Saturday, September 28, 2013

"They came in splendid order ..." Cresswell Waller and the Second South Carolina in the West Woods. Part II of III.

The advance of the 2nd, 7th, and 8th South Carolina
to the Dunker Church plateau at approximately
9:30 a.m. Tompkins battery's two detached
guns are directly in front of the 111th Pennsylvania.
Greenwood So. Car.

June 7, 1901

Genl. E.A. Carman,

Dear Sir;

Yours of 30th ult. was handed to me upon my return from the U.C.V.⁠[1] Reunion at Memphis Tenn. I am glad to hear from you again.

I think you are about right in estimation of aggregate strength of these regiments, if you consider, as the 2nd Regt. had not already been in, 550.

You know, as I perhaps, I have already estimated in a former letter⁠ [2], that some emerging together with the fact that Hood had been & was being driven out of the Church woods⁠ [3], led Kershaw to select the 2nd to go by the right flank, double quick, in advance of the brigade into the church woods on the right or Sharpsburg side of the woods_ This was done with complimentary remark from Genl Kershaw its first Colonel, which were received with cheers & regiment put promptly in motion by right flank in column of four_ We did not double quick all of the way.

You are perhaps aware of the surprises from the Union troops also had passed church on way to our line. Also difficulty of one making front formation on 1st company on [account?] of only part of fence being being down and that Col. Kennedy⁠ [4] had been wounded in the foot when climbing over the fence. The command, then devolving upon Maj. Frank Gaillard [5] with Capts. Wm. Wallace⁠ [6] & George Cuthbert⁠ [7] acting as field officers_ Three most remarkably brave men who invariably deported themselves as such__particularly George Cuthbert, Capt. of Palmetto Guards, who I took to be recklessly so until his death.

We had dropped back again into the woods on the Sharpsburg side of church when the other 3 regiments were sent in. They came in splendid order & condition in column of division or marched “fours front” to reduce front until ready for extension. When the 3 regiments 2nd, 7th, & 8th made a magnificent charge.

The left of 2nd touched & enveloped the Church. The 7th had a splendid front__ Col. D. Wyatt Aiken [⁠8] was wounded at the edge of woods & Maj. White [8a] sprang forward & led most gallantly the regiment almost right of to the Union battery⁠ [9] near which he fell in front of his command. Of course, the line became bunched somewhat in the rush for the battery. The 3rd Regiment seemed to have maneuvered to itself farther on the left, pretty much out of sight of the enemy_ the brigade & the division & brigade commanders, entirely satisfactory to its colonel commander as he claimed in his report,⁠ [10] but not fully satisfactory to the members of the brigade, though Kershaw & McLaws recognized in some degree the parade tactics.

I do not believe that either McLaws or Kershaw saw the 3rd Regt. until after it “retired to replenish ammunition” & until Kershaw had the other 3 at the wood fence__ Kershaw was mainly occupied in looking after the brigade battery, Read’s ⁠[11] I believe! He had commanded his & Barksdale’s brigades as a division in his Capture of Maryland Heights.

The brigade, Kershaw’s, was one of the finest & best drilled in the Army of No. Va. as well as the oldest organization. Special attention was paid to drilling before 1st Manassas or 1st Bull Run & often afterward. It was the right of the right division of Longstreet’s Corps. No person ever did it justice in writing but a careful student of the Campaign would find that it was an important figure in a great many emergencies. At 1st Manassas_Malvern Hill_Williamsburg in [ ] _ The 1st day_ Tolerably well at Sharpsburg_ Behind Stonewall at Fredericksburg_ Gettysburg_ First to break Union line at Chickamaugua & went farthest upon Snodgrass Hill__ 1st to Check Grant on plank road at Wilderness_ 1st to stop him at Spotsylvania_ when Longstreet came to Lee’s aid at Wilderness_ saved Cold Harbor &c &c_ The 2nd did not keep its alignment so well in the 2nd charge__there was more individual effort__

Some of our men spoke very highly of a Union Color bearer & his commanding officer who it seems had planted it once a great deal in advance of line just before charge.

Our men often admired gallantly of their foes_ I have seen many instances of distinguished gallantry on part of Union officers_

Thanks for kind enquiries & wishes_ I would like to purchase your history_

Yours Very Best,

C. A. C. Waller.

Notes ===

Source: C.A.C. Waller to Ezra Carman, June 7, 1901, National Archives, Antietam Studies, Record Group 94.

1 The 11th reunion of the United Confederate Veterans was held in Memphis, Tennessee from May 28th to 30th, 1901. For more on this reunion, visit

2 See Cresswell Waller to Ezra Carman, December 14, 1899 and posted to this blog on September 2, 2013.

3 Dunkard Church, West Woods.

4 Col. John D. Kennedy. By July 28th, 1864 he will have received six wounds. He survived the war. NARA, RG 109, Roll 0156. Compiled service records of Confederate soldiers from South Carolina units, labeled with each soldier's name, rank, and unit, with links to revealing documents about each soldier. Hereafter RG109.

5 Major Franklin Gaillard, a graduate of The Citadel, would be killed at the Wilderness on May 6, 1864. War Between the States website maintained by The Citadel at; NARA, RG 109, Roll 0155.

6 Captain William Wallace, 37. NARA, RG 109, Roll 0160.

7 Capt. George B. Cuthbert, 33, would be killed at Guinea Station, Va. on May 13, 1863. NARA, RG 109, Roll 0154.

8 Col. D. Wyatt Aiken suffered "a gun shot wound which passed through his left side"of his chest. Surgeon's Certificate, June 10, 1864, NARA, RG 109, Roll 0214.

8a Major William C. White, 31. NARA, RG 109, Roll 0222.

9 This may have been John A. Tompkins Battery (1st Rhode Island Light Artillery, Battery A).

10 See Kershaw's Official Report at

11 John P.W. Read noted in his Official Report (October 20, 1862) that "the axle of my 3-inch gun gave way" while moving it into position about 3 p.m. Kershaw signaled the battery out in his Official Report "Read's battery performed the most important service in a position of great danger. ... One gun was disabled and abandoned, and so many horses as to render it necessary to bring off their pieces severally. The acts of individual heroism performed on this memorable day are so numerous that regimental commanders have not attempted to particularize them." OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam - Serial 27), pp. 862-866 (Kershaw) 866-67 (Read). Retrieved from Antietam on the Web at (Kershaw) and (Read).

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