I Heard them Pronounce me Dead, and Pass on, Leaving me there to be Buried

John Hartwell

Major
Forum Host
Joined
Aug 27, 2011
Location
Central Massachusetts
... and worse was to follow ...

It was a recollection of horror, experienced by Sgt. Danforth L. Converse, Co. F, 31st Massachusetts Volunteers:

"During the engagement of April 8th., 1864, [at Mansfield, La.] between forces under Gen. N. T. Banks, Commanding Federal Troops, and Gen. J. A. Pearly, Commanding Confederates, I received a severe gunshot wound through [my] right thigh. Being ordered to the rear by Capt. L. F. Rice, I proceeded as far as my failing strength would permit, when I sank fainting from loss of blood. I soon recovered consciousness, however, and was fully aware of everything around me, but unable to move a muscle or even open my eyes. While in this condition, our Army was obliged to fall back before the superior and overwhelming numbers of the Enemies’ forces, and I remember distinctly how Capt. Rice and Orderly Sergt. Chas. H. Horr came to my side, and hearing them both pronounce me dead. Oh God! How I struggled to open my eyes to speak; to make even a sign of life. But there was no time to loiter by the side of the dead, and they passed on, leaving me there to be buried by stranger hands.
"The armies and the hours moved on; soon night closed in, and it was the most horrible night I ever witnessed. Lying all around me, were the dead and dying; but, horror of horrors, soon after dark, it seemed as though the woods about where I lay were alive with hogs. And Oh! the groans of those poor helpless fellows who were torn and mangled by them, still ring in my ears.
"But night passed and morning dawned, and through a divine Providence and a naturally strong constitution, I had recovered sufficient strength, so that I thought I might safely move on and perhaps find my old Company. Vain delusion! I only wandered out of the track of both armies and soon fainted from sheer exhaustion. Another day gone, another night closes in, and so on, for four successive days, and then relief came in form. I was picked up by the Enemy as a Prisoner of War."

Sgt. Converse’s subsequent experiences after his capture and as a prisoner of war may be read at The 31st Massachusetts Volunteers website.
 
Joined
Jul 19, 2016
Location
Spotsylvania Virginia
... and worse was to follow ...

It was a recollection of horror, experienced by Sgt. Danforth L. Converse, Co. F, 31st Massachusetts Volunteers:

"During the engagement of April 8th., 1864, [at Mansfield, La.] between forces under Gen. N. T. Banks, Commanding Federal Troops, and Gen. J. A. Pearly, Commanding Confederates, I received a severe gunshot wound through [my] right thigh. Being ordered to the rear by Capt. L. F. Rice, I proceeded as far as my failing strength would permit, when I sank fainting from loss of blood. I soon recovered consciousness, however, and was fully aware of everything around me, but unable to move a muscle or even open my eyes. While in this condition, our Army was obliged to fall back before the superior and overwhelming numbers of the Enemies’ forces, and I remember distinctly how Capt. Rice and Orderly Sergt. Chas. H. Horr came to my side, and hearing them both pronounce me dead. Oh God! How I struggled to open my eyes to speak; to make even a sign of life. But there was no time to loiter by the side of the dead, and they passed on, leaving me there to be buried by stranger hands.
"The armies and the hours moved on; soon night closed in, and it was the most horrible night I ever witnessed. Lying all around me, were the dead and dying; but, horror of horrors, soon after dark, it seemed as though the woods about where I lay were alive with hogs. And Oh! the groans of those poor helpless fellows who were torn and mangled by them, still ring in my ears.
"But night passed and morning dawned, and through a divine Providence and a naturally strong constitution, I had recovered sufficient strength, so that I thought I might safely move on and perhaps find my old Company. Vain delusion! I only wandered out of the track of both armies and soon fainted from sheer exhaustion. Another day gone, another night closes in, and so on, for four successive days, and then relief came in form. I was picked up by the Enemy as a Prisoner of War."

Sgt. Converse’s subsequent experiences after his capture and as a prisoner of war may be read at The 31st Massachusetts Volunteers website.
What a thought provoking story! Thank you for sharing it
 
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