previous next


Colonel Rates's regiment at the
battle of Shiloh.

[from an Occasional correspondent.]
Montgomery, Ala., June 7, 1862.
While Beauregard and I were gaining that brilliant victory at Corinth, without fighting or letting the enemy or our own army know anything about it, I was gathering materials for a history of the battle of Shiloh from some of the heroic actors and survivors of that bloody, brilliant day. I am not joking about Beauregard's ‘"victory,"’ because the retreat was a great triumph, if measured by its success, and the injury and loss inflicted on the enemy, which some of them, in spite of Halleck's lies, have had the grace to confess. We certainly ‘"surprised"’ them, as well as ourselves. We lost some of our sick, who, in consequence of the ‘"fall back."’ of course had a ‘"relapse. "’

But, as to Shiloh, many incidents we hear daily which illustrate the undying (?) devotion of our soldiers to our holy cause, and prove how idle is the empty hope of Northern hordes to conquer by superior numbers the gallant army we oppose to them. Let me furnish an example in a hurried recital of the brave deeds of one regiment, which was among the first to rush from. Tennessee to the border of Virginia, where, for ten months, it labored and endured; and many of its officers endeared themselves to the people of Fredericksburg, and that section of our State. I allude to the 2nd regiment of Confederate States Tennessee Volunteers, commanded by Colonel W. B. Bates. It was called a rebel regiment, tendered before Tennessee had yet seceded, and in service in Virginia before its members had voted in camp in favor of secession. A noble regiment it was — its officers and men of the flower of Tennessee--gentlemen of position, wealth and character, and numbering more than 1,000 strong. I select it for another reason. After Nashville had fallen and Tennessee had been abandoned, it was asserted that some of the twelve months volunteers had deserted, and consequent unjust criticism was indulged in by indiscreet partisans of regiments from other States. Indeed the foolish were often guilty of absurd comparisons and harsh judgments upon soldiers from the several States, instead of urging each to do its duty and encouraging a noble rivalry to excel. ‘"Place my regiment," ’ said a gallant Tennessee Colonel to General Sidney Johnston, two evenings before the battle, ‘"in the presence of our own noble Governor, between a Mississippi and an Alabama regiment, and I will show you that Tennessean will lead where any will dare follow. "’ Tersely was the promise fulfilled at Shiloh. Col. Bates's regiment was ordered to a position where a double duty was required, which I have not the military terms to explain. However, in obeying the order they found themselves under the fire of a battery and five regiments of the enemy's infantry.--Undismayed these gallant Tennesseeans charge the superior force and fire upon them. Enfiladed by the enemy's fire, one fourth of this apparently doomed battalion fall at the very onset.--Their brave and heroic Major Doak reels from his horse, and before yet a friend can reach him to catch his dying words, life had fled forever. I've company commanders, three of whom died instantly, and the others prostrated by the severity of their wounds, fell at the same time,--also, four Lieutenants, two of whom were killed. Then came the terrific grandeur of this scene of carnage. Quickly rallied by their gallant Colonel, in view of their dead and dying comrades, the survivors form a line as coolly as on dress parade. The Colonel appoints officers in place of the fallen. They follow him, and in view of the brigade which had then come to their assistance, they charge and take the battery which was hurling its tempest of fire and hail upon them. In this charge Col. Bates fell severely wounded, and though comrade after comrade falls around them, they pursue their deadly purpose, and drive the superior forces of the enemy before them. Notwithstanding all this loss — Colonel, Major, half their Captains, many Lieutenants, and one-fourth the rank and file killed and wounded — on they fought all that day and the next under command of their chivalric Lieut. Col. Goodall.

One melancholy incident shows how whole families fall victims and sacrifices in this war. Captain Humphrey Bate of Sumber county, was shot down in the first charge, gallantly leading his men. Four of his relatives were killed or wounded. His brother-in-law, Captain Jos. P. Tyree, was instantly killed at his side. His brother, Col. Bates, fell wounded in the leg. Side by side, upon the same couch, lay these two brothers, one mortally, the other dangerously wounded. But before the battle is over, the affecting conversation between them ceases, and the Captain's lifeless body tells the Colonel that death has closed all communion upon earth. It is singular that Maj. Doak's only brother, in another regiment was also killed. Lieut. Commanding N. D. Collins was wounded. Lieut. Charlton lost an arm. Time fails me to record other names of officers and privates, whose conspicuous gallantry deserves honorable mention. Enough has been said to prove that the friends of this regiment in Virginia and Tennessee were not mistaken in their high estimate of its courage and good conduct. A Virginian. Lieut. Akers, of Lynchburg, belonged to Co. A.--He was reported killed, but I accidentally learned in Columbus form one of our escaped surgeons that he accompanied Lieut. A. to Cincinnati as prisoner, and he was recovering from his wound and doing well three weeks after the fight. I expect to have the pleasure of communicating this to his father on my return to Lynchburg. Col. Bates's many friends in Virginia will be pleased to learn that he has not lost his leg, and is doing well in Columbus, Miss. His abilities, as well as his services, richly entitle him to promotion.

L.

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 Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Tennessee (Tennessee, United States) (5)
United States (United States) (1)
Columbus, Ky. (Kentucky, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

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.
W. B. Bates (5)
Doak (2)
G. T. Beauregard (2)
Joseph P. Tyree (1)
Rates (1)
Sidney Johnston (1)
Halleck (1)
Goodall (1)
Tennessee Colonel (1)
N. D. Collins (1)
Charlton (1)
Humphrey Bate (1)
Akers (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.
June 7th, 1862 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: