previous next

[196] bayonets, shoveling out the dirt with the tin plates we carried to eat on, provided we could get anything to eat. By nightfall, May 11th, we were about four and a half feet in the ground, and by throwing the dirt in front and putting a pine log on top, we were nearly six feet in the ground. It drizzled rain all night May 11th. We were muddy and wet. At early dawn on May 12th, General Hancock attacked us with three columns in front, and while we were resisting his attack General Thomas Francis Meagher's brigade broke our left, and in a few minutes his whole line was in our rear. I heard one of my men say: “Don't shoot again; they will kill all of us.” Then I heard a voice in our rear saying: “Surrender, G—d—you!” I looked, and a strapping big Irishman had his gun within two feet of me, with his finger on the trigger. Why he did not shoot I will never know, as I saw some of our men killed after surrendering. The 1,100 could not get to the rear, therefore, we grabbed the logs in front and went into the three columns we had been fighting. We had about four guards to each prisoner to go back to the rear with us. Of course, I knew it was not on account of our personal safety, but the guards wanted a little respite from the conflict that was still going on in the front, and continued 'till nightfall. When we reached by double quick a point some miles in the rear, we came to General Grant's headquarters.

He was busy dispatching couriers with orders to his various commanders. When he saw us a smile came over his face. I think we got to him ahead of the news of capture from General Hancock. He turned to one of his aids and said: “ Detail officer to take charge of those prisoners, about one guard to four prisoners. Order all the other men to the front at once.”

We marched in the rain all day to Fredericksburg, and all day the conflict raged over the dead angle. Twice the stars and stripes waved from its ramparts, and twice they were replaced by the stars and bars. At nightfall General Lee held the angle, which was piled full of the blue and the gray. Attesting the severity of this conflict is the stump of a 16-inch hickory tree, now in the Smithsonian Institution at Washington, which was literally cut down with minie balls, for the Wilderness was such that artillery could not be used.

Major-General Edward Johnson, of Virginia, was captured with me in the trenches, and as we were going to the rear I said to the general: “Throw off your coat and go as a private. In case of retaliation you will suffer.” He did not take my advice, and was sent to Fort Delaware. On the march to Fredericksburg we met 25,000

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Fredericksburg, Va. (Virginia, United States) (4)
Fort Delaware (Delaware, United States) (2)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
F. J. Hancock (4)
U. S. Grant (3)
Thomas Francis Meagher (2)
Robert Edward Lee (2)
Edward Johnson (2)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
May 11th (3)
May 12th (2)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: