Georgia Confederate Veterans' Association of Fulton County.

History, Confederate Veterans' Association, of Fulton County, Georgia (Volume 2) online

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minds of us a scene which occurred on Alabama street, in Atlanta, on tin- 32d
day of July, 1887. The occasion was the reunion of the survivors of the T,M
Georgia Regiment.

The "Evening Capitol" newspaper of that day uives an account of it. as
follows :


The courthouse presented an unusually busy scene this morning to those passing
by. On the outside were a score or two of Georgia's wool hat boys, wearing on
their breasts blue badges, bearing the words "42d Georgia Regiment," which ex-


plained the nature of the gathering — the annual reunion of the survivors of this
gallant body of men. A "Capitol" reporter visited the courthouse at half-past eight
o'clock, and after exchanging a word with a veteran here and a hand-shake with
another yonder, proceeded to the City Court room, wherein were gathered perhaps
a hundred of the old soldiers who shed their blood and gave up well nigh their all
in defence of the tattered, bullet-rent, blood stained flag that stood upon the judge's

About half-past nine the order was given to fall in line, and each company
formed together on the Pryor street side of the court house. The Capitol band
played a few stirring selections, then the command to forward march was given when
the column, headed by Col. Thomas and Dr. Durham, who was adjutant of the
regiment, and is now secretary of the Survivors' Association. The first four in line
were Emanuel Sudduth, R. P. Ferguson, M. M. Waites and C. C. Caldwell. ,

The last named wearing a mulberry-colored wool hat, beneath which flashed an
eye undimmed by age, and blazing with enthusiasm. Mr. Waites appeared equally
as enthusiastic, and carried in his hand a miniature representation of the stars and

The survivors' marched to the sound of music up Hunter into Whitehall, down
WhitehaW to Alabama, and thence to Pryor, where they boarded the street cars for
the park.

At the corner of Whitehall and Alabama the reporter witnessed a scene that
brought tears to the eyes of many who observed it.

Judge R. L. Rodgers and a number of other gentlemen were leaning far out
of the windows of their offices watching the procession as it passed beneath them.
The memory of bygone days proved too much for the Judge, and raising his voice
he gave a regular old fashioned rebel yell that echoed and re-echoed up and down
the street. Captain Tip Harrison, than whom no braver man ever lived, was stand
ing on the corner, when the familiar yell broke upon the air, and with beaming
eyes he pulled off his hat and sent out another yell that was taken up by the veterans
aid many others on the streets whose hearts were strangely stirred in watching this
procession of old men, bearing in their midst that ragged flag upon which were only
ten of the original thirteen stars. The old flag was borne by Mr. W. F. Edwards,
of Newton county, whose pioperty it is.

"Full many a time the Unions broke

Before its charge, like wreaths of air, ^
Georgia's red hills with thunder woke,
And echoed back the Southern cheer."

Mi. Edwards is fully six feet high, and bore the flag through the battles of
Kingston and Bentonville, besides in many other smaller engagements; and in
speaking .»! it he said . "I have been with this old tl ig where bullets fell like hail
and it seemed as if you could have caught your hat full if you had held it out."

Aftn remaining a short time on the street the cars arrived and were boarded by
the old toldiei >, who spent a day of rare enjoyment at the park.


The next essay was by Capt. Frank T. Ryan, upon the "Surrender of

Vicksburg, and the Battle of Chickamauga," as follows :


By reason of youth and inexperience, I did not know or appreciate the vital
importance and great aid to the future of keeping a diary, and jotting down at the
time and when the events occurred, therefore I cannot vouch for specific numbers or
dates, but can for the general correctness of the whole, and gladly contribute, in my
imperfect way, to this grand scheme of procuring for posterity, and the future seeker
after truth, our recollections of the four years' war between the States. It is not to
rekindle old fires, nor to open old wounds that we thus strive to preserve these
recollections, but to keep in mind the noble deeds and pure principles that influenced
the men of the South in the late struggle, and to preserve and perpetuate them for
the rising and coming generations. It is to be regretted that we have not organized
such sooner, for every year not only thins our ranks by death, and thereby deprives
us of the veteran's knowledge, but the memories of those who are left are naturally
dimmed and blunted by age and the time intervening. And while to us nothing
of more import and interest can occupy our thoughts, yet in this age of bustle and
activity other matters, to which we are compelled to devote our time and thoughts,
and are of more immediate interest to us, occupy and consume our attention. Unless
we, who were actively engaged in this struggle do preserve for posterity our recol-
lections, how are they to obtain and arrive at the truth ? It, therefore, devolves
upon each and every one of us, as a sacred and imperative duty, to make his contri-
bution, however crude and imperfect it may be, that the future chronicler may come
into possession of the same, and from the general knowledge and facts embellish and
codify, in ?. more perfect and readable form. If what I have here written may save
the smallest incident from oblivion, or aid and assist the future in arriving at any
small part of the truth, I will feel that I am amply compensated, and that I have
not written in vain.

On the first, second, and third days of July, 1863, the command to which I
belonged, it being the 1st Arkansas Mounted Rifles, McNair's Brigade, French's
Division, Army of the Mississippi, was encamped about twenty -five miles east of the
beleaguered City of Vicksburg, and three miles off of the main dirt road that leads
from Vicksburg to Jackson. We were there, Micawber like, waiting for something
to turn up, which we knew in those times, and in that vicinity, would not be long.
We were in distinct and plain hearing of the heavy siege guns at Vicksburg, and a
great portion of our time each day was spent in speculating as to how the fight was
waging. We thought that we had about rightly located the guns of the two sides,
and when, as we thought, the river batteries pealed out the louder, and continued to
fire the longest, the Federals were gaining the point ; where, upon the other hand,
if we could in imagination locate the deep bellowings and incessant and continuous
firing of our guns along the river front, we exulted over the fact that what the
Federals had won from us on yesterday had been regained, in addition to other and
greater advantages. Thus, for three days, had speculation been rife, as to how much
longer could the boys hold out in Vicksburg, and it had been whispered that they
could not possibly hope to do so much longer ; that our ranks were being rapidly


thinned by death, both by sickness and bullets; that' the rations were growing
rapidly less, with no possible hope of replenishing them ; while, on the other hand,
the Federals were recruiting and replenishing in every way and on every hand. The
spot around which we were encamped had been one of those lovely and highly im-
proved ante-bellum places ; the house was one of those old square-built two-story
frames, with a broad veranda running around all four sides, with heavy fluted Corin-
thian columns running up full length, giving a broad and airy promenade around the
whole house, both top and bottom. The servants' quarters, barns, cribs, and other
out-houses, taken as a whole, made up quite a town in size — but that had all changed.
The inmates and owners had fled ; the once happy and contented occupants of the
quarters had doubtless been decoyed to the vicinity of Vicksburg by false promises,
which had inspired hopes never to be realized. The heavy plate-glass windows had
been ruthlessly broken into atoms, and the doors, if any left, either hung on one
hinge or had been removed entirely to furnish seats for the soldiers, or a table to
eat upon. Everything had the air of utter desolation and complete decay. As we
retired to our night's repose (I cannot say tents, for we had none), on the night of
the 3d July, 1863, the occasional firing of a siege gun could be heard from the di-
rection of Vicksburg, just the same as had been the preceding nights. Soon our
camps were quiet, nothing heard save the regular tread of the sentry on his beat,
and the tramp of the horses as they nibbled at their night's repast. The morning of
the 4th of July, 1S63, came as the preceding ones; the sun had hardly climbed one
hour's march on his daily journey, until it seemed as if it shown forth with increas-
ing intensity of heat. That was a most peculiar climate, the days extremely hot
and long, and the nights uncomfortably cold. Such heavy dews I have never seen
in any other spot. In the mornings we would have to wring out our blankets,
which were soaking wet, and throw them out for a short while for the sun to dry.
I dare say that those who soldiered in Mississippi at this time never experienced
more discomforts, nor practiced more self-denials. At early morn it was hot. The
sun would scarcely rise above the eastern horizon when it seemed as if all nature,
both animate and inanimate, would have to succumb to its intense heat. Sunstrokes
were frequent. While we did it daily, and for weeks in succession, yet in ordinary
times it would be considered as tempting Divine Providence, to start out afoot, be-
tween the hours of 9 a. m. and 5 o'clock p. m., across some of those long and never
turning lanes that we traveled, and which seemed as endless as Penelope's web. In
fact, it seemed, along about four o'clock in the afternoon, after traveling since 6
o'clock a. m., in the midst of one of those long lanes (and it as straight as an arrow,
in fact so straight that it was painful to the eye), your feet submerged in the fine dust
at every step, the very air filled with it, being stirred up by the troops ahead, the
sun teeming down upon your defenceless head with increasing heat, not a tree or
Bhrub to catch even a shadow (to say nothing of sheltering you), that another
Joshua had appeared and caused the God of day to halt, and it seemed that in
obedience to the command, that there it hung— a molten ball of fire — and with all
this not a running stream to cool your parched lips and quench your insatiable
thirst. The only means for water in parts of Mississippi, even for its inhabitants and
Stock, is by artificial ponds. Often have we had to detail men and send them off
four and live miles, to the right and left, with yokes made to fit their necks, and at-
tachments to hold two buckets on each end, similar to the water carriers of the East,


cuts of which can be seen in books of travel. These have been carried for miles,
and the water issued in small quantities to the men during the day. Even with
these extremely hot days, from the time the sun was an hour high in the morning
until after it had descended the western horizon, the nights were uncomfortably cold
without a large amount of covering.

Does it not prove conclusively that some high sense of duty prompted these
men to forego all the comforts, which they had in their possession at their respective
homes, to practice daily these self-denials, when all their lives had been accustomed
to having every wish gratified, and to endure hardships that language is inadequate
to describe ? The mere facts of receiving the monthly pittance, which in itself was
very irregular, could not have been their motive, for did not they have to depend
upon their own resources the greater part of the time, even for the shabby clothes
they wore, and oftimes for the scanty fare they eat ? No ! It was the conscious-
ness of the rights, and of great principles and liberties jeopardized, that held
them in their line of duty and actuated them to do it. As they did do it, history
furnishes no parallel.

It must have been eight o'clock in the morning, on the 4th of July, 1863, soon
after we had eaten our plain and scanty breakfast, mounted the guard, and had
cleaned up around our camp-fires, and had began to parcel off in our different
squads, as our daily habits, to talk over matters in general, and to speculate about
how things were in the closely environed city by the inland sea, when our attentions
were, almost to a man, attracted by the unusual heavy and continuous firing in the
direction of Vicksburg. As we listened the noise increased. We were aroused
from our speculations by a call from our Orderly to fall into line. Soon everything
was bustle and excitement, wondering what was up, and if the unusual heavy firing
at Vicksburg had anything to do with this sudden movement. We were soon into
line, and headed for the main big road — the road that leads from Vicksburg to

To those who asked my opinion as to where we were going, and what I thought
of the condition of affairs in Vicksburg, I replied, that when we reached the inter-
section of the roads — that is, when we reached the point where this road lead into
the Vicksburg and Jackson, we would be better able to solve the question ; that it
depended largely which end of the road we would take; that if we took the end
that leads to Vicksburg all was well, but if we should take the Jackson end it was
clear that Vicksburg was doomed, and that we were in retreat. As we only had
three miles to travel to where the roads intersected, it was not long before we
reached that point. When the head of the line reached the intersection it was
halted, and for a quarter of an hour everything seemed to be in a quandary, as if
hesitating which end of the road to take. It was not long afterwards until the or-
der was given to forward, and when the head of the line took the end that lead to
Jackson, it was settled among ourselves that Vicksburg had surrendered, and we
were striving to get farther away from the victorious Federals. It was about forty
miles to Jackson, through some of the longest, hottest lanes that earth afforded— the
great desert not excepted — with a scarcity of water and no commissary, save the
cornfields along the route. On the evening of the 6th, about nine o'clock, p. m.,
we were dragging our tired and foot-sore bodies along the banks of the l'earl River,
on the outskirts of the city of Jackson, hunting some suitable spot where we might


prostrate our weary bodies on mother earth, and yield ourselves to "tired nature's
sweet restorer."

We soon found a place suitable for the night's encampment, and was not long
after we had stopped until those, who were not on some special duty, were closely
wrapped in the arms of Morpheus. That afternoon I had eaten an unusual large
amount of green corn, it being the only article of diet to be had, and while I had
that full and uncomfortable feeling, yet the gnawing pangs of hunger were not ap-
peased. It must have been somewhere about two o'clock in the morning when I
was awakened by the most excrutiating and intense pains, which increased with
such alarming rapidity that I was forced to have the assistance of our surgeon. As
soon as he saw me, and made an examination, he pronounced it a violent attack of
cramp-colic. By the application of mustard plasters and other restoratives, I was
very soon relieved, whereupon I resumed my sleep. The morning found me very
much debilitated and unfit for duty, notwithstanding all of us were very much fa-
tigued, and would have liked so much to have rested up that day.

The report came at early morn that the Federals were in our front, and from
appearances we would have a busy day.

It clearly demonstrated the vigilance, and promptness, that actuated the Fed-
eral General in command. On the morning of the 4th they entered Vicksburg ;
entered into preliminaries ; had left a sufficient number of their troops to guard the
prisoners taken, had then taken another part of their forces and started in pursuit of
us. On the evening of the 6th, at 9 o'clock, p. M., we reached Jackson. On the
morning of the 7th, at daybreak, they were in our immediate front confronting us.
In our march we endeavored to place every obstruction we could conceive of in
their way to impede and delay them ; that we drained every pond we could, and
those we could not, we killed stock or threw some other impure matter into them,
that the water might be made unfit for use. We were informed that they had their
regular water wagons, brought all the way from the Mississippi River, and that the
water was issued to the men just the same as other rations were. Oh ! that General
Bragg had displayed as much vigilance and decision at Chickamauga. If he had
done so, there would doubtless be one national hymn less, one which the victors
seem to delight in playing on all occasions — the one they call "Marching Through
1.1," and the probabilities are that there would also never have been any
"march to the sea - ' to haye been chronicled.

Soon after daylight on the morning of the 7th of July, 1863, everything indi-
cated that there was a fight brewing. I was told to make my way back to where
tin- wagon train was parked, some four miles in the rear, and near the railroad that
runs from Jackson to Meridian. I was in hopes that my strength would soon return
so as to allow nae to participate with my regiment, and not until the increasing rapid
tiring of the picket guns, that told me that the Federals were advancing, did I be-
gin to arrange my effects for tin- rear, as I found that I was too feeble to remain. I
did remain, however, long enough to witness as grand a sight as I had ever looked
upon, anil that was a charge of the Federals on the troops of General Breckinridge's
division. The General commanded in person, and was at the head of the line. As
the I ederals came on with that military precision, as orderly almost as if they had
D dre parade, they were met with equally as much order and determination,
and after one or two attempts to carry their point, fell back in rather greater haste


and disorder than they had made in their advance, with the exulting and victorious
Kentuckians following them up with the rebel yell.

General Breckinridge that day, and during the charge, was one of the finest
specimens of the genus homo that I ever looked upon. He was riding one of those
iron grey Kentucky thoroughbreds, and he sat it as if a part of the horse. He was
a man of commanding figure, large and symmetrical, and he wore one of those
loose linen blouses, plaited in broad plaits, with the body full and loose, and gath-
ered at the waist by the sword belt, which made it look all the more loose and airy.
His horse seemed to realize his part, reared and pranced as if anxious to go. The
General wore a pair of those fine patent-leather cavalry boots, with legs extended
above the knee, and was artistically stitched with white thread. A pair of heavy
rowelled, silver plated spurs were on his heels. He also wore one of those wide
brimmed sombreros with one side pinned up, and held to its place by a silver star,
with hands encased in a pair of fine buff gauntlets. He and his horse made a pic-
ture that indelibly impressed itself in the mind of those who saw them on that day.
I finally made my way back to the wagon train, after a time and fashion, and re-
mained with them until our forces were compelled to evacuate Jackson — which was
in four or five days.

As the last part of our troops crossed over the railroad bridge, across Pearl
River, they set fire to it ?nd burned it entirely up. This was the second time this
bridge had been burned. The Federals burned it the first time and we rebuilt it ;
now we had burned it, and as the sequel proved, they rebuilt it. My regiment fell
back to that part of the country, opposite a small station, by the name of Forrest,
on the railroad leading from Jackson to Meridian, and almost equi-distant between
the two places. It was a most lonely and desolate spot, and looked as if the prime-
val forest had never been disturbed — not a habitation or sign of civilization near.
Everything indicated to an old soldier that no active operations would be had for
quite awhile ; that we would probably rest in our present camps until we had pretty
thoroughly recruited up, unless something of an emergent nature occurred needing
our assistance. Having seen a lively campaign for the past three months, seen hard
and continuous service, and feeling still the effects of my attack of colic on the banks
of Pearl River, I concluded that I would take a short furlough and make my way to
some spot and take a good rest. So I boarded a train going in the direction of
Meridian and started — for where — I know not at the present, and landing in Mobile.
I knew that by listening attentively, and being observant, I would soon hear some
expressions from those who had tried the various places, and thereby learn which
was the best and most desirable. I soon learned that at Meridian, where the Mobile
& Ohio Railroad crosses the one we were on, at right angles, was a kind of distrib-
uting bureau for the sick and non-combatant, and that on the arrival and departure
of trains, a surgeon and assistants were on hand to examine and assign. I also
learned that above Meridian, at a place called Lauderdale Springs, was a regular
and long established hospital, and that of all the uninviting, dreary spots, it u as the
place ; that those in charge done all in their power to make it so, hoping thereby
that some of the old hospital rats, or regular habitues, might be induced to leave
sometimes, and return to their separate commands occasionally; that, notwithstand-
ing all this, the place was unduly crowded and no comforts were to be had. That
in Mobile there were comfortable places, and any one who was fortunate enough to


be assigned there would fare well, recuperate rapidly, and would be able to return
soon feeling like a new man. The question now arose in my mind — how can I
work it so as to get to Mobile ? I could not learn of any scheme by which I could
work, neither could I devise any plan, but concluded to trust to luck.


Our train reached .Meridian about 9 o'clock, p. m., and as informed, the
Burgeon and assistants were on band. It was so arranged that they stood where
they could command both trains— the one going up the railroad to Lauderdale
Springs, and the other going down to Mobile. The platform was built in the
shape of an L, and we disembarked from the cars on which we had just ar-
rived : were forced to march around in front of the surgeon or an assistant,
who held their lanterns in their hands, and as one of us would come up they
would thrusl the light into his face and exclaim, "show me your tongue." I
had w itnessed several ahead of me go through this operation before it came my
turn, and as I approached the examiner, with fear and trembling, and with
difficulty repressing my laughter, and was told to show my tongue. I made
an extraordinary effort to get it out unusually far that it might be fully seen.
It, or something else, had the desired effect, for I was ordered to get into the
.Mobile car. [ am satisfied that these surgeons were equal to any emergency ;
that while the form of examining the tongue was gone through with, in that
hasty and imperfecl manner, in the night besides, yet they had an eye to the
general appearance of the applicant; as our train had come from the front, and
our general appearance clearly indicated that we had seen recent and hard ser-
vice, that it was safe in them assigning us to Mobile ; that we were not regular
habitues of hospitals, but were men who needed rest and nutritious food. We
reached Mobile some time next day, and I was fortunate enough to be assigned
to a neat and well apportioned convalescent hospital, with an 31. D. in charge
who was kind and tender and a perfect gentleman, whose attention and kind-
lier soon broughl u- around ready for the field again. We had the very best
of diet —consisting of fish and oysters, all kinds of fruits and vegetables, as it
was mid summer ami I bey were in abundance. The recollections of Asa Holt's
•j>im';< soup ihc I],,. Delmonico of Mobile), has not yet faded from my
memory. At thai lime Mobile had one ot the best markets in the country, and

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