Wednesday, November 30, 2016

America's least known maritime tragedy - the sinking of the Sultana

One of the least known tragedies of the WBTS is that over 1800 Union veterans returning home at the end of the war along with women and a child were killed by graft, greed and corruption at the highest levels of the US government. No one was held accountable and the returning soldiers were never honored with Federal recognition. Documentation is within the Library of Congress to substantiate this information.

Follow the link below to view a PowerPoint presentation on The S.S. Sultana, a side paddle wheel boat that caused the death of these soldiers who simply wanted to return to their homes and families. In the memories of one of the survivors, he recounts how Confederate veterans assisted in saving some of the very few that did survive.

copy and paste this link to your task bar to view the PowerPoint presentation:!1891&parId=C188892A878146FC!103&authkey=!&Bpub=SDX.SkyDrive&Bsrc=Share&ref=button

Monday, November 14, 2016

Information on the Prison Life of Jefferson Davis

The actual account of the term spent by Jefferson Davis being imprisoned by the Federals after the end of the War Between The States. There was an unlawful confinement of 2 years and shackles placed on his legs ordered by General Nelson Miles. President Jefferson Davis was held in a prison cell under 24 hour guard by US soldiers in the same room with President Davis. These guards were not allowed to speak or communicate in any way with the prisoner, only to keep him within view at all times. Eventually a Writ of Habeas Corpus was acknowledged and President Davis was released on $100,00 bail (the equivalent of $2,800,000 in 2016 US currency) in 1867 after his 2 years of inhuman confinement. 


(writ of habeas corpus (which literally means to "produce the body") is a court order to a person or agency holding someone in custody (such as a warden) to deliver the imprisoned individual to the court issuing the order and to show a valid reason for that person's detention.) 

1865 Jefferson Davis captured

On April 2, 1865, with the Confederate defeat at Petersburg, Virginia imminent, General Robert E. Lee informed President Davis that he could no longer protect Richmond and advised the Confederate government to evacuate its capital. Davis and his cabinet fled to Danville, Virginia, and with Robert E. Lee’s surrender on April 9, deep into the South. Lee’s surrender of his massive Army of Northern Virginia effectively ended the Civil War, and during the next few weeks the remaining Confederate armies surrendered one by one. Davis was devastated by the fall of the Confederacy. Refusing to admit defeat, he hoped to flee to a sympathetic foreign nation such as Britain or France, and was weighing the merits of forming a government in exile when he was arrested by a detachment of the 4th Michigan Cavalry.

A certain amount of controversy surrounds his capture, as Davis was wearing his wife’s black shawl when the Union troops cornered him. The Northern press ridiculed him as a coward, alleging that he had disguised himself as a woman in an ill-fated attempt to escape. However, Davis, and especially his wife, Varina, maintained that he was ill and that Varina had lent him her shawl to keep his health up during their difficult journey. Imprisoned for two years at Fort Monroe, Virginia, Davis was indicted for treason, but was never tried–the federal government feared that Davis would be able prove to a jury that the Southern secession of 1860 to 1861 was legal. Varina worked determinedly to secure his freedom, and in May 1867 Jefferson Davis was released on bail, with several wealthy Northerners helping him pay for his freedom.

Former Confederate president Jefferson Davis is lampooned in this political cartoon created in 1865, not long after his arrest and imprisonment at Fort Monroe in Virginia. A former slave serves dinner to "Massa Jeff," who complains about the unhealthy food. The attending military guards are unmoved. One soldier recalls that he had to eat "rotten sowbelly and mouldy hard tacks" when he had been held as a prisoner of war in Richmond, and another reminds Davis that a pint of cornmeal was fed to Union soldiers at the infamous Andersonville Prison.
Original Author: Gibson & Co.
Created: 1865
Medium: Lithograph

Time Line
  • May 10, 1865 - Confederate president Jefferson Davis is captured by Union forces near Irwinville, Georgia.
  • May 22, 1865–May 13, 1867 - Former Confederate president Jefferson Davis is incarcerated at Fort Monroe following the Civil War. Part of his bail is posted by the abolitionist Horace Greeley.
  • October 1865 - While incarcerated at Fort Monroe, former Confederate president Jefferson Davis is transferred from a small room called a casemate to more spacious quarters in the officers' hall.
  • May 1866 - Varina Howell Davis takes up residence at Fort Monroe, where her husband, former Confederate president Jefferson Davis, is imprisoned.
  • May 13, 1867 - A bail bond of $100,000 for Jefferson Davis is posted and accepted; among those signing the bond are Cornelius Vanderbilt, Horace Greeley, and Gerrit Smith, the radical abolitionist who helped to fund John Brown in 1859. Davis is released and the indictments for treason are dismissed.
  • March 4, 1868 - The U.S. government files in federal court its final indictment against former Confederate president Jefferson Davis on charges of treason. The trial is further delayed because of the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson.
  • July 9, 1868 - The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified. It grants citizenship to all African Americans and bars former Confederate officials from holding state or federal political office. A two-thirds vote by both houses will override that limitation in the cases of Robert E. Lee (1975) and Jefferson Davis (1978).
  • December 3, 1868 - During his treason trial, former Confederate president Jefferson Davis claims that, should he be found guilty, the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution would punish him a second time by restricting his citizenship rights. He claims that the government is violating the Fifth Amendment's double jeopardy restriction.
  • December 25, 1868 - President Andrew Johnson's Fourth Amnesty Proclamation absolves former Confederate president Jefferson Davis of any guilt for participation in the Civil War.
  • February 15, 1869 - U.S. Attorney enters "nolle prosequi" into the record for United States v. Jefferson Davis, thus ending the case.

Read the report of Dr.Craven who attended to President Davis during his imprisonment.The book is called "The prison Life of Jefferson Davis". Copy and paste the link below on your task bar to view the entire book.

The Prison Life Of Jefferson Davis - an editorial
The Trying Experience of the Ex-President at Fort Monroe Prevarication of General Miles
Actual Instructions of Assistant Secretary of War as to Shackles.
By Colonel William H. Stewart
[From the Times-Dispatch, February 12, 1905.]
        The steamer William P. Clyde, with President Jefferson Davis, Mrs. Davis, son and two daughters; Vice-President Alexander H. Stephens, Hon. C. C. Clay and Mrs. Clay, Hon. John H. Reagan, Confederate Postmaster-General; General Joseph Wheeler, and other prisoners, convoyed by the United States ship Tuscarora, arrived in Hampton Roads on the 19th of May, 1865, from Port Royal, S. C.
        The arrival was immediately wired to Washington, and that afternoon Secretary of War E. M. Stanton ordered Major-General H. W. Halleck to proceed to Fortress Monroe, take charge of the prisoners, and to imprison Messrs. Davis and Clay securely in that fortress; to send Messrs. Stephens and Regan to Fort Warren by sea in a gunboat; General Wheeler and staff, Colonels Lubbock and Johnston, aids to President Davis, to Fort Delaware, also in a gunboat; Colonel Harrison, secretary to Mr. Davis, to Washington, and the remainder of the prisoners to Fort McHenry, in the Clyde, under convoy. He was also instructed to allow the ladies and children of the party to go to such places in the South as they might prefer, but forbid their going North or remaining at Fortress Monroe or Norfolk. He was also directed to prevent any one from visiting or holding communication with President Davis or Mr. Clay, either verbally or in writing. This was to deny them any communication either with their wives or children.
Other "Prisoners" Depart
        The Maumee, Commander F. A. Parker, sailed with General Wheeler and party on the 21st of May for Fort Delaware, and the Tuscarora, Commander James Madison Frailey, sailed at the same time with Messrs. Stephens and Reagan for Fort Warren.
        The orders for the Clyde were changed, and she was directed to take the ladies and children to Savannah, Ga., without restraint, and arriving there to give them perfect liberty.
        As the prisons could not be prepared for Messrs. Davis and Clay at once, they were held on the Clyde until the 22d of May; then the prelude to the infamy of the nineteenth century began.
        General Halleck ordered Major-General Nelson A. Miles to proceed at 1 P. M. on a tug with a guard from the garrison to bring the prisoners from the Clyde to the engineer's wharf, thence through the battery to their prisons.
Miles on the Scene
        At precisely 1 o'clock General Miles left for the Clyde, and at 1:30 o'clock the tug left the Clyde, landing' at the engineer's wharf. The procession to the prison was led by cavalrymen from Colonel Pritchard's command, and moved through the water battery on the front of the fortress and entered by a postern leading from that battery. The cavalrymen were followed by General Miles, holding Mr. Davis by the right arm. Next came half a dozen soldiers, and then Colonel Pritchard with Mr. Clay, and last, the guard of soldiers which Miles took with him from the garrison.
        The distinguished prisoners asked to see General Halleck, but were denied. They were incarcerated, each in a separate inner room of a casemate, with a window heavily barred, and a sentry was placed before each of the doors leading into the outer room. These doors were secured by bars fastened on the outside, and two other sentries stood outside of these doors, and an officer was put on duty in the outer room, with instructions to see the prisoners every fifteen minutes. The outer door of all was locked on the outside, and the key kept exclusively by the general officer of the guard, and two sentries were also stationed without that door.
Unnecessary Sentinels
        A strong line of sentries was posted to cut off all access to the vicinity of the casemate; another line stationed on the top of the parapet overhead, and a third line posted across the moats on the counterscarp opposite the places of confinement. The casemates on each side and between those occupied by the prisoners were used as guard rooms, so that soldiers would always be at hand. Mr. Davis occupied casemate No. 2; Mr. Clay, No. 4; Nos. 1, 3 and 5 were occupied by guards of soldiers. A lamp was kept constantly burning in each of the prisoners' rooms. The furniture of each prisoner was a hospital bed with iron bedstead, a stool, table and a movable stool closet. A Bible was allowed each, and afterwards a prayer-book and tobacco were added.
        These regulations must have been directed or supervised by C. A. Dana, Assistant Secretary of War, who was present, for he says: "I have not given orders to have them placed in irons, as General Halleck seemed opposed to it; but General Miles is instructed to have fetters ready if he thinks them necessary."
        On the 24th of May, 1865, Miles reported to Dana: "Yesterday I directed that irons be put on Davis' ankles, which he violently resisted, but became more quiet afterward. His hands are unencumbered."
        These fetters remained on five days, although Dr. Craven urged their removal, because the irritation caused by the chains was counterpoising whatever medicine he might give the sick captive.
For Humiliation Only
        It appears to us that the object of Dana and Miles, in chaining the feet of President Davis, under the poor pretext of rendering imprisonment more secure, was to humiliate not only the prisoner, but the people of the whole South, and to them the names of Dana and Miles will be ever linked with the infamy. Whenever they are mentioned, feelings akin to those aroused at the name of Caligula will fire the breasts of the proud descendants of the people of the conquered nation; and the act of chaining President Davis will be hated wherever honor lives.
        On the 28th day of May, 1865, Secretary Stanton required Miles to report" whether irons have or have not been placed on Jefferson Davis. If they have been, when it was done, and for what reason, and remove them." Miles replied: ". . . . that when Jeff Davis was first confined in the casemate the inner doors were light wooden ones, without locks. I directed anklets to be put upon his ankles, which would not interfere with his walking, but would prevent his running, should he endeavor to escape. In the meantime I have changed the wooden doors for grated ones with locks, and the anklets have been removed. Every care is taken to avoid any pretence of complaint, as well as to prevent the possibility of his escape."
        Such was the flimsy excuse given by Miles when called to account for his cruelty by the iron-hearted Stanton.
Broke His Health
        The health of Mr. Davis rapidly failed under the cruel treatment and severe mental strain. The chief medical officer, Dr. John }. Craven, on the 20th of August, 1865, reported that his general condition denoted a low state of the vital forces. After a long time the reports of his deplorable condition reached the ear of President Andrew Johnson, and on the 9th of May, 1866, he requested the Secretary of War to direct Surgeon G. E. Cooper to submit an early report respecting the health of Jefferson Davis. Dr. Cooper, after a special examination on the same day, reported as the result of the examination:
"He is considerably emaciated, the fatty tissue having almost disappeared, leaving his skin much shriveled. His muscles are small, flaccid and very soft, and he has but little muscular strength. He is quite weak and debilitated; consequently his gait is becoming uneven and irregular. His digestive organs at present are in comparatively good condition, but become quickly deranged under anything but the most carefully prepared food. With a diet disagreeing with him, dyspeptic symptoms promptly make their appearance, soon followed by vertigo, severe facial and cranial neuralgia, an erysipelatous inflammation of the posterior scalp and right side of the nose, which quickly affects the right eye (the only sound one he has) and extends through the nasal duct into the interior nose. His nervous system is greatly deranged, being prostrated and excessively irritable. Slight noises, which are scarcely perceptible to a man in robust health, cause him much pain, the description of the sensation being as of one flayed and having every sentient nerve exposed to the waves of sound. Want of sleep has been a great and almost the principal cause of his nervous excitability. This has been produced by the tramp of the creaking boots of the sentinels on post round the prison room, and the relieval of the guard at the expiration of every two hours, which almost invariably awakens him."
Mr. Davis's Statement
        "Prisoner Davis states that he has scarcely enjoyed over two hours of sleep unbroken at one time since his confinement. Means have been taken by placing matting on the floor for the sentinels to walk to alleviate this source of disturbance, but with only partial success. His vital condition is low, and he has but little recuperative force. Should he be attacked with any of the severe forms of disease to which the Tidewater region of Virginia is subject, I, with reason, fear the result."
Miles's Pitiful Plea
        The comments of the press quite excited General Miles, and he, in a confidential communication to the Assistant Adjutant-General, said: ". . . . . I regret to say that I think Surgeon Cooper is entirely under the influence of Mr. and Mrs. Davis, the former of whom has the happy faculty that a strong mind has over a weaker to mould it to agree with its views and opinions. Surgeon Cooper's wife is a secessionist and one of the F. F. V.'s of this State. He is exceedingly attentive to Mrs. Davis, escorting her to Norfolk and back, and yesterday he had a private interview with Davis and Messrs. O'Connor and Shea. To-day the four were together at the doctor's house."
        It is patent that this stab in the back was intended to misrepresent the intention of an honorable medical officer, who could be fair and just to a prisoner, so as to justify the vilefier's own despicable conduct. Public indignation not only spread over the whole South, but reached to such a degree in the North that the newspapers were emboldened to denounce the tortures of Jefferson Davis in scathing terms.
The Press to the Rescue
        The New York World of May 24, 1866, in an editorial under that head, says: "It is no longer a matter of newspaper rumor that the treatment which Jefferson Davis has received during his incarceration in Fortress Monroe, has been such as to break down his constitution and to put him, after twelve months of protracted suffering, in imminent peril of death.
        Upon the recommendation of the Secretary of the Treasury the President of the United States recently ordered the post surgeon to make a careful and thorough examination of Mr. Davis' health. That report has been made and is now published. It cannot be read by any honorable and right-minded American, no matter what his sectional feelings or his political opinions may be, without a sickening sensation of shame for his country and a burning flush of indignation against the persons who have prostituted their official position to inflict upon the American name an ineffaceable brand of disgrace by the wanton and wicked torture of an invalid lying a helpless prisoner in the strongest fortress of the Union. The report of Post Surgeon Cooper is all the more damning that it is perfectly calm and formal in tone, and that it deals only with the strictly medical aspect of the investigation, which its author was ordered to make. We hear nothing, for example, from Surgeon Cooper of the stories which have been repeated over and over again, in all varieties of tone, but with singular consistency in the main details, by correspondence of all shades of opinion in regard to the petty insults heaped upon Jefferson Davis in the routine of his daily life.
Military Orders Condemned
        The refusal by express military orders of the common courtesies and simplest decencies of life to a man who for four years wielded the resources of eleven belligerent States against the whole power of the Union, while it would be unspeakably disgraceful to the authorities perpetrating it, might be of very little consequence to the health or the spirits of the captive at whom it was aimed. A man of strong and self-sustained character might be annoyed, indeed, at finding himself in the hands of persecutors so paltry, but they would scarcely be able to disturb his digestion or his sleep. The American people, should the stories prove to be true, will have a serious account to settle with the functionaries who could thus misrepresent and belittle them in the eyes of Christendom and of history. But the crying result of Surgeon Cooper's report, the result of which demands the most prompt and emphatic expression possible of the popular indignation, if we are not to be written down all of us as accomplices in the vile transactions which it reveals, is this, that the health of Jefferson Davis, which was notoriously poor at the time of his capture, has been systematically broken down by a cruel and deliberate perseverance in applying to him one of the worst tortures known to humanity. Here are the fatal words in which the truth is told." Then quoting a part of Surgeon Cooper's report, which we have given above, the editor goes on to say: "In a very minute and horrible treatise on the tortures practiced by the Inquisition, an Italian writer tells us that a certain grand Inquisition at Rome, famous for skill at jangling God's work in the human body, pronounced this special form of torment to be 'the most exquisite and victorious of all he had ever essayed.' No picture in all the dread gallery of imperial madness and misery which Suetonius has bequeathed to us is so fearful as his portraiture of Caligula roaming through the vast halls of the palace of the Caesars night after night with bloodshot eyes, sleepless, and driven on by sleeplessness to insanity. And in what light are we, this triumphant American people of the nineteenth century, to appear before posterity weighted with the damning image of our most conspicuous enemy thus tied by us to the stake and tortured by us with worse than Indian tortures? We make and seek to make no party issues with any man or men on this matter. It is the honor, the humanity, the Christianity, the civilization of the American republic which are involved.
A Case in Point
        Since the eloquent pen of Mr. Gladstone, near a score of years ago, concentrated the indignation of the civilized world upon the barbarous treatment inflicted by the Bourbon rulers of Naples upon Baron Poerio and his fellow-captives, there has been no such revelation as this of the brutality to which men may be tempted by political passion, and it is intolerable that the scandals of Ischia and San Elmo should be paralleled in the sacred name of liberty within the walls of Fortress Monroe. We abstain purposely from discussing the nature and extent of the political offenses for which Jefferson Davis has thus been made to suffer, for we are so unwilling to believe that any man can be found, even in the ranks of the most extreme radical party, who would dare import such a discussion into the case. Thaddeus Stevens could shock the moral sense of mankind by demanding the 'penitentiary of hell' for millions of his fellow-countrymen; but even Thaddeus Stevens, we prefer to think, would shrink from condensing that vast and inclusive anathema into the practical, downright torture of a single human being. When Lafayette was suffering the extremes of cruelty in the Austrian dungeons of Olmutz, Edmund Burke, transported by a blind rage against the French revolution, could respond to an appeal in behalf of the injured and high-souled victim by exclaiming in his place in Parliament: 'I would not debase my humanity by supporting an application in behalf of such a horrid ruffian.' But is it for a moment to be supposed that the most fanatical member of an American Congress, which assumes to itself a special philanthropy and sits in the year 1866, can be found to imitate the savage bigotry of an exasperated British royalist in the year 1794?
Congress Appealed To
        If the members of the congressional majority at Washington are not weaker and more wicked men than the sternest of their political opponents would willingly believe them to be, they will compel a prompt exposure of the authors of this shameful thing--a prompt exposure and a punishment as prompt.
        The President has done his duty in laying bare the facts, and will do his duty, we doubt not, in arresting at once and summarily this continuous outrage upon the national character. But we live in an epoch of congressional inquiries into national scandals and national rumors of all kinds, and the conscience of the country will hold the present Congress to a dread responsibility if it shirk or evade a duty more important to our national honor than any which it has as yet assumed.
The Parole
        The exposure of Mr. Davis' condition and cruel treatment, and the severe arraignment of the authorities by the newspapers undoubtedly caused the tyrants to relax their rigid hands and give the State prisoner more liberty as indicated by the following parole, dated Fortress Monroe, May 25, 1866:
"For the privilege of being allowed the liberty of the grounds inside the walls of Fort Monroe between the hours of sunrise and sunset, I, Jefferson Davis, do hereby give my parole of honor that I will make no attempt to nor take any advantage of any opportunity that may be offered to effect my escape therefrom.
"Jefferson Davis"
"Witness: J. A. Fessenden,
"First Lieutenant, Fifth Artillery."
Miles' "Reward"
        On The 29th of August, 1866, the War Department issued an order relieving Miles of duty at Fortress Monroe, which he seemed to think was a reflection upon his conduct. He had been there during fifteen months of Mr. Davis' imprisonment, and desired to remain until the prisoner should be removed, so he requested to be allowed to remain a month longer, or until the 5th of October. He desired this slight consideration in justice to his reputation. The request was not granted, but he was made a colonel in the regular army, which, we presume, was balm enough for his wounded feelings from the public attacks on his conduct in cruelties to a helpless prisoner.
        On Miles' retirement, General H. W. Burton assumed command of Fortress Monroe, and he seems to have been more considerate and humane to his State prisoner, for he was called to account by the War Department for permitting persons to visit Mr. Davis not specially authorized by it.
        The writ of habeas corpus for Mr. Davis was issued by the United States Circuit Court for the District of Virginia on the 1st day of May, 1867, and under instructions from the War Department, General H. W. Burton, on the 13th day of May, obeyed the writ and was released from the further custody of the ex-President of the Confederate States.
        Thus ended the imprisonment of the great and good man.


Friday, November 11, 2016

Welcome to the Major James Lide Coker
Camp 146
of the 
Sons of Confederate Veterans

This blogspot is provided for the interest and education of anyone interested in the true history of the War between the States and its participants. Please feel free to add your comments or feedback (Orange button on lower right of page). To go to the main menu click on the "Major Jame Lide ..." on the upper right of the task bar above. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Memoirs of Charlton Brown - Revolutionary Solder in the Southland

Please follow this link to read the memoirs of a Revolutionary soldier that traveled extensively throughout the Southland and his gracious thoughts of the land and it people.


  Copy and paste the following on your task bar

A word from the past by John Wesley Alexander of Timmonsville, Darlington, SC

John Wesley "John" Alexander

Aug. 26, 1846
Henry County
Alabama, USA
Feb. 13, 1934
Florence County
South Carolina, USA


 1932 Memories dedicated to John W. Alexander’s daughter as follows:

"I was born August 26, 1846, in Henry County, Alabama. My parents emigrated from Alabama when I was about three years old. My mother died when I was about four years old, so I have never known the love of a mother.

In writing this, I wish to relate some of the most impressive experiences of my life as a soldier during my four years of service in the War Between the States as best I can remember them now.

I was too young to realize what I was getting into when I entered the war. I had a pal, John W. DuBose, who was older than I. He had enlisted for service, and as I loved him dearly, I could not bear for him to leave me. It was because of his influence that I volunteered to go to the army, as I was not quite fifteen years of age. My pal and I were in all the conflicts.

I entered the war in 1861. W.I. Carter of Cartersville was my captain, his company A of the 14th South Carolina Regiment. We were trained for service at a place called Lightwood Knot Springs, near Columbia, South Carolina. I was in training about three months, served on the coast about Beaufort Island until the second day of May, 1862.

The Northern troops were encamped on Beaufort Island. We had several skirmishes around and near Port Royal and Beaufort Island. In these skirmishes, very few lives were lost. On the twenty-second day of May, 1862, we got orders to go to the Northern Army at Richmond, Virginia.

A short while after this we went into hostilities. The comptroller of the Northern Army was General McClellan. Among those in my company were my pal, John W. DuBose, Sewell W. DuBose, Henry DuBose, George Scarborough, Marion Large, Charlie and Alexander Stuckey.
Alexander Stuckey was an orderly sergeant. He was wounded at The Battle of the Wilderness. A minnie ball struck him on one side of the head going through it and came out on the other side. I reported him as dead. He was taken to some hospital and recovered. Sewell DuBose was a brave soldier. After the war, he married Elizabeth Gwynn Jenkins, and reared a large and intelligent family of children. Marion Large married a daughter of Sewell DuBose.

At the beginning of the war, my only brother, Abner Alexander, enlisted for service for six months. He fought in the first Battle of Bull Run, Virginia. Six months he came home and found that I had entered the army. He regretted, very much, that I had taken this step. I went away while he was at home. My brother re-enlisted and went back to the same company. Just a few days before they went to Tennessee, I heard that my brother's command was about a mile from me. I got permission to go to him, and this was the last time I ever saw him. He came a part of the way back with me. We sat on a chestnut log and he told me that he felt like that we would never see each other again, and told me, also, where I would find his trunk and other belongings. He was killed at Lookout Mountain, Tennessee. I found his things, as he told me, his trunk and picture, but his girlfriend refused to part with his jewelry.

The first battle I engaged in was The Battle of Seven Pines. This battle took place along the Chickahominy River, and was as complete a victory as the Southern Army ever had. We drove twenty-seven miles down the river until we were under the shelter of their gunboats that lay in the James River. At this time our brigadier general was Maxcy Gregg of Florence, South Carolina, who was one of the bravest men I ever knew. Later I saw him, after he was killed, being carried on a stretcher at The Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia. I do not know how old General Gregg was at the time of his death, but he looked to be about forty years old. From this time the battles were too numerous for me to remember the dates.
I fought in the following divisions: I fought under General A.P. Hill, General Maxcy Gregg, Abner Perrin. I was never wounded bad enough to leave the battlefield, but was knocked down by a ball at Vine Run, Virginia. I had a small camp Testament in my pocket which I think saved my life. The ball hit me in the region of my heart, doubling the Testament in the center. I was knocked down, was stunned, but soon got up and took my place in the battle.

At The Battle of Cold Harbor we fought all afternoon until dark. When the battle ceased, I was detailed to go to the rear and get water for the company. Taking as many canteens as I could carry, I went to a little ravine to get water. A Union soldier was lying near the ravine. His teeth had been shot out and his jawbone was broken. He made me understand that he wanted water. I held the canteen to his lips and he drank all he wanted. After this, he made me understand that he wanted me to carry him to the rear, as we were still in danger. I carried him about three hundred yards and left him. When I returned to my company, I was sent to help bring the dead. We worked all night until up into the next day.

I was in the Battle of Gettysburg, which lasted four days and nights. This was the most cruel of all the battles. It was a slaughter pen. I was a drummer boy at this time, and after three or four rounds of fighting, the bass drummer and I were detailed to care for the wounded. The Battle of the Wilderness was a thick forest of junipers which were hewn down by balls like a field of grain. It did not seem that a person could come out the battle alive.

Twice during the war I was dangerously ill. I had typhoid fever, also typhoid pneumonia. One day I was sent to Richmond, Virginia, a distance of about twelve miles, to drive cattle for beef for the army. On my way back to camp, a thundercloud arose, and I lay in a wet blanket that night in mud and water. When I awoke the next morning I was very sick. Two days later, my commander was sent to Fredericksburg, Virginia and I was sent to a hospital in Lynchburg, Virginia. I had developed typhoid fever. One Sunday morning while convalescing, two of us decided to ask permission of the doctor to let us take a walk. He agreed, on the condition that we would not eat anything on the trip. We promised. On our trip we saw a garden of beautiful green collards and asked a colored woman to cook some of them for us. This she did, and we ate all we wanted with no bad results.

At Malvern Hill I was captured prisoner. From there was sent to Point Lookout, and from there was sent to Elmira, New York.

This was a very bitter experience. As it was very cold, the prisoners suffered severely from cold and hunger. Here, I contracted typhoid pneumonia and again, was dangerously ill. When I had about recovered, I got an exchange parole. When I left prison they gave me a piece of pickled pork and hard tacks to eat. I would have died from hunger, but got up with some officers, who shared what they had with me.
I left Elmira, New York the 14th of March 1865, and reached my home on the 27th of March. I came home by way of Richmond, and came by railroad to Blackstock, South Carolina. The Union Army had torn up the railroad, and I had to walk the rest of the way, a distance of one hundred and ten miles. When my partner and I reached the Wateree River, we made an attempt to cross over without the help of the ferryman, and had a narrow escape from drowning. But the ferryman arrived and carried us safely over.

The first night after reaching Camden, I spent the night with a cousin who sent us a part of the way home the next morning. Sherman's Raid had passed through this country and had destroyed everything. "Life preserver peas" were about the only thing that could be had, and the people said that they had the right name.

On arriving home, I heard that my cousin, Edward Alexander, who served in the Western armies, who had been reported and lamented as dead for three years, had returned home two weeks previous. His funeral had been planned, and a preacher engaged to preach his funeral on the Sunday following his arrival on Friday night. On this Sunday, this soldier went to the service and told the preacher he need not bother about preaching his funeral.

I was in a company of one hundred and twelve men, and as far as I now, am the only living one at the present time. I was never wounded in the war, but soon after, I had the misfortune to get my leg broken twice in the same place. From this accident I have never recovered, but the results have followed me until the present time.


TIMMONSVILLE, Feb 14 , 1934 - Funeral services for John W. Alexander, 87, gallant Confederate veteran who died Tuesday night at his home a few miles from Timmonsville, will be held Thursday morning 11 o'clock from the Pine Grove Methodist church conducted by his pastor, the Rev. J.F. Campbell. Interment will follow in the Thornwell Cemetery (Thornal is correct) beside the grave of his wife.

Mr. Alexander enlisted in the Confederate army at the age of fifteen years and served throughout the war. He was a member of Culpepper Camp, U.C.V. of Timmonsville. For thirty years he had been superintendent of the Pine Grove Methodist Sunday School being assisted the last few years by his son Luther Alexander.

Mr. Alexander was a splendid Christian gentleman and his influence for good has been far reaching. His death, due to heart trouble from which he had been suffering for some time brings sorrow to a host of friends.