Friday, July 3, 2009

Woodfin: NJ Hampton book excerpts

An eyewitness to the dark days of 1861-65; or a private soldier's adventures and hardships during the war.
By Noah Jasper Hampton, Nashville, 1898
Printed by the author


Hampton was 16 when he left home and joined "Buck" Joyner's company - Co. B of the 18th Tennessee Infantry

Jan. 2, 1896
Stones River

"When the signal gun fired we marched forward, elbow to elbow, into the jaws of death." They marched across a cornfield and up a western slope. . . "They opend on us with fifty pieces of grape and canister, besides the musketry. This charge lasted about twentry-five minutes. Our men were mowed down until there were gaps of about twenty steps. I myself shot 34 cartridges. We were compelled to fall back, and that gave the enemy a chance to take good aim at us."

"During this charge our colonel, J. B. Palmer, was wounded three times, three flag bearers shot down, twenty-two bullet holes shot in the banner, and a flagstaff cut half in two."

The Confederates withdrew to Wartrace, then to Cattanooga, then they gave up Chattanooga. His unit ca,ped in Jasper, then moved to Chackamauga Creek on Sept. 18.

Sept. 19 - morning, waded a creek over knee deep.

" My three days of rations gave out in twenty-four hours as I was a hearty eater. . . my comrades called me 'Long Hungry.' "

"There was such a volume of smoke we could not distinguish the enemy from our own men ten steps away. Longstreet's Corps made a right flank movement on the battery and infantry, and our regiment, thinking that they were our enemies, fired a volley into them, killing and wounding thirty or forty of our men."

Cold that night. . stayed on the field with the dead. Some smoked and when they would light up, the Federals fired a volley. His teeth chattering. "I imagined I was playing 'Dixie.' I would have played 'Yankee Doodle' if it would have stopped the firing."

Sept. 20
Morning - fresh attack near Snodgrass Hill and Union artillery. Firing for six hours. "The woods caught fire burning our wounded men before we could take them up."

Captured the hill and Kelly Field. Palmer wounded again.

Sept. 22
Marched 11 miles to Missionary Ridge and camped for two months "in plain view of the enemy." There was no firing and "we became very friendly exchanging tobacco for coffee and reading each other's newspapers when the officers were not watching us.. Our lines were only one hundred yards apart."

Senjt to Lookout Mountain

Nov. 25 - Back to Miss Ridge
When he heard the signal for the Federals to advance, he stood on the breastworks to watch.

"As far as I could seethere was nothing but solid lines of battle moving toward us from every direction. It seemed as though the earth was on fire. The volumes of smoke formed dark, heavy clouds, and nothing could be heard but the roar of cannons and musketry, which echoed from hill to hill. The pitiful groans of the wounded and dying men were lost in the din of battle. A portion of the hillside was literally covered with dead and wounded soldiers."

Evacuated down the southern slope of Mss Ridge. . back to Dalton Ga. There was plenty to eat and new recruits. March 22 was an all-day snowball fight.

April 25 1864
Sent northeast to Rocky Face Ridge, about five miles from Dalton.

May 2 - saw 14 men from North Carolina lined up and shot for desertion. Few days later fought with Sherman's forces. His brigade on top of a ridge. At night on picket duty the Yanks wopuld call out "o Johnny Reb don't roll any rocks down on us." They would answer "All right Billy Yank, if you don't shoot."

On the march to Resaca, ended up behind TN32, which started shooting at the 18th in near dark.
Evening of May 14 - repelled a Federal force in the woods.

"For 71 days we were not out of hearing distance of small arms."
May 23 - New Hope Church - Sltoona Pass
May 27 - New Hope - seven days of shooting

Kennesaw Mountain - Standing on a hill near Johnston and Polk when Polk killed Next day was the battle.

Through Marietta - July 7

Chattahoochie River - July 22
At Peach Tree Creek when Union Gen. McPherson killed. He was surrounded by Confederates and tried to gallop away.
Hampton captured - sent to Camp Chase in Columbus OH - near starvation - one loaf of bread for five men - and smallpox.
Feb. 65 - exchanged fopr Union prisoners - returned home to Sumner County.

1 comment:

  1. Ric,
    I have always enjoyed your web site. Again I am so happy to see you used my GGGrandfather's book "An Eyewittness to the Dark Days 1861-65" for your research.
    Here is my web page I made for "Noah Jasper Hampton". My Family is in the process of having his book republished and will be released Jan. 2011. Again Thanks...Don