Pvt. James Wooldridge, Co. E, 11th Virginia Infantry, In the Battle

19 04 2022

An Incident of the Bull’s Run Fight. – The Lynchburg Republican narrates the following:

“During the height of the battle, many of our troops, in their anxiety to get a sure pop at the enemy, left the ranks for that purpose, and advanced some distance in front. One of these, James Wooldridge, of Capt. Blankinship’s company, who was wounded, made for a tree, which would afford him protection, but just as he arrived there, a Lincolnite came up, who disputed the possession of the tree with Wooldridge. The matter was, however, quickly settled, for without any parley, Wooldridge ran his bayonet through the Yankee, killing him instantly. A Federal officer then rode up, who had observed the affair, and while Wooldridge’s bayonet was still in the body of his victim, ordered him to surrender. The proposition, however, did not accord with Wooldridge’s idea, for in an instant his bayonet was withdrawn, when he let the officer have the full benefit of it, and killed him instantly also. Two more Lincolnites were just then rushing upon Wooldridge, but observing the fate of those who had preceded them, immediately turned about, and, taking to their heels as fast as they could, left our hero in possession of the much coveted tree. Wooldridge was subsequently wounded, no doubt in consequence of exposing himself unnecessarily.”

Edgefield (SC) Advertiser, 8/14/1861

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James Woolridge at Ancestry

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Sgt. Nelson Cole, Co. C, 2nd Vermont Infantry, On the Retreat

14 04 2022

Hair-Breadth Escape. – Sergeant Nelson Cole, of company C, second Vermont regiment, from Brattleboro, gives a very interesting account of his experience in the vicissitudes of war. A companion had been shot in the ankle, shattering the bone, and Sergeant Col was assisting him to the hospital when the retreat took place. Finding the enemy upon them, his companion begged him to leave him and take care of himself.

Emerging from his shelter, after a long run, he found himself in the midst of the enemy, who fired upon him; leaping the fences, he ran a couple hundred yards through the open ground, under a shower of balls, and again succeeded in reaching the woods, but was subsequently discovered and captured. While on their way to the Secesh camp they passed the hospital, when Cole begged to be allowed to get his coat. This was granted, and Cole sent to get it.

Finding the rear unguarded, he passed through the back window, and again took to the woods. He succeeded in eluding his pursuers, and, after a weary travel, found himself, nearly famished, in the vicinity of a mill. An elderly lady was the only person about, her son being an officer in the rebel army. She gave him food, and a hat and pair of pants belonging to her son. In this disguise, he passed for a Virginian, and, although three times stopped, succeeded in reaching the vicinity of Leesburg, where he sought shelter for the night. The people (females) professed themselves Union people, and he told them his story. After retiring, he heard a conversation going on, and, listening, he discovered a plan maturing to send for some neighbors, and seize the “Abolitionist.” He waited till all was quiet, and made his way to the Potomac, where he found a negro to row him across, and he came to the city on the Maryland side.

(Washington, D. C.) National Republican, 8/5/1861

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Nelson Cole at Ancestry

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Obituary – Lt. Col. Benjamin J. Johnson

11 04 2022



Lieut. Col. Benj. J. Johnson

Lieut. Col. Benjamin J. Johnson, the second in command of the Hampton Legion, is a native of the town of Beaufort, S. C., and was about forty-five years of age at the period of his death. His brothers reside in this State – two of whom are clergymen of the Episcopal Church – one, the Rev. Rich’d Johnson, being the Chaplain of Hampton’s Legion.

Col. Johnson was educated at Williamsburgh, Virginia, and commenced life as a planter; but afterwards studied law with Col. DeTreville, and came to the bar of Beaufort, where he practiced a few years. During his residence in Beaufort he commanded the 12th Regiment of Infantry, and was highly esteemed as an officer.

In 1838, when barely eligible in years, he was elected a member of the House of Representatives from St. Helena Parish, where he served many years, until he was transferred to the Senate by the same constituency. Col Johnson served in the Senate for two terms, and until his removal to Christ Church Parish, about three years ago. Immediately upon his removal he was elected a member of the House of Representatives from the election district of Christ Church, and continued a member to the time of his death.

Col. Johnson’s career in the Legislature was marked by attention and intelligence. He frequently filled the position of Chairman of important committees, and was known as a working member. He participated fully in the debates of both Houses, and was always distinguished by fairness and ability in his mode of conducting them. He filled a high position in the politics of the State, as evidenced by the prominence of his name in the late election for Governor of South Carolina. His heart was always true to the honor of his State, as evidenced by the prominence of his name in the late election for Governor of South Carolina. His heart was always true to the honor of his State, as exhibited throughout his life and illustrated by his death.

Col. Johnson’s influence was largely owing to his personal characteristics. A man of strong will, strong temper, bold, self-reliant, imperturbable, energetic, he at once impressed upon those with whom he was thrown in contact, his thorough manhood. He won friends in the closest ties of regard and affection, In his life he sustained the measure of a Carolina gentleman, and in his death he has added to it that of the patriot.

The Charleston (SC) Mercury, 7/23/1861

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Obituary – Col Francis S. Bartow

11 04 2022



Col. Francis S. Bartow

In the death of this distinguished gentleman, Georgia has lost one of her very most gifted sons, and the South a patriot who we can never cease to deplore.

Col. Bartow was a young man, we would suppose scarcely over forty years of age. Yet he has been for several years in the front rank in the politics and at the forum of his native State. His was one of the commanding minds of his section; and his great talents, and the weight of his irreproachable private character, doubtless contributed materially to the position so deliberately taken by his State on the Southern question – a position which her sons are now maintaining with a firmness and intrepidity worthy of her people and the great cause they have espoused.

Col. Bartow left Georgia in command of the Oglethorpe Light Infantry, a noble company of young men, composed of the flower of the State, having resigned from the Confederate Congress for the purpose of taking the field. He was soon promoted to the Colonelcy of one of the Georgia Regiments. He served under Gen. Johnston, and has served nobly, consecrating by his blood his devotion to the great cause of Southern Independence. Georgia will weep few nobler sons.

The Charleston (SC) Mercury, 7/23/1861

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Obituary – Brig. Gen. Barnard Bee

10 04 2022



Gen. Barnard E. Bee.

Upon the wings of shining Victory comes the dark shaft of Death. And with the first impulsive leapings of the heart in the glad shout of triumph for our arms and our cause, the breath of Carolinians is stilled in mourning for our gallant dead. In that they lived, they were ours – int that they are dead, it was for use they died. Upon each heart in Carolina they have levied a tribute. The bitter, bitter tears of those who loved them dearest in life, the little hands of pleading children, demand of us, even in the rush of life, and the fierce cry of victory, to pause in silence over their biers, and to mingle our sorrows with the unutterable grief of hearts that cannot be comforted. And to-day South Carolina, like a Spartan mother, mourns her lost sons.

Perhaps there was no man of his age in the Confederate service who had won for himself a fairer fame, both as an accomplished officer and high-toned gentleman, than the late Gen. Barnard E. Bee, of this State. Upon the desperate field of battle, where more than once his gallant blade had won him the applause of the army and of his native state, sword in hand, he perished – an untimely death.

Gen. Bee, descended from an old Carolina family of gentlemen, was about 35 years of age, and leaves a widow and an infant son.

He entered West Point a Cadet in 1841; was made Brevet Second Lieutenant, 3d Infantry, in 1845. Curing the Mexican war he served with marked distinction, winning two brevets before the close of the war – that of First Lieutenant, “for gallant and meritorious conduct in the battle of Cerro Gordo, on the 18th April, 1847,” in which he was wounded, and that of Captain, in the storming of Chepultepec, on the 13th of September, 1847, “for gallant and meritorious conduct.” Since 1848 he acted as Adjutant, and rose to a full First Lieutenancy in March, 1851.

His achievements, since that time, in wars amongst the Indians, were such as to attract towards him the attention of his State, and in his dying hand, on the field in which he fell, he grasped the sword which South Carolina had taken pride in presenting him.

Few men of his age had attracted more attention in his profession, and such was his reputation, that President Davis, at once raising him from the rank of Captain, appointed him a Brigadier-General in the Provisional Army.

It will not be easy to fill his place in the Confederate service; but South Carolina, more especially, mourns his loss, for he was a true representative of her race. Mild, modest, amiable of deportment, open, generous, bold and dashing in achievement, nice of honor and punctilious of fame, winning friends by sterling conduct, as fearless of foes as sensitive of regard, he was all that his State could ask of a Gentleman, a soldier and a patriot. South Carolina will ever bend in honor over the tomb of such a son.

The Charleston (SC) Mercury, 7/23/1861

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The Death of Brig. Gen. Barnard Bee

10 04 2022

Barnard Bee.

The death of this pure chevalier will ever be esteemed one of the brightest yet saddest incidents of the present great war. The very embodiment (as he was) of Carolina chivalry, he deeds of valor on the plains of Manassas astonished even the general in command, accustomed as he was to Southern fervor and acquainted as he had recently become with Carolina enthusiasm. But in the midst of his heroic efforts, the fatal ball was numbered which assigned him a soldier’s grave. It has long been said and sung, that “to die for one’s country” is “sweet” as well as “honorable;” the thought was never more fully verified than in the death scene of this hero. We quote a touching account of General Bee’s last moments from a letter addressed to the Charleston Courier;

“While participating in the thickest of the fight, a ball penetrated the groin and passed upwards in the region of the stomach. He was at once borne from the field to a neighboring hospital, and after a temporary rest there, removed to Manassas, where an apartment was provided for him in the hotel. Among those who called upon the wounded General on the day following, was his old friend, Col. Tupper, of Charleston, who was on the Staff of General Smith, and himself slightly hurt. Bee was lying on a mattress, calm, composed, and evidently not in much pain. Aware of his approaching end, he was engaged in dictating to one of his Staff his last missive to his family, being so absorbed in this task that he appeared not to observe the slightest movement which transpired around him. At intervals he would drop away into a dreamy kind of repose and seem to sleep, by a preconcerted arrangement his Aid would touch him slightly in the centre of his forehead with the point of his pencil, when the General would recover his faculties and proceed. In due time his labor of love was finished, and he turned his attention to the company present. Col. Tupper was among these, and as the hands of the two friends met for the last time, Bee gently drew him down so as to be more distinctly heard, while Col. Tupper bent upon his knee and laid his face upon that of the dying man. The latter then said: “Colonel, our acquaintance has been of a very pleasant nature. It’s hard to part where friends are so dear, but I must soon leave you. God bless and protect you.” With others of his friends he also exchanged brief words of parting.

“Shortly afterwards, the dying General asked to be raised in his bed, which being done, with his hands clasped, eyes burning with an almost supernatural light as if he already looked upon the glories of another world, he repeated a verse, but unfortunately I can only give the last two lines:

My spirit soars to meet its God,
I die in the arms of victory.

“With these upon his lips, the hero was laid back upon his pillow and without a struggle sank into his eternal rest.

“He had emphatically carried his life in his hand and the grace of God in his heart, and when the messenger came, it found him ready and willing to obey the summons. Death to him was no rugged path. He had

No earthly clinging
No lingering gaze
No strife at parting
No sore amaze;
But sweetly, gently,
He passed away
From the world’s dim twilight
To endless day.

Edgefield (SC) Advertiser, 8/21/1861

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Lt. George W. Lester, Co. F, and Corp. W. Edmund O’Connor, Co. A, Hampton’s Legion, And the Capture of “Sherman’s Battery”

9 04 2022

The Palmetto Flag Planted upon Sherman’s Battery. – A correspondent writes to the Richmond Enquirer correcting the statement that Gen. Beauregard had borne forward the flag of the Hampton Legion. He says:

The honor properly belongs to Lieut. G. W. Lester, of the “Davis Guards,” who, when the order for charge was given, bore the Palmetto colors about fifteen paces in front, calling on South Carolina to follow, which was promptly done. Corporal O’Connor, of the Washington Light Infantry, was the next to take it, and he it was who waved the first Southern flag over Sheman’s Battery.

The Charleston (SC) Mercury, 8/14/1861

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George W. Lester at Ancestry

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W. Edmund O’Connor at Ancestry

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A. J. Hartley (“Old Texas”), And the Death of Col. James Cameron, 79th New York Infantry

9 04 2022

Who Killed Cameron? – A correspondent of the Richmond Whig lately attributed the killing of Col. Cameron, of the New York Seventy-ninth (Scotch) Regiment, to “Old Texas,” who is thus described by the South Carolinian:

“Old Texas” will be remembered by every one who was on Morris’ Island, during the eventful scenes there. His name is A. J. Hartley, a printer by trade, and a man of a good deal of intelligence. He resided formerly in Memphis, but left there several years since for a small town in Northern Texas, where he established a paper, which he had pushed up to the point of making a good living. Being a bachelor, he made his home in the office, and by industry and perseverance had surrounded himself with many comforts; all of which he saw destroyed in one night by the Abolitionists, he escaping with only the clothes he had on. Those who have heard him relate his story will not soon forget the flashing of his eye as he drew his tall form to its utmost height, and uttered his imprecations against the cowardly thieves who had destroyed the labor of years. It was not surprising that he was among the first to volunteer in defence of the South against those whom he considered his natural enemies. The above incident is characteristic of the man. We regret to learn that he is wounded, but trust he may soon be able to take his place again, and assist in cancelling some part of the debt of vengeance he owes the invaders of our soil.

Charleston (SC) Daily Courier, 8/28/1861

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A. J. Hartley at Ancestry

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Death of Pvt. Robert Sweat, Co. I, Hampton’s Legion

8 04 2022

The Late Robert E. Sweat, of the Hampton Legion.


To the Editor of the Charleston Mercury:

Of the many young and brave spirts, who, on the battle field of Manassas, gave up their lives to their State and, over whom she now weeps with a deep and silent grief, none deserves more her gratitude and affection than the subject of this communication.

Among the very first to leave his Parish – St. Peter’s – to take part in the great struggle for his country’s freedom, he is the first to return to her, in strict obedience to her injunction, “upon his shield.”

A member of the Washington Light Infantry Volunteers, of the Hampton Legion, he was wounded when the battle was raging at its height, and when in the very act of firing his musket, said he to his comrades – “One more round,” – and before he could finish the sentences, a ball struck and shattered his left arm, and passed out at his right shoulder. He lingered in intense pain, in the hospital at Culpeper Court House, until the 19th of August, when death ended his sufferings. His father arrived but a short time before his death, and saw the last of his brave boy. He was interred at the family burial place, at Robertville, on Saturday, 24th inst., with all due and appropriate honors. All ages and classes were present to do honor to the brave and gallant dead, and wreaths of cypress and laurel strewed the pathway to his tomb.

Immediately after the burial, a meeting was called, and a resolution was unanimously adopted to erect a monument to the first of St. Peter’s sons who had fallen on the field of battle.

The Charleston (SC) Mercury, 8/30/1861

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Robert Sweat at Ancestry

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Pvt. David Myers, Co. B, Hampton’s Legion

2 04 2022


“A Brave Soldier Boy!”

Among the many acts of heroic bravery, so widely circulated among the newspapers as stirring “scenes by blood and field” in the recent battle of Manassas Plain, on the 21st July, 1861, none more justly deserves a passing memento than the gallant deportment of young David Myers, of Louisiana, a grand son of Col. David Myers, deceased, formerly of Richland District, in South Carolina.

This grown soldier is only fourteen years old, and a member of Capt. Gary’s Company, in Hampton’s Legion, and is a nephew of the Hon. Tilman Watson, of Edgefield District, whose name that company bears (the Watson Guards).

This little fellow deserted his military school at Aiken, and contrived to enlist secretly in a Company for the defense of Charleston and the subjugation of Fort Sumter, without letting his father or any of his relatives know anything of his whereabouts, and lived so privately at Morris’ Island during the siege there, that although he had two uncles (Senators in the State Legislature) in that city during the month of January, who frequently visited the works and defences, they never dreamed that he was enrolled in the encampment as a soldier there, where he remained until the surrender by Major Anderson.

This so fired his young heart, that he then insisted on going to his grandmother’s, in Edgefield District, that he would be permitted to join the Watson Guards, under Capt. Gary, and said that he was determined to fight the Yankees to the end of the war, and his grandmother at last yielded, and sent a big strong negro fellow to take care of him.

On the day of the memorable battle Dave was sick, and had been several days; but, with a light breakfast, and a blister on him the size of a breakfast plate, he ran seven miles as well as any of them, and when in the midst of the severest part of the fighting, after being five ours on foot, shot an officer and advanced upon him under a heavy fire some distance in front of his company, and captured a sword from his person, which he now has in his own possession; he killed a soldier and took his gun, also, in another part of the fray; and at the outset of the battle, when Lieut. Col. Johnson fell dead, and his brother field officers were bearing him off the field to the rear, and the legion began to exclaim, “We have no officer left to lead us,” Capt. Gary, in a loud voice, said (waiving his sword), “Follow me!” when, among the fifteen or twenty who followed him, Dave was of that number, though they had eventually to fall back to the main body.

After the action and subsequently to the disastrous defeat and disorderly retreat of the Grand Army, when once more upon his sick pallet, Mr. John Nicholson, a brother soldier who had more experience, advised him to go back to Richmond to recruit his health, but turning over which his teeth firmly set, he declared that he would never do that until the Confederate Army had captured the City of Washington.

That nothing should deprive him of being present on that occasion, and true to his instincts he is still lingering in the field awaiting the slow but certain approaches of the army to that result.

Long life to the noble fellow, the gallant boy, whose grandfather fell mortally wounded by the Tories, near Orangeburg, in the Revolution of 1776, while leading a detachment of Whigs to the charge, and in the moment of victory!! Well done!! Our brave soldier boy!!

Charleston (SC) Daily Courier, 8/20/1861

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David Myers at Ancestry

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