We did love our guns.

Havis's Battery by Stan Strickland
Havis’s Battery by Stan Strickland

“We were ordered down to Greensboro, N. C. Soon after getting there, rumors that Gen. Johnston was going to surrender and consternation filled our hearts. We were surrendered on the 26th of April 1865 in Greensboro, N. C. Our Capt. one morning, I think it was the 27th of April, had the bugle to blow the assembly call as if we were to march. The cannoneers of each gun fell in just in front of the horses and the roll was called as usual. Then the Capt. stepped in front and read the order of surrender. Then he address(ed) us about like this “Men, at the sound of the bugle, I will give the usual order ‘By piece from the right forward march’ but first ‘Cannoneers to your post march’ you cannoneers will take your positions at your guns and at the command of march you will get to the wheels and as usual help the horses to start and then stand to your position and let the guns go on to town.” The command to your post march and we boys marched to our posts the last time. The command “By piece from the right forward march”. I saw the 1st piece go and the cannoneers stand in their places. It looked terrible. The 2nd piece went, then the 3rd piece, then the 4th, my gun. We pushed and away the gun went and we stood in our places. That was the first time in three years that our gun had gone and I was not to go with it and as I watched that gun roll away I felt a loneliness and grief down in my heart and the tears streamed from my eyes. I was sad and sorrowed as if I had lost a loved one. We did love our guns. They had been our companions for three years and we would have died in their defense. ‘ Twas a sad day in our camp that day.”William Ralston Talley, Pvt, Co. A, 14th Battn Ga. L. Arty

The Orphan, 3-inch Parrott

The Orphan, 3-inch Parrott

Rainmaker, 10-Pdr Parrott

Rainmaker, 10-Pdr Parrott

Old Thunder, 12-Pdr Napoleon

Old Thunder, 12-pdr Napoleon

The gun is the rallying point of the detachment, its point of honor, its flag, its banner. It is that to which the men look, by which they stand, with and for which they fight, by and for which they fall. As long as the gun is theirs, they are unconquered, victorious; when the gun is lost, all is lost. It is their religion to fight it until the enemy is out of range, or until the gun itself is withdrawn, or until both it and the detachment are in the hands of the foe. An infantryman in flight often flings away his musket. I do not recall ever having heard of a Confederate artillery detachment abandoning its gun without orders. 
Robert Stiles Major of Artillery in the Army of Northern Virginia


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