Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/31

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Barksdale's Mississippi Brigade at Fredericksburg.


Read At Seventeenth Annual Reunion Louisiana Division U. C. V.,
Monroe, October 15, 1908, By Captain JAMES DINKINS,
Member of the History Committee.

[The gallant Captain Dinkins has contributed frequently from his experience in the field to the newspaper press. Many graphic articles from his pen have appeared in the New Orleans Picayune. – Ed.]

After the first Maryland campaign the Army of Northern Virginia rested for a short time in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley.

About the 13th of November we received orders to march, and hurried with all speed towards Rapidan station. Burnside had moved from Warrenton, destined for Richmond. Then began a race between the two great armies which ended at Fredericksburg. McLaws' Division, composed of Kershaw's South Carolina, Semmes' Georgia, Cobb's Georgia and Barksdale's Mississippi Brigades, was under Jackson at that time. It was not a question if we could reach Fredericksburg ahead of Burnside ; we were obliged to do so. The weather was very severe. Before reaching Rapidan we crossed two rivers, the North Anna and South Anna, which formed a junction about a mile below where we crossed. Arriving at the North Anna, the men removed their shoes and stripped off their trousers. We were told that the south fork was but a short distance ahead; therefore, all decided to carry shoes and pants under their arms until they had forded the South Anna.

The Eighteenth Regiment was leading. Soon after crossing the first river, the road wound around a hill; through a skirt of woods, we entered a cut in the hill and the road changed direction to the right. Suddenly the head of the column came running back, the men in fits of laughter, and seeking places to hide.