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´╗┐Title: Reminiscences of a Soldier of the Orphan Brigade
Author: Young, L. D.
Language: English
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Reminiscences of a Soldier
of the Orphan Brigade


Paris, Kentucky


_The Richard Hawes Chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy warmly
recommends Col. L. D. Young's "Reminiscences of the Orphan Brigade" as a
most worthy addition to the literature of the South._

_It is an interesting recital of the author's personal experiences and
contains much valuable historic information._

_The Chapter commends Mr. Young, a splendid Christian gentleman--a
gallant Confederate soldier--to all lovers of history--and especially to
the brave soldiers of the present great war._

                   THE ORPHAN BRIGADE.

         By Prof. N. S. Shaler of the Federal Army.

     Eighteen hundred and sixty-one:
     There in the echo of Sumter's gun
     Marches the host of the Orphan Brigade,
     Lit by their banners, in hope's best arrayed.
     Five thousand strong, never legion hath borne
     Might as this bears it forth in that morn:
     Hastings and Crecy, Naseby, Dunbar,
     Cowpens and Yorktown, Thousand Years' War,
     Is writ on their hearts as onward afar
     They shout to the roar of their drums.

     Eighteen hundred and sixty-two:
     Well have they paid to the earth its due.
     Close up, steady! the half are yet here
     And all of the might, for the living bear
     The dead in their hearts over Shiloh's field--
     Rich, O God, is thy harvest's yield!
     Where faith swings the sickle, trust binds the sheaves,
     To the roll of the surging drums.

     Eighteen hundred and sixty-three:
     Barring Sherman's march to the sea--
     Shorn to a thousand; face to the foe
     Back, ever back, but stubborn and slow.
     Nineteen hundred wounds they take
     In that service of Hell, yet the hills they shake
     With the roar of their charge as onward they go
     To the roar of their throbbing drums.

     Eighteen hundred and sixty-four:
     Their banners are tattered, and scarce twelve score,
     Battered and wearied and seared and old,
     Stay by the staves where the Orphans hold
     Firm as a rock when the surges break--
     Shield of a land where men die for His sake,
     For the sake of the brothers whom they have laid low,
     To the roll of their muffled drums.

     Eighteen hundred and sixty-five:
     The Devil is dead and the Lord is alive,
     In the earth that springs where the heroes sleep,
     And in love new born where the stricken weep.
     That legion hath marched past the setting of sun:
     Beaten? nay, victors: the realms they have won
     Are the hearts of men who forever shall hear
     The throb of their far-off drums.



It is for the amusement and entertainment of the thousands of young
Kentuckians now enlisted beneath the Stars and Stripes in the world
cataclysm of war for the cause of humanity and righteousness that these
recollections and reminiscences are published. The author believing they
will enable the "boys" to pass what might otherwise be at times lonesome
and monotonous hours.

And while refused by the Secretary of War (by reason of age) the
opportunity to participate in the great struggle now raging, it is his
province now only to watch their career, to pray for them and their
success, for their successful and triumphant return.

And by reason of his experience as a soldier he can enter into fully
their aspirations and ambitions and share their hopes, rejoice in their
victories and their triumphs. He understands the dread suspense of the
impending conflict, the thrill and shock of battle, the victorious
shout, the gloom and chagrin of defeat, the pangs of hunger and
suffering from wounds and disease--for he has seen war in all its

And he knows that when the supreme moment comes that Kentucky blood will
assert itself; that her traditional honor will be upheld, her renown
glorified anew.

He knows that these inspirations will insure steadiness of step,
strength of arm and force of stroke.

He rejoices that the ever assertive blood of the Anglo-Saxon flows
through the veins of these young Kentuckians, ready at all times and
under all circumstances to be dedicated to the cause of humanity and

As will be readily seen, at the time of the writing of these chapters,
there was no thought of the great war in which the world is now
engulfed and it was mainly a work of pastime and personal satisfaction
that they were then written and published. But the suggestion has been
made that if published in suitable form for distribution and donated by
friends to the Kentucky boys now in service that it might be appreciated
by the boys "over there," some of whom are doubtless the sons or
grandsons of those who composed this little band of "immortals" and who
contributed so much to Kentucky's history in the unfortunate fratricidal
conflict of almost sixty years ago. Thank God that the animosities of
that unhappy period have long since been banished, and there is now but
one thought, one aim, animating the hearts and minds of these sons and
grandsons, viz., the overthrow of autocracy and the avenging of the
outrages of the Huns--and a readjustment and regeneration of the
relationship and affairs of men.

In the changed conditions that confront us today we see the history of
the Commonwealth being absorbed by the Nation and almost imperceptibly
blended into a Nationalized, Americanized whole.

And whatever of history the sons of the Commonwealth achieve in the
great war will be accredited to the nation America, and not Kentucky.
And recognizing this unification as a fixed policy of our government,
the writer takes advantage of the opportunity in this little booklet
(lest we forget) to individualize and compliment the magnificent record
of that little band of Kentuckians, known in history as the "Orphan
Brigade" and whose achievements form one of the most brilliant chapters
in the history of the State and Nation. Hence the publication of this
booklet. The writer does not for a moment stop to criticise the wisdom
of this change (from the volunteer to the conscript system) and he hopes
he may be pardoned for expressing pride in Kentucky's unexcelled past
history. Henceforth it will not be what Kentucky or Ohio
accomplished--in war, but what the Nation, unified America,
accomplished. It will now be "liberty enlightening" and leading the

     Then let the battle rage and onward move,
     Count not the cost nor falter in the breach,
     God, the Great Commander, wields the righteous wand,
     And bids you _His Love_ the tyrant teach.

When that shall have been accomplished (should the author be living) he
will be tempted to exclaim in the language of old Moses when from Mt.
Nebo he beheld the land of Canaan and exclaimed "Now Lord, I am ready."

In writing these recollections and reminiscences he has aimed as much as
possible to avoid aspersions, reflections and criticisms and confine
himself to a personal knowledge, which, of course, was more or less
limited, because of the restricted sphere of his activities and
operations. But he assures the "boys" that his stories, while not
classic, are substantially true. He could not afford to, at his advanced
age, attempt to misrepresent or deceive, and he hopes the reader will
excuse any irregularities in the order of publication in book form for,
as previously stated, that was not originally contemplated.

In comparing conditions and surroundings of that day with those of the
soldier of today, we find them so radically different as to be
incomparable. And for this the soldier of today should be truly
thankful, since in the case of these isolated Kentuckians--none of whom
could communicate with friends and receive a message or word of cheer
from the dear ones at home, circumstances today are so very, very
different. And while you are called upon to meet and face many and more
trying dangers, because of the new and more modern instruments of war,
you are in many ways much better provided for than were your sires and
grandsires. Now when sick or wounded you have every attention that
modern skill and science can command. You have also the angelic help and
ministrations of that greatest of all help and comfort, the Red Cross,
and many other sources of help and aid that the soldiers of the past did
not have.

So that while the dangers may be greater, the casualties more numerous,
relief has multiplied proportionately. And you are today soldiers
engaged in war which has the same meaning it has always had. Because of
the gloom and sorrow that now enshrouds the world, it would be well if
we could forget the past--for the events of today are but a portrayal of
the past, a renewal of man's "inhumanity to man." But it has been so
decreed by Him who "moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform,
Who plants His footsteps in the sea and rides upon the storm."

And let us hope--as many believe--that out of "Much tribulation cometh
great joy." If it were not for a great and wise purpose, how could it
be? It is God's will and submission to His will is man's only choice.

     So let your spirits as they rise and fall,
     Ever cling to the Faith that Right will prevail,
     That God will be with you to the end and is all in all,
     And no foeman, freedom's banner shall assail.

It is at the instance of the Richard Hawes Chapter of the U. D. C.
chiefly that the writer of these recollections and reminiscences has
collected and published them.

If in contributing this history of experiences and recollections he
shall give in any degree pleasure and furnish entertainment to the "dear
Kentucky boys" over the seas he shall feel happy to have had that
privilege and opportunity.

He assures them that none more sincerely, more prayerfully hopes for
their safe and triumphant return. He knows that this triumph will be the
grandest chapter in the world's history and that America will have
played her part gloriously in the grand tragedy.

Oh! that he could be one of the actors!

Then will the dark and gloomy days of your absence hallowed by the blood
of your lost comrades be made glorious by a triumphant return, the like
of which the world has never before seen nor never will see again.

Then will every hilltop and mountain peak blaze with the bonfires of a
glorious greeting.

Then will the dear old mother's heart thrill with joy and happiness,
then will the old father say "Welcome! Welcome! my dear boy, I knew you
would come." Then too will she who promised, watched, hoped and prayed
be found seeking the opportunity to say "I am now ready to redeem my

Then will the old soldier (God permitting him to live) who dedicates
these lines extend the glad hand of greeting to the noble boys of his
acquaintance and say, "well done ye noble sons! I rejoice in your
achievements, your victories, your triumphs.

"Welcome, thrice welcome, and again welcome, God smiles and the land is
yours. Let justice and righteousness prevail now, henceforth and

It is conceivable that forty or fifty years hence some of these soldier
boys now participating in the great war will find themselves wandering
over these fields upon which the greatest tragedies in the world's
history are now being enacted, and it is in full comprehension (because
of similar experiences) that the writer can extend the imaginations of
the mind to that time.

It will be for him, who may be so fortunate, a glorious day, a thrilling
and inspiring reminiscence. To be one of the actors in this stupendous
tragedy in the history and affairs of the world; to see, to participate
in and realize these grand events is to see things that have heretofore
seemed impossible, or inconceivable.

But the times are full of wonders and amazements, and things are
happening faster and faster day by day.

If the early history of the writer, read before the U. D. C.'s, contains
matter that would seem more appropriate for a novel, because of its
romantic character he justifies himself by saying that "youth is full of
romance" and he believes, yea he knows, that many a brave boy today
feels the impulse and touch of these thoughts and suggestions--and not
alone the soldier boy, but the modest, timid, retiring maiden whose
heart quavered when she said good-bye.


(An address delivered at Paris, Ky., June 26, 1916.)

_Madame President_, _Ladies_, _Daughters of the Confederacy_:

I have several times promised your ex-president, Mrs. Leer, that I would
furnish her with a brief history of my observations and experiences as a
soldier, and have so far failed; but will now, ere it is too late, try
to comply with this promise.

But for the life of me I cannot see how I shall comply with this request
without (seemingly at least) appearing in the role of one given to self
praise or eulogy, and, modest man that I am, I hesitate; this will
explain why I have been so long complying with your request, and shall
constitute my apology.

The history of Kentucky Confederates was in most instances very similar
and their duties likewise similar. All were imbued with the spirit of
patriotism and love for the cause in which they had engaged, each
determined to do whatever he could to promote and advance the cause in
which he was enlisted. In this I claim to have done no more than other
Kentucky soldiers who fought under the "Stars and Bars."

And yet there may be some incidents, some experiences in my history so
different from others as to make them somewhat interesting by contrast,
and as others have kindly furnished you with a history of their
experience, you may be somewhat interested in making comparisons.

Now, so far as relates to my history as a _real_ soldier, the beginning
of that career was on the 8th of September, 1861. On the 22d of January
following I was twenty years old--quite a youth you are ready to say.
But I had been a soldier almost two years, being a charter member of
that little band of "Sunday" soldiers--the "Flat Rock Grays"--and which
constituted an integral part of what was known at that time as the
Kentucky "State Guard."

This little company of citizen soldiers were in their conceit and
imagination very important and consequential fellows. Invited to all the
noted gatherings and public affairs of the day, dressed in gaudy and
flashy uniforms and flying plumes, filled with pride and _conceit_, they
did not know they were nursing their pride against the day of wrath. One
only of two now living, I look back upon those days and scenes of
youthful pride and ambition, with a feeling of awe and reminiscence, and
wonder why and wherefore have I been spared through the labyrinth of
time elapsed and for what, alas! I am wondering.

The most of the "Grays" left home for the scenes of the war in August,
but I had not completed my arrangements and did not reach "Camp
Burnett," Tennessee, until September 7. Now the most trying and
impressing circumstances of these preparations was the last "good-bye"
to my dear old mother and sweetheart, both of whom survived the war; the
dear old mother greeting me on my return in a manner I shall leave to
the imagination of you ladies to describe. I was her "baby" and had been
mourned as lost more than once. But the sweetheart in the meantime had
become the wife of another and gone to a distant state to make her home.
Oh! the fickleness of woman and the _uncertainties of war_. Pardon me,
ladies, I mean no reflection, but it hurts to this day; yet God in His
wisdom and goodness knows I forgave her. Perhaps schoolday love is
remembered and still lingers in the heart of some of those I am
addressing, then she, at least, can appreciate this sentiment.

The 6th of September found me in this town (Paris, Ky.), where I began
preparations for the life of a soldier, by substituting my "pumps" for
"Brogans," which I knew would be more suitable, really indispensable for
a soldier on the march over rough and rugged roads. I sent back home my
pumps and horse, the latter afterward confiscated and appropriated by
the Yanks. Now I am sure my brogans presented a striking and ludicrous
contrast to my "clawhammer" blue broadcloth and gold buttons, and to
which I shall have occasion to refer again. But I was going to the war
and why should I care for comment or criticism? That night found me in
Louisville, a shy, cringing guest of the old Louisville Hotel, my
brogans giving me more concern than anything else, being in such
striking contrast to my clawhammer broadcloth and gold buttons. I recall
the scenes of that night and next morning with a distinctness that makes
me almost shudder to this day. If it were possible for you ladies to
imagine the excitement of those days, filled with the thousands of
exciting rumors that were heard every hour in the day, turn in whatever
direction you might, and the clangor and preparation for war, you might
have some idea of, and appreciate, my predicament. A solitary country
boy, who had seen but little of the world, on his road South in quest of
Southern rights on the field of battle. Were it not fraught with fearful
recollections it would now seem ridiculous. But the night was spent, not
in sleep, but in wild imaginings as to the outcome on the morrow and
what the morning would develop. Morning came and with reddened eyes and
unsteady step, I came down the winding stairs of the old hotel, my mind
filled with fearful misgivings. Going up to the office shyly I began
instinctively to turn the leaves of the register; imagine my surprise
when I read the names of Generals W. T. Sherman, L. J. Rousseau, Major
Anderson of Fort Sumter fame and other Federal officers, aides and
orderlies, who were stopping there; that humbug Kentucky "neutrality" no
longer being observed. I was now almost ready to call on the Lord to
save me. But my fears were intensified when a gentleman of middle age,
whom I had noticed eyeing me closely, walked across the room, putting
his hand on my shoulder and asked me to a corner of the room. "Angels
and ministers of grace defend me"--in the hands of a detective. I'm gone
now! Noticing my look of fear and trepidation, he said, "Compose
yourself young man, _I am_ your friend--the shoes you wear (Oh, the
tell-tale shoes! Why didn't I keep my pumps) lead me to believe you
meditate joining the army, and if I am not mistaken you are aiming to go
South to join the Confederates." I was now halting between two opinions;
was he aiming to have me commit myself, or was he really a friend? But
proceeding, he said, "It is but natural you should suspect me, but I am
your friend nevertheless, and am here to advise and assist young men
like you in getting through the lines (a somewhat calmer feeling came
over me now) and you will have to be very cautious, for I fear your
brogans are a tell-tale--(I had already realized THAT). You see," said
he, "excitement is running high and almost everybody is under suspicion,
myself with others." I ventured to ask his name, which he readily gave
me as Captain Coffee of Tennessee, to me a very singular name.

Feeling sure of his man and continuing, he said, "The train that leaves
here this morning will likely be the last for the state line (and sure
enough it was) and you will find excitement running high at the station;
they have guards to examine all passengers and their baggage, and when
you reach the station go straight to the ticket office, secure your
ticket and go to the rear of the train. Go in and take the first vacant
seat and for Heaven's sake, if possible, hide your brogans, for I fear
they may tell on you." I had by this time become thoroughly convinced
that he was really my friend and decided to take his advice.

But now the climax to the situation was, as I thought, about to be
reached. Looking toward the winding stairs I saw coming down them
(Coffee told me who they were) dressed in their gaudy regimentals (the
regulation blue and gold lace), Generals W. T. Sherman and L. J.
Rousseau, side by side, arm in arm, behind them the short, chubby figure
of Major Anderson of Fort Sumter fame and some other prominent officers
whose names I have forgotten, accompanied by their staff officers and
orderlies. A "pretty kettle of fish" for me to be caught with--I
thought. They passed into the dining room immediately. I shall never
forget the hook-nose, lank, lean and hungry look of General Sherman,
reminding me of Julius Caesar's description of Cassius. Later on I was
often reminded of this incident, when Sherman was pushing us through
Georgia, toward the sea in the celebrated campaign of '64. I was then
almost wicked enough to wish that I had at this time and there ended his
career. But, exchanging a few more words with Capt. Coffee, I called for
my satchel and took the "bus" for the station; arriving there I acted
upon the advice of my new made friend and adviser. Quickly procuring my
ticket and entering the car, I secured the rear seat and with fear and
trembling attempted to hide my brogans by setting my satchel on them.
(We had no suit cases then.) This was a morning of wonderful excitement
in the station for it was the last train to leave Louisville for the
State line and Memphis. There were thousands of people there crowding
every available foot of space--excitement ran high. The train guards or
inspectors--fully armed--were busy examining passengers and their
baggage. My heart almost leaped from my bosom as they came down the
aisle. But just before they reached the rear of the car the bell rang
and the train started. The guards rushed for the door, leaving me and
one or two others unquestioned and unmolested. Like "Paul, when he
reached the three taverns," I thanked God and took courage. I doubt if
the old station ever before or since saw such excitement and heard such
a shout as went up from the people therein assembled as the train pulled
out for Dixie. Many of these people were Southern sympathizers and
wished us God-speed and a safe journey.

That evening I joined my schoolboy friends and soldier comrades, the
"Flat Rock Grays," in Camp Burnett, Tennessee, the Grays dropping their
name and acquiring the letter "H" in the regimental formation of that
celebrated regiment commanded by Col. Robert P. Trabue and known as the
Fourth Kentucky, C. S. A. That night I slept in camp for the first
time--as to what I dreamed I am unable to say--it might have been of the
sweetheart. The next day was spent in getting acquainted with the dear
fellows whose comradeship I was to have and share for the next four
years. Here began the experiences of the _real_ soldier, that was to
include some of the most momentous events in American history. Only one
day, however, was spent in Burnett, for that night orders came for those
companies that had been supplied with arms to break camp early next
morning and take the train for Bowling Green--to "invade Kentucky." The
companies without arms, among which was Company H, was to repair to
Nashville where we procured arms, joining the rest of the regiment a few
weeks later at Bowling Green.

I have told you of the beginning, now it is proper and altogether
pertinent that I should refer to some of the closing scenes of my career
as a soldier. But I am here leaving a gap in my history, the most
important part of it, which will be found in other parts of this little

Having received my furlough at Jonesboro, where I was wounded on August
31, 1864, the following six months were spent in hospitals; first at
Barnesville, later at Macon and then Cuthbert, Ga., and later still at
Eufaula, Ala. I had as companions in hospital experiences three other
Kentuckians, Captain E. F. Spears of this city, Paris, whom you all know
to have been a gentleman of the highest honor and noblest emotions--a
gentleman--Oh, how I loved him; and Lieutenants Hanks and Eales, noble
fellows and companionable comrades. Here were formed ties of
friendship--that death alone could sever.

But having sufficiently recovered from my wound, I decided the last of
March that I would make an effort to reach my command (the Orphan
Brigade) now engaged in a desperate effort to stay the progress of
Sherman's devastating columns now operating in South Carolina. The
"Orphans" in the meantime and during my absence had been converted into
cavalry. I was still on crutches and bidding Eufaula friends good-bye
(with regret) I started once more for the front.

The times were now fraught with gloomy forebodings and misgivings,
excitement running high. The South was in tears, terror stricken--the
Confederacy surely and rapidly was reeling to her doom. General Wilson's
cavalry was raiding through Alabama and Georgia with but little
opposition, destroying the railroads and almost everything else of value
as they moved across the country.

On the train I had very distinguished company in the person of General
"Bob" Toombs, who commanded the Georgia militia, a mythical organization
of the times, and Mrs. L. Q. C. Lamar of Mississippi, whose husband was
afterward a member of Cleveland's Cabinet. I was very much impressed
with the remarkable personality of this lady and felt sorry for her and
her family of seven children, fleeing terror stricken from the raiders.
Pandemonium seemed to reign supreme among these fleeing refugees, the
air being literally alive with all sorts of rumors about the
depredations and atrocities of the raiders. Numerous delays occurred to
the train, everybody on board fearing the raiders and anxious to move
on. General Toombs, excited and worried at these delays, determined to
take charge of the situation and see that the train moved on. With a
navy revolver in each hand he leaped from the train and with an oath
that meant business said _he_ would see that the train moved on--which
it did rather promptly, the General taking due credit to himself for its
moving, which the passengers willingly accorded him. Inquiring who this
moving spirit was, I was told that it was General "Bob" Toombs (by this
name, _"Bob" Toombs_, he was known throughout the United States).
Instantly there flashed into my mind the celebrated speech he made in
the United States Senate, in which he said that "erelong he expected to
call the roll of his slaves beneath the shadow of Bunker Hill
Monument"--and which speech did more to fire the hearts of the North
than almost anything said or done prior to the war.

But finally we reached Macon--where I had been in the hospital--and on
the afternoon of the second day after our arrival, Wilson's cavalry took
possession of the city. That night some of the fiends, that are to be
found in every army, applied the torch to the home of Senator Howell
Cobb, the Lanier Hotel and a number of other prominent buildings. I
could realize the excitement from the Confederate hospital on College
Hill, which overlooks the city, and which was terrifying and appalling
beyond anything I had ever before seen. The shrieks and cries of the
women and children almost unnerved me. Woe of woes! Horror of horrors! I

But I must do General Wilson the honor to say that he did not order or
approve of this fiendish piece of work, for he did all in his power to
prevent and stop it; and but for his efforts the city would no doubt
have been completely destroyed.

Of course I abandoned my attempt to join the old boys of the "Orphan
Brigade." I was now a prisoner, everything lost (save honor), gloom and
chaos were everywhere. Obtaining a parole from the Federal officer in
command (something new), I decided to join my comrades Knox and Harp,
each of whom, like myself, had been put out of business by wounds
received sometime before and who were sojourning with a friend in the
country near Forsythe, intending to counsel with them as to the best
course to be pursued next. Having enjoyed the hospitality of our host
and his good wife for several days, Knox and myself decided to go down
to Augusta for a last and final parting with the remnant of these dear
"old boys" of the "Orphan Brigade" whom we learned were to be paroled in
that city. We soon learned upon our arrival in the city that General
Lewis and staff would arrive next morning. Next morning the General and
staff rode through the city, the most sorrowful and forlorn looking men
my eyes ever looked upon; it was enough to make a savage weep. The cause
for which we had so long fought, sacrificed and suffered, lost,
everything lost, God and the world apparently against us, without
country, without home or hope, the old family being broken up and
separated forever, our very souls sinking within us, gloom and sorrow
overhanging the world; what would we do; what could we do? Learning from
General Lewis that the remnant of the little band of immortals who had
contributed so much to the history and renown of Kentucky in the great
conflict would be paroled at Washington, some twenty miles from Augusta,
Knox and myself proceeded to that place for a last and final farewell.

The associations of almost four years of the bloodiest war in modern
times up to that day were here, to be forever broken up. The eyes that
gleamed defiance in the battles' rage were now filled with tears of
sorrow at parting. The hand that knew no trembling in the bloody
onslaught now wavered and trembled--the hour for the last parting had
arrived, the long struggle ended forever--good-bye, John; farewell,
Henry; it is all over and all is lost, ended at last; good-bye, boys;

Are their deeds worth recording, worth remembering? It is for you, dear
ladies, rather than men, to say whether it shall be done or not, and in
what way. _I_ am content to leave it to you, knowing that it will be
well and faithfully done.

Resuming the closing scenes of my experiences at Washington and the
final sad leave-taking of these dear old "Orphans," I must revert to my
friend and well wisher (as he proved to be), General Toombs.

The Confederate Government had saved from the ruin that befell and
overtook it several thousand dollars in coin and which was being
transported across the country, whither, no one seemed to know--in
charge of a certain major.

Now Washington was the home of my hero of the train incident. The powers
that were left decided to distribute a part of this coin among the
faithful veterans who were being paroled at this point. The cavalry, who
did not enlist until later in '62, receiving $26, in some instances
more, while the Orphans received as their share only $3.50, a very
unfair and inequitable distribution, character of service and time being
considered. The cavalry in this, as in some other instances, receiving
the lion's share and getting the most of the good things that fell to
the lot of the "pooh" soldier. This money consisted mainly of "double
eagles," three of which fell to the remnant of my company. The
perplexing question now was how could we divide this money. The matter
was finally settled by the boys commissioning me to go down into the
town (a mile or more away) to see if I could exchange it for smaller
coins. Still on crutches, I finally consented, but it was a task. Going
into town and from home to home--all business houses long since
closed--I at last staggered on the home of General Toombs--not knowing
he lived there. I recognized at once the moving spirit of the train
incident. He and another gentleman were seated on the veranda engaged in
earnest and animated conversation. Saluting in military style, I at once
made known my business. The General protested that _he_ had no change,
but referring me to his guest, Major ----, who, he said, was in charge
of some funds in the house belonging to the government. The Major
remarked if I would wait awhile he would furnish me with the required
change, at the same time retiring to a back room of the house where I
soon heard the sound of a hammer or hatchet, presumably in the hand of
the Major, who was engaged in opening a box or chest. In the meantime
the General invited me to a seat on the veranda and began plying me with
numerous and pertinent questions--not giving me a chance to refer to
the train incident--asking to what command I belonged, when and where I
was wounded and how I expected to get home and many other questions, not
forgetting in his vigorous and vehement way (for which he was noted) to
deplore the fate of the Confederacy and denouncing the Yankee in
unmeasured and vigorous terms.

Finally after so long a time the Major returned with the required
change--all in silver and while not much, it gave me (already tired out)
great worry before I reached camp on my crutches. Of course I thanked
the Major and apologized for having put him to so much trouble, and
saluting him good day, I started for the gate, the General preceding me
and still asking questions. Opening the gate, for which I thanked him, I
tipped a military salute and started up the sidewalk. But the General
seemed very much interested in me and walking alongside the yard fence
he suddenly thrust his hand into his vest pocket, pulling out a twenty
dollar coin and quickly reaching across the fence, he said, "Here,
Lieutenant, take this from me. You will doubtless need it." Dumfounded
at this sudden change of affairs, I politely declined it, but the
General, in a spirit of earnest command, forcefully said, "Here, take
it, sir; you are a d--n long way from home and you will need it before
you get there." Comprehending the spirit which prompted it, I accepted
it and thanked him, extending him my hand, which he grasped with a
warmth that thrilled my soul to its very depths.

Thus the diamond in the rough that I had seen on the train at once
became the glittering jewel that sparkled and shed its brilliance to the
depths of my then thankful and weary soul. I love to think of this
incident and this great man (for he was truly a great man of his time)
and transpiring at the time it did and under--to me--such distressing
and discouraging circumstances, it is one of the happy and cheering
oases of my soldier life.

Going from Washington back to Augusta I met and spent the following
night in company with Hon. E. M. Bruce, one of the best friends I ever
had, whose friendship, magnanimity and generosity toward myself and
other Kentuckians was, as in my case, made practical, he presenting me
with three double eagles, which I was _compelled_ to receive as a
recompense for acts of friendship and assistance rendered him during the
trying times of the preceding four years. I have never known a grander
character than E. M. Bruce, a truer friend, a nobler man.

But now, with more than $80 of _real_ money, I was quite well equipped
for the return to dear "Old Kentucky," which I was glad to see after an
absence of almost four years, spent under the most dangerous and trying
circumstances to which it was possible for man to be exposed.

There were doubts in my mind as to what our status as citizens would be
and just how we would be received and regarded by some; returning as we
did, overcome, discomfited, defeated. But we well knew how we would be
received by those who loved us and whose sympathies were manifested in a
thousand ways not to be mistaken or misunderstood. Here in these
manifestations was recompense for the long years of absence amid
dangers, trials and suffering.

And now after a lapse of more than half a century, with its wonderful
history, we are still remembered by some of the kind and gentle spirits
that greeted us on our return, and other charming and lovely spirits of
the U. D. C., descendants of the noblest ancestry that ever lived and
inhabited this, the fairest land that God ever made.

These circumstances, these surroundings and inspiring scenes make
hallowed the lives of these few surviving old veterans, rendering it a
panacea for all that we as soldiers of the "lost cause" encountered and

From the fulness of my heart I thank you, noble ladies, for your
kindness and patient attention. This opportunity to appear before you
today is more than a pleasure and I feel honored to find myself in your
presence and appreciate your happy greeting.



(From an address delivered at the meeting of the Morgan's Men
Association at Olympian Springs, September 2, 1916.)

_Mr. President, Old Comrades, Ladies and Gentlemen_:

I must confess that this is somewhat embarrassing attempting to talk in
public at the age of seventy-two, never having attempted such a thing
before. But the subject upon which I am expected to talk is certainly,
to myself, at least, interesting, and the occasion I am sure is happy
and inspiring, had I only the ability to do them justice. However, by
reason of my inexperience in matters of this kind, I believe I can
safely appeal to the charity of my audience to overlook any failure I
may make to properly interest them in what I shall have to say.

You ask sir, that I shall relate some of my observations and experiences
of the great battle of Shiloh. Well fifty-two years and more is a long
time and takes us back to that important event in American History that
transpired on the banks of the Tennessee on April 6 and 7, 1862. Some of
these old veterans now seated before me can doubtless remember many of
the exciting and intensely interesting scenes of these two eventful
days. It is more deeply impressed upon my mind, because of the fact that
it was our initial battle and early impressions are said to be always
most lasting.

This was the first of a series of grand and important events in the
history of that renowned little band of Kentuckians, known in history as
the "Orphan Brigade," but which for the present occasion I shall
designate as the Kentucky Brigade, it not receiving its baptismal or
historic name until the celebrated charge of Breckinridge at
Murfreesboro. But what a grand and thrilling opening chapter in the
lives of these Kentucky boys, as soldiers, for we were only boys, as we
now look back at things, a majority of us being under twenty-one.

Now, if I were called upon to say which in my judgment was the best
planned, most thoroughly and systematically, fought battle of the war in
which I took part, I would unhesitatingly say Shiloh. As time rolled on
and with subsequent observations and experiences on other important
fields, such as Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Resaca, Atlanta, Jonesboro
and a number of others, I am still constrained to say that Shiloh was
the typical battle. I mean, of course, battles fought in the West and in
which Kentucky troops took a prominent part.

If in relating my story I shall seem somewhat partial to Kentuckians, I
hope I may be excused for it is of them I shall talk mainly, besides,
you know I love them dearly. And in the exercise of this partiality I
claim to be justified from the fact that a number of the leading
characters in this grand tragedy of war were Kentuckians. First among
whom was the great general and peerless leader; others were
Breckinridge, Preston, Tighlman, Trabue, Helm, Morgan, Monroe, Lewis,
Hunt, Hodges, Wickliffe, Anderson, Burns, Cobb and last but by no means
least, Governor George W. Johnson whose patriotic example was
unsurpassed and whose tragic death was one of the most pathetic
incidents of the great battle. A conspicuous figure indeed was he, so
much so that when found on the field mortally wounded by the enemy, they
believed him to be General Breckinridge. Private John Vaughn, of my old
Company H of the Fourth Regiment, relates this story in regard to this
sad and lamentable incident. Vaughn was severely wounded and was lying
on the field near where Governor Johnston fell and from which he had
just been removed by the enemy, when General Grant rode up and inquired
to what command he belonged. When told by Vaughn to what command he
belonged, Grant said: "And it is Kentuckians, is it, that have been
fighting my men so desperately at this point?" Here is where the four
desperate charges and counter-charges were made on the Seventh and noted
by Colonel Trabue as commander of the Kentucky Brigade in his official
report of the great battle, the bloodiest part of the field where
Kentucky gave up many of her noblest and best. This is the field to
which General Grant refers in his "Memoirs," when in writing of the
desperate fighting of the Confederates, he says: "I saw an open field on
the second day's battle over which the Confederates had made repeated
charges, so thickly covered with their dead that it might have been
possible to have walked across the clearing in any direction stepping on
dead bodies without touching a foot to the ground."

Here were enacted scenes of sublime courage and heroism that elicited
the admiration and comment of the civilized world; here the soil of
Tennessee drank freely the blood of her elder sister, Kentucky.

But Grant, when told by Vaughn that he belonged to the Kentucky Brigade,
turned to one of his aids and ordered a litter to be brought and had
Vaughn placed upon it saying, "We have killed your General Breckinridge
and have him down yonder," pointing in the direction of their field
hospital. He then had him taken down to where the supposed General
Breckinridge lay. It seems that they were doubtful of and wished to
establish his identity. Pointing to the body of the dying Governor he
asked Vaughn if he was not his general. When Vaughn told him that it was
Governor Johnson and not General Breckinridge, Grant turned away quickly
with a look of disappointment upon discovering his mistake and learning
who he was. Vaughn used to relate this incident with considerable
feeling and pride as connecting him with General Grant at this
particular time and under such peculiar and painful circumstances. I
mention it because it contains more than ordinary interest to some of us
Kentuckians, who had the opportunity of witnessing the heroic conduct
and sublime courage of this noble citizen of Kentucky.

But let us notice while passing some of the sacrifices Kentucky made in
this first great battle of the war in the West and the compliment
incidently and unintentionally paid us (as Kentuckians), by the greatest
general that ever commanded the Federal army.

First among whom was the great general and peerless leader, Albert
Sidney Johnston, whose name I always mention with feelings of profound
pride and admiration, I would liked to have said veneration. George W.
Johnson, the noble beloved citizen and patriotic Governor, whose
voluntary example of sublime courage and heroism was without a parallel
in the great battle. Thomas B. Monroe, the youthful and distinguished
journalist, statesman and accomplished soldier, a man with scarce a peer
at his age in either civil or military life. Charles N. Wickliffe, the
gallant and dashing colonel of the Seventh Kentucky, and a thousand
other Kentuckians many less distinguished but equally brave--the flower
of Kentucky youth and manhood. Is it any wonder I am partial to
Kentuckians and proud of their record in this great and memorable

Oh, how well I remember the morning of that eventful Easter Sabbath,
April 6, 1862. So beautiful and lovely that all nature seemed proud and
happy. Trees budding, flowers blooming, birds singing, everything
seemingly joyful and happy in the bright sunshine of early spring, save
man alone. But with what awfulness the scene changes when we contemplate
man's actions at this hour and time bent upon the overthrow and
destruction of his fellowman and how ominously significant the

Just at early dawn we were quietly awakened by our officers--many a
noble and brave boy from his last sleep on earth; the bugle not sounding
the reveille, for fear of attracting the attention of the enemy, it
being part of the great general's plan to take him by surprise, which
succeeded admirably, notwithstanding the oft repeated denials of
General Grant to the contrary. Quickly arranging our toilets and having
hastily despatched breakfast from our haversacks we formed in double
column by company, the band in front leading, playing "Dixie," which
sounded upon the early morning stillness in this deep wildwood, as it
never before sounded, soul-stirring and inspiring. What patriotic
soldier could fail to be moved by its charm and pathos? The veil of
caution and silence now removed by the band, down through the woods of
massive oaks we moved at quick-step, every man doubtless believing
himself the equal of half a dozen Yankees. A very erroneous notion
indeed, soon dispelled by hard and stubborn facts to the contrary. But
on we moved stopping but once to unsling knapsacks, which with our
Sunday clothes and precious jewels we never saw again. Ah, some of those
precious jewels! Still on we moved. Now the roll of the Skirmishers'
rifles away out in front told that the issue of battle was being joined,
not Greek against Greek, but American against American in one of the
most desperate and sanguinary conflicts of the great war. Led by two of
the greatest military chieftains of the age; here the high spirited and
chivalrous youth from the Southern plantations and the daring, hardy
Western boy from the prairies of the West, had met in battle array.

Here was to be a display of courage and chivalry unsurpassed in the
annals of war. Now an occasional boom, boom, of the big guns, began to
echo up and down the valley of the Tennessee as Hardee's batteries
seemingly in chorus with those of the enemy in reply, began to open on
Grant's battalions now hurriedly forming, having recovered from their
surprise caused by the sudden and unexpected attack of Hardee's advanced
lines. Stirred by the highest ambition of our youthful hearts on toward
the front rapidly and steadily, now in column of fours, moved the
Kentucky Brigade. Passing down a little narrow valley just to the left
and on the higher ground, we passed that gallant little band of
Kentuckians known as Morgan's Squadron at the head of which, seated on
"Black Bess" the real (not the mythical "Black Bess" that some of you
fellows sometimes talk so loudly about and never saw), but the _real_
Black Bess--was that grandest specimen of a Kentucky soldier, save
one--the immortal Breckinridge--Captain John H. Morgan. The Kentucky
Brigade was proud to find itself in such noble, such royal company,
though for a passing moment only. Oh, how it thrilled our hearts as
these Kentucky boys, Morgan's men, greeted us by waving their hats,
cheering and singing their famous battle song;

     "Cheer, boys, cheer; we'll march away to battle;
     Cheer, boys, cheer, for our sweethearts and our wives;
     Cheer, boys, cheer; we'll nobly do our duty,
     And give to Kentucky our arms, our hearts, our lives."

General Duke, you remember this incident. Do you not, sir? More than
happy am I with such a noble witness to attest the correctness of this
part of my story. It was the second line of this famous stanza that
touched my soul most and sunk deepest into my youthful heart, for I had
left back in old Nicholas a little, black-eyed, curly-haired maiden
whose image at that very moment seemed fairer than all the angels in
heaven. My old heart still beats quick when I think of this thrilling
incident and those charming eyes. Now there are doubtless some of you
old veterans who are listening to me that left home under similar
circumstances as myself kissing farewell, as you thought, perhaps for
the last time, the dear little girl you were leaving behind and who felt
on the battle's verge as I did and was tempted to exclaim with me in the
anguish of your heart, "Oh cruel, cruel relentless war, what sad havoc
you have wrought with lovers and lovers' lives." Verily, old comrades, I
believe I am growing sentimental as well as very childish, but these
thoughts crowd my memory and must have vent. Still to the battle's
breach I must go where the "pride, pomp and circumstances of glorious
war" invite.

Pressing rapidly forward we quickly passed through the enemy's outer
encampments from which they had fled when attacked and surprised by
Hardee's skirmishers, leaving behind them untouched, their breakfasts of
steaming hot coffee, fried ham and other good things with which their
improvised tables seemed to be heavily ladened, and which under other
and more favorable circumstances, we would have quickly appropriated.
But the scenes of greatest moment and absorbing interest were on the
front toward which we were rapidly hurrying where the clash of steel,
shot and shell was resounding with the fury of desperation.

How well I remember the first victim of war--a Confederate--I saw on
this eventful morning. How well, too, I remember the hiss and scream of
the first shells of the enemy's guns that passed closely above our
heads, and how quickly and ungracefully we bowed in acknowledgment. How
well, also, I remember the first volley fired at us by Colonel
Worthington's Forty-sixth, Ohio, our neighbors from just across the
river. We had hardly completed the formation of changing "front to rear"
on our first company in order to confront them squarely by bringing our
line parallel with theirs, when they opened fire on us, getting the drop
on us, if you please.

Now I need not say much about this experience, for I am sure that every
old veteran remembers well the first fire to which he was exposed, but I
do believe that my hair must have stood on end and fairly lifted my cap
for I felt as they leveled their rifles, that every man of us would
surely be killed. Not many however, were killed or seriously hurt, for
the enemy in their eagerness and great excitement fired wildly over our
heads. The next was ours, and as we had been previously cautioned by
Major Monroe to fire low, we made it count. Quickly reloading our rifles
we had hardly fired the second volley when the sharp shrill voice of
Major Monroe rang out amid the roar and din of battle, "Fix bayonet" and
was quickly repeated by the company commanders. My, my; oh Lord; but the
cold chills darted up and down my spinal column as I contemplated the
use of the bayonet. Now if there is any scene upon the battle-field more
exciting and more terrifying than the glimmer and glitter of a fixed
bayonet in the hands of a desperate and determined enemy, pointed
directly at your throat or your stomach, I have never seen it. Terrified
at the gleam and clatter of our bayonets Worthington's men broke and
fled through the woods rallying on their reserves, stationed some
distance in rear of their original position. It was well perhaps for
them that they did, for thoroughly drilled as we were in the bayonet
exercise, they would doubtless have found themselves at a great
disadvantage in the use of this weapon, had they stood to make the test.
But with fixed bayonets, accelerated by the Rebel yell, we followed at a
double-quick, passing over their dead and wounded halting just beyond.
What a ghastly sight; what a terrible scene! Here was pictured for the
first time in our experience the horrors of the battle-field in all of
its hideousness. How well the new Enfield rifles, with which we had been
armed just before leaving Burnsville for the battlefield two days
before, following the reading of General Johnston's famous battle order,
were used upon this occasion, the dead and severely wounded of more than
three hundred of the enemy grimly told. Colonel Trabue in his official
report says more than four hundred but I hardly think there were so
many. There were enough at least to attest the efficiency of our new
Enfields and the correctness of our aim. Many of these poor fellows
begged us piteously not to kill them as though we were a band of savages
without pity or compassion, knowing nothing of the usages and customs of
civilized warfare. It was an insult to our sense of honor and chivalry.
But we soon convinced them by every act of kindness possible under the
circumstances that we were both civilized and chivalrous,
notwithstanding the teachings of the Northern press to the contrary. How
false, absurd and ridiculous these charges by some of these
stayed-at-home sycophants of the Northern press accusing us with brutal
and inhuman treatment of their wounded that fell into our hands.

But, just before the encounter of the Fourth Kentucky, which occupied
the extreme left of the Confederate battle line, with the Forty-sixth
Ohio, the roll of musketry and the roar of artillery came down the
battle line from right to left (a distance of more than three miles),
like the successive waves of the ocean as Grant hurled his battalions in
echelon against the extended lines of Johnston, opening fire in rapid
succession as they deployed and struck our lines, to which, the
Confederates in like successive manner instantly replied. Oh, I tell you
this was sublimely grand beyond the power of man to describe. As Grant's
battalions were successfully met and hurled back, that terrible and
ominous sound, the "Rebel yell" heard by us for the first time on the
battle field told that the day was surely and steadily becoming ours.
The enemy made another desperate and determined stand and from their
advantageous position occupied by their reserves on which their broken
columns had rallied, they poured a deadly and destructive fire into our
ranks killing and wounding many of our men. We had been pushed forward
under the enemy's fire and halted to await the movement of our
reinforcements moving in our rear and to our left, and while awaiting
the execution of this movement we learned quickly for the first time the
importance of lying flat on our faces as a means of protection from this
deadly fire of the enemy. This was trying indeed under orders not to
fire; compelled to remain passive and see your comrades being killed all
around you, momentarily expecting the same fate yourself. At last
co-operating with the flanking column on our left, with fixed bayonets
we made a desperate direct attack and drove the enemy from this very
formidable position which they had been holding for some time, not
however until we had lost in killed and wounded more than two score of
our brave and gallant boys. I am now speaking of the operations of my
own regiment--matters were too absorbing to pay much attention to what
others were doing.

Again pushing forward we quickly encountered the enemy's reinforcements,
which they had thrown forward to resist our advance and were again
exposed to another scathing and deadly fire. Again resorting to our
former tactics of lying flat on our faces, we returned their fire,
turning upon our backs to reload our rifles, then again upon our faces
to deliver fire, here the battle raged furiously, for some time and here
again we lost a number more of our gallant boys. I shall never forget
the anguish of the boy immediately to my left, as he expired from the
effects of a ball that passed through his body. In the meantime and
while the battle was raging at this point, Burns' and Cobb's Kentucky
batteries of fourteen pieces, which were stationed upon the extreme
right of the Kentucky Brigade, were hurling shot and shell, grape and
canister, with terrific and deadly force into the enemy's moving
columns, as they shifted from right to left of the battle line. Grant
seemed anxious to turn our left, but was anticipated and promptly met by
counter-movements of the Confederates, he having a most worthy rival in
the art and skill of maneuvering troops upon the battlefield. Finally
the terrible and desperate assault of the Tennesseans away to our right,
led by the gallant Breckinridge and the peerless Johnston against the
enemy's center and his stronghold, known as the "Hornet's Nest,"
compelled Grant to yield every position he had taken and seek shelter
and protection under the banks of the Tennessee. This was the sad and
fatal moment, for here in this desperate charge the great general fell.

Co-operating with the troops on our left the Kentucky Brigade hinged
upon Burns' battery, the whole left wing of the army swinging like a
massive gate to the right, joined in this last desperate charge and had
the proud satisfaction of participating in the capture and impounding of
Prentiss' division of more than three thousand men, including the
celebrated Watterhouse battery of Chicago with its magnificent equipment
of new guns and fine horses. This magnificent battery had been equipped
by this great millionaire for whom it was named, we wondered how he felt
when he learned the fate of his pets. I never in my entire experience as
a soldier saw such a humiliated and crestfallen body of soldiers as
these men were; prisoners driving their own magnificent battery from the
field. It looked really cruel to thus humiliate them. But then you know
it is said, that all's fair in love and war. To the first of which
saying I am compelled to demur for I know that all is not fair in love,
however, it may be in war. But in striking contrast what a jubilant and
overjoyed set of fellows we Confederates were, what a time for

This was one of the proudest moments of my soldier life, exciting and
thrilling almost beyond description. Their artillery being driven from
the field by their own gunners; their infantry formed in a hollow square
stacking arms and lowering their colors; their officers dismounting and
turning over their horses and side arms; Confederate officers and
orderlies galloping to and fro in every direction; excitement unbounded
and uncontrolled everywhere. Imagine these transcendent and rapidly
transpiring scenes and think for a moment if you can, how these "boys"
unused to such tragedies must have felt amid such stupendous and
overwhelming surroundings. Why we made the very Heaven and earth tremble
with our triumphant shouts. And I doubt not, I know they did, for
General Grant intimates they did, the enemy routed and hurrying to the
banks of the Tennessee for protection, trembled also.

Now the scene changes somewhat, reforming our lines and filing to the
right and left around this enclosed square in which these prisoners were
held, we again moved forward to the front expecting to deliver the last
and final blow. Four o'clock three-quarters of an hour later, with more
than two hours of sunshine in which to deliver the last and final blow,
found us drawn up in the most magnificent line of battle I ever beheld,
extending up and down the river bottom to the right and left as far as
we could see, straight as an arrow; every man in place standing at
"attention" exuberant with joy, flushed with victory, all understanding
the situation, eager for the signal to be given that they knew would
finish the glorious day's work. Grant's army cowering beneath the banks
of the Tennessee awaiting the final summons to surrender. What a moment
of grand anticipation and oh, how quick the heart beat! But at what
fearful cost to the Confederate cause, the apparent great victory! The
voice of the great commander, now silent with a successor unwilling to
finish the day's work so gloriously begun and so successfully executed
up to the hour of his fall. And oh, how important the hour to the new
born nation! How portentous the signs! Here and in this hour was
sacrificed the opportunity of the Southland's cause, here was thrown
away, so to speak--the grandest opportunity ever offered to any general
in modern times. Here the "green-eyed monster," jealousy, must have
whispered into the ear of Beauregard. Here I must draw the black curtain
of disappointment and despair to which I never can be reconciled. But
let it rest as lost opportunity and bury it in the oblivion of
forgetfulness. Paradoxically speaking here was lost the opportunity of
the "Lost Cause." But what followed, many, yes all of us know too well.

It is strange what momentous events sometimes turn upon seemingly
trifling and insignificant circumstances. With the prevailing tenseness
of the moment, if one man had leaped to the front of that battle line
and shouted "forward," Grant's army as a consequence would have been
overrun and captured. Grant known no more in history; the "Stars and
Bars" would have been planted upon the banks of the Ohio; Kentucky
redeemed and history differently written. Had Johnston the great
captain, lived, this would have been accomplished. But it seems that
Providence decreed it otherwise by removing the master mind.

From this magnificent battle line which I have attempted to describe and
this moment of proud hope and expectancy we were by order of Beauregard,
withdrawn to the camps of the enemy from which we had driven them during
the day--_not worn out and exhausted_--which Beauregard gave as his
excuse for failing to carry out the plans of the great commander to
crush Grant before Buell could come to his rescue.

Passing the night in the camps of the enemy; recounting the exciting
incidents of the day; indulging in the rich and bountiful supplies of a
plethoric commissary, and no less rich and bountiful supply of sutlers
stores in great variety, just received from the North, we enjoyed a
"Balshazzar" feast not knowing, and little thinking of the "handwriting
on the wall" in the form of 30,000 reinforcements then crossing the
Tennessee to be met and reckoned with on the morrow.

Why, oh why, did Beauregard not allow us to finish the day's work so
gloriously begun by Johnston? Every man must answer this question for
himself. Beauregard did not answer it satisfactorily to the soldiers who
were engaged, whatever the opinion of the world. What, but the spirit of
envy and jealousy and an overweening ambition to divide the honors of
victory with Johnston, which he hoped and expected to win on the morrow
could have controlled his course? That and that alone, answers the sad
question in the mind of your humble friend and comrade. I am aware that
this will be considered presumption in me, but it is history in part and
as observer and participant, I have the right to criticize.

The morning of the fateful 7th came and with it the direful results that
followed. The arrival of Buell, the Blucher of the day, turned the tide
and sealed the fate of the cause--the golden opportunity lost, lost
forever! The history of that day is well known to all students of the
great war and to none better than the few survivors of that little band
of Kentuckians afterward known in history, as the Orphan Brigade, and
whose part in the grand tragedy was such an important factor. It needs
no studied eulogium or lofty peroration to tell the story of the part
played by this little band. A loss of forty per cent in killed and
wounded tells the story, and is the panegyric offered by Kentucky on
this memorable and bloody field.

I might speak more in detail of this last day's bloody work and describe
more at length many of the horrible sights witnessed and the terrible
suffering of our wounded in their transfer to Corinth during the next
three days over almost impassable roads--the most horrible the mind
could possibly picture, exposed to the almost continuous downpour of
rain and the awful, awful sadness that filled our hearts in the loss of
so many of our comrades, kinsmen and school-fellow friends and the
further deep humiliation of final defeat, but the story would be too
horrible and sad to elaborate.

I have already taken too much of your time in relating a little of
personal romance in connection with something of history and in
conclusion will say I am here in part for what may be, though I hope
not, a last farewell handclasp with these dear "Old Boys," Morgan's men,
the equals of whom as soldiers and citizens, Kentucky and the world will
never again see. I thank you for your attention and the courtesy you
have shown me.

It seems altogether natural and opportune now that a large part of the
world is engaged in war that our minds should revert to the past and the
historic battle scenes in which we engaged should be renewed in



Because of the similarity of scenes now transpiring on the Western front
in France I am tempted to describe a scene that occurred and that I
witnessed during the siege of Vicksburg in July, 1862. My regiment (4th
Ky.) had been detailed and sent on detached service down to Warrenton,
some miles below Vicksburg, leaving in camp a number of sick that were
unable to go, among whom was Capt. Bramblett and myself. On the morning
of the 15th of July just at sunrise, suddenly, unexpectedly, as if the
infernal regions had suffered an eruption, the earth rocked and
trembled, the Heavens seemed pierced and rent with the roar and thunder
of cannon of all sizes, mortars from gunboats, siege guns, land
batteries and everything of a terrifying and destructive character, that
man was capable of inventing appeared to be turned loose, an explanation
of which no one would venture to make.

Directly however, news came that the Confederate ram "Arkansas" had run
the blockade of the upper fleet of federal gunboats and transports, and
was lying at the wharf in Vicksburg. The news was magical on some of us
sick fellows, and myself and Sergeant Knox started immediately, without
breakfast, to see the wonder and learn the news of the exciting episode.
Arriving at the wharf we soon saw the cause of the terrible outburst of
excitement and terror.

The Arkansas had been constructed at Yazoo City. Whisperings of its
existence and probable descent upon the blockading fleet in the
Mississippi had been heard for sometime, and now we could see the
monster (so to speak) in her grim and battered condition with numerous
holes in her smoke stack, made by shots from the enemy's guns, and a
large piece torn out of her cast prow. Her crew was composed of the most
daring despicable smoke-begrimed, looking set I ever beheld, but who
were elated at their successful victory. It was both interesting and
amusing to hear them discussing their recent experiences.

That night the world went wild and pandemonium reigned supreme in and
around Vicksburg; for every gun and mortar in both the upper and lower
fleets turned loose every element of hell and terror they possessed,
with the seeming determination to destroy everything in and around the
devoted old city. The Confederate siege-guns with "Whistling Dick" for
leader joining in the grand Orchestral chorus of ruin and chaos.

The scene was the most spectacular and pyrotechnical event of the war
and has never been equaled unless it has occurred in the awful
experiences on the Western front or at the Dardanelles. It was sublimely
grand and tests the wildest imagination of the mind to describe it.

The air was literally burdened, with ascending and descending shells
which were easily traced in their course upward and downward, shells
from the upper and lower fleets, crossing each other in their flight
Heavenward, before they reached their zenith, others in their downward
course and a few at the apex and still others, that failed to explode
reached the ground destroying everything with which they came in
contact. The flashes from these guns illumined the surroundings for
miles, and reminded you of a terrific thunderstorm with continuous
flashes of lightning. Every color of the rainbow could be seen in this
terrible and grand display. Balloon shaped clouds of smoke from
exploding shells could be seen, floating slowly, softly, through the
air, adding amazement and wonder to the grand aerial tragedy taking
place in the Heavens.

In reading of the terrific bombardments in the great war now raging, and
comprehending these descriptions and pictures, I count myself no
stranger, and this scene I have attempted to describe I am sure will
compare favorably with anything in the great world-war of today. Not
all the wonders and terrors of war are yours, boys! Some of us older
warriors have seen something of war too. But it's all grand and
glorious, isn't it boys?



It is to the great and interesting battle of Murfreesboro and some of
the incidents and circumstances preceding it, that I shall devote this
article. History will some day accord it but one name, whereas it now
has two--Murfreesboro and Stone River--but I shall use the former.

Here a mile or so Southeast of the city, on a beautiful little plain or
suburban scope of country, was encamped for a period of three months,
the Orphan Brigade. The weather was beautiful and we enjoyed both it and
the many good things we had to eat and the hospitable greetings of the
good people of the town and surrounding country. But while we were
enjoying these good things, we were undergoing a strict military
training, being drilled in the school of the company, battalion and the
more comprehensive and enlarged movements of the brigade and division
maneuvers, some of which we had seen employed at Shiloh and elsewhere by
exigencies in actual battle. It was a matter of general pride in which
as a member, I still glory that the Orphan Brigade was the most
thoroughly drilled and best disciplined body of men in the Confederate
army. In substantiation of this claim, I refer to the compliment paid us
a little later on by General Hardee, in a trial drill with the First
Louisiana Brigade, held at Beech Grove in the Spring following, and at
which trial drill General Hardee was one of the judges, and was heard to
say that to excel our drilling would require the construction of a
different and better code than was laid down in the system of tactics
bearing his name. The truth was we were determined to allow no body of
troops to excel us in anything pertaining to these accomplishments or
history of the soldier. This was accomplished in a great measure by the
requirements and training of that military martinet, "Old" Roger
Hanson. I use the appellation with the most profound respect. The facts
as to these accomplishments can be attested by numbers of men still
living and who often refer to General Hanson's rigid discipline and
requirements with feelings of respect and pride. I must instance one
circumstance, in support of this assertion.

Some time after he took command he issued an order that all officers and
privates alike should be in full dress and in proper places at roll call
in the morning after the sounding of the reveille. This did not suit
many of the officers who wanted to take a morning snooze, but "Roger's"
orders were inexorable to officers and soldiers alike and it was for a
few mornings laughable to see these officers hustling on their clothes
and into line. There was nothing that pertained to discipline and order
that escaped his notice. It was sometimes amusing to hear some fellow
relate his experience in attempting to outwit and fool him, and the
fellow that attempted it was always caught. It just could not be done.

But the whirligig of time was rapidly turning and bringing with it
lively and exciting times; big with importance to the country and the
Confederate cause and especially and particularly to these dear Orphans
of mine.

While in Mississippi and preceding his disastrous Kentucky campaign and
in which his malevolent nature was displayed, Bragg refused us the great
joy we so earnestly and hopefully prayed for viz, the return to Kentucky
with his army, where we might see the dear ones at home, and
incidentally aid the cause by inducing enlistments.

But the fact that quite a number of our fellow Kentuckians were coming
out with the newly enlisted cavalry commands and bringing with them the
news from home and friends--the first of consequence for a year or
more--gave us some comfort and consolation. In the meantime some
interesting matters of thrilling moment were transpiring down here,
"Where the oak, the ash and red elm tree, all grow green in old

Rosecrans, not satisfied with results at Perryville, was cutting across
the country for another opportunity to test his military skill and
prowess, and to punish these unrepentant rebels for daring to offer
resistance to the "old flag" and trying to "break up the best Government
the world ever saw," and over which Government some of these same people
are now fussing among themselves.

Excuse me, please. I see I am again off my base. Back to my beloved
Orphans I must go. Oh, how I do love them!

The change from the ordinary routine of drill maneuver and review was
brought about by the plan of General Morgan to attack the enemy's
advance post at Hartsville, North of the Cumberland and about thirty
miles or more from Murfreesboro. This movement included in its plan the
co-operation of the Orphan Brigade and making it a distinctly Kentucky
command, planned, led and fought by Kentuckians, and which was one of
the most complete and brilliant affairs of the war. Some of us to this
day feel the sting of disappointment of not being privileged to share in
this "_coupe de grace_," as the Fourth and Sixth Regiments were left at
Baird's mill to guard against the possibility of an intercepting column
from Nashville. My heart went out in sympathy (practically) to these
boys on their return to our encampment, worn out with fatigue, exhausted
and hungry and almost frozen, the weather being bitter cold and the
ground covered with snow to a depth of several inches. I confess also to
a feeling of sorrow for the poor blanketless prisoners who passed a
night of suffering, though we did the best we could for them by
furnishing them with fires.

But here again the Orphans engaged in this fight paid dearly for their
honors, especially the Second Regiment, which lost heavily in both
officers and men, the Ninth Regiment also losing considerable. But this
seemed but the prelude to the grand Christmas entertainment staged to
come off later and when Breckinridge's Kentuckians received the
soubriquet Orphan Brigade by which they have ever since been known and
which will pass into the annals of history, alongside that of the "Tenth
Legion," the "Old Guard" and "Light Brigade."

With a sense of feeling that impresses me with my utter inability to at
all do justice to the subject of Murfreesboro (or Stone River), I fear
to undertake the task.

To the writer this was in some respects one of the most interesting,
exciting and captivating battles of the war in which he took part.
Captivating, because the great battle of the 31st was witnessed from my
vantage point of view--the left of our entrenchments on Swain's
hill--overlooking the stretch of country on which the battle was fought,
extending as it did from the Nashville turnpike and railroad, which at
this point are parallel, and at which point also stood the famous
"Cowans' burnt house," referred to by historians and which I saw burn,
the afternoon before. From this knoll I could see the principal part of
the field.

Before attempting to describe the battle on this part of the field, I
must look up my Orphans and see what they are now, and have been doing
these last few hours. On the afternoon of Monday, the 29th they took
possession of this hill, which was the acknowledged key to Bragg's
position of defense. And herein lies a kind of mystery, why he would
trust to these men, in the judgment of whose officers he showed later on
he had so little confidence, this the most important point in his whole
line, and why should it be entrusted to them--the Kentucky Brigade. Some
were wicked enough to say, and his course toward us later, as that of
Friday, strengthens this belief that he wanted us all killed, hence
placing us in the most perilous position. Now mind you, gentle reader, I
am not giving this as my opinion, but others have given it as theirs.
While "bivouacking" a little behind this hill the enemy's skirmishers a
little after dark made quite a determined onset on our skirmishers in
front of the hill, but were driven back finally with considerable loss
to both parties. It was a daring and courageous move and created no
little excitement and concern and looked for a time like a night attack
was pending. The 30th was spent in getting ready by both parties to the

And early on the morrow we took our position on Swain's hill in support
of Cobb's and the Washington artillery. From my vantage position I could
see more plainly the Confederate lines than the Federal, because the
Confederates were on a direct line extending Southward, while the
Federals were obliquely to the front and partially obscured by an
intervening cedar glade and in the afternoon the Confederates swung like
a great gate on their pivotal position, while just behind and to the
left of this was the enemy's strong point of resistance, to which he had
finally been driven. The smoke from the guns of the long lines of
infantry, as they moved forward to the attack and the counter stroke
from the enemy's resisting columns, the dashing to and fro, up and down
the lines and over the field by officers, orderlies, aides and couriers,
carrying orders and dispatches, with here and there a battery belching
forth shot and shell was a sight wonderful to behold and never to be
forgotten. The most thrilling incident to that view was early in the day
when a body of cavalry, supposed to be "Dragoons," swung into line from
behind the cedar glade with drawn sabers, gleaming and waving in the
crisp chill sunlit air, dashed down over the open fields in a grand
charge upon the Confederate infantry, whose movements a few moments
before convinced me of this approaching cavalry charge.

We had been instructed by Buckner, Monroe and others on the drill field
in the formation of the "hollow square" to resist the charge of cavalry
and when I saw these regiments doubling column at half distance I knew
what was coming. To see the field officers on horseback rushing within
the squares as they closed and the front rank kneeling, all with fixed
bayonets glittering in the frosty sunlight, and these oncoming charges
with waving sabers and glittering helmets was a sight unsurpassed by
anything I witnessed during the war. The nearest approaching it was by
Sherman's charge at Resaca. As soon as the squares were formed the
artillery in the rear opened fire through these intervening spaces made
by the formation of the square, whereupon artillery and infantry
combined swept the field and the charging column turned in confusion and
route, skurrying helter skelter back over the field, leaving numbers of
men horseless.

Soon the "Rebel yell" down the line told us that things were going our
way and looking we could see our friends moving forward like a mighty
serpent drawing his coils.

While this was transpiring on the left a battery in our front on the
opposite side of the river was industriously employed in shelling Cobb's
and Slocum's batteries stationed on Swain's hill, and whose business for
the time it was the Orphans to support. When I saw this cavalry charge,
to which I have referred, the thought instantly and involuntarily came
to my mind of the repeated attacks of Napoleon's cavalry on the squares
of Wellington's infantry at Waterloo. The sight was so thrilling that I
hoped they would repeat it. But how foolish, I thought this was, in this
body of cavalry attempting to ride down regiments of veteran infantry.
Their officers must surely have thought that they could reach the
Confederate line before they could complete this formation. If so, they
paid dearly for their mistake.

The battle progressed steadily and satisfactorily to the Confederates
until about four o'clock, when they, in the language of the "bum," "run
against a snag." Woods' and Sheridan's divisions, with other of
Rosecrans' forces had concentrated upon his extreme left, which was his
strongest position for a final and last stand. The conflict here was
desperate and bloody, neither party seeming to have much the advantage.

The National cemetery now occupies this identical ground and in which
there are more than 6,000 Federal soldiers buried. A beautiful and fit
place for the remains of these brave Western soldiers to rest, for here
upon this field was displayed a courage that all men must admire.

Both armies slept that night upon the field with the greater part of the
field in possession of the Confederates and the advantages and results
of the day almost wholly in their favor.

The Orphans spent the night in the rear of and among the artillery they
had been supporting. When morning came we found that the enemy was still
in our front instead of on the road to Nashville as Bragg believed. Both
parties seemed willing that a truce should prevail for the day and
scarcely a shot was heard. Bragg believed that Rosecrans' army was
"demolished" and would surely retreat to his base (Nashville), and so
informed President Davis.

But old "Rosy" had something else in his mind. He was planning and
scheming and matured a plan for a trap and Bragg walked right into it
with the innocence of a lamb and the ignorance of a man that had never
known anything of the art of war, and the butchery of the next day
followed as a result of his obstinacy and the lack of military skill.
Had he listened to the protestations of General Breckinridge and his
officers he might have saved for the time being his military reputation
and the lives of several hundred brave and noble men.

The recounting of the steps that led up to this ill-conceived and fatal
denouement and the efforts by General Breckinridge to prevent its
consummation, by one while not high in rank, but who claims to know
something of the facts in the case, may not go amiss even at this late

Early on the morning of January 2, Captain Bramblett, commanding Company
H, Fourth Kentucky, and who had served with General Breckinridge in
Mexico, received orders from him (Breckinridge), to make a thorough
reconnaissance of the enemy's position, Company H being at that time on
the skirmish line. Captain Bramblett with two of his lieutenants, myself
one of them, crawled through the weeds a distance of several hundred
yards to a prominent point of observation from which through his field
glass and even the naked eye we could see the enemy's concentrated
forces near and above the lower ford on the opposite side of the river,
his artillery being thrown forward and nearest to the river. His
artillery appeared to be close together and covering quite a space of
ground; we could not tell how many guns, but there was quite a number.
The infantry was seemingly in large force and extended farther down
toward the ford. Captain Bramblett was a man of no mean order of
military genius and information, and after looking at, and studying the
situation in silence for some minutes, he said to us boys, "that he
believed Rosecrans was setting a trap for Bragg." Continuing, he said,
"If he means to attack us on this side, why does he not reinforce on
this side? Why concentrate so much artillery on the bluff yonder? He
must be expecting us to attack that force yonder, pointing to Beatty's
position on the hill North of us, and if we do, he will use that
artillery on us as we move to the attack." At another time during the
afternoon I heard him while discussing the situation with other officers
of the regiment use substantially the same argument. I accompanied
Captain Bramblett to General Breckinridge's headquarters and heard him
make substantially in detail a report containing the facts above
recited. Captain Tom Steele was ordered (his company having relieved
ours) on the skirmish line to make a reconnaissance also, and made a
similar report, and lastly General Breckinridge, to thoroughly and
unmistakably understand the situation and satisfy himself, in company
with one or two of his staff examined the situation as best he could and
I presume reached the same conclusion, and when he (Breckinridge)
repaired to Bragg's headquarters and vouchsafed this information and
suggested the presumptive plan of the enemy, Bragg said: "Sir, my
information is different. I have given the order to attack the enemy in
your front and expect it to be obeyed."

What was General Breckinridge to do but attempt to carry out his orders,
though in carrying out this unwise and ill-conceived order it should
cost in one hour and ten minutes 1,700 of as brave and chivalrous
soldiers as the world ever saw. What a terrible blunder, what a bloody
and useless sacrifice! And all because General Breckinridge had resented
the imputation that the cause of the failure of Bragg's Kentucky
campaign was the "disloyalty of her people to the Confederate cause."
Could anyone of the thousands of Kentuckians that espoused the cause of
the South, complacently acquiesce in this erroneous charge and endorse
the spirit that prompted this order and led to the slaughter of so many
of her noble boys? This was the view that many of us took of Bragg's

How was this wicked and useless sacrifice brought about? "That
subordinate must always obey his superior"--is the military law. In
furtherance of Bragg's order we were assembled about three o'clock on
the afternoon of January 2, 1863 (Friday, a day of ill luck) in a line
North of and to the right of Swain's hill, confronting Beatty's and
Growes' brigades, with a battery or two of artillery as support. They
being intended for the bait that had been thrown across the river at the
lower ford, and now occupied an eminence some three-quarters of a mile
to the right-front of the Orphan's position on Swain's hill.

This was the force, small as it was that Bragg was so anxious to
dislodge. Between the attacking line and federal position was a
considerable scope of open ground, fields and pastures, with here and
there a clump of bushes or briars, but the entire space was in full view
of and covered by the enemy's batteries to the left of the line on the
opposite side of the river previously referred to. If the reader will
only carry these positions in his eye, he can readily discover the jaws
of the trap in this murderous scheme.

A more imposing and thoroughly disciplined line of soldiers never moved
to the attack of an enemy than responded to the signal gun stationed
immediately in our rear, which was fired exactly at four o'clock. Every
man vieing with his fellowman, in steadiness of step and correct
alignment, with the officers giving low and cautionary commands, many
knowing that it was their last hour on earth, but without hesitating
moved forward to their inevitable doom and defeat. We had gotten only
fairly started, when the great jaws of the trap on the bluff from the
opposite side of the river were sprung, and bursting shells that
completely drowned the voice of man were plunging and tearing through
our columns, ploughing up the earth at our feet in front and behind,
everywhere. But with steadiness of step we moved on. Two companies of
the Fourth regiment, my own and adjoining company, encountered a pond,
and with a dexterous movement known to the skilled officer and soldier
was cleared in a manner that was perfectly charming, obliquing to the
right and left into line as soon as passed.

By reason of the shorter line held by the enemy, our line, which was
much longer and the colors of each of our battalions being directed
against this shorter line, caused our lines to interlap, making it
necessary, in order to prevent confusion and crowding, that some of the
regiments halt, until the others had passed forward out of the way. When
thus halted they would lie down in order to shield themselves from the
enemy infantry fire in front, who had by this time opened a lively
fusillade from behind their temporary works.

While lying on the ground momentarily a very shocking and disastrous
occurrence took place in Company E, immediately on my left and within a
few feet of where I lay. A shell exploded right in the middle of the
company, almost literally tearing it to pieces. When I recovered from
the shock the sight I witnessed was appalling. Some eighteen or twenty
men hurled in every direction, including my dear friend, Lieut. George
Burnley of Frankfort. But these circumstances were occurring every
minute now while the battle was raging all around and about us. Men
moved intuitively--the voice being silenced by the whizzing and bursting
shells. On we moved, Beatty's and Growes' lines giving way seemingly to
allow the jaws of the trap to press with more and ever increasing vigor
upon its unfortunate and discomfited victims. But, on we moved, until
the survivors of the decoy had passed the river and over the lines
stationed on the other side of the river, when their new line of
infantry opened on our confused and disordered columns another
destructive and ruinous fire.

Coupled with this condition and correlative to it, a battery of Growes
and a part of their infantry had been cut off from the ford and seeing
our confused condition, rallied, reformed and opened fire on our
advanced right now along the river bank. Confronted in front by their
infantry, with the river intervening; swept by their artillery from the
left and now attacked by both infantry and artillery by an oblique fire
from the right, we found ourselves in a helpless condition, from which
it looked like an impossibility to escape; and but for the fact that two
or three batteries had been ordered into position to check the
threatened advance of the enemy and thereby distract their attention, we
doubtless would have fared still worse.

We rallied some distance to the right of where we started and found that
many, very many, of our noblest, truest and best had fallen. Some of
them were left on the field, among whom was my military preceptor,
adviser and dear friend, Captain Bramblett, who fell into the hands of
the enemy and who died a few days after in Nashville. I shall never
forget our parting, a moment or two before, he received his wound--never
forget the last quick glance and the circumstances that called it
forth. He was a splendid soldier and his loss grieved me very much. Many
another gallant Kentuckian, some of our finest line and field officers,
were left on the field, a sacrifice to stupidity and revenge.
Thirty-seven per cent in one hour and ten minutes--some say one
hour--was the frightful summary. Among the first of these was the
gallant and illustrious Hanson, whose coolness and bearing was
unsurpassed and whose loss was irreparable. He with Breckinridge,
understood and was fully sensible of--as indicated by the very
seriousness of his countenance--the unwisdom of this move and as shown
in their protest to Bragg. What a pity that a strict observance of
military rule compelled it to be obeyed against his mature military mind
and judgment, causing the loss of such a magnificent soldier and
gentleman--uselessly and foolishly.

Contemplating this awful sacrifice, as he rode by the dead and dying in
the rear of our lines, General Breckinridge, with tears falling from his
eyes, was heard to say in tones of anguish, "My poor Orphans! My poor
Orphans!" little thinking that he was dedicating to them a name that
will live throughout the annals of time and crown the history of that
dear little band with everlasting immortality.

I have tried to give you above a description from memory's tablet--of
the battle of Murfreesboro, and I shall now relate some of my
observations made on my recent visit together with further references,
to the events that transpired on that eventful field--the study of which
is of almost overwhelming interest.


Here, as elsewhere and on other fields, the view is especially and
particularly interesting, because of the country being more level and
more open with the view much less obstructed. It was worth a half dozen
years to live over, in reminiscence, this week of intense excitement,
interest and danger. And here too, as at Chickamauga, memory refused to
be satisfied, and I find myself wishing I could see it again. I feel
that I could never tire looking at the different aspects of the view and
studying the tragic scenes as they transpired on this eventful closing
of this eventful year of 1862, and the no less eventful opening of the
year 1863. To those who lived in this historic decade and participated
in these events of bygone years are of intense and ever thrilling
interest, but few realize that these things happened a half century ago.

Here as elsewhere events came back to me and I had but little or no
difficulty in locating the leading and many of the minor places of

The immediate vicinity of our long encampment is changed considerably by
houses being erected nearby and on the ground where our camps stood, but
the big spring house, however, still does duty as of yore. The place on
the Shelbyville turnpike where we held guard mount and review is much
changed. So also are the grounds on the East side of the city where we
held brigade and division drill, it now being "built up." But one of the
leading landmarks of the town and of special interest to the Orphans and
other Kentuckians is still intact and but little changed in appearance
but now used for a different purpose. I refer to the Judge Ready
residence where General Morgan captured his grand prize. There is not an
old Orphan now living, that does not remember how he used to primp for
the march by this house, and how proudly he stepped and with what
perfect mien he marched to Billy McQuown's best pieces, all to have the
privilege of "showing off," and having the opportunity for a sly glance
at the beautiful Queen sisters standing on the upper veranda. You know,
old boys, just how this was, don't you?

But my mind is taking me back to the battlefield where the things of
real excitement were transpiring, where "the pride, pomp and
circumstances of glorious war are to be found."

Starting out in company with Rev. Everett Smith, we took the Nashville
pike crossing the river at the same place we crossed when on the retreat
from Bowling Green to Shiloh in February, 1862, and where I had crossed
several times while encamped later, near the town and over and beyond
which I saw the celebrated cavalry charge and the victorious columns of
the Confederates move on December 31. My mind was so completely occupied
and crowded that I scarcely knew what to do or say. I know I must have
been a study, to my young friend for a time at least.

I could see again in imagination the smoke and red fire and could hear
the crackling flames as they leaped high in air of the famous "Cowan"
house as we rode by. I imagined as we rode on that I could hear the
yells and shouts of the contending lines as they surged forward and
across the turnpike to the famous cut in the railroad, where Wood and
Sheridan saved the day to the Federals against the last grand charge of
Cleburne, Preston and Pillow of the Confederates.

As before stated here is a fitting place for the six thousand Federals
who rest here. Here at the cemetery, I was introduced to Captain Thomas,
the officer in charge, who was exceedingly polite and courteous and whom
I found by conversing with, that I had faced at Shiloh and who had the
most perfect recollection of many of the chief points and incidents of
that battle. I regretted very much that I could not spend more time with
him, as he impressed me as being a man after my own heart. But my young
friend and myself had promised to be back at the dinner hour and I was
therefore, compelled to close my interview.

I spent the afternoon in glancing over town and meeting and conversing
with old soldiers and others whom I found interested in my mission, and
willing and anxious to give me any information I desired.

I met and arranged with Captain Mitchell, who now owns a part of the
field over which the celebrated charge of Breckinridge was made, to go
out with me next morning and in company with him and a young friend, W.
H. Hohgatt, of Pittsburgh, Pa. We started early, going over the same
road, crossing the same bridge, as the day before to a point near the
cemetery where the road to McFadden's ford leaves the turnpike and runs
North by the bluff, the famous bluff where Rosecrans' fifty-eight pieces
of artillery were stationed that wrought such dreadful havoc upon
Breckinridge's men as they moved across the fields to attack Beatty and
Growes (the decoy) on the other side of the river, here we crossed the
river at the lower ford, so famous in history but which is properly
known as McFadden's. Here we "tied up" and in company with my companions
we took to the fields and woods, which latter exist now in fancy only.
Up the gradual slope we go to the crest of the ridge (now a cotton
patch) to where Beatty and Growes were stationed, swinging around as we
go to the point overlooking the river on which stood the massive oaks
where the Sixth Kentucky, led by that incarnate demon of war, "Old Joe"
Lewis, with flashing sword and blazing eyes, more terrible than the eyes
of a raging lion and who impressed me as I was never impressed before or
since, with the devil in human form. He presented a picture at that time
I shall never forget. It is as grimly and immovably fixed in my mind as
the sun and the stars and I become enthusiastic whenever I think of him
and the incident. Now we move along the crest Northward to the point
where the Fourth Kentucky struck Beatty's line. Looking East and South
towards the Lebanon pike, we can see the vicinity where we started in
the charge about midway between the crest and the pike. Turning around
we can look down the North slope of the ridge and over which we pressed
Beatty and the right of Growes' brigade to McFadden's ford, dropping
into, as we move down the narrow sag or depression that leads from the
top of the hill straight to the ford and which furnished the only
protection from the murderous fire of the fifty-eight guns massed on
the bluff. Out of this depression, going or coming, we were exposed to
this dreadful and incessant fire. Opposite to and some forty yards from
this ford is the picket fence where we were compelled to halt and which
is so well remembered by many of the Orphans.

The Federals passed around the end of this fence, they being acquainted
with the situation, but we struck it square and were compelled to halt.
Just outside and along this picketing were piled the enemy's drums and
upon which the minnie balls from their new and supporting line on the
opposite side of the river were beating a funeral dirge for many of our
dear boys who were here compelled to halt and die to no purpose
whatever. I walked along this picket fence, which looks just as it did
then, but of course has been rebuilt, and over the very ground on which
my dear Captain Bramblett fell and with whom I exchanged glances a
moment before. To give expression to my feelings as I contemplated this
last glance, this look in life at my dear friend and leader is
impossible and I turn away with sickened heart from the fatal spot and
retrace my steps over the field to the rallying point, every step of the
way marked by exploding shells and flying shot from the enemy's battery
of fifty-eight guns which seemed determined to show no mercy at all.

Lest some one may say I am magnifying this story of the "battery on the
bluff" I will quote here verbatim from the tablet on the twenty-foot
granite monument which marks the place occupied by these guns to mark
the place from which the death-dealing shot and shell were hurled that
resulted in the death of so many of Kentucky's noble and brave boys.

I understand this monument was erected by the president of one of the
great railway systems, the N. C. & St. L., who had participated in the
famous charge. It is the most interesting and historic point of all the
very interesting points of this eventful field. It was with awe and
overpowering wonder and feeling that I indulged the scenes of fifty
years ago, enacted on this spot. Here the very earth trembled beneath
the thunderings of these fifty-eight cannon, sending death and
destruction into the ranks of us poor unfortunate Confederates.

The tablet upon this monument reads as follows:

"On January 2, 1863, at three p. m., there were stationed on this hill,
fifty-eight cannon commanding the field across the river and as the
Confederates advanced over this field the shot and shell from these guns
resulted in a loss of 1,800 killed and wounded in less than one hour."

What a harvest of death in so short a time was wrought by shot and
shell! The most of whose victims were mutilated and lacerated beyond
recognition or description. Had the earth been torn by an earthquake the
scene would not have been more terrible and hideously appalling.

On a board marker, near by, in faded letters is this indefinite

"Col. S. Mat----, Third Division 14th A. C. Fed----, Col. S. W. Price
commanding. Holding Lower Ford, Dec. 31, 1862."

This evidently refers to the battery that played upon Cobb and Slocum on
Swain's Hill.

It would seem from these last words of this poster that the Federals
were afraid on the first day's fight that the Confederates would attempt
to turn their left by crossing at this ford, hence the placing of this
battery here. Bragg, it seems, had no such thought, and, however, it was
stationed in our immediate front, West from Swain's Hill and as the
battle progressed on the plain South of the railroad and turnpike it
played upon Cobb and Slocum with increasing vigor and spirit. As before
stated, the Orphans were stationed at this time in support to these
batteries, and it was from this point that I witnessed the thrilling
sights on the West side of the river.

In company with my new-made genial and accommodating friend, W. G.
Beatty, whose father owned the land on which the battle of the 2nd was
fought, I visited Swain's Hill, which is evidently a mistaken name for
the place, no one with whom I conversed, old or young, knew it by that
name. I found on the hill, which I very readily recognized from the
distance, the old entrenchments intact, save from the leveling effects
of time, and on which an occasional locust sapling is growing with quite
a thicket of the same in the immediate front. But from the left of this
line of works and where I was stationed on the 31st the view overlooking
the railroad, turnpike and plain is perfectly clear. From here I looked,
studied and wondered. Why should I not linger and contemplate? Never
until the great day of judgment do I ever expect to witness such a
thrilling and awe-inspiring scene as I here witnessed on that eventful
day of December 31, 1862.

Beatty contemplated me with interest, if not astonishment. So intensely
interesting were these scenes and recollections I was almost tempted to
spend another day contemplating and reviewing them. But we returned to
the city at night to attend a church affair at the instance and
invitation of my young friend from Bourbon, Rev. Everett Smith, whose
guest I had been while here.

I tried hard to forget and partially succeeded in forgetting the
thoughts and reminiscences the day had suggested--in the presence of so
many charming ladies and gallant gentlemen of Brother Smith's
congregation and the additional enjoyment of the ice cream, cakes and
strawberries, my appetite of fifty years ago suddenly returning to
remind me of the difference twixt now and then.

Next morning my friend Beatty was on hand early with his automobile and
speeded me over the city which I am frank to say is one of the most
beautiful little cities I ever saw. I was charmed by the old time warmth
and hospitality of its people and the greeting given me and I shall
remember them as among the happiest of my life. And if I were young once
more, I would be almost tempted to cast my lot with these good people
in this good country, both of which are the next best to Kentucky.

I must not forget to remind the old Orphans and others who may read this
paper that after considerable inquiry I was able to find the old Haynes
home, in which General Hanson died, and which is now occupied by Hon.
Jesse C. Beasley, the present Democratic nominee for Congress in this
district. I was shown through the house by his good little wife who
although taken somewhat by surprise at my sudden and unexpected visit,
but who courteously invited me to examine and inspect until fully
satisfied. I stood in the room in which he died almost dumfounded with
emotion. Here, in the presence of his heart-broken wife, and sorrowing
friends his life gradually ebbed away and took its flight to the realms

I was reminded to tread lightly and speak softly on this solemn
occasion, for here, passed away into the Great Beyond one of Kentucky's
grandest and greatest noblemen.

I attended that afternoon, in company with Captain Baird, Beatty and
others, the anniversary decoration of the Confederate graves and
listened to a fine oration and the delightful rendering of several
appropriate songs by the Murfreesboro quartette. When they sang "My Old
Kentucky Home," I hugged tightly, the tree against which I leaned and
fear I betrayed a weakness for which I am not altogether ashamed, for
what Kentuckian that lives, especially when away from home, whose soul
is not moved, when he hears the sweet strains of this touching and soul
inspiring song. How can he, when thus reminded of his old Kentucky home,
keep from exclaiming (in mind at least) in the language of the poet:

     "Lives there a man (Kentuckian) with soul so dead,
     Who to himself hath not said, this is my own, my native land."

Before closing this chapter I must not fail to say that I found on this
trip a manifestation of the same liberal hospitable and magnanimous
spirit, that has ever characterized this noble and self-sacrificing
people. To the good women of the South I owe my life; to them I bow and
acknowledge obeisance as the truest, purest, sweetest and best of all
God's creatures.

No sacrifice, that mortal man could make is, too great a recompense for
the love and devotion of these dear women who sacrificed, wept and
suffered during the four long years of midnight darkness. They are the
angels of the earth today; to them, as such I uncover my head and I hail

Finally I wish to acknowledge my thanks to Mr. and Mrs. C. D. Ivie, at
whose home I was the guest of my friend, Rev. Smith and his charming
little wife. To Editor Williams, W. G. Beatty, Captains Baird and
Mitchell, Dr. Campbell and others, I am indebted for many courtesies and




I am now attempting to write from this Lookout Mountain, one of the most
picturesque as well as interesting places on the American continent.
Near by and round about here some of the greatest episodes in the
world's history transpired near the close of that eventful year, 1863.

Chickamauga, Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge, where the lives of
sixty-five thousand Americans were either destroyed or more or less

A feeling of philosophy and awe prompts me to ask why all this great
sacrifice of human life, misery and suffering?

Was the Great God that made man now looking on this awful scene of
carnage and woe again repenting that He had made wicked, rebellious and
murderous man; or was it a part of His omnipotent plan for man's
inherent folly and wickedness driving him to destroy his fellowman?

Whatever it was it seems to have been accomplished here amid these
towering mountains.

But so it was and I, one insignificant actor in the grand drama, am
still permitted to live and recount some of the thrilling scenes as they
were enacted. It is beyond my power to describe minutely and correctly
all the thrilling sights that I witnessed on this eventful occasion
(Battle of Chickamauga) and I shall refer to those only that concern
myself and my Kentucky comrades, unless incidentally it shall appear
necessary to my story.

I will, therefore, not attempt to note the maneuvering, the marching and
counter-marching, back and forth, up and down the Chickamauga Valley,
in and about Rossville and Crawfish Springs and their vicinity; all of
which, at that time, seemed to me was but the waving of the red flag in
the face of Rosecrans in "_I dare you to come out_" spirit on the part
of Bragg.

Whatever motives, schemes and strategy it contained we all knew, rank
and file, field and staff, that we were on the eve of momentous events.
We all knew that here the question of "Greek meeting Greek" would soon
again be tested and two of the mightiest armies of modern times would be
locked in mortal combat. We had not long to wait for on the morning of
the nineteenth (September, 1863) an occasional boom, boom, away to the
right and front told us of the coming storm that was about to break over
and sweep Chickamauga Valley with a mighty avalanche of thunder and
horror that shook the very earth itself. Slowly but steadily the roar of
artillery increased and by the middle of the afternoon became almost

Longstreet's Virginians had come out to show the Western army how to
fight and they were now learning that Rosecrans' Western veterans could
give instructions in the art of war as well as they and that they were
not facing the aliens and wage soldiers that constituted a large part of
the Army of the Potomac. They also found, as the battle progressed, that
the Western army of the South knew as well and were as willing to "stand
up Johnnie" and give and take blow for blow as they. The evening wore on
and occasional reports from the front brought news that the Confederates
were holding their own and a little better.

Meantime the "Orphans" were on the move toward the front and facing the
enemy's moving column on the Chattanooga road, which led to Rossville
and near Glass' Mill, at which place the artillery of Breckinridge's
division, commanded by the gallant Major Graves, engaged the enemies in
one of the fiercest artillery duels it was my pleasure to witness
during the war. I say pleasure advisedly, for it was a magnificent sight
to see from where I was stationed Graves moving among his men and
directing their every action, which was done with an admirable celerity
and precision that was perfectly charming. I must here do Graves the
honor to say that he was the most perfect military man I ever saw. But
this was but the prelude to the play of the morrow; both parties seeming
(after a half hour's engagement) to say we will settle tomorrow. "Sunday
is a better day."

Shifting our position to Lee and Gordon's Mill, further down the
Chickamauga, in the afternoon, we here awaited developments and that
night made a long detour and crossed at Alexander's Bridge, several
miles down the river. Next morning we found ourselves on the extreme
right of the dividing line of the stage of action marked out by the
respective commanders for the grand tragedy that day to be enacted upon
the stage of war. Early, very early the Fourth Kentucky Skirmishers (and
I here glory in the fact) had the honor of firing the first shots in the
opening that day of the greatest battle ever fought on the American
continent, if not the greatest in modern times. This assertion may be
called in question by critics, but if I mistake not there were more men
killed and wounded at Chickamauga than in any other engagement of the

Here the old and somewhat sacrilegious saying of "Hell broke loose in
Georgia" was fully and forcefully emphasized by the almost continuous
thundering of 200 cannons that made the very earth tremble, besides the
constant rattle of musketry and the shouts of more than a hundred
thousand struggling combatants determined on each other's destruction.
Americans all, and all for what? That a God-made inferior race might
occupy the same plane with the superior was the object of one, while
that right was disputed by the other. But I fear I may be digressing
somewhat from the original purpose in these chapters. Still these
thoughts are hard to suppress. Reviewing the incidents of the great
battle and the part played by Kentucky Confederates I return to the
skirmish line of the Fourth Kentucky, which covered the front of the
Orphan Brigade and which was commanded by Col. Joe Nuckols, who was
wounded at the very outset of the engagement and compelled to leave the

The writer was the subject at this particular time and place of the most
ridiculous and practical joke of his entire war experience, but which
(thanks to the Bill of Rights) he is not here compelled to relate. This
was the beginning of that chapter in the history of the Orphan Brigade,
which took the lives and blood of so many noble Kentuckians to write. In
the first and desperate onset, led by the noble and intrepid Helm, whose
name is a household word with almost all Kentuckians, fell here,
together with Graves, Hewitt, Dedman, Daniel, Madeira and other officers
of the line, and many splendid men of the Second and Ninth Regiments,
who paid with their lives tribute to Mars and added to Kentucky's old
traditional glory and renown.

Three regiments on the right, Fourth, Sixth and Forty-First Alabama,
swept everything before them--the enemy being in the open field. But the
Second and Ninth encountered the enemies' breastworks and were repulsed
with terrible slaughter. Here was where the officers just mentioned fell
in one of the most desperate struggles of the day. Here "Pap Thomas'"
veterans took advantage of their works and exacted deep and merciless
toll. More than once during the day was this position assailed by other
bodies of Confederates with similar results. About the middle of the
afternoon the assembling of Cheatham's and Walker's division in
conjunction with Breckinridge warned us that the fatal moment had
arrived and the hour of desperation was at hand.

The old veteran needs no one to tell him when a crisis is approaching,
he instinctively and otherwise comprehends the meaning of these
movements and nerves himself for the desperate work before him. His
countenance would convince the stoic of what his mind contained, in
modern parlance he "understands the game." When the signal gun was fired
we knew its meaning, so also did the enemy. Then three lines in solid
phalanx, desperate and determined men, moved forward on the Federal
stronghold to be met by a withering and blighting fire from the enemy
behind their works. But so furious and desperate was the onslaught that
Thomas' veterans, who had withstood all previous attempts to dislodge
them, could no longer face the line of gleaming bayonets of the
Confederates as they leaped over the breastworks the Federals had so
successfully defended up to that hour.

Some surrendered, others made their escape and still others met their
doom--many, not hearing the shouts of the victorious Confederates as
they rushed over and among them.

This was the culmination of the struggle. Similar movements with similar
results were taking place simultaneously all along the line, closing the
most stupendous struggle of the war. But at this particular point and at
Snodgrass Hill, where the Fifth Kentucky contributed additional and
unsurpassed glory to Kentucky's part in the great battle, were the keys
to Rosecrans' position, and here the fighting was the hardest and the
losses heaviest.

In the first charge in the morning where the right of the brigade was so
successful, we captured a section of the enemy's artillery. The writer
seized the trunnion of one of the guns and with assistance turned it on
them while the other was turned by others of our men; but we could find
no ammunition to fire them and were deprived of the anticipated glory of
firing on the enemy as they fled from the field. I wish here, and in my
feeble way, to lift my hat to do honor to the gallantry of the captain
commanding that battery (who I learned was from Indiana) as doing the
most daring and chivalrous act I ever saw performed by an enemy during
my entire war experience. Both his lieutenants and a number of his men
having been killed before he abandoned his guns, which were in a battery
just on the West side of the Chickamauga road and in the face of us
Confederates, who had reached the East side of the road, he dashed into
the road and past us, lifting his hat and waving us a salute that would
have put to shame a Chesterfield or a Prince Rupert. The act was almost
paralyzing and not a man of the fifty or more who fired at him point
blank touched him or his horse. If there is such a thing as a charmed
life, this captain must have possessed it on that occasion. If living I
would gladly travel miles to shake his hand.

Our next move was to unite our separated line which we did by retiring
later on to the point from where we started.

During the occasional lulls in the musketry firing the artillery from
left to right and especially on the left about Snodgrass Hill, was
thundering defiance and sending death into each other's ranks that
seemingly made old earth shake from center to circumference, set the
birds to flight, caused reptiles, lizzards and all manner of wild
animals to flee from the wrath of murderous man, among which was a
cotton-tail deer that was seen by some of the men running in a
bewildered and dazed manner in the rear of the contending lines, not
knowing which way to flee or what it all meant.

The enemy routed, the conflict ceased--about dark--with the Orphans
(those left) on the West side of the Chickamauga road, some of the men
playfully astride the enemy's guns--several in number--that had been
abandoned at this point, others prostrate on the ground resting and
recounting incidents of the day, ALL glad enough that it was over.

Here General Buckner rode up, he having come over from the left where
his artillery and division of infantry had done such splendid work and
who was greeted with a cheer from the surviving Orphans that must have
done his soul good and which he acknowledged with a smile, lifting his
hat gracefully in acknowledgment of the greeting.

What next! We all expected that we would follow immediately without an
hour's delay on the heels of the retreating and discomfited Federals and
overtake and completely route and possibly capture them before they
could get settled behind their fortifications around Chattanooga. But
here the fatal mistake of Beauregard at Shiloh (and for which Bragg
censured him) was duplicated by Bragg himself.

Back to the field among the boys where we spent the night among the dead
and wounded; and awaiting orders from Bragg, who was spending his time
in sending congratulations to President Davis while Rosecrans was busy
preparing to receive and entertain him from his fortifications around

The writer having learned that we would likely spend the day on the
field resting--"_resting_" (I toss my head in derision of the thought),
obtained permission to visit and inspect the field of battle, and in
company with one or two comrades started early next morning from the
extreme right, where we opened the battle, and traversed the entire
length of the field, a distance of seven miles or more. This was the
first time such an enviable opportunity had ever presented itself and I
seized it gladly, notwithstanding the many horrible and ghastly sights I
knew I would see. On every hand, in every direction, were evidences of
the desperate conflict of the preceding day. The forest trees splintered
and torn by the plunging shot and shell from the cannon's deadly throat,
dismantled caissons and artillery wheels, dead horses, guns, cartridge
boxes, bayonets and almost every kind of war paraphernalia imaginable
were strewn promiscuously over the field. Trees and saplings, not larger
than a man's body to a height of six or eight feet, contained from a
dozen to as high as sixty rifle balls. But worst of all with upturned
faces and glaring eyes, torn and mangled bodies of not less than four
thousand dead men on the field and at the hospitals. At the latter,
especially at the Snodgrass place, there were acres covered with wounded
and many dead. Here I witnessed the most appalling sight my eyes ever
beheld, a description from which I shudder and shrink at this distant
day, and which is too terrible for delicate and sensitive natures to
ponder; and which involuntarily reminds me of Sherman's saying again.
The citizens of today will doubtless wonder how any man could escape
such a rain of shot and shell, but by the old soldier it is readily
understood. While ninety per cent of these shots were being fired the
men were lying flat on their faces and were overshooting each other when
suddenly one or the other would spring to his feet and with a bound and
a yell rush at a double-quick upon their foe, giving him time to fire
one or at most two rounds when his ranks would be broken and compelled
to retire.

After seeing these appalling sights I retraced my steps and reached the
starting point about twilight to find that my command had been ordered
forward toward Chattanooga and the vicinity of Missionary Ridge, which
we reached next day to find Rosecrans occupying his fortifications and
redoubts ready to receive and entertain us. We were formed in line of
battle at or near the foot of Missionary Ridge and expected when the
formation was completed to be hurled against the forts and redoubts to
certain and inevitable destruction.

Many expressions of evil and forebodings of disaster were indulged in
and anathemas were hurled at the commander without stint for holding us
back for this, the hour of our doom. Many farewells were being
exchanged, mingled with jeers and sarcasm, all knowing and understanding
fully the gravity of the situation. It was an hour of intense, of
dreadful suspense, which could only be felt and not described.

But thanks to an allwise and merciful Providence which at the last
moment withheld the hand and changed the mind that commanded. But for
this change of mind he who writes this story would doubtless now be
"sleeping the sleep that knows no waking on fame's eternal camping
ground." When we were ordered to retire to Missionary Ridge many were
the longdrawn sighs of relief that we had escaped from this threatened
and, as we felt, certain doom.


I have visited scenes of the great conflict twice, traversed the very
ground from the point where we formed line of battle and moved to the
charge against "Pap" Thomas' veterans and am still unsatisfied. Not that
the points of greatest interest have been lost to memory, but because
memory will not be satisfied. I can see in my mind the anxious look in
the faces of those brave Kentucky boys, as they stepped into line and
touched elbows in obedience to the commands "dress to the right; dress
to the left; steady, steady, men; quick step, forward, march!"

Tell me I shall ever forget these commands or this hour! Never, while
"memory lasts and reason holds sway."

From this very starting point I traced the ground over which we moved
(in 1863) taking the monument erected to the memory of General Helm as a
guide and allowing for the space of the two regiments to occupy the
right, coursing Westward, the exact direction we moved, crossing the
LaFayette road at or near the very point where the two pieces of
artillery were captured and previously referred to. The tablet here
tells me who my gallant captain of Indiana (Bridges) was and recites the
facts of the capture correctly. There, too, is the open field through
which the broken regiments of infantry were fleeing that I was so
anxious to assist with shots from their own battery.

Here I must criticise a little at the risk of censure. I will do so by
quoting from memory, not literally, from Gen. Breckinridge's official
report saying, "That a strong supporting line at this moment, thrown on
Thomas' flank and rear, would have resulted in dislodging and
overthrowing Thomas early in the day." This was plain to line and field
officer alike. The opportunity was presented but not availed of; why, I
know not.

The tablets here with their historic record briefly stamped in metal are
substantially correct. My version of the battle previously stated to the
guides while going out (I. P. Thoeford, an old Confederate) and S. P.
Black were so nearly identical that these men threw up their hands in
amazement when I read from the tablet. It was no trouble to convince
them that I had been there and knew something about the battle and the
positions of the troops on that part of the line. Here stands nearby the
Glenn House, some old log houses. Not far away is the Kentucky monument,
a fitting memorial to Kentuckians of both sides crowned with the Goddess
of Love and Peace. Northeast is the monument to that gallant, lovable
character, Ben Hardin Helm--my hand trembles as I write his name, for I
really believe he was one of the kindest-hearted and best men I ever
knew. Near this spot was where so many of the Second and Ninth fell,
some of whose names are already mentioned in this chapter on
Chickamauga. I could write much, very much, more of this very
interesting and historic field, but will not trespass further on your
time and space.




From here (Missionary Ridge) about the last of September the Orphans
were sent to Tyner Station as a base from which to guard the commissary
stores at Chickamauga Station, that place being the depot of supplies
for the army investing Chattanooga.

But when it was seen that Grant, who had arrived and assumed command of
the Federal Army, was planning to move on our lines on Lookout and
Missionary Ridge, we were ordered back to our original position on the
Ridge, not far from Bragg's headquarters. From this point we could see
on the night of the 24th of November the flashes from the rifles of the
contending lines on Lookout, like so many fireflies on a hot July

The extravagant talk about Hooker's "battle above the clouds" is a
misnomer, that has found its way into print, and for a long time filled
the papers and magazines and is nothing but a magnified myth
(unsupported by facts) that is absolutely incredible. At no time were
the contending forces more than half way up the mountain, and all the
glory arrogated by the Federals was achieved over a light line deployed
as skirmishers, composed of Alabamans. For a long time this twaddle was
absolutely and positively sickening.

But I must return to my beloved Orphans. Next morning (25th) before
daylight we were ordered to the extreme right (Northern point of the
Ridge) as support to Cleburne's division, a man who was never known to
ask for support. This move was a complete waste of that important
element of strength at this critical and all-important time, for we,
the Orphans, rendered practically no service at all on that eventful
day. But here I conjecture and philosophize again. May be and perhaps it
was providential, for had we kept our place in the line between and
among Cobb's guns, "Lady Breckinridge," "Lady Buckner" and "Lady Helm,"
and his other guns to which the Orphans were lovingly endeared, they
would never have been surrendered while a man was on his feet. Lucky
indeed for Sheridan and Wood that day that the Orphans were away from
home, and perhaps equally lucky for some, if not all, of us, for we had
sworn never to abandon this position while a man of us lived.

This, in my mind, was the strongest natural position with one exception
(Rockyface Gap) ever held by the Confederate forces in the West, and its
abandonment was a disgrace to Confederate arms. Imagine our
mortification and deep chagrin when we learned that our
battery--Cobb's--with the endearing names inscribed thereon, had been
cowardly abandoned after we had successfully defended them at Shiloh,
Vicksburg, Baton Rouge, Murfreesboro, Jackson, Chickamauga and other
places. It was enough to make an angel weep and justified the anathemas
hurled at the commander and the cowardly troops that were left to defend
them. The circumstance left a sting that never can be forgotten while an
Orphan survives.

We never knew what had happened until about dark, when we were ordered
from our position toward Chickamauga Station. Then the truth took first
the form of conjecture, then misgiving and lastly the sad news that we
were to cover the retreat of the army. Then all was explained.

The retreat that night was one of intense hardship and excitement, and
it was entrusted to the Orphan Brigade, with the help of Cleburne's
division, to protect the retreating army. We were in their grasp had
they only known it. Passing so near one of their pursuing columns we
could actually hear them talking and see them moving around the camp
fires they were kindling. To prevent being ambushed we threw out a
string of guards on both sides of the road, who moved along parallel
with the road and near it. Every moment we expected an attack.

The feeling was one of intenseness and we were greatly relieved when at
last we became assured of our escape.

Had the Federals only known it, they had our retreating column cut in
two and could have made a finish of the day's work and probably the
Confederacy as well.

But they, too, as well as the Confederates, failed sometimes to grasp
their opportunities. One of the pleasant and enjoyable features of this
night's experience was the wading of Chickamauga River, waist deep,
which had a tendency to further exasperate us and cause the men to
express themselves in anything but Sunday school phrase and song.

Next day was but little less exciting. The Federal advance was pressing
us with unusual vigor and compelled us to turn time and again from the
line of march and check their advance. It was fight and run until
Cleburne determined to, and did, put an end to it, ambushing them at
Ringgold Gap, where they paid for their persistence with the lives of
several hundred men.

After this costly warning from Cleburne we were permitted to continue
our retreat unmolested and reached, the next day, that haven of rest,
Dalton, about which I have written in a subsequent chapter.

I am making my chapter on Mission Ridge short because there is nothing
pertaining to it that is to the credit of the Confederate soldier as a
whole. Yet there were some commands of the army that did their duty well
and creditably.

In looking at the tablets of many--in fact most of the Federal regiments
and brigades which contain a summary of their losses--I was struck with
amazement at the very light loss sustained in this memorable
engagement, so disgraceful to the Confederates. Some regiments losing
only one man killed and ten or twelve wounded, and no brigade, so far as
I noticed, lost more than thirteen men, which was an average of three to
the regiment. We had a single company, Company I, of the Fourth
Kentucky, that lost more men at Shiloh than a whole brigade here.

When considering the great advantage of position held by them and the
insignificant losses inflicted upon the Federals, the losses but
emphasize the fact that the Confederates must have been badly rattled on
this summit and would no doubt have made a better fight from their
entrenchments at the base of the mountain bordering the valley, over
which the columns of Grant moved to the attack.

But let us think and reason for the moment, and if possible find some
excuse for this miserable failure. It is well known to the expert
marksman and sportsman as well, that in shooting on a steep decline you
are much more apt to overshoot than when directing a shot horizontally
or upward. This was the case there on these steep mountain sides, which
furnishes the one excuse only for such bad marksmanship and the low per
cent of casualties just noticed. But notwithstanding this fact a much
more creditable record could have been made by rolling the huge boulders
that were abundant down upon the Federals, whose progress was, of
course, necessarily slow; and, lastly, when the enemy reached the summit
exhausted, what were their bayonets for and why did they not use them?
These are questions that suggest themselves to the mind of the writer at
this distant day, while looking at this natural and seeming impregnable
position. As stated before, the history on one part of the field would
have been differently written had not the Orphans been taken away from
their pets--"Lady Buckner," "Lady Breckinridge," "Lady Helm," "Lady
Hanson," "Lady Lyon" and others of their companions in war. A feeling
of chagrin creeps over me when I think of the surrender of these guns
with their endearing names and hitherto immortal history.

But General Bragg, in his wisdom--no, his unwisdom--thought it best to
send us away from our idols and hazard them in the keeping of those who
betrayed their trust, and left us, like Rachael, weeping, because they
were lost and we "also refused to be comforted."

I find almost innumerable tablets, markers and monuments placed here to
commemorate the deeds of valor here performed by the Federals; but I
find very few (which is well) to mark the Confederates and _their_
deeds. But could I have my way every one of these would be removed and
in their stead I would place the Goddess of Liberty, weeping for shame
that her children had so dishonored their heritage.

I have said that I would be brief, and choking back the feeling of
remorse and disgrace that this one incident in the history of the
Confederate soldier has fixed upon their otherwise brilliant and
incomparable record, I close by referring the reader to Murfreesboro.



Who that spent the winter of '63-'64 at Dalton does not recall some
circumstance or incident to remind him of the dreary "winter of
discontent" spent in this mountain fastness of Northern Georgia? To many
of us it seemed like an age, but withal it was a season of much needed
rest and recuperation. Here in and around this little city flanked by
majestic mountains, pondering over the disasters of Lookout and
Missionary Ridge, we spent the time in comparative comfort and ease,
some planning in mind the future campaign and its outcome, others
indifferent as to the future and caring but little, willing to entrust
all to those at the helm, and making the most of circumstances and the
ever present, little thinking or caring for the great dangers and
hardships that awaited us.

There was from the time we turned our faces Southward from Bowling Green
to the very close of the war an air of indifference, a "devil may care,"
happy-go-lucky spirit, about these young Kentuckians that made them
ready to cheerfully undertake any enterprise, no matter how dangerous or
exacting the duty or perilous the undertaking. They had become so
accustomed to all these things, and so thoroughly inured to hardships,
that they felt themselves prepared for and rather coveted them, no
matter how great or trying. While here we enjoyed more liberty and
recreation than any time during or since the war began. Some of the men
were furloughed and enjoyed a few days of rest with relatives and
friends (if perchance they had any) in the South. The writer spent his
in gay old Richmond on the James, in company with General Lewis, Captain
McKendrie and other Kentuckians there assembled. All amused themselves
as best they could in camp and town.

Drilling had been dispensed with--no need now for that, for in this we
were perfect. Dress parade, guard mount and review were about the only
exercises now required. A great sham battle broke the monotony once, and
a snowball battle at another time was a diversion indulged for one day.
A very pertinent question was often asked toward the close of the
winter--"Who would command in the next campaign?" When at last it was
given out that General Johnson would command, the spirits of the men
revived and hope was again renewed. While contemplating the future, news
came that the enemy were now moving Daltonward. We indulged the hope and
wondered whether Sherman would undertake to force the pass in Rockyface
Mountain through which the railroad and wagon road both ran. We thought
of Leonidas and his Spartans and hoped for an opportunity to imitate and
if possible to eclipse that immortal event at Thermopylae. But not so
the wily Sherman. That "old fox" was too cunning to be caught in that or
any other trap.

We were ordered out to meet him and took position in the gap and on the
mountain, from which we could see extending for miles his grand
encampment of infantry and artillery, the stars and stripes floating
from every regimental brigade, division and corps headquarters and
presenting the greatest panorama I ever beheld. Softly and sweetly the
music from their bands as they played the national airs were wafted up
and over the summit of the mountain. Somehow, some way, in some
inexplicable and unseen manner, "Hail Columbia," "America" and "The Star
Spangled Banner" sounded sweeter than I had ever before heard them, and
filled my soul with feelings that I could not describe or forget. It
haunted me for days, but never shook my loyalty to the Stars and Bars or
relaxed my efforts in behalf of our cause.

While thus arrayed in his grand encampment, his banners flying and bands
playing, a part of his force (McPherson's Corps), like a gladiator, was
rapidly and stealthily gliding over the plain West of the mountains to
seize Snake Creek and Dug Gaps and strike Johnson in the rear at Resaca.
But you know "the best laid schemes of mice and men gang aft agley." We
arrived there first and gave him a hearty welcome, as described in my
chapter on Resaca.

Dalton, like other towns and cities, has changed wonderfully in the days
since the war. From a quaint old mountain town of a half century ago to
the modern and thrifty little city of today, putting on airs like many
other towns. To me no landmarks are visible save the old stone
springhouse, near where General Lewis had his headquarters and Captain
Phillips, A. Q. M. of the Fourth, had his quartermaster store and where
his lovely little wife graced his "marquee" with the air and dignity of
the queen that she was. I walked over the ground on which the Fourth was
encamped and stood upon the very spot where Captain Hugh Henry's tent
was pitched, and in which we were often entertained by the Kentucky Glee
Club, which was composed of some of the finest talent in the army. While
it may not be altogether relevant to the purpose of these chapters, I
cannot refrain from referring to and mentioning the fact that the Fourth
Kentucky was admitted to have the finest band in the Western Army, led
by that accomplished and expert musician who (after the war) became a
teacher in the Boston Conservatory of Music--Billy McQuown. Many, many
times were we regaled by the music of our band and carried back to the
bosom of friends by the sweet strains of "My Old Kentucky Home" and
other familiar and inspiring airs played by this band. It is no
stranger, than it is true, that music exercises a wonderful and
inspiring influence over the soldier, making him forget the hardships,
trials and dangers to which he is almost constantly exposed, and troops
are never happier than when being entertained in this way, unless it be
at a full mess table.

I have been reluctantly compelled to pass by Kennesaw and Pine
Mountains, both of which are places of much interest to surviving
Orphans. On the former we left several of our best officers and men.
Among the former was Major John Bird Rogers of the Fourth Kentucky
Regiment, and Lieutenant Bob Innis of the Second. Than the former there
was not a more capable and gallant officer identified with the history
of the Orphan Brigade as was also Lieutenant Innis.

Pine Mountain, a lone sentinel of nature, was made sacredly historic by
the blood of the great preacher, General Bishop Polk. I saw the "grand
old man" as he, Generals Johnston and Bates and others rode by the
Orphans' position to the summit of the mountain to view and examine the
enemy's position in front, and could not but admire the graceful and
dignified bearing of the grand old man as he saluted in true military
style as he passed. I saw the smoke from and heard the thunder of
Simonson's guns as they sent the fatal shot that tore his body and ended
his earthly career. Sad and awful moment for the Confederacy! But we
have here presented one of the most noted and conspicuous characters in
America history. I stood on the very spot on which he fell not twenty
minutes after the sad occurrence--Burton's sharpshooters with their Kerr
rifles having driven Simonson and his gunners to cover. I believe the
sacred spot should have erected on it a monument commemorative of this
tragic incident and the life and character of this great man. It is
certainly a picturesque and interesting spot.

But before I go I must tell of my visit to Rockyface Gap. Here is one of
the grand sentinels of nature--a lofty and stone-crowned mountain
towering above and looking contemplatively down upon his neighbors and
the low-bending valleys upon whose bosom Sherman pitched his grand and
imposing encampment in the make-believe that he was going South through
this impregnable pass held by Johnson. Next to Lookout it is the
grandest mountain in the Appalachian chain, and one well worthy of a
visit by the tourist lover of nature. I climbed to the top of it this
morning, going over the same identical path traveled by us while doing
picket and observation duty. Here we had the only human telegraph line I
ever saw, which was made by placing the operator (an officer) on the
summit to report the operations and movements of the enemy to the first
man in the line, he repeating it to the next in line and so on down the
mountain to its base where the general had his staff officers and
couriers to receive the message and report to him at his headquarters.
The scheme worked like a charm, notwithstanding its uniqueness.

I was impelled to make this trip--although I felt when I reached the
summit I was about to collapse--to see the resting place of a noble and
brave old Orphan who was killed while on duty here--George Disney of
Company K, Fourth Kentucky--an account of whose singular death is noted
by Virginius Hutchings in the history of the Orphan Brigade. I learned
before going on this trip that the Boy Scouts of Dalton, under Captain
Sapp, county clerk, had only two days before gone up and placed a marble
headstone to the grave to take the place of the board that had so long
marked his resting place--a place that a monarch or king might envy,
hundreds of feet above common man.

I wished while there, so high upward toward Heaven, that I could wield
the pen of a Gray or a Kipling, that I might do this subject of my
thoughts justice. The subject, the inspiration, was here, but language
to express it was lacking. Poor George! You have had one friend after
these long years to leave a tear of tribute to your memory.

I cannot close without first thanking the good daughters of Dalton for
the compliment they paid me by really forcing upon me undeserved
attentions in a very fine lunch set before and out of time specially for
me just before taking the train at 11:50 a. m., and who I think had a
scheme to force me to make them a speech--it being Decoration Day--but I
slipped through their fingers and got away.



May 14th found us after a tiresome night's march at Resaca, from which
point I again write you.

Here today and on the morrow was fought the first battle of magnitude in
the great hundred and twenty days' battle of the celebrated Georgia
campaign from Dalton to Atlanta. I say hundred and twenty days' battle,
which may seem a little far-fetched, but which is almost literally true,
for there was not a day or night, yes scarcely an hour, that we did not
hear the crack of a rifle or roar of a cannon. Their sounds were our
lullaby, sleeping or waking--to their music we slept, by their
thunderings we were awakened, and to the accompanying call of the bugle
we responded on the morning of May 14 to engage in the death grapple
with Sherman's well clothed, well fed and thoroughly rested veterans--a
matter "of Greek meeting Greek again." Sherman had pushed down the West
side of Rockyface Mountain and through Snake Creek Gap the day and night
before in an effort to cut Johnston's communications and take him in the
rear. But we had been doing some marching and digging, too, and when
Sherman's columns four or five deep debouched from their positions--a
long, heavily wooded ridge--into the narrow valley, on the East side of
which we had constructed rifle pits, he found us ready to receive his
gay and awe-inspiring columns, who moved in perfect step, with banners
flying and bands playing, as though he expected to charm us.

The eagerness of our own men could scarcely be restrained until they had
reached the point to which our orders had been given, seventy-five to
eighty yards, when our lines opened almost simultaneously a deadly and
murderous fire from both infantry and double-shotted artillery, that
flesh and blood could not withstand. Retiring in disorder to their
original position in the woods, they rallied and reformed, while their
artillery was busy playing upon our batteries, from which they received
no response whatever, a mystery at the time to many of us, but which we
understood a little later on when they again moved down to the attack,
to be met in the same manner with both infantry and artillery, and with
similar results. Three times during the morning and early afternoon were
these attacks made upon our lines, with the same results. It was a
veritable picnic for the Confederates and was the second time in the
history of the war, up to this time, that we had presented such a
glorious opportunity, protected as we were by earthworks, with clear and
open ground in front. Had Sherman continued this business during the
entire day (as we hoped he would) the campaign would have ended right
here, as we had not called into requisition any of our reserve force.
The principal part of the afternoon was spent by the artillery--after
the infantry had gotten enough of it--on both sides pounding away at
each other in a lively and entertaining fashion.

Some daring and courageous deeds were performed by the Federal officers
and men on this occasion, the recollection of which is refreshing and
exhilarating to the writer, but for want of time I shall be compelled to
pass over. However, one instance, I will relate as being somewhat
interesting to Kentuckians as showing the home spirit and natural
feeling existing between them as Kentuckians, although now engaged in
the deadly breach. That night some of our boys of the Fourth Kentucky
learned from inquiry of our "friends" in our front that we were
confronting the Federal Fourth Kentucky (Colonel Tom Croxton), whereupon
a bantering of epithets and compliments was at once begun and exchanged
in a very amusing and interesting way. I listened to the colloquy with
great interest and amusement, which was conducted on our side by
Lieutenant Horace Watts, who was a noted wit and humorist. But I regret
that I have forgotten the name of his interrogator, whom I recall,
however, was from Vanceburg, Ky.

That night was spent in strengthening our works and preparing for the
work of the morrow, which work we well knew was coming. When morning
came the appearance of Old Sol was greeted with a signal from a battery
immediately in our front, which had been stationed there during the
night and protected by substantial and elaborate earthworks. The shots
from this battery were directed against Hotchkiss' battalion of
artillery, and which the Fourth Kentucky Infantry was supporting. The
enemy's guns from every part of the line kept up a continuous fire
throughout the entire day and was the greatest open field bombardment of
the war. We were much amused at the manner of firing of the battery in
our front, which was done by bugle signal, the meaning of which our men
soon learned, for a moment later our works would be pierced by their
shells and when they exploded threw high in the air a cloud of dirt and
smoke from the embankment that almost covered us up. At intervals of
about every five or ten minutes the bugle's "whe-whee-deedle-dee-dee"
told us of the crash that was coming and almost lifted our scalps and
rendered some of us deaf for weeks. Had the day been an hour longer we
would have been compelled to abandon our works, for the embankments were
almost leveled and the trenches filled.

Two of Hotchkiss' guns were cut down and had to be abandoned, and but
for the fact that they had been run back beyond the crest, not a
splinter of them would have been left.

Our batteries did not fire a gun that day, having been ordered to
withhold their fire in anticipation of another attack by the enemy's
infantry. This day's work was a very clever ruse of Sherman's and
demonstrated the cunning of that wily general, for while he was thus
entertaining us with the main part of his army, especially his
artillery, like the sly old fox that he was, he was planning our
undoing by sending down the river to our rear Dodge's Corps to fall on
our rear and cut our communications and intercept our retreat.

Had his plan been expedited by Dodge, as it might have been, it would
surely have been "all day" with us poor devils of Confederates. It was
certainly a "close shave," for which we were all very thankful. But we
here on the 14th enjoyed the "picnic" for which we Orphans paid most
dearly on the 28th at Dallas, and which I shall describe in another
place. War, it seems from my experience and observation, may be
described as a dreadful and costly game of "tit-for-tat."

The losses sustained by the Orphans in this engagement at Resaca were
insignificant compared with that inflicted upon the enemy in their
front. There is not a single recognizable object here save the ground
where we fought, from the fact that we arrived here in the night and
took our departure in the night. The narrow valley and the long extended
ridge in its front and the spur occupied by Hotchkiss and the Fourth
Kentucky, is all that I see to remind me of the two days of "pride, pomp
and circumstance of glorious war." But how's this, we fighting behind
entrenchments and the enemy in the open, four or five lines deep?

"Our loss was 2,747, and his (Johnson's) 2,800. I fought offensively and
he defensively, aided by earthwork parapets."--[General Sherman's
statement.] There must have been some bad shooting on this occasion--the
advantages all on one side, but results so nearly even.

Today, May 16 (1912), marks the forty-eighth anniversary of this
important event, and finds me on the ground. Here, as at other places
previously mentioned and described, things came back to me and I see
them being reenacted. I was accompanied on this inspection by an old
comrade (J. H. Norton), who lost an arm at Chancellorsville, and who has
lived here in Resaca almost all his life and who was at home at the
time, having been discharged on account of the loss of his arm, and who
assisted in burying the dead, and he pooh-poohed Sherman's statement as
to relative losses. Another old comrade, who is a merchant in the town,
told me that he had bought over a hundred thousand pounds of minnie
balls picked up on the ground where the battle was fought. I saw a
three-bushel box full in his store today. How many poor devils were
killed by these would be impossible to tell. They have a neat little
cemetery near the town, in which there are nine Kentuckians
(Confederates) buried, some of whose names I have copied.



Here, as at Balaklava, "some one blundered," and while we have not had a
Tennyson to immortalize the event, it is of more than ordinary interest
to Kentuckians, especially those who participated in the bloody event.
More because of the fearful slaughter and the mournful fact that it was
the result of a failure to deliver orders at the proper time. The
official report showed a loss of 51 per cent, a loss, considering the
time actually engaged, unparalleled in the history of the war. To my
mind it was the most desperate and disastrous of all the many
engagements in which the Orphans took part during their four years of

The actual time under fire did not in my judgment exceed thirty minutes.
To describe accurately the position of the enemy at this distant day
would be a difficult task, but when the reader is told that they
occupied two parallel lines of entrenchments, from both of which he
delivered simultaneously a destructive and murderous fire, that was so
fatal that nothing but the protecting hand of an all-wise and merciful
Providence could save. The first of these lines was a few yards below,
and in front of the second, which ran along the summit of the ridge and
enabled the second line to fire directly overhead without endangering
the first. Besides this double advantage, they were able to enfilade our
line with their artillery from both extremes of their line. Smith's
brigade, on our left, having received orders (which were also intended
for us and which failed of delivery) to withhold the attack, enabled the
enemy to deliver an oblique fire upon us from his infantry on the left,
as well as from his two lines directly in front. At every step Kentucky
was paying double toll with the lives of her noblest and best. To push
forward meant certain and complete annihilation; to remain where we were
some seventy-five or eighty yards in their front, meant the same, only a
little slower death.

The order to "fall back" having been given, we were only too glad to
attempt our escape from the death trap into which we had been ordered.
Many of our wounded and all of our dead were left on the field or
intervening space between the entrenched lines of the opposing forces.
Several of the wounded crawled back after nightfall and in this way made
their escape. The grounds in the rear of our works presented an
appalling sight when I reached them with my burden on my back--Sergeant
W. E. Knox, who had a broken leg. Nothing but a miracle saved us both
from the murderous fire of the enemy. Here fell the gallant and polished
Major Millett within ten paces of our entrenchment, he being the third
major of the Fourth Regiment to be killed on the field.

Several incidents of a thrilling and miraculous character occurred on
this field, as afterward related. Some of our wounded who approached
nearest the enemy's works and fell into their hands were taken to the
little town of Dallas, a mile or two distant, where they were found two
days later, and left in a shamefully neglected condition. Among them was
one of the most noble gentlemen and gallant soldiers it was ever my good
fortune to know, Captain D. E. McKendrie of the Sixth Kentucky, and who
died a few days later.

There were really only two brigades engaged in this encounter, the
Orphan Brigade and Findlay's Florida Brigade. The burden of the
encounter fell upon the Orphans, as shown by their greater loss. But
here again was displayed that daring, regardless of consequences, which
had been so often displayed by this little band of Kentuckians on so
many fields from Fort Donaldson to this eventful day. I hope I shall not
be accused of egotism for seeming to arrogate to myself and my fellow
Kentuckians honors to which we are not entitled and of which all of her
people may be justly proud. The loss of 51 per cent tells the story more
graphically than anything I may say by way of compliment or eulogy.

The reader may wonder why this attack was ordered against a force so
strongly and irresistibly posted. The answer is easy to the old veteran
who knows the difficulty in ascertaining an enemy's position in a
heavily timbered country like this, with trees and bushes in full leaf,
and how great the danger from the ever alert sharpshooter to the man
attempting a reconnaissance. The object was to develop his strength at
this point, the commander believing Sherman to be only feigning while he
was carrying out other and ulterior plans. But so it was, we paid dearly
for the desired information.

I have reviewed every foot of this ground the second time, stopping here
and there to pick up a minnie ball lodged in the enemy's works, fired at
them by my dear old "Orphan" boys, and while thus engaged the familiar
faces of many a noble comrade and in one or two instances school
fellows' images passed before my mind in panorama that almost unnerved
and dumfounded me. Studying coolly at this time the great advantage the
enemy had in position and numbers, I am surprised that any of us escaped
at all. I had no difficulty whatever in locating at once the position of
both parties and the exact spot on which my regiment and company fought.
Most of the Confederate lines have been partly and in some places
completely obliterated by the plow, but hills and hollows are still
there. The enemy's lines have been little disturbed and are mostly
intact even at this distant day.

I must confess that I am wont to linger about this hallowed spot and my
heart beats heavily when I think of the comrades and friends who died
here and whose bodies I assisted in giving the last rude sepulchre. I
turn away from it with tearful eyes and sorrowful heart.



I am writing this from historic Atlanta, the "gateway of the South." How
very different to the Atlanta I knew in the days gone by when her
streets were filled with the tramp, tramp of marching armies, when her
walls were rocked by the thunders of the cannon's mighty roar, when the
rockets' "red glare gave proof through the night that our new flag was
still there." Oh! what a wonderful change 'twixt now and then. "Lovely
city now, quiet and mighty in her peaceful ways, may the God of war
never again sound his bugle calls over her peaceful slumbers, and may
she know the ways of war no more forever."

How very, very different to the Atlanta I saw in June, 1865, when on my
way home from the South, returning disabled, discomfited, defeated. What
darker picture could be imagined unless it be "Dante's Inferno," than a
city of destroyed homes with blackened walls and chimneys punctuating
the fiendish spirit that prompted the ruin of its people and their
homes. When General Sherman first gave expression to his oft-repeated
apothegm he must have had in mind the ruin he had accomplished in the
destruction of this fair city of the South. Certainly nothing but a
fiendish spirit could have prompted it.

But two buildings of prominence were left--the Masonic Temple and a
hotel. But her people are now enjoying the blessings of peace and
prosperity, having risen, Phoenix-like, from her ashes.

I must now return to some of the incidents and events of the defense of
Atlanta in which I was an humble participant. On the 9th of July General
Johnston's army crossed the Chattahoochee River on pontoons and the time
until the 22d was employed by Johnston and Hood chiefly in marching and
counter-marching to checkmate the movements of Sherman. A circumstance
happened about this time that gave Sherman great pleasure (he says so)
and correspondingly great sorrow and despondency to the Confederates,
heretofore so successfully led by General Johnston, viz., the removal of
Johnston and the substitution of Hood.

While Hood was a Kentuckian as well as we Orphans, and we priding in
everything pertaining to the history of Kentucky, we had unbounded
confidence in General Johnston. But once before had we felt such sadness
and regret--when General Breckinridge was taken from us and sent to
Virginia. This feeling was intensified by the belief that Bragg was

On the 20th the battle of Peach Tree Creek was fought and given a
prominence in excess of the facts as the writer saw it; a straggling,
haphazard kind of hide and seek affair, magnified into a battle. On the
22d of July was fought what is known in history as the battle of

The night march of the 21st from our place in the line of defense on the
left and to the extreme right near Decatur, where this battle was
fought, was the most trying, with one exception, the writer remembers to
have ever experienced, occupying the entire night in dust ankle deep,
without a drop of water or an hour's rest. It is remembered to this day
with a distinctness that makes me fairly shudder. When morning came we
looked like the imaginary Adam "of the earth earthy," so completely were
we encased in dust. But for the nerve stimulus that imminent and great
danger gives a man on the eve of a great battle, I don't think I could
have rendered much service, on this occasion, after such exhaustion and
suffering from thirst. In fact were it not an indispensable part of my
plan I should have little to say about this whole affair, for it was to
me the most ill-conceived and unsatisfactory executed plan of battle of
the whole war in which I participated.

There were difficulties to overcome that might easily have been avoided
had the proper engineering skill been employed in time and the
necessary reconnaissance been made. So far as results accomplished were
concerned, it was barren and fruitless. Especially was this the case on
the extreme right, where Bates' division fought and where the Orphans
took part. Not that any man or body of men proved recreant, but there
was a lack of understanding and co-operation of movement, coupled with
almost insurmountable obstacles that might have been avoided. For
instance, the Kentucky Brigade was compelled to struggle through the
mire of a slough and millpond filled with logs, stumps, brush and
what-not in water and mire knee-deep, the men in many instances being
compelled to extricate their comrades by pulling them onto logs and
other footings before we could pass the obstruction. This so deranged
our battle alignment that in the press and excitement of the moment,
caused by the enemy firing at this critical moment, we were never able
to correct it and present a solid front. Out of dust ankle deep into
water and mire knee-deep was too much for the nerves and patience of the
strongest man and most patient Christian. And then, to be finally
pitched in one disordered and confused mass against a well disciplined
and strongly posted line of veterans, behind earthworks, was too much
for the best soldiers of the times. And yet with the proper use of
artillery at the right time and place, we might have accomplished more
decisive results.

This affair was the more lamentable to the Orphans because of the loss
of quite a number of our best officers and men without any tangible
results. The whole thing was disappointing and to me really disgusting.
Hood at Atlanta, like Bragg at Murfreesboro, might profitably have spent
more time with his engineers in examining and surveying the ground on
which he expected to fight. General Johnson was doubtless better posted.
But the final result would have been the same; Atlanta was doomed--by
Sherman's force of three to one. After summing up results and exchanging
regrets and expressing sorrow for the loss of comrades, we returned to
our original places in the lines of defense to await the next scene in
the grand drama.

This came on August 6th at Utoy Creek on the Sandtown road leading
Southwest from Atlanta. The Orphan Brigade and Tyler's Tennessee Brigade
had been pushed forward on a kind of salient to the left and front of
the main line and touching the little stream known as Utoy Creek. Here
occurred the battle known by the above name. I here recognize more
distinctly than any other place, so far visited, the general appearance
of the ground and especially the falls of the little creek at which on
the day previous to the battle I enjoyed the only refreshing bath for
several days. It is quite an interesting place to the writer. I here
witnessed on the morning of the battle the capture of Lieut. Isham
Dudley, in command of the videttes, together with some half dozen men of
the Orphan Brigade, they having been completely surprised just at
daybreak by a sudden and unexpected rush of the enemy.

The writer had the honor to command the skirmish line covering the
Confederate position and had a fine opportunity to witness the charge of
the two Federal brigades, which were composed chiefly of East
Tennesseans, as they swept past the right of our skirmish line, they
doubtless not knowing that they were about to encounter breastworks of a
formidable character, receiving at the same time a scathing flank fire
from the Fourth Kentucky and the skirmish line above alluded to. But
they were plucky fellows and charged to within a few yards of our works,
paying dearly for their courage and temerity. In this affair we were
attacked by a force somewhat superior in numbers, but the advantage that
our breastworks afforded us made the victory easily won. I here quote
the order of General S. D. Lee, commanding corps, congratulating them
and incidentally complimenting the defenders.

"The lieutenant general commanding takes pleasure in announcing to the
officers and men of this corps the splendid conduct of a portion of
Bates' Division, particularly Tyler's Brigade and the Second and Fourth
Kentucky regiments of Lewis' Brigade, in sustaining and repulsing on
yesterday afternoon three assaults of the enemy in which his loss in
killed, wounded and prisoners was from eight hundred to a thousand men,
with three stands of colors, three or four hundred small arms and all of
his entrenching tools. Soldiers who fight with the coolness and
determination that these men did will always be victorious over any
reasonable number."

In this engagement we lost only about eighteen men all told, while the
enemy's loss in killed alone was 160. I walked over the ground ten
minutes after it occurred and found the crest of the hill covered with
the dead and wounded, swords, guns, cartridge boxes and other
paraphernalia of war.

I found here the thing I need and coveted most of all at this time, a
fine black sombrero, which furnished me ample protection thereafter from
the intense rays of the August sun. I "swapped" my spoon-bill cap with
the fellow who had worn this hat, to which he, of course, raised no
objection. Others provided themselves in like manner, which was entirely
legitimate, of course, the original owners having no further use for
such things. But a flanking column that night, as usual, compelled us to
abandon the position of our recent victory and we retired to our
original position in the circle of entrenchments.

I have this day, May 13, 1912, carefully and studiously reviewed the
very spot on which those 160 men lay dead, and I feel safe in saying
that it is not larger than one-half a city block. They were met square
in front and were fired on from both flanks, and had they attempted to
remain there as much as one hour there would not have been a man of them
left on his feet. It was a death trap similar to the one into which we
Orphans fell at Dallas.

I could hardly control my emotions when viewing this place, and my mind
was almost overwhelmed as I walked along on top of these still distinct
and undisturbed parapets, stopping now and then to pick up a "Yankee
bullet" lodged in them, or a small stone that had been thrown out by the
Confederates. The surroundings here are perfectly familiar to me,
notwithstanding opinions of friends at home to the contrary. So
interesting is this spot that I have made the second visit to it.

Here the time from August 7 to 29, 1864, was spent in listening to the
music of the rifle and the cannon and an occasional sweet, faint and
harmonious symphony from the enemy's brass bands as they played,
seemingly for our entertainment, "The Star Spangled Banner," "Hail
Columbia," "Yankee Doodle" and, to taunt us, "Dixie." At night they
would vary the entertainment by sending up innumerable rockets, which
some of the men interpreted to mean the arrival of a new command or
shift of position, but to most of us it was "Greek and Hebrew."

But this condition was not to last; Sherman's definition of war was in
him and must come out. On the 29th we packed our knapsacks and bidding
good-bye to the Atlanta of the day, soon to be no more, we again turned
Southward to meet the flanking columns of Sherman at Jonesboro, with a
description of which I shall close these recollections.

Before leaving this dear old city I must take one more last look at her
steeples, her walls and her streets, shake the hand of friends in the
last farewell grasp and say good-bye forever.

I find Atlanta so wonderfully changed, commercially, assuming
metropolitan airs and wearing her honors so gracefully that I dare not
attempt a description of her present status. Besides, these things are
well known now by the whole American people. Still I find myself
comparing her (in mind) with what she was "before and during the war."

The fact that I am now looking upon her for the last time, and the
further fact that she contains many warm and true friends whom I shall
never see again, causes a feeling of sadness I wish I could resist. But
I break camp and take up my line of march for Jonesboro.

But before I leave I must tender my thanks to my young friend from
Bourbon, W. H. Letton (who is now a prosperous business man here), for
many favors and courtesies so cheerfully extended me. It were cruel to
allow him to spend with me so much of his time from his lovely little
Georgia bride, so recently taken to himself. But this is Kentucky, you
know, and he inherits it. I am also indebted to my old comrades, J. W.
McWilliams of the Forty-Second Georgia; J. M. Mills of the Soldiers'
Home, and C. L. Ingram of Fort McPherson; ex-Sheriff Barnes, Major Jones
of the Seventeenth Infantry at the fort (McPherson), and last, though
not least by any means, Mrs. Jones of the city at whose boarding house I
was a guest.



I begin here the last inspection and reminiscence, on my return trip
from attending the recent Confederate reunion at Macon, May, 1912, and
while I distrust my ability to do the theme proper justice, I am tempted
to undertake the task through the love of the brave "old boys" who still
survive and the memory of several hundred noble young Kentuckians whose
life blood consecrates the soil of Georgia on every field from
Chattanooga to Jonesboro.

My mind becomes a whirlpool of recollections as I stand here and "view
the landscape o'er" and contemplate the horrible scenes enacted here
forty-eight years ago, and in which the Confederacy was surely and
rapidly expiring in the throes of dissolution.

It is not my purpose or aim to controvert in any instance the
descriptions and recitals of the historians, but merely as a pastime to
revert to some of my personal experiences and recollections. Nor shall I
attempt to enlarge upon or embellish the history of that glorious little
band of Kentuckians known as the "Orphan Brigade." That has been done by
others, done by such men as Prof. N. S. Shaler, Gens. Joseph E. Johnson,
W. J. Hardee, Stephen D. Lee, Ed. Porter Thompson and many others, able
and eloquent men, historians and statesmen, and in whose history
Kentuckians of all beliefs must ever rejoice as one of the brightest and
most interesting pages in her history. And why not, since they
represented so many of the noblest and best young men of the state and
were led by such men as Breckinridge, Hanson, Helm, Lewis, Monroe and
others whose names are a synonym of glory and greatness.

When we arrived here (Jonesboro) in the great campaign there were many
absent--not without leave, thank God, but with honor, whose brows had
been crowned with everlasting wreaths of honor--in death "on Fame's
eternal camping ground." When the roll was called no response came from
many. Hanson, Helm, Hewitt, Graves, Rogers, Dedman, Madeira, Daniel,
McKendrie, Millett, Williams, Innis, Bramblett, Bell and three thousand
others failed to answer. But as the "blood of martyrs is the seed of the
church," so the sacrifice of these Kentuckians is a diadem in the wreath
that encircles her history.

But now I stand on this historic spot where forty-eight years ago the
unequal, almost suicidal conflict raged with destruction and fury, and
see, in my mind's eye, the raging conflict and hear the cannon's mighty
roar, the screaming shot and shell and the ping and whistle of the
deadly minnie, the shouts and yells of the combatants as they grapple in
the deadly conflict. Here I experienced the pangs of a painful wound
from a minnie ball, while assisting a dear friend (Lieutenant Neal),
being in the throes of death, both he and the man on my left falling
simultaneously. How well I remember the look of anguish upon his noble
countenance as he held up both hands, imploring my assistance. Brave,
noble fellow and Christian gentleman, I trust and believe his soul rests
in peace among the angels.

Imagine my grief on reaching the ambulance (assisted by comrades) to
find my bosom friend (and by many said to be my double), Ensign Robert
H. Lindsay of Scott County, in the ambulance, he having received a
mortal wound from which he died that night while lying upon the same
blanket with myself. The reader can imagine my feelings when the dawn of
morning came and I threw back the blanket that covered us and beheld his
noble countenance cold in death, with the fixed glare of the eyes that
told me that my beloved comrade and friend had passed to the realms of
eternal glory. Poor Bob! I tried in vain, while on the way to the field
hospital, to extort a parting message, a last farewell to mother and
family, but the messenger of death held him in his grasp and refused
compliance with this last request of his friend who loved him as a
brother. A circumstance coincident with his death was the fact that we
prepared and ate our dinners together that day, meantime talking over
the probable results of the approaching battle and making certain
requests of each other in the event that one or the other should fall.
Hence my anxiety to hear a last farewell from his dying lips. Memory
takes me back over the intervening years and I am tempted to exclaim:

     Sing thou music of the spheres
     The song of the weeping pines
     As the days and years go by,
     But let me, Oh! let me not forget,
     The dear friend who 'neath them lies.

I have always thought this a singular circumstance, that the three
friends--boon companions--holding the same rank, should be stricken down
almost at the same moment--that "two should be taken and the one left,"
but such are the vicissitudes of war.

I can recognize only two landmarks of this historic spot and its
surroundings--the old stone depot and the prominent knoll, occupied by
the enemy's skirmishers on the morning of the battle (August 31st) and
which Lieut. Heck Burden, the commander of that gang of army sleuths,
that Sherman and his officers admitted they dreaded--known as the
Kentucky sharpshooters--and myself, in a spirit of daring, approached
within easy rifle range, by means of a deep gully, and which terminated
in one less Federal officer reporting to his commander. I have looked
upon this particular spot with no little concern, for it was near this
my two dear friends just noted fell, and where I also received my
quietus--as a reward, perhaps, for my daring of the morning. This
circumstance (my wounding) precludes the mention from personal
experience a description of the second day's fight and in which the
Orphans sustained the loss of a number of men and officers and resulted
in the capture of the greater part of the survivors, Sherman's
overwhelming numbers enabling him to outflank and overpower the left of
the Confederate line. But they were held as prisoners but a short time
and were exchanged and returned to service almost immediately. Here, as
in other instances, the enemy outnumbered us three to one and enabled
them to envelop our flanks more readily than in previous engagements,
the country being without the natural barriers and obstructions that had
previously favored us in the mountain section of the country through
which we had passed.

Here at Jonesboro ended my service to the Confederacy and my experience
as a soldier in the field. The next six months, which brought the war to
a close, were spent by me in hospitals, which also came near bringing my
earthly career to a close. But, thank God, I am still here and now
engaged in reviewing our movements of the past. And I shall be happy if
what I may have written should fall under the eye of some old comrade or
friend and afford him pleasure or food for contemplation.

     (NOTE--_The author takes the liberty and desires to thank Genl. W.
     B. Haldeman, of the Orphan Brigade, the Courier-Journal Job
     Printing Co., and others, for their kind assistance in the
     publication and introduction of this little booklet._)

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