T.F. Boaz, 2nd Ky. Inf.

    First Kentucky "Orphan" Brigade 


Reminiscences of Pvt. Thomas Francis Boaz, Co. D, 2nd Ky. Inf., regarding Camp Boone and Fort Donelson

(written possibly in the early 1900s; submitted by Todd Winn)


My home was in Graves Co. Kentucky, where I lived with my dear old parents and brothers and sisters.    But I was destined to leave them and fight with my countrymen for the cause of the South.

The later part of June 1861, I enlisted in the Second Kentucky and leaving my old grey headed father and mother I went with my company to Camp Boone Tenn.  Where we were drilled for many months.

We were ordered to Fort Donelson on the 10th of February 1862 there we fought for five days and nights exposed as we were, to snow, ice and mud without shelter and without sleep.

The fort was almost quadangular in shape and was divided in two parts by Indian Creek which was filled with back water, till it was almost impossible to cross it.  Armother (can't make out for sure) valley west of Dover offered the same hindrance.  The ground between these valleys was hilly and covered with a dense undergrowth extending to the Cumberland River on the north.

General Buckner commanded the right wing and General Pillows the left and ?????? Porters Tenn batteries  occupied the advance sweeping the road.  In fact the Confederates were in such an exposed position that they suffered terribly.

On the night of the twelfth our men slept peacefully but were arroused by the boom of the federal artillery at dawn on the thirteenth.  A spirited fire swept along the line.  Cook with his Iowa men sallied forth against the right center where they were met with a warm reception from Graves and Porter and every western soldier retired behind the ????  hill.  The next attack was made on the left wing, a continual fire was kept up along the line for two hours.  The Federals fought with audacity knowing that they had five men to our one.  They reached within forty yards of the Confederate rifle pits and for fifteen minutes they held their ground and retreated to the hills but renewed the attack and this time fire of the artilery set fire to the leaves and this (thus ???)  they retreat  mid the cries of their comrades wounded and dying smothered and charred from the burning.

So the battle continued such mortal strife we of this peaceful time cannot imagine.  The field of battle was thickly strewn with dead and wounded.  With only thirteen effective force weakened and worn out by exposure and hard fighting it was utterly hopeless to continue longer.  The loss to of the Confederates in killed wounded and prisoners was five thousand while that of the Federals was fifteen thousand.

Ghastly spectacles were abundant as the eye ranged over the scene of mortal strife for many places were red with frozen blood and the snow which lay under the pine thickets was marked with crimson streams.  There were two miles of dead thickly strewn and mingled with firearms heavy artillery and dead horses.  They were sometimes facing each other as they gave and received the fatal wound and agave (? - again??) they were heaped in piles six or seven feet deep.

A thrill of pain would run through our bodies as we gazed into the silent faces of our comrades or heard the last of the dying probably to a far away sweat heart or dear old grief stricken mother and the dead seemed to turn to catch a passing breeze for a cooling breath.

Our men were overpowered and had to surrinder (surrender) and I went with the rest to Chicako (Chicago) where we remained for seven months with out very much to eat.

After seven months in prison we were exchanged and went into the service of the Confederacy again.  On Dec. 7th 1862  we were marched into battle at Heartsville (Hartsville) Tenn. by General Morgan.  In this battle I was wounded and disabled the rest of the war though I still remained in the south fearing to return home on account of the enemy there.

Thomas Francis Boaz


Comments to page authors:

Geoff Walden: enfield577 (at) live.com
Laura Cook
: lcook62 (at) hotmail.com

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