Last Shots In The Battle Of Nashville


When the Confederate lines gave way all was confusion and disorder. The boys up and down the line stood up in the ditches, adjusted their accouterments, and prepared for the race before them. The officers urged the men to remain in the ditches and wait for orders to leave. If the orders were given, I never heard them. I could see our lines giving way on our left, and all at once the entire line jumped out of the ditches and started on a disorderly though rapid run for the Franklin Pike, a mile away. I could see the Yankee columns flanking us on our left, and we all realized that we should soon be captured unless we saved ourselves by flight. The ground was very muddy, and not a good race track, though we made very good time. The fall of Minie balls, accompanied by shell and grapeshot caused us to increase our speed. I passed our major general, Edward Johnston [sic], who was on foot. He had left his horse for safety, and had gone in the line. Being very corpulent and unaccustomed to running, he was soon far behind. I overtook the orderly with the general's horse, but he refused to take the horse back. One daring fellow offered to do so, but the orderly would not release the animal, and the General was captured. Just as I reached the Franklin Pike, at the foot of the mountain, some one with a battle flag waved it, crying: "Halt and rally round the flag, boys!" Soon there were several hundred of us formed in line across the pike, and we began firing at the bluecoats in the valley below. I don't think there were any officers present. It seemed to be a "private" affair, though "free for all." This voluntary attempt to rally did but little good, but it checked the rapidly advancing column for a few moments, and enabled many exhausted Confederates to escape. We fired a few rounds--the last shots fired, at the battle of Nashville--and when the enemy were getting uncomfortably close some one cried out: "It's no use, boys; let's give it up, or we will be captured," and all fell back in wild confusion. Night was soon on us and the road was fearfully muddy. We had no rations, and had gotten but little sleep for several nights. Tennesseans never had a more disagreeable night march. Thus in the midst of winter and but poorly clad we started into Hood's memorable retreat from Nashville, which lasted nearly a week, while the ever-vigilant Yanks were thundering in our rear day and night.

Anon., "Last Shots in the Battle of Nashville." The Confederate Veteran, VII(1899):154.

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