SUBMITTED BY: Glenn Land
Written by my 4 x 1st cousin Thomas Charles Land of Wilkes County, NC. Thomas began the war a Private in Company B 1st NC Infantry (The Wilkes Valley Guards). He was seriously wounded at Malvern Hill July 1,1862. While furloughed home he was commissioned 3rd Lieut Co. K 53rd NC Infantry. The “dear nephew” he mentions being killed at Gettysburg was his Captain, William J. Miller. He was promoted to 2nd Lieut following Gettysburg and seriously wounded again at 3rd Winchester. He resigned his commission on April 1,1865. A prolific writer for most of his life, he is credited by some to being the author of the words to “The Ballad of Tom Dooley” made famous by the Kingston Trio.
When first the bugle sounded, to call us forth to arms, I left my native country and its endearing charms,
And hastened to Virginia, the land of brave and free, to fight for independence for rights and liberty.
Twas on a little river called the Chickahominy, where I first met the Yankees and fought for liberty.
For seven days we fought them, our victory was complete; we made the great McClellan and his big gun-boats retreat.
Whilst in this mighty struggle a wound I did receive, which caused me for a season my friends in arms to leave.
To friends and home I hastened and when my wounds were healed, again I joined my comrades upon that “tented field.”
Then soon to North Carolina, we went to meet the foe; but Foster would not fight us, so there it was no go.
Again to old Virginia, we went to meet old Meade, who tried to capture Richmond, though he never did succeed.
Twas the first month of summer near Fredericksburg that we set out for Pennsylvania, Billy Yank again to see.
At Gettysburg we met them, the struggle was severe. My friends fell thick around me, among them a nephew dear.
He gallantly was leading his band of soldiers brave, but on that July evening sank into a hero’s grave.
Here in the din of battle, mid shrapnel, ball, and shell, we charged and drove the Federals, though many heroes fell.
Then back to old Virginia went officers and men, and spent the dreary winter upon the Rapidan.
And when that dreary winter had fully passed away, again we met the enemy, was on the fifth of May.
There Grant with all his forces, in the Wilderness we met, we gave them such a scourging they never will forget.
Then we to Spotsylvania quite speedily did go, once more to meet the Yankee, our cruel northern foe.
Here many days we fought them, the battle raging sore, we gave them the worst thrashing they ever had before.
Yet here some noble soldiers, heroically they fell, among who was our brave General we all did love so well.
Next, at Hanover Junction, we met Ulysses’ host, but here he failed to charge us, although he made the boast.
That he would rout our army and straight to Richmond go in spite of all the efforts made by his Rebel foe.
Soon after this we left them and went to another place and soon met up with Hunter and gave him such a chase.
That he will oft remember till time shall be no more, till Yankees cease from fighting and cannon cease to roar.
So fleet was “Black Dave“ Hunter, we could not him overtake, so down the Shenandoah a pleasant trip we made.
Whilst in this lovely valley kind friends we daily met, and though I’m from them parted, I will not them forget.
We went to Harper’s Ferry, Yankee Bill to see, and scared them as completely as Yankee Bill could be.
We got their pork and bacon, their beef and flour too, and sugar by the bushel we for our rations drew.
We also drew much coffee, molasses candy too, spice, ginger, salt and pepper, and dainties not a few.
Here each poor ragged Rebel had plenty of the best; each ate and drank plenty, and calmly took a rest.
Our feasting over, we hastened as soon you’ll understand, to wade the green Potomac and go to Maryland.
Here we found many cattle, fat mules, and horses too and friends both kind and clever to their southern country true.
We went to Frederick City, near which we met the Yanks, and routed them completely near Monocacy’s banks.
Then we in best of spirits did haste near Washington that scared old Abe so badly that from his home he ran.
I guess he thought he’d rather be back in Illinois, where he was a rail-splinter when he was but a boy.
Then Jubal E. retired to old Virginia’s shore, and near the Shenandoah, we rested one time more.
But old Sheridan quite angry resolved to set a trap for General Jubal Early, it was there at Snicker’s Gap.
But Early was not sleeping and soon this trap did see, there he met the Union forces and gained the victory.
Then up the Shenandoah to Fisher’s Hill, we went, and in this pleasant valley some pleasant days were spent.
Old Sheridan advancing, the Valley we went down and badly thrashed the Yankees one evening at Kernstown.
Through Winchester we drove them; the people did rejoice to see the Yanks skedaddle before their Rebel boys.
To Bunker Hill we hastened, the pursuit was not in vain, we pressed the Yanks so closely they burned their wagon-trains.
From Martinsburg we drove them, they could not make a stand; We made them cross the river back into Maryland.
With Sheridan defeated, to Bunker Hill we go, with friends both kind and generous, to rest a day or so.
Near this delightful station, we bivouacked many days and feasted on nice apples, potatoes, and green maize.
But in the mild September near Winchester, we met the largest Yankee army seen in the Valley yet.
Though here we were outnumbered, at least four Yanks to one, we made the boasting bluecoats in sad confusion run.
While we the Yanks were chasing, they fell upon our flanks; and with their mighty numbers did quickly break our ranks.
Here in this mighty struggle, while friends were falling fast, our General Rodes was wounded and quickly breathed his last.
Thus being overpowered, we slowly did retire, exposed to grape and shrapnel, and to a galling fire.
Here I was badly wounded and left the battlefield, on which we were outnumbered and therefore forced to yield.
Then I was sent to Lynchburg for treatment and for ease; here friends made every effort my sufferings to appease.
Soon I obtained a furlough and soon did haste away, to friends, to home and parents awhile with them to stay.
For many weeks I suffered, at length, my wounds were healed, and then again I hastened back to the “tented field.”