BRAVE ACT OF PRIVATE JUDSON PORTER
During what was known as Second Battle of Federicksburg and which was on the extreme right of the Chancellorsville battle, the Troup Artillery was engaging the enemy which were preparing to charge the battery and a portion of General Barksdale's troops. The battery was situated in the middle of the Telegraph Road, at what was known as the Pump. Young Thomas [E.] Dillard was serving the vent of the gun, a most responsible position.
The enemy had captured one of Capt. Cutts batteries which was stationed at the brick house, used by General T.R.R. Cobb as headquarters during the first battle of Fredericksburg. A shell fired from this battery struck young Dillard and going through his body killed him instantly. He fell with his thumb stall on his thumb, which was used to protect the thumb from burning by the great heat of the brass guns.
I at once ordered Private Judson Porter to take his place instantly as no time could be spared. After the fighting was over, Private Porter came to me and said, "Captain, see here what that gun did for me." I looked, and his thumb was all burned away to the bone, and the intense heat from the gun, caused by rapid firing, had so charred the bone that the first joint of his thumb had to be amputated. I said, "Why in the world did you not protect your thumb?" He replied, "I had no thumb stall." I said, "Why did you not use your coat?" "Why Captain, the coat would have caught on fire, and I would have lost my coat and my thumb both."
Manning the vent in a battle is a most responsible position, as upon its proper and careful management depends the life and safety of all those serving at and around the guns. ~ Contributed by Captain H. H. Carlton, Commander of the Troup Artillery from Clarke County.
[The Athens Banner. (Athens, Ga.), April 26, 1912, page 5.]
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