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Chapter 19:

  • The Atlanta campaign
  • -- battles around Atlanta -- Jonesboro -- Hood's campaign in North Georgiathe defense of Ship's Gap -- last campaign in Tennessee -- battle of Franklin.

Simultaneous with the crossing of the Rapidan river in Virginia by the Federal army of Meade, Gen. W. T. Sherman, in command of the armies of the Cumberland, Tennessee and Ohio, under Thomas, McPherson and Schofield, in all about 100,000 strong, advanced against the army of Tennessee, then under Gen. J. E. Johnston, and occupying the valley and mountain strongholds about Dalton, on the railroad from Chattanooga to Atlanta. South Carolina was represented in each of Johnston's two corps, in Hardee's by the Sixteenth regiment, Col. James McCullough, and Twenty-fourth, Col. Ellison Capers, in Gist's brigade of W. H. T. Walker's division, and Ferguson's battery, Lieut. R. T. Beauregard; and in Hood's corps by the Tenth regiment, Col. James F. Pressley, and Nineteenth, Lieut.-Col. Thomas P. Shaw, in Manigault's brigade of Hindman's division. Upon the junction of Polk's forces, Waties' battery, with Jackson's cavalry division, increased the South Carolina contingent. Brig.-Gen. C. H. Stevens commanded a Georgia brigade of Walker's division.

The South Carolinians shared fully in the campaign which followed, in the course of which General Johnston skillfully withdrew his forces, with inconsiderable loss, from one position to another, as each became untenable, also firmly holding the enemy for weeks on the New Hope church and Kenesaw mountain lines, repulsing fierce assaults and permitting Sherman to gain no advantages [329] except such as were due to the power of flanking inevitable to superior numbers.

The official reports of the campaign are meager, and afford no particulars of the service of Manigault's brigade. Colonel Capers, reporting September 10th, for Gist's brigade, said that on May 6th the brigade marched out of its winter quarters near Atlanta, and took position near Mill Creek gap. Captain Wever's company, of the Twenty-fourth, was the first engaged at this point, but the brigade was soon transferred to Resaca, to meet the Federal flanking column under McPherson. Then crossing the river the two regiments were engaged below Resaca against the enemy, whose crossing endangered Johnston's position. Meanwhile the battle of Resaca came on and Walker's division hurried back across the river, the Twenty-fourth leading, under fire of the enemy's batteries. They took position at the center, but Johnston was compelled to withdraw that night. On the 16th Hardee's corps was in bivouac on the Rome road, when the enemy drove in his pickets and the Federal shells began to fall in his camp. Colonel Capers, with his regiment and Shaaff's Georgia sharpshooters, was sent to re-establish the pickets; and his men were successful in a gallant charge, but lost 9 killed and 30 wounded, among the latter Capt. T. C. Morgan and Sergt.-Maj. J. B. Dotterer.

At Cassville, ‘the greatest enthusiasm prevailed in our ranks as the men and officers saw the army formed for battle;’ but the order was countermanded, and May 25th found them in rear of and supporting Stewart's division at New Hope church. They were not engaged in the battle, but lost several killed and wounded. After various changes of position they were formed on June 19th south and west of Kenesaw mountain. The right of the Twenty-fourth touched French's division, which occupied the mountain.

The line, which was strongly intrenched, was soon [330] under the fire of the enemy, who established his intrenched line within 300 yards, and maintained such a constant fire of small-arms and artillery that the men had to keep close behind the works. Maj. C. C. O'Neill, of the Sixteenth, was killed on the picket line, which gallantly faced the enemy. On the 24th Colonel Capers' regiment went forward to assist the pickets in covering the brigade front, facing a Federal line of battle. The famous assault occurred three days later, and was repulsed from the line of the North Carolinians by their steady fire, assisted by the raking artillery fire from General French's batteries. But the Federals drove in the picket line and planted themselves within 100 yards, whence they maintained a galling fire of musketry. After thirteen days of such fighting at Kenesaw mountain the brigade was retired, with the army, the Twenty-fourth having lost 57 men. The experience of all the South Carolina regiments was similar.

On July 9th Gist's brigade crossed the Chattahoochee. ‘On the 17th,’ Colonel Capers wrote in his report, ‘the commanding general (Johnston) published an address to the army, and announced that he would attack General Sherman's army so soon as it should cross the Chattahoochee.’

I had the honor to read the address to the brigade, and to congratulate the command upon the prospect of successful battle. The order of battle was received with enthusiasm and the most confident spirit prevailed. Next day . . . the farewell address of General Johnston was received and read to the regiment. It is due to truth to say that the reception of these orders produced the most despondent feelings in my command. The loss of the commanding general was felt to be irreparable. Continuing the march and passing by his headquarters Walker's division passed at the shoulder, the officers saluting, and most of the latter and hundreds of the men taking off their hats. It had been proposed to halt and cheer, but General Johnston, hearing of our intention, requested that the troops march by in silence.


On the 20th, the Federal army having crossed the river and become separated in a movement toward the southeast of Atlanta, General Hood caused an attack upon Thomas on Peachtree creek by Hardee and Stewart (Polk's corps), while his corps, under Cheatham, met the enemy on the east. In this fight Walker's division made a gallant but unsuccessful assault and suffered considerable loss. On the 21st the fighting was brisk on the east of the city, participated in by Manigault's brigade. Next day Hardee made a circuitous march and fell upon the enemy's southeastward flank and rear, while Cheatham and Stewart attacked in front. In this hard-fought battle of July 22d the Federal right was rolled up and severely punished, but the Confederate loss was great, including General Walker, killed.

Gist's brigade fought in the front line on the Federal flank, and Manigault's brigade, in another part of the field, charged forward against the works occupied by the Federals on the Georgia railroad. Part of the Nineteenth regiment entered a large white house to fire from the windows, and seeing the enemy breaking, soon the men were leaping over the works and capturing prisoners. Capt. E. W. Horne reported: ‘Then mingling with men of other regiments, they passed about 150 yards left along the works, on the enemy's side of them, to the brick house, where they captured other prisoners. Maj. James L. White, who was in command of the regiment, acted well his part.’ The brigade was taken back to the white house, and formed, and then advanced again under the heavy enfilade fire of the batteries that Sherman had hurried up to protect his center, and occupied the trenches left of the brick house, where Major White was severely wounded. The brigade was soon afterward withdrawn. The loss of the Nineteenth was 97. The Tenth advanced on the right of the Nineteenth, the right of the brigade line, and was conspicuous in the fight. It was there, where the South Carolinians fought, that the [332] Illinois batteries of Captain DeGress were captured, and the honor of this achievement is claimed by Manigault's brigade. After this battle Gist's brigade was transferred to Cheatham's division.

On July 27th Stephen D. Lee, who went to Virginia in 1861 as a South Carolina artillery officer, took command of Hood's corps, with the rank of lieutenant-general, and on the next day he was ordered to attack the Federal right, being extended southward west of the city. In this fight Manigault's brigade was again engaged. Capt. T. W. Getzen was in command of the Twenty-fourth, and after he and Captain Home were wounded, the gallant ‘Adjt. James O. Ferrell reported to General Manigault that all his captains were now wounded or killed, and the general ordered the adjutant himself to take command.’ The loss of the Twenty-fourth that day was 53. The Tenth was engaged with like gallantry, its commander, Lieut.-Col. C. Irvin Walker, falling painfully wounded. Lieuts. G. A. Jennison and W. E. Huger, of Manigault's staff, were among the wounded. The brigade made repeated assaults, and left dead and wounded within a few feet of the Federal intrenchments, but the Confederate battle was not successful.

The investment of Atlanta was actively pressed after the battles of the latter part of July to the 25th of August, 1864. During that period the Federal line was firmly established on the east, north and west of the city, and steadily pushed southwestward. On August 25th, Hood's line, west and south of Atlanta, had extended to cover East Point, on the Macon railroad, 5 miles distant from the city.

Early in August General Hood sent General Wheeler with half his cavalry force to operate on Sherman's railroad communications with Chattanooga. Satisfied of his ability to hold Atlanta and keep open his Macon communications, he was equally well satisfied that Wheeler's success would compel Sherman to assault or raise the [333] siege and recross the Chattahoochee. But Sherman had already determined to raise the siege, to intrench one of his corps on the Chattahoochee to guard his supplies and protect that crossing, and to throw the Federal army first on the West Point and then on the Macon road, south of Atlanta. After an ineffective cavalry expedition, Sherman's movement began on the night of the 25th, and by the morning of the 28th nearly his whole army was in position on the West Point railroad, tearing up the track from East Point to Fairburn. Finishing this work of destruction on the 29th, Howard and Thomas were ordered to march on the 30th across to the Macon road and take possession of General Hood's only remaining railroad communications. Howard's destination was Jonesboro, 20 miles south of Atlanta.

Meanwhile General Hood had been uncertain as to the real character of the Federal general's movements, but supposed his main force was actually recrossing the Chattahoochee in retreat. Not until the evening of the 30th was General Hood convinced that his rear was seriously attacked. General Hardee was then ordered to march immediately with his own and Lee's corps, and to attack and drive across Flint river the force reported to be marching for Jonesboro. The head of Hardee's corps reached Jonesboro about sunrise, and the last of Lee's corps did not arrive before 1 p. m. Howard had crossed Flint river with one corps in the afternoon of the 30th, and occupied and fortified a ridge of high ground parallel with the railroad and between the river and Jonesboro. He could just as well have occupied the hamlet of Jonesboro and intrenched himself across the coveted railroad facing the city of Atlanta, for he had nothing to oppose his army but a brigade of cavalry. But he was deceived by reports that Jonesboro was occupied by a large force of infantry. Before ‘bedtime’ of the 30th, General Howard had two corps in position, the Fifteenth east and the Sixteenth west of the river. Early on the morning [334] of the 31st the Seventeenth corps came up, and his army of the Tennessee was ready for battle.

As the troops of Hardee and Lee arrived on the 31st, they were quickly put in line of battle facing west, and immediately confronting the Fifteenth corps, commanded by Gen. John A. Logan. Lee's corps occupied the right, the divisions of Patton Anderson (including Manigault's brigade) and Stevenson in front, and Clayton's in reserve. Hardee's corps, commanded by General Cleburne, occupied the left, the divisions of Bate (under J. C. Brown) and Cleburne (under Lowrey) in front, and Cheatham's (under General Maney, and including Gist's brigade) in reserve. General Hardee ordered the attack to begin on the extreme left by Lowrey, to be followed up from left to right, Lowrey and Brown wheeling to their right and Lee attacking directly in front. Lowrey engaged the skirmishers in his front at 3 o'clock, and Lee, hearing his fire, led his corps forward. Lee was repulsed, but Lowrey on the extreme left was brilliantly successful, driving the enemy in his front across the river. He established his line on the east bank of the river, but the attack having failed on his right, he was recalled to his original position. Patton Anderson's division was conspicuous in the attack of Lee's corps. He was severely wounded and his division suffered heavily. Persuaded of the certain advance of General Thomas, and interpreting General Howard's defensive attitude as indicative of his near approach, Hardee wisely decided not to risk another assault and also stood on the defensive.

In the attacks, right and left, the brigades of Manigault and Gist were each in the line of support to the line of attack. Gist's brigade (commanded by Lieut.-Col. James McCullough, General Gist being absent wounded) was on the extreme left of Cheatham's division, and followed Lowrey's advance; but was not actively engaged and suffered only 4 casualties. Manigault had a more exciting experience. His brigade for this engagement [335] was assigned to Clayton's division, supporting Anderson and Stevenson. General Clayton describes the attack of the front line as wanting in dash and persistency. Ordered up on its first repulse, Manigault on his left, Holtzclaw next, and Gibson on his right, Clayton led his division with spirit. Encountering a rail fence, parallel to his advance, and the enemy's rifle-pits near it, a large part of the division halted at these obstructions to return the enemy's fire of musketry and canister which raked their ranks. To this circumstance the repulse of the division was due. ‘Never (says General Clayton) was a charge begun with such enthusiasm terminated with accomplishing so little.’

Gibson led the brigade with the Confederate battleflag in his grasp, and lost half his men. Manigault on the left was equally unsuccessful. This was the experience of each division in the assault with the one exception of Cleburne's, led by Lowrey. The whole attack was most unsatisfactory and disappointing. The troops went forward with spirit, but were soon discouraged and halted behind any and every obstruction to reply to the enemy's fire. This was fatal to the attack, though much determination and courage were shown by fighting from shelter, or even in the open. The corps of Hardee and Lee were physically unfit for the heroic exertion demanded of them on the 31st of August. To expect men who are worn out physically and wanting food, to carry intrenchments held by equal numbers, is unreasonable. The great Jackson failed to push his corps across White Oak swamp and join the battle at Frayser's farm, and his friend and biographer explains this unusual want of his characteristic energy by telling of his absolute physical exhaustion. However much we may deplore the disappointing results of the battle of the 31st of August, no true man, who knew the men who failed there, would charge their failure to a lack of spirit or courage.

The situation on the night of the 31st was critical. [336] Thomas' two corps were on the railroad in the rear of Howard and in supporting distance, and Schofield, with another corps, having eluded Hood at East Point, was in supporting distance of Thomas, on the railroad at Rough and Ready. Thus Sherman had thrown his entire army (the Twentieth corps excepted) between General Hood and the two corps at Jonesboro, and was hard at work breaking up the Macon railroad. Hood was holding on to Atlanta with Stewart's corps, and the militia of Georgia, the latter under Gen. G. W. Smith. Hearing late at night of the 31st, of Howard's success in repelling Hardee, Sherman at once ordered everything against Jonesboro, while General Hood directed Hardee to return Lee's corps to Atlanta, saying: ‘There are some indications that the enemy may make an attempt upon Atlanta to-morrow.’ The execution of this order exposed Lee to what seemed almost certain capture, and left Hardee to defend the supplies and ordnance trains of the army and the very existence of the army itself, against the whole of the force of General Sherman. Lee left Hardee before day on September 1st. That he succeeded in reaching General Hood, with Thomas and Schofield directly in his front, is a wonderful comment on the value of bypaths and a brilliant testimony to Lee's skill in finding them.

Hardee made the best possible disposition of his three divisions of infantry, and his small cavalry force, and stood behind such a defensive line as he could make. The troops worked all night of the 31st, the entire corps being in position from the railroad (a deep cut) on the right, to a position covered by cavalry on the left, and north of the hamlet of Jonesboro, Lowrey on the right, Brown in the center and Carter (Anderson) on the left. Gist's South Carolina and Georgia brigade was on the extreme left flank. The whole line was in one rank. From sunrise, Howard was threatening attack, with three corps in position, and his artillery commanding every part of [337] Hardee's line. The Confederates took the shelling patiently and worked hard upon their line of defense, well aware of the responsibility of their position.

At the railroad on the right the line was turned back, almost parallel with the deep railroad cut which passed through the ridge, north and south, on which Hardee's line was formed. This turn in the line was made to meet a fire from the opposite side of the cut, which was densely wooded, with a growth of small trees. The cut was too deep to be crossed at that point. About 1 o'clock Gist's brigade was ordered from the left, and put in position in one rank in the wood just described, by the lieutenant-general in person, and charged with the defense of the right flank. The Second battalion Georgia sharpshooters, Maj. R. H. Whiteley, and the Twenty-fourth South Carolina, Col. Ellison Capers, occupied the position at the railroad cut, and Colonel Capers was specially charged with its defense. On the right of the Twenty-fourth was the Sixteenth South Carolina and on its right the Forty-sixth Georgia. The men climbed up the smaller trees, bent them down, cut across the trunks with their pocket knives, and made a first-rate abatis of small trees, interlaced, covering the front for some distance. A barricade of rails, small trees, and timbers brought up from a settlement in rear, was quickly made, and these preparations saved the right when the attack came.

Early in the afternoon, the Fourteenth corps, of Thomas' army, came up and took position between the railroad and Howard's left. Still later, at 4 o'clock, the Fourth corps came up, and the leading division, Kimball's, deployed in front of Gist's brigade. At 5 o'clock Newton's division, of the Fourth corps, got into position in the woods on Kimball's left, the two divisions far overlapping Gist's brigade, and extending a quarter of a mile beyond the right flank of Hardee's position. General Sherman's plan of attack was to assault with the Fourteenth and Fourth corps, and send the Seventeenth [338] (Blair's) around Hardee's left flank to his rear, on the railroad, assured by these combinations of his certain capture. Davis brought his corps (Fourteenth) up in handsome style, about 4 o'clock, concentrated his assault on Lowrey, carried the position on the railroad, and captured most of Govan's brigade, with its brigadier-general and two 4-gun batteries. The brigade on Govan's left, Granbury's, threw back its right and defended itself on that flank and in the front. Lowrey and Hardee were promptly on the scene. Vaughan's brigade was brought up from Cheatham's division, and with the Fifth and Fifteenth Arkansas of Govan's brigade, charged the position of the enemy in Govan's line, recaptured most of it and confined the assaulting force to the position immediately on the railroad, from which they fired directly down Lowrey's line. Meanwhile the assaults in front were unsuccessful.

Simultaneous with the attack of Davis, Kimball's skirmishers east of the railroad engaged those of Gist's brigade, and at 5 o'clock an assault was made which fell on Whiteley's sharpshooters and Capers' regiment. Davis' troops on the west side of the cut fired into Whiteley's flank, and he withdrew his battalion from the barricade. Kimball's troops pushed up and occupied Whiteley's position, and drove back the three left companies of the Twenty-fourth South Carolina. On the left of his regiment Colonel Capers had made a barricade of logs, at right angles to the line, as a protection against a fire from the west side of the cut. Assisted by the adjutant-general of the brigade, Maj. B. B. Smith, and Lieutenant Holmes, adjutant of the Twenty-fourth, Colonel Capers rallied his companies, which, led by their commanding lieutenants, Easterling (Company B), Beckham (Company G) and Seigler (Company K), charged the barricade, drove Kimball's men out, and reoccupied their positions. Turning on the position which the sharpshooters had vacated, Major Smith and Lieutenants [339] Easterling and Beckham, with Companies B and K, immediately attacked it, and Major Whiteley bringing up his battalion in gallant style, the whole left of Gist's brigade was re-established and the enemy driven to the bottom of the ridge. In this battle the brave Maj. D. F. Hill, of the Twenty-fourth, was killed, while directing the fire of the left of the regiment. It was now growing dark, and the lieutenant-general in person rode up and congratulated Colonel Capers on the success of his regiment. The commander of the Fourth corps, General Stanley, in his report explained his delayed attack as ‘in part owing to the dense undergrowth in front of the enemy, and further, to the slow progress the skirmishers made in pushing back those of the enemy. Grose and Kirby both reported that they could not carry the position in their front owing to the perfect entanglement made by cutting down the thick undergrowth in front of the rail barricade the rebels had hastily thrown up.’ This was the entanglement made by Gist's men with their pocket-knives. General Stanley continues: ‘Newton's division had a much longer circuit to make and when moved forward the right brigade (Wagner's) found no enemy in front [Wagner was far to the right and on the rear of Gist's right regiment], but received a fire from the rear of their right flank.’ This was from the right of the Forty-sixth Georgia. That regiment and the Sixteenth South Carolina kept up a steady fire in their front and on their flanks, that of the Sixteenth materially assisting the Twenty-fourth in its contest over the left barricades.

Night came on and it was unusually dark, so that the active fighting ceased. Hardee had stood the shock and held his position, with the single exception of Govan's brigade front, and that had been in part gallantly restored under his eye. About midnight General Hardee had successfully left his lines, and by daylight of the 2d he was in line of battle at Lovejoy, 5 miles in the rear of [340] Jonesboro, with all trains packed and his weary and heroic battalions hard at work on a defensive line.

It is of this battle on the 1st and of its results, that General Hood reported to Richmond: ‘Hardee's corps was attacked in position at Jonesboro. The result was the loss of eight guns and some prisoners. Hardee then retired to Lovejoy's Station, where he was joined by Stewart's and Lee's corps.’ No dates were given by General Hood. Stewart and Lee did not reach Lovejoy's until the evening of the 3d, and Sherman's advance was deploying in Hardee's front by sunrise on the 2d. A battle was successfully fought all that day by the pickets, and again on the 3d, so that when Stewart and Lee came up from Atlanta on General Hardee's right rear, the Federal line of battle had been held at bay and the Confederate commander had only to strengthen a well-chosen position by the reinforcement of Lee's and Stewart's corps. If the attack of August 31st was disappointing, surely the splendid defense of September 1st, the successful retreat to Lovejoy's and the defiant resistance of a single corps on the 2d and 3d, with the safety of the trains, ought to have cheered the heart of the commanding general and inspired a gallant soldier's commendation.

Following these events, Sherman retreated to Atlanta, Hood concentrated his army at Palmetto, near the Chattahoochee, Hardee was supplanted by Cheatham in corps command, and General Gist took command of Cheatham's division. In Manigault's brigade, of Edward Johnson's division, the Tenth South Carolina was under command of Lieut.-Col. C. Irvine Walker, the Nineteenth of Capt. Thomas W. Getzen. Gist's brigade was commanded by Col. Ellison Capers, the Sixteenth regiment by Capt. John W. Boling, and the Twenty-fourth by Capt. W. C. Griffith.

On September 29, 1864, Cheatham's corps broke camp at Palmetto, crossed the Chattahoochee, and marched [341] northward on the west of Atlanta and Sherman's army. Gist's brigade camped on the road to Lost mountain on the 4th and 5th of October. After a dreadful night of storm, they marched through rain and mud on the Dalton road, and pushed on for the next three days through Van Wert, Cedartown and Cave Springs to Coosaville on the Coosa river, on the 9th. Thence marching through the beautiful valley of the Armuchee and through Sugar valley, they came before Dalton on the 13th at 1 p. m. General Hood summoned the fort, which surrendered after John C. Brown's division (including Gist's brigade) was ordered to carry it by assault.

Leaving Dalton on the afternoon of October 14th, Gist's brigade passed Rocky Face, through Mill Creek gap, familiar places to the soldiers of that army. After camping a night at Villanow, they resumed their march, passing Taylor's ridge through Ship's gap, and camped in the Chattooga valley. Early next morning, October 16th, Colonel Capers was ordered to march back with his regiment, and hold Ship's gap until ordered to retire. In disposing his regiment for the defense of the gap, Colonel Capers placed Companies A and F, Captains Steinmeyer and Sherard, under Captain Roddey, acting major, about a quarter of a mile in advance down the mountain, and instructed Roddey to deploy his companies, taking advantage of the woods, and to detain the enemy as long as he could, falling back on the right and left of the regiment when pressed too hard. Colonel Capers, from an open place on the ridge, seeing the enemy's columns and counting seventeen flags, reported by courier to General Gist, who sent him a dispatch to hold the gap as long as he could, but not to lose his regiment. It was then about II o'clock, and Roddey was skirmishing heavily. Colonel Capers sent his adjutant-general, Holmes, to Roddey. Just as that officer had returned and was talking to the colonel, the enemy was heard to raise a shout from the direction of both flanks of Roddey's force, and [342] suddenly the firing ceased. In a few minutes some men of Companies A and F, who had escaped capture, came in and reported that the enemy had passed around each flank of their line, and charging from the rear had cut off Roddey and most of his command. Soon after this the Federals came up the mountain, and charged the Twenty-fourth, which was holding the gap with the right and left companies deployed to protect the flanks. The well-directed fire of the gallant Carolinians repulsed the attack. Learning soon after that a force was moving around to get in his rear, Colonel Capers conducted his regiment to the rear by the right flank, each company firing up to the moment of marching. At the foot of the ridge they were relieved by cavalry, and the regiment was conducted to the bivouac of the brigade on the Summerville road. The Twenty-fourth lost 4 officers and about 40 men in this spirited skirmish at Ship's gap. Captains Roddey, Steinmeyer and Sherard and Lieutenant Gray were captured with about half of the force they commanded. It could not be ascertained how many of those cut off were killed or wounded. Only 8 were wounded in the gap.

On the next day the march of Cheatham's corps was continued. On October 18th they crossed the line of Georgia and Alabama, and on the 21st halted at Gadsden, where they received their mail and drew blankets, clothing and shoes, not enough to supply all necessities, but to relieve the most needy. Twenty men of the Twenty-fourth were absolutely barefooted when they reached Gadsden. That evening General Hood communicated to the army his purpose to cross the Tennessee and march into that State. The route lay through the beautiful valley of the Tennessee, desolated by the enemy, and Hood addressed a field circular to the army, calling attention of the troops to the ruined homes on every hand and exhorting officers and men to resolutely vow the redemption of Tennessee from the grasp of the foe. It was [343] noted in the report of the colonel: ‘The circular was received by the Twenty-fourth with a hearty cheer, though many of the gallant soldiers who cheered were absolutely suffering for clothing and shoes.’

The march to the Tennessee, then across that river and on to Franklin, was through rain and mud and snow, with sometimes not more than three biscuits a day to the man. Yet the troops were cheerful and dutiful. Finally, on the afternoon of November 30th, they came upon the field at Franklin. Cheatham's corps was deployed on the left. The divisions were formed in two lines from right to left as follows: Cleburne's, Brown's and Bate's. In Brown's division, Gist's and Gordon's brigades occupied the front and Carter's and Strahl's the rear line. Stewart's corps was on the right of the pike. At 4 o'clock p. m. the two corps moved down the hills, Brown's division marching by the right flank of regiments until they had descended the slopes, then forming forward into line. As they advanced, the front line of the enemy was steadily driven back. Says Colonel Capers in his report:

Just before the charge was ordered, the brigade passed over an elevation, from which we beheld the magnificent spectacle the battlefield presented. Bands were playing, general and staff officers and gallant couriers were riding in front of and between the lines, a hundred flags were waving in the smoke of battle, and bursting shells were wreathing the air with great circles of smoke, while 20,000 brave men were marching in perfect order against the foe. The sight inspired every man of the Twenty-fourth with the sentiment of duty. As we were pressing back the enemy's advance forces, Lieut.-Col. J. S. Jones fell mortally wounded in front of the right of the regiment. General Gist, attended by Capt. H. D. Garden and Lieut. Frank Trenholm of his staff, rode down our front, and returning ordered the charge, in concert with General Gordon. In passing from the left to the right of the regiment, General Gist waved his hat to us, expressed his pride and confidence in the Twenty-fourth, and rode away in the smoke of the battle, never more to be seen [344] by the men he had commanded on so many fields. His horse was shot, and dismounting he was leading the right of the brigade when he fell pierced through the heart.

Thus died Gen. S. R. Gist, a gallant son of South Carolina, who had nobly defended on many a field the cause for which he now so heroically yielded up his life. But without a halt, his noble brigade pressed on, driving the advance force of the enemy pellmell into a locust abatis, where many were captured and sent to the rear. Colonel Capers, of the Twenty-fourth, fell wounded just before reaching the Union works. Gist's and Gordon's brigades charged on, reached the ditch of the main works and then mounted the parapet, on which the colors of the Twenty-fourth South Carolina were planted, and there remained.

Strahl's and Carter's brigades went gallantly to the assistance of Gist and Gordon. Though this line was torn to pieces by a terrible enfilade fire, by which Strahl and his entire staff were killed and Carter mortally wounded, there was no backward movement of the line. The gallant fellows pressed on to the ditch. Maj. B. Burgh Smith, of the brigade staff, who was commanding the Sixteenth South Carolina, was now the senior officer of the brigade, every superior officer being either killed or wounded. About 10:30 p. m. Lieut. James A. Tillman, of the Twenty-fourth, led his own company (I) and men from other companies of the regiment in a charge over the work, and captured the colors of the Ninety-seventh Ohio volunteer infantry and some 40 prisoners. The whole of Gist's brigade, Carolinians and Georgians, held their position against repeated attempts of the Federals to regain the works, until about midnight when the enemy retired, leaving the Confederates in possession of the bloody field of Franklin.1 The Tenth and Nineteenth [345] South Carolina, in Manigault's brigade, Edward Johnson's division, got into the battle late in the evening, but did their duty well.

Gen. Stephen D. Lee reported: ‘Brigadier-General Manigault, commanding a brigade of Alabamians and South Carolinians, was severely wounded while gallantly leading his troops to the fight, and of his two successors in command, Col. T. P. Shaw [Nineteenth South Carolina] was killed and Colonel Davis wounded. I have never seen greater evidence of gallantry than was displayed by this division under command of that admirable soldier, Maj.-Gen. Ed. Johnson.’

On no battlefield of the war was South Carolina more nobly illustrated by her gallant sons. But their valor was equaled by their endurance of hardships. ‘Once during the campaign,’ says Colonel Capers' report, ‘the men received as a ration three ears of corn to each man, and frequently we had nothing but cornmeal. But I am happy to report that no man deserted the flag of his regiment.’

The records are meager as to the battle of Nashville. In the great disaster that befell the Confederate arms at that place and the terrible hardships of the retreat, the South Carolinians bore their full share of peril and suffering, and maintained the honor of the gallant Palmetto State. [346]

1 Colonel Capers, in his report commended Lieutenant Tillman, who in turn praised the gallantry of Privates J. P. Blackwell, Anderson Walls and J. B. O. Carpenter. I would also mention specially the gallantry of Privates Prewett and Mock, both of whom were killed on the line of the enemy. Lieut. W. M. Beckham, acting adjutant; Captain Bowers, Lieuts. Claude F. Beaty, Adrian C. Appleby, C. D. Easterling, McDaniel, and Andrews were conspicuous in the field for their gallant conduct. Private Adam Carpenter bore the flag with courage and faithfulness, and Color-Corporals Jones and Morgan were both wounded. Lieutenants Weeks, Tatum and Millen were severely wounded. I would specially commend the gallantry and devotion of the litter corps under Private Joseph Breland. They kept up with the regiment and rendered prompt assistance to the wounded, several of them being themselves wounded on the field. At the close of the battle the ranking officer of the brigade was Captain Gillis, of the Forty-sixth Georgia. Of the general's staff Capt. H. D. Garden alone remained. When the generals and field officers of Gist's brigade were either killed or wounded, the company officers led their men in the assault upon the enemy's works.

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