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Soldier's Stories

Discussion in 'Civil War History - Secession and Politics' started by unionblue, Jun 6, 2003.

  1. thea_447

    thea_447 Cadet

    Feb 20, 2005
    The Deep South, Alabama
    Fairfax Court House
    August 8th 1861
    Dear Ma,

    I wrote Pa a few lines yesterday but thought he might not get it. I am tolerably well. We are encamped at this place which is something larger than Fishersville. It is a rather poor looking town. The Yankees had been here some time & ate pretty near everything that they could find. We manage to get pretty good fare when the boys go out in the country. They bring in a great many peaches chickens & they get them off the Yankee Farms in Fairfax. Well I have rec'd a commission at last as a 2nd Lieut so whenever I get tired of soldiering I can resign & come home which I think I shall do in a few weeks. Our company are generally well. Marshall Hanger has been loafing around here & has never joined our company. He is going home today or tomorrow. As Augusta has furnished her quota of volunteers the militia will not be needed. Our Army is camped in every direction from the Junction. Jacksons Brigade is in camp about 3/4 of a mile below Centreville which is 6 or 7 miles from the Junction. I stayed all night there with Ed Waddell. Monday night I saw John Hill. He wanted a light woolen round about & a pair pants of same quality & if you could have them made you could send them down by some of his company who have gone home on furlough. I expect their company was paid off Tuesday & John must have gotten his wages which amounted to between $20 & $40. He told that he wanted me to take his pay & send it to Pa to keep for him that he had very little use for money. Uncle Moore & Post are at Centreville. I saw Martin Yontz on Monday. He had brought a wagonload provisions down to Hamtramels Guards. He says our folks are all well. I sent word by him to Grand Pa that you are all well. I don't think there will be a battle for a good while perhaps 2 months. Yes we have about eighty-five men in our company. Lib Davis came down with me & Martin Palmer got here yesterday. There is still 2 of our boys left in Augusta Henry Miller & George Layman. Well Ma I don't believe I need anything at present. I will send this letter by Marshall Hanger or Dr Walker. Write soon. Tell Pa to write to me. Give my love to all.

    With Love
    Your Son

    William B. Gallaher


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  3. thea_447

    thea_447 Cadet

    Feb 20, 2005
    The Deep South, Alabama
    Sullivan Ballou

    My very dear Sarah,

    The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days-perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write again, I feel impelled to write a few lines that may fall under your eye when I am no more.

    I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans on the triumph of the Government, and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and suffering of the Revolution. And I am willing-perfectly willing-to lay down all the joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt.

    Sarah, my love for you is deathless. It seems to bind me with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly on with all these chains to the battlefield.

    The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most grateful to God and to you that I have enjoyed them for so long. How hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when, God willing, we might still have lived and loved together, and seen our sons grown up to honorable manhood around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me-perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar, that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and that when my last breath escapes me on the battlefield, it will whisper your name. Forgive my many faults, and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have often times been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness.

    But, oh Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the gladdest days and in the darkest nights...always, always. And if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath, and as the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by. Sarah, do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for me, for we shall meet again.

    (Sullivan Ballou was killed a week later at the battle of Bull Run)
  4. thea_447

    thea_447 Cadet

    Feb 20, 2005
    The Deep South, Alabama
    MONTGOMERY WEEKLY ADVERTISER, October 8, 1862, p. 1, c. 2

    "A Fair Exchange is no Robbery."

    "Personne," the correspondent of the Charleston Courier, recording some incidents of the late battles on Manassas Plains, mentions the following of an Alabama boy:
    It is related of a soldier belonging to the Eighth Alabama Regiment, that he found a Yankee in the woods, that being separated from his regiment he did not know what to do with him. While soliloquizing, the officer who gave me the incident rode by, and his advice being asked, he told the soldier he had better let the prisoner go. "Well" said the Alabamian, "I reckon I will; but look here, Yankee, you can't leave till you've given me some of them good clothes. Strip! I want your boots and breeches." The Yankee protested against any such indignity, and appealed to the officer to protect him. The Alabamian also plead his cause. "Here's this fellow," said he, "come down here a robbing of our people, and he's stayed so long it's no mor'n right he should pay for his board. I don't want him to go round in his bar legs any mor'n he wants to; and I mean to give him my old clothes." "A fair exchange is no robbery," replied the officer, "and as you have no shoes and a mighty poor pair of pants, I reckon you had better help yourself." "Now Yankee, you hear what the 'boss' says, do yer; off with your traps and let's trade." The last thing my friend saw as he rode away, was the two worthies in their "bar legs," stripping for an exchange.
  5. bill_torrens

    bill_torrens Cadet Honored Fallen Comrade

    Feb 20, 2005
    Winslow, Buckinghamshire
    We all know about the Federal authorities cutting C.S. buttons off veterans' coats. But they did not restrict their pogrom on rebel uniforms and badges to those worn by the living. The dead were not beyond the reach of "the finest government on earth", as in the case of:

    BROWN, William Dawson Resident of Baltimore. 1st Lieut., Chesapeake Artillery [a.k.a. 4th Md. Artillery]. Captain by June 1862. Acting chief of artillery of Ewell’s Division in December 1862. On 9th May 1863 he wrote: “We have seen much hard service since leaving the Northern Neck. Our stay there is the one bright spot in our career as a company. We did not know then what a soldier’s life was. It may please you to know that our battery has made its mark in all the battles fought from ‘Cedar Mountain’ to Fredericksburg. I am proud of my command & would not relinquish it for a regiment.” Mortally wounded & captured at Gettysburg on 3rd July 1863:- "[He] was among the first to fall, having both legs shattered, although he survived his dreadful injuries several days." A member of the battery wrote that “Our gallant Captain, William D. Brown, was the first to fall. Riding to the front of his battery, he enjoined us, for the honor of our native State, to stand manfully to our guns. The words were still upon his lips when he fell, dreadfully mangled by a solid shot. No braver or more unselfish patriot fell upon that blood-soaked field, and none were more beloved by their commands.” He died on 11th July. His obituary appeared in the Baltimore Sun on 14th July. His funeral was conducted at Greenmount Cemetery in Baltimore on 31st July. As his coffin was about to be placed in the ground, Union soldiers arrested the male members of the funeral party. “The coffin was then broken open and a new Confederate uniform in which his friends had lain him stripped from the frigid limbs of the resistless soldier.” [Ruffner, Maryland’s Blue & Gray, pp.133, 138 & 299; Goldsborough, The Maryland Line In The Confederate Army, p.324.]

    A portrait of Brown may be found at http://www.home.earthlink.net/~bklohr/BatteryRoster.htm
  6. dawna

    dawna First Sergeant

    Feb 20, 2005

    Surely these incidents were isolated?

  7. bill_torrens

    bill_torrens Cadet Honored Fallen Comrade

    Feb 20, 2005
    Winslow, Buckinghamshire

    I personally know of no other cases of coffins being broken open, and corpses stripped of their uniforms. But it's a powerful story, nevertheless.

  8. dawna

    dawna First Sergeant

    Feb 20, 2005
    It is a despairing story Bill..such dishonourable behaviour.

  9. thea_447

    thea_447 Cadet

    Feb 20, 2005
    The Deep South, Alabama
    Letter from George McClellan to Abraham Lincoln
    Headquarters, Army of the Potomac near Harrison's Landing, Va. July 7, 1862

    Mr. President

    You have been fully informed, that the Rebel army is in our front, with the purpose of overwhelming us by attacking our positions or reducing us by blocking our river communications. I can not but regard our condition as critical and I earnestly desire, in view of possible contingencies, to lay before your Excellency, for your private consideration, my general views concerning the state of the rebellion; although they do not strictly relate to the situation of this Army or strictly come within the scope of my official duties. These views amount to convictions and are deeply impressed upon my mind and heart.

    Our cause must never be abandoned; it is the cause of free institutions and self government. The Constitution and the Union must be preserved, whatever may be the cost in time, treasure and blood. If secession is successful, other dissolutions are clearly to be seen in the future. Let neither military disaster, political faction or foreign war shake your settled purpose to enforce the equal operation of the laws of the United States upon the people of every state.

    The time has come when the Government must determine upon a civil and military policy, covering the whole ground of our national trouble. The responsibility of determining, declaring and supporting such civil and military policy and of directing the whole course of national affairs in regard to the rebellion, must now be assumed and exercised by you or our cause will be lost. The Constitution gives you power sufficient even for the present terrible exigency.

    This rebellion has assumed the character of a War: as such it should be regarded; and it should be conducted upon the highest principles known to Christian Civilization. It should not be a War looking to the subjugation of the people of any state, in any event. It should not be, at all, a War upon population; but against armed forces and political organizations. Neither confiscation of property, political executions of persons, territorial organization of states or forcible abolition of slavery should be contemplated for a moment. In prosecuting the War, all private property and unarmed persons should be strictly protected; subject only to the necessities of military operations. All private property taken for military use should be paid for or receipted for; pillage and waste should be treated as high crimes; all unnecessary trespass sternly prohibited; and offensive demeanor by the military towards citizens promptly rebuked. Military arrests should not be tolerated, except in places where active hostilities exist; and oaths not required by enactments -- Constitutionally made -- should be neither demanded nor received. Military government should be confined to the preservation of public order and the protection of political rights.

    Military power should not be allowed to interfere with the relations of servitude, either by supporting or impairing the authority of the master; except for repressing disorder as in other cases. Slaves contraband under the Act of Congress, seeking military protection, should receive it. The right of the Government to appropriate permanently to its own service claims to slave labor should be asserted and the right of the owner to compensation therefore should be recognized. This principle might be extended upon grounds of military necessity and security to all the slaves within a particular state; thus working manumission in such [a] state -- and in Missouri, perhaps in Western Virginia also and possibly even in Maryland the expediency of such a military measure is only a question of time. A system of policy thus constitutional and conservative, and pervaded by the influences of Christianity and freedom, would receive the support of almost all truly loyal men, would deeply impress the rebel masses and all foreign nations, and it might be humbly hoped that it would commend itself to the favor of the Almighty. Unless the principles governing the further conduct of our struggle shall be made known and approved, the effort to obtain requisite forces will be almost hopeless. A declaration of radical views, especially upon slavery, will rapidly disintegrate our present Armies.

    The policy of the Government must be supported by concentrations of military power. The national forces should not be dispersed in expeditions, posts of occupation and numerous Armies; but should be mainly collected into masses and brought to bear upon the Armies of the Confederate States; those Armies thoroughly defeated, the political structure which they support would soon cease to exist.

    In carrying out any system of policy which you may form, you will require a Commander in Chief of the Army; one who possesses your confidence, understands your views and who is competent to execute your orders by directing the military forces of the Nation to the accomplishment of the objects by you proposed. I do not ask that place for myself. I am willing to serve you in such position as you may assign me and I will do so as faithfully as ever subordinate served superior.

    I may be on the brink of eternity and as I hope forgiveness from my maker I have written this letter with sincerity towards you and from love of my country.

    Very respectfully your obdt svt

    Geo B McClellan
    Maj Genl Comdg
  10. hawglips

    hawglips Sergeant

    Feb 20, 2005
    McKim, Randolph Harrison, 1842-1920

    ON a bright morning in the month of April, 1861, there is a sudden explosion of excitement at the University of Virginia. Shouts and cheers are heard from the various precincts where the students lodge. Evidently something unusual has occurred. The explanation is soon found as one observes all eyes turned to the dome of the rotunda from whose summit the Secession flag is seen waving. It has been placed there during the night by persons then unknown. Of course it has no right there, for the University is a State institution and the State has not seceded; on the contrary the Constitutional Convention has given only a few days before a strong vote or the Union.

    But it is evident the foreign flag is a welcome intruder in the precincts of Jefferson's University, for a great throng of students is presently assembled on the lawn in front of the lofty flight of steps leading up to the rotunda, and one after another of the leaders of the young men mounts the steps and harangues the crowd in favor of the Southern Confederacy and the Southern flag waving proudly up there. Among the speakers I recall Wm. Randolph Berkeley, the recently elected orator of the Jefferson Society.

    So general was the sympathy with the Southern cause that not a voice was raised in condemnation of the rebellious and burglarious act of the students who must have been guilty of raising the Southern flag. Not so general was the approval of the professors; some of these were strong Union men, among them one who was deservedly revered by the whole student body, Prof. John B. Minor, the head of the Law Department. Walking up under the arcades to his lecture room, he was shocked at the sight that met his eyes, and (so a wag afterwards reported) broke forth into rhyme as follows:

    "Flag of my country, can it be
    That that rages up there instead of thee!"

    Meantime the excitement waxed greater and greater, so much so that the students forsook their lecture rooms to attend the mass-meeting on the lawn. In vain did Prof. Schele de Vere endeavor to fix the attention of his class by the swelling periods of his famous lecture on Joan of Arc. The proceedings outside on the lawn interested them much more than the tragic fate of the Maid of Orleans, and one after another they rose and stalked out of the lecture room to join in the overture to another and more tremendous tragedy then unfolding itself to the world, until the baffled professor of modern languages gave up the attempt and abruptly closed his lecture.

    At this juncture the burly form of Dr. Albert Taylor Bledsoe, professor of mathematics, was seen mounting the steps of the rotunda, his great head as usual far in advance of the rest of his body. At once there was silence in the throng. To him the students gave a respectful attention, such as, I fear, in their then mood, they would not have given to Professor Minor. For Dr. Bledsoe was an enthusiastic advocate of Secession, to such an extent that he would not infrequently interlard his demonstration of some difficult problem in differential or integral calculus--for example, the lemniscata of Bernouilli--with some vigorous remarks in the doctrine of States' rights.

    At this juncture, however, the big-brained professor spoke to the young men in a somewhat different strain. He began by saying he had no doubt the students who had put up that flag were "the very nicest fellows in the University," but, inasmuch as the State of Virginia had not yet seceded, the Secession flag did not really belong on that rotunda, and he hoped the students themselves would take it down,--"but," he said, "young gentlemen, do it very tenderly."

    The facts of the case were these. A group of seven students (of whom I was one) bought the bunting and had the flag made, seven stars and three bars, by some young lady friends who were bound to secrecy, and then, having supplied themselves with augers and small saws, they went to work after midnight and sawed their way through five doors to gain access to the roof of the rotunda, where, in their stocking feet, they at length succeeded, not without risk of a fatal fall, in giving the "Stars and Bars" to the breeze, just as the first faint streaks of dawn appeared on the eastern hills. They then scattered and betook themselves to bed, and were the last men in the University to hear the news that the Secession flag was floating over the rotunda!

    It was not many days after this occurrence that Mr. Lincoln issued his proclamation calling upon Virginia to furnish her quota of troops to coerce the seceded States back into the Union, and thereby instantly transformed the old Commonwealth from a Union State into a seceded State. All differences now disappeared among her statesmen and her people, and Virginia with entire unanimity threw in her lot with her Southern sisters "for better, for worse, for weal or for woe."

    It was the threat of invasion that revolutionized the position of the State of Virginia. In illustration of this I refer to the case of a talented young man from Richmond who had been an extreme and uncompromising "Union man"-- the most extreme among all the students at the University. He was also bold and aggressive in the advocacy of his opinions, so much so that he became very unpopular, and his friends feared "serious trouble and even bloody collision." The morning President Lincoln's proclamation appeared he had gone down town on personal business before breakfast, and while there happened to glance at a paper. He returned at once to the University, but not to breakfast; spoke not a word to any human being; packed his trunk with his belongings; left a note for the chairman of the faculty explaining his conduct; boarded the first train for Richmond, and joined a military company before going to his father's house or taking so much as a morsel of food. What was the overwhelming force which thus in a moment transformed this splendid youth? Was it not the God-implanted instinct which impels a man to defend his own hearthstone?

    The visitor to the University to-day will see on the rotunda porch two large bronze tablets on the right and left of the central door, on which are graven the names of the alumni who laid down their lives in the Civil War for the independence of the South. There are just five hundred and three names.

    The number itself is significant. If five hundred died, there must have been more than two thousand five hundred, perhaps as many as three thousand, on the rolls of the Confederate armies, who called this University mother. We have no accurate register of the number of alumni who were living in 1861 and fit for military service. But we do know that of the six hundred and twenty-five who were students here when the tocsin of war sounded, five hundred and thirty hailed from the seceding States, and about five hundred and fifteen went to the front. Two of the professors followed their students,--our illustrious professor of Greek, Basil L. Gildersleeve, who was wounded fighting with Gordon in the valley of Virginia--he still lives, thank God! to adorn American scholarship--and Lewis Minor Coleman, our right royal professor of Latin, who fell gloriously while commanding a battalion of artillery at Fredericksburg.

    These numbers are significant. They bear eloquent witness, not only to the gallantry of our brother alumni, but to the unanimity of the Southern people in that great struggle, and they afford convincing proof of the falsity of the theory, held by some historians of the Civil War, that the uprising of the Southern people was the result of a conspiracy of a few ambitious leaders. When we see five hundred and fifteen out of six hundred and twenty-five students, representing the flower of the intellect and culture of the South-- its yeomen as well as its aristocracy--spring to arm at the first sound of the long roll, we realize that the resistance offered to coercion in 1861 was in no sense artificial, but free and spontaneous, and that it was the act of the people, not of the politicians.

    This conclusion may be fortified by a comparison with the record of a great New England university. The memorial tablets at Harvard contain the names of one hundred and seventeen of her alumni who gave their lives to the cause of the Union, while the whole number who entered the Union army and navy was nine hundred and thirty-eight. If the same proportion of loss held among the men of our Alma Mater, then there would have been four thousand students and alumni of the University of Virginia in the army and navy of the Confederate States. But the proportion of killed in action was greater on our side, so that this total must be much reduced. We know from the records that not less than two thousand five hundred of the men who followed the battle flag of the Southern Cross were sons of this Virginia University. The actual number was probably considerably larger. Thus though her students and alumni of military age were less numerous than those of Harvard, in something like the proportion of four to seven, yet there were more than three times as many of them serving with the colors in the great conflict; and while one hundred and seventeen men of the Cambridge university laid down their lives for the Union, five hundred and three of the men of the University of Virginia died for the Southern cause--more than four times as many.

    As I think of some of these brave young fellows, I recall the scene that used to be presented many an afternoon on the slope of the hill directly to the south of the University lawn--D'Alphonse, the stalwart professor of gymnastics, leading his numerous pupils in singing the "Marsellaise," or "Les Girondins." The clear fresh voices of those fine young fellows come back to me as I write,--the fine tenor of Robert Falligant rising above the rest,--singing:

    "Par la voix du cannon d'alarme,
    La France appelle ses enfants,
    Allons, dit le soldat, aux armes,
    C'est ma mère, je la defends.


    "Mourir pour la patrie,
    Mourir pour la patrie,
    C'est le sort le plus beau
    Le plus digne d'envie!"

    Alas! how soon and how unexpectedly were those words to be exemplified on the field of battle, in the gallant deaths of many who sang them then, with little realization of their possible significance for them.

    There were two military companies organized at the University the autumn before the fateful cloud of Civil War burst upon the land. These were in no way connected with the organization of the institution, but were purely private and voluntary. One called itself "The Sons of Liberty," the other took the name of "The Southern Guard." To the latter I belonged, and when Virginia joined the Confederacy, these two companies of boys were ordered to Winchester, Va., to join in the movement of Gen. Thomas J. Jackson against Harper's Ferry.

    I remember that after a long railway ride in box cars (which sadly tarnished our uniforms) we were detrained at Strasburg, and marched to Winchester, eighteen miles distant, beating handsomely in the march the regular companies of State militia that formed part of the expedition.

    The two University companies remained several weeks at Harper's Ferry, and were then very properly ordered back to their studies. I did not tarry so long, but made my way to Baltimore, where stirring scenes had been witnessed on the 19th of April, when the Massachusetts troops en route to Washington were attacked by the populace.

    Arrived there I very soon found "nothing would be doing," --advices from Confederate headquarters in Virginia discouraging any attempt in that quarter, and so after about a week's sojourn, I returned to the University, promising my mother to stay till the end of the session.

    While in Baltimore at dear old "Belvidere," the beautiful home of my childhood and boyhood, I had to endure the pain of my father's displeasure, because of my espousal of the Southern cause. He himself had been in warm personal sympathy with the South, but through the strong intellectual influence of a near relative his political sympathy had been turned to the North. His heart was with my mother's people, but his head turned him to the side of the Union. I mention it because this difference was, by reason of our great mutual attachment, very painful to us both.

    In an interview between us, when he had expressed himself in severe condemnation of my course, I turned and said with much feeling, "Well, father, I comfort myself with the promise, 'When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.' " And so we parted never to meet again, for he died in January, 1865. A noble and high-minded man he was, and particularly devoted to me. Nothing but the strongest conviction of duty could have led me to act contrary to his wishes. During the whole war I constantly sent him messages of love, and sometimes wrote to him. When my marriage took place, February 26, 1863, he sent my bride a beautiful present with his likeness. My first child was named for him, "John," to which I added "Duncan" for my much-loved cousin. When my ordination was approaching, in April, 1864, I wrote him as follows:

    "My father, I ask to be remembered at the family altar, that God may prepare me for the responsible office which I am about tremblingly to undertake after seven months' study."

    No picture of this crucial epoch is a true one which suppresses these most painful divisions of sentiment which often occurred in devoted families.

    When I returned to the University I had lost, first and last, six weeks at a critical part of my course. My "tickets," this my second year, were French, German, moral philosophy, and senior mathematics. I determined to drop German and concentrate on the other three schools. And then, finding the "math." examination coming on in ten days, I gave my whole time to preparation for that severe test. Such was the excitement among the students, many of whom
    were already leaving to join the Army, that study was very difficult, so I betook myself to a little one-room structure at the foot of Carr's Hill on the north side isolated from other buildings, and there studied the differential and integral calculus from twelve to fourteen hours a day for the ten days before examination, Sunday excepted, with the result that on the day of the test I soon developed a severe headache, which nearly cost me my diploma. However, I passed, and later passed also in my other tickets, and received the three diplomas on Commencement day, much to my satisfaction.

    These, with diplomas in Latin and Greek taken the previous year, made the path clear to the coveted and difficult honor of M.A. the third year. But that "third year" never came. It was "knocked out" by four years in the school of war under Stonewall Jackson and Lee. And when these were passed, I had entered on the active duties of life.

    I wrote to my mother, June 20th, as follows: "I stand moral philosophy on Tuesday next. To-morrow and next day I am to read two essays in the Moral class,--one on two of Butler's sermons, one on a chapter in the Analogy. I got through French examination very well, I believe, but I am scared about my last math. examination. I find that I mistook one of the questions."
  11. hawglips

    hawglips Sergeant

    Feb 20, 2005
    Saturday, July 20, 1861.


    Mr. Hall has just made his appearance and handed me your letter and dear Margie's. It grieved me to the quick to find that you are still in ignorance of my real position in Virginia now, and I confess I almost felt self-reproached when you said that you were perfectly satisfied with my promise not to join the Southern Army "without my father's consent." I recollect full well writing the letter, and that was the thing which has kept me back so long from following what I have felt my duty to my country. This made me change my mind about joining when I had almost made up my mind to it some time ago, and this made me resolve to use every effort to get home and try and get consent to do so. I would not now be in the army, and would be at home, I expect, if the condition of things in Baltimore had not rendered it pretty certain that I would be arrested because I went in arms to Harper's Ferry.

    I say then in justification of my course that I could not get home safely to get advice, and I felt very hopeful that papa, as most other Union men in Baltimore, had changed his sentiments when he found that the government means to establish a despotism and call it by the sacred name of Union. I do not now believe, after learning that I am disappointed to a great extent in this expected change so far, that papa will not finally cease to support what he has believed a free and righteous government, when he finds beyond contradiction that Lincoln has overthrown the government of our forefathers and abolished every principle of the Declaration of Independence.

    My dear, dear mother, I could hardly restrain tears in the midst of all the confusion and bustle of the camp this morning when I read your letter with those renewed expressions of your tender love for me. Oh, I hope you will not think me unworthy of such a love. If I have erred, do be lenient to me, you and papa both, and do not disown your son for doing what he felt to be a holy duty to his country. Papa, if you place yourself in my position, with the profound conviction I have of the holiness and righteousness of this Cause, ask yourself whether you would not have unhesitatingly done what I have done. You have yourself, in my hearing, placed the duty of country first in this world's duties and second only to the duty I owe my God. How then am I reprehensible for obeying what my very heart of hearts told me was my country's call, when I had some hope that your will would not be at variance with it, and I was unable to find out whether it was or not?

    I have suffered much in mind and still do suffer. At all events I am not actuated by selfish or cowardly motives. How easy it would have been to sit down at quiet Belvidere, preserving an inactivity which all my friends would have regarded as honorable, than at the possible loss of your parental love and care, and at the sacrifice of my comforts and the risk of my life, to do what I have done-- enlist as a common soldier (i.e., a volunteer private) in the cause of liberty and right! Camp life is a hard life--I know by experience. Forced marches, scanty provisions sometimes, menial offices to perform, perfect discipline to submit to, are not attractive features to anyone. Then military life has little charm for me. I have no taste for it, and no ambition for military glory. But I am ready and willing to suffer all these hardships, and, when necessary, to lay my life upon the altar of my country's freedom.

    I hope I do not seem to boast or to glorify myself in speaking thus, but if I know my own heart this is the truth, and God give me grace to be consistent with this profession. Do not, my precious mother, be too much alarmed and too anxious about me. I trust and hope that God will protect me from "the terror by night" and "the destruction that wasteth at noon-day." I feel as if my life was to be spared. I hope yet to preach the Gospel of the Jesus Christ; but, my dear mother, we are in God's hands, and He doth not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men. "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." He does all things well, and He will give you grace to bear this trial too. Farewell, dear mother and father, Telfair, Mary, and Margie. I am, in this life and the next,

    Your fond and affectionate


    (letter from Randolph McKim, letter to his mother)
  12. hawglips

    hawglips Sergeant

    Feb 20, 2005
    BALTIMORE, July 1, 1861.


    The plot thickens around us here, the usurpation becoming more and more dictatorial. Thankful I feel that we are not personally endangered, but I do not feel the less indignant at the outrageous arrest of our citizens, or the less sympathy for my neighbors who are subjected to the tyranny of the arbitrary power in Washington. We are such a loyal people, that it takes only 30,000 men to keep us quiet; and our police and marshal of police arrested! There will be no stop to this until you send them flying from Virginia, then we may have a chance to show our loyalty.

    (letter to Randolph McKim, from his mother)

    (Message edited by hawglips on October 15, 2004)
  13. dawna

    dawna First Sergeant

    Feb 20, 2005
    Camp Ruth Well West Va.

    This the 11th day of November 1862

    As it has been sometime, Catharine, since I have written to you and I will now try to write you a few lines to let you know how we are getting along this cold and disagreeable weather. The health of myself and Regt. is excellent considering the exposure to which we have been subjected for the last 11 days. We have marched 140 miles in this time for we were out on a scout. We went to Logan Court House a distance of 70 miles we burnt two grist mills and we burnt the town and everything else that would burn. We took about 30 prisoners and killed one man and captured about 50 horses after which we turned back. We were within 23 miles of the line between Kentucky and this state.

    Some days it rained and some it snowed and we had a very rough time of it but a good time. We took everything that we could get. Honey, chickens, turkeys, butter, and even milked the cows as we passed along. We returned to camp rejoicing like a tribe of indians after a great victory.

    We have not got moved into our winter quarters yet for the old Sawmill broke down and we have to repair it so as to get lumber to finish the buildings with. I think we will be all fixed up in a few days if nothing happens none that we know of now. After we have got fixed for the winter some of us will have a chance to go home and I hope that I shall be one of them for I am anxious to see you all again and to pass a few days in Perry County this winter.

    But I am not certain of this happy privilege for was is very uncertain and we know not what moment we will have to leave this for we are threatened very hard by the rebels for they say they will have this valley, this winter, in their possession. But time will prove all things and we will see again Spring whether they will carry out their threats or not. I hope they will let us rest this winter for we have been through on the fast line for the last 4 or 5 months and we would be very willing to stay in our little tents for 2 or 4 months. I sincerely hope that the war will be at end this winter we are all getting tired of it and be very willing to quit if they will, that is to lay down their arms and return to their peaceful homes but the prospect is dark at the present time.

    Catharine, war is a horrible thing. I assure you, no-one has any idea of the horrors of war, until they have seen for themselves Destruction on every side, what the rebels leave, the union troops Destroy, and what the union troops leave, the rebel troops Destroy, and every thing has gone to Destruction.

    I am sorry Catharine that some person has made themselves so free as to open my letters, and it would not do for me to find out who the person or persons are if I ever should be permitted to meet them. But I hope that they will not medle with any more of my letters for I wish for no one to read my letters that I write to you but yourself. I will now close my letter for this time hoping that it will reach you unopened and that it will find you well and hearty and free hearted as ever.

    Write soon and remember me your true hearted lover.

    Write soon and direct to me Co D. 30th Regt. O.V.I.
    Candleton West Va

    Catharine Shick - E.J.A
  14. dawna

    dawna First Sergeant

    Feb 20, 2005
    Fighting Chaplain of the 32nd Ohio

    Russell B. Bennett, Chaplain of the Thirty-second, was known in the Seventeenth Army Corps as the "fighting Chaplain." He first enlisted in the regiment as a private, and was a good and brave soldier in the ranks. When Chaplain Nickerson resigned and left the service, Bennett was promoted to the chaplaincy of the regiment.

    Bennett not only believed in the efficacy of prayer, but also believed in the efficacy of shot and shell, and, instead of remaining in the rear during an engagement, he was always up in the front line, not only to minister to the wounded and dying, but, with gun in hand, took his place in the ranks and encouraged the soldiers by his coolness and bravery.

    Of the many instances in which he rendered good services during a battle, we give one as related by the boys of the regiment. On the day the brave and gallant McPherson fell, Atlanta, July 22, 1864, the Seventeenth Corps was hotly engaged. The Thirty-second Regiment was flanked on all sides, and was compelled to change front several times, not knowing in what direction to look for the enemy.

    At one time, during a few moments' lull in the battle, the Thirty-second was lying down in the edge of a corn-field waiting for the next attack, the Chaplain, cautioning the boys to lie very still, and protect themselves the best they could, advanced into the corn-field to make a reconnoissance, and, mounting a stump some forty or fifty yards in front of the line, discovered the battle line of the enemy rapidly advancing, and moving back to his regiment, passed the word along the line that the enemy were close upon them; then, taking the musket of William B. Mitchell, of Company B - brother to John and James Mitchell, of Marysville - he fired on the advancing line, Mitchell, lying on the ground, would rapidly re-load the gun, and again Bennett would fire, and all the time exhorting the boys to "lie-low" until the enemy were close upon them, then to "fire-low."

    All this time he stood erect, not seeming to have any thought of his own safety, but only solicitous for the soldiers of the regiment, whom he loved dearly. Mitchell was killed as he lay on the ground, and, his body falling into the hands of the enemy, was never recovered. Bennett was universally respected and loved by all of the officers and soldiers of the regiment, and to-day the boys all have a good word for Chaplain Bennett.

    By: W.L. Curry
  15. thea_447

    thea_447 Cadet

    Feb 20, 2005
    The Deep South, Alabama
    TJJ to Gen. Joseph E. Johnston
    Date: 1862 February 18
    Place: Winchester,Virginia

    Feby 18th, 1862


    I have received information that there is below Washington another Brigade besides Sickles' and that they are provided with pontoon trains by which they can cross their Art. & other force in about four (4) hours and that they design doing so with the night at three or four different points, and that the first favorable night is the time fixed upon. That the crossing is to be followed by the reoccupation of Fredericksburg.

    The 1st Tennessee leaves for Knoxville at dawn tomorrow morning. Would have left this morning, but I thought it best not to move until something could be heard respecting the time when the cars could receive them, as the weather has been very bad, and the troops are comfortable in their present position, & are within a day's march of Strasburg. Tomorrow at 10 o'clock A.M. the 1st Georgia will leave, and the Regiments for Genl Humes will move in time for their R. R. transportation. As there is no evidence of an immediate move on this place, I do not attach much importance to the information respecting the crossing of the Potomac below you, but have felt it my duty to make mention of it. The information is that the crossing is to be at night. The troops for Manassas can leave at any time via Snicker's Gap; as the boats now there will transport 250 Inft. per trip, but unless I receive further instructions from you, I will keep them as you directed until after the Regiments for the Virginia District leave.

    Respectfully your Obt. Servt.
    T.J. Jackson
    Maj. Genl
    Genl. J. E. Johnston
  16. thea_447

    thea_447 Cadet

    Feb 20, 2005
    The Deep South, Alabama

    In December of 1862, Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan set out on one of his notorious cavalry raids, while Bragg's Confederates gathered along the banks of the Stones River. The following is an excerpt, written by Veteran G. W. Duncan, of Franklin, Kentucky, who tells a story of the courageous deed of one young Southern female during Morgan's capture of Hartsville, Tennessee:

    "Col. C. B. Moore commanded the brigade of Federal troops that occupied Hartsville, Tenn., in December, 1862. On Thursday, before the capture of Moore's Brigade by Gen. Morgan, Mr. John Hinton, a citizen who lived in or near Hartsville, rode leisurely out of the place, through the pickets, and stopped at the Widow Kirby's, some four miles east of the village. His destination was two miles ****her on and across the Cumberland river to Mr. Frank Kirby's, but he was shadowed so closely by Moore's pickets that he felt certain they would halt, and perhaps search him, if he started to cross the river, which would be fatal to him, for he had a paper showing the strength and position of the Federals at Hartsville. Hinton explained the situation to Mrs. Kirby and her daughter, a young girl of sixteen or eighteen years of age. The latter immediately proposed to carry the paper to her Uncle Frank. With a woman's wit and a veteran's courage, she ripped a slit out of her old sunbonnet, wra! pped the paper around it, replaced the slit, stitched it up, and, with the bonnet dangling negligently on the back of her neck, she mounted her horse and rode leisurely toward the river, dodged the keen eyes of the pickets, crossed the river at an unknown ford, and rode up to her uncle's house. Mr. Kirby was on the outlook for Hinton, and when his niece arrived was much disappointed and greatly concerned, thinking perhaps he had been arrested and everything discovered. But a look and a word from the girl explained the situation. A few moments after she entered the house, Mr. Kirby's little son, a lad of some ten or twelve years of age, crawled over the yard fence, whistling as he walked toward the woods, ostensibly to drive up the cows; but once within the shadows, he quickened his pace, and in a few moments came up with some of Morgan's men, who were expecting him and to whom he delivered the paper. Less than twenty-four hours afterwards, on Sunday morning by daylight, the ci! tizens of Hartsville and Moore's Brigade of soldiers were aroused from slumber by the booming of Morgan's guns. By ten o'clock the battle had been fought; Morgan had captured the entire Federal force, and was on the south side of the Cumberland. On his way to report to Gen. Bragg at Murfreesboro." *** Above is an excerpt from: Confederate Veteran, Vol. VIII, No. 8 Nashville, Tenn., October 1900.
  17. thea_447

    thea_447 Cadet

    Feb 20, 2005
    The Deep South, Alabama
    Cornelius C. Platter Civil War Diary, 1864 - 1865

    Pages 49 - 54

    [size=+1]Page: [49] [/size]Large Image | DjVu Image[​IMG]Fletcher B. Haynes severely in shoulder Obtained intrenching tools from the 3d Brigade and [unclear: threw] up a splendid line of works. Can see the Rebel works very plainly but the distance is too great for musketry. Heavy cannonading & musketry in direction of Ft [Fort] McAllister -- Suppose it to be our men attacking the fort. Genl [General] Rice will attempt to cross the Little Ogeechee tonight - Had a taste of salt water today the tide comes up this far. -- The Brigade has not yet arrived and no news from it. Rebs are very "saucy" in our front. No news from the fleet or any part of our line.

    Wednesday Dec 14th 1864. [View Civil War timeline for this date]

    Gen. [General] Rice did not cross the "Ogeechee last night as expected, much to the "Chagrin" of Gen. [General] Corse - At 2 AM Genl [General] Corse sent for 2 of our best Companies to effect a crossing, but after going to the River did not attempt it. Co [Colonel] "E"

    [size=+1]Page: [50] [/size]12 Ills [illegible] & remained all day. Very little forming along the line to day [today]. Ft [Fort] McAllister was captured yesterday evening it was taken by the 2d Div [Division] [illegible] Capturing its garrison of 250 men [added and] 19 Guns Our loss was about 80 killed and wounded Enemies [Enemies]loss heavy - We now have a base of supplies and Shermans Grand army is safe and can defy the whole [illegible] Do not think we will do anything untill [until] we get a fresh supply of rations - We are now very short and have nothing but "corn bread" to eat - no coffee - The Brigade came in from the RR Bridge this morning, being relieved by 3d Div [Division] Was down to the "Ogeechee" this morning - think it will be very difficult [difficut] to effect a crossing Lieut [Lieutenant] Pittman was sent for by Gen [General] Corse - A large mail reported "aboard" the fleet. which we are very anxious to get. It is more than a month since we have seen any northern papers.

    [size=+1]Page: [51] [/size]

    Thursday, Dec 15th 1864 [View Civil War timeline for this date]A very spirited Cannonading duel This morning - Our batteries seem to have the best of it. Spent the day in writing letters wrote three one to Father -- Lizzie and Lt [Lieutenant] H.R. S.R. 15 tons of mail said to be at the coast but cannot come up untill [intil] the obstructions in the "Ogeechee" are removed. But little firing on the Skirmish line. - The boys of Co [Company] "E" procured a small " [illegible] guns" and took it out on the "skirmish line" It throws a [unclear: formed] ball and created quite a disturbance among the enemys [illegible] It has been a nice day. cool and pleasant - No Rations & eating very slim.

    Friday Dec 16th 1864 [View Civil War timeline for this date]Was up early. Enemy threw shell in among us. Col [Colonel] Adams being afraid that some one would get hurt moved us back to where the rest of the Brigade was - 1/2 mile from our position occupied at morning

    [size=+1]Page: [52] [/size]

    12th Ills detailed as [illegible] Guards to 13th AC. Rec'd [Received] large mail this morning -- got six letters 2 from Lizzie -- 2 from home, one from "Hugh R S." and one from Columbus - an official documents" -- also rec'd [received] a huge lot Of Cincinnati Gazetts [Gazettes] - Sat up very late reading the news was after 12 o'clock when I gave myself up to the arms of "Morpheus" -

    Saturday Dec 17th 1864 [View Civil War timeline for this date]Was up early and reread my letters and papers in hopes of finding something new. Spent the day in reading and writing. Wrote a long letter to Columbus -- Mail left the Regiment this evening -- Made out a complete Roster of officers & sergents [Sergeants] and sent them to Columbus by "Davy [unclear: Samme] " Rations are getting very scarce. The army is worse off for Rations than anytime since we have been "in the field" -- think we will get a supply tomorrow - for supper we had "hard tack" and "cold boild [boiled] beef" -- --

    [size=+1]Page: [53] [/size]
    Saturday Dec 18th 1864 Went to "Kings bridge" to day [today] in company with Capt [Captain] Lockwood Lt [Lieutenant] Johnson and "Hank Comstock" -- Went to see the "fleet" and to get something for our men to eat -- only one boat at the bridge unloading Rations. A large no of soldiers at the landing. 12th Ills started for Hilton Head to day [today] in charge of prisoners - After repeated efforts at the bridge we succeeded in getting some "Hard tack" & sugar for our men - Returned about dark. Had a rich dinner today - "Bill of Fare" "Dried Apples" - Men are living on "parched corn" to day" [today] - Rations will be issued some time tonight. Men are very hungry -- A battery of 32 Rd Parrott guns arrived today from New York & was sent to the 20th AC on the left of our lines. - 17th AC are worse off than our corps for Rations - Capt [Captain] Compton "[illegible] " was mustered out today & will start march soon.

  18. thea_447

    thea_447 Cadet

    Feb 20, 2005
    The Deep South, Alabama
    From the memoirs of Archibald Atcinson,Jr., a surgeon in the Army of Northern Virginia:

    <FONT color=#0000ff>When we were ordered to the Potomac (some 150
    miles in a straight line) we had to travel at night, the
    heat being too great to press the horses during the
    day; + it also being easier to conceal our movement
    from the enemy under cover of darkness.
    About 4 o'clock one morning, the Col. asked
    me to take Lieut. Phillips + go on ahead to select
    a camp where there w'd be trees to which to tie
    the horses, pure water, + the proximity of a wheat
    field. We pushed on, + in about an hour found
    a suitable place, marking the spot as arrang-
    ed by placing a piece of paper under the
    top stone of the fence. Hearing firing we went
    on to where we saw a great fog as if near
    a river, which proved to be the Potomac
    + we passed through Shepherdstown, +
    descending the steep bank crossed at
    [In margin: Shepherdston] the Shepherdstown ford. We did not
    know where the infantry was, but knew by
    the great number of stragglers that
    they were in Md. We pushed on 1 mile
    + came to the battle field of Sharpesburg
    on Antietam. We had no business there + sat on
    our horses beside a straw stack on which were
    hundreds of people. Soon the cannon balls fell all
    around us + Phillips proposed that we should fall back
    200 yds. to a corn field + feed our horses. We took our
    bridles off when a shot fell like a great stone within
    five feet of us, but failed to explode. We then took
    the corn behind another stack where the horses
    ate their feed on the ground, squatting at
    each cannon ball which struck the front
    side of the stack. Going back across the
    river, I met my brother
    Bob on his way to
    Shepherdstown. He asked me to go with him
    + took me to Dr. Paron's house where I found
    our cousin Lilly Lee + her sisters attending

    [Page 2]

    the wouded [wounded] in their house + yard. I passed poor
    Buck Cocke, + gave him all the contents of
    my haversack for his breakfast.
    x x x x x x x x x x x x
    [In margin: Middleburg] We were at Middleburg kept by Gen. Stuart's disobe-
    dience of Gen. Lee's orders to follow him. Gen. Stuart had
    allowed Gregg Averill + Buford, yankee cavelry
    generals, to delude him by their feint of attack-
    ing the rear of Lee's army, + Gen. Stuart stayed
    there fighting a fresh brigade each day.
    If he had gone on as directed by Lee, he
    would still have been between Gen. Lee's rear
    + the enemy. As it was, Gen. Lee did not know
    what was before him + had to feel his way along
    through the lower valley of Va. to cross the
    Potomac, nor could he know if the enemy
    were before, behind, or on either flank. It
    was when Stuart left Middleburg + passed
    through Upperville + was crossing the Blue
    Ridge at Ashley's Gap that my Brother Bob
    did himself so much credit as to induce
    Col. J. Lucius Davis[5] of the 10th Va. Cavelry to say
    that he had covered himself with glory
    x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
    After the battle at Sewell Mountain, a house
    was assigned to me as hospital for my

    + the enemy. As it was, Gen. Lee did not know
    what was before him + had to feel his way along
    through the lower valley of Va. to cross the
    Potomac, nor could he know if the enemy
    were before, behind, or on either flank. It
    was when Stuart left Middleburg + passed
    through Upperville + was crossing the Blue
    Ridge at Ashley's Gap that my Brother Bob
    did himself so much credit as to induce
    Col. J. Lucius Davis[5] of the 10th Va. Cavelry to say
    that he had covered himself with glory
    x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
    After the battle at Sewell Mountain, a house
    was assigned to me as hospital for my
    men, as it was locked + deserted I had
    to get in through a window. Whilst I
    was investigating the manager for the owner
    of the house came + asked why I had entered
    the house. I told him my object, + he went down
    the hill. In the meantime I had the windows
    opened so as to air the house + was arranging
    in my mind how I'd place my sick men, when
    an orderly rode up with an order from Gen.
    Floyd to report to him near by. I did so, giv-
    ing him Gen. Wise's order + he said " now Dr.
    please return to Gen. Wise, + give him my com-
    plements, + say he cannot have the house
    for a hospital as Gen. Floyd will occupy

    [Page 3]
    it himself as his head-quarters.["] I asked him [to]
    give me the instructions in writing, which he
    did. It may be well imagined Gen. Wise was
    not especially pleased at having his orders
    disregarded, but Gen. Floyd was his senior
    + really was in command. Gen. Wise was not
    the most amiable for it. Gen. Floyd had order-
    ed the whole command to fall back from
    New River + Gen. Wise refused to obey. He was
    soon ordered away + shortly after followed
    the disaster at Roanoke Island in N.C. when
    poor Jennings Wise was killed. He was
    a great favorite + an idol with his
    father. After Gen. Wise went back from Sew-
    ell Mt. to Richmond, Col. J. Lucius Davis
    was in command of the Wise legion. He was
    Col. of the Wise cavalry then, which after-
    wards was made the 10th Va. Cavalry. Con-
    sisting of companies from Henrico Co.
    (Capt. Magruder), from Richmond City, on[e]
    from Petersburg,. Capt. H. Clay Vale, one from
    Franklin, Capt. Rosser, one from Albermarl
    Capt. Delters, one from Rockingham, Capt.
    Pennybacker, one from Dory + Davidson Cos.
    McCofts, Wm. B. Clements, another from
    Richmond City under Capt. Robt. Caskic,
    one from Rockbridge, Capt. Davidson, one
    from N.C. Capt. Tincker. I cannot just now
    recollect any others. Of course there is choice
    in all Cos. of a regt., few are altogether bad
    + rough, some of our companies were good.
    [In margin: Sewell] It was about this time that a message came down
    the Mt. to my hospital asking if I could take a sick soldier
    in, + allow his Co. physician to attend him. I was glad to do so
    both because I had an excess of work + a scarcity of
    medicines. The man proved to be one from an Ala.
    reg. and was suffering with Camp fever. The poor
    fellow was burning up, skin, brain, stomach
    + bowels. The Dr. asked my advice + I urged
    him to [ ] stimulat[ive] or the man woul[d] [die]

    [Page 4]

    of brain fever. He however thought his plan was
    the wiser, + in 48 hours the man was a raving ma-
    niac, + the Dr. then asked me to secure an am-
    bulance that the man might be taken to the
    convalescents hospital at the White Sulphur
    ,[6] the man died that night in the am-
    bulance. I had the Vaughan Hotel for my hospital,
    nominially a cavalry hospital for the sick of the
    Wise legion, but I never turned any sick man off.
    The house was in a large meadow + as a cavalry-
    man came in his horse would be turned into this
    meadow where besides an abundance of good
    grass there was plenty of water. I had about 500
    sick + convalescent soldiers, cavalry, infantry + artillery
    of all the comanders in that section. There
    was an epidemic of measles in the army + every
    soldier who had not been 10 miles from his home
    before he enlisted was seized with it. I've had
    boys of 16, + fathers of 60 years lying side by side
    on straw beds placed on the floor all suffering from
    measles or some of its complications. We had the poorest
    commissary arrangements,+ all I could get for my
    men was salt + hard crackers. I made the conva-
    lescents shoot squirrels, ground hogs, pheasants,
    + turkeys with which to make soup for the men.
    I don't know how poor fellows fared who were sick
    in camp. I made all sorts of soups + stews for the
    men. The nights were as cold as in Jan. lower down
    for we were high up the mountain, + had to have
    fires all the time.[7] One night about 10 o'clock in a
    pouring rain the infantry came marching by
    the hospital. There were ambulances all laden
    with tents + trunks (for early in the war officers attempt-
    ed to carry trunks) then came artillery + the rattling
    over the corduroy road was fearful. No one would
    or could tell us any thing as to why they were
    vacating so suddenly. I had never seen an army
    terror stricken before, + though I could not see the
    men for the rain + darkness, I knew their hearts were
    in their throats. They went [as if] they thought Gen. [Page 5]
    Rosecrantz's army was within 200 yds. of them.
  19. thea_447

    thea_447 Cadet

    Feb 20, 2005
    The Deep South, Alabama
    Instead of 15 miles behind with a swollen river
    between, they would stop for nothing, listen to
    nothing, but rushed on hurry scurry + not
    a word for any one. I had over 400 sick men
    in the hospital + in the sheds + barns around
    the premises + I did not wish them to be captured
    but I made up my mind if this had to result
    from the mismanagement of those in command
    I would remain with them. Two weeks before
    my reg. had gone off over towards Lyon river
    for some secret raid. I being in the hospital +
    in charge of the sick did not know of their
    going. Dr. C the senior in charge of the Wise legion
    (as it was called) had sent me word that he had
    left a couple of large boxes back on the road near
    Hawk's Nest + if the command vacated that sec-
    tion please to look after them. He should have
    turned them over to the quarter-master of the legion
    + there would have been no furthur trouble or re-
    sponsibility about them, but it was his way as
    I found afterwards to do things on the spur of
    the moment + without any idea of system, con-
    venience or responsibility. I had told him I
    would do my best if any thing happened. I asked for (next page)
    x x x x x x x x x x x
    We reached Culpepper C. House the day after the
    great storm. x x We had been in Orange Co. + had
    picketed Raccoon ford + there abouts. No one of us
    knew why when all of a sudden there was a move-
    ment across the Rapidan river + there began a run-
    ning fight. He crossed under cover of our horse
    artillery which scarcely made noise enough to
    frighten any body. We kept on fighting as we
    went. We were evidently on the advance for we were
    pressed forward, first one reg. would go forward
    + have a tug for ten minutes + then another would
    go up to support it.[In margin, "page 398"] No falling back towards the
    river until when we reached the neighborhood
    Brandy (some 9 miles off) we were well into it.
    [In margin is statement "out of place here]

    [Page 6]

    volunteers + one Corvell from Franklin Co. (Rosser's
    Co. [9]) agreed to go back with one to get the supplies
    which Dr. Clendenin had left. The whole lot was not
    worth the risk of being captured or killed in secur-
    ing. We pressed a wagon + horse + made the
    driver go back. We passed Dogwood gap in the moun
    tain where I knew Gen. Wise was in quarters. We
    knew there must be pickets out beyond Gen.Wise quarters.
    We were as silent as possible, but could hear men's
    voices + see lights way down the road. We got
    the boxes on the wagon + started back, as we re-
    passed Gen. Wise's quarters about 4 A.M. I went in +
    was Capt Tabb his adj-general to whom I told
    the trouble. Just then some one cried out from
    the next room, "Who in the h- is that here at this
    time of the night? + what in the d--l do you want?"
    I told him who I was + what I wanted; that his officers
    had taken all the ambulances + loaded them with
    their tents + baggage, leaving the sick to whom of
    right the ambulances belonged to be captured
    at the various hospitals. He asked what I thought he
    should do under the circumstances. I replied that the
    only proper thing to do was to send a courier after
    those ambulances + to have the officers throw out
    their tents + baggage in the mud + rain + bring
    back the ambulances to my hospital for the sick.
    There were over 20 ambulances. I got Capt. Tabb
    to write the order + send the courier right off. We
    then went back to the hospital reaching there about
    7 A.M. I found many of the convalescents had gotten
    off, + I knew Gen. Wise would now notify me when
    to fall back with the remainder of my sick.
    I gave the wagon driver his breakfast + dinner +
    food for his horse + he felt rewarded. By noon
    the ambulances were returned + I put into them
    all the men who could not walk + sent them off. It
    was a hard night which I shall never forget.
    Gen. Wise praised me for my action, + I never heard
    any thing more about the officers but we vacated that
    part of Sewell Mt. + never went back, Rosecrantz never advan-
    ced [as far as I kn]ow.
  20. thea_447

    thea_447 Cadet

    Feb 20, 2005
    The Deep South, Alabama
    This article is excerpts from a reprint of the "Journal of the U.S. Cavalry Association", written by E.N. Gilpin of the Third Iowa Cavalry, and it's entitled
    "The Last Campaign." The first page of this slim volume has the signature of James Harrison Wilson, commander of the Union forces in the Battle of Selma.

    April 1st: Maplesville Station on Alabama and Tennessee R.R.
    Marched at daylight. Skirmishing all day, driving them slowly but steadily. Near the station Old Maplesville, more generally known as Ebenezer Church, we met the enemy under General Forrest. Long advanced on the right with the second division, Upton on the left with our division. We could hear the shrill whistle of the locomotives and knew the enemy was being reinforced. Upton ordered Winslow's brigade to charge with the saber and led them himself.

    The Confederates held the crest of a ridge, flanked by a deep miry creek with artillery posted so as to sweep both roads. As soon as we developed their position one could have sworn Forrest was in command. A column was advancing to charge our flank...Rodney, in a flash double teamed and gained the hill top, swung his guns free, and sent the shells whirling over our boys who were fighting hand to hand in the fields below.

    By a succession of impetuous charges we forced them (the Confederates) from the field, dislodged them from the heights and drove them helter skelter five miles past Maplesville Station. The food was strewn with guns, belts, cartridge boxes, coats and hats...

    Our division captured two ten-pounder Parrot guns and 135 prisoners. The Second Division one gun and two hundred prisoners...

    April 2nd: Sunday, Selma, Alabama. Left camp at 9:30 a.m. Detached expeditions burned iron works, factories, rolling and flour mills and destroyed millions of dollars worth. Our line of march is along the top of hills that extend to the city of Selma...A wide fertile valley below us shows delightfullly green, and as we march we hear the tinkling of bells, the lowing of cattle, and singing of larks in the fields. Stopping here to eat my dinner, the indistinct murmur of life on a farm comes to my ears like music.

    Went to the head of the column and found it halted in full view and range of the enemy's works at Selma. General Wilson came up and he and General Upton examined the position with their field glasses. The fortifications are 600 yards distant, a formidable line of forts and earthworks, with palisades extending a distance of three miles, with the flanks resting on the river above and below the city...

    Our last day's march was pushed so swiftly that no time was left Forrest to make disposition of his forces, until we closed in on the city..Volley followed volley; the long loud rattle of our Spencers and the replay by our batteries to the incessant heavy booming of guns from the forts. Our boys charged dismounted across the fields and swamps, over rifle pits and embankments, over trenches and palisades, up through the battery smoke, on to the parapet yelling like devils...

    General Wilson, on his white horse, led forward the mounted reserves. At a steady trot the long blue line formed across the plain; then spurring to a gallop, the ground trembled with the thunder of hoofs, the air scintillant with the flash of saber blades, the cavalry charge like a tornado let loose swept through all opposition. Our carbines and sabers, Yankees and yells, proved too much for the Johnnies and Selmas was fairly won!...

    Still April 2nd: Forrest made his escape along the river road, fleeing with his broken army. As they ran, they set fire to a large cotton storehouse near the Arsenal. The fire spread to barracks and ammunition houses, shells exploding and flying in every direction. The Confederates running for life, jumping their horses over the bluffs into the river, our cavalry-men after them to the brink; Soldiers yelling vengeance; citizens scared, women and children screaming, excitement high everywhere.

    Of all the sights of my experience, this is most like the horrors of war - a captured city burning at night, a victorious army advancing and a demoralized one retreating.

    The soldiers, overpowered by weariness, wrapped in their blankets, sunk to rest about the streets; the citizens, exhausted by fear, the cries of their children hushed at last, snatching a troubled sleep; the wounded, lulled by opiates in forgetfulness of their amputated legs and arms; the dead, in their last sleep, with white faces upturned to the sky; for the passion, cruelty, bitterness and anguish of war, this Sunday night now nearly gone, will be remembered. If there is a merciful God in the heavens, He must be looking down upon this scene in pity.

    April 3rd...Many guns found (in the wooden forts), some fine Parrott guns. We broke, spiked and burned them all. General Wilson, who looks the daredevil as he gallops past, is as cautious as an old maid...If we had laid siege to Selma, half the command would have been killed or wounded. As it was, we lost less than 400. We struck them like the lightning; the thunderclap was there as soon as the flash. When the storm broke, all we had to do was take them in out of the wet.

    From the forts, we went to the iron foundry; immense machinery, hundreds of guns of all sizes, some very fine naval guns, and thousands of shot and shell.

    April 4: Went down to the Selma arsenal...Looked at the shot and shell piled up in great rows through the long shops. From there went to the stockade where about 3,000 prisoners are confined...The fair ladies of Selma are busying themselves feeding and caring for the captured Confederates. Our boys sympathize with the Johnnies and as a consequence, walk home with the girls.

    The large foundry was fired just at dark; shells are exploding one after another, then by platoons and squadrons, then back to one and up and away again, never stopping, a bright light flashing and wavering, throwing shadows over housetops, trees, church spires and in among the columns that support the balcony above our heads...

    April 5th: The Selma arsenal covers ten acres of ground, and is full of all manner of military stores. Thousands of boxes of ammunition and caissons ready for shipment - but too late! There were rifles, carbines, canned powder, revolvers and muskets, an immense array of stores for killing Yankees.

    And on April 7th: Saddled Charley and rode out beyond town to the forts and works which surround the city. Spent a pleasant day following my fancy. Selma is a beautiful place, and the war has never been much of a burden to it until our Cavalry Corps came in.


    I've heard figures for Wilson's troops ranging from 13,500 to 14,000 men.
    And I've heard that Forrest did not have his regulars with him but rather relied on old men, boys, etc. that he corraled in town the night before the battle and they ranged between 2,500 to 3,500 in number, although one site for the Battle of Selma states there were approximately 5,000.

    I understand that Forrest had left his troops elsewhere and he either waited too late (because of the weather, road conditions, etc.) to order them to Selma. Any observations on this would be appreciated..... Thea
  21. Johnny Rube

    Johnny Rube Cadet

    Mar 3, 2005
    This is from Letters from a Badger Boy in Blue. Letters from Chauncey Cooke who enlisted at age sixteen and was sent to Kentucky to take part in the campaign against Bragg.

    Columbus, Ky., March 5th, 1863
    25th Wis. Vol. Infantry

    Dear Folks at Home:

    I sent you a letter a day or two ago and maybe I will hear from you soon. I hope I shall. I am well and we are hearing and seeing things and the days are not so heavy as at Madison. The weather is fine--most of the time warm and clear.

    We drill every day, do police work, cleaning round the camp, and take a stroll now and then back in the country, far as the pickets will let us. We are really in the "Sunny South." The slaves, contrabands, we call them, are flocking into Columbus by the hundred. General Thomas of the regular army is here enlisting them for the war. All the old buildings on the edge of the town are more than full. You never meet one but he jerks his hat off and bows and shows the whitest teeth. I never saw a bunch of them together, but I could pick out an Uncle Tom, a Quimbo, a Chloe, an Eliza, or any other character in Uncle Tom's Cabin. The women take in a lot of dimes washing for the soldiers, and the men around picking up odd jobs. I like to talk with them. They are funny enough, and the stories they tell of slave life never to be forgotten. Ask any of them how he feels and the answer nearly always will be, "Sah, I feels might good, sah," or "God bress you, massa, I'se so proud I'se a free man." Some are leaving daily on up-river boats for Cairo and up the Ohio River. The Ohio has always been the river Jordan to the slave. It has been the dream of his life even to look upon the Ohio River.

    The government transports returning from down river points where they had been with troops or supplies would pick up free men on every landing and deliver them free of charge at places along the Ohio and upper Mississippi points.

    The slaves are not all black as we in the North are apt to suppose. Some of them are quite light. Those used as house servants seem to have some education and don't talk so broad. A real pretty yellow girl about 18 was delivering some washing to the boys yesterday. She left her master and mistress in December and came to Columbus. In answer to the questions of the boys she said she left home because her mistress was cross to her and all other servants since Lincoln's emancipation. She said her mother came with her. One of the boys asked her why her father did not come with her. She said, "My father hain't no colored man, he's a white man." When the boys began to laugh she picked up her two-bushel basket of clothes, balanced it on her head, and went her way. That girl must have made fifty stops among the tents leaving her basket of clothes. I wonder if she heard the same dirty talk in each of them. The talk wasn't clean, but some of us who tho't so just let it pass and kept still.

    Your son,

    Columbus Ky., March 21st, 1863
    25th Wisconsin Vol.

    Dear Mother:

    After drill went out in the edge of the woods. Its more peaceful and homelike than the racket of the camp. I can see the picket guard beyond me slowly pacing his beat. There is no enemy about but the discipline and regulations are just as rigid as they are in Georgia. No white man can come within the picket line except he has the password. A Negro is allowed to come in. We are afrraid that the whites may be spies, we know the blacks are our friends.

    The health of the regiment is good save a few cases of bowel trouble. The boys call it the Kentucky quickstep. There is more sickness among the poor lazy blacks. They are filling all the vacant houses and even sleeping under the trees, so anxious are they to get near "de Lincoln soldiers." They live on scraps and whatever they can pick up in camp and they will shine our shoes or do any camp work for an old shirt or cast-off coat. They had a revival meeting at the foot of the bluff last night and such shouting and singing and moaning. It was Massa Lincoln was a savior that came after two hundred years of tribulation in the cotton fields and cane. They had long known that something was going to happen because so many times their massa had visitors and they would tell the servants to stay in their cabins and not come to the "big house" until they were called. Then some of the house servnats would creep round under the windows and hear the white folks talking about the war and that the slaves were going to be free. And when the one that was sent to listen would come back and tell the others, they would get down on their knees and pray in whispers and give thanks to the Lord. Everything with the darkies is Lord, Lord. Their faith that the Lord will help them has held out more than 200 years.

    I sometimes wonder if the Lord is not partial to the white race and rather puts it onto the black race because they are black. We sometimes get terribly confused when we try to think of the law of Providence. This black race for instance, they can't talk ten words about slavery and old Massa and old Missus, but they get in something about "de blessed Lord and de lovely Jesus" and yet in this land of Washington, God has permitted them to be bought and sold like our cattle and hogs in the stockyards for more than 200 years.

    I listened for two hours this morning to the stories of a toothless old slave with one blind eye who had come up the river from near Memphis. He told me a lot of stuff. He said his master sold his wife and children to a cotton planter in Alabama to pay his gambling debts, and when he told his master he couldn't stand it, he was tied to the whipping post stripped and given 40 lashes. The next night he ran to the swamps. The bloodhounds were put on his track and caught him and pulled him down. They bit him in the face and put out his eye and crushed one of his hands so he could not use it. He stripped down his pants and showed me a gash on one of his hips where one of the hounds hung unto [sic] him until he nearly bled to death. This happened in sight of Nashville, the capitol of Tennessee. I told this to some of the boys and they said it was all bosh, that the n*****s were lying to me. But this story was just like the ones in Uncle Tom's Cabin, and I believe them. And father knows of things very much like this that are true.

    I will write you again soon,
    Your son

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