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Title: Under the Stars and Bars
       Memories of Four Years Service with the Oglethorpes, of Augusta, Georgia

Author: Walter A. Clark

Release Date: October 8, 2012 [EBook #40973]

Language: English

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Memories of Four Years Service



Orderly Sergeant.

Augusta, Ga
Chronicle Printing Company.

[Pg 5]


For the gratification of my old comrades and in grateful memory of their constant kindness during all our years of comradeship these records have been written. The writer claims no special qualification for the task save as it may lie in the fact that no other survivor of the Company has so large a fund of material from which to draw for such a purpose. In addition to a war journal, whose entries cover all my four years service, nearly every letter written by me from camp in those eventful years has been preserved. Whatever lack, therefore, these pages may possess on other lines, they furnish at least a truthful portrait of what I saw and felt as a soldier. It has been my purpose to picture the lights rather than the shadows of our soldier life. War is a terribly serious business and yet camp life has its humor as well as its pathos, its comedy as well as its tragedy, its sunshine as well as its shadows.

As Co. B, of the Oglethorpes was an outgrowth of the original organization, its muster roll before and after reorganization, with a condensed sketch of its war service has been given. For this information I am indebted to the kindness of Mr. Frank H. Miller and Mr. Brad [Pg 6]Merry, as I am to the former also for data pertaining to the early history of the Oglethorpes.

Aside from the motive already named, there is another which has had some influence in inducing me to publish these memories. In the generation that has grown up since the '60's, there is a disposition to undervalue the merits of the "Old South" and to discount the patriotism and the courage, the sacrifice and the suffering of those, who wore the grey. If these pages shall recall to my old comrades with any degree of pleasure, the lights and shadows of our soldier life, or shall bring to the younger generation, to whom the Old South is not even a memory, a truer conception of "the tender grace of a day that is dead" I shall be more than repaid for the labor involved in their preparation.


Early History of the Oglethorpes7
Off to the War9
The Laurel Hill Retreat15
Donning the Grey17
My First March21
My First Skirmish23
My First Picket Duty29
My First Battle30
A Night Stampede33
Three Little Confederates36
A Change of Base38
A Tramp With Stonewall Jackson43
Aunt Hannah48
A Ride With Belle Boyd, the Confederate Spy50
Home Again55
Roster of Oglethorpe Infantry56
Service with 12th Ga. Battalion.
A "Little Long"62
12th Ga. Flag63
Col. Hogeland's War Diary65
The Parson and the Gravy71
Coast Service.
A Study in Insect Life80
Fire and Fall Back86
Skirmishing for Pie87
Steed and the Sugar88
Our Camp Poet91
Dalton and Atlanta Campaign97
Stripes on the Wrong Side107
A Twilight Prayer Meeting109
Tom Howard's Squirrel Bead112
"Jim, Touch Off No. 1"114
A Summer Day on the Firing Line117
Saved from Death by a Bible123
Battle of Kennesaw130
Under Two Flags137
Saved from a Northern Prison by a Novel142
A Slave's Loyalty148
Nashville Campaign.
A Christmas Day With Forrest155
Gen. Bate as a Poet and Wit166
Pat Cleburne as an Orator168
"Who Ate the Dog?"171
Courage Sublime178
The Closing Campaign.
An Arctic Ride182
A Sad Home Coming187
Our Last Battle190
Roster Co. A, 63rd Ga.204
Oglethorpe Infantry Co. B214
Roster Co. A, 9th Ga., Co. C, 2d Ga. S. S.219
One of My Heroes225
Ben Hill and the Dog229
The Rebel Chaplain and the Dying Boy in Blue         236

[Pg 7]



On a winter's day in '51, in the old Capital at Milledgeville, Ga., Howell Cobb, then Governor of Georgia, gave his official sanction to an Act of the General Assembly incorporating a new military organization in the City of Augusta. If he had been told that ten years from that date he would be wearing the wreath of a Brigadier General in actual war and that the Company, to which his signature had given legal existence would be camped on Virginia soil, attached to the command of an officer, who will go down into history as one of the greatest captains of the ages, he would have smiled at the statement as the outgrowth of a distempered fancy. And yet such a prophecy would have found literal fulfilment.

In honor of the founder of the Georgia Colony the Company was named the Oglethorpe Infantry. Hon. Andrew J. Miller, was its first commander. Representing some of the best blood of one of the most cultured cities of the Old South, the company, by its proficiency in drill and its military bearing soon gained a distinguished position among the citizen soldiery of the State. On the death of Capt. Miller in 1856, Judge Ebenezer Starnes was chosen to succeed him. He, in time, was fol[Pg 8]lowed by John K. Jackson, afterwards a Brigadier General in the Confederate Army. During the captaincy of the last named, the volunteer companies of the State were ordered into camp at Milledgeville, Ga., by Gov. Herschel V. Johnson. Capt. Jackson, on account of illness in his family, could not attend and the Oglethorpes were commanded by Lieut. J. O. Clark. In the military drill and review, that occurred during the encampment the Oglethorpes presented the best marching front of any company present. Mr. Frank H. Miller, then Orderly Sergeant, attributes their success on this line, in part at least to the fact that nature had failed to endow him with a full share of what my father was wont to term "legability," and his shortened step, as Company Guide, rendered it an easier task for his comrades marching in column of companies to preserve their alignment.

On the organization of the Independent Volunteer Battalion in 1857, Capt. Jackson was elected Lieut. Col., and Lieut. J. O. Clark succeeded to the captaincy, retaining the position until the Company was mustered into the Confederate service in 1861. Of the original roll as organized in 1851, if my information is correct, only Mr. William Richards now survives. Capt. Horton B. Adams, who died during the present year (1899) was the last surviving member of the original roll, who retained active connection with the Company from its organization until its enlistment in the Confederate Army.

[Pg 9]


Prof. Joseph T. Derry, who served with the Oglethorpes from their enlistment until his capture at Kennesaw Mountain; in July, 1864, has kindly furnished the following sketch of their war service prior to my connection with the Company:

"Following the lead of four of her sister States Georgia passed an ordinance of 'Secession,' Jan. 19, 1861. Gov. Brown ordered the seizure of all Federal property within the limits of the State, and on Jan. 24 the volunteer companies of Augusta, consisting of the Oglethorpe Infantry, Clinch Rifles, Irish Volunteers, Montgomery Guards, Washington Artillery, Richmond Hussars, and two companies of 'Minute Men,' afterwards organized into the Walker Light Infantry, with a company of infantry from Edgefield, So. Ca., and two hundred mounted men from Burke county, marched up to the Augusta Arsenal and demanded its surrender.

Capt. Elzey, afterwards a Brigadier General in the Confederate Army, was in command, and having only a small force in the barracks, he promptly complied with the demand.


The efforts to secure a peaceable separation from the Union having failed, the Augusta companies promptly offered their services to the Confederacy. The Oglethorpes and Walker Light Infantry were the first two[Pg 10] accepted. On March 18, 1861, the lists for the Oglethorpes were opened at their armory on Reynolds street. Sterling C. Eve was the first to enroll his name, and Virginius G. Hitt was the second.

As the Company had in its ranks a larger number than would be accepted, married men were excluded, except as commissioned officers. In the closing days of March, orders were received from the War Department for these two companies to rendezvous at Macon, Ga. On April 1st they were escorted to the Central R. R. Depot by all the volunteer companies of Augusta, while the entire city, apparently, turned out to witness their departure and to bid them God speed on their mission.

On April 3rd the First Volunteer Regiment of Ga. was organized with the following corps of field officers:

Colonel, James N. Ramsey, Columbus, Ga.
Lieut. Colonel, James O. Clark, Augusta, Ga.
Major, Geo. H. Thompson, Atlanta, Ga.
Adjutant, James W. Anderson, Newnan, Ga.
Quartermaster, Andrew Dunn, Forsythe, Ga.
Commissary, Geo. A. Cunningham, Augusta, Ga.

The enlistment dated from March 18, '61, and the regiment was composed of the following companies:

A. Newnan Guards, Capt. Geo. M. Hanvey.
B. Southern Guards, Capt. F. S. Wilkins.
C. Southern Right Guards, Capt. Jno. A. Hauser.
D. Oglethorpe Infantry, Capt. Horton B. Adams.
[Pg 11]E. Washington Rifles, Capt. S. A. H. Jones.
F. Gate City Guards, Capt. W. L. Ezzard.
G. Bainbridge Independents, Capt. Jno. W. Evans.
H. Dahlonega Volunteers, Capt. Alfred Harris.
I. Walker Light Infantry, Capt. S. H. Crump.
K. Quitman Guards, Capt. J. S. Pinkard.

The patriotism of Augusta is evidenced by the fact that in this, the first regiment organized, she had larger representation than any city in the State. On the date of its organization Gov. Brown reviewed the regiment and delivered an address that aroused much enthusiasm. A few days later we left for Pensacola, via Montgomery, Ala., then the Capital of the new Confederacy. Between Garland and Evergreen, Ala., there was a gap of sixteen miles, over which the boys had to take the peoples' route as there was no railway connection. It was their first march and as their feet grew sore and their untried muscles wearied by the unaccustomed strain upon them, they began to ask the citizens they met: "How far to Evergreen?" "After you pass the next hill and reach the rise of another it will be five miles," said one. This point reached, another was asked the question. "Six miles," he said. Tramping along the dusty highway, another traveler was met, "How far to ——." "For the Lord's sake," said Tom Eve, "don't inquire again. The road gets longer every time you ask."

[Pg 12]


While not germane to the matter under discussion my friend, Joe Derry will pardon I know a slight interruption in his story, suggested by the incident just related. Passing through the piney woods of Richmond county some years ago the writer stopped at a country home to secure proper direction as to his route. A lady came to the door and in answer to my questions, said she was unable to give the information, but suggested that I might be enlightened at the next house. "How far is the next house?" I asked. "About twict out o' sight," she replied, and I went on my way with at least the satisfaction of having secured for the "table of long measure," that had worried me in my school boy days, an amendment, that in originality if not in definiteness, was literally "out o' sight."

"Straggling into Evergreen, next morning, we reached Pensacola by rail that evening, spent a day in the town and then sailed down the beautiful bay, past the navy yard at Warrenton, and so close to Fort Pickens that its guns could have blown us out of the water. Landing near Fort Barrancas, we marched to our camping place, half a mile beyond and near the magazine. Our stay here was marked by no special incident, the time being spent in drilling, regimental and picket duty, unloading powder from a sloop and filling sand bags to strengthen the front of Fort Barrancas.

[Pg 13]

About the last of May, orders were received for the transfer of the regiment to Virginia. Steaming back to Pensacola, the Oglethorpes were met by a delegation from the Clinch Rifles, 5th Ga. Reg., by whom they were conducted to the quarters of that company and royally entertained until our departure next day. The pleasure of the occasion was marred, however, by the death of Bugler Parkins, of the Clinch, caused by the bite of a small ground-rattlesnake. On reaching Augusta the Company received an ovation as great as that accorded them on their departure for Pensacola. Three days in Augusta and then we were off for Richmond, where we met with a very hearty reception. At our camp we were reviewed by President Davis and Gov. Letcher, both of whom addressed the regiment. About the middle of June we were off for Staunton by rail, stopping at Waynesboro to partake of a bountiful feast prepared for us by the ladies and served on rough pine tables in picnic style."

(Col. C.H. Withrow, then a resident of Waynesboro, recalls the incident and says that he was strongly impressed with the appetite shown by the boys on that occasion, that the presence of beauty did not prevent them from doing ample justice to the spread.)

"At Staunton the regiment was entertained by a concert, in which the children of the Blind Asylum sang patriotic Southern airs. A few days later we were on the march to re-inforce Garnett at Laurel Hill. About mid[Pg 14]day of the first day's march the patriotism of the Virginia ladies manifested itself again in a bountiful feast prepared for us in a beautiful grove, while from a rock near by there gushed forth a bold spring of almost ice-cold water. A night or two afterward, we camped at the foot of Cheat Mountain, in a beautiful valley, at the Southern end of which some time later we were stationed for several months, confronting a Federal force under Gen. Reynolds on Cheat Mountain. A young lady living near our camping ground entertained us with Southern songs, with a melodeon accompaniment, some of the boys singing with her. Two nights later, at Beverly, we encountered a fearful storm, which blew down every tent and repeated that interesting performance every time we put them up.

Reaching Laurel Hill we found that service in West Virginia was far more serious business that at Pensacola. Picket duty was heavy and soon became dangerous. McLellan with 20,000 men, began his advance early in July. To oppose this force Garnett had only 4,500 men, many of whom were in the hospital. Exposure had produced much sickness and here occurred the first death among the Oglethorpes, that of Dillard Adams, a good soldier and a true man. On July 7th Gen. Morris took position in our front with 8,000 men, while McLellan, with the remainder of his force advanced on Rich Mountain, held by Col. Pegram with 1,300 of Garnett's command. On July 8th the 1st Ga. moved out in front of[Pg 15] Laurel Hill to feel the enemy's position. We soon encountered their skirmishers, who after shelling woods, attempted to seize a small round hill in front of Belington. Lieut. Col. J. O. Clark quickly deployed his men and exclaiming, "Up the hill, boys, and remember you are Georgians," led a gallant charge, which drove the enemy back with some loss. Skirmishing continued until July 11th, when Garnett learned that Rich Mountain had been captured by Rosecranz.


The capture of Pegram's position and of a large part of his force necessitated the evacuation of Laurel Hill, and Garnett began his retreat towards Beverly, sixteen miles distant. After two-thirds of the distance had been covered he was falsely informed that the enemy had already occupied that place, and retracing his steps almost to his abandoned camp, he turned off towards Beverly, crossing, by an almost impassable road, over Cheat Mountain into the Cheat River valley and intending by turning the mountains at their Northern end to regain his communications. On July 13th we were overtaken by the Federals between Kalers and Corricks fords. The 1st Ga. and 23rd Va., with a section of artillery under Lieut. Lanier, and a cavalry force under Capt. Smith, were formed into a rear guard to protect the wagon train. At Carrick's Ford the 23rd Va. suffered considerably and a part of the wagon train was cap[Pg 16]tured. The larger part of six companies of the 1st Ga. and including the Oglethorpes, failed to hear the order to retire and held their position until the enemy had passed. Cut off from the main force and with no avenue of escape except the pathless mountains, that hemmed them in, they wandered for three days with nothing to appease their hunger except the inner bark of the laurel trees. On the third day, famished and worn out, they stopped to rest, when Evan Howell proposed that he and another member of the regiment would go forward and endeavor to find an outlet or a pilot to lead them to an inhabited section. He fortunately met with a mountaineer named Parsons, who took them to his home, called in his neighbors, killed a number of beeves to feed the famished men and then piloted them safely to Monterey.

Gen. Garnett, who was with the main column, had been killed, after passing Carrick's Ford, while withdrawing his rear guard and his force under Ramsey and Taliaferro marched all night and succeeded in passing the Red House and turning the mountain before Gen. Hill, who was sent by McLellan to intercept them, had reached that point. They were now on fairly good roads, in friendly country and at Petersburg, W. Va., the people turned out en masse to feed the exhausted Confederates. From this point they retired by easy marches to Monterey. The campaign, undertaken with a small force, to hold an unfriendly section, had proven an expensive failure."

[Pg 17]



About midday on Dec. 20, 1860, the writer sat in an audience room in Macon, Ga., listening to an address delivered by Hon. Howell Cobb to the Cotton Planters' Convention, then in session in that city. After all these years my memory retains no trace of that address in either theme or outline. I do recall, however, an interruption in its delivery, remembered, possibly, because it threw a crimson tint over the years that followed it, and for the further reason that if there had been no occasion for such an interruption, these records might never have been written. While Mr. Cobb was speaking, a messenger entered the hall and handed him a telegram. He broke the seal, glanced over its contents and then read the following message to the audience: "The South Carolina Convention has just passed the Ordinance of Secession from the Union." From that moment the "Cotton Planters' Convention" was no longer in it. The audience became a howling mob. That night there was a torchlight procession with brass band accompaniments. The streets were packed with a solid mass of excited, fevered, yelling humanity. The people were simply wild for Southern independence and the scene was probably duplicated in every Southern city.[Pg 18]

In the early months in '61, when all hope of a peaceful separation had passed, the war fever attacked first the towns and cities where the people were in constant touch with each other and where the daily press kept the public pulse at more than normal beat. As the demand for troops increased, the infection spread to quiet country places with their monthly church service and their weekly mail. And so in due time it reached the community in which I lived, a community of quiet, well-to-do farmers, whose knowledge of Jomini and the art of war was decidedly limited. A military organization of thirty of forty men was, however, effected and Mr. John D. Mongin, the only member who knew the difference between "shoulder arms" and "charge bayonet," was elected captain. Our weekly drills at the academy grounds were confined largely to marching in single rank to the music of a rustic drummer and fifer, who seemed in blissful ignorance of anything but "slow time." There was a short-legged Frenchman in the company, whose number was "32" and, who in counting off, always responded with "dirty too." A year or two later those of us, who had seen actual service, could probably have made the same response without impairing in the least our reputation for veracity. As there was not sufficient material in the community to form a full company, my brother and myself, with D. W. Mongin, A. J. and J. H. Rhodes, made application to the Oglethorpe Infantry, 1st Ga. Regiment, then at Laurel Hill, Va., for admission into its[Pg 19] ranks, and were accepted. Leaving Augusta July 31, 1861, in company with George Pournelle and Ginnie Hitt, who were returning from a ten days' furlough, we stopped over in Richmond a day and visited the Confederate Congress then in session. Sitting in the gallery of the Senate Chamber looking down upon Alex Stephens in the chair and Bob Toombs, Ben Hill, E. A. Nisbet R. M. T. Hunter and other worthies in the Hall, Luke Lane, an old college classmate, wrote on the fly leaf of the pocket diary, from which these records are partly taken a sort of preface, closing it with these words: "Here's hoping that every Yankee may find a bloody grave;" and Ginnie Hitt, sitting by, wrote beneath it: "Amen, say I." Luke appended my initials to the sentiment, but as it was stronger than my inclinations prompted me to endorse, I erased them. We visited also the prison hospital where the Federals wounded at Manassas, were being cared for. It was my first contact with "grim visaged war."

To a stripling boy, reared in a quiet country home and in a community in which there had never occurred a serious personal difficulty, I had neither inherited nor acquired any taste for carnage or bloodshed, and the scene was not a pleasant one. And yet the battlefield unfortunately soon dulls our natural sensibilities and begets an indifference to suffering that would shock us in civil life.

On reaching Monterey, Va., where the Oglethorpes[Pg 20] were recuperating from the hardships of the "Laurel Hill Retreat," we found every tent occupied and we remained at the village inn until quarters could be provided. I remember that I slept, or tried to sleep, on the bare floor of our room as a sort of preparation for the life on which I was entering. In this connection I recall another fact, a peculiarity of this tavern, and that was its capacity for the utilization of green apples as an article of public diet. My experience with hostelries is not claimed to be at all extensive, but among those whose hospitality I have had the good or bad fortune to enjoy, or endure, this particular inn, on the line named, certainly "took the dilapidated linen from the lonely shrub." We were treated to apples baked and stewed and fried, to apple tarts and custards and dumplings, to apple butter and it would probably be no exaggeration to say, "there were others." After paying our bill Dan Mongin remarked, "When green apple season plays out this hotel is going to suspend." In verification of his prophecy, when we passed through Monterey en route to join Stonewall Jackson in December, its doors were closed, its lights were gone and all its halls deserted. Whether its demise was due to the green apple theory, I am unable to say.

My first month in camp was devoid of incident, its monotony being varied only by squad drill, guard duty, foraging for maple syrup and other edibles among the Dutch farmers of that section and digging graves for[Pg 21] the unfortunate victims of the campaign just ended. One of the graves which the writer helped to dig in very hard clay, was appropriated by a burial squad from another regiment for one of their own dead. I am not lawyer enough to say whether the act was petty larceny, forcible entry and detainer, or what an old colored friend of mine once diagnosed as "legal mischievous" with the accent on the second syllable.


On Sept. 7, '61, Sterling Eve, Ginnie Hitt, Dan Mongin and the writer, not having been favored with the confidence of Gen. Lee as to his military plans, went into the country on a foraging expedition. This trip was probably inspired by a triumph in the culinary line achieved by Dr. Hitt and George Pournelle in supplying our table with two varieties of dumpling, apple and huckleberry, on the same day. We had no bag, in which to boil the dumpling and were forced to use the mess towel as a substitute. How long it had been subjected to its ordinary uses before being utilized in this way I do not now recall. Dr. Hitt remembers, however, or says he does, that the entire outer surface of the dumplings was towel-marked. The nature of the mark referred to is left without further discussion to the imagination of the reader. In this connection I recall another incident in the culinary line, which may be as well recorded here as elsewhere. About twenty years after the war I met Dr.[Pg 22] Hitt in Augusta and taking something from my pocket, I handed it to him and asked if he could give me any information as to its character. He examined it very carefully by sight, touch and smell, and then said very confidently: "Oh, yes, I know what that is. It is a stone taken from a deer's liver." His diagnosis was not "reasonably" correct. The article under examination was a Confederate biscuit baked in our camp at Jacksonboro, Tenn., in 1863, sent to my father's family as a specimen and preserved during all those years. If I had taken the precaution to have immersed it in insect powder it would probably at this date have been still in the ring, though possibly a little disfigured. A few years after Dr. Hitt's examination, I found that it had—

"Like an insubstantial pageant faded
Leaving not a wrack"—

but only a little dust behind.

On our return from the foraging tour with a good supply of potatoes, onions and maple syrup, we found the camp deserted—a camp favored with the purest mountain air and the finest spring water, and yet where Dan Mongin wrote to his father for brandy to counteract the effects of malaria. The entire force at Monterey had been ordered to report to Gen. Henry R. Jackson on Green Brier River, and had broken camp two hours before our arrival. After resting an hour we began the tramp, trudging over the mountain roads for eight miles in the mud and rain and stopping for the night at[Pg 23] the residence of a Col. Campbell in Crab Bottom. Here we had the pleasure of meeting the first two heroines of the war, Miss McLeod and Miss Kerr. They had ridden seventy miles on horseback without an escort to notify Gen. Garnett of McLellan's approach. My first day's march, though a short one, had broken me down so thoroughly that I was compelled to tax the kindness of a 3rd Arkansas Regiment wagoner for a ride next day. The entry in my journal for that date begins with these words: "Took the road with a heavy heart and a heavier load." Three years later, under the hardening process of camp life I was enabled to march, on Hood's tramp to Nashville and back to Corinth, Miss., twenty miles a day continuously and rode only one of the eight hundred miles covered in that campaign. During my two days experience as an "Arkansas Traveler" I think I heard more expletive, unadulterated "cussin" from the driver of that wagon than it has ever been my misfortune to listen to. His capacity in this line seemed to be not only double barreled, but of the magazine gun variety. If he had failed to pass his examination in the school of profanity I have never seen a man who was entitled to a diploma. I appreciated the ride, but was glad to reach our new camp, since it relieved me of his presence.


Gen. Jackson's force on the Green Brier consisted of the 1st and 12th Ga., the 3rd Ark. and the 23rd and 37th[Pg 24] Va. Regiments. Ten or twelve miles northwest of us, on Cheat Mountain, lay a Federal force of 5,000 men under Gen. Reynolds. Gen. Lee had planned an attack to be made on this force on the morning of Sept. 12th, two days after our arrival at the Green Brier. On the evening of the 11th an advance guard of ninety men from the 1st and 12th Ga. under command of Lieut. Dawson was formed with instructions to flank, by a night march, the Federal picket, secure a position in their rear, capture them and thus prevent notice to Gen. Reynolds of the intended attack. For this guard there were detailed from the Oglethorpes, Wilberforce Daniel, Joe Derry, Tom Burgess, W. H. Clark and the writer. Leaving camp at 7:30 p. m., under the pilotage of a citizen of that section we reached a position within half a mile of the Federal camp about sunrise, after a fatiguing march in the rain and mud, being compelled to draw ourselves up the slippery mountain side by the undergrowth that lay in our route. Soon after reaching our place of ambush we heard the drums beat for "Guard Mount" and then the bands began to play "Annie Laurie," "Run, Nigger Run," and "Jordan is a Hard Road to Trabble," were three of the selections rendered. The first suggested pleasant memories of our far away homes; the second, the possibility that in a little while there might be a practical illustration of the refrain, while the tramp we had just taken satisfied us that "Jordan" was not the only hard road to travel. The selection of these airs re[Pg 25]calls the singular fact that in actual service military bands do not as a rule play national or military music. The writer had other opportunities than the one named of hearing Federal bands during his term of service, but does not recall a single instance in which a national air was rendered. Lulled by the music and overcome by fatigue and loss of sleep, I fell into a doze, from which I was awakened by the accidental discharge of a gun in the hands of one of the guard. A Federal sergeant from the picket post, hearing the noise, came down the road to investigate. On reaching a point opposite the left of our line he heard the ominous click of the rifle hammers and started in full run for his camp. Six or eight balls crashed through him and the poor fellow fell dead in the road. Attracted by the firing, about twenty-five of the Federal pickets came hurriedly down the road and on seeing their dead comrade fired a volley into the woods, which concealed us, but failed to do any execution. "Charge!" sang out our commander, and we broke for the road. Before reaching it, the pickets had scattered into the woods beyond. Tom Burgess, as he leaped into the road saw one of them rise from a stump behind which he had been hiding, and run. Tom raised his rifle, took deliberate aim and fired. As he fell, Tom pointed his finger at him and said, "Got you." I was standing only a few feet from Tom and it has always been a matter of gratification to me that my gun had been fired before reaching the road and that I had no opportunity[Pg 26] to reload. At such close range it would have been almost impossible to have missed my man, and whatever my feeling at the time may have been it would have been a source of life-long regret to me to know positively that "some mother's boy" had fallen by my hand, even in war. Several others were killed as they ran through the woods. No member of the guard received even a scratch, and the affair had more the appearance of a rabbit hunt than a skirmish. After the firing had ceased, Lieut. Dawson, feeling that it was unsafe to remain so near the Federal camp with so small a force, reformed the guard and we began our march down the mountain. We were expecting to meet the reserve picket of the enemy and in a sharp curve in the road were confronted by a column of troops marching in fours and only a hundred yards away. One of the guard sang out, "Here they are boys," and the firing began. Three men were shot down and seeing that we were outnumbered, Dawson gave the command: "Fall below the road." Believing that implicit obedience to orders was the first requisite of a soldier, I responded with considerable promptness. The fire slackened a moment and then came the order: "Charge 'em." Up into the road we clambered again, when we discovered that we were fighting our own regiment, and "Cease firing, we are Georgians," rang out from nearly a hundred throats. Ed Johnson, then in command of the 12th Ga., afterwards a Major General, was riding towards the head of the column and hearing our cry, sang out: "They[Pg 27] are liars, boys. Pop it to 'em! Pop it to 'em." The mistake was soon discovered, however, and the firing ceased. Three men had been killed and a number wounded by this mutual and unfortunate error. After the skirmish had ended and order had been restored, Dr. Hitt told me that he had drawn a bead, squirrel or otherwise, on my anatomy, and was in the act of firing when Col. Ed Johnson, in his anxiety to reach the front, rode directly between us and possibly saved him the horror of having killed a comrade and messmate. One of the victims of that encounter, Felder, of the Houston Guards, told his mess on leaving camp that he would be killed, a presentiment that was unfortunately too true. Another poor fellow was shot through the thigh, the ball cutting an artery. He lay there until the blood ran down the road for a distance of fifteen feet. The sight caused another soldier to have a nervous chill and he begged piteously to be moved away.

After the wounded had been cared for, the guard was reformed in front of the brigade and we were marched back to a position in front of the Federal camp to await the attack on its rear by the 3rd Ark. and the 23rd Va. Why this attack was never made seems to be a sort of unsolved problem. Gen. Lee is said to have made a verbal explanation to President Davis, but if there has been any published statement of the reason I have failed to see it. As the attack on the rear had for some reason failed to materialize, Gen. Jackson, after remaining on the mountain for four days, returned to his old camp.[Pg 28]

In connection with this, my first skirmish I am glad to have the opportunity of paying deserved tribute to a comrade, who has since passed over the river, but who, on that day, as on every other in which I had the honor to serve with him in time of peril, was conspicuous for his courage and his cool indifference to danger. When the order was given to fall below the road in order to secure some protection from the rocks and trees, Will Daniel refused to do so and kept his exposed position, coolly loading and firing until the skirmish was over. In devotion to the cause, for which he fought, in readiness to accept the gravest personal risks, in apparently absolute unconsciousness of danger, he was every inch a soldier.

And now what were my own sensations in this, my first baptism of fire? A candid confession is said to be good for the soul, but whether it would be good for the reputation in this particular case is another matter. Under the law of testimony a witness is not compelled to incriminate himself. Besides, after the lapse of nearly forty years, my memory can not be expected to retain very accurately such minor details. I will only say, therefore, that while the excitement produced by the crack of the rifles and the hiss of the minies did in some degree lessen the sense of personal danger, I have been able, even in my limited experience as a traveler, to find quite a number of places that were to me equally as pleasant as being under fire even for the first time. I speak, of[Pg 29] course, only for myself. Men's tastes differ in this as widely perhaps as in other matters, and I do not claim that mine was a universal or even a common experience. I only claim that while I had been curious to know how I would feel under such circumstances, my curiosity was satisfied in a little while, in a very little while. This may have been due to the fact that my temperament is conservative and that I did not care to be an extremist even in a little matter of this kind—possibly, ah, yes, possibly.


For several miles in our front, the road leading towards Cheat Mountain ran through a narrow valley and then crossing the river, wound up the mountain side. On an outpost near this road my first picket service was rendered. From an aesthetic, rather than a military point of view the scenery from this post was really enchanting. Just beyond the river lay a range of mountains broken in its contour by a partial gap. In its rear and forming a background, rose a loftier range, the whole constituting in appearance a mammoth alcove. The foliage of the forest growth, that studded the slopes from base to summit, alchemized by the autumn frosts had changed its hues to gold and crimson and with its blended tints forming to the eye an immense bouquet, the picture was worthy an artist's brush and has lingered in my memory during all these years. But the scene changes. Night comes on cold and drizzly and starless. [Pg 30]No fire is allowed by the officer of the guard. Standing alone on an outpost in Egyptian darkness and numbed with cold, while the muffled patter of the rain drops on the fallen leaves continually suggests the stealthy footfall of an approaching foe, I reach the conclusion that it subjects a man to some inconvenience to die for his country.

A few nights afterwards the picket at this post was attacked by the enemy and driven in. As they retired under fire Joe Derry was knocked down by a buck and ball cartridge that riddled his cap and grazed his scalp but inflicted no wound. When they had rallied on the reserve post and Joe had opportunity to take his bearings he found that while unwilling to remain and extend to his Northern friends any social courtesies, he had been kind enough to leave with them a lock of his hair. The clipping was made without pecuniary charge, but Joe has probably preferred since to patronize a professional barber even at the expense of his bank account.


On Oct. 3rd, '61, Gen. Reynolds, thinking, possibly, that military etiquette required that he should return the call we had made him on Sept. 12th, came down, attended by his entire force and knocked at the door of our outer picket posts in the early morning hours with the evident purpose of making an informal visit to our camp. The knock was loud enough to arouse Col. Ed. Johnson,[Pg 31] who went out and took command of the pickets in person in order that the reception given our visitors might be sufficiently warm and cordial. Under his personal direction every foot of the Federal advance was stubbornly contested. A little fellow belonging to our regiment finally grew tired of falling back and running up to Johnson said: "Colonel, let's charge 'em." Johnson, with that peculiar nervous twitching of the lip that characterized him in battle, commended the little fellow for his grit, but did not think it good military judgment to charge an entire army of five thousand men with a squad of fifty pickets. By 8 a. m. Gen. Reynolds had taken position in our front and his artillery had opened on our line. The main attack was expected on our right, and to its defence the 1st and 12th Ga. were assigned. Forming into line and lying down to escape the shot and shells from the Federal batteries, we awaited the attack. A nervous officer in the regiment kept walking up and down the line saying: "Keep cool, boys, keep cool," until Lieut. Ben Simmons of the Oglethorpes, suggested to him that he was wasting his breath, that the boys were cool. Gen. Jackson came down to our position to overlook the field, and while there a courier rode up and said: "General, the wagoners are cutting the traces and running off with the horses." The General grew very much excited and turning to his son, Harry Jackson, said, "Go up there, Henry and shoot the first wagoner that cuts a trace or leaves his team." Harry[Pg 32] galloped off, trying to get his pistol from the holster. After the cannonade had lasted several hours an infantry attack was made on our left and was repulsed. Then Gen. Reynolds ordered an assault on our right. As the attacking column debouched from the woods on the further bank of the shallow Green Brier, we were double-quicked to the front to oppose their passage. Just then Shoemaker's Va. Battery began to throw grape shot into their ranks and the men refused to cross. The officers stormed at them and rode their horses into the ranks in the effort to force them to advance, but without avail. The column fell back to the road where they were joined by their right wing and by 1 p. m. the entire force was making tracks for Cheat Mountain. Thus ended my second lesson in "Jomini," or my first battle, if battle it can be called. The losses on both sides, probably, did not aggregate two hundred. The official report of the engagement was, however, so elaborate that it was subjected to criticism and ridicule by the merciless pen of Jno. M. Daniel, of the Richmond Examiner. It was reported that he said that there were more casualties from overwork and exhaustion in setting up type for that report than from shot and shell in the battle.

Among the wounded that day was a member of the Bainbridge company of our regiment, who had been shot down in the early morning as the pickets were retiring before the Federal advance and, whose comrades were forced to leave him where he fell. As the Union[Pg 33] troops passed him again on their return a surgeon was asked as to the propriety of taking him along as a prisoner. "No," said he. "Give him a canteen of water. He'll be dead in a few hours." The wounded man looked up at him and quoting, as Dr. McIntyre would say, very liberally from profane history, told him that he didn't intend to die. They left him, nevertheless, and when, at 3 o'clock next morning, he was brought into camp, both of our surgeons pronounced his wound fatal. He dissented very strongly from their opinions, was sent to the hospital and came out a well man, saved largely, as I believe, by his dogged determination not to die.


There are panics commercial and panics military, bearing no special relation to each other and yet produced possibly by similar causes. One is attributed to a lack of confidence in others; the other is possibly due to a want of the same mental condition in regard to ourselves. In war fear as well as courage is contagious. The conspicuous bravery of a single soldier has sometimes steadied a wavering line, while one man's inability to face the music has begun a rearward movement that ended in a rout. Gen. Dick Taylor says that in Jackson's Valley Campaign he one day quieted the nervousness of his men under a heavy fire by standing on the breastworks and coolly striking a match on the heel of his boot to light a cigar. His apparent indifference to the danger[Pg 34] was probably feigned but it produced the desired result. Heroism in battle and out of it is probably not so much the result of what is termed personal courage as it is the effect of lofty pride of character, backed and strengthened by a God-like sense of duty. Napoleon once ordered one of his colonels to charge a battery that was playing havoc with his lines. The officer turned pale as the order came from his commander's lips, but he went to his post promptly and led the charge and Napoleon said to his staff: "That's a brave man, he feels the danger, but is willing to face it." There are times, however, in war, when men, from some cause, real or imaginary, lose their self-control and give way to an unreasonable and unreasoning fear, when the instinct of self-preservation is uppermost and patriotism and pride alike lose their power. A few occasions of this kind I recall in my term of service. One of them occurred on the night of Oct. 26, '61, at Green Brier River. A picket from one of the outposts came in and reported the presence of a body of Federal troops near his post. Two companies from the 1st and 12th Ga. and 37th Va. each, were aroused from sleep and sent out to capture or disperse these disturbers of our dreams. Few occasions in war test a man's nerves more thoroughly than being suddenly awakened at night by an alarm. I have known men at such a time to suffer from nervous chills and on one occasion it brought on a member of the regiment an attack of cholera morbus. As this was the only instance within my observation[Pg 35] when such a result was produced, I am not prepared, without further evidence, to recommend it to the medical profession either as an emetic or an aperient.

The six companies, including the Oglethorpes, had passed the last vidette post and crossing Green Brier River had begun the ascent of the mountain beyond. We had reached the point where the enemy had been seen and the location was an ideal one for an ambuscade. The dense forest growth overarching the road, shut out the starlight and we were unable to see six feet in our front. The head of the column had passed a sharp bend in the road and was doubling back, after the manner of mountain highways, when a soldier near the front stepped on a stick and it broke with a sharp snapping sound resembling the click of a rifle hammer. Some one in his rear, not knowing that the column had changed direction, and mistaking the sound for evidence of an ambush, said: "Look out boys," and stepped to the side of the road. The next file followed suit and the movement increased in volume and force as it came down the line, until the hurried tramp of feet sounded like a cavalry charge, as most of the men thought it was. For a few minutes everything was in confusion and panic reigned supreme. There was an undefined dread in every man's mind of a danger whose character and extent was hidden by the darkness. Several guns were fired, but fortunately there were no casualties save a few skinned noses from too sudden contact with the undergrowth[Pg 36] that walled in the road. Order was finally restored and the command proceeded on its mission, but failed to locate an enemy, which had probably never existed except in the perverted vision of a nervous picket.


Thomas Nelson Page has written very charmingly of "Two Little Confederates," but an incident that occurred during our stay at Green Brier shows that "there were others." On Nov. 14, '61, three Virginia boys living in vicinity of our camp, and all under fifteen years of age, were out squirrel hunting on the Green Bank road, which led partly in the direction of the Federal camp on Cheat Mountain. Rambling through the woods in search of game, they came in sight of Yankee soldier, who was out on a similar errand, or possibly on an independent scouting expedition. As he was a "stranger" they decided to "take him in." He had laid aside his gun and cartridge box and was sitting by a tree eating his lunch. Slipping up noiselessly in his rear they captured his arms and then presenting their squirrel rifles they offered to serve as an honorary escort to our camp. He was rather loth to comply with the request of his youthful captors, but the muzzles of their guns were very persuasive, and with true Virginia pluck, they marched their mortified prisoner to Gen. Jackson's quarters. I regret that I failed to preserve the names of those three brave little Confederates.

But few other incidents worthy of record in these[Pg 37] memories occurred during our stay on the Green Brier. On Nov. 17 there was a hotly contested snow ball fight between the 1st and 12th Ga. Regiments, resulting in a drawn battle. Two days later at 2 a. m., in response to the rattle of musketry at the picket post, we were aroused and marshalled into line in the wintry night air to repel an expected attack on our camp. It was on this occasion that the cholera morbus incident, to which allusion has been made, occurred. The alarm proved groundless, as the pickets had mistaken an old grey mare and her colt for a body of the enemy. As the animal was clothed in grey, the Confederate color, the mistake was all the less excusable.

[Pg 38]



For some weeks rumors, or "grape vine" bulletins, as they were called, had been afloat in camp that our regiment was to be transferred to coast service. To boys reared in the milder climate of Georgia the taste we were having of a Virginia winter rendered these rumors very palatable. And when, on Nov. 21, orders came to break camp we felt rather confident that we were bidding a long farewell to "Traveler's Repose" and Northwest Virginia, and were off for Georgia. The baggage wagons, of which the 1st Ga. had at that stage of the war, enough, in Gen. Loring's opinion, to equip a division, were loaded and went their way. All the afternoon we lay around the dismantled camp awaiting order to "follow pursuit," as a friend of mine once said, but they failed to come. Night settled down cold and cheerless, with our tents and blankets ten miles away, and we had to make the best of it. My bedfellow and I slept on an oilcloth, covered with an overcoat, and tied our four feet up together in a flannel shirt. Next day we crossed Allegheny Mountain and after three days' march, buoyed with the hope of spending the winter under a warmer sun, we reluctantly turned our faces Northward again,[Pg 39] with the feeling in our hearts if not voiced upon our lips,

"O, ever thus from childhood's hour
I've seen my fondest hopes decay."

After a week's march my feet grew very sore and as I limped through Harrisonburg, a sweet-faced Virginia matron, with music in her voice and the light of heaven in her eye, beckoned to me from the window where she was sitting and gave me a nice pair of woollen socks. Passing through Newtown, Middletown, Kernstown and a number of other towns in a section made famous afterwards by Jackson's Valley Campaign, we reached Winchester Dec. 8, 1861. A few days later a supply of blankets contributed by the good ladies of Augusta, was received by the Oglethorpes. One of the contributors had no blankets, and in lieu of them, donated a handsome crumb-cloth, which like Joseph's coat, was of many colors, red and green being the prevailing tints. In the distribution this fell to Elmore Dunbar, the wag of the Company. Not needing it as a blanket he took it to a tailor in Winchester, had it transformed into a full suit, cap, coat and pants, and donning it had an innumerable company of gamins, white and black, following in his wake all over the town.

He and Harrison Foster were messmates. There was no discount on either of them as soldiers. Enlisting at the first call to arms, they were always among the first[Pg 40] to toe the line at every beat of the longroll and in the closing months of the war, when hope of success had well nigh passed and so many were dropping by the wayside, they held out bravely and manfully to the end. But as cooks they were not a brilliant success. One evening Harrison had gathered a few brush to make a fire, when he called on Dunbar to assist in his preparations for the evening meal, an appeal, to which the latter failed to respond. "Well," said Harrison, "if you don't help, I'll swear I won't cook any supper." "All right," said Dunbar, "My supper's cooked," and fishing out of his coattail pocket an antiquated biscuit of uncertain age, he began to nibble. "Well," said Harrison, "I won't build any fire. You'll have to freeze," and Dunbar gently drew from his haversack an old-fashioned silk beaver hat, that he had worn in the march up the valley and quietly placed it on the fire as his contribution to the evening's comfort.


Among the original members enlisting with the Oglethorpes, was one H— H—, who, in civil life, was so scrupulously careful with his dress that in these latter days he would have passed a creditable examination as a dude. Camp life is not specially conducive to personal neatness and eight month's service had left to him on this line only the memory of better days. Returning from Winchester one night in a condition not promotive of[Pg 41] mental equilibrium, he failed to find his tent and spent the night around the camp fire. He awoke next morning with his head in a camp kettle and his clothing soiled and blackened by contact with the cooking utensils, that had been his only bed-fellows. Running his hand through his matted locks and surveying his discolored uniform he was overheard to indulge in the following soliloquy: "Is this the gay and fascinating H— H—, that once perambulated the streets of Augusta in faultless attire? When I think of what I am and what I used to was, I feel myself blamed badly treated without sufficient cause."


On a Saturday afternoon in my boyhood days, in company with a schoolmate, I was rambling through the woods in the enjoyment of the hebdomadal relief from the restraints of the school room and the unpalatable mysteries of the three R's taught with a hickory attachment. Reaching a country bathinghouse half-filled with water and used by a neighboring colored Baptist church for baptismal purposes, we proceeded to draw off the water in order to catch the tadpoles that were enjoying their otium cum dignitate on its mud-lined bottom. On the next day the preacher and congregation assembled at the place to administer the rite of baptism to a number of applicants for membership. Owing to our tadpole hunt of the preceding day, they found that unlike the[Pg 42] place mentioned in the Scriptures, there was not "much water there," and they were compelled to defer the ceremony to a more convenient season. In dismissing the congregation the colored brother took occasion to remark that "We are liable, brethren, to disappintments in this life." On Christmas day in '61, in our camp, near Winchester, the mess to which the writer belonged found sad occasion to verify the truth if not the orthography of our dusky brother's observation. With a laudable desire to celebrate the day in appropriate style we had arranged with a colored caterer to supply our mess table with the proverbial turkey and such other adjuncts as the depleted condition of our financial bureau would permit. The day dawned and in the early morning hours our appetites for the coming feast were whetted by an eggnog kindly furnished the entire company by Lieut. J. V. H. Allen. The Christmas sun passed its meridian and traveled on toward its setting with no Joshua to stay its course. The appointed dinner hour came, as all appointed times do, but the proverbial turkey came not, with adjuncts or without. With our gastronomic hopes knocked finally into pi, but not mince pie, we sat down at last to our hardtack and bacon, lamenting in our hearts the uncertainty of "aught that wades, or soars, or shines beneath the stars." Whether the roost, from which our caterer expected to supply our larder was too well guarded on the preceding night, or whether the rating given our mess by the commercial agencies was unsatisfactory[Pg 43] has remained through all these years an unsolved problem.


After our arrival in Winchester the "grape vine" service was again brought into requisition and rumors were current that we were going into winter quarters. But this was not "Stonewall Jackson's Way." His headquarters were in Winchester. Bath and Romney, in his department, were occupied by Federal troops and he determined to oust them. On Jan. 1, '62, our division, with Ashby's cavalry, began the march to Bath. It was a bright, warm day, with a touch of spring in the air. On the evening of the 3rd it began to snow and for thirty-one days the sun did not show his face again. If any reader of these memories should be disposed to question the accuracy of this statement, I can only say that it is so written in the chronicles of the First Georgia Regiment as recorded in my journal for the month named. That evening the wagons failed to reach our camp and our supper was confined to a single course—parched corn. Not relishing a repetition of the menu for breakfast, I dropped out of the ranks soon after the march began and tramping across the freshly fallen snow to a residence not far from the roadside, I found a trio of pretty Virginia girls engineering the first cooking stove I had ever seen. Reared in a country home and accustomed to rely for my daily bread on the culinary skill of[Pg 44] old "Aunt Hannah," the presiding genius of an old-fashioned kitchen fire place six feet wide, where, with the tact born of long experience, she piled the ruddy coals on the biscuit oven lid, or fried in a skillet the home-made sausage and spare rib with home made lard, or broiled on a gridiron the juicy beefsteak, or piled the burning "chunks" under the mammoth kettle that hung from the crane, while from its cavernous depths the air was laden with the aroma of ham and cabbage, this innovation on old-time methods was something of a revelation. But its novelty did not diminish the relish with which I hid away in my empty anatomy the steaming pan cakes dished out by fair and shapely hands to a squad of hungry soldier, one of whom, as Bill Arp would say, I was glad to be which.

On the morning of Jan. 4th we were halted in front of Bath, while a portion of the division was deployed on the left of the road for an attack upon the enemy. As the line of battle advanced through the snow, over a mountain ridge, and in plain view of us, Capt. Sam Crump, who had seen service in Mexico, said: "Well, boys, the ball will open now in fifteen minutes." I was only a stripling boy, with but limited experience as a soldier, and I remember with what reverent respect and implicit faith I received the utterance. But the ball did not open. The Federals retired without resistance to Hancock, Md., six miles away, and we hurried forward in pursuit. Reaching the hills overlooking the Potomac[Pg 45] and the town after dark, we were standing in the road awaiting orders when a sudden flash illuminated the heavens and the regiment sank as one man into the snow. We thought we had struck a masked battery, but it was our own guns throwing grape shot into the woods in front. After standing an hour or two in the snow without fire we bivouacked and I slept, or tried to sleep, on three rails with their ends resting on a stump. We had built a fire of rails, a favorite army fuel in those days. I do not remember from what species of timber they were made, but I do recall the fact that it was a popping variety when subjected to heat. All through the night our sleep was disturbed by the necessity of rising at frequent intervals to extinguish our burning blankets, and one man had his cap nearly burned from his head before it awoke him.

Next morning Turner Ashby went over under flag of truce to demand the surrender of the town. During his absence on this mission it was rumored that he had been held as a prisoner and his cavalry were preparing to storm the town to secure his release. The report proved a fake and he returned, bringing Gen. Lander's refusal to comply. An artillery duel ensued. The Federal guns had to be elevated to reach our position and their balls striking the frozen ground would rebound. Some of the boys, who had played "town ball" at school would pretend to catch them, and would sing out: "Caught him out," when another would reply: "Don't count, 'twas[Pg 46] second bounce." It seemed more like a frolic than a fight. That night I laid aside my shoes and found them next morning filled with snow, while my blanket was covered with an inch or two of the same white mantle. Water was scarce and I tried to secure enough for a cup of coffee by melting snow in a tin cup, but found it a tedious process.

On the morning of the 7th the force was withdrawn to operate against Romney. The weather at this time recalls an old rhyme learned in my boyhood, which fits the case better than any description I could give and which runs thus,

"First she blew,
Then she snew,
And then she thew,
And then she friz."

The roads were as slick as glass. The horses had to be rough-shod and the wheels rough-locked with chains to cut the frozen sleet and snow in descending the hills, and even with these precautions the horses would fall and be dragged to the bottom of the descent before a halt could be made. Twelve horses would be hitched to a single piece of artillery and details were made from each company to push the wagons up the hills. To men not inured to such hardships the experience was a pretty rough one and the criticisms of the winter campaign made by some of them would not look well in a Sunday school book.[Pg 47] Osborne Stone's Presbyterian training would not allow him to use any cuss words, but I remember that his "dog-on-its" were frequent and emphatic. On January 8 we reached the "Cross Roads," and those who were pronounced by the surgeons unfit for further winter service were returned to Winchester. With them went the writer, to worry for four weeks with typhoid fever, while the command went on to Romney. Of the Romney trip I can not speak from personal knowledge, but from the accounts given by those who can, it was a repetition of the return from Hancock with its hardships, perhaps intensified.

Jackson accomplished his purpose, to drive the enemy from his department, though at the expense of a good deal of exposure and suffering to his men.


As hard as the service was, I am glad to have had the opportunity of sharing it with such a man as Turner Ashby. He was then a colonel of cavalry. Mounted on his milk white steed, with the form of an athlete; coal black hair, a silky brown beard reaching nearly to his waist and a velvety, steel-grey eye, he was, in soul as well as body, an ideal cavalier. His command embraced some of the best blood of Virginia and he and they were fit types of the Old South, worthy representatives of a civilization, that in culture, courtesy and courage, in[Pg 48] honor and in honesty, the past had never equalled and the future will never repeat.

Jackson had not then developed the military genius that afterwards rendered him so famous. The campaign furnished but little field for generalship, but it gave evidence of one trait in his character—to halt at no obstacle in the accomplishment of a purpose to benefit the cause for which he fought. In personal appearance and bearing he and Ashby differed widely. Without grace as a rider, and indifferently mounted, there was nothing in his appearance to indicate or foreshadow the height to which he afterwards attained. And yet I can but cherish with pride the recollection that in this campaign I had the privilege of serving under one, who in the blood-stained years that followed "went down to a soldier's grave with the love of the whole world, and the name of Stonewall Jackson."


In this connection my heart prompts me to pay its earnest tribute to one, whose memory the sketch above recalls. Dear old Aunt Hannah. How her name brings back to my heart and life today the glamour of the old, old days, that will never come again—days when to me a barefoot boy, life seemed a long and happy holiday. I can see her now, her head crowned with a checkered handkerchief, her arms bared to the elbows, her spectacles set primly on her nose, while from her kindly[Pg 49] eyes there shone the light of a pure white soul within. She was only an humble slave, and yet her love for me was scarcely less than that my father and mother bore me and when on a summer's day in '61 my brother and myself left the old homestead to take our humble places under a new born flag, there was not a dry eye on the whole plantation and old Aunt Hannah wept in grief as pure and deep as if the clods were falling on an only child.

Long years have come and gone since she was laid away in the narrow house appointed for all the living. No marble headstone marks the spot, yet I am sure the humble mound that lies above her sleeping dust, covers a heart as honest and as faithful, as patient and as gentle, as kindly and as true as any that rest beneath the proudest monument that art could fashion, or affection buy. She reared a large family of sons and daughters, Rev. Charles T. Walker, the "Black Spurgeon," among them, transmitting to them all a character for honesty and virtue marked even in those, the better days of the republic.

Wisely or otherwisely, in the order of Providence, or in the order of Napoleon's "heavier battalions," we have in this good year of our Lord not only a New South, but a new type of Aunt Hannah. The old is, I fear, a lost Pleiad, whose light will shine no more on land, or sea, or sky.

[Pg 50]


On a page of the writer's scrap book, underneath a roll of the Oglethorpes and in friendly contact with the parole granted me at Johnston's surrender, is a slip of paper pocket-worn, and yellow with age, which reads as follows: "Winchester, Va., Mar. 1, 1862. Pass W. A. Clark and brother today on Valley Road. By order Maj. Gen. T. J. Jackson. M. M. Sibert, Captain and Provost Marshall." Thereby hangs the following tale: On my return to Winchester, after the tramp to Hancock, I had secured lodgings at the home of a Mrs. Polk, where for nearly four weeks, I lay with my pulses throbbing with fever. From that sick bed two incidents come back vividly today over the waste of years that have intervened. My hostess, whose kindness I shall never forget, had a daughter, Nellie, who, as a rustic friend of mine would say, was something of a "musicianer." Patriotic songs were all the rage and one evening as I lay on my bed restless from fever and trying to sleep, she began in the parlor below to sing the "Bonnie Blue Flag." The copy used had, I think, eleven verses, and in my nervous condition the entertainment seemed endless. Just as I had congratulated myself on its conclusion, a young gentleman called and insisted on a repetition of the program with his vocal accompaniment, and she was kind enough to comply, without skipping a verse. I can not recall a musical entertainment that my condition forced me to[Pg 51] appreciate less though cheerfully acquitting her of any malice aforethought in the matter.

As I lay on my bed during all those weeks and looked on the white-mantled hills that environed the town I remember distinctly how intensely my parched lips craved the cooling touch of the pure white snow. But like Tantalus, I was forced day after day to gaze on a luxury I could not enjoy, for the medical science of that day said nay. Tempora mutantur, and doctors change with them.

Before I had recovered sufficiently to leave my bed Stonewall Jackson decided to evacuate Winchester and ordered all the convalescent sick to be moved. Having no desire to complete my recovery in a Federal prison my brother secured the pass above referred to and seats in the hack to Strasburg. There were nine passengers and among them was Belle Boyd, the Confederate Spy. Her home was in Martinsburg and her father a Major in the Confederate army. Her mother had forced her to leave home on the approach of the Federal army. On its first visit to Martinsburg she had remained there. Having a soldier friend in the hospital and uncertain as to the treatment he would receive from the enemy, she had taken two of her father's servants to the hospital with a stretcher, had him placed upon it and walked by his side through the streets to her home with a loaded pistol in her hand to protect him from insult or injury at their hands. A few days later a Federal soldier attempted to[Pg 52] place a Union flag over the door of her home and she persuaded him to desist by the use of a leaden argument from her pistol. Another attempt to remove a Confederate flag that waved over the mantel in her parlor met with a similar counter-irritant, and she was molested no further. Fortunately or unfortunately as the case may be, neither of her shots hit their mark. In view of these facts her mother thought it prudent to send her away before the Union forces occupied the town again, and she was en route to the home of a relative in Front Royal. To protect myself from the chilly air during the stage ride I was wearing a woollen visor knitted for my brother by Miss Lucy Meredith, of Winchester, and covering my head and throat, leaving only my eyes exposed. With a woman's instinct she saw that I was too weak to sit up and arranged to give me possession of an entire seat, improvised a pillow of a red scarf she was wearing on her shoulders and in every way possible contributed to my ease and comfort. On reaching Strasburg she aided my brother in getting me into the hotel, arranged a lounge in the parlor for me, brought my supper and entertained me during the meal, refusing to eat anything herself until I had finished. After supper she sat by me and talked to me for an hour, and then, thinking I was weary, she moved the lamp in a corner of the room shading it from my eyes with her scarf, so that I might sleep. After all these years my memory retains some incidents of that conversation. I remember that she told[Pg 53] me something of her child life; that when a little girl she had been a member of Dave Strother's party in his tour through Virginia, which he described so charmingly in the early numbers of Harper's Magazine over the nom de plume of "Porte Crayon;" that Gen. Lander, who commanded the Federal troops, that we had driven from Bath into Maryland, was an old sweetheart of hers; that Dave Strother was a member of his staff, and she intended to cut his acquaintance.

I remember that she said further that she had been hurt by a remark made to her that day by a soldier about the seeming boldness of Virginia girls; that soldiers mistook kindness and the expression of a desire to serve them for boldness; that she intended coming to Georgia after the war to get married. She left on the next train for her destination, and I saw her no more. She had impressed me as one of kindest and gentlest of women and yet a year or two later she forded the Potomac alone in a storm at midnight to carry important information to her brother in Stuart's cavalry. Perhaps with woman as well as man

"The bravest are the tenderest,
The loving are the daring."

If necessity had required it I believe she would have led the charge of Pickett's Division at Gettysburg without a tremor.

In the years that followed she became a noted spy,[Pg 54] going into the Federal lines and securing information, which she sent or carried to the Confederate army. She was finally arrested and sent to Washington as a prisoner. It was reported that she married the Federal officer, to whose oversight she had been entrusted and that he joined the Confederate army. Some of her methods as a spy subjected her to harsh and hostile criticism, but in grateful memory of her kindness to one, who was only a private soldier, without rank or social prestige, one who had no claim upon her service save that in an humble way he had tried to serve the cause she loved and in that service had grown sick and helpless, her name has never passed my lips except in tones of fervent gratitude and reverent respect.


As my service as a soldier on Virginia soil was now about to end and as that service carried me afterwards into six other states of the Confederacy, in four of them lengthening into months or years, it may not be amiss to say in this connection that judged by that experience, Virginia stood above them all in kindly feeling and hospitable treatment to the Confederate soldier. Furnishing to the army perhaps a larger quota of her sons than any other State, her territory tracked by the tread of hostile armies for four bloody years, her homes destroyed and her fields laid waste, her generous kindness and her active sympathy for the suffering soldier never wavered to the end.[Pg 55]

While the South as a whole gave to the world the highest type of civilization it had ever known, Virginia, as I believe, stood at its head, the capstone in the fairest structure the sun has gilded since the morning stars sang together, and garlanding its summit like a glistening coronal, bright with the light of immortality stands the name and fame of Robert Edward Lee.


The 1st Ga. Regiment was the only infantry organization from this State mustered out at the expiration of its first year's service. The Conscript Act became effective in the spring of '62, and succeeding regiments, whose terms expired later were under its provision retained in the service. On the return of the command from Romney the 1st Ga. was ordered to Tennessee. Going by rail to Lynchburg, a railroad accident occasioned some delay at that point and as their time would have expired in a few days they were sent to Augusta to be mustered out.

My brother, knowing that I would not be strong enough to rejoin the command before its term of service ended, decided to take me directly home. And so by stage and rail, with tiresome delays at every junction, in the deepening twilight of a fair spring day, weak and weary, I came in sight of the old homestead once more. Over the joy and gladness of such a meeting after an absence, every day of which had seemed to those I had[Pg 56] left behind, an age of agony and dread, it is meet that the mantle of silence should fall. The halo that came to fathers and mothers hearts in those old days when their "boys" came home from the war, seemed like a breath from Heaven. It was sacred then and to me it is sacred still. Loving lips, that gave me glad welcome that spring day have long been cold and silent, and eyes that shone through misty tears are dim in death. Some time in the coming months or years, I know not when, and yet in God's good time, in weakness and in weariness at even-tide on some spring day again, it may be, I shall, I trust, go "home again;" not to the old homestead hallowed as it is by a mother's love and a father's prayers, and yet to find hard by the River of Life from lips long silent, a welcome just as loving in "a city, whose builder and maker is God."


Co. D, 1st Ba. Regt.

Capt. J. O. Clarke, promoted Lieut. Col. 1st Ga. Reg.
Capt. Horton B. Adams.
1st Lieut. J. V. H. Allen.
2d Lieut. Geo. W. Crane.
3d Lieut. S. B. Simmons.
1st Serg. A. J. Setze.
2d Serg. W. S. Holmes.
3d Serg. S. C. Foreman.
[Pg 57]4th Serg. L. A. Picquet.
1st Corp. O. M. Stone.
2d Corp. Jesse W. Rankin.
3d Corp. Chas H. Roberts.
4th Corp. Burt O. Miller.


Alfred M. Averill.
Dillard Adams.
A. E. Andrews.
A. W. Bailey.
F. A. Beall.
A. W. Blanchard.
R. M. Booker.
Jno. M. Bunch.
Thos. Burgess.
Milton A. Brown.
A. J. Burroughs.
Wm. Bryson.
Chas. Catlin.
H. A. Cherry.
H. B. Clark.
F. W. Clark.
Wm. H. Clark.
Walter A. Clark.
W. J. Cloyd.
Jno. R Coffin.
E. F. Clayton.
[Pg 58]C. S. Crag.
Wm. Craig.
J. B. Crumpton.
Wilberforce Daniel.
Ed. Darby.
Joseph T. Derry.
J. J. Doughty.
C. W. Doughty.
W. R. Doyle.
B. B. Doyle.
Jno. P. Duncan.
S. H. Dye.
E. A. Dunbar.
Geo. W. Evans.
Robert C. Eve.
Sterling C. Eve.
L. F. Flming.
H. Clay Foster.
W. Harrison Foster.
John P. Foster.
Willie Goodrich.
J. P. Goodrich.
C. M. Goodwin.
W. A. Griffin.
A. G. Hall.
E. H. Hall.
Wm. Haight.
J. J. Harrell.
[Pg 59]Frank M. Hight.
Jno. C. Hill.
Harry Hughes.
Jno. T. Hungerford.
V. G. Hitt.
H. B. Jackson.
W. F. Jackson.
A. M. Jackson.
Whit G. Johnson.
W. H. Jones.
W. E. Jones.
G. A. Jones.
Matt Kean.
W. H. Kennedy.
W. T. Lamar.
Jas. Lamar.
Geo. G. Leonhardt.
D. W. Little.
P. E. Love.
A. D. Marshall.
C. O. Marshall.
Geo. W. McLaughlin.
C. E. McCarthy.
J. T. McGran.
D. W. Mongin.
R. B. Morris.
W. B. Morris.
Z. B. Morris.
[Pg 60]W. J. Miller.
Josiah Miller.
Geo. D. Mosher.
M. C. Murphey.
W. E. Peay.
A. Pilcher.
J. T. Newberry.
F. M. Pope.
Geo. P. Pournelle.
W. P. Ramsey.
J. T. Ratcriff.
J. H. Revill.
A. J. Rhodes.
J. A. Rhodes.
J. P. Roberts.
J. C. Roebuck.
W. A. Roll.
J. W. Rigsby.
S. H. Sheppard.
L. W. Shed.
L. W. Stroud.
Fred W. Stoy.
Jno. W. Stoy.
Alonzo Smith.
Miles Turpin.
Thomas J. Tutt.
J. E. Thomas.
Geo. J. Verdery.
[Pg 61]R. W. Verdery.
G. F. Wing.
B. H. Watkins.
C. D. Wakins.
Jas. E. Wilson.
Jas. D. Wilson.
Walter A. Wiley.
Wm. T. Williams.
W. T. Winn.
Wm. Whiting.

[Pg 62]



On May 1, 1862, the Oglethorpes were re-organized at Camp Jackson, on the Carnes Road, near Augusta, Ga., as an artillery company under Capt. J. V. H. Allen. Three other companies from the 1st Ga. Regiment, and the "DeKalb Rifles" from Stone Mountain, joined us and the 12th Ga. Battalion was formed, with Major Henry D. Capers as commander. We remained at this camp drilling for two months, and our parade ground became a favorite afternoon resort for the young ladies of Augusta.


Among the fair visitors, who honored us by their presence, were the Misses Long, two pretty and attractive girls, who were guests at the Savage Place, near our quarters. Miles Turpin, one of the company wits, fell a victim to the charms of the younger one, who in physical make-up was rather petite. When his attack had reached the acute stage, he was being joked about it one day and gave vent to his feelings in the following revised version of Goldsmith's familiar lines:[Pg 63]

I want but little here below,
But want "that little Long."

Miles was not the only wit in the Company. Every branch in Phil Schley's family tree must have shed puns as an ordinary tree sheds leaves when touched by the breath of winter. Lon Fleming was crossing the grounds at Camp Jackson one day with a chair slung over his left shoulder, when he was hailed by Phil. "Lon, you are most cheerful man I've seen today." "Yes," said Lon, "over the left." Lest some of my readers may fail to see the point, it may be prudent to say that when Phil and I were boys, "chair" in the piney woods was pronounced "cheer." This was not one of Phil's best nor, perhaps, one of his worst. It would probably grade about "strict low middling." Aside from this hereditary punning propensity, from which my old comrade has reasonably recovered, I am glad to recall his unfailing good humor and his readiness to meet the dangers and hardships of the service bravely and without a murmur.


On July 4th, '62, Miss Pinkie Evans, of Augusta, presented to the battalion a beautiful silk battle flag made, it was said, from her mother's wedding robe. Her patriotic address in making the presentation was responded to by Maj. Capers, who accepted the colors for the battalion.

As the Oglethorpes were transferred from the battal[Pg 64]ion in the fall of 1862, we had no opportunity of fighting under their banner save at the skirmish at Huntsville, Tennessee. It was afterwards bravely borne on many a bloody battlefield, under Evans and Gordon in Maryland and Virginia. Seven color-bearers were shot down under its silken folds. During the second heavy bombardment of Fort Sumter, lasting from Oct. 26 to Dec. 6, 1863, the 12th Ga. Battalion formed a part of its garrison. On Oct. 31st the flag of the fort was shot down and was replaced by Serg. Graham, Will Hitt and Bob Swain, of Augusta, then serving with the 12th Ga. Batt. It was shot down again on the same day and its staff so badly shattered that it could not be hoisted. The same brave men went up on the parapet, amid the storm of solid shot and shell and raised their own 12th Ga. flag. When the Confederate line was broken at Cedar Creek, Serg. Hopps of Crump's company, bore this flag, and disdaining to fly, he held his ground alone, waving his colors defiantly at the advancing line of blue until he was killed. Afred Wallen, of the same company, a beardless boy, but a brave one, saw him fall and running back at the risk of his own life, tore the flag from its staff and brought it in safety to his command. It is said these colors were not surrendered at Appomatox, but were returned to their fair donor unstained save by the blood of the gallant Baker and King and Stallings and Hopps, who in the shock of battle had gone down to death under their silken folds.

[Pg 65]


Buell was threatening Chattanooga, and Maj. Capers was ordered to report with his battalion to Gen. McCown at that point. Leaving Augusta July 5th in two special trains, we were detained at Ringgold, Ga., for a day or two by a collision with a freight train, which resulted in the death of ten or twelve men and fifteen or twenty horses, and in injuries more or less serious to a larger number. Reaching Chattanooga July 8, we remained there ten days and were then transferred by N. & C. R. R. to a point near Shell Mound, Ala. Picketing here for two weeks in front of Buell's army we returned to Chattanooga Aug. 1, and on the next day left for Knoxville with the intention, I suppose, of accompanying Kirby Smith's army into Kentucky. Two days at Knoxville and we are off for Clinton. En route a courier brings information that the enemy has attacked our forces at Tazewell, twenty miles away, and we are ordered to hurry forward to reinforce Gen. Stevenson at that point. An hour later another dispatch is received that the attack has been repulsed and we are sidetracked at Clinton to aid in the capture or dispersion of the 7th Tenn. Federal regiment, then occupying a fortified camp near Huntsville, Tenn.


How strangely human events sometimes shape themselves without apparent effort to control them. Sitting[Pg 66] in my home some weeks ago in the dreamy haze of an October Sunday afternoon, there chanced to fall under my eye in the editorial column of a Sunday school paper the statement that Col. Alexander Hogeland of Louisville, Ky., had visited Nashville, Tenn., in the interest of the "Curfew Law." Other items in the column caused a momentary disturbance of my brain cells, then passed away to be recalled no more. But this one lingered in my memory and would not down, for thereby hangs the following tale:

The expedition against the Federal force at Huntsville was commanded by Col. Gracie, of Alabama, and consisted of the 12th Ga. Battalion, a portion of an Alabama regiment, and a few cavalry. Leaving Clinton at 4 p. m., Aug. 12, we camped near Jacksonboro on the night of the 13th and on the morning of the 14th started for Huntsville by a rough mountain path that crossed a spur of the Cumberland range. After a toilsome tramp we halted at 9 p. m. and after an hour's rest were again on the march. The path is narrow and the overarching trees shut out every ray of starlight. Groping along in the dark we follow the tramp of the feet in front, reaching out occasionally to touch the file just ahead, lest our ears have deceived us. Our pathway passes on the edge of a precipitous bluff and my brother in Crump's company loses his footing and topples over it. The fall fails to disable him, but he loses his hat and in the darkness is unable to recover it. Hatless he rejoins the command[Pg 67] and the procession moves on. Just before daylight we halt for another rest. At 5 a. m. we resume the march and in the early morning reach the vicinity of the Federal camp. Deploying into line of battle we advance through a belt of woodland and entering a cornfield beyond, our right is fired upon by the Federal pickets. As we drive them in a scattering fire is kept up until we come in sight of their camp and near it a rude log fort built upon the crest of a tall hill, over whose precipitous slope the forest trees have been felled, making an almost impassable abattis. While arrangements are being made for an attack upon the fort, Tom Tutt and the writer, who are both on the color guard, see a thin line four or five hundred yards to our right, near a church, and whom we take to be the pickets, who had been resisting our advance. Tom, whose rule is to shoot at everything in sight, selects his man and fires and the writer follows suit. We load and fire again. After a few rounds I become convinced that it is a portion of Capt. Crump's company, which had been detached and sent to the right and in which I have two brothers. As Tom raises his gun again I said, "Hold on, Tom, you are shooting at your own company." He made no reply and continued firing until the order to advance was given. A deep gully lay partially in our front and as its passage caused some confusion in the ranks, we halted to reform the line. Crump's company was hurrying forward to join us and before they had reached their position in line Col.[Pg 68] Gracie gave the command, "Charge." From underneath the head logs of the fort the Belgian rifles were barking at us and the heavy balls they carried whistled by us like young shells. We were waiting for Crump, and Gracie, ignorant of the cause of the delay, shouted: "What is the matter with the 12th Ga. Battalion?" Just then a lone cavalryman passed the line on foot and with drawn sabre made his way towards the fort with the evident intention of capturing the whole business himself. Crump's company came up at a "double quick" and the whole line moved forward with a yell. Sergeant Harwell, our color-bearer, had never been under fire and the boys, uncertain as to his grit, had asked Tom Tutt, who did not know what fear meant, to take the colors when the charge began. Tom made the effort to seize them, but Harwell, a tall, gaunt man, and brother of two honored Methodist preachers, declined to give them up and bore them forward bravely. As we advanced the fire from the fort suddenly ceased and we thought they were waiting to see the whites of our eyes. Reaching the steep ascent we climbed up over logs and brush until the fort was gained. Lieut. Joe Taliaferro, of Augusta, was the first to enter, and with his sword cut down the floating flag. The fort was empty—not a Yankee to be seen. Under cover of the thick forest growth in their rear they had hid to other haunts, under the idea, perhaps, that

"He who fights and runs away,
Will live to fight another day."
[Pg 69]

Their camp, located just below the fort gave ample evidence of their hasty exit. Our attack was something of a "surprise party" and their unfinished morning meal was boiling, baking and frying on the camp fires. We were unexpected and uninvited guests and yet our reception was warm, although unfriendly. Our all-night tramp enabled us to do full justice to the breakfast they had prepared, as well as the sugar cured hams and other supplies their commissary had kindly left for our use. We appropriated an ample outfit of blankets, canteens, haversacks, etc., and burned what we could not carry away.

The skirmish on our side, and probably on theirs was almost bloodless. W. W. Bussey, of the Oglethorpes, and Garyhan, of Crump's company, were slightly wounded. I recall no other casualty except the killing of a nice horse ridden by Col. Gracie.

And now what has all this to do with the item I read in a Sunday school paper? Simply this: Among the assets and effects secured that day by the writer from the officer's tent and administered upon without "Letter's Testamentary" was a pocket diary belonging to Capt. Alexander Hogeland, of the 10th Indiana Regt. On reading the paragraph referred to, the coincidence in names suggested the possibility that Col. Alexander Hogeland, of Louisville, Ky., "Father of the Curfew," might have been Capt. Alexander Hogeland, of the 10th Ind. Regt., whose property had been in my possession for thirty-seven[Pg 70] years. To test the matter, I wrote Col. Hogeland and from his reply the following extract is taken: "Your deeply interesting favor of the 4th inst received and for the information it contains accept my hearty thanks. I am the identical person referred to in your letter. Was first lieutenant Co. D, 10th Indiana Regiment in the West Virginia campaign and afterwards Captain of Co. G. In May, '62, was made lieutenant-colonel of 7th East Tennessee Regiment, commanded by Col. Wm. Cliff, and stationed at Huntsville, Tenn., in August, '62. We lost everything on the occasion you refer to and this is the first information I have received as to the whereabouts of my effects. I am very glad to avail myself of your proffer to return my diary and enclose herewith necessary postage." Col. Hogeland's diary was duly returned to him and in acknowledging its receipt he took occasion to thank me for looking him up after all these years and assured me that he would endeavor to return that kindness by visiting Augusta in the early future and giving the citizens of this goodly city the benefit of the "Curfew Law." It will furnish additional evidence of the truthfulness of the opening statement in this sketch if the capture of a war diary nearly forty years ago, should result in the adoption of a "Curfew" ordinance in Augusta.

In illustration of the adage that "Every dog has his day," it may not be amiss to say that Col. Hogeland's escapade from Fort Cliff at the instance of four com[Pg 71]panies of the old First Georgia Regiment, was only partial compensation for the 100-mile run made by those self-same companies from Laurel Hill, Va., in '61, with Capt. Hogeland's regiment as one of the exciting causes.


On our return from Huntsville, Joe Derry and J. W. Lindsay, of the Oglethorpes, unable to keep pace with the command, straggled and were captured by "bush-whackers." Joe was exchanged a few days, later, Lindsay preferring to remain a prisoner. After a short stay at Clinton we moved up to Jacksboro and remained there until Oct. 9th, guarding Bragg's line of communications. Our service at this place was uneventful. Buell's army had retreated into Kentucky and there was nothing to disturb our "otium cum dignitate" save a moderate amount of picket duty and the one subject ever uppermost in the soldier's mind—"rations." The following incidents of our stay at this camp furnish some illustrations of this fact:


A continuous diet of salt bacon had made the boys ravenous for fresh meat and as war has no tendency to strengthen respect for property rights where a soldier's appetite is involved, they were not, as a rule, very scrupulous as to the methods adopted to procure a supply. The means most in use at the date referred to were known in camp parlance as "flip ups." As no encyclopedia of my[Pg 72] acquaintance describes this mechanical contrivance and its specifications have never encumbered the records of the patent office, it may not be amiss to say that it consisted of a bent sapling, a slip noose with a trigger attachment and a bait of corn. The unsuspecting porker, tempted by the bait, sprang the trigger and the sapling freed from its confinement, sought to resume its normal position, while the shote caught in the noose and partially suspended in the air gave noisy notice that the game was up.

On one occasion the catch, by right of discovery or otherwise, fell to a mess, of which Parson H——, a minister of the Presbyterian persuasion, was a member. When dinner was served that day a dish of smoking pork chops was passed to the Parson, but he declined with the remark that his conscience did not allow him to eat stolen meat. As the meal progressed the fragrant odor from the dish struck his olfactories with increasingly tempting force and he finally passed up his tin plate and said: "I'll take a little of the gravy if you please." He had made a brave fight for principle and his final compromise was probably due to the fact that Paul's vow, "If meat make my brother to offend I will eat no flesh while the world standth," failed to include gravy in its inhibition. He may have been further influenced by the reflection that his refusal to indulge could not possibly restore the porker to life again. As Jim Wilson said,

"'Twas Greece (grease), but living Greece no more."
[Pg 73]

This incident recalls the fact that Jim and the writer had on this subject the same scruples as the Parson, and in order to place ourselves on the line of strongest resistance we entered into an agreement with each other binding ourselves to total abstinence from all meat of questionable origin until mutually released from the obligation. The compact was religiously observed until Hood's campaign in Tennessee in the winter of '64. Transportation was scarce and rations were scarcer. On one occasion two ears of corn were issued to each soldier. Some wag in the company, probably Elmore Dunbar, seeing that horse rations were being furnished sang out, "come and get your fodder." On another occasion beef was issued but no bread. We had neither lard to fry nor salt to season, but our digestive apparatus was not then fastidious as to condiments. It was unimportant whether it was taken "cum grano salis" or without, so the void was filled.

A fire was built of dried limbs from a brush pile and the beef placed in a shallow frying pan to stew, Frank Stone being the chef de cuisine. The mess sat around with anxious faces and whetted appetites. Finally one of them, in shifting his position, struck the end of a limb on which the pan was resting and dumped the whole business into the dirt and ashes. The catastrophe placed us rather than the beef in a stew and we went to bed supperless.

Under such conditions it is, perhaps, but natural that[Pg 74] the case should be re-opened, a new trial granted and a verdict rendered to follow Paul's other injunction, "Whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no questions for conscience sake."

I can not recall positively that either of us ever indulged even as to gravy, but I think I can say that neither of us was particepts criminis in the act of impressment. If guilty, we were only accessories after the fact.


During our stay at Jacksboro the farmers in that section were making sorghum syrup, which most of them called "them molasses." Near one of our picket posts lived a Baptist minister named Lindsay, from whose better half we purchased vegetables and other edibles. On one occasion I was unable to make exact change and left owing her 12 1-2 cents in Confederate money. Two weeks later I was on picket again and paid her the balance due. She was so much surprised that a soldier should have the moral sense to recognize and meet such an obligation that she formed a very exalted estimate of my honesty and when I afterwards went to buy some of "them molasses" she requested her husband to take it from a barrel she had reserved for her own use "for," he said "she likes 'em powerful thick." I had occasion to regret her kindness, for it was so thick that it was with difficulty that I could get it either into or out of my canteen, and in view of her partiality I did not have the heart[Pg 75] to suggest that a thinner grade would be preferred. She was a kind and motherly soul, and yet some of the soldiers would steal from her. To prevent or minimize their depredations she cooped a noisy rooster underneath her bedroom as a sort of watch dog to notify her of any midnight foragers. A few mornings afterwards she awoke to find, aside from other losses, that her feathered sentinel had been caught asleep upon his post by some soldier, who was chicken-mouthed, if he was not chicken-hearted.


Rations as one of the sinews of war, deserve something more than incidental mention in these memories and as no more favorable opportunity may occur, it may be as well to give them more extended notice in connection with the incident just related.

Confederate rations during the early years of the war were as I recollect them, not only fair in quality but ample in quantity. As evidence of this fact I remember that the boys were sometimes so indifferent when rations hour arrived that it was difficult to induce them to draw their allowance promptly. Charles Catlin was our company commissary and I can hear now his clear, sharp tones as they rang out on the frosty evening air among the Virginia mountains in '61, "Come up and get your beef. Are you going to keep a man standing out here in the cold all night?"

As the war progressed the resources of the Confeder[Pg 76]acy, limited to its own production by the cordon of hostile gunboats that girded its ports, became more and more heavily taxed and its larder grew leaner and leaner. But little wheat was raised in the Gulf States and few beeves except in Texas. We were reduced largely to meal and bacon rations, and the supply of these sometimes recalled the instructions in regard to loading a squirrel rifle given by its owner to a friend to whom he had loaned it: "Put in very little powder, if any." Cooking squads were detailed from each company and once a day the wagons would drive up and issue three small corn pones to each man. Some of the boys, whose hunger was chronic, would begin on theirs and never stop until the last pone had been eaten.

Bob Winter belonged to this class and eight or ten hours after his daily rations had disappeared Dick Morris would draw a pone or half a pone from his haversack and say, "Bob, here's some bread if you want it," and Bob would reply, "Dick, I don't want to take it if you need it," and Dick would answer, "Bob, I've told you a thousand times that I wouldn't give you anything that I wanted," and Bob would succumb and so would the bread.

When our changes of base were rapid the squads would cook up two or three days' rations and in hot weather the bread would mould and when broken open the fungus growth looked very much like cobweb. Some of the pones had also the appearance of slow convales[Pg 77]cence from chill and fever. Under such conditions it could hardly be considered very palatable except upon the idea of a rustic friend of mine, who, in commending the virtues of India Cholagogue, was asked as to its palatability. "O," said he, "it's very palatable, but the meanest stuff to take you ever saw."

Most of the boys had left well-to-do homes to enter the service and while they bore privation and hunger without a murmur, there would sometimes come into their hard lives a craving for the good things they had left behind. Gathered about the camp-fire, cold and tired and hungry, they would discuss the dish that each liked best and their lips would grow tremulous as they thought of the day when hope would become realization. Joe Derry, I remember, could never be weaned away from the memory of his mother's nice mince pies and black-berry jam. I can see his eyes dance now as he magnified their merits. Bob Winter's ultimate thule in the gastronomic line was sliced potato pie, while Jim Thomas would never tire of singing the praises of 'possum baked with potatoes. Louis Picquet said to him one day, "Jim, if I ever get home again I am going to have one dinner of 'possum and 'taters if it kills me." But it was left to the epicurean taste of John Henry Casey to reach the acme of these unsatisfied longings when, recognizing the value of quantity as well as quality he declared that nothing less would satisfy him than "a chicken pie big enough to trot a horse and buggy around on."[Pg 78]

But for extending this ration sketch to an irrational length I might have said something of the May Pop leaves that we cooked for "greens" in North Georgia, of the half hardened corn transformed into meal by means of an improvised grater prepared by driving nails through the side of a tin canteen, of the pork issued to us in Tennessee with the hair still on it, of the hog skins that we ate at Inka, Miss., and of many other such things, but they would probably fail to interest the reader as they did the actors in those far off days.[Pg 79]



Our enlistment as artillery had so far proven a delusion and a snare. The Confederacy had no guns with which to equip us and we had found no opportunity to capture any. During our stay at Jacksboro Capt. Allen succeeded in securing from the War Department the transfer of the Oglethorpes to the 2nd South Carolina Artillery, then in service at Charleston. Oct. 9, '62, at 6 p. m. we fell into line, gave three cheers for our late companions in arms and as the setting sun crimsoned with its last rays the lofty summit of the Cumberland, we filed out of the village to the tune of

"We are sons of old Aunt Dinah,
And we go where we've amind to
And we stay where we're inclined to,
And we don't care a——cent."

and our sojourn in Jacksonboro was a thing of the past.

Reaching Augusta Oct. 13, we were dismissed until the 23rd, when we went into camp at the Bush Ground, near the city. Why we did not proceed at once to our command in Charleston has always been to the writer an unsolved problem. We remained in Augusta until Dec.[Pg 80] 9, when orders were received to report to Gen. H. W. Mercer, at Savannah. Col. Geo. A. Gordon, in command of the 13th Ga. Battalion was endeavoring to raise it to a regiment. As he lacked two companies and as the Oglethorpes had 120 men on its roll an effort was made to divide the company. On Dec. 11 a vote was taken, the result showing a majority against division. Dec. 15 we were formally attached to the 63rd Ga. Regiment, ranking as Co. A. Our quarters were located just in the rear of Thunderbolt Battery and here we remained for more than twelve months in the discharge of semi-garrison duty.


The period covered by our service on the coast formed a sort of oasis in our military life. The Federal gunboats were kind enough to extend social courtesies to us only at long range and longer intervals. We fought and bled, it is true, but not on the firing line. The foes that troubled us most, were the fleas and sand fleas and mosquitoes that infested that sections. They never failed to open the spring campaign promptly and from their attacks by night and day no vigilance on the picket line could furnish even slight immunity. If the old time practice of venesection as a therapeutic agent was correct in theory our hygienic condition ought to have been comparatively perfect. During the "flea season" it was not an unusual occurrence for the boys after fruitless[Pg 81] efforts to reach the land of dreams, to rise from their couches, divest themselves of their hickory shirts and break the silence of the midnight air by vigorously threshing them against a convenient tree in the hope of finding temporary "surcease of sorrow" from this ever-present affliction. It was said that if a handful of sand were picked up half of it would jump away. I can not vouch for the absolute correctness of this statement, but I do know that I killed, by actual count, one hundred and twenty fleas in a single blanket on which I had slept the preceding night and I can not recall that the morning was specially favorable for that species of game either. I remember further that as we had in camp no "Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals," I corked up an average specimen of these insects to see how long he would live without his daily rations. At the end of two weeks he had grown a trifle thin, but was still a very lively corpse. But these were not the only "ills, that made calamity of so long a life," for as Moore might have said, if his environment had been different,

"Oft in the stilly night,
Ere slumber's chain had bound me,
I felt the awful bite
Of 'skeeters buzzing 'round me."

Their bills were presented on the first day of the day of the month and, unfortunately, on every other day. At our picket stations on Wilmington and White marsh Islands and at the "Spindles" on the river where[Pg 82] the young alligators amused themselves by crawling up on the bank and stealing our rations, there was a larger variety known as gallinippers, from whose attacks the folds of a blanket thrown over our faces was not full protection.

But there were still others. On dress parade in the afternoons, while the regiment was standing at "parade rest" and no soldier was allowed to move hand or foot until Richter's band, playing Capt. Sheppards Quick step, had completed its daily tramp to the left of the line and back to its position on the right, the sandflies seemed to be aware of our helplessness and "in prejudice of good order and military discipline" were especially vicious in their attack upon every exposed part of our anatomy. Capt. C. W. Howard, I remember, was accustomed to fill his ears with cotton as a partial protection. I have seen Charlie Goetchius, while on the officers' line in front of the regiment, squirm and shiver in such apparent agony that the veins in his neck seemed ready to burst. Neither whistling minies, nor shrieking shells, nor forced marches with no meal in the barrel nor oil in the cruse ever seemed to disturb his equanimity in the slightest degree. Quietly and modestly and bravely he met them all. But the sandfly brigade was a little too much for him.

In addition to these discomforts, the salt water marsh, near which we were camped, never failed to produce a full crop of chills and fever as well as of that peculiar[Pg 83] species of crabs known as "fiddlers." Gen. Early was once advised by one of his couriers that the Yankees were in his rear. "Rear the d—l," said old Jubal, "I've got no rear. I'm front all round." These fiddlers seemed to be in the same happy condition. Their physical conformation was such that no matter from what side they were approached, they retired in an exactly opposite direction without the necessity of changing front. But of the chills. Of the one hundred and fifteen men in our ranks only three escaped an attack of this disease. The writer was fortunately one of the three. One man had fifty-three chills before a furlough was allowed him. Quinine was scarce and boneset tea and flannel bandages saturated with turpentine were used as substitutes. Whiskey was sometimes issued as a preventative. In pursuance of a resolution formed on entering the service I never tasted the whiskey and as soon as my habit on this line became known, I was not subjected to the trouble of looking up applicants for the extra ration. The dearth in medical supplies recalls other facts showing the straits to which the Confederacy was reduced on other lines by the blockade of its ports. Letters written in '63, and now in my possession, show that my brother, then Assistant Surgeon at Tallahassee, Fla., could not purchase in that place a pair of suspenders nor a shirt collar—that my mess could not buy an oven in Savannah, though willing to pay $30 for it and that I ordered shoes for Capt. Picquet, and other members of the company from a Mr.[Pg 84] Campbell at Richmond Factory, as no suitable ones could be had in Savannah.

Our service at Thunderbolt was entirely devoid of any exciting incident or episode in a martial way. If the company fired a single shot at a Yankee during our stay I can not recall it. On one occasion 8 or 10 volunteers from each regiment stationed there were wanted for "a secret and dangerous expedition," as it was termed in the order. There was a ready response from the Oglethorpes for the entire number wanted from the regiment. Among those volunteers I recall the names of W. J. Steed, J. E. Wilson, R. B. Morris, J. C. Kirkpatrick and F. I. Stone. We never knew whether it was a contemplated attack on Fort Pulaski or the capture of a Federal gunboat, as the expedition failed to materialize.

April 18, '63, Henry Wombke of the Oglethorpes, was drowned while bathing in Warsaw Sound, and on July 12, '63, John Quincy Adams, while returning from picket at the Spindles was accidentally shot by George Mosher, who had gone up on the boat to kill alligators.

Some official changes took place in the company during our stay at this camp. To fill the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of Lieut. W. G. Johnson, Charles T. Goetchius was elected, but I have no record of the date. On July 5, '63, the death of Major John R. Giles resulted in the promotion on July 12, of Capt. J. V. H. Allen to that field office in the regiment. Louis Picquet became captain of the company, and on July 14, Geo. W. McLaughlin was elected Jr. 2nd. Lieut.[Pg 85]

As a part of the "res gestae" of our soldier life at Thunderbolt, the following incident may be of some interest:


My earliest recollections of Thunderbolt is associated with a fruitless effort to mix turpentine soap and salt water. We had reached the place tired and dusty and dirty. As soon as the ranks were broken, the boys divested themselves of their clothing and soaping their bodies thoroughly plunged into the salt water for a bath. The result may be imagined. The dirt and dust accumulated in streaks, which no amount of scrubbing could dislodge for it stuck closer than a postage stamp.


Col. Geo. A. Gordon was a pleasant, persuasive speaker and in his address to the company urging its division so as to complete the quota necessary for a regimental organization he held out to us a tempting array of promises as to our treatment if his wishes were complied with. An Irish member of his old company heard the speech and in commenting on it said, "Faith, the sugar on his tongue is an inch thick."

The Oglethorpes, though serving as infantry, had retained their artillery organization and Gordon in his plea for a division, said that the incorporation of such an organization into an infantry regiment would be an[Pg 86] anomaly—that we would be "nyther fish, flesh nor fowl," giving the English pronunciation to the word "neither." Some time afterward the Colonel was making his Sunday morning inspection of quarters and had reached Elmore Dunbar's tent. As some of Dunbar's mess were sick, he had hoisted a yellow handkerchief over the tent and with a piece of charcoal had placed on its front the sign, "Wayside Home." Gordon saluted as he came up, and then noticing the sign said, "Sergeant, what is your bill of fare today," "Nyther fish, flesh nor fowl," said Dunbar, and the Colonel smiled and went his way.


The monotony of garrison duty and our comparative exemption from danger during our stay at Thunderbolt, developed the spirit of mischief in the boys to an inordinate degree and no opportunity for its exercise was allowed to go unimproved. Bob Lassiter, while off duty one day, was taking a nap on a "bunk" in his cabin. His unhosed feet protruded from the window, probably with a view to fumigation by the salt sea breeze. Jim McLaughlin passed by and taking in the situation called Jim Thomas. Twisting and greasing a strip of paper they placed it gently between Bob's unsuspecting toes, fired the ends and then made themselves scarce in that locality. As the lambent flame "lipped the Southern strand" of Bob's pedal extremities, he, doubtless, felt in the language of Henry Timrod, "Strange tropic warmth and[Pg 87] hints of summer seas" and probably dreamed of "A Hot Time in the Old Town" that day. But if so his dreams were short-lived. With a yell of pain he fell back on the floor of his cabin, and then,

He hotly hurried to and fro,
To find the author of his woe;
The search was vain for chance was slim
To fasten guilt on either Jim.


Dessert was not a standing item on our army bill of fare, and when, by chance or otherwise, our menu culminated in such a course, moderation in our indulgence was one of the lost arts. One day in '63, W. J. Steed and I, with several other comrades chanced to be in Savannah at the dinner hour. Our rations for a long time had known no change from the daily round of corn bread and fat bacon, and we decided to vary this monotony by a meal at the Screven House. The first course was disposed of and dessert was laid before us. Steed finished his but his appetite for pie was still unsatisfied. Calling a waiter he said, "Bring me some more pie." "We furnish only one piece," said the waiter.

The first course plates had not been removed from the table, but simply shoved aside. The waiter passed on and Steed pushed the dessert plate from him and gently drawing the other back in his front, awaited results. Another waiter passed and thinking Steed had not been[Pg 88] served, brought him another piece of pie. This being disposed of the program was again repeated and still another waiter supplied dessert. The shifting process was continued until his commissary department could hold no more and he was forced to retire upon the laurels he had won in the field of gastronomic diplomacy.


My friend's penchant for pie may have had its influence in the origin of a problem in the company, which like the squaring of the circle has never received a satisfactory solution. He held during his term of service the office of commissary sergeant for the company, a position in which it was difficult at any time and impossible when rations were scarce, to give entire satisfaction. These difficulties in his case were, perhaps, enhanced by the peculiarities of his poetic temperament, which caused him to live among the stars and gave him a distaste for the bread and meat side of life, except possibly as to pie. Try as faithfully as he would to show strict impartiality in the distribution, there was sometimes a dim suspicion that the bone in the beef fell oftener to other messes than his own and that the scanty rations of sugar issued weekly were heaped a little higher when his mess had in contemplation a pie or pudding on the following day. These suspicions finally culminated in an inquiry, which became a proverb of daily use; an inquiry, which formed the concluding argument in every camp dis[Pg 89]cussion, whether on a disputed point in military tactics or on the reconciliation of geological revelation with the Mosaic cosmogony; an inquiry with which Jim McLaughlin and Jim Fleming still salute their former commissary: "What has that to do with Steed and the sugar?"

Of course there was never any foundation for such a feeling and probably never any real suspicion of favoritism in the matter. These things formed the minor key of our soldier life and served as they were intended, to enliven its sometimes dull monotony. My friend, and I am glad to have been honored so long by his friendship, will pardon, I know, in the gentleness of his heart a revival of these memories. Aside from the faithful discharge of the difficult duties of his position, it gives me pleasure to add my willing testimony to the silent witness of his armless sleeve, that on the firing line and in all the sphere of duty, to which the service called him, he was every inch a soldier.


For the convenience and comfort of the soldiers going to and returning from their commands, "Wayside Homes" were established at different points in the Confederacy where free lunches were served by the fair and willing hands of patriotic young ladies living in the vicinity. A uniform of grey was the only passport needed. One of these "Homes" was located at Millen, Ga. Detained there on one occasion, en route to my command[Pg 90] at Thunderbolt I was glad to accept their hospitality. Seated at the table enjoying the spread they had prepared one of these fair waiting maids approached me and asked if I would take some butter on my "greens." My gastronomic record as a soldier had been like Joseph's coat, "of many colors." I had eaten almost everything from "cush" and "slapjacks" to raw corn and uncooked bacon. I had made up dough on the top of a stump for a tray and cooked it on a piece of split hickory for an oven. I had eaten salt meat to which the government had good title, and fresh meat to which neither I nor the government had any title, good or bad. But butter on "greens" was a combination new to my experience and as my digestive outfit had, during my school days, been troubled with a dyspeptic trend, I felt compelled to decline such an addition to a dish that had been boiled with fat bacon.

Notwithstanding the absence of my friend Steed the supply of pie that day was short, and with a degree of self-denial, for which I can not now account, I asked for none. A soldier next me at the table, however, filed his application and when our winsome waitress returned, she handed the desert to me and left my neighbor pieless. I could not recall her fair young face as one I had ever seen before, and I had always been noted for my lack of personal comeliness. I was at a loss therefore to understand why the unsolicited discrimination in my favor had been made. A few minutes later the problem[Pg 91] was solved. Standing on the porch after the meal had ended, this self-same maiden approached me a little timidly and asked, "When did you hear from your brother Sammie?" She and my younger brother, it seemed, had been schoolmates, and, as I learned afterwards, "sweethearts" as well, and the pie business was no longer a mystery.

If she still lives as maid or matron and this sketch should meet her eye, it gives me pleasure to assure her that the fragrance of her kindly deed though based upon no merit of my own, still lingers lovingly in my memory, like the echo of "faint, fairy footfalls down blossoming ways."


"Dropping into poetry" has not been a peculiarity confined to that singular creation of Dickens' fancy, "Silag Wegg." While not a contagious disease, it is said that a majority of men suffer from it at some period in life. Like measles and whooping cough it usually comes early, is rarely fatal and complete recovery, as a rule, furnishes exemption from further attacks, without vaccination. Under these conditions it is but natural that the Oglethorpes should have had a poet in their ranks. In fact we had two, James E. Wilson and W. J. Steed, who has already figured somewhat in these memories, and who was called Phunie, for short. The latter was, however, only an ex-poet, not ex-officio, nor ex-cathe[Pg 92]dra, but ex-post facto. His attack had been light, very light, a sort of poetical varioloid. He had recovered and so far as the record shows, there had been no relapse. On the first appearance of the symptoms he had mounted his "Pegasus," which consisted of a stack of barrels in rear of his father's barn, and after an hour's mental labor, he rose and reported progress, but did not ask leave to sit again. The results are summed up in the following poetic gem:

"Here sits Phunie on a barrel,
With his feet on another barrel."

He has always claimed that while the superficial reader might find in these lines an apparent lack of artistic finish, with some possible defects as to metre and an unfortunate blending of anapestic and iambic verse, the rhyme was absolutely perfect. I have been unable to discover in them the rhythmic and liquid cadence that marks Buchannan Reade's "Drifting," or the perfection in measure attributed by Poe to Byron's "Ode" to his sister, yet my tender regard for my old comrade disinclines me to take issue with him as to the merits of this, the sole offspring of his poetic genius. My inability to find it in any collection of poetical quotations has induced me to insert it here with the hope of rescuing it from a fate of possibly undeserved oblivion.

Jim Wilson's case was different. His was a chronic attack. "He lisped in numbers for the numbers came."[Pg 93] As a poet he was not only a daisy, but, as Tom Pilcher would say, he was a regular geranium. I regret that my memory has retained, with a single exception, only fragments of his many wooings of the muse.

A young lady friend, Miss Eve, of Nashville, asked from Jim a christening contribution to an album she had just purchased. He was equal to the occasion. The man and the hour had met. He was in it from start to finish. He filled every page in the book with original verse. I recall now only the following stanza:

"Newton, the man of meditation,
The searcher after hidden cause,
Who first discovered gravitation
And ciphered out attractions laws,
Could not, with all his cogitation,
Find rules to govern woman's jaws."

But his special forte was parody. A competitive examination was ordered at Thunderbolt in '63 to fill the position of second sergeant in the company. After studying Hardee's Tactics for a week Jim relieved his feelings in the following impromptu effort:

Tell me not the mournful numbers
From a "shoulder" to a "prime,"
For I murmur in my slumbers
Make two "motions in one time."

The Oglethorpes, though serving as infantry had clung tenaciously to their artillery organization and to[Pg 94] the red stripes and chevrons which marked the heavier arm of the service. On our assignment to Gordon's regiment, the Colonel had made a very strong appeal to us to divide the company and to discard our artillery trimmings. At the next Sunday morning inspection Jim's tent bore a placard with this inscription, intended for the Colonel's eye:

"You may cheat or bamboozle us as much as you will,
But the sign of artillery will hang round us still."

Probably his masterpiece was a parody on "Maryland," written at Jacksonboro, Tenn., on the eve of our transfer from the 12th Ga. Battalion. That the reader may understand the personal allusion in the verses it is necessary to say that Edgar Derry, Jim Russell, Ed Clayton and Alph Rogers had been detailed by Col. Capers to fill certain staff positions with the battalion; that Miles Turpin was company drummer and Stowe—whose camp sobriquet was "Calline," was fifer; that in the skirmish at Huntsville, Tenn., W. W. Bussey, who was known in camp as "Busky," had been shot in the temple; that before the final charge on the fort, Col. Capers in crossing a ditch had mired in its bottom and had found some difficulty in extricating himself; that the war horse of the male persuasion ridden by Col. Gracie had been killed in the skirmish and that Randolph was Secretary of War. When the transfer had been effected it was uncertain whether the detailed men[Pg 95] would retain their position or would return to the company, and the following verses were written by Jim as an appeal to them to go with us:

Come 'tis the red dawn of the day,
Here's your mule,
Come, details, join our proud array,
Here's your mule.
With Clayton panting for the fray,
With Rogers urging on that bay,
With Derry bold and Russell gay,
Here's your mule. Oh! Here's your mule.
Come for your limbs are stout and strong,
Here's your mule,
Come for your loafing does you wrong,
Here's your mule,
Come with your muskets light and long,
Rejoin the crowd where you belong,
And help us sing this merry song,
Here's your mule, Oh! Here's your mule.
Dear fellows break your office chains,
Here's your mule,
The "Web-feet" should not call in vain,
Here's your mule,
But if it goes against the grain,
"Sick furlough" is the proud refrain,
By which you may get off again,
Here's your mule. Oh! Here's your mule.
[Pg 96]
We trust you will not from us scud,
Here's your mule,
And nip your glory in the bud,
Here's your mule,
Remember "Busky" bathed in blood,
Remember Capers stuck in mud,
And gallant Gracie's dying stud,
Here's your mule, Oh! Here's your mule.
Ah, though you may awhile stay mum,
Here's your mule,
To "Calline's" fife and Turpin's drum,
Here's your mule,
When orders come from Randolph grum,
You will not then be deaf nor dumb,
Ah, then we know you'll come, you'll come,
Here's your mule, Oh! Here's your mule.

And now in conclusion, I am unwilling that my friend, Jim Wilson should be judged solely by these rhymes. If any allusion in them sounds harshly to ears polite, it must be remembered that they were intended, only for soldiers eyes and ears. The son of a Presbyterian missionary to India, he was an educated Christian gentleman, one of the brightest and wittiest men I have ever known, as brave as Julius Caesar and as true to the flag for which he fought as any man who wore the grey.

[Pg 97]



Our service on the coast ended April 28, 1864. On April 23 orders were received transferring our regiment to Gen. A. R. Wright's Brigade, Army of Northern Virginia. Gen. H. W. Mercer in command, had been ordered to report for duty to Gen. Johnston at Dalton, Ga. As Gordon and Mercer were both Savannah men and their war service to that date had thrown them together, they succeeded in inducing the War Department to change our orders and assign us to Johnston's Army. April 28 we left Savannah, reaching Dalton at 3 a. m. April 30, and on May 4 were attached to Gen. W. H. T. Walker's division, three miles east of Dalton. On May 7 Sherman opened his Atlanta campaign and for one hundred days the rattle of musketry, the roar of cannon, the shrieking of shells and the zip of minies, grew very familiar to us, if not very amusing. Our first sight of the enemy was at Rocky Face Ridge, May 9. Our pickets were driven in and our trenches shelled, causing some casualties in the regiment, but none in the Oglethorpes. Lieut. Reddick of Co. B, while reading a newspaper in rear of the trenches was killed by a Federal sharpshooter. No assault was made on our position,[Pg 98] but at three other points in Johnston's line efforts were made to carry the trenches, though the attacks were all repulsed. On the same day Sherman, probably anticipating such a result, began his flanking plan of campaign by sending McPherson through Snake Creek Gap to threaten Johnston's line of communications at Resaca. The Federal superiority in numbers at a ratio of nearly two to one, enabled Sherman to cover Johnston's entire front and gave him besides a large force with which to conduct his flanking operations, a policy he pursued persistently and successfully to the end of the campaign. As it is not my purpose to give the general features of this campaign, but simply to record the share borne in it by the 63rd Ga. regiment, I can, perhaps best subserve that purpose by furnishing the following condensed extracts from my "War Diary" for that period, elaborating afterward any special features or incidents that may seem to merit more extended notice.

May 10. Left trenches 1 a. m., marched to a point 3 miles from Resaca. (11). Marched to Resaca and returned. (12). Marched to a position one mile above Calhoun. (13). Quiet. Being unwell, on invitation of Lieut. Daniel spent the night with Rev. I. S. Hopkins and himself at the house of his mother in Calhoun.

14. Battle of Resaca. Rejoined command on its way to the front. Walker's division held in reserve until 12 p. m. Then ordered up to reinforce Stewart's division. Exposed to heavy artillery fire while crossing pontoon[Pg 99] bridge at Resaca. Heavy fighting in our front. Enemy repulsed. 10 p. m., marched back through Calhoun to Tanner's Ferry.

15. In line of battle. Jackson's brigade charged enemy's line at the Ferry but were repulsed. 10 p. m., returned to Calhoun.

16. Marched to Tanner's Ferry. Heavy skirmishing between Steven's brigade and the enemy. Junius T. Steed of the Oglethorpes, wounded. Slept on our arms.

17. At 1 a. m. aroused and ordered to fall back to Adairsville. Remained in line of battle until 12 p. m.

18. Fell back four miles below Kingston.

19. Advanced and took position 2 miles from Kingston. Under fire from sharpshooters and skirmishers H. L. Hill killed and T. F. Burbanks wounded. 12 or 15 casualties in regiment. Retired to Cass station and formed line of battle. Johnston's battle order issued.

20. At 1 a. m. crossed the Etowah and fell back to within two miles of Altoona.

21-22. Quiet. (23). Marched five miles in the direction of Dallas.

24. Aroused at daylight and marched 15 miles, camping near Powder Springs.

25. At 1 a. m. marched four miles back. At 2 p. m. moved forward a mile and formed line of battle. After night moved three miles and bivouacked.

26. At 3 a. m. went forward and took position in rear of Stewart's division. Skirmishing in front all day.[Pg 100]

27. Moved to the left near Dallas and then a mile or two to the right. H. B. Jackson wounded. Oglethorpes and Co. I thrown out as skirmishers. At 11 p. m. brigade ordered away, leaving us on skirmish line without support.

28. Skirmishing all day. Capt. Picquet wounded in leg, A. W. McCurdy in head.

29. At 4 p. m. relieved from duty on skirmish line and rejoined regiment on Ellsbury Ridge.

30-June 1. Quiet. (2). Heavy rain. Division moved four miles to the right in rear of Stevenson, slippery march.

3. Quiet day. At 11 p. m. moved off to the right. Jackson's brigade and a portion of ours detached in the darkness, lost their way and forced to lie over till morning.

4. Rejoined division and built breastworks. Oglethorpes and Co. G on picket. Skirmishing with the enemy. At 12 p. m. relieved by Wheeler's cavalry and told to "git," as our army had fallen back. Overtook regiment after five mile tramp over muddiest road I ever saw. Moved 3 miles further and took position in rear of Gist's brigade. (6-7). Quiet.

8. Brigade on picket. 63d Ga. in reserve.

9-11. Quiet, and rain, rain, rain.

12. On picket. Wet time.

13. Brigade on picket. Skirmishing between the lines.

14. Quiet. (15). Brigade on picket. Shelled by Federal[Pg 101] batteries. Lowry's pickets retired leaving our flank exposed. Took position on left of Cleburne's division. At 11 p. m. moved to the rear of Lowry's brigade.

16. Shelled by the enemy. Some casualties in regiment.

17. Moved several times. Built breastworks.

18. Six companies from regiment sent out to reinforce skirmishers. Heavy fighting between the lines all day. Carroll, Casey, Knox, Miller and Smith wounded. 25 casualties in other companies of the regiment. Relieved at 8 p. m. Moved 2 1-2 miles towards Marietta.

19. Moved up to the summit of a ridge as a picket reserve. At night moved down in rear of breastworks and then half mile to the right and had orders to fortify but slept.

20. Dug trenches on Kennesaw line of defence. Heavy skirmishing and artillery firing on our right.

21. Remained in the trenches. Skirmishing in our front.

22. Artillery duel between the enemy and our batteries on Kennesaw. Six companies from our regiment sent out on picket line.

23. Skirmishing on picket line all day. No casualties in Oglethorpes. Relieved at 8 p. m.

24-25. Artillery firing and skirmishing.

26. W. A. Dabney wounded last night in arm while asleep. Seven companies and a detail of 47 men from the Oglethorpes sent out from the regiment on picket line.

27. Battle of Kennesaw began at 8 a. m. and ended at[Pg 102] 11:30. Enemy repulsed all along the line, with heavy loss. Oglethorpes lost twenty-three in killed, wounded and captured. Loss in regiment 88.

28-July 1. Quiet. (2) At 10 p. m. right wing of the army fell back to a position 5 miles below Marietta.

3. Federal army lined up in our front.

4. Some indication of a general engagement. Yankees seem disposed to celebrate the day with their artillery. Co. A with five other companies from the regiment on picket. Heard some excellent music by the Federal bands.

5. Army retired to a position near the Chattahoochee.

6. Entrenched and moved to the left.

7. Quiet. (8). Co. A with five others on picket.

9. Retired and crossed river to rejoin brigade.

10. Johnston's entire army crossed the Chattahoochee last night.

11. Having been quite unwell for several days, through advice of Lieut. Daniel and Dr. Cumming I went to Division Hospital. On the 15th was sent by Medical Board to Atlanta. On the 17th went to hospital at Oxford, Ga. I did not rejoin my command again until Aug. 18th. During my absence Gen. Johnston had been superseded by Gen. Hood as commander of the Army of Tennessee, the battles of Peach Tree Creek and Atlanta had been fought, Gen. W. H. T. Walker, our division commander had been killed and our brigade had been transferred to Pat Cleburne's division. In the battle of Peach Tree[Pg 103] Creek July 20th, our regiment was only partially engaged and suffered but little loss. Eugene Verdery and Henry Booth of the Oglethorpes were wounded. The former had volunteered for service on the skirmish line that day and while driving in the enemy's picket line received a wound in the head, which caused him to spin around like a top.

In the battle of Atlanta, July 22, the regiment was in the thick of the fight and lost more heavily. Of the Oglethorpes, S. M. Guy was killed. Ob. Rooks was mortally wounded, M. H. Crowder lost a leg, R. W. Lassiter an arm, Jim McLaughlin the bridge of his nose, while George Leonhardt, John Bynum, Clay Foster, Hugh Ogilby, John Quinn and J. O. Wiley were otherwise wounded. After my return to the company, near East Point, on the 18th the regiment was sent to the picket line on the 19th and when relieved on the morning of the 20th, was placed on the reserve line, where we remained until the 30th. At 2 a. m. that day we were aroused and ordered to "fall in," but did not move until daylight, when we shifted position 3 or 4 miles to the left. At 11 p. m. we were again on the march and after a fatiguing night tramp reached Jonesboro about daylight on the 31st.


After investing and bombarding Atlanta for a month, Sherman had begun his flanking tactics again by sending[Pg 104] five of his corps to seize the M. & W. Road at Jonesboro, and Hardee, with his own and Lee's corps, had been sent down to checkmate the movement. After resting a few hours we were formed in line of battle across an old field with only Lowry's brigade on our left. For the only time in my experience as a soldier, the plan of battle was read to our command. Lee's corps and two divisions of Hardee's were to attack the enemy in front while Cleburne's division, to which we belonged, were to advance, then wheel to the right and attack in flank. Lying for several hours under a hot August sun awaiting orders to advance, I remember that, being uncertain as to my fate in the coming fight, and unwilling to allow the letters in my possession to fall into the enemy's hands, I tore them up, leaving only one for the identification of my body in case of my death. At 2 p. m. we were ordered forward. Crossing the open field and advancing through a piece of woodland, a battery of artillery opened on us but their shot flew high. Sol Foreman of the Oglethorpes, was struck by a piece of shell, but there was no other casualty in the company. After advancing nearly a mile we struck a boggy swamp and on its farthest edge Flint river. Will Daniel plunged in and turning to me said, "Come on sergeant." He had gone but a little way when the water reached his arm pits and sword in hand he swam across. Knowing that my cartridges would be useless if I followed suit, I ran up the stream and found dry passage on a log that lay across it. Reaching the crest of[Pg 105] the hill beyond, we halted to reform the line. The horse ridden by Col. Olmstead, our brigade commander, had mired in the swamp, our regiment was without a field officer and Will Daniel offered to take command of the brigade in the final charge, which we all felt to be ahead of us. The hill on which we stood had been occupied by Federal cavalry and artillery, who had retired as we approached. The roar of battle giving evidence of a fierce engagement on our right, came to us over the hills and valleys; Capt. Dickson of Cleburne's staff, with his horse all afoam, his coat and vest discarded and the perspiration trickling from his face, was riding from point to point in the line giving his final orders and the sultry summer air smelled viciously of powder and lead. At this juncture a courier from Cleburne dashed up with orders for us to retire. We had gone some distance beyond the point intended and had become entirely detached from the line on our right. The attack in the enemy's front had failed to dislodge them and our two brigades could hardly have accomplished much against five corps of the enemy. By dusk we had resumed our original position and our regiment was placed on the picket line. On Sept. 1, Lee's corps returned to Atlanta and Hardee was left with his two divisions to face an enemy whose strength was five times his own. Relieved from picket by a detail of Cheatham's division, we were placed in the trenches vacated by Lee's corps. At 3 p. m. the enemy massed heavily in front of Lewis' Ky., and Govans' Ark.[Pg 106] brigades and assaulted in three lines of battle, but were repulsed. They then formed in column of companies, making ten lines of battle, and renewed the attack. Our breastworks at this point were inferior and were manned only by a line in single rank.

With such odds the issue could not long remain in doubt. Govans' line was broken and a part of his brigade was captured. No assault was made on the line held by us, though we were subjected to a heavy fire from their skirmish line. At 10 p. m., Hardee evacuated his position and at daylight on the 2nd, occupied another, near Lovejoy Station. Sherman secured a foothold on the M. & W. Road and Hood, compelled to give up Atlanta, formed a junction with Hardee on the 3rd.

The enemy had again taken position in our front and skirmishing was kept up until the 8th, when they were recalled by Sherman and the Dalton and Atlanta campaign was ended.


The following incidents oscillating as they do "from grave to gay," and marked perhaps as much by comedy as by tragedy, will probably be of more interest to the reader of these records than the details just ended:


At the date of our transfer from the coast to Johnston's army, our uniforms were in fairly good condition and[Pg 107] bore in almost every case the insignia of rank held by the wearer. The writer's jacket had on its sleeves the regulation chevrons of an orderly sergeant, three bars or stripes with lozenge or diamond above them. The troops who had followed the fortunes of the Western army from Shiloh to Chickamauga were not so well clad and had, to a large extent discarded their official insignia. For this reason they were disposed to guy us as bandbox soldiers. Passing some of these veterans one day on the march one of them noticed my chevrons and sang out to his comrades: "Look there, boys. I've often hearn of "two and a dog" but I'll be blamed if there ain't "three and a dog." I reckon that's the way they play kyards on the coast." The laugh that followed convinced me that my lack of familiarity with the mysteries of the card table was not shared by those who heard the jest.


While we suffered from deficiencies on other lines in the summer of '64, there was certainly no lack of rainy weather during that campaign. The roads over which we tramped were composed largely of a red, adhesive clay. The writer's physical conformation gave him some right to be classed with the knock-kneed species of the genus homo, and in marching over the wet clay hills, the red pigment began at his ankles and by successive contact, traveled gradually up the inside seams of his grey trousers until those seams and an inch-wide space on either[Pg 108] side were covered for almost their entire length. Passing one day a division resting by the roadside, one of them noticed the peculiar condition of my bifurcated garment, and sang out to me: "Hello, my friend; you've got the stripe on the wrong side of your pants." I could not deny the soft impeachment and enjoyed the laugh raised at my expense as much as did my comrades.


The battle of Resaca began May 14, '64. Walker's division, to which we belonged, was held in reserve during the morning and at 12 p. m., as the fighting grew fiercer, we were ordered up to reinforce Stewart's division in our front. A pontoon bridge had been laid across the Oostenaula river and a courier stationed on its bank to hurry the men across, as the railroad embankment on the other side would protect them from the fire of a Federal battery, which had secured the exact range of the road over which we were passing. As we approached the bridge Capt. Martin, commanding the company next in our front, halted the column a moment to hear what the courier was saying. As the march was resumed, a solid shot from the battery struck directly in a file of fours in Martin's company killing two and wounding a third, not more than ten feet from where I stood. The time occupied in the halt would have about sufficed to have covered the intervening distance, and certainly saved the lives of some of the Oglethorpes and possibly my own.[Pg 109] Crossing the river, Gen. W. H. T. Walker passed us going to the front and as he rode by, another shot from the battery struck immediately behind him, barely missing his horse. Glancing around at the dust it had raised and turning to us with a smile on his face, he said, "Go it boots," and galloped on to the head of the division. On this, as well as on every other occasion when under fire, he seemed not only absolutely indifferent to danger, but really to enjoy its presence. Gen. Cabell, in recalling his association with Gen. Walker in the '60's, said that battle always brought to his eyes an unusual glitter and that he thought him the bravest man he had ever known.

A hero in three wars, severely wounded at Okeechobee, Fla., and at Molino Del Rey and Chapultpec, Mex., he fell at last gallantly leading his division at the battle of Atlanta, July 22, '64, and I am sure no battle soil on God's green earth in all the ages was ever stained by braver or by nobler blood than William Henry Walker's.


On May 19, '64, Sherman and Johnston were fronting each other near Kingston, Ga. In the skirmishing that day the Oglethorpes had suffered some casualties, among them one that saddened all the company. Hugh Legare Hill, son of Hon. Joshua Hill, a beardless boy, had been shot through the head and instantly killed. He had joined us some months before at Thunderbolt and becoming restive under the inaction of coast service, had ap[Pg 110]plied for a transfer to Johnston's army. Chafing under the delay brought on by military red tape in such matters, and anxious to secure a place on the firing line he had urged the officers to press the matter as he wanted to reach his new command in time for the opening of the spring campaign. Before the papers were returned our regiment was ordered to Dalton and the transfer was abandoned.

Poor Legare! The spring campaign had not yet drifted into summer before his bright young life, that knew no other season, but its spring, had found its sad and sudden ending on the firing line, a place for which he longed so ardently and met so bravely.

In the evening of that day we occupied a line near Cass Station, a line chosen by Johnston for a general and decisive engagement with Sherman's army. The Fabian policy, that had marked the campaign from its opening, was to be ended. The gage of battle was thrown down and Atlanta's fate was to be settled before another sunset. Every arrangement for the coming conflict was made and the men ready and anxious for the fray were resting on their arms. At the twilight hour two members of the Oglethorpes left their places in the ranks and retired to a quiet spot in the forest not far away to talk with God. No church spire raised its lofty summit heavenward. Under the open sky in one of "God's first temples," as dusk was deepening into night, they kneeled together and each in turn, in tones of earnest supplica[Pg 111]tion, asked for God's protecting care upon themselves and on their comrades in the coming battle and for His blessing on the flag for which they fought and prayed. And when their prayers were ended, they pledged each other that if it was the fate of either one to fall, the other would act a brother's part and give such aid and comfort as he could.

Returning to their places in the line, they wrapped their worn, grey blankets around them and lay down under the starlight to pass in calm and quiet sleep, the night before the battle. I have attended many larger prayer meetings since that day; I have heard many petitions to a Throne of Grace, clothed in more cultured phrase, and yet but few that seemed more earnest or filled with simpler trust in God.

Under the urgent protest of Hood and Polk, Joe Johnston's plans were changed and the promised battle beside the Etowah was never fought. I know not what the issue would have been, personal or national. I know that if the hundred and fifty thousand men marshalled upon that field on that May day had met in deadly strife, the shadows would have fallen on many a Northern and many a Southern home. And yet somehow I can but feel that if that evening's bloody promise had been fulfilled and in the gathering twilight at its close our company roll was called to mark the living and the dead, my friend and comrade, Steed, and I, whose humble prayers had broken the silence of the evening air to reach no[Pg 112] other ears but ours and God's, would in His kindly providence have answered, "Here."


On May 28, '64, we were on skirmish line near Dallas, Ga. The remainder of the brigade had left the trenches in our rear to reinforce some other point in the line and the pickets were holding the fort alone. A Federal sharpshooter had secured a concealed position at short range and was picking off the men in a way highly satisfactory to himself, perhaps, but decidedly unpleasant to us. We had been on duty all the night before and worn out from loss of sleep. I sat down with my back to a tree as a protection from careless bullets and fell asleep. Will Daniel, in a similar position and for like reasons, was dozing at the next tree twenty feet away. A courier came down the line and waking me asked for the officer in command. I pointed to Will and as the courier laid his hand on Will's shoulder to wake him, a ball crashed through his knee, causing him to scream with pain. A little while before Louis Picquet had received the wound that cost him his leg, and a little later McCurdy of our company, fell with a ball through his head.

Tom Howard had been watching the progress of events and they seemed to him entirely too one-sided. Gripping his rifle more tightly and with the peculiar flash that came to his eyes when excited, he said, "Boys if I can get a squirrel bead on that fellow I can stop his[Pg 113] racket." Slipping from tree to tree until he located the picket by the smoke of his gun, he drew his squirrel bead and fired. This time the yell of pain came from the other side, and Tom, with his eyes dancing and his face all aglow, turned to us and said, "Boys, I got him. I heard him holler." Tom's bead had stopped the racket.


Tom was one of the "characters" in the company. Brave and generous, full of life and humor and always ready for duty, he would sometimes grow a little homesick. One day, Ab Mitchell, sitting on the edge of the trenches, began to sing, "When this cruel war is over." So far as I know, Ab had never taken first prize at a singing school, but as Tom listened, the plaintive melody of the air and the undertone of sadness in the verses carried him back to his old home in Oglethorpe. Every feature of the old plantation life rose vividly before him. He heard the "watch dog's honest bark bay deep-mouthed welcome" as he drew near home. He slaked his thirst from the "old oaken bucket that hung in the well." He heard the lowing cows and saw the playful gambol of his blooded stock cantering across the barn yard. He saw the blooming cotton fields and heard the rustling of the waving corn. But last and best of all, he felt the pressure of tiny arms about his neck, the touch of loving lips upon his own and then his dream was over. With tears in the heart if not in his eye, he thought of the life that lay [Pg 114]before him; of the weary months or years that would come and go before these old familiar scenes would gladden his eyes again, and he could stand it no longer. Rising suddenly he seized his old rifle and turning to the singer, he said, "Ab Mitchell, if you sing another line of that song, I'll blow your blamed head off." And the concert ended without an encore.


During this campaign, Major Bledsoe of Missouri, commanded a battalion of artillery in Cleburne's division. A veteran of two wars, combining in his personality both the Southern and Western types, tall and gaunt, with no trace of Beau Brummellism in his physical or mental make-up, he was as stubborn a fighter as the struggle produced on either side, and yet away from the battlefield he was as gentle and as genial as a woman. So accurate were his gunners and so effective their fire, that it was said that no Federal battery had ever planted itself in range of his guns, when they were once unlimbered.

As he sat by his battery one day in May, '64, reading a newspaper, a stranger approached him and said, "Major, where are the Yankees?" Raising his eyes from the paper a moment he turned to one of his gunners and said: "Jim, touch off No. 1," and resumed his reading. "Jim" pulled the lanyard, there was a puff of smoke, the earth trembled from the concussion and the six-pound[Pg 115] messenger sped on its mission of death. As it reached its mark, which had been hidden by the undergrowth in front, the "blue coats" were seen scattering in every direction. The stranger was answered.

As I may have no further occasion to refer to Major Bledsoe in these records, an incident or two occurring some months later may not be amiss in this connection. On October 29, '64, near Courtland, Ala., on our trip to Nashville, a grey fox crossed our line of march, passing between two of the regiments. The Major was riding by and spurring his horse to full speed, he gave chase, trying at every step to disengage his pistol from the holster for a shot at the animal. I think he failed to secure the "brush." The Reynard tribe must have been numerous in that section, for on reaching our camping place that evening, we found Pat Cleburne and his entire staff chasing another fox through an old field.

After the retreat from Nashville our division was ordered to North Carolina and in the transfer the trip from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., was made by steamer. The boat was old and slow, and the voyage monotonous. To enliven it, the boys, for lack of better game, would try their marksmanship on every buzzard that in silent dignity sat perched on the tall dead pines that lined the river bank. Major Bledsoe was with us, and constituting himself a "lookout" for the game, he entered into the sport with all the zest and ardor of a boy. He was probably no blood kin to "Jim Bludsoe" of Prairie Belle[Pg 116] fame, but under similar conditions I believe that like "Jim" he would, regardless of his own fate, have

"Held her nozzle to the bank,
Till the last galoot was ashore."


Mention has been made of a panic that occurred on a night march near Green Brier river, Va., in '61. A similar stampede occurred on the night of May 25, '64, near Powder Springs, Ga. We were in reserve and were shifting position to the right. The night was dark and none of us knew the object of the movement or our destination. Tramping along quietly under a moonless sky over a country road darkly shaded by a heavy forest growth, a sudden rumbling was heard, increasing in volume as it approached and then the column in front dimly seen in the starlight, swayed to the right and there was a unanimous movement to get out of the way and to get quickly. One man, thoroughly demoralized, broke through the woods at full speed in the darkness, ran into a tree, that stood in his pathway, and dislocated his knee cap. Most of the men thought the enemy's cavalry were charging down the road upon them and they took to the woods and did not stand upon the order of their going. The rumbling was caused by the hurried tramp of feet as the men left the road. It was simply a causeless stampede and no one knew how it began. It was said that a deer[Pg 117] ran across the road in front of the column, but I can not vouch for the correctness of this explanation.

I do not know how it may have been with others, but to the writer the expectation of meeting an unseen enemy in the dark, with no means of ascertaining his numbers or location, was never a pleasant sensation. It would have modified the feeling, perhaps, if I had borne in mind always the advice of a Confederate general to his men to "remember that the other side is as badly scared as you are."


It was a day in June, but neither a perfect nor a rare June day. For two weeks and more it had rained almost continuously. Every day or two Jabe Poyner, the weather prophet of the company, had said, "Well boys, this is the clearing up shower." And still it rained and rained and rained until Poyner's reputation on this line had gone where the woodbine twineth. In the early morning of the 18th there was another of Jabe's clearing up showers and at its close the boys were lying on the wet ground, a hundred yards in rear of the breastworks, awaiting orders. They had amused themselves for a time by shooting pebbles at each other, when Bill Byrd's foot was struck and he said, "Boys, don't shoot so hard—that one hurt." Looking down at his foot, he found that another partner had entered the game as it had been hit by a minnie ball from the skirmish line.[Pg 118]

The firing had begun at daylight and was growing heavier. At 8 a. m. six companies of the regiment were ordered to the front to reinforce our skirmish line, which was being pressed back. "Over the breastworks, Oglethorpes," sang out Lieut. Daniel, and we went over with a yell. Advancing and deploying under fire, we reached a position within 250 yards of the Federal line and having no rifle pits, we availed ourselves of such protection as the larger forest trees afforded. Selecting a post oak, I had been there only a little while when the man on my right, belonging to another company, was shot down. The woods were very thick in my front and not relishing the idea of being killed with such limited opportunity of returning the favor, I shifted my position to the leeward side of a red oak, twenty or thirty feet to the left where the woods were more open and a Federal rifle pit in front was only partially hidden from my view. The diameter of the tree about covered my own and there for twelve hours, in a drizzling rain, I cultivated the acquaintance of that oak more earnestly perhaps than I had ever fostered a personal friendship. For that day at least it was "my own familiar friend in whom I trusted," and if on bidding it adieu, I had met the owner, my prayer to him would have been,

Woodman spare that tree,
Mar not its noble shape,
Today it sheltered me
From "minnie" and from "grape."
[Pg 119]

All day long leaden messengers were knocking at the door of my improvised breastwork in search of my long and lank anatomy. It was barked and scarred and torn from the root to twenty feet above my head. Twice the bark was knocked into my eyes and once a ball striking at the foot of the tree filled them with dirt. On one of these occasions I must have flinched a little as George Harrison, who was cultivating friendly relations with the next tree on my right, turned anxiously and asked if I was shot.

The Federal line as a rule stuck rather closely to their pits and not feeling authorized to waste my ammunition I fired only when there was a blue target in sight. Some of the boys, less careful of their cartridges expended 80 or 90 rounds during the day. John Carroll, ten feet to my left, kept firing when I could see no game, and I said to him, "John, what are you shooting at?" "Well," he said, "they are down that way." Before the day was ended some of them "down that way" had shot him through the thigh, and the poor fellow died of the wound.

In addition to the incessant infantry fire, which made small lead mines of the friendly oaks, the Federal artillery, not wishing to be lacking in social attentions, complimented us at short intervals with volleys of grape. These came over us like the whir of a covey of overgrown partridges, but fortunately flew high, causing more nervousness than execution.

Ninety thousand rounds of ammunition were fired on[Pg 120] Hardee's line alone that day and our friends on the other side expended probably an equal or larger number. There was no intermission for lunch. Our rations were nearly half a mile away and the Northern exposure of the route towards them somehow dulled our appetites. There are several incidents that come back very vividly today from that twelve hours' fright in the woods.


One of these incidents furnished an exhibition of coolness under fire and indifference to danger that had no parallel in all my term of service. About midday I heard several shots fired a short distance in my rear. Fearing that some excited soldier might fire wildly and shoot me in the back, I turned to investigate, and saw a member of the regiment standing in an exposed position and coolly and deliberately firing, not at the enemy, but at a squirrel he had discovered in the branches of the tree above our heads. Grape shot were tearing the limbs from their sockets, minies were making music in the air, or striking the oaks with a dull, dull thud, but that soldier, was oblivious to everything save a determination to have fried squirrel for supper. If I knew his name I cannot now recall it, nor do I remember whether the squirrel was included in the casualties of that day.


During the afternoon Jim and a Yankee picket had been taking alternate shots at each other and it was the[Pg 121] Yankee's time to shoot. Jim was nestling up to the Southern side of his tree and thinking possibly of all the meanness he had ever committed in order to feel as small as possible, when a cannon ball crashed through the tree, cutting off its top and sending it by force of gravity, in the direction of his head. He was in a dilemma. If he remained where he was he was liable to be crushed to death by the falling timber, and if he left his cover the picket would probably kill him. Under ordinary circumstances Jim may not have been averse to taking a "horn," but in this dilemma he was undecided which horn to take, whether to bear the ills he had or fly to others, that unfortunately he knew too well.

"All things come to him who waits," but in this case there was something coming that Jim didn't care to wait for. Doing perhaps the rapidest thinking of his life he decided if he had to shuffle off this mortal coil, he would do so in a soldierly way, and leaving the protection of his tree he gave his antagonist a fair shot. Fortunately the aim was bad and Jim lived to laugh over his deliverance from a sea of troubles.


Obliquely to the right of my position in the line, and about 250 yards distant as I estimated it, there was a shallow ravine or valley and 20 or 30 feet beyond, on its further slope, a Yankee rifle pit. For reasons which readily occurred to the writer at the time and which will[Pg 122] probably suggest themselves to the reader, I did not take the trouble to verify my estimate of the distance by stepping it. About the center of this depression in the land was a very large tree—a pine, as I recollect it. On the farther side of this tree and hidden by it entirely from my view for the larger part of the day was a six-foot Yankee soldier, an officer probably, for he had no gun in his hand. During the afternoon, to protect himself from the fire of other skirmishers on my right, he had "inched" around the tree until his body from his knee upward was in plain and unobstructed view of my position. It was drizzling rain and his shoulders were protected by a blue blanket thrown across them. It was the fairest, prettiest shot I had enjoyed during the day and fearing that he would change his position, I aimed at his breast rather hurriedly and fired. The shot failed even to scare him for he didn't move an inch. Reloading as rapidly as I could, I steadied the gun against the red oak and with as deliberate aim as I had ever taken at a squirrel in my boyhood I fired again. And still he moved not. Reloading again I took even longer aim and when the smoke cleared from the muzzle of the gun he had disappeared. I do not think that he was either killed or disabled as in such event I would have seen him carried to the rear. I am glad to believe that my third shot simply convinced him that a change of base was desirable and that he acted upon that conviction while the smoke obstructed my vision.[Pg 123]

And now in at least partial extenuation of what seemed very poor marksmanship it may not be amiss to say that the weapon used was an Austrian rifle and was considered a very inferior gun. With an Enfield or Springfield rifle I think I could have made a better record, provided always that my nerves had not been rendered unsteady by the necessity for dodging minies for six or eight hours. George Harrison, who took care of the tree nearest me on the right has always insisted that I did redeem my reputation on that day, but with so many guns in possible range of the same point it was impossible for him to have known definitely whose shot was effective. Such a result, if positively settled, would be to me now only an unpleasant memory and while in the discharge of my duty as a Confederate soldier and in justice to the cause, for which I fought, I lost no opportunity and spared no effort to lessen the number of effectives on the other side, it has been a gratification to me to have no positive knowledge that my efforts were ever successful.


Evan H. Lawrence, of Morgan county, and a member of the Oglethorpes, occupied that day a position about 20 feet to my left. He had in his left breast pocket and covering his heart, a Bible. During the day a minie ball struck the book and passing partly through, stopped at the 7th verse of the 52d chapter of Isiah. But for[Pg 124] the protection furnished by the book it would probably have produced a fatal wound. He told me afterwards that the subject matter of that special chapter had been in his thoughts all day. He survived the war, entered the ministry of the Baptist church and preached his first sermon from the text named above: "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of Him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace," etc. I am satisfied that the incident and the peculiar significance of the text had a controlling influence in the selection of his life work after the war. He fought a good fight, both as a soldier and a Christian, and I feel assured, has received his certificate of promotion in the ranks of the army above.

At 8 p. m. we were relieved and returned to the trenches. Twelve hours' continuous fighting had rendered us hungry for rest as well as food, but our rations of both were destined to be short. The beef issued to us had been slaughtered so long and was so badly tainted that even a soldier's appetite had to reject it. Only the tallow or fat could be used and this was stuck on the end of a ramrod, placed in the flame until the outer surface was scorched and was then eaten with a relish that the rarest dainties of a royal table would not bring to me now. After a hasty lunch we were again on the tramp. The roads were very muddy, the march was obstructed by wagons in front and we made only 2 1-2 miles in four hours. There were frequent halts and at one of them [Pg 125]Will Daniel and the writer, standing side by side in the mud, both fell asleep. After a time the company moved on, but neither of us awoke until jostled by other troops in passing us. This incident recalls the fact that on a forced march in Tennessee afterwards, I slept walking. The nap must have been a short one, but that I lost consciousness was proven by the fact that I dreamed of a young lady three hundred miles away.

A little after midnight we were halted on the crest of a ridge and thoroughly worn out we lay down to rest, invoking in our hearts if not upon our lips, blessings on the man that invented sleep.


On the next day, 19th, we were on reserve picket all day in the rain, but fortunately with no fighting to do. Relieved at midnight, we retired behind the trenches, as the writer hoped, for much-needed rest and sleep. My only blanket had been thoroughly soaked by the rain and knowing Gen. Johnston's predilection for changing base at night, I was in doubt whether to take the chance of securing such sleep as I could get in a wet blanket, or to build a fire, dry the blanket and fall into the arms of Morpheus like a gentleman. I chose the latter course, spent an hour in the drying process and then lay down, hopeful of a good night's rest. I had just fitted my angular frame to the inequalities of the ground, when the ominous "Fall in," Fall in.. fell like another wet blanket[Pg 126] on my heart and hopes. Out into the mud and darkness we tramped, not knowing whither we went and caring, perhaps as little. We were finally halted near the base of Kennesaw Mountain and on the line we were to occupy for the next two weeks. Before dismissing the company Will Daniel said, "An attack is expected on this line at daylight tomorrow, and I have orders to fortify it. I am tired and I am going to sleep. You can entrench or not, as you choose, but I want you to distinctly understand that you have got to hold this line in the morning, breastworks or no breastworks."

Only one man remained awake to fortify and he dug his trench in the wrong direction. Fortunately the expected attack did not materialize next day and we found ample opportunity to entrench before it came on the 27th.


The ground through which our trenches ran sloped upwards in our rear and as we were in range of the Federal skirmish line, the balls that missed the breastworks would strike the soil 20 or 30 feet back of them. On the night of June 25 I was sleeping under a shelter made of bark stripped from chestnut trees, with Will Dabney as bedfellow. About midnight I was awakened by his groaning and found that he had been wounded while asleep, the ball entering his arm above the elbow and stopping at the bone without breaking it. W. J. Steed was accus[Pg 127]tomed to use his shoes and socks as a pillow for his head, a habit growing possibly out of his daily effort as commissary to make both ends meet. He was a little surprised one morning to find that a minie ball had passed through his improvised pillow without disturbing his sleep. Geo. McLaughlin found one morning a minie imbedded in the heel of the shoe he had laid aside for the night. These cases might indicate that our Northern friends were rather partial to that kind of in-shoe-rance, but I am satisfied that George and "Phunie" would have preferred a different policy.

The fire from the skirmish line was so heavy one morning and the balls were flying around so carelessly that the company was ordered into the trenches. Frank Stone and I had not finished our breakfast and as Will Daniel had a personal interest in the meal, we secured his consent to continue our culinary operations. I was sitting by the fire cutting up a piece of beef for hash, when one of those careless minies struck my right arm near the wrist, ventilating the sleeve of my jacket and partially disabling my arm for ten days. As a souvenir of that temporary interruption to the hash business I have that minie filed away among other war curios.


Our stay at Kennesaw was marked by another squirrel incident differing somewhat from that of June 18, already referred to. A short distance in the rear of our position[Pg 128] a Confederate battery had been planted and between this and the enemy's batteries there were frequent artillery duels. So frequent were these engagements and so accustomed did we become to the noise of the guns that if asleep it failed to awake us, although our battery was only seventy-five yards away. On one of these occasions we were ordered into the trenches for protection from the shells. Sitting in the ditch with our faces turned rearward, some one in the ranks spied a squirrel in the branches of a tree standing near our battery. He was apparently crazed by the noise of the guns and the shriek of the shells flying around him. One of the Oglethorpes sang out to him, "Come down in the trenches—you'll be killed up there." I don't think the squirrel heard him, but the words had barely left his lips, when the little animal ran down the tree, struck a bee line for the trenches and leaped in among the men. As he made his way down the line, some one stamped on him and put an end to his race for life. I regretted his fate, not only on account of his grey uniform, but for the reason that if he was really seeking protection he had found himself the victim of misplaced confidence.


On the evening of June 26, Will Daniel said to me, "Furnish 47 men for picket duty tonight. Lieutenants Blanchard and McLaughlin will go with them. As this is a detail, you will remain with the remnant of the com[Pg 129]pany in the trenches." As Gen. Sherman had not favored us with his confidence, neither of us knew how much, exemption from that service meant for both of us on the morrow. In detailing non-commissioned officers for this detachment, Corp. L. A. R. Reab asked to be excused upon the ground that he had received that day an outfit of outer and under clothing—that by changing the old garments for the new after a thorough ablution he had succeeded in ridding himself of a camp affliction technically known as "pediculus corporis," but usually characterized by a less euphonious title—that picket service in the pits would certainly bring on a renewal of the attack, from which he desired most earnestly to have at least a few days immunity. While he had my sympathy, I was unable to consider his excuse a valid one, and referred him to his commanding officer, who also declined to relieve him. It was possibly fortunate that he failed as he was captured next day and was kept a prisoner until the close of the war, securing in this way exemption from further risk in battle and perhaps a longer lease of life.

In this connection it may not be amiss to say that the Oglethorpes were, perhaps, as cleanly as any company in the service and yet during the last year of the war I do not think a single member was free of this affliction for a single day. It was simply a physical impossibility to get rid of it. Discussing this matter with my friend, W. J. Steed some time since, I made the statement that[Pg 130] during our trip to Nashville in the winter of '64, when we had no opportunity to change our underclothing for a month or more, it was our custom before retiring at night, to take our flannel or hickory shirts, close the neck and wrist, suspend them over a blazing fire and hold them there until the air was filled with the odor of frying meat. Steed's reply was, "I think a good deal of you, old fellow, but I advise you never to make that statement to any one who has not unlimited confidence in your veracity." And yet I make it here with as full conviction of its absolute truthfulness as any statement I have ever made in any presence.

And now, bidding the "pediculus corporis" adieu with a great deal of pleasure, I ask the reader's attention to another theme.


The 47 men detailed for picket on the evening of the 26th, went to their posts with seven other companies from the regiment, with no premonition of what was in store for them on the coming day. There was the usual desultory firing during the night, but the sunrise salute on the 27th was not confined to a single gun. Every battery fronting Hardee's corps and French's division, joined in the chorus. The cannonade was heavy and continuous until 8 a. m., when the Federal bugles sounded the advance. As the assaulting column approached our skirmish line, the pickets covering the divisions of Cheath[Pg 131]am, Cleburne and French retired to the trenches, where the enemy met with a bloody and disastrous repulse. In Walker's front their approach was hidden from view by a dense forest growth, except on the extreme right adjoining French, where the pits running across an open field, were held by Co. C, of our regiment. This company had retired with French's pickets, leaving a vacancy in the line. The Oglethorpes were in reserve, and Maj. Allen, misled by Capt. Buckner as to the situation and ignorant of the fact that the attacking column had already reached our skirmish line, ordered the company into fill the gap. Gallantly led by Lieutenants Blanchard and McLaughlin, they advanced at a double quick step and on reaching the open field were met by a murderous fire both from the front and flank, for French's deserted pits were already occupied by the enemy. The woods to the left and front were swarming with blue coats. On a portion of the line held by Co. K, they had reached the pit and a hand to hand conflict ensued. Men fought with clubbed muskets. A short-legged Irishman of that company, with the unusual name of John Smith, had his gun seized by a stalwart Yankee and there was a struggle for its possession. The little son of Erin was game, but he was overmatched in strength and shoving his opponent backward as the gun was wrenched from his hands, he said, "To —— with you and the gun too." Lieut. George A. Bailie, of Co. B, had his ear grazed by a minie and his antagonist, twenty feet away, reloaded[Pg 132] to fire again; having no weapon but his sword, Lieut. B. decided to emulate David in his contest with Goliath, and picking up a stone he threw it, striking his foe squarely between the eyes and placing him hors de combat for a time at least. Further up the line and near the vacant pits, another member of the regiment, whose name is not recalled, stood loading and firing as rapidly as his teeth could tear the cartridges and his hands could ram them home. His face was cold and pallid and bloodless, but not from fear. Blackened with powder stain, through which the perspiration trickled in streams, his eyes flashed defiance with every flash from his gun, while disdaining the protection of the pits he stood there a perfect demon of war, with no thought save to kill.

And what of the Oglethorpes? They had picked up something too hot to hold. Attacked both in front and flank by largely superior numbers they were in a veritable hornet's nest. They fought bravely to hold their position, but the odds were too great and George McLaughlin, seeing that it was wholesale death or capture, sang out, "Save yourselves, boys." The place was too hot to hold and almost to let go. For two or three hundred yards to the rear was an open field sloping upwards. To retire through this bullet swept as it was at short range, was simply to court death. Obliquely to the rear was a piece of woodland from which some protection could be gained. Most of the men made a break for this. Some of them ran squarely into the arms of the enemy[Pg 133] who had possession of the woods, and were captured. Some failed to leave the pits in time and were taken prisoners there. Some ran the gauntlet safely, while some brought to the rear in frame or limb a perpetual souvenir of that warm day. With the first volley as they entered the open field, Lieut. Blanchard was wounded and W. J. Steed fell by his side with a ball through his lungs. A moment later A. M. Hilzheim, who had joined us only a day before, had received a fatal wound, and Wyatt Chamblin had fallen with a shattered leg. When the order to retire was given, W. J. Steed, John Weigle and Charlie Bayliss attempted to make their way to the rear through the open field. Steed had gone but a little way when a ball crashed through his hand. As he slung it in pain, another shattered his elbow and he fell. As he lay there suffering agony from three wounds a fourth ball broke the same arm near the shoulder. A little way off Charlie Bayliss lay dead and John Weigle had fallen with a broken thigh. The Federal line was re-formed in rear of the pits and Steed and Weigle were ordered to come in and surrender. They replied that they were unable to go in, but that if litter bearers were sent out they could be carried in. Just then a shell from one of French's batteries burst over the Federal line and they took to the woods without the ceremony of a formal dismissal. Steed and Weigle took advantage of a temporary lull in the firing and renewed their efforts to escape. Steed was so weakened by loss of blood from his four wounds that[Pg 134] he could only rise, stagger a little way and fall, then rest for a time and renew the effort, while Weigle was forced to crawl and drag his wounded limb. In the effort he was shot in the other leg, but was finally reached by the litter bearers and taken to the rear, one of them being fatally wounded as they bore him off. After repeated efforts, occupying an hour or more, Steed reached the haven and swooned away. In this condition he was found and rescued. He still lives, but an armless sleeve furnishes constant reminder of the terrible experience of that June day. Weigle, poor fellow, a model soldier and a brave, true man, died from his wounds.

And now, though it is due to the truth of history, I regret to record the fact, that while these comrades of mine, who had been shot down on the soil of their own State for defending their homes and firesides, were making in bitter agony their heroic struggle for life, Federal soldiers, schooled in Sherman's creed that "War is hell" and that "the humanities of life have no place" amid its horrors, concealed behind trees and under the shelter of rifle pits, were trying to murder these men as they lay maimed and mangled and bleeding and helpless upon the ground. It is not a pleasant picture, and I am glad to be able to shift the reader's attention to another that blooms out in striking and refreshing contrast to this product of Northern civilization. At the same hour and less than a mile away, the attack of Palmer's corps on Cleburne's and Cheatham's divisions met with a bloody[Pg 135] repulse and as the Union line retired, exploding shells or paper wrapping from the rifle cartridges, fired the woods where the Federal dead and wounded lay. "Cease firing," rang out from brave Pat Cleburne's lips, and the rugged heroes of Granbury, Govan and Lowry, dropped their arms and leaping the breastworks they hurried out under the summer sun and the fiercer heat of the blazing woods to rescue and save their fallen and helpless foes. Comment is unnecessary and if it were, as a reconstructed citizen of a reconstructed union, I have no heart to make it.

In addition to the casualties already named Ab. Mitchell of the Oglethorpes, lost an arm, and W. W. Bussey, W. B. Morris, Bob Prather, Billy Pardue, Ben Rowland and Randall Reeves were otherwise wounded. L. A. R. Reab, Joe Derry, Willie Eve, Geo. Harrison, Bud Howard, W. Chamblin, Jabe Marshall, Polk Thomas, John Coffin and Lott were captured. George Pournelle's fate was never positively known. Those who escaped thought he was captured and those who were captured thought he escaped. He was the last to leave his pit, was probably killed there and falling in it was thus concealed from the view of other members of the company. He was my friend and messmate, brave and kind and true. Three years' comradeship had drawn us very close together and the mystery of his death has always saddened me.

The pickets were rallied by Major Allen on a line[Pg 136] nearer our trenches, but the Federals made no further effort to advance. The brave stand made by our regiment on the skirmish line checked the assaulting column and by 11:30 the battle had ended. Sherman had lost 3,000 and Johnston only 630, one-eighth of it falling on the 63rd Ga. Gen. W. H. T. Walker complimented the regiment on its gallantry, but suggested that it be tempered with a little more discretion.


Few scenes in a soldier's life are touched with sadder interest than the first roll call after a battle. As Orderly sergeant of the Oglethorpes I had to call its roll, perhaps a thousand times, and yet I do not now remember one that touched my heart more deeply than that which closed that summer day at Kennesaw. The voices of twenty-two of those who had so promptly answered to the call of duty a few short hours before, were hushed and silent when their names were called. Some with Federal bayonets guarding them, were tramping to prison dens, perhaps to slow and lingering death. Some with mangled form and limb were suffering more than death, while some with white cold faces turned toward the stars, were answering roll call on the other shore. Standing beside the breastworks on that summer evening, under the shadow of grim and silent Kennesaw, with twilight deepening into night, there were shadows on all our hearts as well, shadows that stretched beyond us[Pg 137] and fell on hearts and hearthstones far away, shadows that rest there still and never will be lifted.


Some time in '63 there came to the regiment a young and beardless boy, "the only son of his mother and she was a widow." Timid and shrinking, he was assigned to a company in which he had neither friend nor acquaintance, and he soon grew homesick and despondent. He had been my brother's schoolboy friend and in pity for his loneliness I made an effort to secure his transfer to the Oglethorpe's. His captain declined to approve the papers and the effort failed. Frail and unfitted to endure the hardships of a soldier's life, he nevertheless bore up bravely under the constant toil and danger of the Dalton and Atlanta campaign until the battle of Kennesaw was fought. His company was on the skirmish line that day and suffered heavily. When the Federal line had been repulsed and in the hush of the twilight air the roll was called, he was reported "missing," a word that carried with it to many a lonely home a world of agony in those war days.

Two hours later a member of his company came to me and said, "Dick is lying dead between the picket lines. If I can get two others, will you go with us to find the body and bring it in?" Prowling around at night between two hostile skirmish lines in constant expectation of being shot by either side was not a pleasant duty, but I[Pg 138] thought of his widowed mother and, and told him I would go. He went away to secure other help, but learned in some way that he had been mistaken; that the dead soldier lying cold out under the starlight was not Dick, but another member of the regiment. A few days later we abandoned the Kennesaw line and I heard no more of my boy friend until the war had ended. Then I learned through returning prisoners that he had been captured at Kennesaw; that under the bitter cruelties of prison life he had grown sick and helpless and was slowly dying; that in his weakness and under the inhuman policy of Grant and Lincoln, hopeless of release by exchange, he was offered a chance of renewed life if he would consent to serve against the Indians, who were giving trouble in the far West. Lee's shadowy line was growing thinner day by day. Hood's reckless raid on Nashville had ended in disaster and the end had nearly come. With the shadow of the grave resting on every prison wall and more, perhaps, from love of mother than of life, he yielded. But the seeds of death were sown too deeply in his boyish frame. The prison horrors, that merit, but find no place on Lincoln's monument, nor Grant's mausoleum, had done their work. A few short months and somewhere under the Western sky, far from home and kindred, the prairie grass was weaving in the summer sunshine, its creeping tendrils over his lonely grave.

Poor, gentle-hearted Dick! Deaths were common, sadly common in those old days but the memory of his fate[Pg 139] has never been recalled in all these years without a sense of sadness and of sorrow. My heart has never judged him save in pity and in kindness always, for I am sure few mounds of earth have lain above a purer or a gentler heart.


In active service, brass bands and "dress parades" fell largely into "innocuous desuetude." When a band was seen going to the rear it was considered prima facie evidence that there was a fight on hand, while an order for dress parade dispelled any apprehension of an early engagement. I recall one instance, however, of an undress parade on the firing line and without a brass band accompaniment.

In the early days of July, '64, the Northern and Southern banks of the Chattahoochee formed for a time the skirmish lines of Johnston's and Sherman's armies. One day some of our pickets established with their opponents on the other side a self-appointed truce. No firing was to be done during its existence, and proper notice was to be given of its termination. The weather was warm and a squad of Yankee pickets relying upon the honor of their Southern foes, decided to take a swim in the river. Stripping themselves to the bathing suit furnished by nature, they plunged in and were enjoying the bath immensely. The Confederate officer of the day becoming apprised of the temporary cessation of hostili[Pg 140]ties, sent a courier down with orders to stop the truce and renew the firing at once. The bathers were in plain view and in easy range of our rifle pits. Notice was given them of the orders and they begged to be allowed time to dress and resume their positions in their own pits. The courtesy was accorded, but their toilets were not made in either slow or common time. There was a hasty run on the bank, a hurried leap into the pits and then the crack of the rifles announced the end of the truce and of the undress parade as well.


On the same line, on another day, two opposing pickets, who had been taking alternate shots at each other, finally agreed on a challenge given by one and accepted by the other, to leave the protection of their pits and fight to a finish. The gurgling waters of the Chattahoochee lay between them. Standing on either bank, in full view of each other and without protection, they loaded and fired until one was killed.

It was simply a life thrown recklessly away, without reason, and with no possible good to the cause for which he fought. Some weeks later Bob Swain, who had been transferred to our company from the 12th Ga. Battalion and to whom reference has already been made in connection with the raising of Fort Sumter's fallen flag, was on the skirmish line at Lovejoy Station. The Yankee pickets were probably six hundred[Pg 141] yards away, but they kept up a continuous fire and their balls would frequently strike the head logs of our rifle pits. So anxious was Bob to avail himself of every opportunity to secure a shot and so utterly reckless of danger, that he refused to enter the pit and remained in an exposed position until he was shot through the head and killed.

Picket firing in war, except when rendered necessary by an attempted advance by one side or the other, is in my opinion, simply legalized murder. The losses sustained in this way can never affect the final result. "Only a picket or two now and then" does not count "in the news of the battle," but "in some little cot on the mountain" the shadow of lifelong grief falls just as heavily on the lonely wife or mother as if the victim had hallowed by his life blood a victory that changed the fate of a nation.


During the summer of '64, Aaron Rhodes of the Oglethorpes, fell sick and was sent to the hospital at Greensboro, Ga. Dr. H. V. M. Miller, the "Demosthenes of the mountains," and an ante-bellum professor in the Medical College at Augusta, Ga., was the surgeon in charge.

Aaron's father secured for him a leave of absence to visit his home and at its expiration went to Greensboro to procure an extension, as he was still unfit for duty. Dr.[Pg 142] Miller told him that it was impossible to grant the request, as strict orders had just been received to allow no further leaves; that the instructions were imperative and gave him no discretion whatever. Mr. Rhodes argued and pleaded, but the Doctor's decision was positive and final. At the close of the interview, Mr. R. gave the assurance that his son would be sent up at once, and then in taking his leave said, "By the way, Doctor, I brought you those Richmond county melons I promised you when I was here last and they are now at the depot for you." "Ah; thank you," said the Doctor, "and by the way, please say to Aaron, that after reconsidering the matter, he can remain at home as long as he wishes, or until able to return to duty." And Aaron's melancholy days were not "the saddest of the year."


In July '64, the writer passed through his first and only experience either as prisoner or an inmate of a hospital. Sherman was nearing Atlanta and his pickets lined the northern bank of the Chattahoochee. I had been sick for several days and Dr. Cumming, acting assistant surgeon, insisted that I should go to the rear. With me there went from the division hospital to Atlanta a boy soldier, who did not seem to be over 14 years of age, and I do not think he was as tall as his gun. If not the original of Dr. Ticknor's "Little Giffen of Tennessee," he was certainly[Pg 143] his counterpart for he was "utter Lazarus, heels to head." Atlanta was only a distributing hospital. The sick were being shipped to points on the Atlanta and West Point Road. Reports from that section were anything but favorable. Sick and wounded were said to be "dying like sheep." Having no special desire to die in that way or in any other way, if possible to avoid it, I asked assignment to some hospital on the Georgia Railroad. "All full," said the surgeon. "No room anywhere except on Atlanta and West Point Road. Train leaves at 7 o'clock in the morning. Report here at that hour." As I had fully determined not to go on that road I reported at 8 o'clock instead of 7, and a few hours later I was pleasantly quartered in the hospital at Oxford, Ga., where I had spent two years of college life. Four years before, almost to a day, I had left its classic halls little dreaming that I should return to its familiar scenes in sickness and in weariness, a victim of grim visaged war. For many months the college exercises had been suspended and the chapel, recitation and literary society halls were being utilized as hospital wards. At the time of my arrival the ladies and older citizens, who had not been absorbed by the war, felt some apprehensions of a raid into the village by Sherman's cavalry, which was only forty miles away. Among these ladies, however, there was one to whom the expectation of such an event brought no feeling of anxiety. Born and reared in the North, she felt assured that no Union soldier's vandal[Pg 144] hand would molest any of her possessions. Asked by one of her neighbors what she proposed to do in the event of their coming she replied, "They'll never trouble me or mine. I am just going to sit down and see the salvation of the Lord." How it looked when she saw it, will appear a little further on.

The old college chapel where I had attended morning and evening prayer during my college course had been converted into a hospital dining room. On July 22, a few days after my arrival, the convalescents were taking their midday meal in this room when the clatter of a horse's feet was heard. There was some commotion outside and the men hurriedly left the table to investigate its cause. It required but a few minutes to size up the situation. A few feet from the door on a horse covered with foam sat a red-headed Yankee in blue uniform and with full equipment. The expected raid had materialized and Garrard's division of Federal cavalry had possession of the town. Most of the convalescents returned hastily to their quarters without finishing their dinner, The writer, not knowing when or where his next meal would be taken returned to the table and replenished his commissary department to its fullest capacity. The raiders scattered through the village, pillaging to some extent private residences, destroying government cotton and in this way burning the home of Mr. Irvine, an old citizen of the place. In due time they reached the premises of the lady, to whom reference has already been made.[Pg 145] Her husband was not at home. He was an honored minister of the Methodist church and was considered the champion snorer of the conference to which he belonged. It was said that his family had become so accustomed to the sonorous exercise of his talent in this line that during his absence from home at night, they were forced to substitute the grinding of a coffee mill to secure sleep. I am not prepared, however, to vouch for the absolute accuracy of this statement. Whether on this occasion he had received intimation of the enemy's approach, and emulating the example of other male citizens of the village, had made himself conveniently absent, I do not now recall. His wife, possibly relying on the fact that she was Northern born, or on providential interposition, for exemption from any war indemnity that her blue-coated guests might be disposed to exact, received them courteously and as long as their levy was confined to chickens from the barnyard or hams from the smoke house she managed to maintain her equilibrium. But when, in addition to these minor depredations, they bridled her pet family horse and led him forth to "jine the cavalry," patience ceased to be a virtue. This crowning indignity furnished the straw that fractured the spinal column of the proverbial camel. She rose, in her righteous wrath and in plain and vigorous English she gave them her opinion of the Yankee army in general, and of her unwelcome guests in particular. Her indignant protest was unavailing. The stable was thenceforth tenantless, and[Pg 146] as Tennyson might have said, she mourned for the tramp of a vanished horse and the sound of a neigh that was still.

At 3 p. m. the convalescents were formed into line with orders to report to the provost marshal. We had marched but a little way, when a Federal colonel ordered us to disband until 5 p. m. I had borrowed the novel "Macaria" from a Miss Harrison in the village and decided to spend the interval in completing its perusal. I retired to my cot in the college chapel, but somehow the book did not interest me. Visions of a Federal prison peered at me from every page and I gave it up. Having made an engagement to take tea with Mr. Harrison's family that evening, I concluded, if allowed to leave the building, to return the book. Going down to reconnoiter I saw one of our men walk up the street without being halted, and with as indifferent air as I could assume, I followed suit.

Reaching Mr. Harrison's house I found the family anxious and excited. Mr. H., to avoid capture, had concealed himself in the garden. I expressed my regrets to Mrs. H. that I was unable to keep my engagement, as I had another, which was a little more pressing. She insisted that I remain with them until the hour for leaving and I sat down to meditate on the fate that the future had in store for me. When a boy I had often sung the old hymn containing the words:

"Sweet prospects, sweet birds and sweet flowers,"[Pg 147] but the prospect that loomed up before me that summer afternoon had no flavor of sugar or honey and, as I now recall it, not even a trace of sorghum molasses to shade its bitterness. As I sat there on the piazza, a Federal brigade passed in a short distance of the house followed by a crowd of contrabands. One of the soldiers came in and took a ham from the pantry without taking the trouble to ask for it. Others passed through the yard on other errands. Nothing was said to me and I made no special effort to attract their attention. I was saying nothing, but I was doing some pretty tall thinking. The idea had occurred to me, either, as Judge Longstreet has said, by "internal suggestion or the bias of jurisprudence," that if I remained quietly where I was, I might be overlooked and I decided to make the experiment. At 5 p. m. the squad of convalescents was re-formed and marched off under guard, passing within a short distance of where I sat. Possibly I felt that my place was properly among them, but I felt no disposition to halt them in order to secure it and my heart grew lighter as the line grew dim in the distance and finally vanished. I have sometimes been accused of being absent-minded, but on that occasion I had reason to be grateful for being absent-bodied.

At nightfall I returned to my hospital cot and slept the sleep of the just. I was in no hurry to rise next morning until at 9 a. m., some one came in and reported that all the raiders had shaken the dust of Oxford from their feet. My escape was due to "Macaria" and for that reason[Pg 148] I have always felt kindly towards the book and its author. In my condition a Northern prison would have meant for me slow death and an unmarked grave and these records would have been unwritten or penned by other hands.


On the same day Col. H. D. Capers of the 12th Ga. Battalion, was in Oxford recuperating from a wound received in Virginia. Being advised of the approach of Garrard's division, he leaped through a rear window of his residence and taking a country road proceeded to change his base at double-quick step. Learning of his escape a squad of cavalry started in pursuit and on reaching a fork in the road they asked a negro standing by which route Col. Capers had taken. The slave, faithful to his master's friend, intentionally misinformed them and before the error was discovered the colonel was safely hidden.

This act of faithfulness recalls the unswerving loyalty of the race during the horrors of a four years' struggle, whose issue meant their freedom. Suggesting as it does the ties of friendship between master and servant in the old slave days, it furnishes a reason for the kindly interest the South still feels in the remnant of a class that is fading from the earth and may account for the further fact that on this institution, despite its faults, there rested for a hundred years Heaven's benediction and the smile of God.

[Pg 149]


Rumors of the raid had been current for several days before its occurrence, and a Mr. Jones, a citizen of Covington, Ga., whose hatred of everything blue had been inflamed by reports of outrages committed by Sherman's army, pledged himself to kill the first Federal soldier who approached his home. Learning that Garrard's division had reached the town, he loaded his squirrel rifle and taking his stand in front of the court house he awaited his opportunity. He had been on post but a little while when a Federal cavalryman approached with a squad of convalescents captured at the hospital. Jones allowed him to come within close range and then raised his rifle. The Yankee shouted to him: "Don't shoot," but his purpose was not to be changed and his victim dropped from the saddle. Reloading his rifle and changing his position to another street a second squad of prisoners came by and again his rifle brought down its game. Reloading the third time he intercepted a platoon of cavalry and fired into it, wounding two of them. They captured him, shot him to death and then beat out his brains with the butts of their rifles. He doubtless anticipated such a fate and went coolly to certain death with no hope of fame and with only the satisfaction of getting two for one.

Geo. Daniel, a Confederate quartermaster, chanced to be at home on furlough in Covington on the same day. He had been out bird hunting that morning and on his return was captured by the Yankees, who enraged by[Pg 150] the killing of two of their men by Jones, determined to shoot Daniel simply because he was found with a gun in his hand. His protest that he was out for no hostile purpose availed him nothing. He was ordered to face his executioners and an effort was made to bind a handkerchief over his eyes. He drew it away and said, "No, a Confederate soldier can face death without being blindfolded." The rifles rang out and he fell, another victim to the humane influence of Northern civilization.


During my stay at the Oxford hospital a number of ladies who had refugeed from Charleston, So. Ca., were making their home in the village. Among them was a Miss Fair, a beautiful girl with a wealth of wavy brown hair. An ardent Southerner and anxious to benefit the cause she loved, she had determined to visit Sherman's army around Atlanta as a spy, bringing out such information as she would be able to procure.

The raven locks were sacrificed, the face and hands were died, a cracker bonnet and homespun dress were donned and supplied with a basket of parched ground peas she tramped around the Federal camps, keeping her eyes and ears open. Making the trip safely, she returned to Oxford and mailed a letter to Gov. Brown, giving him the information she had obtained as to Sherman's force and plans. When Garrard's division entered Oxford, this letter was in the post[Pg 151] office and was captured with other mail matter. It was read by the raiders after they left the town and a squad was sent back to search for the fair writer, but fortunately she was securely hidden in the attic of Mr. River's home, while her father was concealed in a well on the premises. Few braver acts have been recorded of grim visaged warriors than the daring feat accomplished by this fair-faced daughter of the South.


While the raiders were in possession of the town, one of them belonging to a Michigan regiment rode up to the gate of the home where this girl was staying. The lady of the house was sitting on the porch and the cavalryman saluted her with the remark, "See what a fine Georgia "hoss" I have." "Yes," she replied, "one you stole I suppose." Turning to her ten-year-old son standing by the soldier said, "Here, boy, hold this "hoss." "I'd see you at the d—l first," replied the little Confederate. This boy, now a middle-aged man, tells me that it was his first and last use of improper language in the presence of his Christian mother, and that for some reason she failed on that occasion to administer even a mild reproof.

[Pg 152]



As we marched more than 800 miles in this campaign, and as a record of these movements would probably interest only my old comrades, the general reader has my cheerful permission to skip the following condensed extracts from my journal and to turn his or her attention to the special incidents which succeed them. On Sept. 8, '64, two days after the enemy had abandoned our front at Lovejoy Station, we moved up to a position one mile above Jonesboro, remaining there ten days. On the 18th we moved to Fairburn and on the 19th to Palmetto, where we fortified our position and remained until the 29th. Gen. Mercer having been assigned to another field of duty, Gen. Smith, on the 25th, assumed command of our brigade. On the 26th President Davis reviewed the army and on the 28th Gen. Hardee, having asked to be relieved, took leave of his old corps and Gen. Cheatham was made corps commander. On the 29th we began our northward march for the purpose of destroying Sherman's line of communication, passing by easy stages of ten to twenty miles a day, over the ground we had traversed in the recent campaign and reaching the vicinity of Dalton, Ga., on Oct. 13th. Here we destroyed three[Pg 153] miles of railroad track, burning the cross-ties and bending the rails by laying them across the burning ties and twisting them around the trees that stood near the track. After capturing the garrisons at Dalton and Tilton, and tearing up a section of the E. T. & Ga. R. R., we left on the 14th for Gadsden, Ala., en route to Nashville. Hood had decided to abandon the plan of campaign mapped out by President Davis and himself and to advance into Tennessee.

Passing through Villanow, Lafayette, Alpine and Blue Pond, we arrived at Gadsden Oct. 20th. Resting here a day we are off again and for four days are tramping over the arid stretches of Sand Mountain, reaching the vicinity of Decatur, Ala., on the evening of the 26th. My journal for that day has this entry: "March delayed by bridge falling in. Very muddy tramp after nightfall. Slept under a corn crib." Two days later it has this entry: "Two ears of corn issued to each man as rations."

Decatur was occupied by a Federal force and after some skirmishing on the 27th and 28th we resumed our march, passing through Courtland on the 30th, Tuscumbia on the 31st and camping near the Tennessee river on the evening of that day. Here we remained until Nov. 13th, when we crossed the river on a pontoon bridge and camped near Florence. On the 14th we fortified our position and on the 19th Hood began his march to intercept Schofield in his effort to unite with Thomas at Nashville. Our brigade was detached to ferry the wagon train[Pg 154] across the river and on the 20th we tramped 12 or 14 miles through a driving snowstorm in a bitterly cold wind to reach Cheatham's Ferry. I recall the fact that my face became so thoroughly chilled that the snow that fell on it failed to melt. After a week's work at the ferry, we left on the 28th in charge of the wagon train to rejoin our command. On Dec. 1st we struck the Nashville turnpike and on the 2d received our first information of the battle of Franklin, which had occurred Nov. 30, and in which our division had suffered so heavily. Passing through Columbia and Spring Hill on the 3d and Franklin and the battle ground in its front on the 4th we rejoined our division near Nashville on the 5th. Next day the Oglethorpes were on the picket line, were relieved on the 7th and on the 8th our brigade was ordered to report to Gen. Forrest near Murfreesboro. Under Forrest's direction the 9th and 10th were spent in tearing up railroad track encased in snow and sleet, terribly cold work.

Two days' rest with the thermometer at 9 degrees and on the 13th we are again destroying railroad track near Lavergne. On the morning of the 15th our brigade and Palmer's started out under Forrest to capture a Federal supply train. Fording Stone river and marching 10 or 12 miles in the direction of Murfreesboro Forrest is halted by an order from Hood to hold himself in readiness to go to his aid, as the battle of Nashville was in progress. Next day we moved back to the Nashville turnpike to[Pg 155] await the issue at Nashville. During the night Forrest received news of Hood's defeat and with it orders to form a junction with the retreating army at Columbia.

As the details of our march to that point, of our assignment to the rear guard and of the retreat to Corinth, Miss., will be given in succeeding sketches, it is unnecessary to duplicate them here.


It was the winter of '64, and to those of us who wore the grey it was likewise the "winter of our discontent." The hopes of the Confederacy were on the wane. The clouds that hung above it had no silver lining, free or otherwise. Sherman was "marching through Georgia," leaving in his wake the ashes of many a Southern home. Hood's reckless raid on Nashville had ended in disaster and his ragged battalions were making tracks for the Tennessee river, (some of them with bare feet) at a quickstep known to Confederate tactics as "double distance on half rations." The morale of the army was shattered if not destroyed. If the soliloquy of a gaunt Tennesseean as he rose from a fall in the mud on the retreat fairly represented the sentiment of his comrades, it was badly shattered. He is reported to have said: "Ain't we in a —— of a fix, a one-eyed president, a one-legged general and a one-horse Confederacy."

The Oglethorpes had fortunately escaped the butchery at Franklin against which Forrest had so strongly[Pg 156] protested. As this immunity was due to our having been detained with Smith's brigade to ferry a salt train across the Tennessee river, salt had literally "saved our bacon."

After rejoining the army, we had been again detached to operate under Forrest near Murfreesboro and in this way had missed the rout at Nashville. Aside from these immunities the campaign had been one of exceptional hardships. The weather was bitterly cold and our wardrobes were not excessively heavy. The writer wore a thin fatigue jacket, with no overcoat and slept under a single blanket with the thermometer at nine degrees above zero. For a week prior to the retreat we had been engaged in the pleasant pastime of handling with ungloved hands, railroad ties and rails encased in sleet and snow. In addition to these hardships our commissary department was but illy supplied. And yet I cannot recall a single complaint made by a soldier during that campaign. It is my deliberate conviction, based upon this and similar evidence, that the Confederate soldier fought harder on shorter rations and grumbled less under greater privations than any soldier in history. The battle of Nashville opened on the morning of December 15th and for two days, thirty miles away, we listened to the thunder of the artillery and anxiously awaited the issue. At 1 a. m. Dec. 17th we were aroused to begin the longest, hardest forced march of our four years' service. Columbia, the point of junction with Hood's retreating army, is sixty miles away and we have to make it in forty-eight[Pg 157] hours or run the risk of almost certain capture by a force ten times our own. It is cold, dark and raining—a dreary combination. The roads are a mass of mud and before we have tramped a mile one of my shoe strings breaks, leaving the shoe imbedded six inches deep in the yielding soil. Fishing it out, I resume the march with one bare foot, but the rocks in the mud cut and bruise it at every step and I am forced to stop for repairs. Taking the strap from my rolled blanket, slits are cut in the flaps of the shoe, the strap is buckled around so as to hold it in place, and I hurry forward to rejoin my command. For twenty-one hours we plow wearily through the mud, camping at 10 p. m. after marching 35 miles. Dr. McIntyre, in one of his Lyceum lectures, says that he had no proper appreciation of either absolute silence or absolute darkness until he stood within the central chamber of the Wyandotte cavern. If he had tramped with Forrest that winter day he would probably have added to his experience an adequate conception of absolute fatigue.

Five hours' rest and we are again on the march, but with slower step, for the strain of the previous day has told on the boys. In the early morning we halt to rest and I breakfast on an ear of corn picked up by the roadside, smearing it with black grease scraped from the bottom of my frying pan. About midday Forrest dismounts a number of his cavalry and gives up his own horse for a time to help the "barefoot" brigade along. By 10 p. m.[Pg 158] we have made 25 miles and are completely fagged. Only five of the thirty Oglethorpes reach camp that night, Dick Morris, the writer, and three others whose names I do not recall. Dick is short-limbed, but he has the grit and the habit of getting there. On reaching Columbia we are assigned to the rear guard under Forrest and Walthall, who are instructed by Hood to sacrifice every man in the command if necessary to ensure the safety of his army. Manning trenches half filled with snow and holding the enemy in check for a few days so as to give Hood a fair start in the race, we begin our retreat Dec. 22 and on Christmas Eve camp near Pulaski, Tenn. Coiled up in a single blanket on the cold, bare ground, no visions of Santa Claus nor hopes of a Christmas menu on the morrow brighten our dreams.

Early Christmas morning we are gathered around the camp fire awaiting orders to march. Frank Stone, tall and thin, so thin that Charlie Goetchius had advised him always to present a side view to the enemy, as a minie ball would never reach his anatomy in that position, ambles up on a horse he had secured from one of the cavalry. Frank had tried manfully to keep up with the procession. Half sick, his shoes worn soleless and his feet lacerated and bleeding, he had marched when every step was agony and had crawled over the rocky portions of the road on his hands and knees until human nature could endure no more. Fortunately one of Forrest's cavalry gave him a lift that saved him from a Northern prison.[Pg 159] Frank had no saddle and to supply that need the boys had piled his steed with blankets to a depth of five or six inches. As he rode up his eye fell on a lot of cooking utensils that had to be left for lack of transportation, and turning to Will Daniel he said, "Lieutenant, hadn't I better take along some of these?" Gen. Forrest was standing a few feet away, grave and silent. Attracted by Frank's question, he turned and inspecting the blanket outfit for a moment he said, "I think you've got a —— sight more now than you're entitled to." Frank made no reply, but the criticism was thoroughly unjust for no truer, braver soldier wore the grey.

The bugle sounds and we are again on the march. About midday we halt on the summit of a ridge with an old line of breastworks skirting its crest. Glad to have a rest we adjust ourselves to take advantage of the respite, when the ominous "Fall in," "Fall in" comes down the line. The ranks are hastily formed, the trenches are manned and Morton's battery is planted a short distance in their rear and commanding the road. Our regiment is placed as a support for the battery and as we line up, Forrest passes us on foot going to the front in a half bent position. Reaching the trenches he watches the advance of the enemy for a few minutes and then hurries to the rear. In a moment we hear the clatter of a horse's feet and the "Wizard of the Saddle" dashes by at half speed, riding magnificently, his martial figure as straight as an arrow and looking six inches taller than his wont, a[Pg 160] very god of war, yelling as he reaches the waiting ranks: "Charge!" "Charge!" "CHARGE!" Over the breastworks flashes a line of grey and down the slope they sweep, yelling at every step. The captain commanding our regiment is undecided as to his duty, but finally orders us to retain our position in the rear of the battery. Just then Gen. Featherston rides up, "What regiment is this?" "63rd Ga." "What are you doing here?" "Supporting this battery." "Battery the d—l. Get over them breastworks and get quick," and we "get." But the skirmish is soon over. The Yankees have fled, leaving a piece of artillery and a number of horses in our possession.

We hold our position until late in the afternoon, when "Red" Jackson, with his cavalry, relieves us and we resume the march. As we are filing off the enemy reappears and the cavalry carbines are waking the echoes. We are directly in the line of fire and the hiss of the minies does not make pleasant music to march by. But Jackson repels the attack and we have no further trouble with our friends, the enemy. Night comes on and if there was ever a darker or more starless one I can not place it. Tramping, tramping in the cold and mud and darkness, companies and regiments are all commingled and no one knows where he is, or where he ought to be. Too dark to see the file next in front, we walk by faith and not by sight. Elmore Dunbar was carrying the colors and but for his occasional whistling imitation of the[Pg 161] bugle call in order to let us know "where he was at," our regiment would have lost in the darkness all semblance of its organization. I can not well conceive how a larger share of unadulterated physical comfort could have been compressed into the five solid hours for which we kept it up.

At 11 p. m. we are ordered to halt, and camp near Sugar Creek. The sound never was more welcome, nor fell more sweetly on our ears than on that Christmas night. Dinnerless and supperless and completely worn out we hailed it with almost rapture for it brought the promise of rest and sleep. Of all the Christmas days that have come to me in life, only this stands out in gloomy prominence as utterly wanting in every element of the season's cheer and gladness. Yet looking backward through the mists of more than thirty years, recalling all its dangers and discomforts, its toil and weariness and hunger, I would not if I could blot that day's record from my memory, for o'er its somber shadows fell and falls today the light that comes to every true heart in the path of duty; while gilding all its gloom there comes across the waste of years a vision of the knightly Forrest, the bravest of the brave, for as he rode the lines that day, the light of battle in his eye and the thunderous "Charge!" upon his lips he rode into my heart as well, the impersonation of chivalry, and rides there still.

[Pg 162]


Early on the morning of the 26th the Federal cavalry came within range of our camp during a dense fog. A volley scattered them and our cavalry drove them back for two miles.

Holding our position for two hours, and no further advance being made by the enemy, we resumed the march, camping at night near Lexington. A march of 12 miles on the 27th brought us to the Tennessee river, which had already been crossed by Hood with his army and wagon train. During the night, in expectation of an attack by the enemy, we were moved into a line of breastworks which had been vacated by Loring's division, but we had seen the last of our blue-coated friends for that campaign. Crossing the river on the 28th we found on its Southern bank and near the end of the pontoon bridge, 10 or 12 dead mules, and among them three or four grey specimens of that much abused animal. I had heard when a boy that a grey mule never died, that they were gifted with a sort of equine immortality. And now this dogma of my early days found its complete subversion, for these were not only dead, but as Gen. Jno. C. Brown said to us in North Carolina afterwards, when asked as to President Lincoln's death, they were "very dead." Unable to resist the force of this absolute demonstration of the fact, I have always believed since that a grey mule could die, though if further personal[Pg 163] evidence were demanded I would be unable to produce it.

After crossing the river and without stopping to hold a post-mortem examination on these faithful animals, who robed in grey had died in the cause, we set out to rejoin our division at Corinth, Miss. Passing through Tuscumbia Bartow and Cherokee, we reached Birnsville, Miss., on the evening of Dec. 31st. Here in the waning hours of the dying year, after tramping eight hundred miles in absolute health I lay down and had an old-fashioned Burke county chill. Lying by a log-heap fire through the long watches of the winter night, my changes of base in the effort to keep the chilly side of my body next to the blazing logs were almost continuous. My old comrade Joe Warren, whose stalwart frame in company with Jim Thomas, Bill Jones and Eph Thompson graced the leading "file of fours" in this campaign was wont to say that a certain brand of whiskey had "a bad far'well." So the closing year had for the writer at least "a bad far'well." The New Year found me unable to travel. Lying over until Jan. 2d, in company with several other invalids, I secured a seat on top of a dilapidated box car. We had ridden only a mile, when the conductor fearing the concern would collapse and kill us all, kindly invited us to step down and out. Complying with some degree of reluctance I shouldered my gun and after a tramp of fifteen miles rejoined my command at Corinth, Miss., where the shattered remnant of Hood's army had gathered.

[Pg 164]


After the death of Gen. W. H. T. Walker, in July, '64, our brigade was assigned to Pat Cleburne's division. In his younger days he had served in the English army and had probably imbibed his ideas of military discipline from that service. On Sept. 26, '64, near Jonesboro, Ga., the army was reviewed by President Davis and in the afternoon of that day our regiment was ordered to appear at Cleburne's headquarters for inspection. The men had received no intimation of the order and some of the companies were not in a very cleanly condition either as to dress or arms. Soap was scarce and but little time had been spent on their toilets. The inspection proceeded without comment from Cleburne until the company commanded by Capt. Joe Polhill of Louisville, Ga., was reached. Cleburne looked over the ranks with his keen Irish eyes as Capt. Dixon inspected the arms, and then in a tone indicating some degree of disgust, said, "Attention company! Shoulder arms. Close order, march. Right face. Forward by file right—march. Go off and wash yourselves," and the regiment was ordered back to its quarters. Will Daniel, jealous of the reputation of the Oglethorpes, who had not been inspected, addressed a note to Gen. Cleburne protesting against the implied reflection on his company, to which the General replied that no reflection was intended where no inspection was made. In justice to Capt. Polhill and his company it is[Pg 165] only proper to say that at a subsequent inspection next day they redeemed their reputation.


On the displacement of Gen. Johnston in July, 64, Gen. Hardee, as the ranking lieutenant general in the Army of Tennessee, felt aggrieved at the promotion of Gen. Hood above him, but was too patriotic to ask for an assignment to other fields while his lines were facing the enemy. At the close of the campaign he did prefer this request and on Sept. 28 took leave of his old corps. Many of them had followed him from Shiloh to Jonesboro. His almost unbroken success as brigade, division and corps commander had given him the title of the "Old Reliable." Even at Missionary Ridge his corps held its line and on a portion of it, at the suggestion of Gen. Alfred Cumming, made a counter charge, driving the enemy from their front. At Ringgold Gap and in every assault upon his lines during the Dalton and Atlanta Campaign Hardee had repulsed the attacking column, with the single exception of Jonesboro, where ten lines of battle had been massed against Govan's thinly manned trenches. For these reasons his old corps was loth to give him up. On the evening before his departure large numbers of his command went over to bid him good-bye. In a simple and touching address he expressed his deep regret at parting from those with whom he had been associated so long, but said that he would[Pg 166] be with them in spirit if not in person and hoped they would always sustain the reputation they had so gallantly won. "I leave you," said he, "but I leave you in good hands, Frank Cheatham's. Frank and Pat go well together. If Frank fails you, you have Pat to fall back upon." Just then a soldier, who had climbed a tree and was sitting on a limb 20 feet from the ground, sang out, "Yes, General, and Crazy Bill ain't far off," alluding to Gen. Bate. The scene was a very affecting one and after speeches by Gen. Gist and Gen. Capers of So. Ca., closed with appropriate music rendered by the band.


The allusion to Gen. Bate in the preceding incident recalls an address made by him Oct. 21, '64, at Gadsden, Ala., where we had halted for a day on our trip to Nashville. On the evening of that day the officers were serenaded by the army bands and responses were made by Beauregard, Cleburne, Clayton and Bate. The last sparkled with eloquence and wit and was the gem of the evening. Gov. Brown of Georgia, had issued an order exempting a goodly number of citizens of conscript age in each county from military service for the purpose of raising provisions for the army, sorghum being named as one of the products to be so used. This order had created a feeling of resentment in the minds of those at the front and Gen. Bate, in voicing this sentiment, and in criticism of Gov. Brown's action, impromptued the following parody on Campbell's downfall of Poland:[Pg 167]

"What tho' destruction sweep these lovely plains,
Who cares for liberty while sorghum yet remains?
With that sweet name we wave our knives on high,
And swear to cut it while we live and suck it till we die."

Gen. Bate's bravery as an officer equalled his wit as a speaker, but his division had been unfortunate in several engagements and other troops were disposed to guy it, saluting it as it passed them with, "Lie down Bate, we are gwine to bust a cap" or "scorch a feather," and such like sallies of so-called wit. Our regiment had indulged in this pastime to some extent and this fact seems to have come to the knowledge of the General. At the battle of Bentonville in March, '65, we were assigned to Bates' corps. In the early morning an assault was made on Govan's brigade, on our immediate left, and as we were without breastworks we were ordered to lie down. As we had not been on the firing line for some time and the whistle of the minies had grown a little unfamiliar, we obeyed the order very promptly, lying as flat as possible without imbedding ourselves in the ground, and in the case of Frank Stone and the writer this was pretty flat. Gen. Bate rode up to our line and asked, "What command is this?" "63rd Ga.," was the reply. "Why, boys, you lie mighty close. I came very near riding over you without seeing you. Never tell Bate to lie down any more," and we didn't.

[Pg 168]


Gen. Cleburne was a better fighter than speaker, and yet his oratory was sometimes very effective. Of his address on the occasion above referred to I recall but a single sentiment uttered by him. After referring to the outrages committed by Northern troops on Southern soil he said, "I am not fighting for right, I am fighting for vengeance." Of another address delivered by him on the same day I retain a more vivid recollection. Two soldiers of our brigade had appropriated a hog belonging to some citizen living near Gadsden, and the matter was reported to Gen. Cleburne. The brigade was ordered out and formed into a hollow square facing inwards. The two culprits were brought in under guard and placed in the center of the square and then Cleburne and his staff rode in. With the culprits before him and in the presence and hearing of the entire brigade he for fifteen minutes abused and demeaned and shamed them until I think they were thoroughly reformed on that particular line of moral depravity. On the march, some days later, the road we were traveling changed direction abruptly to the right. A corn field lay on that side and a number of the boys, with the view of shortening their tramp that day, leaped the fence and took the hypotenuse of the triangle rather than walk the longer distance represented by the other two sides. Gen. Cleburne, who was riding at the head of the division, probably suspected such a result and when he had reached the corner of[Pg 169] the field where they would come out he stopped his horse and quietly awaited their coming. As they reached the road, singly or in pairs, the General gave them a brief but pointed lecture on the sin of straggling, and to impress it more forcibly on their memories he told them in his suave Irish way that they could each take a rail from the fence and carry it on their shoulders for the next half mile. It was a new, but not a pleasant form of traveling by rail. If my memory is not at fault one of the Oglethorpes had the honor of membership in the rail squad that day, and probably has still a feeling recollection of the incident. He was something of a vocalist in those days and was wont to enliven the march with the tender strains of "Faded Flowers," "The Midnight Train," "Benny Havens Ho," and other popular musical selections, but on that day his lyre was voiceless and all its music hushed.


This incident has no reference to Gen. John B. Hood, whose strategy in this campaign was apparently conspicuous only by its absence. It refers only to Private Hood of the Oglethorpes, who joined our ranks in '63 or '64, probably at Thunderbolt. As I recall his personality, he was an undergrown youth of sallow complexion and uncertain age. On our march to Nashville he grew sick or tired, and stopped at the home of a citizen to recuperate. Some days later a squad of Yankee soldiers[Pg 170] stopped at the house, and Hood, deeming prudence the better part of valor, dropped his grey uniform and donning a suit belonging to the son of his host, passed himself off as a member of the family. While chatting with the visitors one of them said to him, "Well, Bud, haven't they got you in the army yet?" "No, sir," said Hood, "and they ain't agoing to either." "That's right, my boy," and with Hood's assurance that he had no idea of "jining," they bade him good-bye and went their way. Some weeks later he rejoined us, congratulating himself on the success of his strategy.


While ferrying the army train across the Tennessee river, the flat in charge of Sergeant S. C. Foreman of the Oglethorpes, brought in a box or case containing three hundred pounds of nice dry salted bacon. It was reported to me that they had found it floating down the river and supposed it had been thrown in by the Federal garrison at Florence to prevent its capture by Hood's army. I swallowed the story and some of the meat and had no occasion to question the correctness of the information until Sam Woods told me in '98 that he found it lying in shallow water near the river bank, and George McLaughlin afterwards intimated that it was stolen from the wagon train. Whatever may have been the method by which it came into our possession I remember that it was divided among the members of the company as ex[Pg 171]tra rations. I recall the further fact that my mess secured that afternoon a large wash pot and a supply of corn and boiled up a peck or two of "lye hominy." On the next day we began our march to rejoin the army and for 17 miles, in addition to my gun, bayonet, cartridge box and forty rounds of cartridges, heavy blanket, tent fly and haversack with two day's rations, I carried 6 or 8 pounds of this bacon and a bucket of the hominy. The aggregate weight must have been 50 or 60 pounds, a pretty fair load for a "light weight."


This inquiry, while not invested with the same degree of mystery, nor enjoying as large a measure of notoriety as "Who struck Billy Patterson?" nevertheless echoed on many a hillside and enlivened many a camp fire on our trip to Nashville. The incident which gave rise to it occurred soon after we left the Tennessee river on this ill-fated tramp. To prevent depredations upon the property of citizens along the route of our march, a provost guard had been formed, in command of which was placed an officer now living not a thousand miles from Augusta, but who shall be nameless here, partly out of respect to his feelings and partly out of regard for my own. He has warned me that a different course would be followed by an aggravated case of assault and battery and I do not care to put the courts to unnecessary expense.[Pg 172]

Stringent orders were issued by Gen. Smith to arrest any man found in possession of fresh meat, for which he could give no satisfactory account. Several arrests had been made and the captured meat had been confiscated and appropriated by the provost guard to their own use, benefit and behoof. To the men engaged in these depredations, justified in their eyes by the shortness of their rations, these captures became a little monotonous and they determined to find some means of retaliation. One day a soldier was seen tramping through the woods with a suspicious looking sack swinging from his shoulder and one of the guard ordered him to halt. Instead of obeying the command he gave leg bail and the guard started in pursuit.

The forager encumbered with the weight of his plunder finally dropped it and made his escape. The sack was found to contain, apparently, a leg of mutton nicely dressed, which was turned over to the officer in command.

In view of this tempting addition to the bill of fare, a brother officer, who has since turned his sword into a spatula and is as well versed now in drugs as he was then in tactics, was an invited guest at the midday meal that day. Ample justice was done to the menu by all concerned and all went merry as a marriage bell until the command had halted for the night and the men, wearied by the day's march, were resting around their camp fires. And then a change came o'er the spirit of their dream.[Pg 173] From one end of the camp, up through the stillness of the evening air, there rose a cry, that like of noise of many waters, rang and reverberated to its farthest bounds, "Who ate the dog?" And as its echoes died away, from another camp fire in the same stentorian tones there came the answer, "Lieut ——," naming the officer of the provost guard. And on through the entire evening, at brief intervals and without the stimulus of an encore the program was repeated. And now as there flitted across the mental vision of the officer aforesaid the memory of the mutton chops that had seemed so savory and toothsome, there came to him a dim suspicion that he had been the victim of misplaced confidence. Was it mutton or was it dog? As he debated the question pro and con, he was forced to admit with Shakespeare that "all that glitters is not gold," and with Longfellow, that "things are not what they seem," and with Whittier that—

"Of all sad thoughts of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these, it might have been"—a dog.

And now if the spirit of Poe will pardon me,

All this dark and dread suspicion
Of such canine deglutition,
As it crossed his mental vision
Leading not to height elysian,
Made him sad and made him sadder,
Made him mad and made him madder,
And his soul from out its shadow
Shall be lifted, nevermore.
[Pg 174]

For weeks and months, and indeed until the war closed, this canine ghost would never down. He was not allowed to forget it. He was taunted and barked at and dogged so constantly that no Lethean waters could wash out the maddening memory. And the bitterness of it all was that the perpetrators of the joke would give no intimation as to the special breed that graced his table that winter day, whether

"Mongrel, puppy, whelp or hound
Or cur of low degree."

The size of the ham precluded the possibility of its having been a bench-legged fice, but there was the torturing reflection that it might have been what Mark Twain has termed the Ishmael of his race, the "yaller dog," who if Mark is to be credited, has been "cursed in all his generations and relations in his kindred by consanguinity and affinity and in his heirs and assigns—cursed with endless hunger with perpetual fear with perennial laziness with hopeless mange, with incessant fleas and with his tail between his legs."

These unpleasant reflections were, however, not confined to the officer in command of the provost guard. A part of the meat had been sent to brigade headquarters and it was said that an aide on the general's staff, who had eaten very freely of the dish, suffered on learning of its origin so serious a gastric disturbance that he vom[Pg 175]ited, as a colored brother once put it, from Genesis to Revelations.

"I know not how the truth may be,
I tell the tale as 'twas told to me."

Regretting my inability, for reasons already stated, to answer this inquiry more definitely, I can only say in conclusion as I heard Bob Toombs once say in another connection, "In spite of compromises, concessions and constitutions this question still marches onward for its solution," who ate the dog?


Army life is not specially conducive to personal cleanliness, nor to a high regard for the minor proprieties of life. A young lady visiting Camp McKenzie, near Augusta, Ga., during the Spanish-American war, was shocked by seeing a soldier drop a piece of bread upon the ground and after picking it up resume its mastication. If this sketch should meet her eye, that feeling will probably be reawakened and intensified:

During the later years of the Confederate war wash basins in camp were an unknown quantity. The morning ablution, if performed at all, was managed by pouring water on the hands from a canteen. Lieut. Blanchard, I remember, always held his hands in cup shape until they were filled and then dropped one, spilling all the liquid and washing his face with the moistened palm of the other. In the bitter cold and constant marching of[Pg 176] the Nashville campaign I am satisfied that some of the boys did not wash their faces nor comb their hair at less than weekly intervals. As evidence of the infrequency of "bath tub nights" for reasons stated, I recall the fact that I lost a calico handkerchief and thought I had dropped it on the march. Some weeks afterwards in removing my outer clothing for the first time after its disappearance, I found it hidden away underneath the back of my vest. On our return to Corinth, Miss., my mess took their underclothing to a lady to be washed and as they had been wearing it a month or more without change, they apologized for its condition. "No apology is necessary," she said, "I have washed some for Forrest's cavalry that was so stiffened with dirt that they were able to stand alone."

How we managed to keep our pedal extremities in a cleanly condition I do not recall save in a single instance and this, it is perhaps not amiss to say, was an exceptional case and not a company custom. A member of the Oglethorpes one day began his preparations for the midday meal. One of the cooking utensils was missing and he sang out, "Where is the oven?" A messmate some distance away shouted back, "Can't you wait till I finish washing my feet in it?" I am not prepared to testify as to the flavor of the bread that day as fortunately, I was not a member of that particular mess.

[Pg 177]


It has been my purpose in these records to present the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. It has not been my purpose to do any wrong, express or implied, to any member of either of the human or the canine race. In justice therefore to the truth of history and to the "yaller dog" as well, it is perhaps proper to say that since penning the preceding "dog" sketch, an old comrade has informed me that the "mutton (?) ham" to which allusion was made in that sketch, had its origin in the anatomy of a "brindle" dog and not of one, who as Mark Twain says, "slinks through life in a diagonal dog trot as if in doubt which end is entitled to the precedence." My comrade claims to speak from personal knowledge and not from hearsay testimony, and as his statement has not been induced by the fear of punishment or the hope of reward, its credibility can not be impeached. He says that the dog in question had grown old in the service of his master and on account of age and meritorious service had been placed on the retired list with full pay as to rations, personal care, etc.; that in the enjoyment of the otium cum dignitate attendant upon these conditions he had grown "fat" if not fair and forty; that in an evil hour he was enticed away from the retirement of his home and with malice aforethought slaughtered in cold blood while his juicy hams were nicely dressed to tickle the palates of the provost guard.[Pg 178]

As the yaller dog has already had assigned to him as many of the ills that flesh is heir to as he can reasonably bear, it gives me pleasure to make this amende honorable and to relieve him in this special instance of any of the "white man's burden" even as an involuntary particeps criminis in the transaction under consideration. Before giving final dismissal to the subject it may not be amiss to say for the benefit of the hospitable host and the appreciative guest at that midday meal that if, as physiologists contend, every atom of our physical organism undergoes a complete metamorphosis in every seven years of our existence, it should comfort them to know that 28 years and seven months ago by exact calculation, the last lingering trace of canine flavor in their muscles, bones and blood and epidermis likewise had

Gone glimmering through the dream
Of things that were, a schoolboy's tale,
The wonder of an hour.


In concluding these reminiscences of the Nashville campaign, a campaign so fraught with disaster to our cause, I am glad to throw over them at their close the glamour of an incident that in its display of infinite courage gilds with its glory even the gloom of defeat. In a subsequent sketch I shall have occasion to pay some tribute to the conspicuous gallantry of the color-bearer of the First Florida regiment in our last charge at Bentonville. Under the inspiration of the "Rebel Yell" and[Pg 179] the contagious enthusiasm and excitement of a charge men may have made reputations for courage they would not sustain when subjected to the test of "simply standing and dying at ease." This man, however, George Register by name, was tried in both furnaces and came out pure gold.

The incident referred to occurred at the battle of Franklin, Nov. 30, '64. The failure of a staff officer to promptly deliver Hood's order to Cheatham at Spring Hill had allowed Schofield to escape when the interposition of a single division across his front would have resulted in the capture of his army and would have ensured the success of the campaign. And now the Federal army lay at Franklin heavily entrenched while Hood, fretting over the blunder, determined to retrieve it by an assault upon their works. Forrest protested that it would be a useless sacrifice of life, would probably end in failure and offered to flank Schofield out of his position in two hours if furnished a single division of infantry to co-operate with his cavalry. Hood could not be argued out of his purpose to fight and ordered his army into line. Cleburne rode down his lines as his division filed into position and passing an old friend, a captain in the ranks, he noticed that he was barefooted and that his feet were bleeding. Stopping and dismounting he asked the captain to pull off his boots and then requested him to try them on his own feet. In reply to the captain's protest he said, "I am tired wearing boots and can do with[Pg 180]out them," and then he rode away to lead his last charge. Gen. Granbury, commanding a Texas brigade in Cleburne's division, rode out in front of his men and said, "Boys, two hours work this evening will shorten the war two years." Two hours later, on that short November afternoon, the very flower of Hood's army lay dead or dying in front of the Federal breastworks. Among them lay Cleburne, Granbury, Adams, Gist, Strahl and Carter, six general offices, a larger number than fell in three day's fighting at Gettysburg, or any battle field in the four years' struggle.

Under the murderous leaden hail that swept the open field over which they passed, the First Florida Regiment was ordered to lie down to secure some immunity from the fire that was rapidly thinning their ranks. The entire regiment sank to the ground, save one of their number. The color-bearer, unwilling to lower his flag, yet willing to show his foe how a brave man could die, refused to avail himself of the partial protection which a change in position would bring, and standing erect, calmly faced the storm of shot and shell; faced it unmoved, while seven of the eight color guards lying at his feet were killed or wounded; faced it unflinchingly while the staff he held in his brave right hand was three times shattered by hostile shot; faced it without a tremor while the folds of his tattered flag were thirty times rent and torn by hissing minies or shrieking shell; faced it calmly until the blessedness of night had come to end the car[Pg 181]nival of death, and stood there at its close the very incarnation of courage and yet without the smell of fire on his garments or the mark of shot or shell on his grey-clad form.

I know not whether he still survives. I know not whether his radiant deed has found a fitting recognition save in the memory of surviving comrades. But living or dead, famous or forgotten, my hat goes off to you today, George Register, in loving admiration of a heroism that in soldierly devotion to the colors that you bore, crowns you an immortal and rises to the region of the morally sublime.

[Pg 182]



A weeks' stay in the vicinity of Corinth, Miss., and orders were received for the transfer of Stewart's and Cheatham's corps to the East to aid Hardee in an effort to prevent a junction of the armies of Grant and Sherman.


Transportation by rail was furnished only to the sick and barefooted, who were ordered to report at Corinth at daylight, Jan. 10th. Weakened by an attack of chill and fever I joined the sick squad, which left camp at 1 a. m., tramped through the mud and rain, waded several streams and reached Corinth in the early morning with our clothing wet to our knees. In this condition, with no opportunity to dry our drenched garments, we rode in a box car without fire on a cold winter day from 8 a. m. until 3 p. m. The car was crowded and the heating arrangements were confined to such exercise as we could take in the limited space we were forced to occupy. I had never been taught to "trip the light fantastic toe" and the figures I cut that day were more continuous than graceful. At 3 p. m. I told the Oglethorpes, who were[Pg 183] with me, John Kirkpatrick and Will Dabney among them, I remember, that while I was willing to die in a soldierly way in battle, I did not propose to freeze to death, and suggested that in order to secure an opportunity to thaw, we stop at the next station, which chanced to be Baldwin, Miss. The motion was carried unanimously, though not by a rising vote, as we already occupied from necessity a standing position, our car having no furniture except a floor and a door. To give the reader some gauge of the condition of the railroads in that section at that stage of the war, it is only necessary to say that we had traveled only 31 miles in 7 hours. We were kindly received by a Mr. Kent, an old citizen of Baldwin, who regretted his inability to furnish us anything but shelter and fire, as he had been foraged upon by Yankees and Confederates alike until there was very little meal in the barrel or oil in the cruse and "no prophet in all the land to bless the scanty store." When the evening meal was ready, however, he came to our room and with an apology to my comrades for failing to include them in the invitation, he pressed the writer to share his humble fare. Whether this discrimination in my favor was due to my good looks, my winning ways or the appearance of chronic hunger in my face, has remained to this day an unsolved problem. And yet whatever may have been the right solution, it gives me pleasure through this humble record to waft back over the waste of years my earnest appreciation of his kindness to a sick and underfed Confederate.

[Pg 184]


No train passed next morning and we tramped down the railroad for 12 miles, stopping at Saltillo for the night. None of us were well, the weather was cold and to avoid sleeping on the damp, bare ground we began to reconnoiter for better lodging. By reason possibly of the favorable impression made by the writer on our host at Baldwin, I was made spokesman for the occasion. Knocking at the residence of a Mrs. B. I stated our condition in as impressive language as I could command and emphasized our desire to avoid the exposure of sleeping on the cold, damp ground. To this she replied that she was a widow, living there alone, that she knew nothing of us, and that while she disliked to turn off Confederate soldiers, she could not feel that it would be proper or prudent for her to entertain a company of utter strangers. "Well, madame," I replied, "I appreciate your position and if you feel the slightest hesitancy, we will not insist." "Walk in sir," she replied, "You can stay." She told me afterwards that if I had pressed my appeal she would have turned us away, but that my failure to do so convinced her that we were gentlemen. It may be as well to confess that I had anticipated such an objection and had framed my reply to meet it.

During the evening she told us with quivering lips, of the death of her soldier boy in Virginia, of her sad mission in visiting the battle field to recover his body and lay it away in the old family burying ground, and spoke[Pg 185] so feelingly of her attachment to our cause that on retiring to our room I remember that we entertained some fears that an offer of compensation for our entertainment might offend her. The sum total of our financial assets, as I recollect it, was a $20 Confederate bill owned by Will Dabney. On taking our leave next morning we tendered it in payment of our bill, thinking, of course, that she would decline it with thanks, but we had reckoned without our host or at least without our hostess. She accepted it with the remark that it would exactly square the account, and we were turned out on the cold charity of the world without a cent.

'Twas the last of our assets,
Gone glimmering alone.
All its blue-backed companions
Were wasted and gone,
No bill of its kindred
Nor greenback was night,
Not even a "shinplaster"
To spend for pie.

In justice to our kind-hearted hostess, and lest some reader should imagine that her charges were really extravagant, it is proper to say that she had given five hungry soldiers a sumptuous supper and breakfast, had lodged us on snowy feather beds and had accepted in payment what was equivalent to one dollar or less in good money. If the condition of our finances needs any[Pg 186] explanation it may be found in the fact that our last pay day had occurred just 12 months and ten days before.

But I am spinning out these little incidents at too great length. Resuming our march we were overtaken by our command and tramped with it to Tupelo, where we remained 12 days. On January 25th we boarded the cars for Meridian, but the train was overloaded and we traveled only 18 miles in 12 hours, not very rapid transit. In order to lighten the load two cars were detached and in one of them Lieut. Goetchius and ten of the Oglethorpes, including the writer chanced to be passengers. After two days' tramp through the "Prairie Lands" of Mississippi, our squad secured transportation, rejoining our command at Meridian, Jan. 29. Thence by rail to McDowell's Landing, by boat to Demopolis, by rail to Selma and by boat to Montgomery, reaching that place 1 p. m., Feb. 1st. The preceding night was a very cold one and as we were deck passengers and no heating arrangements had been provided, a fire was built of fat pine on a pile of railroad iron. Frank Lamar, I remember, sat on the leeward side of the fire with the black smoke pouring into his face all night, and next day could have played the role of negro minstrel without the use of burnt cork. The writer kept his temperature above the freezing point by volunteering as an aid to the fireman in the engine room.

Leaving Montgomery Feb. 2d, we reached Columbus,[Pg 187] Ga., late in the afternoon and on our arrival were met by a delegation of ladies, who greeted us with a speech, a song and a supper. My journal, I regret to say, records the fact that the supper was last but not least in the degree of appreciation meted out to the trio by the boys. Passing through Macon Feb. 3d, we arrived at Midway at 2 a. m. of the 4th and remained there a day drawing clothing and blankets. Leaving the railroad we marched through Milledgeville on the 5th, but did not stop to investigate the condition of Gov. Brown's "collard patch." Reaching Mayfield on the 7th we boarded the cars again, lay over at Camak and arrived at Augusta on the evening of the 8th, the brigade going into camp near Hamburg and the Oglethorpes remaining with friends and relatives in the city.


Sixteen miles away, embowered in a grove of oak and elm, lay the home I had left, holding within the sacred shadow of its walls all that I loved best on earth. For nearly two months no tidings had come to me from them. We had been so constantly on the move that the letters written had never reached me. The latest message received had told me of my father's illness, but its tone gave me hope of his early recovery. Our passage through Augusta gave me the privilege of revisiting the old homestead, but it was a sad home-coming. Twice since I had left it last the family circle had been broken[Pg 188] and the shadow of death had fallen on its hearthstone. A few short months before in the autumnal haze of a September day, as sweet a sister as brother ever owned had breathed out her young life just as she was budding into womanhood. And now only a week before I entered its portals again my father, worn out by the added burdens imposed by the absorption of younger physicians in the military service, had been laid away beneath the shadow of the trees in the city of the dead. The reader will pardon, I trust, the filial tribute to his worth that comes unbidden from my heart today. Beyond and above any partial judgment born of the love I bore him, I have always thought him the best and purest man I have ever known. It may be that no human life can claim perfection and yet if his knew aught of fault or blemish in all the years from boyhood to the grave, no human eye could see it. In lofty purpose and in lowly, unremitting faithfulness to duty he lived above the common plane of men, serving his generation by the will of God, doing justly, loving mercy, walking humbly in all the paths his Master's feet had trod and dying in the noontide of his usefulness, he left to those who loved him, a name as pure and stainless as the snows that winter's breath have heaped upon his grave.

After ten days' rest at home, in company with eight comrades of the Oglethorpes, I left Augusta Feb. 20 to rejoin my command in upper South Carolina, reaching[Pg 189] it after six days' tramp, near Pomaria. I recall only two or three incidents of that trip, that are seemingly worthy of record in these pages. The night of Feb. 21 was spent near the residence of Mr. Johnson Bland, who kindly sent to our bivouac an ample supply of edibles for our evening meal. After they had been disposed of, the negro messenger, who had brought the supplies, entertained us with a learned disquisition on a species of ghosts, which he termed "hanks." Harrison Foster, with his usual taste for scientific research, wanted to know how the presence of these hanks could be detected and was informed that if in traveling at night he felt the sudden touch of a warm breath of air on his face he might rest assured that it was a "hank." Possibly to test the sincerity of his conviction on the subject or to guard our slumbers from the disturbing influence of an inroad of these restless spirits of the night, Harrison gave the negro a gun and posted him as a lone sentry in an adjacent graveyard.

The next night was spent at the residence of Major Dearing. The family were all away and Mr. Smith, who had charge of the plantation, kindly gave us the use of the dwelling for the night. It was very handsomely furnished and to the credit of our squad I desire to record the fact that while silver forks and spoons were lying loosely around the dining room, not one of them disappeared when we took our departure. There were no Ben Butlers among us. Two nights later we slept in a[Pg 190] Universalist church, said to be haunted, not by "hanks," but by the ghost of its former pastor, Mr. Stitch. My journal records the further fact that on the evening before we rejoined our command the entire squad suffered from an aggravated attack of the "blues." In whatever way the fact may be accounted for, there is but one other similar entry for the four years' service. An hour or two after reaching the camp of our regiment we began the march for Chester, reaching that place March 5th. Remaining there until the 10th we left by rail for Charlotte, but by reason of an accident, failed to arrive at our destination until the evening of the 11th. On the 12th we moved on to Salisbury, remained there until the 17th, when the train took us to Smithfield. A march of 16 miles on the 18th enabled us to rejoin our corps near Bentonville.


During the Confederate Reunion in Atlanta, Ga., in '98, a man with kindly eyes and grizzled beard approached me with extended hand and said, "Do you know me?" His face seemed familiar, but I was forced to confess that I could not exactly place him. "Do you know where I saw you last?" I was compelled to admit that I was still in the dark as to his identity. "Well," said he, "it was behind the biggest kind of a pine." "Now I know you, Sam Woods," said I. That pine supplied the missing link in my memory and furnished likewise a link in the present sketch.[Pg 191]

Our junction with Hardee's force had placed us again under Joe Johnston—the same Joe whose displacement at Atlanta had perhaps as much to do with the collapse of the Confederacy as the failure of Pickett's charge at Gettysburg, the Joe of whom Bill Arp said he would walk ten miles on a rainy night to look into his hazel eyes and feel the grip of his soldier hand—the Joe of whom Capt. Picquet said, as he rode by us on his mettled bay at the battle of Resaca, "Boys, I always feel safer when that man is around"—the same Joe who, when asked by Col. Geo. A. Gordon at Dalton how he managed to manoeuver an army in the woods in battle, replied, "Well, Colonel, I have to depend largely on my corps commanders; they rely on the Major Generals, who in turn depend on the brigadiers, the brigadiers on the Colonels, the Colonels on the Captains, but," said he, "thank God, we all have to rely on the private at last."

By 10 a. m., March 19th, the day after our arrival at Bentonville, we were in line of battle, fronting a large part of Sherman's army. Our regiment depleted by sickness and death and capture and possibly "French leave" as we came through Georgia, had only a hundred men in its ranks—the Oglethorpes only nineteen. We had no field officer and, as I remember, only one captain, one lieutenant and an orderly sergeant for the ten companies. At one stage in the fight that followed the orderly sergeant was the ranking officer in the regiment.[Pg 192]

Soon after taking our position, near the extreme right of the line, an assault was made by the enemy and was repulsed. About midday Gen. Bate, commanding our corps, gave the order to advance. In our front and gently sloping upwards for three hundred yards was an old field dotted with second growth pines, and two hundred and fifty yards beyond its highest point on the descending slope lay the Federal breastworks awaiting us. Closing in to the left as we advanced, we passed over the bodies of the enemy who had been killed in the assault and whose faces, from exposure to the sun, had turned almost black. Reaching the top of the slope we came in view of the Federal line and if our eyes had been closed our ears would have given us ample evidence of the fact. The rattle of the Enfields and the hiss of the minies marked the renewal of our acquaintance with our old antagonists of the Dalton and Atlanta campaign. Down the slope we charged until half the distance had been covered and the enemy's line is only a hundred yards away. The "zips" of the minies get thicker and thicker and the line partially demoralized by the heavy fire suddenly halts. Frank Stone is carrying the colors (Cleburne's division flag—a blue field with white circle in the center) and he and I jump for the same pine. It is only six inches thick and will cover neither of us fully, but we divide its protective capacity fairly. Fifteen or twenty feet to my left there is an exclamation of pain and as I turn to look Jim Beasley clasps his hand to his face as the blood spurts from his cheek.[Pg 193]

My cartridge box has been drawn to the front of my body for convenience in loading as well as for protection and as I look to the front again a ball strikes it, and strikes so hard that it forces from me an involuntary grunt. Frank hears it and turns to me quickly, "Are you hurt?" I said I believed not and proceed to investigate. The ball passing through the leather and tin had struck the leaden end of a cartridge and being in that way deflected had passed out the right side of the box instead of through my body. Thirty or forty feet to the right the gallant color-bearer of the First Florida, whose heroism at Franklin has already received notice in these records, is making his way alone towards the breastworks at half speed, with his flag held aloft, fifty yards in front of the halted ranks. Inspired by his example or recovering from the temporary panic, the line moves forward again, and the enemy desert their breastworks and make for the rear at a double-quick. Leaping the entrenchments, a hatchet, frying pan and Enfield rifle lie right in my path. Sticking the pan and hatchet in my belt, I drop my Austrian gun and seizing the Enfield I see across the ravine a group of the enemy running up the hill. Aiming at the center of the squad I send one of their own balls after them, but the cartridge is faulty and fails to reach its mark. We pursue them for half a mile and the disordered ranks are halted to be re-formed. Capt. Hanley, formerly of Cleburne's staff, calls for volunteer skirmishers and John Kirkpatrick is first to respond. Turning to me he[Pg 194] says, "Come on Walter." The writer is not advertising for that sort of a job, but the call is a personal one and not caring to let the boys know how badly scared I am, I step out of the ranks. Will Dabney, though laboring under a presentiment that he was to be killed that day, joins us, as do others whose names are not recalled. Deploying and advancing through the woods we are soon in range of the minies again. Lieut. Hunter, a little to our left, is struck and tumbles forward on his head. Will calls out to me that Hunter is killed, but he is mistaken. The lieutenant regains his feet and finds that the wound is confined to his canteen. Advancing further I find a lady's gaiter and a glass preserve dish dropped by the enemy and probably stolen from some Southern home. Capt. Matt Hopkins, of Olmstead's regiment, picks up a book similarly dropped, but does not carry it long before a minie knocks it from his hand. The line of battle follows in our wake but before it reaches us a ball strikes John Miller, passing directly through his body, and he turned to the color-bearer and said, "Frank, I'm killed." Frank replied, "I hope not John." The line presses on and John lies down under the pines to die. In a little while Frank is disabled by a wound in the side and turns the colors over to Billy Morris. The regiment reaches the position occupied by the skirmish line and under heavy fire we are ordered to lie down. Sam Woods and the writer seek the shelter of a large pine and while kneeling together behind it a minie passes[Pg 195] through Sam's hand and thigh and he limps to the rear. Advancing again, we are halted just before night by a pond or lagoon in our front. A friendly log lies near its edge and we lie down behind it. A Federal battery open on us and the color-bearer of Olmstead's 1st Ga. regiment is knocked six or eight feet and disemboweled by a solid shot as it plows through the ranks. As the litter-bearers are carrying off another wounded man from the same regiment he begs piteously for his haversack, which has been left behind. They are under fire and refuse to halt. One of the Oglethorpes, in pity for the poor fellow, leaves the protection of his log and running up the line secures the haversack, takes it to him, then hastens back to his position.

Night comes on, the firing ceases and the fight is ended. We have driven the enemy more than a mile, have captured a number of prisoners and have suffered comparatively little loss. Of the 19 Oglethorpes only one has been killed and three wounded, though thirteen others bear on their bodies, clothing or equipment marks of the enemy's fire, some of them in three or four places. Frank Stone, in addition to the wound in his side and a hole through his sleeve, has a chew of tobacco taken off by a ball that passes through his pocket. John Kirkpatrick has his canteen ventilated, Sol Foreman and Will Dabney find the meal in their haversacks seasoned with minies instead of salt, and the writer, in addition to the demoralization of his cartridge box, finds a hole in[Pg 196] his haversack and thirteen in his folded blanket, all probably made by a single ball. Relieved from our position in the line by Harrison's regiment, by the aid of torches we find John Miller's body and near it a naked arm taken off at the elbow by a cannon ball. Placing them on a blanket, John Kirkpatrick, Will Dabney, the writer and another comrade carry them nearly half a mile to an open field and give them as decent burial as we can.

War's casualties, alas, are not all counted on the battlefield. From dread suspense that comes between the battle and the published list of slain and wounded, from the wearing agony of a separation that seems so endless, and the weary watching for footsteps that never come again, they fall on gentle hearts in lonely homes far removed from the smoke and din of musketry and cannon, not suddenly, perhaps, but sometimes just as surely as if by deadly missile on the firing line. John was an only child and far away in his Georgia home his stricken parents rendered childless by his death, mourned in their loneliness for "the touch of a vanished hand" until broken hearted they, too, were laid away in the narrow-house appointed for all the living.

On the following day the remainder of Sherman's army came up and two divisions secured a position in our rear, but were driven back. A regiment of Texas cavalry made a successful charge in this engagement, holding their bridle reins in their mouths and a navy[Pg 197] pistol in each hand. A gallant son of Gen. Hardee went in with them as a volunteer and was killed in the charge. Our division was not engaged, there being only skirmishing in our front. Harrison Foster and Billy Morris were on the picket line and under a misapprehension of an order of Gen. Bate, who was riding over the line with his crutches strapped to his saddle, they advanced to a point within close range of the Yankee trenches. Subjected to a heavy fire, they took refuge behind a pile of rails. While lying there Billy was struck in the face and the pain of the wound led him to think that he was severely hurt. An investigation, however, showed that a minie ball had shattered a rail and had driven a splinter into the flesh. There was renewed skirmishing on the 21st, but as a company our last gun had been fired. Johnston, finding his force of less than 20,000 men too small to cope with Sherman's entire army, evacuated his position on the 22d and retired to the vicinity of Smithfield. Here we remained until April 10th, when under an Act of the Confederate Congress, the army was re-organized. The numbers in each military organization had become so reduced that it was found necessary to consolidate divisions into brigades, brigades into regiments, and regiments into battalions. The 1st, 57th and 63rd Ga. were merged into the First Volunteer Regiment of Ga., the 54th Ga. forming a battalion. The Oglethorpes alone of the ten companies of our regiment, retained their separate and original organization. Lieut. Wilber[Pg 198]force Daniel was made captain, with Charles T. Goetchius and Geo. W. McLaughlin as first and second lieutenants. Lieut. A. W. Blanchard was promoted to the captaincy of Co. K, formed of companies E, F, and G, and the writer, at Capt. Blanchard's request, was made an officer in the same company, Will Dabney being also transferred and given the position of orderly sergeant. I am glad to be able to say to the credit of the Oglethorpes, that the consolidation not only failed to reduce the rank of any of their officers, as was the case in other companies, but that it resulted in the promotion of them all and in addition to this another company in the new regiment was practically officered by them.

As soon as the re-organization had been completed we began our southward march, passing through Raleigh and Chapel Hill and reaching the vicinity of Greensboro on April 16th. Appomatox had become history, and a truce of ten days was agreed upon by Johnston and Sherman, with a view to ending the war. On the 17th and 18th rumors were current that the army was to be surrendered and numbers of the troops left their commands, unwilling to submit to the seeming humiliation. To stop this movement Johnston issued an order informing the army that negotiations for peace were going on between the governments, and on April 28th the terms of the Military Convention, agreed to on the 26th were published. Lee's surrender had shattered the last hope of Confederate success and a prolongation of the strug[Pg 199]gle would have been a useless and criminal sacrifice of life.

A report of President's Lincoln assassination had reached our camp and a number of us went over one night to the quarters of Gen. John C. Brown, our division commander, to ascertain the correctness of the rumor. To the question, "Is Lincoln dead?" he replied, "Yes, he's very dead." "Well, General, what do you propose to do when you get home?" "I am going to join the Quakers," he said, "My fighting days are over." On May 2d our paroles arrived and were signed up and on the 3rd we began our march for Georgia, making the trip of 230 miles in 11 days. In evidence of South Carolina's loyalty to the cause, even in its dying hours, I recall the fact that while passing through its territory on our homeward march, no man or woman refused to accept Confederate money for any purchase made by us. Although then

"Representing nothing on God's green earth,
And naught in the waters below it,"

in Carolina, at least,

"Like our dream of success—it passed."

Reaching Augusta May 13th, we divided the teams allowed us for transportation and with one dollar and twenty cents in silver paid us at Greensboro for fifteen months' service, we bade our comrades in arms a tender[Pg 200] and affectionate farewell, broke ranks for the last time, and turned our weary steps homeward.

The flag we had followed for four years was furled forever and the Southern Confederacy was a thing of the past.


I would be doing violence to the expressed wishes of an old comrade and messmate, one whose friendship for me was born at the camp fire, and was strengthened and intensified by common hardship and danger, if I were to close these records without adding a word in behalf of the cause for which we fought. Were these four wasted years? Was the war on the part of the South only a wicked rebellion, as our Northern friends have been pleased to term it?

Speaking only for myself as a humble unit in the four years' struggle, and yet feeling assured that I fairly represent a vast majority of my Confederate comrades, I can say that I never kneeled at my mother's knee in childhood with a deeper sense of duty nor a purer feeling of devotion than impelled me when, with her tear-wet kiss upon my boyish lips, I left the old homestead to take my humble station under the "Stars and Bars." I can say further that looking backward over the record of the years, that Providence has kindly granted me, no four of them come back to me with a deeper sense of satisfaction than those which marked my service as a[Pg 201] Confederate soldier. The convictions formed in those old days of the absolute righteousness of the cause for which we fought have only strengthened with the passing years. While the South failed in its purpose to secure separate national existence I have never felt that in the struggle it had anything to regret but failure. Despite the tremendous odds against which it fought, despite the fact that it entered the contest without an army, without a navy, without military supplies, with the sentiment of its border States hopelessly divided, and with the sympathies of the world against it, but for the loss of its ablest Western leader in his first battle, it would not, as I believe, have had even failure to regret. If Albert Sidney Johnston had not fallen on that fateful April Sabbath when Grant's demoralized and beaten legions were cowering under the river bank at Shiloh, he would, in my belief, have duplicated in the West, Lee's victories in the East and Appomatox and Greensboro would have had no place in Southern history. Even in '64, if President Davis had heeded the appeals of Gov. Brown and Gen. Johnston, of Howell Cobb and Joe Wheeler, Sherman's constant apprehension during the Dalton and Atlanta campaign would have become a reality. Forrest, the greatest cavalry leader of the war, and, in the opinions of Lee, Johnston and Sherman, the most brilliant genius developed by it, would have been turned loose on Sherman's rear; Atlanta would never have fallen, Lincoln would have failed of re-election and the "re[Pg 202]construction" that followed in the wake of the war would have been confined to the geography of the country, rather than to Southern State governments at the hands of carpet-baggers. Lincoln expected such a result and bent every energy to end the war before the peace sentiment of the North could find expression in the election of McClellan. The failure to utilize Forrest's genius in the destruction of Sherman's communication, the removal of Johnston and the resultant fall of Atlanta, turned the tide and the Confederacy was doomed.

Defeat brought with it some measure of humiliation, and yet it is pleasant to remember that our short-lived republic stands in history today "without a blot upon its honor and with no unrighteous blood upon its hands." With its territory scorched and scarred by a foe, in whose military lexicon the word "humanity" found no place, the South struck no blow below the belt. It fought with rifles, not with firebrands, and made its war upon armed foes, not upon helpless women and children. It had no brutal Shermans, nor Sheridans, nor Butlers, nor Hunters in its ranks, but it is pleasant to know that it left to the world the legacy of a Lee and a Stonewall Jackson, whose military record stands unmarred by the faintest shadow of a stain and unparalleled in Anglo Saxon history. While the North fought, not for the flag, not through sympathy for the slave, but by the admission of Lincoln himself, just as surely for commercial greed as if the dollar mark had been woven into every banner[Pg 203] that led its hosts to battle, it is a pleasant reflection that the South sought only to free itself from an alliance that had become offensive and dangerous to its liberties. And while Lincoln has been canonized as a martyred saint, I am glad to know that Jefferson Davis or Robert E. Lee would have suffered a thousand martyrdoms before they would have penned a proclamation deliberately intended not only to beggar a whole people but to subject innocent and helpless women and children to the horrors of a servile insurrection.

And so I feel assured that when in coming years posterity, unblinded by prejudice or passion, shall give to all the claimants in the Pantheon of Fame their just and proper meed, as high in purest patriotism as any rebel that fell at Lexington or starved at Valley Forge, as high in lofty courage as any hero that rode with Cardigan at Balaclava or marched with Ney at Waterloo, or fell beneath the shadow of the spears with brave Leonidas, will stand the rebel soldier of the South, clad in his tattered grey, beneath whose faded folds is shrined the Stars and Bars of an invisible republic, that lives in history only as a memory.

[Pg 204]


Co. B. 12th Ga. Battalion. Co. A, 63rd Ga. Reg.


Capt. J. V. H. Allen—Promoted Major 63rd Ga. July, 1863.

Capt. Louis A. Picquet—Wounded May 28, '64, leg amputated.

Capt. Wilberforce Daniel—Died in 1898.

Lieut. W. G. Johnson—Died since the war.

Lieut. *A. W. Blanchard—Wounded June 27, '64, promoted Capt. Co. K, 1st Ga., 1865.

Lieut. C. T. Goetchius—Living in Augusta, Ga., 1900.

Lieut. Geo. W. McLaughlin—Living in Augusta, Ga., 1900.

1st Serg. *W. A. Clark—Promoted 1st Lieut. Co. K, 1st Ga., April 10, '65.

2d Serg. *O. M. Stone—Promoted 1st Lieut. 66th Ga., '62.

2d Serg. J. W. Stoy—Captured July 23, '64, near Atlanta.

3d Serg. W. H. Clark—Promoted Asst. Surgeon, C. S. A., March, '63.

3d Serg. E. A. Dunbar—Promoted ensign, 1864.

3d Serg. R. B. Morris—Living in Augusta, Ga., 1900.

4th Serg. Jno. C. Hill—Living in Augusta, Ga., 1900.

5th Serg. S. C. Foreman—Wounded Jonesboro, Aug. 31, '64.[Pg 205]

Com. Serg. *W. J. Steed—Wounded June 27, '64, arm amputated.

1st Corp. *Burt O. Miller—Promoted Lieut. 47th Ga., May 5, '64.

1st Corp. Geo. G. Leonhardt—Wounded Atlanta, July 22, '64.

2d Corp. E. Thompson.

3d Corp. B. B. Fortson—Promoted ensign, died near Tuscumbia, Nov. 6, '64.

4th Corp. *L. A. R. Reab—Captured at Kennesaw, June 27, '64.

5th Corp. J. H. Warren—Living in Virginia, 1900.

6th Corp. W. H. Foster—Living in Augusta, Ga., 1900.

7th Corp. W. H. Pardue—Wounded at Kennesaw, June 27, '64.


*John Q. Adams—Wounded accidentally, Thunderbolt, July 12, '63.

W. F. Alexander—Living in Oglethorpe Co., 1900.

R. H. Allen—Living in Burke Co., 1900.

J. K. Arrington—Living in Alabama, 1900.

Philip Backus—Died since the war.

C. T. Bayliss—Killed at Kennesaw, June 27, '64.

Henry Beale.

*Jas. A. Beasley—Wounded at Bentonville, March 19, '65.[Pg 206]

C. W. Beatty—Died of disease, Aug. 31, '63.

*D. C. Blount.

Thos. Blount.

Geo. W. Bouchillon—Died since the war.

Jas. W. Bones.

Henry Booth—Wounded Peach Tree Creek, July 20, '64.

*T. F. Burbank—Wounded near Kingston, May 19, '64.

*W. W. Bussey—Wounded Huntsville, Aug. 11, '62, and Kennesaw, June 27, '64.

*J. L. Bynum—Wounded Atlanta, July 22, '64.

Wm. Byrd—Living in Columbia Co., 1898.

H. T. Campfield—Living in Augusta, Ga., 1900.

Jno. A. Carroll—Wounded June 18, '64, died of wound.

J. H. Casey—Wounded June 18, '64, died of disease July, '64.

Andy Chamblin—Died since the war.

W. L. Chamblin—Wounded and captured, Kennesaw, June 27, 64, leg amputated.

H. A. Cherry—Died since the war.

H. C. Clary—Living in Augusta, Ga., 1900.

E. F. Clayton—Transferred to 12th Ga. Batt., killed March 25, '65.

W. A. Cobb.

*J. R. Coffin—Captured, Kennesaw, June 27, '64.

W. S. Coffin.[Pg 207]

W. C. Colbert—Died since the war.

W. C. Corley.

A. N. Cox—Transferred to 24th So. Ca., June, '64.

H. C. Cox—Transferred to 24th So. Ca., June, '64.

C. M. Crane—Promoted Q. M. Serg. 1st Ga., Apr. '65.

Floyd Crockett—Died since the war.

H. M. Cumming—Acting Asst. Surgeon 63d Ga., '64.

M. B. Crocker—Died of disease in hospital July 20, '64.

Miles H. Crowder—Wounded, Atlanta, July 22, '64, leg amputated.

*Wm. A. Dabney—Wounded, Kennesaw, June 25, '64, promoted 1st Serg. Co. K, 1st Ga., April 10, '65.

Jno. B. Daniel—Living in Atlanta, Ga., 1900.

John M. Dent—Living in Waynesboro, Ga., 1900.

*Joseph T. Derry—Captured, Huntsville, Aug. '62, captured, Kennesaw, June 27, '64.

*Edgar R. Derry—Ordnance Serg. 12th Ga. Bat.

Wm. F. Doyle—Died since the war.

Wiley Eberhart.

J. R. Edwards.

J. L. Eubanks—Died since the war.

R. R. Evans—Living in Atlanta, Ga., 1900.

R. C. Eve—Promoted Asst. Surgeon, C. S. A.

*W. R. Eve—Captured at Kennesaw, June 27, '64.

J. L. Fleming—Living in Augusta, Ga., 1900.

L. F. Fleming—Disabled in R. R. accident, July 5, '62.[Pg 208]

W. T. Flannigan.

H. Clay Foster—Wounded, Atlanta, July 22, '64.

J. A. Garnett—Died of disease, Atlanta, June 19, '64.

Joel Gay.

C. G. Goodrich—Living in Augusta, Ga., 1900.

J. H. Goodrich.

Jno. C. Guedron—Died since the war.

Wm. Guedron—Died since the war.

Jno. A. Grant—Living in Atlanta, Ga., 1900.

S. M. Guy—Killed at Atlanta, July 22, '64.

S. H. Hardeman.

C. A. Harper—Died since the war.

J. E. Harper—Died since the war.

*Geo. A. Harrison—Captured, Kennesaw, June 27, '64.

R. W. Heard—Wounded, Kennesaw, June 29, '64.

J. T. Heard—Died since the war.

W. M. Heath—Died of disease, June, '64.

Geo. S. Heindel—Died since the war.

B. T. Hill—Died since the war.

H. L. Hill—Killed near Kingston, May 19, '64.

A. M. Hilzheim—Fatally wounded and captured, June 27, '64.

*V. G. Hitt—Promoted Asst. Surgeon in '62.

H. W. Holt—Transferred to Co. K, 63d Ga., Aug. '64.

John Hood.

T. J. Howard—Living in Lexington, Ga., 1900.

*W. T. Howard—Captured, Kennesaw, June 27, '64.

F. T. Hudson.[Pg 209]

J. T. Hungerford—Died since the war.

Theo. Hunter.

J. H. Ivey.

H. B. Jackson—Wounded near Dallas, May 27, '64.

J. A. Jones—Living in Texas, 1900.

W. H. Jones—Living in Columbia Co., 1900.

M. S. Kean—Died since the war.

Jno. C. Kirkpatrick—Living near Atlanta, Ga., 1900.

Cephas P. Knox—Fatally wounded near Kennesaw, June 18, '64.

W. T. Lamar—Living in Augusta, Ga., 1900.

Frank Lamar—Died since the war.

R. N. Lamar—Promoted Lieut. of Cavalry, Jan. 10, '65.

E. H. Lawrence—Died since the war.

J. W. Lindsey—Captured, Huntsville, Aug. 11, '62.

D. W. Little—Died since the war.

M. S. Lockhart—Wounded near Kennesaw, June 19, '64.

E. J. Lott—Fatally wounded and captured, June 27, '64.

T. E. Lovell—Died since the war.

A. T. Lyon—Company bugler.

A. D. Marshall—Captured, Kennesaw, June 27, '64.

C. O. Marshall—Transferred and promoted Lieut., '64.

Jno. T. May—Transferred to 12th Ga. Batt.

J. P. Marshall—Living in 1900.

T. W. McAfee—Living in Chattanooga, 1900.[Pg 210]

A. W. McCurdy—Wounded near Dallas, May 28, died June 12.

J. T. McGran—Died since the war.

*J. K. P. McLaughlin—Wounded, Atlanta, July 22, '64.

L. H. McTyre.

J. M. Miles.

T. A. Miles.

Jno. T. Miller—Wounded June 18, '64, near Kennesaw, killed at Bentonville, March 19, '65.

Wm. Megahee.

G. T. Mims.

*A. L. Mitchell—Wounded June 27, '64, at Kennesaw, arm amputated.

Geo. K. Moore—Died since the war.

*W. B. Morris—Wounded June 27, '64, Kennesaw.

Geo. D. Mosher—Living in Savannah, 1900.

St. John Nimmo—Transferred to Barnwell's Battery.

A. J. Norton—Missing near Murfreesboro, Dec. '64.

*H. J. Ogilsby—Wounded July 22, '64, Atlanta.

*J. H. Osborne—Promoted Serg. Major 1st Ga., April, '65.

F. C. O'Driscoll.

Alex Page.

S. A. Parish—Living in 1900.

J. O. Parks.

J. H. Patton.

J. F. Phillips—Missing June 16, '64, died in prison.[Pg 211]

J. C. Pierson—Transferred to 5th Ga., June, '64.

A. Q. Pharr—Died since the war.

A. Poullain—Transferred to 7th Ga. Cavalry.

T. N. Poullain—Died of disease Nov. 12, '63.

Geo. P. Pournelle—Missing June 27, '64, Kennesaw, probably killed.

Jabe Poyner—Living in Oglethorpe Co., 1898.

R. A. Prather—Living in 1898.

Joe Price.

W. H. Prouty—Died since the war.

W. H. Pullin.

R. A. Quinn—Wounded July 22, '64, Atlanta.

R. Quinn, Jr.

J. T. Ratcliff—Died of disease Nov. 5, '64, Tuscombia.

R. R. Reeves—Living in Columbia Co., 1900.

*W. H. Reeves—Wounded June 27, '64, Kennesaw.

Aaron Rhodes—Living in 1900.

J. Z. Roebuck—Died since the war.

Jere Rooks—Living in Richmond Co., 1900.

Obe Rooks—Fatally wounded July 22, '64, Atlanta.

B. F. Rowland—Wounded June 27, '64, Kennesaw.

W. Radford—Living in Columbia Co., 1900.

J. J. Russell—Living in Atlanta, Ga., 1900.

A. M. Rodgers—Died since the war.

Chas. Richter.

J. B. Rogers—Died since the war.

Geo. D. Rice—Died since the war.

J. M. Savage—Missing in Tennessee, Dec., '64.[Pg 212]

W. N. Saye—Living in Atlanta, 1900.

R. Stokes Sayre.

P. A. Schley—Living in Richmond Co., 1900.

J. L. Shanklin.

C. D. Sellars.

W. A. Sims—Died since the war.

M. C. Smith—Died since the war.

W. J. Smith—Wounded June 18, '64, near Kennesaw.

J. T. Steed—Wounded May 15, '64, died of disease, Oct. 10, '64.

— — Stevens—Died in '63, Thunderbolt.

Geo. R. Sibley—Q. M. Serg. 12th Ga. Batt.

A. W. Shaw—Died since the war.

*F. I. Stone—Wounded March 19, '65, Bentonville, promoted ensign, '65.

F. M. Stringer—Died since the war.

J. J. Stanford.

Robert Swain—Transferred to Co. K, 63d Ga., killed Sept. 3d, '64, Lovejoy Station.

Jas. Sullivan.

Elijah Stowe—Company fifer.

Floyd Thomas—Captured June 27, '64, Kennesaw.

J. E. Thomas—Died since the war.

Whit Thomas—Living in Richmond Co., 1900.

Jas. Thompson—Died of disease in '65, Montgomery.

R. F. Tompkins.

J. W. Tucker—Missing Dec. 1, '64, near Murfreesboro.[Pg 213]

Miles Turpin—Company drummer.

*Geo. J. Verdery—Living in North Augusta, 1900.

*Eugene F. Verdery—Wounded July 20, '64. Peachtree Creek.

R. W. Verdery—Died since the war.

J. C. Welch—Died of disease, Dec. '64.

R. A. Welch—Living in Richmond Co., 1900.

John Weigle—Wounded June 27, '64, Kennesaw, died of wound July 13.

W. H. Warren—Died since the war.

J. W. White—Died since the war.

G. W. Whittaker—Living in Richmond Co., 1900.

J. W. Whittaker.

J. O. Wiley—Wounded July 22, '64, Atlanta.

J. E. Wilson—Died Since the war.

R. T. Winter—Living in Richmond Co., 1900.

S. F. Woods—Wounded March 19, '65, Bentonville.

H. Womke—Drowned April 18, '63, Thunderbolt.

J. F. Wren.

W. T. Williams—Died since the war.

S. M. Wynn—Died since the war.

— — Wynn—Died '62, Knoxville, Tenn.

*In addition to those registered above as survivors in 1900, those marked with an asterisk are known or reported to me as still living. I regret my inability to secure a complete list of the survivors.

[Pg 214]



When the Oglethorpes offered their services to the Confederate government in '61 the married men in its ranks were, by a vote of the Company, excluded from the enlistment except as commissioned officers. After the departure of the Company for the seat of war the members, who were left behind, effected a new organization and were known as "Co. B." Their purpose was to organize for home defence, but in November, '61, they were ordered to Savannah by Gov. Brown, and were assigned to the 9th Regiment Ga. State troops, then in process of formation. Gen. W. H. T. Walker had thrown up his commission in Virginia because President Davis had seen fit to take from him the brigade he had organized and had assigned to its command his brother-in-law, Dick Taylor, who was subordinate in rank to every Colonel in the brigade. Gen. Walker could not brook what he deemed a pure case of nepotism, and on his return to Georgia he was placed in command of the brigade of State troops, to which the Oglethorpes, as Co. A, 9th Ga., had been assigned. The Company, on account of their proficiency in the manual of arms and in company evolution, became a sort of pet of Gen. Walker's and when his quarters were visited by ladies from[Pg 215] Savannah the Oglethorpes were ordered out to drill for the benefit of his fair guests. Mr. Frank H. Miller, who was a lieutenant in the company and afterwards adjutant of the regiment, by Gen. Walker's appointment, relates a characteristic incident that occurred during the General's service at Savannah as his commanding officer. One of his men had "run the blockade," had spent the night in Savannah and while hustling back to camp in the early morning hours, was overhauled by the sergeant in charge of the guard at the General's quarters. The soldier did not relish the idea of being placed under arrest for his escapade and backing himself against a tree he drew his knife and threatened to carve up any man who laid hands on him. The noise awakened Gen. Walker, who was sleeping in a tent near by, and rushing out en deshabille, he shouted, "What the d—l is the matter out here?" The sergeant, who seemed to be suffering with a nervous chill, stammered out, "He won't be arrested, General. He says he'll kill anybody that touches him." The General rushed up to the man and said, "Give me that knife, sir." The soldier handed it over with a smile on his face and the General saw as he took it that the weapon was entirely bladeless. Turning to the sergeant he said, "Turn that man loose. I won't have any man arrested who can back out a whole guard with a knife that hasn't got a blade in it." And the "blockade runner" went scot free.

In May, '62, their six months term of service having[Pg 216] expired, the company was mustered out at Augusta. A majority of its members soon effected a re-organization for regular Confederate service and the new company was ordered to Corinth, Miss., and for a time was assigned to the 5th Ga. Regiment, then serving in the brigade of Gen. John K. Jackson. Before leaving this camp the 2d Battalion Ga. Sharpshooters was organized, under the command of Major Jesse J. Cox, of Alabama, and the Oglethorpes became Co. C of that famous organization known in the Army of Tennessee, as "Cox's Wild Cats." For the remaining years of the war this battalion was identified with every movement and did gallant service in every engagement of the Western Army. As "Sharp-shooters" it fell to their lot to serve almost continuously on the skirmish line, opening every battle in which their division was engaged. Transferred from Tupelo to Chattanooga in the summer of '62, they took part in Bragg's Kentucky campaign and at its close were stationed for a time at Knoxville and then at Bridgeport, rejoining Bragg again in time to participate in the battle of Murfreesboro, Dec. 31, '62. During that engagement, at Gen. Polk's request, the battalion, with Jackson's brigade, was temporarily detached from Hardee's corps and was sent into the famous cedar thicket where they were exposed to the concentrated fire of Rosecranz's parked artillery and lost half their number. Among the casualties sustained by the Oglethorpes was the loss of their gallant commander, Capt. E. W. Ansley, and the[Pg 217] brave color-bearer of the battalion, Edward H. Hall. Lieut. M. G. Hester succeeded to the captaincy and the colors were given to Geo. F. Bass of the Oglethorpes, who seem to have furnished all the ensigns for the battalion. During the Kentucky campaign the colors had been borne by Corporal M. V. Calvin, and after the transfer of Bass to another command, they were entrusted to another Oglethorpe, Wm. Mulherin, who carried them with marked gallantry until his capture at the battle of Nashville, in the winter of '64.

Through the battles of Chickamauga and Missionary Ridge, with Johnston through the hundred days from Dalton to Atlanta, and with Hood at Franklin and Nashville, the "Wild Cats" sustained their hard-earned reputation as a fighting organization, closing up their soldierly record with the surrender of Johnston's army at Greensboro in April, '65, at which date Lieut. George P. Butler was in command of the Oglethorpes. A number of the gallant survivors of the company are still living in or near Augusta, among them, Orderly Sergeant Wm. K. Thompson, Serg. M. V. Calvin, Corp. Brad Merry, Corp. W. H. Miller, Musician W. B. White, Evans Morgan, W. H. Hendrix and W. D. Shaw.


Brad Merry's name recalls an incident that occurred at the Charleston Reunion in 1899. Brad and the writer had agreed to make the homeward trip together. On[Pg 218] reaching the train I failed to meet him. The coaches were crowded, but I finally secured a seat with a stranger, who after the formation of a railroad acquaintance, proved to be Rev. T. P. Cleveland, living near Atlanta. After a pleasant chat about our mutual friends in Atlanta and elsewhere, I strolled through the train in search of my friend Brad. Finding him in a forward coach, I chanced to say, with no special reason for making the statement, that I had a seat with a Rev. Mr. Cleveland. "What's his full name?" asked Brad, with a look of interest. "T. P." I replied. "Tom Cleveland! Why there isn't a man in the world I'd rather see. We were old schoolmates. Where is he?" Taking him back to my coach I said, "Mr. Cleveland, here's an old friend of yours, Brad Merry." The meeting was a very joyous one. As the glamour of the old days came over them and with glowing faces and happy hearts they talked of the long ago, a lady stepped across the aisle and said, "Didn't I hear this gentleman call you Mr. Brad Merry?" "You certainly did, madam," said Brad. "Why, Mr. Merry, I know you. Your battalion was camped near my father's house for a long time and you and your comrades came over nearly every evening and sang for us. We had mighty pleasant times together in those old war days." Brad's smile reached from his chin to the back of his neck as he grasped her hand and said, "I am delighted to see you again. I remember you distinctly. Your father had three girls, Virginia, Alabama and Tennessee." "Well," said[Pg 219] she, "this is Virginia," and pointing across the aisle to her sister, "there's Alabama." The ride to Augusta was no longer tiresome or tedious. In the renewal of their old time acquaintance and the revival of so many personal memories the hours sped swiftly and when I left the train Brad was using all his persuasive power to induce the entire party to stop over at Berzelia and brighten for a time his Pinetucky home.

They were strangers to me, but I enjoyed their happiness and was glad to have been the unconscious instrument in bringing them together again. But for the accident of my finding that special seat vacant, these four ships would have "passed in the night," possibly to hail each other no more until with wearied sail they cast their final anchor in the harbor that lies beyond the sunset.


(Company A, Ninth Regiment Georgia State Troops.)


Edwin W. Ansley, Captain.
Frank H. Miller, First Lieutenant.
Thomas H. Holleyman, Second Lieutenant.
M. G. Hester, Third Lieutenant.
Ed. F. Kinchley, Commissary.
W. C. Sibley, Secretary and Treasurer.
G. E. Boulineau, Orderly.
[Pg 220]G. W. Hersey, Second Sergeant.
S. A. Verdery, Third Sergeant.
Ed. E. Dortic, Fourth Sergeant.
W. A. Paul, First Corporal.
J. M. Weems, Second Corporal.
W. H. Frazer, Third Corporal.
James Heney, Fourth Corporal.


Armstrong, Pat.
Bruckner, J. D.
Butler, G. P.
Barrow, Wm.
Bailie, G. A.
Butt, Wm. P.
Cheesborough, Wm.
Chenell, John.
Calvin, M. V.
Cress, J. G.
Cheesborough, C. M.
DuBose, Robt. M.
Davis, Jas. S.
Duvall, R. B.
Davies, John N.
Day, John H.
Fleming, Peter L.
Gartrell, Jas. M.
Glover, Wm.
[Pg 221]Heard, Henry.
Henry, Jacob A.
Hett, Ed.
Hitt, Dan W.
Hubbard, Jas. C.
Jonas, Chas H.
Kerniker, Ed.
Kenner, Jas. H.
Lane, Lucius A.
Mulherin, Wm.
Marshall, Jno. D.
Merry, Brad.
Nunn, Tom P.
Norris, W. B.
Nelson, Tom C.
Niblett, Jas. M.
O'Hara, Thos.
Parker, Gustave A.
Phinizy, Thos. A.
Page, Alexander.
Richmond, H. P.
Roulette, Mike.
Shackleford, J. H.
Setze, Jno.
Shaw, Alfred W.
Simmons, R. R.
Smythe, Wm. W.
Stevens, Jno.
[Pg 222]Samuel, Wolfe.
Shaw, Wm. A.
Tant, Wm. D.
Tuttle, Dan W.
Thomas, Wm.
Thompson, Wm. K.
Travis, Luke.
Tant, Alexander.
Verdery, Eugene.
White, Wm. B.
Wiley, Landly J.
Wingfield, W. J.
Woodard, C. B.
Wolfe, Mike.
Youngblood, Sam. M.
Young, Jas. R.




Captain, Edwin W. Ansley.
First Lieutenant, M. G. Hester.
Second Lieutenant, Jas. M. Weems.
Third Lieutenant, E. E. Dortic.
First Sergeant, Wm. K. Thompson.
Second Sergeant, Walter H. Frazer.
Third Sergeant, Geo. P. Butler.
[Pg 223]Fourth Sergeant, Wm. A. Griffin.
Fifth Sergeant, J. D. Marshall.
First Corporal, W. H. Miller.
Second Corporal, Thos. O'Hara.
Third Corporal, Bradford Merry.
Fourth Corporal, M. V. Calvin.
Secretary, Henry P. Richmond.
Musicians, W. B. White, E. A. Young.


Anderson, W. F. E.
Bruckner, J. D.
Bunch, G. M.
Bass, Geo. F.
Boddie, John S.
Boulineau, W. A.
Cheesborough, C. M.
Carroll, J. R.
Cleckley, A.
Duke, J. B.
Duke, John F.
Duke, B. F.
Duvall, R. B.
Duddy, Wm.
Epps, W. D.
Fowler, J. C.
Gardiner, H. N.
Gates, Wm.
Hall, E. H.
[Pg 224]Hall, A. G.
Helmuth, F.
Hendrix, W. H.
Hinton, G. W.
Isaacs, Wm.
King, Jesse.
Kerniker, Edward.
Lamback, Geo. F.
Mulherin, Wm.
Manders, J. J.
Morgan, Evan.
Mathis, J. T.
Nelson, T. C.
Peppers, J. M.
Peppers, A. H.
Roberts, Chas. P.
Roulett, M.
Robinson, James.
Shaw, A. W.
Shaw, W. D.
Stephens, E. A.
Samuels, W.
Tobin, John.
Tant, Alex.
Talbot, J. M.
Taylor, Wm.
Tuttle, D. W.
Wise, T. C.
Wolff, M.
Young, J. R.

[Pg 225]


As this is my first, and will probably be my last attempt at authorship, in deference to the possibly too partial judgment of friends, I have ventured to include in the volume two additional sketches in no way connected with the memories, which precede them. Yielding to the same kindly criticism I have added also a war poem, intended to perpetuate an incident whose hardly paralleled pathos has not, I trust, been marred by the poetic dress in which I have attempted to preserve it.


Personal courage, when from the lack of selfish ends, it rises to the plane of real chivalry, has always met with willing homage from the hearts of men. I do not know that hero-worship has entered largely into my own mental or moral makeup, and yet for thirty years and more my heart has paid its silent and yet earnest tribute to one, who in unadulterated grit and innate chivalry was the peer of any man I have ever known. I have called him my hero, but he was mine, perhaps, only by right of discovery. I found him in a little Florida village in the winter of '66. There was nothing in his appearance to indicate the hero. No title, civil or military added dignity to his name. So far as I know no stars or bars had gilded the old grey uniform he had laid aside with Lee's surrender. He was simply plain Bob Harrison. Of his lineage or earthly history I learned but little. I know[Pg 226] that he was the son of a Methodist minister who, some years before, had moved to Florida from South Carolina, and who, by right of apostolical succession, was not only a good preacher but a good fisherman as well. I know, further, that in one of the battles in Virginia my friend had been shot through the lungs and had been left upon the battlefield to die.

The surgeons in their hurried rounds passed by on the other side, declining to waste their time on one, who in a few short hours would be beyond the reach of human aid. Despairing of any relief from them, he had tied his handkerchief around his chest to staunch the life blood that was ebbing away, and through the long, long lonely night had waited for death or help to come. On the morrow the burial corps had found him still living, and in the hospital he was nursed back to partial health again. The press had placed his name among the dead, and far away in his Southern home loving ones mourned for him until one summer's day his feeble footsteps on the walk and his pallid arms about their necks brought to their hearts a resurrection just as real as that which gladdened Mary and Martha at the tomb of Lazarus. Of his service as a soldier I know no more than I have written. My claim for him is based upon incidents that occurred when the war had ended and his record as a soldier had been made up.

At the date and in the section of which I write the tide of lawlessness that followed in the wake of war had[Pg 227] not yet reached its ebb. During my stay a party of toughs came to the village and for a week or more terrorized the place. An effort was made to secure their arrest by civil process, but from lack of nerve in the officers, or failure to secure a posse, the effort failed and the gang was having its own sweet will without let or hindrance.

At this juncture Bob Harrison rode into the village one day from his country home. The lady, at whose boarding house these men were stopping, told him of their misdoings. He was living six miles away and had no personal grievance against them. His wounded lung had never healed and frequent hemorrhages from it had paled the color in his cheeks and weakened a body none too strong when in perfect health. But the appeal stirred the chivalry of his nature and he did not hesitate a moment. He went to them and in vigorous English denounced their conduct as ungentlemanly and dishonorable and told them it must stop.

That afternoon a challenge came to him to meet them at a designated place next morning to answer for the insult he had given. He rode in before breakfast and at the appointed hour he was promptly on hand armed with a brace of pistols and a bowie knife. For three hours he offered satisfaction in any shape they chose to take it, and with any weapon they might select, but his nerve had cowed them and the offer was declined. Then he said to their leader, "You have been making threats against my friend, Charlie P— for some fancied wrong. He has a[Pg 228] wife and children to mourn him if he falls. I have none. I stand in his shoes today and any satisfaction you claim from him you can get from me here and now." The bully failed to press his claim. The gang soon left the village and quiet reigned again.

A short time prior to this incident a young lady had made her home in the village—a stranger, without relatives or friends. A citizen of the place taking advantage of her unprotected condition, began to circulate rumors reflecting on her character. These reports reached Bob Harrison's ears. She was bound to him by no ties of blood or special friendship, but her helplessness was claim enough. He called on the author of the slander and asked to see him privately. The man showed him into a room and Bob locked the door and put the key in his pocket. "Now, Mr —," he said, "you have circulated slanders about Miss —. She has no relative here to protect her and I have come to put a stop to it. I don't propose to take any advantage of you. I am going to lay these two pistols on this table. You will stand with your face to that wall and I will stand with my face to this. When I give the word if you can secure a pistol first you are at liberty to shoot. If I get one first, I am going to shoot. You have got to do that or you have got to sit down at this table and sign a "lie bill." The man looked into Bob's eyes a moment and said, "I'll sign the lie bill," and Miss —'s name was safe from slanderous tongues from that day on.[Pg 229]

In neither of these cases did he have the slightest personal interest.

His conduct was prompted solely by the chivalry of the man. He impressed me as ordinarily one of the gentlest and mildest mannered of men and yet I believe he would have led a forlorn hope to certain death without a tremor.

With the close of winter I returned to my Georgia home and over the gulf of silence that has intervened since that spring day in '67, no tidings have come to me of my friend, Bob Harrison. If he still lives my heart goes out in tender greeting to him today, and if he sleeps beneath the daisies I trust this little tribute to his worth will cause the sod that lies above him to press none the less lightly over his manly heart.



Just fifty years ago in the unceiled, unpainted and largely unfurnished rooms of an "Old Field School," holding a blue-backed speller in my boyish hands, I sat with a row of barefoot urchins on a plain pine bench and watched with sleepy eyes the mellow sunshine creeping all too slowly towards the 12 o'clock mark cut by the teacher into the school room floor. This primitive timepiece that marked the boundary line between school hours and the midday intermission, known in schoolboy vernacular as "playtime," was never patented, although[Pg 230] it had the happy faculty of never running down and never needing repairs. To the student of today reveling in the luxuriant appointments of the present public school system there may come sometimes a touch of pity for the simple methods and the meagre equipment of the old field school, whose teachers in addition to the inconvenience of having to "board around," were sometimes forced to receive partial compensation for their work in home made "socks." Such of my readers as may be disposed to discredit the free and unlimited knitting of socks as a circulating medium for the payment of school salaries, are respectfully referred to my friend, W. J. Steed, for the historical accuracy of this statement.

And yet—and yet, minimizing as we may the limited advantages of those old school days in the '40's, and magnifying as we do the wondrous advance in educational methods and appliances in all grades from the kindergarten to the university, the fact remains that "there were giants in those days" who seem to have no successors. Examples might be multiplied both in our state and national life, but I give only two. The places of George F. Pierce in the pulpit and of Benjamin H. Hill in the forum and on the hustings have never been filled. It may be true that Dame Nature requires after the production of great men a period of repose and rest, and if my limited observation is not at fault she is enjoying a good long nap. Whatever may have been the explana[Pg 231]tion of the fact mentioned, the privilege of hearing these men in their palmy days, of feeling the "cold chills" creep up the spinal column as they soared to the empyrean heights of impassioned oratory, of losing consciousness of time and place and environment under the magic spell of their almost superhuman eloquence, furnished some measure of compensation for the meagre advantages, on educational lines, of the last generation.

The writer's first opportunity to hear Ben Hill occurred at Mount Moriah camp ground, in Jefferson county, in the presidential campaign of 1856. On the disintegration of the old Whig party Mr. Hill had aligned himself with its residuary legatee, the American party, and was canvassing the State as an elector on the Fillmore ticket. He was 33 years of age, just in the rosy prime of a superb physical and intellectual manhood. I was only a boy and knew nothing of parties or party politics, but I remember that for three hours and more he held the rapt and untiring interest and attention of that vast audience.

At the close of the speech Major Stapleton announced that a messenger had been sent to Mr. Stephens asking a division of time with Mr. Hill at the former's appointment in Burke county, on the next day. Mr. Hill was sitting on the pulpit steps, and when the announcement closed he said, "Yes, I am not afraid to meet "Little Aleck," nor big Aleck, nor big Bob added to them," alluding to Mr. Toombs. Mr. Stephens did not consent, but met Mr. Hill afterwards at Lexington, Ga., in the[Pg 232] same campaign. Out of this debate grew Mr. Stephens' challenge and Mr. Hill's refusal to accept it, an incident which had large influence in ending the reign of the code duello in Georgia.

Two years later I had the privilege of hearing Mr. Hill again in the State campaign for governor. A joint canvass of the State had been in progress, but after a few discussions Governor Brown found that he was no match for Mr. Hill on the "stump," and he wisely cancelled further engagements. In giving his reasons for such action he said that Mr. Hill was too much of a sophist, that he could make the worse appear the better cause, and to enforce the point he related the "pig and puppy" anecdote, a favorite illustration with political speakers in those days. In the speech I refer to, delivered at Covington, Ga., Mr. Hill gave his opponent the benefit of a statement of the reasons he had assigned for his withdrawal, with the anecdote included, and then with the smile that always gave premonition of a happy retort, he said, "And now, fellow-citizens, in this campaign I have made no effort to make anything out of anybody but Mr. Brown, and if I have made nothing better than a pig or a puppy it was the best I could do with the material I had to work upon."

Mr. Hill never employed the anecdote argument in his speeches, but if used against him no man of his time or perhaps of any other time was able to turn its edge more readily or more effectively on his opponent I recall only[Pg 233] one passage from the address and as it has not been preserved in his published speeches I give it in illustration of his style at that date. After disposing of his opponent and the State campaign he turned his attention to national issues and in urging his audience to resist Northern encroachments on their rights closed a burst of impassioned oratory with these words: "Has the spirit of Southern chivalry folded its wings for an eternal sleep in the grave of Calhoun? Shall the breezes, which blow from the 'cowpens' where the infant days of Jackson were spent, now fan the brows of a nation of slaves? Rise, freemen of Georgia! Arise in your might. Shake off this Delilah of party for she is an harlot and will betray you to your destruction. Arise! drive back the invader from your thresholds, or like Samson of old, pull down the pillars of the temple and perish in one common ruin." Its effect upon the audience may be inferred from the fact that it has lingered in my memory more than forty years. I heard Mr. Hill no more until some years after the war. His nerve in putting an end to the seizure of cotton by Federal agents in the South in '65, his "Davis Hall" and "Bush Arbor" speeches and his "Notes on the Situation" had given him the very highest place in Southern esteem and affection. And then came his acceptance of an interest in the State Road Lease and his speech at the "Delano Banquet," which placed him under the ban of popular distrust and postponed the day when Southern character and Southern[Pg 234] history was to find its brave and complete vindication at his hands in the halls of Congress. During this shadowed period in his life I heard him several times in Atlanta, and on one of these occasions occurred the incident which forms the title of this sketch. Chafing under the criticisms and abuse to which he had been subjected he boldly defended the consistency of his record and pointed proudly to the day in '65 when the lips of every public man in Georgia were sealed except his own. "And now, my friends," said he, "when the lion of military government had prostrate Georgia in its cruel grasp, these men, who are now decrying me, were hiding away in quiet places afraid to face him. But when largely through my persistent efforts his clutch was loosened and he was recalled to his den in Washington, the whole breed,

Mongrel, puppy, whelp and hound,
And cur of low degree,

left their hiding places and came out barking, not at the lion, but at me, yelping, "Radical!" "Radical!" "Radical!" The words had barely left his lips when a huge dog standing in the centre of the aisle, began barking loudly and vigorously, with his eyes fixed on Mr. Hill. I do not know that the speaker, in imitation of a certain minister's reputed habit of inserting, "Cry here," at the close of the pathetic passages in his manuscript, had inserted "Bark here" in his notes, but I do know that the im[Pg 235]promptu illustration fitted in so pertinently that the storm of applause, that greeted it, would have lifted the roof if such a result had been possible. For several minutes there was perfect pandemonium. As the wave of sound rolled and swelled and rose and fell to rise in larger volume than before the speaker faced the audience with the shadow of a smile upon his face and when the last ripple of applause had died away he said: "My friends, I meant no reflection on that dog."

I have had the privilege of hearing Toombs, Stephens, Johnson and Howell Cobb, the first two, a number of times. I claim no ability to make intelligent comparison among these distinguished Georgians. But basing an estimate simply upon their effect upon myself and upon others as I have observed it, I should say that while in epigrammatic force, in the ability to pack thought into limited space, Mr. Toombs had no equal among them, yet in effective oratory, in the power to sway an audience at his will, whether in the domain of ice-cold logic or in the higher realms where only angels soar, Mr. Hill probably towered above them all. The peroration to his appeal for the pardon of Wm. A. Choice had few equals in all the range of English forensic literature. It has not been preserved, and in the forty years that have elapsed since its delivery, my memory retains but a single sentence, and with that I close this sketch: "Even from the lips of the murdered man, a voice comes back to us today, as soft as evening zephyrs through an orange[Pg 236] grove and as warm as an angel's heart. 'Forgive him, save him, for he knew not what he did.'"


The touching incident recorded in the following verses occurred on a bloody Western battlefield in the old war days in the '60's. Rev. J. B. McFerrin, formerly of Nashville, Tenn., and now in Heaven, an able and honored minister of the Methodist church, and for four years a Confederate chaplain in the army of Tennessee, was the Christian hero of this tenderly pathetic story. His untiring devotion to the sick and wounded amid the dangers and hardships of camp and field are gratefully remembered by his surviving comrades, while his gentle kindness to a stricken foe, will be embalmed in the loving memory of every veteran of both the "Blue and Grey."

'Twas evening on the battle field;
O'er trampled plain, with carnage red
The lines in blue were forced to yield.
Leaving their dying and their dead.
All day 'mid storm of shot and shell,
With smoking crest, war's crimson tide
Had left its victims where they fell,
Nor heeding if they lived or died.
[Pg 237]
And now the cannon's roar was dumb,
The "Rebel Yell" was hushed and still;
The shrieking shell, the bursting bomb
Were silent all on plain and hill.
From out the lines of faded grey
To where the battle's shock was spent,
A rebel chaplain made his way,
On mercy's kindly mission bent.
He kneeled beside a stricken foe,
Whose life was ebbing fast away,
And then in gentle words and low,
He asked if he might read and pray?
"No, no," the wounded man replied,
"My throat is parched, my lips are dry,"
And in his agony he cried
"Oh, give me water, or I'll die."
The chaplain hurried o'er the strand
And in the stream his cup he dips,
Then hastening back, with gentle hand
He pressed it to his waiting lips.
"Now shall I read?" he asked again,
While bleak winds blew across the wold,
"No," said the soldier in his pain,
"I'm growing cold, I'm growing cold."
[Pg 238]
Then in the wintry twilight air
His "coat of grey" the chaplain drew,
Leaving his own chilled body bare,
To warm the dying boy in blue.
The soldier turned with softened look,
With quivering lip, and moistened eye,
And said: "If you, in all that book
Can find for me the reasons why,
A rebel chaplain such as you,
Should show the kindness you have shown
To one who wears the Union blue,
I'll hear them gladly, every one."
In tender tones the good man read
Of love and life beyond the grave,
And then in earnest prayer he plead
That God would pity, heal and save.
Above the "Blue"—above the "Grey"
Shone no Cathedral's lofty spire,
Yet I am sure the songs that day
Were chanted by an Angel Choir.
The evening darkened into night,
The shadows fell on wold and strand,
But in their hearts gleamed softer light
Than ever shone on sea or land.
[Pg 239]
And ere the wintry night was o'er,
Beyond the sunset's purpled hue,
The stars rose on a fairer shore
To greet the dying boy in blue.
Long years have come and gone since then,
Long years the good man lived to bless
With kindly deed, his fellow men,
And then to die in perfect peace.
And when in Heaven's eternal day,
They met before His throne of light,
There was no blue, there was no grey,
For both were robed in God's own white.


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