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19th SC, Co. C - C.S.A.

Regimental History

Source: Chapman - History of Edgefield County - pg 198

The Nineteenth Regiment was never sent to Virginia, but was attached to the Western Army, and all its service was under Bragg, Johnston, and Hood, and other generals commanding in that department. William C. Moragne, a lawyer from Edgefield, who had served as Lieutenant in the Palmetto Regiment during the War with Mexico, was first Colonel of the Nineteenth, but he died soon after the war began, and was succeeded by A. J. Lythgoe, of Abbeville. Colonel Lythgoe and Major John A. Crowder, of this regiment, were both killed in battle. After Colonel Lythgoe's death Lieutenant Colonel John P. Shaw had command until he was wounded and taken prisoner at Franklin, Tennessee; that "dearest victory of the war," as Mr. Caldwell, in his History of McGowan's Brigade, well calls it. Colonel Shaw was succeeded in command by Captain Thomas W. Getsen. Captain W. S. Peterson, of Big Creek, who was killed at Atlanta; Captain William Norris, from near Batesburg; and Captain John C. Shaw, of Curryton, all belonged to the Nineteenth Regiment; as also Sergeant Thomas Chapman, (mortally wounded at Atlanta) Levi Crouch, Hiram Holstein, Lieutenants; and Lieutenant John c. Wheeler, Color-Bearer, killed at Atlanta. At the close of the war Robert Merriwether was Major, and he, with some others, shamed and disgusted with the conclusion of the struggle, and being rather hopeless of the future of our part of the country, emigrated to Brazil.

Major John Blocker, of Blocker Township, and Captain R. W. Tomkins, of the Hampton Legion, were killed during the war. Colonel Twiggs, afterwards killed by Mr. Robert Butler, and Colonel Thomas G. Lamar, were quite prominent, active and efficient soldiers and officers. Captain W. F. Trescott, Captain James J. Gregg, of Graniteville, and Major B. E. Nicholson, all good soldiers, have died since the war.

It was while Colonel Shaw was in command of the Nineteenth Regiment that this writer became a member of it, in Captain W. S. Peterson's company. Captain Peterson was at home at the time on recruiting service, his company having been, temporarily, consolidated with that of Captain Chatham, who was left in command. This was while the army was in winter quarters at Dalton, Georgia, in command of which General Joseph E. Johnston had been recently placed. A six months term of service had just expired of the Second Regiment of State troops under Colonel William Fort, stationed at Pocotaligo and forming part of the brigade of Brigadier General Walker, who had been promoted from Colonel to Brigadier for his skillful defence of the place and successful repulse of the enemy at that point. At Pocotaligo I saw many men from Edgefield, some of whom had seen a good deal of service before. Captain Ira Cromley, Geo. D. Huiett, C. L. Refo, Lemuel Salter, who had been through the Kentucky campaign under Bragg - and others. I afterwards met Salter at Dalton and after the campaign opened, one Friday night a short time before I was wounded, we stood, or rather lay all night together on picket duty, where we were fired at all night long by a picket on the other side. There is no danger of being shot now for sleeping on post then, but I slept some that night and was asleep when the officer of the day, or rather night, passed. My companion was awake and did not even nod the whole night.

It was very pleasant to leave the low-country about Pocotaligo, the low-lands all flooded with water, and go to the hilly uplands above Dalton in the neighborhood of the mountains. It was while we were in winter quarters at this place that I joined in the last game of snow-balling I have ever had. When the snow-balling began I had no thought of taking any part - only wanted to look on a while. It was brigade against brigade, division against division, as there seemed to be many thousands engaged. It was a fine spectacle and fine fun to the participants. This writer got the worst of the fight, just as he has got the worst of it in all the battles of life. But when overcome he was kindly treated by his captors and sent back to his temporary home without having suffered any deteriment.

Shortly before the opening of the campaign of 1864, that is before active operations began, one bleak windy day in March, not very cold, but awfully disagreeable, there was a grand review and inspection of the whole army. This is the only time that I ever saw General Johnston. I saw Hindman and Hood and some others frequently, but I think that at this general review is the only time I ever saw our general-in-chief. At this review we had something less than 48,000 men under arms - rations were issued to about that number. Over beyond the mountains above Dalton Sherman had a force of 150,000. During the whole campaign until General Johnston was relieved of the command, the disparity between the two armies remained about the same. And yet under these circumstances positive orders were sent down from the ruling powers of the Confederacy at Richmond that we must go forward; that General Johnston must make a forward movement. Undoubtedly he could have made a forward movement; he could have abandoned his position at Dalton; moved South and Westward, and perhaps have flanked Sherman and gone into Tennessee, as Hood did afterwards. He could not have made a movement more pleasing to Sherman. but it is too late to discuss now what might have been done; it is the business of the historian to relate what was done. When active operations began we entrenched ourselves above Dalton to oppose the forward movement of Sherman. That General was far too wary and wise to make a direct attack upon us in our entrenched position. He knew that he could not carry it. He felt it. He knew where its strong points were, and he knew that, with ten times the number of men he had with him, he could not break General Johnston's lines by any direct attack. He did not make the attempt. He knew, however, that his army far outnumbered Johnston's and that he could increase his numbers by drawing on other divisions in the North and West, and he knew that Johnston had almost literally nowhere to draw from, as many thousand men too old for military service and many thousand boys too young were already in the ranks. These facts were as well known to Sherman as they were to us, and therefore he knew that it was utterly impossible for General Johnston to prevent a flank movement. Flank he did, and General Johnston was drawn out of his stronghold at Dalton and made to move to Resaca, where the first fighting of the campaign was done. The reader of this history will please pardon the writer if a little personal narrative here and elsewhere mingles with the story, for when one has been an actor in the scenes and incidents he undertakes to narrate and describe it is almost impossible to keep the personality of the first person from intruding itself. When active operations began and permanent camp was broken up for good, this writer, with a few others, was detailed to go with the wagons and superintend the cooking which was done by colored servants belonging to officers and soldiers of the regiment. This detail was not agreeable to the feelings of the writer and he expressed as much to the Sergeant who brought him the detail. This the Sergeant reported to the Captain, who sent for the writer to appear before him. The Captain explained that it was necessary for some one to go, in whom they had confidence, and who was not a very able bodied man. "Very well," was the reply, "I will go, of course. It is a soldier's duty to go wherever he is ordered, but if I do not like it I am coming back here and report to you." He said all right and I took my detail from Assistant Adjutant General Dean and left for the rear. This Captain was Captain Chatham, a young man from Abbeville, who was well liked as an officer and as a man. He was afterwards mortally wounded by the same ball that wounded me and permanently disabled me as a soldier. If every gun fired by the enemy had been as fatal to our ranks the Confederate army would soon have been nowhere. I remained with the wagons about ten days, having really a very comfortable time, though slightly exposed to the fire of the enemy for a little while at Resaca. All the while that I was with the wagons it seemed as though I was out of place and that a burden was pressing upon me which grew heavier every day, and that I must go back to my company to get rid of a weight which was becoming well nigh intolerable. So one pleasant afternoon about the middle of May I spoke to Captain Sullivan, of Edgefield, Quarter-Master, and told him that I wanted to go back to my company. "Well," he said in that quiet, easy way habitual with him, "you may as well go." The burden was lifted at once and I felt that I was going home. I took my knapsack and haversack, and in an hour's time reported to Captain Chatham and took my place in line. I found them in line of battle at the time; but, indeed, they were always, or nearly always in line of battle from the beginning of that campaign to its close. A few days after this the feeling came upon me that I would be wounded soon, but that it would not kill me. I mentioned it to my brother, Sergeant Chapman, who was with me; mentioned it several times. He said that he had never felt any such sensations in all his three years' experience of the war. Every day for a week or ten days before the time arrived I could feel the fatal moment drawing nearer and nearer, as sensibly as the eye can perceive any object moving before it. At last on Sunday night, the night of the 29th of May, 1864, it came. On Saturday the 28th Granberry's Texas brigade had a sharp encounter with the enemy. Manigault's brigade relieved them and took their position, and all day Sunday we lay in presence of the enemy near enough to hear a loud voice speaking across the intervening distance. While lying here I said to my brother, "Thomas, I'll get it soon, but it won't kill me." At about two or half past two that night as we were all lying down in line - some firing going on all the time - suddenly - it seemed to me quite near - a gun fired. The ball came diagonally across the line, passed through my right leg just above the anke, tearing out the smaller bone, as I was lying on my left side; struck Captain Chatham near the pit of the stomach and lodged in his bowels. My first words spoken after I received the wound were: "Boys, I've got it;" the next, "O Lord, how it hurts!" I got up and tried to walk, but could not touch the right foot to the ground, but stood on the left, supported by the gun. Sergeant Mathis or Matthews, then said to me: "Mr. Chapman, lie down." I replied: "Take me to the rear." I knew that I was done for for that time. Billie Reese with his litter then came up. I was placed very carefully upon it and borne off. I asked Billy about my gun and told him that I wanted it properly taken care of and sent to the ammunition or arsenal wagon. "O," he says, "damn your gun we are after taking care of you now." Captain Chatham and myself were both carried back together to a little house somewhere. At this little house, just before I was lifted into the wagon to be transported to Marietta, I saw Captain W. S. Peterson for the last time. He had a few days before returned from recruiting service and immediately resumed command of his company. He was afterwards killed at Atlanta in one of Hood's fool-hardy efforts to carry Sherman's works by storm. Captain Chatham was alive when I left him, but he died that evening or night. A few days before I was wounded and my military service - service in the field - closed forever, we had a fight at New Hope Church. As we marched down the road towards the church, which was quite near, taking note of what a clean, pleasant place it was, I remarked to my comrades; "Boys, this would be a mighty pretty place for a fight." Soon we were halted and marched down the right in the woods, and began to throw up breastworks. A sharp engagement soon ensued, in which the Federals engaged were severely punished. Our brigade was not actually engaged, though it was under fire. The Federals called this engagement the "Battle of Pumpkin Vine Creek;" we called it the "Battle of New Hope Church." I suppose there was a pumpkin vine creek somewhere about. Long after the war a monument was erected to commemorate the career of some New York Regiment, and engraved upon it were the names of all the battles in which the regiment had been engaged during the war, with the losses sustained in each. The getters up on the monument were very well pleased with the whole concern, until they came to Pumpkin Vine Creek, in which battle the regiment had sustained very heavy loss, heavier, indeed, than it had sustained in any other battle. But Pumkin Vine Creek! They could not stand the name! The idea of suffering so much at Pumpkin Vine Creek! They could not stand it. At length they happily discovered that the Confederates had given the name of the Battle of New Hope Church to this engagement. This name was adopted and the monument stands with the name of New Hope church engraved upon it. From Marietta I was carried to Atlanta and placed in Gilmer Hospital, which was in charge of Dr. Michel, of Charleston. My war was under Dr. Rutherford, of Kentucky, a kind-hearted, good man, to whom I am under many obligations for courtesies shown in bringing me books, and in other ways. Books! Books! How hungry I was for books! What a glorious time I dreamed of having when I could get home and find myself amongst my books once more! In hospital I devoured everything in the shape of books that I could get hold of. Some kind lady brought the life of Daniel Webster; and some one gave me a copy of Young's Night Thoughts. That is a grand book. Though over two hundred years old, it is as fresh and good to-day as it was when it was first published. From that book more pithy sayings have gone into the common English speech, and have become the property of the thought and language of the people than from any other printed in the English language, except the Bible, and that is not originally an English book. The hospitals remained at Atlanta until the approach of the combatants necessitated a removal to Forsyth. Here I must be permitted to correct a statement made by General Howard in his account of this campaign. He says it rained almost incessantly during the month of May. In fact it rained very little during May; but it rained day and night during June. All through the month of June, 1864, I was lying on my back in the hopsital tent, listening to the wearisome clang of iron and machinery at the Confederate workshops, which were not far off, and watching the steady down pour of rain. It was June and not May, General Howard, during which there was a steady down pour of rain almost without cessation. There was, however, one tremendous fall of rain in the early part of the night of the 9th of May, to which I was exposed. And that was very nearly all the rain that fell during May; but through June it fell day and night, nearly all the time. On the 10th of August I received a furlough for sixty days. The hospital was then at Forsyth. From Forsyth we had to go to Macon, at which place we were delayed just 23 hours. At Macon we saw Stoneman and his raiders, who had recently been captured and were then about to take the train for Charleston. They were an insolent looking set of fellows, and their appearance, deportment, and general manner inspired this writer with no worse feeling than a very natural and laudable desire to kick them. From Augusta we had to pass through Branchville, Orangeburg, and Columbia on the way home. I had heard of the good deeds of that noble lady, Mrs. Rowe, and at Orangeburg I was so happy as to see her come on board with baskets of provisions for the hungry soldiers. Being convalescent after a sojourn in hospital of a little over ten weeks, I was always hungry. As soon as I saw Mrs. Rowe's benevolent face I smiled and bowed to her. She came to me at once, opened her basket, and gave me to eat until I was ashamed to eat any more, and thought that I must leave something for some other sufferer. That night I slept at the Wayside Hospital, in Columbia, not the Ladies' Hospital, and left more hungry in the morning than when I arrived there at night. On the 13th of August I arrived at home safe, and found all well and at peace. The clang of arms was not heard in that seciton, (Mount Enon) though some small part of the Confederate Army, cavalry, camped for a day and night only a few miles away. The Federal Cavalry that did so much devilment in the lower part of Edgefield and Newberry, did not come nearer than thirty miles of us. I laid aside the weapons of carnal warfare forever, and when the time comes to go to my eternal home, I think I can say with truth, that, whatever my feelings may have been and are towards the Yankees, I have never killed nor hurt one of them. But I have written enough, and more than enough, the reader may very properly think of my own personal adventures during the comparatively short time in which I was in the field, though the whole term of my service was over eighteen months. My excuse must be that as men grow old they become garrulous.

Source: Chapman - History of Edgefield County - pg 198

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