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Chapter 5

CHAPTER V.

The opening of this Campaign found our Company on the right banks of the Rappahannock river, where the curtain of time dropped upon it at the closing scene of last year, sullenly confronting the enemy from the opposite banks of that river. General Joseph Hooker, who had super ceded General Burnside in command of the Grand Army of the Potomac, as before stated , and employed the Winter in reorganizing and equipping the army.

He seemed to take it for granted that Lee would instantly quail and retire before this grand array of military strength of a hundred thousand strong. He therefore put it in motion on the 27th of April, moving against Richmond, overland by way of Chancellorsville. General Lee, however, with his 50,000 men, did not retire. He gave battle for four days, beginning on the 29th--meeting Hooker’s divisions at every point of assault; and, by skillful manoeuvres, made several successful assaults himself. It was now that the celebrated flanker, Gen. (Stonewall) Jackson, to whose command our Company was attached, made his famous flank movement around Hooker’s army, completely gaining his rear, and, undiscovered, got his corps in position, and on Saturday evening, first day of May, at about one hour of the sun, opened fire upon Hooker’s rear, and fought what is known as the battle of Wilderness Church. In this battle, our Company suffered the following casualties: Privates Jas. Corbett and James Lominac were, each wounded in the left hand. Private Wendell D. Croom had the little finger of his right hand broken by a fragment of exploded shell. Nightfall put an end to this conflict. The two armies bivouaced for the night, determined to renew the conflict at day-light the next morning. The ever active and indomitable (Stonewall) Jackson, in making a hasty reconnoissance of the enemy’s position during the night, lost his life. The fatal shot came by mistake from his own lines. At day-light next morning, with almost unprecedented fury upon both sides, the fight was renewed, and what is known as the battle of Chancellorsville was fought. In this bloody and never-to-beforgotten struggle, our Company suffered the following casualties: Major Charles D. Anderson, 3rd lieutenant Seaborn M. Hunt, Orderly Sergeant Amos W. Murray, 2nd Sergeant Isaac N. Vinson, 1st Corporal Richard H. Powell, and Private Jonnathan F. Coussens were wounded.

The result of this battle was the defeat of Gen. Hooker, and the driving back of his Grand Army, with great loss across the Rappahannock. We are now about to take leave of the Army of Northern Virginia. Shortly after this battle, Major General D. H. Hill, to whose division our Brigade had been attached at the evacuation of Yorktown, and with which we had remained up to this time, was transferred to the command of the Department of North Carolina, with his head-quarters at Kinston. We were sent with him. We arrived at Kinston in the latter part of May, and immediately entered upon the duties of this, to us, new field of operations.

We were now a sort of independent Brigade.

Our quiet was, however, soon disturbed. Lee’s grand raid into Pennsylvania, had, to some extent, left Richmond uncovered. This was taken advantage of by the Federals; and a Cavalry expedition fitted out, headed by Kilpatrick and Dalghren. The object was, the release of the Federal prisoners, and leave them to burn the city, and kill the Confederate President and Cabinet. The strength of this expedition not being fully known, caused great alarm and anxiety for the safety of Richmond. We were at once ordered to Richmond to meet this expedition, and parry the threatened blow now aimed at the Confederate Capitol. We left Kinston on the 4th of July and arrived at Richmond on the 6th. In the mean time, and before our arrival at Richmond, the expedition had been defeated by some Virginia Militia and citizens, and Dalghren, one of its leaders, killed. The expedition made its escape down the Peninsula.

During the early part of this year, a powerful armada had fitted out from the Northern ports under the direction and command of General Seymour and Com. Farragut. The object was, the capture of Charleston and reduction of Fort Sumter. We were now ordered to Charleston to meet and repel this threatened invasion. We reached Charleston about the 15th of July, and took quarters on James Island. The first duty assigned us in this new field, was the chastisement on the 16th of some colored troops which held possession of the Western end of the Island.

The result was, these sable colored gentlemen were handsomely thrashed and driven off the Island. The next duty assigned us was the garrisoning, for four days, of Battery Wagner, on Morris Island, commencing on the 21st. During these four days the enemy’s whole floating strength was brought to bear upon this fort.

This was the most terrible scrape that we had gotten into during the war--bad water, bad fare, bad duty, and bad everything. We were so fortunate, however, as to have but one casualty: Private Elias Adams was killed by a shell at Cumming’s Point, on the Eastern end of the Island.

The remainder of this year was employed successively, and by detail in garrisoning the different points of defence of the approaches to the port of entry to the harbor of Charleston.

During one of these periods of service in Fort Sumter, Private John S. Price was badly burned by the accidental explosion of one of the powder-magazines, he being on duty at the time at the entrance to the magazine. Late in the winter all active operations ceased on both sides, except the continual bombardment of Fort Sumter, and we went into winter-quarters.

Here the curtain of time fell upon the closing scene of this year.

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