Page images

memory, Mr. John R. Wickers, though both say it was not a sabre cut, as the animal was not then an army horse. Mr. Wickers says he was a capital horse for hunters, and was, as he phrases it, the best woods horse he ever saw, but not a sober harness horse.

Mr. Knight was afterwards carried to the residence of Hon. W. G. Brown, where his widow now resides, headquarters of General Sherman, who asked him a few questions, and then sent him back to be kept under guard. He remained from Saturday until Sunday night, when he made his escape.

From memoranda handed us we learn that Walter G. Knight was Orderly Sergeant of Company B, i2th Battalion Georgia Volunteers, Evan's Brigade, Gordon's Division, Erly's Corps, the old Stonewall Jackson's Command. He was captured July 1o, 1864, at Frederick City, Maryland; was paroled at Point Lookout the latter part of October, 1864. He has twenty-three scars on his body, and has a bullet that passed through his body. He was in nine different prisons, and escaped from three; he was once lost in the mountains, and was five days without anything to eat.

These are facts that can be proved, says Mr. Knight, and by common consent he made a good soldier.

The saddle and bridle that was captured was new, and was kept with great care; and now Mr. Knight says, as old Bob, this horse's rebel name, is now dead, he wishes Colonel Jones would send his saddle and bridle home. Yes, send it along; or a good new one would do, as he is not hard to satisfy.


The following sketch of every-day soldier life was furnished by Thompson P. Freeman, of Company F:

While at Camp Chase, I procured a pass to go out south of camp to the house of a farmer, where I had a pleasant time chatting with the old man and his attractive daughters. He invited me to stay for dinner, and, lacking the courage to decline, I accepted. Dinner being over, I accompanied the old man to his sorghum works, and spent part of the day in pleasant conversation and in watching the process of making molasses. I then returned to camp.

The same night some of that molasses broke guard, and actually took refuge in our tent. For days following we lacked nothing in the way of sweetening for our rations, nor did I ever return to the farm house to thank the old man for sweetening the mess.

Soon after our arrival at Camp Zanesville an incident occurred which ought to be recorded. A load of straw had arrived, and was being carried by the members of the regiment to their quarters for bedding. One of the drafted men came also, and took up an armful of straw, and was making off with it, when Colonel Wilcox ordered him to


lay it down. The man retorted by telling the Colonel to go to the place the way to which is said to be paved with good intentions, and where straw is presumed to be a perishable article, and was making off with his bundle of straw. Just at that moment the Colonel's foot flew up and took the drafted man where it would do the most good, and established the reputation of the Colonel as a kicker.

The man went his way, and it is not probable that he afterwards enlisted in the 113th and slept on straw.

While a squad of us were picketing at Franklin, an incident occurred about milking time in the morning. Seeing a cow near a house, one of the men went and asked for milk. Failing in procuring it at the house, he determined to milk the cow. He said the first thing he ever did was to milk, and that he knew all about milking a

He found the cow unused to being milked after the Yankee idea, and, in his efforts to anchor her for the purpose, he caught her tail and called on me to assist. I stepped in front of her; she gave a quick turn by the left flank, and, the milk-hungry soldier at her tail losing the line of march, went whirling down the hill at a rate that threatened his destruction. The cow returned to her fodder, and the pickets at that post drank black coffee for breakfast.

During that little affair at Triune I remember how gracefully we all bowed whenever a cannon shot came screeching over us, but when we reached our trenches at the top of the hill, we could see the smoke of the enemy's guns, and trace the course of the shots as they came whistling toward us. As General Gordon Granger sat on his horse watching the progress of the action, a shot from the guns of the enemy cut off the limb of a tree, which fell close to his feet. He never took his eye off the enemy, but, jumping from his horse, he requested one of the gunners to let him try a shot, and, permission being granted, he emptied a number of saddles of their rebel riders in a manner that showed him to be a practical gunner.

At Chickamauga, September 20, 1863, Company F, of which I was a member, was on the picket line. Captain Levi T. Nichols was in command, and we were advancing through a cornfield, when“ zip, zip,” came the bullets from the left, striking the cornstalks on every hand. We were nearing some timber, and by the time we reached it the cannon shots of the enemy were coming from our front, striking the ground sometimes and bounding high in air, or go crashing through the timber at a dangerous rate. While we lay for a brief time crouched behind trees to cover us from the enemy, more than one incident took place among the men of the company. One of them, whose reputation for bravery had been below par, shook as with a chill, and whimpered: “I never thought I would come to this; how I wish I was at home.” In subsequent actions he distinguished himself for bravery and soldierly bearing.

The cannonading ceased, and our company resumed its place in the regiment, capturing two prisoners who had hid in a hollow. After we returned, and had taken our place, the troops in front of us were ordered to charge the enemy in our front, while our line was ordered to lie down at the foot of the hill. Almost immediately we were ordered to charge over the same ground, and, as we advanced on double quick, we met the first line falling back, having been over powered by the enemy. Many of these were falling as they came, and it seemed to me they were being killed by our fire.

I determined not to fire until I got a fair view of a Johnnie. I waited but a moment, for off to the left oblique I saw

a rebel step from behind a tree, at the distance of twenty-five or thirty yards, and point his gun in the direction where I stood. I drew up my gun, aiming at his whole body, intending to hit him somewhere, but my gun snapped and refused to fire. I tried a second cap, and it snapped. Seeing that my left-hand comrade was shot, I took up his gun and discharged it at the rebel at the tree. Presently I observed that there was no one at my immediate left, and was on the point of turning back, thinking I was alone, when I heard Lieutenant Wheelock give the command : “Stand up to them, boys; don't give an inch." Turning to my right, I found the rest of the company completely in line and doing desperate work. I now began to reload my gun, and in doing so I received a musket shot through my right wrist, completely disabling me from further duty. Lieutenant Wheelock was shot through the lungs about the same time, from the effects of which he died the next day. I now attempted to leave the field, dragging my gun with me with my left hand. I at length abandoned my gun, and went to the rear to find a surgeon. I soon found one, and was about speaking to him, when a shell of the enemy exploded uncomfortably near us. He suggested that we had better get beyond the range of those guns, and I agreed with him. We hurried off, crossing a ravine, and halting behind a tree. Having two handkerchiefs, i bound one tightly around my wrist and made the other into a sling to support my wounded arm. I made an effort to go on and find an ambulance, but, in doing so, I fainted and fell. The fall, together with the voice of a comrade near by, revived me so that I got up, and, standing against a tree, soon recovered so as to be able to go on in search of an ambulance. I was advised to go to the field hospital, but, after a fruitless effort to find it, I set out to return to our former camp, which I reached about sundown. I had walked seven miles, and was exhausted from fatigue and loss of blood.

Going to a spring near by, I sat down with the intention of bathing and dressing my wound, when a couple of Indiana soldiers came along, and, learning that I was wounded, one of them bathed and dressed my wound quite skillfully, and I then learned for the first time the dangerous character of my injury. The hand was almost severed from the arm by a minnie ball. At the regiment to which these two men belonged I drank some coffee, and felt much refreshed. Then I went in search of the 113th, for, having learned that the whole army had fallen back, I presumed they would be in the valley somewhere. I failed to find the regiment, but, finding two wounded comrades of the 113th, one being wounded in the head and the other in the shoulder, I proposed to them that we have some supper. We prepared and drank some coffee, and then, gathering together some corn stalks where the mules had been fed, we made our bed, with one army blanket under us and an oil cloth over us. (I had lost both my blankets in the charge early in the afternoon.) Next morning, being unable to find our regiment, and knowing that our wounded were being sent to Chattanooga, we prepared to go in that direction, but, finding a surgeon of an Illinois regiment, we had our wounds dressed by him. I procured some water for the purpose, and, admitting that the wounds of the other two men were more serious than mine, I waited till the last. He told me that mine was a terrible wound, and that I must not be surprised if it required amputation. He then ordered an ambulance, into which we were loaded, and, after a dusty ride of a few miles, we reached the hospital at Chattanooga. This building was already full, so we were taken to a brick building which had been prepared for us. We were among the first to occupy it, but in less than two hours it was full of wounded and dying. I never again wish to witness a scene of such distress and suffering as that hospital presented.

The same afternoon an order was issued requiring all who could walk to cross the river and be prepared to take a train for Bridgeport. We remained two nights and a day awaiting the arrival of a train, and, when it came, it was not a train of cars with comfortable coaches and easy, cushioned seats. It was a train of army wagons, such as we had seen used to transport supplies. I filled my canteen with water, and nerved myself to walk, thinking I could ride whenever I chose to do so. I found out that walking was the most agreeable, for the roads were mountainous and dusty beyond description.

The second day at noon we reached a small village, where I learned that a resident physician would dress my wound. I went to him and showed him my wound. He told me it was very dangerous and it would probably never heal, and that the hand would have to come off sooner or later. He dressed it very carefully and put new bandages on it, and when I offered to pay him declined taking any compensation, saying he took great pleasure in doing what he could for the Union soldiers. We moved on and reached Bridgeport that evening. During the day I lost a large tin cup which I prized very highly, having carried it all the way from Camp Chase.

At Bridgeport I applied to a surgeon to have my arm dressed, but after learning that it had been dressed that day and that I had kept it dampened continually with cold water, he said that as so many needed surgical attention worse than I did, that I must try and wait till we arrived at Nashville. At 11 o'clock that night a train arrived to take us to Nashville. It was a train of box cars, but it was better than army wagons. We piled in like so many hogs and were soon moving northward, arriving at Nashville on the afternoon of the next day, four days after the battle. I entered Cumberland Hospital September 24, 1863. The next morning all who could walk were ordered to go to the dining hall to eat, but I remained in my quarters, where I received extra diet of eggs and other delicacies. I remained here sixty days, my wound healing well in that time. On the 23d of November, 1863, I received a furlough for thirty days, arriving at home on Thanksgiving Day, November 25. On the oth of December I was examined by Dr. Sinnett, of Granville, and received a certificate of disability for forty days, and on the 14th of January, 1864, I received another certificate for thirty days. On the 16th of February I went to Columbus, and finding Colonel James A. Wilcox, the first colonel of our regiment, who was at the time provost marshal, I told him my situation and asked his advice. He gave me a note to the officer at Camp Tod. This officer proposed to send me to Nashville, but advised me first to see the examining surgeon. This officer proposed sending me to Nashville, also; but I protested and urged him to send for my papers which were at Nashville, and allow me to remain in Ohio. He then wrote me an order of admission to the Seminary Hospital, Columbus. On the 22d of February I wrote to the officer in charge of Cumberland Hospital, Nashville, asking for my papers. These came in due time. I remained in the Seminary Hospital till March 2d, 1864, when I was transferred to Camp Dennison. A few days after my arrival at Camp Dennison I was examined by the post surgeon, who said that gangrene had set in on my wound, but he hoped to be able to scatter it. By carefully following his instructions my wound was soon much improved, and by the 28th of March it had become so much better that I was recommended for a discharge, but it was not till the 25th of April, 1864, that I received it.

I am now a citizen of a great and free country, and I am proud of the humble part I have taken to restore the Union and establish a lasting and permanent peace.


Marysville, 0.


There belonged to Company B, 113th O. V. I.,-a regiment raised in the neighborhood of Columbus in 1862—two young men, both of whom enlisted from the little suburban village of Reynoldsburg. Both were good soldiers, attending to such duty as was imposed upon them without any more than the usual amount of complaint, and in battle behaved as well as the average. Time rolled on, and everything went as merry as such uncertain times would permit. One day both of these young men were sitting in company quarters, trying to fit a pair of government brogans to their delicate little feet, when the following conversation passed between them:

Well, John, I think these brogans will be the last Uncle Sam will have to furnish us, as before they are worn out, this 'cruel war will

« EelmineJätka »