Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 9, Number 2, May, 1999 Page: 85
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Reminiscences of the Old Brigade
thing, a cup of coffee each was about all that
At 10 o'clock we proceeded to the burial
ground and after divine service and a heart felt
prayer, we proceeded to bury our noble dead
with military honors. And here I will tell the
reader that, though he may have attended many
funerals, and may have seen many rich and
great, and many poor and humble, carried and
laid away to rest, yet you never beheld in all
your life a tineral cortege in which there was
so much sorrow, mourning and sadness, for in
all the 1000 men assembled there there was not
one heart that was not bowed down in sorrow,
gloom and grief at the sad fate of our dead com-
Three long trenches were dug, fourteen feet
wide and six feet deep, and in these trenches
were deposited all that was mortal of our noble
comrades. We had no material to make coffins
with their blankets were rolled and sewed
around them, side by side as they struggled and
as they died, tearfully, tenderly and prayerfully
we laid them in their grave. Officers and men
were laid side by side, and "at their grave all
distinctions were leveled," and we would to
God that "all animosities were buried."
After burying our comrades, us weary boys
sought the rest we so much needed in a few
hours of sleep.
H-tere we rested until the 24th, when we took
up our line of march for Socora, in order to get
houses for our sick and wounded comrades,
many of whom were so badly wounded that the
surgeons said it would kill them to haul them in
wagons or ambulances, and even if it would
not, we did not have the ambulances, so we
made litters and carried our desperately
wounded in that way to Socora. Our company
had three to carry in this way, and, as we only
had 20 well men, it took 18, six to the man, to
carry them, one of these was my messmate,
John H. David, who died soon after getting to
Socora, it fell to my lot to be one of the six to
carry him ...
On the 24th we began our march from Val
Verde to Socora. It is 18 miles, the weather is
very cold, and most of us are afoot, and many
of us barefooted, a few bareheaded, among that
number the writer is classed; the march is up
the Rio Grande valley, which is deep sand, our
progress is necessarialy slow, as our mules are
about worked down and can hardly pull the
empty wagons, the consequence is the boys have
to put their shoulders to the wheels and roll the
wagons along. We are on half rations of flour,
coffee and beef; we have nothing else and the
beeves like the mules are so poor that they can
hardly walk, yet those men are in good spirits,
and around the camp fire crack their jokes and
sing as merrily as we did when in Texas.
Our mess had five well men when we left
Val Verde, to-wit Pete Clapp, Bill David (now
dead), George Little, Dock Walker (now dead),
and myself, we had to carry John David on our
shoulders, but we needed another man, so as to
have two resting while the other four were car-
rying him; John P. Campbell from another mess
volunteered. And reader, see that line of many
hungry men toiling through the deep sand, yet
not one is thinking of his own suffering, he has
long since with his iron will compelled his own
pains to "cease from troubling," it is the suf-
fering of the poor comrade he is bearing upon
his shoulders that troubles him: listen to their
words a moment and you will see what troubles
him, "Steady Dock, walk steady," "Don't jar
him Bill." "George keep the blankets over him,
don't let him get cold," these are the words
you hear all along the line, many of them, too,
so weak from want of food, so foot-sore from
long travel, that they can hardly walk, yet not
one murmur on account of his own sufferings
but thinking only of his wounded comrade. Did
the world ever before see such a body of men?
his own aches and pains, his own suffering and
hunger are laid aside to cheer his unfortunate
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 9, Number 2, May, 1999, periodical, May 1999; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151406/m1/37/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed November 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.