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Capt. R. H. Jer
Memoeial Day, May I
Mrs. President of the Drayton Ruth
erford Chapter, U. D. C., Comrades,
Ladies and Gentlemen: I am called on
for, to me, a unique service; that is,
to make a public address. But as my
motto is. "Do your best when duty
calls," I beg that you will not "view
me with a critic's e.je, but pass my
To tell of my experiences in the late
unolesantness would take more time
than I have to spare and tax your
pati-nce beyond endurance. I will,
therefore, have to confine myself to a
few incidents in my soldier life.
My first service was in Capt. E. F.
Bockter's company of State troops,
Richland Guards, on Morris Island, in
Charleston harbor, early in April,
1861, where I witnessed the bombard
ment and surrender of Fort Sumter.
We remained on the island for about
a month, when we were moved up to
Ridgeville, where we camped until in
June, when we were disbanded and
went home, .where I remained until
the following fall. It may be interest
ing to state that I visited Morris Is
land more than forty years ,after the
war and found the whole north end of
the island swept away by-the current,
created by the jetty which abuts the
beach on the east side. The change
is remarkable. It was said to be
eleven hundred yards from Cummings
point, where Ste vens' iron battery
stoo.1 in 1S61, to the fort; now it is;
said to be fourteen hundred yards, and
the face of the island is so changed
that I could hardly recognize it as
the same place. Such is the effect of
time and tide in this life.
In November I enlisted in Confed
erate service for three years, or dur
ing the war, in a Fairfield company,
commanded first by Capt. A. P. Irby,
and later by Capt. B. M. Whitener.
We were sent to the coast of South
Carolina below Adams Run to Too
goodoo creek and picketed on White
Point. Our company was called the
Aiken Guards, and we named our
ca.mping grounds Camp Brooks., We
were attached to Col. George S. James'
battalion of five companies from in
and around Laurens, one from Rich-i
land county and ours making seven
companies in all. Gen. N. G. Evans
being our brigade commander, but he
and Col. James could not agree, and
we were transferred to Gen. Drayton's
In July, 1862, we were ordered to
Virginia, and camped in Richmond
for a short time, when we were mov
ed to Gordon.sville and began our long
and tedious march to Maryland, meet
ing with the enemy at Thoroughfare
Gap in our first night. Our first gen-1
,era:1 engagement was Second Manas
sas, in August, and we had one man
of our company, R. R. Miling, wound
ed. On the first day of September we
were in a ;heavy skirmish with Pope's
retreating army at Ox Hill, known as
Chantilly, in which Gen. Ke'arny, of
Mexican war fame, was killed. There
I saw Gen. T. J. Jackson (Stonewall)
for the first time. if we had judged.
him by his dress and general appear
ance 'he would not have impressed us
as the great man and military genius
that he was. He waded the Potomac
River. near Leesburg, Va., where Gen.
Evans' brigade ran the Yankees into
the river in a former fight. From the
Po:omac we marched to Frederick,
Md., crossing the -Monocasy river on
'a rait:oad bridge, which was after
'wards blown up by the Confederates.
We went into camp for a day or two
and bathed our tired and dusty limbs
2in the river and drew rations. From
Frederick we marched through Mid
dietown and Boonsboro to Hagers
town, and camped one day and night,
when we were ordered to retrace our
steps in a forced march back to'
Boonsboro, and met the enemy in
strong force at South Mountain Gap,
Sabbath, the 14th of September, and
in a hard fight against large odds we
suffered severe loss in killed, woundl
sund captured. Our little battalion suif
fered severely, we were danke:1 on
right, left and in the rear Out of~
one hundred 'and 'orty men who ans
-wered the roll cal in the ::to-ning
seventeen answered next m->rnin.
Our Lieut. Col. George S. James was
killed, Maj. Rice was severely wound
ed, Lieut. James Shedd and Sergt.
David Martin, of our company, were
killed. I was captured in trying' to1
help a member of my company, John
Paul, who was wounded. I was no
hurt, but shot through my clothes,i
taken to Fort Deleware and remain.ed
two weeks, was sent back to Rich
mond and was exchanged and rejoin
ed our army in November at Culpep
per Court House, and found, to my1
very pleasant surprise, that our bat-j
talion had been transferred to Ker
shaw's brigade. Gen. Kersh.aw had'
mings' A ddress
'0, 1911, in Newberry.
been my colonel on Morris Island.
We were soon ordered to Freder
icksburg, Va., where was fought on
the 12th and 13th of December, 1862,!
one of the bloodiest battles of the
war, in which the Confederates were
victorious. The slaughter of the Fed
erals under Gen. Burnside was terri
fic. Around the foot of Mayree's Hill
ran a road and on the outside of the
road next to the city a rock fence. A
broad plateau extended to the city and
contained several acres. The enemy
mWlertook to carry our position by di
rect assault. On Mayree's Hill our ar
till.ery charged with grape and canis
ter, and behind the fence was our in-1
fantry. Thousands were killed by our
men and lay in heaps on the ground,I
which was so covered with the dead
and wounded that the whole face of
the earth appea'ed blue and seemed
that one mi tt wa k over the entire
field on deal men. The sight was in
deed sickeajag. I never saw so many
le-z.! mei on so small a space of
ground during the entire war. Ker
shaw's brigade was composed, at that
time, of th: 2nd. Srd, 7th, 8th and 15th!
regiments and the 3rd battalion, all
from South Carolina. Our battalion's
loss in the fight was slight. Gen.
Kershaw held us in reserve behind
Mayree's Hill in view of our heavy loss I
at Boonsboro. After the battle we
went into winter quarters near Ham
ilton's Crossing, where we remained
until in May, 1863. On our march
from Fredericksburg there was snow
on the ground. We had an Irishmani
in our company named Sam McCright,
who, though he was born in South
Carolina, retained a good bit of the
wit and humor of his ancestors. As
we plodded along through the snow
some troops along the side of the
road asked, "Whose brigade is that?"
McCright was a stuttering man, and
when he undertook to talk he shut
his .eyes and stuttered. He answered:
"Its o-o-ou-r-r-s, w-w-e r-r-aised it."
While we were resting in winter quar
ters a religious revival was held in
camp and at Fredericksburg by Rev.
A. Pickens Smith, chaplain of the 2nd'
regiment, a Presbyterian minister
Rev. Owens, of the Methodist church,.
a.nd Rev. McCollum, 'f th'e Baptist
church. Many soldier>. joined the sev
ral churches, among them Gen. John
D. Kennedy and others joined the
Presbyterian church. There were sev
rai kinds of amusements, among
which were snow ball battles between
iifferent brigades and regiments. In
one of these Andrew Kilgore of your
:ounty, now dead, lost an eye, knock
d out by a Georgian.
Early in May the long roll was
sounded, and we broke camp and mar
:hed to Chancellorsville, some ten or
;welve miles from Fredericksburg,
where we met Gen. Joe Hooker's army
if Federals, and by a strategic flank
:novement by Gen. Jackson of about
Sfteen miles to the right of Hooper,
mnd by a sudden charge, he doubled
his army back on itself and put it to
light, although the enemy were three
times as great as our army. But theL
joy of the victory was saddened byf
he death of our great general, shot
by a misunderstanding of his own or-.
fer and by some of his own men.
Right then and there the Confederate
ause began to wane. Perhaps he had
no superior as a strategist in history
of the world. It was reported that
some Yankee prisoners said that if
Hooker was moving on hades, .Jack
on would flank him and cut him off.'
We had a .little brush with Sedgewick
at Salem Church. He crossed the
Rappahannock river at Fredericks
burg, and came up behind us, but Gen.
Kershaw defeated him and drove him
back across the river in confusion.
From Chancellorsvihe we took up our
march to Pennsylvania, skirmishing!
almost daily with the enemy till we
crossed the Shennanhoah river near
Williamsport. On this march our com
pany lost Lie.ut. Gladney, at Gaines,
Cross Roads, fronm fever, and Private
Charles Broom, at Front Royal. We'
reached Gettysburg, Penn., and on the~
third and fourth of July was fought
the decisive battle of the war. when
Gen. Lee received his first heavy back
s#t. It wa:: a terribie light, in which
both sides lost heavily in killed and:
wounded. Geni. Lee retreated in good
order, the enemy were so badly worst
ed they did not press him. Among the
killed I recall Gen. Barksdale, of Mis
sissippi, Capt. Warren and Col. Dessa
ussure, of the 15th S. C. regiment;,
Sergt. Stokes. the color bearer of our
battalion. Wounded, Lieut. Blair, of
our company, R. H. Jenninigs str.uck
in the breast with a schrapnel shot,
not seriously hurt.
After Gettysburg we returned to~
Virginia, and camp)ed at Waller's tav
ern, whn Li:gree was ordered t
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