Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 33.djvu/283

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The Twelfth Alabama Infantry. 279

back, firing from everything which served to screen them from observation. Several of them were wounded and six or eight be- came completely demoralized by the unbroken front of the rapidly approaching enemy, and despite my commands, entreaties and threats left me, and hastily fled to the rear. Brave Corporal My- ers, of Mobile, adopting a suggestion of mine, aimed and fired at an exposed officer, receiving a mortal wound in the breast as he did so. I raised him tenderly, offered him water, and was rising to reluctantly abandon him to his fate, when a dozen muskets were pointed at me, and I was ordered to surrender. There was a ravine to our left, and the 3rd Alabama skirmishers having fallen back, the Yankees had got in my rear, and at the same time closed upon me in front. If I had not gone to Myers when he fell, I might have escaped capture, but I was mortified and hu- miliated by the necessity of yielding myself a prisoner. Certain death was the only alternative. One of the men, who ran away early in the action, reported that I had been killed, and my name was so published in the Richmond papers, and my relatives mourned me as one dead, until I was regularly exchanged and reached Richmond. The enemy pushed forward after my cap- ture, and soon came upon Colonel Gayle and the rear support. He was ordered to surrender, but, drawing his pistol and firing in their faces, he exclaimed: "We are flanked, boys, but let's die in our tracks," and continued to fire until he was literally rid- dled by bullets, and surrendered up his pure, brave young spirit to the God who gave it. Colonel Gayle was originally from Portsmouth, Va. Lieutenant Colonel S. B. Pickens was severely wounded also, and the regiment fell to the command of Captain Exon Tucker, of Company D, who was killed at Sharpsburg three days afterwards.

Thoughts of that day's conflict bring to mind the names and faces of many of my noble company, very few of whom are still with me. I am grateful that such gallant spirits as Sergeants T. H. Glower, R. H. Stafford, A. P. Reid, J. H. Eason, W. M. Carr, and A. G. Howard, and privates P. W. Chappell, C. C. Davis, Pierce Ware, Tobe Ward, Lester, Moore, Attaway, and a few others are still spared as my faithful comrades and as true soldiers of the Confederacy. I am proud of them all, and regret that I can do so little for their comfort. All are worthy of commissions, and some would fill high positions most creditably.