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History of Kershaw's Brigade by D. Augustus Dickert

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *


The Battle of Chickamauga.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *


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

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

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

* * * * *


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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *


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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *


In Front of Chattanooga.

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

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

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

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

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

"Well, Mack, what is the news from home?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *


Around Knoxville--The Siege and Storming of Fort Sanders.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *


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

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

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

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

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