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THINGS I REMEMBER ABOUT THE WAR BETWEEN THE STATES By: Richard Barton Myers ---------------------------------------------------------------------- This record was written by R. B. Myers when he was eighty-three years old, and sixty years after the War Between the States. This typed copy is exactly as he wrote it without changing the spelling or wording. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Richard Barton 1840-1926 Laura Ann Michael 1844-1928 They were married March 27, 1861 by A. Rowan Craver at the bride’s home. Children: Mary Esta, Jennie May, Henry Cleveland and Benjamin Oliver Lexington, N.C., Davidson County And now as I have often bin asked to write a skeck or histry of my trials and trubles during the civil war of the Southern States against the Northern States. I was married in March in 1861. We moved to our selve and lived together till June 1862. Then the conscript act was past taking everybody up to the age of forty years of age. I was then near twenty two years of age. About twenty five from Davidson County volenteered in a company that John Bergis Fitsgerald was making up. And the object was to make up a regment at Salsbury, which was done, and we had ten or twelve companys which made the regment – this regment made up at Salsbury. These companys numbered about one hunderd each and these companys formed the 57 N.C. Regment. We was examind by Dr. Hall and sworn in to the service as solders for the Confederate States on the fourth day of July 1862. We was drilled every day and garded prisoner for about two month. Then we was called off to go to Richmond, Va. Our colonels name was Godwin. He was a Virginian. Lieutenant Collonels name was Jones. He was from Charlet. Our Captins name was Bill Brown from Salesbury. We arrived in Richmond and went through the town on about five miles the other side of Richmond and established a camp. Here we drilled for about a month; then we moved camp a little near Richmond. Then we went to Williamsburg as the yanky was said to be coming in there; but they did not come. So we went back. This was just after the seven days fight near Richmond. It was the batle when Macclelon tride to take Richmond. Now in Macclelon retreate along the wide public rode and on each side of this rode about forty to a hundred feete wide, every thing was sent one way, for they was in a hurry to get away from Lee and Jackson; dead horses and mules, broken wagons all the way. We went back to our camp and stayd there till the 18 of November. But a while before we went this trip to Williamsburg, my wife, Newton Cravers wife, James Cravers wife, Jim Kepleys wife and my brother Daniels wife came to see us and stayd about ten days. They came with Rowan Craver. And on the 18 of November we got orders to go to Richmond, and there was snow on the ground. But while we was in this camp Amos Snider died with brene fevor. He was Solamon Sniders youngest son and one of our company. I wrote to his father of his deth. We was huryed to Richmond and it turned very cold that night about nine o’clock got on the trane. We was put in old box cars. We had no seets. We rode all night – got to Gordinville about nine o’clock next day. It was a very cold night. We went in to camp where there had bin troops camped; and here was the first body line we had ever saw, and they was very hungry. They could turn a fellow or make him turn over. Here we stayed a while. Then we started to Fredricksburg. We was marching nearly three days and it rained all the time. The mud was deep and cold. This was the hardest and longest march I was on during the war. We was here a few weeks before the battle commenced; but on the morning of the eleventh of December before day I was a sleep. I herd a gun fire; and I thought I was at home and thought the dogs had treed a squrel and my Father was shooting at it; but prety soon an other one fierd. This one waked me up. It was a signal that the yankys was crossing the river and the battle comenst prety soon. We was statoned along the edge of an old pine field. That night we was put out on picket duty along the bolengreene roote; and it was so cold we could hardly keep from freezing. We was not alowd to have but very little fire down in cut in the roade. Next day we was back in line of battle. That evening we reached around over the hills, but came back to our lines in the evening. Now while we was near Richmond camp before we started on this awful hard march to Fredricksburg, I had the janders – or jundice. Now at the sound of the drum for sick call I went like many others did that was not well. Our Regmentte Doctor was Dr. Colwell from Salsbury. He wold say to the sick ones, give him a cathartick full, put him on duty, and so he did me that morning. I went to my Captin. (His name was Miles Hunter, a very good man.) I told him the doctor did not excuse me from duty this morning, but that I was not able to go on duty. He said to me, you go where ever you went to go. I will see that you are not punished. And I went and got me a little brandy in a can, put som wild cherry bark and dogwood bark and water all together. This made all the medicin I used for the jundice. This doctor was no good. He had no feeling for a sick man. They called him the vinager barrel for he always looked cower. He got so hateful. So much so, the cornal send him off, and I never herd tell of him any more. Then we got two good doctors, Dr. Morton and Dr. Binian, and they was good doctors. They stayed with the regment till the war ended. And now back to Fredricksburg. I remember we was in the woods or old field pines; Now, this is all I know about the charge that was made that evening by the 57 regment. I don’t remember leveing from that place. But J. H. Walser and others say we was marching round getting redy to start on the charge when a canon ball struck our ranks for then we was in four ranks. The canon ball struck a yong man nocking off his back of his head and that this ball struck my gun agans my head is the way I got wonded. Mr. Walser and others says that I and this young man (I have forgot his name) both fell forward on our faces and that we both kicked like hogs ding after they had bin knocked in the head and stuck with a nife. Now we was the first two persons that ever fell in this regment of a bout eight hundred men for this was the first ingagemt this regment was ever in and that it shoked the men and our Colonel seeing it. Said Study men. Study, and gave the command to make the charge, which they did and run the yankys back but lost about one hundred men killed out of the regment. Mr. Walser says that when they went on in the charge that he never expected to see me alive any more. Mr. James Craver was killed in this charge. He was the son of Rowan Craver Esq. He was a fine young man. He had not bin married very long. His wife and her Father and my wife went to Fredricksburg looking for there husband. Mrs. Craver had her husband taken up and brough home and buried at Reeds Church. My wife was looking and inquiring for me but could not find out any thing about me whether I was dead or taken off to som hospitle. Now as I have said I have no nolege of being wounded or starting in the grate chare that evening by the 57 Regment. The first thing I remember I was laying in a box car and a man said to me. You must get out of this car and get in that one over yonder. I remember looking out seeing the car. I said to him over yonder and he said yes. Now how I got in the car I don’t know. I believe they call that place Hanover Junction. This I lerned sometime afterwards. One thing only I remember on the way to Lynchburg. Looking out it seemed like we was going through a deep cut. After we got to Lynchburg, I must have got away from those that had charge of me for I remember after I got out of car that I crossed a little bridge and went up a little hill and went into a house for the door was open and people in the house. I went in and asked them if I could stay all night with them. They said no. I told them I was mighty sick and wanted to stay mighty bad. Then somebody taken hold of me and I guess taken me to the hospitle anyway when I began to come to my wright mind I was in the hospitle. All I could remember was laying in line of battle at Fredricksburg. Now I don’t know now long after I got to hospitle before I got my right mind. It must have bin from six to ten days and I was suffering a grate misry in my head when I got my right mind. I did not know who or how many of my friends and comrads were kild and I did not know whether my wife or my fathers and family know any thing about me whether I was living or dead and as soon as I could write I did go and wrote a letter to my wife. Now this letter was the first that my wife or any body had herd from me since the battle in which I was wounded. Now not many days after I wrote this letter to my wife (though it might have bin a weak) one morning one of the nurses cam in where I was trying to eate some breakfast and cald my name. Mr. Myers, your wife is in the doctor’s office there and wants you to come in there. Now I was most delightfule surprised but went in and there sure enough was my wife and her uncle Philip Michael for he had come with her out there. Now the presence of my wife helped me very much. Now she could tell me about all of my folks at home and about my brother David being dead – about Henderson Walser being did and about James Craver being kild at fredricksburg and a grate many other things. Now Phillip Michael stayed a few days and then went home. My wife stayd with me and nursed me till I got able to go home. I believe it was in febuary but I don’t know the date of our starting home. I kow there was snow on the ground and pretty cold whether but I got a place to lay down in the cars which was a grate help to me. Now from my wound in my head I suffered a long time then from other diseases – for when my head was getting some better I taken the cronick direah and this disease kept me in a very weake condition most all summer. I grieved very much for something sower to eate or drink. Now I was able to walk about some and I knew Mother had some good vinager and drank the most of it. Now this drink of vinager did not hurt me any but helped me, for it seemed like my sistern needed something sower and after I drank the vinager I never had any more craving appetite or thurst for something sower. Now toward fall of the year I began to improve very fast. I could eate any thing any time and very often get up from table before I had enough for I was ashamed to eate so hoggish. I continued to improve very fast and till the first of December 1863 I started back to the army and got to my regment on christmus day the 25 of December 1863. Now it had bin twelve months and thirteen days from the time I was wonded till I got back to the army. Now as best I can remember we stayd there a while that is virginey, then we come though Richmond and into N.C. down at Kinston NC. I believe this was about the last of January 1864. We went in camp near Kinston. Just acros News river from Kinston now our Brigade was made up of the following Regments the 21. Regmen the 6 Regment. The 54 Regment and 57 Regments was at this time attached to our Brigade. Sometime in the Spring was faught the battle of Plymouth. The 57 Regment did not go with the Brigade to this fight for in the fall of 1863 most of the 57 and 54 Regments was capturd and these two Regments was recruiting up and was left at Kinston to do gard duty and c. But General Hoke and General Ransom with their brigades – with other troops – went and whiped the yankies out of Plymoth and taken the town and many prisoners and taken the yanky general I believe his name was General Wessol. Then they returned back to camp. We stayed here a wile till sometime in May. Then we started to new bern, had som fighting on the way, capturing som prisoners – and capturd twenty three men who was in our army – but they had went to the yankes and was fighting aganst their country and so was found when capturd they was tried by court marshel found guilty. All of them was hung and the brigates was formed in a hollow squas around the galos. The first hanging was thirteen: all of them fell at one time it made the gallos crack, at an other time seven-and the last time three. And now we went on toward newbern but we was called back and sent to VA where grant and Lees fighting at wildress. We met General Lees army the other side of Richmond just after the Spotselvany battle. Grant was trying to flank around Lee and take Richmond but he could not get to Richmond. We was in line of battle several days fighting and skirmishing. Then General Lee sent general Early with severl Brigads to the vally of Virginia and my Regment was in the march to the vally. We marched part of the way then got on cars and run to Lynchburg. Then we was hurried through the town and met the yankys about a mile from the town; then the fight commons. We stoped them that evening but next morning they tryed to advance into Lynchburg but we run them back. General Hunter was the yanky General. He got sceared and left out from Lynchburg. New the first night at this pace I was put in front of the pickets – about a hunderd yards and a young man or boy by the name of Livingood was with me. Now it is deth according to miliary law to be found aseep on out post but I could not keep him awake and sometime in the night my captin com around to our post and found Livegood a sleeps but captin Hunter never reported him so he was not punshed or hung. Now this young man very soon got sick and was taken to the hospitle and diede so I was told and so I believe there was som diseas that working on him then that caused him to be so slepy headed on the out post. General Early and all his army folod on after General Hunter. We caught up with him had a little fight but Hunter was cohard and would not fight. Now going up the vally we got lots of cherys for they was ripe. Now we had left General Lees army near Richmond on July the 13 1864 and we had a skirmish near Lexington, Va. About 20 of July and when we got to Lexington we marched around General Jacksons grave for he was buried there. We continued our march up the valley but we did not overtake General Hunter any more. About the 24 of July I began to feel a little sick and for two days I would fall out of ranks and march along as it suited me but evry night I would get to my company. On the 25 we had got in ten miles of Stanton. On Sunday we rested all day. Monday we started toward Stanton. I didn’t feele able to walk but I had to walk for the ambulances was all full. We got to Stanton before 12 o’clock. I stoped there and rested and felt very well and I thought in the morning I will go on and catch up with my command but a bout an our before sundown I take a chill, the hardest chill I had ever had it lasted about one hour then next morning I felt alwright. Thinking as I had the day before that in the morning I will go on and catch u with the army but that evening about an our before sundown I had the hardest chill that I ever had in my life. Then after the chill left me I commenst asking all over evry bone in me hurt except my hands and feets. This continued for five days then the sick stomach left me then the fever set in. I broke out all over like anybody with the messels. They moved me three times the last time in the second story of a large bilding which had bin built for an assilum. While I was so very sick two boys would bring me sompthing to ete. I would very often say I am so sick I cant eate. They would say eate it if you don’t we will take it back. Now such talk to a person as sick as I was and a long way from home or friends makes one feel very bad. I tride to write a letter to my wife but could not write my hands trimbled so I could not write. So I got a man to write this was 10 days before this time to my wife his name was Smith he wrote a letter to her and she come to see me as soon as she could. Now I rember very well her taking a cover off of my face and I looked up and saw her. Now her coming to me I was getting a little better. Now from this time on I improved very fast and somtime about the last of august I got a furlow and we come home and stayed till I got well. Started back about the 15 of November and got to my company about the 20 of Nov the company was at Leasys Springs in VA but I have missed som that I could have wrote before now for I was in the battle at Drurys Bluf about the 10 of May. Here was a hard fight but we run old Butler back. Now in going in to this fight we came up with their picket lines, one man would not surrender so Bill Horry shot him. We went on and fired at the yanks. Now when I tried to lods my gun and tried to draw the ramrod to push the cartrage down I could not draw it out so after working and worying with it a while I get down behind a stump for the bullets was costing all around me but I said to myself this will never do to be killed back here for all the troops had gone on. So I got up and made a powerful pull at the ramrod and drew it out and pushed the catrage down and now herd something in the top of the pine trees that was out down all over the ground and then waked around and saw a man laying on his belley flater than ever you saw a lisard lay on the ground. His arms was stretched out at full length and he looked like he wanted to sink in the ground. I said to him what are you doing laying there. Get up and go and go with me up to the line of battle if you dont I will report you. Well he got up but insted of going up to the line of battle he run back and it looked to me like he was runing for life. He may have lived after this run. I dont know or he may be runing yet for all I know. I went on up the lines of battle, but we soon fell back and went around, come up with the yankes at an other place. The sharpe shooters was before us. One of them got on a fence and he looked and looked it seemed till he saw his object then fired and jumped down. The balls was cuting around us thick. We stoped prety soon and fought till our amunition gave out then the Georgia regment charged over us and started the yankes back. I though our regment was going with them in the charge but they dident. I went with them a little while then went back to my command. I got me a new gun, a new blanket and all the _______ I wanted. To our right the South Carolina had charged and had kiled lots of yankes we drove old Butler back in burmudy hundes stayed here a few days. Then I believe we stayed around and guarded Petersburg a few days and back to Lecys Springs in Virginia we went and stayed there till sometime near Christmus. We then went to William about five miles of Petersburg Va and built winter quarters. We put up cabins out of old field pine logs and done gard duty along hatches run and about the last of Febuary there was a battle but our troop run them back. I was not in this battle for my wife was then with me in our camp therefore I was excused from service that day. The reason my wife was there is this. She had come with her sister to a hospitle near Petersburg to see her sick husband James A. Myers and had come to our camp to see me for I had bin at the hospitle the day before and she had come with me to our camp. We stayed here till the first of March 1865 then went a bout a mile nearer Petersburg and built cabins agane. We stayed here about two week and then we was caled to Petersburg to front lines. Our lines was not more than a hunderd yards from the yanks line. We had brest works to stay in and so did the yankes. We had pickets in front of us and as did the yankes. There was shooting going on all the time and sombody kiled evry day. I was detaled to gard our doctors tent which was in a low place about fifty yards from our line. That night I went to my company to get my rations and while I was there the yankes made a move toward our lines. The shooting commenst from both sides. I stood up and shot all night and about midnight it commenst raining but the yankes never got to our lines. The next night the yankes tried it agane and I had went to get my ratons just like the night before. I run back to the doctors tent to get my gun but the doctors said no you stay here and guard our tent. These other two dident go last night. They must go tonight and you stay here. So I did stay but the canon balls come so close to me that it looked like they would cut through the tent but nary one struck it. Just because the tent was a little to low for them to hit. Now we stayed here on duty day and night till about the 24 of March. On that night there was a detail made from the army. They said the detail must be of the best men, anyway we did not know any thing about what the detail was to do. We was taken down in a low place and kept there a while before day. Then we was marched up to the line. Then crosing our brestworks began our detail crost. We was to suport the pickets in front of us. So we went on, our men before us capturd their picket line before they now we was about. Now they crosed their brestworks and taken their batery before a gun was fired. Now it getting light the sun was about up here goes Yankes runing every way. I capturd som of them and started back with them but could not get over the brest works for comtime for our army was crosing so I had to waite perhaps a half our. Then I crosed with my priseners and take them back behind our works where there was hunderds of prisoners taken from our parts of the line. So I deliverd them to the officers and started back for now there was powfull fighting going on and had bin for sometimes. I started back and met litters caring out the wonded. One man caled me to him telling me to write to his wife that he was going to die. This man was Ad Richard out of our company. He was shot in the stomach the ball past through him. He was taken to the doctors tent. I asked Dr. Morton what he thought about Richards wound. He said he had not examined it yet but it looked like a fatle wound. After the battle I wrote to his wife about his being badly wounded but Ad Richard got wel and lived many years after the war. And now I went up to the brestworks and was going to cross but at this time General Gordon came riding along the brestworks and gave command for nobody to cross the brestworks for he said the army was falling back and shure enough they did fall back for they would come to our brestworks and fall over to get across the brestworks the quickest way they could becaus the Yankes was shooting at them all the time. So they was in a hurry to get across the brestworks. And now the battle is over, and our army got badly whiped back and many have spoke about this battle that after our army crossed it seemed that victory was in our hands but by some bad general ship our victory cliped from us. Now many such instances as this during the war where victory on our side seemed to be certain but was a failure. So many writers say the war was to come to an end as it did becaus a higher power was controling it and that it must end as it did end. Now as soon or a little wile after our men got back across our brestworks a white flag or white hankerchef was raised and then the yankys raised a white flag then everybody that wanted to do so got on the brestwork and both brestworks was full of men standing on top and looking at each other. Now the works here was not more than five yards apart. Now our officers and the yanky officer met about half way between the two brestworks and made arangments for geting our men that was kiled carried back to our side. Now at this time I was holding the white flag and was ordered out half way between our works and their work. Their litter barers would carrie our doctor to this place. Then our litters would carrie them our works and put them across our works. Now it taken about an hour and a half to get them across. Now our litter barers and the yanky litter barriers was not alowd to talk to each other but our officers and the yanky officers talken very freely and friendly. Som of them inquired about their old friend and relations. One captin came and he said You are very smat people for you waked me up to soon this morning you dident let me get my morning knap out this morning. Now they was very friendly but now the litters have done their work. Our ded are all carried across and now evry body back to their side and they stod on the brestworks and looke at each other ten or fifteen minutes. Then sombody cauld out and said take down your flag and we will go to exchanging led agane. Then the flags was taken down and then if a man was seen on either side he would be shot at and very often kiled. Now I go across the works see our men that was kiled and put over the brestworks and they told me there was a hunderd in our pile. Some that was shot through their heads and their brains runing out but was still breething. Now we stay here about seven or eight days or till the second day of April 1865. That morning or night I dont know which we started to falling back and keept on going till we was nearly surrounded by the yankys. We was in four ranks when the coller barrier was calld to go farward toward a cut or low place in the big rode. So he went with the flag and I followed him. We jumped over a fence in the rode. The regment follod us. Now the yankys surrounded us and capturd us saying to us as the cam up throw down your guns jonnys and surrender and we surreded. They was very clver to us so we fowled on that day. Next day they started us back to prison. They taken us to James River. There we got on a steambote and landed at a new prison called newport news. Now there was about three thousand in this prison but only three of my company. These three was about all that was left of my company, when it was made up at Salesbury it numbered on hunderd. These two of our company that was with me and capturd when I was there names Wills Houpe and Marton Fifer – both from Iredel County, N.C. They kep us here till the last of June. I got home the first of July 1865 Sunday after noon. Now I was one of the first men that was wonded at Fredricksburg on the 13 of December, 1862. The Regment went in to this grate charge with about eight hunderd men. This was the first battle the Regment was ever in and now I was one of the three capturd left of the company of 100 men when the Regment was mad up. They did not feede us very good in this prison, peas, codfish and crackars was our rations. We would boil the fish till we got them done enough so we could work them up into little cakes. Then we would fry them. This was all the way we could fix them fit to eate. We would cook som peas for dinner then we would get around our pan. Each of us had his spoon and we diped in the pan one after the other. One got no more spoonfuls than the other. I could dip out just as big a spoonful as the others and my spoon always come out of the pan full and as I have said I got home on Sunday or to my Fathers – nobody home but som of the children. They was at my wife’s fathers. I sent for them, they all came. My father and mother, my wife and her father and mother, Brother James and his wife. We have often herd it said no lace like home sweete home. This is tru to a person who has bin away from hom three years more or less under a master or many masters – not a free cittisen, but now at home once more a free man not in war. When they say go you must go and when they say come you must come but nobody will ever know what being a free man is and being at home once more with his wife and Father and Mother, Brothers and Sisters and friends untill they have past through som of the hard tryals that a solder has to go through with. Now as I have said the war is over. The soldiers what is left of them has gone hom but we have no money or anything only a solder suite of cloths. I dident have a copper cent. There was nothing much in the country and now the negros is free and all the men that was here was those that was to old to go in the war. So there was nobody to work only the solders that got back home from the war but we all went to work and could did work for the solders that was fortunate enuff to get back home are the people that started up every thing in the southern states. Now as to money I had none. Nobody had any for our confedrate money died when the war closed and now in 1865 and for severel years afterwards there was good crops of fruits and evrybody divided fruits and picked blackburys and driede and sold at Lexington to a man by the name off Brink. Brink was a northern man. He cam to Lexington and put up a store and bought dried fruite and dride blackburys. He paid money or sold goods for the fruite and buryes that was brought to his store. Now this was the first money we had after the war.