Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 37.djvu/25
Work of the Ordnance Bureau. 17
ence, he spread about him the spirit of hearty performance of present duty, regardless of self, but in ever present mindfulness that it ivas duty. It is pleasant to know that now, after nearly half a century since Gen. Gorgas' service to the Confederate Government ended, his son, Col. W. C. Gorgas, of the Medical Department of the United States Army, is conspicuously reproducing his father's organizing power as the Chief Sanitary Officer of the Panama Canal Works.
There remains to mention but one other phase of the work of ordnance officers in the troublous times of i86i-'65 namely, the organizing and drilling of forces for local defense against the enemy, made up of the white workmen and other employees at several of the arsenals. There was quite a respectable force of this kind at Richmond; Augusta had a good strong battalion of infantry and a battery of field guns, and at Macon the arsenal, laboratory and armory together furnished a small battalion of two companies, of which I held command, and a section of artillery commanded by Maj. Talliaferro. As these forces included a considerable number of detailed soldiers who had seen service in the field, the moderate amount of drill which could be given them gave a more efficient product than could otherwise have been hoped for. To speak only of what fell under my own observation, the Macon battalion was called out for service on three occasions. First at the end of July, 1864, when Gen. Stoneman's cavalry appeared at Macon, having been detached from Sherman's army in front of Atlanta with a view to destroying the Macon works and releasing the Federal prisoners at Andersonville. We were out for a couple of days and nights and intermittantly under fire for several hours, with a few casualties, when the enemy was driven off by the small Confederate force, consisting of a fragment of a Tennessee battalion, some Georgia troops and the ordnance command, and a day or two later, Stoneman with about 700 mounted men surrendered to Gen. Iverson who had been sent after him. When brought into Macon as prisoners of war, Gen. Stoneman and his staff officers, who were jaded by hard riding and lack of sleep on their raid, seemed much mortified on learning by what sort of force they had been repelled. Again, in the latter