Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Lets Roll! 8th NC PATCON September 30 - October 5th 2015

Our ancestors would be ashamed of us if we didn't!

One more scene I can remember. Kind friends, you that know nothing of a soldier's life. I ask you in all candor not to doubt the following lines in this sketch. You have no doubt read of the old Roman soldier found amid the ruins of Pompeii, who had stood there for sixteen hundred years, and when he was excavated was found at his post with his sword clasped in his skeleton hands. You believe this because it is written in history.

I have heard, politicians tell it. I have heard it told from the sacred desk. It is true; no one doubts it. Now, were I to tell something that happened in this nineteenth century exactly similar, you would hardly believe it. But whether you believe it or not, it is for you to say. At a little village called Hampshire Crossing, our regiment was ordered to go to a little stream called St. John's Run, to relieve the 14th Georgia Regiment and the 3rd Arkansas. I cannot tell the facts as I desire to.

In fact, my hand trembles so, and my feelings are so overcome, that it is hard for me to write at all. But we went to the place that we were ordered to go to, and when we arrived there we found the guard sure enough. If I remember correctly, there were just eleven of them. Some were sitting down and some were laying down; but each and every one was as cold and as hard frozen as the icicles that hung from their hands and faces and clothing-dead!

They had died at their post of duty. Two of them, a little in advance of the others, were standing with their guns in their hands, as cold and as hard frozen as a monument of marble-standing sentinel with loaded guns in their frozen hands! The tale is told. Were they true men? Does He who noteth the sparrow's fall, and numbers the hairs of our heads, have any interest in one like ourselves? Yes He doeth all things well. Not a sparrow falls to the ground without His consent.

From the book Co. Aytch, A Confederate Memoir of the Civil War by Sam R. Watkins, page 38- Copyright 1962 by MacMillan Publishing Company Copyright renewed in 1990 by Simon &Schuster Inc. Sam began to write of his experiences in 1881 as a series for his hometown newspaper, the Columbia, Tennessee, Herald.


53rd North Carolina, Fort Mahone/ "Fort Damnation" Petersburg, Virginia

Requiem Aeternam - Eternal Rest Grant unto Them  

My great grandfather and great uncle knew all the men in the "Civil War Requiem" video as they were part of the 53rd NC which was the sole unit defending Fort Mahone. (Fort Mahone was named "Fort Damnation" by the Yankees) *Handpicked men of the 53rd (My great grandfather was one of these) made the final, night assault at Petersburg in an attempt to break Grant's line. This was against Fort Stedman which was a few miles to the slight northeast.

They initially succeeded, but reinforcements drove them back. This video is made from photographs which were taken the day after the 53rd evacuated the lines the night before to begin the retreat to Appomattox. I have many more pictures taken by the same photographer, one of these shows a 14 year old boy and the other is the famous picture of the blond, handsome soldier with his musket.


General Gordon promised the men a gold medal and 30 days leave if they accomplished their task and many years after the War my great grandfather wrote General Gordon, who was then governor of Georgia about this incident. They exchanged several letters which I have framed.  The Attack On Fort Stedman


  1. " Co. Aytch" OR A SIDE SHOW OF THE BIG SHOW" is one of my favorite books period. Another similar book based on Guy Sajer's time in the German Army in WWII is "The Forgotten Soldier". I first read it twenty years ago and probably have read it three more times since.