Georgia Confederate Veterans' Association of Fulton County.

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

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could hitch them in, until finally we had to take the guns ourselves, and by our
own strength, haul them to position.

After eating our little snack without further interruption from the Federal
shells, we returned to where our guns were stacked, holding ourselves in read
iness to be called upon at any moment. All nighl long we could hearthe Fed
ends busy with their axes cutting and felling trees, by which we knew that they
were preparing and constructing breast works, which on the morrow we would
have to storm." We expected at the tirst peep of day to resume fighting, bul
when eight, nine, ten and eleven o'clock rolled around and DO advance, neither
by our side nor the Federals, we could not understand ii . We knew that the
Federals were in close proximity, for the picket guns were continuous!) pop


in<_r away, and occasionally a volley could be heard which lead us to believe
that an advance on some part of the line was being made.

It must have been half-past eleven o'clock that General Hood came riding
along the whole part of our line — it was to his division my brigade had been
attached for the fight. He had one of his arms in a sling, having been severely
wounded at Gettysburg two months previous. As he rode along he spoke
wind- of ciici t. and told his men that we were about to advance; that it was
our object to capture all the ground in front of us we could, and by all means
to hold all we got; keep going ahead, but never back. We did all we could
to induce the Federals to make an advance. "We unlimbered a gun, and taking
it away out in front of our line, and mid-way between the two, left the gunner
there with a round or two of cartridges, began to shoot into them, thinking
they would charge it to silence it. For fifteen minutes did we keep up that
kind of firing, but no avail, they merely shot at it from where they stood, but
no advance did they make.

Finally the order all along the line was given to forward, and soon we
were in double-quick going towards the spot where they had been cutting and
chopping trees all night. We found that they had made a solid line of breast-
works, one log piled on top of another to the height of a man's waist, and
quite a distance in length. It was in front, and charging these works, I was
shot and fell just before we reached them. I had shot once, and had loaded
my gun again and was making for a tree that I might shelter myself and shoot
again. I must have been hit in the leg that I had on the ground, and the one
I bore my whole weight upon, for I fell quite a distance and past the tree I
was aiming for. I fell upon my head, and all those who saw me fall thought
it was a mortal wound and that I was killed. As soon as I fell, and seeing a
tree so close to me, I made an effort to crawl to it, but as soon as I changed
my position the slightest, the pain was so excruciating that I could not bear it.
A Mi t one or two attempts to move, and failing, I sank back and resigned my-
self to my fate. In the meantime the minnie balls were coining thick and fast;
the cannon halls were cutting away the limbs of the trees and they were fall-
ing all around me. For the time being our line was wavering, staggered by
tlic galling and deadly tire, both small arms and cannon, thus surging back-
wards and forwards for a few moments, with heroic determination, they
broughl one of those old-fashioned yells, which seemed to reinspire them and
intimidate our enemies.

The; \ made one grand onslaught and carried the works, and soon the Fed-
erals were in slow and Stubborn retreat; the last I saw of them they were falling
back, inii slowly and stubbornly, contesting every inch of ground, and our
men following them up. As I lay there, seeing our lines waver, thinking that
should they fall back and leave me between the two lines, with both lines
Bhooting over and around me, certain death would be my lot. As it was I had
resigned myself to m\ Eate, lor when I found that I could not move the short
distance to where the tree Stood, which I could nearly touch, with a perfect
torrent of minnie balls and the cannon with their solid shot, grape and cannis-
ter a- an accompanim 'lit, 1 could not see how I could possibly escape. Beside
me lay a wounded comrade, who had been shot down, and had hardly hit the
ground until he had received another wound. As I lay there in my complete


helpless state, with death holding a high carnival all about me, I placed my
head upon my arms and thus resigned myself.

It was in that position I lay as the infirmary corps passed me after our men
had carried the works, and were still driving the Federals ahead of them, I
raised my head, and seeing one of the infirmary corps a few feet ahead of me,
I called to him to come back and render me some assistance. He quickly re-
sponded. He said that in passing me he had recognized who it was, but from
the position I was in, thought that I was dead. I told him that while I thought
I was badly wounded (had not yet examined to learn the extent), that I was
anything but dead. Calling three more of his assistants, soon they had me on
a stretcher, and started to the rear with me. It was anything but a pleasant
place, and the balls were still coming thick and fast. In turning around quickly
to take me to the rear, as they were impatient to leave, my hat dropped off my
head; they seemed to pay no attention to that and was still moving along, and
that rapidly, when I called to them to halt, saying: "That will never do; go
back and get my hat." To which they replied: "Well! that beats all; talking
about your hat at this time, and you in your condition." I replied that a hat
was quite an object, and if I recovered, which I hoped to do, would need it;
at which they lowered the stretcher and went for my hat, which I afterwards
held in my hand and clung to it closely. This was a blockade hat— a rare
thing at that time with us. I secured this one while I was in Mobile, and it a »uld
not be duplicated for love or money. It was a genuine felt hat, such as we
wear now, and at that time could not be valued — it was priceless. In carrying
me out one of the corps was shot down; that is, shot in the leg and thereby
rendered helpless. Calling another they finally moved me far enough back so
as to escape the straggling balls, and depositing me on the ground, returned to
the front to render some other poor unfortunate the necessary assistance.

I had not been laying where the infirmary corps left me very long when a
hospital steward passing by, and seeing that I was suffering very much, gave
me a dose of morphine, the very first I had ever taken, staying with me long
enough to see that the medicine had the desired effect, he passed along to the

I was laying there feeling as happy as a lord, thanks to Morpheus, when
to my great surprise a member of my company, who had never before known
to falter or shirk the slightest duty, but had always been considered one of our
bravest, came up to where I was lying, and did not recognize me, nor I him,
until he was in my immediate presence. When I saw him I was more than
surprised, and he seemed very much abashed. I said: "Joe, what does this
mean? What is that brings you here?" To which he replied in a stammering,
hesitating way: "I got separated from the command and I am lost."
said I, "badly so; the command must be a mile ahead of us by this time." To
which he said, at the same time making a movement as if to walk off, "I
reckon I had better go along and catch up." "No," said I, "as you are here,
stay with me; I am helpless, and may need your assistance." At which lie as-
sented, and relieved himself of his accoutrements, and took a seat upon the
ground at my side.

It seemed that it was providential that he happened to come up where 1
was, at the time and in the way he did, and that 1 induced him to remain with


me. When night came I had him to spread his blanket near to where I was
lying so that I could touch him, should I need his assistance, I could arouse
him. The wounded were scattered all through the woods. It was in the Fall
of the year, the trees were shedding their leaves, and the ground was thickly
strewn with them. As night approached it grew cooler, and each of the
wounded, or their friends, began to kindle small fires here and there.

It must have been about twelve o'clock when I was attracted by the re-
flection of a greal light. It was impossible for me to turn my body or to move
myself the slightest, but I did manage to turn my head, and in looking back-
wards over my shoulder I saw that the woods was on fire, and that it was rapidly
approaching the direction where I lay. I jogged my companion at my side,
and awoke him and told him that the woods were burning, whereupon he looked
and saw that it was so, and at once began to scrape the leaves from around me,
and he succeeded in doing so just as the fire came up to where we were. Had
he not been there to have rendered me the assistance he did, I would certainly
have been burned, as some of the wounded were.

On the morning of the 21st, about eight o'clock, A. M., an ambulance came
along gathering up the wounded. I was placed in it and taken to the real',
about three miles, to where a hospital camp had been established. My wound
by tin's time had become very sore and tender; it was now nearly eighteen
hours since I had been shot, and not the slightest attention had I received, not
even an examination had been made to learn the extent or true nature of my

On reaching the hospital camp I inquired for our regimental surgeon — Dr.
Hussy — who had solemnly promised me that, in the event I was ever wounded,
lie would make a critical examination of the same, and ascertain for certain
that amputation was actually necessary before such should be done. I had
exacted this promise of him for the reason that I had seen so much unneces-
sary amputation that I wanted to know sure, should I be wounded, that it was
absolutely necessary. Soon after reaching the hospital camp, Dr. Hussy made
his appearance whereupon I reminded him of his promise, and asked him to
examine my wound. During the whole time he was making the examination I
was watching his countenance closely to see if I could detect any signs of his
opinion, at the same time was questioning him. He made me no reply, but
walked oil' and left me. Soon after the brigade surgeon came and made a thor-
ough examination. He made no reply to my questions but finishing, walked
oil' as Dr. Hussy had done. The division surgeon came next, and examined
my wound as the Other two had done, but made me no reply, and walked away
without giving me any satisfaction. Soon Dr. Hussy returned and said that a
thorough ami complete examination had been made, to which I agreed, and
remarked that I had a feeling recollection of the Same. The doctor further said

that the leg would have to lie amputated, as there was no hopes of saving

il. to which I replied: "There is no use of being in a hurry about it, is there,
doctor?" He quickly said: "Yes, it must be done at once; it has already
been postponed loo long and should have had earlier attention."

Very near where 1 was lying was the SO-Called amputating table. It was
Constructed in thiswise: Four sharpened posts, forked at one end, was driven

in the ground with pieces laid across at each end upon these; laid lengthwise


were small saplings, a sufficient number of them to make ii the proper width,
over these were thrown a blanket. This was whal the surgeons operated on.

Already had they been at their bloody and ghastly work for one whole day
and night, and beside this rudely arranged affair, lying in heaps, were arms
legs, ringers, and other members of the body, thai presented a sickly looking
sight, and to one who was about to undergo the same, it had anything hul an
inspiring effect. The sight of the doctors, too, had a tendency to weaken one's
nerves. There they stood with their coats off , their shirt sleeves rolled up to
their elbows, their shirt fronts bespattered with blood, with their aharp and
glistening instruments lying around.

Soon after Dr. Hussy had informed me thai I must submit loan amputa-
tion, I was taken up by four comrades, and placed upon the amputating table
where, in a few moments the surgeons did the work, and left me with a lasting
recolleetion of Chiekamauga's bloody field. Soon thereafter I was removed
from the amputating table, and laid upon a small pile of straw, where I lay
and suffered such agonizing pain as no language can describe for fourteen
days. My wound was of such dangerous nature, it being above the knee, and
the doctors afraid of hemorrhage, that not until fourteen days after the fight
was I removed.

During the fourteen days and nights that I lay there on (lie pile of straw,
at night I would cover myself with the blanket 1 had, and during the day
would place the same blanket on two poles up before my face to keep the sun
light out of my eyes. This blanket was one of the regular 1'iiited States army
blankets, one which I had captured from a Federal color-bearer at the battle of
Murfreesboro, Tenn.; I saw him when he fell dead on the field; it was then
crisp and new; I used it all the time afterward and had it around me when I w as
shot, and have it now preserved carefully, and intend to convey it to my child
ren as a rich legacy.

During all of these weary and suffering days I was closely attended by a
faithful colored boy, to whose strict attention and ureal kindness I doubtless
owe my life. Never at any time of the day or night did he refuse to do my
bidding, and as all sick men are, 1 dare say at times, I was unreasonable in my
requests. I was compelled to keep a continuous stream of water on my wound,
and the only means of furnishing it was from a spring some distance away,
and the only way of transporting it was in my canteen, as it held onlj a -mall
quantity which was quickly consumed, it necessitated my faithful colored at
tendant to go to the spring quite often, but never did I hear the slightest mur-
mur, or see the least signs of impatience. He was one of the truest, best, and
most faithful friends I ever had.

I had occasion to go to Arkansas a year or 80 ago, and while business
caused me to do so, yet I had another object in going, and that was to look up

this faithful colored friend. 1 wanted to learn his true c lilion, and if in

need, to help him, at least to tender him some tangible evidence of mj esteem,
but the Fate's ordained it otherwise. A short lime before m\ coming he had
met with such a severe accident as to cause his death. Thus was I denied the
happy privilege of shaking once more those rough but honest I, lack hands,
and of looking again into that kind black lace, lie was truly m\ friend, and
I sincerely regretted his untimely end, and until death, too, claims me. will 1


ever think of him in grateful remembrance. As our lamented Grady said in
his last great effort before the people of Boston, that there "is a bond of sym-
pathy, and a near relation, between the whites and the blacks of the South that
the people of the North cannot comprehend."

After laying on the battle-field for fourteen days after the light, and my
wound getting in a condition so that I could be moved, after some delay and a
great deal of extra pain. I was removed to Atlanta and placed in the Female
College On Fllis street, which had been converted into a hospital, where I re-
mained four long weaiy months before I was able to move around on crutches,
in the meantime was compelled to submit to the second amputation.


During the battle of Chickamauga General Cleburne's division was in the
thickest of the fray, and done heroic work. He always said his fight was when
he decoyed the Federals into the railroad cut, on the Western & Atlantic Kail-
road, near Ringgold, and completely annihilated that portion of the Federal
army. His men were stationed on both sides of the cut, and waited until the
Federals were well into the cut, when he ordered his men to" open up on them,
where they, with small arms and cannon, at short range, mowed them down.
General Cleburne always spoke of this engagement exultingly, and said that it
was his fight. He was in all the battles from Dalton to Atlanta, and always at
the front in time of action.

He fell mortally wounded on top of the Federal breastworks at the bloody
battle of Franklin, and when he received his mortal wound he was so far upon
the works that his body fell over on the Federal side of the works. They cut
the buttons off his coat, and took other portions of his garments as trophies,
but his body was afterwards recovered, and now lies buried in the little ceme-
tery at Franklin, Tenn.

lie has often been heard to say that "If we did not succeed he did not
care tu live." He was a patriot, and died as a true soldier, at the front, and in
the very thickest of the fight.

Twenty live years have elapsed since General Lee surrendered at Appomat-
tox, and General Johnston at Bentonville, and we, the people of our beloved
Southland, have submitted to the terms of the great arbitrator — the sword —
and while we endured hardships that could not be excelled, and applied all our
energies and Strength to making a success of our Confederacy, yet, since it was
decided against us, we have and are now striving to build up and maintain one
grand and Common Uni( Q, that it ma\ be loved by us and respected and ad-
mired by all other nations. We have waited patiently, and have earnestly
hoped that each year would serve to obliterate all past differences and heal all

old wounds, and thai Hie talents of in high places would not be devoted
to villifying and abusing one section of our country, and thereby stir up and
engender strife and discord; but that they would apply themselves to the study
and application of those measures which concerns the welfare of the whole
Country alike. :i!nl whose solution will serve to enlarge and benefit the interests
of .-ill parts of our common country,

M.i\ the time soon come when the points of the compass, so far as they
relate to our citizens, may be obliterated, when do North, no South, no East,


no West will be applied to them, hut when they may he addressed and consid-
ered as citizens of— our country. .May it soon hasten when the Blightest inci-
dents will not be siezed upon, magnified, enlarged and misconstrued, so as to
make it appear that one part of our country is disloyal to the government, and
that the white people of that section arc unwillingto yield to their black neigh-
bors their constitutional rights. That they, who arc in the highest councils of
the nation, will devote their time and talents to the study of the ureal questions
and measures which concern all parts of our country, when they will he able
to solve rightly tariff reforms; legislate for internal improvements, and en-
deavor to enlarge and make stronger our intercourse with foreign nations.

F. T. E.

The next Essay was read by Captain Z. A. Rice, at the meeting in March,
upon the services of

Captain Rice read as follows:

I have selected for a part of our reading to-night a few reminiscences of
fifty years ago, as my first connection with the cavalry, was in the removal of
the Indians from Georgia. My father moved from South Carolina to Campbell
county, Ga., in 1829. At that time the Chattahoochee River was considered to
be the line between the Indians and the whites. The Indians sold their lands
north and west of the Chattahoochee to the government, and subsequently re-
fused to give them up. The government called for volunteers to force the con
tract at the point of the bayonet.

Capt. J. M. Word, of Campbell county, the father-in-law of Dr. II. V. M.
Miller, raised a company of cavalry for that purpose. I was then a hoy fifteen
years old, but well grown for my age. I volunteered in Captain Word's com-
pany; my father furnished me with a good horse and outfit. Before leaving
home the ladies presented our company with a beautiful flag, with the motto of
the Spartan mother, "Victory or Death."

We crossed the Chattahoochee at Campbellton, and took what was called
the Burnt Hickory road, passed through an Indian settlement in Cobb county,
in the neighborhood of Burnt Hickory, and crossed the Etowah, at Altoona, and
from thence we marched to the capital of the Cherokee nation. New Echota;
we met Generals Scott and Wood, and other United States officers, who had es-
tablished their headquarters at that place. A few days after we got there we
were mustered into service. Several companies had been mustered in ahead of
us. Several men of those companies had been rejected, who came around our
camp-fires criticising our boys; saying this man or that man would not he re
ceived— pointing out myself as one of the unlucky. I said DOthing, hut felt
sad at the idea of having to go hack home to he laughed at by the girls.

The day that we were to he mustered into service 1 exchanged my cap with
one of my messmates for his tall bell crown hat. I presume that I looked that
day very much like a boy with his daddy's hat on. Our line was formed al
phabetically, according to the muster roll, which threw me on the extreme left.
Colonel Payne was the enrolling officer, lie and his stall' commenced on the
right of the company, with the muster roll in hand, inspecting each man and


horse as they passed down the line. Before they reached me, three men in our
company bad been rejected. You can imagine better how I felt than I can
tell you. Soon he and his staff confronted us, calling our name— four paces to
the front — dismount. What is your age ?

Something under eighteen, sir. What is your height, sir? Response: I
don't know, sir. Take off that big hat. In an instant the hat was off, he ap-
proached me like a horse jocky going to chin a horse, just then I threw my
weight on t lie right foot, tip-toe-ng and straightening up. He stepped back and
r. marked, young man your ueasure is deceiving. Yes, sir, I am taller than I look
to be. Mount your horse and take your place in the line, checked O. K. and
he passed on to the next man This was the beginning of our cavalry service,
dating back to the flint and steel age.

In a few days after we drew our arms and accoutrements of war, consisting
of hawk bill sabres and flint and steel horseman's pistols. We were ordered
on the upper waters of the Etowah or Hightower, near Frog Town, where we
built a stockade or fort, called Fort Scudder.

The President issued a proclamation to the Indians, telling them that they
must come in and surrender themselves as prisoners by a certain day — May 24,
1838. His orders were not obeyed, however, and we had orders to go and
force them to leave their homes and the land of their birth. It looked cruel
ami hard, but we gathered them up and put them in the fort and sent them off
in detachments t<> the West. It looked very cruel and hard at the time, but it
baa worked out for good in the end.

The Indian - are now happy in their new homes in the West, and their old
hunting grounds in Georgia have been converted into rich and beautiful harvest
fields, and useful animals have taken the place of the wild beast.

Our organization was kept up for some time after we returned home, but
finally ceased to exist, our Captain having moved off to the West. Dr. H. V.
M. filler informed me a few months since that Captain Word was living
at [uka, Miss., at the age of ninety-three, and was in good health. All of his
Officers, and mosl of his soldiers, have crossed over the river and joined an army
that will never disband.

Colonel W. T. Wilson, J. I. Miller, G. W. D. Cook, W. M. Williams,
myself, and a few others, organized the Fulton Dragoons, in 1859 or 1860.
Captain W. T. Wilson was elected Captain, and myself First Lieutenant.
\V. .M. Williams ami G. W. I). Cook were elected Second and Third Lieuten-
ants. When the bugle sounded for war Captain Wilson was elected Colonel
of the Seventh Georgia Regiment, and Colonel B. C. Barry was elected Captain
in his place.

General T. H. R. Cobb, in the organization of his legion, tendered the
Pulton Dragoons a place in his legion, which was accepted. We left Atlanta
for Richmond on A.UgU8< 14, 1861, went direct to Richmond, where we were
mustered into service, and ordered to report to General Magruder, at York-
town. Our duties while at rorktown were comparatively light, and we lived
highly; oysters and fish everyday, if you had the money to pay for them.

Online LibraryGeorgia Confederate Veterans' Association of Fulton CountyHistory, Confederate Veterans' Association, of Fulton County, Georgia (Volume 2) → online text (page 9 of 25)