Reminiscences of Hampton Kendrick Snell 3rd regiment SC State Troops Junior ReservesYou ask me to tell you something of my service in the Confederate Army. Sixty years is a long time to remember and yet that part of my life has left a very vivid impression. I was about eighteen when I enlisted at Orangeburg in 1864, and I was the last of three brothers to go. The Colonel, Artie Goodwin, was a very fine man, but I did not know him as well as I did some of the other officers and men. The members of the Company, for the most part, came from Orangeburg County. Capt. D. J. Avinger, Lieut. Quincy Parler and Lieut. Manly Norris were already my friends. Among those whom I remember were Ab Fair, Henry Riggs, Dick Whaley, John Reeves and Billie Shuler. You know Billie Shuler was the father of Miss Bettie (Bettie Shuler Shumacher) and Capt. Avinger was the father of Mrs. Roland Moorer. I love to think of those times when we all seemed as brothers. Although most of us were quite young, none of us were afraid. There was so much going on that we had little time to think of ourselves.
From Orangeburg, we went to Hamburg, near Augusta. This was the first time I had ever been on a train, although I had seen one on a previous visit to Charleston. The first fighting that I saw was at Honey Hill. When our company arrived, it was a terrible sight. A Georgia regiment had been operating against the enemy and the ground was strewn with the dead. It seemed as if I would step on the dead there were so many, but, strange to say, most of them were Yankees. The Yankees had returned and rescued all their wounded.
We then put our tents, which were made of saplings with dirt thrown upon them. These we called "dirt tents." Of course the officers had cloth tents which at best were very poor.
From Honey Hill, we went to Charleston. We found our troops were all leaving for the up-country. A quantity of government cotton had been stored there and had been fired to keep the Yankees, whom we thought were coming, from taking it. Much of this was extinguished and seized by some of the Jews in Charleston and, later on, used. There was very little food to be found there and all of us were tired and hungry.
We were ordered to Raleigh, N.C. and after we had been there a few days, the Governor of our State recalled us, for we were State troops, and could not do duty outside of our own State. We were then sent to Chester.
As soon as an order was received to rest, each man would begin the task of removing the vermin from his body, a job which was repeated as often as we had another stop.
I was so hungry I was miserable. I saw a man eating raw corn and I asked him where he got it. He told me he stole it from the wagon train; thereupon I did likewise, stealing three ears from the same supply wagon.
On one of the rests, Second Lieut. Quincy Parler saw a hog some distance away and he said, "Hamp, kill that hog." I laughingly raised my gun, never dreaming that I would do so, and when I pulled the trigger, the hog fell. We cleaned it at once and I began to cook it and then called some of the officers in, and when we had finished there remained nothing but the well-sucked bones. I must tell you that we ate with keen relish what had been prepared without a grain of salt.
From Chester we went to Spartanburg and on this trip we went three days without food. When we reached there we found that Lee had surrendered. What sad news it was to us, and yet how glad we were that our days of suffering were over.
We had to walk back, except when we could beg a ride. Some of the government stock was being driven towards Columbia and sometimes we were given a lift on a poor mule. It took us a week to reach Columbia, which was done in good time, except most of us were barefooted. I had only one pair of shoes the whole time I was in the army. On the way back to Columbia we met a man from North Carolina in a covered wagon. He told us he was selling tobacco. He made a fine agent, as he would give us a plug of tobacco for $10 and donate a glass of apple brandy.
As I look back over the years, I think I glad I was when I reached the bridge over the Congaree at Columbia. I think of it each time I cross over it, even now. I found everything in fair condition when I reach our home at Vance. Only Mother and Sister were left there, but as Sherman had not passed that way, there was food enough for us all.
Mother gave me some clean clothes and I went in the woodshed to get rid of my vermin-infested rags, which were put under the old wash pot and then burned.
"Reminiscences of Hampton Kendrick Snell,"
(Written at age 78, about 1925.)
United Daughters of the Confederacy,
South Carolina Division
Recollections and Reminiscences 1861–1865
Vololume 6, (1995), pp. 143–145.
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