This document for personal use only!
Posted February 17, 1997 by Steven L. Driskell.

10. Tribute to the Private Confederate Soldier by Captain Wilson P. Howell

While I have written in the narrative some well earned tributes to many of the officers of the regiment by name, I desire in this closing chapter of this record to give my estimation of the Private soldier.  And first here, I am at a loss for language to express my appreciation and estimate of the heroes who were in the private ranks of the Confederate Army.

It was not only my --- to be ------- in the Confederate Army through the dark and terrible days of 1861-5, but to be in the front from start to finish and I know from personal observation what it meant to be a Private soldier.  Many noble and heroic men were found in the official ranks of the army whose deeds of daring and heroism challenged our high admiration, but I am forced to the conviction that the very highest and noblest types of heroism, daring and patriotism were in the private ranks.

The citizen, who, without reward or the hope thereof, moved only by impulse of patriotism and love of country, shouldered his musket, haversack, cartridge box and threw his blanket across his shoulder and bade farewell to home, mother, wife and children.  And took his place in the Private ranks and lived much on less than half rations, marching often all night long through cold, rain and wind and then lie down to sleep on the bare ground with many other hardships to say nothing of facing the cruel showers of lead hail he had often to meet.

And often the news came from wife and children that they were destitute and in great want and he only got the pitiful sum of eleven dollars a month in Confederate currency, which owing to it's depreciation would hardly feed his family one week.  And while it is true many good men under such terrible pressure left the army and went home, scores and hundreds stood by their colors and were on board the old ship when she went down to rise no more.

While I would not for any ----- notion pluck a single laurel from the soldier who wore the stars and bars.  I have always felt that the public press, the pulpit and rostrum has not accorded to the men who was behind the guns that degree of ----- and commendation they so immensely deserve.

In conclusion, I respectfully and earnestly invoke the liberal charity of those who may read this imperfect record for I know too well that there are many defects in it, but under the peculiar conditions of things which have been connected with work as imperfect as it is, I have done about the best I could.