Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/188

This page needs to be proofread.


184 Southern Historical Society Papers.

It thus happened (one of the rarest occurrences of the war) that the whole of the loth Louisiana engaged in a bayonet struggle along almost the entire line, with a force fifteen times greater than their own number. The advanced line of the Federals having been driven back the loth finds itself among the cannoneers. While Dean, a brave Irishman, was receiving his death wound at the side of the leader of the loth by a bayonet through the neck, the latter succeeded in knocking up the muskets in his immediate front and in cutting a path as far as the second line of the enemy's artillery. His death seemed inevitable. Cries of " kill him," " bayonet him," sounded on all sides. His command, which it may be said in pass- ing, had been ordered forward by a military error, and never for a moment had a ghost of a chance of success, were of course nearly all killed or captured by the formidable line in their immediate front. Those of the loth who succeeded in stumbling back over the bodies of their fallen comrades owed their escape to the darkness.

Colonel Waggaman was captured and with some sixteen others, including Captain I. L. Lyons, was taken to Fort Warren, near Boston, where they remained until exchanged. They were every- where treated with courtesy, and one pleasant incident, at least, mingled softening remembrances with those of his imprisonment. Just before his capture he had thrown away his sword to prevent surrendering it. This was a weapon valuable both for the quality of its steel, its make and the fact that it had been in use by the family for over 150 years. At the exchange this sword was returned to him by Assistant- Adjutant- General Thomas, who had been specially commissioned to do so.

After the exchange Colonel Waggaman was sent back to Louis- iana as a recruiting officer, but was shortly afterwards recalled to Virginia by special order of General Lee. He took Stafford's com- mand of the 2d Louisiana Brigade. He did brilliant fighting in the second valley campaign. He was wounded in the forearm at Win- chester, but even while suffering from his inflamed wound continued in command. At Petersburg he led the 2d Brigade in another des- perate charge, and again saw perilous action when the brigades were covering the retreat.

Then Appomattox and surrender came. There it was Colonel Waggaman' s sad honor to surrender all that was left of the 16,000 men who composed the Louisiana brigades. When they had been drawn up in ranks for the ceremony Colonel Waggaman begged of them the privilege of becoming the depository of a piece of the bri-