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Full text of "Under the stars and bars ; a history of the Surry Light Artillery ;"

Gc 
973.74 



REYNOI..PS HISTORICAL 
GENEALOGY COLLECTION 



ALLEN COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY 



3 1833 00824 2544 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2010 with funding from 

Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center 



http://www.archive.org/details/understarsbarshiOOjone 



Under the Stars and Bars 

A History of the Surry 
Light Artillery 

3. W. Ooneus 



Recollections of a Private Soldier 
in the War Between the States 



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"_ 



And Hist'ry's pen will yet relate, 
In some approaching, clear-eyed day, 

The men were right who fought for the State, 
And wore the sober, Southern Gray. 

— Reunion Ode. 



RICHMOND 
EVERETT WADDEY O 
1909 



1764916 



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■Jcr.c-3, Benjamin Washington] 1841- 

Under the stars and bars: a history of the Surrv iiclit artil- 
lery: recollections of a private soldier in the war between the 
states ... Richmond, S. Waddev co.. 1009. 



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li^'it artillery. I307-l. t -i>5. 2. YjrtjiHa artillery. Surry light artillery. 
lS : ;i-^t;3. J. U. S.— :iist — Civil *™r— T'VJrsonal narratives— Coufcder- 
ute siile. r, TJtle. 



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To His Old Comrades, Who Marched with Hem Under the 
Banner of the Southern Confederacy, from the Begin- 
ning of the Struggle in Virginia to the Closing Hour 
at Afpomattox, These Recollections, in Garb as 
Rugged as was the Bot Soldier Himself, 
are Respectfully and Fraternally 
Dedicated, by the Author. 



PREFACE. 

These recollections of events that occurred in Vir- 
ginia during the great and bloody struggle between the 
States, in which the writer shared in common with his 
Company, are collated principally from letters written 
to a friend at home while the war was progressing. 

I have thought it best that the form of the letters be 
retained, only adding here and there such notes and 
remarks as appeared to be necessary to make of them 
one connected story. Having been written as the events 
were transpiring, they serve admirably as the frame- 
work of the narrative, and present a true reflex and 
picture of the state of affairs as seen by a private soldier 
during the bitter contest in Virginia leading up from 
Big Bethel to the abandonment of Richmond. 

The book is not meant for general circulation, but 
only for the boys in gray, my immediate companions in 
arms, who shared in the events herein related ; and for 
their friends and kindred, who will wish to read the 
story, and know how those boys stood the test of battle, 
and endured the ordeal of the daily trials and sufferings 
to which they were subjected through four long, weary, 
tragicful years. It is simply an offering of love to the 
men (the dead and the living alike), with whom I 
marched and camped, and labored and suffered, in the 



effort to turn aside the tidal wave of a ruthless invasion 
that was sweeping over our land from the Potomac to 
the Rio Grande, and leaving behind it scarred and deso- 
lated homes, and destitution and misery. 

It is certain that the men of the Surry Artillery went 
out to fight for their homes and firesides, for personal 
liberty, and for the independence and integrity of their 
State. These were the principles for which we con- 
tended. It were these incentives, and not the narrow 
quest ion of perpetuating negro slavery, that animated 
the heart of the private soldier of the South, and nerved 
his arm to strike its heaviest blows in defence of the 
sacred holdings where his cradle had stood and his 
ancestors lay buried. They were no hireling soldiery, 
but freeborn citizens, the native lords of the soil that 
had been invaded. This tells the secret why the boys 
in gray, from Texas to Maryland, fought so stubbornly 
and so persistently. 

It has been one purpose in the course of this story, 
to present something of the inner life of the soldier in 
camp — something of the many little tableaux and come- 
dies that were often taking place, and which served to 
break the monotony of what would often have been a 
dull and scarcely endurable life. Perhaps the recital 
of these episodes, most of them doubtless long since for- 
gotten by the surviving actors therein, may serve to 
recall some pleasant memories, and evoke a smile from 
toe now old and gray men, who were then, for the most 
part, but beardless and care-free boys. 



VI 

And now, having finished the task, not altogether as 
I fain would, but as I could, I lay it in the hands of 
my surviving comrades, trusting that it may serve to 
call up pleasing, though it must often be sad, reminis- 
cences of that era of unpleasantness that marked our 
loved Southland with a thousand battlefields, laid 
therein a million untimely graves, incarnadined her 
soil with rivers of blood, and filled her homes with 
widows and orphans, and poverty and loneliness, where 
love, peace, and plenty should have reigned supreme. 

The memory of these things must linger while a single 
veteran remains to tell the mournful story. And it is 
right that the sons and daughters should know what the 
fathers and mothers endured. Over the wrongs that 
we suffered we may throw the mantle of forgiveness, but 
we can never forget them. Knowing well that we vjere 
right, we would fight the foe again, were cause and 
quarrel and issue the same. The man who would not 
contend for his own domicile and altar, for the soil of 
his birthplace and the graves of his ancestors, is a 
craven. B. W. J. 

Surry, Va., 1909. 



CONTENTS 



INTRODUCTORY NOTES 1 

LETTER FIRST. 
Company attached to 3d Virginia Infantry — Drilling with 
the Regiment — Murmurs of the men — Guard duty — Van- 
dalism — Hucksters — Note 11 

LETTER SECOND. 
An invasion of measles — Recruits — Two cannon — Sergeant 

Bloxam and his hard drilling — Soldierly pluck — Note. . . 15 

LETTER THIRD. 
Winter quarters — Two more guns — Life in camp — Gambling — 

Note 19 

LETTER FOURTH. 
A mild winter — Life in camp — Active operations expected — 

Other troops — A soldier's burial — Rations — Note 23 

LETTER FIFTH. 
The campaign opened — Confederate reverses — Naval battle in 
Hampton Roads — Departure of the 3d Regiment, and 
other forces — Camp '"Destruction" — Transfers — On the 
march — Note 27 

LETTER SIXTH. 

Destruction of the Merrimac — Advance of a Federal fleet — 
Engagement at Harding's Bluff — Re-elction of officers — 
Postscript — Note 31 

LETTER SEVENTH. 
In Chesterfield — The 2d Section goes to Richmond — Camping 
around — Point of Rocks — Battle of Seven Pines — All 
quiet on the burly Appomattox — Note 35 



vm 



LETTER EIGHTH. 

A contest with gunboats — Results of the fight — The enemy's 

losses — The seven days' battles — Note 39 

LETTER NINTH. 

Return of the 2d Section — End of the seven days' struggle — 
McClellan stationary — Balloons — Death of I. 0. Cren- 
shaw — Note 45 

LETTER TENTH. 

Shelling a gunboat — Results — Discharge of 35-year men — 
Lee in Northern Virginia — A Comet — Election for 3d Lieu- 
tenant — Autumn — Note 49 

LETTER ELEVENTH. 

On to Manchester — The "wood brigade" — Resignation of Cap- 
tain Ruffin — Promotions and election — The town — View 
of Richmond — Note 54 

LETTER TWELFTH. 

Frame barracks — Sick men — Foreign residents — Lee at Fred- 
ericksburg — The city defences — A snow storm — Rations — 
Note 60 

LETTER THIRTEENTH. 

Christmas eve — Church bells — Christmas boxes — Fredericks- 
burg — Attached to Lightfoot's Battalion — Our camp — No 
snug cabins — Note 66 

LETTER FOURTEENTH. 

A night on picket — Snowed under — Only a cavalry raid — 

And a false alarm — Note 70 

LETTER FIFTEENTH. 

Snow and wind storm — Tents overturned — Rat venison — A 

new flag — Battalion drills — Note 73 



IX 



LETTER SIXTEENTH. 

Good health of the men — "Broom day" — Confederate sta- 
tionery — Skulkers — A revival spirit — Songs in camp — 
An incident — Note 77 

LETTER SEVENTEENTH. 

Sabbath breaking — Inspections and parade — Government 
work — Conduct of officials — Sir Matthew Hale's Sabbath 
law — "Permits" — Note 85 

LETTER EIGHTEENTH. 

The "everlasting" itch — Williams and his remedy — Bright 
Lopes, bat dark results — That, too, passes — Rumors of 
battle — Note 89 

LETTER NINETEENTH. 

Suffolk recaptured — Big siege guns — Marching orders — Des- 
tination — The Home Guard — Note 94 

LETTER TWENTIETH. 

Gordonsville — Marching and counter-marching — The Stone- 
man raid — At Orange Courthouse — Scenery — Note 99 

LETTER TWENTY-FIRST. 

Conflicting reports — Wounded men and prisoners— Death of 
General Jackson — Honoring the remains — Orders to 
return — Note 105 

LETTER TWENTY-SECOND. 

Ibe plains of Virginia — Condition of agricultures — A pen 
sketch of Colonel Rhett— Arrival at Richmond— A new 
camp— Note 109 

LETTER TWENTY-THIRD. * 

AH quiet on the James— Drilling and guard duty— Church 

and theatre— Negro raiders— Note 114 



X 



LETTER TWENTY-FOURTH. 



The battle cloud moving northward — Advancing from the 
York — On the Chickahominy — Scenery and conditions — 
Note 119 

LETTER TWENTY-FIFTH. 

Return into camp — Confederate reverses — Hope for us yet — 
Our cause just — Why we sometimes fail — Conscripts and 
skulkers — Note • 124 

LETTER TWENTY-SIXTH. 

Hanging of Kellogg, the spy — Revivals — Furloughs — Health 

of the Company — Books — Note 129 

LETTER TWENTY-SEVENTH. 

Guardian angels — September days in camp — Hard times in 
Surry— But worse in other parts — Courage, and better 
times — Note 135 

LETTER TWENTY-EIGHTH. 

Winter quarters again — Rations — Small-pox — A fire — The 
city by moonlight — "All quiet along the James" — Con- 
federate Congress — Note 139 

LETTER TWENTY-NINTH. 

Forage details — Condition of the country visited— "Greens" 
and pot liquor — Why soldiers are given to "raiding" — 
A lecture on Palestine — Pay-day in Camp — Note 145 

LETTER THIRTIETH. 

Campaign of 1864 begun — Confederate victories — Dahlgren- 
Kilpatrick cavalry dash — Its nefarious purpose — And 
farcical failure — Stirring events expected — Notes 151 

LETTER THIRTY-FIRST. 

The "Soldiers' Home"— Oakwood Cemetery— A chicken 

"raid" — Double duty — Songs — Note, 157 



XI 

LETTER THIRTY-SECOND. 
The Butler campaign begun — Battle of Port Walthall — A 

Confederate victory — Losses — Note 167 

LETTER THIRTY-THIRD. 
The enemy advancing — Railroad torn up — Fight at Swift 
Creek — Trying to turn the flank — Advancing toward 
Richmond — Note 174 

LETTER THIRTY-FOURTH. 
A glance at operations elsewhere — Federal cavalry again — 

Butler's second advance — Note 178 

LETTER THIRTY-FIFTH. 
Two days under fire — Conduct of the men — Casualties and inci- 
dents—Note 183 

LETTER THIRTY-SIXTH. 

The battle of Drewry's Bluff — Charge of Terry's and Gracie's 

men — Prisoners — Note 188 

LETTER THIRTY-SEVENTH. 

Our losses — Company Q ordered to report — Watching the 
enemy — Spring's lush sweetness — More vandalism — 
Verses — Note 194 

LETTER THIRTY-EIGHTH. 

On the march — Condition of the horses — Drewry's Bluff hill — 
Battle of Cold Harbor — Grant crossing the Chicka- 
hominy — Note 200 

LETTER THIRTY-NINTH. 

Picketing in New Kent — Unburied dead— A battle-scarred 

country — Corn bread only — Note 205 

LETTER FORTIETH. 
Return to the city — Our summer camp — View of the city — 
Richmond the Mecca of the South — Often on picket — 
Note 210 



xai 



LETTER FORTY-FIRST. 

Picketing around — The "poetry of war" — Frequent exchange 

of shots — No news from home — Note 215 

LETTER FORTY-SECOND. 

Ceaseless boom of cannon — The flight and bursting of a 

shell — Recruits — Deserters — Note 219 

LETTER FORTY-THIRD. 

In Vinter quarters again — Clothing — Rations — Both armies 

rest — Courtesies along the lines — Note 222 

LETTER FORTY-FOURTH. 

The paymaster around — Prices — Health of the Company — 

Furloughs — Absentees — Note 226 

LETTER FORTY-FIFTH. 

The winter of '64-'65 — No prayer meetings — Reading and 
sport — The cannon's boom again — Beef and biscuit — 
One meal a day — Note 231 

LETTER FORTY-SIXTH. 

Butler's ditch — Our idle iron-clads — Pushing around the 
flank — Southern railroad cut — Grant's railroad — And 
his towers — Note 238 

LETTER FORTY-SEVENTH. 

A circuitous mail route — But one line open — Richmond un- 
tenable; — What then?— Note 244 

THE SAD FINALE. 

The battle of Five Oaks — Lee's flank turned — Richmond 
abandoned — The city an ocean of flame — Slowly retir- 
ing—Without rations — A weary march — Our last fight — 
Sabbath morning, April 9th — A sound of battle — At Red 
Oak church — Disbanding — Tears and farewells — Crossing 
the James 247 



Xlll 



HOMEWARD BOUND. 

R«t and sleep — Starting out — Hospitality of the people 
by the way — Sheridan's trail of ashes and desolation — 
Passing Richmond — Down the Chickahominy — Waiting 
for darkness — Crossing the James — Home at last 266 

THE SHADOW ON THE WALL. 
"Coming events cast their shadows before them." 279 

REMINISCENCES 

Of S. M. Williams, Quartermaster-Sergeant of the Surry 
Light Artillery, on the march from Richmond to Ap- 
pomattox, April, 1865 281 

EXPERIENCES 
Of Dr. Joseph N. Jones, of Surry, while a prisoner of war. 284 

REPORT 

Of Pembrook D. Gwaltney, a member of the Surry Light 
Artillery, detailed as Master Armorer, for the 2d Corps, 
Army of Northern Virginia 288 

OUR DEAD. 

The following is a list of our comrades who died during the 
progress of the war, either of sickness or of wounds re- 
ceived in battle : 290 

LIST OF SURVIVORS 295 



Under the Stars and Bars 

A HISTORY OF 

THE SURRY LIGHT ARTILLERY 



Introductory Notes. 

When, early in 1S61, the first muttering thunders 
of war began to reverberate through our land — and 
when, on the 17th of April, Virginia, finding it impos- 
sible to remain neutral, passed her ordinance of seces- 
sion, and cast in her lot with that of the new-born 
Southern Confederacy, men everywhere throughout the 
old State began hastily to organize, equip, and prepare 
themselves, as best they could, for the impending con- 
flict that was so rapidly approaching. Even then the 
flame of war had already burst forth in the farther 
South, Sumter had been bombarded and taken, and the 
spirit of war prevailed almost everywhere North and 
South. The determination to resist invasion — the first 
and most sacred duty of a free people — became general, 
if not universal. The plodding, conservative fanner 
forsook the implements of his toil, the mechanic laid 
aside his tools, the merchant turned away from his 
traffic, and the fiery young student of law or letters 



2- Under the Stars and Bars 

closed his books, and took up the rifle or the sword ; all 
classes responded to the call for volunteers, and mili- 
tary companies for every branch of the service were 
speedily enrolled and armed, ready for duty wherever 
the State might call them. Camps were laid out and 
barracks constructed, fortifications were built, forges 
and factories became busy in preparing the implements 
of war, and all was activity, and bustle, and ardor, to 
meet the boastful foe who had already crossed our 
borders. 

In all these preparations, the little county of Surry, 
in common with her sister counties around her, took 
an early and active part. In nothing was she found 
laggard or supine. She gave freely of her material 
and money, and her people, male and female, exerted 
themselves nobly in mustering and equipping men for 
the field. Her sons of military age almost en masse 
hastened to enroll themselves in some new or already 
existing company. Every man, except a timid nothing 
here and there, felt it his duty to respond to the call of 
his State, and of the new Confederacy under which he 
then lived and acted. 

Besides the old Surry Cavalry, an aute-war organi- 
zation composed of the flower of her wealth and chiv- 
alry, to which men began to flock till it was filled to 
repletion, another large Cavalry company was made 
up in the county. The Light Artillery, the history of 



Under the Stars and Bars 3 

which is herein related, was enrolled and sent into the 
field. The Jamestown Heavy Artillery, Captain Har- 
rison's Company, was composed largely of men from 
Surry. Captain Allen's Infantry of Prince George, 
had in it quite a number of Surry men. Some joined 
the Isle of Wight Blues, some enlisted in the Sussex 
Cavalry, and numbers still went to other commands, 
as inclination or convenience led them. This statement 
will account for the fact, that, in proportion to her 
military strength, so few companies or commands 
hailed directly from Surry county. 

In the enrollment of the Light Artillery — the S. L. 
A., as I shall often put it, for brevity — James D. Han- 
kins, a young cadet just returned from the military 
school at Lexington, took an earnest and active part. 
Early in May, 1861, the embryo company, augumented 
in numbers by men from the Cabin Point and Spring 
Grove neighborhoods, where John A. Deal had been 
laboring to form a company, met at Surry Court 
House, effected a permanent organization, and elected its 
commissioned officers. The county court, shortly after- 
wards, presented the men with new and serviceable 
uniforms, and the new Company stood ready for active 
service wherever the State might order it to go. 

The following is a list of the men of the new Com- 
pany, rank and file, as it was originally constituted: 

Captain — Thomas W. Ruffin. 

First Lieutenant — James D. Hankins 



Under the Stars and Bars 



Second Lieutenant — Ira 0. Crenshaw. 
Third Lieutenant — John A. Deal. 
First Sergeant — William R. Barham. 
Second Sergeant — Theophilus J. Berryman. 
Third Sergeant— T. Boiling Bell. 
Fourth Sergeant — Joseph H. Pitman. 
Commissary Sergeant — Joel W. Whitley. 
First Corporal — John H. Bell. 
Second Corporal — Boiling T. Jones. 
Third Corporal — Edwin S. Spratley. 
Fourth Corporal — Samuel A. Moody. 



Bailey. James T. 
Bell, Edwin E. 
Berryman, Joseph R. 
Berryman, John R. 
Brown, Nicholas A. 
Casey, Roger. 
Cockes. Littleton M. 
Clayton, William A. 
Collier, R. M. J. 
Davis. John A. 
Deuell, James T. 
Edwards, William W. 
Edwards, W. John. 
Foreman, W. W. 
Goodrich, Whitfield. 
Garon, Joseph. 
Gwaltnev, Benjamin I 
Harris, John T. 
Holleman. Edmund S. 
James, William E. 
Johnson, Lewis. 



Privates. 



Johnson, William S. 
Jones, Isaac G. 
Jones, Benjamin W. 
Judkins, John L. 
Judkins, W. B. 0. 
King, James. 
King, Joseph. 
Little, William H. 
Moody, James W. 
Pond, Noah B. 
Presson, John W. 
Roberts, Henry C. 
Rowell, George A. 
Rowel 1, J. Henry. 
Rowell, Patrick "H. 
Rowell, Thomas J. 
Savedge, Richard R. 
Seward, John L. 
Spratley, James N. 
Thompson, Robert C. 



The Company, as thus constituted, was composed of 
men, all of whom were residing in Surry in 1861, but 
a number of them were natives of other places. Lieu- 
tenant Crenshaw came from Richmond ; Bailey and 
Holleman were from Southampton county; Casey was 



Under the Stars and Bars 5 

a native of Ireland; Foreman came from Baltimore; 
Garon was from New Jersey; W. S. Johnson hailed 
from Connecticut, and B. H. Delk, W. H. Little and 
J. W. Whitley were natives of Isle of Wight county. 

Immediately upon its organization, application was 
made for guns and equipments. But at that early stage 
in the life of the Confederacy, there were no guns to be 
had, and a long delay ensued before any were obtained. 
However, having been ordered into camp, on the 22d 
of June, 1861 (a few days after the battle at Big 
Bethel), we took our departure from Surry Court House 
for Smithfield, in Isle of Wight. It was on a Satur- 
day afternoon, a bright and balmy day. The Com- 
pany was halted for the day at Bacon's Castle, and we 
were quartered in the old Hebron church, where we 
spent the first night of our soldier life. 

Supper was furnished us by the elder John Han- 
kins, Mr. William A. Warren, and other patriotic citi- 
zens of the vicinity, and we passed the night in or near 
the church building, some sleeping out of doors and 
some upon the benches or the floor. It was a novel ex- 
perience with us all. But merriment and good humor 
prevailed ; songs, comic or otherwise, dispelled serious 
thought, as they also prevented sleep on the part of 
some who had thought to retire early. ~No one slept 
much, and the god of dreams doubtless fled appalled 
from the noisy assemblage. 

In fancy I look back over the long and eventful 
period of forty-eight years that has elapsed since that, 



6 Under the Stars and Bars 

to us, ever memorable time. I see the gay procession 
as it journeyed on, some in wagons and some in rail- 
carts or other conveyances — hear the jests and dashes 
of song that broke now and anon from the care-free 
boys — see them at supper, in soldier style, helping them- 
selves liberally — see them at night trying to find a soft 
place on the bare pews of the church, and finally giving 
it up in disgust — and see, on the morrow morn, the 
good ladies of the vicinity come out to bid us good-by 
and wish us safety and a speedy return to our homes ! 
Alas ! how very little did any of us then know or realize 
of the true nature, or probable duration, of the conflict 
that awaited us, or the self-denials and privations to 
which we would be subject, in the stern tragedy to 
which we were hastening ! Heaven, in its mercy, veils 
the future from us, whether our pathway leads through 
jungles and thorns, or over daisied plains and beds of 
roses. 

On arriving at Smithfield, we were quartered on the 
grounds of the Mason street church and the Masonic 
Hall, and the church building was opened for our occu- 
pancy by night. Rations were supplied us by the town, 
and drilling, morning and afternoon, took up a large 
part of our time by day. In a few days the enrolling 
officer came along, and we were mustered into the 
military service of the Confederate States of America, 
for the term of one year — "unless sooner discharged" ! 
And perhaps some of us were verdant enough to think 



Under the Stars and Bars 7 

that the war would indeed be over, and we would return, 
with honors and eclat, before the expiration of one 
year! Our pay, as soldiers of the Confederacy, began 
from the day we were mustered into service. 

Thus the Stars and Bars became our banner. Under 
its immaculate folds, during four immortal years, a 
military history was to be written that should eclipse 
that of any land or any people. In the making of this 
history, it fell to the lot of the S. L. A. to share but a 
small and humble part. Yet, as I expect to show in 
the following pages, we did good service wherever sent, 
and accomplished something of importance for the cause 
of the Southern Confederacy. 

Though we were not in at Gaines's Mill or Cold 
Harbor, on the left of the Confederate lines, when the 
great drama before Richmond began in 1862, we were 
in at Point of Rocks, on the extreme right of that 
line, where we held back a Federal fleet of seven gun- 
boats, saved Petersburg from bombardment, and per- 
haps, from capture; effected the destruction of one of 
their vessels, and gave the Confederacy a serviceable 
engine to put upon one of its ironclads. Though we 
were not present in Spotsylvania, when Lee and Grant 
were pounding each other to pieces in May, 1864, we 
were present at Port Walthall, and Fort Stevens, and 
the second Drewry's Bluff during the same tragicful 
month, where we helped to turn back Butler's host 
from its advance on Richmond and to pen them up in 



8 Under the Stars and Bars 

quiet idleness at Bermuda Hundred. Though we did 
not march with Lee into Maryland, or share in the 
misfortunes at Gettysburg, we did help to guard and 
defend the oft-assailed Capital from the sudden forays 
of the enemy, under Stoneman and Dahlgren and 
Sheridan. 

These things must count for something. And his- 
tory's pen will yet accord to the smaller portion of 
Lee's army that guarded the Capital of the Confed- 
eracy successfully in '62, '63 and '64, the meed of 
having performed their part as well as the larger army 
that foiled the invading hosts at Fredericksburg or 
Chancellorsville. It is not the number contending, but 
the issue involved, that makes a battle important. Port 
Walthall and the second Drewry's Bluff saved the cities 
of Petersburg and Richmond from capture and the 
Confederacy from ruin, twelve months before the col- 
lapse of the Southern Republic. Let the following 
pages furnish the proof I have to offer for the state- 
ment here advanced. This is not uttered in any brag- 
gart tone, but in simple justice to ourselves and the 
truth of history. 

Our short sojourn at Smithfleld, comparatively with 
the remainder of our soldier life, was like a fete day 
to us. We were fed, and regaled, and noticed by the 
good people of the town, until we became quite vain 
of our importance. The evening hours were enlivened 
by song, in which the ladies sometimes joined from 



Under the Stars and Bars 9 

their verandas or windows — the days were made happy 
by the visits of friends from home — the duties were 
light — and rations were plentiful and good. A few 
weeks passed pleasantly, but too speedily, by, only to 
linger in memory but never to return — to fade away, 
like receding song3 of happiness, that the great cloud- 
burst of war soon silenced forever ! I recall, even now, 
with mingled feelings of pleasure and amusement, that 
first, short, happy month of soldier life at old Smith- 
field, ere discipline had galled us, and ere we were 
"broke to the harness" by the rude hand of the drill- 
master, and we were made to learn the first hard lesson 
of military duty — that it was ours to obey and do with 
unquestioning promptness ! 

In the early part of August, our Company was or- 
dered to join the 3d Regiment of Infantry, then sta- 
tioned at Camp Cook, on the lower James river. Here 
we were quartered in tents lately vacated by a Company 
that had been transferred to another command, and we 
were ranked as Company I of the Regiment. It was 
at this place that our real soldier life and experiences 
began. But we were "under the yoke," and the boys 
took to their duties kindly, and laughed, and sported, 
and sang the tardy hours away with great good nature 
and nonchalance. 



From this point onward to the close, I will use the 
letters written home to a friend during the progress of 



10 Under the Stars and Bars 



♦ 



the war, only supplementing them with such notes and 
remarks as may appear necessary, in elucidation and 
connection of the general record. In every case, the 
notes and additions are designated by the brackets. 



Under the Stars and Bars 11 



LETTER FIRST. 

Company attached to 3d Virginia Infantry — Drilling with the 
Regiment — Murmurs of the men — Guard duty — Vandalism — 
Hucksters — Note. 

Camp Cook, Va., 
August 15, 1861. 

My Dear Friend: — I did not write to you from 
Smithfield, as I had promised, because our time there 
was so constantly occupied with a series of pleasant 
rounds, and with the oft-recurring drills — drills by 
squad, drills by section, drills by company. Fresh 
troops, you may well suppose, need a deal of drilling. 

I expected, too, to have been permitted to see you 
in person ere this time. But we begin already to dis- 
cover that a private soldier cannot go and come at will, 
but must secure a "permit," or a "furlough," and travel, 
like a slave, with a pass in his pocket. 

But here we are at Camp Cook, immediately on the 
lower James river, in open view of Newport News 
Point, and the Federal fleet lying off there, and near 
the famous oyster-beds, or shoals, known so well, and 
valued so highly by our forefathers for generations 
agone. course, we expect to enjoy the delectable bi- 
valves, when the season for them opens. 

We are now attached, as Company I, to the 3d 
Virginia Regiment of Infantry, Col. Roger A. Pryor 



12 Under the Stars and Bars 

commanding. Having received no cannon as yet, we 
have been furnished with muskets, and are required to 
drill with the Regiment, besides doing infantry drill 
by company. 

Some of tke men murmur a good deal at having to 
perform infantry duty, saying they enlisted for the 
artillery service. The officers, however, tell them it is 
only a temporary arrangement, and that the cannon 
will soon be here for our use. But the men shake their 
heads, and declare it is only a ruse to lure us piece- 
meal into the net, and fasten us to the infantry service 
for the war. I do not know. I begin already to feel 
attached to the men of the other Companies, many of 
whom are very clever fellows, and should it so result, 
I, for one, will not hesitate to go with the Regiment 
wherever duty calls. It is a fine body of men, ably 
officered, and full of the esprit de corps. I doubt not, 
when the hour of trial comes, that they will give a good 
account of themselves. 

Besides the constant drilling, we have to do guard 
duty with the Regiment, both at Camp and down at 
Day's Point, two miles below us, where there is a 
picket outpost. Each Company sends two men daily, 
and the Surry Cavalry, Captain Taylor's Company, 
supplies a detail of four horsemen, for vedettes. 

While on the outpost the other night, I was witness 
to a scene of vandalism that, they tell me, is of frequent 
occurrence on the other side of the river. The view 



Under the Stars and Bars 13 

across the river to the country about Big Bethel is un- 
obstructed, and a large fire over there at night is 
readily seen from this side. Many of the family resi- 
dences, barns, and other buildings within reach of the 
Federal army, are being burned, and the owners thus 
made refugees. Thus our foes adopt this method to 
cripple and weaken the Southern people. Such van- 
dalism as this is worthy of barbarian hordes, rather than 
of a civilized people. 

There are crowds of hucksters here every day, with 
vegetables, fruits, chickens, eggs, etc., to sell to the 
soldiers, and they carry away a deal of money, for they 
are liberally patronized, although the regular rations 
furnished us are plentiful and good. But those who 
have money spend it freely, and melons, fruits, and 
eggs are consumed in great quantities by the men. 

Time passes lightly, and we are getting used to 
drilling, and guard duty, and life in camp. These cloth 
houses are fairly good residences, and it is so easy to 
change them from one place to another. And there is 
need for so little furniture ! or rather there is no room 
for it ! We sleep and sit on the ground, with only 
some straw under us. 

May peace and good health attend you, and hover 
over all the homes of the land. 

Your friend, B. 

[The 3d Regiment, as constituted at this time, was 
composed of companies from the cities of Norfolk, 



14 Under the Stars and Bars 

Portsmouth and Petersburg, and the counties of Nor- 
folk, Nansemond, Southampton, Isle of Wight and Din- 
widdie. It was a fine organization, and subsequently 
performed its full share of active service in the Army 
of Northern Virginia, from the battle of Williamsburg, 
May, 1862, to Sailors' Creek, in 1865. In more than 
a hundred hard-fought battles, it gave freely of its blood 
and valor to the Southern cause. Its history is linked 
forever with that of the Army of Northern Virginia, 
and with the names of the immortal Lee, of Longstreet, 
and of Pickett. 

In regard to the destruction of the private property 
of the South, alluded to in the above letter, the future 
historian who may care to know anything of the deep 
spirit of hate and oppression toward the Southern peo- 
ple, that animated our foes in this war, may here learn 
how, from the very beginning of the struggle, they 
carried the torch and flame wherever they went — may 
learn how mills, barns, fences, princely residences, fur- 
niture, books, pictures, statuary, sacred mementoes, 
were burned ; how the owners, oftentimes aged men and 
women, were forced to forsake their homes, and endure 
poverty, self-denial, and want in the interior districts. 
Wherever a Federal band crossed the land, its pathway 
was marked, like the track of the snail by its slime, by 
blackened ruins and the ashes of desolation! Can any 
old Veteran forget these things, or cease to speak of 
them? It was a sorry way to "whip us back into the 
Union," as they pretended to be doing.] 



Under the Stars and Bars 15 



LETTER SECOND. 

An invasion of measles — Recruits — Two cannon — Sergeant Bloxam 
and his hard drilling — Soldierly pluck — Note. 

Camp Cook, Va., 
Sept. 20, 1861. 

My Dear Friend: — Our Company has had quite a 
visitation recently in the way of measles, a perfect in- 
vasion of it. Almost every man in the Company has 
had it, myself one of the last to take it — a well-defined 
case, the doctor said. It has put me off duty for a 
good long time — 21 days, according to the regulations, 
and I am free from drill and guard duty now. 

We are having quite an increase of new men to our 
ranks, recruits from Surry county, from Isle of Wight, 
and from other places. Several of them are from the 
Mill Swamp neighborhood. As a result of these ad- 
ditions, our officers are kept busy drilling the new men, 
preparatory to Company and Regimental drill. It is a 
part of the service that a soldier has to learn. 

And we have had two old cannons given us, for prac- 
tice, and the whole Company is being put through a 
course of artillery tactics, in addition to our other 
duties. Thus we are doing double duty, as it were, by 
serving in the regimental duties, and also at the guns. 



16 Under the Stars and Bars 

In the latter case we are under the tuition of Sergeant 
Bloxam, of the Portsmouth Company, who has seen 
service in the United States Army, and who drills 
us with vim and zeal. 

The guns are smooth-bore, six-pounders, of ancient 
manufacture, appearing as if they might have done 
service in Revolutionary times. In actual service, they 
could not be very effective, except at short range. In- 
stead of horses, of which we have none as yet, we are 
required to move the guns about by hand over the 
field, to front and to rear, en echelon and in line, to 
sponge and load and fire in mimic warfare, until our 
arms ache, and we long for rest- 
But Bloxam does not rest. He is relentless. He 
says the Colonel has told him to drill us thoroughly, 
and he means to do it. In fact, we suspect that Colonel 
Pryor is at the bottom of it all. He wants us for the 
infantry service, and thinks to put us out with artillery 
by this hard drilling. But we do not take well to in- 
fantry tactics. We blunder awfully in every parade, 
and, I believe, have become the common butt of the 
Regiment, in consequence of our many mistakes. 

No doubt, to spectators it must be a little bit amusing 
to see us at the old guns, moving them around by main 
force and awkwardness, until there is little but monotony 
and disgust in it. But the boys will not give in. They 
insist on being trained as artillerymen, and learning 
all there is in it. We are bora artillerymen — we are! 



Under the Stars and Bars 17 

Come down and see us at the fun. It will please you 
to see hove plucky the boys are, and will never cry 
out, "Hold! enough of artillery for us." It will re- 
quire more than one Bloxam, or one Pryor either, to 
beat us out of this idea. 

Good-by. God be with and bless you all. 

Your friend, B. 

[In fancy I look back over the fast evanishing years, 
and behold us all, Sergeant Bloxam in charge, Cor- 
poral B. T. Jones at the trail, Whitfield Goodrich hold- 
ing the post of number 2, James Moody number 3, 
William Clayton number 4, myself as number 1 — see 
us all as we march and countermarch, load "by detail/' 
and "fire" by word of mouth, and then load and fire 
again, and so on, and so out, in those far-off autumn 
days, in that school of stern discipline by the James. 
What a time we had ! What lessons we learned ! What 
old Veteran does not recall the hard training of his 
early camp life, often under the command of men who 
were but little better than pig-headed martinets, re- 
garding the private soldier as but a piece of putty, to 
be shaped into any form that might please them. How- 
ever, not overmuch of this fell to our lot, and perhaps 
we had no great reason to complain of our eai*ly train- 
ing masters. At any rate, we stuck to those two old 
guns, sorry as they were. They served to drill with 
as good as the best, and we subsequently came to prize 
them more highly. 



18 Under the Stars and Bars 

Dear Whitfield! the comrade mentioned in the let- 
ter above. A kind, gentle, good-hearted man. He tar- 
ried with us but a few short months. He died during 
the winter, the first of our Company to give his life a 
sacrifice to the cause of the South. He fell a prey to 
pneumonia at Camp Pemberton, March 10, 1862. His 
remains, attended by an escort from the Company, were 
sent home for interment.] 

"And o'er the graves of comrades gone 
Our heart3 will turn to weep, 
And round their names the ivy wreath 
Of living green we'll keep." 



Under the Stars and Bars 19 



LETTER THIRD. 

Winter quarters — Two more guns — Life in camp — Gambling — 
Note. 

Camp Pemberton, Va., 

Dec. 10, 1861. 

My Dear Friend: — We, that is the whole Regiment, 
are in winter quarters now, good and comfortable log 
cabins, built by the men, the several Companies each 
by itself, all arranged around tliree sides of a large 
square, or campus, the quarters of the Regimental of- 
ficers occupying the fourth side. In the open space 
within, which has been cleared of all debris, the Regi- 
mental and Company roll-calls take place, and squad 
drills of new recruits are conducted. Here we expect 
to remain through the winter. The new camp is but 
a short distance from the old one, and there is plenty 
of wood for fires nearby. 

And we have received two more cannon, and horses 
enough for the four guns. The men are divided now 
into two classes, cannoneers and drivers, the latter hav- 
ing charge of the horses, and the cannoneers working 
the guns. We regard ourselves as on rising ground 
now, and have been excused from infantry drill al- 
together, of which favor we are immensely proud. And, 
thanks to the untiring efforts of Sergeant. Bloxam, we 



20 Under the Stars and Bars 

are becoming quite expert in the artillery tactics, so 
that our own officers will drill us in future. 

We drill twice daily in battery, and have recently 
done some sure enough practice at loading and firing. 
The Colonel wanted to see if our gunners could hit the 
broad side of a house, about half a mile off, and ban- 
tered the gunners beforehand, that, "he would be bound 
every one of them would miss it, clear and clean." But 
no. Four big holes were soon made in the side of that 
edifice. And if the owner ever received any compensa- 
tion for the damage done, Colonel Pryor had it to pay. 
He said the gunners did better than he expected of 
them. 

I have not told you much of the inner scenes of camp 
life, the life of the soldier when oft" duty. Well, the 
men get up all sorts of sports — ball, marbles, leaping, 
running, etc., etc. Anything serves to break the mo- 
notony of confinement. The more intellectual of the 
men spend much time in reading. And the few re- 
ligious ones get together and sing a good deal. There 
are quite a number here who have good voices, and the 
twilight hour, and early darkness before taps, is gen- 
erally enlivened with song. 

But I must say that many, too many, of this Com- 
pany, both privates and officers, seem to prefer other 
amusements of a less intellectual or spiritual nature. 
Card-playing is fearfully common, and the men gamble 
for money, too. Gambling debts are eating up the 



Under the Stars and Bars ~ 21 

men's wages, instead of going for better things, or for 
their families at home. It is a great evil, and ought 
to be forbidden. The morals, as well as the comfort 
and welfare of the men demand it. Yet I am glad to 
say we have in our Company some good, pious and 
God-fearing men, who take no part in encouraging the 
gambling evil; and these, I trust, like the lump of 
leaven in the general mass, will exert a salutary and 
saving influence over the others. 

General Huger, who has command on this side of 
the James, with headquarters at Norfolk, has been 
around recently on a tour of inspection, and has paid 
a visit to the 3d Regiment. He is from South Carolina, 
a scion of an old Huguenot family, and, of course, of 
French descent. He does not look a bit like a "'fire- 
eater/' as the South Carolinians are supposed to be, 
but a staid, even-tempered, kindly man. I like him. 
The name is pronounced Hu-gee. 

There is an absolute dearth of news from the military 
field, and I close with a prayer for your continued 
peace and safety. 

Your friend, B. 

[The first winter of the S. L. A. in camp passed 
quietly by. ^Nothing beyond the common routine of 
duties occurred to vary the usual sameness. We were 
very comfortably fixed, rations continued good and 



22 1 Under the Stars and Bars 

plentiful, there was little sickness, the Company was 
fairly well drilled by this time, and the moral tone of 
the organization, and good feeling for each other among 
the men generally, were excellent. 

The following recruits had joined us during the 
summer and fall of 1861, thus, in addition to the 54 
men of the original Company, making our number at 
the close of 1861 to be 77, rank and file: John W. 
Barlow and Josiah Bell, from Isle of Wight county; 
J. Thomas Brown, A. ISTicholas Brown, J. Decatur 
Edwards, and James Gay, from Surry county; Josiah 
Gwaltney, from Isle of Wight ; Joseph Glover, George 
M. Hargrave, Zechariah Holland, and Joseph R. Kea, 
from Surry; Luther J. Little, from Isle of Wight; 
Samuel A. Moody, George W. Moody, William R. Math- 
ews, Richard Moring, John T. Xelms, Joseph T. 
Price, Charles A. Price, Gilbert W. Rogers, and John 
Underwood, from Surry; and Servetus M. Williams 
and Edward W. Wright, also from Surry county. 
Total, 23.] 



Under the Stars and Bars 23 



LETTEK FOURTH. 

A mild winter — Life in camp — Active operations expected — 
Other troops — A soldier'9 burial — Rations — Note. 

Camp Pembebton, Ya., 

February 10, 1862. 

My Dear Friend: — The winter, which, as you know, 
ha9 been a mild one, with but little of snow, has passed 
by without anything occurring to disturb the ordinary 
routine of camp life. There has been very little sick- 
ness among our men, but more, perhaps, among the 
other Companies of the Regiment, and the daily drills 
with our guns are more of a pleasure than a task with 
us now. The guard duty is reasonably light, though 
the requirements are strict, and there are seldom any 
burdensome details for forage or wood. The pious 
members of the Company, and any others who admire 
vocal music, assemble nightly for singing, and angry 
brawls among the men are of rare occurrence. The 
entire Regiment seems composed mainly of moral and 
orderly men. Though we have no chaplain, and no 
place of preaching nearby, the men read the Bible 
among themselves, and sometimes hold social prayer 
together. The religious and moral spirit of this com- 
mand is regarded as excellent. 



24 Under the Stars and Bars 

But matters seem shaping themselves for active 
operations, and the spring campaign is expected to 
open early. The armies on the Peninsula are astir, 
though it is yet winter, and fighting may occur at some 
point very soon. On this side of the James, troops are 
being concentrated all the way from Smithfield to Suf- 
folk, and it is rumored that fighting has commenced 
in North Carolina about Roanoke Island. The Blues 
(Isle of Wight) yet occupy Fort Boykin on the James, 
where they have been all the winter; and there are 
forces at Harding's Bluff and numerous other fortified 
points along the James, both above and below Fort 
Boykin — Red Point, Pig Point, Barret's Point, and 
various other ''points" and places — where we are said 
to have heavy guns and resolute men, ready to drive 
back the invader, whenever he ventures to come, though 
with all of the panoply of war he be guarded and de- 
fended. 

Our camp has lately been the scene of a soldier's 
burial. A new Company (Captain Tutt's) that came 
here the latter part of the summer from Halifax county, 
having lost one of its men by sickness, the remains were 
interred in military style near the camp. A detach- 
ment of the Company followed the pall-bearers with 
reversed arms, the regimental music played the funeral 
march, and, after the grave was filled, the detachment 
discharged their guns over the mound, and then turned 
away and left the early-fallen soldier to his rest. It 
was a solemn and affecting scene. 



Under the Stars and Bars 25 

Rations continue plentiful and good — flour, bacon 
or beef, sugar, coffee, and sometimes rice. Nearly 
every mess of eight or ten men has a negro man for 
cook. Coffee is made in large camp kettles holding 
several gallons, and it would astonish you to see what 
quantities of it the men drink. Strong coffee, liberally 
sweetened, is the favorite beverage here, and it goes 
well and does good when one is just off guard duty 
these cold mornings. I will not say it is the only bev- 
erage drank here, for there is a sutler's shop here, where 
cider and beer are sold, and the men get frequent 
"permits" to visit Smithfield, four miles from our camp. 

Read Xumbers 6 : 24 — 27, and think of, 

Your friend, B. 

[The allusion to beverages, at the close of this letter, 
reminds me to say, that the restrictions on the sale of 
intoxicants in the town of Smithfield and the country 
around, were not as rigid during those times, as, per- 
haps, they should have been, considering the large bodies 
of soldiers stationed at different points nearby. Brandy 
was frequently brought into the camp. As a conse- 
quence of this liberty, a good many men found them- 
selves at times doing double duty, or maybe under- 
going some sterner punishment for breech of military 
order — some of the S. L. A. among the rest. Yet, as 
a rule, our Company passed this ordeal creditably. 
Composed of some of the best material, morally, of the 
respective neighborhoods from which they sprang, the 



26 Under the Stars and Bars 

men of the S. L. A. were never much addicted to the 
vice of drinking. In large part, they were the pious 
sons of pious and God-fearing men, and their conduct 
served to check dissipation and disorder among the 
rest.] 



Under the Stars and Bars 27 



LETTER FIFTH. 

The campaign opened — Confederate reverses — Naval battle in 
Hampton Roads — Departure of the 3d Regiment, and other 
forces — Camp "Destruction" — Transfers — On the march — 
Note. 

Ben's Church, Va., 

May 2, 1862. 

My Dear Friend: — As was expected when I last 
wrote to you, the military campaign of 1862 has 
started early, not only here in Virginia, but at the "West 
also, where our forces have sustained some severe re- 
verses in Kentucky, and at Forts Henry and Donelson, 
both of which places have been captured by the enemy. 
In Carolina, also, on February 8th, the Federals suc- 
ceeded in taking Roanoke Island, with the supplies and 
garrison there, thus opening the way for an attack 
upon Suffolk and Norfolk from that direction. 

To offset these reverses, we have the brilliant naval 
victory in Hampton Roads to cheer us. On March 8th, 
our new ironclad, the Merrimac, that had been quietly 
under construction all of last summer, dashed out from 
Norfolk toward Newport News, attacked the Federal 
fleet lying off there, destroyed two of their boats in 
quick succession, and created great commotion in the 
Federal Army near the scene. The fight was renewed 
the next day between the Merrimac and the Monitor, 



28 Under the Stars and Bars 

also an iron-plated vessel, and the strongest, it is said, 
in the Federal navy. The extent of the damage on 
either side is not yet known with us here. 

The 3d Regiment has gone across the river, taking 
the Blues from Fort Boykin, thus leaving those works 
entirely unoccupied for the time being. Our army on 
the Peninsula is concentrating near Williamsburg, and 
Gen. Joseph E. Johnston has assumed command. Most 
of the infantry forces on this side have also been with- 
drawn, and a battle is expected over there soon. 

Our Company broke camp nearly a month ago, and 
went first into a "camp of instruction," so designated, 
but the boys dubbed it "camp destruction," on account 
of the cold and wet weather and miserable time that we 
had. Our men suffered greatly, after being so com- 
fortably fixed all winter, and a good deal of sickness 
has resulted from it. 

It was while we were deepest in the mud at the afore- 
said camp, down at Riddick's farm, near Suffolk, that 
several of our men received their transfers, which they 
had been looking for anxiously for sometime, and six 
of them have left us to join the Surry Cavalry. It is 
needless to say that the said men were highly elated at 
the event, and they thought they had the laugh on the 
rest of us. But we told them to wait and see. Some- 
times "he laughs best who laughs last," and it may re- 
sult this way in this case. The names of these boys 
were William A. Clayton, G. A. Rowell, B. T. Jones, 



Under the Stars and Bars 29 

E. S. Spratley, R. C. Thompson, E. R. Bell; all good 
and efficient men, which our Company can ill afford to 
lose. 

From the mud near Suffolk, we were ordered first, 
to Barret's Point, which had been vacated by its former 
garrison, and which appeared to us a most excellent 
place to be captured in. Fortunately, no doubt, we were 
soon withdrawn from that trap, and we are now at the 
winter quarters lately occupied by the Southampton 
Cavalry, near Ben's Church, and also near the old 
Colonial church, known as St. Luke's, now in ruins, 
Our stay here will be brief, and I cannot surmise from 
what place I may address you next time. 

Before I close, let me tell you of the sudden death 
of one of the men, Thomas J. Rowell, whom you knew. 
Tom was apparently well only the day before, was cheer- 
ful and talkative, and no one thought that death was so 
near him. But on the next morning he was stricken 
with something like a congestive chill, and died before 
noon. His remains were sent home under charge of 
a detachment from the Company. Thus we have lost 
two men by sickness within a very few weeks. Others 
of the Company are sick in hospital, or at home. 

Peace be with you, and health and safety. 

Your friend, B. 

[All the men named above as having procured trans- 
fers, served efficiently in the 13th Virginia Cavalry, 



30 Under the Stars and Bars 

General Fitz Lee's command, and all lived to reach 
home again at the close of the war. They saw a good 
deal of hard service and fighting, and those of them 
who are yet living could tell many interesting stories 
of their adventures and escapes. Clayton served use- 
fully for a time as scout, a difficult and dangerous duty. 
He received a severe wound, from which he never fully 
recovered, and died a year or two after the close of 
the war. Spratley was shot through the body, but re- 
covered, and is still living (1909) at Surry Courthouse. 
The other four of the men, I believe, escaped without 
wounds, and returned to become useful citizens. Of 
these, E. R. Bell died at his home in Isle of Wight, in 
December, 1905. B. T. Jones died at his home in 
Surry, February 9, 1908; Thompson and Eowell are 
yet living, the last having been, for a long time, a great 
sufferer from paralysis. George A. Eowell died at his 
home in Surry, May 20, 1909, while the book was pass- 
ing through the press.] 



Under the Stars and Bars 31 



LETTER SIXTH. 

Destruction of the Merriraac — Advance of a Federal fleet — 
Engagement at Harding's Bluff — Re-election of officers — 
Postscript — Note. 

Todd's Battery, Va., 

May 14, 1862. 

My Dear Friend: — At an early hour on the morn- 
ing of the 10th, a loud explosion in the direction of 
Norfolk startled us in our quarters at this place, and 
we have since learned that it was caused by the blowing 
up and destruction of our famous warboat, the Merri- 
mac, or Virginia, as it was named. It seems that the 
boat sustained serious damage in the encounter with 
the Monitor, and its draft being too great for it to be 
taken far up the James, it was deemed the proper thing 
to destroy it, to prevent its falling into the enemy's 
hands. This is sad news. How the foe will rejoice! 
I suppose they will take the hint, and soon build plenty 
more like it. 

We are now at Todd's Battery, a small entrenchment 
near the mouth of Smithfield, or Pagan, creek. A 
fleet of seven or eight Federal gunboats has just now 
passed us, on its way up the river. It did not notice 
us here, but saluted Fort Boykin with a shell or two. 
As there were only a few militia at the place, the re- 
sistance was feeble, and the fleet passed on, and turned 



32 Under the Stars and Bars 

its attention to Harding's Bluff, at the upper angle of 
the Bay. The men there made a stout resistance, hold- 
ing their fire pluckily for more than an hour, but with 
what result I have not learned. 

And so the war-guns are echoing near us often now. 
A sharp battle was fought near Williamsburg on the 
5th instant, where the 3d Regiment lost its first blood, 
fortunately with few casualties. We are in daily ex- 
pectation of the arrival of gunboats, in the attempt to 
capture Smithfield. This is a weak place, but if they 
come we will give them the best we have, and make them 
welcome to it. 

We are in daily expectation of orders to retire 
from this place, and the impression among our men 
is, that Norfolk and the whole Southside country is 
being abandoned by our forces, and will soon be left 
to the tender mercies of a vandal foe. What will be- 
come of our homes, and the women and children, when 
that occurs? 

Our Company has just held an election of officers, 
or rather a re-election. The same officers as before 
were retained without change, except that Orderly 
Sergeant W. R. Barham was chosen 3d Lieutenant, in 
place of John A. Deal, who declined a re-election. It 
is his purpose to transfer to the cavalry branch of ser- 
vice. He has been a good officer, and is much esteemed. 
In consequence of the vacancy in the office of 1st Ser- 



Under the Stars and Bars 33 

geant, our 2d Sergeant, T.. J. Berryman, has been ad- 
vanced to the first place, and ISToah B. Pond appointed 
to the vacancy thus created. 

May the God of armies defend and keep you all, now 
and always. 

Your friend, B. 

Postscript. — I have heard, since the above part of 
my letter was written, that our friends, the militia, 
over at Fort Boykin on the 14th, made a beautiful 
retrograde movement from the place, as soon as the 
Galena threw them her first shell. Poor fellows ! They 
knew nothing about the working of those big guns. 
What were they to do? No one could have expected 
them to put up a fight, under such circumstances. 

B. 



. [The S. L. A. did not tarry long at Todd's Battery. 
The few forces yet remaining on the Southside having 
been placed under the command of Col. R. F. Archer, 
with instructions to proceed leisurely toward Peters- 
burg, the magazine at Fort Boykin was fired and blown 
up, Sergeant Xoah B. Pond, of our Company, per- 
forming the difficult and dangerous task; the military 
stores remaining in Smithfield were burned or distrib- 
uted to the people; and then, with sad hearts, we bid 
them adieu, and left them and their homes without 
protection from the invader. At the time we questioned 



34 Under the Stars and Bars 

the necessity of the movement and gladly we would have 
staid, to shield the women and children from the insults 
of the foe. But it was our duty to obey orders, and we 
retired. 

We proceeded first to Ivor, from which place a 
detachment was sent down, and an attempt made, to 
destroy the railroad bridge across the Blackwater near 
Zuni, but with poor success — and then, after tarrying 
a night at Spring Hill church, in Sussex county, we 
marched by easy stages to Petersburg, where we made 
a brief stay. In a few days our Company was ordered 
into Chesterfield, where General Holmes, with a few 
forces, was holding the extreme right of the Confed- 
erate line confronting McClellan below Kichmond.] 



1764916 

Under the Stars and Bars 35 



LETTER SEVENTH. 

In Chesterfield — The 2d Section goes to Richmond — Camping 
around — Point of Rocks — Battle of Seven Pines — All quiet 
on the burly Appomattox — Note. 

Point of Rocks, Va., 

June 4, 1862. 

My Dear Friend: — Well, here we are, that is to say, 
half of the Company is here. The 2d Section, includ- 
ing two guns and half of the men, in charge of Lieut. 
Hankins, has gone on to Richmond. The detail is only 
temporary, I suppose, and they are expected to return 
soon. 

After our march up here from Smithfield, we made 
a brief stay in Petersburg, camping in a pine grove in 
the western confines of the town, and then came over 
into Chesterfield county, where we have been moving 
around from place to pkce for some time. At the 
present writing, we occupy a place on the Appomattox 
river, six miles below Petersburg, at the point where 
Swift Creek flows into that river. It is a high and 
rocky bluff, rising up and overshadowing the main 
channel of the river, which, at this place, lies very near 
the shore. The position is naturally a very strong 
one, and it is an admirable place for erecting works 
that would be adequate to the defence of this river and 
the safety of Petersburg from all naval attack. Properly 



36 Under the Stars and Bars 

fortified, it would be for the Appomattox what Drewry's 
Bluff has so lately become for the James — a defence 
against which no warships of the present day could 
cope successfully. 

But there is nothing here in the line of defences. 
Not a spadeful of dirt has been turned for earthworks 
or redoubt, and I doubt if any are ever constructed here. 
The great preparations now going on before Richmond 
will prevent any thought or notice of this place, although 
it lies naturally along the same line of defences as 
those of the James river. 

We are supposed to be here to dispute the advance 
of Federal vessels up the Appomattox, but, if this be 
the purpose, we ought to be supplied with far better 
guns than these we have at present. Our little six- 
pounders are entirely unfit to cope with the large and 
powerful guns, such as the vessels of the Federal navy 
carry at this day. It is but sacrificing men to require 
them to stand by such guns as ours, and fight against 
such odds. But, perhaps, our Government is unable, 
at present, to do any better for us, and we will have 
to stand to our post, and trust to luck. 

A great battle was fought at Seven Pines, on the 
east of Richmond, June 1st. The half of our Company 
over there was near the battlefield, but was not engaged. 
I hear that General Johnston was severely wounded, and 
that General Robert E. Lee has been placed in command 
of our army. McClellan is said to have an immense 
host over there, and the resources of our Government 



Under the Stars and Bars 37 

will be put to a severe test. You may expect to hear 
of stirring events shortly. Two great armies in such 
close proximity cannot remain idle long. We do not 
know how soon we may be called upon to meet an ad- 
vancing foe. 

At this time, however, all is as quiet as a June day 
Sabbath along the Appomattox. No turmoil of war is 
disturbing us now. Though we occupy a post on the 
extreme right of the Confederate lines, confronting 
Richmond, we are too far from the main portion of both 
armies to fall much into the commotion of the contend- 
ing forces. General Holmes, under whose command we 
are now acting, holds only a very thin and broken line 
of forces, extending from this place to Drewry's Bluff 
on the James. Unless McClellan should think to send 
gunboats up this river to shell Petersburg — an entirely 
feasible project at this moment — we are not likely to 
have much to do, so long as we remain here. But in the 
event that gunboats should come this way, there is 
no telling what would be the fate of the few smooth- 
faced Surry boys, who are, just now, laughing and tak- 
ing their ease under the cool shade of the several fine 
white oak trees that crown this beautiful bluff. 

May heaven keep you all in old Surry ever safe from 
invasion, and lawless freebooters. 

Your friend, B. 

[In the light of events that transpired soon after the 
above letter was penned, there is no question about it 



38 Under the Stars and Bars 

but that a grave mistake was made, in not fortifying 
the Point of Rocks, on the Appomattox, the same as was 
done at Drewry's Bluff, on the James. The place could 
have been, and should have been, made too strong for 
the passage of any war craft up the river. The enemy 
did attempt to pass up the stream, for the purpose of 
shelling and destroying the city, and it was only by a 
piece of fortunate and unexpected good luck on our 
part, that they were foiled. With heavy guns and reso- 
lute men on that rock-crowned hill, no vessels of that 
day, even though encased with iron or steel, could have 
forced the passage — and the fleet that did venture there 
on the night of June 26th, would have been sunk or 
disabled.] 



Under the Stars and Bars 39 



LETTER EIGHTH. 

A contest with gunboats— Results of the fight— The enemy's 
losses — The seven days' battles — Note. 

Point of Rocks, Ya., 

June 28, 1862. 

My Dear Friend: — I hasten to inform you that the 
Light Artillery boys have had their baptism of fire, a 
battle royal, and that with Federal gunboats ! And so 
what was regarded as hardly probable has come to pass. 
A fleet did come this way, though no one seemed to think 
it would, and as it came and we were here, we fought 
it to the best of our ability— fought it with only our 
two smooth-bore, six-pounder guns, and a small infan- 
try support. 

On June 26th, McClellan and Lee began their great 
test of skill and arms before Richmond, and on the 
night of that same day, just as we were having roll call, 
and the men were about to retire for the night, the boom 
of a cannon a little way down the river, and the whizzing 
of a shell as it sped by us, aroused us to the fact that the 
enemy was approaching. Soon another shell followed 
the first, and then several more to the right and the 
left of the river, as if the enemy were feeling their way, 
and trying to locate or uncover any hostile force. 

And now we knew that there was work for us to do. 
Despite our small number of men — some sixty only. 



40 Under the Stars and Bars 

one-half of the Company being away — and notwith- 
standing the great disparity in the weight and effective- 
ness of our guns, there was no thought of anything but 
doing the best we could, and disputing the advance of 
the fleet as long as we might. 

The cannoneers sprang to their guns, and while the 
Captain was giving some necessary orders concerning 
the horses, the men stood waiting for orders to fire. By 
this time the foremost of the vessels had come up very 
near to us, and lay just below the bluff, not fifty yards 
from our position on the top of it. The discharge of 
our guns brought the fleet to a halt, and then the battle 
began in earnest. But as the darkness of the night pre- 
vented the enemy from getting the range and elevation 
properly, most of their shells passed high over us, aiid 
exploded far to the rear, without doing us any harm. 

We fired upon the nearest of the boats as fast as we 
rould load, and could hear the impact of our shells as 
they struck on the iron armor of the vessels. Of course, 
we were not doing the enemy much material harm at 
that, but we were keeping him busy, trying to dislodge 
us from our vantage ground on the bluff. 

In the meantime, an infantry support had come to 
our aid — two companies commanded by Lieutenant 
J. T. West — and these men found excellent shelter be- 
hind the large boulders of granite on the sides of the 
bluff. As often as the port-holes of the boats were 
opened, the infantry poured in upon the gunners a per- 
fect fusillade of minnie balls, that galled them most 



Under the Stars and Bars 41 

severely, and did great execution among them. Being 
at such close range, every shot almost did some injury, 
while the infantry were completely sheltered by the 
masses of rock that lie all around, on either side of the 
Point. * 

Being stung almost to desperation by the fire of the 
infantry into their portholes, and maddened by their 
inability to lodge an effective shot on the top of the 
bluff, where our guns were placed, the enemy seemed 
now to double their efforts to destroy us, and the roar 
of their guns and the bursting of their shells became 
terrific and deafening. But for our elevated position, 
and their near approach to us, they would doubtless 
have pounded every man of us into mincemeat. If they 
elevated their guns enough to miss the edge of the rock, 
their balls passed over, and did no injury. They were 
only wasting their amunition, and were doing us no 
hurt. 

Thus the fight went on for more than two hours. 
The boats did not slacken their fire, and the boys con- 
tinued to pepper their iron sides as fast as they could 
load. After awhile, one of the boats lower down the 
river got the range better, and then several of their 
huge shells exploded very near us. One of these, burst- 
ing near a group of our men, wounded several of them, 
two of them quite seriously. Our 2d Lieutenant, I. O. 
Crenshaw, was dangerously wounded about the hip, and 
W. John Edwards, a private, was also painfully hurt 
by a piece of the same shell. Two others were slightly 
hurt. 



42- Under the Stars and Bars 

In the course of the engagement, a lucky shot from 
one of our guns, entered the porthole of one of the 
vessels, and plunging downward, made a leak in the 
hull, that obliged them to run the craft aground, to 
prevent it from sinking in deep water. This boat, after 
taking off the valuables, they have now burned and 
abandoned. 

Thus, if we did no more, we have been instrumental 
in checking the advance of the fleet upon the city of 
Petersburg, and have caused the destruction of one of 
their warships, besides the killing or wounding (as we 
have since learned) of fifty of their men. Our loss was 
five men wounded, two of them seriously. It is thought 
that Lieutenant Crenshaw is dangerously hurt. The 
wounded men were sent on to hospital the same night. 

The Petersburg Express of the 27th contains a glow- 
ing account of the affair, but beyond that no notice 
has been taken of it. The great struggle at Richmond 
that began on the same day, and which is yet going on, 
absorbs the whole attention of the country, and of the 
world. 

We are now camping in the vicinity of Port Wal- 
thall on Swift Creek, two miles from Point of Rocks. 
The gunboats have returned down the river, and some 
of the boys have gone over in a boat, to take a look 
at the remains of the vessel that was burned. Heavy 
musketry firing has been echoing all the morning from 
the country east of Richmond. It is a contest of giants, 
and the final result still hangs in the balance, concealed 
from all eves but God's. 



Under the Stars and Bars 43 

Thankful to Almighty God that so many of us have 
escaped unharmed in the midst of so much danger, and 
with a prayer for the continued safety of our friends 
at home, I remain, 

Your friend, B. 

[This, the first engagement in which the Surry Ar- 
tillery took part in the war between the States, while 
it attracted no notice from the public press at the 
time, because of the great drama that was at the same 
moment being enacted, day after day, for more than 
a week, before Richmond, was not devoid of important 
results and benefits to the Confederacy. In the first 
place, it gave the boys of the S. L. A. confidence in 
themselves, and their ability to make a good fight under 
any ordinary or reasonable conditions. They knew 
that the circumstances under which they fought on this 
occasion were unique. They felt that it should not 
have been expected of them, with only two light field 
pieces, to stand and contend against the heavy cannon 
of seven Federal gunboats. Against infantry in the 
field, or cavalry, they believed they could have done 
much better. Or with heavier and more effective guns 
to work, they had no doubt but that they might have 
inflicted more damage on the vessels. 

Besides, the affair had tested their fighting qualities, 
and none of them had shown the white feather. All 
had stood to their posts like Trojan heroes, and had 
fought until ordered to retire and rendezvous at an- 
other place. 



44 Under the Stars and Bars 

Secondly, the result showed the value of an infantry 
support, when engaged against gunboats on all narrow 
waters. It was to the infantry, doubtless, that we 
owed the whole loss of the enemy in killed and wounded. 
And this was considerable. 

Thirdly, it is highly probable that we saved Peters- 
burg from bombardment, and perhaps from a destruc- 
tive fire, and it is certain that we caused the destruction 
of one of the enemy's vessels, and that we gave the 
Confederacy a serviceable engine, to put upon an iron- 
clad. The engine of the burned vessel was subsequently 
raised, carried to Richmond, and placed on one of the 
boats built by the Confederacy. 

Thus the foe lost a gunboat and a considerable num- 
ber of men, and accomplished nothing. We lost no 
material, and gained in military spirit and confidence.] 



Under the Stars and Bars 45 



LETTER NINTH. 

Return of the 2d Section — End of the seven days' struggle — 
McClellan stationary — Balloons — Death of I. 0. Crenshaw — 
Note. 

Walthall Junction, Va., 

July 15, 1862. 

My Dear Friend: — The 2d Section of our battery, 
that has been separated from the other half of the Com- 
pany, has returned. It reached this vicinity on the 
evening of our gunboat fight — June 26th — but was not 
near enough to render us any aid on that occasion. Of 
course, the boys of the two sections have a great deal 
to tell each other of their experiences, since we parted 
several weeks ago. 

The great conte.-t of arms between Lee and McClel- 
lan, after continuing a week, has ceased. After many 
hard and bloody battles, from Mechanicsville to Mal- 
vern Hill, General Lee succeeded in rolling back Mc- 
Clellan's vast host of 120,000 men, and the Federal 
Army is now quietly reposing, and resting, at Berkley 
on the James. Though he is said to still have around 
him an army greater in number than General Lee's, 
yet he finds it convenient to throw away all that he had 
gained in his advance upon Richmond, and to acknowl- 
edge his defeat by retiring under the cover of his great 
fleet of gunboats in the James. 



46 Under the Stars and Bars 

The great army of invaders, that began their march 
up the Peninsula two months ago, and whose pathway 
from Big Bethel to Mechanicsville has been swept by 
fire and desolation, appears to be quiet and well-behaved 
enough now. They have felt the weight of the South- 
ern arm when striking for home and family, and doubt- 
less are aware, by this time, that they cannot walk over 
the land, as they would over a conquered province, and 
continue to burn and destroy at will. Apart from 
sending up a few balloons, with men and glasses to 
spy out the location of our forces, or the weak points 
in our defences, the Federals appear to be doing nothing 
to break the usual monotony of life in camp. I have 
observed two or three balloons recently, resting sta- 
tionary high in air, while, doubtless, the occupants were 
"taking note" of all they could discover in the country 
from the Appomattox to the Chickahominy. The Fed- 
erals are welcome to all they can learn in this way, in 
such a wooded country. 

Since I wrote you on June 28th, 2d Lieutenant I. O. 
Crenshaw has died of his wounds. As I then stated, he 
was dangerously wounded in the fight at Point of Rocks, 
and, despite the best attention of the medical staff, and 
of his friends from Richmond, the hurt proved to be a 
fatal one. He is dead. He had been a good and effi- 
cient officer, and was much esteemed by the men. The 
Confederacy has lost a worthy and valuable citizen and 
soldier. 



Under the Stars and Bars 47 

We are now in our cloth tents near Walthall 
Junction, on the P. & R. railway* All is quiet around 
us at present, despite the proximity of such a great 
army and fleet, whose flag is not the Stars and Bars. 
But we hear that the Federals are retiring on trans- 
ports down the river, to be sent on to some other field 
of battle and blood, in this or another State. 

We have a large sick list now for so small a Com- 
pany, the most of them in hospital in Petersburg. 
There have been several cases of the measles this sum- 
mer, and dysentery prevails among the men. 

May your guardian angel shield you. 

Your friend, B. 

[The spring and earlier summer months of 1862 
proved to be a sickly period for the S. L. A., and many 
of the cases resulted fatally. Among the deaths about 
this time, I recall the names of the following, and am 
not sure that this list includes all that died during that 
season : 

John W. Edwards, from Moore's Swamp, who 
had joined us only in the early part of that year ; Josiah 
Bell, from Mill Swamp, who came in the latter part of 
'61 ; Robert and Emmet Collier, brothers, from Surry, 
new recruits ; Anson Goodrich, another new man, but a 
few months with us ; and Richard Moring, who died at 
our camp, near Walthall Junction, in July, 1862, and 
whose remains were interred nearby, in a field over- 



48 Under the Stars and Bars 

grown with small pines. The others died in Petersburg, 
and were buried in the Soldiers' burying-place near 
there. The remains of some of them were afterwards 
carried home for re-interment. All these died early, a 
prey to disease, giving their young lives a sacrifice to 
freedom's cause and Southern rights. Though they fell 
not in battle, their record is honorable and without a 
stain. Let us keep their memories green. 

"Here plant the ivy and the pine, 
And let the myrtle spring — 
And 'round these names the wreath entwine 
Of everlasting green." 

"They fell in a cause, tho' lost, still just, 
And died for me and you." 

Holcombe.] 



Under the Stars and Bars 49 



LETTER TEXTH. 

Shelling a gunboat — Results — Discharge of 35-year men — Lee in 
Northern Virginia — A comet — Election for 3d Lieutenant — 
Autumn — Note. 

Walthall Junction, Va., 

August 5, 1862. 

My Dear Friend: — On Sunday afternoon, August 3d, 
our battery was ordered to proceed at once to a point 
near Bermuda Hundred, for the purpose of shelling a 
gunboat that had grounded in the James river near that 
place. We reached the designated point, put our guns 
in position, and began firing upon the stranded vessel. 
About the same time, another battery on the southern 
side of the Appomattox joined in the shelling, and thus 
we had the boat between two fires. 

Our shots reached and struck the boat, inflicting some 
damage, no doubt. But the vessel was too far away 
for our small guns, and we probably did it but little 
harm. We soon discovered there was no chance for 
us to sink the craft, and the fire of the battery on the 
other side of the river appeared to be doing no more 
execution than our own. Both of us were firing at very 
long range for such small calibre guns. 

But if the Federals were grounded, they were not 
helpless, and as their vessel lay broadside to us, they 
brought several guns into action, and soon returned our 



50 Under the Stars and Bars 

fire with vigor. They quickly sent over the water to- 
ward us some pretty big playthings, some of which 
burst near us, but the most of them went whizzing and 
screaming by, far to the rear. A few of their huge 
"lamp-posts," as the boys called them, struck the ground 
some distance in front of the guns, and ricochetting beau- 
tifully, passed over in grand style without exploding. 
We kept up the game with them more than an hour. 
But as we saw the ironclad Galena coming with all 
speed to the aid of her consort, and as it was plain that 
we were doing her no material damage, the officer in 
charge of us — a Captain Taylor, I believe, of General 
Holmes' staff — directed us to withdraw. We came off 
with only the loss of one horse, killed by a piece of a 
shell, and one man, Corporal R. R. Savedge, slightly 
wounded in the knee. 

In obedience to an order received from headquarters 
in Richmond, whereby all men in the army who are 
more than 35 years old, were to be discharged, and per- 
mitted to return to their homes, a dozen or more of our 
men have lately bid us adieu and retired from the ser- 
vice. They were: 

J. Nicholas Bell (butler), J. Thomas Brown (the 
fiddler), Xicholas A. Brown, Roger Casey, James R. 
Hatchell, William W. Edwards, James Gay, Randolph 
Johnson, John R. Kea, James King, William II. Little, 
John W. Presson, and James X. Spratley. 



Under the Stars and Bars 51 

We learn here, though it is not in the papers, that 
Lee's army — the main part of it, at least — is now in 
Xorthern Virginia, and that a General Pope has super- 
seded General McClellan in command of the [Northern 
Army. The great army of McClellan in these parts 
has been withdrawn, and with it most of the fleet. It 
is certain very little of their fleet was in sight about 
City Point on the afternoon of the 3d. 

A large comet is visible now in the northwestern sky, 
and is getting nearer and plainer to view every evening. 
Its shape is much like that of the Turkish cimeter. 
What it may portend, if anything, no one, perhaps, 
knows. 

In consequence of the death of 2d Lieutenant I. O. 
Crenshaw, Lieutenant W. R. Barham has been advanced 
to the vacancy, and an election has been held to fill the 
vacancy in the third place. The contest lay between 
J. W. Whitley, Commissary Sergeant, and Orderly 
Sergeant T. J. Berryman, and resulted in Whitley's 
election. Hilton II. Gray was, thereupon, appointed to 
the post of Commissary Sergeant. Gray came to us 
early in 18G2, from the vicinity of Mill Swamp. He 
had been sutler at Camp Cook in 1861. 

Brown-hued autumn is here again, and the now quiet 
and solemn woods of old Chesterfield are beginning to 
wear their many-colored robes of yellow and dun, and 



52 Under the Stars and Bars 

bronze and red, telling us that the reign of summer is 
over, and another winter is fast approaching. Not the 
sound of a gun is heard. Even the gunboats that patrol 
the James seem to have omitted their usual morning 
salute for the time being. We are reposing at ease. 
Rations are enough, but not as plentiful as a year ago. 
The boys forage for wild grapes (of which there are a 
good many near here this fall), and apples, and butter- 
milk, and so they sing their songs, and contrive to 
•'while away the time" without getting into that mis- 
erable state denominated "the blues." 

All is quiet in the vicinity of the two cities, and we 
are falling back into the easy ways of life in camp, until 
called forward again to more active duties in another 
field. 

Grace and mercy be with you all. 

Your friend, B. 

[Of the 35-year men noted in this letter as having 
been discharged from service, only two subsequently 
returned to the army. J. T. Brown afterwards re- 
enlisted in the S. L. A., and continued to perform his 
duties until near the end of the war, when he died of 
small-pox. His death took place at the small-pox hos- 
pital in Richmond, in the latter part of the summer 
of 1S64. His remains were buried in Oakwood, the 
Confederate cemetery, near the eastern limits of the city. 

W. H. Little also re-enlisted. He joined Company 
H, 13th Virginia Cavalry, where he remained till the 



Under the Stars and Bars 53 

close of the war. Since the war, returning to his native 
county (Isle of Wight), he has twice married, and has 
been a prosperous farmer. He is still living (1909). 

£T one of the other men ever returned to the army. 
J. W. Presson died at his home in Surry in 1863. All 
of the others named died within a few years after the 
end of the struggle. Hatchell was, I believe, the last 
survivor of the thirteen, except W. H. Little, who is 
yet living. 

About the time the above letter was penned, Lee's 
army, in its advance into iSTorthern Virginia, had fought 
the great battles of Cedar Run and the Second Man- 
assas, and having "pushed Pope out of the saddle/' to 
be succeeded by McClellan, who was again put at the 
head of affairs, were advancing into Maryland. In con- 
sequence of these movements, a few months' interreg- 
num of unusual quiet and peace prevailed around the 
Confederate Capital, and the country along the lower 
James, and in all Southern Virginia. The storm-centre 
of war had shifted from the James to the Potomac, and 
the Light Artillery was permitted to enjoy a few weeks' 
repose, ere the winter set in, and they were moved for- 
ward to other quarters. Visits from friends at home, 
or the arrival of boxes with needed articles of apparel, 
and other remembrances, fell into the otherwise dull 
routine of soldier life, like bright sunshine after days 
of gloom. The remainder of the summer of 1862 sped 
softly by for the S. L. A., and they rested and 
recruited.] 



54 Under the Stars and Bars 



LETTER ELEVENTH. 

On to Manchester— The "wood brigade" — Resignation of Captain 
Ruffin — Promotions and election — The town — View of Rich- 
mond — Note. 

Manchester, Va., 
November 5, 1862. 

My Dear Friend: — We abandoned our old quarters 
near Walthall Junction two weeks ago, and are now 
camping in a park by the old race course at Manchester 
on the James. It is a good enough place to camp in, 
except that both wood and water are rather scarce 
articles here, and these, as you may readily imagine, 
are very essential things for a soldier's comfort and 
welfare, especially as the nights are already getting 
rather cool, and fires are needed. 

As to water, we manage to get enough for the men 
and for cooking, by going a little distance to the wells 
around, and the horses are driven to a brook half a 
mile away. And, as for wood, the several "messes" or- 
ganize their "wood brigades" daily, and the men go off 
a little distance into the country, pick up whatever they 
can find for fire, and lug it into camp on their shoulders. 
It would amuse you to see the grotesque pictures some 
of the boys make with their big turns of "sticks," such 
as brush, broken fence-rails, etc., etc., as they come 
panting and sweating back, under their loads of wood. 



Under the Stars and Bars 55 

Some of them, by using a rope to tie the sticks into 
bundles, carry almost enough to fill a cart. And you 
had better believe that the men keep a sharp eye on their 
precious piles of wood, lest some of the less energetic 
among the men "snake" away a piece now and then on 
the sly. If you want to raise a little excitement in 
camp, all you have to do is to_pretend to be after some 
fellow's wood. You had as well poke a hornet's nest. 

"Get out of my wood-pile, you thief," is quickly 
heard, generally followed by some such article as a 
frying-pan, or a hatchet, or a stone. 

And then the cries of, "Go for him, John!" "Lam 
him with a piece!" "Throw your skillet at him!" and 
similar expressions, resound from side to side of the 
camp, while the offender beats a hasty retreat to shelter. 

It is such episodes as these that serve to keep our life 
in camp from becoming utterly unendurable, and such 
little tableaux are rather encouraged and taken part in 
by our officers. For, to the credit of our commissioned 
officers, let me inform you that they do not hold them- 
selves aloof from the men, but mingle with them, when 
off duty, with perfect familiarity and equality, re- 
garding the men, socially and every way, as upon the 
same plane with themselves. 

There have been some changes in the grades of our 
commanding officers recently. Captain Euffin having 
sent in his resignation sometime since, it has been ac- 
cepted, and he has lately bid his old Company adieu, 



56 Under the Stars and Bars 

and has retired from service for a time. It is stated 
that it is his purpose to enter the cavalry service. As 
the result of his withdrawal, James D. Hankins has 
been promoted to the Captaincy, W. R. Barham be- 
comes 1st Lieutenant, and J. W. Whitley, 2d Lieuten- 
ant, and an election has been held to fill the third place. 
The choice of the men was almost unanimous for W. W. 
Foreman for that office, and accordingly he becomes our 
3d Lieutenant. He is very popular with all the men, 
and will make a fine commanding officer. 

Manchester is a dingy and rather dilapidated old 
town, that appears to have been built without much 
regard to order or regularity, along the original high- 
way leading toward Powhatan and Amelia counties, and 
seems to have stopped growing entirely. There is a 
post-office, which, of course, is being largely patronized 
by the men, and several churches, where the boys are 
pretty regular attendants. Guards, however, are sta- 
tioned almost everywhere about the place, and a soldier 
cannot move around much without a written "permit." 
As many of our men as can get the consent of the 
"officer of the day" to do so, go along with the feed and 
commissary wagons as they go into Richmond every 
day, and thus manage to pass about without molestation 
from the guard. 

The view of Richmond from this side of the James 
river is varied and picturesque. The State Capitol, 
which is now also the Capitol for the Confederate 



Under the Stars and Bars 57 

States, the post-office, and many churches, mills and 
factories, stand out prominently in the picture, and the 
whole city lies before you in queenly splendor and 
beauty. The river here is more than the fourth of a 
mile wide, but is much broken up with a multitude of 
rocky islets and bowlders, against which the waters are 
ever beating in angry fury and noise. The bridges of 
the P. & R., and the R. & D. railroads are prominent 
objects in the view, and lower down old Mayo's wagon 
bridge is seen. The prospect is inspiring and enrap- 
turing. Read Dyer's Gronger Hill, and apply the first 
few lines to the prospect that now calls forth these ap- 
preciative remarks from him who is now and always, 

Your friend, B. 

[Doubtless my comrades will recall, with some degree 
of complacency, those few pleasant weeks that sped by 
Jill too fleetly during that sunny autumn at Manches- 
ter — will remember Mathews, the postmaster, and the 
little ricketty hospital, where some of our men were 
cared for in sickness — also Dr. Childs, the head physi- 
cian there — and, perhaps, too, will recall to mind the 
little match factory on the side of the main street, where 
friction matches were made. They remember yet the 
cotton mills down by Mayo's bridge, then idle and silent, 
and the little church, where they loved to attend the 
prayer-meetings. Of course, there have been great 
changes in the town since that pleasant autumn of 1862. 
But, for us of the S. L. A., the pictures of Manchester 



58 Under the Stars and Bars 

that memory will call up, will be of those olden things 
that were there when first we saw the place, during the 
ruder days of war. But, for more of our soldier life 
there, see the next letter. And here, as well as any 
where, I will name the new men, the recruits, that came 
to us during 1862 r 

Archibald R. Atkins, William T. Atkins, and Calvin 
Baker, Alexander Baker and James Baker, three 
brothers, all the above from Isle of Wight county; 
Joseph II. Barham, from Surry, early in the year ; Wil- 
liam O. Barlow, from Isle of Wight ; William T. Bell 
(Boston), from Surry; Thomas T. Cockes and Abner 
B. Cofer, both from Surry ; Peter F. Crocker and Wil- 
liam Crocker, from Isle of Wight; Edward L. Collier 
and Robert A. Collier, brothers, from Surry ; George W. 
Dean, Matthew A. Delk, and Hezekiah Delk, from Isle 
of Wight ; John W. Edwards, Thomas X. Edwards, An- 
son Goodrich, from Surry county; John P. Goodson, 
Milton H. Gray, and Junius Gray, from Isle of Wight ; 
John A. Gwaltney, from Surry, and Pembrx»ok D. 
Gwaltney, from Isle of Wight ; James Hatchell and 
William E. Harris, from Surry; Bird Harvey and 
George C. Holmes, from Southampton; Thomas A. 
James, Wiley Jones, James Judkins, Benjamin O. Jud- 
kins and John R. Kea, from Surry; William E. Long 
and William B. Moore, from Surry; William J. Pres- 
son, from Southampton, and John F. Ramsey, from 
Isle of Wight; Asa Rogers (our ''Commodore"), from 
Surry; and Benton D. Thomas, from Petersburg; 



Under the Stars and Bars 59 

Lewis L. Turner, James M. Turner, and W. Henry 
Turner, from Isle of Wight ; James C. Underwood, 
from Surry; Linnaeus W. "White, from Isle of Wight; 
aiid Thomas II. Williams (the shoemaker), from 
Prince George county. 

A goodly array of names, and it includes much of 
the very best material of our Company. These addi- 
tions, forty-six in all, joined to the twenty-four who 
came in during the latter part of 1861, make the total 
list of names on our muster-roll 123. From this deduct, 
for deaths and discharged men of the 35-year list, 21, 
and the net strength of the Company, at the close of 
1SG2, was 102 men. 

Of the above recruits, Pembrook D. Gwaltney, now 
of Smithfield, Va., never served with the Company. 
Being an expert artisan and gunsmith, on joining our 
Company in July, 1SC2, he was at once detailed for 
service in the Ordnance Department, where he remained 
till the close of the war. See an" appendix at the close 
of the book.] 



60 Under the Stars and Bars 



LETTER TWELFTH. 

Frame barracks — Sick men — Foreign residents — Lee at Fred- 
ericksburg — The city defences — A snow storm — Rations — 
Note. 

Manchester, Va., 
]\ T ov. 20, 1862. 

My Dear Friend: — The S. L. A. having been or- 
dered to occupy Battery Xo. 16, on the western confines 
of Manchester, where there is plenty of water and a 
fair supply of wood nearby, we are now supposed to 
be in winter quarters, good frame buildings, with brick 
chimneys. Accordingly, our tents have been packed, 
and we have barracks where we may have fires inside 
and a little more room for bunks. 

But, as yet, we have to cook out of doors — when we 
have anything to cook — for there is no room in the 
barracks for the camp kettles and mess-pans and other 
utensils, and, if there were room enough, the fire- 
places are too small for cooking anything larger than 
a snow-bird. If we stay here long, maybe the different 
messes will build them cooking shelters, and then we 
will have both great-house and kitchen, and will feel 
almost as if we were living at home again. It is by no 
means certain, however, that any such good luck 
awaits us. 



Under the Stars and Bars 61 

This battery was constructed for heavy guns, and 
for infantry, but only a few of the large pieces have 
been put in place. There is no infantry here, and no 
magazine or storeroom for arms or ammunition. It is 
an unfinished place, and perhaps will never advance be- 
yond the present stage of completion. 

A dozen or more of our men are on the sick list, and 
most of them have been sent to the little rickety hos- 
pital down in the village. An old snuff factory near 
Mayo's bridge .has been converted into a temporary 
hospital for the few soldiers that are now on this side 
of the river, and a Doctor Childs, a resident physician 
of ^Manchester, has charge. The ladies of the town devote 
some attention to our sick, and sometimes they furnish 
from their own homes some delicacy or nourishment 
for the men. So the little wayside hospitals, as it were, 
like this one here, are the best, after all. 

There are a great many able-bodied foreign residents 
in this place, who, but for the fact that they are of 
foreign extraction, would, I suppose, have to be in the 
army. They claim to be exempt from military service 
because they have never become naturalized citizens of 
the State, and hence our Government has no right to 
force them into service. They remain at home in their 
rase, while their betters are marching, entrenching and 
fighting, to protect them and their property from mo- 
lestation. This looks hardlv fair to the native sons of 



62- Under the Stars and Bars 

the State, "who are baring their breasts to the storm 
in all its intensity and fury. If these men would 
work to help produce food for the rest of us, it would 
be less unequal. But nearly all of them that I have 
seen appear to be thoroughly idle and worthless. They 
are non-prod ueers, and therefore only parasites, living 
and loafing at the expense of the general public. 

And who knows but that some of them are spies, 
watching our Government, and the trend of affairs, and 
keeping the .enemy informed by some sort of ''grape- 
vine telegraph" of all that is going on here at the 
Capital of the Confederacy? I, for one, believe that a 
strict watch should be kept over all these people. I am 
told there are great numbers of them in Richmond. In 
one sense it may be. politic to allow them to batten here, 
but it seems to me to be unwise, if not weak, to do so. 
One of these same parasites had the audacity, a few days 
since, to say to me : 

"I could spike every gun in that battery," meaning 
Battery Xo. 1G. 

I simply replied to him: "Come and try it, then. 
We have a guard there now." 

The remark seemed to be inspired by a spirit an- 
tagonistic to the Sourhern cause. 

After fighting some terrible battles in Maryland, and 
after the capture of Harper's Ferry by General Stone- 
wall Jackson, General Lee has returned to Virginia, 
and is now in the vicinitv of Fredericksburg. McClel- 



Under the Stars and Bars 63 

Ian, as he did not succeed in whipping Lee, as it was 
his business to have done, has again been "bounced" by 
his Government, and a General Burnside has succeeded 
him. Whether the last elevation will be able either to 
burn or turn any one's sides, remains to be seen. 

There are rumors that stirring events are expected to 
happen hereabouts soon. Burnside is manifesting great 
activity, though it is so far advanced into the season of 
winter, and a battle may take place very soon. It is 
reported that both the York and James rivers are full 
of transports, and it is conjectured they are conveying 
an army to attack Richmond. In this event, with Lee 
engaged with Burnside on the Rappahannock, the forces 
around Richmond would, doubtless, have more than 
they could do to hold back an invading army, advancing 
on us from the York or the James. 

So far as I have seen, or learned, there are very few 
forces stationed here now. How easy it would seem 
for any foreign citizen ( ?) so disposed, to inform an 
advancing enemy of our weak condition just at this 
time, and then a leader with any push about him, by 
making a sudden dash upon the defences here, might 
easily ride over them into the very heart of the city. 

And our earthworks — these on the southern side of 
the city, at least — even were there plenty of men here 
to ocupy them, look to be weak and entirely inadequate 
for checking an army of resolute men. Let us hope 
that, despite our suspicions and fears, there are really 
no spies here to betray us into the hands of a wily and 
watchful enemy. 



64 Under the Stars and Bars 

We have had quite a snow storm up here, and the 
ground is carpeted with a four-inch layer of the most 
beautiful white plush, spotless and pure as a maiden's 
prayer. It is cold to-day. A brisk and biting wind is 
coming down across the James, that finds its way readily 
through the faded and thin uniforms of the men. In 
the absence of overcoats, the men go about wrapped 
in their blankets, which are thus made to do double 
service — a cover by night, a protection by day. Even 
a piece of an old tent, anything that can be utilized, 
serves to keep out some of the cold. I trust the families 
at home, the women and children, are better provided 
for against the coming storms and blasts. 

Rations are out in camp. But this is "draw-day," 
as the men call it, and our wagons have gone into town 
for supplies. But they will not return before the after- 
noon, and all will have to fast until then. True, Jack, 
with his pies, may be around soon, but money is almost 
as scarce in this camp as are rations. And it takes a 
big bill to buy a small pie from Jack. O, for a dash at 
the sweet potatoes, corn pone, and sorghum molasses 
down in old Surry! 

May the good angel guard and keep you all, now and 
evermore. 

Your friend, B. 

[The Company did not repose long at Battery 1G. 
And, after all, it would have been but a bleak, cold place 
for a winter camp. There were no thick woods around 



Under the Stars and Bars 65 

to break off the northern winds, which would have had 
a clear sweep upon us, across the James at this point. 
It was well for us that we were moved to another and 
more sheltered position on the eastern side of Rich- 
mond.] 



66 Under the Stars and Bars 



LETTER THIRTEENTH. 

Christmas eve — Church bells — Christmas boxes — Fredericksburg — 
Attached to Lightfoot's Battalion— Our camp — Xo snug 
cabins — Note. 

Camp Ropek, Va., 

Dec. 24, 1862. 

My Dear Friend: — It is now December 24th — 
Christmas eve again, the second that we have passed 
in camp. But how great the contrast in our condition 
and surroundings with those of last year, down at 
Camp Pemberton, in Isle of Wight ! Then rations were 
plentiful and good, and we could get plenty of good 
things from our homes, not a great many miles away. 
Here the most of us are but thinly clad and scantily 
fed, and we have no snug cabins to shelter us from the 
blast3 and snows of winter. 

The day is bright and beautiful, but cold, and there 
is no appearance of the good cheer and extra fixings 
that used to come to us at Christmas time. How I 
would like to look in upon the homes of old Surry, to 
see if her people are thinking of the soldier boys to-day ! 

The church bells of the city are sounding out loud 
and clear, doubtless calling the ladies' aid societies and 
committees together for the purpose of devising ways 
and means, and planning for pleasant surprises for 
friends and kindred somewhere in the army. Many, 



Under the Stars and Bars 67 

no doubt, will get the Christmas box to-morrow, and 
thus be made happy. It is well. It is pleasant to be 
remembered. It is pleasant to remember. And I know 
that the wives and daughters, and mothers and sisters, 
of the men of the S. L. A. will think of their loved 
ones in the army, and at least send up a prayer to the 
throne of grace for their safety and well-being, if they 
can send no box or token of remembrance to the men. 

But perhaps there will be some boxes, too, from the 
friends in Surry and Isle of Wight. The wagons go 
into town early to-morrow morning, and one of them 
will call at the depot, to see if there may be anything 
for any of the men. 

Letters from home! And Christmas boxes! How 
these things will cheer the hearts of the men and revive 
their drooping spirits! How sweet to have tangible 
evidence that some one cares for you ! Blessings on the 
senders of the letters and boxes. 

In the recent great contest of arms at Fredericks- 
burg, Bumside appears to have been badly beaten, and 
his army has returned to its first position on the north- 
ern side of the river. He got his own sides burned 
■with a vengeance, especially on Mary's Hill. It was a 
decided victory for the Southern arms. 

Our Company has but recently been attached to Col. 
Charles A. Lightfoot's Battalion of Light Artillery, 
composed now of three batteries, namely, Captain 



G8 Under the Stars and Bars 

Rives's Battery, of Albemarle county, six fine guns; 
Captain Thornton's Battery, from Caroline county, also 
six splendid guns; and our own, or Hankins's Battery, 
of four guns. But they are not the same four small, 
light pieces that we had at first. Those were turned 
in some time ago, and were replaced with four good 
and effective cannon of greater calibre and weight. 
Two of them are brass, 12-pound Napoleon field pieces, 
and two are 9-pound rifled guns of the best pattern. 
Thus the Battalion has sixteen good guns, with horses 
and all necessary equipments for effective warfare. It 
is regarded as a strong command. Colonel Light foot 
is fast becoming popular with the men. He is a native 
of Culpeper county. 

We are now in camp on the eastern side of Richmond, 
one mile from the corporation line, and near Battery 
No. 2, where Captain Harrison's Prince George-Surry 
Heavy Artillery is stationed. As to quarters, we have 
none yet, except our cloth tents (which have been 
brought into requisition again), and such shanties as 
the men have been able to construct, to cook and eat in. 
The outlook is, that a piece of cotton cloth will be our 
only protection from the snows and storms of winter, 
while we remain at this place. I trust the season will 
prove to be a mild one. Few of the men have any good 
and warm clothing, and they will miss the snug quar- 
ters that we had a year ago. But there is plenty of 
wood, and also good water here, and we are sheltered 
from the northern winds by a piece of forest, on the 



Under the Stais and Bars 69 

border of which our camp is laid out. The guard duty 
will be light this winter, as we will have no outpost to 
fill. 

May the sun shine warm upon you at home. 

Your friend, B. 

■ 

[Our chances for passing the winter comfortably at 
Camp Roper were far better than they could have been 
at Battery 16, and it was a fortunate circumstance for 
us that we were moved. Besides plenty of wood for 
fires, the water was excellent, and we were camped near 
to men who, to numbers in our Company, were old ac- 
quaintances and friends. Many of the men in Battery 
2 were from Surry county, and, therefore, well known 
to many of the S. L. A. The intercourse between the 
two commands became general and frequent, and, in a 
social way, the winter of 1862-'63 passed very agree- 
ably for us. There was but little sickness among the 
men ; the season was mild, with but little snow, and 
nothing occurred to disturb our repose, or call us out 
of our quarters, except one little false alarm.] 



70 Under the Stars and Bars 



LETTER FOURTEENTH. 

A night on picket — Snowed under — Only a cavalry raid — And 
a false alarm — Note. 

Camp Ropek, Va., 
Jany. 11,-1863. 

My Dear Friend: — After a few weeks of almost 
blissful repose for the soldier life, we have had another 
little experience of war — ''bitter-sweet" some of the 
boys called it, since, though we suffered considerably, 
we met no enemy, and, of course, did no fighting, and 
soon returned to our camp. 

On Thursday afternoon, the Sth instant, our Battery 
received orders to march at once. It was near sunset 
when the despatch came, and we were in for a night 
on the outer lines. We were to occupy a position on the 
York river railway where it intersects the outer line 
of defences, for there are three separate lines of earth- 
worths or other defences, that circumvallate the city on 
all sides. It was near 10 o'clock when we reached the 
designated place. 

Our four guns were put in positions to render it as 
warm for the enemy as could be contrived in the dark- 
ness, and sentries were posted to keep a sharp lookout 
for any advancing foe, including, of course, an advance 
picket, some distance to the front. The rest of us, not 



Under the Stars and Bars 71 

on the guard detail, spread the tarpaulins (tarred can- 
vas, one of which goes with each gun, to spread over it 
when a battery is in park), and then the cannoneers, each 
one wrapped in his blanket, lay down together on the 
canvas, by the guns to rest and sleep. 

But, lo ! before morning, for the night was cloudy 
and stormy-looking, down thick and fast fell the fleecy 
snow, covering us all with a blanket of white, both warm 
and beautiful ! It is needless to say that we slept 
soundly, despite the snow. A soldier can sleep any- 
where. No foe disturbed us, and the snow only served 
to keep us warm under another, canvas that had been 
drawn over us, after all had laid down. 

It fell out that the detachment at one of the guns 
had made their bed in a graveyard, and the boys of 
that gun slept that night literally among the dead. But 
they slept well, and perhaps had sweet dreams of home 
and loved ones. Xone of them would have laid awake 
if he had known that the dead were there. 

The morrow dawned bright and beautiful. The 
grotesque figures of some of the men, as they crawled 
from under their robes of snow, evoked many a laugh 
and jest. The novelty and romance of the occasion 
dispelled all gloom and disposition to murmur, and 
good humor and jolity were in the ascendant. It was 
much better than fighting and bleeding would have 
been, for no enemy had come, and no one complained 
of the snow or the bitter cold. 

"Aud mournfully over the frozen earth 
The wind sobbed loud and shrill," 



72 1 Under the Stars and Bars 

but, with the first blush of daylight, the men were 
allowed to build fires, and their petty sufferings from 
the cold were soon forgotten. 

It turned out that no enemy was anywhere around. 
It was a false alarm. There had been a cavalry raid 
somewhere down about the railroad station at West 
Point, and the rumor had grown out of that. But the 
enemy, like sensible fellows, were, no doubt, quietly 
sleeping in their warm bunks, instead of trying to 
pierce the lines before Richmond on any such night 
as that had been. 

Before noon, orders came for our return to winter 
quarters, and you may be sure the men lost no time in 
obeying it. We found that "Company Q" had kept the 
fires steadily burning during our absence, and — they 
had also consumed nearly all the available rations. But 
we put them on duty bringing in a fresh supply of 
wood, and soon all was peace again. 

Peace be with you at home. 

Your friend, B. 

[This "Company Q" is nearly always present, in 
greater or less number, in every military company that 
goes out into service. It is a sort of unavailable part, 
composed of the men not quite sick enough for the hos- 
pital, but not effective for active service or hard duty. 
It is a difficult point sometimes to determine who should 
and who should not have a place in this "Company."] 



Under the Stars and Bars 73 



LETTER FIFTEENTH. 

Snow and wind storm — Tents overturned — Rat venison — A new 
flag — Battalion drills — Note. 

Camp Ropek, Va., 

Feby. 6, 1863. 

My Dear Friend: — Yesterday, February 5th, it 
snowed nearly all day, covering the ground by night 
several inches deep, with its fleecy ermine. As dark- 
ness came on, the wind rose higher and higher, till it 
became a terrific gale. In consequence thereof, several 
of the tents were overturned, and the boys put out of 
doors. 

You may depend upon it that, amid the darkness 
and confusion, there was some lively scampering around 
for awhile, trying to put the tents up again. But it is 
no fool's job to set a tent upright before a hard wind, 
even in daylight. And at night — and such a night — 
the task was almost a hopeless one. But, as Napoleon 
said to his engineer, when he asked him if the route 
was practicable: "Barely possible, Sire," said the en- 
gineer. "Let us go forward, then," replied the great 
commander. And so the boys of the S. L. A., though 
the task of erecting tents in a wind-storm at night was 
hardly possible, yet they determined to go forward, and 
finally they accomplished the job. The tents were re- 



74 Under the Stars and Bars 

stored to their former places and positions again. And 
if some things were uttered now and then that the boys 
had not learned at Sunday school, would you blame 
them very much, under the circumstances ? But, despite 
a lapsus lingua?, spoken now and then in an undertone, 
good humor and good sense prevailed, and no one 
refused the helping hand, that I have heard of. 

To-day is damp and chilly enough, and not many 
songs enliven the passing hour. But the tents are up, 
and most of the men are snugly coiled within them. 
The discomforts of last night are almost forgotten, and 
the damp blankets are drying by the fires. Paths have 
been made in the snow throughout the whole camp, and 
to the hospital and officers' quarters. 

Rations are not as varied and plentiful with us as 
once they were. We do not get meat every day now, 
and the little that we do get seems to have shrunken to 
twelve ounces to the pound by the time it has reached 
us. It is seldom that we get bacon, and first-class beef 
does not come our way. And so, to help out the 
shortage in meat, finding that several large, sleek rats 
had taken up their abode in the feed-house, and were 
making too free with the corn, one of the men con- 
ceived the idea of utilizing them to his own account. 
He captured some of them, and, after dressing them 
nicely, fried them to a crisp and inviting brown, using 
plenty of black pepper, to disguise any oddish flavor 
the venison might possess. 



Under the Stars and Bars 75 

He declared that the meat was as good and sweet 
as any chicken he ever ate. But I suspect it had been 
a long time since he had tasted chicken. 

Some ladies of Richmond, becoming patriotically in- 
clined, made with their own hands, and presented to 
our Company recently a beautiful battle flag. The 
whole Company was turned out to receive it. W. Gor- 
don McCabe, the accomplished Adjutant of the Bat- 
talion, presented it in an eloquent speech, in which he 
referred to the glorious deeds of Henry of Navarre 
and the stainless honor of Sir Phillip Sidney — and 
Captain Hankins responded in a few appropriate re- 
marks. God bless the ladies, and bless our cause! 

We are having Battalion drills nearly every fine day 
now. The three Batteries manoeuvre together, going 
through all the movements laid down in the tactics with 
rase and celerity. Sometimes spectators come out from 
the city to witness the drilling, and the general testi- 
mony is, so I am told, that our is, not only the best 
drilled Company of this Battalion, but the best drilled 
in the whole Confederate service. As many of these 
spectators are high officials, military men, this is no 
slight or idle praise. 

"Closing of a wintry day, 
Far from home and ease; 
Wailing voices murmur sad 
Through the icv trees." 



76 Under the Stars and Bars 

God bless and keep our homes from the rude in- 
vader's touch. 

Your friend, B. 

[The incident anent the venison of rat meat is no 
soldier's yarn, but an occurence that actually took place, 
as I had it from the man himself. He was one of those 
boys whom nothing could down, a capital soldier, and 
when he took the notion to do a thing, he did it, no 
matter who might laugh. Ridicule or banter cut no 
ice with him. The event will serve to show to what 
straits for food the soldier was sometimes driven.] 



Under the Stars and Bars 77 



LETTER SIXTEENTH. 

Good health of the meri— "Broom day" — Confederate stationery- 
Skulkers— A revival spirit — Songs in camp — An incident — 
Note. 

Camp Roper, Va., 
Feby. 20, 1863. 

My Dear Friend: — Notwithstanding the fact that we 
have been living in tents all winter, exposed to cold and 
dampness, I think the Company has never enjoyed 
better health at any period since the war began. We 
have very few sick, and those only mild cases. Indeed, 
we have had but one sick man in the hospital for quite 
a while. The worst ailments that have afflicted the 
men this winter are, short rations and this intolerable 
camp itch. The last, indeed, is extremely exasperating, 
and it prevails generally through the whole Company. 
As to short rations, that is a thing which a soldier is 
expected to get used to, and submit to uncomplainingly. 

In fact, we are getting to endure both of these 
troubles very philosophically. We have learned that 
they are parts of the inevitable belongings of a soldier's 
life, and it is no use to fret about them. "What can't 
be cured, must be endured." Doctor Dunn doctors us 
for the one, and good Milton Gray — our Commissary 
Sergeant — does the very best he can, I suppose, for the 
other. If any of the men are not quite content with 



78 Under the Stars and Bars 

the treatment they receive in either case, they have no 
redress but to "grumble and endure it." Either malady 
serves to break a little the dull monotony of other things, 
such as the ever recurring roll calls, drills, guard duty 
and sweeping the camp. 

And' this is "broom day," and our camp has to be 
swept again. On these occasions one man, at least, for 
each tent, has to fall in with his broom, and help to 
sweep the camp all over. These sweepings occur once 
a week, if the weather permits, and all debris has to be 
gathered up and burned. It is a sanitary regulation 
for which all can see the utility, and there is very little 
complaining about it. It becomes absolutely necessary 
when a body of men are camped long at one place. But 
some of the boys do not take to the task very kindly, 
but are disposed to shirk and shift about whenever they 
can. Some men will shirk at anything — but eating. 
And some of the prankish ones, when they are forced 
to take up the broom, contrive to raise all the dust they 
can, especially about the tents of the officers, or of any 
comrade they wish to tease a little, in which case they 
soon render themselves a general nuisance. 

You will notice the quality of this paper that I am 
writing upon. It is coarse and inferior, and nothing 
in comparison with the nice paper we used to have 
before the war began. It is made at the paper mill in 
Richmond, and they have not the facilities for manu- 
facturing fine paper. But it is a product of our own 



Under the Stars and Bars 79 

country, and appeals to our patriotism. It should be 
dear, therefore, to every true son and daughter of the 
South. Keep this sheet, and others like it, and in 
future years, 

"As rolls time's furrowing course along," 

perchance sonic one will prize it, and preserve it as a 
sacred memento of these trying days. Note the Con- 
federate flag, with the thirteen stars, to represent the 
thirteen Confederate States, and the stirring stanza at 
the head of the page. They appeal loudly to our love 
for the South and her holy cause. 

"Gather around jour country's flag, 

Men of the South, the hour has come — 
None may falter, none may lag- 
March to the sound of the fife and drum." 

And this reminds me to say that there are yet a 
few men left at home, who ought to be in the army 
doing their part for their country's independence. 
Shame that there are any such shirks and skulkers to 
be found among Southern born — any so lost to duty 
and true manhood, as thus to hide away at home, when 
their proper place is in the ranks ! What will be the 
status of such men in society, when the war is over? A 
hundred times would I prefer to lie 

"Beneath the hasty funeral mound, 
Where Nature took me to her sleep," 

than to a scorn and lot like theirs. 



80 Under the Stars and Bars 

I hear that a great religious spirit and revival is 
spreading throughout Lee's army, and some of the other 
armies of the South, and there are some evidences of it 
here, and in other camps about Richmond. Old pro- 
fessors that had become lukewarm in their zeal, are 
arousing to a sense of their duty, and many of the 
openly sinful are growing more temperate and reverent 
in their conversation and regard for religious things. 
There is less of cursing and profligacy, and much less 
of card-playing in our Company now. than formerly. 
The voice of prayer is often heard in camp among the 
men, and many commands now have regular, or at 
least, occasional, preaching. Many ministers have gone 
out as evangelists to the armies, and some have gone 
into the ranks as private soldiers, or have become regu- 
lar chaplains in some command. Their example and 
teaching are exerting a wide-spread and salutary in- 
fluence. Rev. J. W. Ward, of Isle of Wight, has 
preached to our Company once recently, and other 
ministers hold meetings near us occasionally. 

Almost nightly now, before the tattoo is sounded, we 
hear the voice of song in our camp, religious and re- 
vival songs and hymns. There are several men here 
who sing well, and these assemble together and pass an 
hour or two together at night very pleasantly. Sergeant 
X. B. Pond's tent is headquarters for these exercises, 
and doubtless, to some extent, this method of praise and 
prayer is doing good here, and toning down some of the 
rougher vices of the men. May it lead finally to a great 



Under the Stars and Bars 81 

outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon all the armies, and 
all the people of all the South. A soldier may fight and 
be a religious and God-fearing man, too. 

But let me tell you of a little incident that has really 
taken place in our camp lately — one of the little 
comedies, not altogether innocent, but not wholly harm- 
ful, that are occasionally happening, and which serve 
as safety-valves, to let off the superfluous steam en- 
gendered by the life of confinement and idleness in 
camp : 

One of the songs that were being sung quite fre- 
quently, almost nightly in fact, by our religious choir 
was that somewhat eccentric refrain: 

"Scotland's burning! Scotland's burning! 
Cast on water! cast on water!" 

and so some of the prankish set among our boys con- 
ceived the idea of turning a little joke on the men in 
Sergeant Pond's tent. As a few of the tents had been 
fixed up with rude dirt chimneys for fireplaces, and 
Sergeant Pond's was one -of these, it gave the boys a 
fine chance to play their game. And so, one night, one 
of the smallest among the men, with a bucket of water 
in hand, was lifted up by a big, strong fellow to the 
top of the little stick chimney. And just as the choir 
rang out the alarm, 

"Scotland's burning! 

Cast on water!" 



82' Under the Stars and Bars 

the little fellow on the chimney cast his bucket of 
water down upon the fire inside, which deluged the 
whole fireplace, put out the fire, and scattered the em- 
bers in every direction! 

Of course, tocr^it put a sudden stop to the song, and 
sent the men quickly out of the tent after the offenders. 
But not in time to discover who they were. Before they 
wei-e fairly out of the tent, the boys had gained their 
own bunks, and were enjoying the fun at a distance. 

The choir soon saw the joke, and, as they could do 
no more, submitted quietly. But it is presumed that 
nothing more will be heard of ''Scotland's burning" for 
some time. 

With a prayer for your continued safety and welfare 

at home, I remain, 

Your friend, B. 

[It was about this time, or a little previous to it, that 
all the leading denominations of Christians in Rich- 
mond, and other cities of the Confederacy, began an 
earnest and systematic effort to supply the armies with 
religions literature of a practical and serious nature. 
Tracts, pamphlets, religious papers, small books and 
testaments, songs for the camp, and other forms of 
pious reading matter for the soldiers of the Confederacy 
were printed and distributed on all sides, wherever there 
was a company or body of soldiers to be found. Each 
denomination had its depository of books and tracts for 
distribution among the soldiers, and every soldier who 



Under the Stars and Bars 83 

applied at any of the publishing houses, was supplied 
gratis with something of a religious nature to read. 
Every evangelist and chaplain who went into the army, 
carried along a supply of tracts, to give to the men. 
Even the women, in many instances, took upon them- 
selves the benevolent task of visiting the camps nearest 
the cities, that they might convey to the men the spir- 
itual f6od they so much needed, and, in most cases, de- 
sired and begged for. 

It was a noble work, in which the women of the Con- 
federacy took a large, zealous and active part. And the 
amount of good that was accomplished by this agency 
was incalculable and lasting. The reader who may 
desire to see an extended account of this grand labor of 
love, will find it in Dr. William Jones's "''Christ in the 
Camp." The religious literature of the Southern Con- 
federacy, that was called into being by the desire to 
supply the armies with reading of a spiritual nature, if 
it could be collected together in one body, would form 
a most interesting library of practical and serious 
reading. Pity that some one did not think in time to 
collect and retain copies of it all. 

But it was not alone in the distribution of good books 
and tracts that the women took a large and an active 
part. The future historian, in writing up the record 
of those times, should not fail to mention the zealous 
and self-denying labors of the mothers and daughters, 
and the wives and sisters, in ministering to the bodily 
comforts, as well as the spiritual benefit, of the soldiers. 



84 Under the Stars and Bars 

Their tender aid and encouragement were found every- 
where, by the cot of the sick or the wounded, at the 
home of the fatherless and widows, by the couch of the 
dying, at the grave of the dead. Whether it were the 
offering of flowers for the hospital, the little delicacy 
for the sick, the word of warning for the irreligious, 
the voice of entreaty in the prayer-meeting, or a song or 
a Bible text for the dying, the noble women of the 
South, in the days that tried men most, stood foremost 
and pre-eminent. Their record is bright in deeds of 
mercy for the men who wore the gray.] 



Under the Stars and Bars 85 



LETTER SEVENTEENTH. 

Sabbath breaking — Inspections and parades — Government work — 
Conduct of officials — Sir Matthew Hale's Sabbath law — 
"Permits" — Note. 

Camp Roper, Va., 
March 10, 1863. 

My Dear Friend: — Sunday the 8th was a bright and 
beautiful day here, and we had inspection and Battalion 
drill, which occupied the whole of the forenoon, and it 
was 1 o'clock before our Battery returned to the park, 
and the men were dismissed, and permitted to go about 
cooking their dinners. As to the latter item, perhaps it 
mattered little, for there was not much to cook, and il 
did not require much time to get through with it. Yet, 
being Sunday, a day that should ever be set apart for 
rest and religious exercises, it seemed a needless dese- 
cration of the sacred law to keep holy that day. But 
such has been the general practice with our higher 
officials from the beginning of the civil strife. If there 
is anything above the ordinary to be done, such as a 
dress parade, regimental inspection, or a drilling con- 
test, it has to take place on Sunday. Nearly all the 
big drills and reviews are ordered for Sunday. Sunday 
seems to be regarded as the great drill day. 

Were this a necessary feature of the war, a matter 
which could not be attended to as well on any other day, 



86 Under the Stars and Bars 

there would be some excuse for the wholesale abuse of 
the day of rest. But such is not the case. The ex- 
igences of war do not require it, for these things are not 
essentials. In many cases they are no more than a 
display of vanity and pride on the part of pfficials who 
desire to show off their commands to their friends. 
Many a grand review has been ordered to please a few 
lady visitors to camp on Sunday. 

In the case of the Government works, the manufac- 
ture of arms, amunition, and war material, there may 
often be real necessity for Sunday labor. Supplies must 
be had, and if the need is great and pressing, the work 
may properly go on without intermission. But this 
urgency can hardly continue all the time, without ces- 
sation. It may well be feared that the pressure is often 
assumed to exist only as an excuse. I am told that work 
goes on at all the Government shops and works in Rich- 
mond constantly on Sunday. And I know they do not 
stop for Sunday down in the dock at Rocketts, but 
continue to hammer away on the ironclads on that day 
as earnestly as upon any other day. 

There is reason to believe that many of our higher 
officials are not as pious and Sabbath-loving as they 
should be. I fear they care very little for God's holy 
day. I suspect some of them suppose that the private 
soldier has no need for a day of rest, and that he should 
work or drill on Sunday, in order to earn his wages 
and make a better soldier of him. 

I do not believe that Sabbath-breaking pays, even in 
time of war. Sir Matthew Hale's law of the Sabbath 



Under the Stars and Bars 87 

conies to niy mind very often, and I could wish that it 
were written in very large characters on every Govern- 
ment shop, and all the war material in our land. Here 
it is: 

"A Sabbath well spent, 

Brings a week of content, 
And health for the toils of to-morrow; 

But a Sabbath profaned, 

Whatsoe'er may be gained, 
Is a sine forerunner of sorrow." 

Could anything be more direct and pointed than 
that ? or more obviously true, when considered in the 
light of lifelong observation and experience ? The rule 
is just as applicable to nations as to individuals. 

With me this Sabbath profanation is a serious mat- 
ter. I have my fears of what the final issue of this 
war will be, wholly on this account. I fear God will 
not continue to bless our cause, as evidently lie has 
done hitherto, unless this sin is turned from by all in 
authority. If our cause fails, at last, I believe it will 
be due, in great part, if not entirely, to our own national 
mistakes and sins in regard to the law of the Sabbath 
day, and not because our fight is not just and upright. 
But enough of this. 

Our men are allowed "permits" almost daily now. 
And they make use of them to attend the churches in 
the city. There is good preaching and religious exer- 
cises two or three times a week, and often nightly, at 



88 Under the Stars and Bars 

all the leading churches. Whole squads of the men go 
in town together, and the pastors and people welcome 
them, and invite them to come. 

My friend, pray for the success of our cause. Pray 
for the spread of religion in the army. Pray for those 
in authority, that all of them may become pious and 
God-fearing men; and pray for the Sabbath to be re- 
spected and honored by all, both high and law. Then 
our cause must prosper. 

Your friend, B. 

[After forty-five years of added experience and ob- 
servation in regard to the Sabbath since this letter was 
written, the writer is decidedly of the opinion, that it 
was on account of two sins especially — one of them 
national, or rather official, and the other individual — 
that God withdrew his favor from us as a people, and 
permitted the South to be defeated in the war of 
1861-'G5. One of these offenses, the official, was the 
general and shameful violation of the Sabbath day, the 
needless secularizing of the sacred hour for rest and 
spiritual improvement ; and the other, the individual 
sin, that of intemperance! I have no doubt but that 
many a battle was lost, and many a life, too, because 
some one in command had imbibed too freely of some 
form of intoxicant. General Stonewall Jackson had a 
horror of intoxicating liquors in the army. Could this 
evil have been banished entirely from the army, and had 
the Sunday hour been always and everywhere duly 
regarded, the South might have won her cause.] 



Under the Stars and Bars 89 



LETTER EIGHTEENTH. 

The "everlasting" itch — Williams and his remedy — Bright hopes, 
but dark results — That, too, passes — Rumors of battle — Note. 

Camp Eopek, Va., 
March 30, 1863. 

My Dear Friend: — In my letter of February 20th, I 
spoke incidentally of that trying malady denominated, 
in military phrase, the camp itch. Well, it does not 
abate. Far from it. It seems here to stay. Dr. Dunn's 
red precipitates, mercurial ointments and lotions, do 
not cure, and what the boys wanted was something that 
would cure, no matter how bad or bitter it might be. 
Anything that would effect a change for the better 
would be welcome. The boys did not wish to be af- 
flicted with the same disease all the time. They wanted 
a change, and this itch was perennial, it was everlasting. 

And so a man was found equal to the occasion, one 
who knew of a "certain, safe and quick" cure — one of 
our own men. It was T. H. Williams, "Shoemaker'' 
Williams, as we all call him. He knew of a plant, a 
decoction of which would cure any case of camp itch 
in the Confederacy. But the said plant grew nowhere 
else but in Surry county. Down there, not far from 
the home of the said Williams, were loads of it, and 
if — if he could only get down there for a short time, he 



90 Under the Stars and Bars 

would soon have in camp enough of the leaves to make 
tea for the whole Battalion, to say nothing of one Com- 
pany. But just at this time neither permit or furlough 
is granted to any one. But the boys have — or rather 
they had, faith in Williams's prescription, and they be- 
came urgent that he be sent home for the leaves. And 
Captain Hankins, he, too, listened tenderly to the story, 
and, after putting his wits together, for he likes to 
please the men, soon devised a plan. He would send 
Williams to Surry on a detail. The detail, being a 
matter of duty, and service for the army, would go 
through. 

And so it did. Williams was delighted, and the men 
pressed his departure. The detail was as good as a 
furlough would have been for Williams, for he only 
wanted to get home for a little space. The detail was 
for five days, and promptly on the fifth day Williams 
returned to camp with ever so many bags of leaves — 
leaves of the so-called "sheep laurel'-' or lambkill, the 
Kalmia angusti folia of botany. 

This was the plant. And a strong decoction of its 
leaves was to be the great "safe and certain'' cure for 
the exasperating scabies militavis that had atflictcd them 
so long, by day and by night. 

Bright hopes were now in the ascendant. Speedily, 
several camp kettles, filled with water and leaves of 
the kalmia, were placed over the fires, and brought to 
a boil— for Williams had told them to make the de- 
coction strong. He really wanted it to cure, no doubt, 
and thought he was advising them for the best. 



Under the Stars and Bars 91 

And then the boys "prepared for action," as the ar- 
tillery phrase is. Stripping off their shirts, several of 
them at the same time — such was the haste to have the 
remedy working a cure — several of them at once began 
vigorously to apply the lotion that was to rid them for- 
ever of the detested scabies. But before the first ones 
that began to use it had proceeded even a little way, 
their physiognomies, before so bright and anticipative, 
began to change suddenly and wonderfully ! and some 
impromptu adjectives, not of the admiration class, be- 
gan to be uttered without rule or reason. And quickly 
their words grew louder, and faster and fiercer. The 
other boys who had just started in, paused for an ex- 
planation. But they did not have to wait to be told, for 
as soon as the tea began to act just a little, they knew 
how it was themselves, and they, too, joined in the 
outcry. 

And soon there arose such an outburst that the <k of- 
ficer of the day" heard it, and came forth to learn the 
cause of it. And Williams himself heard it, on his 
post in the Battery, for he was on guard duty that day, 
and he wondered what had occasioned the uproar. It 
began to trouble him. 

And then some of the boys who had not yet tested 
the prescription, seeing how matters stood, began to 
laugh and halloo and jest at the suffering ones. But 
that did not stop the turmoil. The agony produced by 
that sheep-laurel tea, and the outcries and anger were 
almost alarming. The imprecations that descended on 



92' Under the Stars and Bars 

the head of Williams were loud and bitter, and if some 
of the men could have got hold of him just then, he 
might have fared badly. But he was on post, and none 
of them dare molest him then. 

But, after awhile the pain abated a little. The 
tableau passed from the tragic to the comic. Good 
humor re-asserted itself. A better feeling began to pre- 
vail, and the cloud that had been raised passed by. 
Those kettles of tea were silently overturned, and no 
more has been made. The boys all. declare they prefer 
the disease to the remedy, ten to one. 

There are rumors that the Federal cavalry under 
Stoneman are attempting to turn Lee's flank above 
Fredericksburg — and also that another large body has 
been seen coming in this direction from the York river. 
We are expecting orders to march, and, in any event, 
we will not remain here much longer, as the spring is 
well advanced, and the weather mild and fine. 

May the good angels guard and keep you and us from 
all harm. 

Your friend, B. 

[I have thought that this letter, relating how our 
comrade, Thomas IT. Williams, studied out a plan to 
pet home, at a time when neither permit nor furlough 
was granted to any one, though perhaps a little over- 
drawn in some particulars, would do to go in along 



Under the Stars and Bars 93 

with the rest. The occurrence did actually take place, 
and no doubt some of the survivors, those certainly who 
tried the tea, will recall some of the incidents. I think 
Comrade Williams never did stand in quite so well any 
more with some of the men. They always entertained 
a little grudge toward him, on account of that sheep- 
laurel tea. He certainly lost his reputation as a doctor, 
and some of the boys were so discourteous at times as 
to remind him of the well-known adage : Ne sutor ultra 
crepidam, let not the shoemaker go beyond his last. 
He was a good man and a good soldier. But he did 
finally return to his last, and got a detail to work in 
the Government shoemaking shop in Richmond. He 
died a few years after the close of the war at his home 
in Surry. 

And still, in Mem'ry's hallowed halls, 

We'll sometimes pause to view 
The scenes that Friendship yet recalls. 

Of comrades tried and true. 



94 Under the Stars and Bars 



LETTER XIXETEEXTH. 

Suffolk recaptured — Big siege guns — Marching orders — Destina- 
tion — The Home Guard- — Note. 

Camp Roper, Va., 
April 20, 1863. 

My Dear Friend: — We learn here that a portion of 
Lee's army under Longstreet, has lately recaptured the 
town of Suffolk', and driven the Federals back several 
miles toward Norfolk. Thus the Southside counties are 
freed again from the enemy that has been ravaging and 
despoiling, and in many cases, burning the homes of our 
people. Whether or not it is the purpose of our Gov- 
ernment to maintain an army at Suffolk, and keep the 
foe out of that part of the State, does not appear, but 
I sincerely trust that such is the case. It would put a 
stop to those raiding bands (perhaps most of them only 
lawless freebooters, in fact) that have been prowling 
around down there, stealing the horses, killing the 
cattle, robbing the hen-roosts, and burning the mills and 
the private dwellings of the people. How pleased the 
S. L. A. would be to be ordered into that part of the 
State! It would be going back home again. I was in 
Richmond when Longstreet's men passed through, on 
their way down to Sulfolk. I trust it is the intention 
tf> hold that section permanently. 



Under the Stars and Bars 95 

Thus active operations for the summer have started. 
We have orders to be ready to march at a moment's 
notice, but in what direction we shall go, none of us yet 
know. Perhaps this will be the deciding year of the 
war, and reveal what the end is to be, if it does not 
bring the end itself. I hear that all is astir in the 
armies at Fredericksburg. The Northern Government 
has sent Burnside down, and put in "Fighting Joe 
Hooker" at the head of affairs. Perhaps Hooker thinks 
it is about time for him to be hooking in General Lee 
and his men. The enemy's cavalry forces, now under a 
General Stoneman, seem to be trying a flank movement 
around Lee's army, in the direction of Louisa Court- 
house. Perhaps it is in that direction that we are to go. 

I saw yesterday, at the Southern depot in Richmond, 
some of the largest cannon ever cast in the Confederate 
States. I was told they were 700-pounders, and I tell 
you they were rousers. I could have crawled into them 
easily. They were cast at the Richmond Iron Works, 
and are to go to Charleston, where the gallant Beaure- 
gard is still holding off the Federal fleet and army in- 
vesting that port. The Confederacy is not so badly off, 
after all, in the way 'of supplying her fortified posts 
with large guns and ammunition. It is a sight to a 
countryman to go through those shops and see the 
great piles of shot and shell, and other paraphernalia 
of war. 

"Well, we have marching orders. Our entire com- 
mand (Lightfoot's Battalion), and a large part of the 



96 Under the Stars and Bars 

City Defences, all under command of Colonel Rhett, 
are ordered to proceed without delay to Gordonsville 
and the vicinity. Colonel Rhett is a South Carolinian 
and said to be a rigid disciplinarian and determined 
fighter, and I suppose we are in for some rough ex- 
periences. If we meet the enemy, I feel su|fe that Rhett 
will fight them. But I do not know who -is to defend 
the Capital, in case of a sudden foray of the enemy 
from the York or the James, when all these forces here 
are gone. I hear, however, that they have a pretty 
strong Home Guard here, and I suppose they will have 
to turn out and repel the foe if he comes. 

The fact that there is a regularly organized and 
equipped Home Guard in both Richmond and Peters- 
burg, does not appear to be generally known. Nothing 
is ever said about it in the public press. Perhaps the 
head authorities wish to keep it a secret. And it may 
be better that it should be so. The body is made up of 
middle-age and old men and boys, mere lads, not yet 
old enough for service in the regular army. As they 
are the home people, those whose homes and every 
sacred tie are centred here, they may be counted upon 
to fight with resolution, if the pinch comes, notwith- 
standing the lack of military training and discipline. 
It is a sorry man that will not defend his own ingle and 
home. 

Good-by. We are off at noon, and are to go by rail. 
So the necessity must be urgent. Hooker's cavalry have 
crossed the Rappahannock some distance above Fred- 



Under the Stars and Bars 97 

ericksburg, and are said to be advancing toward Gor- 
donsville. I will try to find opportunity to write to 
you from that place. 

"Company Q" remains behind to nurse the sick, 
guard the camp, and "bring up the rear," in case of a 
sudden attack on the city while we are away. 

May the angel guard camp around you, and us, and 
the city. 

Your friend, B. 

[For the enlightenment of the sons and daughters of 
the old Veterans, who, perhaps, may be curious to know 
about this Company Q," spoken of above, I will say 
that, in every body of soldiers, whether a single com- 
pany or more, there are, nearly always, a few men, more 
or less, who are partially sick or ailing, or in some way 
disqualified for full and active duty ; convalescents just 
out of the hospital ; new recruits that have not been 
drilled ; and some, maybe, who shirk and pretend to be 
sick; and, it is these who are classed as "Company Q." 
They are the unavailables, the ineffectives, those who 
cannot be counted upon to render aid or help, either in 
the hour of battle or in the performance of any very dis- 
agreeable duty. And while some of the very best and 
most reliable men are sometimes forced to be classed in 
this "company," it is not regarded as an altogether 
creditable parcel or body of soldiers to which they 
belong. 



98 Under the Stars and Bars 

And, as I am trying to write a truthful history, I 
must say that the S. L. A. had, nearly all the time, an 
indefinite number of men, generally few, sometimes 
many, of this class. How far, at any time, any of these 
might properly have been called shirks, it is beyond 
my province to say, but I think not many. It was a 
hard matter to play off continually, or frequently, so as 
deceive officers, doctors, and comrades, too.] 



Under the Stars and Bars 99 



LETTER TWENTIETH. 

Gordonsville — Marching and counter-marching — The Stoneman 
,- a jd — At Orange Courthouse — Scenery — Note. 

Orange Cotjkthotjse, Va., 

May 8, 1S63. 

My Dear Friend: — I take the first opportunity that 
I have had since our arrival in these parts, to write to 
you. Our Battalion, with many other forces, left Rich- 
mond on April 27th, and arrived at Gordonsville, over 
the CL & O. rail, at an early hour that night. The 
night was rainy, and, as we had no tents or shelter of 
any sort, we had rather a bad time of it until morning. 
But we had large fires, and some of the men managed 
to sleep a little. 

Gordonsville is a long, straggling town, built up 
along the highway that has many angles and turns. It 
lies at the foot of the southwest hills, or mountains, a 
spur or outcrop of the Blue Ridge. As a railroad 
centre, it is a place of some importance, and there are 
a number of shops and other industrial enterprises, or 
rather there were, until the war closed some of them. 

We tarried at Gordonsville but a day or two, since 
which time our Battalion has been moving almost con- 
stantly, marching and counter-marching from place to 
place, seldom remaining more than a day anywhere, but 



100 Under the Stars and Bars 

hurrying from point to point, as the exigencies of the 
occasion, or the movements of the enemy, seemed to 
require. So far, we have not been brought in contact 
■with the invaders, and have done no fighting. The 
13th Virginia Cavalry, however, has been engaged 
once or twice within the past few days, and have 
brought in some prisoners. You know there are a great 
many Surry boys in that command. Both Company 
G and Company H of that Regiment, are from Surry. 

We are told now that the enemy is falling back to his 
stronghold somewhere near the Rappahannock, and, of 
course, near the main body of Hooker's army. Stone- 
man, at the head of a large and formidable cavalry 
force, had attempted, by a circuitous flank movement, 
to get between General Lee's position and Richmond, 
and so destroy his communications and cripple his army. 
And it is said he came right near succeeding, in part, at 
least. For the very day we came up here, a part of 
his troops got within a mile or two of the railroad, and 
by a sudden dash, they might have cut the road, and 
perhaps have captured a part of us. Had Stoneman 
kept on with the vim he showed at first, he might have 
given a good deal of trouble, but he seemed soon to lose 
faith in his enterprise, and has withdrawn. Conse- 
quently we have had rest for several days. 

We are now camped within a mile of the village of 
Orange Courthouse, reposing on a high ridge, with deep 
ravines on either side ; in Orange, but not among 
oranges! And not much of anything else to eat in 



Under the Stars and Bars 101 

sight. In fact, rations up here afford no suspicion of 
abundance and more to come. Those of the men who 
have any Confederate scrip left, manage, by tramping 
around a good deal, to buy buttermilk, vegetables, etc., 
and thus eke out the short supply of corn bread. So 
we are comparatively content and happy. 

The scenery up here is varied, picturesque and beau- 
tiful. From our camp we have a fine and extended 
view of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance, and 
there are many delightful prospects all around us. This 
hilly country presents many elevated ridges and high 
knolls, fine for residences, and just the beau ideal posi- 
tions for artillery to play .upon an advancing army. 
But for a few things, I think I would love to live up 
here. And one of these is the formidable state of the 
roads, the clay, the endless beds of clay. It has rained 
several times recently, and the roads, unlike the varied 
scenery, are anything but beautiful. These red-clay 
roads are "just awful" after a rain. If it rains but a 
little, the surface gets so soap-like and slick that every 
step one makes he is likely to slide back two, and wind 
up by falling down prone into the mud. And if it 
rains much, the clay gets like mortar, only more tena- 
cious, and every step you take, you stick fast in the 
mire or leave a shoe behind ! 

It is hard on the men's shoes, hard on the men, and 
as for the poor horses, they can barely drag the cannon 
through it at all. The guns and caissons have . been 



102- Under the* Stars and Bars 

lightened of every disposable weight, but to little pur- 
pose. The mud encases the spokes and hubs until the 
wheels become huge plates of solid clay, and stops have 
to be made to shovel it off. I love Virginia, all of it. 
Yea! 

"I love thee next to Leaven above, 
Home of my fathers — thee I love; 
And rail thy sland'rers as they will 
With all thy faults, I love thee still :" 

but I am not intensely captivated with these red. hills 
and this Orange county clay. I much prefer our own 
Tidewater, with its long stretches of sand, and level 
roads, and gravelly hills. There are no mountains down 
there, it is true, and but little of varied and picturesque 
scenery ; and there is no red clay there, either — at least 
none like this clay up here. If there be anything in 
the world that "sticketh closer than a brother," un- 
doubtedly it is this Orange county mire. 
For awhile adieu, and peaceful dreams. 

Your friend, B. 

[Before the above letter had been written, several 
great battles had occurred between different parts of 
the two armies at Fredericksburg ; General Jackson had 
executed his splendid and famous flank movement, and 
struck Hooker's vast army a blow, from which it re- 
coiled in fatal confusion, and which gave another great 
victory.. to Lee's matchless army; and Stoneman, too 



Under the Stars and Bars 103 

busy in aiding his chief in his retrograde across the 
river, found no opportunity to meddle further with 
Lee's communications with Richmond. There was, 
therefore, no further use for Colonel Rhett and his 
forces in Orange, and he was free to return. It was 
deemed advisable, however, to give the horses a good 
rest before the backward march was undertaken. 

As I am writing this only for my immediate com- 
rades and their friends, and not for a critical public, 
I feel that I need make no excuse for having employed 
the word "raid" at the head of this letter. It is not 
altogether a well-established word for grave history. 
It carries the idea of a predatory incursion, for the 
purpose of robbing and devastating a country, rather 
than approved warfare ; and perhaps General Stone-^ 
man would object to the implication that he was bent 
on robbery. The term is a Scotticism, used by Sir 
Walter Scott in his admirable writings, but hardly yet 
sufficiently anglicized for use in grave composition. 

But perhaps I have more need to apologize for the 
occasional use, in the course of these letters, of such 
decidedly rude expressions as "just awful," and some 
others. They were found in the original letters, and I 
did not deem it of importance enough to change them. 
But in every such case I have used the marks of quota- 
tion, to show that they are not well approved words. 

The account that is given of the bad state of the 
roads, as we found them in the Piedmont country in 



104 Under the Stars and Bars 

May, 1863, is no exaggeration. In a country where 
stones seem to grow like bumps of stubbornness on every 
hillside and in every valley, it is a wonder that some of 
them had not been utilized a century ago in making 
hard roads. Good roads, if they had been general 
throughout Virginia, might have done something to 
save the Confederacy from final overthrow. The roads 
of Orange county were no worse than those of the other 
hilly districts. Bad roads cost the Confederacy 
millions.] 



Under the Stars and Bars 105 



LETTER TWENTY-FIRST. 

Conflicting reports — Wounded men and prisoners — Death of 
General Jackson — Honoring the remains — Orders to return — 
Note. 

Orange Courthouse, Va., 

May 14, 1863. 

My Dear Friend: — There are no newspapers circu- 
lating in the army up here, and nothing by which to 
form a definite idea of what is going on elsewhere, and 
the rumors and reports that we get from time to time 
are extremely conflicting and untrustworthy. First, we 
hoard that Stuart's cavalry had been defeated by Stone- 
man's forces, and next we heard that Stuart had re- 
signed. Then we were told that Stonewall Jackson had 
been wounded, and that Stuart had been placed in 
command of Jackson's corps. Then we heard that the 
Federals had captured Fredericksburg, and got in be- 
tween Lee and Richmond, and that Lee was retiring to- 
ward Louisa Courthouse. And so, between one report and 
another, we did not know what to depend on. That a 
great battle had been fought, we felt sure, but of what 
the issue had been we were kept in profound ignorance 
for several days. 

But the passing of many trains, conveying wounded 
men and prisoners, also captured arms and supplies, 
convinced lis that the tide of battle had once more 



106 Under the Stars and Bars 

turned in our favor. The prisoners that came by this 
route, were captured mainly by Stuart's forces and the 
daring Uosby. Then we began to receive more definite 
accounts of Jackson's charge on Hooker's right flank, 
and that Jackson had been wounded. 

But we were not prepared for the sad news that 
General Jackson had died of his wounds! Stonewall 
Jackson dead ! The words were too distressing to be 
entertained ! But the arrival of orders for a section 
of our Battery to proceed to Gordonsville, for the pur- 
pose of firing a salute to the remains as they were being 
conveyed to their last resting-place, put an end to all 
doubt. It was indeed too true. The great chieftain, 
General Thomas J. Jackson, had been severely wounded 
near Chancellorsville on May 2d, and had died near 
Guiney's Station on the 10th. 

As the train bearing his remains approached the sta- 
tion at Gordonsville, the section of our Battery that 
had been detailed for the purpose, discharged its guns 
in honor of the dead hero. It was a sad duty the boys 
had to perform. All felt and knew that a great leader 
among men had fallen — felt that our cause had sus- 
tained an irreparable loss — and that his place could 
never be entirely filled. 

The sad event has occasioned great gloom throughout 
our army, and over all of the Confederacy. We have 
many able generals, but none just like Stonewall Jack- 
son. In his fall I believe that we lose even more than 



Under the Stars and Bars 107 

the fall of Richmond would be. May the God of battles 
defend our cause, and order the event to our good. 

"Let us praise Him for victories past; 
Let us trust Him for all that's to come." 

On yesterday afternoon, the 13th, orders were re- 
ceived for our return to Richmond, and I am writing 
this early this morning, before we take our departure. 
Accordingly, all the forces of Colonel Rhett's Command 
are about to take up the line of march, on the return 
trip. We will bid adieu to Orange, and Orange county 
mud, and proceed by easy stages via Gordonsville and 
Louisa Courthouse, and on through Hanover. 

"The bright May morning's come again, 
With balmy airs and showers, 
And through the wood, and in the glen, 
Is borne the breath of flowers." 

When you approach the throne of grace, think of the 
soldier boys. 

Your friend, B. 

[It is out of the province of this humble history to 
speak extendedly of General Stonewall Jackson. Our 
command was in another part of the army, and we saw 
nothing of him. But we heard much. From the time 
he struck McClellan's right flank at Mechanicaville, 
on that bright 20th of June, 1862, up to that glorious 
but too fatal day at Chancellorsville, we had heard 



108 Under the Stars and Bars 

many things of "Stonewall Jackson's way" of marching, 
and fighting, and defeating the enemy. And every man 
of the S. L. A. had learned to love him. And when he 
fell, we all felt and knew that it was an irreparable blow 
for the South. Sadness settled upon our camp and upon 
the hearts of the men. They spoke of his death with 
bated breath, and wondered why he had been taken 
from us in the way and manner that he had. Such a 
splendid victory! Such an untimely and disastrous 
fall ! Even to this day, I cannot see the reason for it.] 



Under the Stars and Bars 109 



LETTER TWEXTY-SECOXD. 

The plains of Virginia — Condition of agriculture — A pen sketch 
of Colonel Rhett — Arrival at Richmond — A new camp — Note. 

Camp Letcheb, Ya., 

May 28, 1863. 

My Dear Friend: — The section of the State over 
which we passed, on our return route, is a, level plain, 
known as the plains of Virginia. The scenery is varied, 
at times almost picturesque, and one notable feature 
in the landscape for several miles after leaving the 
mountain country, is the presence of large isolated 
bowlders, or rocks, scattered about, one or two at a place, 
over the fields. Some of them are almost as large as 
a house, and all are too large to be moved by ordinary 
mechanical appliances, hence they have to remain where 
they lie. Such rocks, similarly placed, would be a 
notable feature for our Tidewater land. 

The water of the plains is excellent, and there are 
many tine springs and small brooks and streams. And 
ther<_- is gold there, too, so they say, but I did not have 
time to look for any. Agriculture seemed to be in a 
depleted condition. There w T ere some good fields of 
corn aud wheat, and some cattle and sheep grazing in 
Well-enclosed pastures. But many fields and farms lie 
fallow, and are growing up in bushes, and quite often 



110 Under the Stars and Bars 

the fences and buildings manifest neglect and the ab- 
sence of labor. Slaves, and in some cases, white men, 
were at work in some of the fields. But an air of aban- 
donment, painful to look upon, seems to rest over all the 
country. 

Yet, in comparison with the Peninsula counties, it 
is still a fair and goodly land. There are no blackened 
ruins, marking the despoiler's path, and the people have 
not been driven from their homes to N seek refuge in other 
parts. The churches and mills remain, and the appli- 
ances of agriculture are there yet, and the old men and 
the boys may labor in hope and peace. With its pro- 
ductive soil, and a climate almost beau ideal for health, 
it is one of the most desirable parts of the Old Dominion. 

Xothing of particular interest occurred on the march 
back — nothing that needs to be noted, save, perhaps, the 
presence of vast clouds of dust, that clung to the army, 
as it moved onward, in long lines of stifling misery. 
The volume of dust that is raised by an army, tramping 
slowly onward over a dry road, is a phenomenon. From 
front to rear of the line, the impalpable earth-powder, 
the floating soil-spray, winds its slow coils around every- 
thing. It penetrates everywhere, into the clothing and 
accoutrements, into the eyes and lungs of man and 
beast, into everything. It settles upon the foliage of 
all the trees, and floats off right and left over field and 
crops. There is no escaping it. Tho soldier has to 
trudge on in the moving wave, half suffocated, half 



Under the Stars and Bars 111 

blinded. How welcome, at such times, is a shower of 
rain, to lay the soil-demon low. Though it is seldom 
mentioned, and but little thought of, outside of army 
circles, one of the greatest discomforts of the soldier's 
life, and one of the severest tests of his physical en- 
durance, is, undoubtedly, the great dust-clouds that 
hang over and envelope a moving army on a dry, hot 
day. It has to be seen and experienced to be thor- 
oughly understood. We met with a good deal of this 
sort of misery on our march back here. 

I had frequent opportunity, on the return, to see 
and note our commanding officer, Colonel Rhett. Once 
or twice he spoke to me, and seemed desirous of talking, 
though I was only a private, trudging along in the 
dust, and he on horseback. He asked some questions 
about the crops, and other things, and his manner was 
kind and affable. He is regarded by many in his 
command as a stern man and a severe officer, but I saw 
nothing like it. I think he has a kindly heart, though 
it may be concealed under a rough and somewhat re- 
poll ant exterior. That he will fight the enemy, when 
he meets him, I have no doubt. He is from the Pal- 
metto State, and the Palmetto soldiers all fight. I have 
come to like him. 

We reached Richmond yesterday, the 27th, and our 
camp is now in a fine oak grove near the western limits 
of the city, and near the Brook Turnpike, that leads 
out of the town into the old "mountain road" through 



112' Under the Stars and Bars 

Hanover, over which we lately marched. We are also 
quite near to the fair grounds usually occupied by the 
State Agricultural Fair during its annual exhibitions 
in times of peace, but now used as a conscript camp for 
the State conscripts. It is called Camp Lee. Our own 
camp has been named Camp Letcher, for the Governor 
of Virginia, and the grove is large enough for all the 
three Companies of the Battalion. 

"The mellow eve is gliding 
Serenely down the west; 
So, every care subsiding, 

My soul would sink to rest." 

Pray for our country, for the armies, and for me, 
and read the twenty-third Psalm. 

Your friend, B. 

[The reference in this letter to the clouds of dust 
that always attend a body of soldiers on the march 
during a dry time, while it will recall to the minds of 
the Veterans one of the most disagreeable attendants 
of their soldier life, will also serve to inform the chil- 
dren and grandchildren of the post-war times of a 
matter that, very likely, they would never think about 
in reading the history of what their fathers endured 
in the war between the States. 

The long marches — and all armies have to make 
long marches at. times — the long marches have four 
repellant features, namely, weariness, footsoreness, 



Under the Stars and Bars 113 

thirst and dust. Weariness and footsoreness are in- 
separable attendants on all marches, whether per- 
formed in summer or in winter. In addition to these, 
thirst and dust are unavoidable in summer time. A 
rain while an army is moving in summer, brings relief 
and is always welcome. But the rain, unfortunately, 
seldom occurs just at the time needed. 

The sufferings that armies experience at times from 
thirst and dust are often intolerable. An army on the 
march cannot escape the dust. It is a natural result 
of the movement of any body of troops over a dry and 
sandy road. The men cannot leave the ranks and get 
out of it. They have to keep in it all the time. And 
when to the dust are added thirst, footsoreness, and 
weariness, the soldier's lot is indeed severe and trying 
to the utmost — is truly and emphatically a hard and 
bitter experience. No one but an old Veteran who 
has gone through it all time and again, can form any 
adequate idea of the depressing nature of these things. 
I thought it proper to emphasize this fact, that the 
younger generations, whose ideas of war are mostly 
of the romantic cast, might be the better prepared to 
understand something of its true bitterness.] 



114 Under the Stars and Bars 



LETTER TWENTY-THIRD. 

All quiet on the James — Drilling and guard duty — Church and 
theatre — Negro raiders — Xote. 

Camp Letciieb, Ya., 

June 15, 1863. 

My Dear Friend: — All is quiet along the James and 
around the Capital of the Confederacy at this writing. 
We seem to be settling down to a tranquil summer 
here. But we hear that General Lee, with a recruited 
army, is moving forward into Xorthern Virginia. 
After the mighty struggle at Fredericksburg, ''fighting 
Joe," who got the worst of the fight, has been falling 
back, and General Lee is assuming the offensive. 
Whether he will go beyond the Potomac again this 
summer, as he did last, has not yet reached the ear of 
the private in these parts. I hope, however, there will 
be no further movement that would have the appearance 
of an invasion of Northern soil. Southern soldiers 
are fighting for this very thing, more than anything 
else, namely, to resist invasion, invasion of their native 
land and soil, and if our own army should turn about 
and become the invader of the Xorth, I believe it would 
tend to unite that people more firmly and lead them 
to fight us harder than ever. This is a private's view 



Under the Stars and Bars 115 

of the matter, and it may be all wrong. But I, for one, 
would prefer to fight at home. I think I could strike 
harder here. 

Our drilling field is the old Fair Grounds, now 
Cain]) Lee, where our Battalion drills once or twice 
daily. This, and guard duty, are about all we have 
to occupy our time, except the usual routine of camp 
life. Sometimes the boys engage in athletic sports, 
and there is the usual "broom day" once weekly to 
occupy a part of our time, that often will hang heavy, 
for lack of regular and continued employment, Drill- 
ing and guard duty are commonly irksome employ- 
ments, but the men manage to get through them with- 
out feeling that they are martyrs on account of them. 
Our camp is located very conveniently to the city for 
attending church, theatre, etc., and the men get "per- 
mits" almost daily for attending the one or the other. 
Many attend the different churches, especially the Clay 
Street Methodist Episcopal, where a revival has been 
in progress for sometime, and where several of the men 
have made a profession of religion. Others visit the 
Trinity Methodist Episcopal, where that able minister, 
Rev. John E. Edwards, is the pastor. I have heard him 
preach, and regard him as an earnest, zealous, devoted 
man of Cod, who is endeavoring to do all the good he 
can. I have been reading his ''Life of the Rev. John 
Wesley Childs," of the Virginia Conference, and ad- 
mire the portrayal of Christian character therein ex- 
hibited. 



116 Under the Stars and Bars 

The new Richmond Theatre, finished since the war 
began, has also been drawing some of our men. I have 
attended on several occasions, and have witnessed 
Scott's "Lady of the Lake," also "Cleopatra," "Captain 
Kidd," and other pieces. But I take no special interest 
in the plays. I have some doubts as to the propriety 
of permitting the play-house to be open at times like 
these. When we reflect upon the great struggle that 
we are engaged in, and the frequent reverses that our 
arms have sustained, and also come to think of the hard 
lot of our soldiers, and the many deaths that are con- 
stantly taking place in the hospital and on the battle- 
field, it does seem to me that such diversion as the 
theatre offers us should be prohibited. It looks very 
much like Xero fiddling while Rome is burning. I 
wonder that the public sentiment of the city permits 
the theatre to run while the country is engaged in a 
bitter and terrible war. 

And besides, there are a number of strong, able-look- 
ing men belonging to the troupe, who, it seems to me, 
might be doing better service if assigned to a wider 
stage, and made to do some acting pro bono publico, for 
the country at large. They have one man there, who, 
they say, ran the blockade from the North to join the 
company. If he would go and "join the cavalry," I 
think he would deserve and share a better opinion on 
the part of some. Who knows that he is not a spy, 
paid to report such things as may be of importance 



Under the Stars and Bars 117 

for the other side to know ? Some fine day before long, 
he may depart to "run the blockade" back again to 
whence he came. 

How can we pray for and trust God's blessing to 
rest upon this country, when there are so many in- 
consistencies and sins lying at our door? With our 
hospitals filled with the sick, wounded and dying — 
with the crepe displayed in so many homes — what room 
or place is there in our lives for the inane and silly 
amusements of an irreligious drama ? 

It is a source of grief to the men of the S. L. A. that 
several bands of lawless freebooters, composed of run- 
away negroes and worthless white men, have recently 
begun to visit and pillage in the counties of Isle of 
Wight and Surry. It makes the blood almost to boil 
within us, to think that our kindred and friends at 
home have tamely to submit to and endure the insult, 
abuse, and wrong that come of such thieves, without 
any prospect of redress or retaliation. Perhaps it is 
but litle more than we might expect of a certain class 
of slaves, let loose from bondage, without any restrain- 
ing hand to control them. But that there are any white 
men, native to the soil, and living here among our people 
all their lives, and receiving favors from many of them 
on many an occasion, who could descend to an abyss so 
low and despicable, is more than I could believe. Great 
God ! to what depths will not mortal man plunge, when 
the demon of unholiness and greed gets possession of 



118 Under the Stars and Bars 

his heart! White men? — white traitors! dogs! vam- 
pires! with hearts blacker than the slaves with whom 
they associate, and souls more repulsive than the 
hideous daughters of Phorcus and Ceto ! What infamy 
will rest upon their names, when this bitter tragedy is 
played ! 

Your friend, B. 

[The intention has been strong with me from the 
beginning of this history, to devote a page somewhere 
in the work to an expose of the conduct of a few white 
fiends in our midst, Avho played the despicable role of 
traitors, informers, freebooters and thieves, during the 
closing years of the war, in the section where the men 
of the S. L. A, were born and raised. But, on reading- 
over the letters that I had written during the war, I 
discovered that I had already spoken of them in terms 
as strong as respect for my readers would permit. I 
have no desire to devote to them any further attention, 
except to say that I could give the names of several of 
them, were I called upon. It would be but simple jus- 
tice to every old Veteran to name them here, in order 
that posterity might know who among onr own people 
were true, and who were false, to the Stars and Bars, 
and the Cause we espoused, but I forbear. I would not 
have these pages soiled with the titles of beings so vile 
and loathsome.] 



Under the Stars and Bars 119 



LETTER TWEXTY-FOURTH. 

The battle cloud moving northward — Advancing from tlie York— 
On the Chickahominy — Scenery and conditions — Note. 

New Bridge, Va., 

July 5, 1863. 

My Dear Friend: — General Lee has crossed the Po- 
tomac, and is reported to be advancing northward info 
Pennsylvania. And there are rumors and accounts of 
several great battles having been fought by different 
divisions of his army, but as I have seen none of the 
daily papers since we came here, I am uncertain 
whether a general battle has taken place or not. Of 
course, having made an advance movement into the 
enemy's country, some terrible fighting may be ex- 
pected. If our army should again prove victorious, as 
it has done in the past, it may lead to an early peace 
between the two sections. Let us hope that such will 
indeed be the result of this advance. 

But the Federals, probably to prevent any re-en- 
forcements being sent to Lee from this section, or 
possibly because they supposed our Capital to be but 
weakly guarded now, have been making demonstrations 
<»f an advance by the way of the York river. Many 
transports have been seen lately on that, river by our 
pickets and scouts, and a large force has been set 
ashore, and it appears to be moving this way. 



120 Under the Stars and Bars 

Accordingly, to meet the advance, nearly all the 
available troops about the city have been posted at the 
various crossings of the Chickahominy, from the Long 
Bridge, the lowest fordable place above tidewater, to 
the Xew Bridge, a few miles from the city. Light- 
foot's Battalion has, consequently, been broken up, for 
the time being, one company or section having been 
sent to one point, and another company to another 
point. Our Company was directed to hold a position 
at the ]STew Bridge, on the road leading out to Cold 
Harbor, in Hanover. And at this place the S. L. A., 
with an infantry support, are now stationed, to dispute 
the further advance of any Blue Coats that may come 
this way. Our post is about ten miles east of Rich- 
mond, and our line of forces extend at least ten miles 
further down the river. Our guns are posted to rake 
the bridge, and the hi] Is beyond, and we have a broad, 
open field before us, and a fine view of the country on 
the opposite, or Hanover, side of the little stream. 

It being summer time, and, as was supposed, only 
for a temporary bivouac, we brought no tents with us, 
and have been finding shelter from the dews of night 
under the few forest trees that the armies of a year 
ago chanced to leave untouched. I was so fortunate, 
as I supposed, as to find good shelter under a dense- 
foliaged apple tree, and I would have done nicely 
there, and slept well, I think, but for the millions of 
mosquitoes that swarmed about me and sang their 
ditties, and made sleep impossible. I think the flats 



Under the Stars and Bars 121 

of the Chickahominy must be the premium breeding- 
place for mosquitoes. After awhile, I enveloped myself 
as completely as possible in my only blanket, and told 
them to bite on. 

The country adjacent the ISTew Bridge is, to a smart 
extent, pleasing and picturesque to the view. The hills 
and ridges on the Hanover side of the stream are ele- 
vated and, were they under a good state of cultivation, 
would be called beautiful. The scenery and conditions 
here now are quite different from what they were a 
year ago. Then all this section, from Mechanicsville 
to Malvern Hill, was the theatre of a mighty struggle 
between two great and powerful armies, and fire and 
war swept along here like an angry sea. Nature has 
obliterated many of the signs of that terrible strife, 
but mam- evidences of battle and despoliation yet re- 
main — long lines of earthworks, blackened ruins of 
buildings, mills and property, lonely chimneys, the sole 
remains of former homes, forest trees torn and scarred 
by bullet and shell, and the shallow graves, where the 
dead were hastily interred. 

There are no crops and no evidences of life. Few 
families remain, and the few that are here, move about 
in a listless sort of way. They have no property, and it 
is a wonder how they manage to live here at all. There 
are two places where one can realize something of the 
real horrors of war — the hospital, where the wounded 
lie, and the neighborhood where a battle has been 



122 1 Under the Stars and Bars 

fought. The whole Virginia Peninsula, from York- 
town to Richmond, is, to a greater or less extent, one 
continuous scene of desolation. 

Thankful indeed should you be, my friend, that the 
country south of the James has escaped the despoiling 
hand of the war-fiend. 

Your friend, B. 

[It was indeed a most fortunate circumstance for 
the people in the counties south of the James river, that, 
from the beginning to the close of the war, that whole 
section of the State escaped, almost entirely, the burn- 
ing and destruction of private property, and the inter- 
ruptions, losses, and inconveniences arising from the 
presence of large armies. The people were not forced 
to leave their homes, the avocations of industry were 
not entirely interrupted, and, except in a few minor 
instances, property was not destroyed, as it was where 
the great army of invaders swept along. Especially did 
the counties of Surry, Isle of Wight and Southampton, 
from whence the Light Artillery was chiefly made up, 
pass through the period of the war almost untouched by 
fire and invasion. It was the source of great thankful- 
ness to the men of the S. L. A. that it fell not to their 
lot to look upon burned and desolated homes, fields en- 
trenched and ditched, and timber destroyed, on their 
return to their homes. 

In their marches over the State, the soldiers from 
the Southside counties had witnessed the ruin and de- 



Under the Stars and Bars 123 

vast at ion that invariably followed wherever a Federal 
army had been. They had seen and heard how some of 
the leaders of invasion had boasted that they had left 
nothing behind them but misery. They had seen how 
old men, women and children had been robbed of the 
comforts and common needs of life, solely to gratify the 
malice or fiendishness of a heartless foe. And while 
they beheld these things, they had felt a pang of fear 
for their own homes, a painful apprehension that the 
like despoliation and misery would meet their gaze 
when they returned to the scenes of their own child- 
hood. Truly, we of these counties have much to be 
thankful for, that the hand of war fell so lightly upon 
us, comparatively with other sections — that the besom 
of ruin swept so tenderly here — that homes and hearth- 
stones escaped desecration. Let us thank God for it all, 
and cling to these homes all the more lovingly.] 



124 Under the Stars and Bars 



LETTER TWENTY-FIFTH. 

Return into camp — Confederate reverses — Hope for us yet — Our 
cause just — Why we sometimes fail — Conscripts and skulk- 
ers — Note. 

Camp~Letcher, Va., 

July 14, 1863. 

My Dear Friend: — After spending a week in our 
bivouac at New Bridge, and no enemy appearing to 
claim our attention, we left the sad scenes of the Chicka- 
hominy, and the pestilent mosquitoes, and returned to 
our pleasant camp at this place. All is serene again 
about the Capital, and along the York and the James, 
and generally so all over the State. 

But I learn that it is far from being so in other 
parts of the country, particularly in Pennsylvania and 
Mississippi. General Lee's army, after fighting several 
hard battles, in which they were uniformly successful, 
met with a severe repulse on July 3d, and is now slowly 
retiring, and, by this time, has re-crossed the Potomac. 
In the reverse of the 3d, it was General Pickett's Di- 
vision that sustained the burden of the repulse, meeting 
with very heavy loss in killed and wounded. The 3d 
Virginia Infantry, to which, you know, the S. L. A. 
was attached in 1861, is in that Division, and was in the 
charge made by General Pickett's command. I hear 
their loss was very great. Colonel A. D. Calcott, who 



Under the Stars and Bars 125 

led the Regiment in the charge, was killed. It turned 
out to be a severe disaster, the heaviest, it is said, that 
General Lee's army has yet met with. But it was only 
a repulse. There was no confusion, no panic, in any 
other part of the army, on account of it. General Lee 
stood and offered battle the next day, but the challenge 
was not accepted. He then retired leisurely toward 
Virginia. 

But it was at Vicksburg, Miss., that the worst dis- 
aster, perhaps, of the whole war has befallen our arms. 
After days and weeks of battle and siege, that strong- 
hold has been given up to the enemy, the Mississippi 
is open to the Federal fleet from end to end, and the 
territory of the Confederacy has been rent in twain. 
The States west of the Mississippi are now isolated 
from the remainder of the Confederacy. 

These two great reverses, happening at the same time, 
have naturally cast a gloom over all the country. The 
loss at Vicksburg was particularly heavy in material 
and men, to say nothing of the place as a stronghold and 
connecting link between the two parts of the Confed- 
eracy. Some think it was a fatal blow. 

But, though our losses have been great, there is yet 
hope for u*. The spirit and courage of the army have 
not been broken. Let us fight them hereafter on our 
own soil. Our cause is just, and so long as a single 
invader remains to disturb us, we ought to, we must, 
light them. Though the private soldier feels and knows 



126 Under the Stars and Bars 

that some one in authority has been guilty of blundering, 
there remains a determined feeling "to fight them to 
the last ditch." 

May it not be that these reverses are chastisements, 
sent upon our country as a rebuke for the sins of the 
nation ? I have thought all along that God would, in 
some way, punish us for the flagrant and causeless dis- 
regard of the sanctity of the Sabbath day. May the 
afflictions already sent suffice to recall all in authority 
to a sense of our sins, and produce a speedy reformation 
and return to duty. But I have no heart to speak further 
of the deplorable state of things that confronts us. 

The buildings on the Fair Grounds (Camp Lee), 
where we drill, are being used as a camp of instruction 
for the State conscripts, or drafted men, who have been 
forced into service. There they are drilled and trained 
until assigned to some command. It is whispered 
around that the experiences of a conscript at Camp Lee 
are not altogether pleasant. Doubtless many a man 
will retain a vivid recollection of the place to his dying 
day. Well, they should have gone out earlier, and thus 
escaped the den. But there are men who would rather 
suffer martyrdom at Camp Lee than fill an honorable 
place in the line of battle. Poor fellows ! They are to 
be pitied. 

Since the late reverses, the enrolling officers will be- 
come busier and more energetic than ever, and large 
additions to the conscript camp may be expected. The 



Under the Stars and Bars - 127 

skulkers and hiders at home may not have altogether au 
easy time of it, making baskets and mending shoes. 
They had better come out of the woods, like honorable 
men, and give themselves up. Yet no one thinks much 
of the bush-hiders, as material for making good and 
efficient soldiers. And, perhaps, after all, they had as 
well be let alone, and allowed to remain in hiding. 
They count for little anywhere. 

Hoping these dark clouds will soon roll away and 
victory be ours again — 

Your friend, B. 

[Lest the sons and daughters should entertain wrong 
impressions concerning the terms "conscript" and 
"skulkers/' let me offer here an explanation. The 
words do not apply to one and the same class of men, 
but to different sets. Conscripts were those who, not 
having gone into the service voluntarily, were drafted 
and sent on to some place of instruction and training, 
like that at Camp Lee, in Richmond. No disgrace or 
reproach should attach to any one who was conscripted, 
unless otherwise he attempted to evade the call and es- 
cape from duty. All could not volunteer at first, and 
there were some men to whom military service was 
never a fit and useful place. They would have been 
of more benefit to the State if they had been permitted 
t<> remain at home as farmers, laborers or mechanics. 
Let no one, then, attach any discreditable meaning ro 
the term "conseript." The word itself is one of respect. 



128 Under the Stars and Bars 

The Latin, conscripts, from conscribo, to enroll, means 
"written, enrolled," and was applied to the body of 
senators of Rome, who were termed conscript fathers 
because their names were written in the register of the 
senate. 

The other term, "skulkers," is meant to apply to 
those men — there were a few such — who declined to go 
into military service at all, and to escape arrest, went 
into some place of concealment, and remained hid from 
public observation until it became safe for them to 
appear openly. The skulker is one who will not fight. 
The deserter is one, who, having been in the service, 
deserts his command, and either skulks at home or goes 
to the enemy. The traitor is one who deserts his post, 
violates his allegiance to his command or country, and 
betrays it to the enemy. The last deserves the deepest 
contempt. The skulker is to be despised. A traitor 
ought to be scorned and ostracized. The skulker de- 
serves to lose caste among all honorable men. But he 
cannot be regarded as an enemy. He is simply a shirk. 
He does not perform a public trust, or duty, but he 
betrays no one, and does not aid the enemy.] 



Under the Stars and Bars 129 



LETTER TWEXTY-SIXTH. 

Hanging of Kellogg, the spy— Revivals— Furloughs— Health, of 
the Company — Books — Note. 

Camp Letcher, Va., 

Aug. 3, 1863. 
My Dear Friend: — I was present, on Eriday after- 
noon, at the banging of Kellogg, the spy, who was cap- 
tured a year ago at Island !No. 10, in the Mississippi 
river. He was executed at Camp Lee, on the grounds 
where we drill daily. He manifested intrepid resolu- 
tion, was perfectly calm, conversed freely and pleas- 
antly with his guard, and met death with great firmness. 
At the given signal the trap fell, and the body swung 
in mid-air. A few convulsive movements passed over 
his frame, and then the body relaxed, and all was over. 
Such was the fate of Kellogg, the spy. But what is 
tbe death of one man, when thousands fall in a single 
battle? Truly, war has many repellant phases, many 
horrors, many tragedies, and there are many secret foes 
and many betrayals. And when or what the end, no 
man knowcth. 

From these sad topics, I gladly turn to a subject more 
agreeable — to the revivals of religion that are taking 
place in the city and throughout the army. There 
seems to be a great outpouring of the Spirit upon our 
people everywhere, at home, among the women, children 



130 Under the Stars and Bars 

and aged men, and in all divisions of the army. At 
Clay Street M. E. church, in Richmond, where our men 
attend most regularly, because the church is so near to 
our Camp, a great revival has been sometime in pro- 
gress, and several of my comrades have gone forward 
and accepted Christ as their Saviour. The congrega- 
tion at that church welcome the soldiers to their meet- 
ings most heartily, and work among them, and urge 
them with earnestness and zeal to accept the overtures 
of grace now, while they may. In consequence of these 
things, a great religious fervor pervades our Company, 
and the pious members talk freely to their unconverted 
comrades on the subject of religion, and urge them to 
attend the meetings and read the religious tracts and 
papers that are offered them. 

The newspapers of the day contain glowing accounts 
of the revival spirit, and spread of religion in the Army 
of Northern Virginia, and in the armies in Tennessee 
and at other points. There is a great awakening. God 
is visiting our land with the offers of His grace ; and 
the future historian, when he comes to write up the 
record of this war, will leave the story but partly told 
if he fails to relate how the spirit of religion, and con- 
secration to Christ, swept through the Southern armies 
and churches in 1803. The narrative, if given in truth- 
fulness and completeness, will form one of the most 
interesting chapters in the history of these times. 

As the place where the several denominational de- 
positories of religious reading have their location, and 



Under the Stars and Bars 131 

where tracts, books, Testaments and religions papers are 
printed and kept for gratuitous circulation, the city of 
Richmond may be regarded as the head and centre of 
this glorious revival. May the good cause continue to 
increase and spread until every man in all the armies, 
both officers and privates, shall accept Christ as his 
Saviour and King. 

The various commands around this city are being 
allowed furloughs at the rate of four to a Company at 
the same time, and some of the men have already secured 
theirs, and have visited their homes and have returned. 
Four are now absent at home. 

This concession is a great boon to our men, who 
have been away from their homes so long, and the 
privilege of visiting friends and kindred once more is 
eagerly sought by the men. But as the names are taken 
iu alphabetical order, those whose names are low down 
on the list are rather glum, fearing that the order will 
be revoked before their time comes. 

The health of the Company is very good, and has 
been all the year. There are only three or four men 
in the hospital now, and, I believe, not a single case in 
camp. \\ T e have had but one death since the spring 
and early summer of last year, when our losses by 
death were heavy. One man— Isaac G. Jones— has 
lately been discharged from service on account of dis- 
aluhty, and has returned home. His disease was 



132 Under the Stars and Bars 

phthisis pulmonalis, and he had been in hospital half 
the time since he joined the Company in 1861. He 
was an original member. 

Another man— William Crocker, of Isle of Wight- 
has also been returned home, for inefficiency. Our 
•ith Corporal, Samuel A. Moody, has recently died, 
while at home on furlough. He was a young and 
promising soldier, and his death is much lamented. 

Our location so near the city, and the privilege of 
procuring permits almost daily, offer the boys oppor- 
tunity of buying plenty of books to read, and there 
art' now in camp books enough to form a considerable 
library. But books, of course, are a prohibited article 
for n soldier on the march. Nothing but articles of 
absolute necessity are allowed him then, and these 
darling books will have to remain behind when we move 
again. 

Good-by, and pray for the soldiers. 

Your friend, B. 

[The two men named in this letter as having been 
discharged from service, and the one that died, cover, 
1 believe, the entire loss of the Company for the year 
ISG3. But the gain, by new recruits, during the year 
was considerable, and was, as far as I have been able 
to determine, an follows: 

George W. Armistead, from Richmond, mathema- 
tician, transferred to the navy in 1864; Joseph W. 



Under the Stars and Bars 133 

Bailey, from Southampton, a brother of James T. 
Bailey; Decatur Barlow and Junius H. Barlow, 
brothers, from Isle of Wight; Jacob E. Bell, from 
Surry, brother of Corporal John H. Bell ; William Joe 
Bell, from Surry; Franklin F. Carrington and Wil- 
liam H. Elliott, from Charlotte county; Edward T. 
Edwards, from Surry ; R. Fuller Farrar, from Henrico 
county; J. Thomas Harris, from Surry, brother of Wil- 
liam E. Harris, who came to us in 1862 ; Beverly W. 
Irving, from Alexandria, Va. ; Edward W. Jones, from 
Richmond; Julian H. Judkins, from Isle of Wight; 
James T. Latimer, from Isle of Wight ; J. Thomas Lit- 
tle, also from Isle of Wight, brother of Luther J. Little 
and William H. Little, both from the same county; 
James J. Lewis, from aSTansemond ; James M. Lewis, 
from Isle of Wight; Everett II. McGuriman, from 
Surry; Marion Messersmith, from Baltimore, trans- 
ferred to Surry Cavalry in 1861; William II. Olliver, 
from Surry; Henry Peters, from Surry; Charles C. 
Richardson, from Sussex; C. Travis Savedge and 
Franklin R. Seward, from Surry ; John F. Scott, from 
Isle of Wight; Malory Shields, from Hampton, Va. ; 
W. Henry Turner, from Isle of Wight; Thomas II. 
Tynes, from Surry, who was transferred to us from 
the Jamestown Heavy Artillery, Captain Harrison's 
Company ; and Thomas Williams, of Surry. A total 
of 30, making the net gain of the S. L. A. for the year 
1863, l>7 men. 

The story of the rise and spread of religion in the 
armies of the South forms a highly interesting, en- 



134 Under the Stars and Bars 

couraging and instructive part of the history of those 
times. For a general and pretty full account of it, as 
relating more especially to the Army of Northern Vir- 
ginia, see Dr. J. William Jones's splendid volume, 
"Christ in the Camp." 

But I cannot but feel that a fuller record should, 
long ago, have appeared concerning the outpouring of 
the same blessing in the other large armies of the 
South. Even as relates alone to the S. L. A., I am 
conscious that a book of no small size would be needed 
to tell of all that was done to promote religion and gain 
converts to Christ, by the pious among our own men, 
and of all the conversions that took place from our 
ranks, in the religious meetings around us. Only the 
final day will reveal all the good that was accomplished 
in these revivals. As one consequence, many of the 
vices that went into the armies at first, such as cursing, 
obscene talking and card-playing, were laid aside.] 



Under the Stars and Bars 135 



LETTER TWENTY-SEVENTH. 

Guardian angels— September days in camp — Hard times in 
SurJy — But worse in other parts — Courage, and better 
times — Note. 

Camp Letcher, Va., 

Sept. 15, 1863. 

My Dear Friend: — Do yon believe in the doctrine of 
guardian angels I I do, most implicitly. And I tell 
you, that, for a poor soldier, exposed to so many dan- 
gers, and liable to be called upon to face death at any 
time, it is a most comforting and strengthening belief. 
1 think the Bible reveals the truth of this faith very 
clearly. I cannot now go into particulars, but if you 
will turn to Hebrews i : 14, and by the reference notes 
there found, trace out the kindred passages, you will 
have my Bible authority for this encouraging doctrine. 

And I tell you it is highly encouraging. It is com- 
forting to think, when dangers gather about us, that 
there are wiser and stronger beings near, though in- 
visible to mortal eye, whose gentle and silent ministra- 
tions are constantly between us and danger. No spar- 
row fall* th without our heavenly Father's notice. And 
while I know that sparrows (men) do fall, yet I know 
thoy cannot unless lie permits it. And I tell you that, 
in battle, I commit myself into God's hand, and ask 



136 Under the Stars and Bars 

that my guardian angels defend me. Is this puerile ? 
Is it weak ? In number 34 of the Psalter we read : 

"His angels camp around to guard, 
And rescue them that fear the Lord." 

I love to think that heaven has given me an angel, to 
guard my pathway. 

To-day is one of the brightest and sunniest of this 
bright and sweet autumnal month. The woods have 
put on their "sear and yellow robe," but the days are 
warm and splendid, the sky, intensely blue, smiles 
tb rough a dry and riant atmosphere, and all around 
me is loveliness — all, but these reminders that a cruel 
and bloody war is now in progress. 

These scenes must change soon. Stern winter, with 
snow and sleet, will come shortly; and want and, in 
many cases, suffering, is already abroad in our land 
and in our homes. It gives me pain to hear that times 
are getting hard in Surry, that our friends at home 
must soon experience the pinchings of want. It makes 
it doubly hard for the soldier in camp to be content, 
when he knows that friends at home are in need of the 
necessaries, to say nothing of the comforts, of life. 

And, from various acounts that reach me, the con- 
dition of things is worse in other parts than it is in 
Surry. What the result is to be, no one can foresee. 
But there is need of great courage, invincible resolu- 
tion, unfaltering faith. So far, I believe, the private 



Under the Stars and Bars 137 

soldier is vet resolute, and determined to stand it out 
to the end, while hoping that the end may be near, and 
a brighter day close at hand. 

And when that better day comes indeed, and the 
soldiers are all back at their dear old. homes once more, 
how thankful all will be, and how interesting it will 
be to hear them tell of these times that are now 
passing — hear them recount the trials and tribulations 
of the war, of their marches and counter-marches, of 
battle and blood and wounds, all freely endured for the 
sake of those same dear homes and firesides. Then the 
faith in the guardian angels will be stronger than ever. 
And each return of the bright September days will be 
welcomed with tenderer heart, because of the memory 
of the days of like beauty that they whiled away be- 
neath war's rude banner, under the Staks and Bars 
of their loved Southland. 

In all dangers and trials, ever 

Your friend, B. 

[This short letter, though containing too much of a 
personal nature, will serve to show how affairs at home, 
as wv-11 as in the camp, were gradually growing harder — 
how poverty was slowly, but surely, strengthening its 
coils and testing the courage and endurance of all. As 
th<« months sped by, and war continued to ply its horrid 
trade, labor deserted the fields, and there was less and 
less pjod-oced, till scarcely enough was left to feed the 
women and children at home. Added to this, but little 



138 Under the Stars and Bars 

money was circulating, and that little — Confederate 
script only — was well-nigh worthless. It possessed no 
purchasing value, or scarcely none. And though it had 
been as good as gold, no one had much of anything to 
sell. Stores were closed. Flour, sugar, coffee, bacon 
and, in many cases, even salt, were not to be had. It 
was a time of need, of trial, of suffering. 

But the courage and resolution of the soldier were 
unabated. The invader's heel was on his native soil. 
His fleets were blockading every Southern port, and 
preventing the import of foreign goods, of the very 
necessaries of life. The slaves had been lured or stolen 
from their masters, and the plow was idle on the farms. 
But the Southern soldier knew he could whip the North- 
ern hirelings, two to one, any day that he could meet 
them in a fair contest — knew that he had done so on a 
hundred battle-fields. He did not fear to meet the 
Northern foe. He only asked of his Government food 
to fight upon, and sustenance and protection for the 
wife and bairns at home while he was away. 

Could the civil government have provided for the 
home people, as it was in duty bound to do, and as 
it did faithfully try to do — and could the soldiers in 
the field have been properly fed and clothed, there would 
have been no complaint or repining, and the war would 
have been carried to a successful issue. The disasters 
that had attended our arms in 18G3 only intensified and 
increased the poverty and distress that were becoming 
manifest everywhere. But these losses could have been 
overcome.] 



Under the Stars and Bars 139 



LETTER TWENTY-EIGHTH. 

Winter quarters again— Rations— Small-pox — A fire — The city 
by moonlight— "All quiet along the James"— Confederate 
Congress — Note. 

Camp Schermerhorn, Va., 

Dec. 10, 1863. 

My Dear Friend: — Camp Letcher is deserted now. 
Light foot's Battalion has gone from it. The place where 
the S. L. A. had passed a quiet and comparatively pleas- 
ant summer, is now silent. Xo drill, no reveille, no 
assembly, no tattoo, no military parade or bustle, dis- 
turb now the nearby dwellers of that fair grove. The 
soldier has left it, and the owner thereof may take com- 
fort that the most of the goodly trees — but not all of 
thorn — are again in his keeping. 

We are in winter quarters again, a brand-new place, 
all in the woods, never before disturbed by a military 
band. The three Companies of the Battalion are a little 
J! part, each from the others, and we have plenty of 
room. And there is plenty of wood here, too, so we 
will not freeze. The Colonel's headquarters, the hos- 
pital, etc., are near our camp. The land is owned by 
a Mr. Schermerhorn, and the Camp has been named for 
him. The men have built log cabins for themselves, 
and stalls for the horses, of which there are 64 belonging 



140 Under the Stars and Bars 

to the Battery and officers, besides 12 mules, for the 
commissary and feed-wagons. It requires a deal of 
forage for all these head of teams. 

The whole Camp is surrounded by woodland, which 
will break off the winds of winter, and, altogether we 
are quite coinportably situated, and may pass the sea- 
son pleasantly enough, if permitted to stay here. But 
this, of course, is as uncertain as next year's crop of 
beans. We may not stay here a week longer. But the 
men are not borrowing any trouble, on account of any 
contingencies that may arise. We are in "for better 
or for worse," and 

Let the war wax and wane as it will, 
We'll be gay and happy, happy still. 

The men are singing their songs, and having their 
fun, just as if everything were as lovely as a garden 
of roses all the land over. Joe Kea, incorrigible tease, 
is fretting Tom the fiddler nearly to his death ; "Com- 
modore" keeps his crow, has his buttermilk, and sim- 
mers his pea-porridge ; and Sergeant Pond and his tent- 
mates — or rather, cabin-mates — have their nightly 
songs of prayer and praise, just as they did a year ago 
over at Camp Roper, when "Scotland was a-burning." 
But we hear nothing of Scotland this time. That little 
fellow With the bucket of water put the fire out. 

Were it not for the lamentable thinness and shortness 
of the ration crop this winter, we would not have very 
much to annoy us, or cause us anxiety. It must have 



Under the Stars and Bars 141 

been a bad season last summer, for both the meal and 
the beef aro number three, short. The late recruits, of 
whom there arc a few, look on with apprehension, and 
turn away from the poor fare in disgust. But the 
Veterans tell them it is no use to sulk, they will have 
to come to it. But for an occasional box from home, 
some of the men wOttld fare badly indeed. There is 
yet a little to spare at the homes of some of the men. 
I hear that small-pox has broken out in the city and 
may become general. Some of Lightfoot's command 
have it. In consequence thereof, orders have been 
made rigid about visiting town. The men are not al- 
lowed to go anywhere, except on a detail, to perform a 
duty. There are a few men, however, of the S. L. A. 
Camp who often disregard orders. These go into town 
Jeveral times a week. 

The men of the Battalion were called upon, a few 
day.-, since, to assist in removing the household goods 
from a burning dwelling. The residence of a Mr. Snell 
had taken fire, and before it was discovered, it had 
gained such headway that the building could not be 
saved. The men succeeded in getting out nearly every- 
thing of any value. The family took refuge in a small 
office upon the grounds, that, fortunately, escaped the 
flames. The weather was cold, with several inches of 
Know on the ground, and the family has been put to a 
good deal of inconvenience. But for the presence of 
th»j nun, they would have lost nearly everything. 



142 ' Under the Stars and Bars 

Despite the desolating war, and the general stagna- 
tion of business, and negleet of improvements, our Capi- 
tal is really, even yet, a queenly city. Especially is it 
beautiful when viewed under the moonlight. While on 
guard at the stilly hour of midnight, I often turn and 
look upon the town, as it lies in panoramic splendor 
before me, till I am lost in admiration, and almost for- 
get that I am on post. Spread out over its numerous 
hills, it sits a very queen among cities. The dim out- 
line of the taller buildings traced across the horizon, 
the numerous lights that glimmer in the distance, the 
dull noise of the water falling over the rocks in the 
James, the thud of arriving and departing trains, and 
the sound of the bells, as they tell the hours as they 
pass — all these combine to fill my mind with admira- 
tion for the Capital of the Confederacy. 

"As yet, 'tis midnight deep. The weary clouds, 
Slow meeting, mingle into solid gloom"- — 

and, as now and anon, they cast their shadows over the 
town and hide it from view, I think of the changing 
fortunes, the successes and reverses of our arms, and 
of the tide of war that has ebbed and flowed, and beat 
its angry waters at the granite feet of our Metropolis. 
For well-nigh three years, the swash of this surging 
tide has echoed at the gates of this devoted town, but 
it stands ye\, a gibraltar in a surging sea. Its dangers 
and its sacrifices have endeared it to the heart of every 
Virginian. "When thi3 war ends, it will be, I doubt 



Under the Stars and Bars 143 

not, the Mecca of the Confederacy. Here around, in 
Hollywood, in Oakwood, and elsewhere, sleep thousands 
of the bravest heroes of the South, who have fallen in 
its defense. Here tens of thousands more have bravely 
fought, bled and suffered. These things give an air 
of mournful interest, and of tender sacredness, to the 
city, that time can never obliterate. To this spot, the 
heart of the Veteran, like the pilgrim of Islam to the 
shrine of the Prophet, in future years, will turn to ad- 
mire and worship. 

The Congress of the Confederacy is now in session 
at the Capitol in the city, called together to consider 
and deliberate on the exigencies of war, and the press- 
ing need of devising ways and means of repleting the 
armies, and providing food and clothing for the men. 
They have a grave duty, a great and imperative task 
before them. May they be found equal to it. The 
army is looking to them for help. May they not have 
to look in vain. 

Read Numbers vi: 24-26, and pray for the final 
glorious success of our cause. 

Your friend, B. 

[The countless Confederate dead that repose in the 
cemeteries, and in numerous unknown graves, about 
the city of Richmond, though unmarked and neglected 
many of their graves may be, can. never be forgotten. 
I he historian, the bard, the painter, the sculptor, will 



144 Under the Stars and Bars 

embalm their deeds, and the willow and ivy that bend 
over them, will keep green their memories to the latest 
ages. It fell to the lot of but a few of the S. L. A. to 
fill honored graves in the sacred soil that environs the 
once beleagured city. J. Thomas Brown, Josiah 
Gwaltney, Zacheriah Holland, James Pond, and Ed- 
ward AY. Wright, are all that I can now recall to mind. 
Somewhere there, it is supposed in Oakwood, these, our 
former comrades, sleep their last sleep. But the sur- 
vivors who yet remain will not forget them. And it is 
the purpose of this humble narrative, to tell, in the 
course of it, as each one fell, the part he bore in the 
contest for home, and honor, and State. 

The winter of 1863-'C4 passed quietly by for the 
army around Richmond. No military operations were 
undertaken until near the close of the winter, and no 
public event of any importance that ought to be men- 
tioned in these pages. There was an affair of some 
significance that was threatened, and the S. L. A. was 
called out, and held in readiness, to aid in suppressing 
the apprehended movement. But, fortunately, their 
services were not required ; and it is deemed best that 
the particulars be not given — that the secret should 
perish with the survivors of the S. L. A.] 



Under the Stars and Bars 145 



LETTER TWEXTY-XIXTH. 

Forage details — Condition of the country visited — "Greens" and 
pot-liquor— Why soldiers are given to "raiding"— A lecture 
on Palestine — Pay-day in camp — Note. 

Camp Schermekhor^, Va., 

Feby. 4, 1864. 

My Dear Friend: — The forage wagons of the Bat- 
talion have been out a good deal this winter, making 
long trips after feed for the horses. Sometimes they 
are gone several days. The section visited mostly lies 
northeast of Richmond, in Hanover and King William 
counties. 1 have been out with the wagons on several 
of these expeditions, and I like it much better than lay- 
ing idle in camp. When we go into King William, we 
cross the Pamunkey at the Piping-Tree ferry — for 
there are no bridges — or at Chester. 

Taxes are being paid in kind now, that is, in corn, 
forage, cotton, wool, etc., and our wagons are sent 
out to receive these things and convey them to camp. 
And, though there are frequently some discomforts to 
be endured on these trips at this season, yet a tour over 
a section of country that is new to one, has its inter- 
esting and relieving features, and I get on the .detail 
as often as I can. One meets with new scenery at every 
turn, learns something of the topography and general 
condition of the country; and sometimes a kind farmer 



14G Under the Slavs and Bars 

treats one to fruit or something nice to eat. We make 
journeys of thirty or forty miles, stay out four or five 
days, and almost always contrive to bring back with us 
into camp something to help out the miserably short 
rations that "Cousin Sally Ann" — C. S. A. — is giving 
us now. 

The section that we have been visiting, however, has 
been overrun and pillaged by the armies, and the people 
really have very little of anything to spare. The 
slaves have mostly gone off to the Blue Coats, and the 
few white men that remain— old men and boys — are 
not capable of producing much surplus. The farms 
are mostly in a sad state of neglect, and broom-straw 
and pine bushes are fast invading the once productive 
acres. 

King William, however, is a fine county, even now, 
with a good soil and fine climate, and there are many 
good farms. At present, large areas are idle. No 
wheat or grass crops are growing, and the live-stock 
has been greatly depleted. 

But most of the men contrive, on their return from 
these details, to bring with them a sack or two of col- 
lards, or turnip salad, or kale, or something green, to 
boil with the modicum of meat, and thus have a big 
kettleful of pot-liquor to drink. I tell you, my friend, 
there is nothing in the world, that I know of, equal to 
plenty of good, hot pot-liquor, for restoring life and 
vivacity to a lean and lank Confederate soldier. Do 



Under the Stars and Bars 147 

not smile or look incredulous. The average soldier can 
smell pot-liquor a mile off, and he will go for it every 
time, unless be is tied. 

And "greens!" Did you ever seo the negroes eat 
greens, at an old-time corn-shucking? It was nothing 
to the way the soldiers devour them. To the hungry 
Bflldicr — and all of them are hungry now — to the half- 
famished soldier it is equal to a wedding feast. There 
is not a man of the S. L. A. who cannot tell, by a sort of 
pfcseieiiee or instinct, when a pot-boiling is going on 
iu camp. And as soon as they can locate "the game," it 
is amusing to see them coming round, cup in hand, beg- 
ging for "just a little bit of that liquor!" 

A cup of hot pot-liquor is a boon to the soldier. It 
has a wonderfully invigorating and reviving effect. It 
warms, exhilarates, cheers. It thaws the frozen heart, 
moves the silent tongue, sends a prayer to the lip of 
the recipient, and starts a tear of happiness in the eye 
of the giver. I will never cease to sing the praises of 
pot -liquor as long as I live. 

Ho you wonder how some soldier boys that you know 
ener could "fall from grace" so far as to forget their 
early training, and be given to "raiding?" I tell you 
it i> nature calling for what the system really needs. 
And when "the springtime has come, gentle Annie," 
and a soldier can secure a little piece of bacon, a hock 
joint, or a bone, forthwith he is off to hunt for some- 
thing to boil with it. And if a turnip patch, or a garden 



148 Under the Stars and Bars 

of collards, lies in his way, and the stingy owner will not 
sell or give him "a little mess,''' is it a great mystery that 
some of those "greens'' should disappear, when once 
the evening shadows fall? The boy has "located" the 
game, and he would have it, though a Federal gunboat 
were guarding the ground. There may be, there are 
conditions, where the eighth commandment does not 
apply. See, for instance, Prov. vi: 30. Do not fear, 
on this account, that the soldier boy will become a repro- 
bate. He will not. He cannot. 

I have lately been to hear a great lecturer tell about 
the land of Palestine. As the subject was one that is 
always and profoundly interesting to me, I managed to 
buy a ticket, and attended the lecture. It was given 
at the Second Baptist church, by the Rev. John Ley- 
burn, who has visited the Orient, and describes scenes 
and events from personal observation and knowledge. 
I cannot give you even the briefest synoposis of the ad- 
dress, but it was both very interesting and instructive 
to me. I was amply repaid for the Confederate dollar 
that it had cost me. There is no place in the wide world 
that 1 would more love to visit that the Holy Land — 
the "Lord's land." 

At last, after four months' waiting, pay-day has come 
around again, our command has been paid off, and the 
boys are happy — as happy as Confederate scrip can 
make them. But what will a- month's pay — $12 — buy 



Under the Stars and Bars 149 

now, when everything has advanced to fabulous prices ? 
The whole four months' pay would not buy a barrel of 
flour or a suit of clothes. But the Government owes 
each one of us a $100 bounty, for re-enlisting. When 
we get that, we will be quite flush. 

May peace and health be with you all. 

Your friend, B. 

[My comrades, I am sure, will be able to appreciate 
fully, and enjoy, the allusion to "spring greens" and 
pot-liquor. They will bear testimony to its truthful- 
ness; for were they not among those same boys who 
presided at many a pot-boiling of "ye olden time?" 
And some of them, I fear, not all, but some of them, 
will have to plead guilty to the charge of "raiding" a 
little, on certain hard and trying occasions. When all 
other resources failed them, there was one resort that 
generally won the prize, and the boys knew how to 
use it. 

The paragraph in reference to the lecture on Pales- 
tine is admitted here to illustrate the fact, that, al- 
though the thunders of war were loudly reverberating 
from every nook and corner of the Confederacy, yet 
there were life and ambition enough remaining in the 
laud fur the people to turn aside awhile to intellectual 
things. The spirit for advancement and improvement 
Mas not dead. In the midst of their heroic struggle. 
for personal liberty and State independence, they still 
found time to listen to the educator and the literatus. 



150 Under the Stars and Bars 

In tbe campaign of 1863 as a whole, Jhe advantage 
was decidedly on the side of the Federal arms. With 
Ihe defeat of Hooker and the fall of Jackson, victory 
6eemed to have forsaken our banners. The severe re- 
verse at Gettysburg, and the fall of Vicksburg, were dis- 
asters from which the South never recovered. It is 
useless to speculate on what might have been, but, if 
the expedition into Pennsylvania had never been under- 
taken — and if a corps of General Lee's army had been 
Bent in time to the aid of the garrison at Vicksburg — 
perhaps — perhaps the march of Sherman through Geor- 
gia, and of Grant from the Wilderness to Appomattox, 
would never have been ; and the Confederacy would have 
gained the prize for which it contended. Fighting to 
resist invasion, from the moment the South itself be- 
came an invader, its fortunes began to wane, and suc- 
cess was impossible.] 



Under the Stars and Bars 151 



LETTER THIRTIETH. 

Campaign of 1864 begun — Confederate victories — Dahlgren-Kil- 
patrlck cavalry dash — Its nefarious purpose — And farcical 
failure — Stirring events expected — Note. 

Camp Schermekhoex, Va., 

March 6, 1864. 

My Dear Friend: — The military drama of 1864 has 
already begun, and battles have been fought in Florida, 
in Mississippi, and in Texas. And I am glad to say 
the result has been Confederate victories in each case. 
On February 20th, our General Finegan gained a great 
victory at Olustee, Fla., capturing prisoners, cannon, 
and arms. On the 22d, General Forest achieved a vic- 
tory at Okolona, Miss. And the Federals are reported 
to be badly beaten, in their attempted advance into 
Texas from Louisiana. These successes have greatly 
revived the drooping spirits of our people and armies, 
and are, I sincerely trust, a happy omen of greater vic- 
tories everywhere. 

And the ball has opened here in Virginia, also. Al- 
ready we have been called out to meet a proud and 
boastful foe. Bands of Federal cavalry, under Dahl- 
gren and Kilpatrick, have just made a sudden dash to 
capture Richmond, and, on March 1st, our Company 
was hastily sent to the outworks west of the city, where 
Kilpatrick was said to be advancing. At the same time 



152' Under the Stars and Bars 

(Kilpatrick and Dahlgren having divided their forces), 
Captain Thornton's Battery was moved to a point north 
of the city, and Captain Rives's Company to a position 
on the east. Thus it was the design of the enemy to 
attack the city at two or more points at the same time. 

The plan was well conceived, and it showed great 
audacity and daring on the part of the foe. But they 
failed to press their advantage with vigor, after they 
had gained sight of the prize, and so they missed it and 
accomplished nothing. 

The enemy's forces, under Kilpatrick, appeared near 
the outer works, on the western side of the city, on the 
afternoon of the 1st, and were met by infantry, aided 
by our Battery. After a short engagement, they were 
easily repulsed, and, without renewing the attack, the 
enemy drew off, going in a northerly direction. His 
design, evidently, was to unite with Dahlgren, who was 
coming up on the north of the city. 

But Dahlgren did not arrive till late at night on the 
1st, and in the darkness, having crossed beyond his 
intended point of attack, he became entangled with our 
forces, and his troops became confused. In his attempt 
to get out of the trap, Dahlgren himself was killed, and 
his body left in our lines. i\s soon as daylight occurred 
on the 2d, a feeble engagement took place. But having 
lost their leader, and also a number of prisoners, these 
forces also retired, going in the direction of the Pe- 
ninsula. 



Under the Stars and Bars 153 

Despite his daring attempt, the enemy showed very 
little vim in the execution of his plans. His effort was 
too feeble to alarm even a force of conscripts that were 
posted at the point where Dahlgren came up. 

The night of March 1st was rainy and dark, and 
having met with no picket, Dahlgren's troops rode into 
our lines without knowing it. In the slight skirmish 
that ensued, their General was killed, and some pris- 
oners were taken on both sides. 

Dahlgren's body was taken into Richmond, and 
papers were found upon it that revealed a most diaboli- 
cal and dastardly plot. The design of the sudden dash 
was shown to be, the capture of Richmond, with as 
many of the higher officials as possible, all of whom 
were to be executed, and then the Federal prisoners in 
the Lilly, and on Belle Isle were to be released, to 
-■"■V and burn the city, and overawe, maltreat, and 
murder the citizens! 

But a gracious Providence ordered it otherwise. 
Such a fiendish outrage was not to be. The skillful dis- 
pwitfoa of the Confederate forces about the city caused 
the enemy to conclude that they stood a better chance 
of being slain, than did our beloved President and 
Cabinet. 

I \t bard to believe that military men of respectable 

lining, like Kilpatrick and Dahlgren, would stoop 

' a plot so low and wicked as this attempt seems to 

Mve beeit. There is reason to believe that the plan 

originated elsewhere, and that these officers were mis- 



154 Under the Stars and Bars 

led. In view of recent events in which our Company 
has already figured to some extent, there, doubtless, 
were spies concealed in Richmond, who were keeping 
the foe informed of the condition of affairs among 
our people, and of what our Government was doing — 
and these leaders had looked for some material aid 
from within the city, to enable them to carry out their 
nefarious purpose! Did they suppose that there were 
no forces at all to defend the city, and that they could 
ride into the very heart of it without interruption, 
with a troop so small as was the one led by them ? The 
feeble effort that they made to carry out their plans 
shows clearly enough that, either they were incom- 
petents, wanting in skill and judgment to command an 
army, or that they were looking to other hands to do 
the hellish work of slaughter, rapine, and violence 
among the helpless people of a great city. 

This sudden dash of a comparatively small body of 
Federal cavalry, at this time, and under the circum- 
stances that surrounded it, and preceded it, is invested 
with more than usual significance, although our papers 
have little to say about it. What if the enemy had suc- 
ceeded in breaking into the city and carrying out their 
designs, by liberating the large number of Federal pris- 
oners in the Libby and on Belle Isle I What a pan- 
demonium of misrule, lawlessness, confusion, pillage, 
robbing, personal violence and murder would have 
quickly resulted ! The picture is too horrible to con- 
template ! The plot, wherever or by whom conceived, 



Under the Stars and Bars 155 

will doubtless be noted by the future fair and impartial 
hi-!<. riai), as one of the foulest blots on the character 
and spirit of the foe in this war. What Southern boy, 
with a heart even as big as a mustard seed, could refuse 
to light, to aid in repelling such vandals from our soil ? 
It gives me pleasure to know that the Surry Artillery 
held a hand, and aided in driving off these would-be 
assassu&s and fiends. 

The summer's campaign is starting early this year, 
and, doubtless we will have plenty of work to do before 
>!■> close. We do not expect to remain in our present 
quarters much longer. The Company, and, in fact, 
the whole Command, is in good trim, the men ready 
and resolute, and the horses in fair condition. We all 
feel, too, that we are engaged in a righteous cause, and 
when the opportunity comes, we intend to strike hard 
"for home and native land." 

Continue to pray for us, and for the success of the 
£ont!iern armies everywhere. 

Your friend, B. 

[The Federal authorities, it is said, denied the fact 
that the Kilpatriek-DahlgTcn expedition was set on 
foot for any such purpose, or clothed with any such 
authority, as that claimed for it by our people. They 
disputed the existence of any such papers as those pur- 
porting to have been found on the body of General 
Dahlgrea. 

How, tlu-n. did the charge originate? Surely it was 
not manufactured from the whole cloth by our officials. 



156 Under the Stars and Bars 

The writer was a private in the ranks when the events 
here recorded were transpiring, and, of course, knew 
nothing of what was doing in official circles. But he 
did have eyes and a mind to see and contemplate. And 
sharing, as he did, in the affair of the 1st and 2d of 
March, 1864, in which the Federal cavalry was so 
easily turned aside from Eichmond, without making 
so much as a schoolboy show of pluck — and joining 
this event with other matters, with which he was, at 
the time, cognizant, he believes now, and has always 
believed, that it was the purpose of this expedition, by 
the aid of a hand within the eitij, to unfasten the doors 
and turn the lion out of the cage, to sate itself on blood 
and plunder ! By drawing off their forces, and leaving 
the city to be sacked and burned by a wild and lawless 
horde, they would thus escape, so they thought, any 
responsibility for the act, and prevent foreign nations 
from expressing disapprobation thereof. It proved at 
the time a farcical failure. But, in view of what might 
have been, it ceased to be a farce, and revealed the pos- 
sibility of the existence of a terrible volcano beneath 
our feet. It was a narrow escape from what might have 
proved a most serious disaster to the Southern cause. 
It was also a signal light in the social system that should 
have been more carefully heeded. I feel that the sur- 
vivors of the S. L. A. will understand these things. 
They shared in the events, and were cognizant of the 
undertow that was moving along beneath the tide. I 
am writing for them, not for the public eye, and need 
not express myself more clearly here.] 



Under the Stars and Bars 157 



LETTEE THIRTY-FIRST. 

liu> "Soldiers' Home"— Oakwood Cemetery— A chicken "raid"— 
Double duty — Bongs — Note. 

Camp Schekmeehobn, Va., 

April 10, 1864. 

My Dear Friend: — I had heard frequent mention of 
tlit: famous Soldiers' Home in Richmond, but have had 
no opportunity of testing the hospitalities thereof, until 
one day recently. Being in the city without a written 
"permit," I was halted by a guard, and taken to the 
h foresaid "hotel," to give cause and reason why a "high 
private" should be prowling about the town without the 
necessary papers. As my excuse did not quite satisfy 
the gentleman in command, I was told to remain over 
until the next morning. 

As it was near the dinner hour, and being curious to 
test the capacity of their "bill of fare," I kept quiet 
til) the drum sounded, and the meal was served. The 
guests, of whom there were some twenty or thirty, were 
arranged all in line, but without being seated, the roll 
<>f lianas was called, and then a tray of light bread. 
cut into half-loaves, each loaf already small enough, 
was passed down the line. Each man took a piece, and 
each man proceeded to put it away where it would do 
him the most good. 



158 Under the Stars and Bars 

This was the only course that was served, which, I 
think, you will grant was a very light dinner, even for 
these times. But I have long been used to this sort of 
board, and so I ate my half-loaf in silent thankfulness, 
and then went up to the top of the "Home" to take a 
survey of the surroundings, and select a good point of 
exit. There were a few guards stationed around, and 
a high wall enclosed the little yard. But the guards 
were tired and listless, and a low shed in the rear pre- 
sented an available "weak point" in their line of en- 
vironment. Awaiting a favorable chance, I easily 
scaled the wall and was down on the outside without 
any one knowing about it. 

Being pretty well acquainted with the streets and 
alleys of the town, I managed to evade the guards, and 
soon made my way back to Camp, fully satisfied with 
my experience in the "Soldiers' Home," and just in 
time to fall in line and answer at roll call. When the 
list of boarders at the ''Home" was called for supper 
that night, the official in charge expressed some surprise 
at the absence of "that tall fellow with the artillery 
cap on." 

The "Home" serves as a sort of temporary prison for 
men who are found in the city without "permits," where 
they are held until they can be returned to their com- 
mands. It also supplies a stopping-place at night for 
a soldier on furlough, who is passing through the city 
to or from camp. In the latter respect, it tills an im- 
portant end, providing gratis a shelter for the night 



Under the Stars and Bars 159 

and something at least to eat, for one who has no money 
to pay for more expensive lodgings. It was a wise 
and charitable conception, in fact, a necessary pro- 
vision for the scores of Confederate soldiers who are 
constantly passing to and from the armies, or stopping 
here at night. 

Yon have heard of Oakwood Cemetery, the soldiers' 
bnrying-groimd ? It lies on the eastern, or rather, the 
northeastern, side of the city. It covers several acres 
of level ground, and is reserved for the burial of Con- 
federate soldiers who die in the hospitals here, or are 
killed in battle near the city. The native trees on the 
ground are mostly of some species of the oak genus, and 
the ground, properly cleared of debris and fenced, 
would be a beautiful last resting-place for a soldier. 
Already there are many hundred graves, and it is by 
no means the only place within sight of the city where 
the fallen patriots of our Southland sleep. 

1 have been over the grounds on more than one oc- 
casion, searching for the grave of some lost acquaint- 
ing, (for soldiers sometimes get lost from their com- 
panions in a strange sort of way), and as I noted the 
evidences of regard for some of the sleepers that marked 
the little wooden head-boards, I could not help but 
pause to think and moralize, how some one's friend 
Bud dear one rested there. The little rosebuds and other 
fl<<ral offerings planted there, indicated, despite all the 
wickedness and sin that is in the world, how Love and 



160 Under the Stars and Bars 

Friendship never die. Occasionally, a small marble 
shaft or slab, indicated more of opulence. But the 
graves are all well and neatly kept by some careful or 
pious hand, even those marked by the word "unknown'' 
being as tenderly cared for as the rest. This feature, 
the "unknown" ones, is, perhaps, the saddest circum- 
stance connected with the burial of our dead. It is 
lamentable. But though unknown they rest on earth, 
their deeds and noble sacrifices will never be forgotten. 
A nation's heart will enshrine their dust, 

"Till morning's latest sunlight fades 
On the blue tablet of the deep." 

And armed ghosts shall rise to tell, 
They fought for home and freedom well. 

Unknown they lie on earth, but they are not, and 
can never be, forgotten. Their deeds and self-devotion 
to the cause they loved, will endear them to the hearts 
of their countrymen, and of posterity, so long as men 
love liberty, or have manhood enough to honor the brave. 

Will you elude me very much, my friend, if I tell 
you what a wicked thing some of us did a few nights 
since? You know that rations have got to be out- 
rageously light this winter. We have been fourteen 
days at a time with nothing at all but corn meal fur- 
nished us, and of that but one light pound per day to 
the man. And some of the boys declared they could 



Under the Stars and Bars 161 

stand it no longer. One of them had found out where 
a line lot of chickens roosted at night, and as the owner 
would not sell a single one, the party was made up. 

After roll call at night, six of us set forward, with a 
bag or two to hold the game, and one or two rusty fire- 
arms for defence. We soon found the place, and while 
two stood guard for the rest, we forced the door, and 
while one held the bag, a tall fellow among them gath- 
ered down the birds, and deposited them safely in the 
aforesaid bag. As the family nearby remained quiet, 
we did not stop until we had "stripped the roost," and 
secured all there were of them, eighteen, including the 
ruoster. But we afterwards turned him loose, to crow 
for them in the morning. 

We got back to camp without mishap, and proceeded 
to dress the fowls, and fit them for an early boil the 
next day. But during our absence roll call had been 
ordered and the whole party was caught and booked for 
double duty. But the officers — good, easy men they 
are — "scented game," and did not even have the bar- 
racks searched. 

Suffice it to say, we enjoyed our chicken hugely, and 
before the next night there was not a bone of it left. 
Even the captain got a nice piece for letting us off 
so easily. And we spoke of sending the Colonel a wing, 
but did not. Was it all wrong? We own it; we depre- 
cate it, and hate to have to resort to it at times. But 
when hunger gnaws so fiercely, who can resist the 
temptation to appease it when he can? Our double 



162 Under the Stars and Bars 

duty, we thought, was light enough for the good times 
we had, and one comrade declared he wished that we 
had taken the rooster, too, since we got along so well. 
This incident will show you how pinched we are, quite 
often, for something to eat. 

But camp life has its pleasant, as well as its repel- 
lent features, and, though the soldier, many a time, is 
both hungry and sorrily clad, he is ever ready for a 
song, and many a lively air, or national ode, is heard 
in or about our Camp at the "stilly hour of even," be- 
fore the final roll call and tattoo. Several of the boys 
sing well. All of them try to sing at times. But I 
think Lieutenant Foreman is listened to more than the 
rest. Did you ever hear Wallace Foreman sing ? When 
lie strikes in on sweet "Annie Laurie" or the "Bonnie 
Blue Flag," all the rest stop to listen. But it is when 
he is threading his way w T ith a loving heart through 
his own "My Maryland," that his soul seems to melt in 
tenderness, till his song vibrates and recedes, almost 
like harp notes borne away by the evening breeze. He 
is tenderest then, for his heart is touched. And then 
there are "Dixie," and "Sweet Evelena," and "Stone- 
wall Jackson's Way," and half a score more songs that 
are favorites with our boys. 

But better and sweeter far than these, are the songs 
of praise that we often hear from some tent at night, 
where the professed followers of Christ have assembled 



Under the Stars and Bars 163 

for a little time of prayer and thanksgiving, ere they 
retire to their humble beds. Then it is that the low 
and measured cadence of "Xearer, my God, to thee," 
or ' ; IIow firm a foundation," or "There is a fountain 
filled with blood," falls on the ear of the listener with 
soothing and hallowing effect. Or else the stirring 
notes of "All hail the power of Jesus' name" rings out 
through the Camp like a bugle call to battle. And 
while the singing goes on, the heart of the lonely senti- 
nel on his post is moved, or the soldier reposing quietly 
in his tent nearby, sends up a prayer to heaven in 
consonance with the song. 

And then, when the last hymn has been sung, and 
the men all lie down to rest, some one somewhere in 
Camp, who has been listening to the songs of praise, 
and whose heart feels the holy inspiration of the hour, 
strikes up with "Home, sweet home," and as the ten- 
derly sweet and heart-stirring solo floats softly out over 
the Camp, many a rough soldier, who weeps not for 
wounds or blood, dashes a tear from the eye, while his 
bosom yearns for one sight more of the dear old home, 
bo far away, and of the loved ones he has not seen in 
so many lung months, and, perchance, may never see 
again. 

J wonder do our friends at home sing any now? Are 
the songs of Zion ever heard floating out on the matin 
or ve-per breeze, down in old Tidewater land ? It is an 
ill day for any people, where the songs of praise and 
gladness are stilled — when men go about iu silent and 



1C4 Under the Stars and Bars 

melancholy mood, as if they were afraid some foe 
would spring upon them from ambush, and maltreat 
them because of their joy? 

It is not often that sorrow finds expression in song, 
but when it does, the heart-chords vibrate to the sweet- 
est and tenderest tones. And this is why the songs 
that are sung in times of war, are invariably those that 
most stir the heart, and awaken the emotions of thanks- 
giving and of patriotism — gratitude to heaven for mer- 
cies bestowed, or love of country, home and family. 

Did you ever think of this ? Is it not true ? For an- 
swer, note the character of the songs you hear the next 
month or two. 

Your friend, B. 

[It has been one purpose of this record to present 
a good deal of the life of the soldier in camp, to show 
how the men lived and acted when off duty. Another 
object has been to give a passing picture of the times, 
and tell of things that the younger generations would 
never hear about elsewhere. This letter covers a little 
space in both of these. Xo one would ever hear of a 
chicken raid or double duty, or scarcely of the songs in 
camp, save in a work like this. Xor would the "Sol- 
diers' Home" or the Confederate Cemetery be so fully 
described on the staid and stilted page of history as it 
is here. 

But, above all else, I have tried to give my comrades 
a truthful, and, as far as I can, an accurrate account 



Under the Stars and Bars 165 

of events and scenes, and persons and things, that fell 
along our pathway during those four eternal years. 
Everything in this letter, therefore, even the chicken- 
pulling, is a true picture of things that were, or of 
scenes and places. 

As to the '"songs in camp," they were an ever-re- 
curring attendant of the daily life of the men. There 
was no day so dark and gloomy as to silence all attempt 
at song on the part of some one ; and the voice of melody 
in some form, comic or light, sentimental or merry, 
grave or gay, serious or pious, was almost constantly 
heard in some part of our Camp, through the day, and 
often in the "sma' wee hours" of early morn. There 
were a few men whose tongues seemed never still. 
Surely my comrades will recall to mind that chattering 
magpie of song, that incorrigible jay bird of jest and 
banter, that versatile clown of comic verse, Joseph 
J\ea — will remember how his tongue was always run- 
ning through some merry or jesting stanza, or half 
stanza, or song, to the amusement of some and the dis- 
gust of others. Joe was the magpie of the Camp, the 
general tease of the touchy and the irritable, the uni- 
versal clown of the Company. lie was, withal, a good 
soldier, too, and did his duty, rain or shine. Alas, that 
bis own life should have passed under such a cloud 
•luring his last few years subsequent to the war! His 
light went out in gloom, with no comrade near to sing 
for him the songs of hope or trust. 

But as to those better songs, the songs of Zion, that 
several of the comrades used to sing so well — who can 



166 Under the Stars and Bars 

estimate the good they did, in a silent way, as they fell, 
almost nightly, upon the ears, and into the hearts, too, 
of the other men ? There is power, oftentimes, in the 
words and melody of a song to seize upon the heart- 
chords, and cause them to vibrate as nothing else can, to 
a feeling of sorrow or of hope — sorrow for sin com- 
mitted, hope in the pardoning love and mercy of Christ. 
And I am personally conscious that the religious songs 
in our Camp had an influence for good in the lives of 
some of the men, and, I believe, of many." I wished to 
say this much for the encouragement of the few sur- 
vivors of that singing band. xVlas ! how few there are of 
them now on this side of the mystic stream that divides 
from the upper Camp.] 



Under the Stars and Bars 167 



LETTER THIRTY-SECOXD. 

The Butler campaign begun— Battle of Port Walthall— A Con- 
federate victory — Losses — Note. 

Swift Ckeek, Va., 

May 10, 1S61. 
My Dear Friend:— The operations for the summer 
have beeii started up for us about Richmond by General 
Butler— Benjamin Franklin Butler, of Xew Orleans 
f ame — w h has but recently steamed up the James 
river with a strong fleet of gunboats and transports, the 
latter carrying a land force of 30,000 or 10,000 men, 
it is said, all equipped and panoplied for war galore. 
His object being the capture of Petersburg, and of the 
railroad connecting it with Richmond, and also to 
threaten the latter city, he has established his head- 
quarters at, or near, Bermuda Hundred, and has already 
made two attempts to seize and destroy the railroad. 
In consequence of this movement, the S. L. A. re- 
ceived orders, on the Gth inst., to proceed rapidly to the 
vieinity of Port Walthall. The other Batteries of the 
Battalion were held in reserve to meet a threatened 
advance in another direction, and did not accompany us. 
We did not arrive at the designated point on the 
Gth in time to take part in the initial engagement at 
Dunn's farm, on the afternoon of that day — an affair 
in which a few hundred South Carolinians of General 



168 Under the Stars and Bars 

Hagood's Brigade, under the command of Colonel Gra- 
ham, met and checked Butler's advance to destroy the 
railroad. 

On the 7th inst., Butler moved up a much larger 
force — five brigades — under General. Brooks, and early 
in the afternoon the important battle of Port Walthall 
was opened by one of our guns that had been sent for- 
ward, and which engaged the enemy near the ground 
where the fight of the preceding evening occurred. This 
gun, however, was soon forced to retire, the ammunition 
chest having been stuck by a shell that exploded among 
the cartridges of powder, doing, however, but little ma- 
terial harm. 

Hereupon, Generals Hagood and Bushrod Johnson 
formed their infantry lines along the railroad cut, from 
near Craig's house to a point half a mile toward Chester, 
the left resting upon a small brook that crosses the 
railroad at nearly a right angle. The line was thus 
protected by the cut-outs along the road, and held a 
comparatively strong position. Our four guns were 
stationed at intervals on rising ground some fifty or 
more yards to the rear of the infantry line, where we 
had an open field and a clear view of the advancing 
foe. Altogether, the arangement of our forces, both 
the infantry and artillery, was skilfully made, and our 
guns had the advantage of elevated ground. 

As soon as the enemy's forces emerged from the wood 
into the open field on the east of the railroad, our in- 
fantry opened upon them, and our guns began to shell 



Under the Stars and Bars 169 

them vigorously. They advanced in three columns, ex- 
tending across the open field, and into the wood on the 
north. The first line approached more than half way 
across the field, and when it halted was barely three 
hundred yards from our line of infantry, posted along 
and in the railroad cut. 

For two mortal hours, and more, the battle raged 
without interval or cessation. Our guns continued to 
ply their lines liberally with shot and shell. Still the 
enemy held his ground, and seemed determined to force 
his way across the road, over our thin line of infantry. 
Finding that we held tenaciously to the ground in his 
front — for it was, in fact, the key of the situation — 
the Federals, without lessening their forces before us, 
brought up more troops, and essayed a flank movement 
on our extr.eme left. Hastily adjusting his lines to 
receive it, General Johnson met the blow with great 
vigor, when it recoiled, and the enemy retired before 
our shells that were ploughing their way through his 
ranks with stunning effect. During this part of the 
engagement, the forest through which the Federals had 
charged was set on fire by our shells, and the foe, after 
caring for their wounded, retired further off, and did 
not renew the attack. Some of their killed, however, 
having been left in the wood, were burned in a shocking 
manner. 

Upon the failure of their flank movement, and ob- 
serving that we still fought them stubbornly in their 
front— and partly, no doubt, on account of the fire that 



170 Under the Stars and Bars 

was raging on their right, the enemy, completely foiled 
by a force much inferior to their own, drew off out of 
range of our guns. 

Thus a force of some 1,500 infantry and a Battery 
of four guns only, had succeeded in repulsing an army 
of five or six brigades, numbering as many thousand 
men, and had held their ground without yielding an 
inch. They had saved the railroad from being cut in 
two, and had taught the foe the futility of any attempt 
to capture Petersburg along this line. The battle, there- 
fore, was a decided Confederate victory. 

In this engagement, our Company had three men 
severely wounded, and one or two slightly. Malory 
Shields, of Hampton, was shot through the body, but 
walked half a mile to the doctor's tent. And Edward 
Wright and Zacheriah Holland, both of Surry, were 
dangerously wounded and have been sent to the city 
hospital. One gun had its ammunition chest exploded, 
but was uninjured otherwise, and the chest was soon 
replaced. Colonel Lightfoot, who was with us, and 
directed our movements, expresses himself as highly 
pleased with the manner in which our men handled 
their guns and s,tood up to their posts throughout the 
engagement. 

The loss of our infantry, in killed and wounded, was 
considerable, but not heavy, being greatest on the ex- 
treme left of the line, where the most determined effort 
to dislodge them was made. Busfarod Johnson's 
Tennesseeans fought splendidly, as did also Hagood's 



Under the Stars and Bars 171 

Carolinians and Wise's Virginians. The enemy's loss 
was great, both in the open field, in front of the centre 
of our lines, and where the attempt was made to seize 
the railroad. 

The stubborn resistance that our 1,500 men had 
made against a force of from 5,000 to 6,000, with 
plenty of reserves in the rear, served to check the 
enemy's advance and delay his movement for that day. 
In the meantime re-enforcements were hastening to the 
scene. While the battle was going on, a section of 
the Washington Artillery was being rushed to our aid, 
but did not arrive until late at night. In the mean- 
time, though our forces had not yielded an inch of 
ground, had repulsed the enemy in his most persistent 
effort, and the entire field of battle had been left in our 
possession, yet it was deemed proper, after nightfall 
and darkness intervened, to cover the movement, to 
retire from the railroad to the vicinity of Swift. Creek 
Mills, one and a half or two miles distant. Accord- 
ingly, our Battery was drawn off. The infantry line was 
readjusted to a position nearer the Creek, and details 
were made to care for the wounded and bury the dead. 

I must not forget to tell you of one rather amusing 
incident that occurred during the hottest of the fight 
on the 7th. The flagman at the railroad station is a 
colored man. The station house was within the line 
of battlo, But the old darkey, true to the South, had 
retired to his cabin, and, it is said, was engaged earn- 



172' Under the Stars and Bars 

estly in prayer for the success of our army. But pres- 
ently the wicked Federals sent a shell crashing through 
his humble domicile, which thoroughly aroused him 
from his wrestlings, and he made a precipitate retreat 
to the rear, muttering imprecations on the head of the 
enemy for treating his house so rudely. 

I will tell you of the events of the 8th and 9th in 
another letter. Peace and safety be yours. 

Your friend, B. 

[The battle of Walthall Junction, on the 7th of May, 
lSG-i, when we consider the issues involved, was one of 
great importance. Had General Butler pushed forward 
with energy and celerity, as soon as he had landed at 
Bermuda Hundred, there can be no doubt about it but 
that he might have taken Petersburg almost without op- 
position. On the 6th of 5Iay, the day that he made the 
first advance, the only Confederate force between his 
army and Petersburg was the small one of 500 or 600 
men of General Hagood's command that he encountered 
in Dunn's field, less than a mile from the P. & P. rail, 
and only five or six miles from the city. A determined 
dash of one or two hours, following the turnpike and 
the railroad bridges, all of which he would have had 
at his command, would have put the head of his army 
into the heart of the city. 

Or, if General Butler could have known how near the 
goddess of fame stood by him that day, ready to crown 
him with the laurel wreath of immortality — and if he 



Under the Stars and Bars 173 

could have turned his eye northward toward Rich- 
mond, and beheld how utterly defenceless the city 
stood — not 1,000 muskets between his army and Mayo's 
bridge, and the distance but twenty miles ; yea, with 
his fleet of gunboats to aid him, and with Drewr/s 
Bluff eliminated, which his army might have taken 
from the rear on the 7th, Richmond might have yielded 
to him almost without opposition. He lost time feeling 
his way, and by the time he had decided to fight, he 
found some one ready to oppose him. While Butler 
was delaying, the Confederates were concentrating. 
And when our Beauregard arrived on the field, thero 
was no hope for Butler.] 



174 Under the Stars and Bars 



LETTER THIRTY-THIRD. 

The enemy advancing — Railroad torn up — Fight at Swift Creek — 
Trying to turn the flank — Advancing toward Richmond — 
Note. 

Swift Creek, Ya., 
May 12, 1864. 

My Dear Friend: — On the night of the 7th, our 
troops withdrew from Walthall Junction, retiring to- 
ward Swift Creek, and forming a new line across the 
turnpike, the centre resting near Squirrel Level church. 
Our Battery crossed over the Creek at the turnpike 
bridge, and the guns were posted in the works about 
two hundred yards beyond the Creek. Here we found 
the Washington Artillery, which had just arrived, oc- 
cupying that part of the line extending from the turn- 
pike to the railroad bridge at Dunlop's house. 

On the Sth the enemy advanced again, seized the 
railroad, and tore up about one mile of the track, ex- 
tending from near Craig's house toward Chester. In 
the afternoon the Federals advanced and attacked our 
infantry with vigor, and succeeded in forcing them 
back. The right of our line was driven back in some 
disorder, and these men forded the creek and formed 
on the side where the artillery was posted, and to the 
left of our Battery. 



Under the Stars and Bars 175 

The foe, flushed with this small success, now brought 
up his artillery and posted it in and near the turnpike, 
OU the northern side of the creek. They opened on us 
with shell, but the prompt answer and accurate aim of 
out guns soon knocked them out of the road, and they 
withdrew. Our Battery, aided by the Washington Ar- 
tillery, continued to shell the woods in the direction of 
the Federals for some time, but as both their artillery 
and their army remained silent, we ceased firing and 
awaited further developments. 

In the engagement of the 8th, a part of Hagood's 
and Wise's commands suffered considerably, Sustaining 
some loss in killed and quite a number in wounded. 
The S. L. A. escaped without a casualty. We were not 
under the fire of the Federal infantry in this engage- 
ment. 

Butler's forces employed the next few days in en- 
deavoring to find a way around the Confederate left, 
and thus get into Petersburg by a more circuitous route 
than the one at first attempted. Failing in this, he be- 
gan a movement toward Richmond, but was met on the 
turnpike a little beyond Chester by the men of the 10th 
Virginia Battalion and other forces, and driven back 
with loss. Butler now drew his forces off nearer to 
the James, evidently deeming it prudent to keep in 
proximity to his gunboats. He seemed now to abandon 
all furl her effort to advance upon Petersburg, and ap- 
pears to have taken up the idea that the proper thing 



176 Under the Stars and Bars 



for him to do was to capture Drewry's Bluff from the 
rear, and advance upon Richmond with both his fleet 
and army. 

The turnpike being now open, and the enemy retiring, 
the Confederate forces, now considerably augmented by 
arrivals from the South and Tennessee, were thrown 
forward, advancing upon the turnpike as far as the 
Half Way Station. 

"While lying at Swift Creek our Company received 
an unusual treat one day in the way of rations. It 
came from the ladies — the noble women — of Peters- 
burg — God bless them forever ! Somehow they learned 
that our supplies had been very short for a long time. 
And so they got together and made up a big lot of 
nice bread, like that we used to have at home, and 
our wagons came in loaded with nice loaf bread, which 
was at once duly distributed to the hungry and thank- 
ful men. Many a soldier's heart sent up a prayer for 
blessings upon the patriotic women who had denied 
themselves to serve us. 

We are anticipating some serious work in a day or 
two. Beauregard is here in command, and as soon as 
he takes a survey of the field, something will happen. 

Your friend, B. 

[The return of the S. L. A. on the 13th, over the 
same ground they had passed on the 6th and 7th, gave 



Under the Stars and Bars 177 

us another opportunity of witnessing the vandalism 
that always and everywhere inspired the Federal heart 
from the very first of the struggle. The wanton de- 
struction of private property was manifest on every 
hand. The tearing up of the railroad was, of course, 
to have been expected. About one mile of the track 
had either been overturned into the ditch or burned 
and the rails spoiled. If material, such as fencing, etc., 
was at hand, fires were built upon the track, and the 
rails, thus softened and bent out of shape, were ren- 
dered of no value. The Northern hordes appear to 
have been adepts in the art of destruction. Perhaps 
they found this the easiest way to conquer the South. 
General Butler himself, quite early in the course of the 
war, acquired a somewhat notable reputation, not only 
for permitting of vandalism, but for some things of 
sterner name.] 



178 Under the Stars and Bars 



LETTER THIRTY-FOURTH. 

A glance at operations elsewhere — Federal cavalry again — 
Butler's second advance — Note. 

En Bivouac, 
May 13, 1864. 

My Dear Friend: — We are now bivouacking in the 
woods, almost under the range of Butlers gunboats in 
the James. Occasionally the Federals send out a shell 
over this way, and the infantry, who are posted in 
front of us, welcome it with shouts and laughter. 
Sometimes they crash through the tree-tops under 
which the infantry are reposing, and the broken limbs 
fall down among the men. Butler's force seems to 
be threading its way up towards Drewry's BluiT. 

Accounts have reached us that Lee is being hard 
pressed up at the Wilderness. The enemy is forcing 
his way slowly toward Richmond. But, of course, it 
is the old story repeated. The Federals number 150,- 
000, all well equipped and fed ; the Confederates G0,- 
000— less than half. 

And the other two Batteries of our Battalion — 
Thornton's and Rives's — have had work to do since we 
parted from them. It appears that the enemy planned 
a series of advances upon the Confederate Capital, and 
a force of cavalry under Sheridan have tried their hand 
on the defences of Richmond, on the northern side. 



Under the Stars and Bars 179 

where Dahlgren made his ludicrous failure only two 
month ago. But Captain Thornton, with his six fine 
Xapoleon guns, and the conscript fathers and others 
of the old guard, handled Sheridan's forces so roughly 
that he, too, drew off and retired from the scene without 
accomplishing anything. Thornton had one man killed 
and others wounded. 

Butler appears to be about to try his hand once more 
in the "on to Richmond" game, and is manifesting 
rcstiveness under the close pressure of the Confederate 
lines. A new alignment of our forces is being quietly 
made to-day, and our Battery has orders to occupy 
Fort Stephens, a strong entrenchment near the turn- 
pike, only a little beyond the Half Way Station. 

Our Battery will not move, however, until darkness 
sets in, unless Butler forces a general engagement dur- 
ing the afternoon. There are entrenchments back of 
us, to which the infantry will move. We have about 
0,000 or 7,000 men here now, and our lines extend 
from a point near the James at Drewry's Bluff, in a 
half moon, around to Proctor's Creek. 

A "grape-vine" courier, just arrived, informs us that 
our Company Q — poor fellows — over at the old quar- 
ters — Camy) Scherinerhorn — are nearly starved. They 
have no rations and no one in command there to draw 
for them, our Milton Gray being with us here. More 
than all, some of Q got an awful scare on the morning 



180 Under tJie Stars and Bars 

of the 8th, when Sheridan was trying to ride into 
Richmond, over Thornton's Battery and the rest of 
them. The fight took place but a mile or so away from 
our late winter quarters, and some of their shells fell 
out as far as our Camp. Of course, this did not please 
Q, and they became alarmed for their safety. 

Nearly all the citizens here in Chesterfield, whose 
homes are within the enemy's lines, have been obliged 
to move away. They report that they cannot endure 
the robbery and abuse to which they are subject. Every- 
thing they have in the way of provisions, and most of 
their stock and poultry, has been taken from them, 
and, in some cases, their furniture and beds broken 
up and destroyed before their eyes. Scores of women 
and children are thus rendered homeless and foodless. 
Ah, War ! how bitter art thou, in thy heartless, merci- 
less dealings with the children of men! The young 
and the strong may defy thy cruel blows ; but the weak 
and the helpless, who will relieve their distress ? Well 
may you, my friend, be grateful indeed that your home 
has not fallen within the lines of the invading army. 

But it is nearly time to cook our ash-pone, and then, 
when darkness falls, another position. Hay the guar- 
dian angels keep us all, and may to-morrow's battle 
go softly with the S. L. A. 

Your friend, B. 

[The change of lines was made by the Confederate 
forces in this part of the field, as forecasted in this 



Under the Stars and Bars 181 

letter, not because of any felt weakness or apprehension 
of defeat, but to secure a better and stronger position 
for defence. On the new line there were earthworks 
for the infantry and redoubts for artillery, and better 
ground to fight upon. But the Federals seemed to in- 
terpret the change as an evidence of weakness, and they 
responded quickly to it, and followed with a stronger 
force. Before morning on the 14th, their lines were 
well up to our own, and as soon as daylight opened 
fairly, their skirmish force was making it warm for us 
all along the lines. 

But our Battery already occupied the works at Fort 
Stephens, and our own skirmishers were in advance, 
face to face with the enemy. xVnd both Thornton's and 
Rives's Batteries had rejoined us during the night, and 
they also held positions in the works. I think, when 
all of our 16 guns opened upon the enemy, they must 
have understood that our artillery had been re-enforced 
and that a charge upon the works, to carry them by 
storm, would result in fearful loss among their men. 
It ma} T have been this circumstance, more than any 
other, that deterred Butler from risking a general en- 
gagement on the 1-ith. 

But, to offset the 16 guns of Lightfoot's Battalion, 
none of them heavier than 14-pounders, Butler sent up 
a fine battery of 24-pound Parrott guns, which took a 
position in the turnpike, only 300 yards from our 
position in the Fort, and within easy range of the in- 
fantry on our right. This artillery, a Rhode Island 



182 Under the Stars and Bars 

battery, did fine work on the 14th, the men standing 
to their posts and handling their pieces with celerity 
and accuracy. But it must have been at a fearful sac- 
rifice of blood. They were posted too near to the Con- 
federate infantry, whose sharp-shooters picked oif the 
cannoneers at a rapid rate. This battery was aban- 
doned that night and fell into our hands. The S. L. A. 
passed two clays, the 14th and 15th, in Fort Stephens, 
and were under fire continually, as long as daylight 
held, on both days. The next letter will tell of the 
chief incidents.] 



Under the Stars and Bars 183 



LETTER THIRTY-FIFTH. 

Two days under fire — Conduct of the inen — Casualties and inci- 
dents — Note. 

En Bivouac, 
May 11, 1864. 

My Dear Friend: — The morning cf the 14th of May 
dawned clear and bright, and skirmishing began be- 
tween the advanced lines ere it was fully light. As we 
occupied an angle or corner of the Fort, only one side 
of which fronted toward the enemy's line, two guns 
only could be used upon them. Soon, however, the 
Federals brought up a battery of four Parrot t guns, 
which they stationed on the turnpike to our right, at a 
distance of some 300 yards from us, and this battery 
began to shell us rapidly. This gave the other guns 
something to do, and they at once engaged with the 
enemy's battery. 

About the time this battery began to salute us so 
rapidly, the Federal infantry in our front began a 
vigorous assault, forced back our line of skirmishers, 
and appeared as if they were about to charge our works. 
But we played upon their lines persistently and with 
effect, with the two guns that could be brought to bear 
in that direction, our infantry at the same time re- 
doubling their fire, and the enemy did not advance 
further. 



184 Under the Stars and Bars 

More infantry coming up to our aid, and taking posi- 
tion along the line of works to our left, extending in 
the direction of Drewry's Bluff, toward which point 
the Federal right seemed to be working its way, the 
firing became general and rapid all along the lines, both 
left and right, and held steadily without intermission 
for more than two hours. In fact, a general engage- 
ment with both musketry and artillery had begun, 
which continued, with more or less vigor, through the 
remainder of the day. 

Neither army, however, manifested any disposition 
either to advance or retire. It was a case of stand and 
fire, each endeavoring to cripple the other the most, and 
gain, if he could, some advantage here or there. The 
enemy's one battery was handled with rapidity and 
accuracy, and they sent us quite a number of dangerous 
missiles, that exploded very near to our guns and did 
considerable damage. 

The limber-chest — ammunition box — of gun Xo. 4 
was struck and exploded by one of their ugly shells, 
and Sergeant G. M. Ilargrave and ten or twelve men 
were either wounded or badly stunned. The boys did 
not stop their work, however, but continued to hurl 
their 12-pound Xapoleon shells at them as fast as they 
could. Another limber was brought up promptly with 
more ammunition, and Xo. 4 worked on as if nothing 
had happened to them. 

Another of their Parrott shells exploded upon the 
muzzle of gun Xo. 3, scarring it considerably, but do- 



Under the Stars and Bars 185 

ing no further injury to the gun. A fragment, however, 
of the same shell struck the arm of the cannoneer 
standing by the gun— James Pond, a youth, of South- 
ampton county — and nearly severed the limb from the 
body. With remarkable presence of mind and cool- 
ness for one so young, Pond grasped the broken stump 
above the wound, to check the bleeding, and walked a 
mile to receive surgical attention. 

Lieutenant J. W. Whitley received a painful musket 
wound in the shoulder, and retired. Private Benton D. 
Thomas likewise received a painful, but not dangerous, 
wound from a minnie ball. Several other men, six or 
eight, were slightly hurt during the day, but all refused 
to withdraw. All the men acted well, and some of 
them distinguished themselves in one way or another 
for coolness or efficiency. 

Sergeant B. T. Bell handled his gun— Xo. 1, Xa- 
poleon— so well, and his manner was so calm and self- 
poised, that he drew upon himself the notice of General 
Johnson Hagood, who came into the Fort while the 
hottest of the .firing was going on. Altogether, the 
casualties of the first day were 21 or 22 wounded, most 
of them but slightly. Four, however, had received pain- 
ful, not to say dangerous, wounds, and these were sent 
on to the hospital in Eichmond. 

At nightfall all hands were set to work filling bags 
Avith sand, to raise and strengthen the works, and pre- 
pare for the sterner fight that was expected on the mor- 
row. This clone, beside the shotted guns, that had 



186 Under the Stars and Bars 

barely yet cooled to their normal temperature, the can- 
noneers, each wrapped in his well-worn blanket, laid 
them down to seek rest and sleep, for nature was well- 
nigh exhausted, and the men greatly needed repose and 
recuperation. The physical and mental strain had been 
great. Twelve hours under continued fire is enough to 
test the endurance of the strongest and hardiest of men. 

During the night, however, the Federal commander 
made a new disposition of forces, drawing off some of 
his infantry from our immediate front, and concen- 
trating it nearer to Drewry's Bluff, and the battery 
that had annoyed us so much during the day, as it 
could not be carried off, was abandoned and fell into 
our hands. On the 15th, contrary to what we had an- 
ticipated the enemy, on our part of the lines, made but 
a feeble fight. They kept us engaged, however, all 
day, but put forth their strongest effort on the extreme 
right of the Confederate line, some six or eight miles 
away, and where our lines were at first forced back, 
but subsequently recovered and held their ground. 

The 15th passed without any casualties worthy of 
note. The guns were fired leisurely, and the men rested 
under cover of the works, and talked of their experi- 
ences of the previous day. General Beauregard came 
into the Fort during the day. We were all glad to see 
him here, for we have confidence in his ability to con- 
duct the fighting successfully. 

At night we were drawn out of Fort Stephens, greatly 
to the satisfaction of most of the men, no doubt, and 



Under the Stars and Bars 187 

the entire Battalion was moved down the left of the 
line?, where Beauregard was massing his forces, pre- 
paratory to the intended attack of the next day. As 
the men had lost sleep the preceding three nights, they 
slept well on the 15th. It was not their habit to borrow 
trouble, by reflecting that it might be the last night on 
earth for some of them. We all knew of the intended 
work of the morrow, but we rested well, expecting to 
be called at an early hour. 

Your friend, B. 

[The first day's engagement at Fort Stephens, the 
14th of May, was not as heavy a fight, altogether, as 
was the battle at Walthall Junction on the 7th. Yet, 
on account of its .continuance through the day, almost 
without lull or intermission, it tested the endurance of 
the men even more severely than the fight of the 7 th. 
That continued only about three hours ; this of the 14th 
twelve hours. The losses were about the same on both 
occasions. On the 7th we had an ammunition box 
exploded by a shell, and on the 14th the same casualty 
occurred again. Of the three men severely wounded 
on the 7th, two of them, Zacheriah Holland and W. E. 
Wright, subsequently died in hospital. Of the three 
badly injured on the 14th, one, namely, James Pond, 
though he had recovered from his wound, and was ex- 
pecting, in a short time, to receive an honorable dis- 
charge from service, contracted pneumonia and died 
in the hospital sometime in June, 1S64. His body 
rests in Oakwood Cemetery.] 



188 Under the Stars and Bars 



LETTER THIRTY-SIXTH. 

The battle of Drewry's Bluff — Charge of Terry's and Grade's 
men — Prisoners — Note. 

En Bivouac, 
May 18, 1861. 

My Dear Friend: — By early dawn, on .Monday morn- 
ing, May 16th, the Confederate army was in motion, 
prepared for the work of the day. The atmosphere 
was cool and bracing, but a dense fog prevailed, hiding 
everything from view fifty yards away. This circum- 
stance greatly favored the advance, and enabled the 
Confederate infantry to approach very near the enemy's 
lines before they were observed. The charge was made 
on our extreme left, near the James river, and but a 
little way from Drewry's Bluff. 

Our infantry struck the Federals just as they were 
preparing their morning meal, and so sudden and fierce 
was the onset, that they quickly gave way, and soon 
our men had them in full retreat. Just as the Federal 
line had been rolled back by the infantry, Colonel 
Lightfoot's Artillery Battalion of 16 guns was thrown 
in on the same ground over which the infantry had just 
charged, and the guns were speedily unlimbered and 
brought into action on the retreating Federals. 

Very soon, however, on account of the doubling up 
of a part of the enemy's line by the charging column. 



Under the Stars and Bars 189 

and partly because of the dense fog, and the rapid 
change in the position of our own forces, our guns had 
to cease firing and move forward to another position, 
where we could fire over the heads of the advancing 
infantry. 

Here we were on the ground where General Heck- 
man's brigade and other forces, numbering 800 or 900 
men, had just yielded to the fiery onset of the Con- 
federate infantry that was first thrown upon the Federal 
column. The ground, for some distance around, was 
literally piled with muskets. 

This splendid charge on the extreme left of our line 
was made by Terry's Virginians and Grade's Ala- 
bamians, and it won the day for the Confederate side. 
So fierce had been the onset here, and so severe was the 
fire of Lightfoot's artillery, that the Federal columns 
continued to fall back rapidly for miles, not pausing 
until they had placed themselves well under the protec- 
tion of their gunboats in the James. 

The result of the battle was. a complete defeat for 
Butler's army. It retreated in disorder, not to say con- 
fusion; and I hear that, but for the failure of one of 
our generals to carry out the orders given him by Gen- 
eral Beauregard, the larger part, at least, of the Fed- 
eral army would have been captured. This is unfor- 
tunate, but such slips will take place. 

At one time during the early morning, our Battery 
had advanced within one hundred yards of the Federal 
line, with no infantry support near us. It was a critical 



190 Under the Stars and Bars 

place for artillery. But our liberal employment of 
shell and canister doubtless deterred them from doubling 
back upon us. 

During the hour in which the battle lasted on our 
part of the line, we had several men wounded, most of 
them but slightly hurt, but one or two severely. John 
L. Seward, a driver, was slightly hurt in the leg, while 
limbering up to advance. Julian II. Judkins was shot 
in the body. And Julian Stewart, a cannoneer, was 
wounded in the foot, receiving a complicated and dan- 
gerous hurt that kept him in hospital a long time. 

The loss in killed and severely wounded men, of both 
armies, was heavy for so short an engagement. Dead 
or disabled men lay on the field in every direction, a 
large portion of them being Confederates. Of course, 
most of the wounded Federals made their way back to 
their own hospitals. The ambulance corps was engaged 
several hours in removing the wounded men. The doc- 
tors were out upon the field, attending to the desperate 
cases first. 

The battle of the lGth of May, both in the numbers 
engaged on both sides, in the casualties occurring, in 
the issues involved, and in the direct results, ranks as 
a very important affair. It was a decided Confederate 
victory, and it insures the safety of Richmond on this 
side, and also of Petersburg, for some time to come, at 
least. We congratulate ourselves that Lightfoot's Ar- 
tillery contributed largely toward this splendid result. 
The men all stood up to their work bravely, in face of 



Under the Stars and Bars 191 

the leaden hail that hurtled around them, working their 
guns with rapidity and good effect. It seems almost 
like a special providence that so few of us were struck 
by the enemy's bullets. Let us thank God and take 
courage. 

Pray for our cause, and for us. 

Your friend, B. 

[The battle of May 16th, ended the so-called Butler 
campaign of 1SG4 in Virginia. The contest had been 
short and severe. It lasted but ten days — May 6th-16th — 
and during that time Butler had fought six engage- 
ments, three of them being pitched battles, in none of 
which was he successful, and two of which — Walthall 
Junction and Drewry's Bluff — were acknowledged de- 
feats. After the battle of the ICth of May, Butler drew 
in his lines to a very small area of Chesterfield county, 
with his headquarters at Bermuda Hundred, his left 
resting on the Appomattox at Point of Rocks, his right 
on the James nearly opposite to Curie's Xeck farm. 
The Confederate line confronting his forces was drawn 
closely up. and. the men lost no time in digging en- 
trenchmonts*, so that when General Lee's army reached 
the vicinity two w r eeks later, the men found works al- 
ready constructed, for them to occupy. Butlers golden 
opportunity for winning fame as one of the dis- 
tinguished military chieftains of the age, had passed 
away forever, and the future historian will have to 
rank him as one of the incompetents. 



192 Under the Stars and Bars 

Only one thing had Butler done that he was sent to 
do. He had indeed reached the P. & R. rail, and had 
torn up and destroyed about one mile of the track. But 
he had neither captured the city of Petersburg, which 
he might easily have done on the 6th or 7 th inst., or 
imperiled the safety of Richmond, which lay in his 
power, if he had promptly assaulted the works at 
Drewry's Bluff, from both the land and river at the 
same time. 

With 30,000 men — some say 40,000 — with his base 
upon a river, and a fleet to aid him, he allowed a force 
of 6,000 or 7,000, hastily called together, to defeat him 
in every engagement, and force him back into a state 
of harmless inertia, a condition of innocuous desuetude. 
To this result, the men of the S. L. A. congratulate 
themselves that they rendered very important and 
material aid. To this end they contributed freely of 
their toil and blood. 

In connection with the account of the battle of the 
16th of May, 1864, I take pleasure in laying before my 
comrades a page from the, as yet, unpublished "Rem- 
iniscences" of a gentleman of Floyd county, an ex-Con- 
federate, who was a member of Kemper's Brigade, and 
an eye-witness and participant in the fight. It is from 
the pen of Mr. W. II. Morgan, of Floyd. The 11th 
and 24th Virginia infantry, of Kemper's Brigade, took 
the place of two of Grade's regiments that had fallen 
back in the charge upon Heckman's forces. These two 
regiments (the Virginians ) suffered severely. It was, 
says Mr, Morgan, "a hot time." Here is the extract: 



Under the Stars and Bars 193 

"On the right of Grade's Brigade, Hankins' Battery 
of Surry county was taking position. Xo unnecessary 
noise was made, no one spoke unless giving orders, and 
then in low tones. The artillery moved into position 
slowly, and with as little noise as possible. I remember 
well the cluck of the iron axles as the guns moved 
slowly into position as quietly as a funeral procession. 
When all was ready, and while it was yet quite dark, 
the Alabamians moved forward up the hill, the artillery 
keeping pace with them, firing by sections, each section 
moving forward after firing. 

"Pretty soon the Yankee pickets opened fire on the 
advancing column, which is returned, the column mov- 
ing on the while, driving the pickets from their rifle 
pits near the top of the hill. The artillery halted on 
the top of the hill, still firing away in the darkness 
beyond, throwing shot and shell into the woods in front 
where the enemy is supposed to be. It was a grand 
spectacle that dark morning, the firing of the battery 
by sections as it advanced, the roar of the guns, the 
flames of fire bursting forth in the darkness,^ though 
rather awe-inspiring at the time, yet grand neverthe- 
less. I shall never forget the scene." 

It was about this time in the progress of the battle 
that Kemper's Brigade charged dowoi the hill and as- 
sisted in doubling in upon the enemy, and capturing a 
large number of prisoners. The Federal breastworks 
were soon in possession of our infantry, and the retreat 
of the enemy so precipitate as speedily to put them out 
of the range of our guns.] 



194 Under the Stars and Bars 



LETTER THIRTY-SEVENTH. 

Our losses — Company Q ordered to report — Watching the enemy — 
Spring's lush sweetness — More vandalism — Verses — Note. 

En Bivouac, 
May 20, 1864. 

My Dear Friend: — Our loss in wounded men since 
the 7th inst. counts up about 24, of whom one-third 
were severely hurt and sent to the hospital, the re- 
mainder too slightly injured to require surgical atten- 
tion, and did not leave camp. We have several men on 
the sick list, however, and these, too, have been sent 
into town, so that our number of effective men is re- 
duced to a low figure. 

In consequence of this depletion of our ranks, orders 
have been sent up to the old camp — our winter quar- 
ters — for all of Company Q to report for duty at once. 
Poor fellows ! they have missed all the fun we have had 
and now must come and take whatever honors they can 
get. But we will put them in the front rank in the next 
fight. 

We are now in temporary bivouac, a mile from the 
James, watching the enemy and resting from the labors, 
fatigues and battles of the past two weeks. General 
Grade's Alabamians are in line in front of us, with 
Butler penned up on a narrow margin of land along 



Under the Stars and JBars 195 

the river, where he lies under the cover and security 
of his war-boats — and the Capital of the Confederacy 
is still safe. 

The forests are fast putting on their lush, green garni- 
ture of leaves, and fragrant buds and lovely flowers are 
smiling all around us, in marked contrast to the scenes 
we have lately beheld. Thousands of little bluets 
(lloustonia) cover the ground here all around us, and 
the wild violets and yellow cinguefoil are here in 
abundance. 

"The vernal sunbeams pour around 
A fairy light, uncertain, pale; 
The wind blows cool; the scented ground 
Is yielding odors on the gale." 

While we were pushing Butler's army back, on the 
ICth, to its present position, we had abundant oppor- 
tunity again to witness more of that peculiar penchant 
for despoiling and wasting private property, that has 
characterized the Federal armies from the very outset 
of this war. Furniture broken up, feather beds carried 
out into the fields, the ticking ripped open and the 
feathers scattered abroad — books and pictures torn and 
thrown around the yards — the poultry and stock killed — 
vehicles broken and rendered worthless — doors and 
windows broken — fences burned — crops destroyed. In 
one case I saw a piano left out in the barn. In anothpr 
a fine painting of Patrick Henry thrust through with 
a bayonet. 



196 Under the Stars and Bars 

Such is the vandal spirit of our foe. It is bar- 
barism, savage ferocity, brutal cruelty. If these hordes 
could fight as well as they destroy, they would soon 
conquer us. Butler's men are no worse than the rest. 
Sheridan has an inkling that way. They all try to 
subdue us by pauperizing our people. 

Permit me to give you here a specimen of soldier- 
boy verse, inspired by the scenes and surroundings in 
our camp, on the night of the 16th of May — the night 
following the battle near Drewry's Bluff: 



Along the Lines by Old Bermuda. 
Night, May 16, 1864. 



Along the lines by old Bermuda, 

The Southern army lay — 
And men to men were sadly telling 

How wrath had ruled the day — 
And comrades true had bravely fallen 

Amidst the battle dread, 
Ere back the foe, dismayed and broken, 

Before our charge had fled. 

The stars of night were gently smiling 

In sweet compassion down — 
And filmy clouds, like folded mantles, 

Now pines and willows crown ; 
And down beneath the shelt'ring forest 

Each weary soldier laid — 
Around him drew his thin-worn blanket, 

And rest and dreams essayed. 



Under the Stars and Bars 19 Y 

But, hark! as speed the hooded hours, 

Where Butler holds the dell, 
Rude guns disturb the midnight silence 

With spurt of flame and shell; 
Like phrensied fiends, to wrath on-rushing, 

They crash athwart the pines — 
First hiss and blaze and hurtle fiercely, 

Then burst above our lines. 

Yet little recks the sleeping soldier 

For hurtling shell, or foe, 
In dreams his willing feet are turning 

The halls of Long Ago — 
The school, the home, the gentle mother, 

Bise up before his gaze — 
And now he meets a coy, fair maiden, 

His friend of other days. 

'Tis sweet to dream, when dreams are joyful, 

Though dangers lower, the while; 
'Tis bliss to trace the pathway backward, 

Where scenes of childhood smile; 
0, might such dreams forever linger! 

O, might the moments stay! 
Why turn the stars so quickly westward? 

Why come3 so soon the day? 

All! blissful dreams are soonest scattered — 

The fairest rose soon dies — 
When hearts would fain dream on forever, 

Storms first disturb the skies; 
Sharp through the camp calls loud the bugle — 

The friendly night hath sped — 
The soldier's sleep in rudely broken, 

His happy dreams are fled! 

The Battery is ordered to another point, and we 
march in an hour. Good-by. 

Your friend, B. 



198 Under the Stars and Bars 

[The Federal gunboats, having been strangely silent 
throughout the whole of the day of the 16th, though 
they might have annoyed our army very much, after 
nightfall, kept up a constant shelling of the woods and 
fields, where they supposed the Confederate lines to be 
drawn, and, at times, their missiles became trouble- 
some to the men. It is not pleasant to have a blazing 
shell crashing through the tree-tops over one's head, and 
broken limbs falling down, when one is trying to sleep 
at night. But these were literal realities on this occa- 
sion. Such are some of the minor dangers of war. Yet 
men will throw themselves down anywhere and sleep 
soundly, amidst such surroundings. The verses in the 
above letter were inspired by having been an eye-witness 
to these scenes, on the lines before Bermuda, on the 
night of May 10, 1S64. 

While Butler had been trying to find a way into Rich- 
mond and had failed, Grant had been pegging away 
against Lee to the same end, and he, too, had failed. 
But the great 'and bloody battles of the Wilderness, 
Spotsylvania, Xorth Anna and others, had been fought, 
and Grant was slowly mining his way nearer and nearer 
to the Confederate Capital. His army was approaching 
the vicinity of Richmond on the northeast, and we had 
orders to cross over to the northern side of the James. 
We then began a series of marches and counter-marches, 
crossing the James at the pontoon bridge, a little above 
Drewrv's Bluff, several times within ten or twelve days. 
We camped or bivouacked here and there and anywhere, 



Under the Stars and Bars 199 

sometimes two or three miles from the river, or from 
other troops, and sometimes under the range of the big 
shells from the gunboats. After the defeat of Butler's 
land forces, his war-boats became busy, both day and 
night, in shelling the country on both sides of the river, 
as far out as their missiles could reach. They wasted a 
big lot of ammunition to no purpose, for I never heard 
or saw of the least damage that any of their shells did 
anywhere. After the second battle of Cold Harbor, 
Lightfoot's Battalion was, of course, thrown in Lee's 
army, and we remained permanently on the north side 
of the James, and with the left wing of the army during 
the remainder of the war. But of the battle of Cold 
PI arbor, and our near approach to an encounter with 
some of Grant's army, see the next letter.] 



200 Under the Stars and Bars 



LETTER THIRTY-EIGHTH. 

On the march — Condition of the horses — Drewry's Bluff hill — 
Battle of Cold Harbor — Grant crossing the Chickahominy — 
Note. 

Bottom's Bridge, Va., 

June 14, 1864. 

My Dear Friend: — Since my last letter, three weeks 
ago, we have been on the march nearly all the time, on 
picket or in bivouac at seven or eight points — all places 
without name or inhabitant. Generally, we have been 
in close proximity to the enemy, but have exchanged 
no shots with them. Their gunboats, however, are con- 
stantly shelling the country right and left, night and 
day, and their big explosives oblige us sometimes to 
move further off. 

Since the 6th of May, the Battery horses have been 
worked so hard, and the supply of forage often short, 
that the poor creatures are now low in flesh. Besides, 
in the several engagements, we have lost a number, so 
that we have not now the usual complement of six 
horses to a gun, the supply being reduced to four to 
some of them. It is necessary at times, therefore, for 
the cannoneers to have to spring to the wheels, and help 
the cannon out of a mudhole or up a steep hill. 

Now, Drewry's Bluff hill, the one leading down to 
the pontoon from the Fort, is one of the steepest and 



Under the Stars and Bars 201 

hardest pulls the horses have had to encounter any- 
where. And as we have been over it a good many times 
recently, and sometimes in rain, which makes the con- 
dition of the hill worse, the horses have had a hard 
time making their way up, with all the help the can- 
noneers could give them. And, of course, there are 
some men who complain heavily at having to help the 
horses. Some of them say, if the Government is going 
to make horses of them, they want a set of harness. I 
think the cannoneers will never quite forget that hill at 
old Drewry's Bluff, and the hard labor they have had 
there, pushing at the wheels to help the horses along, 
the wheels, in the meantime, encased in mud, and the 
clay of the hill made soap-like and slippery from rain. 
There is danger in it to the men, as well as hard and 
hand-soiling work. 

The fortification of Drewry's Bluff is built upon the 
aforesaid high hill, the highest point of land, I suppose, 
on the banks of the James river anywhere below Rich- 
mond. The hill towers up high over the channel of the 
river, which here runs very near inshore, and it forms 
an admirable place for a strong defensive work. The 
old Galena and the rest of the Federal fleet found it 
too strong for them, in Mav, 1862, and the best iron- 
clads that Butler has here now do not meddle much 
with the place. It is a strong defensive work, and the 
gate to the Capital of the Confederacy by water. 

Grant, with his grand army of 150,000, all amply 
equipped for offensive warfare, has been trying his 



202 Under the Stars and Bars 

highest skill, and best strategic art, to overpower or out- 
general "ATarse" Bob, from the 6th of May to the 
present, but about all he has been able to do so far, has 
been to execute a series of wonderful en echelons by 
the left flank — by the left flank from the wilderness to 
Cold Harbor and the muddy Chickahominy. A series 
of battles as terrible as any that have been fought dur- 
ing the progress of this war have occurred, and, with 
all his trying to pass Lee's flank, Lee keeps up with him, 
and his army is still between Grant and Richmond. 

The last great battle was that of Cold Harbor, in 
which it is reported that the Federal army sustained an 
overwhelming defeat. All day long the noise of the 
battle — the roll of musketry and the booming of can- 
non — was plainly heard at our camp, and we were in 
constant expectation of orders to proceed in that direc- 
tion. Since then Grant's army has apparently been 
taking a rest. But it is thought that Grant is about to 
change his base of operations, either to the York or to 
the James. Every crossing-place on the Chickahominy 
is being guarded by our forces, and Lightfoot's Bat- 
talion is scattered, by company or by section, at several 
points. Our Battery is now at Bottom's Bridge, 
thought to be the lowest fordable place on the upper or 
swamp-land portion of the river. There is one more 
crossing-place below us, between this point and Windsor 
Shade, at the head of tidewater navigation on this river. 
It is known as the Long Bridge, only no bridge is there 
now. 



Under the Stars and Bars 203 

There is a Federal picket on the other side, in front 
of us here, but they keep very quiet. It is said that 
Sheridan's cavalry is over there, too. Wade Hampton's 
cavalry is just, above us at the railroad crossing and 
above that. But all the troops are constantly changing 
positions. A report has just come up that Grant is 
crossing the Chickahominy at the Long Bridge. If so, 
it is strange no fighting has been going on down 
that way. 

This point is fifteen or eighteen miles from the city, 
the battlefield of Seven Pines lying between us and 
town. While all the cannoneers are required to stay 
near by the guns, the drivers are employed most of the 
time each day in hunting around to find grazing for the 
horses. General Lee has just passed us here. 

May heaven defend you and us. 

Your friend, B. 

[Grant's "change of base," after the battle of Cold 
II arbor, to the James river, with City Point as his head- 
quarters, and the cities of Petersburg and Richmond as 
Ins objective points, of course, united General Lee's 
army and the forces that had been located about the two 
cities during the summers of 'G2 and 'G3, and up to 
the present time in '6-i, under one command. All be- 
came parts of Lee's army from this time on to the 
close of the war. 

Our command, including the whole of Colonel Lighi- 
foot'a Artillery, remained north of the James constantly 



204 Under the Stars and Bars 



after this, and shortly after this letter was written, the 
Battalion was ordered into camp within the inner linns 
near the city, where we remained until going into winter 
quarters. ' 

The next letter will relate principally to the events 
of two or three weeks spent in ]STew Kent county, doing i' 
picket service on' the extreme left.] 



Under the Stars and Bars 205 



LETTER THIRTY-NINTH. 

Picketing in New Kent — Unburied dead — A battle-scarred coun- 
try — Corn bread only — Note. 

New Kent, Va., 
June 30, 1864. 

My Dear Friend: — Since my last letter to you., and 
since Grant's army has left these parts and crossed 
over to the James, we have been on picket duty over 
here in New Kent county, which, you know, lies be- 
tween the Chickahominy and the Pamimkey rivers. 
We are distant from Richmond about twenty-five miles, 
and directly cast from the city. We forded the Chicka- 
hominy at the railroad crossing, first laying a corduroy 
of poles to prevent the horses and guns from sinking 
into the rand. There are no Federals hereabouts now, as 
many thousands as were here a week ago. All have 
crossed over to'the James. 

No, I mistake; there are quite a number of Federals 
here around yet. But they are dead Federals. Or, 
rather, the most of them are negroes that had joined 
the Federal army, and were lighting against their 
former masters. And they are unburied negroes. They 
were some of Sheridan's lawless gang, and were killed 
in a cavalry engagement between Wade Hampton and 
Sheridan, that occurred about ten days ago. They have 
been left unburied, and scores of them are lying here, 



206 Under the Stars and Bars 

festering and rotting under the rays of the hot sum- 
mer's sun. It is a sickening sight. But there are no 
inhabitants, or, but very few, to be inconvenienced or 
endangered by the terrible stench, and so, as I suppose, 
they will lie and rot, and their bones will bleach here 
beneath the dews and suns of summer, even until "this 
cruel war," this heartless strife, is finally ended. Alas ! 
the poor negro ! how very little does the Federal army 
or the Northern people really care for him! In the 
army, they put him in the front rank, to be hewed down 
like sheep ! — or they set him to work to dig trenches for 
the white soldiers to shelter under. We have several 
negro cooks, and I think the sight of their dead 
brethren here has opened their eyes a little. 

This, indeed, and in very truth, is 'a battle-scarred 
country. Made desolate in the beginning of the war 
by the tread and the hate of two hundred thousand 
armed invaders, it has remained so, and will so continue, 
until Peace and Industry once more arise to cover it 
with the healing mantle of prosperity and repose. We 
all, my friend, have abundant cause to be thankful, yea, 
doubly thankful, that an invading host has not swept 
through Surry and Isle of Wight, with its besom of 
woe and destruction, as it has here in these counties on 
the east of Richmond, and on down to the bay and the 
sea. Could you witness the ruin that has been wrought 
wherever a Federal army has been, your heart, I know, 
would swell with gratitude that your section had 
escaped. 



Under the Stars and Bars 207 

My heart goes out in sympathy and pity to the 
women and children and old men of New Kent and 
Charles City, and the other counties over here, who are 
forced refugees from their lands and once pleasant 
homes. But the ashes of a terrible desolation mark 
them now. 

Do you suppose that the old soldiers of the South can 
ever forget these things? — that the picture of these 
blackened ruins will ever pass entirely from their 
memory ? 

But there is another matter that is troubling us now — 
that of food, something to eat. Rations are fearfully 
short and have been for sometime. The men have no 
money, and if they had any, there is nothing in this 
part of the State to buy. There are no crops, no gar- 
dens, nothing of anything like vegetables, fruit, fowls, 
or eggs. It is a barren country. And since the arrival 
of Lee's army, which has to be rationed from the two 
cities, it seems that our commissary department is en- 
tirely unable to furnish anything like the proper amount 
of bread and meat to feed us. It has been three weeks 
since our Command — the Battalion — tasted meat. And 
flour we have not had in sometime. It is only corn 
meal now, a short pound per day to each man, and 
this Las been our sole fare for more than two weeks. 
Corn-pone only, made into dough with all the husk 
and litter it may contain, three times a day! No; not 



208 Under the Stars and Bars 

three times. There is never enough of it for three 
meals a day, and many a time the men will cook the 
whole day's ration and eat it all at one time ! Yea, and 
do not have enough then. These are literal facts. 

It well-nigh makes our good-natured Commissary 
Sergeant weep to go to town for rations and have to 
return with nothing for the men but just plain corn 
meal. They say it is the best they can do for us now. 
But they could hardly do much worse. 

Picture to yourself, if you can, a company of sol- 
diers, all seated around in small groups, each group 
constituting a ''mess," and all munching away upon 
corn bread only — nothing but corn bread to eat. It 
may be, there is some show at hilarity and mirth, for 
it is a dark day indeed in camp, if some soldier cannot 
evoke mirth out of something. But there is apparent 
an undercurrent of unrest, of dissatisfaction, of some 
want or desire unsupplied, which, if not expressed in 
words, is manifest in the faces and manner of the men. 
They cannot help it. Hunger will tell. And while 
bread alone will appease the appetite for a time, it will 
not continue to do so indefinitely. But we have passed 
through such dearths before, and fondly hope this one 
is nearly over. 

Besides,. we have orders to return at once to Bottom's 
Bridge, and we like that much better than staying here. 
All is quiet about here. Xo Federals are near us any- 
where that we can hear of. They have left the mud and 
mosquitoes of the Chickahominv for the broader James 



Under the Stars and Bars 209 

and the turgid Appomattox. And Petersburg is to be 
now the storm-centre of the war in Virginia. May the 
cloud soon recede, spanned by the rainbow of peace. 

Your friend, B. 

[The period of three or four weeks covering the 
transition of General Lee's army from Cold Harbor to 
the lines before Petersburg, may, very properly, be 
called "the starving time" of the army. It was a time 
of scarcity that was felt everywhere by all the people, 
out of the army as well as in it. The time had passed 
by when the men were receiving boxes from home. For- 
tunately, through the great exertions of the provision 
department of the army, better and more liberal sup- 
plies were shortly afterward obtained and continued 
even up to near the close. At no time afterward were 
we obliged to subsist for so long a time on nothing to 
eat but corn bread. And generally we had beef. As 
the fall and winter of '64 approached and the tax-in- 
kind began to be collected, the supplies furnished the 
army became more liberal and in greater variety. It 
is wonderful how the supplies department managed 
to do as well as it did.] 



210 Under the Stars and Bars 



LETTER FORTIETH. 

Return to the city — Our summer camp — View of the city — Rich- 
mond the Mecca of the South — Often on picket — Note. 

Richmond, Va., 
Aug. 15, 1864. 

My Dear Friend: — Well, we are back here again, in 
view of the dear old city. Our camp is in a large and 
beautiful oak grove, on the northeastern environs of the 
town, and quite near the Confederate cemetery of Oak- 
wood. The three Batteries are all camped together. 
The ground is dry and smooth, with ample shade, and 
wood enough for cooking purposes. It is a very pleasant 
place, either for a summer or a winter camp. We are 
near the inner line of defences, and convenient to the 
roads leading to the outer defences. The Battalion 
has roll calls and drills at the same hour, and the Bat- 
talion bugler — a negro — sounds the calls for all the 
Companies. 

There meanders near us a fine, rocky stream, which 
affords a good watering place for the horses. And 
there is a grist-mill nearby, and a small pond, which, 
being in a retired nook, presents a capital bathing place 
for the men. Altogether, we are admirably located for 
personal comfort, if only they will let us remain here. 

The view of the city from our camp, while partly 
obstructed by intervening groves and timber, is exten- 



Under the Stars and Bars 211 

sive and beautiful. There is also some fine scenery on 
the eastern and northeastern outskirts, and the farther- 
off rural prospects. The more I see of the city, the 
more I am convinced what a grand metropolis our 
Xational Capital is. It is a queenly city. 

And this is the Capital of the Southern Confederacy. 
This the city for which so much noble blood has been 
shed, so many brave lives sacrificed, to defend it from 
the despoiling and desecrating hand of a vandal foe. It 
is the devoted Capital against whose walls have been 
dashing and leaping the angry waves of war for four 
terrible years. It is the place where Southern heroism 
and devotion, from whatever State it might come, 
whether from far-off Texas, the pearl of the Southwest, 
or nearby Maryland, the queen of the Chesapeake — 
from the land of the Eio Grande or the soil of the Po- 
tomac; it is the centre where Southern patriotism has 
congregated, to lay its richest treasures, and test its most 
sacred honor and fidelity to the principles it believes 
to be true. 

"Where the noisy James, with ceaseless song, 
Leaps o'er its jagged falls, 
A nation's strength and bravery throng, 
To guard her sacred walls." 

Richmond is the Mecca of the South; the sacred 
tomb where so many hundreds of her heroes sleep. 
Here around, on a hundred battlefields, they rest from 
their toils — in a hundred wayside cemeteries they here 



212 Under the Stars and Bars 

repose in peace — here in Hollywod and Oakwood they 
lie — all guarding still the hallowed halls and conse- 
crated fanes of this politically holy ground. !N"o matter 
what the final result of this war may be, for every true 
Southern heart this noble city must ever possess an 
interest and attraction superior to any other place in 
the Southern Confederacy. Here the men of every 
Southern State have fought side by side, and seen their 
comrades fall and die. Here the sick and the wounded 
of every commonwealth have languished in hospital 
and received the tender ministrations of the devoted 
women of the city. 

And now the tide of war has rolled hitherward again, 
and tens of thousands of war-scarred veterans of Dixie 
Land to-day stand between these hallowed walls and 
thirty miles of bristling bayonets in hostile hands, and 
the ten thousand ponderous cannon that are daily and 
nightly belching forth fire and death, and hate and 
destruction, that they may level down and desecrate 
and trample upon these shrines, so dear to the heart of 
every mother and child in the Confederacy. 

Of course, my friend, there is no rest for us while 
the bloody drama lasts. Our pleasant camp may soon 
be given up, for the foe is ever alert and active. We 
are often out on picket duty, a part or a whole Battery 
at a place. The enemy's cavalry are first on this side 
of the river and then on the other, hoping to gain the 
advantage somewhere. 

I have recently been out to Gaines's Mill, and on to 
Cold" Harbor, the scene of the late mighty slaughter of 



Under the Stars and Bars 213 

man by man. Two words describe it all — horror, deso- 
lation. Details need not to be given. It is too heart- 
rending. 

There is a melancholy interest in looking around at 
the graves in Oakwood — the new burial ground set apart 
for the Confederate soldiers who die in the hospitals 
in the city. The space is extensive, but it is filling up 
rapidly. Many hundred soldiers lie here. The hos- 
pitals are all full of sick or wounded men, and many of 
them die. Our Company has four men buried here. 

But I am on duty to-day, and must bid you adieu. 
Hay God keep you safe to the end. 

Your friend, B. 

[The following are the four comrades referred to in 
this letter, as being interred at Oakwood: Zacheriah 
Holland and Edward W. Wright, both of Surry county, 
and both wounded on May Tth, 1864, at Walthall Sta- 
tion, while serving at the same gun; Josiah Gwaltney, 
of Isle of Wight, an amiable youth, not twenty years 
old, who died of fever, July, 1864; and James Pond, 
of Sussex county, a youth, who lost an arm at Fort 
Stephens, May 14, 1864, and who died of pneumonia 
at Chimborazo hospital one month later. 

Now let the ivy and the pine 

Their mortal dust enscreen, 
And round their names the wreath entwine 

Of everlasting green. 



214 Under the Stars and Bars 

I trust that my former comrades will not think my 
soldier-boy eulogy of the city of Richmond too extrava- 
gant. I believe what I wrote of it then was but the 
spontaneous feeling of every Southern heart. I cannot 
see how the place where one's relatives fought, suffered 
and bled can be otherwise than dear to them — how the 
soil where one's kindred sleep can ever cease to possess 
a sacred interest to surviving friends. The heroic 
struggle that was made there for Southern liberty by 
the men of every State, and its final failure, after the 
expenditure of so many lives, must ever invest the queen 
city of the James with a solemn and a mournful in- 
terest, that is yet tender and touching to the feelings 
of every true son and daughter of Dixie land. Time 
should not destroy this regard for the soil where so 
many of the fallen braves of the South are reposing in 
their last, long sleep. Indeed, as the fleet-footed years 
pace by, this love should increase and grow tenderer, 
truer, stronger, holier. To that Mecca let the pil- 
grimages of future years be turned, while men love 
liberty, or honor Statehood rights, or possess the man- 
hood to lift a hand against invasion.] 



Under the Stars and Bars 215 



LETTER FORTY-FIRST. 

Picketing around — The "poetry of war" — Frequent exchange of 
shots — No news from home — Note. 

Richmond, Va., 
Sept. 15, 1864. 

My Dear Friend: — We are yet located at the pleasant 
summer camp I told you about in my last letter. That 
is, it remains our headquarters. But some part, or all 
of the Company — except "Company Q," which always 
remains behind to guard the camp — is almost constantly 
out, doing picket duty at some threatened or exposed 
point. We have no idea, when we turn in to rest at 
night, that we will be permitted to "sleep out our full 
sleep" until morning. 

There is hardly an acre of ground from Richmond 
to Petersburg, or from the James to the Chickahominy, 
that we have not been over a dozen times. And we 
scarcely go a mile without passing some spot where we 
have before slept or bivouacked. The River road, the 
Williamsburg road, the Darbytown road, (Enroughty, 
they spell it here), the Xine-mile road, the Mechanics- 
ville road, the Brook turnpike, the Military roads, and 
almost every other road, lane, by-path, and alley about 
here are quite familiar to us. We can go anywhere 
on the darkest night without mishap. 



216 Under the Stars and Bars 

But there is precious little fun in this ceaseless 
tramping around from pillar to post, and from post 
back to pillar again. And if, as is often the case, we 
make the march at night, through rain, mud and slush, 
it is anything but romantic. As a regiment of infantry 
was plunging along through the mud, on the Military 
road, one night recently, I heard a fellow exclaim: 
"This knocks the poetry out of war, don't it ?" I thought 
so, too. But the expression will serve to show you 
what good-natured, tough, invincible material the 
Southern soldier is made of. No adversity can down 
him. He never gives up entirely. The only way you 
can conquer him is to kill him. Such, my friend, is 
the life of the soldier when not in battle — when on the 
march, or on the outer posts. 

Frequently, while out on these outpost expeditions, 
the enemy comes in sight, and we send them over a shell 
or two, just to let them know the old soldier is yet at 
his post. So far, nobody in our Company has been 
hurt recently. Gun No. 3, while lately on the lines 
near Roper's farm, had a piece knocked off the muzzle 
by the impact of a Federal shell, which exploded "just 
as it struck the gun. None of the men were hurt. But 
Lieutenant Barham, who was in charge, quickly re- 
sponded with one or two 12-pound Napoleons, and the 
Federals withdrew. 

Other guns and sections of our Battery have, at times 
recently, exchanged shots with the enemy, as some of 
their scouting party appeared. The other Batteries also 



Under the Stars and Bars 217 

are frequently engaged with them. Hampton's cavalry 
and all the rest, is down on the south side of Petersburg 
now, and the artillery here is performing both cavalry 
and artillery duty at the same time. The conscript 
fathers and the old guard have also to turn out some- 
times. 

It has been several weeks since we had news from 
home. The Federals have pushed their lines so far to 
the south of Petersburg that communication is cut off 
from the lower counties of the Southside, except by the 
circuitous route via Hicksford, Jerusalem and Ivor. I 
trust that, at least, this line will be kept open, and that 
the mail will pass regularly, so that our men will not 
be deprived of the pleasure of hearing from home. 
These letters from home are, I assure you, of priceless 
value to all the men, for there. is scarcely one who does 
not have some friend with whom to correspond. But I 
have no idea when this letter will reach you, or when 
I will hear from home again. 

Well, all is in God's hands. The private has only to 
fight and pray. Believing that our cause is just, in 
God we trust, and fight, and wait, and hope. 

Your friend, B. 

[This letter will exhibit to the sons, daughters and 
friends of the S. L. A. a living picture of our soldier 
life during the closing months of 1S64, when the armies 
of Lee and Grant were grappling together like two 
giants, each spreading out on the flanks, and seeking 



218 Under the Stars and Bars 

/ to overflow and encoil the other — and when both cavalry 
and artillery were ever on the go — cavalry often per- 
/ forming the duty of infantry, and the artillery of 

cavalry. It was. active duty on the skirmish line, or 
outpost, or picket. And while there was practically 
but little hard fighting, there was great need for alert- 
ness and watchfulness at every hour, day and night. 
And especially was it required of every man on guard 
at night, that he be more than commonly watchful and 
cautious, lest the enemy approach him unobserved. It 
was a time of exposure to the weather also. We would 
have no shelter from the rains, or scarcely a chance for 
cooking the few rations that we had. The shifts the 
boys sometimes made to cook a piece of beef, or knead 
a bit of dough and get it baked, would seem like a tale 
of myth or fancy. It was a stirring, active, wearing 
life. It tested the physical endurance to the utmost. 
Xone but the best and most resolute could keep at his 
post, and the hospitals were crowded with men.] 



Under the Stars and Bars 219 



LETTER FORTY-SECOND. 

Ceaseless boom of cannon — The flight and bursting of a shell — 
Recruits — Deserters — Note. 

Richmond, Va., 
October 15, 1864. 

My Dear Friend: — The steady, ceaseless boom of the 
big cannon on the Federal gunboats in the James, has 
become a striking feature of the siege, and it is mo- 
notonous already. At regular intervals of one or two 
minutes, every hour almost, day and night, the boom 
of a cannon is heard down on the James. And then, 
after a few seconds, comes the report of the bursting 
shell, a mile or two out on the land, either on this side 
or the other side of the river. xVnd if one is near 
enough, he may see the huge missiles, like nail kegs, as 
they speed through the air, and he may hear the frag- 
ments of the shell as they tear through the tree-tops 
in the forest, or fall here and there around him. 

It is interesting to watch the flight of those shells, 
and to note the little cloud of white smoke that forms 
in the atmosphere where a shell explodes. The smoke 
at first collects in a rounded mass, and then slowly 
fades from view. It does not float off on the wind 
like any other cloud, but vanishes slowly from sight, 
a picture of all that is human. The Federals waste an 
untold amount of ammunition in this way to no pur- 



220 Under the Stars and Bars 

pose whatever. The soldiers regard the shells with 
supreme indifference. Many a time, a shell bursting 
overhead, evokes no remark or notice from the men. 

Recently we have had several names added to our 
roster, but I fear that the most of these late recruits 
are poor material for serviceable men. "Substitutes" 
and men "whipped in" are not likely to become effective 
soldiers. Some of these men may be worse than worth- 
less to our cause — they may be spies. It is an easy 
matter, and only a short walk, to reach the Federal 
lines now. I fear that our authorities are not as careful 
as they should be in regard to these eleventh-hour 
laborers. They may be here — some of them, at least — 
to gain what information they can, and then desert us. 

But we have had recruits during the present year 
from our home counties, of men that we knew some- 
thing about, and these, in most cases, proved to be some 
of our best and most effective men. The most of them 
came in during the early part of the year, before the 
Butler campaign began, and have done good service 
since they came. They are but youths, boys just ar- 
rived at military age, and are volunteers, coming in of 
their own volition — neither substitutes, conscripts, or 
"whipped in" men. They have made an honorable 
record. 

But the others — our Company would have been better 
off without them. Some have deserted us already. 
They got their money and stayed long enough to be 



Under the Stars and Bars 221 

counted, and vanished — and where? Are they skulk- 
ing? or have they gone to the enemy? or were any of 
them spies? 

Well, all is well that ends well. We will hope and 
fight on to the end. 

Your friend, B. 

[The following good and serviceable men came to us 
in 186-1, mostly before the active operations of the sum- 
mer began, and they shared in the battles and toils of 
the remainder of the war: 

James S. Avery and William Holt Berryman, from 
Surry county; Fidding A. Coakley, from Richmond, a 
brother of Dr. J. B. Coakley, physician for the Bat- 
talion; John Hankins, from Surry, a brother of Cap- 
tain J. D. Hankins; Robert James, from Surry, en- 
listed in February, 1864, our "Uncle Bob;" Robert H. 
Jones, from Surry county; James IN". Matthews, from 
Surry, under the military age when enlisted; James 
Pond, from Sussex county, wounded May 14, died iu 
July; Joel J. Presson, from Southampton, under the 
military age; Henry W. Rogers, from Surry county; 
Julian A. Stewart, from Surry, painfully wounded 
May 16; William S. Underwood, from Surry; George 
Waggoner, from Highland county, a good man and ser- 
viceable soldier; and Samuel D. Warren, from Surry, 
who enlisted in February.] 



822 Under the Stars and Bars 



LETTER FORTY-THIRD. 

In winter quarters again — Clothing — Rations — Both armies rest — 
Courtesies along the lines — Note. 

Camp Heneico, Va., 

Nov. 15, 1864. 

My Dear Friend: — The army has gone into winter 
quarters once more, the fourth time since the war be- 
gan. Some of the barracks are better, some worse, 
according as the material was at hand to build them. 
It would furnish object lessons in construction and 
ornament to an architect to go around to the different 
camps, and note the various wonderful designs and 
figures in the art of carpentry that are to be seen. 
Elaborate or beautiful they are not. Original, unique, 
grotesque they are. They are picturesque also, and all 
more or less serviceable as the temporary abodes of 
men who have no furniture to speak of, and but one 
object for a shelter x>ver them, namely, comfort. Most 
of them are fairly comfortable, as soldiers' barracks. 
Our men have built them good log cabins, and we are 
near a forest, where there is plenty of fuel for fires. 

Our camping-place this time is near the Nine-mile 
road leading out eastwardly from the Capital, and we 
are four miles from the suburbs of the city. The cabins 
are covered with slabs, but have no plank floors, and 
the bunks are placed on the sides of the cabins, one 



Under the Stars and Bars 223 

above another. We had no nails to fasten the roofs, and 
so the slabs are held in place by logs laid on top. Of 
course, the cabins are rough and unsightly enough, 
nothing like the neat ones that we had at Camp Pem- 
berton, in the winter of '61-'62, when we had both 
plank and nails furnished us, and tools to work with. 

But these are much better than no cabins at all, and 
we are thankful enough that we have them. Many com- 
mands have only cloth tents to shelter them, and not 
wood enough for fires. Our horses, too, have good 
stalls, while some of the cavalry commands have no 
shelters for their horses. General Gary's cavalry, how- 
ever, to which command we are attached now, and whose 
camp is near us, have good stalls for horses, and 
warm cabins for the men. 

If only the men had warm and comfortable clothing, 
fit to protect them from the inclemency of the winter, 
and even half as much rations as were furnished us in 
1S61, we would fare well enough, even royally, so far 
as creature comforts go. But, alas ! both of these highly- 
essential "sinews of war" are conspicuous mostly for 
their absence. Supplies of every sort are growing 
scarcer and scarcer all the time, and we need both warm 
garments and blankets, and more of food. Many of 
the men have no overcoats, and some no blankets. And 
the present supply of footgear is discreditable in the 
extreme. 

Both armies appear to have tacitly agreed to take a 
rest, and everything has been quiet for some time. 



224 Under the Stars and Bars 

Even the big guns on the fleet have stopped their 
booming. The Federals, no doubt, are fixing up good, 
-warm barracks for all the men, infantry, artillery and 
cavalry. They have ample supplies and means, and 
all the world to draw upon. Why should they stint 
themselves ? "After so much and such stubborn fighting, 
the armies may well pause for a good, long rest. Both 
sides are growing tired of war, but the fanatics at 
the ^Torth keep the men in the field, and the war goes 
on. Were it left solely and exclusively tp the men in 
the two armies, I believe peace would be made before 
Christmas. 

The men on picket along the lines often meet and 
exchange such things as they may have to part 
with — tobacco or peanuts, on the part of the Confed- 
erates ; coffee or bacon on the Federal side. There is a 
tacit agreement on both sides that no one is to shoot 
while these exchanges are going on. When orders 
come for shooting to begin, the men inform the other 
side, and then all hasten to get behind their breastworks. 

Such is one of the better phases and experiences of 
soldier-life in the trenches. It shows that humanity is 
not clean dead in the soldier's heart. 

^lay hope and safety be with you forever. 

Your friend, B. 

[There is said to be abundant evidence that, since the 
failure of both Grant and Butler to capture Richmond, 
and after the merciless slaughter of so many of his 



Under the Stars and Bars 225 

men, that marked Grant's battles from the Wilderness 
to Cold Harbor, a feeling contrary to the continuance 
of the war began to prevail and grow, both at the ^Torth 
and in the Northern army in the field. Be this as it 
may, it is the firm belief of the writer that, could 
General Lee's army have been properly recruited, 
clothed and provisioned during the winter of '64-' 65, 
General Grant's army would have been checked in its 
advance beyond the Weldon railroad, and the abandon- 
ment of Eichmond would not have occurred. In spite 
of the terrible losses at the South, the lines here before 
the two cities would have continued intact, and Grant, 
as well as Butler, would have been penned up on his 
base of supplies. It all hinged upon the question of 
men and means to meet and check the foe.] 



226 Under the Stars and Bars 



LETTER FORTY-FOURTH. 

The paymaster around— Prices — Health of the Company — Fur- 
loughs — Absentees — Note. 

Camp Henbico, Va., 

Dec. 15, 1864. 

My Dear Friend: — Good news! The paymaster has 
been around again, and the men now have four months' 
pay in their pockets! And the hucksters are driving a 
good trade with their "pies an' things." Hucksters? 
Yes, there are retail venders of things to eat, still going 
the round of the camps, though it is hard to tell where 
they get their supplies from. Gingerbread — sweetened 
with sorghum molasses — dried-apple pies, sweet pota- 
toes at ten cents apiece, boiled beans at twenty-five cents 
a plate, a chicken wing or leg at ten cents, one baked 
apple at five cents — such are some of the articles they 
sell, and the prices they charge for them, all in Con- 
federate money, of course. The sight of a silver dime 
would frighten a negro huckster half to death now. 

But what are twelve dollars a month, Confederate 
money, to the prices of things that prevail now? The 
two are out of all proportion. If the Government only 
would scale up and pay us en ratio with the times, 
things would be more equal. How are the families 
of soldiers that reside in towns to live on this pay? 
But I am not complaining. 



Under the Stars and Bars 227 

The health of the Company is excellent; I believe 
it was never better at any time. None are in the hos- 
pital, and no case of much significance in Camp — only 
a chill now and then, or colds, and wheezes and sneezes. 

And — so quiet is everything along the lines, and in 
the enemy's camps — even furloughs are allowed now. 
But somehow, by some sort of rule, they are taking the 
names from the last end of the list, down at the zeds 
and zees, the wyes and tees, and the Williamses and the 
Waggoners, the Wrights and the Whites, are getting 
them all, for we have a big bunch of these names. We 
have one man named Waggoner, who came to us either 
from the conscript camp, or from a company of roughs 
that had been made up somewhere of men from nowhere, 
so to speak, and who succeeded in getting a transfer 
to the S. L. A. He says the men of the other company 
were too rough for him ; he could not stand them. They 
handled him badly, because he was a "tender-foot." 
Waggoner is a good man, moral, sober, quiet, and faith- 
ful to all his duties, and the men all like him and re- 
spect him. But Waggoner is from Highland county, 
over between the Shenandoah and the Alleghany 
mountains, and on the border of West Virginia. And 
he has just got a furlough and has gone home. The 
boys posed him a good deal with questions before he 
left, and when he departed they all bid him a kind 
good-by, and told him they knew they would never see 
him again. And some of them pretended to weep a 
little. Such are some of the good-natured comic 
scenes that are ever taking place. 



228 Under the Stars and Bars 

We have a number of absentees, who are away from 
the Company without permission- They are mostly 
from the new recruits, the substitutes, and no one has 
any idea where to look for them. One or two may 
have crossed the Potomac over into Maryland. Some 
may have gone home and joined the skulkers; and 
some may have deserted. I would not write thus of 
any of the older men. They stick, and are here to 
stay to the end of the war, "let the big guns boom as 
they will." 

Many of the higher officers of the commands around 
us here — of Gary's Cavalry, especially — have secured 
winter quarters in private residences, either taking 
homes that were unoccupied, or a set of rooms where 
the families still remain. Thus they are fixed out in 
quite home-like style, are living comfortably, and have 
plenty. Our own officers might have done the same, 
but they have not. They are here with the men, and 
"mess" and room with the privates. 

Three of our men have been transferred to other 
commands during the year now near its close. George 
W. Armistead, who came to us from Richmond, I be- 
lieve, in 1863, has passed into the Richmond Xaval 
Department as a teacher. He is an educated man, a 
mathematician, and was needed in the other branch 
of the service. Marion Messersmith has gone to Com- 
pany H, 13th Virginia Cavalry. And Lewis L. 



Under the Stars and Bars 229 

Turner, a noted character with us, has obtained a 
transfer to the Richmond navy, and is serving on one 
of the ironclads lying there. 

May the holy angels guard the homes and loved ones 
of all the soldiers, and keep us in the army safe from 
harm to the end. *■ 

Your friend, B. 

[It will not be amiss, perhaps, to make here a special 
note in relation to Lewis L. Turner — "Turner L." as 
the boys called him. He was indeed a noted character, 
and, I suppose, no man in the Company ever gave 
Captain Hankins and the rest of the officers more 
trouble than "Turner L." He was a native of Isle of 
Wight county, but was living in North Carolina when 
the war began. He joined a North Carolina company, 
and was at the battle of Big Bethel, June 10, 1861. 
He came to us in the winter of '61-'62, and remained 
until some time in 1864, when he transferred to the 
navy. 

"L. L.," or "Turner L.," was a sharp-witted, and 
withal, quite an intelligent man. He was an expert 
"forager" and a "blockade runner" of the first class. 
"While the Company lay around Richmond, he paid 
almost nightly visits to the city, and was often on 
double duty or undergoing some severer punishment 
for his frequent absences from roll calls. In fact, he 
was often in a scrape of some kind, not quite bad 



230 Under the Stars and Bars 

enough, perhaps, for a court-martial, and yet demand- 
ing some severity. He became well acquainted with 
the inside of "Castle Thunder," and, in fact, passed 
a good deal of his time there. Though an able man 
physically, he did very little service for the Confederacy. 
He lived several years after the war, and married and 
settled in Southampton county. 

I regret that I cannot add here a note in relation 
to the post war history of Armistead and Messersmith. 
They appear to have wandered off into other parts, and 
I have not been able to hear from them, or to learn if 
they are yet living. 

Deducting the losses of the Company .for the year 
1864, by transfers, deaths and absentees, our numerical 
strength at the end of that year should have been 
about 125.] 



Under the Stars and Bars 231 



LETTER FORTY-FIFTH. 

The winter of '64-'6o — No prayer meetings — Reading and sport — 
The cannon's boom again — Beef and biscuit — One meal a 
day — Note. 

Camp Henrico, Va., 

Feby. 10, 1865. 

My Dear Friend: — The present winter has dragged 
its slow length along in very equable mood, with no 
extremely cold spells or great storms of snow, and with 
a goodly number of mild and pleasant days. We have 
had some rain and sleet since February came in, but 
the men have passed the winter thus far in much better 
comfort than was anticipated when we came here in 
December. There is an old English saying that, "God 
tempers the wind to the shorn lamb," and perhaps He 
has tempered the winter to the thin-clad soldiers, for 
many of our men are but sorrily clad, and few of them 
have overcoats. And good shoes or boots, and woolen 
socks are greatly needed. Such a thing as a dress- 
parade would be out of the question now. The officers 
would be ashamed to exhibit such a rag-a-muffin, tatter- 
demalion set as the average private would make. Such 
a thing as a whole uniform is rarely to be seen. 

Yet the boys do not take it much to heart because 
of their rags, but sing their songs and have their sports 
and fun, just as earnestly as though they were the 



232 Under the Stars and Bars 

best clad fellows in the land. Many of them have 
learned to patch quite neatly, and we have some men 
that could pass an examination for tailors. In fact, 
one of our boys has had his wedding suit of Confederate 
gray made for him by one of the Company. And it 
was pronounced by all to have been a good job. But 
I reckon you would laugh heartily if you were to see 
some of the odd patches that some of the boys stitch 
on. The most of them never think of cutting out the 
old rent to set in a patch, but they stitch the piece on 
over the old cloth, which, of course, makes a bungle of 
it all. They say it makes the clothes warmer to set the 
patches on top the old cloth, and it is easier work. 

But hardships and short rations seem to make the 
men hardier and more able to endure privations, cold 
weather, exposure, etc. The majority of the men are in 
vigorous health, and ready for any service. Instead of 
repining at their sufferings, I believe the men are really 
thankful that it is no worse with them than it is. If 
one of the men were to get sad and mope around with a 
long face, the rest would pose and tease him half to 
death for it. One may see more cheerful faces in the 
army on the outer posts or in the trenches, than any- 
where else in our land. 

There has been a great lack of prayer-meeting ser- 
vices in the camps around us this winter. There has 
not been a single evangelist around here or, I suppose, in 
Gary's whole command, since we came into winter 



Under the Stars and Bars 233 

quarters. Some of our own men assemble occasionally 
at night for singing, and every one who desires it has 
plenty of good reading matter — tracts, papers, books, 
Testaments. There is a goodly supply of religious books 
in camp. But books make dead weight for baggage, and 
are not allowed to be put in with the essentials when 
we move or start out on a march. 

The gunboats that crowd the James are thawing out 
of the ice again, and once more the boom, boom of the 
big guns is daily repeating its harsh and monotonous 
reverberations from river to wood, and back from 
wood to river. It seems like a silly waste of material, 
for not one shell in five hundred does the least harm to 
any one. May be the Federals think they will keep 
"the Bebs" at a respectful distance from their lines by 
this means. 

By some piece of good fortune, our Commissary 
Sergeant managed recently to get a supply of nice fat 
beef, and good, sure-enough flour— two articles that have 
depreciated much in quantity and quality the last 
twelvemonth. And if ever you saw a fellow's face 
radiant with smiles, it was that of the said Commissary 
when he road into camp that day with the wagon 
loaded with the said beef and flour. Milton does like 
to do a good part by the boys when he can, and the 
beef and flour that we have been getting for ever so 
longwave been so inferior, that the men had about lost 
faith in Milton as a successful commissary. 



234 Under the Stars and Bars 

But this good haul saved his reputation, and brought 
smiles to many more faces than Milton's ; and soon the 
compliments were rolling in upon him at a lively rate. 
And very soon every "mess" in camp was making elabo- 
rate preparations for a liberal meal of "beef and 
biscuits," or boiled beef and "pot-dodgers." 

Our friends at home, though lacking many things 
they formerly enjoyed, yet doubtless have their three 
full meals each day. But, I tell you that the Southern 
soldier would regard himself as very fortunate indeed 
if he could always be sure of even one square meal a 
day. He would gladly take that one of just plain 
"beef and biscuit" without any pretense at dessert. 
Other things would be but superfluities. He would 
laugh and sing, and grow fat, and fight the Federals 
like Trojans on that. Fill up Lee's ranks again to one 
hundred thousand men, and give them all though but 
one full meal a day of good beef and biscuit, and they 
would bid defiance to all the forces the Northern despot 
could pit against them. 

After the "messes" had all eaten their fill once more, 
many a Richard felt that he was "himself again," and 
ready for any emergency. And more than one humble 
private audibly thanked God for "one more square 
meal." And there was a whole "camel's load" of grati- 
tude in the words, for, I tell you that scrimp dinners, 
rather than full ones, has been the rule in Lee's army 
for many a long month. 



Under the Stars and Bars 235 

It is the recital of such things that alone can give 
you a just and accurate conception of the actual needs 
and privations and self-denials of the Southern soldier 
in this struggle for State rights and native soil unpro- 
faned by the vandal's heel. All General Lee's army 
needs to be invincible is more men and more of beef 
and biscuit. With these and their indomitable spirit, 
Lee's men would soon clear the State of every foe. 

Your friend, B. 

[Perhaps my old comrade and warm friend, John H. 
Bell, will bear me out about that nice tailor-built suit 
that he made for M. A. Delk, some time during the 
war — and. how proud Hatt was when it was finished 
and he got his furlough to go home. That was a red- 
letter day for Matt, one of the happiest of his life, no 
doubt — one to which he will ever look back with pride 
and thankfulness — thankfulness for the happy results 
that led out of it, and gratitude that his life was spared 
through the war, and that he has been permitted to 
enjoy so many years of peace and happiness since 
then. Very few of the boys, I fear, will be able to 
recall such a pleasant reminiscence as this of our 
friend Mart's. 

I can recall few things of any particular importance 
that occurred at our Camp during this, our fourth and 
last, winter spent in the service of the Confederate 
States. Both armies remained very quiet all winter. 



236 Under the Stars and Bars 

We had but little of sickness among the men, and we 
were located rather too far from town for the few 
incorrigible "blockade runners" there were still in the 
Company to venture out often. "Turner L." was gone, 
transferred to the navy, and he had been the ring- 
leader among the half-dozen men of the Company that 
might be set down as our worst "blockaders." I think 
there must have been less shirking of duty, more of 
good conduct and kindliness among the men, and fewer 
calls for discipline than had been the case any previous 
winter of the war. Even our magpie, Joseph Kea, 
was less noisy than ever he had been before. But "Tom 
the fiddler" was not with us now, for Joe to worry and 
exasperate into fever-heat all the time. Poor man! 
he had passed over the river, and was beyond the reach 
of any earthly trouble. As I look back and think of 
our life in camp, a feeling of regret comes to me that 
something more had not been done by the men to render 
the life of that man happier and sweeter. I fear his 
light went out in a darkness that might have been made 
a little less dark, if only a little more of brotherly 
kindness had been shown him. 

And Waggoner had not returned. His time was out, 
but he had not reported for duty. He never did. Per- 
haps the preponderance of union sentiment and talk, 
when he got home, was too much for him ; he had to 
remain. Or, perhaps, he was held a prisoner and not 
allowed to return. No one will ever know. Yet, I am 
very sure that he was not a bad man, or false to his 



Under the Stars and Bars 237 

State. For him the S. L. A. will entertain kindly 
feelings, and register his name on our bead-roll of honor 
as one who did his duty well while with us. 

I do not recall a single Battalion drill or inspection 
as having occurred during this winter. And the pay- 
master never came around again after that visit in De- 
cember, '64. It really made but little difference. We 
were penniless soldiers, and likely to remain so to the 
end, for the paper they gave us had but little purchasing 
value for anything that was worth buying. Two months 
more from the date of this letter, reached the end of it 
as money.] 



238 Under the Stars and Bars 



LETTER FORTY-SIXTH. 

Butler's ditcli — Our idle iron-clads — Pushing around the flank — 
Southern railroad cut-^Grant's railroad — And his towers — 
Note. 

Camp Henrico, Va., 

March 10, 1865. 
My Dear Friend: — We have heard rumors several 
times during the last four or five months, that Butler 
has been digging — or is having dug — a great ditch or 
canal at the place on the James river known as "the 
Dutch Gap," and it is reported that it is completed, and 
is a real success. By a short cut of one hundred yards, 
all that long bend in the James of several miles around 
Curie's Neck, is obviated, and boats pass through easily 
to the upper part of the Neck without having to go 
around it. 

Now, if this is reliable news, it is the cleverest thing 
that Butler has done in these parts since his arrival 
here, the first of May of last year. If it is true, he has 
done something of value, to perpetuate his name and 
fame to posterity. Virginia and Richmond, in future 
years, will thank Butler for his gratuitous service. If 
the canal is really a success, it will be a perpetual bene- 
fit to the navigation of the James for all time to come. 

What advantage the Federals hope to realize, how- 
ever, from the said ditch, is not so clear. It will not 



Under the Stars and Bars 239 

put their iron-clads above Drewry's Bluff, and that, 
after all, is the military key to Richmond by water. 
It is hard to see the military value of the great canal, 
under the existing condition of things. Let him now 
undertake another canal, to put his fleet around and 
by the Bluff, and he will be there, and even Grant, I 
suppose, will thank him for his labors. After all, Gen- 
eral Butler may succeed in winning immortality for 
himself, if be only has time and means enough allowed 
him. A canal around the Bluff should be his next 
move. 

In the meantime, what are our four or five idle iron- 
clads, that are rusting in the dock at Richmond — what 
are they doing to make things lively for Butler, and 
help General Lee to check the advance on the Southern 
railroad below Petersburg? If only those same iron- 
mailed monsters could be induced to make a sudden 
dash, one fine morning before long, on the Federal fleet 
about Curie's Xeck, and the aforesaid Butler's canal, 
they might stir up a little breeze that might be inter- 
esting to some one. They might win glory for them- 
selves, and help our cause a good deal. And, in case 
they were beaten, the run back under the Bluff would 
be but a short one. They ought to try it, even though 
they sank for it. Such, at least, is the view one private 
takes of it. 

The news comes that Grant is constantly pushing his 
lines around to the south and southwest of Petersburg. 
His forces already hold the Southern railroad, so that 



240 Under the Stars and Bars 

important line of communication between Richmond 
and the South is severed, and General Lee is still 
crippled in his resources. Oh, for men to meet the 
emergency, and strike the enemy a telling blow ! 

And Grant has a railroad of his own, a sure-enough 
iron rail, all the way from City Point, around by the 
east and south of Petersburg, along the line that his 
army occupies. So vast are the resources and appli- 
ances of war at his command. They, do not spare in 
means or men, but are lavish of both. But the Con- 
federacy seems to be getting more and more impover- 
ished, and is growing weaker and weaker every day. 
The hope of foreign recognition is about at an end, and 
the blockade of all our ports renders it impossible to 
secure the needed supplies. 

And the Federals have built vast towers, or look- 
outs, at points upon their lines — a sort of frame-work, 
a hundred and fifty feet or more in height. And they 
send men up to the top of them to watch the movements 
of the Confederates, and spy out the weak points in the 
thin lines behind the breastworks. They do not use 
balloons, as did McClellan, but high wooden towers. 
In some cases they have fixed ladder-ways up to the 
top of tall trees, and use them as look-outs, for gaining 
information of all that is going on along General Lee's 
lines. The Federals are a resourceful people. 

But they are invaders. They have come into our 
State with hostile intent. They are desolating our land, 
destroying our property, robbing our homes, burning 



Under the Stars and Bars 2-il 

bridges, mills and churches. They seek to pauperize 
our people, to overpower and rule them. What ought 
we to do but to fight them? Yea, we will fight them 
to the bitter end. We need more Stuarts, more Mosbys, 
more Jacksons — men who know how to strike them at 
odd times and places, and in unexpected ways. We 
should not tie down too closely to West Point morals 
when fighting invaders. I would take the advantage 
of them in any way and manner possible. I would 
strike at their supply trains, shell their transports, 
cripple them in any way that might appear. What 
right have they on our soil ? Should we not treat them 
as common robbers ? Yea, arm the boys and the old 
men, and fight them to the bitter end. This is the 
dictate of common reason, the only course for a people 
who would be free. Shall we bow the neck to a foe 
so insolent and high-handed as these vandals ? 

I trust you will not imbibe the too gloomy and 
despondent tone in which I write. I believe there is 
hope for us yet. From the beginning of this struggle 
until now, I have ever entertained an abounding con- 
fidence in the ultimate success of the Southern cause. 
I hold that confidence still. The principles for which 
we contend, founded in truth, justice and right, are as 
eternal as the hills, and must prevail. There may be 
changes, revolutions, disasters, failures, but Statehood 
rights and personal liberty are invincible. Tyrants 
may arise, oppression may come, freedom and self- 
government may suffer long interregnums, but at last 



242 Under the Stars and Bars 

the principles of the old constitution, as framed by the 
best wisdom of our fathers, will be sustained. 

Let us take courage and struggle on. A brighter 
day will dawn. All is not lost. This is our land, and 
we will hold it. On this platform we will rise or fall. 

Your friend, B. 

[The reader will observe, from the date of the above 
letter, that the Confederacy was within two months of 
its dissolution. Of course, then, there was prevailing 
at the time an undertone of despondency in the army, 
and distrust in the ability of our Government to hold 
out a great while longer. The privates saw and felt 
this, and deplored it. But the collapse came sooner 
than was expected — and why? It was because of the 
very liberal — even generous — terms offered General Lee 
by General Grant. Had Grant's conditions been at all 
harsh or unreasonable, General Lee, I feel sure, never 
would have yielded as he did, but would have fought 
his way through the cordon that surrounded him. Gen- 
eral Grant's terms of surrender was the occasion of the 
close of hostilities, at the time that it occurred. Had 
the tyrant, Stanton, been there to dictate measures, or 
any one else less tolerant than General Grant, the his- 
torian would never have heard of the surrender at 
Appomattox. Grant's clemency, his liberality, his 
generous treatment of General Lee, did more to end 
the war than his army ever could have done. The 
Army of Xorthern Virginia, though fearfully depleted 



Under the Stars and Bars 243 

and torn, though ragged and hungry and despondent, 
had defied Grant's bullets, but it was won by his 
clemency. 

One more letter that succeeded in winding its way 
around Grant's army, and in reaching fiually the folks 
at home, is all that now remains to me in finishing out 
this narrative. After that I must resort to memory 
and a few notes that I made shortly after the close of 
the contest.] 



244 Under the Stars and Bars 



LETTER FORTY-SEVENTH. 

A circuitous mail route — But one line open — Richmond un- 
tenable — What then?— Note. 

Camp Henrico, Va., 

March 20, 1865. 
My Dear Friend: — Grant having pushed his lines 
across the Southern rail, and on into Dinwiddie, the 
mail route between Richmond and the lower counties 
of the Southside, even if a route can be kept open at all, 
is rendered still more circuitous and extended than 
before. Another way through Amelia, Nottoway and 
Brunswick, and on to Hick's Ford, as before, will, I 
suppose, be selected, and may be, in the course of an 
age or two, a letter from home may reach us, and an 
answer be returned. This will be very annoying to 
the men of the S. L. A. One great enjoyment to them, 
all along through their life in camp, has been the re- 
ceipt of letters from home, messages from their friends 
and kindred, and if this pleasure is now to be denied, 
it will be a hard blow to them. Any mail route is far 
better than none at all. And if Grant's forces should 
be advanced so far south and west as to destroy the 
present line — and if it should still be the fortune of 
the S. L. A. to remain here on this side of the James — 
I would suggest a private line via the Chickahominy 
and Jamestown, and across into Surry, and so on into 



Under the Stars and Bars 245 

Isle of Wight and the other counties. The plan would 
be feasible by making the crosses on the James at 
night in a small boat. One man with a pair of oars 
might work his way across in calm weather with per- 
fect safety, despite the gunboats and other craft. But 
I trust that this letter, at least, will reach you before 
Grant's men get everywhere. 

And so, there is but one line of railway communica- 
tion open from Richmond to the South — the Danville. 
Of course, the Federals will aim to seize and destroy 
that, if possible. But they will not be likely to keep it 
cut permanently. Grant will hardly depart so far 
from his base of supplies on the James as the Danville. 
Unless he should invest Richmond on the south and 
west, which he might do by abandoning his present 
line, or a part of it. 

In that case, Richmond becomes untenable, and 
doubtless will have to be given up. It could not be 
held very long. Famine is a foe that no army can 
conquer, and there would be no way open for supplies 
to reach us. 

With Richmond abandoned, what then ? Who 
knows ? God only does. But the thought is too ap- 
palling to contemplate. I trust it may never have to be 
evacuated. But the outlook is gloomy enough now. 
The men feel it. It is in the air. A mist, a semi- 
darkness hangs over the land. It seems to pervade the 
atmosphere. Thus it is that our feelings and our fears 
give color and form to surrounding objects. I will 



246 Under the Stars and Bars 

cease. I would not appall you with evil forebodings, 
which, after all, happily may never come to pass. God 
grant that they never may. My faith in the justice 
of our cause was never stronger. And, ultimately — in 
some way, at some time, if not now — the South will 
prevail. 

Your friend, B. 

[In some way, by some route, this letter reached 
home, and I found it among the rest, when I, too, ar- 
rived, about the close of April following. But what 
shall I here append, by way of note? Nothing, except 
this : that in two weeks more the misfortune came ; 
Richmond was abandoned; the retrograde began! 

For the remainder of the story, therefore, I will as- 
sume the narrative form, and cull from memory, and a 
few notes made soon after the close of the war, the 
material to finish up these Recollections to the end of 
the struggle. 

Of course, the account must take its coloring, in 
great measure, from my own personal observation and 
feelings at the time. Many of my comrades will have 
other impressions and recollections. We all did not 
see alike. My notes, made so soon after the return 
home, reflect the views of the soldier, and I have not 
sought to give them another cast. Statements that may 
not be strictly true, I am .ready to modify and correct. 
But my views are my own, and I will abide by them 
to the end.] 



Under the Stars and Bars 247 



THE SAD FINALE. 

The battle of Five Oaks — Lee's flank turned — Richmond aban- 
doned — The city an ocean of flame — Slowly retiring — Without 
rations — A weary march — Our last fight — Sabbath morning, 
April 9th — A sound of battle — At Red Oak church — Dis- 
banding — Tears and farewells — Crossing the James. 

I come now to the sad finale of the great and bloody 
drama of war in Virginia. On the 26th of March, 
Grant's army before Petersburg, having been increased 
to more than 200,000 men by the arrival of Sheridan 
with a large cavalry force from the Shenandoah Valley, 
began to assume the offensive, and, on April 1st, Grant, 
with this immense and well-equipped army, succeeded 
in turning General Lee's right flank on the south of 
Petersburg. A battle ensued, but on the 2d inst., Gen- 
eral Lee found it necessary to abandon Petersburg and 
retire westward, thus leaving that city and Richmond 
to the mercy of the enemy. With his sadly depleted 
army, and having no hope of reinforcements from any 
quarter, it was impossible for Lee any longer to hold 
his lines and keep the enemy in check. All of General 
Lee's cavalry forces combined were no match now 
against the larger and far better equipped cavalry com- 
mand of Sheridan, and with this strong force at his 
service, Grant was placed at a great advantage over 
Lee. Lee's army was far inferior to Grant's in both 



248 Under the Stars and Bars 

number and equipments, and Lee could do nothing 
more than slowly to retire before the immense host 
that confronted him. 

On Sunday, April 2d, orders reached our Battalion, 
in its camp on the Nine-mile road, east of Richmond, to 
withdraw toward the city early on the following morn- 
ing. The news that Richmond was to be abandoned, 
though not unexpected, came like a death-knell to us all. 
The day was a sad Sabbath to the men. We had come 
to love the city almost as if it had been our home. We 
passed the day in constant expectation of an attack 
from the enemy. But no enemy came, and we heard 
no sound of battle. All remained quiet — the lull be- 
fore the storm. 

Very early on the morning of the 3d of April, our 
•Company, and all other commands near us, hastily 
packed the wagons with the few essential things that we 
possessed, and sometime before the dawn of day, we 
abandoned our last winter quarters, leaving behind 
such things as were not absolutely essential to take 
along. 

We moved away slowly and quietly, without noise 
or sound of bugle, expecting an enemy to dash in upon 
us at any moment, and standing by our guns, ready to 
give him a warm reception. 

Frequent halts were made for other commands to 
come up or pass by us, or, also to await orders, and our 
progress was very slow. Thus we had good opportunity 
to observe all that was taking place around us. 



Under the Stars and Bars 249 

As the different commands left their barracks, or the 
officers their quarters, fires began to break out on every 
side, the glare of which cast around a weird, unearthly 
glamour, like the pall of some impending catastrophe. 

As stated in letter forty-fourth, many of the higher 
officers on this side of the river had obtained quarters 
in the homes or residences of the citizens — and, in 
many cases on this memorable occasion, it was private 
residences, good and comforable homes, that were being 
consumed. What cause or reason there was for this 
sacrifice, I never could make out. Nor were there any 
need that the soldiers' barracks should be destroyed. 
But such is the temper of man: burn and destroy, lest 
others possess. 

Now and anon, in quiclt succession, other fires, both 
right and left of us, would burst forth, until the lurid 
light of scores of burning camps, or homes, or stores, 
eclipsed the light of the rising day. All this before 
we reached the city. 

As we approached the environs of the town, great 
columns of black smoke were seen ascending upward, 
here and there, all over the city. The Government 
shops and works everywhere had been fired, and the 
flames were extending from these to other buildings. 
It was the ruling order of the hour, to burn everything 
that had any relation to the Government. 

But flames do not pause at Government lines, and 
soon the angry, hissing fires were raging all along the 
city, from Rocketts up into the very heart of the town. 



250 Under the Stars and Bars 

Fires were spreading with irresistible fury through the 
doomed Capital, right and left, for no effort was made 
to check their advance. On the contrary, more fires 
were bursting out in other quarters, as if it were the 
purpose of some fiend to leave the place one pile of 
ashe3 and blackened ruins. 

Presently, on Union hill, a vivid flash of light shot 
out and upward, and a great cloud of white smoke burst 
forth, and spread outward on all sides, followed by a 
tremendous report that shook the earth around us ; and 
the Confederate Powder Mills had ceased to exist. 
That, too, had been fired and blown up. 

Next, a deafening explosion down at the dock on the 
James is heard, telling that an iron-clad, upon which 
so much labor and material had been expended, all to 
no purpose, had been torn into a thousand shapeless 
fragments, and hurled hither and thither over the 
water. And then a second, a third, and a fourth similar 
explosion indicated that other intended war-craft of 
the nascent Confederate navy had been rendered non 
est, without venturing a single fight. What, if some 
daring Paul Jones could have been found, on that same 
woeful morning, who would have taken those boats 
down the river and made a sudden and desperate dash 
upon the noisy Federal fleet lying there, and so let 
them have won some renown, before they went down 
into ruin? The attempt might have furnished a bril- 
liant and interesting chapter in naval warfare. 

Explosion after explosion were now succeeding each 
other rapidly, all along the huge line of flame and 



Under the Stars and Bars 251 

smoke that skirted the river from the Dock to the 
Basin and beyond. Rapidly upward from Cary to 
Main the flames were sweeping on, leaping rapidly from 
tenement to tenement, like hungry fiends from the in- 
fernal regions. 

All was noise, confusion, excitement, apprehension, 
fear. Pandemonium reigned supreme within the 
doomed Capital of the Southern Confederacy, the land 
of the Staes and Baes. How our hearts sank within 
us, as we looked upon the appalling scene, the mighty 
conflagration, the needless sacrifice! 

All this time our Company stands idle, irresolute, 
uncertain, on the hill at the eastern environs — awaiting 
the tardy orders, that, it seemed, were never coming. 
Other commands were filing by us without stopping, 
until at last we are left alone — the rear guard of the 
retrograde. Still no foe appeared in sight, to push the 
departing columns faster on. Every man looked on 
with bleeding heart and bated breath, as the victim 
lay helpless in the constantly extending fires — but no 
advancement is made, and the sun is speeding on its 
course. 

At last a courier arrives, and we dash forward, on 
through Kocketts, where the wildest confusion pre- 
vails — on along Main street, where numberless women, 
reckless of personal danger, are tugging and pulling at 
parcels and goods thrown out from the depots where 
supplies had been stored — on by the Government shoe 
factory, just in time to secure a supply of new shoes — 



252 Under the Stars and Bars 

on toward the Capitol, winding in and out from street 
to street, to avoid the fast encroaching fires. It is diffi- 
cult to make our way at all, through the crowds of ex- 
cited humanity that throng the streets, and hinder travel 
with their burdens and loads of goods. An officer has 
to get in front of the Battery with drawn sword to 
make way for us to pass along. 

By this time, an ocean of flame is dashing, as a tidal 
wave of destruction, from side to side, and roaring, 
raging, hissing about us, and leaping on from house 
to house, and from street to street, in very wantonness 
of wrath. Like a wild, mad steed, without any restrain- 
ing hand to impede it, the flame bounds along, seeming 
to gloat in its great power to destroy. As the fire 
spreads, buildings are deserted, the helpless occupants 
dragging with them whatever they could of clothes or 
household goods. 

Consternation and confusion prevailed on all sides. 
No one seemed capable of sober reasoning or calm re- 
flection. The whole city seemed doomed to go down 
before the onrushing element that roared and raged 
like fiends and furies. The Government officials, and 
all in authority, civil or military, seemed to be absent. 

Presently we are moved onward toward Mayo's 
bridge. But, behold! the short bridge spanning the 
canal before Mayo's is reached, is wrapped in flames, 
and nothing could pass there. Fortunately, a way is 
open through the yard of the Danville depot, and over 
it we dash to the bridge, eager to escape the wilderness 



Under the Stars and Bars 253 

of flame. Just as we were entering the Danville yard, a 
tobacco factory near by is emptied of its contents of 
plug tobacco, and the boys got a liberal supply of the 
weed that served them for a long time after. It was 
their last gift ! 

Once safely over Mayo's, we paused awhile, to 
look upon the scene of danger and dread from which 
we had just escaped — looked back upon the vast col- 
umns of black smoke, rising mountain high, obscuring 
the sky, and hiding half the town from view. But, even 
in Manchester, the insatiate flame is busy, and the 
cotton mills and other works, are rapidly going down 
before the heartless destroyer. Even here, private resi- 
dences were on fire, and dismay marked the countenances 
of men. If a smile lighted the face of any being in 
Eichmond that day, it must have been that of some 
Stanton or Garrison, gloating over the fall of the 
Southern Metropolis. No one with a heart could smile 
with such a 3pectable of horror before him. 

Ah ! that was a picture and a time to be remembered 
forever, and none of the S. L. A. who witnessed it can 
ever forget the dreadful sight. Miles on miles of 
fire ; mountain piled on mountain of black smoke ; mil- 
lion on million of flying sparks, of hot ashes, of angry 
cinders; one ceaseless babel of human voices, crying, 
shouting, cursing; one mighty pandemonium of woe, 
darker than death itself, more to be feared than the 
angry rush of battle, or the leaden hail and glittering 
steel of charging columns ! Great God ! what a deluge 



254 Under the Stars and Bars 

of misery was it. To my last hour, the horrid picture 
will remain indelibly stamped on memory's tablet. The 
burning of Richmond on that woeful 3d of April, 1865, 
was heart-crushing enough to force tears from the most 
callous eye that ever felt a pang for human sorrow. 

And was it necessary ? Let the future historian pass 
upon that. I do not know. But to a private soldier, 
giving his sober recollections of what he saw and heard, 
it seemed a cruel and wicked waste — an almost heart- 
less destruction of valuable material and human homes, 
that might have been avoided. 

As we gain the turnpike leading out toward Amelia, 
and pass beyond the confines of the town, we pause to 
cast back one farewell gaze upon the tragedy we had 
passed — turned to look our last upon the once queenly 
Capital of the Confederate States — now Capital no 
longer, but a fallen, helpless victim! With almost 
breaking hearts, we turned away, and began our weary 
tramp hither or thither, as fate might lead. 

"He turned and left the scene — 
0, -do not deem him weak — 
Tho' dauntless was the soldier's heart, 
A tear was on his cheek." 

So far as we could see and learn, the S. L. A. was 
the very last organized body of soldiers that left Rich- 
mond on that 3d of April, 1865. We came out alone, 
no other command in sight, either to the front or in the 
rear of us. We were the fag end of the retiring army 



Under the Stars and Bars 255 

that was slowly, reluctantly wending its way from the 
place made sacred to the soldier's heart, by the straggles 
and sufferings of four trying, tragicful years. 

Our march was continued all that day, in a slow 
and orderly manner — on by Coalfield and thence to 
Tomahawk church, where we paused and rested that 
night. The next day the march was continued, the 
several commands proceeding, as yet, upon the same 
road, and following a general southwesterly direction 
across a part of Powhatan county, and on into Amelia. 
Here the forces from Richmond joined in with those 
from Petersburg, and it was learned that the Federal 
cavalry were hovering upon our flanks right and left, 
seeking to fall upon and cut off any part of the retiring 
column that might become detached from the main body. 

But the army was now almost without rations of any 
description, and, worst misfortune of all, the trains that 
had been ordered to meet General Lee's army in Amelia 
with supplies, never came ! The order had miscarried 
or been misunderstood, and the supplies were not at 
hand ! Thus the whole army was practically without 
food for the remainder of the march, for the section 
through which we moved had little to give. In addition 
to the failure of supplies to reach us, as expected, the 
Federals, on the third day, cut out and burned a large 
section of the wagon trains that contained some sup- 
plies, thereby still further curtailing our means of 
subsistence. 



256 Under the Stars and Bars 

I think it was at the close of the third day that it 
became necessary to relieve the battery horses of some 
of their burden, for they, as well as the men, were 
suffering from the lack of food, and were jaded from 
the constant marching. Accordingly, one or two of the 
cannon of each Battery were dismounted and buried, 
the wheels of the limbers and caissons were cut' down, 
and so much of the ammunition as could not be carried 
along was destroyed. Thus lightened of part of their 
labor, the horses were enabled to hold out to the end. 
Though foodless, footsore, and sleepy were the men, 
the march was continued through the fourth day, with 
no event or incident of importance to relate.. 

By this time, and before, the army was retiring by 
several roads leading in a westerly direction, and all 
the divisions were closely followed by the Federals, and 
frequent skirmishing occurred between the two armies. 
An engagement of some magnitude took place at 
Sailor's Creek, in which the 10th Battalion of Virginia 
Heavy Artillery, composed largely of men from Surry 
county, was engaged. 

The road travelled by the S. L. A. on this weary 
march of six days, led us on by Stony Point Mills 
and Willis Mountain, and thence across a part of 
Cumberland into Appomattox county. We passed Ap- 
pomattox Court House about noon on the 8th of April, 
and proceeding one and a half or two miles further 
on, paused in a small field to rest; and here we were 
told, rations would be distributed to the men. The 



Under the Stars and Bars 257 

men of the S. L. A., and I suppose all the other com- 
mands from Richmond, had made the march on what- 
ever food they had at the start, and whatever they could 
pick up from the people along the route. Many of 
the men kept up in the march two or three days without 
anything to .eat. The army, and especially the S. L. A., 
was practically foodless for several days, three or four 
days certainly. Footsore, weary, without sleep, and 
without food, the boys dragged on, kept up with the 
guns, and still had the courage and strength left them 
to hope on and believe that a brighter day would soon 
come to them. We were approaching near to Lynch- 
burg, and there we expected to find food and rest, and 
defensive works to fight behind. Up to Saturday after- 
noon, April Sth, the Artillery of Lee's army, then 
under command of General Alexander, had not en- 
countered the enemy at any point. Lightfoot's Bat- 
talion, and other commands, numbering about 100 
pieces in all, were moving together along the same road, 
and this division of the Artillery was commanded by 
General AYalker, of Southwest Virginia. 

Calling to his aid the best local guides of the section, 
General Walker had led us by obscure roads and by- 
paths, and across farms, and often by no road at all, 
either to shorten the way or to avoid the enemy, who 
was ever hovering upon our flanks, and watchful to 
strike us unawares. Our progress, however, was neces- 
sarilv slow all the time. Both men and horses were 



258 Under the Stars and Bars 

thoroughly jaded; halts for rest were frequently made; 
the roads were hilly and rough; and guides had often 
to be changed. 

It may well be conceived that our six days' tramp 
was a weary procession. It was akin to a funeral 
march, a journey to the dead ! Indeed, it was a funeral 
march. "We were tramping on to the death-hour of the 
Confederacy, and every footstep we made was but 
sounding out the drum-beat to the grave of Southern 
independence. The men walked on almost in silence. 
There was no loud or boisterous talk, no songs, no mer- 
riment. All hearts were sad, many faces despondent; 
few hopeful words were spoken. The tattered rem- 
nants of General Lee's noble army, that had made for 
itself a record equal to the best in the history of the 
world, was under a cloud, and the cloud had no sign 
of a rainbow promise of deliverance. 

It was a hard test of the physical man. Without 
rest, or food, or sleep, how could men move on con- 
tinually, and keep their places by the guns £ Men 
slept while walking along. The drivers slept upon their 
horses. Men would drop down by the wayside and be 
asleep in a second. Only the strongest and most reso- 
lute could keep their places and continue the inarch. 

On Saturday afternoon, after passing the village of 
Appomattox Court House, we paused for rest in a 
small clearing, where the artillery and infantry crowded 
together without order, no one appearing to surmise 
that any Federals were near us. We had been resting 



Under the Stars and Bars 259 

an hour or more, when suddenly a horseman dashes 
down, yelling out that the Federals were charging! 

For a moment some confusion prevailed. But we 
stood our ground. The infantry fell into line, our 
guns were quickly shotted, and just as the Blue Coats 
burst from the cover of the wood before us, we opened 
on them, loading and firing as rapidly as we could. 
The enemy charged up almost to our guns, calling out : 
"Surrender! surrender!" But we gave them canister 
and the infantry saluted them so warmly, that they 
soon retired, with the loss of several of their men. 

Fortunately, none of the S. L. A. had received a 
shot. Perhap's it was because there were so few of us 
engaged. There was plenty of room for the enemy's 
missiles to pass without striking a man. The only 
men whom the writer remembers as serving at the same 
gun with himself on this occasion, were Corporal T. T. 
Cockes, gunner, and George C. Holmes, W. Holt Ber- 
ryman, and, I think, Charles A. Price. Of course, 
there must have been two or three more men at this 
gun, and a like number at the other gun — for we had 
but two cannon then. Two had been left behind, buried 
somewhere in Amelia county. Altogether, I think 
there were not more than 20 or 25 men of the S. L. A. 
engaged in this fight. First Lieutenant W. R. Bar- 
ham commanded, Captain Hankins having been called 
to a consultation with some of the superior officers. 
Many of the men had fallen out of ranks the last day 
or two, broken down or sick and disabled. 



260 Under the Stars and Bars 

This was our last fight, our last exchange of shots 
with the foe. Our guns were never shotted again. 
We had fired our last shell. 

During all of that night following this engagement, 
the artillery, in charge of General Walker, moved slowly 
and caustiously along in a northerly or northwesterly 
direction, as if it were his intention to cross over to 
the northern side of the James river, and so reach 
Lynchburg that way. 

The next day — a Sabbath — dawned bright and beau- 
tiful — but it brought nothing beautiful to us. Pres- 
ently the boom of cannon, in the direction of the army, 
told us that another battle was about to take place. 
But the firing soon ceased. We heard afterwards that 
it proceeded from a part of General Gordon's com- 
mand, making their last stand for battle. 

By this time our Battalion had reached Red Oak 
church, in Appomattox county, several miles from the 
place of our engagement of the previous evening. And 
at noon, a courier arrived, conveying the sad news that 
General Lee had capitulated, and that the men were to 
be paroled, and permitted to return to their homes! 
We were told to park the guns, which was done in the 
fine grove about the church, and then the men were dis- 
banded — either to surrender to the enemy and get 
paroles, or to work their way home as best they might. 
The horses were turned loose that they might graze, and 
every man who would, took a horse for his own, to help 



Under the Stars and Bars 261 

him along on the way home. Very few of them, how- 
ever, ever succeeded, I believe, in getting home with 
one of those horses. 

It was here, at this fine old church, that the Surry 
Light Artillery, and the other Batteries of Colonel 
Charles Lfghtfoot's Battalion, fell into fragments. It 
was here, with tearful eyes, we bid adieu to officers and 
comrades ! Here we looked our last upon our guns, and 
turned away forever from the battle-flag we had fol- 
lowed. Here the Stars and Bars fell to the ground, no 
more to float to the breeze. The men broke up into 
small squads, and turned away from their soldier-life 
with but one thought uppermost in each heart — home. 
Let us seek our homes! 

A few of the commissary and supply wagons had 
succeeded in keeping along with the Batteries, and some 
of these contained a few articles of uncooked food — 
a little flour, some sugar, some bacon, perhaps, I am 
not sure, and — wonderful to say — some coffee! I am 
sure about the coffee, for when the men were told to 
take whatever articles they chose from the wagons, I 
secured a small bag of coffee for myself. I never could 
account for it how that coffee chanced to escape the 
pot so long. It had been many a month since any had 
been issued out to the men. But I had not quite for- 
got the look of coffee, and that took my eye— and I 
took it and held it. I have ever been fond of coffee, and 
if, by chance, anything like a faint smile shone on my 
face that day, it must have been when I laid hold of 



262 Under the Stars and Bars 

that parcel of Rio or La Guayra — I think it could not 
have been Java. I trust my former comrades will par- 
don this personal mention. It was about the only lucky 
thing — barring the enemy's balls — that had happened 
for me that week, and I could not resist the temptation 
to speak of it here. 

As I said, any of the men who would have one, took 
a horse to ride. But most of the men preferred not 
to be cumbered with a horse. And so the Company 
broke up into small squads — deeming that the best 
way to avoid falling into the hands of the -enemy — 
and the several parties started off — some whither, 
hither and thither, this way or that, as best suited their 
notion of the proper way to go. Some turned their 
faces directly homeward, regardless of the fact that 
200,000 Federals stood directly in their way. A few, 
perhaps, tried a more circuitous route by the south. 
And others believed it would be wiser to cross over the 
James, and make their way down on the north side, 
around Richmond, and so on, down the Peninsula. 
Many took this course. 

A company of twelve started out for the James, 
which was but a few miles away, and, in an hour or 
two, we succeeded in reaching it at some ferry, the 
name of which I have forgotten. But it was only a 
little way above the mouth of Elk river, a small tribu- 
tary that falls into the James from Appomattox county. 
On hallooing for the ferry-boat to cross over for us, 
two negroes promptly started out with the boat, and 



Under the Stars and Bars 263 

when they reached our side, told us that they had been 
instructed to put across the river any soldiers that 
might ask for a passage. The promptness of the negroes 
in answering our call had surprised us a little, and we 
were a bit suspicious that a trap had been set to capture 
us. But we passed across safely. In some way, some 
kind-hearted person had learned of the state of affairs 
in the army, and so they contributed their mite to aid 
any paroled or disbanded soldiers^ to reach their homes. 
It was a kind and benevolent act, and, I trust, they 
have, long ago, reaped a bountiful reward. 

Thus we were across the James, in Amherst county. 
Our first object was to obtain food, and then a good, 
sound sleep — rest and recuperation for the journey 
homeward. 

It is proper, at this point, to remind younger readers 
of this narrative, that the men of the S. L. A. who stayed 
by their guns to the end, and were with the command 
at Red Oak church, never surrendered. They were 
merely disbanded, and told to make their way home as 
best they could. There was not a Federal in our sight 
during the whole day of the 9th. There was no one to 
whom we might turn, to receive us as captives. It 
would have not been in keeping with the character of 
Virginians, for us to have voluntarily walked ten' 
miles to General Grant's army, and there to have crossed 
arras and begged them to fasten on the fetters. iSTone 
of us thought of doing that. The few of us who were 
with the guns did not undergo the humiliation of a 



264 Under the Stars and Bars 

surrender ; we were not paroled ; and some have never 
assented to "an oath of allegiance." 

But, if we escaped this much of the bitterness of 
defeat, it amounted to nothing in the end. The blow 
fell with crushing weight upon us all, and it was then 
very uncertain what fortune awaited us, should we 
ever succeed in reaching our respective homes in 
safety. Should we find peace, or would it be vassalage 
and strife? Would Virginia be ruled a3 a conquered 
province, or as a free State, equal with the rest ? Would 
the old soldiers be received as free citizens of a free 
republic, or would we be disfranchised, reduced to 
serfdom ? 

These, and similar thoughts, perplexed us, but we 
could only go on and trust in God to guide and keep 
us in the hollow of His hand. One thing we felt we 
must do, the first thing — we must get home somehow, 
and once there, we would await developments and the 
trend of the Northern mind toward us. Sleep and rest 
now — strength for the journey — and then we would 
turn our faces eastward, like Israel of old, and hasten 
onward. 

Farewell ! thou Stars and Bars ! Proud banner of 
a proud people, noble even in their dire defeat ! Though 
thy folds may trail in the dust, and thy foes may deride 
and scorn thee for ages yet untold ! yet — sometime — 
in God's own time, out of the ashes of thy desolation, 
phoenix-like, thou wilt arise to grander things than at 



Under the Stars and Bars 28/5 

first. And the sons of thy first followers will seize 
thee and bear thee aloft, to float again on the breeze, 
the sacred ensign of a free and virtuous people. And 
under the shadow of thy folds will assemble the poor, 
the oppressed, the down-trodden, the Christ-like of every 
land and kingdom; and thy influence over them will 
be Love and Liberty, Peace and Happiness. 

"The Flag we carried for four long years — 
The Blue, the White, and the Red— 
Fondly we fold it and bathe it in tears 
For the sake of the gallant dead!" 



266 Under the Stars and Bars 



H03JEWAKD BOUND. 

Rest and sleep — Starting out — Hospitality of the people by the 
way — Sheridan's trail of ashes and desolation — Passing 
Richmond— Down the Chickahominy — Waiting for dark- 
ne3g — Crosing the James — Home at last. 

To soldiers who had performed a long and wearisome 
march of seven days on the very minimum of physical 
recuperation, the first consideration, on being disbanded, 
would be food and sleep — rest and strength for the 
long tramp of more than 200 miles, which now lay 
between them and their homes. Accordingly, once 
safely across the river, we procured corn meal and, I 
think, some bacon, from a family near the way, and 
seeking a retired and sheltered place among the hills, 
where we might sleep undisturbed by any passing foe, 
we proceeded to cook the food, and eat of our frugal 
meal. 

Having partaken of our corn-pone and broiled mid- 
dling, the first tolerably full dinner we had enjoyed 
in more than a week, we made nice, soft berths of the 
forest leaves, and spreading our long-used and tattered 
blankets, we passed the night of April 9th with nothing 
to disturb our sleep or dreams, if dreams we had. 

It was a lonely woodland glen, shaded by oak and 
chestnut trees, nestled cozily down amidst the rugged 
hills of Amherst county, where our little party of seven 



Under the Stars and Bars 267 

passed that first night after the sorrowful close at Ap- 
pomattox. We slept well, for we greatly needed sleep, 
but if dreams we had, they must have been, like our 
hearts, full of sorrow and sadness. Amherst county 
is a semi-mountainous section, wild and rugged like 
most other parts of the Piedmont country, a land where 
nature has been fairly lavish with her splendors; and 
I opine that many a mountain nook or dell might be 
found there, wherein some modern Rob Roy might 
find a safe retreat, and ply his vocation without fear 
of capture. The artist, the poet, or the novelist, might 
find there a thousand inspiring subjects for his skill 
to portray. The very coloring of each landscape seems 
veiled in the silken fringe of romance; and to one 
soldier boy present on this occasion, if fond memory 
had not just then presented to his vision the sacred al- 
lurements and tender ties of old Surry, in most be- 
witching guise, I verily believe he would have been 
content no further to go, but would have found there a 
home and resting-place forever. 

Early on the morning of the 10th, our little party, 
refreshed and stronger, turned our faces eastward and 
set out to measure the footsteps, one by one, that sepa- 
rated us from the "home-place of our hearts." Deter- 
mined, if we could possibly help it," never to be carried 
to a Northern prison, it was our aim, by passing 
through an unfrequented part of the State, to avoid 
contact with the Federals, and so escape capture. It 
fell to the writer to act as guide for the party. It is 



268 Under the Stars and Bars 

the experiences of this small squad only that are related 
in this section. It consisted of Lieutenant W. W. Fore- 
man, George C. Holmes, Bird Harvey, W. Holt Berry- 
man, John A. Davis, Thomas Williams and B. W. Jones. 
We found the people along our route to be obliging 
and hospitable, kindly supplying us with such food as 
they had to spare, directing us on our way, and giving 
us shelter at night. But the news of the surrender 
fell upon them with stunning effect. They had hoped 
for better things, after all the sacrifices that they had 
made, and it was with doubt and uncertainty that 
they looked now upon the future. What would be the 
post-bellum status to them? We could not tell them. 
All that we knew was that the conditions of the armis- 
tice were liberal. 

How fortunate for all of us, then, was it that none 
could lift the veil that concealed beneath its lurid and 
slimy folds the horrors, wrongs and humiliations of the 
decade, now known as the miserable "reconstruction 
days" — the decade of the carpet-bagger, the renegade, 
and the "gentleman of color." 

By the night of the 10th, we had reached Norwood, in 
Nelson county, where the kind proprietor gave us a good 
supper and a comfortable house where to sleep. Nor- 
wood is, or was then, a fine place, beautifully located on 
a mountain ridge, fit haunt for the muses or the litera- 
teuer — and the memory of one comfortable night spent 
there in April, 1865, will long retain its hold upon the 
writer. 



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Under the Stars and Bars 269 

The next day we reached and crossed Albemarle 
county, following the towpath of the James River 
Canal for many miles. This county was the home of 
the men of Captain Rives' s Battery, but we met not a 
single one of them, though they all might have been 
safely home by that time. 

At Scottsville, in the southeastern corner of that 
county, we came upon the serpent trail of Sheridan's 
vandal horde as they came down from the Valley of 
Virginia in March, 1865, passing by Charlottesville 
and striking the Canal first at this place. The whole 
village was one scene of ruin and devastation, private 
and public property alike having gone down before the 
devouring flame. Every factory, shop, mill and store 
was burned, the locks of the Canal dismantled, and the 
records and books torn and scattered around. The 
little town lay in its blackened pall like a mourner 
weeping under the willow trees. It was thus they con- 
quered us. Upon Sheridan's gang the shame and 
infamy of this mode of warfare must rest as a perpetual 
disgrace upon them. ISTo Veteran can ever forget these 
things, if he would. Following the line of the Canal 
from this point to Columbia, and beyond, their work 
of hate and extermination went on with ruthless hand, 
destroying mills, fences, locks, bridges, homes, crops, 
stocks and supplies, without mercy, without shame! 

Is it wrong that I should speak of these things here ? 
that I should call up again the mode of the black-handed 
invaded, who subdued with the torch and flame those 



270 Under the Stars and Bars 

whom lie could not conquer in battle ? Nay, but I will 
speak — not to stir those olden hates again, but that the 
future historian may know all the truth — but that the 
sons may know how the fathers were despoiled and their 
progenitors impoverished. To these sons we leave thy 
future, Virginia! 

At Scottsville we took the road by Central Plains to 
Palmyra and beyond, and tarried for the night with a 
Kev. Mr. Fox, a Baptist minister, I believe, who re- 
ceived us very kindly, supplied our wants in a most 
liberal manner, and gave us full directions for the 
journey the next day. I shall ever remember his kind- 
ness to us with gratitude. * And if, by any chance, this 
book should fall into the hands of any person to whom 
the family is known, I beg them to again express to any 
survivor thereof, our thanks for the Christian hospi- 
tality shown a party of seven ex-Confederates, on the 
night of April 12, 1865. 

The next day we crossed Goochland and entered Han- 
over county, and passing on, without incident or adven- 
ture, by Saturday evening, the 15th, had reached the 
vicinity of Mechanicsville, a few miles north of Rich- 
mond. Knowing, of course, that the Federals were 
about that place in full force, we passed the night in a 
sheltered forest, not caring to sleep in any house, lest 
some one should betray us, and we should be captured, 
after all. 

On the 16th we proceeded on our way around Rich- 
mond by the east, passing Mechanicsville in time to 



Under the Stars and Bars 271 

escape a train-load of Federals, and on down by the 
battlefields of Cold Harbor, and along the country on 
the eastern side of the Chickahominy, by scenes familiar 
enough to us, and over ground made famous by the 
events of "war. The traces of war were abundant 
enough — blackened ruins, earthworks, forests destroyed, 
bridges, mills and homes burned. 

Families were few and far between, but at night 
we found lodging with a Mr. Christian, an educator, 
who had taught school at Surry Court House prior 
to the war. We> began to feel like we were getting 
among home people once more. And I believe our 
accidental stop there proved a treat to him, inasmuch 
as it revived his recollections of the people of Surry 
during his sojourn among them. We felt as if we 
could almost sniff the Surry air from his place. 

Up to the present time our party had remained in- 
tact. But on procuring a canoe on the Chickahominy 
the next morning, two of the boys, George C. Holmes 
and Thomas Williams, got into it, with the view of 
descending the stream to Windsor Shade, a mile or 
two below, where we designed procuring a larger boat, 
in which the whole party might descend the river. 

Windsor Shade, a small hamlet at that time, is at 
the head of navigation on the river, and from that 
place up, the stream is a mere swamp, filled with 
cypress timber. Unfortunately for the two boys in 
the boat, the stream was found to be so choked with 
logs and fallen timber, that they could not make their 



272 Under the Stars and Bars 

way down. And after trying some time in vain to do 
so, and losing precious time, they finally went ashore 
and continued the walk down to the rendezvous, only 
to find that the rest of us had departed. Not doubting 
but they would get along safely and without difficulty, 
and that they would soon overtake us in their boat 
(as we designed to proceed slowly until they came up), 
we had left some time before they arrived. 

On this account, and being unable to procure another 
boat at the place, the boys gave up, and finally pro- 
ceeded to Richmond and became prisoners. They were 
sent to Point Lookout, where they found several other 
men of the S. L. A., but were held some months before 
being released and sent home. It was the source of 
much regret to the rest of the party that they should 
have thus become separated from us. We kept a watch 
for them all that day and the next, hoping that they 
would finaly overtake us. But we saw them no more 
until long months afterward. 

Once during that day, we stopped at a house imme- 
diately on the river side, where a family resided. But 
we saw few signs of life, and very few persons any- 
where along the river. Our journey down was made 
with tolerable ease, the boys taking turns at rowing. 
The country along the river was, at that time, un- 
promising enough. No signs of labor, or scarcely of 
human life. Ruins marked the site of many a once 
pleasant home, and while the river is a large and nav- 
igable stream, and the country one of fine possibilities, 



Under the Stars and Bars 273 

at that date, of course, it was deserted and desolate, for 
there, too, the destroying hand of the Huns and Van- 
dals had been. 

As we were on the water, and had only to keep in 
midstream and row, we deemed it best, at nightfall, to 
continue on our way, hoping to reach the mouth of the 
river and cross the James before daylight. But on 
arriving in sight of the James, we discovered that gun- 
boats were stationed all along the river, about a mile 
apart, as if they were guarding the stream. It was then 
too near daybreak for us to venture on the trip across, 
and as there would be no possibility of crossing by day- 
light, we concluded to go ashore, and wait for darkness 
the following night. 

It was a long and weary day to us, and we waited and 
viewed the situation and formed our plans and calcu- 
lated on the chances of reaching the coveted goal as 
soon as friendly night should fall again. Only three 
miles between us and our homeland, but doomed to 
wait long hours before we might attempt to reach it! 
Having almost reached the end, having arrived in sight 
of home, it would never do to fail now. We would be 
patient and wait. 

Concealing our boat, we went ashore and tarried 
around while the slow-footed hours paced by. Once we 
ventured up to a farm house and learned that the place 
was known as Sandy Point. We found only colored 
people, but these some of the better class of the old 



274 Under the Stars and Bars 

regime. They gave us some bacon and bread, which 
was our only meal that day, and then we returned, to 
keep a watchful eye on our boat. 

Darkness came at last. Wrapping our oars, to pre- 
vent making a noise in the row-locks, we set out to 
thread our way carefully and silently across the James. 
The war-ships, with their lights, looked as if they had 
got nearer together, and we were obliged to pass fear- 
fully near to one of them. But we kept on, making all 
the speed we could. 

And, at last, our little craft grated upon the sands of 
old Surry shore! and all the gunboats on the James 
could not have stayed us then ! The hearts of five ex- 
Confederates beat lighter and freer than they had done 
for many a day before. We were on our native soil, and 
a single day more would bear each of us to our respec- 
tive homes. 

But we were yet too far up the river, and had still 
to work our way as cautiously as we could around the 
long point known as Swan's Point Bar, before we could 
reach Cobham landing, the place where we designed 
going ashore. 

Billy Holt, who knew the river well, was our pilot, 
and, in due time, and without mishap, we reached the 
landing place, and our feet pressed the friendly soil of 
our native heath again ! 

Does any one suppose that gratitude to Almighty 
God did not swell within our hearts, for our delivery 
from all the dangers of the way? for leading us safely 



Under the Stars and Bars 275 

on to the end ? N^y, but we "could have knelt and 
kissed the soil at our feet, in very thankfulness of heart. 
After the many sad- events and dangers of the past 
month — yea, of the past four years — forgetting all our 
long marches, toils, privations, sufferings and changes 
that we had experienced, we devoutly thanked the God 
of heaven that we had arrived safely at home again — 
adored His holy name that we had escaped capture, 
wounds, death — had been preserved through all the dan- 
gers incident to war, and were favored to stand again 
upon our native soil. Truly could we say: 

"Through many dangers, toils and pains 

Our weary feet have come; 
'Twas Grace that guarded all the way, 
And Grace that led us home" 

This was Tuesday night, April 18th, 1865, just nine 
days from Appomattox, having tramped more than 200 
miles in about eight days, as we tarried all of 18th at 
Sandy Point, in Charles City county. 

But where are all of our late companions and com- 
rades in arms \ those men from whom we parted nine 
days ago ? Have any of them arrived at home ? Xo. 
All of them have surrendered. Some are held at Peters- 
burg or at City Point ; some are on their way by dif- 
ferent routes homeward ; and others have been sent 
on to Point Lookout, or Fortress Monroe, to suffer the 
humiliating experiences of imprisonment for many long 



276 Under the Stars and Bars 

weeks. It was this that we feared and that made us 
so resolved to thread our way homeward without falling 
into the hands of the foe, and thus of being delayed in- 
definitely, until it might suit the convenience of the 
Federals to permit us to proceed onward. Our party is 
the first to reach home — the longer distance, but the 
shortest trip. And we have had no experience with 
Yankee blackguard or negro insolence! This alone is 
worth all the pains the longer way has cost us. 

But alas ! alas ! how different is the result from what 
we fondly hoped it would be! from that for which we 
fought and believed would be! The Southern Con- 
federacy lies prostrate at the feet of her despoilers. 
They wore us out by attrition and the torch. What a 
gloom, a foreboding, a sadness, rests over the land! 
Who can tell, as yet, but that a worse disaster than de- 
feat awaits us. Shadows seem to lower everywhere. 
All is despondency, apprehension, fear. There is no 
life, but a stupor, a dazed unrest, a silent looking about 
for even a trace of the silver lining on the dark cloud. 

Silver lining? Is there any — can there be any to 
such a storm-burst as this ? How will the Federals 
regard us in the coming years? We can only await 
and see what the future will bring, whether magna- 
nimity or oppression. 

Such were the thoughts that came to us, half spoken, 
half unuttered, as, on the next day, we stood awhile 



Under the Stars and Bars 277 

together on the Court House green, ere we separated to 
seek our respective homes. 

"God rules. We will trust Him," whispers one to 
the rest. And with this comforting hope animating 
us, we clasp hands and part. 

And here ends my Recollections of the war. I have 
told the story of the Surry Light Artillery as I re- 
member it. I believe that my comrades who yet sur- 
vive will find that it is a truthful and, in the main, a 
pretty full account of the scenes, events and dangers 
through which we passed during those memorable 
years in which the Southern States were engaged in a 
desperate struggle for their separate independence. I 
have aimed to emphasize the right of a free people, to 
resist with arms and to the death, the invasion of their 
native lantl. I have sought to put on record just what 
the men of Surry and the surrounding counties fought 
for — that it was not, as many seem yet to suppose, to 
perpetuate the institution of negro slavery, but it teas 
to maintain the sovereign liberty, the supreme authority 
of each separate State to govern and control its own 
domestic affairs according to the will of its own free 
citizens. 

State Rights according to the copy of the old Consti- 
tution, and personal liberty as guaranteed by that docu- 
ment, were the issues involved in that war. 

And when Virginia, in the exercise of her sovereign 
right, withdrew from the Union on April 17, 1801 ; and 



278 Under the Stars and Bars 

when, shortly afterward, at various points, an armed 
soldiery crossed the borders of the State, with the ex- 
pressed purpose of coercing her people into submission 
to Northern tyranny — then the men of Surry saw it 
was time to confront the invaders of their State with 
arms in their hands, and fight for their homes and their 
altars. 

Were they wrong? What though the issue of the 
contest went against them, and they failed for the time 
being? While right is right, and truth is truth, the 
principle remains inviolable. To the calmer judgment 
of posterity I will appeal for the justice of our course. 

Tis well that War's hot bolts soon speed — 
That Mercy's hand its wrath will screen, 

And haste to hide the hearts that bleed 
Beneath the olive branch of green. 



Under the Stars and Bars 279 



THE SHADOW ON THE WALL. 

"Coming events cast their shadows before them." 

The following account of his experiences with a por- 
tion of the wagon < trains, on the retrograde from Rich- 
mond, written by our comrade, Sergeant S. M. Wil- 
liams, presents a graphic picture of things that occurred 
on a different road from that over which the artillery 
passed. It is interesting as showing that, while the 
supply trains are an essential part of the service, yet 
an army may be greatly encumbered and hindred by 
its own baggage. 

But these reminiscences reveal another, and very 
significant phase, for which I was not prepared at so 
early a stage in our post-bellum history. They show 
how the hand of the freebooter and petty pilferer, the 
low sneak and cowardly robber, had already begun that 
despicable trade that became so common and wide- 
spread over the South during the first decade just after 
the close of the war. These detestable hangers-on and 
camp-followers must have been pretty numerous in the 
Northern armies. Here, not three days after the close 
of hostility, we find the type and forerunners of that 
large class of sharks, robbers, thieves, oppressors and 
insulters that grew into such an army of despoilers and 



280 Under the Stars and Bars 

vampires during the next ten years. They were the avant 
couriers of the carpetbagger and his allies, that figured 
so largely in politics a few years later. 

But, in fact, there is good reason to believe that these 
thugs and thieves had been constant attendants of the 
Federal armies everywhere, from the first outbreak of 
the war. They attended the armies in order to rob and 
pillage the people along the line of march. And while 
the torch of the invader was busy, the hand of these 
thugs was busier still. 

Between the torch of the invader and the robberies 
of that caravan of carrion crows that swooped down on 
the South during the days of military misrule and 
political oppression, is it any wonder that our people 
became impoverished almost beyond the hope of re- 
covery ? Indeed the wonder is that anything was left 
upon which to build anew the material prosperity of 
the land. 

The robbers that were following Grant's army at first 
soon became bold enough to spread out over the country 
in small gangs, to seize upon whatever of value that 
they could find. 

And so these reminiscences of Sergeant Williams re- 
veal "the shadow on the wall," the hand of the despoilers 
of the South, that has been so vividly delineated by the 
masterly pen of Thomas Dixon and others. It is out 
of our province to go further in this painful story. It 
was only that my readers should not fail to notice this 
significant point in this paper of my comrade, that I 
have said this much about it. 



Under the Stars and Bars 281 



REMINISCENCES 

Of S. M. Williams, Quartermaster-Sergeant of the Surry Light 
Artillery, on the march from Richmond to Appomattox, 
April, 1S65. 

Breaking camp on the Nine-mile road, below Rich- 
mond, April 3d, 1865, we started for Amelia Court 
House. Passing over a part of Powhatan county with- 
out interruption by any hostilities, we had no sooner 
crossed the Appomattox into Amelia, than a general 
stampede to the rear began, it being reported that the 
enemy was in our front. Soon the march was resumed 
when, suddenly, sharp fighting began on our left but 
a little way off. The firing did not continue long, but 
on resuming our march, and coming to another road, we 
found the way filled with army wagons as far as we 
could see. Not desiring to wait for the whole train to 
pass us before we joined in the line, I instructed the 
drivers to keep close together and lay on whip and force 
their way into the line, regardless of consequences. 
This they did, and we succeeded in getting in, leaving 
the man that we had headed off very furious and utter- 
ing a lot of things that I am sure he never learned from 
his Sunday-school lessons. 

Continuing, our march led us by the way of Farm- 
ville, near which place we camped for the night. Next 
morning Alajor Gary gave me some bacon for the 
Company, and told me that General Gary could tell 



282 Under the Stars and Bars 

me where to find the Company. But on applying to 
General Gary for the information, he was not able to 
give it. 

By the time I had returned to the wagons, a battle 
began near us, and we got the wagon train off as quickly 
as possible. On the evening before the surrender, we 
stopped for a rest. But soon Major Maulding in- 
structed the drivers to hitch the team with as little 
noise as possible, and told me that we were surrounded, 
but we would make our escape if we could. 

We moved off a little way, and then turned about and 
went about the same distance in another disrection. And 
so we continued, turning and going all night. But, 
behold! at sunrise we had not even gotten into the 
proper road. We had been going in a circle all night. 

This was Sunday morning, April 9th, and in a short 
time we were informed that General Lee had capitu- 
lated. We remained at the same place until Wednesday 
morning, when we got our paroles, signed by Dr. J. B. 
Coakley, and started for home. On our way to Farm- 
ville, we noticed three men following us, and soon they 
passed us and were out of sight. But in a short time 
we again saw them coming up from the rear, as before. 
By this we were convinced that they meant no good. 
Soon they passed by once more. 

In Farmville, while conversing with a Union soldier, 
another came up and made some derogatory remarks 
about us. But the first man told him that we were 
paroled prisoners, and no one but a scoimdrel would 



Under the Stars and Bars 283 

attempt to insult us. The other then moved off, and our 
friend remarked that there were many such fellows in 
the army, but they were of no account, and only a dis- 
grace to it. 

At Burkeville I went to the Provost Marshal to get 
rations for my squad. I found him in a wrangle with 
a citizen, and waited awhile for him to cool off. On 
approaching him, he at once gave me an order for the 
rations, and informed me where to find the Commissary. 

While at the provision department, the officer in 
charge came up and began to converse with me. At last 
he inquired, ''Where will you camp to-night?" I told 
him I did not know, but we wished to get as far toward 
home as we could. He said that was right, but when 
we stopped, to go well away from the road, so that our 
fire would not be seen by any one travelling the road. 
And added that there were robbers following the army, 
and if they found us, we would be robbed, and perhaps 
killed. 

We travelled late and then went in camp for the 
night, and rested without interruption until morning. 
The next day, in the afternoon, we reached our homes, 
thus ending our military career. 

S. M. Williams. 

I do not recall the names of all the men of our Com- 
pany that were with me. Thomas H. Tynes and R. M. 
J. Collier were the drivers. And I think George W. 
Moody and William J. Presson were two. John Un- 
derwood came to us on the morning of the surrender. 

S. M. W. 



284 Under the Stars and Bars 



EXPERIENCES 

Of Dr. Joseph N. Jones, of Surry, while a prisoner of war. 

The following notes, written by Dr. Joseph N. Jones, 
of Surry county, relating his arrest in Isle of Wight 
county, and his imprisonment, first at Bermuda Hun- 
dred, and subsequently at Fortress Monroe and Point 
Lookout, having come into my hands, and believing that 
Doctor Jones would sanction their publication, were he 
living, I have inserted them here. 

Doctor Jones was well known to many of the citizens 
of Surry and Isle of Wight, as a gentleman after the 
highest type of the old regime, and these notes, while 
written with no view, perhaps, to subsequent publica- 
tion, were doubtless intended for preservation. They 
were inscribed upon the blank leaves of a Bible, as if 
he designed them to escape oblivion. Presenting, as 
they do, a vivid picture of the boorish insolence of many 
among the subalterns in the Federal service, and as 
showing something of the petty tyrannies that Southern 
prisoners had to endure, the paper forms an interesting 
chapter in the history of the prison service of the war. 

As the men of the S. L. A. had a considerable ac- 
quaintance with Butler's command, while he reigned at 
Bermuda, this account of the treatment that Doctor 
Jones received at his headquarters will be doubly in- 
teresting to them: 



Under the Stars and Bars 285 

"On the 17th of August, 1864, about daybreak, I 
was arrested at the residence of Mr. John M. Cawson, 
in Isle of Wight county, together with himself and his 
son, .John, by a squad of Yankees from a gunboat com- 
manded by a Captain Fitch. At the same time, they 
captured some Confederate scouts stationed in the 
neighborhood, iSTat. Gammel, James Curry and George 
Davis. The latter they wounded in the leg, and he sub- 
sequently died of his wound. 

We were taken to the headquarters of General B. F. 
Butler, near Bermuda Hundred, where I remained 
until the first of October, in the hands of Lieutenant 
H. H. Davenport, Provost Marshal. Whilst there I 
was obliged to live in a most filthy condition, had no 
change of clothing — and, worse than all, was subject 
to many indignities from that comtemptible tool of 
General Butler, the said Davenport. He took the 
greatest delight in the abuse of prisoners under his 
charge, a sure characteristic of the poltroon, too cow- 
ardly to face a chivalrous foe in honorable combat. He 
was a good specimen of the Xew England pseudo puri- 
tan, a comtemptible, mean, cowardly, petty tyrant. 
Neither was youth or age a protection against the 
malevolence of this dastard wretch. 

From Bermuda Hundred I was transferred to Camp 
Hamilton, a Yankee Bastile near Fortress Monroe — 
with other Confederates, among Yankee animals and 
negroes — the latter much the more decent. 

Here I was treated kindly by the officer in command, 
and particularly by Captain Blake, of Pennsylvania, 



286 Under the Stars and Bars 

Captain of the Guard. On the 15th of October I was 
transferred to the military prison at Point Lookout. 
Dr. John Thompson, Post Surgeon, gave me, on the 
day of my arrival, the position of surgeon in the prison 
hospital, Ward No. 8, which I held during the re- 
mainder of my imprisonment. Here I was treated 
with kindness and respect, both by Federals and Con- 
federates, the latter numbering, at one time, more than 
twenty thousand men. I hope I was of some little 
service in relieving the sufferings of my fellow-pris- 
oners. About eight thousand of them died at this 
prison during the war. 

The officers of this prison were generally kind to 
the prisoners, but they were treated badly by the negro 
guard placed over them. Several prisoners were shot 
by them, some killed, without the slightest provocation. 
And, so far as I know, none of them were ever pun- 
ished for it. 

Major Brady, Provost Marshal, was regarded as 
good-natured. He was kind in his manner to the pris- 
oners. Captain Barnes, his assistant, was kind and 
courteous. Doctor Thompson had all the instincts of a 
gentleman, was polite to all, but was as cold and frigid 
as the bleak hills of his Xew England home. 

The most pleasant episode in my prison life was, 
when looking about for a friend to assist me, after my 
arrival at Point Lookout, I received very unexpectedly 
a most kind note from a lady I had never seen or heard 
of, Miss Lou F. Whiting, of Hampton, Va., prof- 



Under the Stars and Bars 287 

fering assistance, commencing a correspondence which 
continued for some time. Her letters solaced me very 
much. 

On the 2d of June, 1865, I was released from prison, 
and on the evening of the 3d arrived at the home of my 
old friend, George H. Crump, near Chuckatuck. I was 
accompanied by Dr. Samuel Wilson, of Surry. 

J. 28T. Jones. 



388 Under the Stars and Bars 



EEPORT 

Of Pembrook D. Gwaltney, a member of the Surry Light Ar- 
tillery, detailed a.s Master Armorer, for the 2d Corp9, Army 
of Northern Virginia. 

"I joined the S. L. A. sometime in July, 1862, before 
the Sharpsburg fight. After that I was detailed, by 
order of Colonel Baldwin, Chief of Ordnance, Army of 
Northern Virginia, and ordered to Winchester, Ya., to 
establish a repair shop there. When I reached Win- 
chester, I found that our army had re-crossed the Po- 
tomac, and that the Federal army was marching towards 
Winchester, and I remained there only two or three 
weeks. 

"I was then ordered to Staunton, and established a 
shop there for the repair of arms, and remained there 
two or three months. Was then ordered to Hanover 
Junction, under the command of Colonel William Allen, 
Chief of Ordnance of the 2d Corps, and established a 
shop at Hanover Junction, which did repairs for the 
army lying around Fredericksburg. From that place 
I was transferred to Guinea Station, and was there 
when the battle of Chancellorsville was fought. I re- 
mained at Guinea Station until the 2d Corps was 
moved, and I continued with the Second Corps, under 
Colonel William Allen, until the battle of Waynesboro, 



Under the Stars and Bars 289 

when General Early's army was dispersed or captured. 
I then made my way to Richmond, and rejoined the 
S. L. A., and started with it to Appomattox. After- 
wards, when Colonel Lightfoot refused to surrender, I 
was captured and sent to Newport News. Was released 
on July 2d, 1865, and reached my home July 4th, not 
having seen any member of my family for more than 
two and a half years. 

"P. D. GWAI/TNEY." 

Smithfield, Va. 



290 Under the Stars and Bars 



OUR DEAD. 

The following . is a list of our comrades who died during the 
progress of the war, either of sickness or of wounds received 
in battle: 

Whitfield Goodrich, of pneumonia, at Camp Pem- 
berton, March 10, 1862. Thomas J. Rowell, of con- 
gestive chill, at Benn's church, May, 1862. Josiah Bell, 
Ira O. Crenshaw, Edward L. Collier, Eobert A. Col- 
lier, John W. Edwards, Anson Goodrich, at hospital 
in Petersburg, June- July, 1862. Richard Moring, in 
Camp near Walthall Junction, July, 1862. John W. 
Presson, at home, in 1863. Samuel A. Moody, at home, 

1863. J. Thomas Brown, of small-pox, at hospital in 
Richmond, in 1864. Josiah Gwaltney, July, 1S64. 
Zachariah Holland, June, 1864. James Pond, July, 

1864. Edward W. Wright, July, 1864. John A. Deal, 
killed at Upperville, 1863. Total, 17. 



The following members have died since the close of 
the war: 

Archibald R. Atkins, at his home, in Isle of Wight, 
in 1897. William T. Atkins, Isle of Wight, 1894 or 
'95. Henry Ambros, time and place not known. 



Under the Stars and Bars 291 

James T. Bailey, at his home in Surry, August 13, 
1903. Joseph W. Bailey, home in Surry, June 17, 
1906. Calvin Baker, home in Isle of Wight, May 4, 
1905. James Baker, home in Isle of Wight, about 
1866. William R. Barham, home in Norfolk, May 
17, 1908. John W. Barlow, home in Isle of Wight, in 
1898. William O. Barlow, home in Isle of Wight, No- 
vember 5, 1906. Decatur Barlow, home in Isle of 
Wight, 1894. T. Boiling Bell, home in Isle of Wight, 
February 26, 1904. Edwin E. Bell, home in Isle of 
Wight, December, 1905. William Joe Bell, Surry, 
about 1867 or '68. Samuel D. Bell, Norfolk, February 
19, 1908. George A. Bell, Surry, 1866 or '67. J. 
Nicholas Bell, Surry, soon after the war. Theophilus 
J. Berryman, time and place not known. John R. 
Berryman, Surry, about 1867. A. Nicholas Brown, 
Surry, soon after the war. Frank N. Carrington, Char- 
lotte county, about 1874. Roger Casey, home in Surry, 
1866. Thomas T. Cockes, Surry, December, 23, 1902. 
Abner B. Cofer, home in Surry, soon after the war. 
William A. Clayton, Surry, 1866. William Crocker, 
Isle of Wight, soon after the war. R. M. J. Collier, 
Surry, 1898. John A. Davis, Surry, soon after the 
war. George W. Dean, Isle of Wight, soon after the 
war. Hezekiah Delk, in Surry, February, 1899. James 
T. Deuel, home in Surry, soon after after war. W. 
W. Foreman, home in San Angelo, Texas, April 30/ 
1902. James Gay, Surry, soon after the war. Milton 
H. Gray, Isle of Wight, about 1867. Joseph Garon, 



292 Under the Stars and Bars 

time and place unknown. Jos. Glover, Surry, soon after 
the war. Lewis Glover, Surry, a few years after the war. 
Benjamin F. Gwaltney, home in Surry, about 1892 or 
'93. John A. Gwaltney, home in Surry, May 14, 
1904. James D. Hankins, killed in the spring of 
1866. James Hatchell, Surry, about 1872 or '73. 
J. Thomas Harris, Surry, a few years after the war. 
John T. Harris, Surry, shortly after the war. George 
M. Hargrave, home in Surry, about 1893 or '94. 
Richard A. Hargrave, home in Southampton, March, 
1898. Bird Harvey, in Petersburg, date not known. 
Edmund S. Holleman, at Chapoax, Surry, about 1873. 
George C. Holmes, home in Southampton, October 29, 
1907. William S. Johnson, Surry, shortly after the 
war. Randolph Johnson, Surry, shortly after the war. 
Boiling T. Jones, home in Surry, February 9, 1908. 
Isaac G. Jones, Surry, March 11, 1893. Wiley Jones, 
jSTansemond, soon after the war. Robert H. Jones, 
home in Surry, July 22, 18S0. John L. Judkins, Wel- 
don, K. C, October 2, 1905. James Judkins, Surry, a 
few years after the war. Julian Judkins, Isle of Wight, 
shortly after the war. R. P. Q. Judkins, Surry, several 
years after the war. James King and Joseph King, 
Surry, time unknown. Joseph R. Kea, Isle of Wight, 
shortly after the war. John R. Kea, home in Surry, 
soon after the war. Luther J. Little, home in Sussex, 
about 1894. William E. Long, time and place un- 
known. William J. Lewis, home in Nansemond, 
shortly after the war. Thomas H. Mitchell, Surry, 



Under the Stars and Bars 293 

time not known. Christopher Mitchell, Surry, date 
uncertain. William B. Moore, Surry, 1867 or '68. 
William H. Oliver, time and place not known. Henry 
Peters, Baltimore, June, 1902. Joseph Pitman, Surry, 
about 1866. Noah B. Pond, home in Surry, shortly 
after the war. William J. Presson, Isle of Wight, 
January, 1901. Joel J. Presson, home in Southampton, 
April 25, 1906. Charles A. Price, Surry, about 1890. 
Asa Rogers, Surry, several years after the war. Gil- 
bert W. Rogers, Isle of Wight, June 11, 1907. Henry 
W. Rogers, Surry, June 12, 1907. J. Henry Rowell, 
Surry, soon after the war. Thomas W. Ruffin, time 
and place uncertain. John Ruffin, time and place un- 
certain. Mallory Shields, Hampton, Va., shortly after 
the war. James 1ST. Spratley, Surry, soon after the war. 
Julian A. Stuart, home in Surry, March 19, 1903. 
Benton D. Thomas, home in Norfolk, April 13, 1907. 
Lewis L. Turner, Southampton, July, 1900. W. Henry 
Turner, Isle of Wight, time uncertain. James T. 
Turner, Isle of Wight, time uncertain. Thomas H. 
Tynes, home in Surry, July 17, 1900. John Under- 
wood, Surry, shortly after the war. James S. Warren, 
home in Surry, a few years after the war. Samuel D. 
Warren, Surry, a few years after the war. Joel J. 
Whitley, home in Newport News, April 14, 1898. 
Linnaeus W. White, Surry, several years after the 
war. Thomas H. Williams, Prince George coimty, 
shortly after the war. " Thomas Williams, Surry, shortly 
after the war. Total, 96. 



294 Under the Stars and Bars 

Besides these, it is uncertain whether the following 
are living or dead: 

George W. Armistead, Alexander Baker, W. John 
Edwards, John P. Goodson, Beverly W. Irving, Marion 
Messersmith, James C. Underwood, George Waggoner, 
Wynn. Total, 9. 



'The grave's grim halls are never full — 

Death's harvest never ends! 
And fast the few survivors turn, 

To greet their former friends." 



Under the Stars and Bars 295 



LIST OF SURVIVORS. 

The following members of the S. L. A. were known to be living 
at the time of our last reunion, August 13, 1908: 

James S. Avery, Joseph H. Barham, Junius H. Bar- 
low, John H. Bell, Jacob E. Bell, William T. Bell, 
Joseph R. Berryman, W. Holt Berryman, Fielding A, 
Coakley, Littleton M. Cockes, Peter F. Crocker, Mat- 
thew A. Delk, B. Hardy Delk, Thomas N". Edwards, J. 
Decatur Edwards, Edward E. Edwards, Junius Ellis, 
W. H. Elliott, R. Fuller Farrar, Junius Gray, P. D. 
Gwaltney, John Hankins, William E. Harris, William 
E. James, Robert James, Thomas A. James, B. W. 
Jones, B. 0. Judkins, James T. Latimer, William H. 
Little, J. Thomas Little, James M. Lewis, James W. 
Moody, George W. Moody, E. H. McGuriman, William 
R. Mathews, James N. Mathews, John T. Nelms, 
Joseph T. Price, John F. Ramsey, Charles C. Richard- 
son, Henry C. Roberts, George A. Rowell, P. H. Rowell, 
R. R. Savedge, C. Travis Savedge, George A. Savedge, 
James T. Savedge, John L. Seward, Frank R. Seward, 
John F. Scott, Edwin S. Spratley, Robert C. Thomp- 
son, James M. Turner, Serveitus M. Williams. Total, 
54. Of these, George A. Rowell died May 20, 1909, 
and E. II. McGuriman, June 4, 1909. 



296 Under the Stars and Bars 

Of the original Company of 54 men, who went out 
from Surry Court House June 22, 1861, only the fol- 
lowing are now living: 

John H. Bell, Joseph R. Berryman, Littleton M. 
Cockes, B. H. Delk, William E. James, B. W. Jones, 
W. H. Little, James W. Moody, H. C. Eoberts, P. H, 
Rowell, R. R. Savedge, E. S. Spratley, John L. Seward, 
R. C. Thompson. Total, 14. 

"A thin and broken rank, we stand, 
With mute and bodeful gaze; 
While few and feebler grows the band 
So strong in otber days. 

"How Friendship's eye, by silent walls, 

Turns back in tearful mood, 
To find, alas! deserted halls 

Where once our comrades stood." 

And now, nothing more remains to be said, except to 
crave the indulgence of my readers for the many defects 
of style, and possible inaccuracies, that, I fear, are but 
too evident in the course of this simple recital of what 
one Company of soldiers did and endured in the war 
between the States. Had I tarried until I could have 
written a perfect history, the book would never have 
seen the light. r 

I feel, too, that I should thank, in some befitting 
terms, those of my comrades who have enabled me to 
print the book at all. It was only by the earnest and 
untiring efforts of a few among them that the work 
has been pushed to completion. Foremost among these 



Under the Stars and Bars 297 

were my friends and comrades, Joseph H. Barham and 
Charles C. Richardson, to whose active and untiring 
efforts I am greatly indebted. And to all others, in and 
out of the Company, my warm thanks are hereby ten- 
dered for the generous aid and encouragement so kindly 
extended. I would fain name them all. 

Here, then, I lay the pen aside, to await what recep- 
tion may be accorded the simple story I have essayed 
to tell. The history of the Surry Artillery as a mili- 
tary organization, ends, of course, with the close 
of the war in Virginia. From that time its broken 
fragments, scattered to their respective homes over a 
large part of the State, seldom saw or heard of each 
other, and soon became almost as strangers again. 
Many, in fact, the greater part, have never met since 
that direful, inglorious day. 

But the few survivors, true to the friendships born 
of the trials, sufferings and tears of those four undying 
years, will not cease to keep green the names and deeds 
of each one. While a single one of them lingers here, 
the immortelle and cypress shall flourish by the fallen, 
and over each new-made grave we will inscribe the 
hopeful prayer : 

"Sit tibi terra levis." 



The End. 



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