Journey of the Confederate Wounded on the Retreat from Gettysburg

Tom Elmore

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On July 4, 1863, seriously wounded Confederates who could stand the travel during the retreat were placed into army ambulances and wagons (frequently empty forage or ammunition wagons), or even in private conveyances that had been confiscated in Pennsylvania. Below three examples (more to follow later) identify the type of vehicle, the occupants, their regiment and other details. The source is always one of the wounded occupants, as noted. Rarely identified is the teamster who drove the vehicle, although he was usually a member of the same regiment.

The data was pulled together to better understand how the wagon train of wounded was organized, determine the fate of the wounded (whether they recovered to serve again), the segregation of officers from enlisted men, and other details of the journey itself. It is not that common to find sources who mention their travel companions, which I suppose may be attributed to the utter misery of the journey and exhaustion of the occupants, who were just trying to survive a grueling ordeal, all the while facing the threat of attacks by Federal cavalry. It appears the route took them to Williamsport, Maryland by early July 6, and subsequently across the Potomac once the water level dropped, and thence to Winchester, Virginia, with onward travel to either the railroad terminus at Staunton (bound for Richmond), or other hospitals in Virginia.

A. Wagon, carrying five wounded of the 22nd North Carolina Infantry:

Captain Gaston V. Lamb, Company I, wounded by gunshot in both thighs on July 1, his second wound of the war. He was admitted to General Hospital #4 in Richmond on July 21, and was furloughed five months later. Lamb returned to the army and was wounded a third time in the left leg at Jericho Mills on May 23, 1864. He surrendered at Appomattox on April 9, 1865.

Captain Joseph T. Conley, Company B, wounded on July 3. He made it only as far as Winchester, where he died on July 29. His effects, consisting of $13.20, were given to his father.

Second Lieutenant Oliver M. Pike, Company L, wounded by gunshot in right foot on July 1. He was admitted to General Hospital #4 in Richmond on July 21 and two days later was furloughed for 60 days. As of November 15, 1864 he was serving as a conscript officer in North Carolina.

Sergeant William W. Cunningham, Company H, wounded on July 1. He was captured in a hospital in Jordan Springs, Virginia on July 26, and died on July 31.

Private A. J. (Aurelius James) Dula, Company A, wounded on July 2 by a shell in both legs and by another shell fragment in the foot, while lying down in the line of battle. Assistant Surgeon Benjamin A. Cheek gave Dula a choice of going back in a wagon or staying behind to be captured. He elected to ride. Dula said they received nothing to eat or drink until they arrived in Williamsport on July 6. Late the same afternoon, while the teamster’s fight was in progress nearby, Dula crawled out of his wagon and onto the ferry boat to cross the Potomac. He was admitted to Chimborazo Hospital #5 in Richmond on July 15 and transferred to Raleigh on July 28. Dula returned to the army and was captured at Jerusalem Plank Road on June 22, 1864. He was exchanged at Boulware’s Wharf on February 20, 1865. He recalled his experiences in 1908.

(Sources: Private A. J. Dula, Civil War Incidents, Old Fort, North Carolina, September 22, 1908, Duke University Libraries, Special Collections, Section A; Compiled Service Records; John and Travis Busey, Confederate Casualties at Gettysburg)

B. Wagon, carrying six wounded, all from Company H, 4th Texas Infantry:

Private Zack Landrum, shot through the thigh above the knee on July 2, received at General Hospital #9 in Richmond on July 24, but it seems all of the Texans were soon forwarded to the Texas Hospital in Richmond. Zack wrote letters to his mother from Winchester, Virginia on July 15, and from Richmond on August 24, noting that he and five others from his company rode in a wagon to Williamsport. They drove without stopping or anything to eat. Landrum continued the journey to Winchester in an ambulance. He was admitted to General Hospital #9 in Richmond on July 24. Landrum did not identify his five comrades, but the following four from his company were probably with him until Williamsport:

Private F. G. King, severely wounded in the shoulder, received at General Hospital #9 in Richmond on July 19. King was present with his regiment by early 1864.

Private Robert Rankin, finger shot off, received at General Hospital #9 in Richmond on July 19. He eventually returned to his regiment.

Private James H. Sharp, contusion of the foot, received at General Hospital #9 in Richmond on July 19. He was killed June 22, 1864 in the trenches before Petersburg.

Private John H. Talliaferro, gunshot wound in the thigh, received at General Hospital #9 in Richmond on July 15. He was honorably retired on July 8, 1864.

(Sources: Letters of Zack Landrum, Robert L. Brake Collection, U.S. Army Military History Institute, Carlisle, PA; Compiled Service Records; John and Travis Busey, Confederate Casualties at Gettysburg; http://www.civilwarrichmond.com/general-hospitals/general-hospital-9)

C. Wagon, carrying at least five wounded of Company I, 8th Georgia Infantry:

1st Lieutenant John C. Reid, gunshot wound right knee, admitted July 13 to General Hospital #4 in Richmond. While halted in Cashtown, an unidentified woman dressed his wound and gave him bread, honey and milk [it might have been Eliza Stem, the wife of a local physician, Dr. William C. Stem]. Reid asked “if she was a copperhead and she pleasantly replied that she would not yet declare her sentiments.” At Greencastle, on July 5, their wagon narrowly escaped a raid by Federal cavalry; they were saved by Confederate infantry assigned to guard the train.

2nd Lieutenant Columbus Heard, gunshot left side of abdomen. After traveling a short distance, Heard had to be left behind at Cashtown, where he was captured and sent to the Union General Hospital in Chester, Pennsylvania. He was exchanged on March 22, 1865.

3rd Lieutenant John Wesley McClesky, gunshot wound in the leg, admitted to General Hospital Charlottesville, Virginia on July 12. He returned and was commanding the company as of mid-1864.

Private Thomas J. “Tom” Oliver. He was at the hospital in Gordonsville, Virginia as of August 8, 1863.

Copelan. It is not clear which Copelan/Copeland - there were several. Reid says it was “Billy” but that is not supported by William Copelan’s Compiled Service Records.

(Sources: Diary of 1st Lt. J. C. Reid, on file at Gettysburg National Military Park; Compiled Service Records; John and Travis Busey, Confederate Casualties at Gettysburg)
 
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lelliott19

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Thanks @Tom Elmore That must've been a miserable trip for the wounded men. It sounds like it was bad enough for those who weren't. In his diary, Surgeon James Beverly Clifton recorded some of the difficulties encountered along the way:

July 5: Left the battle-field of Gettysburg last night about midnight, and marched all night over the worst roads I ever saw. It is still raining, and we have not halted to eat or sleep. After marching all day through the mud & water, we camped at dark on top of a Mountain at a place called "Madison Springs." All are pretty well exhausted.

July 6: Marched this morning at 5 o'clock and found the roads almost blockaded by some of the waggons [sic] which the Enemy's Cavalry destroyed Yesterday, they also threw some trees across the road.....

July 7: Remained in camp to day. Rained all the forenoon. The roads are in a horrible condition.

July 9: I was ordered this Morning to go to Williamsport MD and establish a Brigade Hospital to receive the wounded of the Brigade, and forward them on to Winchester Va. .....
 

MaryDee

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Dec 23, 2014
For a good overall view of the wagon train of wounded (and so vividly written that you'll be hurting right along with the wounded), see Chapter 1 of Eric Wittenberg, et al, One Continuous Fight: aThe Retreat from Gettysburg and the Pursuit of Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, July 4-14, 1863.

I appreciate these first-hand accounts which have a lot more detail than the authors of the above could put in one chapter!
 

Tom Elmore

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Additional entries:

D. Ambulance, carrying three wounded of Brig. Gen. William Barksdale’s brigade and one slave:

Colonel William Dunbar Holder, 17th Mississippi, received a gunshot wound in the lower groin, which caused a hernia and prevented him from resuming his duties. His resignation was accepted on February 26, 1864. He served in the Confederate Congress until the end of the war, then returned to farming in Pontotoc County, Mississippi. He served as a state auditor in the late 1880s and 1890s.

Sergeant Major Charles C. Cummings, 17th Mississippi, wounded in the right hand, which was amputated. After traveling the short distance to Cashtown, a loss of blood compelled Cummings to disembark, and he was placed into a barn with about 30 other Confederate wounded. Cummings was captured in Cashtown on July 5 and was sent to the General Hospital in Chester, Pennsylvania, being admitted on July 18. He was exchanged on September 23, 1863, and was eventually dropped from the rolls.

George, slave of Sergeant Major Cummings, 17th Mississippi. George left the ambulance in Cashtown to remain with his master. When Federal troops arrived in Cashtown on July 5, George tried to escape. Wearing Confederate gray, he was mistaken for a combatant and shot dead.

Unidentified officer, 21st Mississippi, wounded.

(Sources: Confederate Veteran Magazine, vol. 6 (1898) p. 432; vol. 24 (1916), p. 166; vol. 4 (1896), pp. 153, 210-211; John and Travis Busey, Confederate Casualties at Gettysburg; Compiled Service Records)

E. Ambulance, carrying three wounded of Brig. Gen. John B. Gordon’s brigade:

Fourth Sergeant Francis L. Hudgins, Company K, 38th Georgia, on July 1 a minie ball entered and exited his left breast. He walked to the field hospital. Their ambulance train was shelled by Federal cavalry at Hagerstown, Maryland, but the 10th Georgia, leading Hood’s division, came up and brushed the cavalry aside. Hudgins arrived in Richmond on July 20, and was admitted to Jackson Hospital on August 5. He reported back to his unit for duty on August 12. Hudgins surrendered at Appomattox in 1865.

Fourth Corporal Isaac Newton Nash, Company D, 38th Georgia, wounded in left hand (one source says by gunshot, another by shell fragment). His forearm was amputated in the hospital at Winchester. He was admitted to General Hospital #9 in Richmond on July 26, and furloughed for 60 days on July 30. Declared unfit for field duty, he was eligible for assignment to a support department.

Private Thomas J. Raines, Company D, 13th Georgia. Wounded in the scrotum, he was furloughed for 40 days from General Hospital #4 in Richmond on August 19. He returned to duty and was captured near Petersburg on March 25, 1865.

(Sources: Confederate Veteran Magazine, vol. 26, April 1918, pp. 161-162, F. L. Hudgins, “With the 38th Georgia Regiment;” Compiled Service Records; John and Travis Busey, Confederate Casualties at Gettysburg; Compiled Service Records)

F. One-horse Wagon, carrying two wounded staff officers of Brig. Gen. Junius Daniel’s brigade, with a slave as driver:

Guilford Christmas, slave to Lt. Col. Wharton Jackson Green, drove the wagon. He was captured on the night of July 4/5 at Monterrey/South Mountain by Federal cavalry after the wagon had a wheel taken off by a passing ordnance wagon carrying guns collected on the battlefield. Guilford was allowed to go free and returned through the Union lines to North Carolina, where he corrected an initial report that his master had been killed in the battle. In 1903, Guilford Christmas and Wharton Jackson Green traveled together to revisit Gettysburg.

Lieutenant Colonel Wharton Jackson Green, volunteer aide-de-camp on staff of Brig. Gen. Daniel. Severely wounded in the head on July 1, he was captured at Monterrey/South Mountain on the night of July 4/5 by Federal cavalry. Green was taken to the General Hospital in Frederick, Maryland, arriving on July 6, where his wound was dressed by a Sister of Charity. From there he was sent to Fort McHenry, and the next day was moved to Fort Delaware, finally arriving at the Johnson’s Island, Ohio prison camp for Confederate officers, where he was paroled on March 14, 1865. Green died in 1910.

1st Lieutenant William Robert Bond, aide-de-camp on staff of Brig. Gen. Daniel. Wounded in the right side on July 1, he was captured at Monterrey/South Mountain on the night of July 4/5 by Federal cavalry. On July 6 he arrived at the General Hospital in Frederick, Maryland. On July 11, Bond was sent to the Convalescent Hospital at Patterson Park in Baltimore, and then to the West’s Buildings Hospital in Baltimore. He took the Oath of Allegiance at Fort Delaware on June 12, 1865.

(Sources: Wharton Jackson Green, Second Battalion, Histories of the Several Regiments and Battalions from North Carolina, ed. by Walter Clark, vol. IV, Goldsboro, NC: Nash Brothers, 1901, pp. 254-257; Wharton Jackson Green, “Recollections and Reflections …”, http://metalab.unc.edu/docsouth/green/green.html; John and Travis Busey, Confederate Casualties at Gettysburg; Compiled Service Records; https://www.newspapers.com/clip/1421040/two_old_gettysburgers_guilford/)
 
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Tom Elmore

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G. Wagon, carrying three wounded officers of the 11th Alabama Infantry, which departed on the retreat at about 11 a.m. on July 4:

Colonel John Caldwell Calhoun Sanders, wounded July 2 by a minie ball in the knee. Promoted to Brigadier General to date from May 31, 1864, he commanded his old brigade, then in Mahone’s division, from May 1864 until his mortal wounding at Weldon Railroad on August 21, 1864.

Major Richard J. Fletcher, wounded July 2 on the skirmish line, treated at General Hospital #4 in Richmond; retired due to his Gettysburg wound on September 17, 1864.

Captain George Clark, Company B, wounded by grape shot on July 3. Recovered, but wounded again in August 1864. He attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

(Sources: The Alabama Review, A Quarterly Journal of Alabama History, vol. 32, April 1979, no. 2, University of Alabama Press, p. 94; A Glance Backward, by George W. Clark, Houston: Press of Rein and Sons Company, 1914; George W. Clark, The Handbook of Texas Online)

H. Ambulance, carrying two wounded officers of the 44th Georgia Infantry:

Lieutenant Colonel Samuel P. Lumpkin, commanding the 44th Georgia, was wounded July 1 in the left leg, which was amputated. He was captured at Hagerstown, Maryland and died there of typhoid fever on September 11, 1863. He never married. Originally buried in the local Presbyterian church cemetery, Lumpkin was reinterred in 1913 in the Washington Confederate Cemetery in Hagerstown.

Captain William B. Haygood, Sr., Company C, wounded July 1 in the left arm by the same ball that also struck Lt. Col. Lumpkin. His arm was amputated just below the left elbow by Surgeon Andrew Bowie, assisted by Private John W. Doggett. Haygood was captured July 12 at Hagerstown, Maryland. Admitted to General Hospital at Chester, Pennsylvania on September 17, 1863, he was forwarded to Johnson’s Island, Ohio on October 20, 1863, and was transferred to City Point, Virginia in late February 1865. He died on January 2, 1899.

(Sources: Confederate Casualties at Gettysburg, by John W. Busey and Travis W. Busey; Compiled Service Record of William B. Haygood; Pension Application of William B. Haygood)

I. Makeshift Ambulance (a buggy confiscated from the Gettysburg Alms House), carrying two wounded officers:

John Cabell Early, the 15-year-old son of Captain Samuel H. Early, and who had accompanied his father to Gettysburg, drove the buggy, which he took from the corn house near the Alms House early on July 4.

Captain Samuel H. Early, volunteer aide to his brother, Maj. Gen. Jubal Early, wounded July 3 by a minie ball on his shin bone. A resident of Lynchburg, he and his wife would have one boy and three girls, with John being the oldest. He died on March 11, 1874, and was buried in Lynchburg.

Major Kirkwood Otey, 11th Virginia, wounded July 3 during Pickett's charge; also from Lynchburg. He was promoted Lieutenant Colonel on September 24, 1863. Wounded at Drury’s Bluff on May 16, 1864, he was promoted to Colonel on December 24, 1864. He and his wife Lucy had three children. He died on June 1, 1897 and was buried in Lynchburg.

(Sources: A Southern Boy’s Experience at Gettysburg, by John Cabell Early; Campbell Chronicles and Family Sketches, by Robert H. Early, Lynchburg: J. P. Bell Company, 1927; Confederate Casualties at Gettysburg, by John W. Busey and Travis W. Busey)
 
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Tom Elmore

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J. Ambulance?, carrying two wounded field officers and the sergeant major of the 6th Alabama Infantry:

Colonel James Newell Lightfoot, commanding the 6th Alabama, wounded July 1. He returned to duty and lost an arm at Spotsylvania Court House on May 7, 1864.

Major Isaac Franklin Culver, wounded July 1. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel during the siege of Petersburg and commanded the 6th Alabama until the surrender at Appomattox.

Sergeant Major Elihu Wesley Watson. Accompanied the two field officers, apparently unhurt.

(Sources: July 10 letter of Elihu Wesley Watson to his brother, from Staunton; Confederate Casualties at Gettysburg, by John W. Busey and Travis W. Busey)

K. Ambulance, carrying four wounded officers of the 12th Alabama Infantry:

Private Samuel J. Slayton, driver, Company F, 12th Alabama.

Captain Poleman D. Ross, Company G, wounded July 1. Admitted to General Hospital #4 in Richmond on July 9, furloughed for sixty days on July 17.

Captain Augustus E. Hewlett, Company H, wounded. Admitted to General Hospital #4 in Richmond on July 9, and furloughed for 30 days on July 16.

1st Lieutenant Robert Emory Park, commanding Company F, wounded July 1. Admitted to General Hospital #4 in Richmond on July 9, and furloughed for 60 days on July 16.

2nd Lieutenant George W. Wright, Company F. Admitted to General Hospital #4 in Richmond on July 9, furloughed for 60 days on July 18, retired to Invalid Corps on April 29, 1864.

(Sources: Diary of Captain Robert Emory Park, Southern Historical Society Papers, vol. XXVI, 1898; Busey and Busey’s Confederate Casualties at Gettysburg, 1:130-131)

L. Ambulance, carrying two wounded officers of Pettigrew’s brigade and one slave:

Captain Nicholas Collin Hughes, Assistant Adjutant General to Brig. Gen. Pettigrew, wounded in the hip and spine on July 1.

Adjutant Henderson C. Lucas, 11th North Carolina, wounded by gunshot July 1 in three places while carrying the colors.

When the ambulance train was attacked near Greencastle, Pennsylvania on July 5, the driver of the ambulance containing Capt. Hughes and Adj. Lucas, to avoid the enemy, turned into a rough by-road and ran the horses for one mile, traveling without food, except for one cup of coffee procured by the black attendant, for three days. After crossing the Potomac, the two officers were taken to the private residence of the Buchanan family in Martinsburg, West Virginia. Besides the care provided by the family, they were tended for a time by Hughes’ brother, Surgeon James Bettner Hughes of the 2nd North Carolina. However, both succumbed to their wounds, Capt. Hughes on July 15, and Adt. Lucas on July 25, and were initially buried side-by-side in the Buchanan family plot at the local cemetery.

(Sources: Fayetteville Observer, July 30, 1863; Newspaper Clippings, Express Dispatches and Letters from H. C. Lucas, Lucas Family Papers, Special Collections, Duke University Libraries, Durham, NC; https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/14883360/nicholas-collin-hughes)
 
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Gettysburg Guide #154

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We should also bear in mind the weather conditions on the night of July 4 as the wagon train of wounded set out. One of Imboden's officers wrote: "Canvas was no protection against its fury, and the wounded men lying upon the naked boards of the wagon-bodies were drenched. Horses and mules were blinded an maddened by the wind and water, and became almost unmanageable." Another of Imboden's men said that "the cries of the wounded and dying were awful."
 

Tom Elmore

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M. Spring wagon, carrying at least two wounded officers from the 15th Georgia and the brigade quartermaster. At Williamsport, the two wounded officers were transferred to a small one-horse wagon for the journey to Staunton, under supervision of a brother of one of them – 1st Lieutenant Henry H. Culver.

2nd Lieutenant Thomas H. Culver, Company K, 15th Georgia, wounded in the leg. He returned to duty after recovering, and was killed at the Wilderness on May 6, 1864.

Adjutant and 1st Lieutenant Lovick “Doc” Pierce, Jr., 15th Georgia, received a gunshot wound in the knee. The son of a Methodist bishop, he recovered and surrendered at Appomattox on April 9, 1865. He died on August 7, 1930.

Major William Edgeworth Bird, brigade Quartermaster. He survived the war only a few months, dying of pneumonia in January 1867 at the age of 40 or 41.

(Sources: The Granite Farm Letters, The Civil War Correspondence of Edgeworth and Sallie Bird, ed. by John Rozier (Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press, 1988.)

N. Ambulance, carrying two wounded officers of Jones’ brigade to Winchester.

Brigadier General John Marshall Jones, commanding brigade, wounded in the leg on the evening of July 2 on Culp’s Hill. After convalescing, he returned to the army in the fall. He was severely wounded in the head at Payne’s Farm on November 27, 1863, and was killed at the Wilderness on May 5, 1864. He was buried at Maplewood Cemetery in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Lieutenant Francis Pendleton Jones, staff officer and nephew of John Marshall Jones, wounded in the mouth on the evening of July 2 on Culp’s Hill. He died on September 22, 1863 at the age of 21 and was buried at the Louisa Christian Church cemetery, in Louisa, Virginia.

(Sources: Confederate Casualties at Gettysburg, by John W. Busey and Travis W. Busey, 1:11; The University Memorial, Biographical Sketches (alumni of the University of Virginia), by Rev. John L. Johnson; https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/35970819/francis-pendleton-jones)

O. Ambulance, carrying at least three wounded of the Second Corps artillery, attacked by Federal cavalry at Monterrey Pass on the night of July 4/5.

Private Charles N. Berkeley Minor, Captain Archibald Graham’s “First Rockbridge” Battery, received a gunshot wound in the arm. He escaped capture that night and returned to duty on August 18, 1863.

“For some minutes there was a mad rush along the pike … I realized at that a dangerous speed we were going, and how fatal a collision with one of the heavy wagons would be, and I tried to get our driver, by whom I was sitting on the front seat, to moderate the speed, I even caught the reins and tried with my one hand to pull them in; but he had completely lost his head and just swore at me and drove harder than ever, so there was nothing for me to do but to ‘grin and bear it,’ but I thought every minute we would go down in the melee. The poor wounded men, too, in our ambulance were dreadfully shaken and hurt. But the end soon came, and our driver was made to halt very quickly by a squad of Yankee cavalry which suddenly overtook us, and, with pistols in our faces from both sides, and many oaths, ordered an instant halt.”

(Sources: The Night After Gettysburg, by Berkeley Minor, Confederate Veteran magazine, vol. 33 (1925), p. 140)
 

Coonewah Creek

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In his memoirs, Major Alfred H. Belo of the 55th North Carolina wrote about the "Wagoner's Fight" at Williamsport during the retreat from Gettysburg. Himself, Colonel John M. Stone of the 2nd Mississippi, and Major R. O. Reynolds of the the 11th Mississippi, all of Davis's brigade were wounded and with the train. He wrote:

"On arrival at Williamsburg [Williamsport], on the river, I found the whole wagon train of General Lee’s army held by high water. A portion of the Federal cavalry made a demonstration with some artillery and shelled the train. Colonel [J. M.] Stone of the Second Mississippi, Major [R. O.] Reynolds of the Eleventh, and myself, went around and got all the able-bodied men to take places in the trenches in front of us. Besides these, numbers of teamsters and detailed men, soldiers retiring for sick leave, furlough, etc., were drawn up, and checked the Federals and saved the wagon train."
 
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