Recollections of Sgt. M.O. Young of the 9th Georgia Infantry (from a microfilm in the Atlanta archives).


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(Editor-The following texts have been grammatically corrected only. They are from a handwritten account by Sgt. M.O. Young of the 9th Ga.; transcribed from a microfilm in the Atlanta, Ga. Dept. of Archives and History. These recollections may or may not be accurate, but certainly contain events as the writer believed. I have made no attempt to edit out his use of, by today's standards, quotes containing mild profanity, used in the heat of battle in combat units.)

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On Fredericksburg.........
..here on the stone culvert there were a lot of Yankees sharpshooting our lines. Gen. Anderson saw what they were up to. He spoke to Capt. Bales to "take his men and run the damn scoundrels off the road." Capt. Bales said "I am sick". Gen. Anderson said "I could tell a damn lie too, but, by God, there is nothing the matter with me." Gen. Anderson then spoke to Capt. S.D. Cockrell, "to take your men and kill the damn sons of b.....s".
We boys knew the thing had to happen. Sooner than a minute, we were crossing the road. We ran out by the right flank as skirmishers. Soon as we crossed the road, the order was "By the left flank, march!" "Open fire!" They did not last a minute. All of the Yankees that were killed up on the road were left there. As they would brake to get to the (ravine?), we boys would throw fire on them, and not a man got away........

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On Second Manasses (Bull Run)..........
.....Col. Billy Wilson commanding the 7th Georgia Volunteers rode out in front, and said "7th Georgia, halt! Boys, we have come back to our old stomping grounds. If any of you are barefoot, kill a Yankee, and put on his shoes, quick. And if you get into a sutler's store, eat all of the cheese and crackers that you possibly can hold; and if you get any cigars, give old Billy two. Forward!"
The boys raised a yell, as usual. By the time our Brigade marched through the old field and struck the woods, Col. Billy Wilson was killed. If he got his cigars, I did not see him smoke them. The writer was detailed a late hour in the night to help make (unreadable). The first line of the enemy we struck were the Bucktails. (Editor-I believe the Bucktails were the 13th Pennsylvania). These men were the best fighters in the Army of the Potomac. It was something strange; Gen. Anderson's Brigade always got hold of the Bucks. The Bucks came up, hollering and squalling. Gen. Anderson says, "Hold your fire, by God, when you see the whites of their eyes, then knock hell out of their damn blue shirts". The Bucks came up (with)in fifty feet. I suppose they thought we would surrender, but, Oh God, Gen. Anderson says, "Now, by God, let them have it". The Bucks were half cut down (at) the fire. Gen. Anderson says, "That was right, by God, do it again". The second volley was thrown in their ranks. "Now, by God, fix your bayonets, and put the damn blue bellies off".

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....On Sharpsburg (Antietam), Md. ....
....now we are moving out of town to our position on the line. Pretty soon, as our line was formed, here comes the Penn. Bucktails, as usual, hollering and squalling. One of our boys says, "I am scared". Another says "Yes, I am too, but if they are not scared, we will scare them". That made the writer strong, so we had nine columns to dash.
At this place, the Red men came up. (Editor-it was probably a New York Zouave Regiment, referred to by the men of the 9th Ga. as "Reds" ,"Redlegs" or "Red-britches". For some reason, the 9th had a low opinion of these men, and referred to them as "thieves" on some occasions.) Also, it seemed impossible to nip these chaps. Gen. Anderson said he was satisfied that every man killed five to one. It was a plain slaughter.

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Life in the combat-hardened Georgia Regiment did have a few lighter moments. Below are a few exerpts from Sgt. Young's papers........
[in late 1862, for a short time, the 10th Georgia Battalion, under Maj. Ryelander from Macon, Ga. was with the Brigade. The following episode was reported by Sgt. Young]
"As soon as Maj. Ryelander's Battalion came in the Brigade, the old Rebs stole pretty well all of the 10th Ga.'s baggage and cooking utensils and tents and blankets. The old boys had no respect for Maj. Ryelander, what case he seemed to be sort of on the stuck up style. The boys would call him Ryelander and Holander and Joe Lander and Hollander. This made the precious Major Ryelander mad. He rode up to Gen. Anderson's headquarters while the writer was on guard and saluted the General. The General saluted the Major, and asked him to lite [ed.-this means dismount.] "No, thank you, General. I came up to get an officer and a guard to search your brigade and get my men's blankets and cooking utensils." "Very well, Major. You can have all the officers and guards you want, but, by God, you won't find anything."
This sort of cut the Major off. Maj. Ryelander says, "General, I don't see for my life, what I have done to your men. They seem to have no respect for me whatever. They call me Joe Ryelander and Joe Lander and Hoe lander and Roe Lander. I don't like to be called by such names."
Gen. Anderson says, "By God, they call me "Old Tige" to my face." Maj. Ryelander says, "General. I was told before I left Macon that your Brigade was composed of nothing but Gentleman"
[Anderson] "I don't know who told that damn lie. If there is a Gentleman in my Brigade, I'll be damned if I know who it is." The Major then turned around and said, "Good morning, General." [Anderson[ "Good morning, Major."
..While on picket duty along the Rappahanock River...
"...the morning is damp and foggy. The Yanks are busy on the other side of the river throwing up their breastworks. The writer has five men in his pickett detail. Everything quiet on the line. I spoke, "Stop work over there, Yanks! When it fairs off, by God, we will come over and give you a lift." Soon as [I] said [it], minie balls were our visitors. They got mad at that, [and] kept up the fire all day. [Next?] morning, before we were relieved, I made a treaty of peace with them. We would send them tobacco and exchange it for coffee. I made the bale water-tight and sent over the tobacco and Richmond Dispatch [newspaper]. The Yanks sent over coffee and the Washington Sun. We had to keep a rear vidette to see the officers of the line, before he got to us. When the officer of the line came along, every man was at his post, just as though nothing was going on. An officer that a private soldier in our Brigade can't fool was not in the Army of Virginia."
...while marching through Sharpsburg, Md.....
.."the enemy shelled us pretty [hot?]. One Md. lady said she "could stand the shells if one, nice dressed soldier would kill all the durn Rebs. Nasty, stinking things! Look how rugged (ragged?) they are." Pivate J.E.N., Co. "H", 9th Georgia said to the lady, that "Southern people were proud people. When we go to kill hogs, we put on our dirty clothes."

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The Ninth Georgia Infantry, CSA 1861-65