Tarheels During the Civil War

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Gettysburg In Their Own Words

Today is the 146th anniversary of the second day of the battle of Gettysburg. Here is the diary entries for A.D. Betts, chaplain of the 30th NC (Ramseur's brigade, Rode's Division, Ewell's Second Corps). These are taken from Betts' "Experiences of a Confederate Chaplain".

July 1 - Division moves six miles by Middle Town and six and a half to Gettysburg and drive the enemy two miles. Col. Parker, Capt. C.N. Allen, Lieut. Brown and many others are wounded. Among the killed are: G.L. Swain, S.M. Hewitt, John C. Goodwin, John H. Mason, and J.B. Whitley.
Col. Parker's wound was in the face. The ball entered just below one eye and came out just below the other, cutting the nasal tubes. When I knelt by him and prayed for him and his wife and his children, he seemed about to strangle with the blood. I stopped praying and held my arm lovingly over him till he was quiet. He got home, returned to duty, and received another wound at Spottsylvania, and was then put on post duty.
Capt. Allen's arm was so broken up that it had to be amputated. His case will interest others. He had an idea that surgeons were fond of cutting off men's limbs. Dr. Briggs asked me to see him and try to influence him, for he refused to allow his arm amputated. Capt. Allen had lately married Miss Johns in Wake County, N.C. I prayed silently as I went to where he lay. Kneeling by him, I said, "Capt. I long for you to get home and see that lovely young wife, who is praying for you, but you will never see her if you try to keep that arm." We looked silently into each others eyes. After a while he said, "Mr. Betts, I wish you would call Briggs to me" I called Dr. Briggs! (Nine years after I met him in Wake. He took me to his home. Introducing me to his wife he said,"Bro. Betts, I want to confess to you in the presence of my wife that I owe my life to you." The reader must imagine my feelings.)

July 2 - Part of the day among wounded men. Visited Brigade in town. A fearful fight from 3 till 9 p.m.

July 3 - Move hospital early. Brother Stradley and I were riding over the fields from one hospital to another, when I fell from my horse at noon, not knowing I had fallen, and remaining unconscious for an hour. Loss of sleep and excitement may have led to the vertigo. God could take a man out of this world without his knowing anything of it. Col. Bennett wounded. Lieut. Connell of Co. G., killed.

No comments: