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lelliott19

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"The enemy showed examples of bravery in that battle that they never exhibited to such an extent in any fight before. We saw lines formed under our terrible fire and moved up to our lines in the most daring manner, and it is said that some of our troops met them actually with the bayonet and butts of their guns..." On July 13, 1863, during the retreat, a correspondent of General Benning's Georgia brigade identified only as "Tout-Le-Monde," seated himself to record events of the Battle of Gettysburg. His recollections were sent from Hagerstown, Maryland to the Savannah Republican and published July 23, 1863.

Letter From the Army
Hagerstown, MD, July 13

Editor Savannah Republican: --This invasion has been of very little profit to the Confederacy so far, but in the humble opinion of your correspondent it may have been of the greatest importance....

In Gen. Benning's brigade there were examples of bravery never surpassed. The General himself rode through the storm that came from those summits like a mountain torrent, perfectly calm, and the men had a noble example of bravery, which they followed most explicitly. His horse was shot, but the fates spared him. Lt. Col. William T. Harris, of the 2d Georgia, went before his men in that awful gorge as if he were leading them to a parade. Col. John A. Jones, of the 20th Georgia, was a prominent example to every doubting heart in his command; but he and Col. Harris fell in all their glorious deeds, to rise never again for our cause or for the delight of their heart-stricken families at home. Everywhere, horror had a great feast that day. Beside and in a little stream that forced its way through the gorge where the 17th [Georgia] and 2d [Georgia] met the foe, so many of the enemy and so many of the Southerners fell that the water was tinged with the blood that flowed into it, so desperate was the fight.

The enemy showed examples of bravery in that battle that they never exhibited to such an extent in any fight before. We saw lines formed under our terrible fire and moved up to our lines in the most daring manner, and it is said that some of our troops met them actually with the bayonet and buts of their guns. The Sixteenth Georgia engaged the U.S. Regulars in a desperate conflict of this sort, in which a stubborn fight ensued for the colors. The enemy lost the stand.

On the fourth the cavalry forces of the enemy appeared on our right flank endeavoring to get into our wagon train. Gen. Anderson's brigade skirmished with them all day. Gradually giving way in the evening the enemy was drawn into our lines, and about 200 of this force were cut off entirely from the main body. Gen. Farnsworth commanded them, and upon discovering his situation attempted to break through our lines. Everywhere a blaze of musketry met him. At last, dashing up in front of the bold 1st Texas, he was commanded to surrender; but he was a brave, daring man, and stinging under the mortification of being captured, drew a revolver and blew his own brains out. It was a pity; a Southerner would rejoice to honor such courage. All of his command, except what was shot down in the fire, surrendered, without following his example....

Tout-Le-Monde

Sources:
Art - "Georgia Tide," A Gettysburg Diograph by Dennis Morris, Limited Edition https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GKAGW4M/?tag=civilwartalkc-20
Letter - The Savannah Republican., July 23, 1863, page 1.
Edited: "fell in all their glorious deeds, to ride never again" - corrected spelling error; "ride" should be "rise"
 
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PeterT

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but he was a brave, daring man, and stinging under the mortification of being captured, drew a revolver and blew his own brains out
I was unaware of this, but I note that Wikipedia states that ….. "An account by Confederate Colonel William C. Oates claimed that Farnsworth was surrounded by Confederate soldiers and committed suicide to avoid capture, but this has been disputed by other witnesses and discounted by most historians."

Our own @Eric Wittenberg has claimed on his Rantings of a Civil War Historian website "... Given that he was mounted when shot by infantry, who had to aim high to hit him, it makes sense that these wounds would have been sustained in the bottom half of his body, and that there would have been no evidence of him having shot himself in the head, as some claimed."

I guess I am curious as to why it was claimed he committed suicide. Just one of those mysteries I suppose.
 
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lelliott19

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I guess I am curious as to why it was claimed he committed suicide.
No idea Peter. All I know is that I think it was a very poor call by Kilpatrick to send Farnsworth into that melee. I think some other member of Oates regiment also reported it was a suicide? Perhaps that account included a few more details than our friend "Toute-Le-Monde?" Do you know of any other accounts that report it as a suicide?
 
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PeterT

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No idea Peter. All I know is that I think it was a very poor call by Kilpatrick to send Farnsworth into that melee. I think some other member of Oates regiment also reported it was a suicide? Perhaps that account included a few more details than our friend "Toute-Le-Monde?" Do you know of any other accounts that report it as a suicide?
I will look for other suicide reports. But, there may have been a sense of hatred for Farnsworth. David Petruzzi in his Hoofbeats and Cold Steel webpage commented that:

"The Confederates grew to both fear and hate the impetuous young officer. In November, he and other members of the 8th skirmished with troopers of the 1st Virginia Cavalry in November near Warrenton VA. A Confederate horseman named Billy Dulin had his horse shot from under him and was pinned under the animal. Farnsworth, drawing his pistol, shot Dulin, mortally wounding him. The men of the 1st Virginia swore vengeance upon Farnsworth, and every trooper in Dulin’s company scratched Farnsworth’s name on their cartridge boxes, swearing that “it would only be a matter of time until he [Farnsworth] would meet his fate.” It would be a savored task indeed to be the one to bring the young captain down."

If there was a motive of revenge passed through the regiments, then why not just say they shot him dead. I suppose some say suicide is cowardly. But in this context? There was no head wound so the whole suicide theory has been debunked.
 

Ole Miss

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This is an excellent thread and I appreciate your sharing. I was really struck by one line in particular of the on the scene article.

"The enemy showed examples of bravery in that battle that they never exhibited to such an extent in any fight before. We saw lines formed under our terrible fire and moved up to our lines in the most daring manner...

Obviously Ole Tout-Le-Monde had not been at any previous battle! Antietam and Fredericksburg are examples that come to mind of the Federals arranging their lines and moving.

Having an example of the Southern Fifth Estate falls right in with the wonderful lecture by Dr. Richard McMurry at the 2019 Baton Rouge CWRT Symposium this past April. Dr. McMurray mentioned that due to the lack of reporters and reports that Southern papers freely exchanged copies of their papers and combed through personal letters from the soldiers.
Regards
David
PS I highly recommend that you make plans for the 2020 Baton Rouge CWRT Symposium
 

JPK Huson 1863

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What has always staggered me is seeing the 15th Alabama there, as if LRT hadn't been enough. Boy did those boys have stories when they got home, those that did. Looked up their casualties, also surprising given Gettysburg alone. Of 1600 plus, they lost 220 in battle? Even one was someone's tragedy but given their war you'd think it would be higher.

Tell you what. Standing where Farnsworth's men went in while Eric drew those moments for us is one of the most time altering experiences I've had during endless trips to Gettysburg. You were there. He wasn't lyrical, verbose or dramatic he just gave you a seat in the front row as Kilpatrick sent those men to their deaths. I'm quite serious- who needs movies or time travel? Had a battered copy of The Book with me that day, scribbled copiously with notes taken while we stood on that spot and it'll still take me there reading them.

Yes, pretty sure the suicide was invented, no idea why. That isn't a slam at Oates, ( I thought it was a different man telling that story? ) it's just baffling. NOT as baffling as Kilpatrick's order. Kilcavalry. He earned that nickname.
 
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dlavin

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Was on a battlefield walk yesterday with Matt Atkinson and his son Ben all about Benning's Brigade. It was 92 degrees with 1000% humidity and 250 of my closest friends. Started at Devils Den and went down to the trolley path and circled back to Devils Den. Hot as blazes. God awful ground they had to go over and they performed very well.
 

rpkennedy

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Was on a battlefield walk yesterday with Matt Atkinson and his son Ben all about Benning's Brigade. It was 92 degrees with 1000% humidity and 250 of my closest friends. Started at Devils Den and went down to the trolley path and circled back to Devils Den. Hot as blazes. God awful ground they had to go over and they performed very well.
I have it DVRed because I was working and it was too hot.

Ryan
 
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