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South and send their reports by courier line to General Bragg at Missionary Ridge. The expedition was attended with much danger.
The scouts had seen the 16th Army Corps, commanded by General Dodge, move from Corinth to Pulaski, and on Friday, November 19, they started to return to their own camp, each man for himself, and bearing his own information.
Late that afternoon they were captured by the 7th Kansas Cavalry, known as the "Kansas Jayhawkers," taken to Pulaski and put in prison.
Important papers were found upon the person of Sam Davis. his saddle-bags the plans and fortifications as well as an exact report of the Federal Army in Tennessee were found.
A letter intended for General Bragg was also found. General Dodge sent for Davis and told him that he had a serious charge to make; that he was a spy and did not seem to realize the danger he was in. The General also remarked kindly that Davis was a young man, and that it would be well for him to tell from what source his accurate information concerning the Federal army was obtained. Davis had made no reply until this time. Then he said: "General Dodge, I know the danger of my situation, and am willing to take the consequences."
He was ready to die rather than betray his friends.
General Dodge remonstrated with the young prisoner, and insisted that he tell the name of his informer. Davis answered steadfastly:
"I will not tell. You are doing your duty as a soldier, and I am doing mine. If I have to die, I do so feeling that I am doing my duty to God and to my country."
Pleading was useless. He thanked General Dodge for his kind interest, but remained firm. Davis was condemned to death. The night before his execution he wrote a pathetically brave letter to his mother and father.
The morning of the execution arrived. Davis was put into a wagon and taken to the Courthouse Square. The condemned man, seeing some of his friends at a window, bowed a last farewell.
Arriving at the gallows Davis asked Captain Armstrong how long he had to live. The reply was: "Fifteen minutes." Davis then asked for the news. Captain Armstrong told him of the Confederate defeat at Missionary Ridge. He expressed much regret, and said:
"The boys will have to fight without me."
General Dodge still had hope that Davis would reveal the name of the traitor in the Federal camp, and thus save his own life. One of the officers of General Dodge rapidly approached the scaffold, and asked the youth if it would not be better for him to speak the name of the person from whom he had received the document found upon him, adding:
"It is not too late yet!"
Davis replied: "If I had a thousand lives, I would lose them all before I would betray my friends, or the confidence of my informer."
He then requested the officer to thank General Dodge for his efforts to save him, but to repeat that he could not accept the terms. Turning to the chaplain he asked that a few keepsakes be kept for his mother. He then said that he was ready, ascended the scaffold, and stepped upon the trap.
Another noble young life was sacrificed for love of the South.
[From the Sunday News, Charleston, S. C., July 25. 1897.]
BOY HEROES OF COLD HARBOR.
HOW TAYLOR, HAYNE, PINCKNEY AND GADSDEN HOLMES DIED.
Colonel Edward McCrady, after Consultation with Captains Armstrong, Kelly, Hasell, Hutson and Dr. Frost, tells the Story of the Heroism of the Four Young South Carolinians who Fell at Cold Harbor Supporting the Colors of the 1st Regiment, S. C. V.-The Gallant Dominick Spellman, of the Irish Volunteers.
The following interesting letter of Colonel Edward McCrady to Mrs. Thomas Taylor, of Columbia, explains itself:
My Dear Mrs. Taylor:
CHARLESTON, April 6, 1897.
It will make rather a long letter to answer your inquiries of the 25th ultimo. I will, however, endeavor to do so as briefly as I can. I should premise that, though present at the battle of Cold Harbor on the June 27, 1862, I was not on duty with the regiment, the 1st South Carolina Volunteers, of which I was then major. I had been ill in Richmond for some weeks when the seven days' battle
around the city began, and though I managed to get out in a carriage just as that battle opened, being too weak to walk I was directed by General Gregg to serve upon his staff, as doing so allowed me to remain on horseback, when the field officers of regiments were ordered to dismount upon going into action. It thus happened that I was separated from the regiment at the time though within a few yards of it, and did not actually see what took place in the now famous incident of the destruction of our color guard, and the repeated upraising and upholding of our colors. I am, however, I believe, fully informed of the occurrences, and the following account is confirmed by my comrades here-Captains James Armstrong, William Aiken Kelly, N. Ingraham Hasell, C. J. C. Hutson and Dr. Francis L. Frost.
In regard to the formation of the color guard about which you inquire, I must tell you that our color guard was composed of a color sergeant, who bore the regimental colors, a corporal who bore the battle flag, and one corporal from each of the remaining eight companies. The color guard thus consisting in all of ten men. As the color guard forms the color line on which the regimental line is formed, and as it is the most dangerous because the most conspicuous part of a regiment, and indeed that upon which the whole formation is made, none but the best soldiers are detailed for this duty. Upon the organization of our regiment, Colonel Maxcy Gregg appointed young James Taylor, from Columbia, your kinsman, a noble. and gallant youth, color sergeant, and Corporal William Gregg, of Marion, bearer of the battle flag. I will mention here at once that Corporal Gregg was sick in Richmond at the time, but endeavoring notwithstanding to join his regiment, missed his way, and failing to find it, joined another regiment, and was killed, thus sharing the fate and glory of his comrades though upon another part of the field.
As I have said, a regiment is formed upon the color guard, the companies by rule (not always, however, followed), ranging from right to left and centre, by seniority of the captains; the senior captain on the right, the next on the left, and the third, whose company is known as the color company, in the centre.
The alignment which, however, obtained in our regiment, and which was never changed during the war, was from right to left, as follows:
(1) The Richland Volunteers, Company C, Captain Cordero; (2) the Barnwell Company, Company A, Captain C. W. McCreary; (3)
the Carolina Light Infantry, of Charleston, Company L, Captain C. D. Barksdale; (4) the Edgefield Company, Company G, Captain A. P. Butler; (5) the Irish Volunteers, Company K-my old company, then commanded by Captain M. P. Parker-the color company; (6) the Horry Rebels, Company F, Captain T. Pinckney Alston; (7) the Marion Company, Company E, Captain William P. Shooter; (8) the Newbury Company, Company B, Captain J. C. McLemore; (9) the Richardson Guards, Charleston, Company I, Captain C. L. Boag; (10) Captain William T. Haskell's Company, partly from Abbeville and partly from Beauford, Company H, Company D, from Darlington, Captain D. G. McIntosh, was converted into artillery, and became the Pee-Dee or McIntosh battery, and so was separated from the regiment.
The 1st and 12th regiments had been generally in the advance during the morning of the 27th of June, and when at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, arrangements had been made by General Lee for a general attack on the Federal position at Cold Harbor, General Gregg directed the 1st and 12th to advance upon a hillside, the ground of which—especially in front of the 1st-was covered by a dense thicket of young pines. The advance was met by a continuous fire of small arms, and General Gregg finding that great damage was done by an enfilading fire from a battery established a good way to our right, directed Colonel Marshall with the regiment of rifles Orr's rifles, as it was known, to charge and take it.
Upon the attempted advance of the 1st and 12th, their lines were much broken by the dense growth of pines and brambles, through which they had to move, the 12th getting in rear of the Ist, and the first three companies on the right of the 1st, doubling up in rear of the rest of the regimental line. This put the Carolina Light Infantry, Company L, directly in rear of the Irish Volunteers, the color company, and so just behind the colors.
It was at this moment of confusion, when the alignment of the two regiments, 1st and 12th, were thus broken, that the Rifles debouched from the cover under which they had been lying and advancing in column of companies attempted to form forward into line to make the charge ordered by General Gregg. The appearance of the Rifles upon the field brought upon the three advancing regiments of General Gregg's Brigade a fire which is said to have been the greatest delivered at any time during the war. It was the fire of Sykes' Division of Regulars, of the United States Army, to which was attached the New York Zouaves. I have seen it stated
somewhere that the fire was that technically known as the "fire by file of companies," which, supposing the division to have consisted of ten companies in two ranks, and allowing for reserves, would have given more than 100 guns at every second of time. This fire of musketry was deafening. The great guns of the artillery, and all the confused noises of battle were completely drowned in the one continuous roar of the deadly fire of small arms. Before it, the Rifles, caught in the moment of executing a most difficult manœuvre, melted away; more than half of the regiment falling in a few moments in this its baptismal fire.
The fire was scarcely less fatal to the 1st and 12th. Of the 1st Lieutenant-Colonel A. M. Smith, Captain C. L. Boag, Lieutenants Grimke Rhett, Robert W. Rhett and A. J. Ashley were killed or mortally wounded. Lieutenants B. M. Blease, Josiah Cox, John G. Barnwell and E. D. Brailsford were also wounded, and under the fire the whole color guard went down. The loss of the 1st in this battle was 145, almost all of whom fell at this time.
As in all such incidents of intense excitement and violent and tragic scenes, the accounts of those who took part in this differ, and these differences increase as our memories fail as the years go by. But all agree that Color Sergeant Taylor-"Jimmy Taylor," as we all affectionately called him-fell at once under the fire, which was no doubt in a great measure directed to our great blue flag with the palmetto upon it, as it emerged from the woods. His blood was still to be seen upon its folds when, in 1889, my brother surviving officers and myself presented it to the State, with the request that it should always be kept at the capitol.
There are two accounts as to who took up the colors from under Taylor's body. One statement is that Colonel D. H. Hamilton, commanding the regiment, did so, and that he handed them to Corporal Shubrick Hayne, the color corporal for Company L. The other account asserts that Hayne himself took them up. However this may be, certain it is that Hayne bore them aloft until he fell, mortally wounded, when it seems equally certain that Alfred Pinckney, of Company L, seized them and was immediately killed with them in his hands. Then comes another point of difference. On the one hand it is said that Philip Gadsden Holmes, also of Company L, took them up and immediately fell under three mortal wounds. I am inclined, however, to believe that this is a mistake; that the fact was that Gadsden Holmes was, at the moment he was shot, just behind the colors, endeavoring himself to