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War Talks of Confederate Veterans by George Strother Bernard

The Battle of the Wilderness
Col. Thomas W. Smith, of Suffolk, Va., who was wounded at the battle of Spotsylvania Court-House, in his letter from which an extract has already been taken, referring to the lamented Ben May, says: 
"I would like to tell you all I know of poor Ben May. We lay in a tobacco barn in Spotsylvania county, which was turned into a hospital, and we were within a few inches of each other. The night he died he said to me, 'Tom, I shall die to night.' I tried to cheer him up and said, 'Ben, old fellow, we will live to fight again.' 'No,' he replied, 'I'm going to tell you good-bye for, I think, the last time," and with a sweet, kind 'good-night' we both went to sleep under an opiate the surgeon was giving the wounded. The next morning my friend, Ben May, the gallant color-bearer, was dead."

Professor Richard W. Jones, who was major of the 12th Va. Infantry, Mahone's brigade, writing to Mr. John R. Turner, of P…

War In Earnest by Anthony Toomer Porter

Chapter XIII
My chaplaincy in the Washington Light Infantry—The delusion of secessionists as to peace—Fort Sumter is fired on—The surrender of Major Anderson—Some difficulties of recruiting—Some young Confederate heroes—Bull Run.
THE Washington Light Infantry was organized in 1808 and was the oldest volunteer company in the State. I had been elected their chaplain in 1858, succeeding Mr. Oilman, a Unitarian minister, who had succeeded the Roman Catholic Bishop England, and he succeeded Rev. R. Dewer Simons. I am therefore the fourth chaplain, and have held the office for thirty-eight years. On Saturday, 28th, I received a note from Captain Simonton, afterwards Colonel, and now United States District Judge, asking me to come to Castle Pinckney, and hold service for the boys. I did so and preached a sermon, choosing my text from Second Timothy, ii., 3, "As a good soldier of Jesus Christ." Thus I had the honor of preaching the first sermon to the troops in the civil war. The Chur…

Lee's Retreat to Appomattox

Incidents of the Retreat of the Confederate Army to Appomattox—Mahone's Division and its Personal Reminiscences of the March—the Memorable Surrender—a Description by an Officer of the Division—Capt. M'Donald s Narrative.
Following is the interesting paper of Capt. W. N. McDonald, read at the May meeting of the Southern Historical Society. 
It is my purpose this evening to give, from memory, some account of Lee's retreat to Appomattox. No description of the military movements of the different commands will be attempted, but the rambling narrative will deal chiefly in incidents which illustrate the vexations and trials, the hopes and fears, of the masses on that memorable retreat. The command to which I then belonged, Mahone's division, was, at the time of the defeat at Petersburg, stationed along the line of defense from that city to Drury's Bluff, on the James. It may be said, at the outset, that for weeks at least before Grant broke our line the impression prevailed…

The Story of My Life by Helen Keller

Chapter I
IT is with a kind of fear that I begin to write the history of my life. I have, as it were, a superstitious hesitation in lifting the veil that clings about my childhood like a golden mist. The task of writing an autobiography is a difficult one. When I try to classify my earliest impressions, I find that fact and fancy look alike across the years that link the past with the present. The woman paints the child's experiences in her own fantasy. A few impressions stand out vividly from the first years of my life; but "the shadows of the prison house are on the rest." Besides, many of the joys and sorrows of childhood have lost their poignancy; and many incidents of vital importance in my early education have been forgotten in the excitement of great discoveries. In order, therefore, not to be tedious I shall try to present in a series of sketches only the episodes that seem to me to be the most interesting and important.
I was born on June 27, 1880, in Tuscumbia, a…

The Great War Address by Joseph Bryan Cumming

My Comrades:—It is forty-one years since the great war commenced. This day marks the thirty-seventh anniversary of its close. Of the thousands who survived its ravages, by far the greater part have, in the intervening years of peace, joined then comrades, who perished while it was still flag-rant. Those who knew its realities and now preserve its memories; those who did their duty then and now enjoy that consciousness; those who then made sacrifices and now feel a just pride in recalling them—these are a small minority of those who first and last mustered under the Confederate Flag. During the war death untimely on the field and in the hospital, and death, during the long years of peace, in the order of nature and in the fullness of years has reaped the greater part of that mighty host. The remnant is relatively small ,and its disappearance is proceeding with accelerated velocity.
One of that fast diminishing remnant, addressing my comrades and fellows, I am not disposed to play the hi…

South Carolina Women in the Confederacy

A South Carolina Girl's Recollections of the First Year of the War.
Nullification, States' rights, etc., and the principles thereof were as household words to most South Carolina children; but I having had the misfortune to lose my father when little more than a baby, knew nothing of politics; although I had often heard the days of 1832 discussed, and how the State should have nullified and did not. Therefore, it was not surprising that secession was almost an accomplished fact before I knew very much about it. My brother, a young man of 23, was most enthusiastic, and in his eyes South Carolina could never be wrong; but even from him, I heard but little. The English teacher at the school I attended was a red-hot secessionist, and from her I may say I received my political impressions; and can recall when, one day at dinner, a political discussion going on, I, a shy, awkward, silent girl, ventured a remark, my brother's surprise as he asked me, ''Where did you hear t…