he was equal to that before him for to-day.

In the First Corps all was still and quiet, scarcely a shot from
either side, a picket shot occasionally was the only reminder that the
enemy was near.

Away to our left, and beyond the city, the Federals had assaulted
Ewell's lines, and a considerable battle was raging from daylight till
10 o'clock.

The enemy were endeavoring to regain some of the trenches they had
lost two days before.

General Pickett, who had been left at Chambersburg, had now come up
with his three Virginia Brigades, Garnett's, Kemper's, and Armstead's,
(Jenkins being left in Virginia) and was putting them in position for
his famous charge.

While this has no real connection with the work in hand, still, since
the "Charge of Pickett," has gone in song and story, as the most
gallant, dashing, and bloody of modern times, I am tempted here to
digress somewhat, and give, as far as I am able, an impartial account
of this memorable combat, being an eye witness. While Pickett led
the storming party, in person, still the planning and details were
entrusted to another head, namely, General Longstreet. In justice to
him I will say he was opposed to this useless sacrifice of life and
limb. In his memoirs he tells how he pleaded with Lee, to relieve him
from the responsibility of command, and when the carnage was at its
zenith, riding through the hail from three hundred cannons and shells
bursting under and over him, the Old Chieftain says, "I raised my eyes
heavenward and prayed that one of these shots might lay me low and
relieve me from this awful responsibility." While I would, by no word,
or intimation detract one iota from the justly earned fame of the
great Virginian, nor the brave men under him, still it is but equal
justice to remember and record that there were other Generals and
troops from other States as justly meritorious and deserving of honor
as participants in the great charge, as Pickett and his Virginians.
On the day before, Kershaw, in the battle before little "Round Top,"
Semmes to the right, Wofford and Barksdale in front of the peach
orchard and up the deadly gorge around Little Round Top to say nothing
of Hood at Round Top, charged and held in close battle, two thirds
of the Army of the Potomac, without any support whatever. See now how
Pickett was braced and supported. Cemetery Ridge was a long ridge
of considerable elevation, on which, and behind it the enemy was
marshalled in mass; opposite this ridge was another of less eminence,
and one mile, or near so, distant, behind which the Confederates were
concentrating for the assault. Longstreet moved McLaws up near to the
right of the assaulting columns in two lines, Semmes and Wofford in
the front and Barksdale and Kershaw in the rear lines as support. I
continue to retain the names of the Brigade Commanders to designate
the troops, although Barksdale and Semmes had fallen the day before.

Kemper and Garnett were on the right of the assaulting column, with
Armstead as support, all Virginians and of Pickett's Division.
Wilcox, with his Alabama Brigade was to move some distance in rear of
Pickett's right to take any advantage of the break in the line, and
to protect Pickett's flank. On the left of Pickett, and on the line of
attack was Heath's Division, commanded by General Pettigrew, composed
of Archer's Brigade, of Alabama and Tennesseeans, Pettigrew's, North
Carolina, Brockenborro's, Virginia, and Davis' Brigade, composed of
three Mississippi Regiments and one North Carolina, with Scales' and
Lanes' North Carolina Brigade in support. Hood and McLaws guarding
the right and A.P. Hill the left. I repeat it, was there ever an
assaulting column better braced or supported?

General Alexander had charge of the artillery at this point, and the
gunners along the whole line were standing to their pieces, ready to
draw the lanyards that were to set the opposite hills ablaze with shot
and shell, the moment the signal was given.

Every man, I dare say, in both armies held his breath in anxious
and feverish suspense, awaiting the awful crash. The enemy had been
apprised of the Confederate movements, and were prepared for the

When all was ready the signal gun was fired, and almost simultaneously
one hundred and fifty guns belched forth upon the enemy's works, which
challenge was readily accepted by Meade's cannoneers, and two hundred
shrieking shells made answer to the Confederate's salute. Round after
round were fired in rapid succession from both sides, the air above
seemed filled with shrieking, screaming, bursting shells. For a time
it looked as if the Heavens above had opened her vaults of thunder
bolts, and was letting them fall in showers upon the heads of mortals
below. Some would burst overhead, while others would go whizzing over
us and explode far in the rear. It was the intention of Lee to so
silence the enemy's batteries that the assaulting column would be rid
of this dangerous annoyance. Longstreet says of the opening of the
battle: "The signal guns broke the silence, the blaze of the second
gun, mingling in the smoke of the first, and salvos rolled to the
left and repeating themselves along the ridges the enemy's fine
metal spreading its fire to the converging lines of the Confederates,
plowing the trembling ground, plunging through the line of batteries
and clouding the heavy air. Two or three hundred guns seemed proud of
their undivided honors of organized confusion. The Confederates had
the benefit of converging fire into the enemy's massed position,
but the superior metal of the enemy neutralized the advantages of
position. The brave and steady work progressed."

After almost exhausting his ammunition, General Alexander sent a
message to General Pickett, "If you are coming, come at once, or I
cannot give you proper support. Ammunition nearly exhausted; eighteen
guns yet firing from the cemetery." This speaks volumes for our
artillerist, who had silenced over one hundred and fifty guns, only
eighteen yet in action, but these eighteen directly in front of
Pickett. Under this deadly cannonade, Pickett sprang to the assault.
Kemper and Garnett advanced over the crest, closely followed by
Armstead. Wilcox, with his Alabamians, took up the step and marched
a short distance in rear of the right. The Alabamians, Tennesseeans,
North Carolinians, and Virginians under Pettigrew lined up on
Pickett's left, followed by Trimble, with his two North Carolina
Brigades and the columns were off. The batteries on the ridges in
front now turned all their attention to this dreaded column of gray,
as soon as they had passed over the crest that up to this time had
concealed them. To the enemy even this grand moving body of the best
material in the world must have looked imposing as it passed in solid
phalanx over this broad expanse without scarcely a bush or tree to
screen it. And what must have been the feelings of the troops that
were to receive this mighty shock of battle? The men marched with firm
step, with banners flying, the thunder of our guns in rear roaring and
echoing to cheer them on, while those of the enemy were sweeping wind
rows through their ranks. McLaws was moved up nearer the enemy's
lines to be ready to reap the benefit of the least signs of success.
Brockenborro and Davis were keeping an easy step with Kemper and
Garnett, but their ranks were being thinned at every advance. Great
gaps were mown out by the bursting of shells while the grape and
canister caused the soldiers to drop by ones, twos and sections along
the whole line. Men who were spectators of this carnage, held their
breath in horror, while others turned away from the sickening scene,
in pitying silence. General Trimble was ordered to close up and fill
the depleted ranks, which was done in splendid style, and on the
assaulting columns sped.

Trimble had fallen, Garnett was killed, with Kemper and Gibbon being
borne from the field more dead than alive. At last the expected crash
came, when infantry met infantry. Pickett's right strikes Hancock's
center, then a dull, sullen roar told too well that Greek had met
Greek. Next came Davis, then Brockenborro, followed on the left by
Archer's and Pettigrew's Brigade, and soon all was engulfed in the
smoke of battle and lost to sight. Such a struggle could not last
long for the tension was too great. The Confederates had driven in the
first line, but Meade's whole army was near, and fresh battalions
were being momentarily ordered to the front. The enemy now moved out
against Pickett's right, but Semmes and Wofford of McLaws' Division
were there to repulse them.

For some cause, no one could or ever will explain, Pickett's Brigades
wavered at a critical moment, halted, hesitated, then the battle
was lost. Now began a scene that is as unpleasant to record as it
is sickening to contemplate. When Pickett saw his ruin, he ordered a
retreat and then for a mile or more these brave men, who had dared
to march up to the cannon's mouth with twenty thousand infantry lying
alongside, had to race across this long distance with Meade's united
artillery playing upon them, while the twenty thousand rifles were
firing upon their rear as they ran.

Pettigrew's Division, which was clinging close to the battle, saw the
disaster that had befallen the gallant Virginians, then in turn
they, too, fled the field and doubling up on Lane and Scales, North
Carolinians, made "confusion worse confounded." This flying mass
of humanity only added another target for the enemy's guns and an
additional number to the death roll.

Alexander's batteries, both of position, and the line now turned loose
with redoubled energy on those of the enemy's to relieve, as far as
possible, our defeated, flying, and demoralized troops. For a few
moments (which seemed like days to the defeated) it looked as if all
nature's power and strength were turned into one mighty upheaval;
Vessuvius, Etna, and Popocatepetl were emptying their mighty torrents
upon the heads of the unfortunate Confederates. Men fell by the
hundreds, officers ceased to rally them until the cover of the ridge
was reached. The hills in front were ablaze from the flashes of near
two hundred guns, while the smoke from almost as many on our lines
slowly lifted from the ridge behind us, showing one continued sheet of
flames, the cannoneers working their guns as never before. The earth
seemed to vibrate and tremble under the recoil of these hundreds of
guns, while the air overhead was filled with flying shells. Not
a twinkling of the eye intervened between the passing of shots or
shells. The men who were not actively engaged became numbed and a
dull heavy sleep overcame them as they lay under this mighty unnatural
storm, shells falling short came plowing through the ground, or
bursting prematurely overhead, with little or no effect upon the
slumberers, only a cry of pain as one and another received a wound or
a death shot from the flying fragments. The charge of Pickett is over,
the day is lost, and men fall prone upon the earth to catch breath
and think of the dreadful ordeal just passed and of the many hundreds
lying between them and the enemy's line bleeding, dying without hope
or succor.

Farnsworth, of Kilpatrick's Cavalry, had been watching the fray from
our extreme right, where Hood had stationed scattered troops to watch
his flank, and when the Union General saw through the mountain gorges
and passes the destruction of Pickett he thought his time for action
had come. The battle-scarred war horses snuffed the blood and smoke
of battle from afar, and champed their bits in anxious impatience.
The troopers looked down the line and met the stern faces of their
comrades adjusting themselves to their saddles and awaiting the signal
for the charge. Farnsworth awaits no orders, and when he saw the wave
of Pickett's recede he gave the command to "Charge," and his five
hundred troopers came thundering down upon our detachments on the
extreme right. But Farnsworth had to ride over and between the Fourth,
Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Alabama Regiments, the Eleventh Georgia and
the First Texas, and it is needless to add, his ride was a rough and
disastrous one. Farnsworth, after repeated summons to surrender, fell,
pierced with five wounds, and died in a few moments. His troopers
who had escaped death or capture fled to the gorges and passes of
the mountains through which they had so recently ridden in high

The enemy, as well as the Confederates, had lost heavily in general
officers. Hancock had fallen from his horse, shot through the side
with a minnie ball, disabling him for a long time. General Dan
Sickles, afterwards military Governor of South Carolina, lost a leg.
General Willard was killed. Generals Newton, Gibbon, Reynolds, Barlow
were either killed or wounded, with many other officers of note in the
Federal Army.

The soldier is not the cold unfeeling, immovable animal that some
people seem to think he is. On the contrary, and paradoxical as it may
appear, he is warm-hearted, sympathetic, and generous spirited and his
mind often reverts to home, kindred, and friends, when least expected.
His love and sympathy for his fellow-soldier is proverbial in the
army. In the lull, of battle, or on its eve, men with bold hearts and
strong nerves look each other in the face with grim reliance. With
set teeth and nerve's strung to extreme tension, the thoughts of the
soldier often wander to his distant home. The panorama of his whole
life passes before him in vivid colors. His first thoughts are of the
great beyond--all soldiers, whatever their beliefs or dogmas, think
of this. It is natural, it is right, it is just to himself. He sees in
his imagination the aged father or mother or the wife and little ones
with outstretched arms awaiting the coming of him who perhaps will
never come. These are some of the sensations and feelings of a soldier
on the eve of, or in battle, or at its close. It is no use denying it,
all soldiers feel as other people do, and when a soldier tells as a
fact that he "went into battle without fear," he simply tells "what
George Washington never told." It is human, and "self-preservation
is the first law of nature." No one wants to die. Of course ambition,
love of glory, the plaudits of your comrades and countrymen, will
cause many a blade to flash where otherwise it would not. But every
soldier who reads this will say that this is honest and the whole
truth. I am writing a truthful history of the past and honesty forces
me to this confession. "All men are cowards" in the face of death.
Pride, ambition, a keen sense of duty, will make differences
outwardly, but the heart is a coward still when death stares the
possessor in the face. Men throw away their lives for their country's
sake, or for honor or duty like a cast off garment and laugh at death,
but this is only a sentiment, for all men want to live. I write so
much to controvert the rot written in history and fiction of soldiers
anxious to rush headlong into eternity on the bayonets of the enemy.

Historians of all time will admit the fact that at Gettysburg was
fought a battle, not a skirmish, but it was not what Northern writers
like to call it, "Lee's Waterloo." The Wilderness, Spottsylvania, and
Petersburg were yet to come.

* * * * *


Gettysburg--Fourth Day--Incidents of the Battle--Sketch of Dessausure,
McLeod, and Salmonds.

A flag of truce now waves over both armies, granting a respite to bury
the dead and care for the wounded. The burial of the dead killed in
battle is the most trying of all duties of the soldier. Not that he
objects to paying these last sad rites to his fallen comrades, but it
is the manner in which he must leave them with his last farewell.

A detail from each company is formed into a squad, and armed with
spades or shovels they search the field for the dead. When found a
shallow pit is dug, just deep enough to cover the body, the blanket is
taken from around the person, his body being wrapped therein, laid
in the pit, and sufficient dirt thrown upon it to protect it from the
vultures. There is no systematic work, time being too precious, and
the dead are buried where they fell. Where the battle was fierce and
furious, and the dead lay thick, they were buried in groups. Sometimes
friendly hands cut the name and the company of the deceased upon the
flap of a cartridge box, nail it to a piece of board and place at, the
head, but this was soon knocked down, and at the end of a short time
all traces of the dead are obliterated.

The wounded were gathered in the various farm houses, and in the city
of Gettysburg. Those who were too badly wounded to be moved were left
in charge of Surgeons, detailed by the Medical Directors to remain
with the wounded. Surgeons in the discharge of their duties are never
made prisoners, and the yellow flag flies as much protection as the
white. A guard is placed around the hospitals to prevent those who
may convalesce while there from escaping, but notwithstanding this
vigilance many made their escape and came south, as the soldiers had
a horror of the Federal prison pen. Ambulances and empty wagons were
loaded to their full capacity with the wounded, unable to walk,
while hundreds with arms off, or otherwise wounded as not to prevent
locomotion, "hit the dust," as the soldiers used to say, on their long
march of one hundred and fifty miles to Staunton, Va.

The Confederate forces numbered in the battles around Gettysburg
on May 31st, 75,000, including Pickett's Division. The Federals had
100,000 ready and equipped for action, divided in seven army corps,
under General Doubleday commanding First Corps, General Hancock Second
Corps, General Sickles Third Corps, General Sykes Fifth Corps, General
Sedgwick Sixth Corps, General Howard Eleventh Corps, General Slocum
Twelfth Corps, and three divisions of cavalry under Pleasanton. The
Confederate losses were: Longstreet, 7,539; Ewell, 5,973; A.P. Hill,
6,735; Cavalry under Stuart, 1,426; in all 21,643. Enemy's loss,

I herewith give sketches of Colonel Dessausure and Major McLeod,
killed in action, and of Doctor Salmond, Brigade Surgeon. As the
latter acted so gallantly, and showed such generous impulses during
and after the engagement, I think it a fitting moment to give here a
brief sketch of his life.

* * * * *


Colonel Dessausure was certainly the Bayard of South Carolina, having
served during his entire manhood, with little exception, amid the
exciting, bustling scenes of army life. He was a hero of both the
Mexican and Civil wars, and served in the Old Army for many years on
the great Western Plains. A friend of his, an officer in his command
who was very close to the Colonel, writes me a letter, of which I
extract the following:

"In my judgment, he was the superior of Kershaw's fine set of
Colonels, having, from nature, those rare qualities that go to make up
the successful war commander, being reticent, observant, far-seeing,
quick, decided, of iron will, inspiring confidence in his leadership,
cheerful, self-possessed, unaffected by danger, and delighting like
a game cock in battle. He was singularly truth loving and truth
speaking, and you could rely with confidence on the accuracy of his
every statement. He understood men, was clear sighted, quick and
sound of judgment, and seemed never to be at a loss what to do in
emergencies. He exposed himself with reckless courage, but protected
his men with untiring concern and skill. He was rather a small man,
physically, but his appearance and bearing were extremely martial, and
had a stentorian voice that could be heard above the din of battle."

Colonel Dessausure was born in Columbia, S.C., December 12th, 1819,
was reared and educated there, graduated at the South Carolina
College, and studied law in the office of his father, Hon. Win. F.
Dessausure. He raised a company in Columbia for the Mexican war, and
served through that war as Captain of Company H, Palmetto Regiment.
After that he was commissioned Captain of Cavalry, and assigned to
General (then Colonel) Joseph K. Johnston's Regiment in the United
States Army, and served on the Plains until the Civil war commenced,
when he resigned, returned to his native State and organized the
Fifteenth Regiment, and was assigned to Drayton's Brigade, then on the

After the Seven Days' Battle around Richmond he went with his
Regiment, as a part of Drayton's Brigade, in the first Maryland
campaign. On Lee's return to Virginia, just before the Fredericksburg
battle, his regiment was assigned to Kershaw.

The papers promoting him to the rank of Brigadier General were in the
hands of the Secretary of War at the time he was killed. He was buried
in a private cemetery near Breane's Tavern, in Pennsylvania, and his
body removed to the family burying ground after the war.

He was married to Miss Ravenel of Charleston, who survived him some

* * * * *


Was descended from Scotch ancestors who immigrated to this country
about 1775 and settled in Marlboro District, near Hunt's Bluff, on Big
Pee Dee River. He was son of Daniel McLeod and Catherine Evans McLeod.
He graduated from the South Carolina College about 1853, and for some
time engaged in teaching school in his native county; then married
Miss Margaret C. Alford and engaged in planting near where he was
born. He was then quietly leading a happy and contented life when
South Carolina seceded. When the toscin of war sounded he raised the
first company of volunteers in Marlboro and was elected Captain of it.
This company, with another from Marlboro organized about the same time
under Captain J.W. Hamington, formed part of the Eighth Regiment, of
Kershaw's Brigade. Capt. McLeod was of commanding presence, being
six feet four inches tall, erect, active, and alert, beloved by his
company, and when the test came proved himself worthy of their love
and confidence. On the field of battle his gallantry was conspicuous,
and he exhibited undaunted courage, and was faithful to every trust.

At the reorganization of the Regiment he was elected Major and
served as such through the battles of Savage Station, Malvern Hill,
Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg. In the
last named he was killed while gallantly leading the Regiment in the
desperate charge on the enemy's twenty pieces of artillery, in the
celebrated peach orchard, where in a few minutes the Eighth Regiment,
being on the left of the Brigade, without support, assailed in front
and flanked, lost one hundred and eleven of the one hundred and
seventy who were engaged in the battle. Of this number twenty-eight
were killed and buried on the field of battle. Notwithstanding this
slaughter the Old Eighth never faltered, but with the other regiments
drove the enemy from the field, pursuing them upon the rugged slopes
of Round Top Hill. Thus ended the life of one of the noblest and most
devoted of Carolina's sons.

* * * * *


Was born in Camden, S.C., on 31st of August, 1825. Received his
diploma from the Medical College, in Charleston, S.C., in 1849.
Practiced medicine in Camden till the war came on. Married first,
Miss Mary Whitaker, afterwards Miss Isabel Scota Whitaker. He had
two daughters, one by each marriage. When the troops were ordered to
Charleston, he left with General Kershaw as Surgeon of his regiment.
General Kershaw was Colonel of the Second South Carolina Regiment. His
regiment was at the bombardment of Sumter. His staff consisted of
Dr. T.W. Salmond, Surgeon; Fraser, Quarter-Master; J.I. Villipigue,
Commissary; A.D. Goodwyn, Adjutant.

At the reorganization of the Brigade, Dr. Salmond was promoted to
Brigade Surgeon and was in all of the battles in Virginia. He went
with General Kershaw to Tennessee and came home when General Kershaw
went back to Virginia, owing to ill health in the spring of 1864.

He resumed his practice after the war and continued till his death,
August 31st, 1869.

I give below a short sketch concerning the Brigade Surgeon, copied
from a local paper, as showing the kind of metal of which Dr. Salmond
was made:

To the Editor of The Kershaw Gazette:

I never look upon a maimed soldier of the "Lost Cause," who fought
manfully for the cause which he deemed to be right, without being
drawn towards him with I may say brotherly love, commingled with
the profoundest respect. And I beg space in your valuable columns to
relate an incident in connection with the battle of Gettysburg, which,
I think, will equal the one between General Hagood and the Federal
officer, Daley.

In that memorable battle, whilst we were charging a battery of sixteen
pieces of artillery, when great gaps were being made in the lines by
the rapid discharge of grape and canister, when the very grass beneath
our feet was being cut to pieces by these missiles of death, and it
looked as if mortal men could not possibly live there; Capt. W.Z.
Leitner of our town was shot in the midst of this deadly shower at the
head of his company. When his comrades were about to remove him from
the field he said, "Men I am ruined but never give up the battle. I
was shot down at the head of my company, and I would to God that I
was there yet." He refused to let them carry him off the field. Dr.
Salmond, then Brigade Surgeon of Kershaw's Brigade, learning that his
friend Captain Leitner was seriously wounded, abandoned his post at
the infirmary, mounted his horse and went to the field where Captain
Leitner lay, amid the storm of lead and iron, regardless of the
dangers which encompassed him on every hand. He placed Captain Leitner
on his horse, and brought him off the field. The writer of this was
wounded severely in this charge, and while he was making his way as
best he could to the rear, he met the Brigade Surgeon on his mission
of mercy to his fallen friend, ordering those to the front who were
not wounded, as he went along. Brave man, he is now dead. Peace to his
ashes. As long as I live, I shall cherish his memory and think of this

A Member of the Old Brigade.

Taken from Kershaw Gazette of February 26, 1880.

Judge Pope gives me several instances of devotion and courage during
the Gettysburg campaign, which I take pleasure in inserting.

* * * * *


I have listened to much which has been said and written as to the
aspiration of the negroes for freedom while they were slaves, but much
that I saw myself makes me doubt that this aspiration was general.

Let me relate an instance that fell under my immediate observation. An
officer had lost his bodyservant in May, 1863, when he mentioned the
fact to some of the gentlemen of the and regiment, the reply was made:
"There is a mess in Company A or I of the Third Regiment who have an
excellent free negro boy in their employment, but they must give him
up and no doubt you can get him." I saw the soldiers they referred
to and they assured me that they would be glad if I would take the
servant off their hands. The result was the servant came to me and
I hired him. Soon afterwards we began the march to the Valley of
Virginia, then to Maryland and Pennsylvania. The servant took care of
my horse, amongst his other duties. Having been wounded at Gettysburg
and placed in a wagon to be transported to Virginia this boy would
ride the horse near by the wagon, procuring water and something to
eat. As the caravan of wagons laden with wounded soldiers was drawing
near to Hagerstown, Maryland, a flurry was discovered and we were told
the Yankees were capturing our train. At this time the servant came
up and asked me what he should do. I replied, "Put the Potomac River
between you and the Yankees." He dashed off in a run. When I reached
the Potomac River I found William there with my horse. The Yankees
were about to attack us there. I was to be found across the river. I
said to William, "What can you do?" He replied that he was going to
swim the horse across the Potomac River, but said he himself could not
swim. I saw him plunge into the river and swim across. The soldiers
who were with me were sent from Winchester to Staunton, Virginia.
While in Staunton, I was assured that I would receive a furlough at
Richmond, Virginia, so William was asked if he wished to accompany
me to South Carolina. This seemed to delight him. Before leaving
Staunton, the boy was arrested as a runaway slave, being owned by
a widow lady in Abbeville County. The servant admitted to me, when
arrested, that he was a slave. A message was sent to his mistress how
he had behaved while in my employment--especially how he had fled from
the Yankees in Pennsylvania and Maryland. This was the last time
I ever saw him. Surely a desire for freedom did not operate very
seriously in this case, when the slave actually ran from it.

In parting I may add that, left to themselves negroes are very
kind-hearted, and even now I recall with lively pleasure the many
kindnesses while I was wounded, from this servant, who was a slave.

* * * * *


Why is it that memory takes us away back into our past experiences
without as much saying, "With your leave, sir"? Thirty-six years ago
I knew a fine fellow just about eighteen years old and to-day he comes
back to us so distinctly! He was a native of Newberry and when the
war first broke out he left Newberry College to enlist as a private
in Company E of the Third South Carolina Infantry. With his fine
qualities of head and heart, it was natural that he should become a
general favorite--witty, very ready, and always kind. His was a brave
heart, too. Still he was rather girlish in appearance, for physically
he was not strong. This latter condition may explain why he was called
to act as Orderly at Regimental Headquarters when J.E. Brown gave up
that position for that of courier with General Longstreet early in
the year 1863. Just before the Third Regiment went into action at
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and while preparing for that event, it
became necessary, under general orders, that the field and staff
of the regiment should dismount. It was the habit during battles to
commit the horses to the control of the Regimental Orderly. On this
occasion the Adjutant said to young Sligh: "Now, Tom, get behind some
hill and the moment we call you, bring up the horses; time is often
of importance." To the Adjutant's surprise Sligh burst into tears and
besought that officer not to require him to stay behind, but on the
contrary, to allow him to join his company and go into battle. At
first this was denied, but so persistent was he in his request that
the Adjutant, who was very fond of him, said: "Well Tom, for this one
time you may go, but don't ask it again." Away he went with a smile
instead of a tear. Poor fellow! The Orderly, Thomas W. Sligh, was
killed in that battle while assisting to drive back General Sickles
from the "Peach Orchard" on the 2d day of July, 1863.

* * * * *


At daylight on the morning of the 5th the remnant of that once grand
army turned its face southward. I say remnant, for with the loss
of near one-third its number in killed, wounded, and prisoners the
pride, prestige of victory, the feelings of invincibility, were lost
to the remainder, and the army was in rather ill condition when it
took up the retreat. Lee has been severely criticised for fighting the
battle of Gettysburg, especially the last charge of Pickett; but there
are circumstances of minor import sometimes that surround a commander
which force him to undertake or attempt that which his better judgment
might dictate as a false step. The world judges by results the
successes and achievements of a General, not by his motives or
intentions. Battles, however, are in a great measure but series
of accidents at best. Some unforeseen event or circumstance in the
battles of Napoleon might have changed some of his most brilliant
victories to utter defeats and his grandest triumphs into disastrous
routs. Had not General Warren seen the open gap at little Round Top,
and had it been possible for Federal troops to fill it up, or that
Hancock had been one hour later, or that our troops had pushed through
the gorge of little Round Top before seen by Warren and gained Meade's
rear--suppose these, and many other things, and then reflect what
momentous results depended upon such trivial circumstances, and we
will then fail to criticise Lee. His chances were as good as Meade's.
The combination of so many little circumstances, and the absence of
his cavalry, all conduced to our defeat.

Hill took the lead, Longstreet followed, while Ewell brought up the
rear. Our wagon trains had gone on, some of them the day before,
towards Williamsport. Kilpatrick made a dash and captured and
destroyed a goodly number of them, but the teamsters, non-combatants
and the wounded succeeded in driving them off after some little

Along down the mountain sides, through gorges and over hills, the
army slowly made its way. No haste, no confusion. The enemy's cavalry
harassed over rear, but did little more. Meade had had too severe a
lesson to hover dangerously close on the heels of Lee, not knowing
what moment the wily Confederate Chieftain might turn and strike him a
blow he would not be able to receive. The rain fell in torrents, night
and day. The roads were soon greatly cut up, which in a measure was to
Lee's advantage, preventing the enemy from following him too closely,
it being almost impossible to follow with his artillery and wagons
after our trains had passed. We passed through Fairfield and
Hagerstown and on to Williamsport. Near Funkstown we had some
excitement by being called upon to help some of Stuart's Cavalry, who
were being hard pressed at Antietam Creek.

After remaining in line of battle for several hours, on a rocky
hillside, near the crossing of a sluggish stream, and our pickets
exchanging a few shots with those of the enemy, we continued our
march. On the night of the 6th and day of the 7th our army took up a
line of battle in a kind of semi-circle, from Williamsport to Falling
Waters. The Potomac was too much swollen from the continuous rains to
ford, and the enemy having destroyed the bridge at Falling Waters we
were compelled to entrench ourselves and defend our numerous trains of
wagons and artillery until a bridge could be built. In the enclosure
of several miles the whole of Lee's army, with the exception of some
of his cavalry, were packed. Here Lee must have been in the most
critical condition of the war, outside of Appomattox. Behind him was
the raging Potomac, with a continual down-pour of rain, in front was
the entire Federal army. There were but few heights from which to
plant our batteries, and had the enemy pressed sufficiently near to
have reached our vast camp with shells, our whole trains of ordnance
would have been at his mercy. We had no bread stuff of consequence in
the wagons, and only few beef cattle in the enclosure. For two days
our bread supply had been cut off. Now had such conditions continued
for several days longer, and a regular siege set in, Lee would have
had to fight his way out. Lumber was difficult to obtain, so some
houses were demolished, and such planks as could be used in the
construction of boats were utilized, and a pontoon bridge was soon
under way.

In this dilemma and strait an accident in the way of a "wind fall" (or
I might more appropriately say, "bread fall") came to our regiment's
relief. Jim George, a rather eccentric and "short-witted fellow," of
Company C, while plundering around in some old out-buildings in our
rear, conceived the idea to investigate a straw stack, or an old house
filled with straw. After burrowing for some time away down in the
tightly packed straw, his comrades heard his voice as he faintly
called that he had struck "ile." Bounding out from beneath the
straw stack, he came rushing into camp with the news of his find. He
informed the Colonel that he had discovered a lot of flour in barrels
hidden beneath the straw. The news was too good to be true, and
knowing Jim's fund of imagination, few lent ear to the story, and most
of the men shook their heads credulously. "What would a man want
to put flour down in a straw stack for when no one knew of 'Lee's
coming?'" and, moreover, "if they did, they did not know at which
point he would cross." Many were the views expressed for and against
the idea of investigating further, until "Old Uncle" Joe Culbreath, a
veteran of the Mexican War, and a lieutenant in Jim George's company,
said: "Boys, war is a trying thing; it puts people to thinking, and
these d----n Yankees are the sharpest rascals in the world. No doubt
they heard of our coming, and fearing a raid on their smoke houses,
they did not do like us Southern people would have done--waited until
the flour was gone before we thought of saving it--so this old
fellow, no doubt, put his flour there for safety." That settled it.
"Investigate" was the word, and away went a crowd. The straw was soon
torn away, and there, snugly hidden, were eight or ten barrels of
flour. The Colonel ordered an equal division among the regiment,
giving Jim an extra portion for himself.

By the 13th the bridge was completed, and the waters had so far
subsided that the river was fordable in places. An hour after dark we
took up the line of march, and from our camp to the river, a distance
of one mile or less, beat anything in the way of marching that human
nature ever experienced. The dust that had accumulated by the armies
passing over on their march to Gettysburg was now a perfect bog, while
the horses and vehicles sinking in the soft earth made the road appear
bottomless. We would march two or three steps, then halt for a moment
or two; then a few steps more, and again the few minutes' wait. The
men had to keep their hands on the backs of their file leaders to tell
when to move and when to halt. The night being so dark and rainy, we
could not see farther than "the noses on our faces," while at every
step we went nearly up to our knees in slash and mud. Men would stand
and sleep--would march (if this could be called marching) and sleep.
The soldiers could not fall out of ranks for fear of being hopelessly
lost, as troops of different corps and divisions would at times be
mingled together. Thus we would be for one hour moving the distance
of a hundred paces, and any soldier who has ever had to undergo such
marching, can well understand its laboriousness. At daybreak we
could see in the gloomy twilight our former camp, almost in hollering
distance. Just as the sun began to peep up from over the eastern
hills, we came in sight of the rude pontoon bridge, lined from one end
to the other with hurrying wagons and artillery--the troops at opened
ranks on either side. If it had been fatiguing on the troops, what
must it have been on the poor horses and mules that had fasted for
days and now drawing great trains, with roads almost bottomless? It
was with a mingled feeling of delight and relief that the soldiers
reached the Virginia side of the river--but not a murmur or harsh word
for our beloved commander--all felt that he had done what was best for
our country, and it was more in sorrow and sympathy that we beheld his
bowed head and grief-stricken face as he rode at times past the moving

General Pettigrew had the post of rear guard. He, with his brave
troops, beat back the charge after charge of Kirkpatrick's Cavalry as
they attempted to destroy our rear forces. It was a trying time to
the retreating soldiers, who had passed over the river to hear their
comrades fighting, single-handed and alone, for our safety and their
very existence, without any hope of aid or succor. They knew they
were left to be lost, and could have easily laid down their arms and
surrendered, thus saving their lives; but this would have endangered
Lee's army, so they fought and died like men. The roar of their
howitzers and the rattle of their musketry were like the blasts of the
horn of Roland when calling Charlemagne to his aid along the mountain
pass of Roncesvalles, but, unlike the latter, we could not answer
our comrades' call, and had only to leave them alone to "die in their
glory." The brave Pettigrew fell while heading his troops in a charge
to beat back some of the furious onslaughts of the enemy. The others
were taken prisoners, with the exception of a few who made their
escape by plunging in the stream and swimming across.

At first our march was by easy stages, but when Lee discovered the
enemy's design of occupying the mountain passes along the Blue Ridge
to our left, no time was lost. We hastened along through Martinsburg
and Winchester, across the Shenandoah to Chester Gap, on the Blue
Ridge. We camped at night on the top of the mountain.

Here an amusing, as well as ludicrous, scene was enacted, but not so
amusing to the participants however. Orders had been given when on
the eve of our entrance into Maryland, that "no private property of
whatever description should be molested." As the fields in places were
enclosed by rail fences, it was strictly against orders to disturb any
of the fences. This order had been religiously obeyed all the
while, until this night on the top of the Blue Ridge. A shambling,
tumble-down rail fence was near the camp of the Third South Carolina,
not around any field, however, but apparently to prevent stock from
passing on the western side of the mountain. At night while the troops
lay in the open air, without any protection whatever, only what the
scrawny trees afforded, a light rain came up. Some of the men ran to
get a few rails to make a hurried bivouac, while others who had gotten
somewhat damp by the rain took a few to build a fire. As the regiment
was formed in line next morning, ready for the march, Adjutant Pope
came around for company commanders to report to Colonel Nance's
headquarters. Thinking this was only to receive some instructions as
to the line of march, nothing was thought of it until met by those
cold, penetrating, steel-gray eyes of Colonel Nance. Then all began
to wonder "what was up." He commenced to ask, after repeating the
instructions as to private property, whose men had taken the rails. He
commenced with Captain Richardson, of Company A.

"Did your men take any rails?"

"Yes, sir."

"Did you have them put back?"

"Yes, sir."

"Captain Gary, did your men use any rails?"

"Yes, sir."

"Did you have them replaced?"

"No, sir."

And so on down to Company K. All admitted that their men had taken
rails and had not put them back, except Captain Richardson. Then such
a lecture as those nine company commanders received was seldom heard.
To have heard Colonel Nance dilate upon the enormity of the crime
of "disobedience to orders," was enough to make one think he had
"deserted his colors in the face of the enemy," or lost a battle
through his cowardice. "Now, gentlemen, let this never occur again.
For the present you will deliver your swords to Adjutant Pope, turn
your companies over to your next officer in command, and march in rear
of the regiment until further orders." Had a thunder bolt fallen, or
a three hundred-pound Columbiad exploded in our midst, no greater
consternation would they have caused. Captain Richardson was
exhonorated, but the other nine Captains had to march in rear of the
regiment during the day, subject to the jeers and ridicule of all the
troops that passed, as well as the negro cooks. "Great Scott, what
a company of officers!" "Where are your men?" "Has there been a
stampede?" "Got furloughs?" "Lost your swords in a fight?" were some
of the pleasantries we were forced to hear and endure. Captain Nance,
of Company G, had a negro cook, who undertook the command of the
officers and as the word from the front would come down the line to
"halt" or "forward" or "rest," he would very gravely repeat it, much
to the merriment of the troops next in front and those in our rear.
Near night, however, we got into a brush with the enemy, who were
forcing their way down along the eastern side of the mountain, and
Adjutant Pope came with our swords and orders to relieve us from
arrest. Lieutenant Dan Maffett had not taken the matter in such good
humor, and on taking command of his company, gave this laconic order,
"Ya hoo!" (That was the name given to Company C.) "If you ever touch
another rail during the whole continuance of the war, G----d d----n
you, I'll have you shot at the stake."

"How are we to get over a fence," inquired someone.

"Jump it, creep it, or go around it, but death is your portion, if you
ever touch a rail again."

On the 13th of August the whole army was encamped on the south side of
the Rapidan. We were commencing to settle down for several months of
rest and enjoy a season of furloughs, as it was evident neither side
would begin active operations until the armies were recruited up
and the wounded returned for duty. This would take at least several
months. But, alas! for our expectations--a blast to our fondest
dreams--heavy fighting and hard marching was in store for our corps.
Bragg was being slowly driven out of Tennessee and needed help; the
"Bull Dog of the Confederacy" was the one most likely to stay the
advancing tide of Rosecrans' Army.

* * * * *


Transferred to Georgia--Scenes Along the Route.

While in camp great stress was laid on drills. The brigade drill
was the most important. Every day at 3 o'clock the whole brigade was
marched to a large old field, and all the evolutions of the brigade
drill were gone through with. Crowds of citizens from the surrounding
country came to witness our maneuvers, especially did the ladies grace
the occasions with their presence. The troops were in the very best of
spirits--no murmurs nor complaints. Clothing and provision boxes began
coming in from home. A grand corps review took place soon after our
encampment was established, in which Generals Lee and Longstreet
reviewed the troops.

All expected a good, long rest after their many marches and bloody

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest