The Project Gutenberg eBook, Reminiscences of a Private, by Frank M. Mixson

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Title: Reminiscences of a Private

Author: Frank M. Mixson

Release Date: December 13, 2012 [eBook #41616]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1



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Private F. M. Mixson,
Forty-five years after the war.


of a Private

Company "E" 1st S. C. Vols. (Hagood's)
Jenkins' Brigade      Lee's Army
1861                    1865

The State Company
Columbia, S. C.


Copyright, 1910



Dedicated to the Sons and Daughters of "the Lost Cause," who should know of the valor, trials, suffering and privations of the noblest people and the grandest army that God ever put on this earth, so that they too can pass down to their children and their children's children a true history of the great deeds of this glorious Southland, for the cause and principles they loved so well and for which they suffered, bled and died.

The Author.




In the summer of 1865 I first met Frank M. Mixson, the writer of these reminiscences. He was then a boy of eighteen summers, with four years of continuous service in the army of the Confederate States to his credit.

In that depressing time, when the old civilization of the South had been prostrated by the cyclone of war, when every hope seemed forever gone from the sky of the darkened future, he was full of the steady, unflinching courage of the Confederate Veteran, looking with unwavering faith to the resurrection that loyalty to principle, trust in the right and confidence in the destiny of the Anglo-Saxon would assure in the peace of the patient coming years.

Heroes of the Lost Cause were not then so scarce as now, and from time to time many of the older comrades of the boy soldier told me of his deeds of cool daring on the battle line, of mischievous life in the winter bound camps or on the weary march.

And so the years passed, but they did not dim the memories of those who had touched elbows with him from Charleston to Appomattox.

At my insistent request, he, now graying with years, wrote for publication in my paper these reminiscences, as told by the winter fireside to the grandchildren gathered under his roof tree in the holiday time. As I read them, feeling their pathos, realizing their value as giving pictures of the great[8] conflict that no other actor in that red drama had penned or voiced, the thought mastered me that these memories were worthy of a larger audience than I could reach and that from the Lakes to the Gulf, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, they should find as equal welcome, rouse as equal interest in homes of the victors by the stars and stripes as among the conquered ones whose flag had been forever furled. So these reminiscences are given to the broader world just as he wrote them with the hand that knew better the handling of the musket than the holding of the pen.

Not a word or a syllable have I changed, not a thought have I suggested.

To those who read his plain, unvarnished story there will come a fuller understanding of the spirit of the old South than the cultured historians have written. The heart and hope of Dixie are laid bare to sight and feeling, the courage and endurance of the legions of Lee and Jackson, the patient, uncomplaining consecration of the women who kept the homes and fed and clothed the thin lines that so long held back such invincible odds. All in all, it is the best book of the many that I have read touching the War Between the States. It gives an insight into the life and character of the Southern soldier that must appeal to every human heart not dead to chivalry and must win from those who were the bitterest foes of the South and its peculiar institutions a higher respect for and admiration of those once their enemies, but who have cast all hate from their hearts. It is a true history. I have verified[9] by the testimony of as good men as breathe the air of South Carolina the truth and accuracy of the events described.

Faithful as a soldier in the brave young morning of his life, Private Mixson has in the afternoon of his years rendered a noble service to the South he loved so well and the cause he served as becomes a modern knight.

John W. Holmes,
Editor of The People.

Barnwell, S. C., March 5, 1910.




The author of these Reminiscences (F. M. Mixson) was born at Barnwell Court House, South Carolina, on the 5th day of December, 1846. I was the nineteenth and youngest child of Wm. J. and Sarah Ann Mixson. My father died when I was about six years old, leaving my mother a large family to see after. My father, Wm. J. Mixson, was recognized as one of the best men of Barnwell District and had the reputation of being one of the most truthful and honest and best men of the State. He was familiarly known in the District as "Uncle Billy," and his word was always taken without dispute. My mother, before her marriage, was Sarah Ann Johnston, from the lower part of Barnwell District, now Hampton County. She was highly connected with the best people of the lower section of the State. She was a woman of great business capacity, being very energetic, fine business ability and quite industrious. They married quite young and raised a large family.

Of my parents' families I know very little. My father had four brothers—Joyce, Charles, Archie and Miles—all of whom lived in the lower part of Barnwell District, between Johnston's Landing and Matthews' Bluff, on the Savannah River. They all had good sized families. Early in the 1850's they all moved to Florida with their families and that[12] State is now thickly populated with Mixsons and Mixson descendants. Father also had four sisters. Aunt Experience married Ben Brown and afterwards Fogler. Aunt Susan also married a Brown (Josiah). Aunt Levisy married Robert Kirkland, of Buford's Bridge, and Aunt Hanson married James Darlington, of the Cypress Chapel section. All of these had families and were well to do in this world's goods.

My mother had, so far as I am informed, two brothers—Uncle Joe Johnston being the eldest. He remained in the State, his home being in the upper part of Beaufort District, now Hampton County. He, too, was well off in this world's goods. He at one time represented his District in the Legislature. In those times travel was not like now. When Uncle Joe would leave home for Columbia, the capital, he would mount one horse, his negro boy another with the hand-bag of wearing apparel. It would take them some three days to make the trip. Then was the time when the State House was a small wooden building situated on the same grounds as now. The only place the members and public had to stop and put up was at Granby's—a high bluff on the Congaree River, about two and a half miles from the present State House, where there was a boarding house. Uncle Ben Johnston moved to Shreveport, La., before the war and amassed quite a fortune. Mother had three sisters—Aunt Charlotte married Amos Smart, Aunt Jerusha married Henry Best—both of the Allendale[13] section—and Aunt Elizabeth married —— Worton, of Bainbridge, Ga. At the death of my father, mother immediately administered on the estate and she decided it best to take her share and have the children's portion put in the hands of guardians; consequently, she had everything sold, including about sixty-five negroes. This being converted into money, the guardians of those under age were placed in charge of it for their respective charges.

It happened to my fortunate lot to have as my guardian the Hon. James J. Wilson, then State Senator, and at that time a practicing attorney at the Barnwell Bar. He, however, did not remain long in Barnwell after taking me in charge, but returned to his plantation on the Four Mile section of Barnwell District, near the Savannah River, which is now the Ellenton section. I went with him and regarded that my home and was treated as a child by both Mr. and Mrs. Wilson, they having no children of their own except a grown son of Mr. Wilson's by a former marriage. I would occasionally go down to Barnwell to visit my mother and family, sometimes remaining for several weeks. I was truly fortunate in falling into the hands of these good people. Mr. Wilson was one of the best Christian gentlemen I have ever known, and during the many years I remained with him I never saw nor heard any word or act but that bespoke the true Christian, honest and lovable man; and Mrs. Wilson, too, was as kind as a mother[14] to me, a good woman in every sense, but who spoiled me with kindness. I cannot, even now at sixty-four years of age, forget their parental care and kindness to me. They have long ago gone to their reward, a place of peace and rest prepared for such as they were and so richly deserved by them.

The first year of Mr. Wilson's guardianship of me we spent in Barnwell. I was then quite young, but to keep me out of mischief, I suppose, I was sent to school in the village. This school was presided over by a Mr. H. Melville Myers, who taught in Barnwell for many years and died there at an advanced age.

On going up to the plantation on the Four Mile I did nothing for some time, but finally a new school house was built by the neighborhood—the Bushes, Dunbars, Williams, Newmans, Wilsons, and perhaps one or two others, and a Mr. R. H. Alfred, a Campbellite preacher, was engaged to take us in charge. Mr. Alfred was a fine scholar and teacher, and a perfect gentleman. This school house was built about four miles from my home and I had to walk alone. This would seem hard these times, but then it was not so much. This school ran for more than a year, when, for some cause, it closed. In the meantime, my mother had sold out her belongings in Barnwell and purchased a plantation ten miles above Barnwell, on the Hamburg Road, and known then and now as Joyce's Branch.

In the summer of 1860, there being no school on the Four Mile, and my sister Sarah, now Mrs. Richmond,[15] of Atlanta, having a school at Joyce's Branch Church, I went down home and went to school to her; but she gave up the school in the fall and was succeeded by Mr. McBride, an old teacher of much note, who had taught so long that he knew every sum in the Arithmetic by heart. At this time came the excitement of secession, minute men, war and the big comet—all on us at one time. I had no time for anything else, and attended every meeting of every kind. A company of minute men was organized with Dr. Frederick as Commander. This I joined, though not yet fourteen years old. We had our meetings every Saturday at Fred Killingsworth's, near Cypress Chapel Church, for the purpose of drill and to talk over the events that were happening and things we knew would happen in the very near future. I tell you, I was proud of my cockade and wore it on every occasion. This company was not formed with the idea of going into service as a company, but for the purpose of meeting together, talk over matters and keep enthused. I am proud to say, however, that when the call was made to enlist in companies that every member of our Minute Men responded like patriots and joined some command. I had then reached about fourteen years, and, while I had been admitted a member of the Minute Men, there was no company that was being organized that would consent to take me in, especially as I could not get the consent of my mother and Mr. Wilson. This, however, did not dampen my enthusiasm, for I just knew if I[16] did not get there on time the Yankees would "lick" us in short order, hence, I determined to go whenever the troops were ordered out, consent or no consent.

About the first of the year 1860 I returned to the Four Mile. I found that during my absence at my mother's a young physician—Dr. Martin Bellinger—had located in that section and had taken board at our house; and also a nephew of Mrs. Wilson's had lately come to study law under Mr. Wilson. I made fast friends with both these gentlemen, especially Dr. Bellinger. Mr. Steve Laffitte was the name of the law student. He not having much to do, and I nothing, he took me in charge for instruction, but neither of us did much. There was also staying at our house a great big Irishman, by name John Nicholson, a true son of Erin. It goes without saying that Nicholson and I were the very best of friends. The war talk continued and companies were being raised. Nicholson volunteered in a company being raised by Capt. Wm. J. Crawley. This company was assigned to Holcombe Legion when ordered out. I do not remember the date, but the company was ordered to report and get together at Williston, S. C., at a certain time. I slept with Nicholson his last night home, and next morning I arose before daylight, without breakfast or anything to eat, with no clothing—with nothing but enthusiasm. I headed off for Williston, a distance of twenty-seven miles, a-foot. I expected, however, that the wagons containing the men would[17] overtake me during the morning. I had gotten perhaps as far as three miles on my way, walking leisurely along, meditating on the life of a soldier, the many battles I would be in, the gallant deeds I would do, and, above all, the host of Yankees I would kill and put to flight, when I heard the tramp of a horse's feet coming up from the rear. I intuitively knew what it was, but, deigning to look back, I continued my onward course. The horseman soon overtook me, and, riding by me until he got to a pine stump on the side of the road, he rode up to it and waited for me, and on my approach, he (Mr. Wilson) said, "Get up," which I did, and we retraced our way for home. Not another word but "get up" was said during the whole time. I felt that I was being badly treated, and I had the sulks, and Mr. Wilson, in the goodness of his heart, spared me the humility of a lecture.

There were other companies being formed which were to form Hagood's First South Carolina, and it was not many days before they, too, were ordered to rendezvous at Orangeburg, S. C. I had in the meantime gone down to my mother's; she thought the best thing for me was to be put to the plow. This she did. I had been plowing only a few days—perhaps only two days—when in the morning a wagon came along loaded with men on their way to Barnwell to join Hagood there and go from there to Orangeburg, where the famous Hagood's First South Carolina Volunteers were organized. I did[18] nothing less than drive my horse in a fence, jam and load myself on that wagon. Arriving at Barnwell, Johnson Hagood met us, and, looking us over, he spied me and said, "Frank, go back home. Too small now; you will do later." There was nothing else for me to do but get back again. This was some time about the first of April, 1861. About two months after this, I could just stand it no longer, and off I go again without saying a word to any one. I went to Charleston and over to the Regiment and joined Company I, commanded by Capt. J. J. Brabham, in which my brother, J. S. Mixson, was First Lieutenant. When Hagood saw me down there he again ordered me home, and I told him I had already joined. Besides, if he drove me away I would go somewhere else and join. He let up, and I was happy beyond measure. The regiment at that time was only twelve months' troops, and during the fall and winter the reorganization for the war commenced. In the reorganization Company I became Company C, with B. B. Kirkland as Captain. My brother, J. S., did not re-enlist, but went to a cavalry company serving on the coast and became Quartermaster Sergeant of the regiment. I remained with Company C for over a year, when Ely Myrick, of Company E, and I exchanged, he going to Company C, Capt. Kirkland, and I to Company E, Capt. Wood. There was in Company E my eldest brother, Joyce, between whom and myself there were seventeen children—his son, G. D. Mixson, and two Nelson boys, who were[19] my nephews, all of whom were several years older than I. We were stationed on Coles Island during the winter of 1861, but after the reorganization we were moved to James Island and remained there till we were ordered to Virginia. Brother John and his two sons, Elliott and Adrian, re-enlisted in Hunter's Company, Lamar's Second Artillery, and remained in South Carolina and saw hard service on James Island. While on James Island I would get a pass to Charleston whenever I could and spend the day with my sister Susan, who was Sister Mary Magdeline, in the Sisters of Mercy, and on every visit I was treated right royally by them. I remember that before leaving for Virginia my sister placed something around my neck, and until the string wore out and I lost it I was never hurt, but the first fight I went into after losing this I was wounded.



I failed to mention that before the reorganization of the regiment for the war Johnson Hagood had been promoted to Brigadier General and was in command on James Island; and I also failed to say that James Hagood, a Citadel boy of about 17½ years, and a brother of the General, had come over to James Island and joined Company C, Capt. B. B. Kirkland, as a private. We were taken over to Charleston and encamped on the Citadel Green, preparatory to leaving for Virginia. Just after getting over to Charleston I was taken with "low country fever," and was sent up to the hospital in Augusta, Ga. Old Dr. Ford was in charge of the hospital, which was the old Eagle and Phoenix Hotel. I was up there about three weeks when I heard that the regiment had left Charleston for Virginia. I immediately went to Dr. Ford and asked for a discharge from the hospital and transportation to Richmond, where I hoped to overtake them. He tried to dissuade me from leaving, and offered me a permanent place under him, but I did not go into service to hang up in hospitals, consequently, I declined and got my discharge and transportation and took the first train going North. I was alone—had never been out of the State, except to Augusta—a mere kid of a boy. I can tell you, I felt mighty lonesome. Besides, I was afraid that the regiment[21] would get so far ahead of me that I would not overtake them before they got to the fighting ground. I felt that if the regiment did get in a fight without me I would forever be disgraced, no matter the reason. Fortunately, just before reaching Richmond I ran up on Dr. Martin Bellinger, our surgeon, who had been looking after some sick before leaving Charleston, and who, too, had got behind. We got to Richmond about four days after the regiment had left for Manassas. Dr. Bellinger's horse was there, but I had to take it a-foot and alone, except some stragglers, like myself, none of whom, however, did I know, as they were not from our regiment. Dr. Bellinger, in Richmond, took me to the Spotswood Hotel and gave me dinner, after which we both left to overtake our men. It was just outside the city when the doctor rode away from me. I felt that I was deserted by everybody and disgraced if I let the regiment get into a fight before I reached them. I traveled that night until about midnight, when I lay down by the roadside and slept till sunrise. I again pulled out and kept on the go. By this time the rations that I had slipped into my haversack at the Spotswood were gone. I did not know how I would get something to eat from then on. In passing by a pasture I saw four or five sheep. I loaded my musket, took deliberate aim at one not more than twenty steps off, fired and missed. I shot at this old fellow not less than five times and gave it up in disgust. That evening, just before sundown, I ran across a large, fat hog.[22] I know it could not have weighed less than three hundred pounds. I was hungry good by this time, and I was determined to have meat. I loaded up and first fire brought her down. I then skinned and cut off a ham, and going perhaps a mile further, I stopped for the night at a spring by the roadside. The balance of the hog I left where she fell; but as I had passed so many stragglers I know she did not spoil, for they, like myself, were hungry. I feasted that night on broiled ham—no salt, no bread, but it was good. This ham lasted me until I overtook the wagon train, which was about six miles in rear of the regiment, or, I may say now, the army. I overtook these wagons in camp about twelve o'clock at night and I stopped to camp. I was very much surprised to be awakened perhaps an hour before day by the firing of cannon and small arms ahead. I could not remain longer. I got up and headed for the front. Not being experienced in warfare at that time, I had no idea that the firing on the front was exceeding three miles at most, but when I came to travel it I found that after I had gone at least six miles I had only reached the location of the field hospital. Here again I ran upon Dr. Bellinger, he having very little help, and with a desire to care for me, as he saw that I was about broken down, he ordered me to remain to assist with the wounded, who had begun to come in. I protested, but he held firm and I was soon at work. The duty demanded of me by Dr. Bellinger was to assist in the examinations and amputations, and[23] many a poor fellow did I hold while his leg or arm was taken off. I was shocked at the number of our regiment brought back killed and wounded. Men whom I had only a few weeks before left in Charleston in the best of health and spirits, some dead, others wounded. I could hardly realize such carnage. Over half of the regiment was killed and wounded. I remained with Dr. Bellinger until the wounded were all disposed of, when he let me go. I overtook the regiment just after they crossed the Potomac River into Maryland. Our regiment left Charleston and went into the Manassas fight with Thos. J. Glover, of Orangeburg, Colonel; Wm. H. Duncan, of Barnwell, Lieutenant-Colonel; Daniel H. Livingston, of Orangeburg, Major; Wm. J. Wood, of Steel Creek, Adjutant; Mortimer Glover, of Orangeburg, Sergeant-Major; Captain Warren B. Flowers, of Baldoc, Quartermaster; (I cannot recollect now who was the Commissary); Dr. Martin Bellinger, of Four Mile, Surgeon; Dr. Wm. S. Stoney, of Allendale, Assistant Surgeon. The Company Commanders were: Company A, Capt. Isaac Bamberg, Bamberg; Company B, Capt. —— Wannamaker, Orangeburg; Company C, Capt. B. B. Kirkland, Buford's Bridge; Company D, Capt. Robt. L. Crawford, Marion; Company E, Capt. Jno. H. Thompson, Upper Three Runs; Company F, Capt. T. D. Gwinn, Greenville; Company G, Capt. J. G. Grimes, Bamberg; Company H, Capt. John C. Winsmith, Spartanburg; Company I, Capt. Jas. H. Stafford, Marion; Company K, Capt.[24] —— Knotts, Orangeburg. The lieutenants of the companies I cannot recollect. Gus Hagood, of Barnwell, was color bearer. This is about the manner our regiment was officered on reaching Lee's army, and was assigned to Hood's Texas Brigade. We went into the Second Manassas about fourteen hundred strong. It seemed to me that every minute there was some poor fellow brought back. Col. Glover was killed outright. Maj. Livingston wounded slightly; Adjutant Wood wounded; Capt. Bamberg, of Company A, wounded; Capt. Wannamaker, Company B, wounded; Capt. Kirkland, Company C, wounded; Capt. Crawford, Company D, wounded; Capt. Thompson, Company E, killed; Capt. Gwinn, Company F, wounded; Capt. Grimes, Company G, wounded; Capt. Winsmith, Company H, wounded; Capt. Stafford, Company I, wounded; Capt. Knotts, Company K, wounded. Besides these nearly all the lieutenants were either killed or wounded and about one-half, at least, of the regiment. You will therefore see that our regiment suffered very heavily. Our colors, they say, went down seven times. First, Gus Hagood was shot through the body, and Dr. Bellinger passed a silk handkerchief entirely through his body, taking hold of each end and wiping out the blood. He got well, but was never fit for service again. As Hagood fell with the colors, Gus Eaves, from Bamberg, one of the color guards, rushed to them and raised them aloft. In a few minutes his right arm was torn to splinters. Immediately they were seized by another,[25] and this was continued until the eighth man bore them through. The fight continued from early morning till night, when the army camped on the battlefield, ready to renew next morning; but next morning the enemy had disappeared. We had been driving them all day. Our regiment made charge after charge, and at one time during the day in making a charge and in passing over some wounded Yankees, one inquired, "What regiment is that?" and on being told "the First S. C. V.," he said, "You all are the d——st fools I ever saw; you have been whipped all day."

Nothing being in our front next day to hinder us, we arranged—each company—for its senior officers to command, in a great many instances, non-commissioned officers taking command, and we went on a chase into Maryland. Lieut.-Col. Duncan assumed command of the regiment and Maj. Livingston, who was only slightly hurt, returned to us just as we crossed the Potomac River. The first place I recollect after getting into Maryland was Frederick City. As we passed through the town everybody was out to see us; streets crammed, doors and windows full; some cheering and waving Confederate flags; others jeering us and waving United States flags. We went through the town in a "hurrah" and let them know that we knew we had just given the Yankee army a good licking at Manassas and were ready for them again. Just after crossing into Maryland Lieut.-Col. Duncan, who was commanding our regiment since the killing of Col. Glover at[26] Manassas, was taken sick and went back into an ambulance, but did not leave us entirely until we again crossed the Potomac back into Virginia, when he got a sick furlough and went home to Barnwell. This left the command of the regiment to Maj. Livingston. I was then Orderly for the colonel, which required me to be at regimental headquarters and around the regimental commander at all times and to extend his private orders and commands. In this position I was not required to carry a gun, and it was well for me that I was so exempted, for I could never have made the marching had I been loaded down. Before crossing into Maryland the entire army were ordered to leave all their baggage, and on this trip we had nothing but a haversack, canteen and a blanket or oil cloth, besides the accoutrements—gun, cartridge box and scabbard. You will see from this that we were prepared for quick marching.



We took the turnpike from Frederick City to Hagerstown, and along the route we passed many an orchard heavily laden with fine apples and many corn fields with luscious roasting ears; but we were not allowed to gather a thing and rations were short. But at every cross road we would find a lot of ladies with tables set with something to eat and coffee and buckets of water. It was impossible for them to feed us all, but what they did do helped out considerably and was highly appreciated. We passed through Hagerstown at midday and went into camp in an oak grove some two miles beyond the town. In passing through Hagerstown all the stores remained open and none of the citizens seemed to be in the least uneasy. As we were going down the street we saw a corner store with the sign "Hager's Store." Standing in the doors of this store were a lot of women and some children. Among them was a young girl some sixteen years old, who was waving a United States flag and taunting us with "Why don't you fight under this flag?" Some fellow in ranks remarked, "Hagerstown, Hager's store, Hager's daughter—hurrah for Hager," and, as was the custom, we gave them the yell. We remained in this grove outside the town until the next day after midday, when the "long roll" called us to "fall in." We were again marched through the town, this time in a double quick, and took the turnpike for Boonesboro Gap, where we[28] could hear heavy musketry and cannonading going on. It was about sixteen miles from where we were camped to the gap, and as we were needed there badly we double quicked nearly the entire distance. Of course, we were stopped a few minutes at intervals to rest and catch our breath. It seems that this gap was the only way we had to get back into Virginia, and the Yankees were trying to hold this against us. Had they succeeded in doing this, Lee's army would be trapped, but our troops held them at bay until Jenkins' Brigade got there about deep dusk. We found our troops hard pressed on the side of the mountains only a few hundred yards from the pass. We were immediately put into position and relieved those who had been fighting all day. Our orders were to hold our position or die. After being in position here for some little time and holding the enemy back, an officer rode up to near where Maj. Livingston and I were and asked for the commanding officer. I hollered out, "Here he is." He told Maj. Livingston that the enemy were being reinforced and would charge us very shortly, and to save the pass long enough for our army to succeed in getting by, that we would charge first—that the orders to charge had been extended on our right and all movements would be taken up from the right. Maj. Livingston turned to me and said, "Frank, tell Company A to move as the regiment on its right moves, and come on down the line and tell each company commander to move as the right moves." I had hardly got the orders extended before I heard[29] the command, "Company A, forward," "Company B, forward." And on down the line. We were in for it sure, and away we went—into a blaze of musketry which lighted us on our way. We drove them back some little distance and held our gain long enough for the rear of our army to pass through, when we again heard the right extending orders. This time I heard, "Company A in retreat," "Company B in retreat," and it was not long before we were going through the gap—the last of the army to pass through. We found a relief for us when we got through, which held them back till we were safe on our road to Sharpsburg, which we reached some time late in the afternoon, after having been fighting nearly all night and marching since noon the day before. On reaching Sharpsburg we were stopped in an apple orchard (our regiment) and we fared well. We remained in this orchard that night, all next day and night. The second morning about sunrise the Yankees opened their artillery from the heights on us, and it seemed as if they had placed all the cannon in the world up there; it was certainly the heaviest and most terrific artillery firing during the entire war, and has gone down in history as such. Fortunately for us we were in a bottom and the worst of the shells went over us, but not all. We had a good many hurt while in this position. Our batteries were on the hill above us and were responding all they could. About 8 o'clock we were ordered up the hill to protect our batteries; the enemy were charging them. We went[30] up the hill at a double quick. Our regiment was on the left of the brigade and we were going left in front, which put us to the front. I was trotting by the side of Maj. Livingston amid a furor of bursting shells. About half way up the hill Maj. Livingston called to me, saying, "Lead on, Frank, I am wounded." I called to Capt. Knotts, who was the senior captain present, and told him to take command of the regiment. We got in position on the hill in rear of a plank fence and were told not to fire a shot till ordered to do so. While lying behind the fence the Yankees were making their charge and coming down the opposite hill in as pretty a line as on dress parade. In front of us, and about midway, there was a stone fence in another apple orchard. The Yankees were making for this fence, and, as I said before, were moving on it at a double quick and a regular dress parade line. The old captain commanding our batteries had shot himself out of balls, and, all his horses being killed, he ordered his men to cut off the trace chains. With these he loaded his pieces and fired. It seemed that as the chains reached the ranks they spread themselves out full length and cut their way broadside through. The old captain jumped up, yelled, and ordered another load, with about the same result. This was done several times, and finally the column began to waver and weaken. At this point a Yankee colonel rode to the front with drawn sword and rallied his men, who were about to give way. Just then I said to Kite Folk, from Bamberg,[31] a boy like myself, but a year or two older, "Let us shoot him." I picked up a gun lying near me and Kite and I put our guns through the fence and fired together. The colonel fell and was carried from the field. The enemy fell back, but very soon came again. Forty-two years after this occurrence I was running the Hotel Aiken. I was telling of this incident one evening when a guest of the house, who had registered as —— Johnson, said he knew the circumstance perfectly—that he was the major of that regiment and when the colonel was killed, as stated, he took command and received his promotion as lieutenant-colonel; that it was he who led them back in the second charge. When the enemy made this second charge we, too, made a charge, and the stone fence, spoken of before, being about equal distance from each of us, it was a race, who and who. We won the race, and when we fell in behind the fence the Yankees were not more than fifteen steps away; but it was not long before they had moved off, leaving a good crowd behind lying on the field. Could one have been so situated on one of these hills with nothing to do but witness the two forces making for that fence, the Yankees coming down the hill on their side, moving in line as if on drill, determination on their faces and a quick, steady step without a falter or a quaver—on the other hill a lot of dirty, hungry, footsore, naked and barefoot men lying behind that plank fence awaiting orders. Soon the order came, and we were told to get to that stone fence. No line for us.[32] Darling Patterson, of Barnwell, was our color bearer, and he led off with our flag waving overhead. The men followed, each one doing all he could to get there first. We beat them to it, and when Patterson stuck his flag staff into the ground we had the fence, and too well did they know it. We tore loose into them, they not being more than fifteen steps distant. They could not stand it—they broke in confusion and retired in about the same order that we had advanced; but they were soon rallied and we had it hot for some time. The fence, however, was a great protection to us.

We were well protected by our stone fence in the apple orchard, but the enemy kept us pretty well engaged in our front, and we had no time to look around and see how other parts of our line were doing. We had been fighting behind this fence for perhaps two or three hours when I was surprised on looking around to see a long Georgia captain running from where we had come in the morning, and coming directly to me. I was then standing up under an apple tree eating an apple. On reaching me he said, "Where is your gun, and why are you not shooting?" I replied, "I am the colonel's orderly." He then asked for the colonel. I told him that the regiment was right then without any one to command it. He told me to get them back—the entire line had fallen back to our previous position—that we were the only ones so advanced, and to look to the right, coming from the direction of the barn, and I would see we were about already surrounded.[33] I yelled out, "First South Carolina, retreat," and I led off. The enemy were so close in our rear when we left the fence that we had to run around the head of their column; but every man succeeded in passing around them. But then we had a long, sloping hill to go up—nothing to break the view—an open field. Away we went, and while I was doing all I knew how in the way of running, and when I had about covered half the distance back, I ran up on Talt Best, from Allendale, lying flat on his back, shot through the thigh. He had lain there for several hours, being shot down when we advanced. Talt was holding out his arms and asked me piteously, "Frank, don't leave me here to die." It looked like death to me to stop, but I could not resist the appeal. I stooped down, raised him up. Just then Sid Key, from Joyce's Branch, ran up and I asked Sid to help me get Talt off. We got him back to our former line, where we turned him over to the litter bearers, and we got to our positions. We had not been there over five minutes when Sid Key was shot. We received orders to prepare to advance, and I recollect Lieut. Jack Stansell, of Company E, waving his sword, cried out, "Forward, Company E." After repeating this several times and getting no response he discovered that he had but one man left in Company E, Arthur Thompson, of Elko. He then cried, "Forward, Thompson, go it, Thompson." Almost simultaneously a minnie ball passed through Thompson's body and a piece of shell hit Lieut. Stansell on the side of the knee. Both were carried off, and they were the last men of Company E.


After getting quieted down enough to look around I commenced to see who we could get to take command of the regiment. I have already told you that Capt. Knotts was placed in command when Maj. Livingston told me he was wounded. I could not find Capt. Knotts, nor had seen him the whole time of our advance while we were holding the stone fence. I think I may have failed to say heretofore that Jim Hagood had been appointed sergeant-major to fill the place of Mortimer Glover, of Orangeburg. In looking around for a regimental commander I discovered that there was only one commissioned officer left in the regiment. This officer was Lieut. Sweat, of Bamberg. I told him he would have to command the regiment, being the only officer. He refused to do so, and, after some thought, he told me to go to Sergt.-Major Jim Hagood and tell him to assume command. This I did, and Jim Hagood, a non-commissioned officer and an eighteen-year-old boy, took the command.

We held our ground the balance of the day and that night, and about daybreak next morning we passed through Sharpsburg and recrossed the Potomac into Virginia. While we were holding our ground on the battlefield about midnight the cooks came up with some cooked rations. Hagood sent me to ascertain how many men each company had left, so as to divide equally. I recollect Company E had not one and Company F only one. So, you see, we were right badly used up.



After holding our ground and showing our enemy that we were not beaten at Sharpsburg, we left the battlefield in broad daylight and leisurely took our way to the Potomac and recrossed into Virginia. We stopped over at Martinsburg and then went on, and went into camp at the Big Spring, near Winchester, where we remained for three or four weeks. Here our baggage came to us and it was refreshing to get into clean clothes once more. While here a good many of our sick and slightly wounded returned to us, among whom was Maj. Livingston, who relieved Sergt.-Major Hagood in commanding the regiment. Nothing unusual occurred during our stay at the Big Spring, only that it was a good country to forage in and we usually had enough to eat and sometimes some apple jack to wash it down. After we had been at the Big Spring for several weeks, and the army had increased considerably, we were taken on a forced march and carried to Culpeper Court House. Here we remained for several weeks, again getting in more men who had recovered from wounds and sickness.

At this place Sergt.-Major Jas. Hagood was made adjutant. While remaining over here we had drills and dress parade every day and rested up pretty well. One day I got a pass to go over to Culpeper and took it up to brigade headquarters to have it[36] countersigned. When Adjutant-General R. M. Simms saw my name he asked me if I knew Seth Mixson, of Barnwell, and when I said "He is my brother," Gen. Jenkins asked where he was. I told him on the coast. Gen. Jenkins then told me to write him. If he would accept he would have him appointed colonel of our regiment. You can imagine I was very much elated at this and wrote him immediately. In a short time I received a reply saying, "Tell Micah Jenkins I am quartermaster-sergeant of a cavalry regiment on the coast and would not give it for a major-general in Lee's army." I was completely disgusted with the answer and never delivered it to Gen. Jenkins.

It was here that Col. Coward took command of the Fifth South Carolina. I recollect how game he looked. He had the regiment formed for dress parade. He was dressed in a brand new suit, polished high top boots, shining spurs and bright sword. He did not weigh over one hundred and twenty pounds, but he looked game. He had the orders read appointing him colonel, and then he told the men that he was now their colonel and would be respected as such; he would not tell them to go only as he led them. When he got through his talk the Fifth knew they had a colonel, and after-events proved it, for from then on the Fifth was one of the best regiments in our brigade. Before leaving here Lieut.-Col. Duncan was promoted to colonel and Maj. Livingston to lieutenant-colonel. After some three weeks' stay here we were hurried over to[37] Fredericksburg, reaching there in time to meet Hooker's advance. Upon reaching Fredericksburg our brigade was held in reserve for a time—in fact, for the entire day. About sundown we were moved up and relieved some troops that had been engaged, and we fought then nearly all night and the next day, until Hooker fell back across the river, leaving us in possession of the battlefield. After the enemy had recrossed the river we were taken to woods just off of the field, where we remained in position, ready for an attack at any moment, should they make an advance. We did not move back to these woods till about dark, consequently, during the afternoon we and the enemy were very near together, with the Rappahannock River only between us, but no fighting going on. Just before sundown the Yankee band came down to the river bank and commenced to play. Very soon our bands were on the bank on our side. The Yankee band would play the popular airs of theirs amid much yelling and cheering; our bands would do the same with the same result. Towards the wind-up the Yankee band struck up "Yankee Doodle." Cheers were immense. When they stopped our band struck up "Dixie," and everything went wild. When they finished this, both bands, with one accord and simultaneously, struck up "Home, Sweet Home." There was not a sound from anywhere until the tune was finished and it then seemed as if everybody had gone crazy. I never saw anything to compare with it. Both sides were cheering, jumping up[38] and throwing up hats and doing everything which tended to show enthusiasm. This lasted for at least a half hour. I do believe that had we not had the river between us that the two armies would have gone together and settled the war right there and then. I saw old weather-beaten men, naked, barefooted, hungry, dirty and worn out, with tears streaming down their cheeks; men who were not afraid to leave their homes, their wives, their families, their all; but men with hearts, who could not restrain the tears when it was so vividly brought to them. Their hearts were touched then, but they were yet men who were willing to do or die.

As before said, the army was taken back to the shelter of the woods, off the field of carnage, for the night. Company E of our regiment was left on the river bank to watch the movement of the enemy. I was left with them to carry any message to the colonel during the night, should the emergency arise. Some time, about two o'clock, there was considerable commotion in the camp of the enemy. Capt. Wood ordered me to report to the colonel that he thought they were preparing to make an advance. It was nearly a mile back to our line, raining and dark. I had to go across this battlefield alone, but there was no escape. I took a direct course. There was no woods on my way. You nor no one can imagine how trying it was. One second I would stumble over a dead man or horse, next would step on some poor wounded fellow, who would either curse me or beg piteously for water or help; next[39] run on a wounded horse and run the risk of being kicked to death. It was fearful; but after a time I reached the woods and delivered my message. The colonel instructed me to return and keep him informed. I told him, and begged him not to send me back before daylight—I could not go; it was too much for me. He took pity on me and allowed me to remain till daylight. I do believe that had he insisted on my returning that night that I would have died before making the trip.

There was no advance made by the enemy, but they moved off and went into winter quarters. This was the winter of 1862, and our first in Virginia; besides, it was a remarkably cold winter. They gave us little A tents, allowing six to a tent. We cut down trees and built up a pole house about three feet high, and pitched our tent on top of this, and when we had completed a chimney and had daubed the cracks with clay we had a very comfortable residence. Our great trouble was getting in wood; but we would take turn about to get in a day's supply. We fared very well, taking everything into consideration. There was a very heavy snow storm; snow fell about waist deep over the whole country. One morning a few men commenced to snow ball. These were added to until the whole army was engaged. Brigadier-generals took command of their brigades; colonels of their regiments; captains of their companies. It was a regular planned battle and was fought all day. Sometimes one would take the camp of another and plunder it of blankets,[40] rations, cooking utensils and whatever else there was. It was the biggest snow ball fight on record. I did not engage in the fight, but took a hand in plundering a camp whenever we got into one. I had rations for several days after this affair—rations taken from the fellows' dinner out of their camps.

While here this winter we had a good many changes. Col. Duncan resigned and F. W. Kilpatrick, of Pendleton, was made colonel. Capt. Knotts, of Company K, resigned, and Jim Hagood was made captain of his company. S. B. Clowney, of Fairfield, was made adjutant. O. D. Wilson, of Allendale, was made sergeant-major, and other changes in company officers which I do not recall, except that P. H. Wood, of Steel Creek, was made captain of Company E. We remained in winter quarters until the severe winter was over, and when we had recruited so that our regiment and brigade had gotten to be quite respectable in size. When we broke winter quarters we were carried down on the Blackwater River, in the neighborhood of Suffolk. I think Jenkins' Brigade was the only force carried down.

Our brigade was pretty badly scattered down here and had to cover a big space. The regiments were camped some four miles apart. After remaining here on the Blackwater for some little time the brigade was consolidated, and we were moved down to Suffolk. Here we were in daily communication with the enemy and our picket lines were only a short distance apart. While here we were[41] one day asked for volunteers to go down and charge the gun boats. The volunteers were soon procured, but we wondered how infantry could charge gun boats. However, we went, and when we got in good range they opened on us with shells about the size of flour barrel heads. We did not make much out of charging gun boats. We had several engagements with the enemy while in this section, holding back any advance they prepared to make and guarding Richmond from this direction. While here the Chancellorsville fight came off and it was here that we heard of the killing of Stonewall Jackson. The Chancellorsville fight was the only fight of any note that we had missed since we reached Virginia.

We remained down in this country until the spring had advanced and summer was about on us, when we were taken up to Petersburg and camped outside of the town and did police duty in the town. We were given new uniforms while here and fixed up in pretty good shape. Again we were fortunate, for while we were remaining here Lee made his advance into Pennsylvania and the great battle of Gettysburg was fought and we lost. Just after this battle when Lee saw Jenkins he said to him, "Jenkins, if I had had your brigade at Gettysburg I would have won." This was high praise, but then we deserved it and it did not detract from any that were there. It was not long before we heard that Longstreet's corps was to go West and we got orders to pack up and move. We were loaded on freight trains in and on top of freight boxes at Petersburg, our brigade being the last of Longstreet's corps to leave.



Jenkins' Brigade had been at Petersburg for some time after coming up from around Suffolk on the Blackwater and elsewhere down in that section, when we received orders to prepare to load and ship for the West with the balance of Longstreet's corps. Our brigade, however, was the last to be loaded and shipped, and we finally went to the depot and were loaded on freight boxes, inside and outside, the top being as much crowded as the inside. The trains those days did not make as good time as today, and, while I do not recollect how slowly we did run, I do recollect that when our regiment (the First South Carolina Volunteers) reached Bamberg and found the little town all lit up with bonfires and tables spread and the whole country—men, women and children—with baskets of cold chicken, rice pilau, biscuits, hams, boiled eggs, fried ham, salads and everything else that women can get up in a country of plenty, awaiting us and greeting us (the regiment) as if we were all their brothers; it made us feel good; and then Col. Kilpatrick, who was in charge of this train, held it for about an hour to give us time to do justice to what was tendered us.

Here it was that many an old fellow met his people for the first time since he had left them; even some here met their wives and children for the first time, and here I met one of my sisters who was visiting[43] in the neighborhood. I had not seen any of them since I first went. You may talk of courage and a sense of duty, but when a man pulls up at a station at 1 o'clock at night, finds there his wife and children whom he has not seen for two years, and after about one hour to see them, to be caressed by them, to be allowed to talk with them, then to be hauled off on a freight car—perhaps the only place for him on top—that is manhood. But this occurred in Bamberg, not in one case only, but in many—they were men in those days.

We passed through Denmark (then Graham's Turn Out), Lees, Blackville, Elko, Williston and White Pond. At each place some member of the regiment had loving friends and families, but no stop-over was allowed, and these old soldiers passed by their homes, outwardly showing cheerfulness, but one could discover their eyes were dim. We stopped over a couple of hours in Augusta, where we were transferred to the Georgia Road. We arrived in Atlanta early next morning and thence direct on to Chattanooga. It was right cold riding in and on top of freight boxes, so after leaving Atlanta we gathered some sand while the train was stopped and put it on the floor of the car, and on top, too, and that evening between sundown and dark we passed through Marietta with fires in and on top, cooking supper. We even spread down our beds on top of these trains and went regularly to bed. We reached the nearest station to Chickamauga that was in our possession, and were immediately unloaded and[44] ordered in a double quick for the battlefield. The fight had been going on since early the day before and Longstreet's corps had reached there to be in time, with the exception of our brigade. There was hard fighting at Chickamauga, and the battle was won when our brigade got in at a double quick. The enemy were already on the run, and we, being fresh, there was a regular stampede. Had Bragg let Longstreet alone we would have run the last one into the Tennessee River, but Bragg held us up and gave them time to "catch their breath" and stop at Chattanooga and at the base of Lookout Mountain. Here we remained for the most of the fall and here we had the hardest service of the entire war. The rainy season came on—cold, sleet and snow—and the creeks in our rear got so swollen that we were cut off from our supplies. We had a tough time getting something to eat. So scarce were rations that some men in our regiment tore down barns catching rats, which they would boil and put in "drop dumplings" and did have good stews. Finally Col. Kilpatrick had a detail of axmen to fell trees, out of which he had a large raft made, and sent a detail across the expanse of water and brought us in meal, bacon, salt and whatever there was. Ours was the only regiment so fortunate.

While here we one afternoon received orders to prepare for a recognizance. Our brigade was taken across the base of Lookout Mountain and about dark crossed Chattanooga Creek, into Wahatchie Valley, where a heavy supply train had been discovered[45] earlier in the day. Our object was to capture this train and bring the supplies in. After crossing Chattanooga Creek on a bridge, the only way this creek could be crossed, we were thrown into line of battle. Hampton Legion, Col. Gary, on the extreme right, Sixth South Carolina next, Fifth next, First next, Second next, with Palmetto Sharpshooters on extreme left. Capt. James Hagood's company, Company K, of Orangeburg, was deployed as skirmishers in front of our regiment. I was orderly for the colonel. We commenced the advance through these woods—underbrush, hills, hollows and holes—and kept as quiet as we could. But then we made considerable fuss. After advancing this way for perhaps two or three miles, Hagood's skirmishers struck them in front of us. At the same time the Fifth and Sixth and the Legion struck them. It was so that the Legion got right into the train before being discovered, and they went to turning loose the mules and raising Cain in general. In front of the Fifth, First, Second and Sharpshooters there were no wagons. We had struck them but a few moments when they were ready to receive us, and lo and behold, we were in front of Hooker's army corps—one of the best corps of fighters in the entire Yankee army.

Here we were in a mess. Jenkins' Brigade, composed of not more than one thousand men, confronting and attacking the strongest and best army corps in the Yankee service. In our advance we were so placed that the left of the First Regiment[46] was resting on the railroad, the right of the Second resting on the same, the railroad between us. We advanced till our regiment got out of the woods and into a field. Fighting along the entire line was intense and heavy; we had advanced as far as we could and had lain down, continuing the heavy fighting. After being here under one of the heaviest firing I ever saw for perhaps an hour, men being killed and wounded every second, I was lying down alongside Col. Kilpatrick, who was on his knees making observations—a minnie ball struck the colonel, killing him instantly, passing through his heart. At the very moment this occurred I heard someone call Lieut. Clowney, and he, leaving me, responded to the call. Then I saw Col. Bratton, who was that night commanding the brigade (Gen. Jenkins acting major-general) sitting on his old gray horse, smoking his old meerschaum pipe. He said, "Clowney, where is Kilpatrick?" Clowney informed him that he was just then killed. Col. Bratton said, "Get him off the field. We are going to fall back," and then said, "I want a man to carry some orders for me." Lieut. Clowney called out, "Come here, Mixson." I went up to Col. Bratton and took hold of his horse's mane; he looked down at me and said, "My little man, all the staff are either killed or wounded. I want some orders extended. Can you do it?" I replied, "I can try, colonel." He answered, "That is all that any of us can do. You are very small, but I can trust you. You must run across the railroad and tell Col. Bowen, of the Second, that[47] we are falling back. The Legion, Sixth and Fifth are now moving; your regiment will fall in behind the Fifth, and the Second will fall in behind the First; and you hear that heavy firing away over yonder? That is the Sharpshooters. Find Col. Walker and tell him we are all gone—to pull off and get back on our trail and save himself the best he can. Go, my little man."

I went up on the side of the railroad embankment; stopping a moment or two until a shell had passed—they were making the railroad every half minute—between shells I ran across and down the embankment and right into the arms of Col. Bowen. Just then one of those shells bursted and knocked sand over us and knocked us both down. I delivered my orders to him and started across the open field to find Col. Walker with the Sharpshooters. (You must not forget that all this was under a galling fire of musketry from 10,000 guns). I got up pretty close and stopped behind a persimmon tree; it being dark and raining, I could not see whom I was approaching—it might be Yankees—but I stopped and called out.

"What regiment is that?" and was told Palmetto Sharpshooters. Still, to make safe, I inquired, "Who is your colonel?" and was told Col. Walker. Then I ventured up and found Col. Walker, to whom I delivered the message. He made me tell him why I was carrying orders for Col. Bratton, and he was then satisfied that the orders were straight. On delivering these orders, and not realizing[48] the length of time I had been at it, I ran back from whence I had come. I missed the Second Regiment, but took no notice of that; ran up and across the railroad embankment and down the other side. I ran into a spring about waist deep. On pulling out of this I discovered that the regiment had gone. There being no more shelling on the railroad I took down it in the direction I knew was right. I had not gone more than two hundred yards when I ran up with two men. I asked who they were, and upon their giving me the number of a Yankee regiment I ordered them to surrender, which they did, throwing down their guns. I had none. I then relieved them of their haversacks, knives and whatever else they had, and then it was found out that the Yankees had advanced and we were in their rear. But with my two prisoners I continued down the railroad. We had not gone far when we were hailed from the side of the road, "Who's there?" I answered, "First South Carolina Volunteers," when a volley was fired into us. I rolled down the embankment on the opposite side and made tracks, then turned across toward where I had been to hunt the Sharpshooters. What became of my prisoners I never knew.

I finally got on the trail of the Sharpshooters, and when I struck Chattanooga Creek I found the brigade had recrossed and there were some of Company E at the bridge. They had cut the bridge away from the bank and had it on fire; this to prevent the Yankees from following us, as the creek[49] was impassable except at the bridge. I was here again in a quandary. About ten or twelve feet of the bridge gone, the balance on fire. Darling Sprawls, of Williston, came to the end on fire and told me to take a running jump and he would try to catch me. I did so, and, as luck would have it, he caught me and pulled me in. This got me back within our lines and saved me from becoming a prisoner.



Our brigade, or the remnant of it, reached our quarters some time after sunrise, and then it was that we commenced to realize the loss that we had sustained during the night in the Wahatchie Valley. We had lost in killed, wounded and missing over one-half of our number, and when we got back to quarters we looked "mighty scarce" and few. I don't recollect who among the officers of our regiment were killed besides Col. Kilpatrick, but it seemed as if all the regiment were gone. Only a few left to tell the tale.

One of my nephews, G. D. Mixson, was missing. We did not know whether killed, wounded or captured, and many other poor fellows left behind. Col. Bratton, having no one left on his staff, sent for Jim Diamond, of Company E, and took him on as orderly for several days. Capt. Grimes, of Company G, Bamberg, being the senior officer, took command of the regiment, which left Lieut. Sweat in command of Company G. We did nothing after this escapade for some time but rest up and recruit. The winter was coming on now in earnest and cold weather and rains were upon us. One cold night I was short of cover, and I had to have some more somehow, so I went out during the dark hours. It was not long before I ran upon a nest of four old "Rebs" sleeping soundly, warm and snug. I[51] cautiously crept up and found that the top blanket was a heavy army blanket, large and thick; I determined to have that blanket. So, waiting a little time, quietly took the corners of the blanket at the feet, made a good strong pull, and darted into the dark, off and away, before they could realize their loss. And the blanket was mine. Many a night after that did that same blanket keep me warm.

Another of my nephews, B. F. Nelson, was lost to us here. He was taken sick and sent off to Newnan, Ga., to the hospital, where he died.

One night after dark our regiment was ordered to fall in, and we were carried across Peavine Creek to feel the enemy. We had to cross this creek on a fallen tree which reached from bank to bank. The banks being some eight feet above the water, and the water being deep, we literally "cooned" it over. We did not go far before we ran on the Yanks and met a warm reception. We certainly felt them. We remained "feeling" them for over an hour and then retired, recrossing the creek at the same place in the same manner we had crossed. In this fight we had several killed and quite a number wounded. Among the killed was Lieut. Sweat, commanding Company G, of Bamberg, a good man and a brave officer. How they ever got him back across that creek I have never known, but he was brought back. This was the last of any happenings with and around Chattanooga. It was not long after this before we got orders to move, and we felt that we were to make our way back to Virginia. It seemed to us[52] that we were going back home and it brought a good feeling over every man in the corps. The evening before we broke camp the band played "Take Me Back to Old Virginia," and Longstreet's Corps bade farewell to Bragg's Army and the West in prolonged cheers.

On leaving our camps next morning we marched a distance of eight miles to Tyner's Station, where we were loaded in freight boxes. Upon reaching the Valley of the Sweetwater we stopped about a week and got a plenty to eat, when we crossed the Tennessee River at Loudon. The weather had gotten cold, and we had a time crossing this river. This was done on a bridge made as follows:

We had a lot of boats made and these boats were secured to a chain stretched across the river and planks laid from boat to boat. It was not a very safe passage way, but we passed over without any mishaps. Capt. Foster, of the Palmetto Sharpshooters, was in command of the detail to put in this bridge. It was so cold that the ice would cover the chain from end to end and the men suffered much from cold while at this work.

Capt. Foster was from Union, S. C., and is still alive and quite wealthy, and is one of the best business men today in Union. For the next few days we had running fights with the enemy, they doing the running. Just before reaching Campbell Station we captured a train of eighty wagons well loaded with supplies, which they had left in their hurry. This came in mighty well, but there was not any[53] clothing or shoes, the things we most needed just then, for we were both naked and barefooted. We expected a big fight around Campbell Station, but somehow they got away after some heavy skirmishing. While following the enemy very closely and keeping them in the continued "go-along" here we caught them one morning while they were cooking breakfast and rushed into them. They took to their heels and we got the breakfast. As we dashed into them I ran upon a fine mare tied to an oak limb with a halter. I captured her, and, taking her by the halter, continued the charge, she trotting along making the charge with me.

In a very short while Dr. J. S. Stoney, of Allendale, our assistant surgeon, dashed up to me and asked me for the mare. I had no use for her and made him a present of her, and he sent her home by Tom, his negro boy. She is the mother and grandmother of the famous four-mile racers which had such a reputation for speed and distance, owned by Dr. Stoney.

Our next place to hold up was around Knoxville, where we had some hard service and hard fighting. We invested Knoxville on all sides and had two days' fighting, driving the enemy back into their entrenchments, and on the morning of the third day we made the attack on Fort Sanders. The attack was made about sunrise, one of the coldest mornings I think I ever felt. We were in tatters, so far as clothing went, and a great many barefooted, but with the accustomed endurance of the men who had[54] suffered from the same cause on previous occasions, we did not falter.

In making the charge on Fort Sanders we went through frozen bogs and over felled trees, trimmed up with the limbs sharpened and pointing towards us. Picking our way the best we could through this barricade, we slowly and gradually drew closer to the fort, but we struck an obstacle which we found hard to overcome. Among these felled trees there were barbed wires interlined about six inches apart, and some five feet high. Having nothing to cut the wires and no way to get through we were ordered to give up the attempt. Our loss was considerable, but not so great as might be supposed, taking into consideration the very slow advance we had made. We retired in good order, not beaten, but just failed, because there was no earthly way to do more. We were then taken hurriedly to Rodgersville, a distance of some fifty miles, where we expected to go into winter quarters, but remained here only a few days. While here Capt. Jim Hagood, of Company K, was made colonel; Capt. B. B. Kirkland, Company C, of Buford's Bridge, lieutenant-colonel, and Capt. Grimes, of Company G, of Bamberg, major. You see from this that Jim Hagood, who had joined Capt. Kirkland's Company, had risen from private—over his captain and the other senior officers of the regiment. Col. Hagood was only nineteen years old when he was appointed colonel. After being at Rodgersville only a few days we were carried on a forced march to McBean Station, where the enemy[55] had nearly succeeded in getting in our rear. We again put them on the run and the army then headed for Morristown, where they went into winter quarters. Our brigade, however, was sent out at Rodgersville on a foraging expedition to report to the army at Morristown. We were on this expedition for nearly two weeks, having all the wagons of Longstreet's Corps to fill up. We had quite a good time while on this detached service, so far as eating was concerned. While the officers were doing their work in a big way, we fellows were doing ours in a much smaller way; and many a chicken, turkey, goose, pig, went into our private haversacks.

Jim Diamond, of Barnwell, was at that time a wagon driver. One night he told me to come with him next morning, that we could take a mule apiece and put in a good day; that he had seen some nice geese about four miles off and we would try for them. I went next morning and we jumped on a mule apiece, I bareback. Jim headed the way to where he knew the geese were. He was prepared himself, and before reaching the place he instructed me to follow and ask no questions. On riding up to the farm house, the old lady of the house came out to talk to us. We tried to get something to eat from her, but she wanted money. This country was nearly all Unionist and bushwhackers. Having no money, we failed to outtalk her, and, as the geese were out on the front, we decided to start. Jim had a fishing line, and as we rode by the geese he baited his hook with a grain of corn and threw it down[56] near an old gander, who immediately gobbled it up. Jim tightened on his line and found he had him hooked. We started off then in a slow trot, and as Jim commenced to pull the gander commenced to pull too. Jim held his hold and the old fellow came flopping behind with his wings outstretched, looking as if he was showing fight. The balance of the drove fell in behind the old gander, and away we went. The old woman looked on in utter amazement and cried out to us, "Don't run; he can't hurt you," but running right then was our idea, and, after getting them all down the road in a kind of a bottom, I held the line and Jim jumped down and with a stick killed six of as fine, fat geese as were ever raised. After visiting a place or two where we did manage to get some meal and flour and salt, talking the people out of it, we concluded to get back—had enough for one day. We were right good with our supply, giving the men in the company four of the geese. The other two we cooked and invited Col. Hagood, Col. Kirkland, Dr. Bellinger and Capt. Wood to take supper with us. We had a big supper about 1 o'clock at night, but the lateness of the hour did not interfere with any one's appetite.

As soon as we got our wagon train all loaded we headed out for Morristown to take things into the then hungry army, and right glad were they to see us and our train all laden down. This was just before Christmas, and we had enough to put us up a good Christmas dinner, after adding to it in private foraging parties. On Christmas Eve a couple of our[57] company went out and on returning some time during the night they brought in a bee hive wrapped up in a blanket. Next morning they knocked off the head and took out the honey. At that time the bees were cold and not much trouble, but towards the middle of the day, the sun shining brightly, they warmed up, and there was a mess. The bees took the camp and many a fellow got a good stinging.

It was announced here at our winter quarters that all those who had not been home should have a chance for a furlough—so many men to one furlough. Our regiment was entitled to only one, and there were but three who had not been home; there were myself, who had no family at home; Hughes, from Bamberg, who had a wife and children whom he had not seen since he left them in May, 1861, and one other in the same fix as Hughes. I never saw people so excited over the drawing as the other two. As for myself, I did not care much. Hughes was the most anxious man I ever saw. The papers were put in a hat, one marked "furlough," the other two blank. Hughes drew first—got a blank. The other fellow drew; he, too, got a blank, leaving the paper marked "furlough" in the hat for me. These two good old soldiers actually cried. They could fight, march naked and barefoot, do without something to eat—all without a murmur. But being so near to getting a furlough and then to miss, it was too much. I could not stand it. So I told them to put two papers in the hat, one blank and one "furlough;" I would give my privilege away. This was[58] done and these two prepared to draw. By this time everybody was excited over the event and a big crowd had gathered to see the result. As Hughes had drawn first before, it was decided that the other fellow should do so this time. He put his hand forward to go into the hat. His hand was shaking and he was excited to death. Hughes, poor fellow, stood looking on. He was a pitiful sight. He could hardly stand up—his legs were shaking. Despair was depicted on his face. The hand already forward went down into the hat and slowly out it came. I believe both men had their eyes shut. Some one read, "furlough." Hughes had again lost. It was pitiful to see him, but the other fellow was happy. It was strange that Hughes never did get home till after the surrender.



We are now in winter quarters near Morristown in the coldest country and the wettest country I ever saw. Fortunately, we have tents plenty, wood abundant and a good country to get something to eat. It is too cold and wet to drill, therefore, we have nothing to do but rest up, patch our old clothes as best we can, and our barefoot boys resort to the method of tying up their feet in pieces of blankets, making a kind of moccasin. Were we properly clothed and shod we would be comparatively comfortable. This East Tennessee country is a fine country for hogs, cattle, eggs, chickens, flour, meal, bee-gums and maple syrup. We are certainly on the go, hunting and finding some of all these things, but as I am one of those who are totally without a covering to my feet and my breeches are too far gone to even take a patch, I cannot get out much. But Jim Diamond is as good as ever hunting up these things, and our mess has a plenty to eat. He even sometimes comes in with a little applejack, and then we have a "jollification" sure enough. Col. Hagood and Capt. Wood have about joined our mess for good. They having a negro boy cook, each one generally goes out with Jim, while the other remains and cooks, and the colonel and captain have some money—we have none. We could not very well refuse to take them in with us.


We had not been here more than three weeks when we heard some fighting going on down on Strawberry Plains, thirteen miles off. Our cavalry had run up on a lot of moving Yankee infantry and had attacked them. We were called out and formed line of march. This was bitter cold weather and this was a hard march on us, especially those of us who were barefoot, among whom I was one. We barefoot fellows wrapped up our feet the best we could and fell in with the balance. The woods were full of water from the rains and were so hard frozen that the ice did not break with the weight of the horses. We hurriedly arrived near the fighting, and, just on the edge of the plain in which the fight was going on, and in a thick woods, all the barefoot men were ordered to fall out and make fires. It was only a short way to the firing, and, instead of "falling out," I had an eye for the future. We went into the open fields in a double quick line of battle. The enemy fell back as we advanced. We had not gone more than a couple of hundred yards before we ran over some dead Yankees. Here was my opportunity, and I embraced it. The first one I got to I stopped, pulled off his pants, shoes and stockings, got right into them, there and then. The shoes were new and fit perfectly; the stockings were good wool and came up to my knees, and the pants were all right, except a little too long, but I rolled them up about as they are worn these days and they, too, were a fit. I felt grand. The fight was soon over, with no casualties on our side. We then started[61] for our return trip and I felt very sorry for those poor barefoot devils who took the opportunity of stopping at a fire rather than go a little further and have the chance of "rigging out" in a good outfit. They had to take it back as they had come.

A few days after this a lady came into our camp and asked Col. Hagood for a guard to protect her place, saying she would feed us and sleep us. I was sent in charge of the detail. Along with me was Jimmie Brabham, a son of Maj. J. J. Brabham, of Buford's Bridge. Maj. Brabham was, after the war, Clerk of the Court of Barnwell County for a good many years and was the first captain of Company C while around Charleston and the islands the first year of the war. We were sent out (Jim Brabham and myself) with the lady, who took us to her home about four miles from our camp. We were all afoot. When we got to her home we discovered that we were outside of our lines, about equi-distant between our lines and the Yankee lines, perhaps a mile from each. When I discovered this I determined to go back and give up the scheme, but the lady told me that she was Mrs. McDonald, the wife of a Yankee major, who was encamped not more than three miles off. It was he who sent her for a guard, and he told her to pledge our protection from the Yankees. Jim and I concluded to stay, and Mrs. McDonald assigned us to a nice, warm room, good feather bed with plenty of warm covering. We remained here with her and her two children,[62] a boy of about thirteen years and a girl, named Becky, about sixteen years, for thirty-eight days.

Mrs. McDonald was very kind to us. We had the biggest kind of oak fires in the sitting room all day, and the fires would be there through the entire night. We would go to bed usually at about ten o'clock. Only about two nights in the week Mrs. McDonald would say, "Go to bed earlier tonight, boys, the major is coming." He used to come home about two nights a week, but we never got to see him, nor did we care to see him. Mrs. McDonald was a good cook, along with everything else, and she surely did feed us well on the best—principally sausages and big hominy. Jim and I would go up on the side of the mountains with the little boy, his mule and slide, and help haul wood which was already cut. On one occasion Mrs. McDonald asked me to go to mill for her; the meal was out. She had the corn shelled, and told me the mill was inside the Yankee lines, but the major had told the picket on duty at the mill not to molest me. Well, I decided that as they had been true to us in everything else, when they could have taken us any night, that there was no danger. So Jim helped me to get about three bushels of corn up on the mule, gave me "a leg," and then, getting direction, I pulled out for the mill. I found the mill at least two miles, or it seemed to me. As I rode on the end of the mill dam some half dozen Yankees came out of the mill house, all well armed. I could not but feel a little uneasy, but when I reached the house they bid me, "Good[63] morning, Johnny." They helped me off and took in the sack of corn. We sat around in the sunshine and talked till the corn was ready, when they put it up on the mule and helped me up and bade me good-bye.

Near Mrs. McDonald's home were several other homes, and nearly every night we would have company in the persons of some young ladies who would spend the evenings, sometimes remaining till eleven or twelve o'clock. They would jump on poor Jim and me and give us the devil in a friendly way. They seemed to like us very much. I remember they had a song which they would sing us, something like this:

"Some near day you will hear the Yankees say,
To old Jeff Davis, 'You had better get away,
For we will raise the Union band,
Make the Rebels understand,
To leave our land
Or submit to Abraham.'"

They would have a jolly time with us and we equally as jolly a time with them. To show how well the major took care of us from his people, we would even go home with the girls all hours of the night and were never disturbed. But this could not last forever, and the time came when we were called in; and two days after we struck camp and started again for Virginia. On passing through Morristown I saw Mrs. McDonald, Becky and Tom and[64] several of the young ladies who had been to visit us at the McDonalds, on a street corner. They had gone to town to see us off and bade us good-bye. They called us out of ranks and seemed real sorry to see us go. I have often thought of the good people and wondered if the major got through all right. I hope he did.

We kept on the move until we reached Bristol, Tenn., when we stopped a couple of days to rest up. After which we moved again and stopped a day or two at Chancellorsville, and then on to Gordonsville, where we were met by Gen. Lee and had a grand review by the grand old chieftain, who seemed as happy to have us back as we were to get back. Gen. Lee must have felt good in getting the welcome extended him by those who had been lost to him so long. The men hung around him and seemed satisfied to lay their hands on his gray horse or to touch the bridle, or the stirrup, or the old general's leg—anything that Lee had was sacred to us fellows who had just come back. And the general. He could not help from breaking down. Here were men who had gone forward at his command, knowing that they might never get out; here were men who had never murmured when Lee said, "Go!" or "Come." Here were men who had suffered privation, hunger, cold, death itself, whenever ordered by him. He could not help giving way, and tears traced down his cheeks, and he felt that we were again to do his bidding.

We stopped over here for several days and got a[65] good many recruits, some sick and wounded returning to us, and some other men and boys, new men who had never yet seen service. Among these were old men—Walton Hair, Mathias Hair, from Elko; John William Canady, from Tinker Creek; W. F. Kitchen, Darios Ogden and Artist Woodward, from Williston, and Eddie Bellinger, from Barnwell, and Job Rountree, from Joyce's Branch—all these for Company E, Eddie Bellinger being the only young man, and he a mere youth. These new recruits, with some sick and wounded returning, made us a right respectable company once more. We needed another officer in our company, having only Capt. Wood and Lieut. Dick Best, from Allendale, so we held an election for lieutenant, and J. Marshall Hair, of Williston, was elected.

After remaining here for perhaps two weeks, on the morning of the third day of May we took up our line of march and on the night of the fifth of May we stopped for the night within six miles of the Wilderness, having tramped sixty-odd miles in the two and a half days. When we stopped for the night we were pretty badly jaded and needed the night's rest. We had been hearing the musketry and cannonading nearly the entire day. This was kept up all night and we knew that we would be into the thickest of it early next morning, and, sure enough, we were put on the move just before day. We moved at a double quick and kept up the double quick for the entire six miles, when we reached the Wilderness and went directly into it.



We struck the plank road at the Wilderness in a double quick just after sunrise and took down it towards the battle which had been going on furiously since just after midnight. Our regiment was on the extreme left of our brigade, which placed us in rear when marching in columns of four. Our company, Company E, was on the left of the regiment, this making our company the extreme left of Jenkins' Brigade. Just in rear of us was Bennings' Georgians, and the old general was on his gray horse in that slow gallop at the head of his brigade. Our division (Fields' Division) was composed now of Hood's Texas Brigade, in front, Anderson's Georgia Brigade (Tige Anderson), Robertson's Alabama Brigade, Jenkins' South Carolina Brigade and Bennings' Georgia Brigade (Rock Benning). The names of Tige Anderson and Rock Benning had been given these two brigadiers a long time back.

Hood, Anderson and Robertson had reached the Wilderness earlier in the morning, some two hours ahead of Jenkins and Benning, and were heavily engaged. When we struck the plank road we were still in a double quick. We were ordered to load at the double quick. Gen. Benning was just about twenty feet in my rear. Very soon we commenced to meet the wounded coming out. These wounded fellows would step one side, giving us the right of way, and also giving words of encouragement. I[67] noticed one old fellow using his gun for a crutch, he being shot in the leg. As we got to him he stepped out to one side, and, standing still as Gen. Benning got to him, he cried out in a loud, cheerful voice, "Go it, Rock. Tige's treed." And I guess the old fellow was telling the truth.

Benning's brigade was filed to the left of the plank road; our brigade was filed to the right of it with our left resting on the road. Just as we had cleared enough to give us room the command was given, "Left flank." This threw us in line of battle. We were ordered to halt in this position. We had hardly stopped when Kershaw's Brigade came tilting back, closely followed by the enemy. No one seemed to know that we were there, when Kershaw's men discovered us by running into us. They were happy and rallied of their own accord, and the way we did put it to those Yankees! It would have done you good to see. We drove them easily back, as they were so surprised, but we did not follow them up but a short distance, when we stopped behind a kind of breastworks made from a few old pines piled together. Here we remained till midday under a heavy fire, and doing the same for them. During the time we were here I asked permission of Col. Hagood to let me crawl out in front and see if I couldn't get something off of the dead Yankees lying just away from us. He said it was mighty risky, but if I chose to take chances and would not go far, to go ahead. I lay flat on my belly and crawled up to the first one, then to the second, until[68] I had visited eight of these fellows. I was always very careful to keep them between me and the Yankees. I thought I had gone far enough after getting to the eighth, so I turned back and crawled into our lines. When I got back Jim Hagood said, "What have you got?" We were lying down, as we could not put up our heads on account of the bullets. I unloaded my pockets, turning them out on the ground. I had six watches, three or four knives, some rations and a few other trinkets. Col. Hagood took his choice of the watches and I gave Capt. Wood another. The other I sold to Sid Key, now of Beaufort, who had some Confederate money. We were still lying here in a heavy fire when, just after midday, Gen. Jenkins rode down the line in our rear. He had been hit by a bullet, breaking his little finger. He was holding out his hand, from which the blood was still trickling. He said to us, "Men of the First, we are going to charge. Now, I want each and every one of you to remember that you are South Carolinians. Remember your wives, your sweethearts, your sisters at home. Remember your duty. Col. Hagood, get your regiment ready."

Col. Hagood, the boy colonel, called out, "First regiment, continue to lie down, but be at attention." Only a few moments more and the voice of Col. Hagood was heard, "First Regiment, forward." He was the first to be up and ready to move. We crossed over our logs and then the command, "Charge!" We made a dart, and so did the Yankees, but they darted back. We followed them, running them into[69] their works, where they had heavy reinforcements. We followed them to within some one hundred yards of these entrenchments and could go no further. Here we remained for perhaps an hour, when we leisurely fell back to our former position. While out there in front of the Yankee works we were subjected to the most deadly fire. I had picked up a little oak stump about the size of my thigh, which had rotted off even with the ground and so badly worm eaten that I could see holes all through it. This I had stood up, propping it with a stick. I got in behind it and soon my brother Joyce moved up on my left and then Lieut. Hair came up on my right. I was square in behind the stump and now I had a man on each side. I was pretty well protected, or at least I felt so. Lieut. Hair, being on my right, turned his head to the left to talk to me. We were all lying flat on our bellies. As he turned to speak to me a minnie ball hit him in the right temple, passing directly through his face and head, coming out in the left cheek. His head fell flat to the ground. I put my hand under his head, holding it up. The blood gushed from his temple, his eyes, his nose, his mouth. I held him thus until the blood in a manner stopped, then taking his handkerchief I wiped his eyes and asked him if he could get back. He thought he could, and, on standing up, a minnie ball cut his tobacco pouch from his coat. However, he started back, and after running for perhaps a hundred yards I saw him almost turn a somersault. I thought then he was a "goner," but he is yet alive,[70] living at Williston, and making a good, upright, intelligent citizen.

On getting back from where we had made the charge we were soon moved to the left. This time we were supporting a brigade in Pickett's Division, marching in line of battle some forty yards in rear of their line of battle. I think I have failed to mention that the entire Wilderness was one mass of undergrowth—oaks from about the size of one's finger to the size of one's wrist, and about as tall as a tall man's head. The section of the woods we were now advancing into was remarkably thicker than any we had yet encountered, and, worse still, it seemed as if every one had a bullet through it from the hard fighting that had just gone on there, causing these white oak runners to bend down from being top heavy. These bullets all seemed to go through about the height of a man's waist. In tumbling down they made almost an impassable barrier. Together with this obstacle the dead and dying were so thick that we could not help stepping on them. It has been said that a person could walk seven miles, stepping from body to body, and never touch the ground.

We were supporting the Virginians. They neared the plank road, marching parallel thereto, the Yankees falling back. As they got very near the road they saw a Yankee flag waving just above the bushes and just about the road. It was natural to suppose that the enemy had halted and was making a stand on this road. They immediately opened[71] fire. The flag fell, and, as there was no response, we discovered that Longstreet, Jenkins and their staffs had ridden down this road, thinking we had crossed. Longstreet, seeing a Yankee flag lying on the road, had ordered one of his staff to pick it up. This he did, and, remounting, the flag was raised above the bushes and became unfurled. The Virginians fired on it, killing Gen. Jenkins and dangerously wounding Longstreet and some of their staff. This was a great misfortune to us. Here fell two of our best officers. It was a long time before Longstreet was well enough to return to us, but he did after a while; but was ever after suffering with his left side and shoulder.

While we were halted here in the confusion after happening to this misfortune, I ran upon a dead Yankee officer, finely dressed, clean and nice looking. He had on a fine pair of high top boots, brand new, the spurs, of course, coming with them. I immediately took them to Col. Hagood and he found them as good a fit as if made for him. We ran the enemy back to their entrenchments on this part of the line as we had done in the morning on the other part. We then fell back far enough to be out of range of their musketry, and without even taking off our cartridge boxes—no fires—we lay down to rest and get some sleep. We did not sleep much this night, for we were right in among the dead and dying, and many a poor fellow, especially from the Yankee army, would beg for water, and we did not have it to give him. Our men got some canteens[72] from the dead, some with a little water and some with brandy. All this was given to the poor fellows without any regard to which side he belonged. All we cared for was that he was a human being and a brother, though we had fought him hard all day.

Remaining here for the night, with only a little firing on the skirmish line, we retired some short distance next morning; only far enough back to get off of the ground where there were so many dead. Here we remained all day of the seventh and that night until about four or five o'clock on the morning of the eighth, when we were moved to our right. Grant had started his flank movement for Richmond by trying to turn our left. We met him on the eighth at Spottsylvania and here again we had a most bloody battle.



On May 7th, the day after the big fight at the Wilderness, we moved back a short distance and got off of the field, where it was strewn with the dead and dying. Here we remained sharpshooting heavily all day; but about dark that held up and we were comparatively quiet. We cooked our suppers and prepared for a good night's sleep and a much needed rest, as we had been hard at it for over forty-eight hours. It was not long after dark before all of us were fast asleep, except those on picket. Grant, however, had other views than to rest. He was just starting on his "On to Richmond." As the hours grew on, the skirmishing grew less, but yet there was commotion in the enemy's lines. Near midnight we were ordered in line and moved off—the whole of Lee's army. We were moved to our right, for Grant was moving on Richmond by the left. We met them after a hard march, hard only because we were so broken down. At Spottsylvania, shortly after midday, and without having time to rest or even catch our breath, we met them—we had to stop them. Our brigade was thrown in front of a lot of Pennsylvanians, who seemed to think no one had the right to stop them from going right on to Richmond. But it did not take us more than a couple of hours that evening to convince them this was not the day nor time to go undisputed. In little[74] less than two hours they had fallen back, leaving us where we met them. The Palmetto Sharpshooters of our brigade captured here a regiment of Pennsylvanians, over four hundred men. We did not follow them, I suppose because we were too tired and broken down to run when we met them, and were the same way and could not follow. It was now almost sundown, and, after sending out our skirmishers, we began to look around to see how the land lay; for we expected hard fighting again after what we had at the Wilderness.

The men, of their own accord, commenced to cut down pine trees to build breastworks. The only tools we had for this purpose were the little hand axes, about three inches wide, which some of the men had. These they had carried in their belts and used them to chop wood for fires. But now they put them to bigger use and would not hesitate to jump onto a pine tree that would square twenty inches; and it was surprising how soon they would have it down, cut off, trimmed up and cut off again. Then the whole company would take it up, place it in position. We worked this way for some hours into the night. All the while the whole skirmish line was pretty warmly engaged. That was a great incentive to us, and we worked until we had to quit because we were just broken down. But we had put up some log work which would be a great protection before we did quit. We got a very good night's sleep, and next morning, after eating what little we had, we felt real good and ready to go to work[75] again on our breastworks. This we did, and while our skirmish line was fighting in our front and the hard fight going on "at the angle" on our right, we worked. And by afternoon we had a set of breastworks of which we were proud. The Yankees did not attack our part of the line during the day—only kept our pickets heavily engaged.

Now, this night was Company E's time for picket, and before dark we were carried out to the line, relieving the company already there. Our company had at this time sixteen men, all told, and we had to cover the entire front of the whole regiment. Consequently, we were not at regulation distance apart when we deployed as skirmishers. We, however, relieved the other company and fell in behind a rail fence. We expected an advance at any moment. Our orders were to hold the ground as long as we could. After dark three of us rallied together and remained so. This made some distance from one squad to another, but it was the best we could do. Where each three men were we "let the fence down," making a jam, and then, getting in this, we had right good protection. There were in one jam Eddie Bellinger, Job Rountree and myself. Well, at midnight they advanced, and it was hot for some time. Eddie Bellinger and myself could load our guns lying down on our backs, but Job could not do it. He was used to hunting squirrels around Mixson's Mill Pond and Joyce's Branch and had never had to lie down to load. He thereupon proposed to Eddie and me that if we would do the loading[76] he would do the shooting. This we readily agreed to, and Job would stand up, exposing himself from waist up. As soon as we would get a gun loaded we would pass it to him, and he would throw the empty gun back for another loaded one. We had three guns and worked them so fast that they got so hot we stopped loading for fear they would not stand it. We finally drove this advance back, after an hour's hard work. We were not disturbed any more till morning. Just as the sun began to show itself we discovered a line of battle advancing over the hill, where they had come a little nearer. There was another supporting the first and then yet another supporting the second, making an advance of three lines of battle. We knew we were in for it now, sure, and we poor little sixteen men opened on them just the same as if we were an army. But on they came, as if we were not there. It reminded me of the gnat on the bull's horn. On they came, and soon we heard Capt. Wood say, "Skirmishers, fall back, firing." We went back, going from tree to tree. They were gaining on us, as we were retiring slowly. The last stand we made was some seventy-five yards in front of our breastworks. We stopped here and gave them a round or two. We were protected by trees. My brother Joyce and myself happened to stop in behind the same tree. We both shot off our guns and reloaded. When he went to cap his gun he let the cap slip through his fingers, and, instead of reaching in his cap box for another, he stooped over to pick it up[77] from the ground, thereby exposing a part of his person. No sooner exposed than hit, and he made for the works. Just then Capt. Wood gave command, "Skirmishers, into the works," and in we went. We were glad, too, when we got behind them. By this time, or by the time we had assembled as a company and taken our company's position in the regiment, the enemy's three lines had gotten up pretty close. The front line had advanced to within about forty yards of our works and had lain down. The second line was some twenty yards in the rear of these, and the third line about the same distance in rear of the second. All three lines were now lying down. We were well protected behind the good breastworks of logs, and the way we did give it to those Yankees would have done your heart good to see; and they—well, they stood it like men, but it was too much for them to go forward, and, after staying there for perhaps an hour, they fell back; but not for long. They came again, and about the same thing happened the second time, after they had again remained for nearly an hour. Again they fled back, but in a short time back they came, seemingly with more vim than ever, and at one time it seemed that they would run over us. But we held on, and, showing no indication of giving way, they got no further than the works, which they did reach, but could not climb over. Here it was hot for a few moments, but they weakened, and for the third time fell back; but this time some two hundred yards, when they rallied. They were, however, somewhat[78] demoralized and Col. Hagood, noticing this, and taking advantage of it, hollered out, "Company E, deploy as skirmishers." While we were deploying behind the works Col. Hagood passed an order that when the skirmishers started to advance the whole regiment must yell as we mounted the works. Then the command was given, "Skirmishers, forward, double quick." At this time there were not more than ten or twelve men in the skirmish line charging three lines of battle. As we mounted the works the regiment gave the yell. The whole of Lee's army, both to the right and left, seemed to take it up, and on we went, this handful. The Yankees must have thought our whole army was out after them, for they broke in confusion. It was really rich to see ten or twelve men running as many thousands.

In making this advance I ran over a nice looking fellow who was just dead. I happened to notice a gold ring on his finger, and as the enemy were getting back as fast as they could, I concluded to get that ring. So, stooping over, I pulled it off, and upon straightening up I saw a body of Yankees at right shoulder shift and at a double quick, an officer with drawn sword in command, coming up on our left, now in our rear. I called out to Capt. Wood, "They are flanking us on the left, captain." He stopped and looked and gave the command, "Skirmishers, in retreat." He and I started back, and to get back we had to pass just at the head of these Yankees. As we got at their head the officer in command of them ordered his men to halt, and,[79] turning his sword, tendered it to Capt. Wood, thereby surrendering the lot. Capt. Wood immediately cried out, "Skirmishers, halt, forward. Frank, take charge of these men." I stepped up, gave the command, "File right, double quick," and in no time the whole lot were in our works, thirty-six prisoners. It seems that we had been fighting all day fresh troops from Vermont, and the unexpected advance of our skirmish line led this entire company to believe that they were behind our advancing columns.

It had been raining all day, and we were as black with powder as the negroes at home. Our hands and faces would get wet, and taking our cartridges out and biting off the stem we would get the powder on our hands and faces.

It was now late in the afternoon and another company was sent to relieve us. We had been on the skirmish line since the evening before. On passing back to our works I stopped and foraged a little; and when I went into our works I was literally loaded down with haversacks, knapsacks and hats. I had six Stetson hats—new—and, on opening the knapsacks the things which struck my fancy most were white laundered shirts (boiled shirts). I gave a hat to Col. Hagood, Capt. Wood, Lieut. Dick Bryan, Lieut. Dick Best, Jim Diamond, and kept one myself. The dry goods and rations were divided out to the company. It was amusing to see us with our faces as black as chimney sweeps with a white starched shirt on. We got our supper all right that[80] night and slept like logs. The firing on the picket line did not worry us enough to keep us awake, though at times it seemed as if they were coming again. This ended the third day at Spottsylvania.



We had a comparatively quiet night after this hard day's work and slept pretty well, lying down in ranks behind our breastworks. The rain that had been falling the entire day ceased during the early part of the night. We did not make down our beds, nor even take off our accoutrements; but then we had not done that since the night before the Wilderness. Next morning, after we had prepared and eaten our breakfast, the little we had, we were relieved by some other troops, and we were taken up on the right in and about the Angle; but just as we got there our troops had made an assault and had gained what they had lost. Therefore, we were not actively in the engagement, though we were in it enough to be under a heavy fire, and we had some men both killed and wounded. I recollect that Lieut. Dick Steedly, of Company G, Bamberg, who was commanding that company, was wounded while we were on this part of the line, and others, too, whom I cannot recall.

We remained on this part of the line during the day, being kept in readiness to go to any point where we might be needed. We were kept close up to the fighting line, and, while not being engaged, yet we were close enough and were under a heavy fire during the entire day. We must have remained at this position that night. Next morning the[82] enemy seemed to have moved down to their right—our left—and the fighting was heavy there. We were hurried down to that part of the line. We found a heavy fight going on, but the Georgians, whom we went to support, were holding their own, and we were held back ready to support any part that might give way. The Georgians finally made an assault and drove the enemy back and followed them closely for some distance. While this was going on we were lining quickly in rear, ready to move in any direction.

While waiting here Eddie Bellinger and I concluded to "nose around" and see if we could run on to anything. Rations were now scarce, and something to eat would go good. Without saying a word to anyone except Jim Diamond, we walked off in the direction of the front, where the Georgians were now skirmishing. We soon reached their line and passed on through to the front. The skirmishing had about this time ceased. We continued to go on to the front and pass the skirmish line. The battlefield of the days before was just ahead of us, and we knew if we could get to where the dead were we would get something sure. Cautiously now, for we were in advance of our pickets and knew nothing of the whereabouts of the Yankees. But for something to eat we were taking chances. We at last came upon the ground where the dead of several days were lying. We had not searched but a few when heavy firing began on the right, and we discovered the pickets from outside advancing. Immediately[83] there was a perfect fusilade on the picket line on the right. We knew it would extend to where we were and catch us between the lines. Consequently, we determined to get "away back." We started back in a hurry, and when the Georgia picket line saw us coming back as hard as we could run they thought the Yankees were right in behind us, and they broke. The captain in command of the pickets soon discovered that the enemy were not making an advance, that Eddie and I had caused the whole confusion. He rallied his picket line, and by that time we were up with them. The old man was mad at us and he gave us the hardest "cussing" you ever heard; but we kept right on back and were soon with our company. We had three or four haversacks pretty well filled, and it was not long before Jim Diamond had a fire and had on it in tin cans sliced bacon and rice, making a pillau. It must have smelt good, for it was not long before Gen. Bratton and Col. Simms, his adjutant-general, came up near where we were cooking. Then Col. Hagood, Adjt. Clowney, Capt. Wood, all gathered near. In due course of time Jim took off his cans, some half dozen quarts, set them around, flattened out some pine paddles and invited up the gang. Did they come? You should have seen how readily they accepted the invitation. Not one of them hesitated in the least, and the best part was that there was just about enough for all. You should have seen that crowd after the feast, getting out their[84] pipes, filling up and lolling back, seemingly perfectly contented.

While upon the field of battle I came upon one poor fellow with his head completely gone, taken off even with his shoulders, evidently by a cannon ball. In taking his watch from his waist-band pocket, I felt a small roll of something. On investigating I found a few greenback bills sewed up in his waist-band. There were two tens and a five. As soon as Sid Key knew I had them he was after a trade, and I finally sold to him for three hundred and seventy-five Confederate.

The fighting had now about ceased along the entire line, except sharpshooting, which was kept up pretty regularly and rapidly enough to keep us expecting something at any time. But as the evening wore on nothing more serious occurred. I guess that we must have remained at this point during the night—I cannot recollect—but I think next morning all sharpshooting had stopped and everything on the entire line seemed to be perfectly quiet. During the morning we were moved, and we soon discovered that we were off again to meet Grant somewhere else, as he failed to get through at Spottsylvania, as well as the Wilderness, and was again moving to his left, still on his way to Richmond.

We held up that night in the vicinity of Hanover Junction, where we confronted the enemy. We remained here, I think, three days, with the enemy in front and heavy skirmishing and sharpshooting going on, but no regular engagement was had here.[85] They made no general advance. I guess they were about as tired and broken down as we were; and then, perhaps, Grant was holding up here for more men, as his losses at the Wilderness and Spottsylvania had been fearful. At any rate, we confronted him here for the three days, and we, too, rested up. While here one evening Col. Hagood had the regiment formed and had such orders as these read:

"For meritorious conduct, the colonel commanding takes pleasure in announcing the following promotions and appointments: Adjt. S. B. Clowney, to be captain of Company —— (I forget whether Company B or Company K); Sergt.-Major O. D. A. Wilson, to be adjutant; Private E. W. Bellinger, Company E, to be ensign, with rank of first lieutenant; Private W. R. Brabham, of Company C, to be sergeant-major; Private F. M. Mixson to be sergeant, Company E, and Private R. C. Kirkland to be corporal of Company C. They will be obeyed and respected accordingly. By order of the colonel commanding."

I think I have failed to mention that Darling Patterson, who had been our color bearer since the Second Manassas, and had been home for some time suffering with a wound, had recovered sufficiently to return. He had, however, applied for a transfer to Hart's Battery, but this was refused until the Battery offered us two men for him, when the change was accepted. But up to this place, the two men (named Morrison and Stewart) had not reported to us, though they should have done so, and did so a[86] short time thereafter, I think about the time we reached Petersburg.

After lying around Hanover Junction for about three days, and Grant had satisfied himself that we were there in his front, he (Grant) moved suddenly to Cold Harbor; and we moved as suddenly, and he again found us in his front. We went to Cold Harbor in a hurried march. As we were going down the public road, woods on the right and a large field on the left, we passed Keitt's South Carolina Regiment, just from the coast, drawn up in line of battle on the side of the road, we passing just in front of them. They were a fine body of men, the regiment bearing thirteen hundred strong—about twice as big as our entire brigade. They inquired of us, "What regiment are you?" and on being told the First South Carolina, they jokingly said, "This must be only one company of it." But, poor fellows, they soon learned how fast members could diminish.

We moved on down the line to our right and soon we heard the battle open in front of Keitt; and they were in it for the first time. Many a poor fellow who had so short a time left his home State in high spirits and "spoiling" for a fight on this field "bit the dust," but well did they hold their own and made several most gallant charges, not knowing what fear was. They did nobly and held their part of the line manfully. We went on down the line, and it was not long before we, too, were in it. We must have run upon the Yankees quite suddenly,[87] for, while marching in columns of fours at a double quick, and passing into a large field through a double gate, we "filed right," and upon getting distance enough we left flanked, throwing us into line of battle and immediately charged. I think this meeting was unexpected by both sides, because, as we double quicked through the gate, the brigade band was stationed there and was playing a lively air—perhaps "Bonnie Blue Flag." I know that was the only time we ever went into a fight with music, and it had the effect of putting us right into it thick and heavy before we even realized the enemy were near. It took us but a short time to break their lines and have them falling back. We had been resting for a few days and felt like fresh troops. We did not follow them up, I suppose for the reason we were acting on the defense, disputing their right to go to Richmond and holding them back. We had no other engagement in our front. The hard fighting here was in front of Keitt. The Yankees must have known they were fresh from the coast and concentrated all their energies against them. At any rate, by night all the hard fighting was over, Grant was again repulsed, and we all remained on our respective fields. The skirmishing and sharpshooting, however, was heavy during the night and all next day, but no more advancing was done by the Yankees. We were content with holding our ground.

We remained around here for, I think, two days longer with nothing doing. I guess after these failures[88] to break through our lines, Grant had decided to make a big circle and had pulled out, and Lee was holding us till he had located him, when he could again be in his front. The next place we met him was at Petersburg, but when he got there Lee and his handful were still in his front. The "On to Richmond" was started on the 5th of May at the Wilderness, and, with fighting every day and every night, on the 12th of June we confronted and held them out of Petersburg. I think that in Longstreet's History of the War, in telling of this great march of Grant's and Lee's skillful manoeuvering which met and foiled him in some of the greatest and biggest battles that had ever been fought in any war, Longstreet gives Grant's army at the Wilderness at one hundred and fifty-six thousand men, with the world to draw from; Lee at the Wilderness with only fifty-eight thousand, you might say, regular "rag-a-muffins," in so far as something to eat, clothing, ammunition and other supplies, and nowhere on God's green earth to draw men, material or supplies; but yet when Lee confronted Grant at Petersburg we were as indomitable as the first day at the Wilderness and loved Lee more. He was certainly now the idol of his men. Longstreet says that Grant's loss from the Wilderness to Petersburg in killed and wounded was fifty-eight thousand men, the number Lee had in his entire army. So, you see, on an average, each man in Lee's army had hit his man. Besides, our losses were heavy and we confronted Grant with only a mighty few.



It is strange that I cannot recall anything from Cold Harbor to Petersburg. I don't recollect when we left Cold Harbor nor how fast we were hurried, nor the distance. The first thing coming to my remembrance is reaching Petersburg. I have consulted with Capt. Foster and several others, privates like myself, of this place (Union, S. C.), who were members of the Palmetto Sharpshooters, a regiment of our brigade, and, to my surprise, they, too, are about as much in the dark as to that period as I am. I account for it this way: We had been around Cold Harbor for several days, the first two days of which we had hard fighting. The balance of the time remaining there we had only some skirmishing on the picket lines and resting up. Therefore, there were no impressions left. Besides, we needed this rest and quiet sorely, after the hard times we had undergone since the first morning at the Wilderness. Some time passed, and, consequently, we took things easy, regardless of everything. I do not remember, nor could I find out, how we reached Petersburg. I do not think, nor can I believe, that we passed through Richmond. If not, we must have crossed the James River on pontoons below Richmond, but, be that as it may, we did reach Petersburg, and none too soon. There was a heavy fight in progress. It was then about sundown.[90] We were thrown into line of battle and ordered to double quick. We had gone perhaps half a mile, drawing nearer and nearer the fighting forces, when suddenly we met our men being driven back. I understand that these were Gen. Beauregard's troops, who had been holding the enemy in check all day, and had just commenced to retire, being worn out and overpowered. They immediately fell in with us, and here we checked the advancing enemy and held our line, and upon this line so held we built the famous Petersburg breastworks, such works as were never built before, and which were occupied by our troops for nine long, tiresome and eventful months. It is true that at first these works here were only a crude affair, we not expecting to remain in them many days; but time went on and each day saw more work done, more facilities for moving around and for living, until we had built so that we could get around—cook, eat, sleep, the same as on the level, and with comparative safety, though the least exposure of the person would guarantee a quick shot from the enemy's sharpshooters with globe-sighted guns, and they got to be such expert marksmen that they rarely ever missed.

At this time our lines were some distance apart—far enough, in fact, for us and them to keep out our pickets, and the fighting for a while was done by the picket line, the army itself being hard at work with pick and spade. The work was hard and heavy and those who would go into the trenches at[91] night would work the time while there and be relieved by fresh troops the following night. This was done until we had good works, and until Grant had so lengthened his line that nearly all of Lee's army was required to face him, leaving but a handful to relieve those who had worked the hardest, and who were also held as a kind of reserve, ready to go to any point, should the enemy make an assault. These held in reserve would be one day one command, the next day another.

Grant now had Petersburg invested and had moved his lines up so close that we nor they had space for pickets—in fact, our videttes did not leave our works. I don't think it could have been over two hundred yards from our works to theirs. It might have been more and it might have been less. It was a long time ago and I might not recall the distance correctly; but I do recollect that it was very uncomfortably close.

About this time the two men, Morrison and Stewart, whom were given us by Hart's Battery in exchange for Darling Patterson, came to us. I must take time to give a brief description of these two men. Morrison was a great big fellow, heavy frame, about forty-five or fifty years old, heavy gray beard, and he was a real good-hearted fellow, but the report of a gun would scare him out of his breeches. He was certainly constitutionally a coward, and I really think he hated it, and when not under fire and not scared he would determine to try to not get so next time; but his good intentions[92] would go to the wind just as soon as the bullets began to come.

The other fellow, Stewart, was a medium sized, dark complexioned, swarthy man, about thirty or thirty-five. He was a genuine coward and would not try, nor did he care to overcome it, but would skulk on all occasions; and, worse still, he pretended to be a preacher, and often, in the very nick of time, old Stewart would sing out, "Let's all join in prayer." He played this off on us for a little while, and would succeed in being left; but, after a while, we found him out, and would break up his little scheme, although I don't recollect his having even been gotten into a regular "sit-to" fight. About this time we got another recruit—one that must be mentioned in these memoirs, because I knew him before he came, and, besides, he was known to everyone from Barnwell. John Lambert, of Barnwell, was our other new man, and why he should have selected our regiment for his service I could never understand, unless it was that he had known from infancy Col. Hagood, Eddie Bellinger, Jim Diamond, Perry Manville, the Mixson boys and Nelson boys, and perhaps some others; and as he had to go somewhere it was just as well to go where he knew people. Now, while John didn't love fighting, and always said that the Lord intended him to take care of himself, and he didn't purpose to disappoint the Lord, he was a jolly fellow and kept things lively with his jokes and quaint sayings. But, while he was very careful how he exposed himself, he did[93] an act while in the trenches which the bravest of the brave shuddered at. After a time in the trenches it had gotten so that the least exposure was certain death. One day there came along in the field in rear of our regiment a nice, fat shoat, about fifty pounds, strolling as if he didn't care if corn was fifty dollars a bushel. He strolled along till a Yankee sharpshooter concluded to cut him down. We heard him squeal and saw the shoat keel over. Something to eat of any kind would go well, but a fat pig, within seventy-five yards, ready to be cleaned and cooked! John Lambert couldn't stand it, but, jumping out of the trenches, running back with the minnie balls cutting the dirt all around him, he succeeded in getting to that hog, grabbing it by the hind leg, and started back in face of death itself. No one expected him to get in, but on he came, and finally jumped in the trench, hog and all, without even a scratch. It was one of the most marvelous feats, besides the most daring, of anything that I recollect happening. After this if anything was ever said to John in reference to his being a little scary he would bring up the pig incident.

We remained in the trenches for some time before being relieved for a night, but at last our night came, and we were taken back to rest. We knew that Gen. Johnson Hagood's Brigade was somewhere on the line, and late in the afternoon Jim Diamond, Eddie Bellinger and myself got permission to go over to Hagood's brigade headquarters to see Vince Bellinger and Willie Hagood, who were[94] in the brigade quartermaster department of Hagood's Brigade. We knew we would get something to eat and get something to bring back. We found them about sundown, and Vince and Willie told their man, Joe, a good old darkey, to commence preparing supper, and to fix enough of it. We sat around talking for a while, when Vince proposed that while Joe was fixing up the supper we should go right down the street to where he knew a fellow had something to drink. These boys were located near the town—in fact, at the head of a street. We pulled out, and in a few minutes Vince knocked on a door on the street. Almost instantly the door was opened, and in all five of us went. There was a long counter on one side of the house. The old man had no lights except a tallow candle. We stepped up near the front and Vince called for the liquor. The old man set out a decanter with only about four drinks—when the old fellow filled up for the fifth man to get his—it was a half gallon decanter—then the last one of us poured his out, leaving the decanter full, except the one drink. We took our drink, and Vince asked how much. The old fellow said, "Ten dollars each," making fifty dollars for the treat. Vince gave him a one hundred dollar bill. He picked up his candle, going back to the end of the counter to his safe for the change; but in doing this he had left the decanter setting on the counter. I told Vince to walk back and get the change; we would walk out. I picked up the full decanter, and as we walked out the door[95] Vince overtook us, and we all went out together. However, we saw the old fellow, as he came back, hold up his light to look after his liquor. On discovering it gone, he jumped across the counter, following us. We were all in a dead run by this time. The old fellow was afraid to holler for police, as he was running what we now call a "blind tiger," but he followed us to the end of the street. When Vince picked up an old gun, and raising it, advanced on him, the old man then broke back as fast as he had come, leaving us with the liquor. We took another drink all around, when Joe told us to draw up, supper was ready. Joe had given us a good supper—hominy, fried bacon, biscuits and coffee—the best part of which was there was enough of it. We drank no more, for Vince and Willie asked us to carry some to Jim Hagood and Capt. Wood. They also told Joe to get us up some rations, and he put us up about a half of a side of bacon, about half a bushel of meal and some salt. We got back to our command some time about midnight, and it was not long before Jim Hagood had his boy, Crow, and Pat Wood his boy, Fred, making up a fire, and about two o'clock we had a supper. In the meantime all the whiskey had disappeared. We all slept late next morning, and about eleven o'clock we had breakfast. We went back into the trenches and remained there some time, when we were taken across the James River to meet a demonstration being made there.



It seems that our division (Fields'), especially our brigade, was selected and had ever been the troops to run from place to place. This I egotistically claim was because we were good on the march, always getting there quickly, and then, after getting there, we could be always depended upon to meet the emergency. Hence, we were not in the trenches so continuously as some others. We, from now on, were mostly below Richmond, taking care of Richmond from that side, but occasionally we would run over and take a day or two in the trenches, where we would be again pulled out for across the James River. So, after about a week in the trenches on this occasion, we were taken over the river, as Grant seemed to be preparing to attack from that direction. We remained quietly, doing nothing but keeping out our pickets for several days. For these few days we took up regular camp duty, except drilling. At roll call in the mornings Morrison and Stewart hardly ever answered. This got to be such a regular thing on all occasions, even when we were called to move, that our orderly sergeant, A. P. Manville, became so completely disgusted (for you could see disgust depicted on his face) that it was determined between Perry Manville, Capt. Wood and Col. Hagood that Morrison and Stewart should be assigned to me as my[97] company, I to see after them exclusively, being exempt from all other duty, only go when they had to go, and to make them go. This might seem an easy assignment, but, take my word for it, it was the hardest job any poor fellow ever had. I would be up in the mornings before time, getting them up to be in time for roll call, and any other duties assigned them I would be notified and had to get them out for it. But Perry Manville, who was a brave, good fellow, would put them both on duty at the same time, thereby saving me extra duty. He saw and appreciated the hard task I had. After lying around here for perhaps a week or more watching and waiting we were ordered to "fall in." Our company was at this time on the left of the regiment, and I and my two men were on the extreme left, which, when marching left in front, put me and mine at the head next to the colonel. In starting out this time, when Col. Hagood rode up to his position, he turned to me and said, "Sergt. Mixson, load your gun immediately and take those two men in this fight or leave them dead on the wayside." I loaded up, telling these two what to expect from me (they had heard my orders). We started off. I kept them up pretty well, and when we formed our line of battle on the hill overlooking Deep Bottom I had them in ranks. We remained on this hill while our skirmish line were holding them back in the bottom, our skirmishers retreating slowly. Gen. Lee was dismounted near us, awaiting the time to order us to charge. When it looked like the[98] time had about come old Stewart got back pretty close to Gen. Lee, and, falling on his knees, said, "Let's all join in prayer," and he started off. He had hardly started good before the command was given, "Get to your places." Morrison went in ranks, but old man Stewart got louder. I called to him to get in. He got louder. I could not move him by calling, so I went up to him and, catching him by the shoulders, I pulled him back and almost had to drag him to his position. Lee looked on seemingly amused.

Well, we made the charge, meeting the enemy in the bottom. Here we fought them for some time, but finally retired to our former position on the hills. I don't think I got either Morrison or Stewart in this, but they were on hand when we got back on the hill. The enemy did not advance on us in our position, but fell back. We then went back and took up our quarters where we left the day before. Grant had failed here.

We remained here, without anything happening, doing picket duty and putting more logs on our fortifications, for something like three weeks, when the Yankees took another notion to go into Richmond over this route. Our cavalry, down at the Darbytown Road, discovered them on the move. As soon as this was reported to us our long roll routed us, and by sunrise we were off to look into matters. We ran upon their picket line about ten o'clock, drove them back and found them stationed behind the works that we had built there in 1862.[99] We immediately charged these works, and took them with very little trouble, they giving way after a short fight. We followed them no further than the works we captured from them. By night we were back at our camps, not much worse off than when we went out. We again took up our regular routine of duties and had no more disturbance from this quarter. Everything remaining quiet over here, we were, about the last of September or first of October, taken back to Petersburg and again went into the trenches. We were placed where the "blow up" afterwards took place, and while we were here our engineers were counter-sinking shafts, endeavoring to discover where the enemy's mine struck our fortifications. The marksmen on the Yankee side had become very expert with both the rifle and mortars, and they were so accurate that mortar shells would frequently fall in our trenches. For the information of those who do not know about mortar shooting I will explain. The mortar gun is a short cannon, say eighteen inches long, working in a carriage on a pivot and so arranged as to be shot at any angle, even to straight up. They had perfected themselves so that they knew the exact elevation to give the gun and the length of the fuse to explode it, as in many instances the cannon ball would fall in our trenches, and, exploding, would do much harm, and causing much confusion among us. Hence, it became necessary to keep a lookout, and when one of their guns was fired this "lookout" would keep his eye on the ball going up and coming[100] over, and if it looked as if it were coming into the trenches at a certain place we would crowd away from the place that it seemed like hitting, thereby making room for it to fall and burst with as little damage as we had time and room to make.

On one occasion I was sitting with my back to the front of the trenches, flat down on the bottom of the trenches, with my oilcloth underneath me. I had my man Morrison as "lookout," who was kneeling down facing the front just at my side. I heard the report of a mortar and saw Morrison prick up his ears. Soon I saw him begin to get excited, and then he commenced to exclaim, "It's coming, it's coming, it's coming!" Knowing how scary he naturally was, I gave but little faith to him. His eyes, however, looked the size of saucers, and finally he fell over, exclaiming, "It's come," and the shell fell between my legs, my oilcloth keeping it from burying itself deep enough to retain it. There I was, a shell with a burning fuse, in between my legs. It was death to do nothing, death to run, not only for me, but for others. It was impossible to get away from the shell, and instinct told me to get the shell away from me and us. Without having time to think even, I arose with the shell in my hands and dumped it out of the trenches. I scarcely had time to squat down when it bursted. Being outside, no one was hurt. I will take occasion to say here that this was no act of bravery. It was an inspiration that caused me to do it, and I was the worst scared fellow you ever saw, even more scared[101] than Morrison or Stewart at any time. It took me a day or two to recover from the fright I got.

We remained in the trenches this time till about the first of November, when Grant again began to move around on the north side of the James. Then we were taken out and carried over, and it was well for us that it was so, for the day after we left the mine was sprung and many, very many, killed, and on the same ground we had been and just left. History will tell you of this. I was not there. On the day before the mine was sprung the Yankees on the north side of the James had charged and taken Fort Harrison, which was being held by the militia from Virginia. And on the morning that the mine was sprung they made an assault on Fort Gilmore, which was three miles from Fort Harrison, and garrisoned by veterans from Virginia.

The assault was made to draw our forces from the trenches, hoping to get enough away to make the springing of the mine a success, and to draw our attention elsewhere. We left the trenches late in the afternoon, and, passing Fort Harrison, leaving it to the right, went on to Fort Gilmore. We marched all night, arriving near Fort Gilmore at daybreak, when we halted and were held as a reserve. The assault was made by negro troops, with white officers with pistols in their hands, forcing the negroes forward on pain of death. They made a creditable charge, a good many jumping in the ditch in front of the fort. One charge, however, satisfied them. About ten o'clock we went in and[102] relieved the Virginians and remained there till after midnight, when we in turn were relieved and went down in front of Fort Harrison, arriving there just as day was breaking. On moving from Fort Gilmore to Fort Harrison, about three o'clock, before day, I took the company's canteens and went to a well we were passing and filled up. This got me some little behind, and going down the road to overtake our command a solitary horseman overtook me. I discovered at once it was Gen. Lee. He said, "What are you doing behind, my little fellow?" And when I told him I had stopped at the well just passed to fill the company's canteens he said, "Well, hurry and catch up; they will need you by daylight." When I did get up I told the boys we would have h—— by daylight, and told them that Gen. Lee had told me so.

In front of Fort Harrison we took our position in an old ditch trench which had been thrown up there perhaps a couple of years. This was not more than eight hundred yards in front of the fort. The Yankees had been reinforcing all night, and when day broke they were well garrisoned, with negro troops mostly. We remained in this position, awaiting the signal gun, when the advance on the Fort would be made from two sides. Tige Anderson's Georgians were to lead the charge on the front, supported by our brigade (Bratton's). Two other brigades were to attack the side. Capt. Wood's boy, Fred, brought in breakfast, and Capt. Wood, Eddie Bellinger and myself sat down to eat. Capt.[103] Wood hurried through, leaving Eddie and me. Then it was that Eddie said to me, "Frank, I will be killed this day. In an hour I will be a dead man." I told him if I felt that way I would go to Dr. Martin Bellinger, brigade surgeon, and be excused. He would not go. Just then the signal gun fired, and Tige Anderson, with his Georgians, led off, slowly at first. We were called to attention, and I missed Stewart. The negro boy, Fred, hearing me asking about him, said he had passed Mr. Stewart a mile back. I turned to Morrison and told him if he did not go this time I swear I would kill him. I intended to keep my eye on him. We were now ordered to advance. Anderson had started his charge, and as soon as we got straightened out, and after crossing the old ditch, we, too, charged. Now the Yankees were mowing Anderson down with grape and cannister, and we, being only a short distance behind, were getting the full benefit of every fire. I tell you, it was a grand sight to see our boy colonel. He was about the middle of the regiment, in front of it. We were at double quick. Jim Hagood kept his eyes on the fort, and when he saw smoke from a cannon, he would cry, "Down, First," at the same time falling flat himself. When the grape and cannister had passed over he was the first up, and in that commanding voice, "Up, and forward, First." This he repeated more than half a dozen times. Anderson had now gotten to within about forty yards of the fort, where the firing was so fierce, furious and fatal. His men lay[104] down. We kept on, and just before we reached them they commenced to holler to us to stop. Anderson was walking up and down, begging them to forward. Then he would curse them. About now Lieut. Best, of our company, said, "Frank, I am shot through the thigh." I told him to go back. He said no. Only a step or two and he was shot clear through on the right side, the ball entering about the nipple. He now turned to go back, but just as he turned another ball hit him in the back, about an inch below where the other ball had come out, passing clear through, coming out where the other ball had entered. He now fell, and Sid Key, with another man with a litter, picked him up to take him off. As they raised him up another ball knocked off two of his toes, making four wounds for him. I think he is still alive—was a few years ago. When Lieut. Best fell we were passing through Anderson's Brigade. I heard Anderson, as a last incentive to his men, say, "Georgia, you don't intend to let South Carolina beat you." I jumped up and hollered out, "Hurrah for South Carolina." But just as I struck the ground a ball struck me, and an old Georgian, who was lying flat on his belly, looking over his shoulder back at us, saw it and heard me, and said, "Oh, yes, G—— d—— South Carolina, now." This made such an impression on me that I have always believed that I would recognize that fellow's face wherever I saw it again. I was fortunately hit in the hand, breaking the knuckle of my forefinger on the left hand. I[105] dropped my gun, and, running back to a pine, I got in behind it to examine how badly I was hurt, and when I discovered the bone shattered I pulled off my accoutrements, throwing them down, so I could have a good chance for running. Going only a short distance I heard the voice of Lieut. Col. Ben Kirkland, and I pulled up to see what was the matter. He was standing over an officer of our regiment, a captain, cursing him for all kinds of coward, and told him if he did not get up and go on with his company he would wear him out with his sword. I saw him get up, then I lit out again. On getting back to where we had started, sitting there alone was Morrison, who told me that when Lieut. Best was hit he left. I went on a little back to where the field hospital was located (the field hospital is only to receive the wounded, staunch the blood of those who are likely to bleed to death, put them in an ambulance, sending them back to the general hospital). While hanging around there I noticed someone brought up on a litter, who, upon being put down, beckoned to me. I went up to him, failing at first to recognize him; but upon close inspection I discovered Capt. Wood. He was shot directly below his nose, the ball passing back lodged in the back of his neck, knocking out his teeth and lodging them in his tongue. He was terribly disfigured at that time, but was operated on that night, they cutting out the ball from his neck, taking his teeth out of his tongue, etc. After the war he looked[106] nearly as handsome as ever, and he was a handsome man.

I went on down from the field hospital to the regiment, after they were driven back, and it was a poor sight, indeed—only ninety-three men were left in the entire regiment. Eddie Bellinger had fallen, leading the regiment in about thirty yards of the fort. When the colonel ordered the regiment to fall back he discovered his colors missing and saw them on the ground nearer the fort than he was. He ran up there and found Eddie dead with the colors gripped so hard that he had to pry his fingers open with his sword to get them away. This all happened in thirty yards of the fort, in an open field. The Yankees were so amazed at Col. Hagood's action that they did not shoot on him while he was doing this gallant deed. Col. Hagood then called Jim Diamond, who was not wounded, and turned the colors over to him. He brought them out. Next day the Yankees sent over a flag of truce, asking the name of the gallant officer who had rescued the colors—they buried Eddie with military honors.

I did not get my wound dressed until the day after the fight. That evening I went back to the general hospital. Dr. Wallace Bailey, from the Four Mile, our surgeon, glanced at it casually and told me he would cut off the finger when he had time—the surgeons were all busy that evening, all night and next day. Capt. Wood was operated on during the night and looked badly next morning.[107] Many a poor fellow lost an arm or a leg out here. That night this hospital was cleaned up, all of us being loaded on boats and sent to the hospital in Richmond, reaching there some time about midnight, and were immediately unloaded into a large kind of warehouse that had been prepared with cots, etc., for a kind of reception hospital. Here we were seen after by the ladies, our wounds dressed, and nourishment given us. Those who were not too badly wounded were sent on next day to the regular hospital. I did not let Dr. Bailey cut off my finger. I have it yet.



In the hospital at Richmond I was assigned to a ward that a Dr. Wilson, of Marion, S. C., was in charge of. This doctor seemed to take a liking to me from the start—I guess on account of my age and size. Some three or four days after my arrival there he told me the Examining Board would meet next day. This Board would look over the wounded and furlough those who would be disqualified long enough to go home, and he said he would put me on the list to go before this Board. My hopes were high and I could scarcely await the time with patience. But ten o'clock finally came, and the crowd began to gather. The Board met in a large one-room building, one door on the side, another on the end. The Board consisted of five members, the chairman of which was an old man. Their position in the room was in chairs towards the end, opposite the end door. They had a clerk, who had listed all names of those were applying. This clerk had a doorkeeper, and he would take off the list as he had them entered, call the name to his doorkeeper, who would extend the call and admit the man. After a long wait, my name was called and I went in fully confident that I would get a furlough. I was called over to where the doctors were sitting in a row, and the old doctor told me to show up. I readily did so, and when they saw that I was wounded in[109] the hand, he, the old doctor, said, "Pass out." I can tell you, I was disappointed, and so was Dr. Wilson; but he consoled me with the information that the Board would meet again in a few days and to try them again. This I did with the same result, only this time they did not even condescend to look at my hand. In a few days they again met, and again I went before them. But this time they didn't even allow me to stop, but as I walked in one door the old doctor waved me out of the other. This I reported to Dr. Wilson. He told me they treated me this way because so many were shooting themselves in the hands and feet to get out of service even for a time. After getting this information I went over to the officers' hospital and got a certificate signed by Capt. Wood and Lieut. Best, and got Dr. Bellinger, who came over to see how all his men were doing, to give me one, and then Col. Hagood sent his certificate to me. In the meantime, Dr. Wilson had told me to let my hand and arm lay so that the warm sun could shine through the glass on it. After doing this a couple of days my arm began to swell and turn red and the middle of my hand had become somewhat inflamed. So now I was fixed for the next meeting.

The day soon came, and early in the morning Dr. Wilson called me to him and stuck a lancet in the middle of my hand, put cotton on it and wrapped it up, telling me not get out of the board room without showing all I had. When I was called this time, as I walked in the door, the old doctor again[110] waved me to the other door; but instead of obeying him I went over to them and asked that they look at my hand. They agreed, when I undid it and pulled off the cotton. It began to bleed. Then I pulled up my sleeve, showing them my red, swollen arm. After seeing this they consulted and told me they were sorry that it was so they could not furlough me. I certainly deserved it. I then went down in my breeches pocket and brought out those certificates, which I handed them. After reading these the old doctor said to his clerk, "Give him thirty days." I do believe Dr. Wilson was as much pleased as I was, and he got my papers for me and got me off that same night, making me twenty-four hours ahead. I left Richmond that night on a crowded train. I got a seat with a poor fellow who had just had his leg cut off, and I helped him on his way, getting him water, dividing my rations with him and at nearly all the stations home the women would be at the depots with something to eat for us wounded. I kept the old fellow in good shape up to Williston, where I left him.

I was so accustomed to walking that I did not even ask anyone at Williston to send me home. It was only fourteen miles anyway, and I had no baggage of any kind, so I did not feel that I had much before me. I reached home in due time, and mother and my sisters all seemed mighty glad to see me. They had heard of the Fort Harrison fight and slaughter, and heard that we were in it; and had even heard of some of the killed and wounded, but[111] had heard nothing from me and had decided that "no news is good news." Hence, they were not surprised to see me.

After remaining home with my own people a few days I went up on the Four Mile to see Mr. and Mrs. Wilson, my other people. I remained there for about ten days when I went back home. It was not much longer now before my thirty days' would expire and I determined to be back to my command on time. When my sisters knew that I had been appointed a sergeant nothing would do but that they should put the stripes on my sleeves. I didn't care to have it done, but they put them on anyway.

Well, the time came for me to go back, and when I got to Williston to take the train it seemed as if I had a wagon load of boxes filled with everything good to eat and clothes to wear. There was a box for Sid Key, Ed. Harley, Job Rountree, Jno. Williams Canady, Darling Sprawls, Bill Kitchins, Mathias Hair, old man Walton Hair, Frank and Jno. Green, W. W. Woodward, Darius Ogden, and perhaps others whom I can't recall. Of course, I had one for myself. How I ever managed to get these to the camps I don't know, but they all did get there, and, it being not long till Christmas, old Company E had a regular "jollification." There were a few members of the company who did not live near me and did not get any box by me; but, all the same, those who had divided with them, and the entire company fared well for a while.


I found our command still below Richmond. I walked over from Richmond and struck the line up on the hill, and discovered that our brigade was down towards the left. I passed on down the line. Now, there were nice breastworks on the front, built out of logs. The quarters for the men were some of logs, some with logs covered with tents and some with tents only, situated in some one hundred yards in rear of the works. The space between the works and the quarters was used for a drill ground and a general street. Down this street I had to go. I had not gone far before some fellow cried out, "Here goes the dominecker sergeant," and in no time you could hear it for a mile ahead, "Here comes the dominecker sergeant." Then it was that I cursed myself for having on those stripes. I was not fit for duty for several weeks after getting back, but did take charge of my company, however—Morrison and Stewart.

Things about now were looking squally for our cause and a good many of our army were getting worn out and discouraged. The reports from Johnston's army made matters look more gloomy, and as time went on Sherman commenced his raid, going to Savannah and then turning up and entering South Carolina. Our men with families at home, who were being left homeless and in a starving condition, were very much disheartened and discouraged. Some desertions were made. I remember among the first was a man named Mack, from Orangeburg. He had heard very distressing news[113] from his wife and children, and, failing to get a furlough, he determined to go to them. He was brought back, tried by courtmartial, convicted and sentenced to be shot. I can never forget that day. The entire corps was turned out in a large open field and formed in a hollow square. Twelve men from our regiment were drawn on the shooting detail. I was the sergeant on the detail. My duty was to have these twelve men march out twenty paces from the stake erected where the man Mack was to be placed. When reaching this position I had the twelve men stack their arms, then I moved them back out of sight and turned them over to Lieut. Southern, who was in charge of them for the execution. I then went back to the stacked arms and loaded the guns, putting blank cartridges in six and loaded cartridges in six, and restacking them.

Then in this square a wagon drove in. On this wagon was Mack, sitting on his coffin. On each side of the wagon was a guard; in rear of the wagon was the band. This procession started off at one end of the hollow square; moving to the right, the band playing the death march. They went all round the entire square, giving each and every man a good opportunity of viewing it. At last they arrived at the other end of the square, when Mack, without assistance, got off the wagon and walked to the stake. The coffin was placed just in rear; then Mack was asked to kneel down with his back to the stake, and he was tied to it with a plow line. He[114] was blindfolded. Now Lieut. Southern, with his twelve men, was seen to enter the square at a quick step and was halted at the stacked arms. Lieut. Southern gave the command, as follows: "Attention, detail. Take arms. Carry arms. Ready—aim—fire!" At the report of the twelve guns poor Mack's head fell on his chest—he was a dead man. Lieut. Southern immediately moved his men off, so that they would see as little of it as possible, taking them back, disbanded them to their different commands. This ended the first and last lesson we ever got for desertion. It was hard to see, but such had to be, else our officers, from poor Mack's captain, his colonel, brigadier general, up to the Christian soldier, Bob Lee, would never have allowed it.



Some little time after this I was the sergeant on the picket line. The enemy's line of picket was some four hundred yards off, but in fair view. At midnight I sent William Dyches, a private from Company E, to relieve the vidette and to remain as vidette till day began to break, then to come back to our picket line. Just as day had fairly broken and Dyches had not come in I took a look for him, and was surprised to see him nearly over to the Yankees. I took a shot at him, but missed him. A Yankee then hollered over to me, saying, "Say, Johnny, we've got one of your small potatoes." I replied, "D——d small, but few in a hill." Dyches had always been a very good soldier—had never shirked duty and was ever there in a fight. He was from the section of Barnwell district, now Aiken county, known as Cracker's Neck, near the Upper Three Runs. Dyches did not reach home until after we all had surrendered and tramped from Appomattox home. We never went back to the trenches after the charge on Fort Harrison; remaining, however, below Richmond until the night of April 1st, when we abandoned our quarters, gave up our breastworks and took our march for Richmond. We reached Richmond after midnight and everything was in confusion and uproar—the city was on fire in more than one place. Soldiers on horse and[116] on foot were going in every direction—old men and women and children were on the streets weeping; all that, together with the heavy firing we could hear at Petersburg, told us that Richmond was gone—Richmond, the goal that Grant had striven so hard for and for which he had sacrificed so many lives, would be his at last. In passing through Richmond I lost both Morrison and Stewart—they escaped me in the confusion.

We went on through Richmond, giving it up to the Yankees who entered just behind us, and just before noon we reached Petersburg. Here we found our troops hardly pressed. We were placed in position some four or five hundred yards below the bridge which spanned the Appomattox River, with orders to hold the bridge, as it was the only escape our whole army had, and to lose this we were captured. We held the advancing enemy all the afternoon until late into the night after our army had crossed. We were drawn off and crossed over, then, pouring oil on the bridge, set fire to it. After seeing it in flames we took up our march as rear guard to Lee's army on that ever-to-be-remembered six days' march, and every hour a fight to Appomattox.

I don't know how to tell of this march. Things happened so fast and we were pressed so hard that we were at one place for only a few minutes and then at another. In a fight here, holding the enemy back long enough for our troops to cross a stream, or even a narrow place in the road, then we were gone. I know at Farmville we had a good, stiff[117] fight, holding the enemy back while our troops crossed the bridge, and at one time it seemed that they would cut us off. Some of our troops waded the creek, neck deep. After passing this place just on top of the hill we found our quartermaster and commissary wagons deserted and afire. Just a little further on we stopped to blow, and I made up a fire and beat up some batter, put a flap-jack in the frying pan. Just as it was ready to turn over we were ordered to make a quick charge. I grabbed my frying pan, flap-jack and all, and went into the charge. We drove the Yankees back, and, getting back to my fire, I finished cooking my flap-jack, and it ate right well.

For six days and six nights we did not stop for sleep nor for rest longer than ten minutes, but those ten minutes were used for sleep. It was a fight and a run the whole time. I saw men—and I did the thing myself—go to sleep walking along. Two days before reaching Appomattox Frank Green slipped out on the side, to see if he could get something to eat. He got off some half mile and had succeeded in getting a half middling of bacon from an old woman. He stuck his bayonet through this and swung it on his shoulder and started out for us. He soon discovered that the Yankees' cavalry were between him and us. He therefore had to outmanoeuvre them some way. Being in any open country this was hard to do. Two of them soon spied him and went for him; but, after an hour or more, Frank came in with his bacon, too. Along[118] about now I was again barefoot. I had not had an opportunity to run upon any dead Yankees, as we were doing the running these times. So I commenced looking around for a pair of shoes somewhere. I soon discovered that Sid Key had a pair of number sixes hung onto his belt. Sid wore about tens. I bartered him for a trade. He was willing to sell, but he wanted cash. However, he let me have them on credit, with the understanding that I would pay him after the next fight if I got anything from a dead Yankee. We never got into another fight where we held the field, consequently, I never had a chance at a dead Yankee; and I owe Sid for those shoes yet!

On the morning of April 9th, 1865, we were halted in a field. Firing was going on down on the front. We had not long stopped when we noticed that the firing on the front had ceased. We were lying down on each side of the road. Presently we saw two men galloping up the road. On reaching us we discovered one to be one of our general's staff officers, the other to be a Yankee officer. Right then there was excitement. We knew something was wrong, but what was it? Sleep and exhaustion had gone; everybody was up, stirring around and wondering. We were held here in this position and under this strain for over three hours, when the report got started that Lee had surrendered. Very shortly after we heard this we saw a crowd of horsemen coming up the road. We soon recognized Gen. Lee among them. Every man got on his feet,[119] and we commenced yelling for Lee. The old man pulled off his hat, and, with tears streaming down his cheeks, without a word, he rode through us. Lee was not the only one shedding tears—old men who had wives, sons, daughters, even grandchildren at home; middle aged men who had families at home; younger men who had left a young wife, and young fellows like myself—all were bowing their heads with tears; but no thought of censure; no criticism of Gen. Lee, ever entered the minds of any of us. We knew he had done for the best and we had more confidence in him, as he rode through us that day, than we ever had before, and we loved him more. We knew how humiliated he felt, and, knowing this, we were anxious to make him feel that we recognized that he had done right, and our confidence and love for him, instead of being shaken, had been increased. He was certainly now more of an idol than ever before.

That afternoon we were taken into the oak grove and put in the Bull Pen, as we called it. This was only going into bivouac with a guard around us, but not a Yankee guard. We could not have submitted to that had that been attempted; the last one would have been knocked out during the night. But we had our own men for our guards. We were not allowed out of our lines, nor were any Yankees allowed to come in; but they hung around and seemed surprised that they had such a hard time in overwhelming such a crowd of rag-a-muffins, and so few of them.


On being put into the Bull Pen it so happened, and we immediately discovered, there was in our regimental lines a large barn pretty well filled with ears of corn. We were soon scrambling for this and men could be seen going in all directions with an armful of this corn. It looked exactly like each man was going to feed a horse. It was well for us that we struck this luck, for we had nothing to eat; and when there is nothing better, parched corn goes mighty good. We now filled up on our parched corn and by good dark everybody seemed to be asleep—the first sleep we had for seven days and nights, since we left Richmond. We awoke the next morning, and, after taking our breakfast (parched corn again and water), we felt very much refreshed, after a night of sleep and rest. We would hang around our lines, seeing anything that might take place. During the morning Gen. Lee, accompanied by Gen. Meade and staff, rode around. I suppose Gen. Lee was showing Gen. Meade how few men he had surrendered him and the condition they were in. On passing by us we began to cheer and yell. Meade turned to his color bearer, who had his headquarters' flag rolled up, and said, "Unfurl that flag." This he did, when an old, ragged, half-starved, worn-out Confederate soldier in our lines cried out, "D——n you old rag. We are cheering Gen. Lee." This old fellow, like the balance of us, was no more whipped, penned up here in the Bull Pen, overpowered by at least ten to one, starved, naked, broken down, than he was at the Wilderness,[121] Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor or the nine months in the trenches and below Richmond. We were not whipped, and we never felt whipped; but felt like men who had done their duty in every emergency, and now, while we were forced to give up the struggle, it was only to overwhelming odds and resources. But we were yet men and men, too, who were entitled to and would get the admiration of the entire world. We knew we deserved this, and, knowing it, we held up our heads, not ashamed to look our victors straight in the eye. And they, the Yankees, acted with much consideration, and like good soldiers, and good Americans can only act, did not show that exultation they must have felt. While they seemed to feel proud, of course, at the result, yet we had their sympathy and good will.

This was April 10. We remained in our lines the entire day. To this we did not object, as we needed the rest, and, besides, we did not care to move around much. Again, we had a good night's sleep and parched corn enough to eat. Early on the morning of the 11th it became known that we were to be taken out and surrender our arms, ammunition and everything else. We were, however, allowed to retain our side arms and blankets. The side arms consisted of, with the officer, his sword and pistol; with the private, his haversack, canteen and little hand axe, the axe that we wore stuck in our belts and which had been of so much service to us in building log breastworks at the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor, Petersburg and below[122] Richmond. We noticed in the morning, say ten o'clock, the Yankee columns moving down to Appomattox Court House. At noon our drums beat for us to fall in. In a short time we were again in ranks. Lee's army was now moving down the road towards Appomattox Court House, every man fully armed, cartridge boxes full and the men well rested. We knew we were being taken to stack and give up those arms which had been a part of us for four long years; but we did not lag or skulk. Had Gen. Lee, then and there, ridden out and said, "Boys, there are the enemy, go for them," there would have been no man to question it; we would have broken through, no matter the odds. But we marched up in front of them, where they were formed in line of battle, with our heads up, showing them that a soldier knows how to die. We were stopped and made to face them, and then, for the last time, we heard our boy colonel, Jim Hagood, give the command, "First South Carolina, order arms, fix bayonets, stack arms, unbuckle accoutrements, hang up accoutrements." When this was completed we heard again his command, "First Regiment, attention. Right face, file right, march." The deed was done. Now we were truly prisoners—nothing with which to protect us from either danger or insult. We were carried back from whence we came, and we took up our quarters as before. We suffered no insult in any way from any of our enemies. No other army in the world would have been so considerate of a foe that it had taken so long, so much privation, so much sacrifice of human life, to overwhelm. Gen. Grant had acted nobly towards Gen. Lee. His men acted considerately towards us.

Our Boy Colonel.

Colonel of (Hagood's) First S. C. Regiment of Volunteer
Infantry, C. S. Army

Of him General Lee wrote as follows: "It gives me pleasure to state that Col. J. R. Hagood, during the whole term of his connection with the Army of Northern Virginia, was conspicuous for gallantry, efficiency and good conduct. By his merit constantly exhibited, he rose from a private in his regiment to its command, and showed by his actions that he was worthy of the position."

(Signed) R. E. Lee.

Lexington, Va., 25th March, 1868.

J. R. Hagood volunteered as a private in the above named regiment, just before its departure to Virginia, in the summer of 1862, under the command of Col. Thomas Glover, who had succeeded Johnson Hagood to the colonelcy of the regiment upon the latter's promotion to brigadier-general.

J. R. Hagood was promoted sergeant-major of the regiment August, 1862. He was promoted adjutant of the regiment November 16th, 1862. He was promoted captain of Company K January, 1863. He was promoted colonel of the regiment on 16th of November, 1863. His commission being dated within ten days of his nineteenth birthday, he was doubtless the youngest colonel commanding a regiment in the Confederate Army.

This rapid promotion came to him while serving in and forming a part of "that incomparable infantry which bore upon its bayonets the failing fortune of the Confederacy for four long and bloody years." He surrendered at Appomattox, with Lee's Army, having participated in nineteen battles in which at least 20,000 men were engaged.


That evening Col. Hagood got enough paroles for the men of his regiment, but did not give them out. The next day, April 12, Col. Hagood, having decided to try the scheme of keeping us together, started the tramp for home. Early in the morning the Yankees had sent us over some beef, and upon dividing this out each man got one-fourth of a pound. This was the only rations we had issued to us during the time we were in the Bull Pen; but, in justice to the enemy, I must say that they, too, had not had anything issued them.

I guess we had traveled so fast and furiously that their wagon could not keep up. Here we were, six hundred miles away from home, not a cent in our pockets, and only one-fourth of a pound of raw beef. Can a more deplorable picture be drawn? Col. Hagood marched us off, keeping us pretty well together till night coming on we stopped. We had traveled about twenty miles towards home this day. After stopping for the night Col. Hagood called on the few officers present to meet him, when he explained that we had no money nor had we authority to confiscate something to eat. The men now had nothing and hadn't had for over ten days. He had thought it best to keep them together as long as possible, and now he had gotten them some twenty miles away from the Yankee army, he saw no other alternative but to give each man his parole[124] and turn him loose to get home the best he could. He was satisfied this was the best course. All the officers present agreed with him, and that night each orderly sergeant was given the number of paroles to be filled out, inserting the man's name. By midnight Orderly Sergeant A. P. Manville and myself had them all ready for Company E, and early next morning Sergt. Manville called up the company and gave to each man his parole. Then, with tears in our eyes, we bade each other good-bye, and took our course for our desolated homes in old Barnwell District.



Jim Diamond and I did as we had always done—joined our fortunes—and taking a kind of byway we soon were away from any soldiers. We considered it so much better to leave the highways and public roads, as on the private ways we would stand a much better chance to get something to eat. We found this plan to work very well, and during the whole distance and time we took to get home we never went hungry. At times we would strike a highway for a short distance when we would run upon a lot of fellows tramping for their homes, some of whom had to go so far as Texas. How they ever lasted that long and held out to make such a distance I can't conceive.

We would generally stop at nearly every house we passed and beg for something to eat, or for milk or buttermilk; and there being only two of us, we were hardly ever refused, consequently, we never wanted. After so long a time we were in the neighborhood of Danville, Va. We concluded to go by and take in the place and see what was going on there. We reached Danville early in the morning and found an immense crowd—it seemed that all of us had taken in the place. Not long after we reached the city we determined to charge a store in which there were some government goods, and a big crowd soon gathered. It did not take long to batter down the[126] doors and get in. Then the scramble began. There were bacon, meal, molasses, clothes, blankets and everything else. The way the men got the molasses was by knocking out the head of the hogshead and dipping in their canteens. In one instance the pressure around a hogshead was so great that one fellow next to the barrel, being pressed so tight, was raised off his feet; but he deliberately stepped over into the barrel, standing up in the molasses to his waist. He filled his canteen and then crawled out.

Jim and I got in this raid a small piece of bacon, some meal, a couple of army blankets and a McClelland saddle. We then went on down town to the depot and found a train of cars standing on the track headed southwards. The engine was fired up and every available space, inside and outside and on top, was taken, and all that was necessary to move off was an engineer. Just away from where this train stood was a magazine, filled with all manner of explosive missiles. In some manner this magazine caught and soon the explosion occurred and pieces of shells were flying in every direction. Then those who were on the train began to get away—some even jumping through the car windows, others from the top. While this was at its worst a Texan jumped on the engine and cried out, "I am an engineer; I can run it. Give me a fireman." Immediately someone answered his call. In the meantime, as the others jumped off, making room, Jim and I got on, and our Texas engineer pulled out amid the confusion from the live magazine.[127] Whether he knew much about handling an engine or not, he did certainly let it run, stopping for no place nor for nothing, until just before reaching Salisbury, N. C., an axle to the tender broke. This, of course, put an end to our ride. Deserting the train, leaving it on the track, we again pulled out afoot. We had, however, made a good many miles, which did us much good. In due course of time we struck the neighborhood of Charlotte, N. C., and desired to "take in" that city, too, for we wanted to see and hear what might be going on in the world, we having confined all our movements to country roads and country houses. We went into Charlotte, and, having our haversacks well filled, we were in no hurry. We loafed around the town taking in the sights. Here again we met a large crowd of Lee's paroled men, and here again we made a raid on some government stores. But as we had plenty to eat we didn't take much hand in it. However, we got a bolt of real good jeans—about all we did get.

Jim had traded his saddle before reaching Charlotte, consequently, we were not hampered with carrying that. We left the city before dark and continued our course south, regardless of where we would strike next. Sometimes we had to go some distance to get a ferry across a river, and in one or two instances a farmer would take us over in his batteau. We were faring right well, and, as neither of us had a wife and children awaiting our coming, we did not push hard after leaving Charlotte. The[128] next town I recollect passing through was Newberry. We heard of the assassination of President Lincoln at Charlotte. On reaching Newberry early in the morning we were the wonder of the town. They had not heard of the surrender of Lee nor of Lincoln's death. It seemed as if the town turned out to see us.

We stopped here only long enough for Jim to get a shave, the barber doing it for nothing. We slept in a farmer's barn that night about eight miles from Newberry. This farmer gave us supper and next morning breakfast. And we went on our way rejoicing. Our next stop was at a farmer's house in now Saluda County—Mr. Ready—on the Columbia and Augusta Railroad. He was an old bachelor and made us come in his house, giving us supper, bed and breakfast, and an early start the next morning. Besides, he gave us directions how to get to Pine Log Bridge, across the Edisto River. We crossed the Edisto in the afternoon and took that big old sandy road for White Pond. Reaching that place, just before sundown, we went on our way, and between sundown and dark we stopped at a little log cabin, asking for something to eat and telling the lady, Mrs. Beach, that we would sleep in the pines. This she would not consent to, but made us walk in, prepared supper, made us down a pallet in front of the fire. Before going to bed she told us her husband was a soldier, too, belonging to Lamar's Second South Carolina Artillery, with Johnston's[129] Army. She had not heard from him since they left Charleston. Beach did get home all right.

Next morning she was up bright and early and gave us breakfast and Godspeed. It was now only a few miles before we would reach the forks of the road where Jim and I would part, he going to Barnwell and I to Joyce's Branch, ten miles above Barnwell. The nearer we reached this fork of the road the more serious we would become. We had eaten and slept together for nearly three years—had shared privations together, and in prosperity we divided with each other; and now, we were on the verge of parting, perhaps never to see each other again. We had been passing the burnt houses, done by Sherman in his march, and we did not know what we might find at our homes; but we well knew there were hard times ahead of us. At last, we arrived at the parting place, and, by common instinct, we determined to make the parting short. Jim took the bolt of jeans from his shoulders, where he had it slung, told me to pull it out, and then, doubling it in the middle, cut it in two. This was all. Without saying a word more, we shook hands and turned off quickly. Jim had about twelve miles to Barnwell; I about ten to Joyce's Branch. I reached home just as they had finished dinner. They, too, had not heard of Lee's surrender. They hunted me up some old clothes, sent me to an outhouse to wash and clean up, and then buried my suit of Confederate gray, as that was the best thing to do with it. I was very much gratified to find that Sherman's[130] raiders had not gotten as high up as our place. The nearest they came, however, was only one and a half miles off towards Barnwell. I found that none of our negroes had run off, but all were at home making a crop, and mother had a good supply of "hog and hominy."

There were, however, about a dozen cases of smallpox on the place, left by some straggler, the most of which was among the negroes. I was not afraid of it, having been well vaccinated while below Richmond, and I did not hesitate to go right in to it and help all those who had it, both white and black. It was but a few days before my sisters had me a real nice suit of clothes, made from the jeans we had raided at Charlotte and divided at the forks of the road. The first time I went to Barnwell I saw Jim Diamond in his suit made from the other part.

Now, the war is over, and we are again civilians. My reminiscences of a private are at an end. There are things I should have written in these had they occurred to me at the right time, and perhaps there are things that might have been left out. But when I would take my seat to write I did not know what I intended saying. It seemed to come to me by inspiration, and I would just write as fast as pencil could go. I will have to ask the public to be charitable in reading this. Recollect, I went into the war a mere country boy, fourteen and a half years old, and returned to a ruined, desolate and impoverished country at eighteen years and six months old.

Transcriber's Note

Obvious punctuation errors were corrected.

Both "afoot" and "a-foot" appear and have not been changed.

P. 7: "insistant" changed to "insistent" (At my insistent request).

P. 24: "forteen" changed to "fourteen" (fourteen hundred strong).

P. 30: "bill" changed to "hill" (About half way up the hill).

P. 33: "Arthur Tompson" changed to "Arthur Thompson".

P. 67: "cheerfull" changed to "cheerful" (in a loud, cheerful voice).

P. 67: "closly" changed to "closely" (closely followed by the enemy).

P. 67: "of" changed to "on" (I lay flat on my belly).

P. 70: "semed" changed to "seemed" (These bullets all seemed to go through).

P. 79: "biled" changed to "boiled" (boiled shirts).

P. 90: "timesome" changed to "tiresome" (nine long, tiresome and eventful months).

P. 115: "out" changed to "our" (we abandoned our quarters).

P. 126: "crowled" changed to "crawled" (and then crawled out).




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