Memoir of William E. Yeatman, 2nd Tennessee Infantry, CSA

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OldReliable1862

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I've been looking for memoirs from Lucius E. Polk's brigade for a while now, so it was great to find William E. Yeatman's memoir. This was kindly provided by the TSLA, and I decided to reproduce it here. The posts will be separated by year: 1861, 1862, 1863, and 1864-5. Regarding corrections to grammar and spelling errors, I've gone with my intuition. Most have been left in, though I've fixed things like the spelling of Breckinridge ("Breckenridge), and giving Lucius Polk's name as "Leonidas" (I doubt this is something Yeatman would have written intentionally, and was rather a case of the transcriber attempting to "fix" the original).
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My military life was solely with the Second Confederate Tennessee Infantry Regiment. In April 1861 Hampton J. Cheney organized an Infantry company at Nashville under the name of The Cumberland Rifles, which I joined as a private. We elected as our officers, Captain H. J. Cheney, Lieutenants, First – George Nelson, Second – James Newsom – Third – Wat Weakley, Orderly Sergeant – Wiley J. Scruggs, and mustered with a roll of eighty men or boys rather, as much the largest number were youths from 16 to 18 years of age. A few days after the organization we were enrolled as Co. C. in the Second Confederate Tennessee Regiment, consisting of:
Co. A – Capt. Richard Butler from Murfreesboro
Co. B – Capt. John Anderson from Columbia
Co. C – Capt. H. J. Cheney from Nashville
Co. D – Capt. Jas. Dennison, Bedford and Rutherford Counties
Co. E – Capt. Hunt from Memphis
Co. F – Capt. White from Rutherford County
Co. G – Capt. John Earthman from Davidson County
Co. H – Capt. Moore from Sumner County
Co. I – Capt. Jo Tyree from Gallatin
Co. K – Capt. Humphrey Bate from Sumner County

We elected Field officers Colonel Wm. B. Bate, Lt. Col. D. S. Goodall, Major J. Doak. Co. C. marched to the residence of Samuel D. Morgan, Summer Street, to receive a beautiful silk flag from Matilda Cheney, a relative of our captain. The Flag was presented after a bright speech from the lovely young lady, which was heartily applauded by the company and the large audience assembled to witness the presentation. Capt. Cheney replied in his usual felicitous style, and until the time came for leaving we were all having “a jolly time”.

May 7, 1861, we were ordered to the Chattanooga R. R. Depot, and were assigned to a train of box freight cars, with orders to stop at Lynchburg, Va. At the depot Mothers, sisters, Sweethearts and all had come to say farewell. That was a scene that words would fail to describe, and is too holy a memory to give publicity to by describing its details. God Bless them all! They were true to the last, Southern – heart and soul. Comrades, you and I know the inspiration of that truth, that in them, we ever had thoughtful, praying, loving friends. Again I say, May God forever bless them.

Our first stop at any place of importance was at this city where we had several orations from some of your citizens, also from members of our command, at the depot. We reached Lynchburg without adventure, and went into camp in an apple orchard near town. There we received arms, viz., muskets – and this created much dissatisfaction. On our arrival at Richmond a week later we were favored with an exchange to Springfield Rifles and a few Enfields.

We camped at the Fair grounds in Richmond a few days only, then boarded the train for Fredericksburg. As we were the first of the Southern army to visit that city the citizens gave us a public reception. Major Lacey of that place welcomed us in a lengthy address, which was followed by the citizens presenting us a bountiful supply of substantials as well as delicacies. Of course we fell in love with Fredericksburg right away. The fact is, we still refer to it as the place where we received the warmest welcome and kindest treatment during the whole four long years of war.

Our next move was across the Rappahannock towards the Potomac. We all remember that night as that of the first false alarm. Next, to Brooks station near which we made our first regular camp, and received our first regular drill. June 1st, 1861 marched to the Potomac to witness the fight between the Aquia Creek Battery and the Federal gunboat Pawnee. We made too much display on the Bluff, and the Pawnee turned her guns on us. This may be termed our (sprinkling) Baptism of Fire. Immersion followed the next year. No damage resulted to either side. My messmates were Geo. S. Litton, now a railroad agent at Nashville, Carey Nicholas, now a physician at New Orleans, Wm. Stratton, now a merchant at Nashville, Wat Weakley, now a county official of Davidson County, Olin Weakley, now a physician and farmer of Davidson County and John P. McFerrin now a minister of the Methodist church at Louisville, Ky. Of these seven, four received wounds in battle. Litton, Stratton, McFerrin, and myself. A kind Providence still permits us to live. We are still seven.

While at this camp, we were visited by Isaac Litton, Major A. F. Goff, and other prominent men of Nashville. To do honor to such friends we temporarily consolidated with our neighboring mess, who were better provided for company, they having a colored cook (one eyed Charlie) who had accompanied John C. Ferris to the war.

During the engagement at Aquia Creek a rooster mounted the breastwork and crowed defiance to the Pawnee. Charlie in his foraging expeditions had secured quite a supply of poultry, and with an eye to business palmed off his gamest looking bird to our visitors as the identical crower of the Aquia Creek fight. Charlie was well paid, and the rooster accompanied the visitors on their return to Nashville. There he was exhibited to the Tennessee legislature as the gamest bird in Virginia. It is said that every member plucked a feather from that rooster, and that he died from the fold contracted or mortification at the subsequent exposure. I have not mentioned the name of his purchaser.

Our next adventure was a trip by steamer down the Rappahannock to Monascon Landing. An all night march in the rain from there to the Potomac, where we met the steamer St. Nicholas, captured that trip by Thomas enroute from Baltimore to Washington. Our next part in the plan was to conceal our force after boarding the St. Nicholas, steam up the Potomac under the Stars and Stripes, Hail the Pawnee, surprise, board and take her, and have no remaining obstruction to a trip to Washington. The Battery at Matthias Point disarranged the whole scheme. They were fired on by the Pawnee, returning her fire with such skill as to partially disable the gunboat; the latter retiring to Washington for immediate repairs.

Possibly had our plan matured to our getting in reach of the Pawnee’s guns, she might have landed us at the bottom of the Potomac. Then again, we might have opened the way to Washington.

On our return to Fredericksburg, we again received an ovation, though all we had to show for our trip was Thomas capture, the St. Nicholas. Next came the march to Manassas. Our command along the Potomac had now been augmented by the arrival of Col. Fagan’s First Arkansas, Carey’s Virginia, and Peter Turney’s First Tennessee, was a few miles north of us. All under the command of General Holmes, or as we dubbed him, “Granny” Holmes.

On the march to Manassas we camped the first night at Dumfries. Bought, killed, and cooked all the geese there and in a circuit of three miles of the place. Lindsay Walker’s Battery accompanied the four regiments. Arriving at Manassas we were assigned position on the right wing. Guns were loaded and we were ready for battle. That night a lot of guns carelessly stacked fell over, one gun was discharged, and one poor fellow died while asleep.

Sunday July 21st, 1861 was a typical Virginia summer day. It was my 19th birthday anniversary, and we celebrated. You have read many accounts of that battle and will not expect a rehearsal. Our next part until the afternoon was an inactive one, then we were ordered to double quick to the Henry House. This we did under the hottest of July suns, and I believe for five or more miles, and for some time under a brisk artillery fire. About sunset reached the Henry house, Walker instantly opened fire, and we witnessed then as rapid artillery firing as at any time during the war. We supported Walker but were too late to do any execution with small arms. Shortly afterwards, General Beauregard rode up to salute us. I remember his queer salute to our Flag. Pointing to it – “that is a Goode Aig” – Frenchy – but how we did yell! That night a false alarm on the right wing caused us another weary tramp. A few days later we returned to look after the Yanks on the Potomac, our old quarters.

Next we helped build the masked batteries at Evansport, and were well paid for our labor when we witnessed the unmasking, and the subsequent surrender of two of the three vessels that they opened fire on.
 
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OldReliable1862

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We built log cabins that winter in a pine forest near the residence of Wm. Moncure and although there was much bad weather, cold and snow, we enjoyed our camp life and were comparatively comfortably housed until we left Virginia (Carlo Patti then a member of Co. B, gave us many musical evenings). In February 1862 we were asked to reenlist for the war. The entire regiment reenlisted and were granted 60 days furlough and transportation home. I am informed that this was the first regiment to reenlist. The Sumner and Davidson county boys failed to get to the Home Welcome. I reached Nashville the day Buell’s advance arrived there. Walking up Church Street, just as I passed McKendree church met Dr. Sehorn [Seho?] the pastor, who noticing my uniform stopped, and insisted on my immediate flight, saying the Federals would be in the city in a few minutes. I wanted to see them, and knew I could get away, so went on the approach to the burnt suspension bridge, and had a good view of the men in blue on the opposite side of the Cumberland. My Mother was over there, and I could not get to see her. Then I walked back to Murfreesboro. Having nothing to do but try to enjoy the remainder of the furlough I went on by rail to Huntsville, Ala., stopping with several of my company at Norvel’s Southern Hotel. Later we went to Corinth, Miss. to be present at the reorganization of the regiment. There Capt. Cheney was reelected Capt. of Co. C. James Newsom 1st Lt., Ed Wynham 2nd and I 3rd Lt. and George Litton orderly sergeant. A few days later the regiment was ordered to Shiloh. We fought in both days battles April 6th and 7th and lost many good men.

I carried my rifle as well as my new sword, and did for the best service with the new Springfield. Its stock was Splintered on the 7th by a minnie ball and while taking a rest aim on the twig of an oak sapling, a minnie entered the 3 inch tree in my front just breast high. That little cover saved my bones just then. Andrew J. Allen, color bearer, had the flag resting it against the tree, and it seemed to be the wish of every Yank in our front to put a ball through that silk, right then and there. Tappan’s Arkansas regiment was just then to our left, and had the protection of a fallen tree as well as a slight ground elevation. We envied them their good luck. This was late in the afternoon of the 7th and it seemed to be that we had been holding that place for “three mortal hours” – repulsing every attack, getting out of ammunition again and again, and as often resupplied, and holding on. We did not want to quit, but we did feel that we ought to have had more support. When Breckinridge did come in we imagined we were preparing for a final charge that we felt was to end in a perfect victory. Instead our order was to march at once for the rear, while Breckinridge held the ground we had fought for the whole afternoon. That night was one of horrors. The shrieks of the wounded as they were hauled past us in rough ambulances and even rougher wagons, will live in my memory while memory lasts. The storm of the night before was bad, but this, with its battle accompaniments, drivers swearing at balky teams, shrieks from the jolted, dying wounded, was as near a perfectly horrible scene as words can describe. On the weary night march, commands scattered. One would lay down in a fence corner and be followed at once by a dozen; a mile farther this would be repeated, and so on until a regiment at halting time would be as if deployed as skirmishers for miles. Allen and I stuck together and the last I remember of that night is sinking to sleep on a broad rail, the end elevated to make a slant for the rain to run off, Allen on another rail beside me, each propping the other from falling off between the two rails and our blankets jointly sheltering us from the driving rain. We slept as soundly as if at home and the sunshine awakened us in the morning. President Lincoln still having the advantage, as strange to say, neither of us split our rail.

At Shiloh we first commenced our career as part of Patrick R. Cleburne’s Brigade, and until near the close of the Georgia campaign he was our General, first, Brigadier, then our Major General. General Lucius Polk commanding the brigade after Cleburne’s promotion to the command of the Division. In the first charge on the morning of the 6th at Shiloh Col. Wm. B. Bate was severely wounded, Major Doak, Captains Tyree and Humphrey Bate killed.

After Shiloh our camp at Corinth proved very disagreeable and unhealthy, and the change to Tupelo, Miss. was heartily welcomed. Then came the trip by rail to Mobile, Montgomery, Atlanta and Chattanooga, ending at Knoxville. Here the Brigade camped but a few hours, then as a part of E. Kirby Smith’s army we started for Kentucky. Crossed Cumberland mountains and blocked up Morgan in Cumberland Gap, then made rapid marches for central Kentucky, and the 29th of August we descended Big Hill and were soon in line of battle in the Blue Grass county beyond. That night we prepared a surprise for a Federal Cavalry Brigade; they failed to enter the trap, and retired towards Richmond after firing a few shots. Next day we were after them by daylight, and by sunrise we found them, as well as their Infantry and Artillery supports, Nelson’s army. My company was then commanded by Capt. James Newsom (Capt. Cheney having resigned to accept a staff appointment under General John C. Brown). We were ordered forward as skirmishers deploying to the left of the pike. I took a few men to a large brick residence on our right front, Capt. Newsom moving the rest of the Co. to the left under protection of a cornfield. At the house we had a clear view and found a full regiment of Infantry 200 yards in our front. We popped away at them for an hour, while the battle was getting warm in the woods across the pike to our right. Capt. Newsom ordered me to report to Col. Butler what we had seen from the house, I did so, and returning in a few minutes met two of my company carrying Capt. Newsom off of the field. He had been shot through the body and died a few hours later. I had orders from Col. Butler for the Co. to join the regiment. Lt. Wynham was now in command, Geo. S. Litton had been elected 3rd Lt. at Tupelo, and I 2nd.

As we joined our regiment the Federals were in retreat. A rapid pursuit was made by our army in full line of battle. We swept on for several miles. As we emerged from a wooded pasture to the next open field we found the Federals in line a few hundred yards ahead. Immediately to our left their artillery posted with their right, raked our line. We were here the center, our left came up in a few minutes attacking their right with a rush, the tall corn having concealed their approach. The Federal line broke at all points, then we had a race to Richmond.

Approaching that place our Brigade still held the center – we had a fine view of the Federal line a mile before we arrived in range., and were under fire long before we made any answer. Then with a yell we dashed at them. The ground was a slightly rolling blue grass field. When in 100 yards of their line we encountered a high rail fence – over it we mounted in the hottest kind of a fire, charging, and firing as we charged. Our supports were up in a clockwork style, and again Nelson’s army was in full retreat – this time a routed mob. In the last charge we lost our gallant Col. Richard Butler, an accomplished gentleman and a born soldier. No knightlier picture presents itself to my memory than that of Dick Butler waving his sword, mounted on his splendid black charger, rushing to his death at Richmond, Kentucky. No braver man died for Tennessee.

From Richmond we made rapid marches to Lexington, there joining in Lexington ovation to Gen. John H. Morgan and his command. Then to Paris, on until we were in a few miles of Covington. From there we marched rapidly to Georgetown, Frankfort, and Shelbyville. Returning to Frankfort, and leaving the day Gov. Hawes enjoyed his one day’s Governorship of Kentucky. Then to Harrodsburg where we met the army under Gen. Bragg. Our Gen. Cleburne, wounded at Richmond had again joined us.

Oct. 8th we met Buell at Perryville. Another battle like you see in pictures. For a mile we could see them, their splendid looking lines. Flags flying, bands playing, and cannons playing on us as we moved to attack them. They were splendidly posted in two lines, one at the foot the other on the open ridge. We had a full view of what we were expected to do. We moved up in two lines. In our front was a dry branch, on the opposite bank a breast-high rock fence, behind the fence their advance line. It was carried by our regiment and the 3rd Confederate Tennessee regiment where we attacked jointly after an almost hand to hand fight, and in the face of fire from both lines.

As their line broke, we had them, and gave it to them in the buck. It was a hot evening and the grass being dry, caught fire, the flames spreading to a barn just to their right. Rather than burn, out hustled a lot of blue coats to surrender, amongst them a negro who said he was a cook to Gen. Woolfolk. A great many Federals were killed here – more as they ran up the hill, than at the rock wall.
This closed the fight as far as we knew in that part of the field. In a few minutes we were ordered to double quick to the right where Cheatham’s division had met with a heavy loss, several of my schoolmates and friends amongst them, in Maney’s 1st Tenn. regiment. Just at dark we had a brush with the enemy, they on one ridge and we on another. Our artillery opened briskly, after we had fired a few rounds with our rifles. Their artillery replied, and we were ordered to the ravine between the lines. Not being discovered owing to the darkness, we had the novel experience of witnessing a grand artillery duel fought over our heads, while we were comparatively safe. Next day came the (as we thought) cowardly order – back to Tennessee. On that march we suffered hunger. My rations from Perryville to Knoxville were 8 small, very small, biscuits and four onions – no meat. I don’t believe anyone who went through the rest of the war can give a perfectly accurate account of it. It became too exciting and necessarily confusing as to dates and localities.
 
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OldReliable1862

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Just before Murfreesboro I was elected Captain, while near Triune. Then I asked for 10 days leave, and slipped west in Nashville to see my dear old Mother and Father. I remember my mother decorated my felt hat with a lot of her old fashioned black Ostrich plumes, and the boys thought I was a General when I joined them.

The feathers proved a good target in the next skirmish. At Murfreesboro we attacked with the left, and were wonderfully successful. We had broken several lines and were still charging when I lost one of my warmest young friends, bright, brave, Daniel Mollory, shot through the body as he was shouting victory. A half mile farther on we found Rosecrans had concentrated his artillery and with fresh lines was ready to receive us. Just as we received their first volley we for the second time in battle, had to mount a very high cedar fence, and then charge. They gave us more than we expected but we kept on. About half way through the enclosure and when I thought they would certainly run as before, I felt like someone had taken one of those cedar limbs and tried to knock me over. It was only a minnie through my left arm. However, as an artery was cut it stopped my career, for that fight.

Just here began my lifelong affection for our late comrade, Reuben S. Payne. As the bullet knocked me half around he noticed my sudden whirl, and immediately caught me from falling, and assisted me to the rear, tying a strong handcherchief around my arm as we walked off. Meeting Gen. Polk he gave permission for Reub to take me to the field hospital. There we were instructed to move on to Murfreesboro after having my arm bandaged. The next day we had to leave to go on to a relative (Col. Andrew Ervin) near Wartrace. There we had a warm welcome, and as Gen. Hardee moved his headquarters to this residence, I had an easily granted furlough for Reub and I to stay together. I decided to go to Knoxville, and visit my relatives, Col. Wm. A. Sneed’s family. I will never be able to show how much I appreciated the kind hospitality and unceasing kindness shown by them to Reuben and myself. It has never been forgotten, and never will be.

Our next adventure was that of being on detached duty. After our return to camp at Tullahoma I was ordered with my company to guard the Fayetteville R. R. bridges, from Winchester to Elk River. We enjoyed that, but were badly treated. Bragg ran off to Chattanooga without leaving word for my “Department”. Hearing of his flight from stragling cavalrymen, I decided to inspect my forces, and ordered my transportation department (a railroad hand car) prepared for immediate service. I reached the vicinity of Winchester near dark, and learned that our army had gone the day previous, and that the Federals were at Decherd. I did not believe Bragg intended to get along South without Co. C., so decided to take matters into my own hands, and take my command to join him. To do this had to make a circuitous march by Fayetteville and Huntsville. At Huntsville Col. Donegan had the citizens cook us rations to last us to Rome, Ga., where we found the railroad transportation to Chattanooga. I never heard whether Bragg approved or disapproved the withdrawal of my forces.

September found us in front of Rosecrans at Chickamauga. Fording the river at a run, our division made a charge the evening before the main battle, in which with slight loss to us we were successful. That night my company stood picket, and took in a number of prisoners, among them a Lt. Col. of a Pennsylvania regiment. He, I noticed was one of the U.S. army officers in charge of the Park during the recent Dedication ceremonies. I sent him to the rear with his horse, under guard of Private Frank Temple. On the next day we attacked their breastworks, and were repulsed, suffering a terrible loss. My company went in to Chickamauga numbering 44. We lost 33 in killed and wounded. The regiment lost near the same proportion. I only had one knock, on the top of my head, the ball had hit a limb first. Our Colonel, W. D. Robison was knocked flat by a minnie striking his sword belt buckle. He did not stay downed, but was up cheering his men in a moment. In the evening we made a grand charge and were successful, stopping beyond the main road, and lay down to sleep and rest, nearly worn out.

On awakening we found we had slept with dead Federals thick amongst us, some of our men actually sleeping with their heads resting on the dead. Then came the miserable time at Missionary ridge. The diet of the cush (moulded cornbread too hard to bite cold, softening by boiling in tin cans). The daily shelling from Chattanooga, etc. Cleburne with three of his brigades held the right in the Missionary ridge fight. Our brigade (Polk’s) in reserve at the two railroad bridges over Chickamauga. After the defeat, a large part of our army crossed on these bridges. After all had crossed I was ordered to take my company across and picket 200 yards in front of the bridges. Soon we found that arrangements were being made to burn the bridges. Not until they were brightly blazing did we get any orders, then it was “Retire as quietly as possible”. We were glad to get that order, you may know, and crossed the burning bridge without loss. In a few minutes more the Federal skirmishers were popping away at the fire.

Next came the halt at Ringgold Gap – Bragg’s train was just beyond and must be saved. Cleburne was the man to save it! Posting his division on the ridge, and artillery concealed in the gap, he slaughtered Hooker’s advance under Osterhaus. You won’t see much about this in history – but we know that we won a signal victory. Osterhaus drew off and left us to make the rest of our march undisturbed.

That winter my regiment did picket duty at Tunnel Hill. It was an unusually cold winter, and we on top of the ridge with no tents suffered terribly.
 
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OldReliable1862

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On the Georgia campaign we fought several days at Resaca, once each at Calhoun, Adairsville, and Kingston, several days and nights at Pine mountain, about two weeks day and night at Kennesaw. At Atlanta the regiment was transferred to Major Gen. W. B. Bate’s division and fought in three battles around that city. Bate’s division was massed in the skirmish pits on the extreme left and met Schofield who expected to run over a mere skirmish line. Gen. Bate thus ambushed Schofield’s corp, and inflicted on them a heavy loss. I find no history giving Gen. Bate’s proper credit for this. My regiment there faced the 8th Tenn. Federal Infantry, and permit me to say here, we met gallant foemen. They stood with no protection save the few forest trees, like Tennesseeans – in the face of a withering fire until they realized that to stay longer meant annihilation. Then they sullenly fell back, firing on us as they retreated.

In our next battle – which if I mistake not – immediately to the right of the late Midway Plaisance at the Exposition, we witnessed the bravest Federal charge that I saw during the war. We were in rifle pits on the bluff, with a stream 50 yards in our front. The Federals raked us from the right and from the left with numerous batteries, and then came the infantry. In a solid line they sprang into the water, waist deep, and climbing the bank rushed our pits. Then we had orders to quit. We left without an introduction, and never knew who our visitors were. But we will always say they were the best Federals we ever faced. The regiment lost more that day in captures than in any other engagement.

The day McPherson was killed we had a hot time – attacking the Federal line on his left. At Johnesborough we lost Major Driver, killed by a shell while eating breakfast with my company behind our breastworks. Here we left our works and charged theirs. We were promptly repulsed, as anyone culd see we culd not take works with one thin attacking line. By this time we were a “skeleton regiment”, and on the Tennessee campaign, I, although a junior captain, was in command of the regiment. Our losses had been heavy indeed. I fought with them in the rifle pits at Columbia, and then we witnessed the remarkable march of Schofield’s army past Spring Hill, and stood in line within rifle shot of that army as they marched in plain view of the pike – marching for their breastworks at Franklin to slaughter the flower of our poor mistreated army. We fought on the extreme left at Franklin, fought hard, but to no effect. After that we went towards Murfreesboro. My last fight was at Overall’s creek where we had a few rounds only, with a force sent out from Murfreesboro. We ran them in with slight loss on either side. I had always thought if I could just get to the fight at Nashville, then Home and pride would certainly incite me to do my best. The battle of Nashville found me in bed sick and worn out. Seeing the result at Overton’s, Col. Hayward of Stevenson’s staff sent me his horse to try to get me out safely. With old Joe, my uncle’s faithful darkey, to hold me on the horse, I mounted, forded Mill creek, and few miles farther south was joined by Col. Hayward. He left me that night at the house of a former neighbor, James C. Owen, and the next morning before daylight I was with our retreating army. But it was to be a brief southern trip for me. Within two miles of my starting point, we were surrounded by a yelling, shooting, mob of Federal Cavalry, and I had the mortification to know that my soldier life had ended. Next day with hundreds of other prisoners I was on a train bound for Louisville. Near Gallatin, Tenn. Col. Newsom of the cavalry, who was captured with me, jumped from the car and escaped. At Johnson’s Island I was assigned to Block 5. The winter was severe – mercury fell to 24 below zero. With only one blanket each, my bunkmate and I suffered from the cold. The house was little protection being a mere shell of upright planks. We also suffered from hunger but nightly revelled at most elaborate banquets (in our dreams).

But few disgraced themselves by taking the Oath, but nearly all held on hoping for an exchange – which never came. At last came the surrender, and with it, the end. We were turned out alphabetically, and my name came amongst the last.

June 18th 1865, I left Lake Erie, a private citizen, and have been as peaceful as I knew how ever since.

My judgement of the various actions of the Second Tennessee, is – that their most gallant charge was that at Richmond, Ky., where facing almost certain death, they routed Nelson’s center. That Monday evening at Shiloh was the best stand-up give and take, lengthiest fight in the open field we made. That the most sensible thing we have done was when all found we had to quit – we quit. And then tried to build up the Union we had for four years tried to dissolve. Our pledge to do so was implied in our surrender, and we have “Kept the Faith”.

When our Memorial Battle Abbey shall have been completed, and placed as we hoped for, at our beautiful Capitol City, Nashville, and memorial tablets placed therein, commemorating each of Tennessee’s Confederate organizations, on one, I would have inscribed – Wm. B. Bate’s Second Confederate Tennessee Infantry – the peers of any men living or dead. “Facing certain defeat – they fought a good fight.”
 
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