Richmond, Virginia, July 22,1863
Editors, Confederate Union: I am aware that the history of a regiment, acting with and constituting a part of the main body of our army, is necessarily embodied in an account of the operations of that army; I would never-the-less ask a short space in your columns for a few remarks relative to the 9th Ga. Regt; particularly to the part borne by it in the recent campaign in yankee-land.
Placed with the 7th, 8th and 11th Ga. Regiments, under the command of Col. Bartow in the Army of the Shenendoah, under General Joseph E. Johnson, the 9th has with this, the first Georgia brigade formed in Va., borne unfalteringly the privations and hardships of the camp and the march, and moved on undaunted to the shock of battle in every important contest from Malvern Hill to Gettysburg, with the exception of Chancellorsville; the corps of Gen. Longstreet operating that time on a different field.
On the 28th, July 1862, the 9th was selected by Gen'l D.R. Jones, commanding the Division,as the advance guard of the army in the hazardous and difficult exploit of forcing a passage through Thoroughfare Gap, despite the opposition of a Division of yankee Infantry, with the usual porportion of Artillery and Cavalry. The skillful handling of the Regiment by Col. Beck, together with the impetuosity of the men under the command of competent officers drove the strong advance guard of the enemy back upon the main body where they were held in obeyance till our forces in rear were filed through the Gap, brought into position and prepared to inflict a signal repulse, upon Ricket and his crack Division.
Two days after, upon the plains of Manasses twice drenched with the comingled blood of freedmen and a hireling horde, the 9th left many of her noble braves. Some died amid the roar of conflict, some lived to know that victory was ours and with a smile of triumph sank to rest; and many yet live whose maimed bodies plainly tell of the Georgia courage with which they faced the foe.
I pass over Boonsboro, Sharpsburg and Fredericksburg, as it would require too much repetition and come to the bloody and rather indecisive battle of Gettysburg.
On the night of the 1st inst., the Division of Gen'l Hood marched from Fayetteville Pa., to the vicinity of the battle-field. The distance over the South Mountain alone, which was between Fayetteville and Gettysburg, is nearly eight miles. Though dark clouds were flying threateningly over us, all moved on with jest and song convinced all the while that bloody work was to be done the next day. To drive drowsiness and weariness away, our splendid brass band sent forth the stirring strains of martial airs to the genious of that wild mountain, while yawning gorge and deep mouthed cavern sent back the rebel refrain; occasionally too the Moon would break through the resisting clouds and smile approvingly upon those who on the coming day were to strike so terribly for freedom.
Arriving at Cashtown on the East of the Mountain at one o'clock A.M. the troops rested nearly three hours and were then moved to the battle-field of the preceeding day, and were held during the forenoon. At two o'clock P.M. Gen'l Hood moved his Division two or three miles to the right. All the morning pickets had skirmished and an occasional cannon boomed upon the sultry morning air.; and as the Division filed to the right, along the crest of the hills the enemy would sometimes plunge a solid shot through the ranks or burst a shell in fatal proximity, but nearly all would either pass over our heads with a vengeful scream or falling short, would find a grave instead of a victum. Just here, let me remark that the order of brigades in Hood's division, commencing with the right, is as follows; Law of Ala.--Benning of Ga.--Robinson (**this is a typo, actually was Robertson**Ed@Neal) of Tex.--and Anderson of Ga. The 9th being on the left of Anderson's brigade is the extreme left of the Division. The brigade was commanded, as is almost invariably the case, in camp, on the march and on the field, by Gen'l Anderson himself; alias "old Tige" a soubriquet given him by his brigade on the account of his iron-will and dauntless courage.The 9th was commanded by the lamented Lieut. Col. John C. Mounger. About five o'clock, nearly exausted with celerity of movement and excessive heat the men lay down under severe artillery fire for a few moments rest; very soon in calm yet wonderful distinct tones the command "attention!" rings upon the air; the whole brigade hears it, the voice is too well known, has been heard too often upon the battle-field to be mistaken; it is "old Tige's." In an instant every man is at his place and the line moves forward under a terribly increased fire of shot and shell. A full half mile of wheat fields, ready for the harvest, enclosed with stone fences intervene between our line and the rocky rampart where the enemy's bayonets glisten and cannons send forth their screaming, hustling and bursting shells. The line moves steadily on and on till more than half the distance is left behind, and then grape and cannister from big-mouthed howitzers caryy destruction in their path. The ranks are thinning somewhat but no sign of wavering, when within three hundred yards of the enemy Lt. Col. Mounger fell, pierced by two grape shot, in front of the 9th, he was so gallantly leading, and with the expression--"boys, they've killed me now," he expired in the arms of a devoted son. With lips compressed and brow conracted wirh revenge the "boys" he had appealed to still moved on. At last the craggy steps was reached and the enemy poured a murderous volley from behind rock walls; it was returned with usury; the contest was stubborn and the carnage great. All was moving well when the watchful eye of the General (Anderson) saw a flanking party coming upon our left, companies were sent to meet it, but the line was obliged to retire to a distance of two hundred yards. Rallying here under the terrible fire through which they had advanced, the line charged forward again, then ensued another fearful struggle and another recoil. Rallying again, the third charge was made upon the rock walls and the enemy driven from them. Night closed upon the scene and our boys slept upon the ground occupied by the enemy when the attack was first made.
'Tis with feelings of deepest sorrow that we recount the many who fell upon this stubbornly contested field; yet 'tis with pride that we recall how bravely they fought and nobly fell. Veterans were never led into the jaws of death by a more gallant officer than Lt. Col. Mounger; ans a more generous heart than his never beat in a human breast. Though far advanced in years, and, with a constitution not naturally robust, greatly impaired by disease, his whole-souled devotion to his country, and her cause, still kept him in the field. He received a painful wound in the head at Manasses No. 2, and despite the earnest remonstrances of all his friends, remained in action. He commanded the Regiment in the first Maryland campaign; was wounded severely in the arm, in the early morning of the Sharpsburg fight; kept the field all day, was again wounded, still would not leave, and finally having his arm broken by a shell was taken from the field. His body now lies in a foreign land, buried decently but without befitting ceremony; his grave is bedewed with tears from the unaccustomed eyes of the rough soldier. True he can sleep as sweetly where he lies, for nothing can disturb the good and brave, as though entombed in some flower-scented glade of Florida or beneath the green turf of the Old Dominion, but from Georgia he so loved, served, honored and illustrated when living, it seems hard to separate him when dead. But it matters little where such a man may lie, wherever it may be, there
"Honor comes a pilgrim gray,
To deck the turf that wraps his clay."
The list of casualties having been published, I shall not append it now.
Respectfully yours, Mr. Editor,
G. 9th Ga.
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