Special Collections. Corp of Cadets from Imagebase image number t15-094

Memoir of ARCHIBALD ATKINSON, JR.,

born Smithfield, Isle of Wight Co., Va., February 23,1832;
died Baltimore, Md., October 29, 1903.







The images were scanned from: The Medical and Surgical History of the Civil War [formerly entitled The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion (1861-65)] (Broadfoot Publishing Company, Wilmington, North Carolina, 1991).


Transcription of Text

Transcription by Dorothy Bodell and Stephen Zietz, 1994


[Inside Front Cover]


Can use Thomas Harrison, son
of Burr if needed
also Col. Levin Powell of Va.


[Page 1]


When we were ordered to the Potomac (some 150
miles in a straight line) we had to travel at night, the
heat being too great to press the horses during the
day; + it also being easier to conceal our movement
from the enemy under cover of darkness.
About 4 o'clock one morning, the Col. asked
me to take Lieut. Phillips + go on ahead to select
a camp where there w'd be trees to which to tie
the horses, pure water, + the proximity of a wheat
field. We pushed on, + in about an hour found
a suitable place, marking the spot as arrang-
ed by placing a piece of paper under the
top stone of the fence. Hearing firing we went
on to where we saw a great fog as if near
a river, which proved to be the Potomac
+ we passed through Shepherdstown, +
descending the steep bank crossed at
[In margin: Shepherdston] the Shepherdstown ford. We did not
know where the infantry was, but knew by
the great number of stragglers that
they were in Md. We pushed on 1 mile
+ came to the battle field of Sharpesburg
on Antietam. We had no business there + sat on
our horses beside a straw stack on which were
hundreds of people. Soon the cannon balls fell all
around us + Phillips proposed that we should fall back
200 yds. to a corn field + feed our horses. We took our
bridles off when a shot fell like a great stone within
five feet of us, but failed to explode. We then took
the corn behind another stack where the horses
ate their feed on the ground, squatting at
each cannon ball which struck the front
side of the stack. Going back across the
river, I met my brother Bob on his way to
Shepherdstown. He asked me to go with him
+ took me to Dr. Paron's house where I found
our cousin Lilly Lee + her sisters attending


[Page 2]


the wouded [wounded] in their house + yard. I passed poor
Buck Cocke, + gave him all the contents of
my haversack for his breakfast.
x x x x x x x x x x x x
[In margin: Middleburg] We were at Middleburg kept by Gen. Stuart's disobe-
dience of Gen. Lee's orders to follow him. Gen. Stuart had
allowed Gregg Averill + Buford, yankee cavelry
generals, to delude him by their feint of attack-
ing the rear of Lee's army, + Gen. Stuart stayed
there fighting a fresh brigade each day.
If he had gone on as directed by Lee, he
would still have been between Gen. Lee's rear
+ the enemy. As it was, Gen. Lee did not know
what was before him + had to feel his way along
through the lower valley of Va. to cross the
Potomac, nor could he know if the enemy
were before, behind, or on either flank. It
was when Stuart left Middleburg + passed
through Upperville + was crossing the Blue
Ridge at Ashley's Gap that my Brother Bob
did himself so much credit as to induce
Col. J. Lucius Davis[5] of the 10th Va. Cavelry to say
that he had covered himself with glory
x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
After the battle at Sewell Mountain, a house
was assigned to me as hospital for my
men, as it was locked + deserted I had
to get in through a window. Whilst I
was investigating the manager for the owner
of the house came + asked why I had entered
the house. I told him my object, + he went down
the hill. In the meantime I had the windows
opened so as to air the house + was arranging
in my mind how I'd place my sick men, when
an orderly rode up with an order from Gen.
Floyd to report to him near by. I did so, giv-
ing him Gen. Wise's order + he said " now Dr.
please return to Gen. Wise, + give him my com-
plements, + say he cannot have the house
for a hospital as Gen. Floyd will occupy


[Page 3]


it himself as his head-quarters.["] I asked him [to]
give me the instructions in writing, which he
did. It may be well imagined Gen. Wise was
not especially pleased at having his orders
disregarded, but Gen. Floyd was his senior
+ really was in command. Gen. Wise was not
the most amiable for it. Gen. Floyd had order-
ed the whole command to fall back from
New River + Gen. Wise refused to obey. He was
soon ordered away + shortly after followed
the disaster at Roanoke Island in N.C. when
poor Jennings Wise was killed. He was
a great favorite + an idol with his
father. After Gen. Wise went back from Sew-
ell Mt. to Richmond, Col. J. Lucius Davis
was in command of the Wise legion. He was
Col. of the Wise cavalry then, which after-
wards was made the 10th Va. Cavalry. Con-
sisting of companies from Henrico Co.
(Capt. Magruder), from Richmond City, on[e]
from Petersburg,. Capt. H. Clay Vale, one from
Franklin, Capt. Rosser, one from Albermarl
Capt. Delters, one from Rockingham, Capt.
Pennybacker, one from Dory + Davidson Cos.
McCofts, Wm. B. Clements, another from
Richmond City under Capt. Robt. Caskic,
one from Rockbridge, Capt. Davidson, one
from N.C. Capt. Tincker. I cannot just now
recollect any others. Of course there is choice
in all Cos. of a regt., few are altogether bad
+ rough, some of our companies were good.
[In margin: Sewell] It was about this time that a message came down
the Mt. to my hospital asking if I could take a sick soldier
in, + allow his Co. physician to attend him. I was glad to do so
both because I had an excess of work + a scarcity of
medicines. The man proved to be one from an Ala.
reg. and was suffering with Camp fever. The poor
fellow was burning up, skin, brain, stomach
+ bowels. The Dr. asked my advice + I urged
him to [ ] stimulat[ive] or the man woul[d] [die]


[Page 4]


of brain fever. He however thought his plan was
the wiser, + in 48 hours the man was a raving ma-
niac, + the Dr. then asked me to secure an am-
bulance that the man might be taken to the
convalescents hospital at the White Sulphur
Springs
,[6] the man died that night in the am-
bulance. I had the Vaughan Hotel for my hospital,
nominially a cavalry hospital for the sick of the
Wise legion, but I never turned any sick man off.
The house was in a large meadow + as a cavalry-
man came in his horse would be turned into this
meadow where besides an abundance of good
grass there was plenty of water. I had about 500
sick + convalescent soldiers, cavalry, infantry + artillery
of all the comanders in that section. There
was an epidemic of measles in the army + every
soldier who had not been 10 miles from his home
before he enlisted was seized with it. I've had
boys of 16, + fathers of 60 years lying side by side
on straw beds placed on the floor all suffering from
measles or some of its complications. We had the poorest
commissary arrangements,+ all I could get for my
men was salt + hard crackers. I made the conva-
lescents shoot squirrels, ground hogs, pheasants,
+ turkeys with which to make soup for the men.
I don't know how poor fellows fared who were sick
in camp. I made all sorts of soups + stews for the
men. The nights were as cold as in Jan. lower down
for we were high up the mountain, + had to have
fires all the time.[7] One night about 10 o'clock in a
pouring rain the infantry came marching by
the hospital. There were ambulances all laden
with tents + trunks (for early in the war officers attempt-
ed to carry trunks) then came artillery + the rattling
over the corduroy road was fearful. No one would
or could tell us any thing as to why they were
vacating so suddenly. I had never seen an army
terror stricken before, + though I could not see the
men for the rain + darkness, I knew their hearts were
in their throats. They went [as if] they thought Gen.

[Page 5]


Rosecrantz's army was within 200 yds. of them. In
stead of 15 miles behind with a swollen river
between, they would stop for nothing, listen to
nothing, but rushed on hurry scurry + not
a word for any one. I had over 400 sick men
in the hospital + in the sheds + barns around
the premises + I did not wish them to be captured
but I made up my mind if this had to result
from the mismanagement of those in command
I would remain with them. Two weeks before
my reg. had gone off over towards Lyon river
for some secret raid. I being in the hospital +
in charge of the sick did not know of their
going. Dr. C the senior in charge of the Wise legion
(as it was called) had sent me word that he had
left a couple of large boxes back on the road near
Hawk's Nest + if the command vacated that sec-
tion please to look after them. He should have
turned them over to the quarter-master of the legion
+ there would have been no furthur trouble or re-
sponsibility about them, but it was his way as
I found afterwards to do things on the spur of
the moment + without any idea of system, con-
venience or responsibility. I had told him I
would do my best if any thing happened. I asked for (next page)
x x x x x x x x x x x
We reached Culpepper C. House the day after the
great storm. x x We had been in Orange Co. + had
picketed Raccoon ford + there abouts. No one of us
knew why, when all of a sudden there was a move-
ment across the Rapidan river + there began a run-
ning fight. He crossed under cover of our horse
artillery which scarcely made noise enough to
frighten any body. We kept on fighting as we
went. We were evidently on the advance for we were
pressed forward, first one reg. would go forward
+ have a tug for ten minutes + then another would
go up to support it.[In margin, "page 398"] No falling back towards the
river until when we reached the neighborhood
Brandy (some 9 miles off) we were well into it.
[In margin is statement "out of place here]

[Page 6]


volunteers + one Corvell from Franklin Co. (Rosser's
Co. [9]) agreed to go back with one to get the supplies
which Dr. Clendenin had left. The whole lot was not
worth the risk of being captured or killed in secur-
ing. We pressed a wagon + horse + made the
driver go back. We passed Dogwood gap in the moun
tain where I knew Gen. Wise was in quarters. We
knew there must be pickets out beyond Gen.Wise quarters.
We were as silent as possible, but could hear men's
voices + see lights way down the road. We got
the boxes on the wagon + started back, as we re-
passed Gen. Wise's quarters about 4 A.M. I went in +
was Capt Tabb his adj-general to whom I told
the trouble. Just then some one cried out from
the next room, "Who in the h- is that here at this
time of the night? + what in the d--l do you want?"
I told him who I was + what I wanted; that his officers
had taken all the ambulances + loaded them with
their tents + baggage, leaving the sick to whom of
right the ambulances belonged to be captured
at the various hospitals. He asked what I thought he
should do under the circumstances. I replied that the
only proper thing to do was to send a courier after
those ambulances + to have the officers throw out
their tents + baggage in the mud + rain + bring
back the ambulances to my hospital for the sick.
There were over 20 ambulances. I got Capt. Tabb
to write the order + send the courier right off. We
then went back to the hospital reaching there about
7 A.M. I found many of the convalescents had gotten
off, + I knew Gen. Wise would now notify me when
to fall back with the remainder of my sick.
I gave the wagon driver his breakfast + dinner +
food for his horse + he felt rewarded. By noon
the ambulances were returned + I put into them
all the men who could not walk + sent them off. It
was a hard night which I shall never forget.
Gen. Wise praised me for my action, + I never heard
any thing more about the officers but we vacated that
part of Sewell Mt. + never went back, Rosecrantz never advan-
ced [as far as I kn]ow.


[Page 7]


[In margin - Gen Wise Gen. Floyd] Gen. Wise was kept in hot water all the time
he was in Sewell Mt. (in W.Va.) He was rebellious
towards the orders of Gen. Floyd, who did not love
him, + who was an active go-ahead officer.
Their dislike was mutual, + no doubt imparred
the efficiency of the service until Gen. Lee see-
ing nothing was accomplished, had to go out
there to reconcile matters. The men had better
have been with the general command for
there was no good in having troops out there.
They only drew the Yankees + antagonized that part
of Va. against the eastern portion. It was a good
thing when the forces were ordered away, + the
same may be said of those around Beverly +
Sewell Mt. under Pegram + Garnett.
x x x x x x I remember one especially hot
day in May when as we were marching, men drop-
ped like sheep along the road, while others were
just able to drag their weary feet: poor half
starved creatures trying to fight upon food
hardly fit to sustain life, whilst those they op-
posed were not only more numerous but got
their full quota of sleep, rest, rations, condensed
milk, the best soup (which the French say makes
the soldier) + frequently big dinners before battle.
The Yankees had men enough + to spare, enough
to relieve guard, to allow for straggling on such
a day as May 12th. Who if they were foot sore +
leg weary could be allowed to ride in ambu-
lances. Men enough to spare half, + yet have
more than the Confederate line opposing them
had. Our men were broken down + half starved.
x x In Nov. 1861 Col. Davis said he had received a
dispatch stating that a flag of truce had been sent
over from across New River to Hawk's Nest (which
we then held) asking that a conveyance might be
sent to Hawk's Nest by 9 P.M. that night to receive
a lady + her baggage who had been passed
through the lines. The Col. asked me to go as the
"Gallant of the regt.," as he pleasantly put it.


[Page 8]


[In margin - Meadow Bluff] Col. Davis was in charge of the legion + we hung around
late in Nov. at Meadow Bluff, half way between
Little Sewell Mt. + Lewisberg. Dr. Noel was asst. sur-
geon of what was now the 3rd Va. but afterwards
became the 60th Va. + to it Col. Starke of Ga. had
been assigned. Dr. Noel was delicate + at Meadow
Bluff used to stay with me. messing as we could.
He slept with me + we made a bed of slats in a
tent which had no fly over it. One night the
snow fell so thick + heavy as to sag the tent cloth
over my cheek + temple. I awoke with my face
numbed. I had put Dr. Noel on the inside because
he was not able to stand the exposure. Soon
however his health became worse, + he was order-
ed to Richmond + thence with Gen. Field's Com-
mand to S. C. Col. Starke asked that I might
be allowed to take Dr. Noel's place in the 60th
Va. which had then gone into camp on How-
ard Creek between Lewisburg + the White Sul-
phur Springs
. Col. Davis sent for me, + told me
of Col. Starke's request, asking if I wished to go
that my regt. was out on duty, + he did not
know when it would return or where it would
report. I replied I would go if the Col. would
write an order to that effect. He told me
to write the order as I liked, which I did, mak-
ing it a point that I should remain with
the 60th Va. regt. so long as I considered it
wise. I had a great respect for obedience in
men + officers, + while I did not care to go back
to the Cavelry as it was under such an irreg-
ular + unsystematic man as Dr. Clendenin.
I did not think I ought to ignore absolute
orders if they came to rejoin the regt.
I remained with the 60th Va. (of which Dr.
Eugine F. Cordell was adg.) until a week before
Christmas when I received an order or request
from Dr. Clendenin through Col. Davis to join
the regt. in Russell Co. Va.


[Page 9]


[In margin - Miss E. Mason] I could not decline + started in the wagon. We went
some 10 miles + reached there about 8 o'clock with a guard
of half a doz. We were halted by pickets who said
they were instructed to await the arrival of a
messenger. At 9 o'clock a trooper arrived from
the federal picket reporting a wagon with a
lady in waiting. The officer of our escort guard
gave the command forward + we soon found
the wagon. In the mean time our wagon had gone
on with the escort after halting. The transfer of
trunks + passenger was made in the dark.
The lady seated herself upon one end of the
trunk + I upon the other. Not a word was
spoken for some time until the wagon gave
a lurch and I said "Madam it is rough here,
suppose you lean against me." She replied "I thank
you. I will, I know your voice this is Archie
Atkinson. Oh, I am so relieved." I replied "Yes,
+ this is Miss Emily Mason." (Her sister had mar-
ried my uncle Gen. Robert Chilton) We reached
head quarters about 11 o'clock, which was a log
shanty. Col. Davis appeared in full uniform,
the beau ideal of a gentleman of elegance, +
was presented. He had known Col. Mason +
the two chatted pleasantly. I escorted Miss
Emily furthur on to some house where she re-
mained all night, + then she continued her
journey to Louisburg to take the rail road to
Richmond.
On Sewell Mt. one of the men of the Wise Legion fired
as he supposed on the enemy, + the load went into the
mouth of a Mr. Romaine of Capt. Phelp's Co. I kept
the old man in the command, + we took him in a
buggy for 6 weeks. His tongue + cheeks + lower jaw
were shot all to pieces. I kept him fed by the bowell
with gruel, soups, egg + whiskey +c. He did well +
in 6 months his tongue had healed + he could talk
fairly well. After the battle of Spottsylvania we
got our wounded into the big house known as Wise
house, + I had mine attended to, and was aiding


[Page 10]


Dr. Parrish (of the 13th Cavalry regt. + senior sur-
geon of the brigade of W.H.F. Lee's). They brought
in a poor little fellow of the Suffolk Co. +
put him on the table to take off his thigh, he
being shot through the knee. It was Joe
Webb of Suffolk. Dr. Parrish asked me to
examine him + whilst I was doing so Joe beg-
ged me not to let his leg be cut off. I told
him I would do my best + asked him if it
would save his life would he be willing to lose
his leg- he said "no." I told him we would
give him enough chloroform to enable us to
make an examination. I found his knee was
pierced by a minnie ball but that the
chances were as good to get well with a stiff
joint as that he should die. So I won the
day + saved Joe's leg. I then went up into
the garrett to get a little sleep telling my
steward to wake me if absolutely required +
not unless. About half past 12 he came up
+ told me that some 100 Yankees were around
the house paroling the wounded. I crept
down stairs in the dark + went out to find
my mare. I had tied a white cloth to her
tail + soon found her. I rode 4 miles to
the Muddy run just as you enter Culpeper
C. House + called for the sargent of the
guard who sent for Gen. Rosser's adjutant.
He came down to the stream + I told him
of the Yankees being near + offered to guide
him with 100 good men to capture them.
We made a detour of some 2 miles + got them
all. Next day I had the disused rail road
track cleared of dirt +had a box car push-
ed up + got Joe + my men off to Charlotts-
ville. Joe so far recovered as to have a
partially stiff leg but a two inch heel rem-
eded all that, + he often thanked me for
saving his thigh + perhaps his life.

[Page 11]


We had been near Woodville for about
three weeks when we heard heavy firing
towards Culpeper C. H. in an hour or so we
received orders by courrier to be ready
to move at a moment's notice + it would
have been better if we had. It began to rain
+ the men were waiting all day in soak-
ing clothes, + no chance to cook any thing
to eat. Towards one o'clock that night in
a pouring rain we started towards Madi-
son C. H. We had two ambulances which
could not keep up, so Dr. Warren + I stayed
with them as near the rear of the regt. as
we could but after a short time we had
lost the regt. even beyond hearing. We could
not see an inch ahead of our noses, finally
I was sent word that the head of the column
had halted until the storm abated. In an
hour a messenger came to tell me to run
the two ambulances up into the bushes,
that the Yankee cavalry was but a few hun-
dred yards behind us. I would have carried
out orders if I had died for it, but I knew
perfectly well there was no cavalry behind
us as near at [as] that. I knew if they followed
at all it would be with deliberation. I took
the ambulances up the hill, off the side of
the road into the trees, + unhitched the
horses, + put a bag of feed on each horse
+ started down the hill where I knew the head
of my regt. must have stopped, but they were
gone. Dr. Warren began to growl "We will
never catch them," + "we are in the jaws of the
yankees." I said- "Well Dr., we will send the
driver on with the horses ahead of us, + we will
ride on slowly. I thought we ought to be near
a road which went from Madison C. H. to Cul-
peper. Just then I heard some one chopping
wood on my right. I said "Warren we are
near the Culpeper road," thus a light appeared

[Page 12]


+ I suggested his riding up + inquiring where
the regt. was, he said he had rather not do so.
I then told him if he would exchange horses
with me, (as mine was gray + his black + thereby
less conspicnous) I would ride up to the house
+ learn what I could. I rode cautiously up to
the light + asked the man if he had seen any
cavalry regt. pass by lately. He said "yes" that
the confederates had taken the Madison road
+ the Yankee regt. the other road. I did not believe
it, though I knew he thought so. He had taken
his family out of Culpeper that day + brought
them to this hut at the fork of the roads.
We rushed on blindly, but trusting to mother
wit + providence + we presently were halted by a
voice I knew to be that of Tom Sheppard. He said he
had been sent on to guide the regt. + had lost it- + that
he did not know what to do. There had been a running
fight there (James City) that afternoon + that the roads were
full of broken wagons + hay in bales. Warren + I tied our
horses to a bale of hay, + then we crept into a deserted
store + slept all night. Next morning we found the
regt., + I had the ambulances brought from their
hiding place + joined the regt. We were at Morton's
farm called "The Hall" in Orange Co. when Gen. Grant
made several feints to cross into the Wilderness. We had
been marched down by Verdiersville to the edge of
the Wilderness, + the[n] back to our camp. This morning how-
ever we heard firing but it was some time before
it became general, indeed men could not see where
to shoot. Towards 11 o'clock things warmed up, but
not until towards the afternoon were there many
wounded to be cared for. About that time the
firing slakened, + we knew the enemy were making
for some new point, may be only seeking for
an open field or less dense wilderness or trying
to hide their manoeurvers. We had to attend to
our wounded in the midst of undergrowth so
thick that we could scarcely move around, +
no water to be had for washing off the wounded.

[Page 13]


There was a dearth of every thing except bullets,
smoke + suffering. There was a sort of improvised bush
hospital gotten up by Dr. Grimes + myself, but we
could not even get our ambulence wagons to bring
us supplies for operating + dressing wounds.
Maj. Jno. W. Daniel of Lynchburg then Gen. Early's adju-
tant Gen. was brought with his right thigh bone fractured.
We examined him + the consensus of opinion was that
to save his life he should lose his thigh high up.
Dr. Grimes + I fought against it contending that for a
man to lose his thigh at that point even if he recovered
his life would be a burden. We gained our point +
finding the bone very much shattered we enlarged
the bullett wound sufficiently to pick out all loose
bits of crushed bones + rounded up the pointed
ends of the fractured parts, + he recovered finally
the use of his leg. I saved a good many limbs
+ all did well as far as I know. Though the Wilderness
+ Spottsylvania battles ocurred in May, it was
very hot weather + the close brush of woods com-
posed of small jack oakes 12 to 20 ft. high +
rather larger than a man's arm made the heat
almost suffocating. Added to this the smoke from
burning powder + leaves made every breath an
effort. It was almost impossible to distinguish
friend from foe. The firing was terrific + the
carnage awful. The thirst was almost unbearable
+ the whole surface of the earth afire with
burning leaves x x We had hovered all day around
the village now called Marshall, stopping to camp an hour
or so, then moving on a short distance. Col. Davis ask-
ed me to go + look for a breakfast supper, so I took
Dr. Grimes + we went off behind the village towards
the mountain + in about a half an hour came to
a small house + asked for supper. The lady cooked
3 chickens, + a lot of biscuits. We ate ours there + as
soon as all the remaining was cool we packed it
in our haversacks for Col. Davis. We reached a stream
in pitch darkness + were startled to hear what we
took to be the clanking of scabbards. After taking


[Page 14]


all manner of precautions to avoid capture by the
supposed enemy, the sound of two cow bells upon the necks of
fleeing animals, proved that whilst we were
not as quiet in our movements as we supposed,
we were also very needlessly alarmed!!
We over took the regt. which had started during
our absence near the Plains, where we were
ordered not to [moaddle?] but to remain
as quiet as possible. Just at the darkest
hour before day we were ordered in low voices
to mount, + we crept along for a mile. All at
once there seemed a dash from every side +
loud yells of "surrender." We had surrounded
+ captured the entire 1st R. I. Cavalry. After
a long rest we started again + I then found
we had quite a command. To my surprise
the horse artillery was pulled up the mt. side
at Thoroughfare Gap. We had a fine view of
infantry marching by on their way to Wash-
ington. For two hours these little horse artillery
guns peppered away at them. We could see the
dust of the shells fall among them + the scatter-
ing of the blue jackets, but we had too few
guns + they were too small against infantry.
They were useful against massed calalry [cavalry]
to stop or repel a charge. I had my hand
upon the right hind wheel of a caison when
Gen. Hampton said, "Young man, stand back
from there, don't you see they have our range."
I was so intent upon watching where our
shot fell, I had forgotten all danger. I moved
back some 20 ft. (I should have been in the gap
with my regt.) when in two minutes, a shot,
or shell struck the spokes of the wheel upon
which I had been leaning, breaking I think
one spoke. Gen. Hampton looked at me but
did not say, "I told you so," as would many
a man with a smaller soul. We soon found
we were wasting ammunation + let things alone.

[Page 15]


On my way from Gettysburg with a train
of 100 ambulances laden with wounded men
bound for Williamsport, we passed a wheat
field near Hagerstown, where we found Lt.
Col. Joseph Phillips in command of what re-
mained of Gen. Picketts division. I learned from
him that my brother-in-law adjatant James
F. Crocker of the 9th Va. Regt. had been wounded
+ left on the field. I was relieved to hear it was
probably a flesh wound. I afterwards heard
that his body servant Billy had taken Frank's
gray horse + started for home. I was assisted
at Williamsport by my brother, + steward, Wm. C.
Day + Dr. Green of Stony Run, Va. About this time
I lost my fine old Scotch shawl, gray + brown,
which I had brought to my mother from
Edinborough, + she had given it back to
me when I went off in the army. x x x x
We were camping near Hedgersville + in the
middle of the night came an order to the 10th Va.
cavalry to furnish 6 days rations to a cer-
tain number of men from each company, + to
have the horses in good trim for the next
day. Col. Davis sent for me + said he would
like for me to go with them. There was a
man always detailed to accompany me
to carry the knapsack containing bandages,
pocket case of instruments, + a small ampu-
tating case. In cavalry we could do less
for our wounded than in infantry, for the caval-
ry troops are the eyes + ears for the army, +
we usually on the move. We stayed near H-
until the order came to move quietly down
the mountain to within a mile of the Potomac
river. We were then told to take saddles off
the horses + rest + feed them, for we had
each corn + oats with us. About 10 o'clock at
night it was asked who would volunteer
to ford the river + gain information as to
the location of the Yankee pickest [pickets].


[Page 16]


Lt. Phillipps of the Frankin County Co. volunteered
to take 20 men + ford the river on foot. They
returned before day with information that there
were about 40 men stationed at the aqueduct
+ that they had blockaded the Hedgesville (Va.) side,
knowing that there was a blind ford over which
people passed into Maryland. Phillips found
this aqueduct was the Chesapeake + Ohio Canal
which ran from Georgetown D.C. to Cumberland,
+ which was begun by Md. to connect with the
Ohio river but was never completed. Under
this canal was a tunnel like opening which
the Yankees had barracaded on the river side.
Phillips [sic] made this report + at 9 A.M. the command
started over quietly. By going above this tunnel
the men were captured + we were now in
Md. We pushed on until word come along
the line that we were in Penna. + that de-
tails of 4 men from each company would
go to the right + left of the pike to get
horses. One of the captains asked me to go
along, + I was glad to do so. Soon we
struck the Mercersburg pike + shortly found
a bunch of covered wagons each with 4
horses + loaded with goods. The Capt.
rode up to the first wagon + ordered the
driver to halt + to take out his horses, which
was quickly done, + we soon had as fine a
lot of animals as one would wish to see.
These horses were furnished with the old
fashioned bells so usual before rail roads
became so numerous. If a wagon became
stalled on those days, + another team pulled
it out of the mud, the helping driver was
given the string of bells which was highly
prized + added to his own. At Mercers-
burg a few miles furthur on we went
into a livery stable + took out a number
of fine horses which we took along with
our command. We learned there was a

[Page 17]


column of Yankee cavalry going on our flank
+ as we moved they moved also. As we left Mercers-
burg + came to a big hill I noticed a nice light
buggy coming down the hill with a pretty mouse
colored pacing horse. Soon he came along by the
head of our column, when some officer shouted
to him "halt." He pulled up suddently saying,
"hallo, I thought you were our own boys." He was
a paymaster in the northern army. We allowed
him to ride along in his own buggy with the
command. We crossed the Potomac on our
return one week from the time of our entr-
ance into Penna. We crossed into Va. at Noland's
ford near Leesburg + also at Whites ford near
by. We had 3000 horses taken from Penna.
We never touched a horse in Md. + on our
return through that state the order was to leave
such horses as could not keep up + many of
the Penna. horses which were heavy draught ani-
mals. x One evening about 8 o'clock we reached
Chambersburg, by that time the advance guard
had gone up into the town, + what happened
there I do not know, but soon they returned
with bolts of calico, silks, hats, shoes, &c. one
man handed me a bolt of calico while others
let the rolls fall to the grown [ground] + would ride
off with the free end, saying "now boys, cut
off a dress for your girl in Dixie." Of course
the goods were red with mud, + no one wanted
it enough to pack it. Indeed it was all we
could do to pack ourselves + a little horse feed.
The corn we might have gotten along the road
was green which does not answer well for con-
stantly travelling horses. We found here many
sympathizers who did all they could to keep
out of the Northern Army, who thought the war
was wrong. These were so called "Copperheads."
Of course many sympathized only whilst we
were among them but they fed us + we were
satisfied. These people live in God's garden, for


[Page 18]


there is no more beautiful spot in the eastern
country than Cumberlang [Cumberland] valley. Washington
co. in Md. is the beginning of that valley + also
of the Shenandoah valley in Va. The first night
in camp near Chambersburg (which was in a corn
field) was any thing but comfortable, as it
was pouring rain + we were soaked to the
skin + had to lie down in puddles of water.
We stayed in this corn field until 5 A.M.
when we were ordered to saddle our horses
+ fall in on the pike facing as on the day
before. Then after an hours waiting, the rain
having ceased we entered the main street
of the town. By 7 o'clock my regt. was well
into the center of the town opposite a big shoe
store. The order had been passed down the
line forbidding all pillaging + interference
with private property; one of the men asked
me to go into the shoe store + get him a pair
of no. 7 shoes; giving me $2.xx in green backs.
(I did not know there was that amount of good
money in the regt.) dismounted + went into
the store asking the woman in attendance
to sell me a pair of no. 7 shoes for one of the
soldiers. She waved her hand very politely +
said, "Yes sir you see what is here, take what
you want." I said, "no madam, I am not here
to take but to buy." She replied "here is a pair
of no. 7 shoes- now select a pair for yourself +
pay nothing- I am so glad they have spared
my store + myself." She would not take any
money, + as I left the store she said, "Here Mr.
take these + give them to some poor southern
children." Just then a girl came up + touched
my sleeve saying, "Mr. don't you want a hat?
if you will come next door with me you may
have one." I followed her out of the store
into the back yard, + she led me into her fathers
hat store, saying, "now just take any hat you like."
I had on a wide brimmed straw hat


[Page 19]


lined with green paper cambric which kept the
sun out of my eyes, so I declined her offer +
went back into the street + gave the soldier his
shoes + his $2.xx. I hung the string of children's
shoes to my saddle + by degrees got a chance
to make a strong bundle of them + secure behind
my saddle with my feed bags. We had no clothing
to take. We wore no collars or cravats. As we slowly
moved through the town there was a halt for a
few minutes + I saw a hogs head of rain water upon
the pavement. I rode the horse up to drink when a
window in the house above opened + a Dutch man
said, "I say mister just you let your horse drink all the
water he pleases." I thanked him + said it was hard
the horse should have all the good things, + the
rider nothing; that the horse had had his breakfast."
I told him I could eat for two days + for two men,
-I had an eye for the Col.- So the old fellow came
back with 4 big slices of Dutch oven bread +
4 slices of bolona sausage just the size of the
bread. He said "you come back here for dinner,
+ don't let them burn mine house." I told him
I'd insure his house, + he felt safe. The Col. was
most greatful for his bolona sandwiches.
The poor Col. would have often gone without
a meal except for his dear Dr. as he called me.
Whilst I was talking with the old Dutchman we
heard quiet a series of explosions, but men who
hear those things often do not give attention to
them. The noise was the blowing up of ordinance
+ burning the depots. We learned afterwards
that a considerable portion of the town was
burned, of that I know only from history.
About 11 o'clock the column moved on pulling out
into the country + from that time making slow
interrupted progress stopping two or three times
a day to place the guns on the hill, or to prepare


[Page 20]


the cavalry for a charge or to resist a charge
where some road intersected the pike
upon which we were. We finally reached
Va. soil. I had not seen Dr. Warren for some
time when what should I hear as we marched
along but his voice calling, "hallo Doctor Atkin-
son, what have you got to eat?" I looked to the
side of the road, + there lay Dr. Michael Warren,
also surgeon of the 10th Va. Cavalry. He had
crossed the river as he could, + held on until
he found a place where he could lie down
+ sleep + join the men as they came down later.
At Murfreesboro we were treated very
kindly. I stopped at Lassiter's Hotel as did also
Col. Magruder, Capt. Clemens of the N.C. Co.
+ Capt. Phelps of a W. Va. Co.. We played cards
every night for the fun of the game only, as
I would not bet. One night Maj. Evans of
the 24th N.C. infantry reg. which was stationed
near by was our guest. He afterwards sent me
10 gals. of scuppernong wine, but unfortunately
it was put into a runlet [rundlet] which had for-
merly contained sorghum, + the flavor of the
wine as a consequence vile. The Smith-
field artillery co. were ordered to Richmond
during the summer of 1861 + remained there
in its defense until the fall of the city.
If I had remained with them, I would
have had an easy time, but I wished for
more active service. I went down to Moss
Neck where there was to be a great review
with the command. It was pouring rain,
+ I rode with Col. Hoffman of the Early's bri-
gade. We were going to or around Moss
Neck in Caroline Co. on the Rappohannock
river way below Fredericksburg, + we were
directed about 9 P.M. to file to the right
into a woods. We had to cross a ditch
by the side of the road. It had what


[Page 21]


in the morning was a good rail fence, but
by that time every rail had been utilized
to form a bridge over the then swollen
stream of water. In about 1/2 hour the
men (infantry) of the entire commang [command] were
asleep, fatigued by their long march.
I told the Col. if he would favor me by
sharing my couch for the night, I would
make a gilt edge bed of leaves for us.
I knew I should have to rake of [up] quite a
pile of the top leaves before I could get
enough dry ones to form the top layer, +
that he would never take the trouble to
do so. I told him to build a fire leaving
it to his good sense to build it away
from the wind. I got my leaves together, +
kept them in place by laying two short
poles at the head + two longer ones at the
sides. Then I spread the oil cloths on the
leaves + then a blanket. We ate our cold
supper of biscuits + boiled beef left from
breakfast + a drink of water was our
greatest need just then. I went off to
look for some, + finding the ditch we had
crossed shortly before I filled our canteens
having drunk what I wanted. In the
morning we found a thick sediment of
mud had deposited from the water in
the canteens, + the remaining fluid too
turbid to tempt us by day light, so I
concluded that my thirst of the night
before had induced me to swallow
liquid mud. Even our horses could not
be induced to drink from the ditch by
day light. Whilst I was away our bed
of leaves took fire + the Col. had much
ado to save it. The morning of the battle
of Rappahannock bridge, I found my self
amidst a lot of infantry men hurrying
at break neck speed down to the bridge.


[Page 22]


I don't know where my horse was, but
probably left at camp, until I could find
out what was to pay. We could hear heavy
cannonading along the river, but could
see nothing. Soon however we emerged from
the hill side into the open road, + we found out
what was the cause of the racket. The enemy
were in heavy force trying to cross on the
river, + our sharpshooters (on the Culpeper side)
were struggling to prevent their doing so.
Just as soon as a man placed his foot
on the Farquer side he would be shot
down. Gen. Early said he would give 60
days furlough to any man who would burn
their bridge. Now it was no easy matter to
get within 200 yards of the bridge, but soon
to the surprise of Gen. Early, of ourselves + of
the Yankees a little curl of smoke was seen
to issue from below the floor through the
cracks, + in 15 minutes the whole bridge
was in flames. Capt. Sam Buck of the Win-
chester Boomarangs co. of the 15th. Va. infantry
had swum under the willows + climed
beneath the bridge + set it afire. This ended
the battle, but the firing across the river
by the enemy was terrific, but was not
returned by our men, as powder + shot
were too valuable to us to be wasted at
such distant range, when it might be
sorely needed next day at shorter range.
I joined Earley's Brigade the day before the
battle of Rappanannock bridge in Culpeper Co..
I was assigned by Dr. Hunter McGuire to Dr.
Morrison whom I had known at the Univer-
sity of Va.. I had gotten transferred from
10th Va. cavalry to Earley Brigade first
that I might be with Capt. J.H. Bougham
of the 15th Va. infantry, + secondly because I
found that a surgeon in infantry could
care for his sick + wounded so much


[Page 23]


better in the infantry, where the command is usual-
ly in camp long enough for the sick to rally.
Whilst in Cavalry you are always on the move
serving as eyes + ears for the army. Mr. Lepps
was one of the best man [men] I ever knew. I always think
of him as I do of Rev. Wm. A. Crocker. He was a
learned man + spent much of his time in
teaching. After I was transferred to infantry,
I passed a good deal of my time with
him. Especially when we were on the march,
we rode + slept together when not in regular
winter quarters. Then I slept with Capt. Bougham
+ messed with Capt. Bougham, Dr. Geo. H. Eyster
(then the inspector of the brigade) Maj. Hay-
mond (the brigade comissary [commissary]) + Capt. Wm. W.
Williams (the assist. commissary) who was
from Orange C. House. John Valentine was
the Quartermaster's clerk, + Bill Hunter the
Commassary's [commissary's] clerk. Hunter was from Fluvan-
na co. + John Valentine from Louisa co., both
detailed from 15th Va. regt.. Mr. Lepps was the
chaplain of the Brigade, but I think he went
out with the Pocahuntas co. of the 31st Va. infant-
ry regt.. Mr. Lepps was ever on the look out in
what way he could help the men of his regt.. He
knew most of them were ignorant + he would
teach them reading, writing + arithmetic, +
the advanced ones Latin if they would come
to him for instruction. He asked me to join
him, + one winter we got the men to build
a large log house in which we taught such
as wished to learn. Mr. Lepps + I each car-
ried one half of an A tent as a saddle
cloth. We secured it after a battle + it
protected us many a night. He always
assisted me with the sick upon the battle
field + elsewhere. I think it was in 1863 that I
was ordered from near Martinsburg to Richmond
for examination. I reported to the surgeon


[Page 24]


general, + he ordered me before the board
of examiners. I did not go to the hotel as
board was $300.xx (Confederate money) a day. My
uncle Gen. Robert Chilton invited me to
his house. I found Aunt Laura very miser-
able with a head ache + said nothing would
help her except a cup of coffee. I saw on [in]
the paper where some one had gotten some
contraband coffee into Petersburg, so I
took the train + went over + bought back
2 lbs. of coffee which I bought for $25.xx a
lb. but even that was better than paying
$300.xx a day at the Spottswood hotel. I asked
Mr. Dunn (my friend on the board) to have
me before them at once + he ordered me to
report next morning. He was pres.of the
board. I think I was examined on
scarlet fever instead of gun shot wounds.
I was then handed a paper + asked to
write a thesis on the subject mentioned,
which I did + handed it with a farewell
bow to the honorable board. Dr. Dunn
followed me down + congratulated me.
It was a month before I heard from the
examination. In the room where I retired
to write up my thesis on "Opium Poisoning,"
I found an old friend afterwards of my
regt.. He had a paper to write upon a
subject he said he did not know a
thing about. I could not help him as I
was "on honor," but I noticed he never advanc-
ed above assistant surgeon. The board con-
sisted of Dr. Dunn, Dr. Henry Campbell, Dr.
Peachy, + Dr. Paticolas x x x At Summit
Point near Charlestown there was a litle church
on the hill + a few scatters [scattered] houses. Now it is on
the valley R.R. + has risen to the digenity [dignity] of a
village where many summer guests congregate.
We picketed there one night + at about
3 A.M. the Col. formed three companies, +


[Page 25]


said they were going to head off some Yankees
who had been tormenting the citizens a good
deal. We got to a cross road near Summit
Point + divided. Strange to say just at
the same time the two divisions came upon
the enemy from opposite points, + bagged
them like rabbits. They were laying around
a fire + in the ashes were about 2 bushels
of potatoes nicely roasted.
We always turned over our prisoners to
Col. Mosby's command + he attended to
the details of sending them to Richmond.
Near Summit was a station which is now
the Shenondoah junc., here we used to march
every few weeks + tear up the R.R.. We
would put a big force to work + by
night two or three miles of track would
be torn up + the ties piled in pens + set
on fire. The rails laid on the piles would
bend towards the ground from the heat
in the middle rendering it impossible to
re-lay them hastily. All this was called
Mosby's Confederacy-- from Fairfax C.H. to
Milwood, + from Point of Rocks to Snickers-
ville (now Blue Mont.). Shenondoah Junc. is
the point of crossing of the Norfolk + Western
with the B. + O. main stem. X X
About April 1st 1861 the young men around
Smithfield raised a company of artillery
+ they became very proficient in the drill.
They elected me company surgeon. My
father suggested I should not join any
company just then. He was much in hopes
that hostilities might be arrested. He was
always a man for peace. He said he
was going to Richmond on business, +
would see Gov. Letcher. In a week he re-
turned + said the Gov. would have a
commission for me. Soon the Gov. tele-
graphed me to go to Richmond + when I


[Page 26]


reported he handed me my commission as
assistant surgeon. I did surgeon's duty
throughout the war. I had a full surgeon
over me once + he was inefficient, + I had
all of his work to do. At Tappahannock in
Essex co. the river widens, + many creeks
empty into it, which afford fish + oysters.
Some 18 or 20 miles from this place lies
Miller's Tavern in Essex Co.. Col. Davis once
told me that the regt. (10th Va.) had been
ordered to the vicinity of this tavern, but
that they were going to camp at a tan yard
near there, + that if I chose I could go on
the evening before + tell Capt. Kable (who
had gone on two days ahead, with wagons)
not to look for him until the snow had
ceased to fall, but to find shelter for him-
self as best he could. So I took my hospital
stuart Bob Page + started off. I had an
idea of the bearings, + knew through what
counties we ought to go. We started I think
from near Milford station, on the Rich'd +
Fredericksburg R.R.. I knew we were going
into a fresh country where the enemy had
not been so I was happy in anticipation of
abundant food for man + horse. We traveled
steadily all day. We reached a church where
we found a corn pile and were sure Capt.
Kable had sent one load at least in an-
ticipation of the arrival of the regt.. An old
negro in a shanty told us that the gentle-
man (Capt. Kable) had gone some four
miles up the road where he bought the corn,
to spend the night. I should have gone there
also but learned that Dr. Henry Noel's father
Edmund J. Noel lived a few miles up
the road + that he would certainly take
us in for the night. So we rode on + enter-
ed his big farm through the "big posted
gate" as the negro had said.


[Page 27]


By this time the snow was falling heavily
+ we could but dimly see the large house
ahead of us. A dog ran out to welcome
us followed by an old gentleman. When
I told him who I was he asked us in + when
Mrs. Noel learned I was "Archer Atkinson who
had fed, nursed + brought back to useful-
ness" her son Henry, she could not do too
much for us. After a fine supper we were
shown into a room with two beds + after
a delightful sleep we arose at six, to go out
+ see to our horses. We found a man was rub-
bing them down, + we fed them ourselves.
In returning to the house I noticed a fine red
rooster whipping all the others so that truly he
became the "cock of the walk." At the breakfast
table I told Mrs. Noel that I was very fond
of pretty chickens + that I would very much
like to have the one I saw in the yard. She
replied "Yes take it honey. I'll have it caught
for you." We left about 10 o'clock, the snow having
ceased to fall. As I rode off with the rooster Mrs.
Noel said "now dear, don't you let that chicken
get to fighting, he is dreadfully bad about
it." I replied that "I wanted him to wake
me up in the mornings." I had not gone far
when I found my pretty rooster had lost an
eye in some fight. I kept him all through the
winter camping + took him to Spottsylvania
where we camped at Waller's Church. Here
it was that Mr. Page was thrown from his
horse + badly hurt. He recovered however
after some months + resides now in W.Va..
We met Kable, + next day the regement
came up, + we camped at the tan yard
near Mr. Roderick Duns place.


[Page 28]


In cavalry we were on the go all the time, in
front of our army, or way behind it. We
would be ordered 4 or 6 days rations, + off
we would go. Nothing melts like rations. I
would frequently eat all I could, + give
away the surplus, trusting to luck for
the next days meals, rather than carry food
packed in my haversack, or dragging
on my shoulder strap. Then too I wanted
the haversack for horse feed. It held nearly
a gallon + whenever we stopped to clear
the road or to wait for wagons or artil-
lery to pass on I would feed my horse.
He was my dependance + my companion.
I would often be on him from 10 to 12 hours
on a stretch. When we had time for a
rest, I gave him especial attention to
getting green food for him. I could
leave the regt. when I liked + I'd stop
+ allow my horse to graze for a short
time, or I would ride ahead + wait
for the regt. to overtake me. When we
left the section around Barbee's Cross
roads we went over by Flint Hill in
Rappahannock Co. A warning had been
sent the farmers that the enemy was ap-
proaching, + they had asked for a regt.
to be sent to protect them.This was done,
but the men were scared away by the Yan-
kee cavalry, + the citizens then asked Gen.
Stuart to send a regt. which could be
depended upon. He spoke to Col. Davis +
the result was the 10th Va. cavalry was sent to Woodville
on the Culpeper + Flint Hill pike. We camped
there for a month or more, when one morn-
ing about day break we heard a terrific
cannonading. Soon a despatch came "to be
in readiness to march to Culpeper C.H. at a
moment's notice." We remained all day
with our horses saddled until 8 P.M. when


[Page 29]


we were ordered to move by way of Slate
mountain. It was during a fearful storm
that we rode, and by the help of a guide
reached Slate mountain. One day before
leaving Flint hill vacinity we were marched
down to Fauquier Co. to the neighborhood of
the Marshall (Leeds) old church + about 11
o'clock we found quiet a heavy force of cav-
alry which had come over from about War-
renton junction to oppose us. I never knew why
they were there, or what we had to defend, except
perhaps to keep the approach to Culpeper well
closed. I think the whole brigade (Lt. H. F. Lee's)
was there, but all a man can do is to know
what is going on immediately around him.
My regt. (10th Va. Cavalry) was drawn up in
columns of 4, just behind + no doubt to
support the 1st N.C. Cavalry which was
ordered to charge up a small road or
path over which the fence (rail) had been
pulled down for 100 yds. perhaps. Col. Baker
was in charge of the 1st N.C. cavalry + he told
Gen. Hampton that his regt. would be blown
all to pieces, that the Yankees had a masked
battery hidden away in the bushes. Hampton
said "Charge any how." The regt. went off
with a rush + a yell but they soon came
back. Sure enough the battery opened on
them + played havoc in their ranks. I
do not know how many were injured or
killed. The bullets hummed by Warren +
myself + I said "what is a body to do Warren?"
He replied, "bite your tongue until it bleeds
+ you won't think of the bullets." I did so +
the pain of the bitten tongue made me ignore
the song of the bullets. We were not ordered
to charge, but remained there to support
the pass that the other regts. might get
away. In about an hour's time, we were
dismounted, + many sent to the top of the


[Page 30]


hill to act as sharp shooters; every 6th man
in a company is horse holder + keeps the horses
of four sharpshooters ready for them to
mount + fall back in case they are too
hard pressed. Whilst the regt. was await-
ing orders in a road between two high
stone fences a shot struck the top stone
just over our heads, knocking it over
my saddle just where I would have been
had I been on my horse, + tearing the leather
from the saddle. It would have taken me
just mid ship. After a while the sharp
shooters were called in + we slowly made our
way towards the Flint hill way, the Yankee
sharpshooters carefully following us at long
range. I was at the head of the regt. when
Col. Magruder tode up + said " Dock, Col. Davis
was looking for you just now. He wished you
to go over to see Capt. Pennypacker who is shot
through the spine + can never live. You are
a bigger fool than I take you for if you go."
I considered the Col's wishes as an order. I held
up so that the entire regt. might pass on
when the Col. who was at the rear (front then,
as next the enemy) came up stroking his
long beard- as he always did when pleased-
saying "oh! yes Dr., I knew you would wait. I
depended upon you when I said I'd like to
have you see poor Capt. Pennypacker. He
is over there in the Ambler house in the field
to the left." I said "all right Col., I'll go at
once." I did not take my attendant as
I did not wish him either shot or captured.
He was useful to me, + when in camp + at lei-
sure, I had him cobble up the boots + shoes
for the men. I had a haversack with me
in which was a pocket case of instruments,
bandages, vial of chloroform, + morphine.
I was on a young green mare, as I
had traded with Capt. McClellan the Com.


[Page 31]


who was going to ride to his home in Albermarle
co., + wanted a seasoned horse. She was awk-
ward + hardly bridle wise. I rode up to the
stone fence + looked over into the Ambler
field which was full of big shacks of corn
placed about 30 ft. apart. I hitched the mare
to a big top stone on the fence + ran across
the field to the back door of the house +
upon entering found old Dr. Ambler leaning
over Capt. Pennypacker. I saw at once the
trouble, the ball had passed through the
spine between the shoulders + he was paral-
ized all below that point. I left Dr. Ambler
the contents of my case, + in charge of the
case. I made my way back to my horse
+ struck out towards where I supposed the
regt. had gotten in the short time I was away.
I saw two men waiting for me- the Collins boys,
both members of Albermarle co.. I had done
both a service. One of them had his uni-
form shot through whilst waiting for my
return. We then hurried on to Flint Hill
to over take the regt. Just before reaching
our destination I saw a horse tied to a
sappling, left there (as a woman living near
told me) by a soldier in payment for a dinner
she had given him, saying he could get
no feed for the horse. I told her it would
starve if left tied up there + she said she
would be glad to get rid of it in return
for enough yarn to knit her son a pair
of socks. I gave her a pair of new socks
I had gotten in the valley + led the horse
to Flint hill camp + upon inquiring soon
found it had been stolen from a farmer
near, by some straggler intending to ex-
change him for a dinner as he did. This
was often done. Dr. Fontaine was the sur-
geon of the Cavalry Corps of Gen. J.E.B. Stuart.
He was a fine man + not aftaid to be where


[Page 32]


there was firing. He was killed I think
somewhere about the Rappohannock river.
We picketed the Rapidan at Raccoon ford
as well as others along the river. I remember
once going up to Raccoon ford with the am-
bulances. It was 40 miles + we made it in a
day. We reached there about 10 P. M. in a
heavy snow + reported to the officer in
charge + then proceeded to get up some
sort of a camp. I always made the driver
carry an axe in the ambulances, but it was
not on hand, + we had to borrow just such
as we could get, + after walking 1/2 mile I secur-
ed one which would hardly cut butter. The
10th Va. cavalry was encamped well in the
distance where they could get corn + hay for
the horses without hauling it. The regt. had
to picket the fords along the Rappahannock
river. I would ride over now + then to see the
different companies who made head quarters
at Brandy station. Brandy was a great
stratgetic point of importance then, it was
about six miles from Culpeper C.H. where
large bodies of infantry were encamped.
I was asked by a woman who lived near
Brandy to see + examine a federal soldier
who was badly wounded. I heard afterwards
that he had been Gen. McClellan's orderly
around Richmond. I think he was captured
as a scout. I remember once at Miller's hill
near Brandy station we were drawn up for a
charge when all at once the enemy sharp shoot-
ers got the renge upon us, + for some minutes
it was very hot. I was at the head of the regt. at
the left of the 4th. man - for it was in columns of
4, so as to make the regt. as short as possible, +
then get under the shelter of the hill-. I hardly knew
how it happened, but the enemy must just then
have changed the position of one of its guns, when
off went the head of the horse next to mine.


[Page 33]


+ a shell came booming into the ground a few
feet in front of me. Of course it was no uncom-
mon thing to go to bed wet + to stay wet all
night + the greater part of the next day.
The thing that troubled a soldier's mind
was where would the rations come from,
+ how much would there be of them. We
were often ordered to cook up 4 days rations
when there were only two days rations issued
to the army, then we had to get the extra food
from the enemy or from the fields along
the road sides. My assistant used to branch
off from the line of march + beg or buy me
provisions, but if he got more than enough
for a day or so they would be sure to go to
some sick + hungry fellow. The infantry
could not leave their commands nor get
over the ground - as could the cavalry-
man, + when an infantry-man reached a
house he would see frequently a mounted
soldier trotting off with a chicken or a pig.
We camped on a bluff in a pine
woods + with snow upon the ground such
fires as we could make would hardly
warm us, + would fill our eyes with the
irritating smoke of the pine needles.
Nothing is more provoking than to be forced
to build a fine of wet pine wood. For sections
where hard wood trees grow, there is usually
sufficient dead dry limbs upon the ground
to use for kindling, when the freshly cut wood
full of sap once gets started it burns with
great heat thrown off. At Miller's hill a shell
went through the head of the horse next to mine,
at the same moment the color bearer, a little
in the rear raised the flag + gave a yell
as a minnie ball went through his right
cheek taking the jaw teeth of both sides +
lodging in the left cheek. Another man grabbed
the flag + had his arm broken for his pains.


[Page 34]


It is difficult to realize now how small a
proportion of the balls fired hit a soldier.
We were picketing at Berryville on the Charles-
town road, + with half a dozen others I was lean-
ing on a big blue lime stone rock by the road
side watching the shell from a battery of
horse guns on a hill near by. A man with
his horse was standing near us when a shell
came througth the horse's shoulder + had
the man been mounted it would have
shattered his knee. Strange to say the
shell did not burst against the rock.
Dr. Lenis Buherman settled after the war
in Penna. + when we "broke up" at Appamat-
tox I gave him my pocket case of instruments
to begin life on. I kept nothing myself. Even
the archives of the brigade + divisions were
burned. It was a foolish thing to do, as
they told of as good medical + surgical
service as could have been gathered from
the archives of the northern army, + would
have perpetuated the work of the Confederate
Medical + Surgical Departments. But Dr. Grimes
would have them destroyed. The 31st Va. infant-
ry regt. did itself great credit in the fight at
Port Republic over the north fork of the Shenon-
doah river, where Turner Ashby was killed.
It always made itself well heard from for the
men were brave, + the officers very trustworthy.
Col. Hoffman had the reputation of being
a great land lawyer, but in many of the
affairs which concern us in the common mundane
routine of life he was mentally slothful.
He tried to be a disciplinarian but he
did not know how to control or to handle
men. He became judge afterwards + an
able one I am told. He lost his foot, + hearing
I had been exchanged and was at New London
near Lynchburg he telegraphed me to go to
him. I found two inches of the tibia bone


[Page 35]


protruding beyond the flesh. I rectified it. He was
fond of me + tried to indulge me in his
own stumbling way. If you asked him a favor
he would want to know if it was mentioned
in the regulations, so after I had been a while
with him, I took things in my own hand, or if
I wanted any thing I went to Gen. Pegram who
commanded the brigade. I never could be
much around head quarters of my brigade,
whilst I had transferred from the 10th Va.
Cavalry to Gen. Early's old brigade I had not
been assigned any special regt. in the bri-
gade, so that soon after I had reported,
Col. Hoffman then in command of the brigade
+ Col. of the 31st Va., asked me to give especial
attention to his regt. which had no surgeon,
+ Dr. Buttermore was the assistant surgeon
+ the men had very little confidence in his
skill. He had a shell to strike him in
the left side of his loin, laying bare the kid-
ney + tearing away all the muscles of that
side of the loin. He gave no utterances of
complaint save that maggots had been
allowed to get into his wound + their move-
ments kept up an irritating tickling.
I washed them all out + killed them
with the pressed juice of the Elder bush.
It keeps away the flies as well. I heard
afterwards that he got over his troubles,
but I should not like to be the owner of his
back. It is astonishing how great wounds
fail to destroy life + how some very trifling
ones are sure to kill. A man was shot in
the Winchester fight through his breast
bone, the ball coming out just to the right
of his spine. He did not lay up a day.
Col. Hoffman was a brave man but he was
near sighted. Men with defective eyes should
not attempt to lead men in battle. Gen Pegram
was near sighted also. I have known Col.


[Page 36]


Hoffman to lead his brigade almost into
the Yankee's mistaking them for Confederates
until the men would tell him of his mis-
conception. You had to fight in woods,
in bush, behind hills + in every way, + the
vision was not always the clearest. I have
seen men from 200 to 500 yards away
+ I could not know from the color of their
clothes to which side they belonged. I would
judge from the relative positions only.
Many mistakes occurred from just this
failure to distinguish friend from foe.
We marched into an ambuscade of
Yankees near Winchester once under Gen.
Ramseur who was a careless dare devil
sort of an officer. (Here it was I was stun-
ned by a shell) He begged Gen. Carey at the
second Mechanicsburg fight to let him
take a Yankee battery of artillery out of the
wet. Gen. Early knew it would be a foolish
thing to attempt, + that Ramseur would
run any risk to accomplish the purpose.
Early told him of the danger of great loss
of men, but Ramseur insisted + Early said
"well damn it, go on Gen. Ramseur, but don't
get all my men killed.["] Remseur had
what I think was the best fighting brigade
in the army + put that in front of his
division, + took the battery "in out of the wet,"
but oh! with what sacrifice of good men.
The brigade referred to was Early's old brigade.
Ramseur had been placed in charge of Gen.
Early's division. Gen Extra Billy Smith at
one time commanded this same brigade.
He was Col. of the 49th Va. infantry, made up
mostly of men around Fauquier Co.. He was a game
fighter + the men loved him. He carried his
umbrella into fights, + no one ever knew
why, possibly it was his theory that great
battles produced a shower usually.


[Page 37]


His life was written by Maj. Hill of Culpeper C.H.
A man named Joe Higgenbothem had been
wounded at the battle of Fisher's Hill on Sept 19th.
1864 + shot through the right elbow. He lay
upon the field all night + was taken then to some
house or temporary hospital near by. He was
sent to Winchester, + when he reached my hospi-
tal (the Baker) my stuart said a man had
been brought in the Federal ambulance, + had
erysipalas in his arm + he thought best he
should be refused admission. It was snow-
ing at the time. I directed that he should be
taken to a large room which I usually kept
to assemble men who had passed the inspec-
tors scrutiny. Joe recovered, with a fair use
of his elbow joint, which was cartilaginous in-
stead of good true bone. He was very grate-
ful to me + later named his boy after me.
On the river road near [by] was the Bernard
farm called "Gaymont" where Mrs. Dr. Martin
P. Scott lived. Gen. Lee would frequently camp
there. I went there once to see uncle Robert Chil-
ton who was on Gen. Lee's staff. Just across
was Port Royal on the Rappahannock river
near where Mr. Pratt had the famous picture
called the "school of Athens." The R. river is
not nearly so pretty as the James river below
Richmond + the dewlling[s] are neither so
numerous nor so palatial. The day before the
big battle at Spottsylvania C.H. the peremp-
tory order was issued for the surgeons to
excuse no one who could leave his cot but re-
port them for duty if able to walk. The surgeon
receives the sick at 6 A.M. from the sergeant [sargeant]
of the co. who brings them to the doctor's quarters.
Maj. Cooper reported with rhumatism of the
back, a very common complaint among
the soldiers caused from sleeping upon
the wet ground. I could not see any


[Page 38]


reason for my disregarding the strict order
sent me, so I returned him to duty. We
have to assume the responsibility of such
things, + a true man will not shrink from
it to please any officer, besides officers had
their horses, + if any indulgence was to be ex-
tended, I generally gave the men who bore
the brunt + trials of the march + the guns, +
who were really the engines of war, the prefer-
ence. As Gen. Childs said lately, " I am for
man." It is a big mistake to favor such as
are already blessed by freedom from
carrying guns, from picket duty, + camp
duty. Maj. Cooper went into the fight with
his regiment, + about 2 P.M. returned. I was
working over the wounded in a small house,
whose sides I had ripped off so as to get
light + air, when I heard some one saying
in most pitiable tones, "where is Dr. Atkinson"
I replied "hello Major, how is it?" He said "yes,
you did it." I found he had a minnie
ball to pass through the muscles of his
back just jumping over the spine. He
was a fleshy man which saved his back
bone's being injured. The ball had lodged
in the left side, + I cut it out. So the Maj.
did not have to report for duty again
for a long time. At Hanover the citizens
fired at us from the windows. Why the
town was not burnt I do not know.
Just across the stream from Hanover
Gen. Stuart was sitting upon his bay
mare with a squad of officers. I was near
by when all of a sudden down came
a dozen yankees at full tilt without a
word of notice right into the squad
of officers. Gen. Stuart saw his emminent
danger + leaped his mare over that
stream as though it had been a


[Page 39]


ditch. None of the yankees followed. I escaped
I hardly know how. On Sept. 19th. 1864 Gen.
Early lost the battle of Winchester. He fought
with some 15000 men against nearly three
times as many Federal troops. We had been
all the summer marching back + forth, up
+ down the valley, now to Harper's Ferry,
+ back to Charlestown, over to Berryville then
back to Winchester. Sometimes to draw the ene-
emy up the Valley + then chase them back.
On this day (Sept. 19th.) Gen. Early had gone to
Martinsburg. The first I knew of the nearness
of the enemy was the firing of cannon not
far off, + thud came a ball falling about
20 ft. from the little knoll upon which the
chaplain + I lay asleep. I paid little heed
to the first, but when they began to be nu-
merous, I awaken Mr. Lepps (the chaplain,[)] +
sent the yellow boy who attended us
to catch our horses which were down in
an adjacent meadow. I pulled down
the little tent, threw out the saddles which
we had been using as pillows, + hearing the
long roll, told the "parson" I would fall
in with the regt. + go on + see what was
to be done. The enemy had their artillery
upon a hill, + our men were told to lie
down + await developments. We remained
there until 11 o'clock before the enemy showed
their intention. It was a fatal engagement
for us, Gen. Early fought like a tiger but
the odds were too great. I got no breakfast
nor dinner which was I think the fate of us
all. About 5 P.M. I was told to take my
wounded into Winchester. Upon striking the
town I went up Market St., + upon passing
Mr Conrad's house I saw many wounded
men at a small hotel across the way. I stop-
ped + found Tip Johnston + Collin Hackett
doing what they could for the suffering


[Page 40]


soldiers. I soon had the hotel full of the
wounded. The army came rushing by
+ I knew they were in retreat, so I told
such men as could walk to get off as fast
as they could. It is wonderful how fast a lame
man can get over ground when he knows
the enemy is after him. By dark I had my
work done + was wondering how to find the
"parson" + my horse. I met Dr. Grimes the sur-
geon of the division, he was looking for
me with directions from Gen Early that I
should remain in Winchester with the wounded.
I told him I must have the order in writing
that I did not intend to stay in the Yankee
lines without the proper authority to show
why I was there. We were making every effort
then to get out of the town. I found a piece
of paper upon which I wrote my order +
Dr. Grimes signed it, + hurried off. I did
not see him again until the surrender.
The Federals arrested Mr. Conrad three
times + sent him to Ft. McHenry. After two
or three weeks he would be again in Win-
chester. He did nothing to warrent or
justify arrest but they always tormented
the most prominent citizens of a town un-
less they pronounced themselves union men.
The first night in Winchester after finishing
up my my hotel hospital, I was asked to go
across to a ware house which fronted on Mar-
ket St. just near the hydrant. I passed
through several hundred southern sol-
diers who were washing + cleaning up at
the hydrant. I went into a small front
room + found the floor filled with wound-
ed men. There were several surgeons, one
being Dr. Lawson of the 12th N.C. Regt. They
had no light, knew nothing of the place
or of the town. Just then an old colored


[Page 41]


woman came to the door + I hailed her
asking if whe knew who lived on the hill across
the way. She replied "yes honey, that's Miss.
Betty Conrads'." I asked if she would take a
little note to her asking to send us some
candles so that we might attend to the
wounded men. In half an hour the old
woman retuned with half a dozen candles +
one in a candlestick. She said "masser, you'll find
a paper wrapped around the candle in the
candlestick so as to hold it in tight." I
thanked her + said I understood about the
paper. I lit one of the candles keeping the
one in the holder for myself. When I had a
chance of examining it I found written,
"right, come over when you can." No name to
it. I had signed my name simply as
Dr. Archer Ackinson, as though I had never
heard of Miss. Betty Conrad. I went over
when I could, it was nearly 10 o'clock +
told cousin Betty I had five friends who
unless they had been more fortunate than
I, they had not eaten all day. She sent
old Stephen across with me with a big
waiter, a pot of coffee, plenty of hot biscuits
+ ham, besides a doz. hard boiled eggs.
Mr. Conrad + cousin Betty asked me to re-
turn + spend the night. When we might
talk over the condition of times [+ what
will it be come. My ??wishes - me
to ??] + eat at their house. I accepted
their invitation to breakfast next day, + then
went to attend to my wounded men. Then I
went to the York Hospital to see Dr. Love, who
had been there all the summer, + to consult
him as to what to do for my men, as to the
best means for making them comfortable,
of feeding them of having their washing
done, of getting fuel + boards to make
beds + straw to make bedding. He


[Page 42]


was very kind, + when I told him I had
scarce room he suggested that I should
take the ware houses which would accom-
modate a large number. This hospital acom-
modated about three hundred + was full.
I took his suggestion + had doors cut mak-
ing the three buildings connect + as each
was two stories high I had plenty of room.
I ordered some boards + set all the
men capable of working to making beds, +
it was astonishing how much we accomplish-
ed by night. Even the wounded men aided
as they could, + in a few days all had
bunks to sleep in. Dr. Love come down to
see me, + asked if I could accommodate
more men. I told him to send them but
not to let the other surgeons know I was so
well fixed up or I would soon become over-
crowded. I could have gotten other surgeons
to help me but I preferred to attend to my
own men so far as possible. Dr. Love found
out I outranked him, but I told him to have
no fear, I was not after glory or authority, that
I would rather have his help than to have
authority over him. So we understood each
other + thus it was better for the men under us.
I detailed my men to cook, wash, + to carry
provisions to + from the York hospital to mine
which was called the Baker hospital. Dr. Love
was regarded as Surgeon -in-Charge in Win-
chester. The people of the town were untir-
ing in their attentions to our sick + wound-
ed. They gave what they could, brought
fruit, honey, preserves milk + other deli-
cacies. I often found they really denied
themselves for the comfort of the soldiers.
Many a family there sat down to a break-
fast of parched wheat as substitute for
coffee + nothing besides, except bread +


[Page 43]


butter. A Mrs. Burns gave us a molassis
stew. There were a number present of the
most refined ladies of the town. The stew-
ed molassis was poured into large yellow
bowls containing many gallons + put upon
a shelf in the yard to cool. The Yankees
reached over the fence + gathered it all
in, so we had no molasses pulling
that night, but we had a good supper
+ a merry time all the same. Several ladies
were ordered to be sent through the lines
+ they asked if I had any thing to send.
I gave them about $100 worth of needles
cotton scissors, silk stockings + such things
as would delight the women. The Miss.
McGills, Rileys Holliday + many whose
names I have now forgotten were among
the number going south. My stay in Win-
chester was not unpleasant + I knew I could
do more for the men than a surgeon who
had no friends among the citizens of
the town, + my cousins the Conrads
were very influential people.
Gen. Ransem was killed I think, at the
Fishers Hill fight on Oct. 19th. 1861. His body
was brought to Winchester, + I found a place
for it in a room on the ground floor
of my hospital. The minnie ball which
killed him entered the right side of his
chest just under the arm pit + passed
through pointing under the opposite arm
pit. A Yankee surgeon heard he was
at my hospital + asked to be allowed to
see him. I pointed out the direction the
ball had taken + he wanted to cut it
out + keep it: but I told him he should
do nothing of the kind. I sent the flowers
which the ladies of Winchester had given,
to his wife, but she made no reply al-
though the Gen. had visited my house in


[Page 44]


Smithfield many times. Gen. Ransem took
the Yankee battery at Mechanicsville. He
also led the brigade out into the open field
near Winchester with the guns unloaded + we
knew nothing of the enemy being near until
they opened fire on us from a body of woods
200 yds away. Our men fell back at once,
having no chance to fire. It was the most
foolish thing I ever knew. This was when
I was stunned by the bursting of a shell
about 10 or 20 ft. above my head. I was
thrown to the ground, + must have laid
there several minutes. It seemed an hour
to me. I remembered hearing the explosion
+ falling to the ground.
It was a common thing to have a great
excitement at Winchester caused by the
report that the "Jessie Scouts" had come to
town. They were a set of men in regu-
lar Yankee service, gotten up + uniform-
ed in Confederate gray by Mrs. Jessie
Fremont (Gen. Fremont's wife) + was sent
through the "Valley" pillaging + insulting
the citizens. They were well punished
when Moseby got hold of them.
I forgot to say that poor Wilson Newman of
Orange Co. was killed on Sept. 19th.
I was given a printed parole, allowing
me the freedom of the city + the liberty of
going four miles outside of the town.
One very rainy night I received a note
from Cousin Betty Conrad, just before the
time for me to leave the hospital, telling
me that Mr. Conrad had been arrested, +
she knew I could help her if I would only
go with her to the provost's office. We did
so but were not able to see Mr. Conrad
as he had been sent to jail. Cousin Betty
pleaded + then urged me to do what


[Page 45]


I could to obtain his release. The provost
heard me through + then said "well sir
do you think this is keeping your parole,
coming here with rebel women, who
would burn us all up if they had the
chance." I could not but think the fellow
was right as far as his side went, but I
told him the lady was my relative, +
that she only pleaded for the release of her
husband whose misfortunes had come upon
him simply from his being the most promi-
nent man in town. I went home with her,
she was very brave. Next morning whilst
we were at breakfast Mr. Conrad walked
in. We rarely took breakfast until 9, as
I walked first every morning through my
wards to see that my men had their break-
fast. The badly wounded + ill were fed
frequently during the night by detailed
nurses. As a wounded man grew better
I detailed him as nurse, commissary
sergeant, or for some other duty, + he knew
if he did not act conscientiously he would
be named as ready to leave the hospital +
would be sent to prison. In Oct. I was offered an opportunity
to go to Savannah for exchange, but I de-
clined, preferring to remain + care for my
wounded. I always slept at Mr. Conrads as
they felt it was a protection, + kept the Yan-
kee officers from occupying the rooms. I
slept in one + kept my boots + clothes in
another so as to crowd the rooms as much
as possible. Several officers came + demand-
ed accommodation, + would not believe
old Stephen when he told them that a
Confederate Surgeon occupied the "great"
room, but when they went up + saw my
belongings + the bed (purposely) tumbled
they always left. I always lighted both rooms


[Page 46]


at night, so as to carry out the illusion.
We left Winchester for Balto. in charge of a
French doctor. There were 80 of us. When
we reached Stephenson's we were sent on board
the cars + then the French gentleman began
to go around to each wounded man +
to question him as to his troubles +c.. The
boys could no more understand his at-
tempt at English than his very good
French it was all as Herbrew to them. I
told him I would interpret for him.
He was in ecstacy to fine [find] some one who
spoke his own language. I piloted him on
until we reached Harper's Ferry when he
invited me out to take "just one little
glass of cognac with him." I told him
I could not leave my men but would be
very glad to have him buy me two bottles
of good whiskey. I gave him two "greenback"
dollars. In half an hour he came back
with my two bottles + no change. I had
told the men in his absence that I would
offer it to them but that they were to
take none of it as I intended it for
that Frenchman's throat by the time
we reached Balto. I had heard dread-
ful accounts of Donovan's jail (an old
negro jail) near the B.+O. depot where
soldiers had been put, + I wished to avoid
that. It was said that unless you laid
down upon newspapers, you would
be covered with vermin in 10 minutes.
I had seen enough of that sort of
thing, for I had witnessed men [in] my regts.
picking vermin from the seams of their
shirts + drawers. We reached Camden
station about 9 P.M. in a heavy bluster-
ing snow storm. My french friend
was loath to part from me. I had


[Page 47]


shown such an interest in him. I told him
as a parting favor I would beg him to
go to the provost's office + get 15 ambu-
lances + take us down to the West build-
ings Hospital, which I knew was on the
Norfolk dock + supposed it was probable
if they put us there for the night they
would send us by the boat next day to
Old Point + we would be that much
nearer exchange grounds. Sure enough
he did return with the ambulances.
I could have stepped off easily enough, but
I did not wish to leave my 79 men in the
lurch. When we returned, + most of us
had gotten into the ambulances I proposed
we should have one parting drink, +
asked him to allow me to invite a few of
my friends to partake with us. We went into
a dazzling saloon + I called for drinks all
around. After we had finished I handed
the bar tender a $10.xx "greenback" note,
which he put into his draw + after pretend-
ing to get change, handed it back to me
with a smile. We rode down to the West Falls
dock where the Hospital was, + the french doc-
tor introduced me to the lieut. in charge,
expressing the hope that as we were so near
the Norfold steamer we might be sent
down the bay next night. We had supper,
went to bed in the great ward of about 100
beds. Soon I felt crawlers on my face +
turned my pillow over. Then again- I
pushed the pillow under the bed, next I
got up. The man next to me said "there
is no use in that, stand it like a man, +
when they get enough they'll let you sleep.["]
I was so tired out, I went to sleep, but
the nest morning the bloody sheet showed
the results of the feast of the pests. We were
treated to a fine breakfast + dinner,


[Page 48]


which were greatly enjoyed by us hungry
confederates + about one o'clock I was
told to get my men in line, + we pro-
ceeded to the boat Georgianna of the
Old Bay Line. As we went aboard
a Lieut. handed me a package of fine
cigars + two meal tickets saying he was
sorry there was no stateroom to be had.
I gave Dr. Lawson one ticket + we ate
a fine supper. The entire saloon was
filled with cots + I got one of them.
About 10 o'clock a colored man pretend-
ing to be arranging the chairs said to
me "you are Dr. Atkinson from Smithfield
sir, I know you," he added that a gentle-
man in stateroom B wished me to tap
gently at his door sharp at midnight.
I did so + a gentleman opened the
door shaking hands with me + intro-
duced me to a Federal Lieut.- We
chatted a while + ate fruit cake which
the gentleman said had been sent him
from England. We had sherry + whiskey
I took the former but the lieut. partook
freely of the whisky until he fell into
a snoring sleep. The gentleman then
told me he had been in Daniel's N.C.
brigade as suttler, + that he had
left there (being non-naturalized) +
had engaged in Smithfield for the
Federal Army + that he had heard
my name + recollected how kind
my father had been to the soldiers
of his brigade when camped near
Smithfield at the beginning of hos-
tilities. I left him about 3 o'clock + took
to my cot. We reached Old Point about
7 o'clock A.M. after having eaten a
breakfast for which I paid.


[Page 49]


We were then marched ashore + placed in
line of 3 abreast - a Yankee negro soldier
with drawn sword on each side of the
head of the line. We went up to a one stori-
ed house where at a window was a federal
capt. + in the yard I could see a long line
of our old fellows (Winchester prisoners) who
had been sent off in Oct. to be exchanged, +
whom I had declined to join. Each man was
signing his name in a book. I touched my hat to
the Capt. + asked that we might be paroled
with the others, that I saw the steamer New
York was ready to start for Richmond.
He replied "I've no time to fool with you,
what do you know of the steamer New York?"
A man a little behind the Capt. nodded to me,
+ I said to the Capt. "there is a gentleman
who seems to be at leisure." He looked around
+ said "do you care to fool with these fellows?"
He said "I don't mind Capt. if you wish it."
Then said he, "get them in here quickly
+ parole them you have no time to lose."
In ten minutes we had all signed, + after
thanking both officers I marched off with
my companions to the New York which had
come into the dock as soon as the Georgianna
had left. We steamed leisurely up the James
(about 700 in all). We were kept some two
weeks about Dutch gap as Gen. Butler
was shelling the men on the other side. The
shells were morter shells + resembled mail
kegs, they were more noisy than dangerous.
We were finally exchanged at Rockets in
Richmond. I went at once to the Surgeon
Gen. Moore's office, + he said he had heard
all about me, + wished me to take two
months leave of absence. I said I only wanted
one month as I could not get home, + did
not care to trespass too long upon my
friends. He gave me transportation to


[Page 50]


Lynchburg + I stayed a day or two with my
Aunt Ellen Smith + went out to Campbell C.H.
where my wife + child were at my brother-in-
law's home, Mr. Wm A. Crocker. This Mr. Crocker
was the most useful man I ever knew.
He kept the family together amidst all
the dangers, difficulties + scarcity attending
the most distressed times. I hope he has
met his reward where trouble is no more,
+ where he so wished to go to join his dear
wife + his beloved mother. Soon I was called
to attend Col. Hoffman at Hotchets' run, +
was stationed at a point near Mattoox
opposite Petersburg where we stayed in
charge of the wounded at a Hospital until
the Sunday morning Petersburg was evacuated.
I had a big hospital tent full of wounded
men + officers who had been operated upon. We
moved on to Amelia C.H. where we stopped
to attempt a reorginazation + where the
artillery was parked. I met Dr. Dunn
there + we were sitting upon the ground
with our backs to a big tree, when
there was a great explosion + up went
the artillery into the air. The whold earth
seemed to feel the shock + every thing
was enveloped in smoke dust + debris.
We pushed on as well as we could
losing men from wounds + exhaustion
every hour until we reached a point
3/4 of a mile from Appromattox C.H. + on the
9th. the surrender occurred amidst tears
for the Cause we all loved so well, + for
Gen. Lee whom we revered. There the
men + officers were paroled to go to their
homes, the officers being allowed to re-
tain their horses. We had neither food
strength nor spirits left. Yet not one
regretted the course he had taken.


[Page 51]


We scarce knew when we reached Gettysburg,
we did not go up to the town at all, but were
placed I guess on the right. We reached there
about noon + were in position at once.
My regt. was engaged immediately on the
outskirts + in about one hour I was ordered
to a barn by Dr. Parrish to see to the
wounded. My regt. having 40 men killed
+ wounded. About 5 P.M. a courier came
to me with a large envelope marked- "to
be opened at mid night at Cashtown."
Knowing the order meant first to go to
Cashtown + that likely I might have much
to do when I reached there. I got Dr. James
Green assistant surgeon of 13th Va. Cavalry
detailed, + took my hospital steward
(Willie Day) along. At Cashtown I found
the quarter master ready with 100 ambulances
of wounded for me to take on to Williams-
port, or really-, where ever I could take
them. I saw it was not a matter of where
you wished to go, but where you could go.
I made the train travel two hours +
rest +, so that the horses could graze.
Here it was, out of some big barn
that Green + I rolled out a barrel of
clover seed - worth then $10.xx a bushel [-] and
fed it to our horses. We were passed by
great numbers of soldiers returning
from Gettisburg [Gettysburg]. We frequently slept
upon the ground as our horses crop-
ped the grass, + one morning Willie
Day + Green were still asleep, + I lying
quietly when some fellows passing
said, "they are asleep let's take their
horses." I was up in a moment +
they were off! A young man from Mary-
land wished me to take charge of his
horse + use him until he could sell him.


[Page 52]


I put the horse with those used for the ambu-
lances + gave instructions that he should
be attended to. One morning Col. Davis rode by
+ admired the horse I was on, + said "oh dear Dr.
do change horses for the day my steed is so jaded."
I said, "all right Col. Davis." He rode him all
that day. After 10 P.M. we crossed the Antietum
river + camped on the Hagerstown side in a
meadow about 5 miles from that town. The
next morning about day break Col. Davis
came to the bush under which I was sleeping
+ awakened me saying ["]Dr. how would you
like to ride into Hagerstown + breakfast
at the Hotel + bring your old Col. some when
you come back." I told him the plan sounded
attractive + I would be glad to take with me
the assist. surg. (Dr. Janston) of the 2nd N.C.
Cavalry with me. We reched Hagerstown
about 7:30 + hitching our horses behind an
old store opposite went into the Washington
Hotel. I told the clerk I wished breadfast for
myself + friend + would take a lunch
back to camp with me. I handed him a
$10.xx Confederate note, + he told me to walk
upstairs where I would be served, + that
he would have change ready for me
when I came down. I found in the dining
room a lady whom I knew, + we were
chatting pleasantly when a waiter informed
us that "sharpshooters are firing pretty sharp
sir, near the hotel." I was so sure that we held
the ford that I said, "oh they are only emptying
their guns." I bundled up the Col's lunch
+ saying adieu to my lady friend, we hurried
down the steps. There was no one in the office
+ the heavy door was locked. I kicked at
the door until the clerk came + opened it, +
in the excitement of finding the streets full
of Yankee soldiers no one thought of change.


[Page 53]


We found wounded men all along the
street, but we made for our horses + overtook
our troops which had already passed through
the town. The Col. had my horse killed under
him, + he was taken prisoner. Black Bill
Harrison of the Prince George Co. of 13th Va. Cav-
alry killed a Yankee Major by piercing
him with the spear of his flag staff, he being
color bearer. x x x
Lynchburg was the destination of Gen. Hunter
who passed through Lexington Va., burning
the iron furnace of Gen. Anderson in Botetourt
Co. Va.. This aim was to break up the rail road
connection between Richmond + the south,
+ south-western states so as to stop the trans-
portation of supplies + of troops to Va..
We were then at Orange C. House, + were
put upon cars of all sorts, passinger cars
box cars, cattle cars, + repair cars, + taken
as soon as possible to Lynchburg, so as to
head him off. We reached there about the
first of July. He was about 4 miles west
of the town near Forest Station . On
the night of the 3rd. he evacuated the place
+ Gen. Early started in pursuit. I received
orders as late as 7 o'clock to collect the sick,
bare-footed + wounded + find quarters
for them, + to follow as soon as it was pos-
sible. I managed to get 400 sick men
quartered at the Way Side + other hospitals
in Lynchburg + procured breadfast for
them next morning. The horses except those
used by the officers had been left at Orange
C. House. Uncle Doll Smith had the Way Side
Hospital + he told me he could do nothing
to help me, that his rations were consumed
by the unexpected presence of the army de-
manding provisions. I told him he would
have to give my men a breakfast, + draw


[Page 54]


for extra men for dinner + super. They
must he fed. After seeing that my men
were provided for we left on foot for
Liberty about 25 or 28 miles distant. Neither
Tip nor I fancied it but we finally reach-
ed our destination about 7 P.M. just in
time to lodge + to attend some men who
had been wounded by Hunter's rear guard.
If ever a man was hated it was Hunter,
from active, he became passive. His
men were scattered along the road, but
we got his wagons + much of his artillery.
He could not get it through the mountain
pass at Beauford's gap. We passed the
Hollins Institute in Botetourt Co. near the
Blue Ridge Springs. Gen. Hunter was a mean
man, a southerner + he burned his own
relations' dwellings near Shepperdstown.
We fared badly on this trip for food, the
cooking wagons coming up late at night.
We started at 5 A.M. to march stopping at
10 o'clock at a big spring for breakfast.
The buiscuits [biscuits] were made with mutton suet
instead of lard + could hardly be swallowed.
It was like taking a wax impression for a
set of false teeth. Your horse was your
best friend in those days. We got into
Maryland + slowed our pace. We knew
then we were making for the Potomac, + I
knew the water was high. When near Hagers-
town I saw a lot of men in a wheat field to
the left of the town, + found they were the
remainder of Picket's men under Col. Joseph
Phillips. We went to Westport on the river
where we deposited our wounded. Whilst
there a Yankee raid was made upon the
place. We go [got] up a lot of sick + slightly
wounded, drivers +c, + opposed them.
We were at Westport a week + then crowes [crossed]
into Berkely Co.


[Page 55]


Col. Skinner was shot through both eyes
at Spottsylvania Court House., also Capt.
Halsey of Lynchburg was shot in the
bladder. I did what was best for them.
Whilst here my gray mare had a
shell explode under her. I [It] was evidently
a trial shell finding the range.
Capt. Boughan was a great help to me
after a fight. He carried a door in
the bottom of his wagon to which 4 legs were
hinged + when a hospital was establish-
ed he would bury the legs a foot in the
ground + I had a good operating table.
Dr. Hunter McGuire used to speak of me
as "my working surgeon" + if there was any
thing of importance to be done he was
very apt to ask me to do it. On Sept. 12th. at
Spottsylvania C. H. he asked me when I
finished with my attentions to my own
wounded, to go over the hill + see about
500 yankee wounded men. I took
Capt. Boughan, two hospital stewards,
+ such supplies as I could get. We found
large numbers of wounded men mostly
unconscious or unable to sit up.
We did what we could for their relief +
removal. One poor fellow lay under a
chinquepin bush, he had hold of the end
of one of the limbs + had made a circle
around the bush by his violent + un-
conscious movements. He had been shot
through the brain. One Fedral [Federal] soldier
came up to me as I was leaving, + asked
me to set his collar bone which had
been broken by a ball + a piece as large
as my little finger was hanging by the
periosteum. I was fixing it so as to secure
the fragment so that it would grow back
in position, when an older surgeon (I do not


[Page 56]


wish to give his name) came up + said
"let me look at that collar bone." I told
him what I was going to do, + before I
could protest he siezed the fragment
with his forceps + jerked it off. It was
a cruel thing to do + I told him so.
x x x x x x x x x x x x x

From Appomattox I went at once to
Lynchburg + from there to New London to
join my wife + child. We then went
to Mountain Home where lived my
wife's brother Rev. Wm A. Crocker.
Mr. Crocker organized the Intelligence
bureau for keeping in touch with every
man in the army, sick, wounded + well.
He was its chief officer + was stationed in
Richmond during the war. The scheme
was so effective that it was adopted
by the Federals + since by all the civil-
ized nations of the world. After the cessation
of hostilities, this dear good man's house
at "Mountain Home," (on the road from
Campbell C. House to Concord depot below
Lynchburg) was the refuge + mecca for
many of his family. When I reached
the gate I saw the woods on fire + Mr.
Crocker + his brothers fighting it.
Without stopping to make myself known,
or to say "how day," I cut a big pine bush
+ began fighting the fire. We finally suc-
ceeded in extinguishing the flames, + then
our happy greetings took place, though
faces were begrimed with smoke + soot.
In this hospitable house were the Rev. W.A.
Crocker his wife + 3 children, his wife's
mother, sister + niece, my mother-in-law,
my wife child + self, Mr. R.S. Thomas + Mr.
J.F. Crocker brothers of the host. The war


[Page 57]


was over, our cause lost, + homes broken
up, but we were all so glad to be together
after the anxieties + hardships suffered by
both the soldiers + their families, that we
were as nearly happy as people could
be who had seen wealth + comfort
swept away. For several days we lived
at this simple retreat chiefly upon
milk + corn bread + what we could
shoot, + although it was very late in the
season to begin to plant a crop of corn,
something had to be done or there would
be no showing for another year's supplies.
So the minister, the two lawyers + the
doctor all took hold + plowed the land
each by turn contributing his horse for
the work, as it took the combined efforts
of the four to manage one plow. One held
the plow, one led the horse, + the lawyers
directed the work by turns. We succeeded
in breaking up the soil, if our furrows
were not very straight, + we got the corn planted.
Nature is very kind, + brotherly love +
common interests succeeded, where more
experience might have failed without
such united efforts. The butter milk
+ hoe cake at Mt. home tasted better than
any I have ever tasted since. The last
of Sept. 1865 I took my family to Smith-
field where my father urged me to settle.
I soon had the cream of the practice in
the town + adjacent country. My father
wished me to go out west with him. He
intended going to Minnasota [Minnesota] + Iowa where
he had lands he wished to redeem from
back taxes. He had bought those tracts
of land in about 1848 for .80 per acre.
Some 15 or 20 of the grants in Nebraska
had been lost by one Parker selling them


[Page 58]


fraudulently. His agent was a Mr. Parker
from Va. but another Parker got hold of
the grants, + hypothecated them + joined
the army + was probably killed. In 1880
I learned where some of these warrants
were in Nebraska, + it cost a considerable
sum to recover them. We took the western
trip which was then a matter of difficulty
as there were few railroads in the distant
states- none at all in Minnesota.
At the death of my father + mother
(within three months of each other) I re-
turned to Balto. in March 1873.
I was soon the physician to
Barnums Hotel + later to the Carrolton
as well. The year after I reached Balto.
I was elected to the chair of Materia
Medica in the College of Physicians
and Surgeons, which I held for a
number of years. I was also Prof. of
Dermalology + had the largest clinic
on skin diseases in the city.
In 1876 I was given the place of resi-
dent physician at the Jordan Alum
Springs for the summer months,
returning to Balto. in Sept.. Later
I was resident physician with Dr.
Moreman at the Greenbrier White Sul-
phur Springs.


[END]



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