previous next

Chapter 18:

Following the battle of Chickamauga, Bragg's army occupied Lookout mountain and Missionary ridge, beleaguering Rosecrans, whose troops soon began to suffer for want of food. Longstreet, in command on the left, had the important duty of holding the river line of communication, and cutting off Rosecrans' supplies. Hood's division, at this time, was commanded by Brig.-Gen. Micah Jenkins, and Col. John Bratton commanded Jenkins' brigade, which joined Longstreet after Chickamauga. The First regiment was under command of Col. F. W. Kilpatrick; the Second Rifles, of Col. Thomas Thompson; the Fifth, of Col. A. Coward; the Sixth, of Col. M. W. Gary, and the Palmetto Sharpshooters, of Col. Joseph Walker.

In October, 1863, Rosecrans was replaced by Thomas, Grant became commander-in-chief in the West, and prompt efforts were made by them to relieve Chattanooga. On Longstreet's part Law's brigade of Jenkins' division was moved down the river below Lookout mountain, and on the 28th the brigade observed a force from Chattanooga cross the river and seize a strong position, where it was soon reinforced by Hooker's corps from Virginia. On the 28th Longstreet arranged for a night attack upon Geary's division, marching down Lookout valley toward Brown's ferry, in which Bratton's division [311] was to assail the enemy's rear.1 The South Carolinians made a gallant attack, and, Colonel Bratton reported, ‘drove the enemy through their camp, and entirely beyond their wagon camp.’ The brigade became seriously engaged, and apparently had prospects of success, if supported, but the Federal divisions of Carl Schurz and O. O. Howard were close at hand, and Bratton was ordered to withdraw. The loss was heavy, 31 killed, 286 wounded and 39 missing. Colonel Kilpatrick, distinguished for gallantry and efficiency, was shot through the heart early in the engagement. Capt. James L. Coker, of Bratton's staff, was seriously wounded. In an account of this combat, Captain Coker has written:

General Geary's division was attacked by Jenkins' South Carolina brigade. No other troops fired a shot at Geary's men that night. When the order to retire was received, the brigade was withdrawn in good order. General Howard [marching to the support of Geary] made such progress that Jenkins' brigade was in danger of being cut off from the crossing over Lookout creek.

With this understanding it is interesting to read General Geary's report:

The enemy pressed forward vigorously with a continuous line of fire. . . . The guns of Knap's battery . . . were served . . . with spherical case with short fuses. . . . Charge after charge was made, each with redoubled effort upon our left, but each time the enemy's lines were [312] hurled back under the unintermitting fire, both from infantry and artillery, that like a wall of flame opposed them. Prisoners began to come in, and we discovered that we were opposing Hood's division of Longstreet's corps. . . . After nearly half an hour's desperate fighting . . . the enemy extended his attack without cessation of fire on the left, to the right of my center, front and left flank. . . . The infantry suffered considerably, but dealt destruction into the rebel ranks as correspondingly overwhelming as were their numbers to those of our own Spartan band. . . . The veteran division of Hood had sought to annihilate us. . . . The enemy was driven from the field, after a most desperate struggle of three hours duration. . . . [Geary reported his total present at about 2,400, loss 216.]

Early in November, Longstreet, with the divisions of McLaws and Hood (under Jenkins), including the South Carolina brigades of Jenkins and Kershaw, and Fickling's battery, was ordered up the Tennessee valley to wrest Knoxville from Burnside and to divert to that region some of the heavy reinforcements Grant was massing against Bragg. The South Carolina brigades participated in the combats of the advance and the investment of Knoxville. Jenkins' brigade bore the brunt of the engagement at Lenoir's Station, November 15th, in which the gallantry and dash of the skirmishers, said Jenkins, were never surpassed. Lieutenant-Colonel Logan, Hampton's legion, and Lieutenant-Colonel Wylie, Fifth South Carolina, were particularly distinguished. The brigade lost 18 killed and 106 wounded.

On November 18th, before Knoxville, General Kershaw's brigade was ordered to assault the advance line of the enemy occupying breastworks of rails, upon a hill, and the Armstrong houses. The charge was brilliant and successful. Colonel Nance, of the Third, reported it ‘was the most desperate encounter in which the regiment was ever engaged.’ Among the mortally wounded was Lieut. D. S. Moffett. Colonel Kennedy, of the Second, was wounded. Maj. J. F. Gist, the brave and intrepid [313] commander of the Fifteenth, was killed by a Federal sharpshooter, the command devolving on Capt. J. B. Davis. James' battalion lost 27 killed and wounded. Part of Kershaw's brigade was in action during the unsuccessful assault of November 29th, and both brigades, with occasional fighting and continuous suffering for want of shoes, clothing and rations, passed the inclement winter in rugged east Tennessee.

On November 20th the South Carolina commands with Bragg on Missionary ridge were the Tenth and Nineteenth, Maj. James L. White (Manigault's brigade); the Sixteenth, Colonel McCullough, and Twenty-fourth, Colonel Stevens (Gist's brigade), and Ferguson's battery. These troops fell back with the army on November 25th, and passed the winter of 1863-64 in the vicinity of Dalton.

While their comrades were thus engaged in the West, the South Carolinians in the army of Northern Virginia were undisturbed except by the Bristoe campaign in October, and the Mine Run campaign in November. Abner Perrin, promoted to brigadier-general, commanded McGowan's brigade; Col. D. H. Hamilton, the First regiment; Col. J. L. Miller, the Twelfth; Col. B. T. Brockman, the Fourteenth; Col. F. E. Harrison, Orr's Rifles. This brigade, with Lane's, Scales' and Thomas' formed the division of Maj.-Gen. C. M. Wilcox, A. P. Hill's corps. General Hampton, promoted to major-general, commanded a division of the cavalry corps, and his old brigade, under Brig.-Gen. M. C. Butler, included the First and Second South Carolina cavalry, under Colonels Black and Lipscomb. Hart's battery was still with the cavalry, the Pee Dee artillery with the Third corps, Garden's with Maj. J. C. Haskell's battalion of the reserve artillery. Butler's cavalry brigade, under Col. P. M. B. Young, early in October was distinguished at Bethsaida church. ‘The enemy were drawn up in line to meet us,’ General Stuart reported, ‘but being gallantly charged in flank and rear by the First South Carolina [314] cavalry, Lieut.-Col. J. D. Twiggs, broke and fled in confusion.’ Pursuing to James City, Kilpatrick's whole division was encountered. During the skirmishing which followed, a dash of the enemy at the horse artillery was gallantly met and repulsed by 150 sharpshooters under Capt. R. Ap C. Jones, First South Carolina cavalry. Fighting followed around Brandy Station, and Young's brigade made a successful stand at Fleetwood hill on the 12th. On the 19th, at Haymarket and Buckland mills, when Kilpatrick was finally routed with the loss of 250 prisoners and General Custer's headquarters baggage, the First South Carolina gallantly led in the impetuous charge of Stuart's troopers. ‘The rout at Buckland,’ said Stuart, ‘was the most signal and complete that any cavalry has suffered during the war.’

When the great Federal army under Grant and Meade crossed the Rapidan in May, 1864, Longstreet had his corps again in Virginia, with headquarters at Gordonsville. Brig.-Gen. J. B. Kershaw was in command of McLaws' division, and his brigade was led by Col. John W. Henagan. Lieut.-Col. Franklin Gaillard commanded the Second, Colonel Nance the Third, Capt. James Mitchell the Seventh, Lieut.-Col. E. T. Stackhouse the Eighth, Col. John B. Davis the Fifteenth, Capt. B. M. Whitener the Third battalion. General Jenkins was in command of his brigade, in the division now led by Maj.-Gen. C. W. Field, and the First regiment was commanded by Col. James R. Hagood, the Second (rifles) by Col. Robert E. Bowen, the Fifth by Col. A. Coward, the Sixth by Col. John Bratton, the Palmetto Sharpshooters by Col. Joseph Walker. General McGowan was again in command of his brigade, of Wilcox's division, on the Rapidan. The South Carolina cavalry brigade, under Gen. M. C. Butler, composed of the Fourth regiment, Col. B. Huger Rutledge; Fifth, Col. John Dunovant, and Sixth, Col. Hugh K. Aiken, was assigned to General Hampton's division. Garden's battery, the Palmetto artillery [315] under Captain Fickling, the Pee Dee under Zimmerman, and Hart's battery continued in their former assignments.

On the night of May 5, 1864, General Lee telegraphed to President Davis:

The enemy crossed the Rapidan yesterday at Ely's and Germanna fords. Two corps of this army moved to oppose Him—Ewell's by the old turnpike, and Hill's by the plank road. . . . . A strong attack was made upon Ewell, who repulsed it. . . . . The enemy subsequently concentrated upon General Hill, who, with Heth's and Wilcox's divisions, successfully resisted repeated and desperate assaults.

In this first fight in the Wilderness, May 5th, Mc-Gowan's brigade was hurried into action, the line being formed of the First regiment, Orr's Rifles, Twelfth, Thirteenth and Fourteenth, from right to left. In this order the brigade made a charge in which the enemy were driven through the thickets, and in the onset, though suffering heavy losses, it captured a considerable number of prisoners, including a brigadier-general.

The attack of the Federals on the 6th fell upon the right flank and front of McGowan's brigade, forcing it to double up and fall back on Poague's artillery, where it was reformed. At this juncture, Kershaw reached the field, with the head of Longstreet's corps, and Colonel Henagan formed his brigade in line of battle just in time to screen the retreating masses of Heth's and Wilcox's divisions. ‘Almost immediately,’ says Kershaw, ‘the Federals were upon us.’ He continues:

Ordering Colonel Henagan forward to meet them with the right of his command, I threw forward the Second South Carolina regiment on the left of the road and deployed and pushed forward Brigadier-General Humphreys with his brigade, also, on the right of the road. This formation was made successfully and in good order under the fire of the enemy, who had so far penetrated into the interval between Henagan and the road as to almost enfilade the Second South Carolina, which was [316] holding the left of the road, and some batteries which were there stationed. Humphreys was pushed forward as soon as he got into position, and made for a time steady progress.

In the meantime General Bryan's brigade coming up, was ordered into position to Henagan's right. That officer, in obedience to orders, had pushed forward and driven the enemy in his front for some distance through the dense thicket which covered the country to the right of the plank road; but they being heavily reinforced, forced him back to the line which Humphreys had by this time reached. Here the enemy held my three brigades so obstinately that I placed myself at the head of the troops and led in person a charge of the whole command, which drove the enemy to and beyond their original line and occupied their temporary field works some half mile or more in advance. The lines being rectified, and Field's division and Wofford's brigade having arrived, a movement was organized to attack the enemy in flank from our right, while we continued to hold the enemy in front, who was at intervals bearing down upon our lines, but always without any success. This movement, concealed from view by the dense wood, was eminently successful, and the enemy was routed and driven pell-mell as far as the Brock road, and pursued by General Wofford to some distance across the plank road, where he halted within a few hundred yards of the Germanna road. Returning with General Wofford up the plank road, and learning the condition of things in front, we met the lieutenant-general commanding, coming to the front almost within musket range of the Brock road. Exchanging hasty congratulations upon the success of the morning, the lieutenant-general rapidly planned and directed an attack to be made by Brigadier-General Jenkins and myself upon the position of the enemy upon the Brock road before he could recover from his disaster. The order to me was to break their line and push all to the right of the road toward Fredericksburg. Jenkins' brigade was put in motion in the plank road, my division in the woods to the right. I rode with General Jenkins at the head of his command, arranging with him the details of our combined attack. We had not advanced as far as the position still held by Wofford's brigade when two or three shots were fired on the left of the road, and some stragglers [317] came running in from that direction, and immediately a volley was poured into the head of our column from the woods on our right, occupied by Mahone's brigade. By this volley General Longstreet was prostrated by a fearful wound; Brigadier-General Jenkins, Capt. Alfred E. Doby, my aide-de-camp, and Orderly Marcus Baum were instantly killed.

I have not the particulars of casualties at hand, except those in Kershaw's brigade, which were 57 killed, 239 wounded and 26 missing. Among the losses of that brigade were two of the most gallant and accomplished field officers of the command—Col. James D. Nance, commanding Third South Carolina regiment, and Lieut.-Col. Franklin Gaillard—both gentlemen of education, position and usefulness in civil life and highly distinguished in the field. Captain Doby had served with me as aide-de-camp from the commencement of the war. He distinguished himself upon every battlefield.

Colonel Bowen, in describing the service of his regiment (Jenkins' brigade), says:

General Longstreet did not fall from his horse, but rode the length of the regiment (Second rifles), when he began to reel, and Lieutenant-Colonel Donnald and Sergt. T. J. Bowen caught him and lifted him down from his horse. Colonel Bowen formed his regiment across the plank road in order to repel an attack in case the enemy should return. Just at that time Gen. R. E. Lee rode up and ordered Colonel Bowen to form the brigade on the right and left of the Second rifles. Colonel Coward came up and threw himself, weeping, over the dead body of the gallant Jenkins. General Anderson was called to take command of the corps and Colonel Bratton took command of the brigade. The sharpshooters and the Second rifles were then ordered to the front and right, and after a half mile's march found that the enemy had improved the brief lull in the fight by throwing up intrenchments, from behind which they opened a terrific fire. The advance regiments held their position and suffered a heavy loss, until, as reinforcements came up, the enemy fell back.

The return of Colonel Hagood, of Jenkins' brigade—10 killed and 82 wounded out of 261—indicates the losses of the troops engaged. The 7th passed without a general [318] engagement, but instead the positions of both armies were changed from day to day, and a part of Kershaw's command fought with success on the 8th, at one time using the bayonet. Repeated and heavy assaults were made on Ewell's corps during the 10th, and on the 11th the two armies confronted each other at Spottsylvania Court House, ready for the awful battle of the 12th of May.

The great struggle over the possession of the ‘bloody angle’ began just before dawn by the successful sweep of the Federal divisions through Gen. Edward Johnson's line of intrenchments, thus threatening the overthrow of Lee's army. The particulars of this fearful encounter, which resulted, after the day's bloody fighting, in the defeat of Grant's purpose, will not be given here, but the part taken by McGowan's brigade deserves special mention. This brigade, stationed far out on the Confederate right, was summoned to action about sunrise, May 12th, and after a march of two miles to the left, was moved at double-quick along Ewell's line. General Rodes, seeing them approach, asked: ‘What troops are these?’ and was answered, ‘McGowan's South Carolina brigade.’ ‘There are no better soldiers in the world,’ was his inspiring reply. Almost immediately the South Carolinians entered the fight, the Twelfth on the right, and the First, Thirteenth, the Rifles and the Fourteenth extending to the left consecutively. At double-quick and with the ‘rebel yell’ they went into the inner line, where McGowan was wounded by a minie ball, and compelled to yield the command to Colonel Brockman, who in turn being quickly disabled by a wound, was succeeded by Col. J. N. Brown.

‘At that time,’ says Col. I. F. Hunt, in his account of the battle, the position of the Thirteenth regiment was in an open field, and about fifty yards in rear of a line of works occupied by Confederate troops (Harris' Mississippians), a position where we could do no good, [319] while subjected to a terrific fire from the enemy, somewhat on our right. I saw General Gordon passing, and obtained permission to move the regiment to the right. He ordered me to take it to the point where the fighting was hardest. In moving to the right Colonel Hunt was informed that all his seniors had been killed or wounded and he took command of the brigade. He found the right of the brigade in a short line of reserve works, and perceiving that his men must either charge or retreat or die where they stood, he ordered a charge, and drove the enemy from the salient, or ‘bloody angle.’ In occupying that work the left of the brigade connected with and possibly lapped other troops, but the right was unprotected, and as far down the right as Hunt could see, the Federals held the opposite side of the works, with the captured Confederate guns turned against him. The ammunition soon began to give out, and although it appeared to be certain death to leave the shelter of the works, Privates William Kelly and Chance Evans of the First volunteered to, and did bring ammunition from, the rear in boxes and tent flies during the entire engagement. At 1 p. m., the enemy about ten paces distant, raised a white flag, and a general advanced who, when met by Hunt, demanded a surrender, which was promptly refused. Soon afterward Col. J. N. Brown took command.

The fierceness of this close engagement by McGowan's brigade,2 in which Harris' Mississippians bore an [320] equally gallant part, on the left, was probably not exceeded in any war. The firing, when resumed after the parley above mentioned, continued incessantly all the remainder of the day and far into the night. Just before day the brigade was withdrawn without pursuit to a position near a part of Longstreet's corps, and there rested with their Confederate comrades ready for the enemy, who did not choose to advance. In this battle the brigade lost 86 killed, 241 wounded and 117 missing. Among the missing, it was afterward learned, were a large number wounded and left in the trenches and others that were killed. Among the casualties were Lieut.-Col. W. P. Shooter, of the First, and Col. B. T. Brockman, of the Thirteenth, killed; Col. C. W. McCreary, of the First, and Lieut.-Col. G. McD. Miller, of the Rifles, wounded.

On the same day General Bratton's brigade (Jenkins') was in battle on the Brock road, on the right of Kershaw's brigade, and the two repulsed a heavy assault. Bratton reported that his brigade was about 1, 250 strong, and lost not more than 15, but the enemy left 500 dead in its front. During the night Bratton's brigade covered the withdrawal of McGowan's brigade from the bloody angle, and without firing a gun, lost 70 men.

On the Cold Harbor line, June 1st, when a strong Confederate movement by the right was ordered, a diary of the First corps says:

Kershaw puts in his own brigade, supported by another. Keitt's big regiment gives way, and in the effort to rally it, Keitt is mortally wounded. Pickett is closed into the [321] right on Kershaw, and the latter on Hoke. Field closes in on Pickett. In the afternoon a furious attack is made on the left of Hoke and the right of Kershaw, enemy penetrating an interval between them. . . . Kershaw brings up the Second and Third South Carolina and regains Bryan's lost ground, and captures prisoners and a stand of colors. . . . [On June 3d] Kershaw's salient is weak. . . . The expected battle begins early. Meantime the enemy is heavily massed in front of Kershaw's salient. Anderson's, Law's and Gregg's divisions are there to support Kershaw. Assault after assault is made and each time repulsed.

The South Carolina cavalry and horse artillery participated in this memorable campaign under Stuart, until that famous leader fell at Yellow Tavern, then under Hampton. In Hampton's successful battle with Sheridan at Trevilian, Butler's South Carolina brigade opened the attack and was distinguished throughout. Among the wounded was Colonel Aiken, of the Sixth cavalry. Before the battle of Nance's Shop, Hampton was joined by Brig.-Gen. M. W. Gary, with a brigade including the Hampton legion cavalry and Seventh South Carolina cavalry. Gary opened the battle at Nance's shop and contributed materially to the victory.

Meanwhile other gallant South Carolinians had been on duty under General Beauregard, guarding the approaches to the Confederate capital, and holding back the advance of the Federal army under Gen. Ben Butler. These South Carolina commands were Brig.-Gen. Johnson Hagood's brigade; Evans' brigade, under Col. Stephen Elliott; the Seventh cavalry, Col. W. P. Shingler, and Kelly's battery (Chesterfield).

The Twenty-first and part of the Twenty-fifth arrived at Port Walthall junction on May 6th, and at once went out under Colonel Graham to meet the enemy. They were successful in checking the enemy. The whole brigade, arriving, was engaged in battle at the junction on the 7th, repulsing the enemy, and at Swift Creek on the 9th. The brigade loss was 177. The brave Lieutenant- [322] Colonel Dargan fell at the head of his men; Colonel Graham was wounded in two places; Lieutenant-Colonel Pressley, and Captain Stoney, of the staff, were seriously, and Lieutenant-Colonel Blake, Twenty-seventh, and Captain Sellers, Twenty-fifth, slightly wounded.

At the battle of Drewry's Bluff, May 16th, according to General Beauregard's report, ‘Hagood and Bushrod Johnson were thrown forward and found a heavy force of the enemy occupying a salient of the outer line of works. . . . Hagood with great vigor and dash drove the enemy from the outer lines in his front, capturing a number of prisoners, and in conjunction with Johnson, five pieces of artillery. He then took position in the works.’ The casualties of the brigade were 433 out of 2,235. Captain Brooks, of the Seventh, received three severe wounds. Fifty-seven bullet marks were found upon the flag of the Seventh battalion after the fight, and in one of its companies 19 were killed and 46 wounded. It was by such heroic fighting that Petersburg and Richmond were held in May, 1864.

Brig.-Gen. Stephen Elliott reported a severe fight on June 2d, in which the Seventeenth and Twenty-second South Carolina were engaged, and the latter regiment lost its colonel, O. M. Dantzler, who fell mortally wounded while leading a charge.

Grant having transferred his army south of the James, Bratton's brigade was sent across to Beauregard's line near the Howlett house, on June 16th. Taking position on the right, they saw next morning that the enemy was still in partial possession of part of Beauregard's line. ‘About the middle of the day the division (Field's) made a sort of spontaneous charge,’ as Bratton put it, ‘in which my skirmish line participated, and recovered the line.’ Next morning, relieved by Pickett, Bratton moved to the Petersburg line beyond the Appomattox, taking position on the right of where the mine was sprung later. Here for several days, during the first [323] assaults of Grant's army, under incessant fire night and day, Bratton's men had their severest tour of duty in all the four years. On June 24th they were relieved by Elliott's South Carolinians, and took other positions on the line until transferred north of the James.

Hagood's brigade served with distinction in the Petersburg battles of June 16th to 18th, repelling all assaults. Reaching Petersburg from the Drewry's bluff line on the night of the 15th, the brigade pushed out at the City Point road where the Confederates were being driven from the outer intrenchments. Under a fierce shelling on the 16th and 17th, many were killed. Captains Hopkins and Palmer and Adjutant Gelling, of the Twenty-second, were killed by the shells. Lieutenant Allemand was mortally wounded. So they fell all through the first two months in Virginia, till many of the best and bravest were laid to rest.

On the 18th Hagood fought to hold and did hold Hare's hill, the scene of Gordon's desperate sally in February, 1865 Lieutenant Harvey, Seventh battalion, was killed that day, and Lieutenant Felder, Twenty-fifth, and Major Rion, Seventh battalion, were wounded. The brigade lost about 220 in the three days. On the 24th Hagood's brigade occupied a single line of intrenchments, on the left of the Confederate line, the Twenty-seventh, Twenty-first and Eleventh between Appomattox creek and the City Point road, the Twenty-fifth and Seventh battalion south of the road, facing the enemy, who was intrenched in three lines. At dawn the South Carolinians were told that a general engagement was ordered, which they were to open, after a heavy cannonading of the enemy by the batteries north of the Appomattox. The three regiments north of the road were to charge and wheel to the south, and supported by other brigades, it was hoped to roll up the Federal flank and drive them beyond Hare's hill. Lieutenant-Colonel Nelson, Seventh battalion, was put 1n command of 400 picked men for the skirmish [324] line, a detail which left only 550 men of these regiments in the second line. The attack was made, and the enemy driven from his rifle-pits and part of the first line of intrenchments, but the South Carolinians were too few to go further, and their expected support did not arrive in time. So the battle failed, but Hagood held the Federal rifle-pits all day. The loss in the three regiments and Seventh battalion was very heavy, 25 killed, 73 wounded and 208 whose fate was at the time unknown. Lieutenant-Colonel Nelson was missing; Captain Axson, Twenty-seventh, was killed; and Lieutenants Huguenin and Trim, Twenty-seventh, Chappell, Ford and Vanderford, Twenty-first, and Smith, Eleventh, wounded; Captains Mulvaney and Buist (wounded) were captured; Captain Raysor and Lieutenants Reilly, White and Clemens, missing.

On the 29th of July, Bushrod Johnson's division was arranged in the works with Ransom's North Carolinians on the left, Elliott's South Carolinians next, then Wise's Virginians, and Colquitt's Georgians on the right. A projecting part of the works known as Pegram's salient was occupied by Pegram's battery, with the Eighteenth South Carolina on its left and the Twenty-second behind it and to the right. To the left of the Eighteenth were the Twenty-sixth and Seventeenth, and to the right of the Twenty-second was the Twenty-third, all along the parapet. A second line of intrenchments, behind, Elliott did not have men enough to occupy. Upon these devoted South Carolinians in the parapets was to fall a tremendous blow, which was expected to open a way for Grant's army into Petersburg.

About 4:55 on the morning of July 30th, after a moment's appalling rumbling and trembling, the earth burst like a volcano beneath them, and great masses were cast in the air. Mingled in this horrible eruption which followed the explosion of the Federal mine, were the bodies of men, who fell nearly all of them lifeless, while stores [325] of others were buried as the upheaval settled about the great ‘crater,’ nearly 100 by 150 feet, and 30 feet deep. Five companies of the Twenty-second South Carolina were blown up with the left of the battery, and four companies of the Eighteenth were thrown in the air or buried. The loss of the first regiment was 170; of the latter, 43 killed, 43 wounded, and 76 missing—buried or captured. Stunned by the shock of this explosion, both Federals and Confederates for a little while made no move, but when the torrents of dust had subsided, the Federals were seen pouring into the breach, and at the same time there was another and more deafening outbreak—that of the Federal artillery, all along the line, in a torrent of shot and shell and continuous reverberation, surpassing any previous artillery fire in the war. But Lee's undaunted veterans held firm.

First to meet the advancing enemy were the Twenty-third and Seventeenth South Carolina regiments and the survivors of the Eighteenth and Twenty-second. The remainder of the division hurried to the firing line, and Wright's battery and Major Haskell's mortar batteries came into action with terrible effect upon the crowded masses of the Federals. General Elliott fell dangerously wounded, but his place was taken by Col. F. W. McMaster, Seventeenth, and Colonel Smith, Twenty-sixth, formed a line to the left and rear of the crater composed of his regiment, part of the Seventeenth, and the Twenty-fourth North Carolina. The Twenty-third, under Captain White, and the remnant of the Twentysecond, under Captain Shedd, held the trenches on the right. ‘The South Carolina troops on that side,’ said General Johnson, ‘succeeded in placing a barricade on the side of the hill and planting themselves in it and the sunken ways running to the rear, maintained their position within 30 yards of the crater for about five hours, during which the enemy never drove them a foot to the right, though they made several assaults and attempted [326] several times to form a line in rear of our works, so as to move on the flank and rear of this gallant little band. In the events of the 30th of July there will perhaps be found nothing more heroic or worthy of higher admiration than this conduct of the Twenty-second and Twenty-third South Carolina regiments.’

After Mahone's division came up, Colonel Smith's line joined in a charge which cleared the enemy from part of the second line of intrenchments, and the final charge which resulted in the complete rout of the enemy was participated in by the Seventeenth under Major Culp, and Captain Shedd's line, which captured three flags and many prisoners. ‘For every buried comrade,’ General Johnson said, the South Carolinians ‘took a two-fold vengeance on the enemy.’ In the last charge Sergt. J. W. Connelly, Twenty-second, captured the colors of the First Michigan sharpshooters. The loss of Elliott's South Carolinians on that terrible day was 15 officers killed and 18 wounded; 110 men killed and 204 wounded; 14 officers and 337 men missing; total, 698. This was the main part of the Confederate loss. The Federal return of losses was 4,400.

Grant's demonstrations north of the James, on the old Seven Days battle ground, to draw Lee's forces away from the vicinity of the mine explosion, had caused Bratton's brigade to be sent across at Drewry's bluff to Fussell's mill on the 29th, and thence to New Market heights. Kershaw had taken position at Chaffin's bluff several days before, and on the 28th, Conner's (Kershaw's) and Lane's brigades attempted to dislodge the enemy from the Long Bridge road, causing a severe fight. Heth's, Field's and Kershaw's divisions were massed here; the enemy abandoned the advanced position and Kershaw recrossed the James on the 30th.

On July 27th, Hampton was ordered from Drewry's to intercept Wilson's cavalry expedition, returning from Staunton river bridge to Grant's army. He attacked at [327] Sappony church, next day, and his thin line held the enemy in check all night, 200 of the Holcombe legion infantry, under Crawley, in the center. At dawn, the whole command, including Butler's brigade, charged, drove the enemy from two lines, pursued his scattering forces two miles, and captured over 800 prisoners, while Fitzhugh Lee was fighting with like success at Reams' Station. The gallant Lieutenant-Colonel Crawley was severely wounded. This pursuit, General Hampton reported, closed the operations begun on June 8th, a period of twenty-two days, during which his command, poorly fed and without rest, had marched over 400 miles, fought six days and one night, captured over 2,000 prisoners, and many guns and small-arms, and defeated two formidable Federal expeditions, at a loss of 719 men. [328]

1 Col. Robert E. Bowen, then senior captain commanding the Second Rifles, in a description of this battle of Wauhatchie, Will's Valley, or Lookout Valley, as it is variously called, says that during an observation of the Federal movements from the summit of Lookout, General Jenkins asked permission to attack and capture ‘the supply train for Rosecrans' army,’ for which Hooker's troops were mistaken, and the attack was made with that understanding, Law's brigade being stationed at the river to prevent reinforcements from Chattanooga. Captain Bowen commanded the brigade skirmish line of six companies, which drove in the Federals, until he found them in heavy force in line of battle, when he notified General Jenkins, and was ordered to go as far as possible. His men opened fire, lying down to load, and the brigade advanced to their line, within a hundred yards of the Federals, and there stopped on account of the evident strength of the enemy. Captain Bowen was severely wounded, and Sergt. G. W. Bradley, a noble soldier, was killed.

2 Colonel Hunt says: ‘Accident gave the brigade the position in front of the salient, and it sustained its reputation by charging, retaking and holding it for seventeen hours. No one can describe what we endured during that struggle. The trunk of that oak tree now on exhibition in Washington tells better than words the heroic endurance of the Confederate soldier, and gives a faint idea of the storm of minie balls hurled at us. When we took the works, the bark on it was in tact. It stood near the right center of the salient. A little to the left and in front of it stood a hickory tree about eight inches in diameter, of which I have never seen any mention. The hickory was shot down before night and fell across the works, catching some of the men in its branches. Its body and branches were chipped into splinters by minie balls. . . . I saw some very reckless acts of individuals, for instance Private W. W. Davenport, of the Thirteenth, and a boy of the Twelfth, whose name I cannot recall, mounted ammunition boxes, not over ten feet from the hickory, and fired over the salient while three or four men loaded guns for them until the minie balls almost stripped the clothing from them. During the afternoon the enemy's front line would seek protection under cover of our works and fire by placing the muzzles of their guns below the top logs of the works, while their second line would fire over their heads. Frequently our men would seize their muzzles and direct their fire to the rear.’

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 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.
J. B. Kershaw (19)
Micah Jenkins (19)
John Bratton (14)
Longstreet (12)
U. S. Grant (9)
Samuel McGowan (8)
Johnson Hagood (7)
Stephen Elliott (7)
Wade Hampton (6)
Bushrod Johnson (5)
John W. Henagan (5)
Geary (5)
Wofford (4)
C. M. Wilcox (4)
J. E. B. Stuart (4)
Rosecrans (4)
R. E. Lee (4)
F. W. Kilpatrick (4)
I. F. Hunt (4)
John K. Hood (4)
C. W. Field (4)
G. W. Smith (3)
Pickett (3)
E. M. Law (3)
William Wirt Humphreys (3)
A. P. Hill (3)
Heth (3)
William Ewell (3)
John B. Davis (3)
J. N. Brown (3)
B. T. Brockman (3)
Bragg (3)
Robert E. Bowen (3)
P. M. B. Young (2)
James L. White (2)
Joseph Walker (2)
John Peyre Thomas (2)
Shedd (2)
Pegram (2)
James L. Orr (2)
P. H. Nelson (2)
James Drayton Nance (2)
James D. Nance (2)
J. L. Miller (2)
McLaws (2)
William Mahone (2)
Lane (2)
William Kelly (2)
Lawrence M. Keitt (2)
O. O. Howard (2)
Joseph Hooker (2)
Augustus Dewitt Hoke (2)
James F. Hart (2)
D. B. Harris (2)
R. F. Graham (2)
James B. Gordon (2)
Martin Witherspoon Gary (2)
Hugh R. Garden (2)
Franklin Gaillard (2)
E. S. Fickling (2)
Chance Evans (2)
Drewry (2)
Alfred E. Doby (2)
W. J. Crawley (2)
Asbury Coward (2)
Matthew Calbraith Butler (2)
M. C. Butler (2)
Ben Butler (2)
H. Bryan (2)
T. J. Bowen (2)
Robert Esli Bowen (2)
R. T. Beauregard (2)
G. T. Beauregard (2)
R. H. Anderson (2)
Hugh K. Aiken (2)
W. E. Zimmerman (1)
Wylie (1)
Ambrose R. Wright (1)
Henry A. Wise (1)
Claudius C. Wilson (1)
B. M. Whitener (1)
J. B. White (1)
Vanderford (1)
J. D. Twiggs (1)
Trim (1)
Thomas Thompson (1)
W. E. Stoney (1)
Clement Hoffman Stevens (1)
E. T. Stackhouse (1)
W. P. Shooter (1)
William P. Shingler (1)
Sheridan (1)
M. H. Sellers (1)
Carl Schurz (1)
Scales (1)
B. Huger Rutledge (1)
R. E. Rodes (1)
James H. Rion (1)
Reilly (1)
Raysor (1)
Ransom (1)
James F. Pressley (1)
Poague (1)
Abner Perrin (1)
Francis G. Palmer (1)
Mulvaney (1)
D. S. Moffett (1)
James Mitchell (1)
Richard K. Meade (1)
Fitz William McMaster (1)
G. McD (1)
James McCullough (1)
C. W. McCreary (1)
Samuel Mc-Gowan (1)
Edward Manigault (1)
Thomas M. Logan (1)
Milledge Bonham Lipscomb (1)
Stephen D. Lee (1)
Robert Emmet Lee (1)
Fitzhugh Lee (1)
Knap (1)
Joseph Brevard Kershaw (1)
John D. Kennedy (1)
Robin Ap C. Jones (1)
Edward Johnson (1)
George S. James (1)
Isaac F. Hunt (1)
Thomas A. Huguenin (1)
Ward Hopkins (1)
John C. Haskell (1)
Alexander C. Haskell (1)
Harvey (1)
F. E. Harrison (1)
Daniel H. Hamilton (1)
James Robert Hagood (1)
James R. Hagood (1)
Maxcy Gregg (1)
Joseph F. Gist (1)
J. F. Gist (1)
Gelling (1)
M. W. Gary (1)
Ford (1)
Samuel W. Ferguson (1)
Jacob David Felder (1)
John Dunovant (1)
Donnald (1)
W. W. Davenport (1)
Anna Dargan (1)
Olin M. Dantzler (1)
Custer (1)
John S. Culp (1)
A. Coward (1)
James Conner (1)
J. W. Connelly (1)
P. H. Colquitt (1)
James Lide Coker (1)
James L. Coker (1)
Clemens (1)
Chappell (1)
Chaffin (1)
Burnside (1)
George Lamb Buist (1)
Preston S. Brooks (1)
G. W. Bradley (1)
Thomas J. Bowen (1)
Julius A. Blake (1)
John L. Black (1)
Marcus Baum (1)
J. W. Axson (1)
A. A. Allemand (1)
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, 1864 AD (2)
November (2)
October (2)
July 30th (2)
June 16th (2)
May 12th (2)
28th (2)
February, 1865 AD (1)
May 5th, 1864 AD (1)
1864 AD (1)
October, 1863 AD (1)
1863 AD (1)
November 29th (1)
November 25th (1)
November 20th (1)
November 18th (1)
November 15th (1)
July 29th (1)
July 27th (1)
June 24th (1)
June 8th (1)
June 3rd (1)
June 2nd (1)
June 1st (1)
May 16th (1)
May 6th (1)
May 5th (1)
30th (1)
29th (1)
24th (1)
19th (1)
18th (1)
15th (1)
12th (1)
9th (1)
8th (1)
7th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: