Reminiscences of the
Boys in Gray 1861-1865
FRANK HERRON, Graham, Texas - Born Feb. 29,1843, at West Point, Tenn. Enlisted in the Confederate Army in May, 1862, at Lawrenceburg, Tenn., as private in Company K, Third Tennessee Infantry, Gen. Bell's Brigade, Walker's Division, Hardee's Corps, Army of Tenn. First Captain was Frank Mathis, and first Colonel, Walker. After the battle at Chickamauga I received a discharge and went home but soon after joined the Forty-eighth Tennessee Cavalry, which served under Gen. Forrest.
Was wounded at the battle of Raymond, Miss., on May 12, in the right thigh and a thin piece of bone about two inches long was taken out. Here I was captured and four months later made my escape, rejoined my command and was again captured on Gen. Hood's retreat from Franklin, Tenn., and was sent to Camp Chase, Columbus, Ohio, where I remained until the war closed. Was in the battles of Chickasaw Bayou, Raymond, Miss; Chickamauga, and others with Gen. Forrest until I was captured under Gen. Hood on his retreat from Franklin.
While our command was stationed at Port Hudson we received orders to hasten to Raymond, Miss., to assist in checking Gen. Grant's forces which were advancing on Vicksburg. We arrived at Raymond early in the morning of the 11th of May, 1863, and next morning were ordered out to relieve a company which had been on picket the night before. Without breakfast, tired, hungry and with blistered feet, sadness was pictured on the faces of my companions as we were hastening on through the dust to the death of some of us and to great suffering of others. But our sadness was suddenly relieved when we saw on a porch of a palatial home, some beautiful girls waving the "Bonnie Blue Flag." We gave the old and familiar yell in return, and no sad faces were seen for a while, but on the other hand duty to our Southland and our Southern homes, could be seen pictured on the faces of every member of our company.
While on picket we could see our grand old colors, Third Tennessee, moving out to take its place in line of battle. In a very short time Gen. Gregg came up and ordered our Captain to move his company and take our proper place in the regiment. After taking our place in line we could see our skirmishers falling back. This proved to me that we would soon be in a hot engagement.
Never will I forget the picture of sadness that was on the faces of my comrades, the majority of whom were as still as death. Minutes seemed hours but we were not long in this suspense for as the Federal skirmishers came in sight our grand old Commander, Col. Walker, stepped out in front and calling "Attention," said, "We will soon be engaged in a battle and before we begin I wish to say that I do not command you to go, but to follow this old bald head of mine," and lifting his cap, gave the command, "Forward, Guide Center, March." In the twinkling of an eye sadness and despair vanished and in its place appeared a determination to conquer or die. Onward we went with the rebel yell, driving the enemy back through a cornfield and across a deep narrow creek. Here we were ordered to lie down and continue the fight in this position.
In the last charge which our regiment attempted to make I was wounded. When I was first struck I supposed I was killed and when I saw the blood running to the ground I was sure it was true. I did not seem to have any great fear of death but what worried me most was the thought of dying so far from home and loved ones.
With the assistance of my gun I hobbled to a tree for shelter. Soon one of my comrades came to assist me from the battlefield, but he was seriously wounded before starting with me, so another, a messmate, came to help me and he, too, was wounded.
Our command was repulsed and in a little while I was captured and sent to the field hospital where my wound was tenderly dressed by a Federal surgeon. This hospital was at and around the home of Mr. McDonald, a Southern planter and a noble gentleman. Mr. McDonald and his family were allowed one room of their house and the remainder was used by the Federal officers who were wounded. A large arbor was built for the protection of the soldiers from the sun.
In a few days the wounded Federal officers were moved to the town of Raymond and the rooms were used by the wounded Confederates. My wound had not been dressed in six days and was giving me great pain. I believed I was going to die. While there my attention was attracted to a beautiful girl standing in the door with tears trickling down her cheeks. Her true Southern heart was bleeding and she was overflowing with profound sympathy for us wounded men and boys. For a short time I was transformed into a new creature. My wound ceased to pain me and I wiped away the tears which had moistened my cheeks. In a few moments this, girl came and sat down by me and took my hand saying, "Have you a father and mother?" She then procured a basin and some water and washed my face and combed my hair, as best she could, and then brought me something to eat. After this she made an effort to cleanse the clotted blood from my wound and found to our surprise that the wound was full of worms.
In a short time I was moved to the hospital in the Court House at Raymond. This little girl visited the hospital daily, brought me something nice to eat, and a bouquet of flowers.
Among the great mass of suffering humanity at the hospital could be seen the grand and noble daughters of the South, the majority of them raised in luxury, inexperienced in every sense for hospital work, with their sleeves rolled up to their elbows, hastening here and there, tenderly nursing the wounded and dying. Never was there more heroism and self-sacrifice shown by the nurses in any part of the South than was shown w the wounded and dying soldiers at Raymond by these noble women, and it is a source of pleasure to me in my declining years to live my life over, in thought, especially that part of it which was spent at Raymond. In fact, I love the word "Raymond."
A short while before the Chickamauga battle I returned to my command and applied for a discharge which came back approved by Gen. Johnston. I returned home and soon enlisted in Gen. N. B. Forrest's command and served until the close of the war.
Twenty-eight years after the battle of Raymond I wrote the post master there, making inquiry about several of the young ladies whom I remembered and especially the precious little girl that I first saw standing in the door at her father's home. I knew her as Miss Myra McDonald, who is now Mrs. Myra Dennis, and resides in Jackson, Miss. The answer to my letter to the post master came from this Mrs. Myra Dennis, and I am proud to say that we have kept up a correspondence ever since. One of her daughters, a beautiful young lady of nineteen, paid myself and family a visit several years ago. It is useless for me to undertake to describe my feelings when I saw this beautiful daughter of the lady who nursed me from almost death back to life. I will never forget the kindness and tender care of Mrs. Myra Dennis to a wounded soldier boy of fifteen, and if I can pay the debt in no other way I will endeavor to pay it in gratitude.
I wish to mention a command which I heard Gen. Grant give to the Chief Surgeon at the field hospital. It was this, "Give the wounded men every attention which it is possible and make no distinction between Federals and Confederates." This is not given from report. I was within twenty feet of him when he gave the order.
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