In the VETERAN for September, 1921. appeared a beautiful tribute to Col. Hume R. Feild, 1st Tennessee Regiment, Maney's Brigade, Cheatham's Division, by Dr. Charles W. Miles, Union City, Tenn. In giving account of Colonel Feild and his regiment in the battle of Perryville, Ky., the following passage appears:
"Maney's entire brigade had attempted to storm a battery in their immediate front, The assault was unsuccessful; whereupon General Maney ordered Colonel Feild to repeat the effort with his regiment.... The battery was carried with hardly a man left to tell the tale."
I was then the sergeant major of the 9th Tennessee Regiment, Maney's Brigade, and was with my regiment in the whole of this engagement. Upon reading this article I wrote to Dr. Miles, asking if Colonel Feild had left any diary or account of this battle, and, if so, to please send me a copy. After several months I received a copy of the colonel's "desultory notes" (so called) by Dr. Miles, which his daughter had, in which the following appeared:
"After Maney's Brigade was repulsed from the hill, General Maney ordered me to take my regiment, the 1st Tennessee, and storm the hill, which the gallant 1st did, and never halted until it was among the battery that crowned the hill. Seeing it was to simply sacrifice the whole command, I withdrew the regiment after great slaughter."
Neither of these accounts of this battle conformed to my remembrance (especially as to my regiment), engraved as the incidents were of gallant charges, the hiss of Minie balls, the roar of cannon, and the bloody falling of brave comrades - "circumstance of most glorious war."
For my. own satisfaction, I referred to and reread all the authors available on this subject, the regimental histories of the four Tennessee regiments, 1st 6th, 9th, and 27th Tennessee of Maney's Brigade, found in "Lindsley's Military Annals," each written by prominent officers of these regiments. I also wrote to Washington, but received nothing from there except Federal reports, and to the State Library at Nashville, hoping to get General Maney's official report of Perryvville, but was unable to get any account by division or brigade officers, who were advised of the conduct of each and all the forces under their command. Fortunately, I thought of Capt, Thomas H. Malone, who was adjutant general on General Maney's staff at Perryville, and for years Chancellor at Nashville, Tenn., so I wrote to his son, of the same name, to know if his father had left any diary or memoirs, giving an account of Perryville; if he did, to please send me a copy. He kindly sent me a manuscript copy of his father's memoirs of some two hundred pages (written for his family), which gave detailed account of the many battles he was engaged in and "dangers he had passed," and giving the part each regiment of Maney's Brigade took at Perryville. This memoir was just as my memory gave as to the part taken by the 6th and 9th Regiments, and I was greatly pleased to find that it made clear what Colonel Feild meant in his brief notes, quoted above; and, further, that it adds heretofore unspoken honor to each and all of the regiments of Maney's Brigade, and demonstrated that the tribute to Colonel Feild, by Dr. Miles was none too high. And I must add that this memoir of Judge Malone is one of the most interesting, enjoyable, and valuable contributions to Tennessee Confederate history. Upon reading it, I felt it my duty to the whole brigade, dead and alive, to give it publicity, and. of course, through the CONFEDERATE VETERAN as the best depository for perpetuation.
I wish to add further that I was a witness of Captain Malone's services as a soldier for many months while he was with Maney's Brigade, and take pleasure in paying highest tribute to him. There was not a braver, more daring and gallant officer in the Southern army, Chivalrous as Murat, one who would lead a forlorn hope or gallop up to the mouth of grape-charged cannon as gayly as he would walk to a banquet or lead a fair lady to the ballroom.
It gives me pleasure also to say here, with emphasis, that this article is not intended to even intimate that either Col. Feild, or his faithful friend and physician. Dr. Miles, did or would intentionally misrepresent in any way, nor to minimize praise given his splendid regiment.
For four years - from Shiloh to the last battle - these four Tennessee regiments of Maney's Brigade, Cheatham's Division, were comrades in arms, each assured of the support of the other in critical emergencies.
Captain Malone's account of the Perryville battle is as follows:
"On October 8 the great battle of Perryville was fought in proportion to the numbers engaged, one of the very bloodiest of the war. Of course, I do not propose to give any regular description of the battle, I propose to give only what I myself saw, so far as I remember...
"Toward ten o'clock, as I now remember, perhaps a little later, we were ordered to move rapidly by the right flank and take position upon the extreme right of our army. In our new position we were subjected to some shelling, not severe, as I remember. Indeed, I cannot recall that there were any casualties in our brigade. Somewhat later in the day, perhaps about twelve o'clock, we were ordered to advance. I never did have any correct memory with regard to the hours of October 8, 1862. When I think of that day it occurs to me. as a unit, from the time I awoke until about sundown.
"Anyhow, we advanced across an open field, under a rather sharp fire of the enemy's skirmishers, to the foot of a wooded hill, where it became evident that the enemy's lines still flanked ours, and we must march by the right flank, taking ground to the right. I remember that General Maney, thinking that in marching my column over rough ground it would be difficult to keep the column closed up, sent me back, to see that this was done. While I was thus engaged, I heard a severe fire toward the head of the column. I rode rapidly toward the firing, and it was very pleasant to me to see the kind feeling the brigade had for me, expressed in continuous cheers and friendly guying. Our whole line was then under fire, and I was riding between the men and the enemy.
"When I reached the head of the column, I was directed to place the 1st and 27th Tennessee Regiments in a certain position in the wood, while the other regiments continued their march. While I was thus placing these two regiments, I heard a heavy fire of musketry and artillery break out near the head of the column. It was my business, of course, to be near my commanding general, to bear his orders, if there should be any, and I immediately sought him. I found him standing under a great white oak tree at the edge of the field, and in the field I saw the 41st Georgia and the 6th and 9th Tennessee Regiments lying on the ground, engaged in a bitter fight with the line of the enemy on the edge of the hill in their front, which line was supported by Parsons's Battery of of eight 12-pound Napoleon guns. It seemed to me that our men could not have maintained our position at all but for the fact that old Turner - the best artilleryman, but the poorest drilled man in the army - was imperatively demanding the attention of Parsons's guns. He thundered with his, little 6-pound howitzers right over the heads of our men, and with grape was making it very hot for Parsons and his infantry supports.
"After looking at the battle for a few minutes, General Mancy asked me what I thought of it. I told him I didn't think our position could be maintained; that there were seven or eight guns of the enemy against Turner's four, and that the enemy's line of infantry was longer and stronger than ours. He asked what I thought should be done, and I told him I believed our only chance was to take those guns. He asked if I thought it was possible for our amen to do it. I said, 'I think so.' He then said, 'Go, direct the men to go forward, if possible.' I rode out into the field in the rear of the line, and, passing the whole length of our line of battle, told the field officers of each regiment what was expected. I was repeatedly assured by officers and privates as I rode along that if it were possible to make a simultaneous movement, they believed they could take the guns, but in the great uproar of bursting shells and crashing of incessant musketry a man could hardly be heard even speaking his loudest. I was discussing this with Captain Harrison, of the 9th Tennessee, when a private of the 9th looked up and called out to, me: 'Captain, the 9th will follow you anywhere.' Thereupon, I rode up and down the line again, telling the men to look to the center of the line, and when I rode out and raised my hat that should be the signal for a simultaneous charge. I went back to the 9th, rode out about three horse lengths in front, laughingly charging the fellows not to shoot me in the back, raised my hat, and gave a yell. Every man was instantly on his feet, and I don't suppose that twelve hundred men ever gave such a yell before. With bayonets at charge, they ran as fast as they could run right through the guns and over the enemy's line. We did not fire a shot from the time the charge began until the enemy's whole line of battle was in flight, and then, shooting deliberately, the butchery was something awful. I remember stating at the time that I could walk upon dead bodies from where the enemy's line was established until it reached the woods, some three hundred yards away, . . .
Several of the enemy's guns were loaded and fired while we were making the charge, and it seems to me that the one pointed at the 41st Georgia was fired after old George and I passed the battery. Old George wasn't afraid of anything on the earth, or under it, so far as I know, except a wagon. He had been injured, when a colt, by a runaway wagon, and George knew of his own knowledge that a loaded wagon was a half devil. Just as the 9th and I were passing through the guns, George spied a caisson, and, suddenly wheeling and tearing, nearly unseated me. Several of the 9th rushed out of line, calling out: 'The Captain's killed,' and seized old George. I remember that I said; 'Boys, don't be such fools. George is not afraid of anything but a wagon, and be took this caisson for a wagon.' Neither George nor I received a scratch. . . .
"Of course, as I have stated above, we suffered terribly while we were charging, but the enemy still more after they had begun to run. But what struck me at the time, and strikes me now, is the fatal accuracy of the fire of the 41st, 6th, and 9th while the enemy were lying down. It seemed to me that one-third of them were lying dead on the line which they had been holding so gallantly,
"The enemy did not attempt to make any further stand in our front. We pursued them through a thin wood and a cornfield grown up with high weeds for some distance, perhaps a mile, until - by command of General Cheatham, I believe - we were halted. It had become evident that while we had defeated the enemy in cur front, there was a considerable body of troops on our right that threatened to flank us and, as we were on the extreme right of our army, thus to get the flank of the entire army. I suggested to Colonel Feild, who was near me, this fact, and asked if he didn't think it was best for me to gallop to the rear, -find General Mancy, and ask him to bring up behind our right the 1st and 27th Tennessee. He assented, and as I was thus proceeding, I saw the 1st and, as I supposed, the 27th, rapidly moving obliquely forward and to the right, into the position we desired them to take. I saw General Cheatham, who told me that he had himself seen the necessity for the movement and had given the order. I than returned to the main line, and soon heard an exceedingly heavy fire upon our right, waged, as I then thought, by the 1st and 27th Tennessee but it was, in fact, the 1st Tennessee alone, When we made the charge the 27th lost its grip,, couldn't stand still, and, despite orders, went with us to a man. The little regiment had been nearly wiped out at Shiloh. but the men that remained were still as game as bulldogs.
"In the wood and the cornfield where we hafted I could see very little indeed. The firing upon our right ceased, and, in great excitement, I galloped toward the point where it had been heard, and found the 1st Tennessee quietly marching to the rear. The first man I met was Bill Kelley, of Company A. He told me they had had a most severe fight, had lost nearly half the men, and had retreated, under orders of Lieutenant Colonel Patterson, as he understood, when just on the point of carrying all before them. Upon inquiry I found that Lieutenant Colonel Patterson was dead. While urging on his men he was fatally shot, and as his home turned, going back to the rear, it was supposed that the retreat had been ordered by him. Colonel Feild, the colonel of the regiment, who had been ordered with the 9th, 6th, and 27th Tennessee and the 41st Georgia, took charge of the 1st and carried it back, regained the position from which they had retreated, silenced the battery on their front, joined to the other regiments of the brigade, and so, formed a continuous line, which was held by us until night....
"A drummer boy of the 9th Tennessee quite distinguished himself. He went forward when his regiment made the charge. His drum was shattered by a fragment of shell, and he threw it away. seized a gun that had fallen from the hands of a wounded comrade, and gallantly pressed forward with the foremost; and it was said - I do not know how truly -that with the butt of, his rifle he crushed the skull of an artilleryman who was In the act of firing his gun. The incident was related to General Maney and his staff. A day or two afterwards, as General Maney and I were passing along the 9th, I pointed out the youngster - he was about sixteen years old - and the following conversation took place between them: The general said 'My little man, were you in the battle?' 'O, yes, sir, I was there.' 'What did you do?' 'Why, I beat the drum, of course.' 'Well, when the men started to charge, what did you do?' 'I beat the drum,' 'But at the last, in the desperate fight, what did you do?' O' said the little man with a grin, 'when they fout I fit.' ...
"When the four regiments were sent forward to take the guns, General Maney remained behind with the 1st and the 27th Tennessee; at least, I went forward with the four regiments and did not see him until much later in the day. When afterwards the 1st went into action, it was, as I understood, led first by Lieutenant Colonel Patterson and afterwards by Colonel Feild. . . .
"General Maney was of opinion, when he saw the three strong lines of the enemy in front of our single line, that we should certainly be beaten back. As we were on the extreme right of the army, he thought the result would be that the right wing of Bragg's army would be turned by the enemy. He, therefore, had retained the 1st and 27th Tennessee Regiments as a reserve, behind which the rest of the command, if defeated, might rally. In the meantime, General Cheatham had come up in person and directed the 1st and 27th Tennessee to come to our support." . . .
I will add that, as stated by Captain malone, the 6th and 9th went directly through Parsons's Battery, and one of the officers of my company, A, picked up a gauntlet glove of General Jackson, whose body lay among the guns. We routed the infantry that was supporting the battery and pursued them from the field, then through a woods, and then a cornfield to a ravine at the loot of another steep, hill, occupied by the enemy and were halted there behind a rail fence, where we remained for some time, until nearly night, when we were ordered to retire.
I remember quite vividly that the desultory firing from the hill, which splintered the rails, caused us to change positions and play the part of many squirrels we had shot from the limbs.
As a further account of Captain Malone's leading the assault upon and capture of Parsons's Battery, I close this article with a paragraph from an address delivered at Brownsville, Tenn., on July 28, 1921, some two months before the appearance of Dr. Miles's tribute in the VETERAN under the following circumstances; Memphis had some three hundred citizens, natives of Haywood County, who had formed an Association, of which I was a member. Haywood County invited this association to a Home-Coming and Welcome to Brownsville, and I was appointed by our association to deliver an address to our hosts. Knowing that Haywood had given several companies to the 6th and 9th Tennessee Regiments, who had participated in the Perryville fight, in that address I gave the following incident, in connection with my claim of having been raised as a farmer in Haywood
"One of the horses I raised in Haywood I took with me to the army and sold him to Capt. Thomas Malone, adjutant general of our Brigade, in after years Chancellor at Nashville. This horse, George, a handsome gray, and Captain Malone figured in one of the most stirring and gallant events witnessed by me in four years of 'bloody war.'
In the battle of Perryville our regiment the 9th Tennessee Infantry, and the other regiments of the brigade were confronting, in close proximity. Jackson's eight-piece brass battery. Suddenly Captain Malone, mounted on George, dashed out to our front, and with drawn sword, ordered: 'Up and charge that battery.' We sprang to the attack, he leading, and we charged and took the whole battery, killing General Jackson and routing the infantry supporting the battery. Neither Captain Malone nor George was wounded, but George was afterwards killed in battle."