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