Civil War Memoirs of Kingman Porter Moore, M.D. of Pike County, Georgia

 

[The following is a verbatim transcription of the handwritten Civil War memoirs of Kingman Porter Moore, M.D., started on June 15, 1921 and completed on July 14, 1921.  Grammar, punctuation, and spelling are his.  The original of this manuscript was in pencil.  He began a rewrite of it in pen and ink, but never completed it.  The rewrite is not simply a copy, but was edited with some additions and changes in certain details. Memoirs submitted to the Pike County GenWeb by Tom Brittain.]

            June 15 - 1921

            Some faint recollections and reminiscences of my war experiences in the bloody days of the early sixties.  With the passing of fifty six years in a busy mans life, and standing at the sunset period of lifes fitful and checkered journey, with the 77th mile post in the rear, naturally enough the recolections of those long ago years and times must be “faint” indeed.

            I may be pardoned for using the personal pronounds of I and my in this narrative, as I could not well do otherwise and properly express myself.

One who did not live in times of 1860 and early 61, can form no adequate conception of the stirring atmosphere in which we of the South lived, moved, and had our being.  Having been taught from our infancy, and from our histories in school, the great and fundamental doctrine of “States sovereignty” it was the natural thing that our political leaders and statesmen should stir “the blood of the McIntoshes” when we felt that our states rights were in the balances, and were about to be trampled upon by our breathen of the north.

            I well recall how we school boys used to spend hours making hot speeches in the woods or on the highways.  I had to walk four miles to school, and I spent the time morning and evening, going to and from school, making red hot speeches.  And thus it was that every man and boy in this Southland, with true Southern blood circulating in his veins was wrought up to pitch of laying his life upon his countrys alter, and of fighting to the last ditch.

            It was somewhere in May or June that the “Barnesville Blues”, the first company from Pike County Ga, was organized.  Dr. Geo. M McDowell was elected Captain of the company, and no company in the Confederate Service had a braver, or more courtly gentleman as their leader than the Blues.  Every man of the company loved and revered him, and were ready to follow him to the death.  Parenthetically I might say that after the war Dr. McDowell was my preceptor when I started the study of medicine.  For my love for him as my first Captain, and as my teacher in the beginning of my professional career, as well as the fact that he officiated at the birth of my first child, that I named my oldest son and first born for him.

            Well do I remember how, as a boy of 16 summers, I watched with evious pride the drilling and maneuvering of this splendid body of young men on the fields around Barnesville, and how my heart was bursting with anxiety to join them. 

            After a few weeks of home drilling the company was ordered to join the camp of Confederate forces now organizing as part of the army near Lynchburg Va and was assigned to the 3rd Battalion of Ga volunteers.  The company had not been uniformed up to the time of going away: and in fact our infant government, in the hasty formation of its army had no time for gathering uniforms for its soldiers.  Soon after this splendid company left for the front, the citenzenry of Barnesville set about taking private subscriptions to purchase a uniform for the company.  It was at a called mass meeting of Barnesville citizens for this purpose, when the hearts of every man and woman present was overflowing with patriotic enthusiasm, and when every one present were called upon individually to make a subscription to this cause, that this scribe, when asked for a subscription, that he responded, in the language of Peter & John to the blind beggar at the gate beautiful, said "Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I thee”.  I will give myself.  This decission was made some time late in August of 1861, and some time early in September, this beardless stripling of a boy, with several other recruits, bade farwell to love ones at home and turned our faces northward to join the Barnesville Blues at Lynchburg.  Several weeks were spent at this camp in hard drilling.  I was never a strong robust boy, and having only past my 16th birth day about four months when I went into service, it required just a little more physical strength than I possessed to handle a big old smooth bore mussel loading musket, and endure the long hours of drill and guard duty.  It was late in the fall of the year that I contracted the measles, and was sent into the hospital in Lynchburg.  Our hospitals, like every thing else of those days, were exceeding crude.  We had no trained nurses, few doctors, no orderlies, and a little or no equipment for taking care of the sick.  As in almost every thing else, the South had gone to the north for its medical and surgical supplies, and now that this was cut off, we had little or no medicine  The doctor in charge of my apartment came to my ward about once in two days, and the nurse, a detailed soldier who was too feeble for duty in camp, came about once, or possibly twice in 24 hours.  A mug of water was placed on a stool by my bunk, and I had to make it last until the nurse could get back to my room.  I well recall one night when I was famishing for water, I dreamed that I was at a cool bubbling spring I used to visit in my boyhood days, and I reached out for my mug, dashed out the little water I had in it, and made a scoop for water from the spring, and waked myself up by striking my mug against the stool.  One can imagine my sore disappointment when I found that I had thrown away what I had and must wait for the return of the nurse some time the next day.  I was in the hospital some weeks, and got back to the company, weak and emaciated just a few days before our command was ordered to Richmond, on on the way to Big Sewell Mountain, where the enemy was making a demonstration and where a big battle seemed eminent.  For reasons unknown to the privates, the command was halted at Richmond and camped under the canopy of Heaven for a week or ten days.  It was getting into the early winter and the weather was real cold, so that sleeping on the ground with one blanket to the man, was just a little too severe for one in my enfeebled condition, and I almost froze at night.  About this time the yankees were making a demonstration on Newburn N.C. and we were ordered there, but were again halted at Goldsborough.  The fatigue and exposure incident to these movements sapped the little remaining strength left, and after a few days in camp I was again taken to a field hospital, improvised in one of the larger buildings at the fair grounds of Goldsborough, and so feeble and exhausted I developed what was diagnosed “brain fever”, and was hardly conscious of any surroundings almost from the time of entering the hospital.  It seems more like a dream, when a dear Christian woman, filled with unspeakable devotion and sacrifice characteristic of our Southern women, came to the hospital and took me into her own home, and for weeks this dear sweet woman and her three fine daughters nursed me back to life.  When I had sufficiently regained strength and consciousness, I was told that my good Captain, and noble physician had secured for me an honorable discharge from the army on the ground of physical unfitness for service.  As soon as I was able to travel, my good friend Capt B. M. Turner was detailed to take me home.  So the coming of the spring time, and the budding of the flowers of 1862, found me again at home and under the tender care of my blessed old mother.  With the gracious nusing of my mother and a younger sister, and with the splendid nourishment of a good country home, and the petting of a good old father “Richard was soon himself” again.  Under this splendid and wholsome environment, I soon gained strength and health and was in better heath than ever in my life and as my blood came to be richer in red blood corpuscles, my Southern blood also became turbulent, and although I had been honorably discharged from the army, without my knowledge or consent, and I might have staid at home on my discharge, yet the question of reinlistment was simply irresistable, and I told my parents and friends that I could not stay at home while my friends and compratriots were sacrificing their lives on their country alter.  About this time an artillery company was being gathered at Griffin Ga, composed of volunteers of all ages from 16 to 65, from the counties of Spalding, Morgan, Pike and Upson, and I enlisted in this company.  Col. Obediah Gibson, a prominent lawyer and preacher was elected Captain of the company, John Scogin first lieutenant, Bill Lyon Second Lieut, and Crawford Friar third Lieut.  Capt Gibson was about 60 or 65 years old, and was the soul of courtliness and civility.  As an illustration of his great politeness, when the company first went into camp near Griffin, and when the orderly sargent had formed the company facing front, and turned it over to the Captain, his first command was “Gentlemen, will you please right face”, and this was said in the most gracious and courtly manner.

            About this time a divission of recent volunteers were being assembled and organized near Calhoun Ga, and our company was ordered to join this organization.  The Government found great trouble to furnish arms for its rapidly growing army, and we went into camp without guns.  It will be a matter of no little interest to the children of this age to know where our guns came from.  The securing of brass or copper was no easy task for the Confederacy, and many of her canon were cast of iron.  An appeal was made to the churches of Ga to contribute their church bells, to be  moulded into canon, and from all over the state the bells began to ring for joy, and stream of them poured into Rome Ga, when the Government had establish an armory, and soon the bells were cast into four beautiful 12 pound Napolean guns, and these were turned over to our company, and we enjoyed the unique distinction thoughout the Confederacy as “the Church bell battery”.  And the company promised never to bring reproach upon the name.  Our company loved and almost revered our guns.  We cared for them with unstinted devotion through the hard campaign that Bragg made into Kentucky in the fall and winter of 1862, back through Cumberland Gap to Knoxville.  We pulled them across the mountains of E Tennessee, and joined the main army of Tennessee in the battle and skirmishes around Tullahoma and Murfreesboro, and it was not until the 19th of Sept, in that awful struggle on the bloody fields of Chickamauga, that we lost the first one of these guns, and only gave it up then after an awful struggle, and when several of our men, and five of the horses to that peice were shot down in a heavy charge from the enemy, and when our lines were ordered to fall back we found it absolutely impossible to take this peice with us.  And in addition to the loss of many of our friends and comrades, our hearts were saddened over the loss of the first one of our Church bell guns.

            Leaving the camp at Calhoun Ga, we joined the forces of General Bragg on that famous raid into Kentucky in the fall of 1862.  It was in many respects a hard and trying campaign, and it was quite often the case that we marched several days at a time with little or nothing to eat, and it was no unusual thing to live for two days at least on parched corn alone and we considered ourselves fortunate when we camped for the night, to be able to fill our haversacks with enough parched corn to munch on the next day.  It was an extremely dry fall, and the men and beasts would often really suffer for water, and often I have seen men gather around a stagnant pond, in which there were several dead animals, knock of green scum and slake their thirst.  Under these conditions our army suffered almost an epidemic of malignant dysentary, from which some of choicest men fell by the wayside.  Our beloved and revered Captain Gibson was a victim of the dreadful malady, and left us to answer the bugle call to join the ranks of the immortals who are camping on fields Elysian, and resting under the shadow of the trees on the eternal shores.  The object of General Braggs mission into Kentucky seems to have been to releive North Alabama and Middle Tennessee of the presence of the enemy, and to secure supplies for the Confederate forces, both of which were accomplished with little fighting and small losses.  Our forces entered Middle Kentucky through the Eastern route, going throug big Creek Gap, 20 miles south of Cumberland Ga.  General Buel commanding the yankee forces was driven out of Middle and East Tennessee and fell back to Nashville.  While Genl Bragg had a fierce engagement with the enemy at Perryville Ky. and gave him a severe beating, capturing many prisoners, guns, and supplies, our own immediate command did no fighting on this raid.  Having passed Harrodsburg, we went as far as Bardstown, when, having accomplished his purpose, Gen. Bragg began his retreat, gathering his forces for a formidable stand at Murfreesboro, Middle Tenn.  Before reaching Cumberland Gap, camping one night on one of the fair plains of Kentucky, and when our company were as hungry as wolves notwithstanding the strict orders of Gen Bragg, that honesty should be one of the chief characteristics of his army, one of my messmates decided that if it became necessary, he would take the chances of forfeiting his birthright for mess of pottage, and he essayed to go out on a small foraging expedition.  After an hour or so of recoisance among the farms of the neighborhood, he came in with about a peck of meal and a fat pig weight about 30 lbs.  He preferred that we should not be too inquisitive as to how he came into the possession of the pig, and without arguing the question with him, we soon had a camp kettle filled with fresh pork on a good fire, while we converted the meal into old time ashcakes. It may hardly seems beleivable, but before mighnight there was little or nothing of that pig or peck of meal to be found, and eight fat sleek soldiers lay down for sound sleep without the annoyance of “Knawing stomachs”.

            As I am giving personal more than army reminiscences, I will mention one little incident, which involves about the only real fighting in which I was engaged on this campaign.  Our command had gone into camp a little before night, and this same forager of our mess, had captured a dozen or two ears of green corn.  To get out or sight of any officer, our mess retreated into a nearby thickly wooded lime sink to cook our roasting ears.  I was building up a fire of dry sticks; the smoke from my fire greatly disturbed a stranger soldier who was trying to take a nap on the hill side near by.  This fellow got very angry, and jupping up ordered me not to build that fire, and to get out of that place.  When I asked him for his authority for such an arbitrary order, he picked up a stick and started toward me.  I grabbed up a stick, and when he got pretty close I decided to try to “get the drop” on him and lunging at him, before he could raise his stick I struck him over the head and broke my stick: to my great surprise he fell backwards to the ground, bleeding fearfully from the mouth, and with several of his front teeth knocked out.  I could not understand how a lick across the head, with a rotten stick had inflicted such a fearful wound.  The fellows eyes rolled back in his head, every muscle of his body was in a jerk, and I was certain he was dying.  I did not see the missile, but I soon learned that just as I hit my assailant with the stick, one of my messmates from the rear had trown a good size rock, which knocked him down and deprived the poor fellow of several teeth.  The fellow soon recovered, went to his command near by and reported the whole transaction.  We were all arrested, tried and some little trivial punishment inflicted.  Al I recall it we had to standup and mark time for an hour or two.

            I remember one or two other occasions on this retreat when our mess had to defend ourselves against the attacts of pigs, and once by a big fat goose, who paid the penalty of having the be boiled all night in a camp kettle, while the snow fell thick and fast.  Rather than to leave that goose to what ever fate might follow, before the bugle sounded next morning our mess danced the war dance in the snow around that fire, and having had a feast of fat things were ready to answer the call to “fall in” and take up the line of march.

            It was perhaps early in Dec.1862 when our our command reached Knoxville Tenn., where we went into camp for some weeks, and where we caught up all the meals we had been obliged to postpone on that raid.  Such splendid fat steaks and roasts, and such fine bread, I thought I had never seen before.  About the middle of Dec. the artillery and many wagon trains of this portion of the Army of Tennessee began its heavy march from Knoxville across Waldens Ridge, Cumberland Mountain and all the other “mountains and plains” to join our forces now preparing to meet the enemy in the region of Murfreesboro.  At this distance from those horrible days, one can form no conception of the hardships of undertaking to carry heavy artillery over that mountainous country especially at this season of the year.  In the snows, rains, and freezes of a winter in the mountains of E. Tennessee, and with heavy wagon trains and artillery, it would be next to impossible to describe the deep cut up conditions of the roads, or the terrible hardships of men and beasts on such a march.  It was no bed of roses for the army or for the people living on those routes of travel.  One little incident will illustrate some of the hardships endured by those people:  they had not been able to get any salt for many months, and our mess happened to have about a quart of salt ahead, and with this quart of salt we bought a fine, fat, dressed mutton.

            Coming out of the long raid through Kentucky, and now with this horrible drag from Knoxville to Murfreesboro, by the time we reached Braggs forces, our men and horses were absolutely frazzled out and totally unfit for any service.  So it was our company, with one or two frazzeled out horses, and 3 or 4 men to a peice, were sent back to Chattanooga to recuperate, secure new horses, and otherwise get into shape for actual, practical service again. We went into camp on the north side of the city near a cemetery, and the proper officers or detailed men went to Atlanta to secure a sufficient number of new horses to put our batter in good moving order.  This detail were empowered to select and seize good animals where ever found.  So, where a good serviceable horse was found, wheather in the markets, or attached to the carriage of some wealthy lady, the animal was taken, and a liberal price paid, and was soon mustered into service.  Chattanooga had been one of the main places for assembling great warehouses of army and other supplies, gathered up by the campaign through Tennessee and Kentucky; hence it was necessary to keep several regiments around the city to do provost guard duty against possible marauding bands, and the many theives and robbers that always hang out around a base of supplies of any army.  We had not been in this camp very many days, when several of our men contracted what we now know as cerebrospinal menengitis, and some of them died within 24 to 48 hours.  After consultation with the best medical authorities obtainable, it was thought that this sickness might be due to local causes, and we moved the camp to the foot of Lookout Mountain to the romantic and historic Saint Elmo, where we remained for several weeks.  For the first time since our company left home, we had stopped long enough to get in touch with the loved ones left behind us, and almost every day brought boxes from home, filled with fat baked turkeys, chickens, hams, biscuit, home made lightbread, peach rights and lefts, and all varieties of cakes and home made candy.  In addition to these boxes, one of our mess, who was in charge of wagon train going down into Georgia every week for forage for our horses, brought back bushels of fresh country eggs, cans of fresh country butter and coops of chickens and the company went into a regular “state feeding” process.  My friends and children who know me now, would find it hard to believe that I grew to weigh 178 lbs, but such was the case.  Many were the practical jokes and pranks played off on each other during these weeks of recuperation around Chattanooga.  A battallion of infantry, in which was a company from Upson County, and many of them were personal friends of our company, and they would join us in getting off practical jokes on each other.  The provost regulations were very strict, and any soldier found away from his camp at night was subject to arrest and imprisonment.  One night two of my messmates went down town to call on some girls.  I went over to this battallion camp and got several of my friends to form a squad of pretend guard, and I accompanied, and pointed out to them the house in which my messmates were having a fine time with the young ladies.  They went in and arrested these two men and marched them off toward the guardhouse, but, as was not uncommon, just before reaching the guard house they gave these two fellows an opportunity to escape as they turned a corner of the street, and they made a hasty retreat for the camp, where they told of having had a very delightful evening with the young ladies but were as dum as oysters about any arrest, until it leaked out among other members of the compy, and for many days these two were the subjects of all sorts of jokes and jeers.  One of my messmates, whose name was Mitchell Gay, from Fayetteville, whose father was wealthy, and who had hired a substitute for his son, went home on furnishing this substitute to take his place in the company.  He left an old pair of trousers in the tent, and I hung them up on tree near the tent, and tacked on a large placard, printed in big letters “Sacred to the memory of Mitchell Gay, who departed this life Feb 10 – 1863”.  Gay had several times spoken of a sweet valentine he had once received from his girl, and would always repeat the words.  So his old messmates decided to send him a valentine from each of us, all putting in the same words, as so often quoted by him.  Soldiers always availed themselves of the franking priviledges allowed them, the postage at that time was ten cents on each letter, and we decided to send him a dollars worth, so we fired ten at him, all containing these beautiful and chase lines

    “Post master do not delay,

      For all I want to say,

      Is how I love Mitchell Gay,

      Fayettville Fayett County Ga”

            Our company was never ordered back to join the main army in Middle Tenn.  We were kept at Chattanooga among other reserve forces in the defense of the city.  When Bragg found it necessary to withdraw his army from Tennessee, and meet the issue with the enemy in the Chickamauga Valley, it was necessary to evacuate Chattanooga.  During the latter part of Aug 1863, large accumulations of army supplies had to be gotten out of the city.  Railroad facilities, like all other resources of the South, were taxed to their utmost, and as fast as trains could be had, soldiers from the local commands were detailed to load them.  The artillery men, having their horses and guns to care for were not expected to be detailed to do this sort of extra work, but the question of getting these enormous ware houses of supplies out of Chattanooga became a very urgent one, and one night a requisition was sent to our company for a large detail to load a train.  Of course we kicked on the order, but it did no good, and as it involved a whole night of very hard work, the temptation to get even was a little more that the average soldier could withstand.  (Note:  The rewrite ends here.)  Our camp was about a half mile from the depot; and during the night quite a lot of hams, small sacks of flour, some sugar, rice, and other things gravitated into our camp.  Among the detail from our company, three were taken from my mess, and the next morning we had three hams a 25 lb sack of flour, and a small sack of sugar was hid in our tent.  In the detail from the company “One of whom I was which”.  It was during the month of Aug that Gen Bragg was crossing the Tennessee River and concentrating for battle on the plains of Chickamauga Valley.  The enemy was approaching Chattanooga as fast as he could, and a quiet Sabbath about the time people were coming out of church, with a feeling serene safety, the enemy had placed some long range guns (for that day and time) on Waldens ridge, and without notice began to shell the town.  I well recall the hasty order for our company to take our battery on Cameron Hill; and the hurry and scurry of the men, women, and children, as we went tearing at full speed through the streets, while yankee shells were exploding around us.  When we got into position with our battery on Cameron Hill, out in the open with no breastworks, we answered the enemy by trying the carrying power of our church bell Napoleon guns.  But we soon found that the distance was further than our guns would reach to do any effective execution.  We were kept on this position for some weeks, and several times when the enemy essayed to come down into the valley between Waldens ridge and Chattanooga we opened fire on them and drove the back; thus protecting the city against any approach directly from the westward front.  It was some where about Sept 10th when Chattanooga was evacuated, and our command passed out through Rossville to join the main army in the valley of Chickamauga.  Some days were consumed in arranging the lines for the awful conflict which began with Wheelers Cavalry on our left and Forrests on our left on the 18th of Sept.  The enemys line of battle was formed several miles from the foot of Missionary Ridge; and about 9 A.M. on Sept 19th our lines began the advance on the enemy.  Although the line on which our battery was engaged, had to make the advance in the woods, we kept on the line of battle, and soon ran on to the enemy and the fearful conflict was begun.  I occupied the position of number five at our gun, whose duty it was to carry ammunition from the limber chest to the peice.  My best friend and comrade, Mort Brown, was number one at our piece, I had carried the first round of canister, and Brown rammed it down, and the gun was fired; before I could run back to the caisson for the second round, a yankee bullet had passed through the head of my best friend and he fell on his face in front of his peice, and the spirit of a fine brave soldier went to the peaceful camping ground on fields Elysian.  A hail storm of yankee bullets were flying around us, and in less than ten minutes, one of our lieutinants, and several of our men were carried off the battle ground severely wounded, and one or two others killed.  One man from our peice, and one from another peice in the company, were shot through the lungs, the ball passing entirely through the chest.  One of these men walked a half mile back to the field hospital, which was nothing more than a place in the open woods, where the most seriously wounded received the so-called “first attention”.  Under this galling fire the confederate lines to our right began to give way, and were hard pressed by tremendous odds of the enemy, and soon we soon found that our portion of the line was being subjected to a heavy enfalaiding fire, as well as from our front, and we were compelled to retire.  It was at this point of the battle where a majority of the men, and all the horses but one, at one of our peices had been shot down, and as the yankees were then upon us, we were simply compelled to leave one of our Church bell guns.  The gunner spiked this gun and reluctently left it.  Our lines rallied in about a half mile to the rear, and meeting some reinforcements we again charged the enemy driving him back about a mile, when met reinforcements and again charged our lines and forcing us to again retreat.  This charging and recharging was repeated over the same grounds three times on that fateful day, when darkness settled down on a worn and badly cut up army.  During these charges and recharges, the brave and faithful corps of litter bearers would carry the wounded of each side from the battle fields, but the dead were necessarily left, and one can imagine the gahstly, gruesome surroundings on which we slept, what little sleeping was done, on that fateful night.  The nearest I came to being shot on this day, was when a yankee bullet cut the string of my haversack as it hung to my side.  In the fiercely raging conflict at the time, I had no time to look out for my haversack, and lost the little provision there was in it for sustaining the physical man.  Indeed, in such times of carnage and sadness, none of us cared any thing about eating.

            A large part of Saturday night was spent in refilling our caissons and limber chests with ammunitions, and in distributing a scanty supply of provisions.

            Sunday morning Sept 20th found the lines on both sides had been reformed and ready for another fearful conflict.  About 10 A.M. the battle again began to rage, and the balance of this holy day witness a repetition of Saturdays fightings.  Gen Lee had dispatched Longstreets corps of 5000 fresh troops from the army of Va, and they reached Chickamauga in time to save the day for Gen  Braggs decimated army.  Late in the afternoon of this awful day, these fresh troops had formed in line back of the Confederate line, and came with that (to the yankees) rebel yell and feircely charged upon the enemy, sending him in a complete and demoralized route, and Monday morning found him in Chattanooga, with many prisoners, guns and supplies in the hands of Gen Braggs army. 

            One little incident in my personal experience might be of sufficient interest to mention.  During the hottest canonading of Sunday afternoon, our battery was on a little crest of a hill; for better protection, the limber chest and caisson were put in position about 75 yards down under the crest of the hill, and as I still occupied the position of number five, it was quite a little race for me to bring the ammunition to the peice.  Under fire it is the privilige and duty of the drivers to protect themselves as best they might; the driver of the front pair of horses to my peice was a small, fellow, with more fondness for books than common sense, was flattened out on the ground behind a small tree, with the reins of his horses clinched in his hands, and for two hours that boy was engaged in loud earnest prayer; he was not especially noted for his piety, but every time I passed him going from the peice to the caisson, he would call out to me, “Moore pray, we all ought to pray”.  After the reinforcements had swept past our line, yelling like hyenas, and had driven the yankees like wild fire, this little fellow jumped up, and jumping about six feet in the air, and slapping one of his fist in the other as he came down, he yelled out “Moore didn’t we give em hell”.  When we first opened fire on this position, a brave, but very illiterate man, noticed that the first shot from his gun cut off the limbs of some trees in his front, hollered out to his gunner “Elevate your gun a little lower, you are shooting off the tree tops”.

            During the fighting on Sunday our own company did not have as many casualties as on Saturday.  We had one or two killed and three or four wounded.  Bragg now advanced his line and took position on Missionary ridge.  In his report to the department, he gave as his reason for not following the enemy into Chattanooga, and as it appeared to his critics, where he might have bagged the whole yankee army, was that there was such a complete exhaustion of his army, of men, ammunition and supplies as to make it unwise and risky to undertake it.  He also says that he had hoped that within a very short time he might be sufficiently equipped with ammunition , supplies, and rested men as to make it an easier matter to make the attact.  But the Federal government was not asleep to the situation, and they rushed Gen Grant with large bodies of soldiers from Mississippi, Nashville, and every other point, and Gen Rosecrans was removed and Gen Grant placed in charge of the union forces.  Uncle Sam always had the resources of the world at his command and, as we say in common parlance, Grant beat Bragg to the bat, and held Chattanooga and all favorable surroundings.

            The rail road from Chattanooga to Knoxville, Tenn. was the most direct and practically the only way of transportation between the armies of Tenn. and Virginia, and hence the great desire of the Federal forces to cut this road, and the absolute importance of the Confederate forces to hold it.  As there seemed to be a movement of the yankees to come into East Tennessee our battery was sent up to Charleston Tenn to guard and defend a rail road bridge crossing the river at this place, and we were there when Grant concentrated a tremendous force, and broke our thinly stretched line on Missionary Ridge.  During the day that the Missionary Ridge battle was being fought, a train was dispatched to Charleston for our battery, but owing to the scarcity of cars, there was only cars enough to take the artillery, and none on which to load the horses or wagons.  It was decided to send the horses and wagons as speedily as possible through the country, in charge of a lieutenant and the drivers.  As I was bugler for the company at the time and was furnished a horse to ride, I went with this part of the company through the country.  We road until some time after night and stopped in a pine thicket for a little rest and to feed our stock.  While the horses were eating most of us fell on the ground and were soon fast asleep.  We had just gotten up a chorus of snoring, when we were started from our peaceful slumber by rapid gun firing a short distance up the road from us.  In a very short time some cavalry men, who had been doing picket duty, came dashing into our camps and reported that they had just had a little brush with a large raiding force who were trying to reach the rear of our army, and advised us to get out at double quick time.  The lieutenant told me to blow “boots and saddle” command, I think in less than five minutes we were galloping away from that camp, on the road to Ringold.  I have always thought that my bugal call, caused the enemy to halt, expecting to meet a cavalry force.  At any rate we made our escape, and rode on until after sun up, when we halted at a farm house and tried to get a little breakfast, but before we had gotten anything, the rear guard cavally came dashing up and told us that the yankees had captured all our wagon train, and in persuit only a short distance behind us, by the time we were in our saddles again the yankees were shooting at us.  One of our men was shot in the arm, and he and his two horses fell in the hands of the enemy.  The lieutenant told the men to ride for their lives, while he and I would bring up the rear.  We kept out of reach of the yankees, but we got considerably in the rear of most of our men.  When we rode into Ringold we asked some citizens if they had seen any men pass through on horses with artillery harness on?  And were told “That they could not say for certain, that they saw a streak of something go by, but that they were going so fast, they could not tell just what it was”.  When we two got to Chickamauga Station to which our battery was shipped from Charleston, we found our horsemen there, except two, who had captured.  When we told them what had been told us at Ringold, they said “That they had not seen Ringold, that had seen something on the way, but thought it was just a bad place on the road”.  It was now getting into winter, and the condition of the roads, and the country in general, was such as make warfare next to impossible.  Finding that there was no disposition on the part of the enemy to press our army further at this time, Gen Bragg went into winter quarters with the army around Dalton Ga.

             Whether or not our company had made a reputation for guard duty and protection of rail road bridges so it was that we were sent to Resaca Ga to guard and defend the bridge crossing the Costanaula river.  Capt Massenburgs battery, a Macon company, and a regiment of infantry were also stationed at Resaca.  Our battery occupied an improvised fort on a high hill just south of the bridge and Massenburgs battery was on a hill north of the bridge, and it was here we spent the winter of 1863 & 4.  Between the two batterys, and the infantary regiment we had many a hard fought battle in the snow.

            In the early spring of 1864, Sherman began his famous “March to the sea”.  Without going into detail, the retreat from Dalton to Atlanta was marked by constant fighting and hot skirmishes, and in a number of them our battery participated.  I think it was on the 28th of July we participated in quite a fierce little engagement out on what was known as the Bardtown road to the left, or westward of Atlanta, in which several of our men were killed and wounded.  A yankee shell exploded in the midst of our company, killing one man and seriously wounding two others, and it was with this shell that I received my only wound of the whole war.  A small fragment of this shell cut a superficial gash on my scalp about two inches long, but did not injure the bone.  This wound was dressed at the field hospital, out in the open woods, and I went back into the ranks.  Our company was also engaged in a hot little battle to the south east of Atlanta.  It was in the same fight in which our brave, fighting, Gen Walker was killed.  He was said to have carried more bullets lodged in different parts of his body that any living man.  This was the one engagement of the whole war that our company really enjoyed.  There was a yankee battery in our front, about a half mile away, out in an open field, and had throwing an occasional shell into our lines, but for some reason we were not allowed to reply.  Walkers Brigade, which were some where between Atlanta and Jonesboro, came around and attacted to yankee line, which fronted our line, in the rear and left flank; at the same time the artillery all along our line were ordered open fire.  We were glad of the opportunity to get even with them for the grutuitous shells they had been giving us.  The first few shells we threw into the yankee battery were splendidly aimed and did fine excution.  We could see our shells burst in their ranks, and we blew up two of their ammunition chests, and could see that we were reaping them down.  Walkers flank attact soon caused the enemy to fall back, and it was then that we especially enjoyed pouring the hot shells into their retreating ranks.

            The night Atlanta was evacuated was a sad night to all our forces, but especially to the Ga boys.  Our company came out on the McDonough road, but came across to the main from Atlanta to Macon some where above Milner.  My father at that time lived about half way between Milner and Barnesville, and none but those of us who pass through it, can ever know the feelings of deep sorrow and regret that we had in passing our homes, knowing as we did, that our homes and loved ones would soon have to submit to all the humiliation from Shermans brutes.  I got permission from our captain to press on ahead, and had a few minutes with my family, whom I had not seen since The Griffin Light Artillery left Griffin.  To me, it was a real hard battle when I bid good by to my  ageded father and mother, one younger sister, and three young brothers, and left them to their hard fate.  We camped at the old laboratory grounds around what is now Crumps Park, and where Camp Harris was located about the beginning of the late worlds war.  After a week at Macon, our company, with a good part of Gen Hoods forces (Johnson had succeeded Bragg and Hood Johnston) were sent around by Montgomery to join Gen. Hood on his famous march to Nashville Tenn; the purpose of this raid, at the time, was to get in behind Sherman, cut off his communication to his base of supplies, and to halt his “march to the sea”, and cause him to change his tactics.  But history has shown that Uncle Sam was too resourceful to be thwarted by a ragged band of Confederate braves.  Nothing of any very great interest can be related just here of my personal experience, except a great deal of hard marching, and lifting and prizing the battery out of mud, and other hardships and trials that can never be understood by this generation.  Hoods army crossed the river on pontoon bridges near or at Huntsville and Decater Ala.  At many of the places enroute we encountered small forces of the enemy and often had pretty sharp battles.  As Hood advanced farther and farther from his base of supplies, the deprivation and suffering of his men became proportionately greater.  It was now getting well into the winter, the army was poorly clad and blankets for sleeping on the wet and frozen ground, were scanty, and the whole army was practically barefooted.  We met with no very great resistance on the part of the enemy, and the overwhelming victory in every encounter seemed to inspire Gen Hood and all his men with reckless courage and hope.  The attact on a well fortified army at Franklin Tennessee, while a fight covering a small area, was one of the bloodiest struggles of the whole war.  It was here that Gen Pat Cleburne, that intrepid and brave hero was shot dead from his horse while at the head of his division in a desperate charge on the enemys breastworks.  Great ditches had been dug out in front of the yankee breast works, and it was into these ditches the hundreds of our brave men lost their lives in the attempt to scale the breastworks.  It was in these ditches that I saw “blood shoe-mouth deep” and dead men piled on each other.  It was this battle that put the first impulse of discouragement into Gen Hoods army.  But the enemy was driven out, and back into Nashville.  Hoods ragged, barefooted and hungry army was thrown into a thinly scattered line on the Southern and Eastern side of Nashville.  The snows came and in a few days it was several feet deep and it was extremely cold.  Every mess in our company soon dug holes in the ground and used the few tarpaulins that we had carried on the caissons, and thus protected ourselves from the bitter cold as best we could.  To add to these trying experiences, rations were very scarce, and we were all hungry.  We had made graters by punching holes in tin cans, and when we could slip a few ears of corn, we boiled the corn on the cob enough so that it would not shell off, and would grate some course meal and bake into corn dodgers.  The day the yankees massed their forces and at double quick charged our lines, our mess were in the dugout, taking our turn in using the skillet, and baking some dodgers.  It so happened the day the yankees attacted our lines I had been detailed to go some miles in the rear with a wagon after some wood, and so escaped that fight.  Our line near Nashville was formed on Dec. 2nd.  The enemy had a heavy garrison at Murfreesboro; they were well entrenched in Nashville, and in a few days received heavy reinforcements from their trans-Missippi department; so that with double and thribble lines of battle, and a fierce charge upon our lines he had no trouble to break our lines, and our weak forces were diven in much confusion.  The lines were broken to the left of our battery and we were exposed to a heavy enfalading fire as well as the charge from the front.  Just along our line the enemy came upon our battery with such quick movement, it was impossible to extricate ourselves and carry the battery through the deep mud and snow, and we were forced to abandon the guns and escape being killed or captured.  We brought away only one caisson.  The hardships of this retreat were unusually severe.  While the army was crossing the Tennessee River at or near Bainbride, on Dec 25 26 & 27, a message came that an ironclad turrett was coming up the river for the purpose of cutting the pontoon bridge.  There were some seige guns at Tuscumbia, I believe it was, some eight or ten miles below the bridge, and our company was sent at double quick to take charge of those guns and intercept this gun boat.  We spent the night on this march and on getting these guns in position for service.  Soon after sun rise the next morning the turret came in sight, being towed by two large wooden boats lashed to her one one either side.  We had one gun stationed on the buttress of a bridge and an other on the banks of the river a short distance to the right, so that we could secure a good range down the river. And when these boats got within easy shot we opened fire on them, and punched several shells into these wooden boats.   The two wooden boats immediately cut loose from the ironclad turrett and beat a hasty retreat down the river, while we poured hot shot into them.  This ironclad had the shape of an immense over-grow turtle, and she deliberately steered for our guns.  As she came up we fired on her as rapidly as we could reload and our aim was good, but the shape of her back simply caused our shell to ricochet, and we made no impression on her.  She came close up to our gun on the bridge and deliberately turned her side and opened one of her heavy guns, and tore the carriage of the gun into splinters, then she turned on the other gun and did the same for that one.  The officer in charge of our company took in the situation, and as this turrett was preparing to open on our guns, ordered the men to fall back into a deep ditch just a little way in our rear.  While we did no material damage so far as we know, we accomplished the errand on which we had been sent, we had halted this boat from reaching the bridge untill the last of our army had crossed the river and the bridge taken up.  We got back to the command and were among the last to cross the river.  The enemy had followed our rear guard with three corps of infantry, and a large cavalry force to Pulas, and the cavalry continued to harrass our rear to the river, but we were not persued after we crossed the river.  This retreat from Nashville was to me the most trying experience of all my soldier life, and it was not until on this retreat, that I ever felt willing to give up the struggle.  I well remember one extremely hard days march.  It was an extremely cold dreary day, with rain and sleet all day; we had to wade a swollen stream of water up to our waist.  I had on a thin worn out pair of trousers, with holes all over them, and the skin showing through in many places.  I had on one old peice of a shoe, which did not keep my foot from the icy frozen ground, while the other foot was wrapped in some strip torn from an old peice of a blanket picked up on the road side.  After we had waded the creek, my trousers froze, and as I walked these frozen trousers, like so much coarse sand paper rubbed the skin off my legs in several places.  I was thoroughly demoralized and told the boys, for the first time, that I was ready to quit on just any terms the enemy might mention.

            When we crossed the river our company had be decimated to about 30 men, not a gun, and with one caisson and one wagon.  Gen Hood reported his losses on this campaign as about 10,000 men; and after crossing the river, he rallied his forces at Tupelo Missippi, with only 18,500 infantry and artillery and 2306 cavalry.  In the reorganization of Hoods ragged and frost bitten men at Tupelo, the few men left to our company were transferred to Missippi battery, with possibly one commissioned officer going into this new company with Capt Dargan, a Missipian in command and our battery  was afterward known as Dargans Battery.  From Tupelo we march through mud and ice via Jackson Missippi, and the Lord only know where else.  I well remember the black sticky mud of that country, and how every occasionally the wheels to our peices became solid masses of mud and we were forced to carry paddles, and to stop and clean the wheels.  Our company finally turned up at Demopolis Ala. where we camped for a number of days, and where at night all the hooting owls in Alabama gather around the  camp and made the night hideous.  From here we spent several days on a big old tub boat, that was said to be in very bad condition.  We went down the Tombigbee river, which was swolen to the extent that it was very difficult to keep in the channel, and several times we found our old craft had gotten out of the channel into the open fields.  We landed at Selma and were immediately put out on a line of breast works to man some heavy seige guns.  The day after we were put on to this line the enemy from some trans-Missippi forces came up to our left and rear, and made a fierce charge.  We rolled our heavy peices out of the breast works, and opened fire on the enemys line which was now almost upon us.  We had no infantry support, and the lieutenant in command saw the inevitable, and gave the men the choice of surrendering, or to escape as best we could.  About half the company surrendered, the other half did some tall running down the line of ditches under heavy fire.  I was among the number who did the fastest running of my life.  A regiment of Confederate calvary had been dismounted and sent on the line, leaving their horses in a peice of woods near by.  The yankees pouned a heavy shell fire into these woods.  The horses got beyond the controll of the few men left in charge, and were soon scampering to the rear.  One of my messmates, Dan Hightower of Barnesville, and myself managed to head off and capture one of these horses; the horse had only a rope around his neck, and he was rather thin of flesh, but Dan and I fixed a sort of noose around his nose, and both of us mounted him and bare back gallopped away and made our escape.  We did not know the country, and once we came within less than 200 yards of running into a line of yankees.  By the time it was dark we had gotten into the road leading in the direction of Montgomery; here we found the worst demoralized mob I ever saw; soldiers on foot and on horse back, citizens, men, women and children, blacks and whites, wagons, buggies, and every imaginable sort of moving was in that high way, all trying to escape from the yankees.  Pell mell, helter skelter we made our way.  Hightower and I were getting mighty sore riding our razor back when a soldier came up leading a little pony with a saddle, bridal, and a blanket, buckled on to the saddle.  Under our pleading he consented for me to ride the horse he was leading, under strict promise to keep along with him and turn over to him his horse in the morning; all of which I tried my best to do, but in that mass it was simply impossible and we had not gone many miles before my rescurrer was hopelessly lost.  I have never seen him to this day.  After an all nights scrapping for space in the road, we wound up at Montgomery, where after a few days we  ralive eight or ten of our men, with one lieutenant.  About a week we hung out around Montgomery, and were then ordered to Columbus Ga.  I, with most of the soldiers at Montgomery went by rail to Columbus, I loaned my pony to one of our company, who with some straggling cavalry started on horseback, but I guess this fellow thought that my pony cost me but little, and he would take him at the same price I had paid for him.  It was reported that he with several others had been captured by a band of Shermans scouts, and I have never seen my bony till this good hour.  Two old rusty iron howitzers were found at Columbus, and the few left of our company were given these guns, and were assigned to our job of bridge guarding, and were placed at the mouth of the bridge across the river between Columbus and Girard  We were placed at this point Saturday night, and we spent the night and Sunday morning rolling bales of cotton out of a near by ware house, and constructing some breastworks in front of our peices, a few yards from the bridge.  Shortly afternoon Sunday the yankees appeared on the hills back of Girard, and fired a few shells into the town, we returned their fire, and soon scattered them.  A little later we discovered them coming into Girard in large numbers from another direction.  We plowed wide furrows through their ranks as they approached the bridge.  About this time the bridge was ordered to be burned, and some men under heavy fire from the yankees entered the covered in bridge and soon it was in a blaze, and spoiled our fun of filling it with dead yankees, had they attemped to enter it.  The fire from our guns had set our breastworks on fire, and as the yankess had retired from Girard, we spent the remainder of the afternoon trying to extinguish the burning bales of cotton.

            About nine oclock that night we heard quite a sharp battle going on up the river about a mile away; the fighting soon became less severe, but the shooting continued, and it was evident that it was getting nearer, and was coming on into the city.  Our lieutenant sent a man back to find out the situation, and he soon came in double quick time and reported that the yankees had crossed the river on the rail road bridge above the city, and were then almost in our rear.  Without a hasty get-a-way, our capture at this time seemed certain; there was a general stampede, we ran in the direction of the main street coming down through the business section of the city, but just as we reached this street we met to yankee cavalry advance; they ordered us to halt and surrender.  I do not know how many of our men obeyed their order, but my legs had stood me well in on other occasions, and I retreated back toward the river at break-neck speed, and from the yankee bullets I dodged into the first alley way I came to, and beat it southward.  Another member of our company (a Misissippian joined me in this flight.  We beat our way in the dark until we had gotten out of town into an open field.  While working our way through the field, luck again came our way, two horses came scampering across the field and we managed to capture them, and found a halter on each one.  Without going too closely into any investigation as to the ownership of these horses, we decided that they had escaped from the yankees, and we mounted them, and worked our way to a road leading in a south easterly direction.  Our only aim and purpose was to escape the yankees.  We rode all night, and about 9 a.m.  we turned up at Lumpkin Ga.  Here we begged a little breakfast, and held a consultation of war as to the next campaign.  My friend he would turn his face westward, and try to work his way to his home in Misissippi.  I remembered that my father had an old brother living somewhere in Webster County, and I decided to try to find my way to his place, and wait for developments.  After a days hard riding, about sunset I rode up to the home of my old Uncle, whom I had never seen and told him my tale.  He was a good old artless and unsuspecting farmer, and readily took me in, and gave me a good warm supper, and fed my steed.  After supper I went through a long grilling concerning my father and his family and two of his old sisters who lived near my father in Pike County, and many other pleasant subjects were discussed with the delightful family.  As there were many straggling bands of yankee cavalry scouring through the country, my uncle thought it would be wise for me to hide out during the day, and come in after dark and sleep in the house.  So after a very early breakfast next morning, he piloted me and my horse into a creek swamp a mile or two from home, giving me a good lunch for dinner and provender for my horse.  This program was kept up for several days, when we got the news that Gen Lee had surrendered, and that peace had come at last.  The next morning found me anxious to turn my face homeward.  My old uncle did not have a saddle on the place, and I took two bundles of fodder, and with a crocus sack and some ropes I constructed a saddle, bade farewell to my loved ones, mounted my old gray mare, and rode away. 

            By night I came into Pike County, and stopped for the night with my brother-in-law, the Rev John A. Jackson, and the next day I had the great joy of taking dinner with my loved ones in the old country home again.

            The joy of the home coming was greatly marred by the devastation, want, and poverty on every hand.  Shermans men had taken all my fathers stock and supplies, most of the negros were gone, the crops had been started, but starvation seemed to stare every body in the face.  The old mare I rode home furnished our only means of trying to make a crop, and for getting about in the community.  History has never furnished an army of heros with all that that word implies, finer than the Confederate Soldier, their self sacrifice, bravery, and desperate fighting qualities has never been equaled in all the worlds history.  And whatever may be said in praise of the soldiers on the battle lines, may also be said of the heroism, self sacrificing bravery and devotion of the women of the South.  And yet with all the horrible experiences of the long bloody days of the war times, those awful days of patient sacrifice on the part of the Southern people were only exceeded by the shameful period of reconstruction, when in poverty and want, with yankee soldiers and a cruel goverments inflicting brutal martial law all over the South, her people went bravely to work to rebuild their homes and fortunes, and today, July 14 – 1921, her success on all these lines stands out as the mavel of all the ages.               
 

 

The rewrite begins here..

                         

 

            Some faint recollections and reminiscences of my war experiences in the bloody days of the early sixties.

            Having now passed the 77th mile post in lifes checkered and fitful journey, and with the passing of fifty six years since those fateful times, it is but natural that these “recollections” should be “faint” indeed, yet many of those bitter experiencies are almost as vivid as if they had occurred only yesterday. 

            One who did not live in the stirring times of 1860 and 61, can form no adequate conception of the atmosphere of excitement in which we of the south “lived, moved and had our being.”  Having been taught from our infancy, and from our histories in school, the great and fundamental doctrine of “State Soveringty,” it was the easy and natural thing for our political leaders and statesmen, to “stir the blood of the McIntoshes” when we felt that our sacred “states rights” were about to trampled under foot by our breathren of the North.

            Though in much probable ignorance, I vividly recall how we school boy would spend hours in the woods making red hot speeches on “states rights and State Sovereignty.”  And thus it was that every man and boy in the Southland, with true Southern blood circulating in his veins, was wrought up to pitch of laying life upon his countrys alter, and of fighting to the last ditch.  There was no sentiment or plea for the preservation of slavery, and it was only for our rights, for home and Country, that our Southern boys fought with such heroic bravery, and matchless courage and sacrifice as to astonish the world.

            It was somewhere in May or early June 1861, that the “Barnesville Blues”, the first company from Pike County Ga, was organized.  Dr. George M. McDowell was elected Captain:  and no company in the Confederate Service had a braver, or more courtly leader than the Blues.  Every man of the company loved and revered him, and would have followed him to the death if necessary.  Parenthetically I might say, that after the war, Dr. McDowell was my preceptor when I began the study of medicine.  And for my love for him as my first Captain, and as my teacher when I started my professional career:  as well as the fact that he officiated at the birth of my first child and son, I named him for Dr. McDowell.

            Well do I remember, how as a boy of sixteen summers, I watched with envious pride the maneuvers of this fine Company of young men on the fields around Barnesville, and how my heart was bursting to become a member of the Company.  After a few weeks of home drilling the Company was ordered to join the Confederate forces now being assembled at Lynchburg Va. And were assigned to the Third Ga Battallion.  The Company had not been uniformed up to the time of leaving home.  Indeed, as a matter of fact, our infant government, in the hasty formation of its army, had no time for gathering up uniforms for its soldiers.  Soon after this splendid Company left for the front, the citizens of Barnesville and surrounding community set about taking private subscriptions, with which to purchase uniforms for the Company.  It was at a called mass meeting of the men, women and children of the community for this purpose, speeches were being made and every heart in the assembly was overflowing with patriotic enthusiasm, and every one present were called upon, individually, for a contribution – and when I was asked for a subscription, I told them , in the language of Peter and John at the beautiful gate, “Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have, give I unto thee” – I will give myself – This decission was made some time in August, and the facts discussed with the dear ones at home, and in early September this beardless stripling of a boy, with several other recruits, bade farewell to the loved ones at home.  And turned his face Northward to join the Barnesville Blues at Lynchburg Va.

            Before leaving Barnesville in this narative, it would be amusing to the younger people of this generation to recall some of the almost daily occurrencys.  In addition to the volunteer forces being formed for active service in the army, the malitia of the State, consisting for the most part, of the older men, and some who felt that up to this time they could not leave home, was being organized, and had one or two drillings every weeks.  The whole South knew almost nothing at all about military tactics, and it was especially so of this class of old men, and one can easily imagine the crude and awkward maneuvering in these malitia drills.  I well remember witnessing a company being drilled on one occasion by a very clever, though very illiterate old farmer.  He carried a walking cane for a sword, and his little book on military tactics.  He had carried his company through some straight marching, and decide to try them on some wheeling movements.  In the first attempts, his company had no idea of “dressing on the line”, and so they came around in a complete rain bow shape, where upon the Captain ran out in front of them, with his stick held in a horizontal line, he bawled out “Whar you guine dar.  Whar you gwine.  Cant you keep a straight line?”  On another occasion he wanted to teach his company the “oblique” movement.  He had studied the movement out of his tactics, and had it pretty well in his head, but he was much puzzled over the word oblique, he had spelled it over a great many times and all he could make of the pronunciation was something this ob-li-que (kee) and so in undertaking to give the instruction to his men, he told them he “Knew but little about oblikee, but when he told them to slant they must slant.”  Volumes might be written on the acts and doings of those stormy times, when patriotic enthusiasm created a stronger current than any formal ritualism, or correct militarism.

                        At Lynchburg

            Several weeks were spent at this camp in hard drilling and other camp duties.  I was never a strong robust boy, and having only passed my 16th birthday when I entered the service, it required just a little more physical strength than I possessed to handle a big old mussle loading musket, and endure the long hours of drilling and guard duty, and so I lost some in flesh and strength.  It was now getting well into the fall season, and I contracted measles and was sent in to the hospital at Lynchburg.  Our hospitals, like every thing else of those days, were exceeding crude, and poorly equipped.  We had no trained nurses or orderlies, and few doctors.  As in many other things, the South had always gone to the North for its medical and surgical supplies, and necessarily we had but little in the way of medicine, or surgical equipment.  The hospital was a rather crude affair made out of one of the second or third rate hotels: and the doctor in charge of my department, came to my room about once in two days, and the nurse, who was a disabled soldier, too feeble for active camp duty, came to my room about once in 24 hours.  A mug of water was placed on a stool by my bunk and this was supposed to last until the nurse could get back, some time within the next day or two.  I vividly recall one night when I was famishing for water, I dreamed I was at a cool bubbling spring that I used to visit in my boyhood days; I reached out for my mug, dashed out the little water I had, and made a scoop for water from the spring, and waked myself up by striking my mug against the stool.  The bitter disappointment that came at the end of that dream, can well be imagined.  I was in the hospital some weeks, and got back to camp, weak and emaciated, just a few days before our command received orders to leave for Big Sewell Mountain, where the enemy was making a demonstration, and where a big battle seemed imminant.  For reasons unknowned to the privates, our command was halted at Richmond, and for a week or ten days we camped in an open field on a high platau under the canopy of Heaven.  It was now getting into the early winter and the weather was real frosty, so that sleeping out on the bare ground, with one blanket to the man, was just a little too severe for one in my enfeebled condition, and at night I felt as if I would freeze to death.  About this time the yankees were making a demonstration on Newburn N.C., and we were ordered there, but again we were halted at Goldsboro N.C.  The fatigue and exposure incident to these movements, sapped the little remaining strength I had left, and after a very few days in camp, I was sent to a field hospital, improvised from a large building in the fair grounds in the edge of Goldsborough.  I was so feeble and exhausted, I knew but little of what occurred at this time, and soon developed what was diagnosed as “brain fever”, and for many weeks I did not know when day or night came, these long weeks make a complete blank in my lifes history.  I have only an indistinct recollection that there came to my bunk one day, a fine Christian woman, filled with that unspeakable spirit of devotion and sacrifice characteristic of our Southern women, she asked me “if my father was not a baptist preacher.”  When I answered in the affirmative, she asked if I would not like for her to take me to her home?  I did not know when I was carried into her home, but for many weeks this dear sweet woman, and her three beautiful and accomplished daughters, nursed me back to life, and I do not question the fact that I owe my life to them.  When I had recovered sufficient strength and consciousness, I was told that my good Captain and my physician had already secured for me an honorable discharge from the army, on the ground of physical unfitness for service.  As soon as I was able to travel, my good friend Capt B. M. Turner was detailed to take me home.  So in the coming of the spring time of 1862, I was again in the bosom of my beloved home, and under the tender care of my blessed old mother.  Under the gentle ministrations of a sweet old mother, assisted by a gentle younger sister, and with the generous nourishment and happy environment of good old Southern country home, to say nothing of the dotings of a fine old Christian father, and three younger brothers, is it any wonder that I gained a pound a day for more than a month? 

            In the course of two or three months I grew to be stoughter, fleshier, and in better health than I had ever been in all my life before; and as my blood grew richer in red corpuscles, the old Southern blood resumed its turbulency, and altho I had been honorably discharged from service, without my knowledge or consent, and under that discharge.  I might have remained at home: but when I remembered the sacrifices and hardships being endured by my compatriots in service, and when I knew that our Country “expected every man to do his duty,” the question of reinlistment became simply irresistable, and so I told my friends and parents that I must go back to the front.  About this time an artillery company was being gathered at Griffin Ga, composed of men of all ages from 16 to 65, from the counties of Spaulding, Pike, Upson, and Morgan and Henry, and I inlisted in this Company.  Largely this Company was made up of men who were “the salt of the earth”.  Judge Obediah Gibson of Griffin, a fine lawyer and preacher, about 65 years of age was elected Captain, John Scogan of Morgan County 1st Lieut. Bill Lyon, of Henry or Spauldin, Second Lieut, and Crawford Fryer of Pike 3rd Lieut.  Capt Gibson was one of the most polite and courtly gentlemen I ever saw, and was never cut out for a military man, but this very kindlyness of heart, and Chesterfieldian character, made him the idol of his men.  As illustrating what I have said about Capt Gibson; soon after the company was organized we went into a drill camp near Griffin, and when the Company had been formed in line facing the Captain, and turned over to him by the orderly Sargent, the Capt would give his command in the most gracious manner, about as follows.  “Gentlemen, will you please right face.”

            About this time, a division or brigade of more recent Ga volunteers were being assembled near Calhoun Ga, and our Company was assigned to this new organization.

            Our Government found it great task to provide arms of all sorts of forces.  Our ports were all blockaded, we almost no arsenals for the manufacture of arms or amunitions, and on this, as on all other lines, we were greatly handicapped; and so our Company went into camp without guns.  It will be a matter of no little interest to the children and younger people of this age to know where our guns came from.  The securing of brass or copper in this Southland was almost out of the question, and many of our artillery companies were furnished with cast iron guns.  A happy thought came to our leaders, and an appeal was made to the churches of Ga, and possibly to other states as well, to contribute their church bells to be moulded in cannon.  The church bells from all over Ga began to ring for joy, and soon there was a stream of bells pouring into Rome Ga, where the government had established an armory, and in a very short time a number of these bells had been moulded into four beautiful twelve pound Napoleon guns, mounted on bran new carriages, and shipped to our company at Calhoun, and we had the honor and unique distinction of being the first “Church-bell Battery” in the Confederate Service.  Old Captain Gibson, indeed all the Company, felt a very peculiar pride in our guns, and we all pledged ourselves never to bring reproach or dishonor on those guns.  We cared for them with unstinted devotion, through the many hard campaigns and long trying marches that lay out before us.  We followed Gen. Bragg over Walden Ridge and Cumberland Mountain on that forced campaign into Kentucky in fall and winter of 1862, and back through Cumberland Gap to Knoxville Tenn.  We again pulled them through deep mud and snow over the mountains of East Tennessee, to join the main army of Tenn. then maneuvering and desperately fighting in Middle Tenn. around Tulohoma, and Murfreesborough.  And it was not until, in the awful and bloody struggle of Sept 19th 1863, at Chickamauga that we had to surrender the first one of our “Churchbell guns.”  The particulars of the loss of this gun will be given when I come to write of this bloody battle.  It was not until about half of the men, and every horse but one, were shot down around the peice that it was left in the hands of the enemy.  And though we sorrowed over the loss of our friends and companions, we all felt a sense of profound sadness over the loss of the first one of our Churchbell guns.

            Leaving the camp at Calhoun Ga. We joined the forces of Gen. Bragg, above Chattanooga in that famous raid into Kentucky in the fall of 1862.  It was in many respects a hard and trying campaign, and while there was little real fighting or severe battles, it was often the case that we marched for several days at a time on very scanty rations, and some of the time we considered ourselves fortunate if we could get corn enough at night to fill our haversacks with enough parched corn to munch on during the next days march..  It was an extremely dry fall, the streams were all dried up, and men and beasts really suffered the pangs of thirst.  I have often seen men gathered around a stagnant pond of water, in which there were several dead animals, and knocking away the green scum, would slake the thirst with this polluted water.  I do not recall the particular place, or stream, but I well remember that one one occasion, to avoid pulling over some mountainous section, we march for more than half a day in the dry bed of a river, which looked as if it had been a good size stream in the rainy season.  I also remember that where we came out of this river bed, we came upon a large spring of clear cold water that gushed out of the foot of a hill.  It was a good size stream of water, it was caught in a mill race, ran a mill, and disappeared into the earth again, in less than 75 yards from where it came out.

            Under the conditions as recited above, it is not suprising that our army suffered almost an epidemic, of a right malignant type of dysentary: from which several of our choicest men fell by the wayside.  Our much revered and beloved Capt Gibson was a victim of this disease, and left us to join the ranks of immortals who are camping on “Fields Elysian”, and who, with the immortal Stone-wall Jackson, are “resting in the shade of the trees”, on the eternal shores.

            Prest Davis gives as the purpose of Gen. Braggs raid into Kentucky, was to releive North Alabama and Middle Tennessee of the presence of the enemy, and to secure supplies for the Confederate forces, both of which were accomplished with little actual fighting and with comparatively small losses.  Our forces entered Middle Ky. through the Eastern route, going via Big Creek Gap, 20 miles South of Cumberland Ga.  General Buel was in command of the federal forces, and was driven out of Middle and East Tenn. and fell back to Nashville Tenn.  Gen Bragg had quite a severe encounter with the yankees at Perryville Ky. and he had planned his attack with such skillful generalship, getting almost around him before he was aware of it.  He (Gen. Bragg) give the enemy a severe beating, capturing many prisoners, guns, ammunitions and supplies.  Our immediate command was on the battle fields, but did not participate in the actual fighting.  We did participate in the feast of fat things captured from the enemy, such as sugar, coffee, tobacco, and many other luxuries to which we were compative strangers.

            One little incident which might be of interest to the younger people of this generation as to the absolute loyalty of the old old slaves to their masters.  My father and mother insisted, when I left home, that I should take one of the older men with me, as a sort of body slave.  Old Uncle Ned Moore was assigned, or volunteered, for the job, and all along this campaign, he did some invaluable service, both as “forager” and cook.  The line almost around Perryville, was put into position after night fall, and it was near midnight when our battery was placed on the line on the top of a high hill.  Of course we did not know when the battle might open up, and our men went to bed on the open ground with every man at his post around the peice.  I discovered the Uncle Ned had taken his place right near our peice: I told him that he would be very much exposed there, and that it was absolutely unnecessary, and that he must go down the hill in the rear, and that the battle might open at any minute.  He went off down the hill, and when he supposed that may be I had fallen asleep, he came back and resumed his place near me.  I again remonstrated with him, and tried to convince him that it was dangerous, and that he was taking his life in own hands, and that he could be of no service what ever on the line of battle.  The memory of that dear old Negro remains with me as one of the happy spots of those dark times, when pleaded with tears in eyes, in words something like these, and I think I quote his exact words, “Mars King I cant leave you here exposed to death, I am going to stay right here, and if you is killed or wounded I am going to take you back in my own arms”.  I don’t think it ever occurred to him that he would be just as liable to be hit by a yankee bullet as I would be.  Does any body wonder that I loved that old darkey as long as he lived?

            Proceeding via Harrodsburg, our own immediate Command went as far as Bardstown where we went into camp in a large fairgrounds in the suburbs of the town, and remained there for several days.  Gen. Bragg seems here to have accomplished his purpose, and began his retreat, and concentrated a large part of his forces around Murfreesborough in Middle Tennessee.  The portion of army to which our Company belonged, was ordered to Knoxville Tenn.  On this march we also felt some of the gnawings of hunger.  Before reaching Cumberland Gap, we camped one night one one of Kentuckys beautiful plains.  Not with-standing the strict orders of Gen. Bragg that “honesty should be one of the prominent characteristics of his army”, and which had commanded the admiration of all the country through which we passed, one of my messmate, seeing that for the time, we had come back to our ration of parched corn, decided that he would do a little exploratory foraging.  To make a long story short, in about an hour, and before any of us had retired to our bunks on the hard earth, our friend “sneaked” into camp with nearly a peck of meal, and a fat pig weighing about 30 lbs.  He preferred that we would not be too inquisitive as to how this pig came into his possession.  And as none of us were “much hands to argue”, we simply put this pig out of sight as quickly as possible into a big old camp kettle, and all of us got busy converting the meal into good old fashion ash-cakes.  It may seem hardly believable, but before midnight there was a little or nothing of that pig, or that meal to be found any where, and eight fat sleek soldiers, like so many pigs with full stomachs lay down under the canopy of Heaven, and put in some hours of sound sleep, without the annoyance of “Knawing stomachs.”

            As I am relating personal, rather than army reminiscences, I might mention one little incident, which involves about the only real fighting in which I was engaged on this campaign.  Our command had gone into camp about middle of the afternoon, and this same forager in our mess, who captured the pig, had captured a dozen or two ears of green corn, and to avoid the officers, two or three of our mess had gone into a nearby thickly wooded lime sink to cook our roasting ears.  I had gather some dry sticks, and was building a fire.  The smoke from my fire seemed to disturb a soldier of another command who was trying to take a nap, a little way off.  He got very much irritated, and jumping up he issured a very peremtatory order that I should not build that fire, and that I must get out of that place.  When I asked him for his authority for such an arbitrary order, and assured him that I was a loyal soldier, ready to obey any legitimate order, he picked up a big stick and started towards me.  When he got pretty close, I decided to “get the drop” on him, and with a stick I had gathered for fire wood, I lunged at him, and before he could raise his stick, I struck him over the head and broke my stick..  To my great surprise he fell backwards to the ground, bleeding fearfully from the mouth, and with several of his front teeth knocked out.  His eyes rolled back like a dying calf, his muscles were in a quiver, and I thought I had killed him, and yet I could not understand how a lick across his head with a rotten stick could inflict such a fearful wound.  I did not see the missile, nor did I know, that just as I hit my assailant, one of my messmates from behind, had thrown a good size rock, which really had done all the damage.  The well directed aim of comrade had saved the day, and sent the enemy in a complete route and badly disabled.  The fellow soon recovered, (all but his teeth) went to his command and reported the battle.  My friend and comrade was arrested, tried, and sentenced “to mark time before the company for four hours”.  I offered to take his place and serve his sentence, but neither the court or the prisoner would consent.  And as the prisoner was taking his punishment under a guard from his own company a friends, he did not mark time any “four hours”.  I recall one or two other occasion when our mess had to defend ourselves against the attacts of pigs on this retreat, and once a big fat goose was captured and spent the night in a big camp kettle on a rousing log fire, while we slept soundly on the ground, only to find ourselves covered the next morning with a blanket of snow, six inches thick.  Before the bugle sounded the next morning, our mess danced the war dance around that goose, and having enjoyed the proverbial “feast of fat things” were ready to answer the call to “fall in”, and take up the line of march.

            When Bragg withdrew from Kentucky he concentrated the greater part of his army on the plains of Middle Tenn. around Murfreesborough and Tullahoma, where later was fought one of the great battles of the war.  For reasons unknown to the writer, the part of the army to which our immediate command belonged, came out of Ky through Cumberland Gap, to Knoxville Tenn. where we went into camp for some weeks.  It was here, on fine fat beef and mutton, and splendid bread, we made up all the meals we had been forced to postpone on the raid.  It was one of the impossible things, of the Confederacy, to furnish rail road facilities and transportation to meet the requirements.  This is only one of the seven wonders of the world how our young government did as well as she did.

            It was perhaps along about the middle of Dec. 1862 when the war clouds were gathering thick and heavy over Middle Tenn.  For lack of transportation, the artillery and wagon trains of that part of the army around Knoxville started out for a long march across Waldens Ridge, Cumberland Mountain and all that jagged country, to join the forces in Middle Tenn.  When we consider the awful country through which we had to march; the rains and snows incident to the winter season, and the necessary fearful conditions of the roads, it was a gigantic undertaking to pull heavy artillery from Knoxville to Murfreesborough; and at this distance from those fearful days, no one can form any conception of the hardships of such an undertaking.  There were no paved, macadamized or graded roads at that time, and it is beyond human imagination now, to grasp the conditions of the roads, in the mountainous regions of East Tenn., in the rain, sleet, snowy seasons of winter, and being cut up with heavy artillery and wagon trains; and it was no bed of roses for the army, or for the people living along those routes.  One little incident will give a faint illustration of some of the hardships suffered by the citizens living along this line of march. They had not been able to get any table salt for months, and it so happened that our mess had accumulated about a quart of salt, and an old farmer seemed glad to give us a nice fat mutton in exchange for that quart of salt.

            Coming out of the raid into Kentucky, but more especially this horrible pull from Knoxville to Murfreesborough, by the time we reached Braggs army, our men, and especially our horses, were worn out to a frazzle, and were unfit for any sort of army service.  Indeed we did not have men or horses enough to man a battery, so our company was put on a train and sent back to Chattanooga to recuperate, and get in fix for active service again.

            We went into camp on the northern outskirts of the city near a cemetery.  A detail of men, armed with supreme authority, were sent to Atlanta to secure a sufficient number of horses to equip the battery, and where ever they found a good animal suitable for artillery service, whether he was found in a stable, or attached to the carriage of some fashionable society lady, it was seized, a fair price decided on, a check on the government was passed over, and the animal became the property of the Confederacy, and a member of the famous “Church bell battery”.  As soon as our men, who from various cause had fallen by the wayside, were able for duty, they found their way back to the company, and so within a few weeks time, our company was on its feet again.

            We had not been in this camp a great while when a number of our men were stricken with what we now know, as cere-bro-spinal-menegitis, which was very fatal, a number died within from 24 to 72 hours.  The best medical men obtainable were called in consultation, and it thought advisable to move the camp, and so we were moved to the foot of Lookout Mountain to the famous Saint Elmo, where we were in camp for several months.

            Chattanooga was at this time the main base of supplies for Gen. Braggs army, and there were immense warehouses of provisions captured and assembled from Braggs raid into Tenn. & Ky., and hence it was necessary to keep a sufficient force at this place to do provost and guard duty, and it seems that our battery was made a part of this local force. 

            For the first time since our company left Calhoun training camp, we were now in some sort of certain communication from home, and the loved ones we left behind us, so that we not only got our full daily quota of mail, but boxes stuffed with good things began to pour into our camp.  Fat baked turkeys, chickens, ham, sausage, cakes, pies, custards, biscuits, home made lightbread, butter, home made candy, pickles, preserves, jellies, potatoes, and many other good things to numerous to mention.  One of our mess received a barrell of delicious Ga. can syrup.  In addition to all these good things coming from home, it so happened that one of our mess-mates was put in charge of a wagon train that made weekly trips down into north Georgia to secure provinder for our horses; and he would bring in bushels of fresh country eggs, big cans of fresh country butter, and coops in chickens, and so we went into a process of “stall feeding”.  My friends and children who know me now, can hardly believe that I came to weigh 180 pounds under this stuffing regime.

            Many were the practical jokes played off on each other, and on soldiers of other companies camped in the neighborhoods, during those weeks of service around Chattanooga.  One night two of our mess went to call on some young ladies, the orders were very strict that no soldier was to leave camps after night.  There was a batallion of infantry camping near us, with many of them we were very friendly, and I went into this camp, and got one of the corporals to take three of four men, and I piloted them to the house where my comrades were calling on the young ladies.  I remained in back ground while this squad went in and arrested them, and marched them off for the guard house.  As was not uncommon, just before they reached the guard house, they gave these fellows an opportunity to escape as they turned a corner of a street.  They beat a hasty retreat for camp, and began to tell of a most delightful evening with your ladies, but were as dumb as oysters as to any arrest.  It began to leak out the next morning, and for days these too fine fellows were the subjects of many jeers and jokes.

            It was allowable at this stage of the game, for a soldier to put a substitute in his place in the army.  One of my messmates, from Fayetteville Ga. by the name of Mitchell Gay, whose father was wealthy, and who had hired a substitute for his boy, went home when his substitute had been accepted and mustered in.  He left an old pair of trousers in the tent, and I hung them up on a tree near our tent, and printed on a big piece of pasteboard the following works, and tacted to the trousers “Sacred to the memory of Mitchell Gay, who departed this life Feb. 10-1863”.  Gay had often spoken a very sweet valentine he had once received from his best girl, and would always repeat the words.  The Confederate soldiers were allowed the privilege of “franking” all their mail, and the postage was paid by the receiver at the home end of the line, postage at that time was ten cents on each letter.  When Valentines day came, all his old messmates decided to send Gay a franked valentine, and all put in the same words we had heard him repeat the words of his former “sweet valentine” so often, we had no trouble to copy it.  So ten of us decided we would fire a dollars worth at him, and each one put in the same words we had heard him repeat so often, as follows:

    “Post master do not delay,

     for all I want to say,

     Is how I love Mitchell Gay,

     Fayetteville Fayette county Ga”

            Our company was never ordered back to join the main army in Middle Tennessee.  Chattanooga was at this time the main base of supplies, and great warehouses of provisions were to be guarded and protected, and I suppose we were kept here with other forces for this purpose.

            When Gen. Bragg found it necessary to withdraw his army from Tennessee, he planned to meet the issue with the enemy in the Chickamauga Valley.  This would necessitate the evacuation of Chattanooga, and the removal of the large stores of supplies.  Rail road facilities, like all other rescources of the South, were taxed to their utmost.  It was some time during the month of August 1863 that the movement for the removal of these supplies was being pushed as rapidly as possible and as fast as a train could be furnished, details from the local commands had to load them.  Artillary men, having their horses and guns to care for were not required to do this extra work.  But the time came when some trains had to be loaded, and early one night an order came to our company for a large detail of men to load some of these trains.  Of course our men kicked on the order, as an innovation on the rights and priverlige of artillerymen.  But the order was military, and it was no time to discuss questions of rights or ethics.  We knew it meant a whole night of mighty hard work, and the temptation to get even, in a small way, was almost too strong for the average soldier to withstand.          

                      


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