Civil War reminiscences which
appeared in newspapers years later
[It is quite unusual to find the same event printed in a newspaper at
the time it happened and again some years later, when it is given as an
historical event. Comparing the two writeups is very enlightening. - JL]
A Sad Incident of the War.
The Charleston Mercury of April 24, relates the following tragic incident
of the siege of that city:
"The yankees throw now and then a bomb-shell into the city and no one
pays any attention to it. But chance has wished yesterday that a bomb should
throw all our society into mourning.
"Miss Anna Pickens, the daughter of our old Govenor, has never wished
to leave the city. In spite of the representations of Gen. Beauregard she
has remained here, braving the bombs and the Greek fire, taking care of
the wounded and cheering everybody by her presence. Among the officers whom
she had occasion to take care of was M. Andrew de Rochelle, who is descended
from one of the most distinguished Huguenot families, who had formerly taken
refuge in our city.
"The young man was full of gratitude for his nurse; from gratitude
he passed to a more tender sentiment: his wishes were listened to; Governor
Pickens gave his consent, and the marriage was fixed to take place yesterday,
the 23d of April. Lieut. Rochelle was on duty at Fort Sumter in the morning,
and it was decided that the ceremony should take place in the house of General
Bonham at seven o'clock in the evening.
"Almost at the moment when the Episcopalian minister demanded of the
betrothed ones if they were ready to listen to him, a bomb broke on the
roof of the house, penetrated the room in which the parties were, burst
and wounded nine person, among others Miss Anna Pickens. The scene which
followed is more easy to imagine than describe. Order was soon restored,
the wounded were removed except the bride, who lay without movement on the
floor. Lieutenant Rochelle, bending over her, wept bitterly, and endeavored
to stop the blood which flowed from a horrible wound over her left breast.
A surgeon was called, and declared that Miss Pickens had but two hours to
live. We will not attempt to depict the general despair.
"When her senses returned she wished to know her fate, and as they
refused to tell it to her, 'Andrew,' she said, addressing her future husband,
'I pray you to tell me the truth. If I am to die, I wish to die worthy of
you.' The tears of the young man replied for him, and Miss Anna, recalling
all her energy, made an effort to smile. Nothing could be more touching
than the agony of the courageous woman, struggling against the agonies of
death and against great physical suffering.
"Mr. Pickens, whose courage is known, was almost senseless; and Madame
Pickens' eye was like that of a person whose reason had fled. M. de Rochelle
was the first to speak, and, addressing himself to his betrothed, 'Anna,'
he said, 'I, too, may soon die, but I wish that you should die my wife.
There is yet time to unite us. The young lady did not reply; she had not
strength enough. A slight blush colored for an instant her pale face-joy
and sorrow divided her soul.
"Stretched upon a divan, bleeding in her nuptial dress, she had never
appeared more beautiful. Without being able to prevent it, M. de Rochelle
took her hand and prayed the Rev. Mr. Dickenson to proceed with the ceremony.
When it was the turn of the dying one to say 'yes,' she opened several times
her lips without being able to articulate a word. She finally succeeded,
and a light froth appeared on her mouth. The last agony was approaching.
It was only in sobbing that the minister could finish. One hour more all
was over, and the nuptial chamber was transformed into a chamber of death."
-Pacific Commericial Advertiser, Honolulu, July 30, 1864
Killed at Her Wedding.
From the Troy (N. Y.) Times.
In the midst of the great events of the war such incidents as the following
were comparatively unnoticed and left to be long afterwards related in print.
Miss Annie Pickens, daughter of the Governor of South Carolina, was to be
married on April 22, 1863, in Charleston, to Lieut. Andrew de Rochelle.
The wedding party was assembled in the Pickens residence, and the clergyman
was asking the bride if she was ready, when a shell from a Union gun in
the harbor broke into the room and burst. Nine persons were hurt, but only
Miss Pickens' wound proved mortal. She bore the pain with wonderful fortitude
and was unmoved when informed that she had only an hour or two to live.
De Rochelle said he would like to have her his wife, and the poor girl smiled
sadly in assent. The guests remember the scene as far more painful than
they can describe. The bride lay on a sofa, her white dress dabbled in blood
and her hair dishevelled, while her palid face was so wrung with agony that
her effort to smile became futile. The ceremony was hurriedly performed,
though the bride's "yes" was in a faint, hurried whisper, and
her lips hardly moved in response to her husband's kiss. She died immediately
-Helena (Montana Territory) Independent, March 28, 1880
The following is from the "Comte de Paris' History of the Civil War
in America," published by J. H. Coastes & Co., Philadelphia: A
curious circumstance mentioned in the official accounts of the battle of
Gettysburg, which was fought upon ground comparatively little wooded, shows
to what extent, on both sides, the excitement of the conflict caused the
loss of self-possession among soldiers who had been accustomed for some
time to handling their arms. Among twenty-four thousand loaded muskets picked
up at random on the field of battle, one-fourth only were properly loaded;
twelve thousand contained each a double charge, and the other fourth from
three to ten charges; in some there were six balls to a single charge of
powder; others contained six cartridges, one on the top of the other, without
having been opened; a few more, twenty-three complete charges regularly
inserted; finally, in the barrel of a single musket there were found confusedly
jumbled together twenty-two balls, sixty-two buck-shot, with a proportionate
quantity of powder. Thesse souvenirs of the battle admirable depict the
confusion; we can easily imagine the soldier stopping to load his gun while
his companions are advancing, and instead of stepping to the front and firing
off his piece, renewing the operation of loading until the weapon becomes
a useless instrument in his hands; but we should not severely criticise
the American soldier on this account, for it appears that an examination
of the battlefields of the Crimea gave similar results.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, Oregon, May 4, 1876
An Incident of the Seven Days
A battery of the First Artillery halted that night in a little clearing.
The men lay down, unhitching their horses, but leaving them in harness.
The first sergeant, now an honored officer of the Third Artillery, told
me he got up and walked toward one side of the clearing. He was halted,
and turned back by a sentinel. going toward the other side, he was again
"Who comes thar?"
The voice struck him. He replied "Friend;" and said, "What
regiment is that?"
The answer came, "Seventh Alabama."
"What regiment is that on the other side?"
"Fifth Georgia," replied the sentinel. "What battery is that?"
Here was a situation. The sergeant naturally didn't know the name of a battery
in the rebel army. Hesitation would have been fatal. by a lucky inspiration
he replied, "One of Stuart's batteries," knowing that Jeb Stuart
commanded their cavalry.
"Oh," said the other, "then you's a hoss battery."
"Yes," said C---------, "Good night."
He immediately awoke the Captain who rather angrily said, "What the
deuce is the matter now?"
"Excuse me, Captain," said the sergeant, "but we're camped
between a Georgia and an Alabama regiment."
It is needless to say the Captain got up. Horses were hitched up quietly,
and the battery withdrew from between the sleeping regiments, who never
knew the prize that was within their grasp
[Edward Field in October Californian.]
-Weekly Tombstone (Arizona Terr.) Epitaph, Oct 11, 1880
A West Virginia woman named Brown had twenty-three children, sixteen of
whom served in the Union army. Commissioner Black says the records of the
Pension Office fail to show another instance in which the sixteen sons of
one father and mother rendered military service.
- The Coos Bay News, Marshfield, Ore., July 27, 1887.
THE WOUNDED IN THE WAR
A circular prepared by the Surgeon-General has just been issued. It is made
up of the reports of Brevet Lieutenant Colonel George A. Otis and Brevet
Major J. J. Woodward, in charge, respectively, of the surgical and medical
history of the rebellion. From these reports it appears that the complete
reports of wounded are in course of preparation, in which over 87,000 cases
of wounds and 17,000 surgical operations had been recorded up to September,
1865, the work of registration being very far from complete. The material
collected embraces a mass of facts which, on many subjects, exceed in number
and value all previous observations in this field. The surgical section
of the Army Medical Museum contains over 5,000 specimens. It is yet impossible
to determine accurately the number of wounds received in action during the
late war. Reports for a little over half of the year ending June 30, 1862,
give an aggregate of 17,496 gunshot wounds. The reports from rather more
than three-fourths of the regiments, for the year ending June 20, 1863,
give a total of 55,974 gunshot wounds. The battle-field lists of wounded,
for the years 1864-'65, include over 114,000 names. These returns are to
be completed by collecting with them the reports of the general hospitals,
where many wounded were received whose names, records of field, hospitals,
&c., failed to be obtained, and by adding the names of those killed
in battle. The mortality from disease alone was 48 seven-tenths per 1,000
of mean strength, for the first year of the war; 165 two-tenths for the
second year; the total number of deaths from disease reported being 14,183
for the first year, and 42,000 for the second-figures which we're told do
not include those who died while absent as prisoners of war, or after having
been discharged the service for disability The number constantly sick was
about 10 per cent. of the strength. The total number of cases treated by
the medical department, including wounds and injuries, was 878,918 during
the first year of the war, and 1,711,803 during the second. The most fatal
disease was camp fever, of which there was 213,200 cases; and 19,459 deaths
during the two years. Next come diarrhea and dysentery, 725,675 cases and
11,560 deaths; then inflammation of respiratory organs, 304,284 cases, and
8,040 deaths. Venereal diseases were much less frequent than the experience
of other armies would have led us to expect, still 84 men in every thousand
suffered during the first year, and 65 during the second year, the total
number of cass being over 39,000. The medical and microscopical sections
of the Museum are described, and the report concludes with a sketch of the
hospital system. It appears that at the maximum there were 202 general hospitals,
with 136,384 beds for patients. During the war over 1,000,000 of patients
were treated in these institution, of whom but 1 in 11 died. Dr. Woodward
says that never before in the history of the world has the mortality in
military hospitals been so small, and never have such establishments so
completely escaped from diseases generated within their walls. During the
first year there was a continual strength of 281,117 men in field and garrison;
in hospital, 14,183, and 9,759 deaths from diseases out of this total. In
the second year in the field and garrisons an average strength of 598,821,
in hospital 45,687, total 644,508. Of these there were 42,010 deaths from
disease. The losses of our troops from disease during the first half of
the recent struggle were proportionately much less than those of the allied
armies in the Crimea, or our own army in the Mexican war, and the mortality
from disease for the third and fourth years of the war is greatly diminished.
The medical staff during the war numbered over 6,000 persons, embracing
the Surgeon-General, Assistant Surgeon-General, Medical Inspector-General,
16 Medical Inspectors, 170 Surgeons and Assistant Surgeons of the regular,
and 362 of the volunteer army, 3,000 regimental surgeons and assistants
of volunteers, and 2,500 acting assistant surgeons.
- The Stockton (Cal.) Daily Independent, February 19, 1866