times” but it was not from “discipline alone,” but because each individual was a hero, and the morale
of the whole army such as the world has never seen.
I could fill a volume with incidents of individual heroism on the part of private soldiers in that army.
I have space for only a few. At first Fredericksburg
, just after Lawton
's Georgia Brigade (under the command of Colonel Atkinson
) had driven the enemy out of the woods on Early
's front, and made their gallant dash across the plain (the men growling loudly at being ordered back, saying, “If it had been those Virginia
fellows that made the charge, ‘Old Jubal’ would have let them drive the Yankees
into the river” ), a Georgia boy, who seemed to be not over sixteen, rushed up to me with his two middle fingers shattered, and exclaimed (mistaking me for a surgeon), “Doctor
, I want you, please, to cut off these fingers and tie them up as soon as you can. The boys are going into another charge directly, and I want to be with them.”
I procured him a surgeon, the wound was dressed, and the brave boy hurried to the front again.
At Cedar Creek
, on the 19th of October, 1864, Sergeant Trainum
, the color-bearer of the Thirteenth Virginia Infantry, was surrounded by a number of Sheridan
's troopers, but-exclaiming, “You may kill me, but I will never give up my colors” --he fought until he fell insensible, and the flag was stripped from his body, around which he had wrapped it.
Looking through a port-hole in the trenches, below Petersburg
, one day, a sudden gust of wind lifted my hat off, and landed it between the two lines.
Private George Haner
, of Company D, Thirteenth Virginia Regiment, at once stepped up, and offered to get my hat for me. I peremptorily forbade his doing so, as I knew the great risk he would run; but the fearless fellow soon disappeared, and before long returned with the hat. “How did you manage to get it?”
“Oh! I crawled down the trench leading to our picket line, and fished it in with a pole.”
“Did not the Yankees
they shot at me eight or ten times; but that made no difference, so they did not hit me.”
Poor fellow, he was afterward killed, bravely doing his duty.
I frequently saw men in the trenches at Petersburg
watching the shell from the enemy's mortars, as they came over, claiming some particular one as “my shell,” and scarcely waiting for the smoke from the explosion to clear away, before eagerly rushing forward to gather up the scattered pieces, which were sold to the ordnance officer for a few cents (Confederate money) per pound.
They called shells which went far to the rear, “quartermaster hunters;” and one day a gallant fellow