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Reminiscences of a Rebel

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Reminiscences of a Rebel
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Author(s): Wayland Fuller Dunaway
Date Published: 2009/12
Page Count: 112
Softcover ISBN-13: 978-1-84677-873-5
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-1-84677-874-2

A Confederate infantry officer's war

This is a personal account of the Civil War written by a young confederate officer, a native of Virginia, who fought in many battles of the conflict. We accompany Dunaway as he joins the ranks of the 47th Virginia Volunteers and journey with him on campaign to Gaines' Mill, Cedar Run, Second Manassas, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and eventually to the apocalyptic battle at Gettysburg. Dunaway was captured shortly afterwards and spent some time in Johnson's Island Prison. The author explains his campaign experiences in detail and his story also includes many personal anecdotes making it an invaluable source work of the Confederate perspective. This book is available in soft cover and hard cover with dust jacket.

A spirited contest ensued, which I shall dignify with the name of the battle of Falling Waters, for a real battle it was, although it is not mentioned in the histories that I have read, and the number engaged was small. On one side were portions of the four regiments of Brockenbrough’s brigade, with their bullet-pierced battle flags, and on the other side were dismounted men of the 8th Illinois cavalry regiment armed with their seven-shooting carbines.<br>
There were officers present who held higher rank than mine, but, as they knew me to be of the brigade staff, they permitted me to exercise authority over the entire force. For an hour we held the Yankees in check at close quarters.<br>
While the action was in progress I observed that one of our enemies was protected by a large tree in the field, from behind which he stepped frequently and quickly to fire upon us. As he seemed to be taking special aim at me, I requested one of our men, who had a beautiful Colt’s rifle, to give me his gun, and I shot at the man the next time he emerged from behind his natural protection.<br>
He was not killed, but he darted back without shooting. I handed back the gun. Then, with my right arm around the man, I was with my left arm pointing out the enemy when he fired at us and broke the arm of my comrade that was pressed between us.<br>
Seeing another regiment of cavalry in front, hearing their bugle sound the charge, and knowing that our ammunition was nearly exhausted, I directed all the men to retire as quickly as possible to their former position. I had not once looked back, and I supposed that the two divisions were where we had left them; but they, taking advantage of our defence, had gone across the river. All of a sudden it flashed through my mind that we could neither fight nor run.<br>
Further resistance was vain; escape, impossible. I felt angry because we had been sacrificed, and chagrined because we were about to be captured. I had known all along that I might be killed or wounded, but it had never entered my mind that I might be made a prisoner. As we were scattered upon the field and the squadrons came charging among us, a group of men gathered about me were asking, “Captain, what shall we do?”<br>
“Stand still,” I replied, “and cast your muskets upon the ground.”<br>
At the same time I unbuckled my useless pistol and sword and cast them from me. After we had surrendered, I regretfully record that a cavalryman discharged his pistol in our midst, but fortunately no one of us was struck. An officer, indignant at an act so cowardly and barbarous, threatened him with death if he should do the like again. That day the Yankees captured on this field and in other places about thirty-five officers and seven hundred men.