Spencer, Article 15
I closed last week while in the hottest of the battle of Perryville. I will now give you the names of my company who were killed and mortally wounded. Wiley Haston, a brother of John Haston was mortally wounded and died next day. Peter Shockley, an uncle of George Haston's wife was a son of Saml. Shockley and lived where Sam Haston now lives was killed dead. Levy Johnson was a son of Andy Johnson and cousin of Wesley Johnson was killed dead. Wm. Jones only son of Davis (and Bersheba )Jones was mortally wounded and died that night. James Moore uncle to Tom Clark and Sallie Smith of McMinnville was killed dead. He had three brothers in the war, one of whom was killed at Murfreesboro and the others wounded in battle. Sam Parker whose people lived in White County was killed dead. John Steakley was killed dead and his brother James mortally wounded and died that night. George Sparkman was severely wounded and took refuge behind a tree but a grape shot from a cannon killed him. I think his father's name was William and lived on Laurel Creek near where Henry Cotton lives. William Wood was a son of Hamlet Wood and lived near Goodbar was mortally wounded and died that night. John E. York a brother to Mrs. E. T. Passons died, was killed dead. John Smalden a boy reared by John M. Billingsley on Cane Creek joined us on our way to Ky. and killed dead making twelve. Others were seriously and slightly wounded. The enemy finally retreated and we followed on. They loaded as they fell back but would whirl and shoot back. So we passed the little cabin on the hill. I was severely wounded through my right side above my hip. We then had them on the run. James Martin was the only living man near me and offered to assist me off the battlefield, but I told him I could make it, and for him to go on and kill all of them. On my way back I passed the boys lying dead, and oh, my! Col. Savage was with us in the thickest of the fight, and was shot through his leg, and his horse (George) was killed. The moaning and sighing of the wounded and dying that night were heart-rending and enough to make any man oppose war. Lieut. Denney Cummings a cousin to Jo Denney Cummings was shot in the mouth breaking his jaw and carrying away about 14 or 15 teeth and we thought would die, but he got over it and rejoined our company and was in the battle of Chickamauga! I would have voted for the war to close then, but oh, shucks! The loss in our Regt. was 199 killed and severely wounded. Genl. Buell of the Yankee Army re-inforced Genl. Rosecrans with 40,000 fresh troops that night, and Genl. Bragg had to evacuate Ky. and hurriedly got matters in shape to move out. The severely wounded could not be carried away, but left in the hands of the enemy. I was very sorry that I had to be left back. The day after the battle, all the wounded who could be moved, were carried up to Harrodsburg, 10 miles from Perryville. I was carried up there and put in the court house, with good many wounded. The army was on the march, by Crab Orchard and on to East Tennessee. The cavalry took up the rear, and I yet remember seeing John T. Haston in line, and he gave me some rations. John is yet living, and has his wings up, has never sold out for a mess of pottage and never will. If I go to war again, I want John with me. Nine of the wounded in the hospital with me died that night. I was fearful that the Yanks would mistreat us Rebs in the hospital, but, I was mistaken. How many old Van Buren boys are living now, who were in the battle of Perryville near 49 years ago!
Spencer, Article 16
Genl. Bragg carried the army to Murfreesboro, and Genl. Rosecrans carried his to Nashville. The weather remained pleasant and beautiful, with no frost until the evening of the 28th of Oct. when it turned cool, clouded up and snowed about 5 inches deep. The timber was yet green and the snow bent and broke down a great deal of it, but next morning the clouds cleared away, the sunshine was pleasant, the snow melted off, and the timber and vegetation not injured. The battle of Murfreesboro was fought the last day of 1862, and the 1st day of 1863, before I was able to rejoin my command. Some of the Van Buren boys were killed there, some of whom were Crocket Moore, whose brother James was killed at Perryville, Isham Hollandsworth, who was a cousin to Wm. Hollandsworth, and Henderson Rhodes who was a brother to Aunt Bettie Madewell, and others whose names I have forgotten. After the battle, Gen. Bragg fell back to Shelbyville, and remained in that section and at Tullahoma during the winter. The Yanks at Perryville ordered me to Bardstown and said I would be conveyed to Louisville and thence by steamer to Vicksburg, Miss. and be exchanged. I didn't like that idea much, and thought I could beat that. I came through some rough country and byways to Tennessee and in February was back with the boys. We faired pretty well at Shelbyville and Tullahoma. Our regiment camped about half mile north of Tullahoma on the west side of the railroad. Tullahoma was then a small place. The army used a great deal of timber for fire, etc. Army regulations were getting strict and many soldiers were getting tired of war, and desenting. A man whose name I have forgotten ran away and carried back 2 or 3 times was court-martialed and condemned to be shot. The day of execution was set, grave dug over across the creek, west of town, and a rough box coffin made and placed at the grave. On the appointed day I went over to witness the execution. The Brigade to which he belonged was formed around to witness the scene was near where I could see the poor fellow. At the appointed hour, an officer with 6 soldiers with their guns marched the poor fellow to the grave and he sat down on his coffin. The officer and guard took position a few yards in front of him, and the officer gave command to the guard was as follows, "ready, aim, fire." At the word fire, all the guns fire simultaneously, and the poor fellow was dead. I never voluntarily saw another man shot. I never thought nor yet think that he should have been shot, but it has to be done in war for example to others. I have always regretted witnessing that execution. Others were executed while we are at Tullahoma. Our regiment escaped very well. I thought that Genl. Bragg should have pardoned the poor fellow, and I never liked Bragg much afterwards. Strict orders were given the police to arrest any man caught with a gun out in the woods, but soldiers will risk very much, violate orders willfully and knowingly. Martin Mitchel was sick and asked his brother Mark to go out and kill a squirrel for him. Mark asked me to go with him. I went, but never took my gun. We went down on west side of railroad and found a squirrel up a tree and Mark banged away at it. I went on the opposite side of the tree from Mark to shake a bush and scare the squirrel back on side of tree next to Mark, and he would bang away again but missed the squirrel. The police heard the shooting and hurriedly came to us and arrested us. I will tell you what became of us in my next article.
Spencer, Article 17
Mark had his gun loaded when the police came up, and the officer in charge told him to shoot off his gun, which he did but missed the squirrel again. They then started with us, and after going about 100 yards, Mark said he had lost his knife under the tree where he had been shooting and must have it. I knew what he meant. We all started back to the tree and when in about 50 yards of it, the officer stopped and told him to go and get it and hurry back. Mark went on, and when near the tree he put his gun to "trail" and I never saw a fellow run so in my life and the police hallooing "halt". He got away by a big majority. They said they would turn me loose if I would give them his name, company and regiment, but you know I never run away to Alabama nor turned traitor, no sir. They carried me over across the creek to the guard-house, and on entering it, behold there were E. T. Passons and others of my company who had been arrested and put there for having their guns out in the woods. We were released the same day without punishment. That was the only time I was arrested during the war. A fellow (I forget his name) did some meanness and was court-martialed, and the sentence was, he should dig up a big oak stump. Tools were furnished and the guard told him to go to digging, but he swore he would not dig up the stump. They "bucked" him awhile, loosed him and ordered him to dig, but he said "no". They "bucked and gagged" him awhile, loosed him again and ordered him to dig, but he said "no, there is no use digging up a stump out in the woods" and he never dug a lick. They kept up the treatment until we had to hike out from there, and he was given his gun and placed in ranks with his command. Three men ran away from the army, went home, but arrested, carried back, court-martialed and sentenced to ride a wooden horse for several days. A guard with their guns was kept there to see that the order was carried out. Two forks were put in the ground about 8 feet apart and a pole put in the forks which was 7 or 8 feet high. They were put astride the pole and kept there for two hours, and then taken down to rest awhile and then mounted again. This procedure went on for several days. A beef's head with horns on was fastened on the front end of the horse (or pole) and the poor fellow astride the pole in front of the other two, and near the beef's head was a preacher, and a broad slip of paper was fastened around his hat, with the following inscription, "COME ON BOYS". Oh, war, war! If that preacher was sanctified, and never fell from grace, still living, voted for Hooper, and gets a pension, he will undoubtedly land where war and wooden horses are no more. Those three men were not members of our Regiment. While at Tullahoma, a vacancy occurred in our Brigade for General, and according to justice and right, Col. Savage should have been appointed, but Isham G. Harris, our Gov. at that time, and Genl. Donnelson were enemies of Savage, and Markus J. Wright, a Lieut. Col. of another regiment received the appointment, and became our Brigadier Genl. Col. Savage felt sore over such treatment and resigned, and D. M. Donnell became our Colonel. He died at Live Oak, Fla. 15 or 16 years ago. He was a first class Christian gentleman and the war not the proper place for him. He made me mad, on the drill field, but I got over it and loved him all the same. While we were around Tullahoma, our relatives and friends visited us and carried cakes, pies and other goodies. We built forts for cannon and made preparations to resist an attack from the enemy. The Yankee army was increased and had part of it on the flank movement and threatening our rear. Many incidents occurred there, which I am compelled to leave untouched, and hasten on. In my next I will carry you away from Tullahoma.
Spencer, Article 18
I closed last week after giving you a brief history of our services near Tullahoma, and told you that I would carry you elsewhere. Genl. Rosecrans was pushing a portion of his army South, on our left flank, but kept the larger portion in front of us. We expected a battle while there, but suppose Genl. Bragg thought it best to move back. We were ordered to pack our duds and get ready for marching. We started South, crossing Elk River at Allisona and on by Deckard. We left the railroad to our right and crossed a spur of the mountain, passing through some little village and on to Tennessee River, and my recollection is, we crossed the river near the mouth of Battle Creek. We then went on, and the road went under the railroad bridge that crossed Running Water Creek, and on to "White Sides", a station on the railroad in 13 miles of Chattanooga. We got transportation on the railroad from there to Chattanooga, and camped. Worked on forts and made preparations for war. What is now Hill City, was then called Stringer's Hill, and only one or two houses. Capt. George Carter had been captured and put in Fort Delaware Prison, but escaped, swam the Bay and came to us while at Chattanooga. The Yanks kept closing in on us, and advancing South above and below Chattanooga. The hot days of August had passsed and the beautiful September weather was upon us. We knew that something was in store for us but couldn't tell what. Some of the boys had enough, left us, made their way home and never saw them anymore until after the close of the war. About the middle of September, Rosecrans, with a portion of his army were in Lookout Valley, moving South and we were ordered to get busy. We left Chattanooga and went to Craw Fish Springs, and in the early part of night we were resting, waiting for some obstacle in front of us to get out of the way, when a team ran away, making a terrible racket, and stampeded our Division. We did not know what was the matter, and ran in every direction, some hallowing Oh, Lordy and some say run boys. If I go to war any more, I pray the Lord to deliver me from stampedes. While near Craw Fish Springs, Jim Martin went out and procured about one peck of irish potatoes, and we had a fine meal. Jim was a good messmate, always did his part and when ??? had to be done, he never failed. Jim was a good soldier, always in line and now when the political parties are lined up for action I know where to find him. On the 18th we crossed Chickamauga at Lee & Gordon's Mill and went to Lafayette, 10 miles south of the mill. Genl. Bragg decided to give the enemy battle at Chickamauga, and we were ordered back. On the morning of the 19th we crossed the creek again at the said mill, and moved Eastwardly a short distance, then halted and reformed. A portion of the army was then engaged in battle, and the cannons booming. We knew our time was near. Orders were given to "double quick" and we pressed forward, knowing that we would soon be engaged. Col. Donnel told us to be careful and not shoot our pickets, as they fell back to our line. In advancing in the woods, Jim Martin said "Yonder they are", and Col. Donnel said "Don't shoot. They are our men", but Jim said, "Our men, hell", and bang went his gun, which opened the ball for us. The Yanks were swinging around and never saw us, as their attention was directed to the firing on our right. Those in front of us fell back to their battery, and the grape and canister flew apparently as thick as blackbirds. In my next I will finish telling you of the great battle.