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Winter at Hamilton's Crossing.

Our regiment, after being under heavy fire on the 13th and 14th of December, 1862, at Fredericksburg, supporting General Maxcy Gregg's South Carolinians, and witnessing the terrific slaughter of the Yankees on the day first mentioned, after marching and counter marching, located under tents at Hamilton's Crossing. [231]

This regiment was in command of Colonel S. B. Pickens, with L. Gayle as adjutant, J. C. Goodgame, lieutenant colonel, and A. Proskauer as major, J. L. Walthall, late of Company I was quartermaster, and A. T. Preston, of Woodville North Alabama, commissary. After we had been in camp about a week, while standing around the camp fires, waiting for the announcement of supper, the colonel's orderly, Jack Mallory, brought me an order as follows:

Headquarters 12th Ala. Regiment, January 3rd, 1863.
First Lieut. R. E. Park of Co. F, will report for duty as Acting A. Q. M. of the 12th Ala. Regiment.

(Signed)

S. B. Pickens, Col. Comdg., L. Gayle, Adjutant.

This order was a great surprise to me, and not a welcome one, but, yielding to the persuasion of Captain McNeely and others, who thought it a compliment, I reported to Regimental Headquarters, where I told the colonel that I had little acquaintance with business affairs, having left college to join the army, and I feared my ability to properly perform the duties of the office. He laughed at my objections, and told me that he had thought over the names of a number, and had finally decided that I was the proper officer to take the place of the quartermaster, who had left the regiment, and was then absent without leave. My instructions were to report to the wagon yard, take charge of the wagons with the horses and mules, teamsters, and such baggage as I might find. I had further orders to arrest the absent quartermaster, if he should present himself. This last I had no occasion to do, as he never reported to the regiment again. The colonel left me one of his bay horses, ‘Pintail’ by name, and the next morning, when I visited the regiment, I was saluted by many humorous remarks, was asked ‘if my head didn't swim,’ ‘please don't ride over me, mister,’ ‘I wish could ride,’ ‘wish I had a bomb-proof job,’ ect., etc. By laughing good-humoredly at these sallies, they quickly discontinued their attempts at wit at my expense.

I found an excellent Virginia negro named Jim who had been acting as cook for Captain W., and I promptly employed him, and retained William McKinney of Company B as wagon master, William Howell as quartermaster sergeant,—and Potter as clerk. After the receipt of a small supply of clothing and shoes and distributing the same to the ragged and shoeless of the regiment I found [232] that my clerk was charged with selling some of the articles, and I reported him to headquarters. He wept and attempted to explain the deficiency, and to my surprise, next day, he received an order directing him to report to Brigade Quartermaster J. C. Bryan, as his clerk. I parted with him without regret, and was greatly annoyed by his refusing to receive my requisitions as they were made out, and which I had Captain Brown, quartermaster of the Third Alabama to overlook and pronounce correct. After they were sent to me, I would return them without the crossing of a ‘t,’ or the dotting of an ‘i,’ in the original form, and they were always accepted. In February an order was received to send my cook to the brigade quartermaster's camp, and, jumping upon ‘Pintail,’ I galloped to General Rodes' headquarters at Grace church, and walking rapidly down the aisle to the altar, handed the order to the general and asked him politely, but excitedly, what the order meant. He read it and said he never saw it before, and inquired of Major Whiting and other staff-officers what they knew about it. Major Whiting replied that it was issued at the request of Major Bryan, who said the negro was a regular teamster. This I positively denied, and stated that he had never been reported as such by me, and was my cook, and that the brigade quartermaster wished to avail himself of his services, not as a teamster, but as his personal cook. The general then said, ‘the matter is between you and Major Bryan, I will have nothing to do with it.’ I thanked him for his decision and rode rapidly back to my tent, and told Jim to remain as cook, much to his delight.

The brigade quartermaster and his clerk subjected me to a great many little annoyances, but I gave satisfaction to the Colonel commanding my regiment, and to the officers and men. Many long rides were taken to Hanover Junction, to Fredericksburg, and to other points after hay and oats for the horses, as well as for articles shipped for the use of the men, mainly clothing and shoes, with which they were illy supplied.

In company with Major Gordon of the 6th Alabama, and brother of Gen. John B. Gordon, and Capt. J. W. McNeely, of my company, I frequently made visits to the charming young ladies living near our camp. The Misses Lawrence, Parrish, Withers and others were all of them musical ladies and gracious and hospitable.

The latter part of April we broke camp, and on the 1st of May General Hooker crossed the Rappahannock between Fredericksburg, [233] and Spotsylsvania, near Chancellorsville, and on the third the great battle by that name was fought, and, the idol of the army, General Lee's right arm, Stonewall Jackson, was killed by mistake by a detachment from a North Carolina regiment. This battle was, without doubt, one of the grandest strategic movements that the world has ever known. This was the only battle of importance that I missed, up to my capture at Winchester, except the battle of Sharpsburg, in which my company and regiment were engaged.

The quarter-masters, with their teamsters and wagons, were located near Hamilton's Crossing, and information was received from General Stuart that we might expect to be attacked by the enemy's cavalry. The men were all assembled, and, by order of the division quarter-master, Major Harmon, I was placed in command of the little group, composed of quartermasters, wagon masters, cooks and stragglers, all of whom I armed from the ordnance stores, and had them to load their guns, and gave them directions how to meet the cavalry when they approached. I had the wagons parked in a square, with the horses and men within the square, and the guns were stacked and ready for use, one man being on guard to each wagon and on the lookout. Fortunately, the cavalry did not attack us, as it was very probable my entire crowd, composed of about ninety men, would have fled without delay, upon hearing the first gun. This great battle was the cause of the death of many brave and promising offices and men in my regiment. Captain McNeely, my most intimate friend and mess-mate for the past two years, had the calf of his leg penetrated by a grape shot, and was disabled for the rest of the service. He spent the remainder of the the war at Talladega, drilling conscripts.

Private P. W. Chappell, of Company F, was shot entirely through the body by a minie ball, but, in less then sixty days, reported again for duty.

An immense number of prisoners were crowded into the cars and shipped from Hamilton's and Guinea's to Richmond. Some of these prisoners were rude; boisterous and violent. Many of them were foreigners whose language we did not understand. All seemed to know how to use oaths, and to indulge in profanity profusely.

In the various battles, which we have fought to this time, we have had with us Carter's famous Virginia Battery of artillery, commanded first by Captain, now Colonel Thomas H. Carter, and lastly by his brother, Captain William Page Carter, now of Boyce, Virginia. [234] These were trained and gallant officers and their men were superb soldiers. Carter's Battery ranked deservedly among the famous artillery companies of the Confederate Army, and Battle's Brigade always felt better when they were in proximity to these patriotic Virginians.

We remained encamped near Grace Church the remainder of the winter and until May, 1863. During the time the tedium of camp life was seldom broken.

Rev. W. A. Moore, an old college class-mate at Auburn, flattered me by getting a transfer from the Sixty-first Georgia regiment to my company, and favored us on Sundays with good sermons.

Rev. (Captain) Tom W. Harris, of the Twelfth Georgia regiment, an old college-mate, preached for us several Sundays, and a Baptist preacher, a substitute in my company, Rev. E. J. Rogers, also gave us religious services.

Rev. W. J. Hoge, D. D., who had left his church in New York, preached at Grace Church to an immense crowd. Later, he preached the funeral sermon of Stonewall Jackson, and his pathos and eloquence brought blinding tears to the eyes of many an old soldier, unused to weep.

Soon after the battle of Chancellorsville, at the request of all the company, and in compliance with my own wishes, I declined to remain as quartermaster, and asked to be returned to my company. There was at that time no commissioned officer, and I valued highly the unanimous wish and request of my comrades to resume the command.

Our regiment, during its entire career, was favored with two faithful chaplains, one, Rev. Mark. S. Andrews, D. D., a graduate of Emory College, Georgia, and a prominent Alabama minister, living at Tuskegee, served until the second year of the war. I wished to have my old school fellow, W. A. Moore, selected as his successor, but Colonel Pickens gave the appointment to Rev. Henry D. Moore, D. D., a graduate of Citadel Academy at Charleston. Both of these have died since the war, after careers of usefulness and honor. Dr. Moore was with us during the years 1863 and part of 1864. He organized a Christian association in our regiment, the only pledge to be taken by its members being that they should not indulge in intoxicating drinks nor in profanity. Through his influence some very profane men stopped the silly and undignified [235] habit. Among the leading soldiers who joined were, Colonel Pickens, Dr. George Whitfield, Captain Davis of Company D, and others.

A Brigade Association was also formed with General C. A. Battle as president, Maj. R. H. Powell, of the 3rd Alabama, as vice president, and myself as secretary, and we were favored with addresses by a number of distinguished ministers. Among them I recall Rev. Dr. L. Rosser, Methodist; Rev. Dr. J. L. Burrows, a Baptist, who after the battle of Seven Pines, spent the night going over the battlefield and relieving the necessities of many wounded Confederate soldiers, notably of the 12th Alabama. Rev. W. C. Powell, a chaplain of the 14th North Carolina, often visited the regiment, and was always welcome. The regiment and brigade were certainly blessed in the presence and visits of these good and faithful men of God. They were men of ability and did noble service in their holy calling.

I give the following brief sketch of Dr. Andrews. Rev. Mark S. Andrews was born February 23, 1826, in Oglethorpe county, Ga., and died May 14, 1898, in Mobile, Ala. His parents moved to Alabama and settled near Oak Bowery. He completed his college course at Oxford, Ga. In 1832 he became a member of the Alabama Conference, M. E. Church, South. He taught in Tuskegee Female College in its infancy with Dr. A. A. Lipscomb and Dr. G. W. F. Price. In 1861, as a member of the 12th Alabama regiment in Captain Ligon's company, F, he went to Virginia. At this time disease ravaged and destroyed its soldiers, and he counted his life as nothing when ministering to the sick and dying by day and night. A choice sense of humor gave him pleasant variety in social life. He was a man of integrity, gentle and steadfast, who overcame enemies and attached friends.

January 29, 1863—A committee consisting of Captains Fischer, Hewlett and Ross were appointed to invite the officers of Battle's brigade to assemble at the headquarters of the 12th Alabama and take into consideration the propriety of memorializing Congress on the subject of regimental and company re-organization, tomorrow at 9 o'clock. There is a great desire on the part of many to enjoy the benefits of re-organization. Many privates hope to be elected officers and many officers expect to secure promotions.

January 30.—At 9 o'clock the line officers of the 6th Alabama met those of the 12th Alabama at our camp and appointed a committee [236] of three from each regiment to draft a memorial to be presented to Congress. Captain Bowie of the 6th and I were chosen to visit the officers of the 3rd and 5th Alabama and notify them to meet us at six o'clock, and participate in our proceedings. At six o'clock the meeting was called to order, Capt. Bowie being chairman and Lieutenant Dunlap, of the 3rd Alabama, acting as secretary. The memorial drafted was read and discussed, pro and con, by Captains Bowie and Bilbro and Lieutenants Larey, Dunlap and Wimberly, and the meeting adjourned to meet Monday at 3 o'clock.

The meeting was held, a memorial adopted and a committee appointed to get signatures to the petition and forward it to Hon. Robert Jemison, Jr., C. S. Senator, and Hon. W. P. Chilton, representative from Alabama, for presentation to the Confederate Congress.

February 3.—Orders came at night to be ready to move to Hanover Junction at 6 o'clock. Battle's Alabama brigade left winter quarters at 6 and a half o'clock for Gordonsville and arrived there at 2 P. M. We took the cars at midnight for Hanover Junction. General R. D. Johnston's North Carolina brigade preceded ours.

February 7.—Our brigade took the train for Richmond early in the morning and reached the capital at 2 o'clock, formed in the city, and marched to music to the outer fortifications on York river railroad, about four miles from the city.

February 8. Went to Richmond and visited the Hall of the House of Representatives and heard eulogies pronounced over the dead body of Col. J. J. Wilcox, of Texas. At night I saw ‘Virginia Cavalier’ played at Richmond Theatre. R. D'Orsay Ogden, manager, J. W. Thorpe, former drum-major of the Twelfth Alabama, J. Wilkes Booth, Harry McCarthy, W. H. Crisp, Theodore Hamilton, John Templeton, and Alice Vane are the favorite actors. Soldiers are not critics, but are ever ready to be amused.

I remained in the city all day, meeting with many officers and men at the hospitals, the Exchange Hotel and Ballard House, and Spotswood Hotel. At night saw ‘Lady of the Lake’ acted. At its conclusion, en route to camp, stopped with Captain Hewlett and Lieutenant J. M. Tate of the Third Alabama at a ‘shindig’ and had an enjoyable time. Kissing games were popular, and some of the dancers were ‘high kickers,’ but not over graceful. Late in [237] the afternoon the brigade moved three miles further to the front, to meet the expected expedition of ‘Beast’ Butler, who was located somewhere near Drury's Bluff on the James. The ‘Beast’ has been outlawed by President Davis and is generally detested. He should keep, as heretofore, to the rear, and avoid capture.

Colonel W. G. Swanson's Sixty-first Alabama regiment joined our brigade, and the Twenty-sixth Alabama, Colonel E. A. O'Neal, was transferred to Mobile. Colonel C. A. Battle had been promoted brigadier-general and placed in command of Rodes' brigade. As there were only nine companies in the Sixty-first, the Secretary of War declined to issue a commission as colonel to Colonel Swanson, and he returned to Alabama. I was glad to greet the Sixty-first, because among its officers were some intimate friends of mine. Among these were Captain J. W. Fannin and his brother, Lieutenant A. B. Fannin, Captain S. B. Paine and his son, Lieutenant Hendree Paine, Captain E. F. Baber and First Lieutenant Edward P. Hendree, Captain B. F. Howard and Lieut. C. C. Long. All of these from Tuskegee, the place from which my company was enlisted. These officers are all good men and true.

February 15. A light snow covered mother earth's bosom today and kept us from the city. Our trips to the city are greatly enjoyed, and all are allowed to go there as often and stay as long as they please. There is a joke in camp in regard to Jim Lester exchanging a jug of water for one of whiskey in a city bar-room. He did it as adroitly as Simon Suggs could have done.

February 18. Rode on the tender of an engine to Orange C. H. Paid $6.00 for breaksast, and walked to our old camp.

February 22. Washington's birthday. The great Virginian doubtless looks down approvingly upon the course of his successors, Lee, Johnston, Stuart, A. P. Hill, Rodes and others. Lee and Jackson excel the great father of his country as soldiers.

February 26. Hired Charles, negro servant of private Kimbrough, for one year, at $25.00 per month. Charles is a good cook and forager. At night I attended a grand ball at Dr. Terrell's, to which I contributed $25.00. General Ramseur and his pretty bride, nee Miss Richmond, of North Carolina, were present. Pretty women, and officers in Confederate gray, were an inspiring sight. Mrs. Carter, formerly Miss Taliaferro (since Mrs. John H. Lamar, and Mrs. Harry Day, of Georgia), was one of the brightest belles.

While in camp, near Fredericksburg, I obtained a week's furlough [238] to visit Richmond, and went there with Dr. George Whitfield, our beloved surgeon. Stopped at Hatton's on Mayo Street. Escorted Miss Ella H. to Miss Nannie King's marriage. At night Dr. Whitfield and I went to the ‘Varieties’ and saw ‘Naval Engagements,’ and ‘The Married Rake.’ Harry McCarthy was the leading actor.

Sunday, April 19. A glorious beautiful spring day. Private W. A. Moore of my company, preached an excellent sermon on the 8th verse, 2nd chapter of Ephesians. Private Rogers of my company preached in the afternoon. Received a letter announcing the marriage of my brother James F. Park to Miss Emma Bailey of Tuskegee, and wrote a congratulatory letter.

April 25. Rev. F. M. Kennedy, a North Carolina Chaplain, preached at Round Oak Church. It was an able sermon. General Wm. N. Pendleton had been expected, but failed to come.

April 28.. One year ago the ‘Macon Confederates,’ Company F, were re-organized while stationed at Yorktown. R. H. Keeling, J. W. McNeeley and I were respectively elected captain, first and second lieutenants by a unanimous vote. It was the turning point in my life. The life of a private soldier is not an enviable one, and I intend to do what I can to relieve and cheer the brave men who have, by their votes, promoted me from their ranks. Our former captain, R. F. Ligon, and Lieutenants George Jones and Zuber returned to Alabama.

April 29. This day, twelve months ago, I was assigned to duty as second-lieutenant in the ‘provisional army of the Confederate States.’ To-day we are hurriedly notified that General Hooker, the successor of the unsuccessful Burnside, has effected a landing near Fredericksburg, and Rodes' old brigade, under Colonel O'Neal of the Twenty-sixth Alabama, is ordered to meet them. My, duties, as acting quartermaster, require me to have several wagons loaded with officers' baggage, quartermasters stores, tents, etc., and driven to Hamilton's Crossing, where we remained all night.

April 30. Our brigade moved to the opposite side of the Richmond, Fredericksbnrg and Potomac Railroad, and drew up in line of battle, while our wagon train moved a mile and remained until 12 o'clock midnight, and then moved to Guinea's station.

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C. A. Battle (5)
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