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that by an over-earnest desire to reclaim by conciliation men
whom you believe to be sound at heart, but whose loyalty is more
than suspected elsewhere, you will permit them to gather such
strength as to require more violent measures than are now needed ?
With your influence and position, the promoters of the unfounded
discontents, now prevalent in your State, would be put down without
the use of physical force if you would abandon the policy of concilia-
tion and set them at defiance. In this course, frankly and firmly
pursued, you would rally around you all that is best and noblest in

Recollections of Fredericksburg. 415

your State, and your triumph would be bloodless. If the contrary
policy be adopted, I much fear you will be driven to the use of force
to repress treason. In either event, however, be assured that you
will have my cordial concurrence and assistance in maintaining with
you the honor and dignity and the fair name of your State, in your
efforts to crush treason, whether incipient, as I believe it now to be,
or more mature, as I believe, if not firmly met, it will in our future
inevitably become.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully,

(Signed) Jefferson Davis.

Recollections of Fredericksburg. — From the Morning of the 20th of April to
the 6th of May, 1863.


[The following are extracts from the " Mississippi State War
Records," by General B. G. Humphreys, ex-Governor of Missis-
sippi, and Colonel of the Twenty-first Mississippi regiment. Con-
federate States army.]

:}; >1< * * * During the winter of i862-'3. General Burnside
had been superseded by " Fighting Joe Hooker," who was making
gigantic preparations, just across the Rappahannock, for the fourth
"On to Richmond," and boasted that he had the "finest army on
the planet," and would soon "pulverize the rebellion." General
Lee was not idle. Though cramped by his limited means and re-
sources, both in men and appliances of war, he stood firm and un-
awed by the mighty hosts that confronted him.

During the night of the 20th of April the Federals attacked some
North Carolina pickets, drove in their reserves, laid down pon-
toon bridges, and crossed the river below Deep Run, near the Ber-
nard house. The alarm was soon conveyed lo Barksdale's pickets
at Fernahough s house. The "long roll" and the alarm bell at
Fredericksburg soon brought Barksdale's brigade into line. During
that day General Lee ascertained through General J. E. B. Stuart
that General Hooker was moving his main army to cross the Rappa-
hannock and Rapidan, and fall on his left flank and rear through the
Wilderness. General Lee immediately moved his main force, and
confronted him at Chancellorsville, on the ist of May. General

416 Southern Hisfor-ical Society Papers.

Early's division was left at Hamilton's station to watch the Federal
General, Sedgwick, who was left in the command of thirty thousand
troops in front of Fredericksburg. Barksdale's brigade was left at
Fredericksburg to picket the Rappahannock, from the reservoir
above Falmouth to Fernahough house, below Fredericksburg, a dis-
tance of three miles.

Sedgwic!k lay quietly in our front, and contented himself with for-
tifying his position below Deep Run, until the 2d day of May, when
he commenced recrossing his troops at Deep Run and moving over
the Stafford Heights, in full view, up the river, doubtless with the
view of deceiving us into the belief that he was withdrawing from our
front and going to support Hooker at Chancellorsville, by the way
of the United States ford. The heavy artillery and musketry firing
in that direction told but too plainly that a terrible battle was raging
there. About the middle of the forenoon Barksdale, in obedience to
orders from General Early, moved off with his brigade on the Spot-
sylvania Courthouse road to reinforce General Lee at Chancellors-
ville, leaving the Twenty- first regiment to picket the Rappahannock
at Fredericksburg, the entire distance of three miles. The pickets
of the Thirteenth, Seventeenth and Eighteenth regiments were re-
lieved by the Twenty-first, and the brigade moved off in full view of
the enemy. The only instruction I received from General Barksdale
was, " Watch your flanks, hold the picket line as long as you can, then
fall back along the Spotsylvania Courthouse road, and hunt for your
brigade." I cannot well describe my feelings when I found my regi-
ment thus left alone, stretched out three miles long, with only a small
river between us and thirty thousand well-armed and hostile men,
purposely displayed to magnify their numbers, on Stafford's Height,
with balloons and signal corps observing and reporting our weakness.
The mass of the citizens of Fredericksburg were patriotically devoted
to our cause, yet 1 knew that some of the citizens were unfriendly to
us, ready and willing to betray us. My nerves were not much
strengthened by a message I received from the facetious Colonel
Holder, of the Seventeenth regiment, as the brigade marched off:
"Tell the Colonel farewell; the next time I hear from him will be
from Johnson's Island." Of course every man in the Twenty-first
regiment felt his loneliness and danger, and was on the quivive, watch-
ing front, flank and rear, with his gun loaded, his knapsack on his
back, and rations in his haversack.

Immediately after the brigade disappeared behind Marye's Hill,
my pickets at P'ernahough house reported the enemy preparing to

Jtiecollections of Fredericksburg. 417

advance from Deep Run. From a cupola ol the Slaughter house I
could see the enemy's line pouring over the pontoon bridges below
Deep Run and moving toward our side of the river. I was npw
satisfied that the enemy's movement up the opposite side of the river
in the morning was a feint ; that an advance would be made on Fred-
ericksburg, and that our sojourn in that city would soon be termi-
nated. The enemy's pickets soon advanced from Deep Run, drove
General Early's pickets back to the railroad and moved up the turn-
pike toward Fredericksburg. I immediately threw back the right
of my picket line, composed of Company E, under Lieutenant Mc-
Neely, of Wilkinson county, and Company G, under Lieutenant
Mills, of Leak county, and established it from the gas-house up
Hazel Run to the railroad, with videttes along the railroad toward
Hamilton station, connecting with General Early's pickets. The
enemy's pickets continued to advance and engaged my pickets, but
being supported by a line of infantry, failed to drive them from their
position. It was now dark. Helpless and alone, the Twenty-first
regiment, with four hundred muskets, was facing and resisting thirty
thousand veterans. Of course we could not hold the city if the
enemy advanced. We were ordered to " hold the city until forced
out of it." If the enemy contented himself with amusing us in
front there was nothing to prevent him from flanking the city during
the night and placing it in his rear, and the Twenty-ffrst regiment in
the condition of "rats in a rat-trap" — nothing but the necessity
that required him to lay down his pontoons that night in front of the
city. This we could prevent unless driven from our rifle-pits ; hence
I was momentarily expecting a charge that would drive us from the
city or relieve me of my sword and start me on my journey to John-
son's Island. I instructed the pickets, if forced, to fall back to the
railroad and hold that line until the pickets on the river, between the
railroad and the canal, could retire through the city, and all to retire
toward Marye's Hill, holding the enemy in check as best they could.
Shortly after dark a courier summoned me to report to General
Harry Havs, at Marye's Hill, for instructions. He informed me
that Havs's brigade was in the trenches on Marye's Hill, and that
Barksdale's brigade and the Washington Artillery were returning to
Fredericksburg. This news rolled ofi" a mighty load from our
watchful and wearied souls, and filled our hearts with joy and glad-
ness. Instantly each man felt as big and as brave as " little David "
confronting " big Goliath." Not a few compliments were paid to
our returning friends and General Lee by our boys as the glad tidings

418 Southern Historical Society Papers.

passed down the picket lines. " Bully for Barksdale ! bully for
Hays! bully for the Washington Artillery! bully for Old Bob!"
was shouted from a hundred throats. "Old Bob's head is level,"
cried one; " old Bob will show Hooker that he still holds his trump
card!" " Yes, old Bob has given the Yankees hell at Chancellors
ville, and is coming to give them hell again at Fredericksburg,"
cried still another.

I lost no time in reporting to General Hays, and found General
Barksdale with him at Marye's Hill. I informed him of the situation
at Hazel Run, and my instructions to pickets, which were approved^
and I was instructed to carry them out. Generals Hays and Barks-
dale seemed to doubt whether General Early intended to hold Marye's
Hill, and left to have an interview with him at Hamilton station, and
to receive his orders. I returned to the city to superintend the picket
line at Hazel Run, where there was a desultory firing kept up from
both sides. Sedgwick seemed to hesitate, and advanced with great
caution and circumspection. Whether it was from observing the
innumerable bivouac fires Barksdale had kindled on Lee's Hill to sig-
nalize his arrival and magnify his numbers — whether it was the con-
fused and startling stories borne to him from Chancellorsville by
Hooker's wires concerning the fiery charges of Stonewall Jackson —
Slocum's routed column, and Howard's flying Dutchmen — or whether
it was the stench of Lee's "slaughter pens" at Marye's Hill that an-
noyed his nostrils and weakened his stomach, the Rebels could only
" reckon " — leaving the Yankees to " guess."

About midnight I went to Barksdale' s bivuoac, on Lee's Hill, to
learn the result of his consultation with General Early. I found him
wrapped in his war-blanket, lying at the foot of a tree. "Are you
asleep, General ? " " No, sir; who could sleep with a million of armed
Yankees all around him ?" he answered gruffly. He then informed
me that it was dctcr?nincd by General Early to hold Marye^ s Hill at
all hazards ; but that his brigade and a portion of the Washington
Artillery had to do //—that General Early was confident that the ad-
vance from Deep Run towards Fredericksburg was a feint — that the
real attack would be at Hamilton station, and that Hays's brigade
had been ordered back to that place. Barksdale then instructed me,
when the Twenty-first regiment was forced to retire from the city, to
occupy the trenches from Marye's Hill across the plank road to-
wards Taylor's Hill. The Eighteenth regiment, under Colonel Griffin,
was ordered to occupy the road behind the stone wall at the foot of
Marye's Hill; the Seventeenth and Thirteenth regiments from the

Becollections of Fredericksburg. 419

Howison Hill to ihe Howison House, and one of Hays's regiments
still further to the right; the Washington Artillery to occupy the
various redoubts along the hill. I told him that if the real attack
was made at Marye's Hill, he did not have men enough to hold it.
He replied with emphasis: "Well, sir, we must make the fight,
whether we hold it or are whipped." I saw he was displeased with
Early's arrangement, and I returned to the city to await events.
About 2 o'clock a small rocket was seen by Lieutenant Denman, of
Company G, Twenty-first regiment, thrown from the top of a build-
ing in the city, and immediately three signal guns were fired from
the Lacy House, opposite the city. Soon afterwards the picket of
Company F discovered a party of pontooners approaching stealthily
to the point above the Lacy House (where the upper pontoon was laid
on the night of December ir, 1862). and commenced laying down
pontoons. Captain Fitzgerald opened fire upon them and drove
them off, but drew down on his brave Tallahatchians a shower of
shell and shrapnel from the Stafford Heights ; at the same time a line
of the enemy's infantry charged across Hazel Run upon Company
E and Company G. Our brave boys gallantly struggled against the
overwhelming odds, but were driven back to the railroad. Finding
further resistance impossible, I ordered the pickets on the river, be-
low the canal, to fall back through the city, as the enemy advanced,
to Marye's Hill. I then crossed the canal at the factory; destroyed
the bridge at that point, and withdrew the pickets from the river
above and retired across the canal by the two bridges at the foot of
Taylor's Hill. A party was left to destroy the two bridges, but the
enemy had crossed at Falmouth, and following us so closely that the
party was driven off just as they had stripped off the plank without
destroying the frame work.

I arrived at Marye's Hill before daylight, and found that portion
of my regiment that retired through the city safe in the trenches to
the left of the hill, having sustained a small loss. Just then I re-
ceived orders from General Barksdale to report my regiment to him
on Lee's Hill. I moved immediately, and when I reported to him he
seemed much chagrined at the mistake made in transmitting his orders,
and ordered me to move back rapidly to the position assigned me,
as the enemy was advancing. I moved back double-quick all the
way. As I crossed Marye's Hill, in the rear of Marye's House, I
saw the enemy's line advancing to charge the Eighteenth regiment
behind the stone wall. A heavy artillery fire was directed at the
Twenty-first regiment, but we gained our position with only a few

420 ■ Southern Historical Society Papers.

wounded, among whom was that noble soldier and gentleman, Lieu-
tenant Martin A. Martin, of Sunflower county, who was never able
atierward to join his company. The Eighteenth regiment and the
artillery, repulsed with great slaughter that and two other charges
made in rapid succession, with small loss to our side. In the mean-
time Colonel Walton, of New Orleans, had placed one section of the
first company of Washington Artillery (two guns) under Captain
Squiers, in the same redoubts occupied by them on the ever-memo-
rable 13th of December, 1862. One gun of the third company,
Captain Miller, was placed in the position near the plank road, and
two guns belonging to the fourth company, under Lieutenant Nor-
cum, were placed in position near the extreme left of the Twenty-first
regiment between the plank road and Taylor's Hill. The second
company, under Captain Richardson, was posted near the railroad
on our right ; Frazier battery and Carlton battery in rear of Howi-
son House on Lee's Hill. One gun of Parker's battery was posted
on the point known as Willis's Hill, under the command of Lieu-
tenant Brown.

Between 7 and 8 o'clock the fog lifted so as to reveal the heavy masses
of the enemy that had crossed at the various pontoon bridges laid
down during the night. His troops could be seen in every portion of
the city, and his lines stretching down the turnpike for a mile below
the Bernard House. The position of the enemy seemed to justify the
suspicions of General Early, that the real attack would be at Hamil-
ton station, and that the attack at Marye's Hill was only a feint and a
feeler. Soon, however the enemy's line could be seen moving up
toward the city. At the same time a column was discovered moving
from the city up the river towards Taylor's hill. I sent a courier to
General Barksdale, then on Lee's Hill, and he to General Early, then
at Hamilton station, informing him of these movements of the enemy.
To my mind it was now clear that Marye's Hill was to be the point
attacked by the whole force of the enemy. From my observations
of the topography of the country around Fredericksburg, I had long
before regarded Marye's Hill as the weakest and most vulnerable
position along the whole line occupied by General Lee on the 13th
of December, 1862, for the simple rcas-n that it is not a salient,
but it is the only point on that whole line that a line of infantry
can be massed within one thousand yards of the hills. At that
point a line of infantry can be massed and masked in the valley
between the city and the hill within four hundred and fifty yards,
and at the railroad cut and embankment within six hundred yards

Recollections of Fredericksburg. 421

of the hill. It was the part of wisdom in Burnside to attack at
that point. It is true he failed, but he would have failed at any-
other point. General Lee had a dozen other "slaughter pens"
along his line that would have proved more disastrous than Marye's
Hill. Besides, Marye's Hill, on the 3d of May, 1863, was a weaker
position to defend than it was on the 13th of December, for the rea-
son that the out-houses, plank-fences, orchards, and other obstacles
to a charge, that existed at that time, were all removed or destroyed
by the army during the winter, and nothing remained on the open
plain to break the lines of an assaulting column. I could not doubt
that the same acumen that prompted Burnside to attack that point
would lead Sedgwick to renew it. I sent at the request of Colonel
Griffin, who realized his perilous situation, three companies from the
Twenty-first regiment — Company F, under the command of Captain
Fitzgerald, Company C, under command of Captain G. W. Wall,
and Company L, under the command of Captain Vosberg — to rein-
force the Eighteenth. General Barksdale applied to General Pen-
dleton, who had control of a large train of artillery on the telegraph
road on Lee's Hill, not a mile off, and not in position, to send a bat-
tery to Taylor's Hill, to command the two bridges that spanned the
canal. Instead of sending a battery from his train, that lay idle
during the whole engagement, he ordered a section of the Washing-
ton Artillery from the redoubt on the plank road, where it was needed.
Barksdale also applied to General Early to reinforce Colonel Griffin,
but received none. General Hays was sent to Taylor's Hill with three
regiments of his brigade. These three regiments, and the section of
Washington Artillery, behaved nobly, and drove back the column
that advanced against Taylor's Hill — if, indeed, the movement of this
column was not a feint to draw off troops from Marye's Hill. While
these movements were going on, the Federals sent a flag of truce to
Colonel Griffin for the humane purpose of removing his wounded
that had fallen in the assaults made in the morning. With that
generous chivalry, characteristic of that battle-scarred veteran — not
suspecting a "Yankee trick" — this truce was granted, and the
enemy, with one eye on their wounded, and the other on our trenches,
discovered that our redoubts were nearly stripped of their guns, and
our infantry of the Eighteenth regiment stretched out to less than a
single rank, along the hne defended by Cobb's and Kershaw's bri-
gades and thirty-two guns on the 13th of December, 1862.

The discovery emboldened him, and as the last wounded Federal
was taken from the field, a concentrated fire, from thirty or forty

422 Southern Historical Society Papers.

pieces of artillery posted in the city and on Stafford's Heights, was
directed on Marye's Hill, and three columns of infantry seemed to
rise out of the earth, and rushed forward with demoniac shouts and
veils — one from a valley in front of Marye's Hill, one from the city
on the plank road, and up the valley of Hazel Run. The Twenty-
first regiment and Miller's gun repulsed the column on the plank
road, and drove it back twice. The right wing of the Eighteenth
regiment, the two guns of the first company, and Parker's gun on
Willis's Hill, drove back the column that advanced up Hazel Run.
The centre column that advanced from the valley, directly in front of
Marye's Hill, moved steadily forward until it passed the point where
it could be reached by Miller's gun, and proved too much for the
left wing of the Eighteenth regiment, and three companies of the
Twenty-first regiment, and, by an impetuous charge, broke through
the battle-worn ranks of the ever-glorious Eighteenth, and over-
whelmed the line at the stone-fence by jumping into the sunken road,
and bayoneted and shot down many of our boys after they surren-
dered. Colonel T. M. Griffin, of Madison county ; Lieutenant-
Colonel W. Henry Luse, of Yazoo county, and Lieutenant J. Clark,
of Jackson, were captured. Major J. C. Campbell, of Jackson, was
wounded, but made his escape, and died in a few days. Lieutenant
Mackey, of Madison county, was wounded, and died in Fredericks- '
burg. Adjutant Oscar Stuart, of Jackson, Lieutenant H. T. Garri-
son, Lieutenant S. T. Fort, and William Cowen, were killed by
drunken soldiers after they surrendered. One-half of the Eigh-
teenth, and three companies of the Twenty-first, were killed or cap
tured in the road. The enemy rushed forward up the hill, and taking
advantage of a ravine, between Marye's Hill and the redoubt occu-
pied by the first company of Washington Artillery, gained the rear
of the company while in the act of pouring shell and cannister uptm
the mass advancing over the field before them. Many of the enemy
were drunk, and shot down some of the artillerists after they surren-
dered. The first company lost two guns. Sergeant W. West, a gal-
lant soldier, killed while placing his gun in position ; Private Flo-
rence and others killed after surrendering. Captain Earnest and nine
others wounded. Captain Squiers, Captain Edward Owen, and
Lieutenant Galbreath, and about twenty-five others, were captured.
Parker's Battery lost its gun and half the men.

The first intimation I had of the disaster at the stone-wall was from
a sharpshooter's minnie-ball striking the vizor of my cap, and driving
it back against and blinding for the time my left eye. This attracted

Recollections of Fredericksburg. 423

my attention to Marye's Hill, and though I could only " go one eye
on it," I saw enough to satisfy myself that I was cut off from the
brigade, with the enemy on my right flank. I attempted to change
front, and form on the plank road facing Marye's Hill, but soon found
that road enfiladed by a battery near Mary Washington's monument,
which forced us to retreat. Lieutenant Price Tappan, of Vicksburg,
and Frank Ingraham, of Claiborne county, both accomplished sol-
diers and gentlemen, were killed and left on the hill. Lieutenant
Mills, of Leake county, lost his leg, and was captured. The third
company of the Washington Artillery lost its gun and some of the
men. The fourth company lost its two guns. Lieutenant De Russy
was knocked down by a fragment of shell and badly contused. Pri-
vates Lewis and Maury killed, and several captured.

The whole story of the 3d of May, 1863, at Marye's Hill, was
fully told, though not amiably expressed, by a noble son of Lou-
isiana, who gallantly stood by his gun on the hill, until the last hope
of holding it had vanished. Passing to the rear by some artillerists
belonging to Pendleton's train, with his face covered with sweat and
blackened with powder, and his heart saddened by defeat, he was
asked, " Where are your guns ?" He replied with irritation, "Guns!
I reckon now the people of the Southern Confederacy are satisfied
that Barksdale's brigade and the Washington Artillery can't whip
the whole Yankee army."

■^ ^ -^ ^ ^ :ic

The rapid movement of the enemy, advancing over Marye's Hill
and on Hazel Run, made me despair of reaching the brigade. My
only hope was to reach the main army, then at Chancellorsville, en-
gaged in a furious battle. When, however, I reached Gest's Hill on
the plank road, I discovered the enemy had been checked by the
Thirteenth and Seventeenth regiments, Frazier's battery from Geor-
gia, Carloton's battery from North Carolina, and the second company
of Washington Artillery, then on Lee's Hill. I saw that it was pos-
sible for my regiment to cross Hazel Run above Marye's Hill and
rejoin the brigade, which move was made and accomplished. Gen-
eral Barksdale, as soon as he saw that Marye's Hill was lost, the
Eighteenth regiment shattered, the Washington Artillery captured
and the Twenty-first regiment cut off, ordered the Thirteenth and
Seventeenth regiments to fall back to Lee's Hill. Adjutant Owen,
of Washington Artillery, rallied the second company, under Cap-
tain Richardson, to the Telegraph road on Lee's Hill, and opened
fire upon the blue mass on Marye's Hill. Barksdale rallied the rem


Southern Historical Society Papers.

nant of the Eighteenth regiment and the three companies of the

Online LibrarySouthern Historical Society. cnSouthern Historical Society papers (Volume 14) → online text (page 44 of 61)