Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 02.djvu/39

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29
Diary of Capt. Robert E. Park, Twelfth Alabama Regiment.

front the advancing enemy. Night found Sheridan's hosts in full and exultant possession of much abused, beloved Winchester. The hotel hospital was pretty full of desperately wounded and dying Confederates. The entire building was shrouded in darkness during the dreadful night. Sleep was impossible, as the groans, sighs, shrieks, prayers and oaths of the wretched sufferers, combined with my own severe pain, banished all thought of rest. Captain Hewlett, of Company H, wounded in the thigh, lay on the floor beside me. Wat. Zachry, Sergeant Carr and Tom Crawford, wounded men of my company, made their escape from the city just as the Yankee cavalry entered it. A few noble ladies of Winchester ventured, with lanterns in their hands, to walk among the wounded and distribute sandwiches and cups of coffee, with cheering words of comfort and sympathy. One sweet Christian woman came to me, and stooping, placed her gentle hand on my pale forehead, and said: "My poor boy, you seem to be in much pain, though so quiet; take some refreshments, and to-morrow you shall have a better bed than this hard floor." I thanked her, drank some coffee, and inquired what she had heard of General Rodes. She told me his body had been saved and sent on to Lynchburg. Many of my wounded comrades wept aloud and bitterly on learning for the first time the fate of their brave and beloved commander. All seemed overcome with real, unaffected grief. Rodes was Early's right arm in the hour of battle and danger. General Godwin, of North Carolina, and Colonel G. W. Patton were killed, and General York, of Louisiana, lost an arm. The brave Captain Tom Lightfoot, of the Sixth Alabama, by whose side I have entered and stood in many a battle, was instantly killed. He was a younger brother of Colonel J. N. Lightfoot. The enemy lost Brigadier-General Russell killed, and Generals Upton, McIntosh and Chapman wounded. Report says that over 6,000 Yankee wounded are now scattered over Winchester in every available building. Private houses have been seized and turned into hospitals, and their inmates forced to seek other quarters. The churches, too, are used. It has been a victory bought at a fearful cost to them, if it be a victory at all.

September 20th—Surgeons Cromwell and Love, of North Carolina, and Surgeons T. J. Weatherly, of the Sixth Alabama, and Robert Hardy, of the Third Alabama, were left in charge of our wounded. Captain Hewlett arid I were removed to a well ventilated room on the second floor, and placed on a comfortable mattress. A short