W. B. F. Visits the Ground Over Which the 4th Alabama Fought

25 01 2023

Correspondence of the Southern Advocate

The 4th Alabama Regiment.

In Camp Near Manassas, July 31.

When the news of the battle and victory at this place on the 21st inst., flashed over the wires to us in Huntsville, deep solicitude for the safety of those dear to all prompted a trip to this place by many. The trains were crowded all along, the depots thronged, the hotels overrun, and comfort no longer possible. Manassas reached at last, protected by a passport from Richmond, the camp of the glorious 4th was found on the 28th after a five mile tramp from the railroad. The Regiment was in the wood, sans tents and other essentials of camp life, and on short rations. Three months of soldier life had wrought a change in the appearance of the boys – bronzed by the sun, hardened by discipline and self reliant they seemed for service not for show. And they had seen service – in camp on the march, sleeping on the ground, wading rivers, encountering drenching rains, with half rations at times, and at last they had the desire of their hearts gratified; they met the enemy, and bore the brunt of the fight, went in iron, were baptized in fire and came out tempered steel! To meet the survivors of such a regiment – to see those so familiar to us who had endured so much, breasted such danger and won so high renown, was a pleasure indeed! They were Alabama’s sons – sent forth to defend homes and altars. They had been tried and had not been found wanting. They had been put in the front of danger and met it undaunted. They had been placed into the van, and nobly staid the tide of battle, tinging it with their blood, until it was turned back in dismay. Alabama has just cause to be proud of the gallant 4th, so ably and daringly led by Col. E. J. Jones, one of her native sons. The slopes of Manassas were made red with their blood!

A sight of the battle field, with its gentle swells, open glades, narrow ravines, clumps of woods, farm house &c, is necessary to give one a clear perception of the advanced, exposed, and important position assigned to the 7th and 8th Georgia, 4th Alabama, Maj. Wheat’s battalion, Hampton’s Legion, &c. The enemy distracted the centre and right by a feint attack, while he, by treachery crossed Bull Run and poured his masses on our left, by an adroit flank movement, which if successful, would have rendered the batteries at Manassas useless. The battle was thus made by about 8,000 of our troops, resisting this flank movement. For hours our troops were engaged at musket and cannon range with the very choice regiments of their Grand Army. The front of the battle instead of being on the main line of our defenses was on one of the ends – the left. In planning the battle Gen. Scott displayed his great military genius and knowledge of our position. Its execution was thwarted by the pluck and skill of our soldiers, who fought like brave men long and well, and piled the ground with Lincoln slain.

The 4th Alabama occupied an open gentle, slope, the enemy the reverse side of the hill which was much steeper, and in addition were protected by fence, farm outhouses, hay racks, &c., &c. The distance was about 125 yards. They could load behind the hill, advance to brow, fire at our men and then in a few steps get out of sight. Our men had no protection at all. They fired as they saw the enemy on the brow, about the farm houses, &c., and had to lied down to load. In this situation, they fought for near two hours, having made a double quick march of 8 miles in one hour to get on the ground. It was here that gentle, brave, chivalrous, and cultivated Lieut. J. C. Turner fell, encouraging his young comrades; frank generous and gallant Capt. L. E. Lindsey died; where Wm. Landman, full of generosity and geniality, was shot; where our friend and relative W. L. Lorance, and many other noble spirits met a soldier’s death. – Four regiments were fighting the 4th Alabama in front, and Sherman’s battery was so placed as to be able to fire into our whole front. The efficiency of our batteries behind on the distant elevations gave great relief by firing shot and shell into the enemy’s ranks over the heads of our men.

The enemy at last unable to drive our troops back, commenced a new flank attack on the right and left of our narrow front of battle. The letter V will illustrate the position and movement; the broad opening of the V being the front of battle, the masses of the enemy on the right and left sides of the V converging to a point to hem our soldiers in. Seeing this, the order to fall back was given. Still our brave boys fought for half an hour longer and then fell back just in time to get out of the V, exposed to a fire in front, left and right. It was in the retreat that Col. E. J. Jones was wounded, also, Lt. Col Law and Maj. Scott. Col. Jones could not be carried off the field, and was with Phil Bradford a prisoner for 4 hours; both were kindly treated by the enemy. The Regiment three times made battle and when without a head, still fought on; was led by Gen. Bee to the charge in which he was killed. – Its officers and its men displayed the coolness and steadiness of veterans. Never under fire before, they endured its blaze and heat as if feasting upon the frosted Caucasas. The stoic calmness of its Colonel was moved to unwonted joyousness on the battle field, and his men love him for his military skill and daring. Many individual acts and narrow escapes are recoreded by the boys, and almost all received shots in their clothes. The chaplain of the regiment (Rev. W. D. Chadick] fought with the utmost gallantry.

The brunt of the battle was borne by a few of our troops because a portion were thrown out by the bribery of a Railroad employee who was shot, and by the miscarriage of important orders. When however, Gen. Kirby Smith’s Brigade came in the rear and the other forces were being brought to the support of our exhausted troops the battle was won – the panic became general and the flight fast and furious. The rest was a slaughter ending with night. The enemy fought well, were well trained, thoroughly equipped, with arms superior to ours, and they shot well, too. How then were they so signally if not disgracefully routed? “The stars in their courses fought against Sisera;” and God was on our side strengthening our men to stand up against the large odds, and at last striking a panic into the hearts of the enemy. It was not the wisdom of man that gained the battle, but the God of Justice fighting for the cause of truth and Liberty. So may it ever be and give him the praise.

The members of the 4th regiment have not had any just meed of praise awarded them. The Richmond papers have been strangely oblivious of a regiment in the fight that had 37 killed and 153 wounded out of about 600 engaged – losing every field officer. Unlike the forces from other States this regiment does not carry a correspondent to blow its deeds. It asks but that justice may be done it by the citizens of its own State. There is weeping I know, over the State – for has not Florence, Huntsville, Jackson county, Marion, Selma, Tuskeege, etc., lost their bravest and best? When called on, Alabama can point to the 4th regiment as her first [?] on the altar of Southern Independence. In after times it will be a coveted honor to say, I was of the 4th, Alabama at Manassas – I saw our Colonel, Lt. Colonel and Major fall – I saw Gen. Bee fall at our head – I saw the regiment in fragments still fighting on, saving its flag – I heard of Gen. Johnston’s shedding tears at our being so cut to pieces, and I am now, praise God, alive to witness the independence of the land that day helped so greatly to secure.

But I must close – the camp life is new to me, and the sight of tents all over the country excites mingled emotions of pride and regret. I close for want of time and convenience to write more. The boys generally are well and hearty, satisfied that they have done the State some service, which is deserving of better treatment than they have received since the battle, from gross carelessness somewhere.

Yours,
W. B. F.

The (Talladega, AL) Democratic Watchtower, 8/14/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy





The Confederate Flag

13 01 2023

The Confederate Flag.

We believe we speak the sentiments of three-fourths of the Southern people, when we state that the Confederate Flag has not only failed to satisfy, but has greatly disappointed them. The idea of a committee having been occupied for weeks in composing and selecting from the hundred different specimens, a flag to be at once original and striking; finally, rejecting all assistance from artists and others, who had furnished abundance of good material, and adopting, as a result of their labor, what? the Union and three stripes of LINCOLN’S Abolition Flag. Mr. Russell, in one of his letters, has well styled it “the counterpart of the U. S. Flag;” and so perfectly is it so, that in a calm at sea, it is not distinguishable from it. But not only is it stolen from the U. S. Flag, it is also a theft of the coat of arms of another despotism – we mean the House of Austria, whose arms are red, with a white bar, running through the centre. Nor is this all. The U. S. Flag itself was directly stolen from the British East India Company, with the poor addition of thirteen stars for distinction. Now, if the coat of arms of the Confederate States be drawn with the three bars horizontal we pilfer the arms of the House of Austria; and if we adopt the plans of the United States and draw the coat of arms with the bars perpendicular, we pilfer the arms of the town of Beauvais in France. So that, whichever way we twist it, we will be laughed at by everybody, and despised by those whose emblems we have borrowed, not to say stolen. We are living under a Provisional Government – may we not hope that this may be a Provisional Flag? Our Congress is soon to meet, and we sincerely hope that this question will be brought up by some patriotic and able member, and not allowed to rest until we obtain with the permanent Government, a flag fit to be retained as permanent also. We think the Southern people, generally, were anxious that the Southern Cross should have been conspicuous in their flag, which form would at once dispense with the Union part of it, and all the stripes, by simply making the flag red, with a white cross, containing on it the stars of blue, thereby retaining all the three emblems of Republicans, red, white, and blue. And, in the language of one of Virginia’s bards –

The “Cross of the South” shall triumphantly wave,
As the flag of the free and the pall of the brave!

We are informed by one skilled in Heraldry, that such a flag is in rule; and if desirable to change the arrangement of colors, the ground could be blue, and the stars red – cross white in either, so as to be metal on color – an imperative requisition in correct Heraldry.

The Charleston (SC) Mercury, 8/20/1861

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Brig. Gen. P. G. T. Beauregard, On Bull’s Run as a Battlefield Name

12 01 2023

Bulls Run as a Battlefield. – The Camden Journal tells us of a pleasant little conversation which occurred between Col. Kershaw and Gen. Beauregard, on the occasion of a visit to the camp. Talking about the probability of this point becoming famous in the history of the war, Col. K. remarked that the place should have a more classic name than Bulls Run, when Gen. B. promptly remarked that it is quite as good as Cowpens. This settled the question.

The Clarke County (Grove Hill, AL) Democrat, 7/18/1861

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Martha Thornberry and Federal Prisoners

11 01 2023

An Incident of the Retreat. – The Richmond correspondence of the Columbia South Carolinian relates the following:

On the retreat, a tired Yankee stopped at a farm house and begged for water, Mrs. Thornton, the owner handed him a tumbler, pouring a little brandy into it, as he seemed very exhausted. As she offered it, he shrank back for a moment, but took it and drank it. She asked him why he did, and he replied, “to be candid with you, I feared you had put poison into it. She replied, “Sir, you do not know you are speaking to a Virginia lady; to be equally candid with you, you go no further.” She then called two of her servants and directed them to disarm him which they did. Another coming up for water, she made the servants treat him similarly, and this took two prisoners. A few minutes after another Yankee went to the spring, and a servant girl gave him water. He said, “Good-bye, girl;” when she said, “No, you must go to my mistress, and thank her, not me.” She marched him up, and as she got near the party, cried out, “Mistress, here is my prisoner,” and this another was bagged, and the three guarded until a squad of cavalry came and marched them to headquarters.

An aid of Gen. Beauregard told us that he had just been over to thank the lady, in the General’s name. for her heroic conduct.

The Vicksburg (MS) Weekly Citizen, 9/2/1861

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Image: Asst. Surg. Dr. George Miller Sternberg, U. S. Infantry Battalion

7 01 2023
Dr. George Miller Sternberg, U. S. Infantry Battalion (Wikipedia)
Dr. George Miller Sternberg, U. S. Infantry Battalion (Wikipedia)

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Asst. Surg. Dr. George Miller Sternberg, U. S. Infantry Battalion, On Capture and Escape

7 01 2023

A FALSE STATEMENT POSITIVELY REFUTED. – Dr. Sternberg, Assistant Surgeon, U. S. A., who, after the battle of Bull Run (on Thursday, the 21st instant) remained behind to attend to our wounded, reached this city last evening. On becoming a prisoner of Beauregard, he gave his parole not to attempt an escape for four days, and with the rest of the Union surgeons and their assistants made prisoners at the same time, was permitted to devote his attention wholly to our wounded until his escape. He says that our wounded were treated by the disunionists in all respects as well as they treated their own, except that in bringing them in from the field they brought their own in first, and in that way all of ours were not gotten in until sometime on the Tuesday following the battle.

He remained their prisoner without attempting an escape, for four or six hours after the expiration of the time for which he had given his parole, and then took occasion to get away, He was some days in making his way through the woods to the Potomac, where he built a raft and launched himself upon it. Fortunately, he soon found a boat, on which he managed to cross the river, to find himself among friends. – [Washington Star, July 31.

Pittsburgh (PA) Daily Post, 8/3/1861

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Thomas Saltus Lubbock and Benjamin Franklin Terry, Longstreet’s Brigade, On a Scout

27 12 2022

Texans on a Scouting Expedition. – A correspondent writing from Fairfax Court House to the Charleston Mercury, says:

Yesterday Messrs. Thomas Lubbock and Col Terry, of Texas, who had come on to negotiate for the acceptance of a company of Texas Rangers, got up a party and started on a scout. They penetrated to within four or five miles of Alexandria; passed between the sentries and their pickets; turned upon the sentries; shot two, wounding them at least, and took two prisoners, whom they brought to camp, to the great relief of friends who saw them start, and were conscious of the perilous adventure upon which they started. Col. Terry’s horse took the bit between his teeth and carried his rider at full speed into the picket guard of the enemy, but they broke at his approach, and soon after bringing his horse to his senses with the butt of his pistol, he rejoined his friends in safety. Captain Lubbock is brother of the present candidate for Governor in Texas, and Col. Terry is brother of Judge Terry who killed Broderick in California[*]. It is hoped their offer of their company to the government will be accepted upon the terms upon which it is offered, and that they will soon be on the field.

The (Prattville, AL) Autauga Citizen, 7/25/1861

*Lubbock-Broderick Duel at Wikipedia

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Lt. Henry Cornelius Hasbrouck, Co. D, 5th U. S. Artillery, And His Horse

25 12 2022

At the commencement of the battle of Bull Run, lieut. Hasbrouck, of the West Point Battery, was riding a little sorrel horse, which was shot three times, and from loss of blood became too weak for further service. He was stripped of bridle and saddle, and turned loose, as his owner supposed, to die. In the heat of the contest nothing more was thought of the little sorrel, nor was he seen again until the remnant of the battery was far towards Washington on the retreat. It paused at Centreville, and while resting there Lieut. Hasbrouck was delighted to be joined by his faithful horse, which by a strong instinct had obeyed the bugle call to retreat, and had found his true position with the battery. He come safely into Washington, is now recovered from his wounds, and ready for another fight.

The Wheeling (VA) Daily Intelligencer, 9/6/1861

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Resignations of Capt. Frank Crawford Armstrong, Co. K, 2nd U. S. Dragoons, and Lt. Manning Marius Kimmel, Co. G, 2nd U. S. Cavalry

24 12 2022

RESIGNED.

The resignations of the following officers have been accepted by the President, viz:

Capt. Frank C. Armstrong, Second Cavalry; Capt. John G. Walker[*], Third Cavalry; First Lieutenant M. M. Kimmel, Fifth Cavalry.

The Baltimore (MD) Sun, 8/28/1861

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After the battle, Armstrong and Kimmel traveled together to Louisville, Kentucky, and resigned their commissions on consecutive days (8/13 and 8/14, respectively) at the Galt House, and both joined the staff of Brigadier General Ben McCulloch as majors. Armstrong went on to become a Confederate brigadier general, while Kimmel remained a staff officer, also serving under Earl Van Dorn and John Magruder. Kimmel’s son Husband was in command of the United States Pacific Fleet on Dec. 7, 1941. His grandson Manning was lost at sea in World War II in command of a submarine.

*John G. Walker was not present at First Bull Run. He would attain the rank of major general in the Confederate army.

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Burying the Dead

23 12 2022
Federal Graves in Rear of Sudley Church, Thornberry Children (LOC)

[Correspondence of the Savannah Republican.]

Thrilling Scenes – Burying the Dead at Manassas.

It commenced to rain early on Monday morning – the day after the battle – and continued to pour down in torrents all that day and night. Tuesday the sun came out, and it was very hot, as it was on Wednesday, when I made my second visit to the field. All of our wounded that could be found were cared for on Sunday night, though many of them were exposed to the drenching rain of Monday, their tents not having arrived. This was no disadvantage, however, as the rain served to keep down fever and to prevent mortification.

On Monday our dead were buried, or boxed up and sent home for interment, and many of the enemy’s wounded were brought in an attended to. All day Tuesday was devoted to burying the dead on the other side, and yet the work had not been half finished when I arrived on the field Wednesday morning. So intolerable was the stench arising from the dead, and especially from the horses, that our men had been compelled to suspend their humane labors. I did hear that some of the prisoners we had taken were subsequently sent out and ordered to finish the work, though reluctantly.

It was a sad sight – the battle field that day. The enemy’s dead still lay scattered in every direction, and the silent vultures had begun to circle above them. They were well clad, and were large and stouter men than ours. Nearly all of them were lying on their backs, some of them with their legs and arms stretched out to the utmost. Many had their feet drawn up somewhat, while their arms, from the elbows, were raised, and the hands rather closed, after the fashion of boxes. It was singular, and yet the prevailing attitude. Most of them had sandy or red hair, and I have observed that this is the predominant color among our own soldiers. those who were not killed instantly had almost invariably torn open their shirt collars, and loosened their clothing about the waist. There was nothing marked in addition to this, by which we could tell whether their death was sudden or lingering. It was the color of the face. If the body had time to become cool and quiet before death, the corpse was pale, though not so much so as those who die from disease. Those who were killed instantly, however, and while heated and excited, were purple and black in the face. In such cases, the blood being in full circulation, there was not time for it to return to the heart before the body had ceased all its functions. At least, I suppose such is the explanation, and a physician confirms me in it.

Such of the poor wretches as had been buried were placed in long ditches or trenches, some twenty or thirty in the same trench. Of course it was impossible to procure coffins or boxes for them. they were laid away in the same attitude in which they were found, and in which their bodies had become stiff and rigid – one with his arms and leges stretched out – another bent nearly double – a third with hands stretched out, as described above. One poor fellow had died with his arms clasped around a small tree, and others with their hands clasped tightly about their muskets, or such twigs or roots as were within their reach. One was found with his bible open on his breast. Some had their hands crossed and the whole body composed after the manner of a corpse. A few were found upon whom there was not the least wound or mark. Whether they had died from sun stroke, or from exhaustion, or simple fright, it was impossible to say, though probably it was from the first cause.

I was glad to see that most of our own dead had been buried upon the battleground – many of them where they had fallen. In some instance those belonging to the same company or regiment were gathered up and buried near each other, each little hillock being marked by a board or stone with the name of the hero cut upon it. What more fitting cemetery could be found for the gallant dead than the field which had been sanctified by the precious blood and rendered forever immortal by their deeds of valor! I can sympathize with the tender sentiment that would gather up the honored ashes of its loved ones, and transport them for interment in the old family burying ground in the far South; and yet I can but admire that stern patriotism – if it may be thus called – which would prefer the torn and bloody plains of Manassas to the proudest mausoleum below the sun.

The Wheeling (VA) Daily Intelligencer, 9/10/1861

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