Reminiscences of the Boys in Gray, 1861-1865 Page: 539
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Remir iscenccs of the Boys in Gray, 1861-1865. 539
them and never can. On the 20th of July we left Winchester for Manassas,
arriving on the evening of the 21st, while the battle was still raging and it
was here that we first heard the bullets whistle, saw the first dead men
and first saw the Yankees run. Here we lost Gen. Bee, our first Brigadier
Commander, and were then put under Gen. Whiting, remaining under his
command until 1862, when we were ordered to Yorktown and put under
Gen. Hood. Gen. Hood would feed his men if he had to have a fight with
the Commisary Department, but would march us and fight us day and night.
as long as we were able to stand up. On one occasion, on the march from
Ashland to Yorktown, Va., on a cold, frosty morning after a heavy rain,
we came to a wide branch, at least a hundred yards wide, and from knee
deep to waist deep, and as the water was very cold the men refused to take
it. Just then Gen. Hood rode up and enquired the reason for the halt and
when told, he lit off his horse and said "Come on, boys," and in he went.
Of course, there was no more trouble, as the boys followed him. Gen. Hood
was a brave man, and while he never won the affections of his men as
some other commanders did, we may say "Peace to his ashes," for he was
a good soldier and a true Southern man. He had a good voice and knew
how to use it. I can, even now, hear him giving commands to his men. We
were now at Yorktown, and walking over the same ground where, in 1776,
Cornwallace surrendered to George Washington, and there were still signs
that here in the long-gone days there had been a hard struggle for liberty.
We were here more than a month and then returned to Richmond. As we
passed Williamsburg the Yankees tackled us, but we soon put them to flight.
We camped at Richmond till the battle of Seven Pines. We attacked them
before the sun was up, while they were getting breakfast, and soon routed
them, got their camp outfit, breakfast and all. Some of them left their coffee
on the fire and this was what we especially wanted, as our supply had
played out. On the first day of this battle I got a flesh wound through my
right fore-arm, was given a furlough and reached home on the 23rd of
June, and on the 13th day of July was married to Miss Columbia Sparks
of Neshola County, Mississippi, and on Aug. 21 rejoined my company in
time for the second battle of Manassas. Here we gained another victory
and crossed the Potomac River into Maryland and Pennsylvania, where
the fun began in earnest. We fought nearly every day, and many times till
late in the night. At Sharpsburg, on Sept. 17, 1862, we fought nearly all
night, and here we lost our Colonel, P. F. Liddell, one of the best men I
ever knew, and as brave as the bravest. We also lost Lieut. Col. Evans and
Major Butler, both good men. We also lost heavily in the ranks. This
battle was fought in a cornfield and as the corn was just in roasting ear, the
boys at the whole of it raw. I don't think there was a stalk standing and
the dead and dying men could be seen everywhere. Next morning they
attacked us again, and we drove them back and held them while our army
started back to Virginia, skirmishing nearly all the way. When we got to
the Potomac it was up, and we had to wait for our men to put in a pontoon
bridge. We were then ordered to Richmond, and from there to Suffolk,
where we stayed a month or two, and then went to Goldsboro, N. C.,
where we went into winter quarters. Here smallpox developed and about
thirty of my company had it, fourteen of whom died. I do not know how
many the regiment lost, but it must have been a large number. In the
spring of 1863 we were ordered back to Virginia just at the time when the
lamented Stonewall Jackson fell and the gloom which was cast over the
army by his death is indescribable. By this time Gen. Hood had been relieved
and Gen. Joe Davis (a nephew of the President), had been put in his
place. After battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Wilderness, we
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Yeary, Mamie, 1876-. Reminiscences of the Boys in Gray, 1861-1865, book, 1912; Dallas, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth29786/m1/574/: accessed June 21, 2021), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; .