by W.A. Day, Sherrill’s Ford, N.C.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS Reminiscences of An Old Soldier Of the Brave Old Days W.A. Day, Sherrill’s Ford, N.C. #1 The Landmark, Statesville, N.C., November 28, 1933 This paper will publish “Reminiscences of an Old Soldier of the Brave Old Days”, written by W.A. Day of Sherrill’s Ford, Catawba Co., who was a member of Company I, 49th Regiment. Mr. Day is 89 years old and is in fine physical health for his age. He is mentally alert and interested not only in things that happened during his life but what is going on now. Mr. Day has set aside one room of his home in which he has a collection of old books, magazines, and other literature to which he is attached. This he has methodically arranged and is well preserved. He has a number of other relics among which is a bell from the first court house of Iredell County. To most of these relics he has attached a legend. Believing that Mr. Day’s war reminiscences will be of general interest, the Statesville Daily and the Landmark will publish them in installments. We believe our readers will find in Mr. Day’s history a freshness and interest not found in the common run of histories. Rambles of an Old Soldier I love to tell and talk about Company I, that grand old company to which I had the honor of belonging. I was in the company at the beginning and also at the end. We were in the 49th North Carolina Regiment at the beginning and also at the end. Captain Chenault was our first commander and led the company in that whirlwind of death at Malvern Hill. He died at Petersburg. Ramseur was our first colonel, a man who ranked with Marshall Ney as the bravest of the brave. He knew almost every man in the regiment, who told us he did not want a man to go where he would not lead but where he led every man must go. He said he could tell a coward by looking at his face and he saw no cowardly faces in the 49th. Badly wounded at Malvern Hill, he was promoted to brigadier and then major general and he lost his life leading his men in the valley of Virginia. He said the 49th put the stars on his collar and wanted to take us with him when promoted but General Ransom would not let us go. The last time we saw him he was leading us in battle. Lt. Col. Lee M. McAfee was promoted to colonel and held the command to the end. CHAPTER 1 LEAVING HOME We bade goodbye to home and friends on the first day of April, 1862 and had a pleasant jaunt to Raleigh where we arrived on the night of the 9th, all safe and sound, except for a few who had been scratched up in a railroad wreck near Company Shops, now Burlington. Some of the boys vowed that they would never ride on a train again. Captain Fleming’s company from Burke and McDowell companies, Captain Moore’s from Iredell and our company, Capt. Chenault from Catawba, all went down to Raleigh together. Arriving at Raleigh at night, there were no quarters prepared for us, and we had to stand out in the rain until we tramped the ground into mortar and then found a pile of railroad wood, threw down the mud and lay on it until morning. This was our first hard night. We were all heavily armed with Bowie knives, made out of worn files. I was armed with a large Bowie knife and a double barreled pistol. When I fired it, both barrels would go off together. I could not hit a barn door with it. The next morning was cloudy but the rain had ceased. We were granted permission to go into the city. We were shown all through the capitol and the grounds around it but the prettiest thing I saw was a stack of money in the treasurer’s office. It was in sheets in a foot square, fresh from the plates and had never but cut apart. We went back to the depot and waited there for orders. About 10:00 we set out on our first march to Camp Mangum, about four miles. It was amusing to see the men in their long tailed coats, plodding through the mud with as many quilts and bed clothes as they could carry flung over their shoulders and grumbling about the hard march. We were wet, cold, and hungry and really tired when we reached Camp Mangum. CHAPTER 2 OUR FIRST CAMP Camp Mangum was four miles out from Raleigh and was our first camp. We were quartered in good log houses with a wide fire place enough to quarter a regiment. They were built in rows with wide streets which we had to keep swept off clean. Rations were soon issued, consisting of flour, pickled beef and rice. Some of the beef had round ribs. The four gallon kettle served for water buckets as well as for cooking. The beef was in barrels and very salty. The boys called it pickled mule but only a few barrels of it had round ribs. We could not get our bread right, it was either razor hones or charcoal. We had to begin to eat the rice as soon as it began to cook as we generally filled the camp kettle full and when it began to boil it began to run over. On our arrival, we found six companies who had arrived a few days before us and with the four who came with us, made enough to form a new regiment, which was organized on the 14th April, 1862 and numbered 49, with the following companies: Company A, Captain Fleming from Burke & McDowell Counties Company B, Captain Corbett, Cleveland County Company C, Captain Chambers, Rowan County Company D, Captain Black, Moore County Company E, Captain Moore, Iredell County Company F, Captain Davis, Mecklenburg County Company G, Captain Roberts, Cleveland County Company H, Captain Petty, Gaston County Company I, Captain Chenault, Catawba County Company K, Captain Baxter, Lincoln County Captain Fleming who had been in the service and knew something about the rules of promotion, had his company lettered “A” so he would be first in line for promotion when a vacancy occurred. The field officers were selected by the company officers, the private soldiers having nothing to do with it. S.D. Ramseur, a native of Lincoln Co., N.C., a West Point graduate and an officer in the old army, who had resigned his commission and offered his services to his native southland, was elected colonel; W.E. Eliason of Iredell, Lt. Colonel; L.M. McAfee of Cleveland Major Lt.; Richmond, Adjutant; Dr. Ruflin Chief Surgeon; and John Landon, ensign. Col. Eliason soon resigned and Major McAfee was promoted to lieutenant colonel and Captain Fleming went up to major. The organization of the 49th was soon complete. That evening we had our first roll call. Only the surnames were used alphabetically by the orderly sergeant. He soon learned by heart all the names and ran over them as fast as he could call them. We were clothed in brand new uniforms from head to foot. The coats were of grey cloth with stiff collars and a row of brass buttons from top to bottom. On the shoulder were straps an inch wide fastened at each end with small brass buttons. On each side where the buttons passed through were two more straps fastened in the same way. The pants were made of strong grey cloth with no stripes. Our caps were stiff lined, straight up in front and sloped behind, flat on top and a stiff brim square out in front with a leather band reaching half way around, fastened at ends by small brass buttons. Full stock shoes with low quarters, socks so thin and sleazy we wore them out in a few days. Heavy blankets for each man, knapsacks, haversacks and tin canteens holding three pints. The officers wore frock coats with two rows of brass buttons from the waist to the chin. They had to buy their uniforms. To distinguish the rank the colonel wore three stars on each side of his collar; the lieutenant colonel two and the major one. The commissioned company officers wore stripes on their collars and the non commissioned officers strips on their arms above the elbow. The generals wore three stars with gold wreathes around them. I was 18 years old then. How proudly I stepped in my close fitting uniform. There was nothing in the world like being a soldier, the only fear was that the war would end before we could get into the fight. Less then three months afterwards that fear was knocked out. In these ramblings, I shall dwell lightly on the horror of the battle and the shouts of the men as they rushed to the deadly conflict. What a splendid appearance we made when aligned on parade in our new uniforms, buttoned to the chin, 800 strong, most of us knowing nothing of war except what we had read. A few Mexican War veterans were scattered throughout the regiment and one who had served in the Crimean War—they knew something but the rest of us had everything to learn. I had read the life of General Francis Marion until I knew it by heart. I had read histories of the old Indian wars, the Revolution, the War of 1812 and the Mexican War but I had never heard a shell burst or a bullet whistle. We young boys talked of the good times we expected to have, a picnic indeed. We knew nothing of the weary and footsore marches, the lonely picket lines in the swamp, or the river banks or the nights in the snow without fires. All this was before us, and it was well we did not know. It might have dampened the ardor of our spirits. The older men shook their heads, the excitement had begun to wear off. Many of them had seen their homes for the last time. They were then in the army, to leave would be an act of desertion. Military laws were very strict and it is a soldier’s duty to obey. Comrades of Company I, comrades of the 49th Regiment, it is nearly sixty years since we lined up on parade at Camp Mangum and where are all of our members today? In my rambles I will answer that question myself. Their graves are all over the land. Some among kindred and friends, some in peaceful cemeteries in a strange land, some on the bloody fields where they fell and others in prison camps in the north. Our youngest boys then are grey headed now. In a few more years, there will be none. Comrades and friends, I am in my 89th year. Please pardon an old soldier for singing the praises of his regiment, the 49th N.C.; it had good men. It had been will trained by Ramseur and led by Fleming and Davis. It always went forward at command and never fell back unless ordered. Branch’s battery, which went with us all through the war, brave Virginians they were, said they always felt their guns safe when the 49th supported them in battle. We moved from the log houses to a large field a half mile distant where we were quartered in good tents with flyers over them which turned water like a shingled roof but were too crowded. I remember one night after we had gone to bed I raised up and could not get down in my place again. We were set to drilling and standing regular guard which put an end to the fiddling, dancing and loafing in the camps. The first time I stood guard I was sent out one night to take the place of one who was sick and put on post. Either through negligence or ignorance I was not given the countersign or any instructions whatever. My beat ran along an old road near a thicket of whip-poor-wills, singing whip-will’s widow. Soon after I heard footsteps approaching and swords rattling in the scabbards. They were officers inspecting the guard line. My heart gave an upward bound and commenced beating at a fearful rate, when within a few paces I managed between heartbeats to get out the word “Halt”. This was the wrong way to challenge in the dark. They halted. I stood there dumb as an oyster. They waited on me a few minutes and then asked me what my orders were. I told them I had no orders. At this, they laughed and asked if I did not have the countersign. I told them I had been put on post without instructions and did not know what to do. One of them came up and gave me the countersign which was “Corinth”. He told me how to give challenge, leaving me to repeat the words to myself until I had them perfectly. In a short time I heard another step coming. I braced myself and gave the challenge “who goes there?” The answer came back “friend” and the countersign. This gave me great relief and afterwards when on guard I had no fear. It was some time before we were armed, a few old, rusty, Queen Anne rifles kept at the guard house for the regular guard. We drilled every day and had review on Sunday. Every morning about sunrise the drum beat for roll call. In about an hour it beat sick call. The orderly sergeant in every company called out the sick man and marched him or them to the doctors quarters. If there was not much the matter, the doctor kept them on duty, if pretty sick he excused them from duty until the next morning. If very sick, he sent them to the hospital. The measles broke out in Camp Mangum. Dr. Ruffin had us drenched with red pepper tea and did not allow us any water. Oh, how we suffered! We parched with thirst. A man is hard to kill or Dr. Ruffin would have finished the last one of us who had the measles. We had squad drill lasting one hour and then company drill for two hours and in the evening battalion drill for three hours and then the whole regiment was drilled by the colonel on horseback and at sundown dress parade. At dress parade, we had to stand perfectly still, not allowed to cough or move hand or foot while the gnats flew in our eyes, mosquitoes sang in our ears and the flies crawled over our faces. All the time the adjutant was reading out the general orders. After the orders were read, we had a little time to defend ourselves. In the dress parade we drilled in the manual of arms. In our first battalion drill we were drilled by Lt. Col. Eliason. He was very strict. He ordered one man to the guard house three days for willfully, as he called it, taking a chew of tobacco while on parade. Roll call was at 8:00 at night, we formed in the street, the sergeant calling the roll, giving eh command, “break” and the day’s work was over only to be repeated the next day. We then had a free hour. The camp was alive with song and story. We had splendid singers in the regiment and the way they could sing our Southern songs was good to hear. At 9:00 – taps – lights out. Every fellow to his tent. Rations were plentiful. Great piles of old razor home bread and pickled beef crusted with salt were thrown away. We were told to sell all we did not use back to the government and get the government prices. We sold a few barrels but that was the last of it. We never got any of the pay. The first sick man in Company I was John German (Old Zip). Zip was a very sick man for a few days but remained in camp. He was a good soldier and a good forager. With the exception of a few days when laid up with a wound, he was never absent from the command. When the army fell back across the Potomac River after the Sharpsburg fight, Old Zip waded back twice one night after Maryland brandy. When the 49th Regiment was destroyed at the Battle of Five Forks, Old Zip made his escape and was will out of danger. Then he went back to the firing to a house where there was some brandy and while there the Yankees captured him. Reuben Gilliland and James Turner were sent to the hospital at Raleigh; both died and were buried there. This department was at the time commanded by General J.Q. Martin who had lost an arm in the Mexican War but had remained in the U.S. Army till the commencement of the war when he resigned and came home. He was a good horseman and always rode at a gallop. Part 2 In Their Own Words Remembrances of an Old Soldier of the Brave Old Days W.A. Day Sherrill’s Ford, N.C. #2 The Landmark, December 5, 1933 We were at last supplied with arms. Most of them were old muskets changed from flint lock to percussion—63 caliber and very rusty. The charge was an ounce of ball and three buck shot. They had the date 1782 stamped on the lock. Before we had any fighting to do they were exchanged for good Enfield and Springfield rifles. Col. Ramseur took great pride in the drill and pushed us through as rapidly as he could. He was anxious to get to Virginia where heavy fighting was expected. We boys soon learned the drill and the manual of arms but the older men who had drilled in the old militia were somewhat backward in learning. 1st Lt. Jeptha Sherrill came home and brought back a number of recruits for Company I. There was a great deal of sickness in the camp and those who were on duty were hardly able to perform it. When the 49th left Camp Mangum for Goldsboro, a sick camp or hospital was established near the Big Spring and left in charge of a young doctor. All who were not able to go off with the regiment were left there. An old Mexican War veteran had charge of the culinary department. He bought chicken and eggs and had everything prepared for the sick. A doctor came out from the city every few days and examined the men and sent to the regiment all who were fit for duty and furloughed all who were likely to be sick for some time. I had about gotten over the measles but was not yet able for duty. When the 49th struck tents for Goldsboro, several Company I boys were sent to the sick camp. They were going to send me but I wanted to go on with the regiment and they let me start. We marched to the railroad near the camp of the 52nd Regiment N.C. and lay there all evening awaiting transportation. Night coming on, cool and cloudy, Jim Hager and I asked leave to go up to the 52nd where we both had relatives. I slept in a tent with my cousin Joe Robinson who was a company commissary and had a tent to himself. We went to bed at taps and that was the last of me until next morning. The 49th was gone and Jim Hager and I left behind. Absent without leave. We went back to the 49th sick camp and reported to the doctor and were registered on the sick list. He told us to report to the commissary sergeant for rations to be issued to us. We were both just getting over the measles and were hungry all the time. I told the doctor we were hungry then. There was a large ham laying in the tent. He told us to cut out a slice but to be careful or we would eat too much and make ourselves sick again. Jim cut out a slice about the size of his hand, handed the knife to me and I cut one about half the size. The young doctor was standing by, threatening and ordering us not to cut such big slices or we would kill ourselves. We paid no attention to him. He had just as well talked to the wall. We took the meat to the camp, had it fried and with hot biscuits and chicken grave given us by the old Mexican War veteran we ate enough for four men. That night we were terribly sick. It was several days before I got well enough to walk about. Jim and I both kept up the Goldsboro fever and one day when the city doctor was out there, we concluded to make another trial. I started out and just before reaching the doctor’s tent, everything commenced turning around and looking green, I was soon blind. I caught the tent pole with both hands and held on until my dizziness ceased. The doctor asked me what I was doing there and what I wanted. I told him I wanted to go to Goldsboro. Goldsboro, indeed! He stormed—“go back to your tent and lay down.” I went back and did not get away until the camp was finally broken down. Jim Hager managed to get away somehow and went to Goldsboro, arriving there late in the night. He had to hunt around in the rain a long time before he found the regiment, was sent to the Goldsboro hospital the next day. He got up one night and killed himself drinking water and was buried the next day. Chapter III Camp Goldsboro Goldsboro is a beautiful city—in a lovely country near the Neuse River. At that time, it had a large car shed in the middle of the main street. Our camp was in a large field on the railroad a half mile west of the town. The hospital was a large frame building across the railroad from the camp. The 11th N.C.R., Colonel Leventhorpe, was also camped in the same field. An old Dutchman came down to the field to visit his sons and when he went home he told his wife the Yankees were a set of damned fools. He said he had seen two fields of men down in Goldsboro and every one of them had a gun. It was told on the old man that he went to Petersburg and saw a large steam boiler lying in the street. He thought it was a cannon. This surprised him more than ever. To think the Yankees should pretend to whip the South when they had two fields full of men and with guns and a cannon large enough to crawl in and turn around and crawl out! Company drill was in the field at the camp. We had battalion drill every day in a large field on the other side of town. Col. Ramseur himself marched as in a column through the main street making a beautiful display. The street was long and wide enough to give the column full distance. Our battle flag, the Southern Cross, was new then. How its silken stars glittered in the sunlight. The drenching rains had not bleached, the smoke of the battle had not soiled its bright colors. How the 49th loved that flag. And what a contrast between that day and the memorable first day of April, 1865 at the Battle of Five Forks when it was torn from the hands of Jep Stewart of Company I, its gallant bearer. Nothing but a bunch of rags with a few stars sticking to it and tied to a stick cut in the woods, the bullets had cut it away but enough was left for the 49th veterans to rally around it in their last battle. Frank Moody of Company I carried it in its first battle and Jep Stewart of Company I in its last. All that is left of that old flag now is one star torn off by Capt. J.G. Sherrill, a former Company I boy but at that time the heroic captain of Company A of the 49th Regiment. It is now in the possession of Captain Sherill of Catawba, N.C., and it is the wish of the survivors of Company I that it be preserved forever. Returning from battalion drill, Col. Ramseur double quicked us back through town, never striking a quick step until we reached camp. The distance was about half a mile. It was very fatiguing at first but practice makes perfect and we soon became so used to it that we could double quick almost any distance. Our rations at Goldsboro were plentiful but of the roughest kind. Instead of flour it was corn meal, ground coarse and unsifted with old yellow bacon and peas. General Holmes commanded that department. One day he rode to camp and asked to see our rations. We showed him a rough corn dodger. He broke it open and pronounced it a good bread, just the kind to make good, hardy soldiers, knowing at the same time that a hog could hardly eat it. Julius Jones and Robert Harwell of Company I died in the hospital at Goldsboro. Simeon and Wheeler Edwards died at Raleigh after we had left Camp Mangum. Grand Rounds. How that scared us at first. The officer of the day and officer of the guard; a sergeant and half dozen others in a squad would start out in the dead hours in the night and visited every sentinel on his post. When within ten yards, the sentinel gave the challenge “who goes there.” This answer came back: “Grand Rounds”. The sentinel then says: “Halt, Grand Rounds, advance, sergeant, and give the counter sign.” The Grand Rounds halt, the sergeant advances to the point of the bayonet and gives the counter sign in a low voice. The sentinel then says: “Advance, Grand Rounds, counter sign is correct.” The sentinel lets them come up to the point of the bayonet but no further. They ask him what his instructions are and pass to the next sentinel. If the sentinel gives the challenge right he had no trouble, but if he gave it wrong they crowded up on him and sometimes took his gun away; for which he spent a few days in the guard house. The first time they called on me was on a dark night. Captain Davis of Company F (Mecklenburg) was an officer of the day. Captain Davis was a splendid soldier and very strict. He told us that evening that he expected the Grand Rounds to be around that night and gave us full instructions as to how to meet them. I caught every word and remembered it to the letter. When they came around that night, Captain Davis was with them but he I had no trouble. We had review every Sunday morning at 9:00. We were required to have on clean shirts and our guns in good order. We formed as if on parade, the inspecting officer passed down the line, closely inspecting every gun, rubbing a white handkerchief on them. If it might stain, he would order it cleaned over again and in better order for the next review. Later on the reward for the best cleaned gun was a day off duty and a pass to town. We had a regular drill master, Stephen McDonald. Steve, as we called him, understood the drill perfectly. When the army drill masters were (illegible word), Steve joined Company K, was appointed sergeant major and for some misdemeanor was reduced to ranks. It was a rule in the regiment that when a soldier missed roll call, to make him stand on guard extra. Steve told me one evening that he was eleven extras behind and the Confederate government owned him $1,000 for his services as drill master and would not pay him and he never expected to be able to pay back all the “extras”. He was a fine singer and usually after parade had a crowd around him listening to his war songs. Steve kept getting farther and farther behind with his “extras” and one night during the siege of Petersburg he disappeared. It was supposed he went over to the enemy. Col Ramseur spared no pains to perfect us in the drill and manual of arms. He sometimes mounted his beautiful horse in the dead hours of the night and tried to ride across the guard line without giving the counter sing, telling the sentinel he had no right to stop him. Some of them let him cross and got themselves into trouble. One night after a long parley with a sentinel, he tried to force his way across. The sentry told him plainly to keep back or he would shoot him or any other man who tried to cross his line without giving the counter sign and asked what company he belonged to. The next morning Ramseur told the captain not to put that fool on duty for he would kill somebody but promote him at the first opportunity. By the time we were ready to leave Goldsboro, we were well drilled and Col. Ramseur began to chafe to get to Virginia and take part in the big battles expected to be fought there soon. He had all the confidence in the 49th and kept us under orders to be ready to move at a moment’s notice. We were camped at Goldsboro about three weeks and as we were called North Carolina State Troops some of the men were under the impression that they could not take us out of the state. We were Confederate, sworn to protect the southern Confederacy and the Confederate government had a right to move us wherever it pleased and when the order came to go to Virginia there were no questions asked whether we wanted to go or not. And some of the boys really wished to go. Col. Ramseur had us fired up to a high pitch. We were anxious to go and see the elephant. Saturday, May 21, 1862, the N.C.S.T. boarded the train at Goldsboro for Petersburg, Va. The wagon train was sent off under heavy guard and the sick sent to the hospital. We started back at 10:00 am, riding in box cars with plank seats fixed up in them, stopping a short time in all towns along the road and we arrived at Weldon at midnight and lay there till morning. Weldon afterwards called the place of rest for the Ransom Sinners as we were called, had a rather shabby appearance the next morning. Situated on the back of the Roanoke River with a bridge 600 yards long, leading from the town across the river, a car shed covered the tracks and on each side of the shed were hotels and stores. The streets were dark and muddy. Weldon appeared to be a regular fish market, all kinds of fish were there from the five inch mullet to the six foot sturgeon. We soon got tired of Weldon. After passing the light, dry, airy towns along the road, we pronounced Weldon the dirtiest town we had ever seen. Milton Jones, of Company I, was very sick both nights we were there. He should have been left at Goldsboro but a jack leg doctor said he was playing sick and would not excuse him. He was sent to the hospital at Petersburg where he died in a few days. Sunday morning I was detailed to guard baggage, to remain on duty until the next morning. Early Monday morning, the baggage was loaded on the train and we were soon rolling over the long bridge towards Virginia. I rode by myself in a box car loaded with tents. Having no one to converse with, I naturally fell into a train of thought: her we are, leaving our old mother state for Virginia. McClellan’s army is within a few miles of Richmond. Great battles will be fought. We will be in some of them. How many will get back? Gloomy thoughts. I staved them off. I never allowed myself to take the blues, which killed almost as many as bullets. I took my seat at the door, near the top of the door for the car which was almost full of baggage, where I could look out over the country. Old Virginia. My grandfather’s native state of which I had heard him talk so much. We moved on, stopping only for wood and water and pulled into the North Carolina Depot at Petersburg at 11:00, pressed the street drays into service to haul the baggage, formed in four ranks and to the tune of “Dixie” swung down Sycamore Street, crossing the Appomattox to Duns Hill. I well remember how the 49th Regiment looked on its first march into that city, with perfect step, its bright flag fluttering in the breeze, 900 strong. It was a magnificent sight. This was May 23, 1862. I well remember how it looked on its last march through the city. It was in the evening of March 25, 1865, 200 strong, hungry, ragged, and footsore, without music. Our flag was shot to pieces and our faces powder blackened from the battle of Hare’s (?) Hill. We toiled through the city out to Battery #45 only to renew the fight the next day. Chapter IV Camp at Duns Hill Across the river from Petersburg, on the turnpike road leading to Richmond, our camp was pitched. It was in a high field overlooking the city. In the ravine below was a large limestone spring which supplied us with water and made us all sick. In the field was the ruins of Lafayette’s old fort where he shelled the British when they occupied the town during the Revolutionary War. Petersburg was a good, old fashioned town. The people had plenty of everything and were very clever. There were no breast works there, no need of any. An enemy had never been there since the British. General Phillips rode at the head of his Red Coats in the Revolution. A small stream runs through the eastern part, dividing it from Blandford. In this town stood the ruins of the famous old Blandford Church, the little church in colonial times, then nothing but a crumbling ruin. Now a fine church in which North Carolina has a memorial window in memory of her sons who sleep in its peaceful cemetery. Our brigade was formed at Duns Hill, composed of the following regiments: 24th N.C. under Col. Clarke; 25th N.C. under Col. Rutledge(?), 26th S.C. under Col. Vance, 49th N.C. under Col. Ramseur. The 56th N.C. under Col. Faison joined later. Col. Robert Ransom of the 1st N.C. Cavalry was promoted to brigadier general and assigned to the command. General Ransom had been an officer in the U.S. Army and was a strict disciplinarian. He always rode at a gallop. He had no fear. He used to gallop out where we were drilling and tell us to stop that walking like we were between plow handles and step like we were with our sweethearts. We drilled every day. Had regimental guard, provost guard in the city and at Castle Lightning, the city prison where military prisoners were kept awaiting court martial. Our rations had been cut and we did not get quite enough to eat. The market houses in Petersburg had everything in the eating line but we had no money. I asked an old man one day how he sold his eggs. He said $1 each but if I would buy a dozen I could have them for $12. One evening about sundown, the long roll beat. Col. Ramseur galloped out from his headquarters cheering us into line. In a few minutes we were marching swiftly down the turnpike, crossing the river, through the lower part of the city and out on the City Point Road, wading the creek at the iron bridge, thinking we would run into the enemy every minute when Col. Ramseur galloped back. He broke into a big laugh and said “false alarm, boys. No Yankees here.” It was simply a ruse to see how quick we could pick up and start on a march. One day we were ordered out for target practice. The target was a tree 200 yards distant. When my time came to shoot I could not get my old Queen Anne musket to go off. Col. Ramseur sat on his horse and laughed at me and asked what would I do if the Yankees were coming. In turning the old gun about, the ounce ball rolled out and fell to the ground. I set my foot on it to keep the colonel from seeing it for I was afraid he would not let me shoot and I did want to try my old gun so bad! The colonel told me to draw out the old load, put in a fresh one and I could have my shot yet. I put in a fresh load, fired, and missed the tree. On the 16th June, the brigade was sent down below City Point where the enemy had some gun boats lying in the James River. Among them was an old monitor. I was detailed that day to guard Castle Lightning and was not with them. But from what I could learn, the boys, instead of standing on the river bank and fighting the gun boats with their rifles, remembered the old adage “he that fights and runs away may live to fight another day”. They took to their heels when the Yankees began dropping their big shells among them. They fell back out of range, lay in line of battle all night and returned to camp the next day. Dr. Ward, assistant surgeon, the man who was going to carry water for Company I if we did not let him fight, resigned and went home. He was not popular in the regiment. He took his departure when the regiment was out on battalion drill. Duns Hill was the last camp where we drew rations and had them cooked by mess. After that each man’s rations were handed to him and he could either cook them himself or eat it raw. Chapter IV Off To The Front On the 25th June, 1862, Col. Ramseur’s wish was granted. The few old muskets still in the camp were exchanged for good Enfield Rifles. The Battle of Seven Pines had been fought and neither side had gained a victory. The Federals were still holding their lines on the Chickahominy River within six miles of Richmond, commanded by General McClellan, with an army of 115,000. General Johnston had been wounded and General R.E. Lee was then in command of our army. General Lee was between McClellan and Richmond with an army of 90,000 men. The generals of both sides were well acquainted with each other. This was before the great influx of foreign hirelings who came over by ship loads to fight for wages. We dotted Virginia with their graves. The bloated Germans were such good targets to shoot. Now it was a test of strength and heroism between Americans the northern men against the southern men. We were transferred from General Holmes’ Division to General Huger’s. We went on the train to Richmond where we arrived in good shape. We were armed with Enfield, Springfield and Fayetteville rifles and we stacked arms in the square and awaited orders. We were not allowed to stray far, not knowing when we would be ordered on. It was late in the evening of June 25 when we marched out of Richmond and swung out on the Williamsburg Road. Night was soon coming on, dark and cloudy and it was a difficult march. The roads had been dry and dusty and the rain that evening made them wet and slippery which kept us falling down as we marched along in the dark. We marched out to the Seven Pines battlefield, stacked arms, and drew some moldy crackers and yellow bacon and lay that night near the forks of the Nine (illegible word) and Williamsburg Road. The distance from Richmond was about seven miles. We made the march without halting and a good many stragglers were brought in the next morning. There was heavy picket firing and troops moving about when we arrived. I heard an officer ask another who had just ridden up what that firing meant. He said he did not know unless it was troops out there firing off their wet loads. The officers had not been out there and of course did not know but it was regular pickets fighting in the dark and was the opening shots of the Seven Days Battles. The pickets opened heavily the next morning. We moved down and lay in a line of battle in an old road within easy supporting distance of the picket line, a field a hundred yards between them. The banks of the old road protected us from the bullets which were whizzing across the field. The pickets were fighting at close range while the troops were moving up. The 48th and 49th N.C. were sent out across the field in a charge under Col. Hill. After passing the picket lines they encountered heavy lines of battle. After holding it a short time they were compelled to fall back badly cut up. The mistake was made by not sending out troops enough in the charge to drive back the enemy. Every regiment had their litter bearers, generally the two strongest men in the regiment to carry out the wounded. They wore a white cloth on which was printed “Amber Corps”. It was their duty to keep near the firing line and carry out the badly wounded. They were really in more danger than the men in the ranks. We held the line of battle until late in the evening when we were relieved and sent back to the line we occupied the night before. At dark, I was detailed to guard General Ransom’s headquarters. He had no tent and his bed was a blanket under a tree. His staff officers were off on duty and he was there alone. He sent me to Col. Ramseur with his compliments and an order to send him a detail of ten men and a commissioned officer immediately. I guided the detail back to headquarters. The general ordered the detail to go to the rear, search the country and bring in every straggler they could find. He stood and watched the detail move off and then turned to me and said: “I am going to lie down and if any one calls for me, do not hesitate a moment but come and wake me up as quickly as you can.” He lay on his blanket about five minutes when he jumped up and called out: “Sentinel, go back to your command and lie down and go to sleep.” That order was welcomed as I expected to have to stand guard all night. I left him there alone This was known as the Battle of French’s Farm and was the first fight in the Seven Days’ Battles around Richmond, an account of which is given in a manuscript entitled “The Seven Days Battle Around Richmond.” On this evening and night was fought the Battle of Mechanicsville up on our line. The cannonading was very heavy and after dark left the sky illuminated like a continual flash of lightning. It was fought by Jackson and the Hills to turn McClellan’s right wing in which they succeeded after hard fighting. The next morning we drew a ration of wheat bread and boiled bacon cooked by a detail in the rear. Then we moved down to near our old position of that day before and lay in lines of battle till in the evening and then up to support Capt. Branch’s battery of our brigade that was opening on the enemy. A swamp lay between the battery and the enemy and we lay thirty yards behind the battery and at every discharge Frank Stewart of Company I would almost jump off the ground. Col. Ramseur laughed at him and told him not to get scared for the shells were all going the other way. The guns after a few rounds and getting no reply ceased firing. The enemy was falling back from that part of the line; we could hear their officers giving commands. We moved back to the Williamsburg Road and lay there all night. There were some wild hogs running about in the woods. Col. Ramseur had some of them killed and issued to the 49th but we could not eat them. I do not know whether it was imagination or not but the meat did not taste good. The hogs had been running wild over the Seven Pines Battlefield among the half buried men and horses for about a month. December 8, 1933 The Landmark, Statesville, N.C. I hope my friends and comrades, who, I might say, will be unlucky enough to read this narrative, will pardon me for mistakes, for it is called the rambles of an old soldier. The next day we were sent to re-enforce General Magruder and after marching and counter marching along a hot, dusty road, were sent out and held in reserve at the Battle of Gaines Mill. In the march out, we struck the enemy’s abandoned work and camps. Guns, cartridge boxes and everything that would impede their retreat was cast aside— tents cut into ribbons and left standing. Everything was going with a rush, we left our knapsacks and blankets under a guard and that was the last I ever saw of them. After the battle of Gaines Mill was over, we left our position on the reserve line and marched out by the Charles City Road. McClellan had changed his base and was in full retreat towards the James River with our army pushing him on different roads. After striking the Charles City Road, the march was easier although we marched rapidly and the sun was scorching. The country was more open and we could get more air. Our canteens were empty and we soon became very thirsty and it seemed as if we would never come to water. My tongue began to feel like it was parched. I was almost ready to give it up. At last we came to a stream of water crossing the road from a swamp a short distance above. The soldiers fell down and drank, got up and moved on while the others took their place. I found a place where the stream was wide and deep enough to drink and filled my canteen at the same time. A great many others did the same, gulping down water and holding their canteen in the stream below. On arriving, I noticed men vomiting around me and looking up the branch, I saw two dead horses and three dead men, lying in the swamp, green flies swarming around them. Whew! I poured out the water from my canted but kept what was in me. Just before sundown, the command commenced slowing up as if some obstacle was in front until it finally stopped. We stood a few minutes expecting to move on as no command had been given to halt, then fell down to rest. We lay there until the sun was two hours high the next morning. All night long, Federal bands were playing and axes ringing on our left and in front. They were in full retreat. There was a house and cornfield near and the artillery men had turned their horses in and destroyed it. I went to the well the next morning. General Huger was out there on his horse, cursing the artillery men. He said even the enemy had spared it and our own men had destroyed it. He swore like he had followed it all his life. About 7:00 we resumed our march and soon coming to the fallen timbers found it almost impossible to get through. They had felled large trees in the road and all through the woods where there was an opening large enough to flank around. The Pioneers chopped a narrow road through so we could pass. There was very little firing at the time. The Battles of Cold Harbor, Gaines Mill, Frazier’s Farm, had been fought and McClellan was rapidly falling back to the high ground at Malvern Hill, an old colonial place on the James river where he told his officers he would crown the hills in sheets of flame. On each side of the road and under the trees dead men and horses were lying. The stench was horrible. We found a wounded officer lying under a tree. Our officers tried to question him bout their numbers. The Yankee had a pleasant answer for every question but told them nothing. He told them they had to much honor to expect him to give them any information. The troops were moving off on different roads, closing in on General McClellan posted on Malvern Hill where he made his last stand to the James on his famous “On To Richmond” march. The country around Malvern Hill at that time was mostly woods and in some places, swampy. A large clover field, 1,200 feet in width, lay in front of the field where the Federal army was posted. Between the hill and the clover field lay a swamp 100 yards wide. We could not use our own artillery to our advantage. The few guns that were run out in the open were soon knocked out by the concentrated fire from the hill. We moved up late in the evening and formed in line of battle in the woods in back of the clover field, the timber hiding our movements from the enemy. Jackson’s, D.H. Hill’s, Magruder’s and Huger’s divisions were to make the charge while Longstreet and A.P. Hill’s were held in reserve. The grand charge was to be sent in at sunset. McClellan had arrived in time to post his troops to his best advantage. His artillery was planted on the hill in the rear of a large building known as the Crew’s house. 36 pieces were on the spot which was the key to his position and hundreds others posted on the hill. His infantry was posted where ever there was room to stand. His gunboats in the river also aided in the battle. The ten inch shells made a great deal of noise but did little damage. In the beginning of these rambles I promised to say very little about the battles. They are in a separate manuscript. Suffice it to say we charged across that wide clover field, crossed the swamp and up to the Crews house, the 49th, led by Col. Ransom on horseback. Here General Ransom displayed a feat of bravery that won the admiration of the whole brigade. Spurring his horse through the lines, he dashed out in front of the 49th Regiment and called in a voice that could be heard above the horrid uproar of the battle: “Come on, boys! Come on! Follow your general!” Cheer after cheer arose from our lines as we followed our general into that appalling death trap. The horse reared and plunged but the rider kept his seat and when near the Crews House he turned and dashed down the line. We left the Crews house but could go no further. We were ordered to shoot the gunners. We fired round after round but could make no impression on them. They were shooting us to pieces. The slaughter was terrible. We were ordered to lay down. This shielded us from the fire which passed over us. We lay there until the fire slackened. It was dark. We were then ordered to fall back down the hill, out of danger. We lay on the battlefield all night. After midnight, a heavy storm came up. The rain fell in torrents. The cries of the wounded almost ceased, I suppose most of them were drowned. Next morning, we waded back over ,muddy ground and stacked arms in the woods, about a mile from the battlefield. The battle of Malvern Hill was a badly managed affair. The troops were sent in and cut to pieces a brigade at a time. It was said General Lee’s orders were not to storm the hill if it was found too strong. If so, his orders were disobeyed. Our dead lay in every direction. The loss in the 49th Regiment was heavy, our colonel the gallant Ramseur was wounded badly. After we had left the top of the hill, our place in the charge led us squarely to the Crews house, the strongest possible position of the Federal line. The order to lay down was all that saved any of the command. The flames and shots passed over our heads. The Battle of Malvern Hill was over. A few skirmishes the next day ended General McClellan’s grand march to Richmond. I could never learn the casualties in the 49th Regiment but they were heavy. In Company I, Reuben Fisher, Henry Sigmon, Noah Travis were killed; John Scales(?) and Tom Hager(?) died of wounds. Thomas Drum, Monroe Bumgarner, John Hill, Pink Jones, Billie Jenkins, Canton Lawrence, George Null, Silas Pope, Pink Setzer and Woodford Sherrill were wounded. George Null was left on the field and died a prisoner of war at Fort Delaware. Some of the above were only slightly wounded and returned to duty in a short time. Malvern Hill. Much has been written on both sides concerning this battle. It was a bloody combat in which the Southern troops made a determined effort to crush McClellan’s grand army before it could reach the James. We did all we could to carry the heights but it was simply impossible. The balls, shells, grape shot and bullets tore through our ranks everywhere. Although we could not carry the heights, we were not defeated. We lay all night on the battlefield. The enemy retreated through the storm to Harrison’s Landing a few miles below, and left us masters of the field. In the Seven Days Battles around Richmond, the Federal Army lost 20,000 killed and wounded. The Confederates lost 1, 953, making an aggregate of 39,531 killed, wounded and missing in the space of seven days. Three days after the battle, we marched down to Turkey Bend and lay there two days and then marched back to Richmond. Frank Moody, of Company I, carried the colors through to the march back to Richmond. Before leaving the city, he handed the colors to one of the color guards and fell over behind a log, unable to go any further. He did soon after in Richmond and was buried there. We marched back to Richmond, lay there all night, then crossed over the James on the pontoon bridge and went into camp at Drury’s Bluff. Ransom’s brigade at that time, presented a pitiful appearance. Worn out by hard marching and fighting, exposed to drenching storms without any shelter for over two weeks, had told heavily on us and we needed rest badly. Lt. Col. Eliason resigned and went home before the fighting began and Major McAfee was promoted to lieutenant colonel and commanded the 49th Regiment. Camp New Drury’s Bluff On July 7, 1862, Ransom’s Brigade pitched camp at Drury’s Bluff. The 49th Regiment’s cam was in the woods on the turnpike road leading from Richmond to Petersburg and near the residence of Major Drury and a mile above Fort Darling, a strong work on the James. The camp was not healthy. On the west side were the Huckleberry Swamps and on the east side were clover fields next to the river. Water obtained from shallow wells dug in the camp was very bad, every morning we had to help the hop toads out who had fallen in that night. Near the railroad, a hospital was established called the Brigade Hospital and a large number of soldiers died there. Among them were Alexander Eller, Lawson Caldwell, Elijah Litton, and Jackson Turbyfill of Company I. They were all buried there. We drilled in the clover field in the hot July sun and the tangled clover made the drilling almost as hard as marching. The last time we saw General Huger was at this camp. He rode by with his staff, going towards Richmond. We cheered him as he passed. He took off his hat and carried it in his hands as he galloped by. General Huger was an old veteran. He commanded the siege guns for General Scott in the war with Mexico. He died soon after the war. At this camp the Grey Backs made their first appearance. The Grey Backs should be mentioned in every history for they bore a conspicuous part in the war. They fought a regular guerrilla warfare. They made their attacks on both armies without regard to numbers. When you got after him for biting you on the neck, he would let all holds go and you would find him in your stockings. They would hide in the seams of the cloth; stick their heads out, bite, and then jump back. Old Notchy Back following the boys said they had I.F.W. on their backs which stood for “In For The War”. I suppose this was true for they never surrendered as long as there was a soldier or prisoner to bite. When we put on clean clothing it appeared like they made a charge on us. The boys said the bugs could lie all night in the snow and bite the next morning. Our rations were flour, bacon and sometimes a mess of peas. We were set to work throwing up breastworks on the hill south of Kingsland Creek out of which we had to charge the Yankees two years afterwards. We worked under old Pete Baxter, captain of Company K. He was invariably placed over work details. He pushed us at the work very hard. We almost hated the ground he walked on. We worked in shifts of half an hour, one relief rested while the other worked. We worked from 9:00 in the morning until 3:00 in the afternoon. The work details were excused from all duties in the camp except dress parade at sundown. Making breastworks at that place required a great deal of hard work. The ditch, seven feet wide and four feet deep, had to be dug in the hard ground with picks and the dirt thrown up in front with shovels, making an embankment behind which the tallest man could stand without exposing themselves. Working on these entrenchments in the hot July sun was very hard work for us. General Ransom had his headquarters in a grove near Major Drury’s residence and was in the saddle most every day, galloping over the country. Two years afterwards he commanded the left wing in the battle with Butler at that place. His knowledge of the countryside stood him in good stead. On the march from Richmond to Drury’s Bluff, 1st Lt. Jeptha Sherrill of Company I was very sick and had to stop on the way. He was sent on to Petersburg where he died on the 23rd of July, 1862 and his body sent home and buried at Rehobeth Church in Catawba County. On the death of Lt. Sherill, C.F. Connor was promoted 1st lieutenant, Jacob Sherrill the second lieutenant and Sgt. J.H. Sherrill was elected third lieutenant. After the Seven Days battles were over there was no fighting of any consequence between the two armies in Virginia and the troops were scattered over the country, resting up in camps. A soldier belonging to another command shot his hand off, accidentally, he said. He suffered terribly while waiting for the doctor who seemed in no great hurry to come and dress it. When a soldier shot himself it was always said he did it on purpose. Second Camp in Petersburg When we left the sickly camp at Drury’s Bluff, the troops marched down the hot turnpike road, a distance of 13 miles to Petersburg where the brigade made its second camp in a large field a mile from the city. I was on the sick list and with a number of others was sent down on the train. We had good tents, the same that we had at Drury’s Bluff. Water was very unhandy. We had to carry it from the springs and wells; a good distance from camp. We did very little drilling except for dress parade. The most of our time was spent in throwing up breast works east of the city for the Yankees to get into when they besieged the city in 1864. We worked under old Captain Baxter, of course. It seemed to be the idea of our leaders that Petersburg would have to be defended some time, as it was only 15 miles from City Point, where the James and Appomattox Rivers came together and only 22 miles from Richmond. They had the east side down toward City Point well dotted with breast works. We threw up one line through a large corn field and the corn was in prime roasting stages. Our rations had been reduced before the Seven Days battles and we were not getting enough to eat. We wanted to eat the corn which would be destroyed by the breast works but old Baxter would not let us have it. He made us pull it up and shuck it out in the field. The next thing was to press them. There was no such thing as stealing in the army. Old Pete watched us so closely we had no chance at the shocks and had to slip out in the fields and get them off the stalks. We carried our coats along as if afraid of rain and carried the corn back to camp concealed in the coats thus outwitting Captain Baxter at last. We drew our first money at that camp. Three months’ wages, $33, new Confederate money fresh from the presses not a wrinkle in them. We had been strapped for some time. Now we had money plenty while it lasted. Watermelons, muskmelons, cucumbers and all kinds of produce were sold by the farmers who came to camp in wagons and money flowed freely. They are called profiteers now. Then we called them any old name we chose to apply. Z.B. Vance, colonel of the 26th N.C.R., was a candidate for governor of North Carolina and made speeches through the camps in which he told us if elected governor of North Carolina he would attend strictly to North Carolina and North Carolina soldiers. He said his soldiers should be clothed and fed if rations and clothes could be found. In the election which followed, he was elected and well did he make good on his promises. As long as the port of Wilmington was open and the blockaders running, we had good uniforms and blankets but when the port was closed we had to fare like the others but it was not Governor Vance’s fault. It was a common thing for soldiers of the other states to tell us if they had a governor like ours that they would fare much better. The North Carolina soldiers voted for him almost unanimously. I was not old enough to vote being but a few months past 18. The votes were sealed and sent to Raleigh to be counted. It was told on Col. Vance that when leading the 26th Regiment in the charge at Malvern Hill they jumped a rabbit. Col. Vance called after it: “Go it, mother cotton tail!” Col. Vance, in drilling his men, was not careful enough to please his lieutenant colonel, Harry Burgwyn. One day drilling his men in the manual of arms, he brought them from a “order arms”, straight to a “right shoulder shift”. Col. Burgwyn called out: “Colonel Vance, don’t you know, you cannot bring your men to a right shoulder shift?” Colonel Vance replied: “Well, I’ll be damned if I don’t do it anyhow!” General Pope—he was placed in command of the Union army with headquarters in the saddle. He had been fighting half armed men out west and when he took command of a part of the Army of the Potomac, he said he never expected to see any part of a southern soldier except their backs as they ran before his victorious legion. It made us feel sorry for our poor backs for there was nothing a southern soldier dreaded more than a shot in the back and to have to flee before General Pope’s victorious army on its triumphant march to Richmond and being shot in the back was something Lee’s old veterans to think about. General Pope was moving to capture Richmond by way of Culpepper Court House. General Lee sent part of his army under General Jackson out to meet him. They met at Cedar Run and if the brave General Pope was near enough, he had a good chance to see his enemy’s faces. Jackson whipped him and started back the other way. When McClellan left Harrison’s Landing, General Lee left a few brigades to guard Richmond and moved on with the main army to join General Jackson. That movement was the beginning of the Maryland campaign and moved both armies from the vicinity of Richmond except the few troops left to guard against raids that might be made against the enemy. The Maryland Campaign It was about Aug. 15, 1862 when Ransom’s brigade was ordered off on the Maryland campaign. We broke camp about noon and passing through Petersburg, marched out on the turnpike road leading to Richmond. We passed our old Dun’s Mill camp and bivouacked on the opposite side of the road from our camp at Drury’s Bluff where we arrived at dark. The weather was very hot and after the fifteen miles on the hard road, we were very tired. As soon as arms were stacked, every fellow threw himself on the ground to rest, went to sleep and slept all night. I suffered with a cramp in my legs and next morning was so sore and stiff I could hardly get up. Next morning we took up the line of march and crossed the James River on the pontoon bridge and moved up the river road to Richmond and lay in the suburbs three days awaiting orders. Not receiving orders, we moved back down the river with the pontoon bridge where our tents were sent to us, and we went into regular camp in the river bottoms under orders to move at a moment’s notice. The yellow jaundice broke out in camp and all who had it turned yellow as a pumpkin. One day a rather crusty looking old farmer brought a two horse load of watermelons and stopped at the foot of the hill where the road went up from the river bottom. The old man soon discovered his melons were disappearing faster than he was selling them and concluded it would be best for him to get away from there. Accordingly, he let off a string of cuss words, whipped up his horses and started up the hill at a trot with a great crowd whooping and yelling. They pulled the hind gate off his melon wagon and the melons rolled out and the boys on them shouting to the old man to stop, he was losing all his melons. He stopped at the top of the hill but his melons were gone. If there is such a thing as making the air smell like brimstone, it happed in that old man’s case. He pulled off his seat, and went at it. After he had cooled down, he reported the matter to General Ransom. The general told him the boys were in the habit of buying one load and stealing the next and considering the price for which the melons were sold, he thought they were about even. When Colonel Vance was elected governor, the 26th Regiment transferred to General Pettigrew’s brigade. We left them in camp at the pontoon bridge. The came out and cheered us goodbye when we started. We were never together again. This reduced Ransom’s brigade to four regiments. On the morning of August 28, 1862, we marched up to Richmond and took the train and arrived at the Rapidan, the rendezvous, at night. Some of the troops marching and the others coming in on the train. We lay in the woods three days with nothing to do but guard. Our rations were flour and fresh beef. Elam Douglas of Company I drew the shoulder blade of beef for his ration, roasted it, ate the meat off it and then made up his dough and baked his bread in it. All the troops and wagon trains were in by midnight on the last night in August. General Lee was in command and by sunrise on the morning of September 1 were on the march to overtake General Jackson in his drive after the brave General Pope who had not seen many southern soldiers’ backs since taking command, with headquarters in the saddle. I will now have to give the sketch of the movements of the brigade as it was given to me by others. I was sick and the doctors sent me back to Winder Hospital in Richmond where I had to stay over a month. I have always regretted missing the Maryland campaign. About sunrise on the morning of Sept. 1, Ransom’s brigade, composed of four regiments, viz., 24th, 25th, 35th, and 49th regiments, swung into line with the other troops, waded the Rapidan at Raccoon Ford and left Culpepper Court House at dark and bivouacked there for the night. The next day’s march brought them to Jefferson City where they camped for the night. The next day they passed Warrenton Springs late in the evening and camped a few miles beyond the town. The next day they reached Gainesville and camped there that night and on the next day reached Leesburg where they camped that night and on the next day which was the 6th September they waded the Potomac River and moved on twelve miles and went into camp. The next day they marched to a point on the Monocacy River and camped there that night, next marching five miles to Frederick City, then about faced and marched back to the Monocacy River and remained there until night, then made a night march of twelve miles to a bridge which they tried to destroy but failed, having one man killed and two men captured in the attempt. They formed a line of battle but the enemy not appearing they moved back six miles and lay on the side of the road until morning, then started out and marched all day and all next night to different places where ever ordered, then waded back across the Potomac, Point of Rocks, and went into camp in the Virginia side, where they remained one night. Then they marched to Harper’s Ferry and formed a line of battle expecting the enemy would retreat by daylight. Instead they surrendered and our forces took possession of the town. Then, after a very hard march, they crossed the Potomac into Maryland again, moving on some distance into Maryland. A halt was made until 3:00 the next morning which was the 17th September, the day of the battle. They; moved up to the front and forming a line of battle at the Dunkard Church on the left of Sharpsburg. They were in the battle all day and made charges, driving the enemy in every charge. Ransom’s brigade lost heavily in the Battle of Sharpsburg. I heard a 25th man say the Yankees threw shells through the 25th Regiment length wise. The following is a list of casualties in Company I: Lt. Jacob Sherrill was wounded so badly he was never able for duty again; Corp. G.W. Moss was badly wounded in the leg; James Harwell, John Harwell, Nelson Lowrence, John Welfong and PInck Setzer were all wounded. None of the company were killed or died of wounds. Mark Stiles of Company I was sick and lost I the retreat. It is supposed he died at Winchester. Ransom’s brigade lay on the field all night and all next day but the enemy did not renew the battle. In the retreat back to Virginia, they fell back to Martinsburg and lay there until the 27th September and then moved to Winchester and lay there until Oct. 1. Then they moved a short distance and went into camp where they remained until the 223rd. On leaving this camp, they waded the Shenandoah river at Berry Ford, crossed the Blue Ridge at Ashby’s Gap and went into camp at Upperville. General McClellan commanded the Union army at Sharpsburg and if it had not been for a lost order giving General Lee’s whole plan of battle, General Lee could have defeated him just as he did in the Seven Days Battle at Richmond. December 12, 1933 The Landmark, Statesville, N.C. The Camp at Upperville & March to Culpepper Back from Winder Hospital and once more with Company I, 49th Regiment, I found the boys camped at Upperville among flies stretched among stumps and brush with their eyes about smoked out from the oak fires which the wind blew in every direction. The tents were gone, never to return. The flies were canvas cloths ten feet wide and fifteen feet long. Two stout forks were driven into the ground and long poles led across. One side of the fly was fastened to the pole and the other to the ground, making a lean shelter that turned the rain very well. The ends were closed with brush. On the morning of Oct. 30, Company I was sent out above Paris on picket. On returning the next morning, we found the regiment breaking camp under orders to march to Culpepper Court House. The Federal army was making a move on Richmond by way of Culpepper Court House; we had to make a forced march to that point to prevent a flank movement. We made the march in three days, wading several streams and crossing the Rappahannock River on a bridge of floating logs. We reached Culpepper on the 2nd November and went into camp. The orders on the march were very strict, no straggling allowed. When a man fell out of rank, he was forced to go on by the rear guard. The wagon trains were driven in front which cut up the roads and made the march very hard. When we reached Culpepper Court House, the danger of being flanked was over. We were at that time in General Longstreet’s Corps. General Lee, with half the army, came on to Culpepper. The other half under General Jackson was left to guard the approaches up the Shenandoah Valley. General McClellan, the man the southern soldiers always claimed was the best commander the Union ever had, was relieved, and General Burnside placed in command. The Federal army changed commanders several times during the war and whenever a change was made we looked for heavy fighting. In November of 1862, after recovering from his wound received at Malvern Hill, Col. Ransom was promoted to brigadier general, (the rest of this paragraph is illegible except for “Captain Chambers of Company C to major”). A good many army changes were made in the 49th at that time due to death and wounds. When an officer was promoted, all the others under him were advanced one grade. The Seven Days and Sharpsburg battles and hard marches, no doubt, made some of them resign who otherwise would have remained in the service. After the Conscript Act was passed it put an end to the officers resigning. We moved from Culpepper Court House and went into camp to Cedar Run, where we lay until the 18th November when we marched to Madison Court House. Camp at Madison Court House On the march to Madison Court House, the 49th had to march in the rear of the wagon train and it was near noon before all the wagons were in line and on the march. The other troops started early in the morning and were well on the way before we swung into line. The roads were rough and hilly and the wagons kept stalling and as we were the wagon guard, we had to lay along the road and wait on them and by night we had not made more than one half the distance we were supposed to march. Night set in cold, cloudy and very dark. A little after dark, a snow storm set in and lasted till near midnight. We arrived at Robison River about 11:00. Just before reaching the river and while the wagons were crossing, a small squad of us flanked around on the hill and fell head long over the bluff of the road below with a few scratches but no broken bones. We waded across the river and arrived at our camp grounds around midnight. We fell in on the trees with axes and soon had log-heap fires. Rations of fresh beef and flour were issued and every man had to cook his rations himself or eat it raw. We only had two pans to a company and kept them running all the time and some of us cooked the beef by holding it on the blaze with a stick. Seeing it would be morning before I could get a pan, I concluded to bake my bread in the ashes. I made up my dough on an old tin plate and had enough for three biscuits. It was so late in the night and wading the cold river and then lying by a hot fire made me drowsy. I covered up my bread in the hot ashes and went to sleep. When I awoke and raked the ashes all I found were three lumps of charcoal. So I had to do without bread rations until the next morning. We went into camp at Madison Court House in the woods, half a mile from town. We set up our flies and with log heap fires we fared very well. Captain Chenault was at home on sick leave. Lt. Connor was sick in the hospital and Lt. Jacob Sherrill was at home on wounded furlough, leaving Company I without a commissioned officer. We were drilled three hours every day by Capt. Potts, drill master from another command. A Company I boy, whose nick name was Howie, undertook to bake his bread while under the influence of Madison Court House water. He commenced by getting his pan and lid red hot. He made up his dough, I suppose, on the ground, at least it looked like it was half dirt, then piled coals both under and on top of the pan. Then he sat down and waiting for it to bake. Presently the scent of burning bread filled the camp. Some one called out: “Old man, your bread is burning”. Howie replied, “I am cooking”. Another called out: “You are burning your bread.” Howie answered: “I am cooking”. When he lifted off the lid instead of bread he had charcoal. We remained in camp at Madison Court House until the 18th November and then broke camp for Fredericksburg, Va., where General Burnside was concentrating his forces for another movement on Richmond. The March to and the Camp at Fredericksburg We were on the cold winter march four days. It rained three days and nights in succession and the roads were almost impassible. Infantry, artillery, cavalry and wagon trains all traveled the same roads grinding them into mortar knee deep in some places. The think mortar rolled in waves down the hill. One night we camped on a hill below the road. It rained all night. The water ran down under us and put out the fires we tried to build. We drew our rations of flour but the butcher failed to supply the beef so we missed our beef ration which we could not have cooked even if we had gotten it but it made General Ransom so mad he had the whole set of butchers sent back to their commands and a new set detailed with the order that when his brigade camped at night beeves should be killed if it rained pitch forks. We put in the night standing in the water and leaning against the trees. In stepping over a low fence I had pierced my ankle with the point of my bayonet which protruded through the leather scabbard where the brass tip had gotten broken off. It was swollen and very painful and kept me in a strain to keep up with the march but the soaking it got that rainy night took all the fever out and soon it got well. We were a sorry looking body of troops when we marched off the next morning. Wet, hungry, everyone shivering with cold, everyone doing his best, all broken down like, not a word except it was: “Damn you, hold up your gun” as some fellow shifting his gun from one shoulder to the other let it whack down on the head of the soldier behind him. In the evening after the rainy night, we halted to rest near a large white house. The colonel rode up and told us we were going into camp four miles from that white house. This was good news. I thought it was the longest four miles ever traveled but we got there at last. We filed to the left into the woods in a pretty place. We stacked our arms and fell down on the wet ground. In a few minutes we were so cold and stiff we could hardly move. We lay there perhaps half an hour when a courier dashed up to General Ransom’s headquarters with orders to move on. It was funny seeing the men trying to get up, pulling themselves up by the saplings. The Yankees got the greater portion of the cuss words that were used. We moved on several miles further and bivouacked in the woods on the side of the road. There was a great deal of straggling on the road. The march from Madison Court House to Fredericksburg was the hardest march I ever made. When General Burnside camped on Stafford Hills across the river from Fredericksburg with 100 men he found General Lee with 78,000 men on the other side between him and Richmond. Before reaching our camp ground at Fredericksburg, we marched slowly, frequently halting. The whole army was moved in on the different roads converging on the city and moving into camp. As we marched into camp, Col. Clark of the 24th N.C. Regiment stood on the side of the road holding his horse and made a speech as we passed by. He said he would whip the Yankees at Fredericksburg, then go back to North Carolina. Some one in the 49th shouted out: “Where we will get plenty to eat, colonel”. “Yes” answered the colonel, “where we will get plenty to eat”. I do not know whether Col. Clark knew anything about it, but we did go back to North Carolina after whipping the Yankees at Fredericksburg and found rations about as severe as they were in Virginia. We were still under General Longstreet who commanded the left wing in the great battle. We moved into camp in the woods two miles back from the city, late in the evening of the 22nd November, 1862, stretched our flies, packed the ends with brush and with good uniforms and blankets and with log heap fires, with the exception of short rations, we fared well although a few men were barefoot having worn their shoes out on the march. Wesley Benfield of Company I went into the Battle of Fredericksburg barefoot in the snow. I must give a little sketch of Wes. Wes was a Dutchman and a splendid soldier. When Captain Chenault was enlisting Company I, he asked Wes if he did not want to volunteer and join the army. Wes studied the matter a little while and said: “Yes, I will volunteer but I want to make a bargain with you. I will stand as long as you do. When you run, I run.” Captain Chenault agreed and Wes volunteered and made a good soldier. On the way from Goldsboro to Petersburg, Wes let his gun fall off and lost it. Capt. Chenault told him he would have to pay for it. Wes said: “I will not! I will have another when I need it”. When we reached Petersburg to join in the Seven Days Battles at Richmond, there was a gun belonging to one of the men who had been sent (illegible word). We got it and that was the last of it. When we were ordered to fall back from the heights of Malvern Hill, Wes remained a short time to get George Neill, one of our wounded Company I men, to leave the field. Nulls was lying at the Crews house and would not go. The Yankees began to approach. Wes said: “You can remain here as long as you wish, but it is no place for me” and ran off and joined the company. Wes told me afterwards that he expected every minute that the Yankees would fill his hide full of bullets. Null was taken prisoner and sent to Fort Delaware where he died. Wes’ large bare feet made such pretty tracks in the snow showing the prints of his toes so plainly. He was sent to the butcher yard to get a piece of cow skin to make a pair of moccasins. Wes said when they got wet they stretched all over the ground and when they got dry the pinched his feet. At the siege of Petersburg, a 21 pound mortar shell fell in the works. Col. Fleming was present and ordered Wes to mount the works and throw it behind. Wes said: “Colonel I don’t want to go up there. The Yankees will kill me.” Fleming stormed out: “You disobey my orders to my face?” With eyes flashing, Wes sprang upon the works and was in the act of throwing the shell aside. Every fellow hollered: “Don’t, Wes. Throw it outside.” He threw it outside and jumped back into the ditch about the time the shell burst on the outside. It was a foolish order of Col. Fleming, for it was a common thing for the shells to fall in the works and burst. Wes died in Iredell County in 1899. We drilled every fair day and had inspection of arms every Sunday. Our guns were kept brightly polished, not a speck of dust allowed either inside or outside. Large details were sent out every day to cut new roads, build bridges and breast works where they would be needed. General Lee reviewed the whole army before the battle. When our time came to go we marched out to a large field and formed in a hollow square. The day was very hot and cloudy. General Lee rode around the square at a full gallop with Brigadier General Ransom at his side, accompanied by a long train of staff officers behind them. Both generals were splendidly mounted and dressed in full uniforms. This was the first time General Lee reviewed our brigade and as he galloped around our lines we had the pleasure and honor of looking up at the greatest military leader in the army. When the snow fell, it put an end to drill and having burned all the wood about the camp, we had to go to the woods, half a mile distant, and cut it and have it hauled on the wagons. The Federal army lay camped on the Stafford Hills across the Rappahannock River from Fredericksburg under General Burnside with a strong picket line on the river bank. Our army under General Lee lay on the hills back of the town with General Barksdale’s Mississippi brigade in the town picketing on the river bank. The ground had all been scouted and all our generals knew where to take positions at a moment’s notice. The signal was two heavy guns to be fired one right after another. They were to be fired the moment the Yankees began operations to cross the river. Every general was then to move is troops to their respective positions. This had been communicated to the soldiers and we all knew what would be on hand when the signal guns fired. The city of Fredericksburg stands on a level plain on the south side of the Rappahannock River. On the north side and farther up still is the little town of Falmouth. Opposite the city is Stafford Hills where the Yankees planted their guns. On the south side, is Mary’s and Lee’s Hills, where our guns were planted. Between Mary’s Hill and the city was a level plain about 200 yards wide, extending the full length of the city, cut up with drainage ditches and plank fences with a few houses scattered over it. At the foot of Mary’s Heights was the famous stone fence where our infantry covered the ground with the charging enemy. General Lee’s headquarters was on a high point on Lee’s Hill where he had a full view of the whole battlefield. Everything was in readiness. Bridges had been built across the streams and swamps and in some places forts and redoubts had been thrown up. Longstreet, Jackson and Stuart held the front. Longstreet was on the left wing, his command reaching from a bend in the river above the city to Deep Run below where it joined Jackson’s left; Jackson’s troops reaching down to Hamilton’s Crossing where it joined General Stuart who commanded the right wing to the river. The battle line was five miles long. After the battle, we went back to our old camp. Transcriber’s Note: Chapter 12, Nicknames, is illegible; Volume II, Chapter 1, The March to Petersburg, is also illegible. December 15, 1933 The Landmark, Statesville, N.C. We had advanced in Virginia since the 2nd June and had lost twenty men in Company I, died or wounds and sickness since then. The loss in the 49th Regiment of Ransom’s Brigade will never be known. The bodies of three Company I men had been brought home and buried. Lt. Jeptha Sherrill in Rehobeth; Wilson James and Monroe Blakely in Hopewell; Reuben Fisher, Henry Sigmon, and Noah Travis on the battlefield at Malvern Hill; Milton Jones, Andrew Keever and Frank Goodman in Petersburg; Lawson Caldwell, Alex Ellis, Elijah (last name partially illegible, - - - ton, maybe Litton?), and Jackson Turbyfill at Brigade Hospital near Chesterfield, Virginia; Frank Moody, David Pope, John Stiles, at Richmond; Cain Litton and Bedford Jones at Gordonsville, Virginia; Mark Stiles in Winchester; and George (last name illegible, N- - ) at Fort Delaware. All these were with us when we went to Virginia. Back to my thoughts when riding in the boxcar, guarding baggage, when leaving North Carolina, for Virginia, on that June morning. Some of us will never get back. Who will it be? Departed comrades, rest in peace. Your graves may be unmarked, but your names are not forgotten. Camp at Old Town Creek Our camp was in the pine woods near the creek on the turnpike road leading to Richmond. The weather had been fair on the march but the next day when we pitched camp it set in cold and cloudy and about four inches of snow fell. Having nothing to burn but green pine, it kept us quite busy piling it up to keep our fires from going out. At all hours of the night someone would be around them chunking them up. It was the intention to set us training again but the snow prevented it. Regimental and provost guards, however, were kept up. Shoes were gotten by those who need them, most before leaving Frederick. The pair given me proved to be worthless and at the end of the march were completely worn out and all to pieces and when the snow fell I was barefoot. I was excused from duty until I got another pair. Captain Chenault was taken sick at the camp and went to a private house in Petersburg where he soon died. His body was sent home and buried in an old country grave yard where he lay nearly thirty years when his remains were removed and now rest in a cemetery in Catawba, N.C. Lt. Jacob Sherrill who had been absent since the Battle of Sharpsburg, returned to camp but was unable for duty. When we moved, he rode in an ambulance. We drew our wages at this camp in five, ten, and twenty dollar bills. Whenever the Confederacy needed money, which was about all the time, all Congress had to do was to order a few million dollars struck off, based on the honor of the Confederacy and was worthless outside the Confederacy. The soldiers said it was good for nothing except to be used in betting at the card games, as they could not get enough of it together to buy anything with it. Orders were generally kept secret but it was generally known where we were going and all were anxious to go but we had no idea of the vast territory we would have to defend, nor the rivers and swamps we would have to wade; but it gave us a chance to see the sea coast portion of our grand old state, which to men raised in the western part of the state, as most of us were, and to see the mighty ocean, the wide rivers, the great cypress swamps, the sand hills, as they were called, and the vast forests of long leaf pine, were great sights to western men. The snow lay on the ground all the time we were at Old Town Creek and our time was occupied in cutting down green pine trees to keep up fires. Back to North Carolina Two hours before that on the morning of Jan. 17, 1863, we pulled down our fly tents at Old Town Creek, marched through Petersburg to the North Carolina Depot, boarded the train, and pulled out for North Carolina, riding in old box cars, some of the men lying on top. We kept straight on to Wilson, a town between Weldon and Goldsboro, where we stopped an hour. At that time there was a rich merchant named Roundtree living in Wilson who issued a kind of money of the skinplaster type on his own account. This money was good inside the corporation but outside it was worthless. Some of the boys, in trading about town, got some of the money passed off on them in change. They tried all along the route to pass it off but could not. We supposed they were taking us back to our old camp at Goldsboro but we passed on through towards Wilmington. We stopped at the little towns of Dudley, Mt. Olive and Powden only long enough to take on wood and water and stopped at Warsaw and went into camp in the woods near town. Our flying tents were back on the wagons and we had no shelter. We built shelters by setting a fork in the ground and laying a pole with one end in the fork and the other on the ground, set up cord wood sticks along the sides and covered it with leaves and dirt. They were funny looking things but they made good shelter. We were then in the sweet potato country where we could get plenty of them at $1 per bushel but the price soon went to $1.50 a bushel which was always the way. When a body of troops advanced into a country they always advanced the price of everything in it. Potato rations were issued which helped us out considerably with our corn bread and rusty bacon. Jep Stewart, now in his grave, went one day on a foraging expedition. He met up with a lady who gave them a whole beef liver, ready, cooked. It had been so long since Jep had had enough to eat he sat down and ate the whole liver all but a little piece he gave me. He took in a little too much and it made him sick. We remained in camp at Warsaw about a week, awaiting orders for Charleston, S.C., at that time besieged by the Yankee fleet, which kept up a fire on Charleston and its forts. We lay about camp with nothing to do but sit around the fires in the pine smoke. Camp at Wilmington and Topsail Sound We left Warsaw on Jan. 27. We went down on the train and got to Wilmington late in the night. The Charleston orders were countermanded and we went in to camp in some old plank houses in the upper part of the city. The night was dark and bitter cold and a high wind blew up the Cape Fear River and made the old shacks rattle. The houses had wide chimneys and we burned everything we could get our hands on to keep from freezing. A good many planks were torn off and burned which caused a good many of us to get in the guard house. Col. Clark, commanding the brigade had us to the provost marshal’s headquarters out in the field where they had only one little fire surrounded by the guards. The wind was blowing off the ocean up the river freezing cold and making the sand fly like sleet. I saw no other chance than to freeze and let the sand cover me up. I asked one of the guards to let me run in a circle, promising to not run off. I heard the provost officer tell the guard to keep his eyes on that boy or the first thing he knew I would be gone. About that time, a man from Company A asked a guard to go with him after his blanket but instead of going for his blanket, he went to Col. Flemming’s headquarters and told him there were a number of 49th men under guard for nothing, freezing to death. Col. Flemming came racing out and called out for the discharge of all the 49th men. After we got out of hearing he told us, the next stupid scrape we got into, to try to be smart enough not to get caught. Almost as soon as we got back, I was detailed to go on provost guard myself. Captain Connor of Company I was officer of the day. He placed the guards at different posts, then told the Company I detail to patrol the city. We went all over the city but did not arrest anyone. They all gave us the dodge. At the wharf, two blockaders were unloading goods for the Confederacy. There was nothing much in the stores but tobacco, pipes and peanuts (goobers) but there was a good blockade trade as Wilmington was the main blockade port in the Confederacy. We lay in the old plank houses four days and then established our regular camp in a long leaf pine forest, a mile and a half below the city and one half mile from the river. We were immediately set to work to clear ten acres for a drill ground. It looked like a pity to cut the long, slender pines, some of them thirty feet to the first limb with busy tops bobbing in the wind. The wagons arrived with our tent flys, having driven all the way from Petersburg, Virginia. December 19, 1933 The Landmark, Statesville, N.C. Chapter 5 Camp at Goldsboro and Kinston We went up to Goldsboro the next day on the train and went into camp in the woods in the lower end of town where Col. Ramseur used to take us out for battalion drill ten months before. Great changes in the 49th had been made since that time. Ramseur had been promoted to brigadier general, Lt. Col. McAfee promoted to colonel of the 49th, Major Fleming had been promoted to lieutenant colonel and Captain Pinck Chambers had been promoted to Major. Captain Chenault and Lt. Jeptha Sherrill of Company I were both dead and Lt. Jacob Sherrill had resigned. Lt. C.F. Connor was then promoted to captain of Company I, James H. Sherrill to first lieutenant, C.A. Connor to second lieutenant and Stephen Witherington to third lieutenant. Captain Baxter resigned, to the great joy of the entire regiment and George Phifer was promoted to captain of Company K. Captain Black resigned and David Barrett was promoted to captain of Company D. Captain Connor was the only commanding officer in Company I who was elected at the organization. There was not a braver man in the army than Captain Connor. The survivors of Company I speak of his bravery to this day. He was in every march and battle in which the 49th took part with the exception of Fredericksburg, when sick in the hospital, and never even had his clothes cut with a bullet. Col. Fleming and Major Chambers were the only men who held captain commissions at the organization of the regiment. New shoes were issued, among them a number of pairs of cloth shoes and others with wood bottoms. Captain Connor got a pair of cloth shoes; saying he had got what he had wanted a long time. He soon learned that cloth shoes were splendid to walk about camp in, but would not do on a march; and the all wood bottom shoes, we could not walk in them. Another great wrestler showed up at this camp. He was in Company H. He went through the regiment and threw every man who took hold of him, just for fun. One evening he came to Company I and called out: “If you have any man in Company I that wants to be thrown, bring him out. If you have a man in Company I who wants to see the print of his back on the ground, bring him out.” Company I had a man who was a pretty good wrestler but he was not very anxious to tackle this man. We told our man to try him as it was nothing but a fall. They took hold of each other. Company H asked Company I if he was ready. He answered “yes” and in the next second was lying flat on his back, and the Company H man lying across him. They tried it again with the same result. He threw him precisely the way he did the first time. That settled it. The Company H man went on through the regiment calling out: “Any man that wishes to see the print of his back on the ground, let him come out”. Those were jolly old days. A soldier’s life is full of hardships and dangers but after resting a few days after a heavy battle, or long march, he is his old self again and with the exception of a few chronic grumblers or men with the blues, he is ready for his fun and mischief. And with the battle was on, the jolly soldier with his gun could always be relied upon. Our main duty at camp was regiment and provost guard. Col. McAfee always had regimental guard posted. It made no difference if we came in at midnight from a hard march, guard had to be posted, while the troops in all the other regiments fell down and went to sleep. The boys used to say that it was because some one stole the blankets off his horse one cold night. The provost guard was alright for a while to keep the boys out of mischief in the town, but they soon learned to take their guns with them, then all were provost guard. If a man wanted to run the blockade at night, he would get the countersign from the regimental guard and go out and come in whenever he pleased. Camp at Kinston April 2, 1863 we marched to the depot at Goldsboro and went down on the train to Kinston, a distance of 22 miles. We crossed the Neuse River and went into camp in a grove two miles from town. Our time was mostly occupied in guard duty and marching back and forth to Cententnea Creek to relieve the fears of the butternut rangers (cavalry) who were guarding the outposts on the different roads leading to New Bern, 40 miles away. One day, about 12:00, a cavalry courier dashed up to General Ransom’s headquarters with the news that the Yankees were advancing by way of Contentnea Creek, a deep stream spanned by a bridge. We were soon on the march headed for Contentnea Creek, a distance of 14 miles, arriving at the bridge about sundown. It proved to be a false alarm. We lay there all night and marched back to camp the next day. On the second day after, another courier dashed up with the startling intelligence that the Yankees were advancing by the way of Contentnea Creek. We were soon on the march again down the same road and to the same place. No Yankees there, another false alarm. We lay there all night and the next day marched back to camp. In a day or two another courier dashed up with the news that the Yankees were advancing by the way of Contentnea Crerek. General Ransom was tired of that kind of news and ordered the courier to go back to his command and tell them to whip the Yankees themselves and if they could not do it, then sent for us. We were never sent for and never heard of any fighting down there. The infantry had a poor opinion of the fighting quality of the cavalry but they were helpful in guarding flanks and outposts, if they did get scared sometimes and raised false alarms and run the infantry almost to death. One day the rations were brought in while I was on guard. It was the custom to give each man his rations and let him cook them himself or eat it raw. On that day, a comrade drew my rations of peas and cooked it with his own. When I came in he told me he had eaten my peas but left me some good soup in the pot. I told him all right, lead me to the soup. I found a pint of clear water in the pot. I told him to eat that, too, as I was not fond of soup made that way. Rations wee scarce and when the old comrade cooked my peas he had to eat them and pour water in the pot and called it soup. A hog was stolen from a citizen living nearby but neither the meat nor the thieves could be found. It was hard to find a thief in camp when he could eat the meat and burn the bones. We did get so tired of cornbread, old rusty bacon and peas. Every day it was the same old ration and no wonder the boys sometimes wanted a change. As no more false alarms came up from Contentnea Creek, we moved our camp to Jackson’s Mill on South West Creek near the bridge where the public road crosses from Kinston to New Bern. We threw up a line of breast works running parallel with the creek a half mile long and were used by our troops in the Battle of Kinston towards the end of the war. Our camp was in a pretty grove near a school house which served for a community house. Dr. J.A. Sherrill of Catawba County came down on a visit and preached to us on Sunday evenings. Columbus Kennedy, a blind man from Iredell, also preached a sermon at that camp. We were marched out one morning and formed into a hollow square to see a deserter shot. The poor fellow was marched out guarded by the firing squad and four men walking behind him carried his coffin. He was made to kneel at a stake driven in the ground near his open grave. His arms were bound at the elbow, the cord passing over the stake at his back and a handkerchief over his eyes. The firing squad, consisting of twelve men, two ranks, took their places in front. At the command, ready, aim, fire, the front rank fired and the poor fellow twisted over on his side, dead. In less than ten minutes after he was marched out he was covered up in his grave. The rules of war are hard but unless they are trictly enforced, it would be useless to try to keep the army together. On the 16th April, Company E and I were sent down to picket Mosely’s Creek on the road to New Bern. The picket camp was a half mile form the creek which was crossed by a bridge. A narrow road crosswayed with logs led through the swamp to the bridge on which the videttes were posted while the main picket line was at the edge of the swamp a half mile in the rear. About the worst scare I ever had was at that bridge. Pink Collins and I were sent out to the bridge one dark night at 10:00 as videttes to stand until 2:00 am. Not knowing how far it was down to the Yankee lines, we had strict orders to keep a sharp lookout and if the enemy advanced to fire our guns, to give the alarm, then run back to the picket a half mile back at the edge of the swamp. The frogs and whippoorwills kept up a regular concert which aided in keeping us from getting lonely. There was not a living soul within a mile and no line of retreat except the narrow crossway road leading back to the high ground. About midnight, we heard voices in front which sounded precisely like human voices. We kept our caps pushed down while we listened. While the talking was going on we heard a loud splash in the creek below, which we were sure was the Yankees flanking us. Then I felt like if I could get a good start on the road back to the lines I could outrun any horse the Yankees had in their army, nothing but a bullet could overtake me. Just as we were in the act of firing the alarm, the talking broke out in regular owl hoots. The owls had met in the swamp and their conversation sounded like human voices. The splash in the creek was made by some animal. I laughed at brave old Pinck for getting scared at an owl, but we both acknowledged that we were badly scared. I went out foraging one morning and spent about all the money I had for a mess of sausage. We had a large cook fire and my frying pan was a half canteen stuck in a split stick. In taking it off the fire, it fell out of the skillet and turned my sausage out in the fire. I lost it all. An old mother came down to visit her son in the regiment. She rode from Jackson’s Mill down to Mosely creek on a ration wagon. When she met her son she threw her arms around him and began to cry pitifully. The young soldier scratched loose from her and said: “Mam, don’t’ be a dam foot.” That correctly cooled the poor old woman’s ardor and the next day when the ration wagon went off, she went with it. We remained on picket until the 24th April and were then relieved by two companies from the 49th and went back to camp at Jackson’s Mills and worked on the breastworks along the South West Creek till the 6th of May when Company I and Company F of the 49th were sent down again to picket Mosely Creek under the command of Captain Davis. While we were on picket duty, the brigade went down the Dover Road towards New Bern and had a sharp skirmish with the Yankees and drove them back. The loss was light. Simeon Waugh of Company I was shot through the body in the skirmish, the ball entering his heart. It did not appear to hurt him much for in a few minutes he was back with the company. At the siege of Petersburg in 1864, he was shot again in the body almost exactly in the same place and died in a few minutes. We were relieved on the 11th May and sent back to camp at Jackson’s Mills. In working on the breastworks, I blistered one of my hands. It soon inflamed and was very painful. I went with the company down to Mosely Creek the last time but my hand was swollen to twice its normal size and so painful I could not rest day or night. Two days before the relief came, Capt. Davis sent me back to camp on the ration wagon. The troops had all come in from the Wise’s Fork skirmish. I rolled around on the ground all night by myself, suffering dreadfully. At sick call the next morning I went up to the doctor. He looked at my hand and wanted to cut it open with an old, dull, rusty lancet but I would not let him. It made him mad. He told me to go and suffer, he did not care. He gave me a passport to go to the hospital at Goldsboro and sent me to Kinston in an ambulance where I was to stay till the train the next day. There being no wayside hospital in Kinston, the provost guard took me to their headquarters. I walked the streets all day almost crazy with pain. Just before night, I was sitting out a little distance from town and sat down on an old, broken wagon. All at once, my hand quit hurting and felt easy and cool. I undid the bandage and the corrupted matter poured out in a small stream. The rising started in the palm of my hand and burst on the back. It went clear through. I pressed on it as much as possible to make it run, then hurried back to the provost headquarters, rolled in my blanket and in a few minutes was fast asleep. I had not slept any for several days. Next day I went to Goldsboro and soon found the hospital, a large, two story brick building which had been a college before the war. Immediately after registering, I was sent down to the bathroom and given clean underclothing. Then my hand was dressed and I was shown my bunk up in the third story near a large window overlooking the town. I thought, my, what a good place. Nice, clean quarters like we had at Richmond. But there was nothing much to eat but that did not bother me much at first as I thought more about sleep. I suppose there was enough for sick me, but I was not sick. At breakfast we had a small slice of loaf bread and a bit of beef. For dinner we had a piece of corn bread two inches square and one inch thick, a slice of bacon and a half pint of thin soup. For supper we had a slice of loaf bread and a cup of soup. The three meals together would have made about enough for one meal. We were allowed free access to the hospital grounds but not into the town. The provost guards kept us from running the blockade. When the hold home guards were on duty, they had no sense. I starved at the hospital four days and concluded to get back to my regiment although my hand had scarcely commenced to heal but I was getting too hungry to stay there. I went to the doctor and told him I was able for duty and wanted to go back to the command. He gave me a hospital discharge and that evening I went down to Kinston on the rain and walked back to camp at Jackson’s Mills, hurrying along to get there before dark. Next morning I had to report to the doctor, as my hand was perfectly useless. The doctor was surprised. He told me I was a dam fool and asked what the hell I was doing back there and what was the use to send me to the hospital when I would not stay there. I told him I could not live on sick man’s rations and left there to keep from starving. He told me to go back to camp and stay there until my hand got well and then go on duty and not bother him any more. I lay about camp several days when a movement of the enemy from New Bern put me on duty again before my hand was nearly healed up. That was my last hospital experience. After my hand healed I had good health and was with the regiment in all its camps, marches and battles with the exception of a time when off on other duty. We went to drilling and were at it every day while there. We drew new uniforms, fresh from England or some other foreign country. The coats were of good cloth and well made but the pants were coarse and not well made. Oysters were plentiful and sold in the shell. We ate them raw or roasted and sometimes in soup. In these rambles, I tell a few jokes on the boys as we go along. They were all good soldiers and now most of them are resting in their graves. Peace to their ashes. Woodford Sherrill undertook the job of swallowing a large clam. He got the clam in his mouth and swallowed it with tears streaming down from his eyes and water flowing from his mouth but the clam would not go down. He finally got it worked out of his mouth and then and there drew the line on clams. We organized a debating society in which Allison Fox of prayer meeting fame, took an active part and spoke so loud he drew the attention of the whole command. The old man was so badly wounded at the Battle of the Crater that he was never able for duty again. We also had old time singing in note books. Nelson Lowrence and Pink Jones were the leaders. Nelson was a good old fellow and everybody liked him and laughed at him. He had rocks in his knapsack picked up on the march. Some of them he had carried from the Potomac River. Thus we had a busy time, drilling, dress parade, provost guard, debating, singing, playing cards and listening to Allison Fox’s long, loud prayers. The weather was clear most of the time in this camp but the wind blew all the time, filling our camps and rations with sand. Lt. Jacob Sherrill resigned and returned home, his wound rendering him unfit for service. By the death of Captain Chenault, and promotion of Lt. C.F. Connor to captain, he held the rank of first lieutenant at his resignation. Lt. J.A. Sherrill was promoted to first lieutenant, C.A. Connor to second lieutenant and Stephen Withering to third lieutenant. General Matt Ransom was promoted to brigadier general and placed in command of the brigade. Camp at Topsail Sound Leaving camp at Wilmington, we marched down to near Topsail Sound and camped in a swampy glade, two miles from the ocean and on the public road leading from Wilmington to the Sound. It was a bad place for a camp. We cut poles and crosswayed the tents to keep out of the water. We built pens two fee high for walls for our flys. We had not been in camp very long before being sent to the beach to throw up breast works. We threw up a long line two hundred yards back from the high tide level, working as usual by relief, in half hour shifts, working nearly all day. When the tide ebbed, it left beds of oysters in shallow pools. We broke the shells and ate them raw. We had a beautiful view of the ocean water as far as the eye could see and the waves looked as if rolling down hill on us. The weather was rainy there most of the time. I asked an old man if it rained every day down there. He replied “oh, no sir, sometimes it doesn’t rain a drop for two or three days.” One night about midnight, I was laying awake listening to the rain pouring down on the tent and thinking what would we do if we got orders to move. Presently Captain Connor ran to the tent and called out “march orders, boys, get up quick and take your tents to the wagon yards, we have to leave here immediately.” We got up in the pouring rain, pulled down our tents, and blundered through the darkness with them to the wagon yard. The night was very dark and stormy. We stood about in the rain until daylight and seeing no signs of leaving, we set about building fires. We were soaked to the skin and very cold. As there was plenty of rich pine, the fires were not hard to start. We stood around our fires till noon before starting. The rain had ceased falling that morning about 8:00, leaving the roads in a terrible condition. We marched 14 miles that evening through ponds of water to a point on New(?) River, where we remained until the next day. One old fellow in Company K and his wife with him, and she could march and wade streams like a regular soldier. Sometimes the old man would carry her over a deep place on his back. The weather was cold and cloudy and our clothes wet but we had wood plenty and built great log heap fires. The 25th N.C. Regiment camped near a cotton gin and were too wet or lazy or tired to cut wood, burned the cotton gin house and had to pay for it out of their next draw of wages. It caused some heavy swearing but the money had go come. When we left we marched back over the muddy roads and put up our tents in the old camp. A deserter was flogged at the camp. He was given 300 lashes with a heavy belt, 100 each day for three days and then made to stand an hour with his arms extended straight out from his shoulders. The punishment was cruel in the extreme but he was an old offender and chose the lash in preference to being court martialed for in a court martial he knew he would be shot. The first night after his release from the guard house he stole two guns and all the ammunition of his tent mates and ran off again and was never re-captured. Our North Carolina rations at that time were coarse ground, unsifted meal, yellow bacon, a spoon full of rice and a gill of peas. We lay idle in camp a few days as if awaiting orders to leave. We broke camp at Topsail Sound about the 6th day of February, marched up to Wilmington and bivouacked in a blackjack grove near the city. The rain had ceased falling and the weather was clear and not very cold. Camp at Magnolia and Kenansville We rode in box cars without any seats from Wilmington to Magnolia, a pretty little town on the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad. We arrived there about the middle of the afternoon and were the first troops to halt at that place. We marched out to a grove of scrubby long near pines near the town and went into camp. At that camp, our cuties were light, having nothing to do but guard duty and roll call. We had nothing to burn but rich pine. The water was bad, the wells being only about four feet deep and the buckets jerked up by sweep poles. They were regular frog traps. As many as a dozen in one night. We saw no grave yards in that country and did not understand it. Someone asked an old citizen what they did with their dead. He replied “they never die down here” and pointing to a pile of pine knots said, “see those pine knots?” “yes” “well, they were all people once, the people down in this country instead of dying turn into pine knots.” Down there, they raised collards instead of cabbage. The collards had long stalks with a bunch of green leaves at the top which they cooked with bacon. It was said that the girls, when their sweet hearts came, added corn dumplings to have something extra. A forager, I guess, he belonged to the 25th Regiment, called at a house one day and asked if they could give a poor, sick soldier who was unable to eat anything, a piece of corn bread. He said he did not care if it had been baked a week ago. The kind lady, not having any corn bread on hand, gave him one of those dumplings bout the size of a terrapin. The poor, sick soldier looked at it and asked if they could not give him grease to wallop the dumpling in. She gave him the grease, he walloped the dumpling and went off eating and searching for other houses. We were at camp at Magnolia a week, then marched along the sandy roads to Kenansville, the county site of Duplin County. We were two days on the march and went into camp on a ridge of blazed turpentine trees a mile from town where we had a good, dry camp. Our chaplain, Rev. R.G. Barrett, brother of Captain Barrett, of Company D, Moore County, resigned and Rev. Nicholson, a Baptist Minister from Mecklenburg Co., was commissioned chaplain of the 49th Regiment and remained with us to the end of the war. Mr. Nicholson was a good man and worked hard among the soldiers, holding services every Sunday and sometimes during the week when in camp. It would be amusing to people of this day if they could see divine service held in a camp. A shady grove in summer and a sunny spot in the winter. After Sunday morning inspection was over, the chaplain started out with his camp stool and books, a barn answering for a pulpit. Pretty soon he would have a good sized congregation around him sitting on the ground. The singing was good notwithstanding the absence of female voices which is considered necessary in good music in the present day. The services were conducted in the same manner as they were in the churches at home. There was no compulsion, every man was free to attend or not. I have never seen the sacrament administered in camp, but the door of the church, as it was called, was opened at almost every service and a soldier could join any church he wished by giving the chaplain his name and asking him to send it to the pastor at his home. In Their Own Words Remembrances of an Old Soldier of the Brave Old Days W.A. Day Sherrill’s Ford, N.C. December 22 1933 The Landmark, Statesville, N.C. Mr. Nicholson kept a good many books in his tent among them were several volumes of Harper’s Magazine with comic pictures at the back. Tate Powell and I used to borrow his magazine. He wanted us to read his religious books but we preferred the magazine. He told us he believed we borrowed the books to look at the pictures and tore them all out. Mr. Nicholson was mistaken about the pictures. We borrowed the books to read. A four inch snow fell but did not remain long. On the evening before it fell I, with several others of Company I, were sent to Kenansville on the Provost Guard. Our post was on a side of the street in the suburbs. The night was dark, cloudy and very cold. We gathered up wood enough to keep a fire and patrolled the town by reliefs, dividing the time so that the three reliefs would take up the night. I was on the first relief and when my time was out I crawled into the trough in an old log stable near by, rolled in my blanket and slept soundly until morning. When I awoke I found myself completely buried under the snow. It had drifted in and filled the big cypress horse trough full. One evening a celebrated wrestler came in from another command and challenged the whole 49th Regiment to bring out a man to wrestle with him at $100 a fall. A wrestler in Company C wanted to try him but did not bet anything. The fellow said wrestling was too hard to play it for nothing and he would not take hold of a man for less than $100. That settled it. He went off and we never saw him again. I went with Woodford Sherrill out on a foraging expedition. We wandered off several miles from camp and stopped at a farm house where they gave us a good dinner. When the good lady got the table set she spread a blanket on the floor and I asked Woodford after she left what she did that for. He said he did not know unless she felt we would drop grease on the floor. Company I and Company E were sent on details down into Onslow County to guard a wagon train sent down there after pickled pork. Onslow is a mossy county. The moss hangs in tufts five feet long on the trees and made such good beds to sleep on. It was of a gray color and gave the pine woods a dismal appearance. The pork belonged to a wealthy man named Huggins who had a village of Negro cabins a quarter of a mile long on each side of a wide street. We were down there a day and two nights and our quarters were in a large vacant house. We drew rations of corn meal and pickled pork. We pulled up turnips in a field near by and put them, tops and all, with some long legged collards, with our meal and meat in a forty gallon kettle and boiled the whole thing into a mush. The kettle stood there all day and we drew rations whenever we pleased. We were at a loss to know what to call the mess until old Druker (John Howell) called it “cush”. Onslow County only had a town called Johnston where courts were held but in September of 1752 a terrible cyclone swept the court house and all the houses completely away and the town was never rebuilt. At the time of the war, courts were held in a building called Onslow Court House. We remained at Kenansville until the 26th March, 1863, when we marched up to Magnolia and bivouacked in the woods near the town and lay there all night. The Gum Swamp Affair On the 22nd May, 1863, a sharp fight occurred at Gum Swamp in Cravan Co. The 25th and 56th Regiments of our brigade were sent there and through the negligence of the cavalry, the roads below were surrounded by a large force of the enemy and after a hard fight in which they lost 170 men in killed, wounded and prisoners, the remainder cut their way out and escaped. A wide, deep creek spanned by a narrow bridge ran in the rear of the line of battle which showed bad generalship not seen by officers, and made escape almost impossible. The survivors finally made their way out by retreating down the creek and crossing on logs and hastily constructed bridges. General Ransom was in there, dashing about on his sorrel mare, using rough language on the quartermaster for having the wagons driven in where they were liable to be captured and looking up the creek he saw the Yankees at the double quick, making for the bridge. “Yonder are the ******* Yankees” he said, and wheeling his horse spurred for the bridge but the Yankees got there first. Seeing his escape cut off by the bridge, he changed his mare and came running in a degree so as to strike the creek one hundred yards below. The Yankees, seeing his intention of leaping his horse across, ran down the opposite bank and headed him off. The general drew his sword and touching his spurs to the little sorrel, she cleared the creek and landed with her rider among the Yankees. They seized her bridle reins. The general’s battle sword was a heavy one and he used it, over and under hand, knocking Yankees in every direction until he had cleared a way out, then he darted away through a shower of bullets without receiving a scratch. He soon returned with re-enforcements and the Yankees were driven back to their stronghold at New Bern. I went down with the troops carrying my gun but could only use one hand. We remained in the vicinity of New Bern about 24 hours. We left there late one evening and marched nearly all night and arrived at camp at Jackson’s Mills the next evening. There was now no fighting at New Bern except for a few artillery shots. We settled down in camp again keeping the roads towards New Bern well picketed and working on the breast works along Southwest Creek. Camps, Marches and Skirmishes at Bottom Bridge On May 30, 1863, we broke camp at Jackson’s Mill, marched up to Kinston, took the train and went to Petersburg, Virginia. We did not go into regular camp as we were waiting for orders. On June 2, we went down to Ivor Station on the Petersburg and Norfolk Railroad. Tents were furnished and we went into the regular camp. Our old weather beaten flies were left somewhere. Our duty there was to picket the roads leading into Norfolk. We saw no action of the enemy. On the 12th June, we went back to Petersburg on the train and lay there until the evening of the 13th. We then marched to Drury’s Bluff and lay there for two days. On the 16th we marched to Chesterfield Station on the Richmond and Petersburg Railroad and went back to Petersburg on the train. Companies C & I were sent out on picket. I do not know what for unless it was to keep us on duty as there were no Yankees near. After being out 24 hours, we were ordered back to camp. On June 21, we went up to Chesterfield Station on the train, marched over to Drury’s Bluff and went into camp on the opposite side of the turnpike from our old camp of July, 1862. It was a common saying among the soldiers that General Ransom would rather camp at Drury’s Bluff than anywhere else in the world and would march us down to get there if it was only to camp for one night. We remained there until the 26th June and then broke camp, marched over to Richmond and went into camp in the pine woods two miles beyond the city. Company I was sent out on picket on the new bridge road near a large white house where they had a cow grazing with a long rope. The first we had ever seen tied. The owner said he would not swap her for the finest horse in Richmond. There was a find crop of blackberries in a field nearby. I picked about a quart, went to the house, bought a canteen of buttermilk and with my ration of flour, it altogether into a kettle and boiled it, thinking I would get a good mess. It was sour, bitter and black as tar. I had to throw it out. We were out on picket 24 hours, then ordered back to the regiment which we found ready to march. We halted at the reservoir and then marched down Brown Street, through the city and out on the Williamsburg Road to Seven Pines and went into camp in a level field near the place known as French’s Farm where we had our first experience with bullets at the beginning of the Seven Day’s Battle and the gallant 48th North Carolina lost so many men under the brave Col. Hill. The invasion of Pennsylvania by General Lee at that time occupied the attention of the enemy and movements elsewhere were of slight importance. It is said the Battle of Gettysburg was a turning point. Up to that battle the cause of the Confederacy was in the ascendency and after the battle it began to descend. Napoleon at St. Helena said if he could have had Murat to lead the cavalry at the Battle of Waterloo, the map of Europe would have been changed. If Lee could have had Jackson at Gettysburg, the map of the U.S. might have been changed. Who knows. While the great armies were fighting at Gettysburg, a strong force of the enemy moved on Richmond from Williamsburg, probing with the intention of capturing and destroying the city or, I the event of its failure, to cause the withdrawal of our troops from Pennsylvania. We were hurried down the Williamsburg Road and some distance below Bottom Bridge encountered the enemy and after a brisk skirmish drove them back down the road with the capture of a number of prisoners and small arms. The enemy, perceiving our advance, opened their artillery on us. We were moved up to (illegible word) and ordered to (illegible word) the right and form a line of battle and to take the care of our guns lest an accidental discharge betray our position to the Yankees. We lay in line of battle some time with the shells crashing through the trees but doing very little damage. The Yankees, supposing that they had a strong force to contend with, fell back down the road. We followed them some distance and night coming on we formed a line of battle and lay on our arms all night. Next morning, some light skirmishing took place between the pickets on the outposts and the Yankees continued their retreat. We followed them several miles but could not overtake them. We had some fun with Andy Davis of Company I. When they ordered us to take the caps off our guns, Andy misunderstood the order and took the cap off his head and lost it in the woods. We remained there till late in the evening and then returned to camp at Seven Pines, arriving there at midnight, very tired and hungry. As usual, Col. McAfee had guard posted around the regiment, late as it was. John Danner and I were detailed from Company I. We were so tired and hungry! John’s beat and mine joined. After being posted I told him to sit down and nod a few minutes and I would watch his beat for him then he could watch mine while I slept. We stood out our time even getting a little sleep. One sentinel was asleep when the relief came. The corporal threw a stone at him but he slept on. Finally, he walked up and punched him with his gun. That raised him. He jumped up and said: “Who goes there?” The corporal never reported him and that was the last of it. The other regiment on arriving in camp, threw themselves down on the ground and slept till morning. The colonels never posted guards. We were sent to work leveling the Yankee breast works on the Seven Pines battlefield and as the weather was very warm we worked at night and rested in the day. We worked by reliefs all night. General McClellan was the best commander the Yankees ever had. It was thought that had he not been hampered by the authorities in Washington, he would have captured Richmond in 1862. He had his base at Harrison’s Landing well fortified with the fleet at his back and it would have been impossible to drive him away. After his defeat on the Seven Pines battlefield, he intended to rest up and recruit his army then move up on both sides of the James River, capture Petersburg, and move on Richmond from that point compelling our troops to evacuate Fort Darling seven miles below the city. Then Richmond would have been assailed from both sides and a fleet of gun boats in the river below. It would require desperate fighting but in the end he would have accomplished his objective. Third Camp at Petersburg About the 26th of July, 1863, we broke camp at Seven Pines, marched to Richmond and took the train to Petersburg. The distance was seven miles. We saw a small black cloud and heard distant thunder when we started and when we reached the city the rain was pouring in torrents, the lightening was flashing and the thunder pealing over head. The water was rushing through the streets like small rivers. It was a terrible storm. We waded through it not halting until we reached the depot at the river and by that time the storm was about over. While shivering about the streets with the water dripping off us, waiting for the train, some of the boys found a house up the street where there was blockade whiskey. There were no open bars in Richmond at that time. The house was so crowded and in a short time women were out on the streets with canteens and jugs under their aprons, selling whiskey to the boys at fifty cents a glass. Col. Fleming rode out to where an old woman had a crowd around her and said: “Madam, I swear you must stop selling these men liquor”. She replied: “Yes, colonel, I will stop. Don’t you want a dram?” The colonel answered: “No, not right now”, and rode off, leaving the woman selling her whiskey as fast as she could pour it out. We left at dark and rode down to Petersburg in old box cars without seats and moved out to a field and shivered in our wet blankets until morning. Then we marched out on the City Point Road and went into camp a few miles beyond our old camp of August, 1862. A clear, sparkling spring under oak trees furnished us with water. We drilled and patrolled the railroad to keep the boys from running the blockade into Pittsburgh. That camp and all the country around was in the possession of the Yankees during the siege of Pittsburgh and we knew exactly how the country looked over in Yankeedom as we called it. I often thought of that good spring over there under the trees. More about Andy Davis. One day it was Company I’s turn to go on provost guard. We were posted in one hundred yard beats along the railroad. We walked the beat as though on regimental guard. Three men from the 49th were arrested that evening for running the blockade. One of them had boasted that he could flank the guard whenever he pleased. Captain Connors’ headquarters were at the upper end of the line. They were marched up the railroad, one guard turning them over to the next and so on to headquarters. When they were turned over to me, they begged me to let them get away telling me my gun was not loaded and if it was I would not shoot. My beat was in a place where I could not take any risks. They threatened to run away. I begged them not to run for they had been on guard many times themselves and knew what a guard’s duty was. I kept them with me to the end of my beat and turned them over to Jep Stewart, telling Jep to be very careful and not let them get away. They commenced on Jep as they did on me. Jep told them to stay with him that Andy Davis was on the next beat and that Andy was kind of green on guard and his beat ran through a thicket and when they reached the thicket it would be a good time to see how fast they could run. They marched on in Andy’s charge until they reached the thicket when they took Jep’s advice and tried to see how fast they could run. Andy shouted “halt!”, at the top of his voice, but this only made them run faster. Andy’s prisoners were gone. Andy was badly scared, thinking he would be punished but we never reported him. All such as that had to be kept secret at the time but we can laugh at it now. A soldier who would not favor a comrade in trouble was not much of a soldier. There was no fighting in the rear and we would have all the fun we wanted. That camp was where the 49th gained the name of the Dog Eater’s Regiment and carried it to the end of the war. One day two women brought in some fresh meat they called shoat. The word got out that it was dog meat. The 25th said we carried the head to the doctor and it barked at him. No better proof was needed. It was dog meat. We really never knew if it was dog meat or not. The war was over before we heard the last of it. The other regiments in the brigade called us the Dog Eaters and no wonder the 49th was a good fighting regiment when they ate every dog they could catch. When we marched by them every fellow that could bark was at it. Every breed of dogs from the bull dog to the terrier was represented in the barking. Oh! The fun they had over it and we just had to take it. We could only get in a reply on the 25th Regiment when we asked them to tell us about the hen(?) they stole in eastern North Carolina. That stopped their barking and put them to swearing. The standing of the regiments in Ransom’s Brigade was as follows: The 24th was too honest to steal, they would starve first. The 25th stole everything they could lay their hands on. The 35th was too lazy to steal. The 49th stole nothing but dogs. The 56th was a mixture, some of them would steal, others were too lazy and a few were too honest. During roasting ear season the 25th carried their stolen cobs out at night and took them into the camp of the honest old 24th. At the reunion at Nashville, Tennessee in 1897, I met an old 25th man. He jerked me around and laughed until he almost cried. “Come here”, he called to a friend—“I want to introduce you to an old dog eater.” I told the friend I was happy to meet him even if the introduction was through an old 25th Regiment thief. He tried to clear the record of the 25th by saying there were only two companies of thieves in the regiment and that gave the whole regiment a bad name. I told him there was nothing he could say now that would help the record of the 25th Regiment. Camp Near Weldon and Skirmish at Boone’s Mill General Robert Ransom had been promoted to major general and assigned to another command and his brother, Col. Matt Ransom of the 35th Regiment, was promoted to brigadier general and commanded the brigade until the end of the war, except a few months in the summer of 1864 when he was disabled by wounds. Towards the last of July, we broke camp and went into camp two miles above Weldon near the Raleigh and Gaston railroads. We had nothing to do at that camp but keep up a picket post at a mill and bathe in the pond. We had been in camp but a few days when a brigade of Yankees moved up from Suffolk, Virginia. They burned the railroad bridge across the Roanoke River at Weldon. The scouts brought in the news and a part of our brigade and Captain Branch’s battery were immediately started out to meet them. The Yankees were reported at Jackson, the county site of Northampton County. We were hurried across the river to Garysburg where we halted for orders. We lay there two hours and then started on a forced march down the road towards Jackson. We met the Yankees coming up at Boone’s Mill, three miles above Jackson near the home of General Matt Ransom, who was then in command. The mill was a small corn cracker built on a creek with a large pond above. The public road crossed the creek at a ford below the mill. We formed a line of battle on both sides of the road on the rising ground above the mill and a line of skirmishers were sent forward and formed near the creek. The Yankee line was back in the woods on the other side of the creek. The Yankee line was back in the woods on the other side of the creek. The skirmishers soon had a matching musketry fight going on which started the artillery on both sides. General Ransom had left his horse in the rear and was down there among the troops on foot. Seeing that we were outnumbered three to one, he resorted to a ruse to frighten them off. He mounted a stump and in a loud voice ordered imaginary brigades to different positions on the line. These orders were repeated by the staff officers along the line, and made the Yankees think they had a large force to contend with. Accordingly, they began to withdraw their lines and the fighting ended. Next morning, they fell back to Jackson, then continued to retreat to Suffolk. A terrible storm came up soon after this and it rained the greater part of the night and was so dark we could see each other only by the lightening flashing. Company I was sent out on picket and deployed along the creek and pond. We stood our post all night in the storm. At daylight the next morning, we were called in and large fires built to warm us and we dried our clothing. Even the money in our pockets had to be dried before we could handle it. John Drum, a bright young soldier in Company I, who had been in the service a short time, was killed. We buried him wrapped in his blanket near where he fell. It was 8:00 the next morning before we were able to follow the enemy, which we did as far down as Jackson but the Yankees were gone. We remained there until evening and then marched back to Garysburg. We bivouacked there until morning. Then we moved a mile above the town and went into camp. We saw only three Yankee graves. If there were any more killed, the carried them off. Camp at Weldon Our camp at Weldon was in a large field on the left of the railroad going towards Garysburg and near the home of a wealthy man named Moody. Mr. Moody was killed after the war by some cowardly sneak. We called our camp the Weldon Camp because it was near that town, although across the river in another county. Weldon was the headquarters where we always returned after expeditions into Virginia and North Carolina. We had good wall tents and were not crowded in them. Fatigue details were made to sweep the streets and everything was kept in regular camp order. President Davis passed through on a tour. We were marched down and formed in line along the railroad with Captain Branch’s battery on our left. We waited for an hour before the train came. Mr. Davis stood on the rear platform and waved a salute as the train moved slowly by. We presented arms and the artillery fired salutes. The train did not stop. A great religious revival started up in this camp and continued two weeks. It was conducted by the chaplains of different regiments in the brigade and well attended by the officers and men. There was good preaching and singing and a good many conversions. The services were held at night when the men were off duty. Prayer meetings were held for some time afterwards. In these prayer meetings, an old man named Allison Fox of Company I was at every one. Soon after the revival, a cow was taken from the citizens in the neighborhood, presumably by the 25th. The old man rode in the next day and demanded $600 for his cow; a pretty steep price, we thought, even if it was in Confederate money. The money was soon raised, company officers paying it and the old man rode off with the money in his pocket. About half the regiment of us followed him bawling like cows, making a terrible noise. It made the old man so mad! L As the boys used to say, he almost made the air smell like brimstone. Col. McAfee had us out on drill one very warm day. We could not please the colonel and he got mad. He rode out in front fairly foaming with rage and said: “You all are not trying to drill today and it will only be the worse for us.” He immediately gave the command to double quick. We ran clear across the field, then right about and back again until he had run us across four times. Oh, how we did sweat! He then ordered the captains to take charge of their companies and galloped off to his quarters. The captains gave the command: “Break ranks” We took off after him yelling as if in a charge and almost kept up with him to the camp. An old man lived in a cabin by himself near the camp. There was a large pea field near from which he picked roasting ear peas, shelled them out and sold them to the soldiers at 25 cents a quart. We used to go to his cabin, buy a quart of peas, then slip out to the field and steal enough to shell another quart. The old fellow had a thriving pea business while they lasted. Frank Stewart and I got a pass to go foraging. We crossed the main river at Weldon and went out to the country, bought as many watermelons and peaches as we could carry, lugged them all the way back to camp, almost breaking ourselves down expecting to make a big profit but when we got there we could not sell them for as much as we paid for them. There was a large persimmon tree standing near the camp and when any of the boys had to be punished for some misdemeanor, they were sent to walking around this tree with a pole on their shoulders. The boys soon had a beaten path around it. There was no fighting anywhere near and we amused ourselves in our camp sports after the day’s duties were over. One of them was to lay a fellow down on his back and as many as could get around him would hold their breath, hook their fingers under him and throw him ten feet high. Another was sitting down on each other’s knees, twenty or thirty men would walk around in a circle until the count was lockstep, then at the command, sit down, every fellow sat down on the knees behind him, thus giving everyone in the circle a good seat. John Hager of Company I died at the hospital at Weldon in September, 1863, and his body was sent home and buried at Rehobeth Church. He was a stout man and belonged to the ambulance corps whose duty was to carry off the wounded in battles. In Their Own Words Remembrances of an Old Soldier of the Brave Old Days W.A. Day Sherrill’s Ford, N.C. December 29 1933 The Landmark, Statesville, N.C. Camp at Tarboro, Rocky Mount and Kinston On August 11, 1863, we took the train at Weldon and went to Rocky Mount on the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad, to stay there all night and the next day marched down to Tarboro, a distance of 18 miles. Tarboro was a beautiful town on the banks of the Tar River and is the county site of Edgecombe, said to be the wealthiest county in the state at that time. We put up our tents in the upper part of town. We were the first troops to camp there. We had no regular duties except the regular camp duties and put in the time sauntering about the city and bathing in the river. It was the height of the fruit season and everything in the way of fruit grew down there. They gave us all of the apples and peaches we wanted but the melons we had to buy. Some old tight wad farmers thought it strange to see so many idle man and wanted us to pull fodder, promising us as many roasting ears as we could eat. We told the old fellow we could not fight for them and work for them, but if the Yankees came up the river, we would show them who belonged to the idle class! One of the 49th men, known in the regiment as “general” concluded that as it was a dangerous thing, it would be well for him to prepare for any emergency and he went to Mr. Nicholson, our Baptist chaplain, and asked him to baptize him and receive him in the Baptist Church. Accordingly, after on Sunday morning, Mr. Nicholson took him down to the Tar River and baptized him. None of us had any fault with the general’s conversion but we turned out in full force to see him baptized. In a few days the general was as bad as ever. If I am not mistaken, he was killed in one of the later battles. The Yankees had raided Tarboro once but there were no troops to oppose. They burned the bridge and threw all the guns they could find into the river. They did no damage to other property. We remained at Tarboro a week and left there one day about 12:00 and made a forced march up to Rocky Mount, arriving there a little after dark, making the 18 mile march in a little over a half day and went into the woods near the town. Being hot and tired, we threw ourselves down on the ground for a good rest. In a few minutes, Charlie Jelton, Capt. McAfee’s orderly, came around with an order for a regular guard. I was detailed from Company I. The officer of the guard divided us into three reliefs to stand on post two hours, fifteen minutes, thus taking up the whole of the night. I was put on third relief. Our relief then had a chance to sleep until 2:00 the next morning. Our orders were to walk our beats until daylight, then leave our posts and report to our companies as there would be no guards that day. My beat ran across where Company I lay and the boys were all down on their blankets sleeping so good and knowing no one would bother me, I rolled down on my blanket with them. When I awoke it was time to come off post. This was a part of my military career I kept secret. On the second night there, Col. McAfee had the roll called at 9:00, an order gotten up by himself and one that was not thought well of. He found a large number of 49th boys AWOL. They were reported and had to pay for their blockade running by extra duty. Kinston We remained in camp at Rocky Mount about a week and then went back to Weldon by train and moved our camp to the woods nearer the railroad where we remained drilling until Nov. 2 when we were again put on the train and sent to Kinston where we went into some winter quarters two miles from town. This was our third camp at Kinston. The houses were built of logs and had good roofs and chimneys. This was the sweet potato camp. We drew them in rations and bought and stole them from the citizens who brought them in by the cart load. They had no wagons down there, they were all two wheeled carts. We had fine times there, no Yankees nearer than New Bern, 40 miles away. Numbers of pretty girls from the surrounding country and town came in to see us. All the youngsters in camp fell in love with them, they could not help it. Eastern as well as western North Carolina is famous for pretty women. Our duty was light, not much drilling but regular guard all the time. At this time, we had our best time of the war. One night, Pink Collins and I were on guard and our relief was under a corporal who had just been promoted from private to corporal and, of course, was the biggest man in the regiment. It was the rule on the guard line that when a sentinel had to leave his post, to call for the corporal of the guard to take his place until he returned. This call was repeated by the other guards until it reached the guard house. Sometimes, for pure mischief, we would let a sentinel, especially if it was someone we did not like, call for the corporal until he was hoarse and not repeat it for him. Our corporal, when he posted us, gave us a little talk. “Boys”, he said, “it is well known that when you have a fashion that when a sentinel calls for a corporal, you will not repeat it for him. Now I want it distinctly understood that if any one calls me tonight and you do not repeat it, I will make you stand post two extra hours.” Very well, we would remember. The very moment he got back to the guard house, someone called for the corporal of the guard. We repeated it and carried it around the encampment some three or four times. The corporal relieved him and just as he reached the guard house again another called him. We ran it around the same way and in this way kept one corporal walking in someone’s place the whole time we were on post. I called him once and went to quarters for a smoke. The corporal got mad and cursed about it but we were simply obeying his order. We kept up such a racket on the guard line that Col. McAfee could not sleep and wanted to punish us but Capt. Durham persuaded him out of it. An old man named Loftin, who lived near camp, died and was buried in a little country grave yard near his home. Woodford Sherrill and I went to see him buried. He was the only citizen we saw buried during our time of service. We broke camp at Kinston about the middle of November, marched over to Kinston and lay in town that night. Next day we were sent by train back to our old camp at Weldon where we had a good time playing town’s ball and other school boy games until they shot a deserter on our ball ground which broke up the games at that place. We did not want to play ball over his grave. A large number of recruits came into the regiment at that time. They were trained by the sergeants. Our principal duties were regimental guard and guarding the Weldon bridge. Franklin and Gatesville About the first of December, we were sent by train to Franklin, Virginia, arriving there at midnight on a very dark and stormy night where we had no shelter and had to stand about in the rain the balance of the night. We searched around in the dark and found enough wood and some plank to make small fires. One of our men, in hunting around, fell in an old railroad well and would have drowned had not someone heard him cry for help and let down a pole and pulled him out. We had a dreary night at Franklin and next morning set out on a march to Gatesville, a small town in Gates County, N.C., and bivouacked one night on the road and arrived at Gatesville late the next evening and went into camp in the suburbs. Gates County is in the swampy section of eastern North Carolina. Cypress knees, cypress trees and ponds of water were almost everywhere. I do not know where they found dry land enough to work. Gatesville is the county seat of Gates County, named in honor of General Gates, the hero of Saratoga, but history says the honor belonged to Morgan and Arnold but General Gates received all the credit for the victory, but his laurels degenerated into the southern willows and he was compelled to flee from Cornwallis’ red coats at the Battle of Camden, S.C. On the march from Franklin to Gatesville, we halted for rest near the home of an old gentleman named Reynolds, who weighed 430 pounds. The old fellow walked out to the gate with a staff in each hand and leaned up against the fence. He was a jolly old soul and soon had a crowd around him. When he laughed, he shook all over. Someone asked him how long he could stand on his feet. Oh, he said, upon a strain, he supposed he could stand it five minutes. The roads down in that country were level, narrow, and sandy, running through large ponds of water with a firm, sandy bottom. Soon after our arrival at Gatesville, an old citizen came out and asked how many pieces of artillery it took to make a cannon. He said he thought it took three pieces and the old woman said four so he came out to see who was right. Some of the boys told him he was right, some of them told him the old lady was right. So the old fellow departed about as wise as when he came. Scouting with the Zouaves We camped at Gatesville two nights. A detail of twenty men was the made to go on a scouting expedition with the Zouaves and the regiment returned to Weldon. Henry Collins and I were sent from Company I with the detail. The Zouaves command consisted of 24 men and 20 from the 49th made up a force of 44 men under the command of Captain George French, a Zouave of New Orleans, and Lt. Applewhite, a Creole from that city. We started at 10:00 and marched slowly along the swampy hill roads until night and bivouacked on the side of the road where we had plenty of wood and had a fine fire. We carried what was intended as three days rations and sixty rounds of ammunition. We started out early the next morning and marched to Riddick’s Store, a distance of thirty two miles and 18 miles from Elizabeth City. We halted at sun down and a cavalry courier dashed up with orders to move on to Elizabeth City. Captain George paid no attention to the order and marched us out to the woods and told us to build fires and rest. The weather was cold and halting after the long, hard march, we soon became stiff and so cold we could hardly build our fires after which we rolled in our blankets and lay on the frozen ground until morning, expecting then to move on to Elizabeth City, but no orders coming from there, we lay in camp all that day and the next night, burning large piles of cypress shingles we found in the woods. A citizen came out to camp and told us he had one hundred hogs in the swamp, fattened up and ready for the butcher and would give one half the meat to the government to move it to a place of safety. He said if the Yankees found it out they would make a raid and take them. We never heard whether our side or the Yankees got them. On the third day after our arrival at the store house camp, we started out in the direction of Suffolk, Virginia, halting frequently to rest and get rations for we had to depend on the people along the road. Cold cornbread, baked without salt was bout all we could get. The people down their bake all their bread without salt. They said salt made it taste like it was raw. The Zouaves, who were talking to us in the English language, but were talking in French to each other, kept up a continual jabber of which we understood not a word. The whole crowd smoked cigarettes continually, making them as they walked along. When one was smoked up they had another one ready. I tried to make one and when I got it done, it was almost as big as a Roman candle. We made the march to Suffolk in two days, arriving in sight of the town late in the evening. We kept ourselves concealed as the town was full of Yankees. It was a cold, moonlight night. About 9:00, Captain George formed us in four ranks and moved slowly and surely into town, keeping on the shady side of the street. The Zouaves told us that before going in, their rule of battle was to neither give or ask for quarter but as we belonged to a different command, we could do as we pleased. This put us in a close place should we become engaged with the Yankees. It would be a fight to the death and should the enemy prove too strong for us, surrender would be useless and escape impossible. The cavalry would soon overtake us and saber us on the retreat. We marched about one quarter of a mile into the town and halted in the shade of some large buildings. Not a word was spoken. Presently, we heard foot steps approaching and a man dressed in citizen clothes came up and spoke a few words to Captain George in French and then turned and went back down the street. Captain George then ordered us to about face and marched out. This was a welcome order at least for me as I was not very anxious to battle with the Yankees on that night. It was very cold and after standing on the street for so long, we were almost frozen. We stole out of town as silently as Indians and marched seven miles up the road towards South Quay (pronounced Kee), then filed to the left and marched a half mile along an old country road and bivouacked in the woods the balance of the night. We slept soundly on the frozen ground. No sentinels were posted. Captain George said we were so far away the Yankees could not find us. The Zouaves told us the next morning that the town was so full of Yankees that we could not capture it. This was communicated to them by the spy who came to us on the street. We left early the next morning for South Quay where the public road crossed Blackwater River, and where the Zouaves had their headquarters. We marched pretty much as we pleased without any form or order. Captain George told us to report at South Quay and pushed on with his Zouaves, leaving us straggling on the road. We had nothing to eat since the moring before and were beginning to feel the pangs of hunger. William Friezel of Company E and I went to a house to see if we could not get breakfast. When near South Quay we fell in with one of the Zouaves loitering on the road. I asked him about his command. He told me that at the beginning of the war they had 1,000 men and owing to their reckless fighting in some heavy battles in Virginia, and among themselves, the command was reduced to 40 men at that time and 24 of them were officers and the rest were all in hell. We crossed the Blackwater on a ferry boat and lay huddled up at South Quay to keep from freezing. The Zouaves had discarded their uniforms and wore the regular Confederate uniform. Captain George discharged us the next morning. We marched to Franklin and went by train to Garysburg and joined the regiment in the camp at Weldon. Winter Quarters at Weldon About December 10, 1863, we made a flying trip to Tarboro, remained there one night and returned to Weldon and established our winter quarters. We built log houses four feet high, daubed them with mortar, and stretched out tents over them, built stick and mud chimneys which made them very comfortable. We had no drill duty to perform. A number of recruits came in but they were drilled by the sergeant. Regimental guard was kept up and also a guard at the Weldon Bridge. The weather was very cold most of the time but we had plenty of wood and fared very well. A four inch snow fell and lay on the ground a week, making it very disagreeable to walk the guard line. While the snow was falling we walked the guard lines with the snow all over our guns, except where we held our hands. The other regiments in the brigade had no guard around their camps and when roll call was over, rolled up in their quarters but Col. McAfee kept us out no matter how cold. The boys had a good time of sport over it even if it was hard. Some say it was because he was such a disciplinarian, others said it was through fear and other s said it was to keep the soldiers form stealing the blanket off his horse. We enjoyed ourselves during the short time we were in our winter quarters. While the snow was on the ground it was not safe to venture out at night. An ice ball would come whizzing from some unknown quarter and almost knocked you down. I threw a good many myself. A small crowd of us went to Lt. Gus Connor’s tent one night and called him out, seized him and carried him off about forty yards and set him down in the snow and then ran off and left him. He struggled, threatened and begged but we left him to limp back to his tent. Mr. Moody, who lived near, was a great hunter and kept a large pack of dogs. He used to ride into camp and get the boys who were fond of hunting and go down the Roanoke River with him deer hunting. One evening, one of the men came in with a deer on his shoulders. On December 25, 1863, Christmas day was clear and cold. Mr. Norwood, an old man from Catawba, who was born and raised in that county, came down on a visit to camp and to his old home, and brought each man in Company I a box of rations, sent by our people at home. We spent Christmas 1863 in winter quarters at Weldon with full stomachs, at least Company I did. Transcriber’s Note: Mr. Day’s reminiscences continued to be printed in the Statesville Landmark into the year 1934, but unfortunately the transcriber did not have access to the paper of that year. Anyone wishing to continue to read this series can find it in the early 1834 issues of the Landmark. Transcribed by Christine Spencer, June-September 2008