The Confederacy had many outstanding officers, who are are due all honor and respect. But by far, the makeup of the rank and file of the army was mostly privates. Those men marched and fought. Some lived, some died, and today their descendants wish to gratefully remember them.
As Sam Watkins of the 1st Tennessee Regiment wrote:
“The generals risked their reputation, the private soldier his life. No one ever saw a private in battle. His history would never be written. It was the generals that everybody saw charge such and such, with drawn sabre, his eyes flashing fire, his nostrils dilated, and his clarion voice ringing above the din of battle…”
Yes, we honor the exceptional officers that led men in battle, exposing themselves to as much danger as did the private. But we also remember the Confederate foot soldier. As Watkins also wrote:
“The private’s tread is light—his soul is happy… Well, you have come here to fight us; why don’t you come on? We are ready; always ready…. Come, give us a tilt, and let us try our metal. You say you going to flank us out of the Southern Confederacy. That’s your plan, is it? Well, look out… You will be a picked chicken before you do that.”
No doubt, that pluck lives on to this day.
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