Joseph B Kershaw on the 8th South Carolina at Chickamauga

lelliott19

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By the morning of September 20, 1863 at Chickamauga, James Longstreet had been able to assemble eight of his brigades; Kershaw's South Carolinians and Humphreys' Mississippians, of McLaws' division were among them. Bryan's and Wofford's brigades of the same division, being the last two to be transported, had not yet arrived on the field. I'm sure everyone is familiar with the successful assault that day. Here is a glimpse into an individual regiment, provided by Joseph Brevard Kershaw, commanding his own brigade, and the division that day.

At Chickamauga there were but two brigades of our division up at the beginning of the fight, our brigade [Kershaw's South Carolina] and Humphreys' [Mississippi brigade]. We were on the right, Humphreys' on the left, supporting Hood's division and being about 200 yards behind them. We marched through a dense wood for some distance, when the fire suddenly became furious on Hood's right flank, and soon his whole line gave way to the left in confusion, uncovering our front.​
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Col John Williford Henagan, 8th South Carolina Fold3
Comprehending that he had been misled as to the direction of the enemy, and had presented his flank squarely to them, Col. [John Williford] Henagan [commanding 8th SC] was directed to change front to the right, the eighth [8th SC] being on the right, and hold the enemy in check while the rest of the brigade changed its front. The movement was executed with great promptness and the pressure thus removed from our flank.​
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Lt Col Axalla John Hoole, 8th South Carolina. Killed at Chickamauga. FindAGrave
I saw nothing more of the Eighth [8th SC] that day. The brigade front was changed and a charge made which has become historical. Gen. Humphreys was directed to change front and move upon our right, which he promptly did. He tells the rest of the story. After moving some half or three-quarters of a mile, driving everything before him, he discovered three full regiments of the enemy somewhat isolated in a thick wood, and he laid his plans to surround and capture them. At the very moment when all was ready to gather them in, he says, a small band of men (two or three hundred) from some unseen cover rushed upon those three large regiments and scattered them like frightened sheep.​
Upon inquiring what troops they were he was answered, "the Eighth South Carolina." The Eighth had been busy all morning, fighting on its "own hook," and pitching into everything that came in its way. They gladly fell into line with Humphreys, and shared in all the proud achievements of the day, paying their proportion of the sacrifice demanded by the God of Battles. Among their dead was the gallant and faithful officer and soldier, Lieut. Col. [Axalla John] Hoole.​
[The Anderson Intelligencer.(Anderson Court House, SC), October 19, 1882, page 1.]​
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lelliott19

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So for those who were in attendance at the Chickamuaga gathering in 2018, remember that Norman said Humphreys' Mississippi brigade was right there in the woods at Horseshoe ridge when Kershaw's came up on their left? But neither one knew the other was there? And so neither made a move. This account, by one who should have known, says the 8th SC "fell into line with Humphreys." Does that mean that this regiment - the 8th SC - was over there with Humphreys and not with Kershaw at Horseshoe Ridge? @bdtex @Buckeye Bill @major bill anyone else?
 

rebel brit

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So for those who were in attendance at the Chickamuaga gathering in 2018, remember that Norman said Humphreys' Mississippi brigade was right there in the woods at Horseshoe ridge when Kershaw's came up on their left? But neither one knew the other was there? And so neither made a move. This account, by one who should have known, says the 8th SC "fell into line with Humphreys." Does that mean that this regiment - the 8th SC - was over there with Humphreys and not with Kershaw at Horseshoe Ridge? @bdtex @Buckeye Bill @major bill anyone else?


Looking at the maps we were given at Chickamauga it shows the 8th SC in line attacking with Kershaw, however after reading through the relevant chapter of David A. Powell's book ' The Chickamauga Campaign, Glory or the Grave: The Breakthrough, the Union Collapse, and the Defense of Horseshoe Ridge , September 20, 1863. It states that on Kershaw's 1st attack his three right-hand regiments, (7th, 15th & 8th SC) "obliqued to the right" opening up a considerable gap from the left hand regiments (2nd, 3rd Batt & 3rd SC). The 8th SC drifted so far to the right that another gap of several hundred yards opened between it and the 15th SC. The 8th did not come into contact with any Federals at all, moving into the timber between Snodgrass Hill & Kelly Field.
As Humphreys followed in Kershaws wake, an officer misidentified by Humphreys as Bushrod Johnson, ordered him to advance North on Kershaws right. As the 8th SC drifted even farther to the right, Humphreys Mississippians filled the gap between the 15th & 8th SC.
The 8th SC which ended up on the Eastern most side of Humphreys Brigade lost 13% (or 28 out of 215 engaged) as opposed to the 2nd & 3rd SC suffered 44% & 48% losses respectively.
Hopefully this may go someway to explain the above newspaper account.
 

lelliott19

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Fascinating! Thanks Ken. I guess I need to see if there's anything written by someone in the 7th or 15th SC. Or if Kershaw wrote anything about those regiments.
The 8th did not come into contact with any Federals at all,
Well, the 8th SC must've come into contact with at least some Federals somewhere since Lt Col Hoole was killed and 28 others were killed or wounded?
 
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