BROWN RIFLES: Co. B., 3rd Ga., Regt., Camp near Madison Run, Va., April
Mr. Countryman: It has been a long time since I have seen anything in your columns from the old Brown Rifles, and I thought that probably our little band was forgotten: but, by the protection of a kind Providence, there are a few of us left yet. We are still in our old winter quarters, near Madison Run Station, living on short rations, but all in fine spirits, waiting for an advance of the enemy, and expecting him every day: but he will not come before we are ready for him. Company B., as well as the other companies in the regiment, have recruited a good deal during the past winter, and I have no fears but we can stand our hand in the next struggle for independence, as we have the greatest confidence in our leader. The weather is fine, now, and warm, and I think it probable that we will not remain still much longer. BRISTOL.
FIRST TWELVE MONTHS OF THE 3RD GEORGIA REGIMENT.
By An Ex-Member
About the 23rd or 24th April, 1861, His Excellency, Joseph E. Brown, Governor of Georgia, issued, through the Adjutant General of the State, Col. (now Brig. Gen) H. C. Wayne, an order for twenty volunteer companies to rendezvous in Augusta, there to be armed and equipped, then proceed to Richmond, Va., and be organized, by electing field officers, as the 3rd and 4th Regts., Ga. Vols. The company to which I was attached reached Augusta, on the night of the 27th of April, and we were met at the depot by the Clinch Rifles, and Oglethorpe Infantry, by whom we were escorted to a camping ground, where we were invited to occupy the tents that had been prepared for us--an invitation that we gladly accepted, rather than be at the trouble of pitching our own. A few days after our arrival, Capt. Wm. C. Musgrove, of Burke, in obedience to orders from the governor, assumed command of all the companies present--he being the senior officer--and appointed 1st Lieut. Wm. W. Turner, of Putnam, acting adjutant.
Some of the companies were quartered in different buildings about the city, but that to which I belonged had the good fortune, together with ten or twelve others, to occupy commodious and comfortable tents, on a pleasant piece of common. Here, for some days, we played "band box" soldiers, in the most approved manner. It was all a matter of romance and enthusiasm then, and our gay uniforms flashed, meteor-like, among the fair of Augusta. The inhabitants of the city were truly hospitable, and never tired of showing us attentions and doing us favors. Each day came servants bearing every luxury and delicacy that a lady's taste could suggest, while still others came, from gentlemen, lugging cigar boxes, as well as suspicious looking demijohns and willow baskets. Many of us knew that this was not what we were ordered out for, and that we would, ere long, experience the realities of war; while others, alas! were so thoughtless as to imagine that there would not be "much of a fight," and that we, for a year, would but enact over again, in Richmond, and other Southern cities, the scenes of Augusta, and then return, without ever having fleshed our maiden swords.
I well recollect the remarks of one poor fellow! He had been reared in the humble walks of life, but he was a true-hearted, though simple-minded man, and he afterwards "died on the field of honor," even as did the "first grenadier of France." He was feasting on some of the nice viands sent by the ladies, and said: "Boys, if this is soldiering, I believe I'll quit farming." He has lost his life in defence of his country, and
"There is no prouder grave,
Even in his own-proud clime."
Frequently, late in the afternoon, the beauty of which Augusta is justly so proud, in carriages, on horseback, and as pedestrians, would throng our camp, attended by gay cavaliers--for only a few thousand troops had then been raised in Georgia--but of course the soldiers were the heroes of the occasion, and brass buttons and gold lace carried the day. Never, in New York, at Saratoga, or any where else, have I witnessed such an array of beauty, such an enlivening and animated scene. There is a melancholy pleasure in contrasting those days with the present--the hope, the elation and enthusiasm then, and the cold, dark reality, but still stern resolution of now--the streets alive with the flower of the youth of our land then, their deserted and desolate appearance at this time.
But it is too sad! Let us proceed. We procured arms and equipments with all possible dispatch, and, on the 1st of May, having been mustered into the Confederate service, by Captain Cole, C.S.A., our company left Augusta. Many of our friends and acquaintances in the city were at the depot to bid us farewell. Wherever we passed, we received assurances that the whole country was with us; that we were backed by all our people.
At Fair Bluff, N.C., a flag was displayed with nine stars. Virginia was the 8th state that seceded, and the 9th star was intended to represent North Carolina, although she had not yet passed the ordinance. Her legislature was then in session, however, and little doubt was entertained as to what would be its action. In Georgia we had seen, I think on the Augusta & Waynesboro R.R., a banner with the inscription: "God guard and bless our Southern Boys." Remembering the kind and anxious parents we had left at home, and the trying scene we had at parting with them, many of us were affected to tears, at this touching invocation.
At Weldon, on the night of the 2nd, we were shown, by the telegraphic operator, a despatch from the governor of Virginia, notifying us to repair to Norfolk, and report to Gen. Gwynn. We having been mustered into the service of the Confederate States, were not subject to the orders of any but Confederate officers--not even to those of the commander-in-chief of our own state; much less to those of Mr. Letcher. Here, indeed, was illustrated one of the difficulties that arise in the operation of two separate governments--the general and state--both claiming control over the same set of men. Gov. Brown had ordered us to rendezvous in Augusta to receive arms and equipments, afterwards, to go to Richmond, and elect field officers. Had we the right to be mustered into the Confederate service before obeying all the order of our commander-in-chief? But we were so mustered in, by a Confederate States officer, stationed in Augusta for that purpose, and, I suppose, a good understanding existing between Gov. Brown and Mr. Davis. After that, we ought to have still obeyed Gov. Brown's order, or those of the Confederate officers, provided they had given us any. But we were, I think, without orders from Confederate officers, and, such being the case, it would have been regular and military to proceed to Richmond, in obedience to the order that called us out. In no event could we have been subject to Gov. Letcher's orders. Nevertheless, we went to Norfolk--or rather Portsmouth.
Of course, though, I am considering the question in the abstract, knowing that in the confusion attendant upon the working of a new government, many things had to be done in an irregular manner, and it would have been wrong to be too technical. But it did seem very awkward, though--this being ordered out by our own governor, receiving no direct instructions from Confederate authority, the governor of Virginia assuming command over us, and ordering us to report to a Virginia general. Capt. Walker, of the Confederate Light Guards, would go to Richmond, any way, and staid there several days, refusing to recognize Letcher's authority, but finally concluded to go to Portsmouth, chiefly, I believe, because, he found that he was faring badly in the Virginia capital, but little attention being paid to his company.
At length all our regiment was collected in Portsmouth, and it consisted of the following companies: Burke Guards (afterwards Co. A.) from Burke county, Capt Musgrove; Brown Rifles (Co. B.) from Putnam county, Capt. Nisbet; Dawson Greys (Co. C.) from Greene county, Capt. McWorter; Home Guards (Co. D.) from Morgan county, Capt. Reid; Governor's Guards (Co. E.) from Houston county, Capt. Griffin; Wilkinson Rifles (Co. F.) from Wilkinson county, Capt. Beall; Confederate Light Guards (Co. G.) from Richmond county, Capt. Walker; Young Guards (Co. H.) from Newton county, Capt. Lee: Blodget Volunteers (Co. I.) from Richmond county, Capt. Blodget; Athens Guards (Co. K.) from Clarke county, Capt. Billups.
FIRST TWELVE MONTHS OF THE 3RD GEORGIA REGIMENT.
By An Ex-Member
From the 4th to the 9th May we remained unorganized, scattered hither and thither in Portsmouth, but most of us in the navy yard. When we first arrived, Capt. Musgrove had not come, but all the while, of course we were under command of the senior Captain present. We were very green, however, and many things occurred, in utter defiance--or rather in utter ignorance -- of military law, at which, having afterwards learned better, we can all look back and laugh. General Gwynn sent us a formal order for us to be placed under Com. French Forrest, and also that the senior Captain should take immediate command. Capt. Doles of the Baldwin Blues (afterwards 4th regt.) accordingly assumed command, and detailed a guard from each company, stationing them around the yard.
Lieutenant Poindexter of the navy told me that there was very little ammunition on hand, at which I felt quite uneasy. We were in the navy yard some days without a grain of powder or a single bullet, except perhaps a few cartridges that some of us had brought from home. The yankees, who had been in possession of the navy yard, up to a short time before we arrived, had been smitten with panic by the running up and down the Seaboard and Roanoke railroad of some locomotives, this artifice having been resorted to for the purpose of inducing them to believe that Southern troops were pouring into Portsmouth. They destroyed everything they could--burning ship houses and ships, destroying maps and charts--the fragments of which we found scattered about the offices--setting fire to every thing, and attempting to blow up the dry dock, in which however they failed. Never have I seen such complete destruction, or such a heap of smouldering ruins. The old vessels lying out in the Elizabeth river and burnt down to the water's edge, presented the most desolate appearance of all. Some of them were reduced to fragments, and sunk, with a spar or corner of some sort projecting, while some had good hulls left. Out of one of the latter was constructed the ironclad, Virginia--more familiarly known as the Merrimac--which afterwards, under the command of the gallant Buchanan, played such havoc with the yankee shipping in Hampton Roads. Let it be remembered, that this brave and skillful commander was born North--but that does not make him a yankee. No true man can be called a yankee.
The inhabitants of Portsmouth and Norfolk--especially the former--seemed full of apprehension that the yankees would suddenly return, and take possession of the town and navy yard. Indeed they seemed to have no idea that the South could conduct a successful war with the North, and were very much astonished at our elation and expressions of confidence in the result. It was said that a majority of the people of Portsmouth were opposed to joining the provisional government of the South, and that they would vote against it. I will notice this again, when I speak of the election that came off. It is certain, though, that many of them were for the "union," and they were sent off by flag of truce to Fortress Monroe, in boat loads. No better could be expected, for many of them were Northern born, real yankees, and had been employees of the U.S. government in the navy yard, all their lives. I will say, right here, though, that some of the most loyal Southern men I ever knew, I found in Portsmouth. They were the real Virginians--the others were yankees, whether born North or South.
The number of cannon in the navy yard was astonishing, though many of them were old-fashioned, and not very valuable. Pretty soon after we got there, the work of removing them, for the purpose of shipping them to different points, commended in good earnest. Every day, including Sunday, immense, well-fed oxen were moving along the gravelled ways of the yard, drawing the guns that were to be put in position in our forts, or recast in our foundries.
At length we were ordered to hold an election, and, on May 9th, our regiment chose A. R. Wright, of Augusta, Colonel, Capt. James S. Reid, of Morgan, Lieutenant Colonel, and Capt. A. F. Lee, of Newton, Major. At the same time, the 4th Regt. organized, and we parted company. Col. Wright, believing that he had the power to do so, being, like all of us, ignorant of the military law, appointed Dr. W. S. Meiere, of Madison, Surgeon, Dr. Durham, of Greene, Ass't. Surgeon, Wm. W. Turner, of Putnam, Adjutant, A. Philip, of Augusta, Quartermaster, H. S. Hughes, of Athens, Commissary, Rev. Robert Lester, Ga. Conference, Chaplain, Wm. O'Brien, of Putnam, Sergeant Major, , of Wilkinson, Qr. Master Sergeant. The fate of these appointments may as well be told at once. The Q. M., and the C. S., continued in office, by virtue of appointments from the war department--whether in consequence of Col. Wright's appointment, or on account of other influence at command of Capts. Philip and Hughes , I cannot say. The surgeon and assistant surgeon were not recognized, though I think they afterwards obtained commissions and were assigned to duty elsewhere. Dr. Godfrey, as surgeon, was sent by the appointment power at our capital, for duty to our regiment, and Dr. Scoggin was our Ass't. Surgeon. Rev. Mr. Lester was, for the time, ignored, and Rev. Mr. Flinn of Milledgeville, was installed chaplain of our regiment. Afterwards, Mr. Flinn was sent to another regiment, and Mr. Lester obtained the appointment of chaplain from Richmond. The rest of the appointments were not interfered with, as all military law allows a Colonel to appoint his personal staff, both commissioned and non-commissioned.
FIRST TWELVE MONTHS OF THE 3RD GEORGIA REGIMENT.
By An Ex-Member
I have already given the names of Captains of the companies that composed the 3rd--I would like to give the names of all the original officers, but I have not the roster before me. However, here are all that I remember. I recollect the faces and characters of all perfectly well, but my memory, for names is very poor:
Company A. Capt. W. C. Musgrove, 1st Lieut. John R. Sturgis, 2nd Lieut. John McCullers, junior 2nd Lieut. Thos. Burton. Company B. Capt R. B. Nisbet, 1st Lieut. W. W. Turner (appointed adjutant) 2nd Lieut. W. T. Reid, junior 2nd Lieut. John S. Reid. Company C., Capt R. McWhorter, 1st Lieut. Sanders, 2nd Lieut._____junior 2nd Lieut. Wilson. Company D., Capt. C. H. Andrews, 1st Lieut. L. Schelpert, 2nd Lieut. C. G. Harris, junior 2nd Lieut. J. P. Smith. Company E., Capt. Joel R. Griffin, 1st Lieut. Hamilton, 2nd Lieut. Bichat Leseur, junior 2nd Lieut. Smith. Company F. Capt. Beall, 1st Lieut. Clay, 2nd Lieut. ______ junior 2nd Lt. S. Washington. Company G., Capt. Edward Walker, 1st Lieut. Claborne Snead, 2nd Lieut. Alexander Philip (appointed Quartermaster) junior 2nd Lieut. H. B. Willis. Company H. Capt. John Jones, 1st Lieut. Lucky, 2nd Lieut. Carroll, junior 2nd Lieut. Evans. Company I. Captain Foster Blodget, 1st Lieut. _____2nd Lieut. Moore, junior 2nd Lieut. _____ Company K. Capt. H. Ballups, 1st Lieut. T. Daniel, 2nd Lieut. D. Langford, junior 2nd Lieut. Hays.
There were afterwards many changes but I cannot undertake to keep up with them.
On the 21st of May we had our first experience in, for one part of the regiment, twelve, and for another part twenty four hours, hard soldiering, which, however resulted in no fight. At midnight, a dispatch came from General Gwynn, ordering four of our companies to repair to the depot and take train for Suffolk, and six companies to repair to the same point and take train for Bower's Hill, a Railroad station about eight miles from Portsmouth. The dispatch stated that a New York Regiment had landed at Pig's Point on the afternoon of the 20th, and was expected to move toward the Railroad, at some point between Portsmouth and Suffolk. Never, I seen, did a dispatch of this nature send a deeper thrill of joy through a camp than did this through ours. And, I venture to assertion, that never, in the history of war, did troops, of any kind, respond with more alacrity and promptness to the call, than did the Georgia boys.
In an incredibly short space of time, our men had blankets, and knapsacks strapped on, cartridges and caps distributed, and were formed in regimental order. Four companies--the Brown Rifles, Home Guard, Governor's Guard and Blodget Volunteers--under command of Lieut. Col. Reid, were sent off in double quick time to take the cars for Suffolk, under notice that their train would be ready first. The other six companies--Burke Guard, Dawson Greys, Confederate Light Guard, Young Guard, Wilkinson Rifles, and Athens Guard--under the immediate command of Colonel Wright, moved soon after. I was with the six companies, under Col. Wright and Major Lee.
When we arrived at the depot, we found Colonel Reid's command still there, the train not being ready, as was expected. They did not know the promptness with which Georgia volunteers respond, when there is the least prospect of a fight. It was found, after we got to the depot, that the Governor's Guard were unsupplied with ammunition, so there were only three effective companies in the small battalion. Colonel Wright substituted the Wilkinson Rifles for them, taking them in his own command, thus reducing our effective force to five companies. He took the Governor's Guard along, thinking they might have an opportunity of using the bayonet. Our force was rather small, considering the fact that we were going to the point where it was considered pretty certain the enemy would approach. However, a Louisiana regiment had been sent to a position not far this side of our destination, and if compelled to retire before a force of almost two to one, we could have gallen back on them.
Immediately after getting into what we supposed to be the neighborhood of the enemy, the Adjutant was commanded to commence detailing picked men, and, stopping the train, posting them at every bridge and culvert, with orders to scatter from the railroad to the various roads by which it was thought the enemy might approach, keep a sharp look out, and if the enemy came up, to engage him as long as they could, taking advantage of trees, fences, stumps, or any other protection they could find, killing all they could, and, when compelled, falling back, either upon the Louisiana regiment, or upon us, whichever were nearest.
When we arrived at Bower's Hill, some of our force was left at the depot, while several companies were sent forward and ordered to advance cautiously to certain distances, occupy some strong positions, deploy skirmishers, and station pickets in every direction, making a certain selected spot the rallying point for the whole. Having made these dispositions, Col. Wright, Major Lee, and the Adjutant, mounted horses and set off to scour the country in advance. They made a great many enquiries, took accurate observations of the roads by which the enemy might approach, and of the strong positions we could occupy, the Adjutant occasionally galloping back with orders to move a company forward, or station a picket. There were ditches, fences, houses, swamps, and various other objects, affording such shelter, that we could have engaged a vastly superior force for a whole day.
Seeing no sign of the enemy, and learning from one of the Suffolk Light Dragoons, whom we met, that they (the Dragoons) had videttes scattered all over the country, and down to Pig's Point, had seen nothing of him, and did not believe he had landed, Major Lee concluded, with the consent of the Col, to ride to Pig's Point and satisfy himself.
I omitted to mention the fact that it had commenced raining a little after day break, and kept it up most of the morning. While Major Lee was done to Pig's Point, and the Adjutant was still engaged in riding over some side roads, with a view to select points at which to station pickets, Colonel Wright collected the companies together, had some large fires kindled and all warmed and dried--still keeping pickets out in every direction by which it was possible the enemy could approach, and relieving them occasionally with men who had warmed. We also managed to get some coffee, and meat, and bread, at various houses.
After waiting until we began to think it possible Major Lee might be captured, we saw him riding up rather leisurely, smoking a cigar. "What is the news, Major?" asked the Col., as the former stopped his horse. "Well, sir," answered the Major, deliberately knocking the ashes off his cigar, "there is not a yankee in all this country." We were prepared for the news, but still it smote heavily on our ears. There was no help for it, however, so we moved back to the railroad--got on the train, which had been ordered to wait for us, and came back to camp. After getting back, we learned that the companies of Colonel Reid's command had been out all the morning, scouring the country, and having found no enemy, were very comfortably quartered in Suffolk for the night. Just at that particular moment I envied them, for it was the worst night I had ever spent in a tent. It had been raining hard all the afternoon, while a cold east wind had been blowing, and the rain came driving into my quarters.
About twelve o'clock at night, the four companies of Col. Reid's command, got back to camp. The had a hard day's work, having extended pickets from Suffolk to a point nearly seven miles down the Nansemond river.
On arriving at the Camp, we found Sol., a gigantic negro, sitting before the marque of the Brown Rifles, with a musket across his knees, loaded, and with fixed bayonet, looking "solitary and alone," but yet "monarch of all he surveyed." --Solomon used to make a great many sage remarks. One day our Adjutant received from "the old folks at home," two pillows and some nice, clean pillow cases. On the night of their arrival, as Sol. was making our pallet and putting down the aforesaid pillows, he seemed serious and solemn. Finally he gave vent so his feelings as follows: "Ef de enemy wus to surrender in on us, dey's take all Mass Adjutant's clean pillow cases!"
CAMP NEAR MADISON RUN STATION, VA., APRIL 28TH, 1864.
Mr. Editor: The undersigned have been appointed a committee, by the "Sir Knights of Humanity," to forward to you our rules and regulations, and request that you will publish the same in The Countryman, and, if not asking too much, to desire you to send a copy of your paper, with the article marked (that they may copy) to the Southern Recorder and Richmond Enquirer.---D. L. Ryan, E. H. Yancey, J. T. Baynes, Committee.
Camp Co. "B.," 3rd Regt. Ga. Vols.
Whereas, we have often known soldiers, while sick or wounded, to suffer for the necessaries of life, on account of not having the means to buy, or friends to call upon for those means; and as we feel it to be our duty, in this struggle for independence, to alleviate the sufferings of our sick or wounded comrades, as far as it is in our power; and that we may be better prepared to do this at any time; and that the sick or wounded soldier may have a source from which he may procure funds to supply his actual wants, without being compelled to borrow money from strangers, we have thought it proper to form ourselves into a secret organization, to be known as the "Sir Knights of Humanity"---Therefore, be it Resolved---
1st. That this Order shall have for its officers a President, a Vice-President, a Secretary, a Treasurer, and a Messenger.
2nd. That secrecy of the pass-words and signs of this Order, is enjoined upon each and every member, and no member, or members, are allowed to make use of any of the signs or pass-words of this Order, except for the benefit of such member, or members of this Order.
3rd. All applications for membership of this Order, must be accompanied with a voucher of one of the members of the Order. The application shall be in writing, and laid before the members for their consideration, and if the applicant is accepted as a member, the sum of five ($5) dollars must be paid by him as a fee of initiation before he is entitled to the benefits and privileges of this Order.
4th. That it is required of each member to pay to the Organization ten per cent of his monthly wages, on his receiving his pay from the government, or as soon thereafter as practicable.
5th. All money received by the Organization will be placed in the hands of the Treasurer, for the benefit of sick and wounded members of this Order, and upon the withdrawal of a member, no money received from him will be refunded.
In conformity with the foregoing, we have a Lodge, of which the following form a part of the By-Laws---
That this Lodge shall be known as the "Howell Cobb Lodge of the Sir Knights of Humanity."
That this Lodge shall be at each regular meeting, opened and closed with prayer.
If it is proven satisfactorily to the Lodge that any member has used funds, furnished either by the Lodge, or by any member, as a brother Knight, in riotous living, the member so offending, shall forfeit to the Lodge, or brother, an amount equal to that with which he was furnished, and, until said amount is refunded, said delinquent be deprived of all the privileges of the Lodge.
Should it be the sad fate of any brother to fall in battle, or die of disease, we pledge ourselves to use every exertion, regardless of trouble or expense, to have his remains delivered to his family.
FIRST TWELVE MONTHS OF THE 3RD GEORGIA REGIMENT.
By An Ex-Member
On the 23rd of May, there was held the election, to ascertain whether or not Virginia would ratify the ordinance of secession. Being in Norfolk--which is just across the river from Portsmouth--I visited one of the places for casting votes. Approaching the polls, I was stopped by a bar. Several men were sitting quietly around a table, and one of them got up and came to me. "I have no vote," said I, "but look in merely from curiosity. How is the election going?" "It is all, our way here," was the reply. "One very old man, who is a little crazy, or in his dotage, is the only one who has voted for the union, at this precinct." While I was standing there, up came a citizen. "J. J. Roberts," called out the gentleman with whom I had been conversing; and then he added: 'Do you vote for ratification, or against ratification?" "For ratification," was the answer. "For the amendment, or against the amendment?" "Against the amendment." (This amendment was one concerning taxation.) Then followed questions as to senator and representative--all the voting being viva voce.
It had been said by letter-writers in the Northern papers, that the Georgia soldiers would control the election in Portsmouth. Col. Blanchard, commanding our brigade, having heard of this, issued an order that no military man should be in town, except those that had business at his headquarters. I was at his headquarters early in the morning, and, looking out of his door, saw a company filing past. "How is this?" he exclaimed. "This is contrary to orders." He was told that it was a Portsmouth company going to the polls, and unarmed. Except in just such instances, I think his order was strictly obeyed.
From the time of our brave sortie to Bower's Hill and Suffolk, till last of August, we remained encamped just outside of the navy yard wall, we experienced all the horrors of a cheap market, superabundant rations, and nothing to do but attend to the routine of camp duty. Of course, like all volunteers in a like condition, we grew restless and dissatisfied. Ah! how often have I, since that time, heard our brave boys curse the folly that induced them to grumble and complain, when they were living on the fat of the land--in fact, enjoying what amounted to nothing more nor less than a huge, protracted picnic. But so it ever is. As the sophomores quote, "blessings brighten as they take their flight."
Occasionally a distinguished Georgian would visit us, or we would turn out, and march down to the Ocean House, to pay our respects to some one. Among the first was Howell Cobb, who came to our camp. The regiment was drawn up, and the clarion voice that had so often rung upon our ears at home, thrilled us with its eloquence at Portsmouth. At one time, the venerable Judge Joseph Henry Lumpkin was at the Ocean House, and we marched down, formed in front of the hotel, and heard from him words of practical good sense, together with kind, even affectionate, advice. P. W. A. visited us in the outset of his career. Besides--I had almost forgotten--Mrs. Col. Wright, by the hands of Major General Huger, who had relieved Gen. Gwyne, presented a flag to the regiment, which was received by Maj. Lee.. Gen. Huger's remarks on the occasion, were plain, pithy, and to the point--rather humorous withal. He commenced something as follows: "Georgians! At the request of Mrs. Wright, I present you with this flag. Never desert it--never run away from it--if you do, you will be forever disgraced, and when you go home, the girls will not dance with you any more." He went on in this strain, and the Georgia boys were very much pleased with him. Major Lee's speech, in reply, was characteristic--full of fire and enthusiasm. Quite a crowd was assembled to witness the ceremony, and, according to the set phrase, "the whole affair passed off pleasantly."
On the 3rd of July, the regiment marched to Pig Point, and the next day, 4th July, joined with the 4th Ga. Regt., Grimes' Va. Artillery, some Va. Cavalry, and the 1st Louisiana Regt. in celebrating the day. We were drilled by Col. Blanchard, and reviewed by Gen. Huger. At noon, a salute was fired by the artillery, and, after a little more drilling, the "public exercise" were over. Many of us were hospitably entertained, at dinner, by the 4th Ga., and 1st La.
But, while we remained at Portsmouth, we drilled indefatigably, and we attained to a proficiency in the evolutions of a regiment, that I have seen excelled no where. During the summer, I visited Richmond, under orders from the Colonel, and went out on two afternoons to witness the drill of Col. (afterwards Gen.) Semmes' regiment. Col. S. left out several raw companies, and all poorly drilled men, and would only allow a certain number of rank and file to come out in each company. In consequence of this, his evolutions were performed with somewhat more of precision than ours, as we always mustered all the companies, and all the men of each company, drilled or undrilled. Of course, then, the companies being of different sizes--some very large, and some quite small--it was impossible to calculate distances so accurately as to perform all the maneuvers with the beauty and symmetry one could wish; and in the forming of the hollow square, for instance, the different sizes of the companies made it awkward. Some of Col. Semmes' companies, too, being veteran city organizations, the individuals were superior to ours in the manual of arms, and all the little minutiae that go to make up the general carriage of the soldier. Take our regiment as a whole, though, I say again, I have never seen one that could go through evolutions in the field, better. At what an expenditure of time, trouble, and labor, this state of affairs was brought about, I have a feeling recollection.
At one time, the monotony of our existence was broken by a very disagreeable circumstance. A petition was got up, and carried round for signatures, requesting Col. Wright to resign. Never having seen the instrument, I cannot say how many names were appended to it. One day the affair reached the ears of the Colonel, and that afternoon, the regiment being in line, and the officers being called to the front, Col. W. mentioned the affair, and expressed a desire to know which of the officers, if any, had anything to do with it. I cannot recollect the exact words used on the occasion, but Capt. Blodget very promptly admitted that he had something to do with it, and perhaps that he had signed the petition; whereupon Col. W. immediately ordered him to deliver up his sword to Major Lee, and consider himself in arrest.
The Colonel, soon after, preferred charges against Capt. B., and a court martial was assembled on Friday, 12th July, at brigade headquarters. It had a tedious session, Capt. B. was sentenced to be censured in general orders, the proceedings were read at the head of the regiment, and soon after, Capt. B. obtained a transfer to some other regiment. While this unfortunate affair was on hand, the regiment was in a truly lamentable condition, as there were warm partisans on both sides, and I indulged the most gloomy forebodings as to the extent to which it would impair our usefulness. Only those who have been eye witnesses, can conceive how very troublesome such miserable quarrels are. I express no opinion as to the merits of the case, but give this meagre statement of facts as part of the history of the 3rd Ga. Regt.
FIRST TWELVE MONTHS OF THE 3RD GEORGIA REGIMENT.
By An Ex-Member
In place of Capt. Blodget's company, the department sent us a newly raised one under Capt. Cone. It was not full, and Col. Wright was very loth to receive it, because he thought he could get a large company instead of that. Capt. Cone's command, from some cause that I did not exactly understand--for I was absent from the regiment at the time he arrived--pitched tents outside our lines, remained there a short time, then pulled up stakes, and moved off, thus severing their connection with our regiment. It was a rather mysterious affair from beginning to end. The fact is, I judge, there was no love lost between the commander of the regiment, and the commander of the new company, and the latter afterwards preferred charges again the former, on some occasion--I forget what.
In the course of the autumn, however, we received an accession of two large companies from Georgia. The first was the Carswell Guard, from Wilkinson county, afterwards company I; Capt. N. Carswell, 1st Lieut., _____Carswell, 2nd Lieut., _____, junior 2nd Lieut., _______. The next was the Clarke Rifles from Clarke county, afterwards lettered company L, first under Capt. Vincent. These two companies arrived in Portsmouth while our regiment was on Roanoke Island, and joined us when we had been there some time. Soon after getting to Portsmouth, Capt. Vincent died, and, on a new election, the officers stood. Capt. W. Hendon, 1st Lieut. J. McRae, 2nd Lieut. Durham, junior 2nd Lieut. Crenshaw.
But the time came when we were no longer to enjoy the inglorious case of Portsmouth and Norfolk. Some extracts from my journal will give an idea of how this came about. Read the following:
Tuesday, 27th Aug., 1861.
Yesterday afternoon, Col. Blanchard rode out, and told Col. Wright he had received a despatch from Gen. Huger, informing him that twelve transport full of the enemy were in Linhaven Bay, and would probably soon land. Of course we got everything ready for a march to meet them, having cooked rations for twenty-four hours. But about 10 1/2 o'clock, last night, a note came from Col. B., stating that the transport had gone out at the cape. So we all went to bed. The enemy is probably trying to effect a landing at some unguarded point.
My next entry, I find in pencil, in a small memorandum book, and reads thus:
On Board Steamboat KAUKEE,
Friday, 30th August, 1861.
Day before yesterday, there came an order for four companies of our regiment to prepare ten days' rations, and procure axes and spades, with a view to being detailed for active service. According to the order, the "direction" of the expedition was given to Commander Hunter, of the navy. That afternoon, Col. Blanchard and Gen. Huger both came out to our camp, and informed us that we were to go to Roanoke Island, on the coast of North Carolina, where it was tho't the twelve transports that were hovering about Ocean View, a few days ago, would land their cargoes of yankees. Just think of it! Four companies, that occupied two or three small boats, to meet the approach of twelve transports full of troops! A more hair-brained expedition was never conceived. Gen. Huger was asked some questions as to the immense odds we would have to contend against. "Oh!" said he, "you must get there a day or two before they do, spade up a little breastwork in the sand, and then you'll soon be snug and comfortable." (I would remark here, that I afterwards found this apparent thoughtlessness, carelessness, recklessness, or whatever it may be termed, was characteristic of Gen. Huger. Strange, too, for he appeared kind, good-hearted, and a perfect gentleman. But such is the inconsistency of man.) Gen. Huger said he would have transportation at a wharf in the navy yard, by 10 o'clock yesterday morning; so, at the appointed hour, companies C,E,G, and K, under command of Col. Wright, repaired to the spot designated, but the boats were not ready, and we soon found they would not be in some time. The boys thought it was a fine opportunity, so they began to slip out at the gates, and fill their stomachs and canteens at the little drinking-shops just outside the wall. That was before the days of provost marshals, closed bar-rooms, &c. Col. Wright had sentinels posted at the gates, but it was too late--the mischief had been done, and the effect of the potations began to be very visible.
The Colonel ordered the companies in line, and commanded Captains to inspect canteens. Then ensued a most laughable scene. Some of the canteens contained aqua pura, but others aqua vitae, and the latter, when discovered, was unsparingly poured out, amidst sheepish looks, and unsuppressed laughter. Some of the boys, though, were old soldiers, and a few canteens, containing spirits were passed to the rear, while the front ranks were undergoing inspection, and again to the front, while the rear ranks were going through a similar process, and thus some good drams were saved. Finally all hands were marched to a nice grass plat, where were some beautiful trees, in front of what were once naval officers' quarters--the same spot where the Brown Rifles pitched their tents when they first reached Portsmouth. Here the Col. ordered the adjutant to post sentinels very closely round a very small space, and allow no one, private or officer, to pass the lines without permission from him--the Col. It was a disagreeable duty, for some of the captains were so unreasonable as to get angry with the adjutant for obeying orders. He did obey them, nevertheless, for he never stopped, in the discharge of what he considered his duty, to enquire whether or not people would be offended with him. (It was on this day that the saying started, "Put company G in the hold." Those then present will remember to what I allude. The saying was extensively used in camp, for a long while afterwards, but finally died out, as many other things did. But all this is bosh.)
At 2 o'clock in the afternoon, instead of ten in the morning, we got off in this little tug, on which I write, which tows two barges. These three "transports" carry us all. Capt. Hunter started before us, with about twenty guns on a small steamer. We have along two rifled cannon.
We travel awfully slow. It rained yesterday afternoon, and part of last night. Three of the companies (C, G, and K) are on open barges, while the fourth (D) is on this boat. A few can find shelter, but the rest take the rain. Those on the barges have no protection except in the holds, and there it is suffocating. Sleeping accommodations were scarce. I slept in the coal bin, on muskets, camp stools, &c.
SATURDAY, August 31st,
Still on the Boat.
Yesterday afternoon, just before sundown, Capt. Hunter, having slackened speed so that we might come up, spoke to the commander of our boat. "Capt. Taylor," said he, "there are four Federal steamers firing into Fort Oregon.---The enemy has taken possession of Hatteras---you must go down to the marshes and anchor there, to-night." "Aye, aye sir," was the reply: "I don't think I can get there to-night, sir, but I will go down early in the morning." "Very well. I will join you down there.--How is Col. Wright and all hands?" "They are well, thank you." So we headed on toward the marshes. Soon we saw a schooner, and a boat put out from her, and come alongside. The captain of the schooner boarded us, and gave the following account: The fort at Hatteras being a small one, was not capable of holding the thousand men there, and many of them were behind it. The enemy landed, proceeded to the rear, and took possession of a small battery, thus cutting off retreat in that direction, while the Federal vessels bombarded from the front. This man said that the garrison had suffered after losing a good many men. (We found afterwards that they had lost very few.)
At length we were close to Captain Hunter's boat, on board which Col. Wright went, and the two commanders held a consultation. The result was, Capt. H. put a gun on one of our barges, and some men were detailed to man it. Capt. Hunter then moved off to send a dispatch to Norfolk, while we cast anchor. Our wish was to send a boat in the direction whence we expected the yankees, with instructions to make a signal at the enemy's approach, but as there was no boat large enough, we had to content ourselves with establishing a watch of officers, forward, on the upper deck. We also hung a lantern--so that it could not be seen forward--for Capt. Hunter to steer back to us by. Seen no enemy yet. Said to be a large force of them at Hatteras, and that they intend to march to Fort Oregon.
Same Day, Roanoke Island.
Have landed by wading through the water.--Capt. Hunter gone to fort Oregon after some guns, and about a hundred and fifty men, said to be there. Col. Wright and he have agreed it would be folly for this handful of men--our four companies--to remain here, so entirely at the mercy of the large force that may come up, at any time, from Hatteras, as we have no defence whatever against their cannon. The channel is quite wide, and even if we had batteries, the enemy could pass them, and cut us off from Norfolk, leaving us to starve; so the plan now fixed on is, as soon as Capt. H. shall return from Oregon, for us to re-embark, and fall back to where the channel is narrower, and, with our muskets, and the few cannon on our little steamboats, we can dispute the passage of the yankees--and wait instructions from Gen. Huger.
SUNDAY, September 1st.
Not long after Capt. H. left us yesterday, we saw steamboats coming from the direction of Norfolk. Got into a little row boat and went off to them, when we found the balance of our regiment on board, under command of Lieut. Col. Reid. Got on the Junaluska, the fleetest boat, in company with Col. Wright, and Major Lee, and started for Oregon. Just before this, a North Carolina captain, who had started to join his company at the fort, came back, and reported that he had gone near enough to see the Federal vessels firing on the garrison. On we steamed, till we found the boat in which Capt. H. had started, lying about four miles from the fort. No yankee had been nearer to it than Hatteras, and everything was perfectly quiet; so the N.C. captain's tale proved to be a fabrication, concocted in his frightened imagination. Got a boat from Capt. Hunter's steamer, and started, all of us ignorant of rowing, to go to Capt. H., at the fort. Soon finding that it would take us till night to reach it, we gave over the attempt, and put back to the Junaluska. Arrived at this landing, after dark. Spent the night on board, in a nice berth. What a luxury! Pulled off my boots for the first time since leaving Norfolk. Captain Slocum gave us some pure Jamaica rum.--We are to stay here and fortify this island, as well, perhaps, as a point on the other side of the sound. 'Twill take good guns to command this channel.
FIRST TWELVE MONTHS OF THE 3RD GEORGIA REGIMENT.
By an Ex-Member. No. 6
When we first found that we had to remain on Roanoke Island, we pitched our tents at the north end, where there was a small belt of stunted trees between us and the beach. I again copy from my journal:
Monday, 2 Sept., 1861.
One hundred men went, this morning, to commence throwing up a battery at Pork Point, under direction of an engineer, Capt. Dimmock, of Richmond. There are not tools enough to employ the whole regiment, and they are working, night and day, by reliefs, a hundred at a time. There is a great deal doing. Major Lee has gone off, with a detachment of the Young Guard, to bring guns from Fort Oregon. Every thing has been in confusion there. Capt. Hunter, when there, told the garrison not to leave without bringing off the public property. The engineer who constructed the works (I understand) advised the garrison not to recognize Hunter's authority. He wanted them to hold the fort. The garrison did leave, though, and, trying to bring off three guns, on a barge that was sufficient to carry only one, lost them all. The engineer has been here to see Col. Wright, for the purpose of attempting to persuade the Col., as chief in command, to hold Fort Oregon. He seems to have a horror of the idea that his work should be abandoned. Being informed by some one that Col. Wright would not think of following his advice, he left. Capt. Hunter is in a great rage at the loss of the guns, and indulges in very strong expletives concerning those who lost them. This morning, the remnants of the three companies that were at Oregon came to this island, and reported to Col. Wright. They fired the buildings before they left, which would have been right, had they brought off the guns.
Some men called at head quarters tonight, who had been down to Hatteras with a flag of truce from Elizabeth City. Among them was a young man named Butler, who had once been a midshipman, who says he pulled to the Harriett Lane, hailed twice, received no answer, and finally climbed on deck. Says that, with a hundred men, he could have taken the vessel. States that the Pawnee and the H. L. both are badly injured. (This last assertion must have been a mistake. Their encounter with the fort at Hatteras was not calculated to injure them.) It is said, now, that only four men were killed in the fort at Hatteras.
WEDNESDAY, 4TH September.
A new camp was laid off, yesterday, and a beginning made towards clearing it up. Our present camp is in an excellent locality, but it is too far from the battery, which is four miles below. This last goes bravely forward. A work of five angles, long enough for a dozen guns, placed close as those at Norfolk, was laid off at 12 o'clock M., on Monday, and by last night was ready for the platforms--finished in thirty hours--and this when there were tools enough for only one hundred men to use at one time. More tools have been procured, however, and over a hundred free negroes, having been impressed, have been put to work this morning. The citizens of Elizabeth City sent us down, last night, a quantity of cooked provisions, and say they will send any thing we need, if we will let them know what it is. This supply came in the very nick of time. Our boys can hardly find leisure to cook. They work on the battery, walking back and forth four miles, are constantly loading and unloading boats, wading to their waists in the water, (as there is no wharf,) and carrying great burdens on their shoulders, besides doing guard duty, and clearing up a new camp in the roughest kind of forest. This is soldiering in earnest, at last. No band-boxing in this. I have no moment of leisure from daybreak till night, and frequently long after, so that, when I drop down, I sleep like a log, without turning over, till next morning.
The foregoing entries will show how we commenced our Roanoke Island experience. We soon got our new camp cleared up, and then moved to it. It was situated about half way from Pork Point, where the first battery was erected, to Wier's Point, where another one was laid off. A sort of wharf was built, after awhile, and then the work of loading and unloading boats was not quite so troublesome. In the marshes, on the side next to the mainland, some old barges were fixed in the mud, and some guns placed on them, with the remnants of the N.C. companies in charge. Before that, however, a sand battery had been built by our regiment, the work being superintended by Lt. Col. Reid, which was thrown away, and the barge arrangement substituted.
"Camp Georgia" on Roanoke Island, built by the 3rd Georgia
during their stay there. London Illustrated News.
A short time afterwards, Col. Shaw's 8th North Carolina regiment arrived, and pitched camp, a mile or two below us. Col. Wright was the senior officer, and in command of all the land forces on, and around the island. Commodore Lynch, and Captain Hunter were lying in the sound between the island and the main land, the former, in his "flag ship," a little boat with two small guns. Major Lee blew up Oregon Light House, to prevent it from helping the yankees.
"In a charge on the enemy's works near Spottsylvania Court House, Va., on the 14th ult., by Wright's brigade, the 3d Georgia regiment lost 78, in killed and wounded. The color-bearer being wounded, Lieut. R. G. Hyman, of company F., gathered the colors, waved them defiantly at the foe, and called his regiment to follow him. They followed him, and he placed the flag upon the enemy's works."
FIRST TWELVE MONTHS OF THE 3RD GEORGIA REGIMENT.
By an Ex-Member. No. 7.
About the 1st of October, 1861, information was received that the 20th Indiana regiment had been brought up from Hatteras, and had pitched camp about twenty or thirty miles below us, at Chickamicomico(Chicamacomico), on the long strip of land, east of Roanoke Island, that extends along the coast of North Carolina. It was also understood that the yankee schooner, Fanny, was beating about in the Sound, with a supply of clothing, etc., for this Indiana regiment. Immediately, Commodore Lynch concluded to capture this vessel, and Colonel Wright resolved to go with him. Taking along a detachment from several different companies, Col. W. went on board the flag-ship, Curlew, and off they steamed. After a few hours, we heard the first gun. There was a short, sharp engagement, when the Fanny struck her flag, and a boat was lowered to take possession. Our folks captured eight hundred or a thousand new overcoats, some saddles, and many other useful articles intended for the 20th Indiana.
But we were not satisfied with this. The Curlew came back, and all hands went to work to supply her, and other boats, with fuel, that we might go down after the Indiana regiment itself. On Thursday afternoon, the 3rd October, all the effective men of our regiment, and of the 8th N.C., together with about sixty or seventy--remnant of the 7th N.C.--embarked on several steamboats. We lay still till after midnight, and then started. The North Carolinians, under Col. Shaw, started ahead of us, under orders to land some distance below the enemy's camp, and cut off their retreat, while we should make a direct attack upon them. A little after sun-up, next morning, on nearing Chickamicomico (Chicamacomico), we discovered a line of soldiers on the beach, and soon they commenced a movement toward the South. We saw a man get on horseback and gallop off. (We afterwards found that this was the Colonel.) The retreating column must have been four miles distant, but Commodore Lynch commenced shelling, in hope of inflicting some little damage upon it. The only effect was to convert the retreat into a most disorderly flight. The Cotton Plant came alongside of the Curlew, and, it being of light draft, Col. Wright got on it, and, with Major Lee, and several companies, started for the shore. Lt. Col. Reid was ordered to remain with the balance of the regiment on the Curlew, which could get no nearer shore than it then was. Nothing was said to the Adjutant and he jumped on the Cotton Plant, because he thought his place was with the head of the regiment. He was ordered back to the Curlew, and turned to obey, with intense chagrin expressed on his countenance. Col. W. added: "I would like to have you with me, but you must remain, and assist in landing the other troops. Watch my boat, and when I raise and lower the flag three times, the other troops must commence landing." The Cotton Plant, Capt. Hunter commanding, went off, having on board two 12lb howitzers. The Adjutant borrowed the Commodore's glass, and knelt on the upper deck of the Curlew, with the glass on the guard, to watch for the signal.
It seemed an age. At length, when our advance got within a half, or three-quarters of a mile of the shore, they cast anchor, and leaped into the water, while the two howitzers commenced throwing shot and shell. All the yankees had not left, and some prisoners were taken. In the mean time, just as the Cotton Plant cast anchor, we had seen the signal: so the rest of us got on an immense, heavy, old flat, and commenced a tedious approach to the land.
No snail ever went slower. It seemed at least two hours before we got to where we could wade, and, during that time, the advance had taken possession of the yankee camp, which was out of sight, among the trees, and, indeed, had all the fun to themselves. When we set foot on shore, the enemy were many miles off, and some skirmishers had been sent forward, while a detachment had been put to the hopeless and horrible work of dragging two 12lb howitzers through the sand, to overtake a regiment of flying yankees, that had several hours the start!
No horses had been brought, but the field officers procured marsh ponies, and old saddles, from the nearest houses. The Adjutant, very foolishly, concluded it would take too long to do this, so he pushed on, on foot, to try and overtake the advance. He was swift of foot, for a short distance, and passed a good many, but alas! he could not hold out, and, later in the day, all, in turn, passed him again, and he dropped on the sand exhausted, when Lt. Col. Reid came along, and took him up behind. (That night, he, too, got a pony, and afterwards rattled on very well.) A nice figure, too, the Lt. Col. and Adjutant cut, two tall men, on a small pony, their legs nearly dragging the sand.
Why make a long story of it? We soon began to get awful hungry, and, during the day, lived on raw potatoes, etc., "grabbled" out of the patches along the route. The inhabitants had, almost to the last one, deserted their houses, and fled to our approach--whether compelled to do so by the enemy, or really afraid of us, I cannot say. They were the most ignorant, abject, degraded whites, take them as a class, that I have ever seen. There may have been exceptions among them, however.
On we went, our active, hardy skirmishers occasionally picking up a blue coat squatted among the rushes, and conducting him back to the camp, where the quartermaster, with a detail, was busy loading our boats with yankee plunder. I will state, here, that we carried back, to Roanoke Island, the whole camp equipment, and the baggage--of which they had a fine supply--of the unfortunate 20th Indiana. Of course the whole route was strewn with blankets, hats, shoes, clothes, and everything the yankees could part with, in order to facilitate their flight. Many of their muskets were thrown into the marshes, or bent by blows against trees. Just before night, a very few of our very foremost men came on a considerable body of the enemy, in a small skirt of wood, and opened fire on them. The enemy seeing what a mere handful of men were pursuing them, mustered courage to halt a few moments, and returned the fire, so that, our men being checked, they all got away.
Night found the field and staff near a cluster of deserted houses, where were found some potatoes, flour, poultry, meats, etc. Two big wash pots were put in requisition, mutton was slaughtered, which, with flour dumplings, seasoned with salt pork, constituted, decidedly, the most savory stew that can be imagined. Potatoes were also roasted, corn bread baked, and, after the harassing and exhausting day's work, there was a pleasant bivouac. Soon after satisfying the cravings of hunger, we all lay down, some on floors, but most on the sand, and sank into a profound slumber. Of course we had, long before night, found that the 8th N.C. regiment had failed, for some cause, to effect a landing below, to cut off the retreat. We afterwards learned that they cast anchor at a bar, over which they could not pass, and got out to wade to shore, but, between their vessels and beach, encountered a deep channel, and had to give up their part in the expedition.
The next morning, by day break, the regiment was up, and moving. Orders were sent back for those in charge of the cannon to hurry up, but they were past hurrying. They had spent the night miserably, as they told me, on the sand, where darkness overtook them, without food, except, perhaps, a few raw potatoes some of them had in their haversacks. However, they resumed their dragging. Late in the morning, some of us arrived within a few miles of Hatteras light-house, where we were informed the enemy had taken refuge, and been reinforced from the fort. A few of our enterprising boys approached very near, and reconnoitered. Col. W. halted the advance and sent back after the rest of the regiment, intending to attempt an assault on the light-house. He thought better of it, however, and started the advance back to meet the rear. About noon, most of the regiment was got together, and halted in the shade, to obtain food and rest. Col. W. was at a house a short distance from the regiment.
One of the Captains asked Col. Wright's permission to move back toward our boats, and, having obtained it, was soon far on his way. Other Captains, on discovering this, requested Lt. Col. Reid to obtain leave for them to go also, and, finally, he went to see Col. W. about it. Col. W. rather hesitated, but, at length, said something like the following: "You may take the whole command back, but there must be no stragglers in front, or rear. Company "G" may go forward, as skirmishers (it was thought there were yankees still lurking about in the marshes) but they must not go more than half a mile ahead." So we started back, and there were stragglers, in spite of everything that could be done. We were going leisurely along, over a strip of desert, not a shrub obstructing the view of the Sound to Ocean, although there were thickets behind and before us. On a sudden, there loomed up on the Atlantic side, a huge vessel, quite near, and seemingly looking immediately down upon us. It was creeping slowly along, and was seen by our whole line, about the same time. The first intimation I had of its presence, was hearing a sergeant, in company "G," exclaim, "Adjutant what is that?" I suppose the man at the mast-head saw us, about the same time. Lt. Col. Reid was riding along, carrying the flag in his hand, having relieved the color-bearer of his burden.
The flag was a good mark to shoot at, and, in less than a minute after I heard sergeant (afterwards Lieutenant) Bridewell's question, a wreath of smoke arose from the Monticello, a cannon belched forth its thunder, and a shell whizzed over our heads. Take it altogether, we felt in an awkward position. It was the first time most of us were ever under fire. There was no escape from the shelling, for the island was very narrow, and the enemy's vessel had only to follow us, up or down, in whichever direction we might go, keeping us in easy range, all the time. We could not reply, because the vessel was out of musket range, one of our howitzers had been put on a schooner, as the men were worn out, dragging it over the sand, and the other had been abandoned. It would have been a severe test, even of the courage of veterans, and to raw men, it was ticklish indeed--principally because we had no means of resisting. However, we pushed on for a small thicket, a little way a head, and, for a short time, all stopped in it; but the way grape, solid shot, and shell, were poured into that small space, soon made it entirely too hot for comfort: so the men, worn out, and scarcely able, a few moments before, to drag one foot after the other, proceeded up the beach, at wide intervals, some dodging along behind little sand hillocks, others running, others walking upright, and defiantly.
The bow gun of the Monticello was trained on the moving column, while the stern gun was directed to the thicket, from which our men were emerging. And so the shelling continued all that blessed summer afternoon. In our covert, grape, from shrapnel, fell thick and fast. First would come the report from the cannon, then that shrill scream of the missile through the air, with which so many of our citizens have become familiar since the opening of this war, and then the explosion, during the passage, and, lastly, the "bip-bip-bip" of the separate shot, and fragments, as they fell in the sand, all around us.
But everything has an end, and so had that afternoon. Only one or two men were bruised by spent balls, and none killed by the fire of the enemy. The 3rd Ga. learned a lesson, that day, which it has never forgotten--that shelling is more noisy than dangerous. It learned to stand fire!
It may be enquired, why our gun-boats did not make diversions in our favor. It is answered, they were too far off to throw shot over us, and from their fire, if they had commenced one, we would have been in much more danger than the enemy.
Boats were sent for us, and, during the night, we were all taken on board our transports, except a member of company "K". One poor man had died from exhaustion. The missing member of company "K" had become delirious from heat and fatigue, and wandered off: but a day or two afterwards he was found, and brought away. We steamed back to Roanoke Island, richer in spoils, and far richer in experience, than when we left. We were fast becoming soldiers.
Soon after "The First Twelve Months of the 3d Ga. Regt." was placed in the hands of the compositor, the author was taken sick, and has been unable to read the proof, or make some alterations that he intended.
FIRST TWELVE MONTHS OF THE 3RD GEORGIA REGIMENT.
By an Ex-Member. No. 8
I failed, in my account of the Chickamicomico (Chicamacomico) Races, to mention an affair in which Colonel Wright was chief actor. He had ridden on ahead of the regiment, when suddenly some eight or ten yankees, lying in the marshes, jumped up, and commenced firing at him. His horse fell at the first volley. Extricating himself, he seized the smallest of the yankees, who was very near him--a mear boy--and making a shield of him, commenced a regular battle, single handed, with the rest. His escape seems miraculous, but he was not hurt. Some of our boys came up, and took several of the enemy prisoners, while the rest escaped. (I was sick whilst the last number was passing through the press, and, therefore, it was not what I wished it to be.)
FIRST TWELVE MONTHS OF THE 3RD GEORGIA REGIMENT.
By an Ex-Member. No. 9
After we got back from our Chickamicomico (Chicamacomico) expedition, our commanding officer issued a congratulatory address in which was the usual amount of plastering, &c. We resumed our accustomed camp routine. On the 26th October, a place was marked out for winter quarters, north of Wier's Point battery. Two or three miles below us, a breastwork was projected, which was to prevent any approach from Ashby's landing. The reader knows that Roanoke Island is long and narrow. Its average width is perhaps not more than three miles. From one end of the solid part to the other end, there runs a main road, near the middle, and from this thoroughfare, there ran other roads. South of our camp, the solid part of the island is narrow, there being an immense marsh on each side, which was thought to be impassable.
Toward the south end of the island, there is Ashby's landing, where pretty heavy draught boats can come so close to the beach, that a man can leap from deck to land. Transports could approach that place, and land troops, with the utmost rapidity, without the aid of wharf or row boats. It was thought best to guard against the enemy in that direction, and, as we could not prevent him from landing, at so favorable a place, it was considered advisable to throw obstructions in the way of his marching upon us, after landing. So, as already stated, Capt. Dimmock laid out a heavy piece of work--perhaps a mile long--and the trees were cleared off. Having proceeded thus far, however, Colonel Wright concluded to abandon it, but he went still lower down the road, to where the marsh approached very near, on each side, leaving a pass-way of only a few paces width. To throw up a breast-work, across this, was comparatively easy. Accordingly, a detail was placed under command of Lt. Sturgis, of company A, who proceeded to lay off the work and have it built.
A permanent detail from each company in the regiment was given to the Lieutenant, who, after completing the breast-work, was stationed there, with several guns, during the remainder of our stay on Roanoke Island.
Lieutenant Jno. R. Sturgis! What old member of the 3rd Ga. does not remember and mourn him" A perfect gentleman, a highly educated man, an accomplished officer, kind and amiable, though firm in the discharge of his duty. Afterwards, as Lt. Col. commanding the 3rd Ga., he poured out his life's blood in defence of his country at Malvern Hill. This brief mention is the least that I can make, concerning one whom I, in common with the rest of the regiment, esteemed so highly.
It was a great mistake, though, to suppose that the marsh, heretofore spoken of, was impassable; for I was told afterwards, by those present when the island fell, that the enemy did approach through it, thus flanking the little work--which we called by the name of Sturgis' battery.
About the 22nd October, Gen. D. H. Hill, who had been placed in command of the department of North Carolina, visited us and rode over the island. Between the 1st and 5th of November, in accordance with an understanding had with Gen. Gatlin, who was understood to have authority from the governor of North Carolina, Gen. Hill issued an order, calling out the militia of a number of counties convenient to the island. The militia of Jones, and Carteret, was ordered to report to Col. Campbell, at Carolina City; that of Lenoir, and Craven, to Col. G. B. Singleton, at Newbern; that of Beaufort, and Martin, to Col. Robt. McMillen (Georgian) at Washington; that of Tyrrell, and Hyde to Major E. D. Hall, at Middleton, Hyde county; and that of Bertie, Chowan, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Camden, and Currituck, to Col. Wright, on Roanoke Island. At the same time, Gen. Hill wrote Col. W. to have flat boats secured, and scaling ladders built with great secrecy. Doubtless an assault on Hatteras was contemplated.
The following are extracts from my journal:
WEDNESDAY 6th November, 1861.
Wind been blowing ever since last Saturday morning--part of the time a perfect gale. Old Abe's fleet must be suffering. Some of the yankee defences at Hatteras have been swept away. Two North Carolina officers started, on a schooner, to carry orders to the Colonels of the militia in the six counties belong to "Colonel Wright's district," as Genl. Hill calls it, but they were driven back by the wind.
November 8th: A French corvette, the Prony (this is the sound, but I am ignorant of the proper orthography) was wrecked, a day or two ago. Capt. Hunter , of our navy, picked up her crew. The Curlew, with the French officers on board, stopped off our camp, a short time, on her way up to Norfolk. Wanted to call, but they remained too short a time.
Wednesday, 13th: Everything in confusion, this morning--landing baggage, moving part of the regiment to the new camp, where houses are going up for winter quarters, bothering with furloughs, discharges, and the militia, some of whom reported yesterday--the day named by Genl. Hill for Col. W's district. Col Stark, of one of these regiments, called, and stated that he had an order from the Adjutant Genl. of the state, countermanding Genl. Hills' order. That very same morning, it happened Col Wright had received a fresh communication from Genl. Hill, tell him, Wright, to send out the adjutant of his regiment, to arrest all officers and men, refusing to obey his orders. A nice time the adjutant would have had, in this species of bush-hunting!. Col. Wright told Col. Stark that he should be governed by Genl. Hill's order. Col. S's. command were in schooners, and had come south of Wier's Point battery. In order to get home, they must pass this battery. Col. Wright despatched a written order to Capt. Beall, of company F., commanding at this battery, to fire on any vessel attempting to pass without written permission from him, Col. Wright. Col. Stark went on board his transports, weighed anchor, and bore up towards the battery. I listened for a gun, but none was fired, and Col. S. proceeded on his way. (Never heard how Capt. Beall explained his course. Rather think it was slurred over.)
The militia are ordered by Hill to make requisitions for lumber to build huts &c. It appears they are to be located here for the winter. Rare work it will be, to teach five raw regiments to make out morning reports!
Thursday, 14. Militia ordered to return home. Gen. Hill arrived here, last night, and leaves in the morning.
Saturday, 16. Cold! Our houses not yet built. However, I am sitting by, or rather over, an excellent fire, in a fireplace, constructed by our Sergeant Major, in two hours. It consists of a sort of hole under the side of the tent, with two flour barrels outside for a chimney. Sometimes it burns finely, and I am quite comfortable. Again it smokes so I can't endure it, and then I shiver it out.
Tuesday, 19. Still cold. Winter quarters progressing very slowly. The projected expedition against Hatteras seems to be abandoned. Capt. Hunter steams down that way, and looks at the yankee works and shipping, nearly every day. Once he exchanged about a dozen shots with the enemy.
And so glided on our lives on Roanoke Island. At one time, Col. Wright was told that a yankee vessel had been wrecked at Nag's Head; so he started off to take possession of her, but learned that it was a false report. The next time Gen. Hill came, on Col. W's relating the circumstances, the General very cooly said: "It is well you did not leave the island, or I should have been forced to place you in arrest." Gen. Hill had given Col. Wright written orders not to leave the island, on any expedition, without permission, or orders from him--the General. This all happened about the first of November, whilst I was absent for a week at Norfolk, but I got my information from headquarters.
FIRST TWELVE MONTHS OF THE 3RD GEORGIA REGIMENT.
By an Ex-Member. No. 10
Extracts from Journal.
ROANOKE ISLAND, Thursday, Dec. 15th, 1861.
We received an order, yesterday, to repair to Portsmouth, and report to Gen. Huger, so soon as Col. Jordan's (North Carolina) regiment should arrive on this island. Said regiment has been ordered to come here and relieve us, without delay. If we were prepared to prevent the enemy from passing this point, and cutting us off from Norfolk, I would rather spend the winter here than in Portsmouth; but under present circumstances, I prefer to go back. There are no obstructions in the channels--(for there are two)--no piles, or anything of the sort--and those in charge of the batteries, on both sides, have had scarcely any practice with the guns. We could probably repulse any reasonable number, that would land, but the enemy will probably attempt another plan.
(At that time, I did not anticipate the coming of such a force as, in February following, took possession of Roanoke Island, and caused the heart of our nation to sink with grief for the disaster, and apprehension for the future. I was at home on leave of absence, at the time the enemy seized on Roanoke Island, and never have I seen people more despondent than were ours, at the intelligence. I hastened back to the army, and found no trace of gloom or dread, but all was cheerful and elastic. And thus it ever is. Our soldiers are depressed at nothing, and if the whole country were as hopeful as they, all would be well. But I must resume my extracts from my journal.)
Same Date: The chief trouble about our going back to Portsmouth is, that we leave good quarters nearly completed, and go, in the very dead of winter, to commence building.
Saturday, 6th. The weather for the past two days has been delightful--the water in the sound as smooth as glass. Pity we could not start yesterday morning. Fear we will have rough weather for our voyage.
Tuesday, 10th. Col. Jordan arrived here yesterday, but his regiment did not. He has gone off towards Plymouth to look for it. Col. Wright has issued an order, this afternoon, to have four days' rations cooked, stating that we would start tomorrow. The weather continues of the most balmy kind. Never, in my life, experienced truer Indian summer. It is really wonderful, for the season, and latitude. We've heard no news in ten days.
Wednesday, 11th. Little after noon. The North Carolinians have arrived. Most of our baggage is on schooners, and we are trying to get off this afternoon. But the calm is gone. The wind is blowing, and the water heaving.
CAMP NEAR PORTSMOUTH, Wednesday, Dec. 18th, 1861.
Left Roanoke Island, last Friday (13th) reached Elizabeth City, that night, unexpectedly to the inhabitants, but were, nevertheless, most hospitably entertained. Next day, the regiment took up its line of march to South Mills, at which village we spent Saturday night. Next morning, took the turnpike along Dismal swamp canal, our baggage transport being in the canal. Tarried, Sunday night, at the village of Deep Creek. Monday, we marched into Portsmouth, and were received by (then) Brig. Gen. Blanchard, and staff, a North Carolina battalion, and the Sussex Light Dragoons. The 22nd Georgia regiment had been stationed at Portsmouth, during our absence, but were unarmed, and therefore did not turn out. The rest of Gen. Blanchard's command was too far out of town to be present. But there is no telling the enthusiasm with which we were received. We were the veteran regiment of the brigade, being, in fact, the only part of it that had seen service--that had been under fire. We were escorted round the town, and then marched into the navy-yard, to rest for the night. The General issued an order, saying that, now the 3rd Georgia had returned, he "felt as if his strength had been restored to him."
Thus ends the first twelve months. Nothing appeared later than this