soon as I got up from measles I asked Colonel Savage for a furlough home
a few days, but he said, No, he would need me to kill Yankees in Virginia.
This was the only time I ever thought hard of Col. Savage but I soon got
over it. This was nearly 50 years ago and I must leave untouched
many incidents of interest and hasten on. On the 21st of July we
packed our knapsacks and filled our haversacks with rations and left camp
Trousdale, marched through a drenching rain to the Depot, took the cars
for where we knew not at that time. In crossing the Tennessee River
I peeped out to take a look, my cap blew off, and I have never seen it
since. We arrived at Chattanooga early next morning.
Chattanooga was then a small place. At 10 o'clock that night we boarded the cars again and arrived at Knoxville next day at 12 o'clock, and remained there until next morning. We then started again, went to Haynesville and remained there one day and night. On the 26th at 1:00 P.M. we started again and arrived at Bristol same day at 6:00 P.M. The line between
| Tennessee and
Virginia passed through Bristol. On the 28th we started again and
arrived at Lynchburg "on the James," next day at 3:00 A.M. The city
is on the west side of James River. We began to feel like we were
far from home. When we got off the cars, we were met by Negroes with
their arms full of long plugs of tobacco at 10 cents per plug. I
purchased a plug, handed the Negro a half dollar and he could not change
it. He said, "Boss, go right dar to dat store and get it changed."
I did so, took him the dime and he gave me another plug of tobacco.
He was busy waiting on the boys and had forgotten handing me one when I
first went to him. If I knew the Negro was yet living and where to reach
him by mail, I would send him a dime, but could not afford to pay the interest.
We marched up through town and picked up plenty of fine tobacco thrown to us from upper stories of buildings. We camped out a little way from town until the 2nd of August when we again took the cars to Stanton and thence to Millborough and remained there until the 5th and at 6 o'clock P.M. marched out 5 miles and camped on Cowlick Creek or river. (Remember we left the railroad at Millborough.) I remember a church or school house stood where we camped. On the 6th, we marched 12 miles to Warm Springs. On the 7th, we marched 12 miles and camped on Back River. On the 8th, we marched 11 miles and camped at Huntersville in Pocahontas County. We camped in the bottom near town and the rain and mud were terrible. Many of the boys were taken sick and it looked like all of us would soon be down. Col. Savage asked General Donnelson to let him move us out of the mud and up on the mountain side. The General said, "No," but Savage moved us up in the timber near a good spring and had to convert the owner of the spring before he would let us have water. I took a severe cold and could taste measles and I thought I was "a goner." I thought of home and Mother, but I am here yet, telling you about war. Black berries were getting ripe on those mountains and some of the boys slipped out with their guns to eat berries and hunt for deer. I have never heard an old Soldier say that he wanted to go back to Huntersville. In my next I will carry you from Huntersville.
|Spencer, Article 4
On the 5th of September we packed our duds and marched off, crossing Greenbriar river on a bridge and camped at Edray and remained until the 7th. The fall rains began and the mud was from shoe mouth to knee deep in many places and many North Carolina soldiers died there afflicted with measles and malaria fever. We then resumed our march traveling all day and camped that night in 6 miles of Valley Mountain. On the 8th, we went to Valley mountain and remained until next morning. Now I wish I could picture to "The Times'" readers the scenery around there, the little potato hill mountain just on our left, the big spring, etc., but must pass on. On Tuesday morning the 9th, we started again and it was up mountains and down, the same all day, and slept at night on a high point. I have forgotten the name of the citizen who piloted us in those mountains. I think this is the place where Lieut. (Prof.) A.T. Seitz negro cook sickened and died.
Next morning, the 10th, we started again, going down the narrow, dark winding Valley in Cheat Mountain. Our Regiment and the 8th Tennessee were the only troops going that route, but General Wise and others were south of us. A little creek ran down the valley which we had to cross very often, sometimes wade and sometimes a foot log. The road was a pathway and we went in Indian file, which made our line of march one mile long. Our guns were flint lock muskets and carried cartridges made of one large ball and three buckshot. Our cartridge boxes held forty cartridges and fastened to a belt and cap box by side of it, which were very convenient and unless a fellow was badly excited could load and shoot rapidly. Our guns were dangerous at close range. The rain continue for many days and we had some trouble in keeping our ammunition dry, but I must return to our march down the little valley. Col. Savage was with the front guard. Near 10 o'clock we heard musket shots in front of us which caused us to double quick and all excited. In crossing a little slick foot log my feet slipped. Down I went astride the log. My knapsack and gun unbalanced me and down I went head first into the water completely immersing me, but I held to my gun. I crawled out on the bank, threw up the _____ of my old "Lizzie" and found the priming as dry as powder. I was perfectly wet and my knapsack of clothes wet and heavy, but on I ran and in a short distance passed a little cabin on the right of the path and just beyond it on the left lay two wounded Yankees, but we moved on. I was then willing for the war to close, but Oh My. Late in the evening we marched up on the side of the mountain and remained all night. I chilled that night and could imagine I was taking measles again. I thought of home and Mother, but doubted ever seeing them again. We were in view of the Yanks' camp lines which doubtless made my chill so desperate. A bear or some other animal ran through our line that night. We had gone further than General Lee had ordered us and he was making his way to us when the darkness of the night prevented him from reaching us. We were in a critical position, but I will tell you how we got out.
On Thursday morning the 11th, Col. Savage ordered us to clean and dry our guns as quick as possible. Our company and Captain Dillard's were formed along the pathway leading up the mountain and were near the Valley. About the rising of the sun, General Lee and escort came to us and inquired for Col. Savage. About that time we heard the firing about 100 yards below us and we were satisfied that our Vedettes had fired on the enemy.
Our company and Captain Dillard's were ordered to attack them and on our way passed two wounded Yanks. The enemy was at the foot of the mountain and bullets were flying thick and fast. Col. Savage ordered us to take them out on our bayonets. We raised the Yell and the enemy left. Alfred Martin was killed and others wounded. He was the first man killed in our Regiment and was a Van Buren County boy, but belonged to a Warren County company. He was a brother to Mose, Jessee and Lawson and was lively and loved by all the boys. I have never known exactly the number we killed and captured. I would have been willing to close the war then, but Oh my!
We were thirty miles from our wagon train and out of rations. The rain kept pouring at intervals. We started back and after four miles camped until next morning. We then marched two miles and remained until next morning. We called it the beef hill. We drew plenty of fat beef and cooked it without salt. We were out of bread. Three or four pounds of fat beef without salt or bread will give a fellow the sour belch. On Sunday, the 14th, we started again and I remember that Col. Savage had a piece of beef on his bayonet. We marched all day and until midnight and camped in four miles of Valley mountain. Rain and mud were very disagreeable. On the 15th, we went to Valley mountain and remained until the 22nd. Our wagon train was there and we drew meal, beef, etc. and rested.
Next morning, the 28th, we cooked rations and started again and halted late in the evening within two miles of Meadow bluff and remained all night. On the 29th we started again and waded Meadow Creek which had spread out several hundred yards. And four miles further, after a hard day's march we reached the top of Sewell Mountain. Next morning, we could see the Yanks' tents about one mile distant.
General Lee was with us and it was my pleasure to go near his tent and take a look at him. I am glad his name is not spelled L-e-a. We all expected a battle while there, but the enemy left. Col. Savage advised General Lee to fight the enemy there, but General Lee did not want to leave a dead soldier in that section.
The rain had ceased and we were fairing very well. We remained there until the 12th of October in the evening, then marched a few miles and camped. That night, a few of us decided to slip through the guard line, go out and get some potato punkins which were numerous in that section and when baked were as good as the old yellow yam sweet potato. We cut sticks about four feet long and sharpened each end of the stick. We found plenty of punkins in a field, stuck a punkin on each end of the stick, then shouldered the sticks and started for camp. In going out of the field, I was the last one to cross the fence and in a few steps further some one in the bushes near the path yelled out, "Oh, yes, d__n you, we've got you." The boys in front of me moved on in a hurry and I was in a lope when off fell one of my punkins and, of course, down went the other, but I never halted, but pulled for camp. I supposed the fellow who scared me so bad was the owner of the field of punkins, but next day, I found out that it was some of our own men out foraging and decided to have some fun, and they had it.
On Monday, the 21st, we started back toward Greenbriar river and after marching twelve miles camped at Meadow bluff. On the 22nd, we marched fifteen miles and camped in two miles of Lewisburg. On the 23rd, we marched fifteen miles and camped on post oak ridge. That is where Captain Dillard shot a rabbit with his pistol. On the 24th, we marched fifteen miles passing through Frankford and camped near Hill's point. On the 25th, we marched all day and camped near Marlain bottom on the west side of Greenbriar river. On the 27th, we crossed the river, marched all day and camped one mile north of Huntersville at the mouth of a big hollow. Fall had begun with big frosts and we had log heap fires and plenty of fat beef.
This is the place where Ben Randals and Jim Mitchell had a fight, but were too well matched to do much hurt. This is the place where Jack Rolls violated orders, was court-martialed and sentenced to put a fence rail on his shoulder and carry it around our Regimental encampment. This made "Uncle Jack" mad and he said, "By spoons, I will do no more service for the Confederacy," and he made his word good. Some of the boys were getting to be very unruly and were considerable trouble. This is the place where Crockett Moore and I ventured out on the mountain with our muskets hunting for deer and came in a cat's hair of being captured, but escaped. In my next, I will carry you away from Virginia.