|Description and Photograph||
As we look through the major Confederate Museum collections, in person, or via the several books that have documented the various museum’s holdings, we come across some seemingly unattainable artifacts; items so special that there is no equivalent in the private sector. One that comes to mind is Sergeant T.J. Duckett’s hat, 3rd South Carolina Infantry. Confederate headgear collectors will instantly recognize the name and hat; it is the one with a bullet hole through the top and a handmade label that Duckett attached to it, telling of its history. In more than thirty years of collecting and dealing I have never seen anything like it in a private collection. Recently, one has come to light that is not only its equal, but its superior; the slouch hat of Lt. Colonel Edward McCrady, of Gregg’s First South Carolina Volunteers.
Edward McCrady, Jr. was a truly remarkable man, and I cannot do justice as well to his memory as those who knew and loved him are able. His obituary is long, but it represents the long and full life of an accomplished and respected man:
Edward McCrady Jr. 1833-1903, President of the South Carolina Historical Society, died at his residence, No.7 Water Street, in the City of Charleston, on Sunday morning, November1, 1903. He was born in Charleston, April 8, 1833, and was the second son of Hon. Edward McCrady and Louisa Rebecca Lane, his wife. (He) received his preparatory training at the school of Samuel Burns in Charleston and was graduated from the College of Charleston in 1853; studied law in this fathers office, was admitted to the bar in Columbia in May, 1855, and immediately entered upon the practice of law with his father. He took an active interest in the militia and in May, 1854, was elected Major of the Rifle Battalion (Charleston) South Carolina Militia. The next year he wrote several articles on the necessity of militia reform, which led to his appointment on a commission created under a resolution of the General Assembly of South Carolina in 1859, to examine the militia system of the state. In 1860, he resigned his commission as Major of the Rifle Battalion and accepted a Captaincy in a company of guards. His active service in the State military establishment began with the taking of Castle Pinckney (Charleston Harbor). December 28, 1860 and ended with the surrender of Fort Sumter (Charleston Harbor) April 13, 1861. He entered the service of the Confederate States June 27, 1861, as captain of the Irish Volunteers of Charleston—the first company to volunteer “for the war”—and was ordered to Virginia in July, 1861, and in August, following, joined the First (Greggs) Regiment South Carolina Volunteers: was promoted Major, December 14, 1861, and Lieutenant Colonel June 27, 1862. When the great battles around Richmond began soon after, Colonel McCrady was in Richmond sick in bed, but he determined to join his command in the field and so expressed himself to his physician who positively refused to give his permission, assuring him that he could be of no use in the lines and predicting death as the penalty of the attempt. Nevertheless, although too weak to ride on horseback, he hired a carriage and had himself driven to the lines, joining his brigade just as the battle of Cold Harbor (Gaines Mill) began, and reported to Gen. Gregg for duty. As he was unable to walk Gen Gregg ordered him to serve on his staff, so that he might remain mounted. In this manner he shared the fortunes of this brigade during the action, rendering valuable service, but fainting three times upon the field, but after the battle he was taken back to his sick bed, in Richmond, to linger for weeks with typhoid fever. On July 30, 1862, although scarcely recovered and still very feeble, he rejoined his regiment and commanded it at the battle of Cedar Run (Cedar Mountain), August 9th and at Second Manassas, August 28th, 29th, and 30th, being severely wounded in the head on the last day, narrowly escaping death from this wound. He missed the Maryland Campaign, rejoining his brigade during the affair at Snicker’s Gap, October 30th, after its return to Virginia. He was present for duty at the Battle of Fredericksburg, December 13th, 1862, and rendered good service in assisting in the repulse of the Federal attack on Gregg’s Brigade, in which Gen. Gregg was killed. On January 27, 1863 at camp on Mason Neck he was seriously injured by a falling tree, and rendered unfit for further action in field duty.
Rejoining his command several times only to find himself physically disabled and unfit for duty, he saw his last active engagement at Mine Run, December 1863. And in March, 1864, when on his way to rejoin the Army of Northern Virginia he heard of Lee’s surrender. He surrendered himself on May 5th, following. In October, 1865, he resumed the practice of law, in co-partnership with his father, in Charleston. 1867, he organized the Survivors’ Association of Charleston, and in 1869 succeeded Col. P.C. Gaillard in the presidency, he was also chairman of the Executive Committee of the State Association in 1869, and as such commenced the work of recovering and collecting historical materials of the War. In 1870 he made a report to the meeting of State Survivor’s Association at Columbia which forms the basis of all the information we now have of the troops of the State in Confederate service. In 1880 Col. McCrady was elected to the House of Representatives of South Carolina from Charleston County and was reelected in 1882, 1884, 1886 and 1888. In 1882, he introduced and carried through the Legislature and Act to establish a Confederate War Records Bureau in the office of Adjutant and Inspector General for South Carolina, into this he presented all of the great number of records which he had collected. He also took an active part in the passing and perfecting of the railroad laws of the State, the stock law, the “bill to prevent dueling” and introduced the resolution endorsing civil service reform. He was chairman of the Committee on Privileges and Elections and a member or the Judiciary and Railroad committees.
In 1882, he was appointed a Major General of South Carolina Militia and had much to do with the bringing the militia of the coast region up to a high state of efficiency. He took part professionally in all the political trials of the era, resulting from the Reconstruction oppression, and raised the question as to the test oath to jurors, arguing that as “Rebellion” was a crime in the eyes of the law, no one could be asked his coie dire, after having been brought into court by subpoena, whether he had been guilty of rebellion--a point which was subsequently sustained by the Supreme Court of the United States. He took an active part in the defense of the stockholders of the banks broken by the war, and made, before the Supreme Court of the United States and argument which is said to have gained the case for the stockholders. His services in these cases and his argument in the McKeegan and Davie will cases, with others, placed him in the front rank of the bar of the State.
The political campaign of 1876, which resulted in the election of Gen. Wade Hampton as Governor and the complete transfer of the State to the hands of the white people of the State--a campaign in which Col. McCrady rendered valuable services—did not alter the relative numerical strengths of the two races in the State. The negroes were still vastly in the majority, and their return to power, with what the government of the State implied, could only be prevented under then existing election laws by the constant use of questionable and demoralizing methods at the polls. A choice between fraud and violence was all that was left to the most conscientious white man, and the constant recurrence of struggles to be decided by such means was endangering the political virtue of the purest and best men in the State. Besides it was only a question of time, when such method would involve the state with the General Government and result in the loss of all the ground gained in 1876. Realizing this situation, Col. McCrady instituted a right to remedy the evil. In 1879, he published a pamphlet on “The Registration of Electors”, and this he followed in 1880 by his address before the Erskine College, at Due West on “the Necessity of Education as the Basis of our Political System” and in 1881, by his essay on “The Necessity of Raising the Standard of Citizenship” and the Right of the General Assembly to impose qualifications upon Electors which was widely distributed throughout the State. Having thus prepared the public mind for the change, he submitted to the committee appointed on the subject by the General Assembly of 1881 a draft of the “Eight Box Ballot Law”. After a long a bitterly contested fight in the legislature the bill was passed and became a law. This was the first attempt at ballot reform in this section. It was the first step toward an education qualification for voters, and the wisdom of Gen. McCrady has been fully sustained the fact that since the passage of his bill almost every Southern State has made education a constitutional requirement for voting, thus legally and properly disenfranchising a great majority of the negroes of the Southern States.
Soon after the reorganization of the South Carolina Historical Society, in 1875, Col. McCrady was elected a member thereof. On August 5, 1884, he read before the Society a paper on “Education in South Carolina Prior to and during the Revolution” in which he conclusively proved that John Bach McMaster had shown gross ignorance of the subject when he stated in his History of the people of the United States, that in South Carolina “prior to 1730, no such thing as a grammar school existed”. “Between 1731 and 1776 there were five. During the Revolution there were none”. At the annual meeting May 19, 1886, Gen McCrady was elected a Curator of the Society: was reelected in 1887 and 1888 and in 1889 was elected Second Vice President. In 1895, he succeeded Mr. J.J. Pringle Smith as First Vice President and on January 9, 1899, was elected President, succeeding Rev. Charles Coatsworth Pinckney, DD, LLD, deceased.
In 1897, the MacMillan Company of New York published the first of that series of four volumes of the history of South Carolina which proved to be the greatest achievement of Gen. McCrady’s life. They were: The History of South Carolina under the Proprietary Government, 1670-1719 (1897); The History South Carolina under the Royal Government, 1719-1776 (1899): The History of South Carolina in the Revolution, 1775-1780 (1901) and the History of South Carolina in the Revolution 1780-1783 (1902)
On February 25, 1863, Col. McCrady was married at Chester, S.C. to Mary Fraser Davie, daughter of Major Allen J. Davie, an officer of the War of 1812, and granddaughter of Major William R. Davie, a famous leader of North Carolina militia in the Revolution and subsequently a General in the United States Army, Minister to France, and Governor of North Carolina, who survives him. They had no children.
At a called meeting of the Managing Board of the South Carolina Historical Society, held at the room of the Society, on Wednesday afternoon, January 14th at 5 o’clock, the following preamble and resolutions s were unanimously adopted:
Whereas, since the last regular meeting of this Society the death of its late President, Edward McCrady, L.L.D, D.C.L. has occurred, and marked one of the greatest personal losses it has ever suffered. He was the fourth in succession of our Presidents; had been a member of the Society for many years, and its President for five years.
Distinguished in the practice of Law, in legislative and military service above many of his contemporaries, he applied himself at the close of a long a useful life to the writing and publishing “The History of South Carolina”. This work in four volumes covers more than one hundred years from the settlement of the Carolinas to the end of the Revolutionary War. Only one who has loved his native State, as he did, could have felt the long neglect of her history, by her own people, the slurs and slanders of alien authors, the richness and glory of her abundant and extraordinary records. Only one fitted by education, patient and determined labor, by trained discrimination in evidence and judgment, could have carried through the painstaking examination into original authorities that established him to complete a work of such imperishable value.
Others may give, as they have already given, unstinted praise to the author of this history; the people of South Carolina, and other States, may unite in their encomiums but the members of this Historical Society feel it to be their peculiar privilege to record their deepest obligations to the author, and their sorrow at his recent departure.
May such an example as he left us bear fruit abundantly in the coming years! May the men and women of our time and their children after them learn that it is not enough to be South Carolinians, or even to cherish their honored genealogies, but that their distinction should oblige them to do, as well as to be, to achieve, if they can, something for the State as worthy of remembrance as the great work of our late President and much lamented friend.
As noted in Colonel McCrady’s obituary, he was an active military man prior to the War, serving as Captain in one of the most celebrated Charleston units, the First Regiment of Rifles, South Carolina Volunteers. This well organized body of troops had formed in 1854; they were well drilled and well-armed. When South Carolina seceded, it was these men that the Governor turned to; they were called into active service on December 27, 1860, and remained so until the end of April, 1861. Surviving images of the Rifles demonstrate that they were well uniformed and each wore the same type of slouch hat as Colonel McCrady’s. They were worn with the right side pinned to the crown and adorned with the ubiquitous Palmetto on the brim. Enlisted men wore rifle insignia on the front and officers wore the S.C.V. (South Carolina Volunteers) within a wreath badge. Both wore black ostrich plumes on the right side.
At the time McCrady was Captain of the Meagher Guards, he served with many of the most prominent names in South Carolina. His Colonel was J. Johnson Pettigrew, Lieutenant Colonel John L. Branch, Major Ellison Capers; all men that would go on to distinction in Confederate service. Made up of the very flower of South Carolina’s aristocracy, the Rifles were the very first regiment from South Carolina to enlist in Confederate service and would go on to form one of, if not the most gallant regiments produced by the Palmetto State: Gregg’s First South Carolina Volunteers! The regiment’s roll reads like a Charleston Society Column, men of pleasure and plenty, who sacrificed all save honour.
After Sumter the men got their affairs in order and were anxious to get to the front. Traveling to Virginia, the First Infantry Regiment, Confederate Provisional Army completed its organization at Richmond, in August, 1861. Most of the officers and men had served in the First South Carolina Volunteers. The regiment served on the Virginia coast for the remainder of 1861. The spring of 1862 found them backed up to Richmond and spoiling for a fight. Their first real chance to come to blows with the invader came at Gaines Mill. My feeble pen cannot paint the fury and storm of battle as well as a simple recitation of the service of the color guard during the battle: Sixteen year old James Taylor was carrying the flag, he was killed after being shot down three times, twice rising and struggling on with the colors. The third time he fell the flag was seized by George Cotchett, and when he to was shot down the flag was borne by Shubrick Hayne. Hayne also was struck down almost immediately; and a fourth lad – (none were over twenty years old) grasped the colors and fell mortally wounded across the body of his friend. The fifth, Gadsden Holmes, was pierced with no less than seven balls. The sixth man, Dominick Spellman, more fortunate, but not less brave, bore the flag throughout the rest of the battle.
After the battle Major McCrady returned to his sick bed in Richmond. He had been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and had convalesced enough to take command of the First Regiment just in time for their second fiery trial. In a scene so desperate, so violent as to have been accorded immortality in paint and pen numerous times, they stood at the north end of a railroad cut at Manassas.
Maxey Gregg was now their Brigadier General and there they stood, when all ammunition was gone and still waves of blue came on; their General uttered one of the most famous lines throughout the history of warfare. “My ammunition is exhausted, but I think I can hold them with the bayonet.” Turning to his men he cried, "Let us die here, my men, let us die here." Determined they were, men, madmen, in a fury, outnumbered, too proud to run, swinging muskets, stabbing with bayonets, and hurling rocks at their well-armed foe, but they would not be moved; at that moment in history, after ten hours of combat, all of the armies on earth could not move them, they may be slain, but they would not be moved. They lost a staggering 53% of the regiment, but they held.
Colonel McCrady led his men through the swirling vortex of close quarters combat without a scratch, only to be shot down when the battle resumed in the morning. The ball struck him in the left temple, crushing the skull and leaving him unconscious. He survived his grievous wound and returned to his command during the winter. In order to continue to use his hat, he had two patches sewn to the inside of the hat to cover the holes the ball had made; he also replaced the silk liner. The leather sweat band he left as it was; the two gaping holes a reminder of how close he came to death that day.
I have never known of another instance where the provenance and definitive history of a Confederate slouch hat was so well recorded as is this one. McCrady himself, General McGowan and other officers, as well as his official records testify to his being shot in the head. And in later years, likely because he was so involved in veteran’s affairs his hat was displayed with the large, paper label shown in the accompanying images. His hat was folded and the paper slipped into the pocket formed by the crown. It remained that way for a very, very long time, as witnessed by the perfectly formed “ghost” where the fold of the crown covered the paper.
The label reads
“Hat worn by Lieut-Colonel McCrady when he was wounded in the head at Second Manassas, Aug 30th, 1862”
Often, as collectors, we ponder, “if only it could talk”. I believe this one does.
A custom display case, a huge archive of official records, source materials and several books in which the Colonel’s story is told are included.
I believe this to be the most remarkable and historically significant Confederate Slouch Hat in private hands!
Colonel McCrady’s Official Report of the battle follows:
Report of Lieutenant Colonel Edward McCrady, Jr.
First South Carolina Infantry, of operations August 28-30.
SEPTEMBER --, 1862.
CAPTAIN: I beg leave to make the following report of so much of the part taken by the First Regiment South Carolina Volunteers in the engagements of August 28, 29, and 30 last upon the plains of Manassas as took place while this regiment was under my command:
In doing this I do not suppose it will be necessary to detail the positions and movements of the regiment prior to its actual engagement with the enemy on the morning of the 29th. I will commence, therefore, with the halt of the brigade near the position held by us during that day.
On approaching this spot, at about 7 o'clock in the morning, the brigade then being in the following order-the Twelfth, Thirteenth, First, First Rifles, and Fourteenth-by General Gregg's order was halted, and I was directed to detail a company to act, with others from other regiments of the brigade, as skirmishers to cover our front and flank. Captain [William T.] Haskell, company H, was detailed for this purpose, and reported to Lieutenant L. C. Haskell, of General Gregg's staff. Shortly after the skirmishers had been deployed, by General Gregg's order I marched the regiment to the front, and was placed in position by General Gregg 60 yards behind and parallel with the cut of the projected Independent Railroad from Hainesville to Alexandria. At this point, the ground rising to some extent, the grade, of the road immediately in our front rendered the depth of the cut about 6 feet; but the ground sloping to our right and left, reduced this depth to about 1 or 2 feet upon our flanks. The ground upon our side of the cut, upon which our line was formed, was almost entirely bare, while that on the other side was covered with quite a thick growth of brush. On our right, too, this growth of brush extended to about 50 yards of our flank, while on our left, at about the same distance, was a field enclosed by a worm fence. The portion of this field nearest our position was open, but the other side was covered with a thick growth of corn. Soon after assuming this position, by General Gregg's directions I moved the regiment across the cut, crossing by one rank at a time, and gaining the other side, met Lieutenant Fellers, of the Fourteenth [Thirteenth], who was to direct us to the ground in which General Gregg informed me the enemy had taken position. General Gregg's instructions to me were, upon coming up with them, to give them two or three volleys and then to charge them with the bayonet. Meeting Lieutenant Fellers, I had to change front to the left, and then advanced in line to the point directed by him. Our advance soon drew upon us the fire of the enemy, who were posted in a hollow. The ground through which we were advancing was quite thickly wooded and covered with underbrush, rendering it difficult to see more than a very few yards in our front. Here, too, it sloped both to our front and flanks, and in the hollow at the bottom of the slope lay the enemy awaiting our approach. From this hollow they opened fire upon us as soon as we were in range. This fire was returned, as you directed; but endeavoring to move forward to the charge I found the enemy were in force upon our left, from which they opened on our left and rear. Finding, therefore, that it would be impossible to dislodge them by ourselves, I sent a messenger telling General Gregg of their position upon our left. This messenger had scarcely gone when a fire was opened upon us also from our right and rear. We thus were exposed to fires from our front and both flanks, and so completely were we flanked that the rear of our wings was also exposed. Finding the enemy in such force, I then sent Captain Shooter to explain our position to General Gregg and ask for re-enforcements, saying at the same time that we would endeavor to hold our position until they should arrive. Soon after Captain Shooter had gone, however, the fire became so heave that I determined to fall back some distance in order to withdraw from the exposure of my flanks and rear. My order to this effect, I regret to say, was executed with considerable confusion; but Captain [M. P.] Parker and Lieutenant [James] Armstrong soon succeeded in rallying Company K (the color company) around the colors, which in this disorder were borne by Sergeant Spellman with the same gallantry as that with which he had seized them at the battle of Cold Harbor. Company F, too (Lieutenant [G. R.] Congdon in command), rallied almost at the same time, and upon these two companies the regiment was soon reformed. Captain Parker, Lieutenant Armstrong, and Sergeant Mathews and Spellman, of Company K, rendered most valuable and efficient services at this critical moment.
Just at this time Colonel Barnes, with the Twelfth Regiment, came up on our left, and joining him, we charged and drove the enemy some distance beyond the point from which we had retired; but finding the enemy still strong upon our right, and again receiving his fire from that flank and in our rear, I halted the regiment, and throwing back the right wing, endeavored thus to hold our position, which now became necessary for the safety of Colonel Barnes, who had pressed forward upon our left. Captain Shooter having returned and informed me that General Gregg had sent Colonel Edwards, with the Thirteenth, to our support on the right, but the denseness of the undergrowth rendering it impossible to see him, I sent Sergt. L. A. Smith, Company C, who volunteered to go to communicate with Colonel Edwards and to guide him to our position. This order Sergeant Smith executed at great personal danger, running a gauntlet of fire from the enemy's sharpshooters, who had possession of the wood between Colonel Edwards and myself. Colonel Edwards, in moving to our support, had met the enemy in such force as to compel him to engage them there and to prevent his effecting a junction with us. About this time I received a message from Lieutenant-Colonel Jones, of the Twelfth, requesting me to move forward to the support of Colonel Barnes, who, having pushed the enemy to some distance in advance, was then being pressed by them in superior numbers. The enemy, however, upon our right rendered it impossible for me to advance-indeed, it was all we could do to hold our own position, and had we moved forward Colonel Barnes and ourselves would both have been attacked in our rear and cut off.
Just at this time Colonel Marshall, with the Rifles, came up and advanced to Colonel Barnes' support. I remained, holding the position protecting their rear and flank. After some time, learning that Colonel Edwards was retiring, and seeing Colonel Marshall moving his regiment from our left and passing us by a flank in our rear, I supposed an order to fall back had missed me, which I accordingly did, joining the rear of Colonel Marshall's regiment. Upon returning Captain Haskell reported to me with his company, which had been deployed as skirmishers, and a rest of a few minutes was obtained.
During these movements we lost 4 killed and 23 wounded. Among the riled were Sergeants Lowrimore (Company F) and Darby (Company L), both gallant men and excellent non-commissioned officers. Their loss will be severely felt by their companies.
It was now about 10 o'clock. Our position of the morning had scarcely been regained when the enemy were reported advancing in force through the woods from which we had just retired. By General Gregg's orders four companies (Company A, Lieutenant Newman; company C, Lieutenant [R. E. B.] Hewetson; Company E, Captain Shooler, and Company H, Captain Haskell) were sent forward again into the woods as skirmishers, under Captain Shooter, to meet them. Colonel Edwards, with the Thirteenth, was place in the position held by us previous to our advance, and with the remaining six companies of the First I took position about 20 yards in rear of and parallel to the Thirteenth. Our skirmishers, under Captain Shooter, came up with the enemy's and a sharp fire took place, in which several of our men fell. Our skirmishers were driven back before the superior numbers of the enemy, who were advancing in force upon us, and retiring formed in their places upon the wings of the regiment. They had scarcely done so before the breaking of the bushes and the orders of their officers, which could be distinctly heard, told of the approach of the enemy, still concealed by the heavy brush; and now began the terrific work of the day, which only ceased with its close. From the dense growth which still shielded them from our view the enemy poured in upon us a deadly fire. Our men had seldom better direction for their aim than the bushes from which the fire was poured in upon them. They were made to lie down and rise only to fire. Volley after volley was poured into them, but still they stood. The enemy dared not cross the railroad cut, though in force vastly superior to our own. At length, after vainly endeavoring to force us from our position by their fire, they were compelled themselves to retire in confusion. As they fell back, however, cheers in the distance told us of other and fresh troops advancing to our attack. On they came. The same terrific fire; the same endurance upon our part, with the same result. Again the effort was repeated by other troops; again they were repulsed. Yet again other troops were thrown upon us, they again were driven back.
The greater portion of the day had now been spent and we still held the ground, but none doubted that the great struggle was still to come. The cheers were soon again heard and the breaking of the bushes as they advanced. Upon our left, too, this time they came in force up the railroad cut, and were soon on us with a fire both from front and left flank. This time they were in force also to cross around upon our right and endeavor thus to cover the cut. Here as they advanced they came upon Thomas' brigade, posted in the thicket on our right. A short resistance was made and Thomas' brigade gave way. As the enemy followed them they came upon the right flanks of Edwards and ourselves. We had no time to form a regular line to meet them, but such as proved itself equal to the task was soon filled up. I directed Companies A, C, and L to well to the right, which, with their reduced numbers, just filled in the space between Colonel Edwards and ourselves. He, too, formed some of his men to the right. The enemy pressed in on us in pursuit of Thomas' men, but here they met desperate resistance. They came upon us in 10 and 20 paces, but our men stood gallantly to their posts. The work of death was terrific, but as each man fell his place was filled by another. Here Captain Barksdale, Lieutenants Munro and Hewetson, and Sergeant Smith, of Company C, distinguished themselves by their gallantry and efficiency; but this unequal fight could not long have been maintained. Fortunately, just at this time Colonel Barnes, with the Twelfth, came to our assistance. With a shout the Twelfth came charging with the bayonet, and the Georgians having rallied behind and supporting them, the enemy broke and were driven back across the cut and far into the wood from which they came.
It was now about 4 o'clock, and though wearied, we knew the struggle was yet to be renewed. They soon came, now in still greater force, but our little band, though greatly exhausted, yet met them with as much determination as ever. Our men fell fast around us. The Thirteenth, after exhibiting the greatest endurance and courage during the day, at last gave way and retired from our front, and upon the First was hurled the full force of the enemy. They pressed on, crossed the cut, and slowly compelled us, step by step, to yield the long-coveted position. Here again our men fought the enemy at a few yards. General Branch, coming up at this time with a regiment of his brigade, took part in the contest; but unused to so terrible a fire, his men gave way for a while. This was a most critical moment, and in it I claim for Captain Haskell, Lieutenants Munro and [C. P.] Seabrook much of the credit of having saved the day. Seeing the North Carolina regiment break, they, with General Branch, rallied and led it, or a portion of it, back. Captain Parker, too, though suffering much from a painful, but fortunately not a severe, wound in his knee, assisted greatly in rallying our men. Nor did Captains Shooter and [T. P.] Alston, Lieutenants [E. D.] Brailsford, [George A.] McIntyre, Armstrong, and Hamilton spare themselves during this trying time, but gallantly brought our men back again and again to the depurate struggle. The enemy had by this time driven us back some 300 yards from the railroad cut and were possessors of most of the long-contested field, but still a portion of our regiment, with its colors, and the North Carolina regiment, rallied by General Branch and Captain Haskell, contended with them inch by inch for it. At this time, when all seemed lost, General Field, with a portion of his brigade, came up, and charging the enemy, they again broke and fled from the field.
I regret to have to report that in this later part of the day, particularly in the last attack of the enemy, we lost many of our most gallant officers and men. Captain Barksdale fell mortally wounded, and Sergeant Smith, after distinguishing himself by his gallantry during the whole day, at last fell in a hand-to-hand encounter with the enemy.
It was now about 5 o'clock in the afternoon. Our regiment had lost half of its officers carried into action and nearly half the men; our ammunition, too, was exhausted, and with the rest of the brigade we were thoroughly worn-out. Fresh troops had, however, come to our relief, and by General Gregg's direction I reformed the regiment in the rear of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth, awaiting to take part again if necessary, at least with our bayonets, in the coming renewal of the struggle. This was soon made with still greater force by the enemy, but our re-enforcements were sufficiently strong to resist their onset, and we remained inactive but anxious listeners to the conflict. The shout of our men at length told us that the enemy were finally repulsed, but we were not allowed to rest in safety. The enemy, having obtained our range, commenced vigorously to shell our position.
At this time, after having gone through the whole day, conducting himself, I do not hesitate to say, with a gallantry unsurpassed, Lieutenant John Munro was killed by the explosion of a shell. He was sitting at the time with Sergeant Kelly and Private Heyward, of his company (L), when a shell fell just by the group, instantly killing Private Heyward and himself. In him the regiment has lost one of its most excellent officers. Modest and faithful in the irksome and unobserved duties of camp, we expected much of him in the field. Our expectations, however, had not done him justice, for on that day, when so many deserved names for gallantry, few equaled his courage and daring.
Night closed upon the scene, and amid the dead of the enemy and our own we rested until morning.
The following officers went into action with the regiment: Company A, Lieutenant [G. S.] Newman commanding; Company B, Lieutenant [John C.] McLemore commanding, wounded (since dead), and Lieutenant Lyles wounded; Company C, Lieutenant Hewetson commanding; Company E, Captain Shooter and Lieutenant McIntyre; Company F, Captain Alson and Lieutenant Congdon, wounded; Company G, Lieu tenant [T. M.] Welborn commanding, and Lieutenant [John H.] King, wounded; Company H, Captain Haskell and Lieutenant Seabrook; Company I, Lieutenant Brailsford commanding; Company K, Captain Parker, wounded, and Lieutenant Armstrong; Company L, Captain Barksdale, mortally wounded (since dead), and Lieutenant Munro, killed; Lieutenant Z. B. Smith, Company E, acting adjutant, and Lieutenant Thomas McCrady, Company K, commanding Infirmary Corps, wounded.
I have to acknowledge my indebtedness to Captain W. P. Shooter, who was in charge of the right wing, and to Captain T. P. Alston, in charge of the left, for their valuable assistance throughout the day. To the example of their gallantry and to their efficient services were owing in a great measure the spirit and order of the regiment. I wish particularly to acknowledge and record my appreciation of their services upon this occasion. Lieutenants Brailsford, McLemore, McIntyre, Congdon, Welborn, and Hewetson commanded their respective companies during the day with gallantry and efficiency. Lieutenant Z. B. Smith, of Company E, my acting adjutant, bore himself with gallantry and gave me much valuable aid. Near the close of the day he fell severely wounded in the ankle. Lieutenant Thomas McCrady, Company K, in charge of the Infirmary Corps, behaved with coolness and courage in the discharge of the dangerous and painful duties of that corps, and rendered also valuable assistance in communicating with other officers and corps. He too was wounded in the last attack while rallying our men. Had Sergeant Smith, of Company C, survived the day it would have been my grateful duty to have recommended him for promotion for gallantry. His faithful services had long since entitled him to advancement, and his conduct upon this occasion, had he lived, would have rendered it my duty to have urged him for a commission. He fell, however, and I can only now bear testimony to his worth.
While doubtless there were many other non-commissioned officers and private who deserve to be reported to you for gallantry and good conduct during the day, I can only mention those whose conduct came directly under my own observation or whose names have been mentioned to me by their officers. I regret that my absence from the regiment in consequence of my wound prevents my including in this report the names of such others as the captains or commanding officers may wish reported. Should such names not be handed in before my return I will endeavor to obtain and forward them to you. At present I beg leave to report Sergeants Kelly, Company L, and Mathews, Company K; Color-Sergeant Spellman, Company K; Sergeants Gore, Company F; and Miller, Company H; Color-Corporal Owens, Company E; Corporals Wigg and Larkin, Company H, and Privates Ruff, Company C, Holloran and Carroll, Company K, and Atwell, Steedman, Martin, and Shepperd, Company L, for gallant and meritorious conduct. Lieutenant Thomas McCrady, commanding, reports Sergeant Ragin, Company L; Corporal Brereton, Company K; Privates Lyles, Company B;----, Company F, and Duffy, Company K, for gallant and efficient service in removing the wounded.
From prisoners taken by us during the day I learned that the troops attacking us were from each of the great armies of the enemy, the first informing me that he was from Carl Schurz' division, of Pope's army; the next from Reno's division, of Burnside's, and the next from McClellan's. None of the prisoners with whom I conversed knew of any other attack upon our position but the one in which they were themselves taken prisoners, thus showing that each attack was made by fresh troops. Early the next morning we were aroused, and with the brigade marched to the rear to obtain ammunition. Here we remained for a short time to allow the men to cook and eat breakfast, which being done we were again moved toward the battle-field. We were soon again under fire, and in forming the regiment forward into line by General Gregg's orders, and endeavoring to gain a fence from behind which the enemy were firing into us, I received a wound in the head, which compelled me to be carried from the field, and which has since prevented my rejoining the regiment.
We took into action 283 men besides the Infirmary Corps, which made our total strength 300. Of these we lost on the 29th 23 killed and 110 wounded. I learned that one other was wounded on the 30th besides myself. This made our loss in killed and wounded at Manassas 135. Upon my return, should a list of the killed and wounded not yet have been handed in, I shall make a supplemental report including them. This report would have been made before but from my inability to write in consequence of my wound.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully,
EDWARD McCRADY, JR.