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History of Kershaw's Brigade by D. Augustus Dickert

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

* * * * *


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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *


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

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

"Turn away your head, your breath is awful. What is the matter with

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *


The Siege of Knoxville Raised--Battle of Bean Station--Winter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *


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

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

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

* * * * *


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

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

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

There was never a Major appointed afterwards in the Fifteenth.

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

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

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

* * * * *


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *


Battle of the Wilderness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *


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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *


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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *


Brock's Cross Road and Spottsylvania to North Anna.

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

* * * * *


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Who is that?"

The soldier replied, not recognizing the Colonel's voice: "Who in the
h----l are you?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *


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

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

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