Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 03.djvu/22
Southern Historical Society Papers.
mantlets or screens, made by plates of steel about two feet by three square, and about half-inch thick; they were so secured to the inner faces of the embrasures that they were quickly lowered and raised as the gun ran into battery or recoiled. General Beauregard, before the battle began, gave me the model of a capital sort of wooden embrasure, to be used by our own sharpshooters; they were to be covered over by sand-bags as soon as the rifleman should establish himself in his pit. The old veterans of the Army of Tennessee at once acknowledged their superiority over "head logs" or any other contrivance for covering sharpshooters, and the demand for them was soon greater than I could supply.
The Brooke guns, of which I had a large number, of calibres ranging from six and four tenths up to eleven inches, were more formidable and serviceable than any which the Federals used against me. These guns were cast at Selma of the iron about Briarfield in North Alabama. It must be the best gun metal in the world. Some of our Brooke guns were subjected to extraordinarily severe tests, yet not one of them burst or was in any degree injured: at the same time they outranged the enemy's best and heaviest Parrotts, which not unfrequently burst by overcharging and over-elevation.
By a capital invention of Colonel William E. Burnett, of Texas, our gun-carriages were much simplified; we were enabled to dispense with eccentrics entirely, and our heaviest cannon could be run into battery with one hand.
In every part of this narrative I have been thinking of the staff officers who were with me throughout the whole of those trying times friends who have always been true and soldiers who were tried by every test. Whatever efficiency attended the operations entrusted to my conduct throughout the war, was due to their intelligence, courage and devotion. Three of them sleep in their soldier's graves, and were in mercy spared the miseries of the subjugation against which they fought so nobly. [Lt.] John [Herndon] Maury, my Aide-de-Camp, gave up his young life at Vicksburg, in 1863; Columbus Jackson, Inspector General, soon followed him, and William E. Burnett, Chief of Artillery, fell in Spanish Fort, and was almost the last officer killed during the war.
D. W. Flowewee, Adjutant-General; John Gillespie, Ordnance Officer; Edmund Cummings, Inspector-General; Sylvester Nideleh, Surgeon; Dick Holland and John Mason, Aides-de-Camp, survived the dangers of those arduous campaigns, and are still manfully combatting the evils we fought together to avert from our people. They were gallant soldiers in war, and have shown themselves good citizens in thee "peace" vouchsafed to us.
D. H. M.