Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 06.djvu/192

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182
Southern Historical Society Papers.

Captain—Give me your sword or I will kill you.

Colonel B.—You may kill me, sir; bring your colonel to me and I will surrender to him, but never to you.

The captain, struck by the old Rebel's persistency and high notions of honor and military etiquette, sent for his Colonel (Rice, of New York), to whom the sword was gracefully surrendered. Colonel B. is still living and one of the most respected citizens of Alabama.

On the third day, Law's brigade, still on the right, lay along the southern foot of Round Top. Our picket line extended considerably to the rear and nearly at right angles with the line of battle. About midday, or early in the afternoon, a squadron of Federal cavalry broke through our pickets, charged and tried to capture Riley's North Carolina battery of six guns in position on an eminence near a piece of woods, some four hundred yards in rear of Law's line. I was ordered to go with my regiment to protect the battery. I did not take time to countermarch, but moved rapidly, rear in front, throwing out a few skirmishers as I advanced. When, ascending the hill at the edge of the woods, a portion of the cavalry came in between me and the battery. The officer commanding, with pistol in hand, ordered my skirmishers to surrender, to which they replied with a volley. The cavalry commander and his horse and one of his men fell to the ground, and the others dashed away. The lieutenant commanding the skirmishers, with a repeating rifle in his hands, then sprang forward and said to the wounded officer, who still grasped his pistol and was trying to raise, "Now you surrender!" to which he replied, "I will not do it"; and placing the pistol to his own head, shot his brains out. I halted my regiment, as the cavalry were gone, but did not go to the dead man, who lay not more than forty steps in my front, until one of the skirmishers brought me his shoulder straps, from which I discovered that he was a general. I then went to the body, and on, examination found one or two letters in his pockets addressed to "General E. J. Farnsworth." I was soon ordered to another part of the field, and left the body where it fell.

William C. Oates.

Abbeville, Alabama, April 6th, 1878.