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Re: [TalkAntietam] Fredericksburg: A Gettysburg for the Other Side

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  • G E Mayers
    Dear Richard, Oh my god...........It sent a shiver through my spine as I read this........very well written.......could mentally see Hirst s friend lying
    Message 1 of 5 , Dec 15, 2005
      Dear Richard,

      Oh my god...........It sent a shiver through my spine as I read
      this........very well written.......could mentally see Hirst's friend lying
      there, horribly wounded, begging for someone to put an end to his misery.

      Very respectfully,
      G E "Gerry" Mayers

      "As an American citizen I prize the Union very highly
      and know of no personal sacrifice that I would not make
      to preserve it, save that of honour."
      --Robt. E. Lee, Letter to Rooney Lee, 3 December 1860

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: <richard@...>
      To: <TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Wednesday, December 14, 2005 9:16 PM
      Subject: Re: [TalkAntietam] Fredericksburg: A Gettysburg for the Other Side


      > My next book is on Fredericksburg and, interestingly, Hirst plays a role.
      > I
      > note the difference in spelling, but there was a lot of that going on in
      > those days. Assuming it's the same guy, he had reason to demand revenge
      > for
      > Fredericksurg...
      >
      > For those of you who take offense at "history as fiction," read no
      > further,
      > but if you want to capture agony of the moment, read on. This is taken
      > from
      > Hirst's own account as are the words contained in the quotation marks...
      > Enjoy,
      > Richard
      >
      > Some of the men of the 14th Connecticut fought to preserve the
      > Union and a few fought to free the slaves. But while marching up Marye's
      > Heights into the face of the enemy, those huge issues became very small.
      > Today they all agreed about why they were there, facing death and glory
      > together. Today they fought for each other - and for their big, blue,
      > beautiful flag. Not so much for the Stars and Stripes, though she was
      > beautiful too, but for the blue flag with the grape vines, the eagle, and
      > the words scrolled in gold across the bottom - "The Fourteenth Regiment."
      > Every man in Perkins's little regiment would give his life to keep her
      > flying and out of the hands of the enemy.
      >
      > The Rebels knew this. They loved their flags too. And in the
      > absence of a nicely mounted general or colonel to shoot at, the standard
      > bearer was the next best thing.
      >
      > They were never armed, these men who bore the pride of their
      > regiments into battle. If one went down, or more precisely when one went
      > down, the closest man would abandon his rifle, pick up the flag, and
      > continue forward. And so it was with the men of the Fighting Fourteenth,
      > and now it was their turn to storm the wall.
      >
      > Augustus Foote and Benjamin Hirst were two ranks back, marching
      > side-by-side as always, as they had in a thousand drills over the months.
      > As they had at Antietam when they marched over Roulette's Swale and into
      > the
      > Bloody Lane.
      >
      > The ground was still wet and slippery and it was now cluttered
      > with the bodies of dead and wounded men. They came to the remnants of a
      > fence that had surrounded the Fredericksburg Fairgrounds. It had been an
      > obstacle for the 24th New Jersey, but they had managed to take most of it
      > down. The Connecticut color guard stepped over the remaining rails and
      > the
      > blue flag kept moving forward. Foote was jealous of the man who carried
      > the
      > colors, Color Sergeant Charles Dart. What an incredible honor to stand so
      > well forward - to be the man Connecticut followed into the worthy fight.
      > But Dart had earned the job at Antietam and was doing it well today.
      >
      > When Colonel Oliver gave the order to charge, Dart glanced back
      > at his comrades and waved them forward. "Follow me boys!" he yelled as he
      > broke into a run. Foote and Hirst and all of the men of Oliver's brigade
      > growled and screamed and stepped over the fence rails and the Washington
      > Artillery fired all four cannons in the same instant - all double-packed
      > with canister - and over two hundred of the heavy iron pellets ripped
      > through the ranks of the Fighting Fourteenth.
      >
      > Foote and Hirst had been in the second rank, but the first rank
      > was gone and the rest of the Fourteenth fell to the ground. Foote saw
      > Sergeant Dart go down and was amazed that the horribly wounded man managed
      > to plant the flag as he fell. He speared the staff into the soft earth
      > and
      > leaned it against one of the remaining fence posts. The courageous color
      > sergeant writhed on the ground for only a moment before his body went
      > perfectly still. All of the men of the color guard were down, but the
      > flag
      > remained standing proudly, but alone and defenseless.
      >
      > Foote couldn't tolerate the sight. He had to rescue her. He
      > was just about to stand up and rush forward when a thousand muskets
      > appeared
      > over the top of the stone wall and Cobb's Rebels began to unload on the
      > prostrate Yanks. Foote couldn't stand and charge now, but he could crawl,
      > by God. He had only ten feet to go, but it would be a hellish ten feet.
      >
      > Hirst tried to stop him. "Augie - don't go!"
      >
      > He grabbed the sergeant's leg, but Foote yanked it away and continued
      > forward. He made it to within inches of the staff when one bullet struck
      > him in the hip and another in the face.
      >
      > Hirst saw his friend's body shutter with each blow.
      >
      > "NOOOOOOO!"
      >
      > He couldn't control his fury, but he knew it would be suicide to try to
      > save
      > him - or the flag. He aimed his rifle at the wall and sent a shot
      > forward,
      > knowing that it would do no good. The Rebels were just too
      > well-protected,
      > but he fired anyway. And so did everybody else, but all they did was take
      > small chips out of the thick rocks of Cobb's stone wall. He tried to
      > hurry
      > himself through the agonizingly slow procedure of reloading. While
      > standing
      > he could do the job in under a half a minute, but reloading under fire
      > while
      > lying down was awkward and dangerous and seemed to take forever. When he
      > finally finished he brought the weapon to the firing position, pulled the
      > hammer back to full cock, and before he fired he heard his friend lying
      > just
      > ten feet ahead.
      >
      > "Oh, God! For the love of God. Please, somebody kill me.
      > Somebody kill me! Please."
      >
      > Hirst began to weep. His friend's agony tortured his soul. He
      > couldn't save him and he couldn't kill him. All he had to do was pull the
      > trigger, but he couldn't do it. He couldn't put his best friend in the
      > world out of his misery.
      >
      > He just couldn't do it.
      >
      >
      >
      >
    • richard@rcroker.com
      Why thank you kind sir -- You are most generous! R. ... From: G E Mayers To: Sent: Thursday, December
      Message 2 of 5 , Dec 15, 2005
        Why thank you kind sir -- You are most generous!

        R.
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "G E Mayers" <gerry1952@...>
        To: <TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Thursday, December 15, 2005 8:11 AM
        Subject: Re: [TalkAntietam] Fredericksburg: A Gettysburg for the Other Side


        > Dear Richard,
        >
        > Oh my god...........It sent a shiver through my spine as I read
        > this........very well written.......could mentally see Hirst's friend
        lying
        > there, horribly wounded, begging for someone to put an end to his misery.
        >
        > Very respectfully,
        > G E "Gerry" Mayers
        >
        > "As an American citizen I prize the Union very highly
        > and know of no personal sacrifice that I would not make
        > to preserve it, save that of honour."
        > --Robt. E. Lee, Letter to Rooney Lee, 3 December 1860
        >
        > ----- Original Message -----
        > From: <richard@...>
        > To: <TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com>
        > Sent: Wednesday, December 14, 2005 9:16 PM
        > Subject: Re: [TalkAntietam] Fredericksburg: A Gettysburg for the Other
        Side
        >
        >
        > > My next book is on Fredericksburg and, interestingly, Hirst plays a
        role.
        > > I
        > > note the difference in spelling, but there was a lot of that going on in
        > > those days. Assuming it's the same guy, he had reason to demand revenge
        > > for
        > > Fredericksurg...
        > >
        > > For those of you who take offense at "history as fiction," read no
        > > further,
        > > but if you want to capture agony of the moment, read on. This is taken
        > > from
        > > Hirst's own account as are the words contained in the quotation marks...
        > > Enjoy,
        > > Richard
        > >
        > > Some of the men of the 14th Connecticut fought to preserve
        the
        > > Union and a few fought to free the slaves. But while marching up
        Marye's
        > > Heights into the face of the enemy, those huge issues became very small.
        > > Today they all agreed about why they were there, facing death and glory
        > > together. Today they fought for each other - and for their big, blue,
        > > beautiful flag. Not so much for the Stars and Stripes, though she was
        > > beautiful too, but for the blue flag with the grape vines, the eagle,
        and
        > > the words scrolled in gold across the bottom - "The Fourteenth
        Regiment."
        > > Every man in Perkins's little regiment would give his life to keep her
        > > flying and out of the hands of the enemy.
        > >
        > > The Rebels knew this. They loved their flags too. And in
        the
        > > absence of a nicely mounted general or colonel to shoot at, the standard
        > > bearer was the next best thing.
        > >
        > > They were never armed, these men who bore the pride of their
        > > regiments into battle. If one went down, or more precisely when one
        went
        > > down, the closest man would abandon his rifle, pick up the flag, and
        > > continue forward. And so it was with the men of the Fighting
        Fourteenth,
        > > and now it was their turn to storm the wall.
        > >
        > > Augustus Foote and Benjamin Hirst were two ranks back,
        marching
        > > side-by-side as always, as they had in a thousand drills over the
        months.
        > > As they had at Antietam when they marched over Roulette's Swale and into
        > > the
        > > Bloody Lane.
        > >
        > > The ground was still wet and slippery and it was now
        cluttered
        > > with the bodies of dead and wounded men. They came to the remnants of a
        > > fence that had surrounded the Fredericksburg Fairgrounds. It had been
        an
        > > obstacle for the 24th New Jersey, but they had managed to take most of
        it
        > > down. The Connecticut color guard stepped over the remaining rails and
        > > the
        > > blue flag kept moving forward. Foote was jealous of the man who carried
        > > the
        > > colors, Color Sergeant Charles Dart. What an incredible honor to stand
        so
        > > well forward - to be the man Connecticut followed into the worthy fight.
        > > But Dart had earned the job at Antietam and was doing it well today.
        > >
        > > When Colonel Oliver gave the order to charge, Dart glanced
        back
        > > at his comrades and waved them forward. "Follow me boys!" he yelled as
        he
        > > broke into a run. Foote and Hirst and all of the men of Oliver's
        brigade
        > > growled and screamed and stepped over the fence rails and the Washington
        > > Artillery fired all four cannons in the same instant - all double-packed
        > > with canister - and over two hundred of the heavy iron pellets ripped
        > > through the ranks of the Fighting Fourteenth.
        > >
        > > Foote and Hirst had been in the second rank, but the first
        rank
        > > was gone and the rest of the Fourteenth fell to the ground. Foote saw
        > > Sergeant Dart go down and was amazed that the horribly wounded man
        managed
        > > to plant the flag as he fell. He speared the staff into the soft earth
        > > and
        > > leaned it against one of the remaining fence posts. The courageous
        color
        > > sergeant writhed on the ground for only a moment before his body went
        > > perfectly still. All of the men of the color guard were down, but the
        > > flag
        > > remained standing proudly, but alone and defenseless.
        > >
        > > Foote couldn't tolerate the sight. He had to rescue her. He
        > > was just about to stand up and rush forward when a thousand muskets
        > > appeared
        > > over the top of the stone wall and Cobb's Rebels began to unload on the
        > > prostrate Yanks. Foote couldn't stand and charge now, but he could
        crawl,
        > > by God. He had only ten feet to go, but it would be a hellish ten feet.
        > >
        > > Hirst tried to stop him. "Augie - don't go!"
        > >
        > > He grabbed the sergeant's leg, but Foote yanked it away and continued
        > > forward. He made it to within inches of the staff when one bullet
        struck
        > > him in the hip and another in the face.
        > >
        > > Hirst saw his friend's body shutter with each blow.
        > >
        > > "NOOOOOOO!"
        > >
        > > He couldn't control his fury, but he knew it would be suicide to try to
        > > save
        > > him - or the flag. He aimed his rifle at the wall and sent a shot
        > > forward,
        > > knowing that it would do no good. The Rebels were just too
        > > well-protected,
        > > but he fired anyway. And so did everybody else, but all they did was
        take
        > > small chips out of the thick rocks of Cobb's stone wall. He tried to
        > > hurry
        > > himself through the agonizingly slow procedure of reloading. While
        > > standing
        > > he could do the job in under a half a minute, but reloading under fire
        > > while
        > > lying down was awkward and dangerous and seemed to take forever. When
        he
        > > finally finished he brought the weapon to the firing position, pulled
        the
        > > hammer back to full cock, and before he fired he heard his friend lying
        > > just
        > > ten feet ahead.
        > >
        > > "Oh, God! For the love of God. Please, somebody kill me.
        > > Somebody kill me! Please."
        > >
        > > Hirst began to weep. His friend's agony tortured his soul.
        He
        > > couldn't save him and he couldn't kill him. All he had to do was pull
        the
        > > trigger, but he couldn't do it. He couldn't put his best friend in the
        > > world out of his misery.
        > >
        > > He just couldn't do it.
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
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