Golden Thread "Cheer less, boys and fight more" - Wofford's Brigade at Gettysburg

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lelliott19

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Thanks for your post @PeterT . I have seen the alignment shown as it is on your map lots of times before. In fact thats the way its shown on most every map youll see.

The reason Tom and I were so excited about Capt Lemon's account of the alignment is that the brigade "always" went into battle with the 16th Georgia in the center. So it was typically aligned from L-R as Phillip's Legion, Cobbs Legion, 16th GA, 24th GA, and 18th GA - at least that was the typical alignment after it was reorganized.

BUT all these years everyone has based the alignment of the regiments in Wofford's brigade at Gburg off of Batchelder's maps. Having studied the brigade in detail, I questioned that. It wasnt how they typically aligned and I could find no reason why they would have aligned differently here. Terrain? no worse than anywhere else and much better than some. Obstacles? no - well there was some concentration of the enemy to be dealt with, but they were used to that. Absent Brig Gen? No -Wofford was there. Absent Cols? well yes..... but that was pretty common. McMillan of the 24th was OLD and absent on furlough a lot. :smile: So no reason I could see to change an alignment that had always worked well for them in the past.

Anyway, along the way I have found a few others (Philip Musket, Jay Jorgensen, etc) who agreed with me - that Batchelder was probably wrong. But with so few primary source materials, it was difficult to prove for sure. Now we know for sure. :bounce::dance::bounce:

I have no idea about the artillery. Thanks for pointing that out. I do know that EP Alexander said there were 18 guns brought forward but as far as whose, I dont know. I will be interested to see what Tom has to say. Maybe we can also convince @Eric Wittenberg to read through the thread and weigh in with his opinion.
 
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PeterT

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Thanks for your post @PeterT . I have seen the alignment shown as it is on your map lots of times before. In fact thats the way its shown on most every map youll see.

The reason Tom and I were so excited about Capt Lemon's account of the alignment is that the brigade "always" went into battle with the 16th Georgia in the center. So it was typically aligned from L-R as Phillip's Legion, Cobbs Legion, 16th GA, 24th GA, and 18th GA - at least that was the typical alignment after it was reorganized.

BUT all these years everyone has based the alignment of the regiments in Wofford's brigade at Gburg off of Batchelder's maps. Having studied the brigade in detail, I questioned that. It wasnt how they typically aligned and I could find no reason why they would have aligned differently here. Terrain? no worse than anywhere else and much better than some. Obstacles? no - well there was some concentration of the enemy to be dealt with, but they were used to that. Absent Brig Gen? No -Wofford was there. Absent Cols? well yes..... but that was pretty common. McMillan of the 24th was OLD and absent on furlough a lot. :smile: So no reason I could see to change an alignment that had always worked well for them in the past.

Anyway, along the way I have found a few others (Philip Musket, Jay Jorgensen, etc) who agreed with me - that Batchelder was probably wrong. But with so few primary source materials, it was difficult to prove for sure. Now we know for sure. :bounce::dance::bounce:

I have no idea about the artillery. Thanks for pointing that out. I do know that EP Alexander said there were 18 guns brought forward but as far as whose, I dont know. I will be interested to see what Tom has to say. Maybe we can also convince @Eric Wittenberg to read through the thread and weigh in with his opinion.
Excellent! Thanks for that!
 

rpkennedy

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I thought I would make a comment as I now have these laminated Battle of Gettysburg Field Maps and was following the comments on this thread and thought what better way to start of using them. Thanks @lelliott19 and @Tom Elmore!

The Gettysburg Foundation Field Maps show the alignment as at "July 2 1863 - Mid Afternoon". These maps used Batchelders maps as part of the overall production and the alignment is shown below as (north to south) Phillips, Cobbs, 24thGA, 3rdGA, 18thGA and 16thGA. Several well renowned researchers (Scott Hartwig, Harry Pfanz, Eric Wittenberg et al) were also involved in the production of the maps.

So when the attack began, the 3rdGA were ahead of the others as skirmishers, as described by Lemon. But the alignment of the others is different as Lemon places the order as described by him above as Phillips, Cobbs, 16th, 24th and 18th. Now this was an "early afternoon" depiction in the Field Maps, so perhaps they moved around and exchanged places prior to the attack. They are shown here all north of the Wheatfield Road. Capt Lemon describes the legions as being north and the others south of the road. Anyway all very interesting.

One other thing. The battery's they moved through were described by Tom as most likely Rhett, Moody, Taylor and Parker. The map below shows the northern battery as Gilbert not Rhett. Did something happen to poor Gilbert just prior to the attack?

View attachment 115455
I believe that Rhett and Gilbert are being used to describe the same battery. Captain Rhett had commanded the South Carolina battery at previous battles but at Gettysburg, Lt. Gilbert commanded the unit. It was Rhett's Battery commanded by Gilbert.

Ryan
 
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Eric Wittenberg

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Thanks for your post @PeterT . I have seen the alignment shown as it is on your map lots of times before. In fact thats the way its shown on most every map youll see.

The reason Tom and I were so excited about Capt Lemon's account of the alignment is that the brigade "always" went into battle with the 16th Georgia in the center. So it was typically aligned from L-R as Phillip's Legion, Cobbs Legion, 16th GA, 24th GA, and 18th GA - at least that was the typical alignment after it was reorganized.

BUT all these years everyone has based the alignment of the regiments in Wofford's brigade at Gburg off of Batchelder's maps. Having studied the brigade in detail, I questioned that. It wasnt how they typically aligned and I could find no reason why they would have aligned differently here. Terrain? no worse than anywhere else and much better than some. Obstacles? no - well there was some concentration of the enemy to be dealt with, but they were used to that. Absent Brig Gen? No -Wofford was there. Absent Cols? well yes..... but that was pretty common. McMillan of the 24th was OLD and absent on furlough a lot. :smile: So no reason I could see to change an alignment that had always worked well for them in the past.

Anyway, along the way I have found a few others (Philip Musket, Jay Jorgensen, etc) who agreed with me - that Batchelder was probably wrong. But with so few primary source materials, it was difficult to prove for sure. Now we know for sure. :bounce::dance::bounce:

I have no idea about the artillery. Thanks for pointing that out. I do know that EP Alexander said there were 18 guns brought forward but as far as whose, I dont know. I will be interested to see what Tom has to say. Maybe we can also convince @Eric Wittenberg to read through the thread and weigh in with his opinion.
Not my area of expertise, Laura. I did, indeed, read though the thread. I haven't studied this aspect of Longstreet's assault in sufficient depth to be able to give you much of an answer. I will say that Capt. Lemon's map is the first I've seen of that alignment and have no reason to quibble with it. Beyond that, I regret that I am not much help. But I appreciate your asking!
 

lelliott19

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I believe that Rhett and Gilbert are being used to describe the same battery. Captain Rhett had commanded the South Carolina battery at previous battles but at Gettysburg, Lt. Gilbert commanded the unit. It was Rhett's Battery commanded by Gilbert
Thanks Ryan. Do you know where Rhett was and why he wasnt there?

But I appreciate your asking!
Thanks for taking a look.
 
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rpkennedy

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I did look through all of my notes and whatnot last night but nothing mentions why Captain A. Burnett Rhett missed out on Gettysburg. Later that year, he was promoted and took a command in South Carolina but can't seem to find what he was doing in that summer. I'll have to see of there was a unit history for the Brooks Light Artillery written and see if it may be available on Google Books.

Ryan
 

Malingerer

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Thanks for your post @PeterT . I have seen the alignment shown as it is on your map lots of times before. In fact thats the way its shown on most every map youll see.

The reason Tom and I were so excited about Capt Lemon's account of the alignment is that the brigade "always" went into battle with the 16th Georgia in the center. So it was typically aligned from L-R as Phillip's Legion, Cobbs Legion, 16th GA, 24th GA, and 18th GA - at least that was the typical alignment after it was reorganized.

BUT all these years everyone has based the alignment of the regiments in Wofford's brigade at Gburg off of Batchelder's maps. Having studied the brigade in detail, I questioned that. It wasnt how they typically aligned and I could find no reason why they would have aligned differently here. Terrain? no worse than anywhere else and much better than some. Obstacles? no - well there was some concentration of the enemy to be dealt with, but they were used to that. Absent Brig Gen? No -Wofford was there. Absent Cols? well yes..... but that was pretty common. McMillan of the 24th was OLD and absent on furlough a lot. :smile: So no reason I could see to change an alignment that had always worked well for them in the past.

Anyway, along the way I have found a few others (Philip Musket, Jay Jorgensen, etc) who agreed with me - that Batchelder was probably wrong. But with so few primary source materials, it was difficult to prove for sure. Now we know for sure. :bounce::dance::bounce:

I have no idea about the artillery. Thanks for pointing that out. I do know that EP Alexander said there were 18 guns brought forward but as far as whose, I dont know. I will be interested to see what Tom has to say. Maybe we can also convince @Eric Wittenberg to read through the thread and weigh in with his opinion.
Laura, according to Jay Jorgensen in his article about Wofford's Brigade in Gettysburg Magazine, Bachelder was probably wrong in his alignment and, that according to an August 5, 1863 Richmond Daily Enquirer written by a member of Wofford's staff, the alignment was the standard one with the 3rd batt'n sharpshooters out front as skirmishers and the rest of the brigade lined up with the 18th on the right followed to the left by the 24th, the 16th, Cobb's and lastly Phillip's.
On the other hand, I noticed that Gottfried in his Maps of Gettysburg, follows the Bachelder alignment. I noticed also that Pfanz mentions that nobody seems to know where Bachelder got his info about the alignment for his maps.
 

Tom Elmore

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I thought I would make a comment as I now have these laminated Battle of Gettysburg Field Maps and was following the comments on this thread and thought what better way to start of using them. Thanks @lelliott19 and @Tom Elmore!

The Gettysburg Foundation Field Maps show the alignment as at "July 2 1863 - Mid Afternoon". These maps used Batchelders maps as part of the overall production and the alignment is shown below as (north to south) Phillips, Cobbs, 24thGA, 3rdGA, 18thGA and 16thGA. Several well renowned researchers (Scott Hartwig, Harry Pfanz, Eric Wittenberg et al) were also involved in the production of the maps.

So when the attack began, the 3rdGA were ahead of the others as skirmishers, as described by Lemon. But the alignment of the others is different as Lemon places the order as described by him above as Phillips, Cobbs, 16th, 24th and 18th. Now this was an "early afternoon" depiction in the Field Maps, so perhaps they moved around and exchanged places prior to the attack. They are shown here all north of the Wheatfield Road. Capt Lemon describes the legions as being north and the others south of the road. Anyway all very interesting.

One other thing. The battery's they moved through were described by Tom as most likely Rhett, Moody, Taylor and Parker. The map below shows the northern battery as Gilbert not Rhett. Did something happen to poor Gilbert just prior to the attack?

View attachment 115455
Peter,

Laura's post sums up the issue of the alignment of Wofford's brigade, as seconded by Malingerer. I do believe Capt. Lemon's description should be accepted as definitive. Also on the Field Map that you posted, I would quibble with the placement of Barksdale's brigade, moving it slightly south so that the 21st Mississippi was behind Taylor and Parker.

As for the batteries, Parker, Taylor, Moody and Rhett's (under Gilbert) batteries all began the action with four guns apiece. Capt. Patterson actually had command over seven guns for a time, including one Howitzer from Ross' Battery.

As was noted, Lt. Stephen Capers Gilbert served as the acting captain at Gettysburg after Capt. Rhett had transferred, although the Confederates evidently would refer to a unit by its long-standing commander (for instance, Nicholl's brigade, which was commanded by Col. Williams at Gettysburg; or Perry's brigade, commanded by Col. Lang). Gilbert was promoted to First Lieutenant on the field by Col. E. P. Alexander. It is my understanding that Gilbert subsequently convinced Lt. William W. Fickling (promoted in September 1863) to take command of the battery, after which it was known as Fickling's battery. Lt. Fickling was slightly wounded at Gettysburg. Second Lieutenant Edmund F. O'Neill of this battery was also severely wounded at Gettysburg and captured during the retreat. Gilbert's battery went into action at Gettysburg with 70 men and reportedly lost 10 killed outright, with 20 others mortally or severely wounded, and 12 less seriously wounded. The battery also lost 25 horses and had two guns dismounted. Gilbert was initially wounded in the left arm during the battle, but remained on the field until felled by a shot in the left leg (on July 3), which disabled him for 107 days - probably why Fickling took over in his stead. According to Private Albert H. Prince's diary, on July 2 three caissons were blown up and two guns (12-pounder Howitzers) of the battery were put out of action. Only the remaining two Howitzers went forward into the Peach Orchard after Barksdale cleared it, and took part in the following day's work supporting the grand assault.
 
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PeterT

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Peter,

Laura's post sums up the issue of the alignment of Wofford's brigade, as seconded by Malingerer. I do believe Capt. Lemon's description should be accepted as definitive. Also on the Field Map that you posted, I would quibble with the placement of Barksdale's brigade, moving it slightly south so that the 21st Mississippi was behind Taylor and Parker.

As for the batteries, Parker, Taylor, Moody and Rhett's (under Gilbert) batteries all began the action with four guns apiece. Capt. Patterson actually had command over seven guns for a time, including one Howitzer from Ross' Battery.

As was noted, Lt. Stephen Capers Gilbert served as the acting captain at Gettysburg after Capt. Rhett had transferred, although the Confederates evidently would refer to a unit by its long-standing commander (for instance, Nicholl's brigade, which was commanded by Col. Williams at Gettysburg; or Perry's brigade, commanded by Col. Lang). Gilbert was promoted to First Lieutenant on the field by Col. E. P. Alexander. It is my understanding that Gilbert subsequently convinced Lt. William W. Fickling (promoted in September 1863) to take command of the battery, after which it was known as Fickling's battery. Lt. Fickling was slightly wounded at Gettysburg. Second Lieutenant Edmund F. O'Neill of this battery was also severely wounded at Gettysburg and captured during the retreat. Gilbert's battery went into action at Gettysburg with 70 men and reportedly lost 10 killed outright, with 20 others mortally or severely wounded, and 12 less seriously wounded. The battery also lost 25 horses and had two guns dismounted. Gilbert was initially wounded in the left arm during the battle, but remained on the field until felled by a shot in the left leg (on July 3), which disabled him for 107 days - probably why Fickling took over in his stead. According to Private Albert H. Prince's diary, on July 2 three caissons were blown up and two guns (12-pounder Howitzers) of the battery were put out of action. Only the remaining two Howitzers went forward into the Peach Orchard after Barksdale cleared it, and took part in the following day's work supporting the grand assault.
Thanks Tom.

That's excellent information! And thanks to @Malingerer too for the additional information on the alignment.

Looks like Bachelder was incorrect with his positioning.
 

rpkennedy

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Peter,

Laura's post sums up the issue of the alignment of Wofford's brigade, as seconded by Malingerer. I do believe Capt. Lemon's description should be accepted as definitive. Also on the Field Map that you posted, I would quibble with the placement of Barksdale's brigade, moving it slightly south so that the 21st Mississippi was behind Taylor and Parker.

As for the batteries, Parker, Taylor, Moody and Rhett's (under Gilbert) batteries all began the action with four guns apiece. Capt. Patterson actually had command over seven guns for a time, including one Howitzer from Ross' Battery.

As was noted, Lt. Stephen Capers Gilbert served as the acting captain at Gettysburg after Capt. Rhett had transferred, although the Confederates evidently would refer to a unit by its long-standing commander (for instance, Nicholl's brigade, which was commanded by Col. Williams at Gettysburg; or Perry's brigade, commanded by Col. Lang). Gilbert was promoted to First Lieutenant on the field by Col. E. P. Alexander. It is my understanding that Gilbert subsequently convinced Lt. William W. Fickling (promoted in September 1863) to take command of the battery, after which it was known as Fickling's battery. Lt. Fickling was slightly wounded at Gettysburg. Second Lieutenant Edmund F. O'Neill of this battery was also severely wounded at Gettysburg and captured during the retreat. Gilbert's battery went into action at Gettysburg with 70 men and reportedly lost 10 killed outright, with 20 others mortally or severely wounded, and 12 less seriously wounded. The battery also lost 25 horses and had two guns dismounted. Gilbert was initially wounded in the left arm during the battle, but remained on the field until felled by a shot in the left leg (on July 3), which disabled him for 107 days - probably why Fickling took over in his stead. According to Private Albert H. Prince's diary, on July 2 three caissons were blown up and two guns (12-pounder Howitzers) of the battery were put out of action. Only the remaining two Howitzers went forward into the Peach Orchard after Barksdale cleared it, and took part in the following day's work supporting the grand assault.
Do we know when Rhett was transferred and if it was to the South Carolina position that he would assume as a major in December 1863?

And, to be fair, Colonels Williams and Lang were only in temporary command of those brigades since the regular commanders were recuperating from wounds. Rhett was probably still technically in command of the battery and, as we all know, the army can be a bit of a stickler for technicalities. :wink:

Ryan
 

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@Tom Elmore I found an account from a member of Alexander's battery:

....The men were in splendid spirits. It would have done your heart good (for it filled my eyes with tears) to see Gen. Wofford's brigade charge the enemy who was strongly posted in a large peach orchard about 500 yards from the grove in which our battery was placed. Between these two points was a gentle valley, covered with clover and corn, affording no protection. The enemy's artillery in this orchard had damaged us terribly. One battery in this battalion (Rhett's SC Ficklin commanding) had lost 30 (or 80? difficult to read) in less than an hour. But other batteries came rapidly in line, and the enemy's fire slackened a little. Wofford's men were lying just behind us, under cover of a hill. The order was given to advance. We ceased firing a moment, and the noble brigade filed between our guns, amid a thousand cheers from full and admiring hearts of the artillery. They leaped the low stone fence, and soon the noble line of two full regiments was formed, and began to descend the slope toward the orchard. The gallant General rode to the front, with his hat high above his head, first cheering on the regiment on the left, and then galloped along the line of that upon the right. The charge terrified the enemy, for he made no resistance. Soon the brigade and its noble commander entered the orchard, and the artillery which had been playing over their heads ceased, and this strong position was won. Long may Gen Wofford live to lead his men to victory.
Excerpted from article entitled "More about the battle of Gettysburg" Daily Intelligencer., Wheeling, Va. August 01, 1863, page 1.

In the article, there's lots more about artillery activity on day 3, but the above is pretty much all the writer has to say about artillery activity during the charge of Wofford's brigade. For anyone who'd like to read the entire article, here's the link
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84026845/1863-08-01/ed-1/seq-1/#date1=1863&index=4&rows=20&words=Wofford&searchType=basic&sequence=0&state=&date2=1863&proxtext=Wofford&y=0&x=0&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1
 
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Malingerer

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What do you suppose the writer meant by the "noble line of two regiments" and "the regiment on the left ...that upon the right"? Clearly, we are talking about a battle line made up of a line of five battalions - so I can't visualize quite what the writer means unless the battalions were so closely aligned that it looked like just two regiments.
 

lelliott19

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I wondered about that too @Malingerer

From Tom's numbers posted previously
The numbers are based on Busey and Busey's Regimental Strengths, which oddly have the 16, 18 and 24 Georgia nearly identical in size, and that suggests hard data is lacking. In any event, the estimate is still reasonably close. Here are the figures broken down by regiment:
- Phillip's Legion, 240 enlisted men, with a front of 220 feet.
- Cobb's Legion, 177 men, front 162 feet.
- 16 GA, 266 men, front 244 feet.
- 24 GA, 266 men, front 244 feet.
- 18 GA, 265 men, front 243 feet.
From these numbers, one can deduce that about one third (1/3) of Wofford's brigade moved north of the Wheatfield road, and the remaining two thirds (2/3) moved south of that road when the brigade arrived at the Wheatfield.
So according to these numbers, the entire brigade's infantry was made up of around 1214 men - which would have appeared to be the size of one very large regiment or else two below strength regiments. But I would think that the men of Alexander's battalion would have known which infantry regiments of the brigade were which? Maybe not though?
 

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Laura's explanation makes sense. The writer also credits Wofford's brigade for clearing out the Peach Orchard, when it was actually done by Barksdale's brigade. By the way, his description of opening fire on enemy skirmishers at 4:30 a.m. on July 3 may be a reference to the 149th and 150th Pennsylvania, which had been out since the previous evening on skirmish duty just south of the Codori buildings. If I recall correctly, early on July 3 caissons were detonated in Lt. Evan Thomas' Battery C, 4th U.S. Artillery and Cushing's Battery A, 4th U.S. Artillery.
 
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I did look through all of my notes and whatnot last night but nothing mentions why Captain A. Burnett Rhett missed out on Gettysburg. Later that year, he was promoted and took a command in South Carolina but can't seem to find what he was doing in that summer. I'll have to see of there was a unit history for the Brooks Light Artillery written and see if it may be available on Google Books.

Ryan

While good gosh, everyone knows Rhett was with Scarlett ......................lol...............I'm sorry I could not help myself !! :smile:
I'll sit back down now.................

Rhett & Scarlett.jpg

Respectfully,
William
 

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Excerpts from "Grandpa's War Stories" written in 1907 by EH Sutton of Company K 24th Ga.

General Barksdale:

There was a field just in advance of us, and Barksdale's Mississippians were in the edge of the woods some forty paces to our front. I got leave of my Captain to go forward and reconnoiter, promising to return at once if the line was formed. When I reached the edge of the wood Barksdale's men had formed line in the edge of the field preparing to charge. General Barksdale came back to near where I stood hidden by undergrowth and stepping behind a large white oak uncovered his head and with his right hand and face lifted up began his silent prayer. I could see his lips move but heard no sound. Before his devotions were ended a courier came with an order. One of his aides went to him and touched him and gave him the message. He replaced his cap walked rapidly to his horse, mounted, and gave the order to "Charge, bayonets forward, double quick march"and away they went. In a few minutes Barksdale had given his life to Southern Independence. He was killed on that charge.
.....

.....
When I returned to the line I found them preparing to advance out into the open field and away at a double quick to our place in Barksdale's left.

Will post more if y'all want it.
 

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More from Sutton,

The charge on the second of July:

Soon we encountered a line of battle and charged them receiving the fire and returning it. Part of it was left down on the field, part of it surrendered and the remainder fled. On we went some distance and met a new line. It vanished before like the first. Then on again and demolishing our third regular line of battle, charging through the peach orchard firing as we went and still on. No wonder we were almost crazy with the joy of victory and had grown careless of our alignment.
 
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Podad

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More from Sutton

What we had done:

We had come three quarters of a mile and destroyed three regular lines of battle. There was a battery in our front just across a little rocky, swampy vale. Colonel Thomas of the Sixteenth Georgia came along urging us on. "One more effort boys" said he "And the battery is ours" I and a few others made the effort but before reaching the battery I looked right and left for my comrades and they were not there. There was a Yankee standing not more than thirty paces in front of me. He had a white shirt front and I took aim at it and pulled the trigger. The cap did not explode and I removed it and replaced it with another and turned and ran back perhaps forty or fifty yards. There I saw Pat Waddell a member of our company lying behind a a big shelving rock. He said " Sutton get down here" and I tumbled down with him behind the rock. I said lets go back. He said "If you rise you will be killed there are going to fire" and about that time the volley came and I proposed to run back but he said " no we will be killed"
 

Podad

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More from Sutton:

In a few seconds the line was upon us. They told us to go to the rear. I cut my strap and belt and shed my cartridge box as I rose. As I came up a burly Irishman presented his gun at my breast and was pulling the trigger cursing me. A file closer saw what he would do and pushed the gun aside just as it fired, cursing him and bidding him go forward and fight those who had not surrendered. He then told me to go to the rear which I did as fast as I could run for the rebel bullets were now coming thick and fast. As I ran I felt a jerk on my hat and saw a hat like mine fall to the ground in front of me. I took notice that there was a great hole in the brim made by a bullet but I was scared so bad I ran several paces before I recognized it as my own. I then felt my head and my hat was gone bit id did not turn back. I knew the rebel bullets hunted me and I wished to get out of range. I had a cap under my hat and was wearing it to keep the hot sun off my neck.

A few steps further on I met a Yankee corporal and he told me he would accompany me to the rear if I would say he had captured me. I said "All right" and we started, and coming to the place where I had snapped at the Yankee we saw one very like him lying on the ground, his breast pierced by a bullet. He appealed to us to take him away. We assisted him to arise, but on rising the blood gushed from the wound and he fainted away. We laid him down and left him half dead. Another volley from the Confederates reminded us that we were still in range of their bullets so we walked briskly on till we came to another line of battle. The Corporal escorted me to his Colonel and said to him, " Colonel, I have another prisoner" "All right, carry him to the rear" said the Colonel and on we went, passing two more regular lines of battle that had took no part in the battle , to the top of the ridge where eh turned to me and said "Johnny you look tired" I answered that I was and he proposed that we sit down and take a rest. ............................................................
 
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