Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/89

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The r////y/, of it,, Crater.

if it was mvrs>ary, he (General Lee) would lead tlviu. As a mat-

trf la- t, a large portion of the army was on that day east of the

J. unes river. These directions of General Saundcrs were communi-

(1 at once to every officer and man, and by actual count made by

me the brigade had in line 632 miisk<-t~.

"At the boom of the signal guns the Alabama brigade rose at a " right-shoulder shift." and moved forward in perfect alignment slowly at first, until we came in sight of the enemy and received his first fire, and then with a dash to the works. For a moment or two the enemy overshot us and did no damage, but as we reached the works many were struck down and the gaps were apparent, but the alignment remained perfect. It was as handsome a charge as was ever made on any field, and could not have been excelled by the "Guard" at Waterloo, under Ney.

" On reaching the works the real fight began. Our men poured over into the Crater, and the ring of steel and bayonet in hand-to- hand fight began. Men were brained by butts of guns, and run through with bayonets. This melee kept up for at least fifteen min- utes, the enemy fighting with desperation because they were im- pressed with the idea that no quarter would be given. The credit of capturing the Crater and all its contents belongs to Morgan Smith Cleveland, then Adjutant of the 8th Alabama Regiment, who now fills a patriot's grave at Selma, Alabama.


"Standing in the Crater, in the midst of the horrid carnage, with almost bursting heart, he said to a Federal colonel who was near himĀ : ' Why in the h don't you fellows surrender?' and he put the accent on the cuss-word. The Yankee replied quickly: 'Why in the h don't you let us.' A wink being as good as a nod, either to a blind horse or a brave soldier, the effect was instantaneous. The enemy threw down their arms, marched out as prisoners, some being killed or wounded by their own cannon as they filed past where I stood, and the day was saved as a glorious heritage for the Southern soldier and those who came after him. I remember helping General Bartlett, who was trying to get out on two muskets inverted and used as crutches. I could see no evidence of physical pain in his face, and remarked to him that he must have nerves of steel, as his leg was shot away. He smiled, and replied that he had lost his real leg at Williamsburg two years before, and the leg he had just had shat- tered was a cork leg."