Time for another tale of Private Sam Watkins.
General Bragg ordered Sam’s First Tennessee Regiment to rearguard duty. It was not much fun:
“You don’t move more than ten feet at furthest before you have to halt…. You haven’t time to sit down a moment before you are ordered to move on again. And the Yankees dash up every now and then, and fire a volley into your rear.”
The next day things got a lot worse:
“Bang, bang, siz, siz. We are ordered to load and fire promptly and to hold our position. Yonder they come, a whole division. Our regiment is the only regiment in the action.”
You see, two or more regiments make a brigade, and two or more brigades make a division. Sam was in a heck of a pickle!
“…our poor little handful of men are being killed and wounded by scores. There is General George Maney badly wounded and being carried to the rear… A minnie ball passes through my Bible in my side pocket.”
Then Sam hears an order to move aside.
“Here comes one piece of artillery from a Mississippi battery, bouncing ten feet high, over brush and logs.”
The Rebels get the cannon set and “load, fire – boom, boom.” And men fire their rifles, “making music like the kettle and bass drum combined.”
It was just in time. The Yankees fall back, darkness falls. The Tennessee boys “strip and wade the Chickamauga river. It was up to our armpits, and was as cold as charity.”
Sam tells us he fell asleep by a fire, “it being the fourth night that I had not slept a wink.”
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