JAMES EDWARD CALDWELL


Co. E, 3rd South Carolina Infantry, CSA


16 Dec 1838 - 30 Nov 1903


Presbyterian Cemetery, Lamar County, Texas


(The following was handwritten text found in a file once part of the collection of Dan Hembree, now deceased, and transcribed by Delma Vaughan for the Lamar County Genealogical Society.)




RECOLLECTIONS OF EVENTS OF THE CIVIL WAR (1860 to 1865)


BY


PRIVATE J. E. CALDWELL




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December 1860, the state of South Carolina passed the Ordinance of Secession, thus declaring herself no longer a part of the United States. My father, Joseph Caldwell, was a delegate, having advocated secession for thirty years. Other Southern States soon followed. Steps were taken at once to form a Southern Confederacy, which took place at Montgomery, Alabama, February 4th, 1861, with Jefferson Davis president. The title of the new union was: THE CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA.


Everybody hoped for peace, yet everybody prepared for war. Intelligent people, north and south, knew that the United States government would not hesitate to do wrong if interest demanded it. No conflict of arms occurred until, in violation of its promises, the United States government attempted to re-inforce the garrison in Fort Sumpter in Charleston Harbor. Fort Sumpter was taken April 13th, and immediately troops were called out. On Sunday, the 14th, I was at Kings Creek Church and my friend and kinsman, T. C. Brown, and I agreed to volunteer. We left on Monday, joined Capt. J.C.S. Brown's company at Newberry, and left with it for Columbia, S. C. Here we remained a month or more drilling. Our regiment having 12 companies when only 10 were wanted, ours and one other were disbanded. We then joined a company from Newberry - J. D. Nance, Captain, which still existed when the war ended.


On the 14th of April, Lincoln called for 75,000 troops. The seat of the Confederate government was now transferred to Richmond, Va. The first engagement with small arms was at Big Bethel. Bullen, the beast, was defeated by Col. (afterwards Gen.) D. H. Hill. We had left Columbia and gone into camp at Lightwood Knot Springs, five or six miles from Columbia on the Charlotte railroad.


About the middle of June we were ordered to Virginia. We spent about a week in Richmond; we took the train for Manassas. We went to Bull Run, four miles distant - stayed a week and advanced to Fairfax Court House. This was July 15th, cold and rainy. We relieved Gregg's 1stS.C. regiment. On the morning of the 17th of July, the Union army, under Gen. Irwin McDowell, appeared in our front. We retreated to Centreville, about 8 miles. Stopped about 3 o'clock. I was advised to go on to Bull Run as the whole army would leave at dark. I went. T. C. Brown was with me. We found two grown young chickens at a deserted farm house. We got them, took them to Bull Run, had them cooked, and we ate both of them.


On the 18th, the battle of Bull Run occurred - this was near Blackburns Ford, half mile or more to our right. We were at Mitchells Ford. The troops were under (James) Longstreet. It did not last long ---30 or 40 minutes. The enemy was repulsed. This was the first time I ever heard musketry. On the 21st, Sunday morning about 8 o'clock, we were shelled by the enemy. We were in breastworks on a bluff, and thick woods in front of us. They could not hurt us much. But while we were shelled in the center of the lines, 18,000 troops of the enemy was flanking us on the left. Crossed Bull Run and forced back Evans brigade. Bartow and Bee reinforced him, still they could not hold their ground. It was here that Bee said to Jackson, "General, they are beating us back." Jackson replied, "Sir, we will give them the bayonet." Bee appealed to his men to "look at Jackson standing like a stone wall." Order was restored, fresh troops from the valley arrived, and fell on the Union flank. Artillery was brought to bear on the enemy, and it was not long till most of the army fled in a panic. The ground has been fought over three times. Beaurigard led the charge in person. Bartow, Bee and Fisher were killed. Kerby Smith was wounded. Col. Elzy took command of Smith's brigade on the flank of the Union army - a general charge and the field was won. Some of our artillery disabled a wagon on the stone bridge; our Col. run. The banks were steep, nothing--neither men, wagons, cannon or even mules could cross on the bridge. We captured everything except the men who crawled down the steep banks, left their guns and crawled out the other side as best they could. We could have captured the whole army. The face of the earth where the riot occurred was covered with plunder of every kind--guns, knapsacks, blankets, coats, haversack, cartridge boxes, cups, plates, piles of bacon, boxes of crackers, horses, wagons, cannons, quite a number of ladies kid gloves, champagne and other things considered essential to a picnic. I had an oilcloth with my name and command in it that I threw away on our way from Fairfax on the 17th. I got it again on the 21st. Some of the Yankies (sic) had brought it along and threw it away in the riot. When the riot began, the center was ordered forward. Our company was in front as skirmishers. We found some regulars in our front not routed. I saw some artillery about to fire on us. I fell to the ground when a shell struck a tree near me. I made a narrow escape. We got back to the line about midnight, and then were put on picket. We were relieved next morning and went back to Bull Run to get something to eat. We had not eat nor slept in 24 hours. Maj. J. M. Baxton of our regiment refused to let us get any breakfast. Ordered Nance to form his company and overtake the regiment two or three miles ahead. After wading Bull Run, he ordered us to double-quick up a hill halfleg deep in mud (it had rained the night of the battle). It was about all I could do to stand up. He galloped up to me, and said to me, "double-quick, Sir." I replied, "Major, I can't do it, I am broke down." He became furious and said "You shall do it, Sir," reaching for his sword. I stopped still, cocked my gun in his face and replied, "I'll be damned if I do." He rode off and that was the last of it. I went on to Centreville, found the army gone. We made good use of the bacon and crackers we found, built big fires, dried our cloths (sic) and slept till next morning. Next day we found our command at Vienna, a station on the Baltimore and Ohio railroad. Here we had measles. We moved back four or five miles and struck camp at Flint Hill. We had peaches in abundance, green corn and pork, and put in our time drilling and doing picket duty till cold weather. Once we were at Munsons Hill, in sight of Alexandra and the Capitol at Washington. Once at the town of Falls Church.


We next camped between Bull Run and Centreville, a little below the Bull Run battlefield. We remained here until we built winter quarters across Bull Run on the south side. Our houses were made of pine poles, a cloth for a door, dirt chimneys. Remained here till March. We then abandoned our camp and went to Manassas.


About half of the mules of the regiment had died during the winter, and the others were so poor they could scarcely walk through the mud. I say many horses and mules drowned in the mud in the big road. Up to this time we had 10 wagons for the 10 companies, and 3 wagons for Headquarters, Commissary and Quartermaster departments. Our wagons hauled the tents and cooking utensils - nothing else. Some of the boys had caught a fox that he wanted to send home, another had two white rabbits that he wanted to go to South Carolina. They made boxes, put their pets into the boxes and slipped them in the wagons. Our quartermaster, Capt. John McGowen was a clever man but one of the most profane men I ever knew. He squealed when he talked. On inspecting the wagons he found the fox. He squealed out loud enough to be heard a mile - "Foxon" (sic). Directly he found the rabbits "and Rabbits" he said, "Who the Hell ever heard of a quartermaster hauling Foxes and Rabbits." He put them out. We got to Manassas about dark. The depot had a large supply of army stores and private boxes for the soldiers. We were about to abandon everything. The boys went into the depot and helped themselves. W. A. Baily of our company took the lid off a box sent to some officer. The first thing he found was about 5 pounds of the best green tea - he took it out. Next he found a can of the same size of loaf sugar, he thought it would do to take along. He next found what appeared to be a pound cake in a newspaper. He cut a slice out by the dim tallow candle light. He bit it, it was lye soap. Baily swore he spit lather for a week. At Rappodam (I believe it was) I took sick and was sent to Manchester across the James river at Richmond. The army marched to the peninsula. As soon as I was well enough I reported for duty, took the train for West Point, and went down the York river to Norfolk. The engagement of the M. and Merrimac occurred, I think, on March 8th. I found the camp on Wednesday about the first of May--Thursday went on picket and built a fire to deceive (sic) the enemy, marched 13 miles, got to camp about midnight completely worn out with fatigue, drank a childs toy cup full of whiskey, went to sleep, and when I waked I had slept 15 hours. I wasn't drunk either. We left Saturday night for Williamsburg 12 miles distant - marched all night, got there at daylight, laid down and slept till evening. We were put on picket, and cavalry fight took place near us. We could see some of our men running into a fort on the public road. I am satisfied that this is the time and place that Dr. W. M. Grier lost his leg. The Yankees came so near us, to a branch at the foot of the hill we were on, we heard two of them quarreling about a tin cup. We slipped off about one o'clock in the night. I slept awhile on two rails to keep out of the mud and water. It rained very hard. Our command was ordered back to Williamsburg. A fight occurred on Monday. I got with Bud Wilson (my cousin) and Jim Davis. We kept with the wagons till we got near Richmond. We killed a hog on the way. Here we heard of Jackson defeating three armies, 60,000 in all, with 15,000 men in two days.


Joseph E. Johnson had commanded our army from the beginning of the war. This was the last of May. On May 31st the battle of Seven Pines was fought. We defeated the left of Seven Pines. They left their ground at Fair Oaks. This explains why the battle has two names. General Johnson was severely wounded, and Gen. R. E. Lee took command of the army. We now camped between the Union army and Richmond near the Chichahominy river. About the 27th of June while in a picket fight, I received a slight wound, a piece of a bombshell grazing the shinbone of my right leg - lost about a dime's worth of skin. Willie Thomson (sic) of Newberry was killed. On the 26th of June while on guard at Gen. McLane's headquarters, I heard Jackson's men attack the regat (sic) of the Union army. I think it was Wednesday the beginning of the seven days fight. On the 27th I was wounded and Thompson (sic) killed. We advanced on Sunday morning. It was very hot. Many of our company overcome with heat stopped. I went back to Fair Oaks station, and stayed there till Tuesday morning. I got in an ambulance with T. C. Brown who was in the Medical department, and rode to the battlefield of Malvern Hill. I got out of the ambulance, took my place in ranks, and directly I was struck by a spent rifle ball on the thigh, this was about sundown. We did not get into the battle, though I went to a point held by troops of Georgia and North Carolina. I saw they were going to run, but both armies were in confusion. I made my way around the pickets, got to the public road and laid (sic) down. I wanted to be where if the army moved I would be with it. McClelland slipped off in the dark sheltered by his gunboats. On Thursday night we went down the river, and early Friday morning under cover of fog, went near the gunboats and picked up as many rifles as we could carry and brought them out. We were not discovered, I got three besides my own. We got back to camp late on Friday evening. On Saturday, July 5th, Lieut. R. H. Wright in command of our company asked me to exchange places with Jim Cameron who had been detailed as one of the guards for McLanes' Division Ordinance Train. I agreed and found the train near Richmond. I found J. T. (Chink) Calnus (sic) and John Blots there. My father and Capt. George Turnipseed visited me while here. The Federal army having retired down the James, Lee prepared to invade Maryland. We had been at Richmond about two months. Johnson fought the second battle of Manassas August 30th. We crossed over the ground still covered with the dead men all around us. Sept. 5th we entered Maryland, crossing at Point of Rocks near Hagerstown (Leesburg). At Frederick we turned westward, and advanced on Harpers Ferry at the junction of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. We halted in Pleasant Valley east of the mountains. McLane's forces occupied Maryland Heights after having driven a force off. I could not see the men; but I could see the smoke of the rifles of both parties above the spruce pines. McLanes' advanced; the Yankees retiring, Jackson crossed the Potomac and occupied London Heights. Another force crossed the Shenandoah and took position between the two rivers. After about two hours shelling Harpers Ferry surrendered about 12,000 men, 73 cannons and 13,000 guns. McClelland was pressing back our forces that held the gaps in our rear, and Lee's army was scattered. He got the various commands together at Sharpsburg. On the 17th of September the battle of Sharpsburg was fought. Lee was on the defensive. McClelland did not attack next day 18th. On the night of the 18th Lee's army re-crossed into Virginia. During the shelling at Harpers Ferry, some shells came over the mountains (Md.--Heights) and exploded near our train. We were short of teamsters, so I drove a wagon (an empty one) from Harpers Ferry to Shepardstown. We traveled all night, and I run over some rocks big as a wagon body. On the 17th we went too near the line. Some shells were thrown among our wagons. Chink Servant (Will) was picking a goose sitting on a camp stool, when a shell passed over him piercing up the ground and covering him with dirt. He merely shook the dirt off his goose, and without raising from the stool continued picking the goose. After the battle we crossed back into Virginia during the night. Next morning shells were again thrown among our wagons. We had to compel the teamsters to stay with their teams and drive out. We used the bayonet.


McClelland was relieved and Burnsides put in command of the army who now advanced towards Fredericksburg on the Rappohannock. This was about the middle of December. Our army had rested for sometime near Bunker Hill and Winchester sick and wounded returned. In the Maryland Campaign the Federals lost nearly 28,000 men, the Confederates not quite 14,000 - about one half. One Corps of Burnsides army crossed below the city, and extended to a point near Hamilton's Crossing, a station on the railroad where the road leaves the bottom and turns south toward Richmond. The Confederate left extended beyond the city in a curved line and terminated at Marye's Hights, a high hill near the river. A stone wall extended from this point in a quadrant to the telegraph road. In part was an open field--a kind of second bottom, or near a hill in woods. Here was placed artillery. After a good deal of trouble and delay Burnside succeeded in getting a pontoon across the river. Barksdale's Mississippi brigade prevented his crossing for about two days. An attack was now made on the Confederate Right. I was present near the artillery. They could not move our lines. An attack was now made on our lines between Marye's Heights and the Telegraph road. The Union forces charged six different times fourteen lines deep. Meagher's (Marr's) brigade, 7,000 strong numbered 700 when the charge was over. They were discharged and allowed to quit the service. Dead men were thicker here than any place I ever saw, three or four deep. Sergt. Kirkland of Laurens Co., went over the stone wall in front of the Union army and gave water to the wounded Union soldiers. They shot at him when he went over--they cheered him as he went back. This was called "The Slaughter Pen". Burnside wanted to renew next day. The Generals refused, so ended the campaign of 1862.


Jan. 1, 1863, Abraham Lincoln informed us that our negroes were free--the second time. "This was good news from a far country". How considerate he was. He told us before he became president he had no authority in the matter. Exit Burnsides "Fighting". Joe Hooker relieved him and had an army of 132,000---10,000 Cavalry---Burnside had 112,000---Lee 65,000---Burnside lost over 12,000---Lee lost 5,000---Burnside lost 55 to Lee's 2. About May 1st Hooker sent Sedgwick to cross the river below the city. (When Burnsides had sent Franklin) with 30,000 infantry. He had previously sent Averill with a strong body of cavalry to cross the river above Fredericksburg (they were driven back). Stoweman, with 10,000 cavalry was sent to cut off Lee's communication with Richmond, and Hooker crossed above Fredericksburg with 90,000 men. Lee had only 60,000 men all told. Lee placed 9,000 men in front of Sedgwick's 30,000. He sent Stonewall Jackson with 22,000 men to the right flank and rear of Hooker's 90,000. Ten miles south west of Fredericksburg is Chancelorsville in the edge of the wilderness. He attacked Hooker about sunset. I could hear the firing and yelling when Jackson's men made the first charge. They did not dream of danger, were killing beeves and cooking. They swept everything before them. Jackson and staff rode out before the lines, and on his return they were supposed to be Federal Scouts, fired on and Jackson was wounded and died of phenmonia at Richmond a week after. Early next morning the attack was renewed, led by Stuart, singing as he went "Old Joe Hooker get out of the wilderness". At 10 o'clock the line gave way and a panic ensued. But Sedgwick had carried Marye's Hights and driven Early back. Lee went to look after him. He was driven back across the river, and in the meantime, Hooker got across too. "He got out of the Wilderness". Exit Hooker.


Lee went back to Fredericksburg, reorganized the army, and prepared to invade Maryland again June 1863. Lee's army was organized in three corps. 1st Corp--Lt. Gen. James Longstreet, 2ndCorp--Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell, 3rd Corp--Lt. Gen. Ambrose P. Hill. Each Corp consisted of three divisions each and about four brigades each. Kushan's brigade had five regiments and one battalion. June 9th, one of the greatest cavalry fights of the war occurred near Brandy Station, about 10,000 men on each side. The Union forces were driven across the Rappahannock by Stuart. Next day Ewell marched into the Valley--captured 4,000 prisoners--300 or 400 wagons, and drove all of the Yanks out of the Valley. On the 23rd, Ewell crossed the Potomac, Hill and Longstreet followed in about three days. Our wagons got as far as Carlisle and Chambersburg. We expected to go to Harrisburg; but learned that the Union army was in Maryland, so we changed to the right. The army was scattered. It was now being concentrated and we crossed a range of mountains, passed a town called Paris, and moved toward Gettysburg. An engagement took place July 1st, when Gen. Reynolds was killed, 5,000 men and two Generals were captured. The army fell back to Cemetery Hill beyond Gettysburg. We arrived on the 2nd of July, did not enter the town. We camped about a mile S.W. of the town in rear of McLanes' Division. The Confederates gained a brilliant victory on the 2nd, driving the Federals through Gettysburg; but two Brigadeer Generals, Barksdale and Semmes were killed. They belonged to McLanes' Division.


On the 3rd, the greatest fight that ever occurred on the American Continent was witnessed. Longstreet conducted it, supported by Ewell and Hill. About 1 P.M., 145 Confederate cannon opened the attack. They were answered by at least 100 on the Union side. I was half a mile in rear (west) of the lines. I ventured nearer to see if possible, the engagement. I could not see however. Pieces of shells hissed near me, and struck the fence where I was sitting. The very ground shook as if an earthquake was in progress. I think it lasted fully two hours. Language


cannot describe it. 300 cannon firing shells, which also exploded twice a minute, the army was hideous with the shrieks of their fragments. Magazines blown up with shells. I was unnerved--prostrated. I still attained my presence of mind. I have never yet got beside myself. It seems that danger always quickens my mind, where a great many lose all the sense they ever had. At 3 P.M. the infantry advanced. History says that Pickets division only succeeded in reaching the Federal lines, Kershaw's brigade at least did. Numbers of our regiment were captured, wounded and killed. T. M. Paysinger who afterward became a noted scout, and his brother Henry, were both wounded and captured. Bud Wilson and Willie Sligh were wounded and afterward walked to Staunton, Va., 170 miles. Many of the wounded found our wagon (ordinance) train. Chink Calmes and I killed a hog and skinned it and fed all who came. Lee waited all the next day for Meade to attack. On the night of the 4th, in one of the hardest rains I ever saw we left. We traveled all night. I got a mule "Little Bet" and rode bare-back and slept. Next day I got into a wagon. On the way we stopped at a farm house, found a wagon with three wheels--I found the other in the hay in the loft, also two sets of new harness. We loaded the wagons with his oats in U.S. Government bags. Got a barrel of salt, and found his jug in the oats. We didn't discuss the subject of prohibition. We took Solomon's advice-- "give strong drink to him that is ready to perish." The Federal cavalry attacked our wagon train. The wounded officers quickly organized the wounded and stragglers into companies of 100 men, and the wagons joined them, and with the help of about 2,000 cavalry they were driven off. This is one fight that history does not record. We called it the Wagoner's Fight by Company Q (cue). When we got to the river it was swollen so we could not cross. Lee formed a line from William's post to Falling Waters, about the 7th of July. We built a Pontoon bridge and crossed the river on the night of the 13th. On the night we crossed the river, as we approached the river in the dark, mud half-leg deep and stopping every few yards, one of the guards just in front of me squatted down waiting for the wagons to move, when a drummer came along with his drum on his back. He fell over the guard Joe Gunter--Gunter asked him what he meant by walking over him, the drummer replied by asking him what he meant by setting (sic) in the mud in the dark. I thought they would fight and neither could see a wink. Henry Paysinger died at Gettysburg. Thom got well, made his escape from the hospital, and finally joined us at R'ville East Tennessee. He was then detailed as a scout and so continued till the war ended. Lee's army then moved to a point near Winchester. In about two months Longstreet's Corps--at least part of it, was sent to reinforce Bragg, near Chattanooga, Tenn. We got rid of our teams and wagons, and I went to my old company, and we took the train for Tenn. We came by Wilmington, N.C., Branchville, S.C., Augusta, Ga. Near the tunnel the train stopped, perhaps for wood. We were on flat open cars. We saw a field of soghum (sic) and all hands went for some soghum (sic). We were all so busy eating it that no one noticed anybody else. Finally I heard Thom Sligh ask Julius Zoble, a Dutchman, how he liked soghum (sic). He had never seen any before. He replied that he liked it very well, but it was too d--- hard to swallow. We was swallowing the stalk. We left the train (I think) at Rengold, and marched to the front across Chickamauga River. This was on Saturday night Sept. 19, 1863--slept in an open field. Next morning the sun was up before we rose, a heavy frost having fallen. We had not gone far until we were formed in line of battle, the 3rd S.C. Regiment on the right. I was on the extreme left, James' battallion (sic) was next to us. In front, across an open field, we could see four Federal flags waving defiance to us. They were formed where the field and woods met. I heard Gen. Kershaw, who was on foot, and near me, say to the color bearer of James' battallion, (sic) "I want you to march directly to that Federal flag". He then gave the command. "The second, the battalion of direction forward--guide centre mar-r-rk" as we approached the line, we were out of sight, being hid by a hill, as soon as we came fairly in sight over the hill we were fired on. As we rushed forward--our regiment crowded us and threw our company in confusion. Here B. M. Lovelace was shot through the jaws and fell. I stepped around him, I thought our company might stop, I sprang forward and shouted "forward boys". I don't know that anybody heard me; but forward we all went. I was struck on the right knee by a small piece of shell, did not fall, but could not use my knee. The line soon left me. I went on to the woods and stopped with a wounded man behind a small post-oak. While lying on the ground, I was wounded with part of the brass tubing of a percussion shell. They burst when they strike. It had struck a tree, and the fragment glanced and struck me on the left shoulder. The inner bark of an oak tree was plainly to be seen on the piece that struck me. I thought that my shoulder was broken. I said, "Oh, Lordy, I am gone up". I moved my shoulder and found it was not broken. I said "It is not broke yet". Just then J. Owens Turnipseed came by wounded in the back. He had an officers sword he used to keep his knapsack from hurting his wound. He gave me the strap off the sword--I looped it around my foot--picked up my gun, and the shell that had struck me, and went back to where we formed our line of battle. Here I found Y. J. Pope (now Judge) shot in the leg, Sam McCaughrin shot in the mouth, Sam Chapman shot in the arm. We inquired for the infirmary. It took me till nearly dark to get three just across the Chicamauga. I crossed on the bridge timbers--the plank had been torn off the bridge. We spent the night there. Next day, J. N. Martin put Willie Sligh and me in a wagon and we went to a R.R. Station and took the train for Atlanta. At Atlanta, I sat down in the depot, I could scarcely walk. We were ordered to go to a hospital. I didn't go. Directly a train for Augusta came in, Chink Calmes helped me on it, and I got to Augusta. I was put in a hospital here. I wrote to my father to come and bring my sister and brother. They came, I got permission to get private boarding, so I could get out of the hospital. I found a Garmany who once lived in Newberry, I went with him to an officer, and he certified that I was a citizen of Newberry, and I got a pass and came home without any furlough. The doctors understood the whole arrangement. They were ordered to let no one go home; but if any could get home they didn't care. I told one of them that I would be back in two weeks.


My leg soon got well. My shoulder was as black as ink to my elbow, and the middle of my chest. The skin was not broken but blood oozed through the skin. Just as we started to advance, a rabbit jumped up and ran behind us, when one of the boys said "Run Mollie Cotton Tail Run, I would run too if I didn't have a reputation to sustain". The fighting was desperate. The shelling was terrific. Again and again the line was forced back, changes and counter changes, finally the Confederates, on coming to a fence, stopped and made a breastwork of rails, and when the Federals made the next charge they were repulsed. Out of 23 guns in our little company nine were unhurt. I returned to the army in about a month from the time I was wounded. The first night I slept on the ground I took rheumatism in my wounded knee, and I am not well of it yet. We were soon sent into East Tennessee after Burnside. We had a big rabbit hunt in the Swat Water Valley. The officers on horseback, the men armed with clubs. Fields were surrounded and hundreds were killed. Our bread was made of "Sick wheat", and we had meat in abundance. We found the enemy at Lowdon. As we approached they retired up the Holston river. They did not, I suppose could not, take up the Pontoon bridge across the river. Our forces got there I think about daylight. I was behind, as usual, several hours. I found J. N. Martin there. I stopped with him and went toward Knoxville in a wagon. The army had been there 24 hours when I got there--had fought the day before. This was about the 25th of Nov. The 3rd regiment charged the Federal breastworks, and took their help by dismounted cavalry armed with seven shooting rifles, and Swoon men to surrender. They were made prisoners, and driven to the rear at the point of the bayonet. They had their spurs on. Ebbie Sloan, Pink Glymph and Dick Leard were killed. The head-quarter guard not having come up, a temporary guard was made from men in ranks. I was sent as one of the detail. Gen. McLane and staff were quartered in a large brick or stone building, south of the city of Knoxville, near the river. Dead horses were often seen floating down the river. One of the staff officers came to the door when I was off duty and ordered me to cut some wood and make him a fire, I told him that I didn't join the army for that business. He ordered me to my company, I went. Nov. 30th Longstreet tried to take the city by storm. He failed to do so. Hearing that aid was coming to Burnside from Chattanooga we left, going up Holston river. We stopped at Russelville for sometime. I was sick at Bean Station, a large brick house. I saw out troops coming, I fell in with the wagon train and went nearly to Crocket. We then turned eastward and crossed the river, nearly 15 miles south of Greenville (Morristown?). T. M. Paysinger having joined us on the march, was now sent by Longstreet back to see what the Yanks were doing. This was his first scouting. While 15 miles south of Greenville (Morristown?) many of our men were barefooted--shoemakers were called for, and placed in charge of J. N. Martin, with orders to take leather wherever he could find it and make it into shoes. The shoemakers went about 15 miles above Greenville. I was detailed as courier and given a horse, and reported to J. N. Martin at Broylesville. At one time I was sent with a lot of shoes to the army now at Greenville. In trying to handle the box I put my left arm out of place. I told no one--slipped off to the doctor, and sent someone to take charge of the shoes. I didn't want them stolen. The doctors gave me chloroform, and bound up my arm and allowed me to go to the regiment. The whole of our Corps were ordered to Virginia. The soldiers in ranks took the train. Our detail got wagons and loaded them with leather and stopped at Charlottesville. We passed in one mile of the Natural Bridge. This was in April. It snowed on us from 15th to 20th--a shower every day--of snow four or five inches deep. We remained at Charlottesville till our stock was exhausted. I was then sent to Richmond for orders. We were ordered to report to our Commands at once. I went back to Charlottesville and we all took the train for Richmond, arriving at Cold Harbor about June 6th--just after the battle.


I had a cold job in Tennessee. I had my hair froze to my coat. My hat, a cloth one--stiff with ice--my whiskers froze to my coat and blanket and my mouth closed--moustache froze to whiskers. I crossed Limestone Creek for six weeks at a time without breaking the ice. I stayed two nights with a Mrs. Allen, two miles from Greenville, her husband having run off when we came. She was very kind. Her husband came to Newberry after the war. I told him of his wife's kindness to me. I stayed two nights with the wife of the private Marshall. I forget his name, at Greenville--bought a blanket from her. I saw the house and garden where Gen. J. H. (John Hunt) Morgan was killed. He was betrayed by Mrs. Williams--the woman who kept the hotel. At Charlottesville we could see Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, and the place where Edgar A. Poe had been--the very place where the lady was sitting about whom he wrote one of his best poems. At Cold Harbor, Grant lost 10,000 men in 8 minutes. On the 17th of June Grant disappeared from our front. We were ordered to march at once, I got behind on the march, and while passing Anderson's Division at rest, I was amused at the irrepressible human of the soldiers. One lying under a huckelberry bush spoke to another lying near him after looking in my face. "That fellow looks piert out of his eyes. He looks like he would get over it yet". We stopped before sundown not certain what Grant was doing. About midnight we got orders to get to Petersburg as soon as possible. We got there about two o'clock next day. Oh, so tired, hot and thirsty and we couldn't stop, not even to get a drink of water. We drank as we marched. The women put buckets of water on the pavement and we dipped it as we passed. Firing began before we reached the entrenchments. About four o'clock another fight occurred. Not long after we were placed in the suburbs of Petersburg. Here I learned to eat onions. We had good preaching. I came near being killed by a cannon ball. I heard the cannon. I thought the ball would come where I was as they had before. I stooped down and the ball passed over me and struck the from me. The women had pits in the ground into shelling commenced. I laid on my back in a gooseberry patch . berries. I had to lie down as I was then below the range of the bullets. I was sent to guard a horse, and I had to stay in the cellar. I did not venture out in daytime. Gen. Early had been sent to the Valley. He drove all the Federals out of it and came near capturing the city of Washington. We now went into camp about half way between Petersburg and Richmond near the railroad. While we were here, the mine at Petersburg was fired. It contained 4 tons of powder. On the 30th day of July, about 8 o'clock we heard the explosion. Lt. Col. W.D. Rutherford went down to Petersburg. That part of the line was held by Hagood's S.C. Brigade. The gap made by the explosion was 20 feet deep and 100 feet long. 110 cannons and 56 mortors played on the right and left of the gap. Negro troops, driven by whites at the point of the bayonet attempted to break our lines across the gap, strange to say, it was a dismal failure. And the Negroes were killed. 1,000 white men captured. Grant lost 4,000 men, Lee 1,000. Hagood's men told Col. Rutherford they could hold the line "Till the cows come home". Not long after this our brigade left our camp about marched in the direction of Deury's Bluff or Chapins. Crossing the James on a bridge of boats, we turned down the river. The sun was very hot, many of our men were overcome with heat. We left camp about 12 o'clock, crossed the river about 4 or 5, ten miles below Richmond. I was behind as usual. About sundown I had stopped to rest and was eating a piece of bread, when I saw a drummer leading the Colonel's horse. I knew a fight was expected. I asked him how to find my command. I got to it at dark, and found that our company had gone to the front as skirmishers. I asked him how to find my company. He told me to hush "The Yankees are right out there". Before he could tell me how to go somebody came to him and told him that the line was too short and Capt. Nance wanted more men. Col. Rutherford at once sent Co. K next to ours under Lieut. Langford, to report to Capt. Nance. He then told me to follow Co. K., it had only 10 or 12 men. On reaching the skirmish line they were put on the line on my right between me and my own company. I was on the extreme left of the line, except the left guard 2nd Sergt. (Dr.) J. M. H. Ruff. We had not advanced far, when some one on the right gave the command to halt. We made no stop. At the third command one of the enemy's videttes' fired - 2 or 3 of our men returned the fire. He broke and run hollering "Oh Lordy" -- you could hear him a mile. Capt. Nance gave the command. (It sounded like Gabriels Trumpet). Skirmishers forward, double-quick-commence firing. I held my fire--directly we came to the River road, broad and sandy. We were among trees--across the road was an open field. As soon as we came to the road I guessed we would stop. I thought we were to have a night fight with infantry. A little to my left was a large post to which two gates had been hung. I at once ran to the gate post for protection, when I found myself face to face with a Yankee Capt. and 47 men. I had not seen the men. I cocked my gun in his face, told him to surrender. He said "certainly Sir". Others ran to my aid. The foolish Yanks were lying flat on the ground. We surrounded them, 33 of us captured 47 of them. The Capt. (Huxford) by name, came to Newberry after the war hunting his sword. He remembered "Nance of Newberry". The boys told him that Capt. Nance was dead. J. D. Nance was, J. K. G. was still living. The sword was burned in the house that Capt. J. K. G. Nance lived in near Newberry. W. T. Tarrant says, the officer in command was Lieut. McCown, I say it was Huxford. This was on Monday night.


On Tuesday, I got a brass table spoon from a Yankee marked S.B. Nashville, I have it yet. Two men were killed by shells from the gunboats. On Wednesday, we were flanked and fell back. Had a fight on Thursday with cavalry dismounted. Next we were ordered to the Valley to reinforce. Early took the train at Richmond, and met Gordon's men just from Maryland at Front Royal, on the Shenandoah river. They were glad to see us. We waded the river and I suppose I would have been drowned had not John W. Riser who was by my side caught my left arm and held it till we were across. The water is swift, the bed is rocky. We marched to Berryville, down the river where three of our brigades routed two Divisions. Moseby was on hand. He crossed the river and followed them for some distance. But next day we had to get out. Our next affair (I think) was at Charleston.


The Seventh S.C. Regiment was on picket in a corn field in Shenandoah bottoms about halfway from the hills to the river, eating roast ears. The Yanks came down on the opposite side of the river, hid by the banks, crossed, dismounted half of their men. 300 or 400 formed the men on foot in front of the center of our line and marched forward firing their repeating rifles as they came. I was near some artillery. I commenced firing, and shot down the color-bearer two or three times. As soon as our line broke the men on foot cleared the way, and a force on horse back dashed forward by 2's until they passed the Confederate line, one half moved to the right--the other to the left and captured the whole 7th regiment. I had not been back 2 minutes. I had been down to a spring beyond our lines for some water, and I got an armfull of green corn. I had set down by a tree and was fixing to shuck it, when some one said "Look at the Yankees". It all happened in less time than it takes to tell it. We now camped at Winchester. The 8th regiment was on picket about a mile distant. The Federal cavalry dashed up. Refusing to fire on our cavalry, surrendered then and captured all but one man. Dr. R. S. Dunlap (an old Erskin student) who took a tree and escaped their notice. We were now ordered back to Richmond, got to Gordonville. Heard of Early's defeat, and were ordered to go to his relief. We had a three days march through the mountains and came near being cut off before reaching him. We found him near the head of the Shenandoah river. As soon as we joined him he assumed the offensive. We passed through Stannardsville, crossed the river at Port Republic. We reached Strasburg on the 13th of October. The 3rd and 20th S.C. Regiment attacked the enemy at Cedar Creek, two miles from Strasburg. They were two brigades strong behind a stone fence, breast high. We were in open field. The centre of the line fell back. Before I was aware of it only Pleas Willingham and I were there. As soon as I saw it, I hollowed "Great God Willingham, they are all gone". They shot at us, I don't know how often as we left; but didn't hit either of us. Lt. Col. W. D. Rutherford and J. W. (Bud) Wilson were killed here, and Ershine (Erk) Booker mortally wounded. I got a childs tin plate out of a Yankees haversack that enemy. I have it yet. Our line rallied, attacked the flanks, and soon put the foe to flight. We killed about 60 including one Col. Bill, a Barn burner. On the morning of October 16th, J. L. Turnipseed, one of Gen. Kershaw's couriers brought me a paper, the following is a copy.


Division Hd.Qrs.


October 16th, 1864.


Special Order No. 88.


Private J. E. Caldwell, Co. E 3rd S.C. Regiment is hereby detailed as Sergeant in the Ordinance Department and will report at once to Lieut. A. Edwards.


By Command of Maj. Gen. J. B. Kershaw,


E. L. Castin A.A.A.Gen.


(Acting Assistant Adjutant General)


I shoved the order to the orderly Sergeant C. F. (Callie) Boyd, and went at once to the wagon train at Mt. Jackson, 25 miles in rear of the army. On the 19th, Early attacked the enemy before they were hardly out of bed, and put them to rout; but they rallied and came on our men unexpectedly while they were engaged in pellaging (sic) the battle field, and a panic followed. I think our army must have run 30 miles that night. Many of our men were absent a week. Some waded the river up to their necks to avoid capture. In December, we returned to Richmond. The snow was four or five inches deep. (Above Oct. 19th, is the date of Sheridans famous 20 mile ride that he didn't make. His famous ride and the wonders he did is all imaginary). Our wagon train was stationed about nine miles from Richmond on the nine mile road. Here we spent the winter. I stayed up stairs in a one and a half story house with a Georgian, T. J. Everritt. I was granted a furlough in February to go home to be absent 21 days. I bought for my father 20 lbs. of tobacco at $8.00 a pound, a wool hat for $150.00, and a gold ring for Miss M. E. Mars for which I paid $150.00. At Winsboro, learning that Sherman was in Columbia, I left the train and left the tobacco in a store. I got home the next day. The day after sent Lewis in buggy for the tobacco. He got it. My father and family left home for the upper part of the District, now County. He would not risk capture as he was a member of the secession convention that put South Carolina out of the Federal Union. Two Federal soldiers crossed Broad river at Ashford's Ferry and came to the house of Hilliard Grimes (Graham) broke open the smoke house and gave the meat to the Negroes, went into the dwelling, took some clothing that belonged to Grimes son, took horses and left. T. M. Paysinger happened to be at home, followed them and captured them, brought them back to near the Lake homestead and cut their throats. I was in the neighborhood a few hours with three other men. I didn't see the dead men, the other three who were with me did. They were Old George Feltman, Dr. T. C. Brown and J. T. (Chink) Calmes. Gen. Cheatham' corps camped for about a week near us. Gen. Cheatham stayed at our house. We did not lose a pig, chicken--not a rail burned. I gave the soldiers all the bacon and sweet potatoes they wanted. In going back to the army, I went by Cross Keys, crossed Broad river at Burned Factory, and when I got to Chester found a soldier who rode my horse back to Newbery C.H. (Courthouse?). I got to Richmond Sunday night, everything was in confusion. The gutters of the streets were flowing with apple brandy. At midnight we crossed the bridge and moved out four miles on the Danville Railroad. Next morning we found that we were wrong. The order ought to have been on the Danville road (dirt road). We came back in sight of Richmond to get into the public road. We certainly traveled till dark. Tuesday we did the same. On Wednesday we had just crossed the Appomattox on a bridge, when we saw, two or three miles in front, dust rising, we stopped. We soon saw our cavalry coming at full speed, followed by Federals. I took to the bushes up the river, followed the river till I could cross the river in a batteaux. While near Farmville Friday morning, I saw some Federal cavalry across the river, they were firing on our men. I did not cross but kept up the river. About dark I crossed the river on a foot log, and slept in the house of Marshall Brown, near a town. I think Olin, where there was a Female College, two miles distant. I went near the town and stopped till I could judge how it would do. I soon saw the road full of Federal cavalry galloping towards the town. I went back and took up the river bottom. Those who were with me and followed the roads were captured. I crossed the river again about sundown, having found about 10 pounds of plug tobacco which I took charge of. I crossed on a green pine log that shook as I walked, and slipped off in the river. I waded out, pulled off my clothes and wrung them. I hadn't gone far until I met with Gen. Lee's commissary wagons that had more meal than they could haul. Their teamsters put several sacks on a fence by the road side. We learned that the army was only one mile from us. I and another soldier carried a sack of meal, two bushels, to the camp and swapped half of it off for meat. We then divided what we had.


On Sunday Lee surrendered. I got my parole Wednesday at noon, and my meal and meat lasted me home. I got a horse that belonged to a Baptist Preacher (Bramlette) who was not present at the surrender, found a saddle and bridle, a counterpane for a blanket, made saddlepockets out of


a linen towel and traded my tobacco for something to feed my horse on. We avoided the Federal army as much as possible to save our horses. I gave a Negro $100.00 to pilot us across the North Catauba river near Dallas. We crossed the South Catauba on a railroad bridge after repairing it where the sheet iron had been cut away. We crossed the Broad at Cherokee Iron Works, Sunday about 12 o'clock. There we learned of Lincoln's death. At Limestone Springs I left Capt. M. I. Atkins--Quartermaster of our train. I hated to leave. His home was at Cuthbert, S.W. Georgia. Sunday night stayed with a widow .. in the upper part of Union County, came through Union Village and reached Henry Whitmires Tuesday night. Next day, Wednesday, April 26th, the day of Johnson's surrender, I reached home about 10 o'clock, found no one at home, put my horse in the lot, got my pony and went to Capt. George Turnipseed's.




State of Texas,


County of Lamar.


I hereby certify that the statements in this and the preceding pages are true according to my best knowledge and belief, and they have been here recorded for and at the request of my daughter, Mrs. Margaret Caroline Erwin, of Spartanburg, South Carolina.


J. E. Caldwell


Sworn to and subscribed before me this the 1st day of September, A.D. 1902.


T. M. Center


T. P. and Ex Officio Notary Public, in and for Lamar County, Texas.











©Ron Brothers, All Rights Reserved, 2000


June 18, 2000


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