Thursday, May 9, 2013

May 9, 1863

May 9, 1863

—Gen. Joseph Johnston is ordered by Confederate Secretary of War James Seddon to proceed to Mississippi and assume command of the theatre of war there. He is promised few reinforcements, however, to attempt a turnaround of Southern fortunes in that department, however, with Grant storming through the middle of the state.

—Sergeant Harrison Wells of the 13th Georgia Infantry writes home to his sweetheart Mollie Long, and includes his reflections (and boasts) of the action he saw in the Second Battle of Fredericksburg:
By the bye, I liked have forgotten to tell you about the fight – the "little twist" we have had for the last few days. Our Regt was the first to give them a reception and a hearty one it was too. They commended putting in their pontoons just opposite where our Regt was on picket, some four miles below Fredericksburg, on the morning of the 29th Apr just before day, and our boys turned loose on them with such sudden effect, that it threw them into confusion. Col Smith and many others say that they never heard such a rumpus. The waggoners hallooing to their teams, rattling of planks, splashing of boats as they threw them in the water hurried commands of officers trying to rally their men, cries of the wounded and shouts of our boys rose in a continued din through the misty darkness. They could not withstand such firing until they received reinforcements. The fight was hot until our ammunitions gave out, and the Yanks had driven back a N.C. Regt in our right and tried to cut us off. Our Regt then fell back to the railroad near Hamilton’s crossing. One corps of Yanks crossed at Fredricksburg and just below, and our division only was left here to hold them back. The main bodies of the two armies met some twenty miles above here at Chancellorsville and had a bloody fight there on Saturday and Sunday. It is said to have been the bloodiest battle of the war; their dead lay in heaps in their entrenchments and were scattered for five miles where our men had charged them. They wouldn’t stand at all except those that engaged A. P. Hill’s Div, who stood for about two hours. They skedaddled like rabbits, and our Brigade with the exception of the skirmishers did not get a shot at them. Our Brigade charged and retook Marie’s heights, captured many horses, wagons, cannon, & prisoners and drove the Yanks across the river at Fredericksburg. ‘Twas a splendid charge, straight forward for two miles, while their cannon were pouring an iron hail into our ranks. We went so fast however that they could not keep us in range and the damage was slight. Our regt lost only one man killed in the charge. Our company had only one man wounded, that could be called a wound, as he was shot through the hand. Jimmie Caldwell was severely shocked by a bomb. This is a most brilliant victory for us. Out loss total killed wounded & missing will not exceed 10000, and theirs is at least 30000. Some say 50000. God grant that they may open their eyes now to the truth of our strength and induce them to end this war. Our greatest loss was the wound of Gen Jackson. He lost his left arm and was wounded in the right hand. Love to all and write to me soon. I want your type very much.
Yours as ever Harry.

No comments:

Post a Comment