Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 33.djvu/265

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The Twelfth Alabama Infantry. 261

rate States, and I can truthfully say I have labored to do my whole duty to the cause since then. Then I was a young Georgia student in an Alabama college, scarce 17 years of age," very unsophisticated in the ways of the world, totally unacquainted with military duties, war's rude alarms, and ever-present perils. Now I am something of a veteran, having served nearly one year as a private and two as a lieutenant, and being the larger part of the time in command of my company, composed principally of men much older than myself. I have participated in a great number of hotly contested battles and sharp skirmishes, have marched through hail and snow, rain and sleet, beneath hot, burning suns, and during bitter cold by day and by night, have bivouacked on bloody battle fields with arms in my hands, ready for the long roll's quick, alarming beat, have seen many a loved comrade, whose noble heart beat high with hope and bounded with patrioitic love for his dear native South, slain by the cruel invader, and lying still in death's icy embrace. But despite the innumerable dangers I have passed through, through God's mercy, I am still alive, and able and willing to confront the enemies of my country.

At 2 o'clock in the morning of June i3th, my corps took up the line of march, some said to assume its position on the right of the army, and others to the south side of the James, still others thought it was a grand flank movement in which Grant was to be outgene- raled as McClellan was, and Lee, as usual, grandly triumphant. None of the numerous suppositions proved correct. Battle's Ala- bama brigade, under Colonel Pickens of the Twelfth Alabama, led the corps, and we crossed the Chickahominy and entered the Brook turnpike, five miles from Richmond. Here we turned towards Louisa Courthouse and halted near Trevillian's depot, seven miles from Gordonsville. On our route we passed the late cavalry battle- fields, where Generals Hampton, Butler and Fitzhugh Lee de- feated General Sheridan, et als. A great many dead and swollen horses on the ground, and graves of slain soldiers were quite numer- ous. The fight was too warmly contested.

Early 's corps is now hotly pressing Hunter towards Liberty and Salem, Va. Yankee armies are seldon caught when they start on a retreat. In that branch of tactics they excel. They will run pell- mell, if they think it necessary. Prudence with them is the better part of valor, and they bear in mind the lines from Butler's Hudibras