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THE NATIONAL TRIBUNE: WASHINGTON, D. 0., THURSDAY, OCTOBER 19, 1882.
OUR SOLDIERS' COLUMN.
Andersonville Annals Recorded by
EPISTLES TO THE EDITOR.
Camp-fires Kept Up "by Our
that andersonville hanging.
To the Editor National Tribune:
Some questions have arisen respecting the
statement in your paper about the hanging of
the six men in Andersonville, wherein Free
Lance says that one man broko away, was re
captured and beaten to death by the men. As
I was an eye-witness of this transaction, I wish
to make the following statement: Vfiicn the
men were at the foot of the scaffold, and some
of them were already on it, one of tho prison
ers, named Curtis, who was tho farthest from
the gate, broke away from the police, and ran
a short distance, but was recaptured and placed
on the scaffold with the rest; the sacks were
drawn over their faces, the trap fell, and live
men hung in the air. Tho man nearest the
gate broke his rope and fell to tho ground;
lie was helped again to mount the scaffold, and,
as the platform was already down, he was
pushed off the scaffold by a man who was called
Limber Jim. Tho man who broko his rope, I
think, was the one they called Mosby. Warren
Lee Goss, in the " Soldiers Story," says the man
nearest the gate was the one who broko away,
when it was Curtis, or the one farthest from
the gate. Curtis did not break his rope, but he
did run away from the guards. This was before
he was tied at all, and before he had mounted
the scaffold. Tho sixth, nearest tho gate, did
break his rope from tho sudden strain as he fell,
but did not clear himself of his harness. Tho
man was too stunned to be able to walk ten
yards, let alone run away. All I saw him
do was to lean against the staging for a moment
and moan until his executioners assisted him
to mount again, and pushed him off the scaffold,
strangling him to death. If there is any com
rade who does not see this in the same light as
I do, I would be happy to hear from him
through your paper. I don't want to be under
stood as meaning that he broke tho rope by any
efforts of his own. The names of those unfor
tunate men areas follows: John Sarsficld, One
Hundred and Forty-fourth New York ; William
Collins, Eighty-eighth Pennsylvania; Charles
Curtis, Fifth Rhode Island artillery; Tat. Den
aney, Eighty -third Pennsylvania; A. Munn,
United States navy; W. 11. Richer, United
, States navy. These names arc taken from tho
record, and the men were executed July 11,
Yours, in P., C, and L.,
James A. McGinley,
5th N. Y. Cavalry."
Springfield, Mass., Oct. 1.
A TERRIBLE rRISON EXPERIENCE.
To the Editor National Tribune:
I am a subscriber to your very valuable paper,
and have introduced it to many of my .neigh-borSj-with
tlio view of getting thom to subscribe,
and, if they don't go back on me, I think I will i
be able soon to send you several orders. Pcoplo
are about through thrashing, and money mat
ters are flourishing. -I am well pleased with
The National Tribune, and I think every
soldier in the land would take it if he could
realize its true merits. I see many pieces in
the Tribune from old prison-mates, and I can
say their reports are true so far as they have
gone, but, as the Queen exclaimed after behold
ing the grea wisdom of Solomon and the
structure of his temple, "The half has not
yet been told;" from the fact that every man
could write a history differing in part from
each other. I was a prisoner of war, confined
in Southern prison pens for seventeen months.
I enlisted in the Federal army August 10, 1SG1,
and November 5, 3SG3, tho Twenty-third Ten
nessee infantry, (being the regiment to which I
belonged,) and the Second Illinois battery were
captured at or near Bodgersville, East Tennes
see, and on the nest day we were all drawn
into line ami robbed of all we possessed but
life. We were then sent to Belle Isle, where
many of us in four months were robbed of life,
and in March, lSC-1, landed in Andersonville.
Here many more of us lost our lives. There
we stayed until Septcmlier, 1SG1, and removed
to Florence, South Carolina, where wo staid
until March 1SG3, during which time sixty
eight out of seventy-seven of my company died.
Respectfully, yours, AV. J. Hicks.
the siege of knoxville.
To the Editor National Tribune:
I notice in the last Tribune that an account
of tho siege of Knoxville will commence in
your most excellent paper soon, and I look for
ward with interest to its perusal. I was a
member of tho Forty-fifth regiment Pennsyl
vania volunteers, Ninth Corps, General Burn
cidc command iug. We moved by way of Cairo
and Cincinnati a long, weary march over the
mountains of East Tennessee and arrived at
Blue Springs on the 8th of October. There wo
had a brusli with the relw, the Forty-fifth being
thrown forward as skirmishers. A charge was
made upon tho enemy's works, and lliey were
driven from their position. We followed them
to Rheatown, and relumed to Blue Springs. On
the 13th we were drawn up in line of battle on
the Kingston road, the enemy driving in tho
hkirniishers, but refused to advance. On the
10th the brigade moved toward Knoxville. On
reaching the Junction a lino of battle was
formed; the Forty-fifth deployed as skirmish
ers; there we drove the enemy hack in condi
tion. Constant marching, and now and then a
tkirniish, occupied the time of our regiment
until tho 30th, when we were ordered to build
winter quarters; we cheerfully obeyed; went
to work with a will, and soon had good, com
fortable quarters. But our rest was of short
duration, for on November 11 wo were called
io confront General Longolreet, who was then
six miles below Loudon. Again the enemy was
encountered and driven back. We were tben
withdrawn to Lenoir Station. Thus it was all
the way marching, skirmishing, falling back,
contesting every foot of ground, until we
reached Knoxville, and then the siege began.
Seventeen days we were almost surrounded by
the enemy, with only half and quarter rations,
nearly barefoot, poorly clad, working night and
day throwing up breastworks, digging in
trenchments and constructing fortifications for
the defence of the city. Jf tho enemy had
known our exact situation before our works
were completed, they could have captured every
one of us, for they were two to our one. Know
ing this, we used all manner of devices to keep
them at a proper distance. We formed a net
work of wire and strung it along in front of
our lines. We took a few prisoners now and
then. One of them asked me, " What in
we had fixed? " He asked " if it was a Yankee
trap?" 1 asked "to what regiment ho be
longed?" He said "a Georgia regiment" (I
forgot the number). 1 said, " then this is the
third time the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania has
Jttd a fight with you," Yes-' eaid he, "but.
don't we fight as good as you do?" I said
"yes, you fight well, but if you were safely
homo and freo you would not enlist to fight
against us again, would you ? " Yes," said he,
with emphasis, " by , I would."
I will now close by Faying The National
Tribune is a welcome visitor in my family,
and all who see and read it think it truly tho
soldier's friend. I have tho promiso of more
Late Co. F, -15th Reg't Pa. Yols.
Euinunk, Oct. S.
A VOICE FROM KANSAS.
To the Editor National Tribune:
That The National Tribune is a
great paper, and that it is tho best and
only true friend of tho soldier I am at all
times and in all places ready to acknowl
edge, aud that I appreciate it and will give it
my hand and support is evident from the fact
that I ilo not allow my subscription to run out.
But to raise a club in this community is out of
tho question, from tho fact that we are burnt
out in this part of tho country this year, and
every soldier and every other man that can bo
induced to take tho paper takes it now. But
at any time that I can, in any way, do any
thing to help you in the great undertaking in
which you are engaged, I will cheerfully do so.
Yours, &c, Wm. Lee,
Company A, 40th Iowa iuft. vols.
WORTHY OF SUBSTANTIAL SUPPORT.
To the Editor National Tribune:
Tho Commander-in-Chief styles Tnc Trib
une "the ablest paper devoted to tho interests
of the soldier published in this country," and I
am not disposed to join issuo with Comrade
Yandcrvoort there. I havo found it ono of
those publications that no active G. A. K.
worker can afford to do without. The doings
of the organization are mirrored in its columns
from week to week and the wonderful progress
tho G. A. E. is now making will bo appreciated
by all who read your journal. The soldiers and
their friends should give you substantial sup
port, and the politicians in Congress who are
disposed to ignore the claims of veteran defend
ers of the Union should be made to feel the
influence of such a friend of the boys who wore
Yery truly, yours,
Post No. 130, Dopt. N. Y., G. A. R.; A. D.
Warsaw, N. Y.
Sharp Cracks or the Catling Guns All Along tho
Maine. "I would not do withont The Na
tional Tribune for what pension I get." J.
Avery, Franklin co.
Massachusetts. "It echoes my sentiments in
regard to the sluggish way Congress has acted
towards the Nation's defenders." Stillman E.
Dix, Franklin co.
New York. "The Tribune has done more
for the soldiers than any paper in existence.
Here are four new subscribers." B. J. Bayliss,
Broome co. " Drop solid shot into tho ranks
of those who think our ex-soldiers arc a drag
on the Government." C. Corcoran, Livingston
co. "It is the duty of all cx-soldicrs to take
The Tribune." Jno. Tunnicliff, Clinton co.
"It refreshes our memory of days when we
were at tho front." E. W. Fisher, Greene co.
" Wishing to make a small present to a sol
dier's widow I could think of nothing bettor
than The Tribune." I. H. Townsend, Che
nango co. "I caunot wait until I have eaten
my supper tr- read The Tribune. I am so
anxious to hear from my old comrades." C. K.
Parks, Suffolk co. " Comrades, don't lay back
on half rations when The National Tribune
furnishes a supply." A. T. Harper, Orleans co.
New Jersey. "I am in luck once more
have got four new subscribers to The Trib
une." H. A. Brinly, Monmonuth co.
Pennsylvania. "Hammer away until all
deserving soldiers are pensioned." Wm. Tan
Stramburg, Sullivan co.
ought to take it, and I send thirteen towards
that end." A. C. Stevens, Lackawanna co.
"Here is another subscriber for you that I havo
gobbled up." Harry A. Halm, Berks co.
"It would l)e harder for me to do without The
Tribune than have an empty haversack." M.
C. Pershing, Westmoreland co.
Ohio. " The people will soon learn through
your columns what is due the soldier." H. II.
Hatton, Clark co. "God speed tho time
when The Tribune will visit the household
of one hundred thousand subscribers." Wm.
Kirchner, Pike co. "The Tribune grows
more precious to the soldier every day." Sam
uel Myers, Clarke co. "The Tribune de
serves the support of comrades throughout this
broad land." J. F. Holliger, Lucas co.
Indiana. "I was a prisoner in Li bby, An
dersonville, and Florence, and it is very inter
esting for me to read your paper." E. H. Wil
liams, Marion co.
IWinois. "I would, if necessary, take ono
meal a day less in order to subscribe to The
Tribune." Joseph Jones, Hamilton co. " It
is doing a noble work for our comrades, and for
the women and children of those who fell." H.
Seifert, Woodford co. " Here is a dollar for
one year's rations for an old vet." J. W. Mo-
sier, Mason co. " Every soldier who wants
his rights should take The Tribune." An
drew J. Baker, Effingham co.
Iowa. " Tho old soldiers will stand by you."
James M. Stratton, Sac co. " I am Yery
much interested in your prison stories." D.
V. Mittlcr, Cherokee co. "The Tribune
kindles the old flame of the days which tried
men's souls." D. Higbee, Poltawattomie co.
"The Tribune comas four times to the
old Veteran's once." IX. W. Roscnbcrger, Iowa
Wisconsin. "It cannot bo beat for a soldier
and family paper." Isaac E. Gardner, Croix
co. " I am glad to see you taking up tho
cause of those who were confined in Southern
prisons." Win. Sandon, Vernon co. " Every
old soldier I havo shown The Tribune to
wants it." R. B. Ycaton, Oconto co.
Kansas. "nero are nine new subscribers
for The Tribune. May it have the best of
successs." J. A. DuBois, Harper co. " I wish
every comrade would take The Tribune and
feed his children on the good and true stories
contained therein." William Blundcll, La
bette co. "If there is a paper in the country
that is a soldiers' paper it is The Tribune."
Peter Hemmor, Miami co. "Here is tho
thirteenth name I have sent you for The
Tribune." Samuel B. Uanna, Johnson co.
Tennessee. "Keep on firing until justice is
fully done to tho soldier." Win. Portner,
Green co. "I admire its bold advocacy of
tho rights of the soldier." John Roark, Clai
Virginia. "It is with pleasure that I add
the widow's mite to support the best paper ever
published." J. W. Blair, Rockingham co.
Missouri. "The Tribune is what we all
need a fearless and outspoken paper." V. 13.
Fehrenback, Jasper co.
Nevada. "It is tho duly of Southern mili
tary prison survivors to supportTHE Tribune."
Isaac G. McMouigal, Nye co.
California. " The Tribune shows us who
are our friends and who are not." Wm. W.
Fuller, Sacrauirnta co.
Colorado. "The Tribune would be cheap
at $3 instead of $1." Cyrus Armbriest,
BRAVE LITTLE RED CAP.
The Young Orderly of Monster Wirz
A RELEASE REJECTED.
Ho"w th.e Dead-Iiine was
Baptized in Blood.
Continued from latt week.
The first thought, I suppose, that enters a
prisoner's mind when the doors are closed upon
him takes the form of the question : "Is thero
any way of escape?" I know that it was al
ways uppermost in the minds of my unfortu
nate comrades at Andersonville, and that they
never tired of discussing the chances of success.
The first few days of my captivity were occu
pied, as I havo intimated, -in building a place
of shelter, acquainting myself with tho topog
raphy of the place, and cross-questioning tho
guards in regard to tho surrounding" country.
How to reach our lines in ca?e we succeeded in
effecting our escape, was a problem that wo
were all anxious to solve. We knew tkaf1ic
Chattahoochee Eiver was aqout forty miles to
tho west of us, and that tho Flint River lay
somewhat nearer to the east, as well as that
they united at some point aud emptied into
Appalachicola Bay, where our gunboats were
stationed; but beyond these general facts wo
knew nothing, aud it seemed like a hopeless
task to undertake a socrct march of somo hun
dreds of miles through an enemy's country,
without more accurato information as to tho
whereabouts of our armies than wo possessed.
Nor wcro our guards much better posted.
They came from another section of the South,
and were but little acquainted with tho coun
try about Andersonville. Tho lack of knowl
edge concerning the direction which their
flight should take did not deter my comrades,
however, from making an effort to escape
whenever the opportunity offered. The favor
ite plan for the time being was toscalo tho
stockade, but the rebels soon put a stop to that.
As many as fifteen prisoners got over the stock
ade in a single night, but they were all brought
back the next morning each with a sixty-four
pound cannon ball chained to his leg. One of
their comrades, thinking to curry favor with
tho confederates, betrayed them, and when,
one after the other, they slipped down tho rope
on tho outsido of the stockade, they fell into
the arms of tho guard stationed there to receive
them. Their capture, however, was due, as I
have said, to the treachery of one of their com
rades, and not to tho astuteness of tho guard,
aud the rebels soon made us aware that they
wcro perfectly conscious of tho fact.
Ono morning a gang of negroes was turned
into tho prison and set to work driving a line
of stakes along the sides of the pen about twenty
feet from the stockado itself. After the stakes
had been driven into the ground a piece of
stuff about four inches wide was nailed upon
them, and a strict order was issued to tho in
mates forbidding them to cross the lino or even
touch it at the risk of being shot down without
warning. The construction of this " dead-line''
as it soon came to bo called, contracted tlio
limits of our prison very materially, cutting off
quite three acres of tho sixteen enclosed by tho
stockade. At tho timo wo gave the matter very
littlo thought, but as the prison filled up the
loss of this ground was very seriously felt. Tho
dead-line had been established but a short while
before it was baptized in blood. One of tho
prisoners whether thoughtlessly or intention
ally I never knew stepped over tho line and
was instantly fired upon by one of tho sentries.
Ho fell to the ground a corpse. ,
At first, as I have said, we had plenty of room
within the stockade, but prisoners soon began
to pour in by the hundreds. Every two or three
days a detachment of from fivo to eight hun
dred would arrive, and by the end of tho month
March we n timbered some five or six thousand.
The confederates, as we learned, wcro empty
ing the prisons at Richmond and Danville. A
body of five or six thousand men will crowd
even a space of thirteen acres, but just think
how closcltf we must havo beon packed in that
pen a littlo later on, when our ranks had been
swollen to six times that number! At the out
set Sydney Winder, a son of General Winder,
was in command of tho camp, but ho was soon
who had been ordered thither from Tuscaloosa,
Ala., where ho had had charge of a small mili
tary prison. I shall never forget his appear
ance when ho came into the prison one morn
ing to call the roll. Ho wore a formidable
English revolver strapped at his side one, as
I was told, of a lot which he purchased on tho
other side for tho confederate government somo
timo after the war had begun. He seemed to
bo extremely nervous in his manner and was
very voluble, spluttering out his broken Eng
lish in a peevish, snarling way that boded no
good to those who were the objects of his ill
temper. Gnat-brained, weak and cowardly ho
was, without a single redeeming quality, and
we soon learned to detest him as cordially :is
ho hated us. Tho kindliest thing that I can
say of him is that lie was incapable of conceiv
ing in advance tho consequences of his acts,
and could not realize how much pain he caused
his victims. Ho frequently asserted that his
home somewhero in Louisiana had been de
stroyed by the Union army, and perhaps ho
gloated in the opportunity to retaliate. One
of his first acts was to change tho system of
prison organization. We had been divided on
entering Andersonville into squads of ono hun
dred men, which in turn wcro sub-divided into
messes of twenty-five each. The roll was
called by hundreds, and rations issued on that
basis. To cover up the absence of any of 'our
comrades who might have escaped over night,
as well as to sccuro their rations, it was the
custom to answer for the missing when tho
roll was called, and in that way ninety-five
men were often passed off on the prison officials
as the full complement of a hundred. Doubt
less tho rebels at last discovered tho deception.
At any rate, Wirz directed the prisoners to ho
told off in detachments of two hundred and
seventy each, under tho charge of a confederate
sergeant, and these again into squads of ninety
and messes of thirty, under the supervision of
Federal sergeants, who received ono extra
ration per day for their services. We all
voted the chango a stupid one, and to this day
I am at a loss to conceive what Wirz expected
to accomplish by it.
two days without food.
On the day that it was made ho attempted
to make an enumeration of tho inmates, but as
it required two or three hours to complete tho
count, tho men became thoroughly tired out
before it was finished and could not be kept in
line. This mado Wirz furious, and ho vented
his spite on us by cutting off eutiroly our
rations for tho day. Tho next morning ho
tried it over again, but with the same result,
and again our rations wore withheld. At this
we grow desperate, and the most imflammatory
talk was indulged in. Somo were for making
.a-yuslv-over ike -stockado and-othorafor-is--
saultiug tho gates, but either plan would
havo resulted in a wholesale slaughter by tho
guards, and wiser counsels finally prevailed.
Tho third day, fortunately, the men pre
sented their ranks unbroken and the nsual
ration was issued to us. The ratious that
had been withheld, however, wcro never
rcrtored, and we felt the pangs of star
vation. That afternoon Wirz came into tho
camp unattended, and he had an unexpectedly
warm reception. Tho prisoners not only
heaped imprecations against which he was
proof upon him, but assailed him with clubs
and everything they could lay their hands on,
and be was forced to beat a hasty retreat. He
drew his revolver but the crowd made a rush
for him, and he was too badly frightened to
fire. I havo said that ho was by naturo a
coward, but a brave man would have had littlo
chance of escaping with his life ab such close
quarters. It w;is a long while before Wirz
ventured into the prison again, and then he
took the precaution to bring a strong guard
with him. He never forgot the treatment he
had received, and he grew daily more cruel and
THE VOICE OP THE TEMPTER.
As the days went by and death and starva
drew closer to us many of my comrades gave
way to despair, grew indifferent to their fate,
and fell easy victims to disease. I was of the
number, however, who never lost heart. It
was my habit to go down to tho miserable little
stream, which ran through the enclosure, every
morning and havo a chat with my acquaint
ances about the dear ones at homo whom we
hardly dared to think wo should ever see
again, or recall our experiences in the field, or
talk over our chances of escaping or being ex
changed. If ever Misery loved company it was
at Auder3ouville ! This morning coufcrenco
ended, it was my wont to take my stand at the
gate by which tho ration wagon entered tho
enclosure and new arrivals of prisoners were
admitted. Ono morning, as I was loitering
there, a confederate soldier called out to me
from the other sido of the gate: "I say,
Johnny; how would you like to come outside?"
Naturally, 1 replied: "Very well, sir!" At
this ho disappeared, but returned shortly with
a permit from Wirz to pass me out. I did not
understand it at all, but I concluded to avail
myself of tho opportunity to sco tho exterior
of tho prison. So out I went. My new ac
quaintance, as I soon discovered, was a private
in ono of tho companies of tho Twenty-sixth
Alabama, and although nearly twenty years
have elapsed since I met him I still recall his
name. It was Louis Jones. His regiment had
been almost wiped out of existence under Lee
and had been ordered to Andersonvillo for
guard duty and recruiting. Jones had a brother
in the regiment who held a lieutcnantcy, and
it was through him that lie procured tho per
mit to pass me out of the stockade. The regi
ment was encamped but a short distance from
the stockade, and I was soou at its quarters,
where 1 was introduced to some of the men and
given something to eat. It did not take long
for me to ascertain why I was sent for. In
fact, tho manner of my introduction
solved that mj'stery, for I was referred
I to as "the littlo pet Yankco from the
prison, who is going to play the drum for us."
And, suro enough, after dinner my escort
summoned the fifer and the regimental drum
mer there was but one, and my professional
judgment pronounced him a very poor one
and marched us somo distance through the
woods to a rude chapel that somo piously
, inclined persons bail erected for the regiment,
1 and ordered us to "strike up." Wc played a
I few tunes, and I supposo my handincss with
i She sticks must have given satisfaction, for tho
question was then directly put to mo whether
,1 would not servo as drummer to tho regiment
during its encampment there. Assurances
were given that I should bo well treated, and
'have enough to eat, and, as I hesitated, it was
insinuated that thero could bo "nothing
wrong" in my accepting the offer. I would be
paroled on my word of honor, and within
certain limits I would be allowed to " do pretty
'much as I pleased." It was a great temptation,
and thero was no friend at hand to whom I
could turn for counsel. But tho inoro I re
flected the more I shrank from tho idea of
marching at the head of a confederate line and
playing the " Bonnie Blue Flag." I felt, boy
though I was, tjiat it would be an act of treason
and disloyalty to the cause I had sworn to
maintain, and I said as much to my escort.
"Well," ho replied, "I will have to put you
back in the stockade." And thither we di
rected our steps. On the way he several times
tried to persuade me to reconsider my decision,
and I could see that ho was loth to let me go,
! but my mind was made up aud I turned a deaf
ear to his arguments. Once within tho stock
ado again I related my adventures to my
friends, some of whom approved my action
and said they were proud of my loyalty, Avhile
others, who were particularly concerned about
saving my life, rather intimated that inasmuch
as I was not asked to take the field with tho
regiment, it would have been just as well had
I accepted tho oiler. A few days afterwards
tho confederates found both a fiTor and a
drummer in tho prison who were perfectly
willing to perform tho servico required of them.
They had served in the Regular army, and
were far more skillful performers than I.
However, 1 have never regretted that I did
not yield to tho temptation.
To be continued.
A Call to Ha Mo.
To the Editor National Tribune:
I hope tho day is not far distant when-justicc
will bo moted out, and thoso who suffered tho
torture of Southern prison dens will be placed
on the same footing as those who received disa
bilities in various other ways. As a class, who
are more worthy of receiving compensation for
their sacrifices? I, as one of that unfortunate
number who passed through tho " fiery furnace,"
won 1:1 urgeall to speak and write their senti
ments in regard to what they wcro doomed to
suffer. I am well aware that we are opposed by
many who insist that wo were paid all that was
promised us. 1 would refer them to tho broken
constitutions and diseased bodies of tho men
now living who were any length of time in tho
"prison pens." Not one in ten is able to per
form manual labor. A great majority are in
almost destitute circumstances, unable to sup
port themselves and families.
Ex-soldiers, let us bestir ourselves, and all
unite in the great work, and persevere until
our task is ended. Let us sound it in tho cars
of our Congressmen until our desires are
granted aud laws passed in our behalf.
John W. Manning,
Lato Co.'E, Ringgold Cav., Peuua. Vols.
A Veteran VIiirh Drnns no Tension.
from tho Louisville Courier-Journal.
At Lexington tho other day the survivors of
tho Fourth Kentucky Infantry adjourned to
see " Old Dick," tho horso ridden by Licut.-Col.
Burgoss Hunt through tho war. Although,
having but one good eye and aged twenty-six,
Dick carries his head as high as any thorough
bred in Kentucky. Ho still carries on his
shoulder the sear mado by a bullet that passed
through his rider's leg, severely wounding
Kind Words from Kinjjiton.
Prom the Kingston ( Wis.) Spy.
The National Tribune, of Washington, D.
C, comes to us this week with a neat, new
heading, and other improvements. Wo say
once more that this interesting and valuable
paper- ought-to bo-ia oYory homo-in tho laud.
The Story of a Bloody and Desper
AN ARTILLERY DUEL.
How m a Great Engagement
"Was Eonglit and Lost.
By Rev. TJieodore Gerrish.
Fredericksburg is an old city in the county of
Ppottsylvania, Virginia. It is situated on the
southern bank of the Rappahannock river,
, and is about sixty miles from Richmond. At
! the breaking out of the rebellion it contained
1 about four thousand inhabitants. Tho valley
i of the Rappahannock is so narrow at this place
that it hardly permits the passage of the river,
the southern bank of which rises in natural
terraces many feet above the rivers level. On
the first of these terraces rests tho city, and
upon those in rear of and above was fought the
great battle of Fredericksburg. On tho north
side of the Tiver the land rises so high that
artillery planted upon its heights commands
tho city on the opposite side, and also affords a
fine viow of the heights above, where the
army of General Leo was intrenched.
Tho North had become impatient at the
long delays of General McClcllau, and when
General Burnside assumed command, public
sentiment strongly demanded a forward
movement. "On to Richmond" was the cry;
and the brave General Burnside decided that
the advance should he made by the way of Fred
ericksburg. The army was reorganized, and
divided into three grand divisions, commanded
by Generals Hooker, Sumner, and Franklin.
On tho night of Wednesday, December 10th,
18(52, tho work of building pontoon bridges
across the river began. On Thursday and
Friday thero was a great deal of fighting
where the bridges were being built. Our
movements wcro tardy and slow, and this
enabled tho enemy to concentrate his forces,
and fortify his position. The city was filled
with sharpshooters, who poured a most deadly
fire upon our men, who wero engaged in the
Avork of building the bridges; and as a last re
sort, our artillery planted upon tho northern
bank of tho river, shelled the town most vigor
ously and drove tho rebels out. When Friday
night came, the divisions of Franklin and
Sumner were nearly all across tho river. The
darkness was intense, but what a magnificent
viow met our eyes as we stood upon tho
Stafford hills on the north bank of the river.
A BRILLIANT SPECTACLE.
Far above the city, on Maryo's heights, in
a crescent-like form, shone the camp-fires of
General Lee. Thousands of General Sumner's
men were encamped within the city, and their
camp-fires, burning upon the streets" and
squares, shone up brightly and cheerfully in
the darkness. Far down on our left, confront
ing the hosts of "Stonewall Jackson," Frank
lin's men were encamped, and their long line
of flitting camp-fires showed us what an im
mense army thero was prepared for battlo on
the morrow.- Fifty thousand men, under the
command of General Hooker, encamped on
tho northern bank of tho river, were to cross
What thoughts filled our minds as we looked
at the strange scene ! O, that we could read
the future, and be able to tell what a day would
bring forth ! What would be tho result of to
morrow's battle? Why had the scores of rebel
batteries on yonder heights remained so' silent
while our men were crossing? Had General
Lee become frightened as he looked down
from his lofty position, aud saw the vast Union
army marshaling for the assault? and had he
ordered a retreat to Richmond without a bat
tle, or had our men been drawn into a fatal
trap? Had Lee reserved h is bolts of thunder to
hurl them upon our men in to-morrow's con
flict? A vague suspicion filled our minds as we
looked ; aud as wo thought of the fearful car
nage, tlio very air seemed tremulous with
There was but little sleep that night; the
men sat around their camp-fires, and talked of
tho morrow. Patriotic songs were sung, and
hearts beat high in anticipation of a glorious
victory. Perhaps after all it is well for us that
wo are not able to discern tho future. A
knowledgo of coming events might unman our
beans, and disqualify us to perform our duties.
Saturday morning dawned. Many of our
men ato their last breakfast on that morning,
littlo dreaming what awaited them on that
fatal day. As I have already intimated, the
rebel army was well posted and strongly in
trenched. Their right was commanded by
" Stonewall Jackson" ; Longstrcct commanded
tho center, and General A. P. Hill their left.
'1TIE THUNDER OF THE GUNS.
Tho morning was quito warm, and a thick
fog enfolded tho contending hosts. Franklin's
men, who had crossed the rivor on pontoons,
thrco miles below tho city, on tho previous
day, were early in motion, aud tho sounds of
battle camo rolling heavily up from our left
and the conflict soon opened in our front. The
rebel artillory that crowned the heights and
encircled tlio city poured a fearful stprm upon
our men who were within its streets, and our
artillery thundered a terrible response. It
was an artillery duol, in which it seemed that
tho gods wero tho combatants, and were hurl
ing thoso iron globes with almighty power. It
was soon apparent that our tremendous can
nonade had mado bub little impression upon
tho rebel works, and that if they wero taken,
it must be at the point of tho bayonet. But
what a fearful undertaking! It is not neces
sary to search tho pages of ancient history, or
tho military records of Europe, to find deeds of
heroic valor, but only to look at tho divisions
of Howard and French as thoy form their lines
to mako that chargo. Never did brave men
undertake a more desperato enterprise. At a
double-quick they rushed toward the rebel
lines. Tho crescont-shaped hills above them
were crowned with firo, as a score of rebel
batteries opened upon them. Thick and fast
came tho plunging, bursting, shrieking messen
gers of death, but they heeded them not, and
with wild cheers pressed onward. They had
almost reached tho baso of tho ridgo upon
which the rebels wero intrenched, when the
long lino of rifle-pits behind tho stono wall
and far up tho hillside, gleamed with fire, and
twenty thousand rifles pourod their deadly
contents upon them. Thoir artillery was so
posted that every gun could bo turned upon
any given point, and thus from tho front
aud along either flank was poured tlio cruel
iron storm. Men fell by hundreds, bat
talions melted away, tho lino was shat
tered, it staggorcd, then halted, and tho
next moment fell back repulsed, and sought
shelter in a small ravine. They wero re-enforced
by fresh troops, and charged repeatedly
upon tho heights, but only to bo hurled back
over those fatal slopos that wero raked by tho
A CRITICAL MOMENT.
It is lato iii tho afternoon ; Hooker's divis-
.ionia.oriloKd-.toicr.ossthe-iiveirr4b ia.u.cxitical j
moment. On yonder field the battle is unde
cided ; tho river, city, and hillsides are tl trob
bingin the fearful conflict; fifty thousand, men
are hastening to re-enforce the shattered and
bleeding columns that have been repulsed;
banners wave, bands play, the soldiers cheer,
and tho rebels shell our advancing colnmiis;
but in tho thrilling excitement of that hour
the shells have lost their terror. We rushed
across the pontoon bridges, and charged up
through the city until we reached its outskirts,
where our brigade formed a line of battlo
about one-fourth of a mile from our most ad
vanced position. For an hour wo lay flat in
tiio mud upon our faces, to escape the shells
that wero screaming and crashing over onr
heads. A terrible struggle was raging around
us. New lines were rapidly formed to take
tho place of those mown down by tho fire of
the enemy. Charge after charge was mado
upon tho rebel lines by our troops with that
same reckless valor they had exhibited in tho
earlier part of the day. Again aud again were
the blue lines thrown back from those heights
girded with death. Tho field was thickly
covered with the fallen, many of whom wero
dead; others were wounded and unablo to
lea'c the field, mangled and bleeding, trodden
under the feet of the charging columns as they
advanco and recede, having been victims by
scores, of bursting shells aud plunging shot.
In the midst of all this confusion our brigade
buglo sounded the charge. In a moment's
time our men were on their feet, charging at a
double-quick through gardens, over wire
fences and deep ditches. The air was filled
with iron hail. It was the first baptism of fire
that our regiment ever received, but with the
inspiration derived from such a man as Colonel
Ames, it was a very easy thing to face danger
and death. The ground over which we charged
was dotted with the forms, and stained with
the blood, of our brave comrades who had
charged over the same ground at an earlier hour.
Wo pressed on until our most advanced lino
was passed, and then halted under the cover of
a littlo elevation of ground. Above us and
almost within speaking distance was line after
line of earthworks filled with rebels, while
above them was the artillery vomiting fire
and death incessantly. Tho utter impossibility
of taking the rebel position was manifest to
every man in tho regiment, but wo blazed
away at the enemy, and they at us. The
ground was covered with guns, blankets,
knapsacks, haversacks and canteens, while tho
dead forms of our comrades wero lying grim
and ghastly around us. These placed in front
of us afforded slight protection from tho
enemy's guns. Night; came ou with its friendly
mantle of darkness, and through the long
hours of that December night, wo remained
prostrated upon the wet, muddy ground.
There could be no sleep ; the groans of tho
wounded, and the scattered firing kept up
between tho contending lines, made a strango
medley for those who listened. There was a
singular conflict in our breasts. We wero
wishing the hours away, and yefc dreaded to
have the darkness disappear.
Sunday morning came ; there was no aggres
sive movement made on either side. Our gen
erals had ovidently decided that it was impos
sible for us to carry the heights. Our army
was at the mercy of General Lee, but evi
dently he was not aware of our situa
tion. Our troops wero crowded back in
the narrow streets of the city, and upon the
bank of tho river. Our only means of re
crossing was upon pontoon bridges, and tho
enemy had artillery enough in position to
blow overy pontoon in our possession out of
the river. It was impossible for us to advance,
and equally impossible for us to retreat, if tho
enemy was disposed to prevent it. Our posi
tion was much nioro desperate th3n that of
General Lee after the battle of Antietam. If
General Leo had opened his guns upon our
army, situated as it was on that Sabbath
morning, its destruction or surrender would
have been a foregone conclusion. Why
Lee did not seize the opportunity, I do not
know; but the fact that he did not, goes far to
prove that he was not so skillful a commander
as his admirers would have us believe.
IN CLOSE QUARTERS.
Our brigade was in closo quarters on that
memorable Sabbath, and tho Johnnies kept a
strict watch over our movements. It used to
be the old adago at Donneybrook Fair,
"Wherever you see a head, hit it," and with
our enemy it was, " Wherever you see a
head, shoot it"; and as soon as we understood
that they desired us to remain quiet, we wero
very willing to gratify them. There wero only a
very few exceptions to this rule. Here and there
was a man who was so reckless that he would
stand up and fire at tho rebels, and thus bring
upon us tho fire of the entire line. One man
in Company B took special delight in this.
He was cautioned by his comrades, aud or
dered by his ollicers, to desist, but heeded
them not. He sxv a rebel far above him, on
the hillside ; rising to his feet, ha took delib
erate aim, and fired. A sharpshooter saw him ;
a bullet camo singing through tho air, and
with a dull thud it struck in the man's brow,
and he fell a corpse, a victim of his oVrn
rashness. Thus through the entire day wo
lay, huugry, covered with mud, and benumbed
At about ten o'clock on Sunday evening,
undercover of the darkness, wc were relieved by
another brigade, aud full back to the city. Wo
spread our blankets upon the sidewalks, aud
endeavored to get a little sleep. Notwithstand
ing the grave situation of tho army, as a regi
ment wo were much elated. We had fought
our first battle, had mado a most brilliant
chargo with unbroken ranks, where veteran
regiments had faltered in fear. Colonel Ames
passed among the men and complimented them
for their gallant conduct; and we all appre
ciated such words of praise, coming from so
brave and brilliant an officer. Sunday night
passed, and Monday came and went, but no
movements of importance were made on either
side. Burnside was preparing to retreat from
his perilous position, and Lee was strength
ening his lines in fear that another as
sault was to be made. Lato on Monday
night our brigade Wiis pushed up close to
tho enemy's lines, and in the darkness
tho work of reerossiug the river began.
It was a most dangerous undertaking, and
upon its success depended the salvation of
tho army if not of the Government. Tho
pontoons wiire covered with earth, that no
noiso should reach tho onemy and inform him
of tho movement wo were making. Swiftly,
and in silence, tho troops moved ou. At two
o'clock in the morning wo were withdrawn,
and marched back through tho city, and to
our surpriso found that the army had nearly
all eerosscd tho river. I think that our
brigade w.ts tho last ono to leave the enemy's
front, and our regiment was tho last of tho
brigade to rec.ross tho river.
The battlo has been fought and lost. Ten
thousand Union soldiers had been killed aud
wounded. Burnsido had blundered in cross
ing tho river, Leo had blundered in allowing
him to rccross. With sad hearts Ave marched
away from tho field of battle, and thus closed
my first visit toi Frodericksburg.
"nave you no love for the beautiful, then?"
queried she, in winsome tones. "N-n-o, but
I think I should have, if I only dared."
"Have courage, young man." "Oh, I wasn't
thinking of you at all. I" But sho hustled
out of tho room, hating herself for having
sprung .he tra ioo fioou.-wton Globe,