Sgt. William Alexander McQueen, Co. D, 2nd South Carolina Infantry, On the Battle

26 03 2022

[From the Sumter Watchman.]

August 19, 1861

Dear Watchman: You have doubtless, by this time, heard from various sources a detailed account of the great battle of Manassas Plains. But there are some little incidents more immediately connected with our part in that glorious affair, which might not be uninteresting to your readers. The Colonel’s official report of the battle is very lucid and correct, the best thing of the kind that has yet been published. – There is one oversight, however, which cannot fail to be noticed by those who were engaged in the action. Every Captain in the Regiment is mentioned with honor, except that old Mexican hero, Capt. McManus; he is passed over in silence, only mentioned among the wounded. Now those who were near can testify that there was no one in that glorious battle who acted with mor calmness and self posession, and, withal, more gallantry, than did Capt. McManus. When struck by the fragment of a shell in the arm, he quietly turned to one of his men and said, “Hand me that shell,” and though the wound was painful, he refused to leave the field until the battle had ceased. I mention this as a simple act of justice to the Captain, and feel assured that the attention of our gallant and impartial Colonel has only to be called to the facts of the case, and it will be all right.

To give some idea of the coolness and sang froid with which our boys engaged the enemy, I have only to mention a few little anecdotes:

During the battle, a poor little rabbit, frightened by the roar of musketry, and the whistling of bullets, timidly approached our ranks; after giving chase for a few moments, a private in Capt. Haile’s Company succeeded in taking him prisoner, and very probably made a soup out of him for dinner.

My attention, during the battle, was attracted by a negro who fought with great coolness and bravery. He had obtained a fine Yankee gun on the field, and as he fired, would exclaim: “My golly! How de bucra* fall!”

As some poor soldier lay upon the field, groaning with pain, caused by a mortal wound, his comrade stepped up to him and whispered: “Oh, die game! die game!”

The following anecdote is related of Co. Kershaw: The Colonel had been suffering for several days previous to the battle from a sore leg, caused by the kick of a horse. – When he had reached the field, some one asked him how his leg was, “Sir,” said he, “I did not know that I had a leg.”

W. A. McQ. **

The Lancaster (SC) News, 9/4/1861

Clipping Image

* “Buckra” is Gullah slang for “white man.” – ed.

** Per below records, likely William Alexander McQueen. Hat tip to reader Michael Pellegrini.

William Alexander McQueen at Ancestry

William Alexander McQueen at Fold3

William Alexander McQueen at FindAGrave



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