previous next

Battle of Chancellorsville.

May 2. Rested until night, when we were ordered to move [239] as rapidly as possible our trains to Bowling Green. To-day the great battle of Chancellorsville began, and Rode's old brigade of Alabamians charged the Yankees brilliantly, driving them out of their newly erected breastworks thrice in succession, and capturing three batteries with horses and equipments entire attached.

Captain McNeely of Company F, was severely wounded in right leg, below the knee, by a grape shot tearing a hole through the flesh. Privates Chappell and Henderson were wounded in the arm. Chappell was engaged in a close, hand to hand encounter when injured. Poor Ben was carried, at the point of the bayonet, into the engagement, complaining all the while of being sick, but he only had what we called ‘battle-field colic,’ and was forced into the thickest of the fray, where he received a bullet in one of his arms, and from the wound lost the arm and spent the remainder of the war at home. The day's fight was a grand success for our arms. Our wagon train was moving all night to escape Stoneman's Yankee cavalry, which was reported as ravaging the country, after having taken Marye's Heights, and to be now in search of our train. We passed a few miles beyond Bowling Green.

May 3. The great battle continued today. Rodes' Brigade, to quote that officer's language, ‘covered itself with glory.’ Generals Jackson and Stuart complimented it. Rodes was made a full Major General, and after the distressing news of Stonewall Jackson's wound, became senior officer of the field under Lee. He was in actual command of the army next to Lee, but his modesty caused him to turn over the command to Gen. J. E. B. Stuart of the cavalry, one of the most dashing officers I ever saw. In F Company, Capt. McNeely, Joe Black, Tom Foulk, Jim Lester, West Moore, Fletch Zachry, and Sergt. Simmons were wounded. The 12th Alabama lost four captains and three lieutenants, among them Capt. H. W. Cox, and Lieut. Dudley. We lost a total of 134 men out of our small regiment, in killed, wounded and missing. Thirteen were killed outright and 87 wounded severely. The brigade lost five field officers. Lieut. Col. A. M. Gordon, brother of Gen. John B. Gordon, was killed. He was a fine officer and a true Christian.

After being shot he calmly said he was willing to die for the cause. ‘Fighting Joe's’ army was terribly repulsed, and forced to retreat beyond the Rappahannock.

The enemy's cavalry contented itself with tearing up a part of the [240] railroad track and cutting telegraph wires, thus interrupting communication with Richmond.

May 5. There are 6,000 prisoners of war at Guinea's and others coming in hourly. Among them is Brigader General Hayes, said to be a renegade native of Richmond. The prisoners were boisterous, impertinent and insulting in their conversation. A great rain storm fell and they were in great discomfort. I pity them. There are numerous foreigners among them, Germans, Swiss, Italians, Irish, et alios. Our help from such quarters is nil.

May 6. After the battle my regiment and train returned to our former camp. Everything and everybody seemed changed, sad and dejected. I greatly miss my dear friend, Captain McNeely. He was my most intimate associate and I love him as a brother. He is a graduate of the La Grange College at Florence, Ala., and taught for a while with Professor W. F. Slaton at Auburn, and, more recently, at the Military School at Tuskegee, with Captain Keeling. He is a fine scholar, a very amiable man, and popular with the company.

I am performing double duty, acting as quarter master of the regiment and in command of my company. I have repeatedly asked Colonel Pickens to relieve me from the former, but he has not consented to do so. My men urge me to return to them.

May 10. A beautiful Sabbath, recommended by General Lee as a day of thanksgiving and prayer for our recent great victory. Strange to say ‘Fighting Joe’ Hooker issued a proclamation to his army after they had retreated across the river, congratulating them upon their great victory. How could General Lee and General Hooker both be victorious? I helped to bury Captain Cox of of Company B, Twelfth Alabama, at Grace Church this afternoon. He was a gallant officer.

May 12. News of the death of General Jackson, the true hero of the war, fills the whole army with grief. He resembled Napoleon in his methods more nearly than any of our generals. Truly Lee has lost his most reliable aid, and was correct in speaking of him as his ‘right arm.’ His name and his deeds are enbalmed in our hearts. The regiment returned from picket, and I again solicited permission to return to my company and that another officer be detailed as quartermaster. Colonel Pickens replied that if his brother's commission did not arrive in three days he would relieve me. [241]

May 14. Drilled my company for the first time in some months. Was stopped by a refreshing rain, which will cool the air and benefit our wounded. First Sergeant Hall was ordered, on account of his wound, to report to General Winder, and I promoted George Wright to his place.

May 15. Pay roll completed, inspected and approved by the Colonel. Commanded a division of two companies on battallion drill. Promised relief as acting quartermaster by Monday next. Company F was paid off for March and April, and the sutler's wagon will be well patronized for a few days. Ginger cakes, porous and poor, cost 25 cents each. Vegetables and fruits are out of reach of the privates.

May 18. Relieved as acting quarter master and returned to the command of my company. Receipted for and issued to the most needy among my men, thirteen pairs of pants, four jackets, nine pairs of socks, and several pairs of shoes. Captain J. Miles Pickens, a brother of the Colonel, is now quartermaster.

May 19 and 20. Drilled company in breaking files to the rear, breaking in platoons, loading by numbers and stacking arms. The men have grown rusty. The election, held to decide who of the company should wear the ‘Badge of Honor’ for gallantry at Chancellorsville, resulted in twelve votes each for Sergeant Wright and Private Chappell. In drawing the latter won, and his name was sent to General Lee.

May 24. Heard Rev. Dr. Moses D Hoge preach a fine sermon at Camp Alabama. Lieutenant Wright came and reported the loss of a pair of new boots and a number of new novels sent me. I am nearly barefooted and wanted something to read, so my regret may be imagined.

May 29. Grand review of Rodes' Division by Generals R. E. Lee, A. P. Hill and R. E. Rodes. The day was warm and we marched three miles to the reviewing grounds, and stood several hours before getting properly aligned. After preparing for review and passing in review before General Rodes, General Lee arrived and went through the same movements before him. I commanded the fourth division of the regiment.

June 4. Began a tramp through Valley of Virginia to Maryland, and marched about 18 miles, halting near Spotsylvania C. H. June 5, 6, 7 and 8. On the march to Culpeper C. H., where [242] we stayed a day supporting Stuart's cavalay, while he drove back some raiders near Brandy Station.

June 9 to 18. On the road to Maryland. Captured Berryville, Bunker Hill and Martinsburg.

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 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.
June 9th (1)
June 8th (1)
June 7th (1)
June 6th (1)
June 5th (1)
June 4th (1)
May 29th (1)
May 24th (1)
May 20th (1)
May 19th (1)
May 18th (1)
May 15th (1)
May 14th (1)
May 12th (1)
May 10th (1)
May 6th (1)
May 5th (1)
May 3rd (1)
May 2nd (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: