Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 33.djvu/255

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

The Twelfth Alabama Infantry. 251

and talked in excellent humor. The irrepressible spirit, the wit and jollity of a Southern soldier cannot be overcome by any discom- fort, neither heat nor cold, bleak winds nor scorching sunshine, sickness nor sorrow. After finishing" our share of the work we dried our dripping, wet clothes, erected the Yankee tents, which we had captured, and slept soundly and comfortably on the bare, cold, wet ground until morning. We were two and a half miles from Cat- lett's Station, on A. & R. R. R.

Major Proskauer, of the Twelfth Alabama, with half of each com- pany, six commissioned and several non-commissioned officers, was sent down the railroad towards Warrenton Junction to destroy more of the road. Late in the afternoon the rest of the regiment joined us.

At 4 o'clock resumed our march, the Twelfth Alabama in front of the jbrigade, and Company F in front of the regiment. Soon passed Bealton, which the enemy had destroyed by fire. What a cruel sight, chimneys standing as lone sentinels, and blackened ashes around them, indicating reckless wantonness and cowardly vengeance upon helpless women and children. Even war, savage war, should be conducted upon more humane principles. Sword and musket and cannon are more tolerable, more courageous. Fire is the weapon of cowards of the most cruel and most beastly nature and the stealthy instrument of the inhuman. The place had been a Yankee depot of supplies. Bivouacked near Rappahannock Sta- tion, cold and frosty, but slept soundly. The surrounding country is deserted by its former inhabitants. I saw a splendid mansion without an occupant and in very dilapidated condition. The Yan- kee generals had used many of these mansions for their headquar- ters without any thought of paying for them.

Bugle call at 3 o'clock A. M., October iQth, and in half an hour we started for the river. We were soon overtaken by a very heavy fall of rain, hail and sleet, accompanied by a fierce driving wind, which blew off hats and almost changed one's course in walking. We crossed the Rappahannock on a pontoon bridge, and marched through mud and slush and rain towards Kelly's Ford, and halted in an old field.

The brigade was suddenly ordered to cross river and protect from cavalry raids our wagons, which were hauling railroad iron. Marched eight miles, rested until sundown, and returned to quart- ers after dark.