Sam C. Mitchell
"THE BATTLE OF
RAYMOND, The Mistakes of Pemberton and the Bravery of Our Boys"
When I left the brigade it was on the march to the N.O.J. & G.N. R.R. to take the cars for Jackson. We took the train at Osyka, a small village in Southern Mississippi. But when we got to Brook Haven we found that the track was torn up. Col. Grierson, the celebrated raider of the federal army, had made a raid going through the entire state of Mississippi and he had torn up the railroads in many places. Brook Haven being of the number. We marched north of the break and took the cars for Jackson which we reached on the 10th of May. Grant had landed his army on the east bank of the Mississippi and had defeated a small detachment of the confederates at Port Gibson. Gen. Gregg was ordered to take his brigade to Raymond in the western part of Hinds county. Jackson is in the same county and is the capital of the state, yet Raymond is the county seat of Hinds county. It was then a small unpretending town, inhabited exclusively by women and children and old men. All the able bodied men were in the army. Mississippi men who were able did their whole duty as soldiers, but the stay at homes were the stingiest and most ill-bred men in the whole south. We arrived near Raymond on the 11th and awaited orders.
On the morning of the 12th our cavalry (and here let me say they were of the regular buttermilk order who had their washing done at home during the war) reported that the enemy had only one brigade in our front, which would have been but a small undertaking to rout and destroy it. For it is a well known fact that where forces were equal the confederates always won. Statements to the contrary are published in our school histories and are being taught our youth which should be corrected. The survivors of the confederate army have nothing to be ashamed of if the truth is written. In no battle of the war were the confederate superior to the federal in numbers. If such were so the fact argues utter imbecility on the part of the commanders of the federal army as the records of the war show the federal army had over TWO AND ONE HALF MILLION of enlisted men, while the largest estimate of the confederates was seven hundred and fifty thousand enlisted men.
By a statement recently published, taken from the records of the war department, the four states of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois furnished over one million of men for the federal army, two hundred and fifty thousand more than was in the whole southern army, and it is not unreasonable to suppose that the other fifteen northern states were equally patriotic, and besides the slave states themselves furnished over two hundred thousand men for the federal army. A writer in the London Illustrated News last year stated it as a fact taken from statistics that the number of men placed hors' de combat during the war in the federal army was equal to the whole of the enlisted men in the southern army. It will be seen that it was utterly impossible for the confederates to have been in the majority in number in any battle unless the federal commander was a fool. I make this digressive statement simply to give the truth for I think the time is past for southern men to supinely sit down and permit such glaring falsehoods to be taught their children. We have no quarrel to make with our former foes. We honor them for courage and devotion to the union and would not pluck one leaf from their wreath of victory honestly won. But the victories we won we claim and ask that he who assumes the role of historian shall write the truth, let it hurt whom it may.
As before stated our cavalry reported only one brigade in our front. Gen. Gregg ordered CoI. Granberry of the 7th Texas to take two companies of the 9th and deploy them as skirmishers and that gallant officer was soon ready to move forward. Gen. Gregg formed the brigade in line in the cemetery, and there among the dead the living were formed with high hopes and brave hearts in one short hour would be in eternity with them. The yankees were in the woods in our front and it was imposslble to tell their real position or strength. Between us and the yankees was a deep ravine or gully, more properly speaking which, we had to cross before we struck the enemy. Gen. Gregg ordered the brigade forward and they promptly obeyed. Col. Granberry with his skirmishers soon uncovered their front and fell back and formed on the right of the brigade. The command was then given TO CHARGE! which was done in grand style. We leaped into the woods and drove the first line of the enemy from the ravine back on the second line, broke that line too and had everything in our front in utter rout and retreat, but as we passed through the line in the charge the enemy formed and marched in our rear, and while we thought we had won the victory, we were being surrounded. The charge had been a terrific one, and we had lost heavily by it, and now the alternative was surrender or cut our way out. The latter was the resolve and right nobly was it executed.
Our little but heroic brigade, like the light brigade at Balaklava, had "Cannon to the right of them, Cannon to the left of them, Cannon to the front of them, And cannon to the rear of them," which poured shell and canister in our already thinned ranks, while the fire of twelve thousand rifles was concentrated on that little brigade, yet they charged the line in our rear and scattered it and moved out across the ravine and saved what was left of the brigade. In no fight of the war was a more gallant fight made than Gregg made at Raymond. Our loss was terrific. We had in twenty minutes lost over six hundred of the brigade, a large per cent of them killed. Our regiment lost one hundred and ninety six men and among the number was Capt. Cooper of Co. E. When he was shot he had disarmed a federal officer in single combat. After he was shot he called to Lieut. Col. Clack and told him to tell his wife that HE DIED LIKE A MAN. Capt. Cooper was a noble man in every particular. He was as modest as a woman and as guileless as a child but as courageous as a lion. I cannot of course recollect all those killed, but one of our company I will mention as he was so well known in the whole command. I refer to Tom Jackson, Stonewall as we called him, and while I sit tonight and write about him and his heroic death my mind runs back to the many hearty laughs I have enjoyed at his wit. Tom was loved by the whole command. No one could have the blues when Tom was around. The 3rd, 10th, and 7th Texas were the greatest sufferers. Col. Randall M. McGavock of the 10th was killed. He was a splendid soldier and a very popular officer and his death was lamented by the whole brigade.
And here let me say of the 10th it was as fine a regiment as ever bore arms in any country. McCauley had said the Irish make the finest soldiers in the world, and the 10th was the peer of the celebrated Black Watch Scotch, or Fog a ballas Irish in the British army. The adjutant of the celebrated regiment was Lieut. Rob't. Seymour, who was in charge of the six hundred at Balaklava, and was wounded in six places. He wore a large silver medal, presented by her majesty, commemorative of that memorable occasion. What our cavalry reported to Gen. Gregg as one brigade was McPherson's corps of Grant's army, numbering fifteen thousand infantry and artillery. We had fought them all, with about twenty five hundred men, all told, and while we were defeated, yet the morale of the men was splendid. We fell back to Mississippi springs near the battle field and formed and the enemy did not follow us, which showed they had enough. We afterwards learned from some of our men who were captured and made their escape that the troops in our front was Logan's division, and on either flank was another division. Gen. Logan questioned one of our men very closely about what troops he was fighting and when told that it was only one brigade he became very wroth and said no brigade of rebels could break his division and that we had driven his men from two lines. We left our worst wounded in the hands of the good people of Raymond who treated them nobly. Lieut. Ridgway of the 3rd afterward married the lady who nursed him while suffering with a shattered arm and shoulder. This noble woman now survives him, living in Elkton, Tenn., loved by all who know her.
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