Southern Historical Society Papers/Volume 26/War Diary of Captain R. E. Park
SOUTHERN HISTORICAL SOCIETY PAPERS,
WAR DIARY OF CAPT. ROBERT PARK,
Accounts of the battles of Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Jeffersonton,
Bristow Station, Locust Grove, Mine Run, the March into
Maryland and Pennsylvania, with Reminiscences
of the Battle of Seven Pines.
[The Editor has pleasure in preserving in these pages the following graphic record. Captain Park has proven himself in maturer years, as progressive, public spirited, and successful as a citizen as he was gallant and faithful as a soldier.]
In 1876-'7, the latter part of my War and Prison Diary was published in serial in the Southern Historical Society Papers, the earlier portion having been lost by me on the battle field. In 1888, eleven years later, a letter signed Mrs. Vine Smith, Lebanon, New Hampshire, was forwarded me from Greenville, Ga., by my brother, which conveyed the joyful news that the remaining portion of my Diary was in her possession, and that she was willing to return it. I lost no time in securing it, and offer it for what it may be worth as illustrating the daily life in camp and field of a Confederate soldier.
Robert Emory Park,
Late Captain 12th Ala., C. S. A.
Macon, Ga., December, 1898.
NOTE.—The portion preceding the first day given was torn off, and I found the Diary began thus :
Jan. 28, 1863. Applied to Gen. Lee for appointment of my college mate and friend, Sergeant R. H. Stafford, as recruiting officer for Co. "F," 12th Ala.
Jan. 29. A committee, consisting of Captains Fischer, Hewlett and Ross, was appointed to invite the officers of Battle's Brigade to assemble at the headquarters of the 12th Ala., to take into consideration the propriety of memorializing Congress on the subject of regimental and company re-organization, to-morrow at 9 o'clock. There is a great desire on the part of many to enjoy the benefit of re-organization. Many privates hope to be elected officers, and many officers expect to secure promotions. My chance of promotion from a line to a field office is good, so I warmly favor the change.
Jan. 30. Private Wesley Moore left for Alabama on a 30 days furlough. At 9 o'clock the line officers of the 6th Ala., met those of the 12th Ala. at our camp, and appointed a committee of three from each regiment to draft a memorial to be presented to Congress. Capt. Bowie, of the 6th Ala., and I, were chosen to visit the officers of the 3rd and 5th Ala. regiments, and invite them to meet us at 6 o'clock, and participate in our proceedings. At 6 o'clock the meeting was called to order, Capt. Bowie being chairman, and Lieut. Dunlop, of the 3rd Ala., acting as secretary. The memorial drafted was read and discussed pro and con, by Captains Bowie and Bilbro, and Lieutenants Larry, Dunlop and Wimberly, and the meeting adjourned to meet Monday at 3 o'clock.
Jan. 31. Sunday. I am officer of the guard. One of the 26th Ala. is officer of the day, and is exceedingly verdant. Col. S. B. Pickens came in at night from furlough.
Feb. 1. (Part here torn off.) The meeting was held pursuant to adjournment, the memorial adopted, and a committee appointed to get signatures to the petition and forward it to Hon. Robert Jemison, Jr., C. S. Senator, and Hon. W. P. Chilton, Representative from Ala., for presentation to the Confederate Congress.
Feb. 2. Called at Dr. Terrell's, near Orange Court House, and met his pretty daughter, Mrs. Goodwin. At night received five letters and several Georgia and South Carolina papers.
Feb. 3. Gus. Reid returned from absence at Lynchburg. Orders came at night to be ready to move to Hanover Junction at 6 o'clock. Battle's Ala. brigade left winter quarters at 6 o'clock for Gordonsville, and arrived there at 2 P. M. We took cars at midnight for Hanover Junction. Gen. Robt. D. Johnston's N. C. brigade preceded ours.
Feb. 5. Reached the Junction at 9 A. M., and occupied some old winter quarters near Taylorsville.
Feb. 6. Bill Mims returned from furlough.
Feb. 7. Our brigade took the train for Richmond early in the morning, and reached the capitol at 2 o'clock. Formed in the city, and marched to music to the outer fortifications on York River Railroad, about four miles from the city.
Feb. 8. Went to Richmond and called on some young lady friends, also visited the hall of the House of Representatives, and heard eulogies pronounced over the dead body of Col. J. J. Wilcox, of Texas. At night I saw "Virginia Cavalier" played at Richmond Theatre, R. D'Orsay Ogden, manager. Returned at 1 o'clock A. M. to camp. Theatres are a great means of diversion to soldiers. J. W. Thorpe, our former drum-major, D'Orsay Ogden, J. Wilkes Booth, Harry McCarthy, W. H. Crisp, Theo. Hamilton, John Templeton, and Alice Vane, are the favorite actors. Soldiers are not critics, but are ever ready to be amused.
(Torn out to Feb. 12.) I remained in the city all day, meeting with many officers and men at the hospitals, the Exchange Hotel and Ballard House, and Spotswood Hotel. At night I saw "Lady of the Lake" acted. At its conclusion, while en route to camp, stopped with Capt. Hewlett and Lieut. Tate, of 3rd Ala., at a "shindig," and had an enjoyable time. Kissing games were popular, and some of the dancers were high kickers and not over graceful. Late in the afternoon the brigade moved three miles further to the front to meet an expected expedition of "Beast" Butler, who was located somewhere near Dairy's Bluff on the James. The "Beast" has been outlawed by President Davis, and is generally detested. He should keep, as heretofore, to the rear, and avoid capture.
Feb. 13. Remained all day on outpost, but the enemy did not approach us. Col. W. G. Swanson's 61st Ala. regiment joined our brigade, and the 26th Ala., Col. E. A. O'Neal, was transferred to Mobile. Promoted Brigadier-General and placed in command of Rodes' Brigade. As there were only nine companies in the 61st, the Secretary of War declined to issue a commission as Colonel to Col. Swanson, and he returned to Alabama. I received a neat little note inviting me to call at Col. Thos. Bell Bigger's on Broad street, between 9th and 10th streets, and signed Mollie T——y. Her note was four days reaching me, and when I called she had left for Petersburg.
Feb. 14. St. Valentine's Day. I walked to the city, and had a glorious bath at the Ballard House, and met many friends.
Feb. 15. A light snow covered mother earth's bosom to-day, and kept us from the city. Our trips to the city are greatly enjoyed, and all are allowed to go when they please, and stay as long as they please. Jim Lester exchanged a jug of water for one of whiskey as adroitly as Simon Suggs could have done. Feb. 16. Torn off.
Feb. 17. An intensely cold day. All suffered, as clothing is not heavy, and many have none or very poor shoes.
Feb. 18. Rode on the tender of an engine to Orange Court House; paid $6.00 for breakfast, and walked to our old camp.
Feb. 19. The brigade came in, straggling a good deal, and tired out.
Feb. 20. I learned to my sore regret that the negro cook of Quartermaster Pickens had stolen my best bed clothes, and while drunk had burned them up. A pleasant thing to contemplate and to endure this bitter, freezing weather.
Feb. 21. Sunday. Regimental inspection at 9 o'clock. Lieut. B. Frank Howard, and two other officers of 61st Ala., from Tuskegee, called to see me in the afternoon. At dress parade I acted as Adjutant for Adjt. Gayle.
Feb. 22. Washington's Birthday. The great Virginian doubtless looks down approvingly upon the course of his successors, Lee, Jackson, Stuart, A. P. Hill, Rodes and others. Lee and Jackson excel the great Father of his Country as soldiers. Invited to a party at Dr. Terrell's next Friday night.
Feb. 23. Introduced my friend, Capt. Hewlett, to several ladies in the vicinity.
Feb. 24. I am officer of the guard. Read "Peveril of the Peak" at leisure moments. Sergeant Carr came from furlough. He reports Alabamians confident of our ultimate success, and proud of our brigade and regiment.
Feb. 25. Private L. Williams came from furlough, and was pained to hear his son had killed a fellow soldier in the 21st Ala. Our soldiers seldom have serious difficulties, but get along most harmoniously.
Feb. 26. Hired Charles, servant of Private Kimbrough, for one year, at $25.00 per month, Charles is a good cook and forager. At night I attended a Grand Ball at Dr. Terrell's, to which I contributed $25.00. Gen. Ramseur and his bride, nee Miss Richmond, of N. C., were present. Pretty women and officers in gay Confederate gray uniforms, were a lovely sight to look upon. Mrs. Carter, formerly Miss Taliaferro (since Mrs. John H. Lamar and Mrs. Harry Day, of Georgia), was one of the brightest belles.
(NOTE.—Next portion of Diary to April 14th, lost.)
While in camp near Fredericksburg obtained a week's furlough to visit Richmond, and went there with Dr. Geo. Whitfield, our beloved surgeon. Stopped at Hatton's, on Mayo street between Franklin and Broad. Escorted Miss E. U. to Miss Nannie King's marriage.
April 15. It rained hard all day, but I spent it in shopping. Bought a Confederate gray coat for $111.00, and got a few other articles. At night Dr. W. and I went to the "Varieties" and saw "Naval Engagiments" and "The Married Rake." Harry McCarthy was the leading actor.
April 16. Patronized Dr. Geo. B. Steele, the dentist on Main street. Bought a pair of light blue pants for $30.00. Had two ambrotypes taken and mailed to my sisters. Sent some pieces of music to Sister L., among them "Rock Me to Sleep, Mother," "All Quiet Along the Potomac to-night," "The Vacant Chair," "My Last Cigar," etc. Dr. W. and I called on Hon. D. Clopton at House of Representatives, when I gave him some papers, &c. Went to Sloman's Concert at the African Church at night.
April 17. Bought a fine gray coat and gloves for Capt. Thomason, of Co. "E." Price of former $100.00, of latter $6.00. Paid $10.00 a plug for dental work. Board for three days was $16.00. At a hotel the charge would have been double. Met up with Bob Ellis, Gus. McCurdy and Parker Burbank, of Greenville, Ga., and Jim Harrison and Ben Stewart of my Oxford class. Met Mrs. Capt. Keeling and Mrs. Chandler.
April 18. Returned to camp at Guinea, Va. While in Richmond I spent $252 for myself and $150 for others of my regiment. My Quartermaster Sergeant Howell met me at station with a horse, and we returned once more to the duties and dullness of camp. Was greeted by several letters.
April 19. Sunday. A gloriously beautiful spring day. Private W. A. Moore, of my company, preached an excellent sermon on 8th verse, 2nd chapter of Ephesians. Private Rogers, of my company, preached in the afternoon. I have both a Methodist and a Baptist preacher in the ranks of my company. Received a letter announcing the marriage of brother J. F. to Miss Bailey, and wrote a congratulatory letter.
April 20. The counterpart of yesterday, rainy and disagreeable.
April 21. Uneventful.
April 22. Visited old friends in Gordon's and Doles' Georgia brigades. Saw Lieut. Tom Harris, of 12th Georgia, who promised to preach to 12th Alabama next Sunday. Wrote out a recommendation and obtained the signatures of every officer in the regiment for the appointment of Billy Moore as Chaplain of the regiment, and presented it to Col. Pickens.
April 23. Yesterday the sky was clear. To-day it is cloudy and raining.
April 24. Received a letter which had been previously sent in search of me to the 13th, 15th, 3rd and 5th Ala. regiments, before reaching the 12 Ala.
April 25. Rev. F. M. Kennedy, a North Carolina chaplain, preached at Round Oak Church. It was an able sermon. General Wm. N. Pendleton had been expected, but failed to come.
April 26. Sunday. Lieutenant T. W. Harris, of the 12th Georgia, and R. M. Boring (my classmate) of the 4th Georgia, came to see me, and Harris preached a fine sermon.
April 27. Completed "Delaware" by G. P. R. James, and Walter Scott's Poems. Regiment moved to new camp.
April 28. One year ago the "Macon Confederates," Co. "F," were re-organized while stationed at Yorktown. R. U. Keeling, J. W. McNeely and I were respectively elected captain, first and second lieutenants by a unanimous vote, and J. W. Wright third lieutenant. It was a turning point in my life. The life of a private soldier is not an enviable one, and I intend to do what I may to relieve and cheer the brave men who have by their votes promoted me from their ranks. Our former Captain, R. F. Ligon and Lieutenants Geo. Jones and Zuber, returned to Alabama.
April 29. This day twelve months ago I was assigned to duty as 2nd lieutenant in the "Provisional Army of the Confederate States." To-day we are hurriedly notified that General Hooker, the successor of the unsuccessful Burnsides, has effected a landing near Fredericksburg, and Rodes' old brigade, under Colonel E. A. Neal of 26th Alabama is ordered to meet them. My duties as acting quarter-master, ("Aqm,") require me to have several wagons loaded with officers' baggage, Q. M. stores, tents, etc., and driven to Hamilton's Crossing, where we remained all night. Here I had a fresh instance of the capricious and tyranical conduct of our Brigate quarter-master, in giving me two inferior, half-starved mules in exchange for two excellent ones.
April 30. Our brigade moved to the opposite side of Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac R. R., and drew up in line of battle, while our wagon train moved a mile, and remained until 12 o'clock, midnight, and then moved to Guinea's station. May 1, 1863. Remained all day in great expectancy from so-called "Fighting Joe" Hooker, who succeeded Burnside. We feel that he is no match for Rodes, Jackson and Lee.
May 2. Rested until night, when we were ordered to move, as rapidly as possible, our trains to Bowling Green. To-day the great battle of Chancellorsville began and General Rodes' old brigade charged the Yankees brilliantly, driving them out of their newly erected brestworks, thrice in succession, and capturing three batteries, with horses and equipments entire attached.
Captain McNeely, of Company "F," was severely wounded in right leg, below the knee, by a grape shot tearing a hole through the flesh. Privates Chappell and Henderson were wounded in the arm. Chappell was engaged in a close, hand to hand encounter when wounded. The day's fight was a grand success for our arms. Our wagon train was moving all night to escape Stoneman's Yankee cavalry which were reported as ravaging the country, having taken Marye's Heights, and in search of our train. We passed a few miles beyond Bowling Green.
May 3. The great battle continued to-day. Rodes' Brigade, to quote that officer's language, "covered itself with glory." Generals Jackson and Stuart complimented it. Rodes was made a full Major General, and after the distressing news of Stonewall Jackson's wound, became senior officer on the field under General Lee. His modesty caused him to turn over the command to General J. E. B. Stuart of the cavalry, one of the most dashing officers I ever saw. May God spare Stonewall Jackson's life! My company and regiment lost heavily. In "F" company, Captain McNeely, Joe Black, Tom Foulk, Jim Lester, West Moore, Fletcher Zachry, Sergt Simmons and Ben. Ward were wounded. Ward lost an arm. The 12th Alabama lost four captains and three lieutenants, among them Captain H. W. Cox and Lieutenant Dualey. We lost a total of 134 men out of our small regiment in killed, wounded and missing.
Thirteen were killed outright and eighty-seven wounded severely. The brigade lost five field officers. Lieutenant-Colonel A. M. Gordon, brother of General J. B. Gordon, was killed. He was an accomplished gentleman, a fine officer and a true Christian. After being shot, he coolly said he was willing to die for the cause. "Fight- ing Joe's" army was terribly repulsed and forced to retire beyond the Rappahannock. The wagon train was moved back to Guinea's.
May 4. Our wagons were massed and our teamsters, wagon masters and quarter-masters and their sergeants were armed with guns, and placed under my command to be in readiness for the enemy's cavalry. There were ninety men in all, and I proposed to resist to the death, if attacked. There were a good many trembling men in the party, who were not over anxious for an encounter. The enemy's cavalry contented itself with tearing up a part of the railroad track and cutting telegraph wires, thus interrupting communication with Richmond.
May 5. There are 6,000 prisoners of war at Guinea's, and others coming in hourly. Among them was a Brigadier-General Hayes, said to be a renegrade native of Richmond. The prisoners were boisterous, impertinent and insulting in their conversation. A great rain storm fell, and they were in great discomfort. I pity them. There are numerous foreigners among them, Germans, Swiss, Italians, Irish, et alios. Our help from such quarters is nil.
May 6. After the battle. My regiment and train returned to our former camp. Every thing and every one seems changed, sad and dejected. I sadly miss my dear friend Captain John W. McNeely. He was my most intimate associate, and I love him as a brother. May he soon recover and return!
May 7. Several letters received and written.
May 8. Received and wrote more letters. Lieutenant J. W. Wright wrote me of his proposed return to duty.
May 9. Went with Lieutenant Marbury to station. He has resigned and will go home and put in a substitute. General Longstreet came on cars from Richmond, and perhaps it augurs some important movement. The Yankee balloon again ascended from Stafford heights. The regiment was ordered on twenty-four hours picket duty. I am now acting quartermaster and in command of my company. I have repeatedly asked Colonel Pickens to relieve me from the former, but he has not yet consented to do so. My men urge my return to them.
May 10. A beautiful Sabbath, recommended by General Lee as a day of thanksgiving and prayer for our recent great victory. I helped to bury Captain Henry W. Cox, of company "B," 12th Alabama, at Grace church this afternoon. He was a gallant officer. May he rest in peace! May 11. It has become very warm, and I fear results to our wounded soldiers.
May 12. Continues warm. Visited Mr. Jesse and daughters.
May 12, . News of the death of General Jackson, the true hero of the war, fills the whole army with grief. He resembled Napoleon in his methods more nearly than any of our generals. Truly Lee has lost his most reliable aid. His name and deeds are embalmed in our hearts.
The regiment returned from picket, and I again solicited permission to return to my company, and that another officer be detailed as quartermaster. Colonel Pickens replied that if his brother's commission did not arrive in three days he would relieve me.
May 13. Occupied arranging papers for leaving quartermaster department, and had a spicy conversation with Major B., the brigade quartermaster. Told him he was a very inferior superior to anybody, and a cringing, fawning sycophant. Sister L. mailed me copies of those old songs "Ellen Bayne," "Ben Bolt" and "The Ocean Burial," which I will get my company to learn.
May 14. Made out company muster and pay rolls, a tedious task. Drilled my company for first time in some months. Was stopped by a refreshing rain, which will cool the air and benefit our wounded. Mr. Tom Jones, of Tuskegee, Ala., took supper with me.
First Sergeant Robert F. Hall was ordered, on account of his wound, to report to General Winder, and I promoted George W. Wright to his place.
May 15. Pay roll completed, inspected and approved by the Colonel. Commanded a division of two companies on battalion drill. Promised relief as acting quartermaster by Monday next.
May 16. Company "F" was paid off for March and April, and the sutler's wagon will be well patronised for a few days. Ginger cakes, porous and poor, cost 25 cents each. Vegetables and fruits are out of reach of the privates.
May 17. Heard Rev. Dr. W. J. Hoge preach Stonewall Jackson's funeral in open air near Round Oak church. Its pathos brought tears to many a veteran's eye.
May 18. Relieved as acting quartermaster, and returned to the command of my company. Receipted for and issued to most needy among my men, thirteen pairs of pants, four jackets, nine pair of socks and seven pairs of shoes.
May 19 and 20. Drilled company in breaking files to the rear, breaking in platoons, loading by numbers and stacking arms. The men have grown rusty. The election held to decide who of the company should wear the "Badge of Honor" for gallantry at Chancellorsville resulted in twelve votes each for Sergeant Wright and private Chappell. In drawing, the latter won, and his name was sent to General Lee.
May 21. Officer of the guard for twenty-four hours. "Castle Thunder" was the countersign at night.
May 22. Lieutenant Rogers, of company "E" relieved me from duty, and punished "as absent without leave" by having him cut down stumps all day in camp lines. Heard of the death of Capt. Fitzgerald, of company "H." Bill G. came back after a six months absence without leave, and was placed under arrest. Bill Cooper had a substitute rejected. Ed. Mahone, of Auburn, brought on four Irishmen as substitutes. They are frauds and should not be accepted. Some, I feel sure, are deserters from other commands.
May 23. Men spend the day in washing their clothes. Mahone, the substitute peddler, was arrested and carried to head quarters. He should be conscripted. Fifteen dollars handed to Colonel Pickens for monument to our gallant Colonel R. F. Jones, killed at the battle of Seven Pines. Private Rogers, of my company preached at night.
May 24. A warm Sabbath. Heard Rev. Dr. Moses D. Hoge preach a fine sermon at "Camp Alabama." Lieutenant Wright came, and reported the loss of a pair of new boots sent me and a number of new novels. I am nearly barefooted and wanted something to read, so my regret may be imagined.
May 25. Learned of death of private Joe Black from his wounds.
May 26 and 27. Lieutenant-Colonel J. C. Goodgame returned to us, and was well received. Inspection of arms by ordnance officer.
May 28. Lieutenant Wright sent in his resignation, approved by Dr. J. B. Kelly, assistant-surgeon.
May 29. Grand review of Rodes' division by Generals R. E. Lee, A. P. Hill and R. E. Rodes. The day was warm, and we marched three miles to the reviewing grounds, and stood several hours before getting properly aligned.
After "Preparing for Review" and "Passing in Review" before General Rodes, General Lee arrived and we went through the same manœuvers before him. I commanded the fourth division of the regiment.May 30. Had a superb chicken stew for dinner. What a rare luxury for a soldier.
To-night twelve months ago, on eve of battle of Seven Pines, Captain R. H. Keeling, who was killed next day, gave me a history of his checkered life. He was an extraordinary man and gallant officer; was a native of Richmond. With Captains Davis and Hewlett managed elections for second lieutenants in companies "B" and "K."
May 31. Anniversary of battle of Seven Pines. I was near Captain Keeling and John Ingram of my company when killed and Sergeant M. A. Flournoy mortally wounded. Sixty officers and men of the 12th Alabama were killed outright and 150 wounded. Only 405 were in the fight. A terrific loss. Colonel R. F. Jones, Captain Darwin and Captain Keeling, Lieutenants Ryan and Hammond were among the killed. One company in 6th Alabama, near us, lost forty-four men.
Have spent to-day very differently and peacefully. Heard Dr. Hoge and Mr. Rogers preach.
June 1, 1863. As officer of the day spent much time having camp properly policed and cleaned.
June 2 and 3. Ordered to prepare to move next morning.
June 4. Began a tramp through valley of Virginia to Maryland, and marched about 18 miles, halting near Spotsylvania C. H.
June 5, 6, 7 and 8. On the march to Culpeper C. H. Stayed there a day supporting Stuart's Cavalry, while he drove back some raiders near Brandy Station.
June 9 to 18. On the road to Maryland. Captured Berryville, Bunker Hill and Martinsburg.
June 19. Crossed Potomac by wading at Williamsport, Md., and marched through Hagerstown. A majority of the people seem to be Unionists, though there are some delightful exceptions. Bivouacked at Funkstown. Dined at Mr. Syester's, a good Southerner. Gave 75 cents in Confederate money for a pound of stick candy.
June 20. Gave $2.12 1/2 for a black hat. With Captain Hewlett and Lieutenant Oscar Smith, of 3d Ala. Called on Misses Mary Jane and Lizzie Kellar, young ladies just from a Pennsylvania Female College, and heard them sing and play Southern songs.
June 21. Attended divine services at M. E. Church in Hagers- town. At tea met Miss Rose Shafer, and found her to be a brave Belle Boyd in her words and acts.
June 22. Took up line of march to Pennsylvania. Passed through Hagerstown in columns of companies. Crossed Pennsylvania line near Middleburg, and camped at Greencastle.
June 23. Quiet in camp. Lieut. J. W. Wright's resignation accepted, and Sergeant G. W. Wright elected in his stead. I appointed Tom Clower first sergeant, and Corporal Bob Stafford a sergeant.
June 24. Marched towards Harrisburg, and passed through Marion and Chambersburg. We see many women and children, but few men. General Lee has issued orders prohibiting all misconduct or lawlessness, and urging utmost forbearance and kindness to all.
June 25. Breakfasted with a citizen, who refused all pay, though I assured him Confederate money would soon take place of green-backs.
June 26. Marched through Greenvillage and Shippensburg. Rained all day. Had a nice bed of wheat straw at night, and slept soundly, undisturbed by dreams or alarms.
June 27. Marched through several small towns, and two miles beyond Carlisle on Baltimore turnpike, at least 25 miles. Ate an excellent supper at Mr. A. Spotts'.
June 28. Breakfasted at Mr. S'. Went to Episcopal Church in Carlisle, and after leaving, was passing some well dressed ladies, to whom I lifted my hat, when one spoke to me very kindly, told me their minister was an Alabamian, from Florence, Ala. Went alone to National Hotel for dinner, registered in midst of an unfriendly and scowling crowd of rough looking men. Had a poor dinner, rather ungraciously served by a Dutchy looking young waitress.
June 29. Crossed Blue Ridge Mountains at a gap at Papertown. Marched on turnpike to Petersburg, and took the Frederick City road, bivouacking at Hiedlersburg.
July 1. Marched through Middletown towards Gettysburg. This proved one of the most eventful days of my life. We could hear and see the shelling in front of Gettysburg, and were soon in range. Rodes' Division was actively engaged in a very short time. His old Alabama brigade, under Col. E. A. O'Neal, was shelled fiercely. Capt. Jas. T. Davis, of Co. "D." was killed near me, and his brains scattered upon me. He was a brave, good man. Another shell exploded in my company and wounded Corporal J. H. Eason and private Lucius Williams, while we halted on a hilly woods. We passed the woods and a wheat field, where Private Rogers, our Baptist preacher, had his knee shattered by a minie ball. We continued to advance, and soon made a charge upon the enemy, not far from a seminary or college. We ran the enemy some distance and were halted. There Lieut. Wright was wounded in the head by my side. I gave him some water from my canteen, and made him lie down close to the ground, as balls were falling thick and fast around us, and whizzing past and often striking some one near. Capt. Hewlett and Lieut. Bridges and Private Lester were wounded near me. While urging my men to fire and keep cool, I received a ball in my hip. It was a wonder, a miracle, I was not afterward shot a half dozen times, but a merciful Providence preserved me. After long exposure to heavy fire from a superior force of the enemy, we were ordered to fall back to a stonewall. Capt. J. J. Nicholson, of Co. "I." kindly helped me as I hobbled along, though I urged him to abandon me and save himself. Col. Pickens sent me to hospital on Major Proskauer's horse. Our gallant Jew Major smoked his cigars calmly and coolly in the thickest of the fight. At the field hospital, an old barn, I was put in a tent with Captains Ross and Hewlett, Lieutenants Wright and Fletcher, Corporal Eason and Henry Lamar. Poor John Preskitt was mortally wounded and died. He died saying: "All is right." My company had all three of its officers wounded, and about half its men. Every officer, except Captain Thomas, on right wing of the regiment was either killed or wounded. The brigade suffered severely. Ben Ingram was wounded in the arm. Our division drove the enemy through the town, capturing many prisoners, including nearly all of their wounded. Surgeon Geo. Whitfield was very busy and kind.
July 2. Limped inside barn and saw Preskitt's body, and urged a decent burial of ambulance corps. He leaves a very helpless family. Lieut. Fletcher died by my side. He was of Co. "G." a modest, brave young fellow. Nine in my company were wounded yesterday. Pierce Ware returned to company in time for the fight. Our forces fought Meade's command all day, and the cannonading was wonderfully distinct and terrific.
July 3. Friday. Heavy cannonading and musketry without cessation. Attempted to storm the heights, but failed. Stuart sent by a large number of captured wagons. Our anxiety for news was dreadful. We fear defeat in the enemy's country, but hope and pray for victory. We have every confidence in Lee and Stuart.
July 4. A memorable, historic day! All able to walk were sent towards Maryland, and the badly wounded were hauled away. Dr. Whitfield was very kind, and placed me in his first ambulance, driven by Sam Slaton, of my company, in company with Lieutenant Wright and Captains Ross and Hewlett. The night was a dark, dreary, rainy one. At one o'clock A. M., we started, after a long halt on Fairfield road, towards Hagerstown, riding over the worst possible mountain road. We were suffering, wet, anxious. The Yankee cavalry attacked our train, and took several of our wagons, including the third one to our rear. They were firing uncomfortably near. My ambulance broke down at this critical time, and we woke up a farmer, got his small market wagon, left one horse, and drove the other on to Hagerstown. Captain Pickens, Acting Quartermaster, aided us much. At Washington Hotel, in H., the proprietor gave us sandwiches and a bottle of whiskey, and spoke cheeringly.
July 5. We reached Williamsport, after a gloomy night, at 6 A. M. We drove our horse across the Potomac and reached Martinsburg at 2 P. M. Had our wounds dressed, ate dinner in the hospital, drove four miles towards Winchester, and spent the night at Mr. Stanley's.
July 6. Arrived at Winchester at 4 o'clock, turned over our horse and wagon to Assistant Provost Marshal Captain Cullen, and left W. on mail coach, reaching Woodstock at 11 o'clock at night, and slept on hotel floor. Citizens are anxious for news, and ask many questions.
July 7. Breakfasted and left on stage for Staunton, eating dinner at Harrisonburg, where a generous stranger paid our bill. Money is not plentiful with us. Reached Staunton at 8 ½ o'clock, night, and stopped at American Hotel hospital.
July 8. Drew a month's salary of $90.00, obtained transfer to General Hospital, Richmond. Captain U. and I hired a horse and buggy for $12.00 to carry us to Middle river, 6 miles distant, to get our valises from Captain Haralson, Quartermaster. Telegraphed home.
July 9. Reached Richmond 5 P. M. Went to Hospital No. 4, Dr. J. B. Reid.
July 10. Had gray coat cleaned and mended for $6.00, and bought a knife for $10.00. July 11th, 12th and 13th. Called on by many newspaper men and sick officers. We were first to reach the capitol from the Gettysburg field. Moved from hospital to Mr. Hatton's on Mayo street between Broad and Franklin.
July 14. Examined by Dr. A.V.P. Garnett, who recommended a 25 days furlough for me. Met Major W. M. Jones and Lieutenant L. B. Millican, of 9th Georgia, both wounded.
July 15th and 16th. Received furlough from Brigadier-General John H. Winder, a venerable officer, commanding Department of Henrico, and left on afternoon train for home. Supped at Petersburg. Paid $6.00 fare from Richmond to Weldon, N.C., 85 miles.
July 17. Fare from Weldon to Raleigh $5.00, 98 miles. From Raleigh to Charlotte, 175 miles, fare $8.75.
July 18. Half fare to Columbia, S.C., 110 miles, $3.25.
July 19. Half fare to Augusta, Ga., 143 miles, $3.25, half to Atlanta, 171 miles, $4.00, and full fare from Atlanta to La Grange, 71 miles, $3.50. Arrived at La Grange, my birthplace, 11 o'clock at night, and went to my sister's, Mrs. M. C. Huntley's.
July 21. Anniversary of Battle of Manassas. Hired Tommy Davis to drive me to Greenville, going 20 miles in 6 ½ hours. Had a joyful meeting with my mother and sister.
July 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29 and 30. Happy days at home, sweet home, with the dearest of mothers and best of sisters. My brothers came to see me.
August 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Visited old comrades at Auburn, Loachapoka, Tuskege, and Montgomery, Ala. Captain J. H. Echols gave me passport. Got transportation to Richmond of Major Calhoun.
August 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10. Went to Greenville. Last days at home. Shall I ever see it again ?
August ii. My sweet mother went with me to La Grange. How dear and good she is! Attended a great barbecue given to Confederate soldiers at home, and heard patriotic speeches from Senator Sparrow, of La., Senator Hill, of Georgia, and Col. Marks.
August 12, 13, 14 and 15. Traveled to Virginia with Mr. and Mrs. Tinsley and family, of Big Lick, and Miss Sallie H., of Ala., and enjoyed their company.
August 16. Left Richmond with Captain Weeks, of 4th Ga., for Orange C. H. Heard Dr. Powledge and Lieutenant Tom Harris, of 12th Georgia, preach.
August 17. Officer of the guard.
August 1 8. Visited Colonel Cullen A. Battle, of 3d Alabama. August 19, 20 and 21. Latter is Fast Day, proclaimed by President Davis. I fasted until afternoon.
August 22. Our new chaplain, Rev. H. D. Moore, of South Carolina, came. Heard of resignation of Captain Thomas, of Co. "B." and death of Captain L'Etoudal, of Co. "A."
August 23. Heard good sermons from our chaplain and Lieutenant T. W. Harris.
August 24. General R. E. Lee rode his famous horse "Traveler" through our camp, and near my tent. I lifted my hat, and was saluted by our great commander.
August 25 and 26. General B. Graves came in search of his son. A Regimental Christian Association was formed, Rev. H. D. Moore, president, Colonel Pickens, vice-president, Sergeant R. H. Stafford, secretary and treasurer. I was elected a delegate to a Brigade Christian Association.
August 27. Officer of the guard. Colonel Battle drilled the brigade. I bought a small watermelon of Sutler Sam. Brewer, for $5.00. Read "Border Beagles," by Simms. Lieutenant-General Ewell and Major-General Rodes, reviewed and inspected our brigade and Daniels'. Brigade Christian Association organized, with Colonel Battle as president. I was elected one of the secretaries. Countersign at night was "Lee."
August 28 and 29. Colonel Battle received his commission as Brigadier-General, and at night was serenaded by a brass band from Doles' Georgia brigade. He responded in a very pretty speech. Judge Jones, General B. Graves, of Tuskegee, and Captain J. J. Hutchinson made short speeches.
August 30. Sunday, Chaplain Moore preached. Afterwards Dr. Adams and I rode to Montpelier, once the residence of James Madison. A young lady showed us the parlor, library and dining-room. They had some costly paintings and busts. The grounds around the mansion and the view of the Blue Ridge Mountains were beautiful. At night twenty-two soldiers joined the church.
August 31. Colonel Pickens was on court martial, Captain Fischer, of company "A" on detail, so Adjutant Gayle informed me I was in command of the 12th Alabama regiment. At 9 o'clock I inspected the arms of the regiment, and carried them through a few evolutions. Captain Nicholson of company "I" who recently married Miss Brazeal, of Powhatan county, Va., returned to camp. At night thirteen men joined the church.
Sept. 1, 1863. Exchanged my old sword and belt, and $35.00 to boot, for new sword and belt. Arranged company muster and payrolls. General B. G. gave me $50.00 for the company.
Sept. 2 and 3. Paid Sergeant Clower $10.00 for purchases made by him, and sent $36.00 to Major Vandiver by General Battle to buy clothing for company "F."
Sept. 4 and 5. Am officer of the day. Private Griffith, of company "E." married a girl near Orange C. H. It is love in low life. He brought his cara sposa to see our encampment and they were the observed of all observers.
Sept. 6. Rode my "Pintail" horse to Gordonsville.
Sept. 7. After inspection, Adjutant Gayle, Gus. Reid and I rode to Mt. Hora church to a protracted meeting. Paid $3.00 for a dinner of fat meat, beans and corn bread.
Sept. 8. General Pickett's division marched by our camp.
Sept. 9 The Second Army Corps, Lieutenant-General R. S. Ewell, composed of divisions of Major-Generals J. A. Early, R. E. Rodes and Ed. Johnson, was reviewed by General Ewell and General Lee. Lieutenant-General A. P. Hill and Major-General J. E. B. Stuart, and a host of others, gayly dressed generals were present. A number of ladies graced the occasion by their presence. Among them Mrs. Colonel Forsyth, of Mobile. There were 25,000 men in ranks. General Rodes' was the largest division. Colonel Pickens commanded Battle's brigade and Captain Fischer the i2th Alabama. While "Passing in Review" we had to march fully three miles, and reached camp about sun down.
Sept. 10. Appointed to drill companies "E" and "H," as well as "F," I am busy every afternoon.
Sept. 11. Lieutenant-General A. P. Hill's corps reviewed to-day.
Sept. 12. Went three miles from camp to dine at Mrs. Gilbert's. Had lovely apple dumplings. She loaded me with apples.
Sept. 13. Went to a soldiers' baptizing and saw eighteen or twenty "poured," or immersed in a mill pond. We have a rumor that the enemy are crossing the Rappahannock, and are told to be ready to meet them at any moment.
Sept. 14. The anniversary of my memorable skirmish at Boonsboro (South-Mountain), Md., where I was flanked and captured. We are ordered to Summerville ford, near Rapidan Station, where the Yankees are threatening to attempt a passage. Marched very rapidly and halted a mile from the ford. Our artillery kept up a heavy firing for several hours, and had several men killed. Captain Carter's battery can't be excelled. Sept. 15 and 16. Am officer of the guard. Rodes' Division, composed of Daniel's and Ramseur's North Carolina brigades, Doles' Georgia, and Battle's Alabama brigades, were marched out to witness a melancholy sight, the public shooting of one of Ramseur's brigade, who was convicted of desertion by a court martial and sentenced to be shot to death by musketry. It was a sad sight, but his death was necessary as a warning and lesson to his comrades. Each regiment was marched in front of the dead body, and his breast was pierced by several balls. On return to camp we found two of my men, George Ward and Dick Noble, had been on a scout across the river, and captured a Yankee, and carried him to General Rodes, and secured a splendid pistol and seven shooting rifles. Heard Rev. Dr. Leonidas Rosser, corps chaplain, deliver an eloquent lecture to our Christian Association on "Patriotism, Benevolence and Religion."
(NOTE. Several pages of the "Diary," from 15th September to October 8th, were lost and of course omitted here.)
October 8, 1863. I drew from Quartermaster J. M. Pickens, 15 envelopes, one quire of letter paper, half quire of note and half quire of foolscap paper, and five pens. Such things are growing scarce. Lieutenants F. A. Rogers and Jno. R. Williams, of Co. "A," were promoted Captain and First Lieutenant of said company, and Lieutenant John Rogers, of Co. "E," promoted Captain. At 3 P. M. we were ordered to "pack up," and marched until 9 P. M., and camped near Dr. Terrell's, 4 miles from Orange C. H.
October. 9. At 4 o'clock A. M. we marched through Orange, waded the Rapidan river, and bivouacked three miles from Madison C. H. Here our "spider wagon," as the North Carolina "Tar Heels" call our cooking utensil wagon, failed to come up, and we had to "make up" our flour, water and salt on oil cloths, and bake before the fires on gun ramrods, sticks, rails, &c., and after salting our beef, hung on poles before the fire until cooked. We were all hungry and ate heartily of our beef and bread.
October 10. Continued our march through by roads and old fields and new roads cut by the "pioneer" squads through the woods until we came to the Sperryville turnpike, eleven miles from Culpeper C. H.
October 11. We waded across Robinson river, as it is called, and occupied an old camp of the Sixth (Yankee) Army Corps. It was on a high bleak hill, where the winds blew constantly and fiercely, and rendered our sleep very uncomfortable. Such cold winds 18 months ago would have caused colds, coughs and pneumonia.
BATTLE OF JEFFERSONTON.
October 12. At 2 A. M. , we were arroused and started for the Rappahannock river. It was not a pleasure excursion. At 12 M., we came near the village of Jeffersonton, halted for a few minutes, and learned that a body of Yankee cavalry were in a church in the town, and General Battle was ordered to flank and capture the party if possible. The 3d, 6th and 12th Alabama regiments marched to the left, and the 5th and 26th Alabama to the right. After going about two miles we overtook some Yankee cavalry pickets, whom our sharpshooters under Major Blackford of the 5th Alabama quickly dispersed. We followed closely, and they evacuated Jeffersonton, falling back to the river, and crossing a bridge near Warrenton Springs. General Pendleton, chief of artillery, placed twelve pieces of cannon on a lofty hill immediately in front of my regiment, and commenced a rapid and destructive fire across the river, driving the enemy some distance beyond. As soon as it was ascertained that they had left the banks of the Rappahannock, General Rodes ordered Battle's Alabama and Doles' Georgia brigades, to push rapidly across and it was promptly done, amid a sharp fire from musketry and cannon. Battle's brigade was moved down the Warrenton turnpike by the old burnt hotel. Right here gallant General J. E. B. Stuart ("Jeb," as he is called), galloped by with the 12th Virginia cavalry, and charged right royally upon the Yanks strongly posted on a hill in front, but the Virginians were too few in number, and were forced to retire. General Battle was ordered to send a regiment to dislodge the enemy, and he selected the I2th Alabama for the honorable, though dangerous task. The other regiments supported us some distance in the rear. We moved under a heavy fire to and through the woods towards the hills occupied by the enemy. When within 50 yards the regiment fired a volley into them, which seriously disconcerted them, and followed it by volley after volley until the enemy turned and fled. We followed with loud, rejoicing yells for some distance, until General Stuart halted us. I picked up a splendid Sharp's rifle in the commencement of the fight, procured some cartridges, and fired three well aimed shots at the cavalrymen as they halted and fired at us. Some saddles were emptied. The rifle must be kept as a memento. The Twelfth Alabama lost only two men killed, and several wounded. The enemy, being on horseback, fired too high, and overshot us. We killed and wounded many of them, and captured a goodly number with their fine horses and equipments.
General Stuart highly complimented the conduct of the regiment, saying it was a very creditable and successful affair, of which the regiment and country had cause to feel proud. We slept on the battle-field, and were so tired as to need no better beds than the bare ground.
October 13. Marched to Warrenton by 12 o'clock. Sergeant Clower and I dined at Mrs. Cox's, and her pretty daughter, Miss Nannie, gave us some late Northern papers. They interest and amuse us. Their boastings and misstatements of war movements are absurd. We bivouacked two miles from town.
October 14. Rose early, and while in line, at order arms, General Battle delivered an inspiring speech to each regiment. No one commands a braver, more reliable brigade than he. They never falter.
BATTLE OF BRISTOW STATION.
After marching a mile we approached heavy skirmishing by sharpshooters, and were soon exposed to shot and shell. Were under fire all the morning, and larger part of the afternoon, and were marching and counter-marching through fields and woods, and across hills and valleys. Ever and anon a bullet would strike some one, and the victim would be hurriedly carried to the rear. Several were wounded. Crossed Cedar Run, and marched on towards Manassas.
Slept peacefully on Virginia soil near Bristow Station at night. Dear old mother Virginia has often, so often, furnished us with restful beds on her generous, hospitable bosom.
October 15. Rested all day. Several hundred Yankee prisoners were under guard near us, and much trading in knives, canteens, tents, biscuits, tobacco, etc., was carried on. The prisoners were very filthy, inferior looking men, mostly Dutch or Germans. It rained constantly.
October 16. Battle's brigade, and indeed most of Ewell's corps, were busily employed tearing up crossties and railroad iron, burning the former and crooking the latter, and all during a very heavy rain. Although wet to the skin no man uttered a word of complaint, but all worked and talked and joked in excellent humor. The imperturbable humor, the wit and jollity of a Southern soldier, cannot be overcome by any discomfort, neither, heat, nor cold, bleak winds nor roasting sunshine, sickness nor sorrow. After finishing our share of the work we dried our dripping wet clothes, erected our "Yankee tents," which we had captured, and slept soundly and comfortably on the bare, cold, wet ground until morning. We were 2 ½ miles from Catlett's Station, on Alexandria and Orange R. R.
October 17. Major Proskauer, of 12th Alabama, with half of each company, six commissioned and several non-commissioned officers, was sent down the railroad towards Warrenton Junction, to destroy more of the road. I was one of the party. Late in the afternoon the rest of the regiment joined us.
October 18. At 4 o'clock resumed our march, the 12th Alabama in front of the brigade, and company "F" in front of the regiment. Soon passed Bealeton, 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 coarsest and most beastly and stealthy of the inhumane. The place had been a Yankee depot of supplies. Bivouacked near Rappahannock Station, cold and frosty, but slept soundly. The surrounding country is deserted by its former inhabitants. I saw many splendid mansions without an occupant and in very dilapidated conditions. The Yankee generals had used many of them for their headquarters, without any thought of paying for them.
October 19. Bugle call at 3 o'clock A. M., 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.
October 20. Two months wages were paid off.
October 21. Went in search of Ben, my cook, riding Colonel Goodgame's horse a distance of twenty-five miles. Ben had been sick of pneumonia. Missed him, but found him in camp on my return. Received one month's salary and $50.00 "bounty."
October 22, 23 and 24. Engaged laying off camp for winter quarters. Received a remittance of money from my beloved mother, unsolicited and not needed, but a fresh evidence of her affection for me. May God bless and spare her noble life.
October 25. Sunday. Sent following new pieces of music to Sister L. : "Kathleen Mavourneen," "The South," "Annie of the Vale," "When this Cruel War is Over," "My Wife and Child," etc.
October 26. Brigade suddenly ordered to cross the river, and protect, from cavalry raids, our wagons which were hauling railroad iron. Marched eight miles, rested until sundown, and returned to quarters after dark.
October 27 and 28. The 12th and 26th Alabama went on picket duty to Kelly's Ford, the former relieving the 14th North Carolina. I walked several miles around Kellysville, once the scene of a severe cavalry engagement, on a tour of observation. The country round about resembles Fauquier county, being one vast field of destruction and devastation. Where once elegant, happy homes stood, bare chimneys rear their tall forms sentries over this cruel waste, halls that once resounded to the merry laughter of happy childhood, now re-echo to the mournful whistling of the autumn winds. Everything we see is a memento of the relentless cruelty of our invaders.
October 29 and 30. Some North Carolina troops relieved us from picket, and returned to the building of our winter quarters. Our Christian Association met and resolved to forbid playing of cards for pastime or amusement. New officers for next two months, President, Rev. H. D. Moore, Vice-President, Captain J. J. Nicholson, of company "I," Secretary, Wat. P. Zachry, of company "F."
October 31. Made out muster and pay rolls for past two months. Learned that our newly built quarters would not be permanent. Instantly all work ceased on the unfinished fine cabins. It is a hardship.
Nov. 1. Sunday. Chaplain Moore preached two able sermons. Subject of one at night was "Repentance," and he explained that conviction, contrition, or sorrow, confession and reformation constitute repentance.
Nov. 2. Major U. A. Whiting, of General Rodes' staff and Lieutenant Dan Partridge, of General Battle's, inspected our brigade. I drew five splendid English overcoats and three blankets for company "F." How can I fairly issue, or divide, so few articles, so much needed, this cold weather? These uncomplaining men are patriots indeed! Sutler Sam Brewer arrived with a load of goods which he speedily sold out to clamoring, eager purchasers. He demands and gets $1.00 a pound for salt, $2.00 per dozen for common sized apples, $5.00 per pound for soda, $1.00 per quart for ground peas, or "goobers," $3.00 a pound for lard, $6.00 a quart for syrup made of Chinese sugar cane, $1.00 for three porous ginger cakes, $1.00 per dozen for small, tough sugar cakes, $1.00 for a pound bale of Confederate coffee, made of rye. Those who use tobacco pay $4.00 a pound for it. This depreciation in our currency is trying to men who get eleven dollars only per month. One dollar formerly brought more than eleven do now.
Nov. 4 and 5. Sent $50.00 home. Brigade Christian Association met. Major R. H. Powell as president, and I as secretary. Several of my company assisted me in building to the end of my tent a chimney of small, unskinned pine poles, which they covered pretty well with mud. They then floored my tent, and I am comfortable, and proud of my quarters. Very few of the men can procure plank for flooring, and their tents are surrounded by ditches to keep out rain and snow, and straw and hay are substituted for plank.
Nov. 6 and 7. Suffered from neuralgia in my face. Late in the day a terrible cannonading towards Kelly's Ford and Rappahannock Station surprised us, and our brigade, under Colonel O'Neal, of 26th Alabama, was marched rapidly to the ford. Though in great pain, I commanded my company, and we were soon in line of battle, and under a heavy shelling. This we had to endure for some time. Two North Carolina companies were captured by the Yankees in their rapid movement. At the station Hay's Louisiana, and Hoke's North Carolina brigade lost heavily in prisoners. The attack seems to have completely surprised our generals. Were in line of battle until 12 o'clock at night, then marched by the right flank across Mountain Run at Stone's Mills. Passed through Stephensburg, and went within two miles of Culpeper C. H., there halted and formed line of battle. Battle's brigade extending from top of a lofty hill towards Brandy Station, and joined by Early's division. We began to throw up breastworks as a protection against shell in case of attack, in two different places, using our tin cups, tin plates and bayonets, in place of spades and picks, of which we had none. How many earthworks have been quickly built in old Virginia by these simple implements! Orders came to stop our work and move to Raccoon Ford, which we reached at 9 o'clock at night, and crossed in great darkness. Colonel Pickens kindly gave me a seat on his horse behind him to cross Mountain Run and Rapidan river, and I was en- abled to keep dry. A great favor. After Rodes" division waded the river we were marched down to Morton's Ford, arriving at half past 10 o'clock, and halting at the old camp ground we occupied before our tramp to Bristow Station after General Meade in October. Just one month from the time we left we returned. As sleep had been a stranger to me for two nights, I enjoyed my sleep, and all neuralgic pains left me, or were no longer noticed.
Nov. 9, 10, 12, 13, 14 and 15. On picket duty, and annoyed by constant alarms most of the time. On last day were suddenly aroused by rapid succession of shells in our midst, warning us of the dangerous proximity of our foes. The 6th Alabama had three men wounded on out post. The 12th Alabama relieved them.
Nov. 16 and 17. The 23d North Carolina relieved us. Colonel Pickens, thrown by his horse and injured severely. Worked on breastworks. Bob Wynn and Wm. Mayo were assigned by General Lee to Co. "F," from Bragg's army, and reached camp to-day. They came via Castle Thunder.
Nov. 18. Completed our rude fortifications, and are ready to welcome Meade and his cohorts to hospitable graves.
Nov. 19 and 20. Added to strength of our works, and made a formidable abattis in our front, Sent $50.00 home.
Nov. 21, 22 and 23. Rainy days. Read "Aurora Floyd."
Nov. 24. Expected President Davis to review the corps to-day, but the rain prevented. Our great leader must be sorely tried these gloomy days, and is evidently "the right man in the right place."
Nov. 25. Co. "F" went on picket near Mitchell's Ford.
Nov. 26. At 2 o'clock A. M. were suddenly aroused and hurried towards Jacob's Ford, where Meade had crossed a part of his army.
BATTLE OF LOCUST GROVE.
thrown on the logs and brush with tin plates and cups, and bare hands. It is marvelous with what rapidity a fortification sufficiently strong to resist minie balls can be thrown up. A sense of danger quickens a man's energies.
Nov. 27. In afternoon, near Locust Grove, we met the advance of the enemy, and our sharpshooters engaged them in a fierce skirmish until dark. While skirmishing, the brigade in the rear was busily employed throwing up breastworks of poles and earth, latter dug up with picks made of sharpened oak poles and bayonets, and
BATTLE OF MINE RUN.
Nov. 28. Before daylight our army fell back about two miles, and we began constructing breastworks on a high hill west of Mine Run and Colonel Rowe's residence. The enemy soon appeared in sight on east side of Mine Run, and commenced exchanging shots with our sharpshooters. A heavy rain fell and added to our discomfort, however, by night Battle's brigade had works thrown up strong enough to resist bombshells and cannon balls.
Nov. 29. Early the Yankees began a rapid and continuous shelling from their batteries, which caused us to seek protection behind our works. The wind blew furiously and chilled us. In the afternoon we saw an adventurous Yankee regiment approach in line of battle when our (Carter's) battery opened on them, and the line broke and scattered in confusion. We could see several wounded men carried off on litters. We stayed in the trenches all night, ready for a charge, a guard, or detail from each company remaining awake. The fierce cold winds made sleep light and uncomfortable.
Nov. 30. Only a few shells fired to-day.
Dec. 1, 1863. A remarkably quiet day. Not a cannon shot fired and scarcely a report from a musket. Meade was plainly making some movement, but we could not discover what. The intensely cold weather continues. I was afterwards told by some Yankee prisoners that some of their pickets were actually frozen to death while on post, and that others were carried off wholly insensible from cold. I can believe the story, as, though warmly clad, I never suffered more in my life.
Dec. 2. We learned, not much to our surprise, that Meade had crossed most of his forces at Jacob's and Germanna Fords, north of the Rapidan, and that a chance for a battle was now slight. We took the Germanna Ford road, and hurriedly pursued, overtaking and capturing over 150 prisoners. Early and Johnson captured many on their respective roads. At night went in direction of Morton's Ford, and slept in the woods.
Dec. 3. Returned to Morton's Ford and put up my tent.
Dec. 4. Drew salary for November, and paid my commissary bill amounting to $33.25. At night heard a lecture by Captain Nicholson on "National Virtue" before our Christian Association.
Dec. 5. Officer of the day. Sent up application for "Furlough of Indulgence" for Jim Lester.
Dec. 6. Cold and windy. Heard the Chaplain preach. Dec. 7, 8, 9 and 10. Quiet in quarters. General Lee issued an order suggesting the 10th as a day of thanksgiving, fasting and prayer. I attended prayer meeting and fasted until evening. Colonel Pickens and Lieutenant-Colonel Goodgame returned to camp.
Dec. 11. Confederate Congress in session, and the papers publish President Davis' message, which I read with great interest and approval. His views about substitutes are excellent. My daily newspaper bills are heavy, as I take the Richmond Dispatch and Examiner, and sometimes buy a Whig as well as the Illustrated News. Price 50 cents each.
Dec. 12, 13 and 14. Officer of the guard. Lieutenant E. Karcher, a German from Mobile, company "A," relieved me. Windy and boisterous. My tent was blown down while I was in it. Sutler Brewer brought in some oysters and sold them at $20.00 a gallon. Messes club together and buy. I couldn't be a sutler. Their prices seem cruel and extortionate.
Dec. 15. Sent private Tom Kimbrough to Orange C. H. after boxes and trunk. Lieutenant Geo. Wright came to-day. The trunk was mine and contained a large ham, pickles, a bushel, or more, of crackers, biscuit and cakes, a pair of boots and pair of pants. These come from home and the best of mothers, and anticipate Xmas. Lieutenant W. brought a negro cook.
Dec. 16. A memorial to the Secretary of War to transfer the 12th Alabama to Alabama for recruiting purposes, as we are opposed to consolidating with another regiment on account of our diminished ranks, until we have had a fair opportunity to recruit. The following is a copy of the petition: "We, the undersigned, officers of the 12th Alabama regiment, in behalf of ourselves and the men under our command, having the interest and good of the service at heart, in view of the recommendation of the Secretary of War in his recent report to Congress to consolidate the regiments which have fallen below the minimum required by law to retain their present organization, beg leave most respectfully to represent:
"That the 12th Alabama regiment has been in service in the field since July, 1861; that, in consequence of the ravages of disease and the casualties of battle in the hard fought fields of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, in which Rodes' old brigade has participated and acquired glory, the regiment has become reduced below the minimum; that the regiment is one of the only two Alabama regiments, which within our knowledge have not received any conscripts,—and it being our desire to preserve intact the organization under which wi- have fought for now nearly three years, and to which we are attached by many hallowed memories of the past, by many associations in scenes of danger, trial, fatigue, hardship and suffering and desiring that the name 'TWELFTH ALABAMA' be not obliterated from the rolls of the army:
"We, feeling perfectly convinced of our ability to recruit our shattered ranks by such a course, beg most respectfully that the regiment be transferred to Mobile, Ala., or some other point in the State, during the winter months, or until the opening of the spring campaign, then to return with full ranks to take our places once again with our comrades of the 'Army of Northern Virginia.' "
This petition is to be forwarded through the regular channels to General S. Cooper, Adjutant and Inspector General, C. S. A.
Dec. 17 and 18. Rainy and cold. Dr. George Whitfield, our popular surgeon, being sick, got leave of absence. We regret even his temporary absence.
Dec. 19. Lieutenant Wright's wound in his head, at Gettysburg, is paining him, the brain being exposed, and Dr. Neill has approved his application for a furlough. He should be discharged honorably, and sent home. Captain P. D. Ross, and Lieutenant Hardcastle, of Co. "G," returned to duty.
Dec. 20. Sunday. The Colonel's orderly, Jack Mallory, carried around an order "to be ready to move at n o'clock, without noise, and no huts were to be burnt." Had my tent "struck," and placed with my trunk in the officers' baggage wagon, and at 11 o'clock we began our march to Orange C. H., where we are to build winter quarters. We were to be silent on the march to avoid posting the enemy as to our movement.
Dec. 21 and 22. Had my colored cooks, Ben and Banks, busy building a pole and dirt chimney to my tent, as I shall remain in my tent all winter.
Dec. 23 and 24. Moved into my tent. Private Ben Ingram returned to duty. Sent Hon. David Clopton, M. C. (our first quartermaster, and once a private in my company), affidavits from widow of John Preskitt. Christmas Eve in the army bears no resemblance to the preparations at home for Christmas festivities.
Dec. 25. Christmas Day. Ate a hearty dinner, minus the home turkey and cranberries and oysters, egg nogg and fruit cake, and then wrote to my mother and sisters. Ordered on fatigue duty tomorrow at 8 o'clock. Sorry, because the men are busy completing their log cabins. Dec. 26. Lieutenant Wright left for home, and carried my Sharp's rifle. At 9 o'clock Major Proskauer led the regiment towards Paine's Mills, where we were to relieve the 14th North Carolina on fatigue duty, sawing plank for the Orange road. We lost the way, and marched 20 miles to reach a mill only 12 miles distant from camp, arriving about dark. Companies "F" "B" and "G" moved three miles from nearest mill to "Squire" Collins'. Supped and breakfasted at the "Squire's." The 14th North Carolina desired to stay, and our regiment wished to return, so the engineer got an order from General Lee permanently detailing the 14th North Carolina for the work.
Dec. 27. Marched very rapidly back to camp in a constant, driving rain, and arrived at one P. M.
Dec. 28. Incessant rain for 24 hours. Lester obtained letter by flag of truce from John Attaway, now a prisoner at Point Lookout, and I wrote his mother at once, inclosing letter.
Dec. 29. General Lee issued an order directing that furloughs be granted hereafter at rate of four to the hundred men present for duty. I had a "drawing" in Co. "F," and Wm. Mimms drew the furlough for whom application was made. I addressed letter of inquiry to General R. H. Chilton, chief of staff, as to whether in the event an enlisted man obtained a recruit for his company, and actually mustered him in service, the commanding general would grant the man so doing a furlough of 30 days.
Dec. 31, 1863. The last day of a most eventful year. It goes out in gloom, being wet, muddy and still raining. Mustered for pay.
Jan. 1, 1864. New Year's Day. A very beautiful day. The sun is shining brightly. May the future of the South be as bright and glorious. My first act was to read several chapters in my Bible. May He, who rules all things, be my Guide and Guardian during the incoming as he has been during the past year, and may my conduct prove myself worthy of His gracious protection. May He preserve all of my dearly loved relatives and friends, and allow me to meet them many times in the future.
Jan. 2. Extremely cold, below zero. Major H. A. Whiting, division inspector, examined arms and clothing of the men, and found them sadly in need of shoes, many of them being barefooted, and others having no soles to their shoes, wearing the tops only.
Jan. 3. Sunday. Settled my commissary account for December with Captain A. T. Preston, A.C.S., amounting to $65.66, and got a receipt in full for 1863. Summoned to Brigade Headquarters with Captain R. M. Greene, of the 6th, and Lieutenant Dunlop, of 3d Alabama, to investigate the stealing of two cows from the Misses Lee. We could obtain no light on the subject. Rations of all kinds are very scarce now, only half a pound of bacon per day to each man, and this irregularly. From ¾ to a pound of flour, and no vegetables, nor coffee, nor syrup, nor indeed aught else per man. The hearty fellows get hungry.
Jan. 4 and 5. Colonel Chilton, chief of General Lee's staff, answered my letter of inquiry of 20th ult., and sent me a copy of "General Orders, No. 1, current series, A. N. Va.," which granted furloughs to all enlisted men who actually muster in a recruit in the Army of Northern Virginia. Wesley Moore telegraphed for his brother, Micajah, ("Cage," as we called him), who had just reached 18 years, to come on. I think the order will do great good, and I am gratified at having had such notice and approval taken of my suggestion.
Jan 6 and 7. Banks, my cook, was taken very sick with cold, which swelled up his face, feet, legs and hands. He is a faithful negro, loyal to the cause, and of great service to me. Had surgeon to prescribe for him.
Jan. 8. A great snow fell during the night. The watery particles congealed into white crystals in the air, sprinkled the ground about four inches deep. The regiment was ordered out to witness the execution of two deserters.
Jan. 9. Battle's brigade left early for picket duty on the Rapidan river. I was left in camp as its commander, and have more men in camp, left on account of bare feet and bad shoes, than Colonel Goodgame carried off with him. Had Banks carried in ambulance to Dr. Terrill's, where he could get better attention.
Jan. 10. Sunday. Received five letters.
Jan. 11. I issued strict orders for the sentinels to walk their posts constantly, and to pass no man with a gun, and to arrest all who attempted to leave or enter camp with guns without my written permission. I issued these orders because some of the men have already left with guns in search, I suspect, of hogs, cows, or other things belonging to citizens that might be eaten. Though barefoot they are hungry. Another order allowing eight furloughs to the hundred, and Sergeant W. M. Carr drew it. At night Lieutenant Karcher arrested eight men with guns and confined them in the guard house. Jan. 12. As a punishment I directed the prisoners to lay a causeway around the guard lines for the sentinels' use to walk on.
Jan. 13. My birth-day. Wrote a long letter to mother.
Jan. 14 and 15. Usual dull routine of camp duty.
Jan. 16. Went with Dr. McQueen to Dr. Terrill's, and met his pretty daughter, Mrs. Goodwyn, and her sister, Miss Nellie. Regiment returned at night, and I am relieved from my command.
Jan. 17, 18 and 19. Boisterous winds and frequent rains. Marched company "F" to Captain Pickens' quarters, and they were paid for November and December, and commutation for clothing from December 12th, 1862 to December 12th, 1863. The men feel rich with their depreciated money. How cheerful and jocular they are!
Jan. 21. Order from General Lee to send applications for furloughs at rate of 12 to the 100 men present. Tom Clower and Pierce Ware are the lucky ones.
Jan. 22. Forwarded furlough applications for Clower, Ware and L. Williams. Last under General Order No. 1, he having secured a recruit. Privates Kesterson and Chappell left on furlough.
Jan. 23. Am officer of the guard, and Colonel Smede, Corps Inspector, inspected the regiment and guard.
Jan. 24 and 25. Lieutenant Brittain resigned.
Jan. 26. This has been a bright, pleasant day, and most memorable one in the history of Battle's brigade. General Battle made speeches to each one of his regiments, and they re-enlisted unconditionally for the war, almost to a man. I never witnessed such unanimity upon a matter of such vital importance. The brave 12th Alabama, when the invitation was given to those who desired to volunteer, to step forward two paces, moved forward as one man. General Battle spoke elegantly and eloquently. Other officers spoke well. Battle's brigade is the first in the Army of Northern Virginia to re-enlist unconditionally for the war. This is an act of which we may well be proud to our dying day. I rejoice that I belong to such a patriotic body of heroes.
Jan. 27. General Battle sent the following communication to each regiment in his brigade :
"HEADQUARTERS BATTLE'S BRIGADE,
January 26, 1864.
HEADQUARTERS RODES' DIVISION,
January 26, 1864.
BRIGADIER-GENERAL BATTLE, Commanding Battle's Brigade.
General:—I have just received your message by Captain Smith, informing me of the glorious conduct of my old brigade in re-enlisting for the war without conditions. Conduct like this, in the midst of the hardships we are enduring, and on the part of men who have fought so many bloody battles, is in the highest degree creditable to the men and officers of your command. I always was proud, and now still more so, that I once belonged to your brigade. As their Division Commander, and as a citizen of Alabama, I wish to express my joy and pride, and as a citizen of the Confederacy, my gratitude at their conduct. The significance of this grand movement, when considered in connection with the circumstances accompanying it, will not be underrated either by the enemy or our own people. They will, as I do, see in it the beginning of the end, the first dawn of peace and independence, because they will see that these men are unconquerable. To have been the leaders of this movement in this glorious army, throws a halo of glory around your brigade, which your associates in arms will recognize to envy, and which time will not dim. Convey this evidence, feebly at best, but doubly so in comparison with what it would express, of my appreciation of the course you and your men have pursued in this matter, and see now, having written "Excelsior" in the records of your camp history, that your fighting record shall hereafter show you not only to have been among the brave, but the bravest of the brave.
And now, dear sir, let me congratulate you upon being the commander of so noble a brigade of gallant and patriotic men !
R. E. RODES,