"AN INCIDENT AT GETTYSBURG"
This story was written by my great great grandfather's lifelong friend and comrade; Capt. June Kimble, Co. A, 14th Tenn. Vol. Inf. Regt. The story is as follows:
Note: It appears as he wrote it. Where you see the words " killed squirrels", this was a term used by Tennessee and Kentucky troops for shooting Yankees. It shows both the serious side of war and a soldier's sense of humor. It reminds me of my own youth when I first fought in battle at the age of 17 an a half , and the many others during my three tours in Nam. Not to forget the serious humor soldier's like I developed...that when seen by civilians...they roll their eyes an move away. It shows that, except for the weapons, battle and men haven't changed that much from those of 135 years ago.
I am, very respectuflly, your obedient servant,
Larry (a.k.a. KyReb)
When I realized that the assault on Cemetery Ridge was a failure, I sprang out of the enemy's works and rushed across to the slab fence, and dropped to the ground behind a large rock for protection. There were a number of other rocks similar, extending with the fence and behind each rock there was one or two men all busy loading and firing at the enemy's reinforcements coming over the crest of the ridge to our left. At my side, behind a rock, I noticed a comrade, also loading and firing. He was a handsome, fair complected youth, in fact he was a beardless boy, as I discovered.
I used in this battle a Mississippi rifle, with which I had killed squirrels considering myself a fairly good marksman, while shooting from this rock, I noticed a federal soldier clothed in blue pants and red shirt, standing some 50 or 60 yards to my left, with his left foot upon a low place in the rock fence, shooting at the retreating confederates. In my effort to pick him off, with good rest across my rock, I deliberately fired five shots at this red shirt. If I touched him, he gave no evidence of my splendid marksmanship. In my disgust I turned to my boy comrade and said to him "Shoot that fellow in the red shirt to the left". In reply he exclaimed in a loud tone, "Why dam him, I have shot at him four times". "I am going out of here". He sprang to his feet, turning his back to the enemy, and in that instant, I distinctly heard the bullet strike his head. He fell upon his face, and was dead, without a struggle. He was a member of Armistead's Virginia Brigade. He wore a neat, rather new dark gray uniform. Although a mere youth myself, I felt so much older than that bright-eyed, fair-faced brave boy looked, that a real sorrow passed into my heart, as lying by him I knew that his gallant spirit had winged its flight to its God.
At this moment I deliberated as to my own course, shall or shall I not surrender, rather than attempt to run the gauntlet of fire from innumerable guns. My first conclusion was to surrender. I laid my gun to one side, bowed up my body, unbuckled my cartridge belt, and was ready. But this conclusion and preparation for the safe side of the question was quickly recalled, as prison bars loomed up before me. I bowed up again, rebuckled my belt, grasped my gun, sprang to my feet, and made the run for liberty and won out. The near by zip of unfriendly bullets, reminding me of the danger of back wounds, and the more or less disgrace that clings to such wounds, caused me to about face and "gallantly" back out; which run and back out was safely accomplished and without so much as a scratch of clothing or flesh. It is due perhaps to state, that when I left my rock, the red shirt man still stood in his hole in the wall, seemingly a very live yankee, and no doubt returned my compliment of shots, as I made for tall timber. I, at least was very cognizant of many near by lead messengers as they zipped on either side and made crosses on the ground in front, and then in my rear, in the backward movement, thanks to their poor marksmanship.
Capt Co.A. 14th Tenn Regt
Note: At the Battle of Gettysburg, Capt. Kimble, was an Orderly Sgt. He was commissioned an officer, in 1864.
Source: Larry McGibbins
This Page last updated 02/03/02
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