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Lee led the charge.

Late in the evening, May 10th, we reached this spot, and General Lee considered it a strategic point, and in order to hold it he led a charge in person. General Gordon caught the bridle of his horse and led him to the rear. At 10 o'clock at night, by aid of the engineers' voices, they formed in the shape of a horseshoe, and we were ordered to fortify. We had no tools, but dug all night with our [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 [197] soldiers who had been doing garrison duty at Washington, and ordered to join General Grant. We were meeting each other for some hours and they guyed us all along. I recollect one said, “Hello, Johnnies. We are taking you North to give you something to eat and put some shoes on your feet.” Some of us needed shoes. In fact, we were hatless, shoeless, and coatless. We were taken to Point Lookout, Md., and after three months transferred to Elmira. Major H. G. O. Weymouth, of the Seventeenth Massachusetts, was commandant of Point Lookout. I had a pleasant chat with him yesterday in Boston. He was kind and considerate, and allowed the Masons to make an appeal to the Baltimore fraternity for clothing. We had I,200 negro guards at Point Lookout, but white troops at Elmira.

I desire to express my thanks to the members of Baldwin Post for their attention to our graves, and the honors they showed our dead Decoration-Day. Also for the pleasant call from Post-Commander M. M. Conklin, Van Wagoner, and Brother Winfield S. Moody. I wish to say in conclusion, that while we ex-Confederates repudiated the suggestion as to pensions from the National Government, yet we applauded President McKinley's utterance at Atlanta in reference to the Confederate graves. We feel that when the time comes Baldwin Post, Elmira, N. Y., will do all in their power to help mark in marble the names of our beloved dead.

Marcus B. Toney. New York, August 14, 1901

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