Company K on Review
3rd Regiment S. C. State Troops
Richland County

Columbia, S. C.
The Bonham Guards

The "Bonham Guards," a company of youthful recruits, under Capt. A. D. Goodwyn, appeared on the streets yesterday marching with the precision of trained troops. Our friend, the Captain, true to his past history, and the instincts of his patriotism, although still disabled from the effects of a wound received while acting gallantly as the Lieut. Col. Of the 2d Regiment, has gathered these spirited young men around him and is off to-day for the Georgia border. Success attend them! May they have a share in the discomfiture of Sherman and return without loss or wounds!

Published in:
The Daily Southern Guardian
Columbia, South Carolina
Wed., 23 November 1864

Boy Soldiers of the Confederacy
By Lawrence W. Taylor
I have noticed lately some remarks on the services of the boy soldiers of sixteen years of age, as Grant, you know, said of the range in age of the Confederate Soldiers, "From the cradle to the grave."
I have often thought of writing an account of the part my regiment had in making up the last two years of the War, but being of a retiring disposition, I have held back from doing so. But now undertake to do so, especially as the old soldiers do not seem disposed to give us little boys of those days the credit for what we did. Little or much, I was on the long march from James' Island to Raleigh, N.C. They (the old soldiers) would call to us to lie down, that they were going to pop a cap; also, they would ask if our Mothers knew we were away from home. But it was not long before the old soldiers were lying down while the little boys marched on, ragged and hungry, and many barefooted. We did our part as best we could; we knew only to obey, and faltered not though boys we were.
The First, Second and Third Regiments were organized at Camden in August, 1864, with Company K (my company) being the Third. A. D. Goodwyn was made Captain, and then Colonel, of the 3rd, and I became Second-Lieutenant. Our Captain then was Pooser and he shortly afterwards being detailed for other service, I became Captain. Some years ago I saw in a paper that I had the honor of being the youngest Captain from this State. I was sixteen the month that I went out, but let that be as it may; I did all I could. There were only two older men in my company; these men had returned to duty after recovering from wounds. The others were boys sixteen and seventeen years old. Of the sixty there are about ten living. I still have the roll of my company.
We did duty on the coast around Charleston, Green Pond, Adams Run, Salkehatchie (a beautiful Indian name, pronounced locally, Saltketchy), Pocotaligo and Grahamville. We had a hot fight there known as the Honey Hill fight. We killed about fifteen hundred negro soldiers. They had been made a breastwork of by the Yankees. Captain Jack Little was in that fight, in command of a negro company, so he told me a few months before he died. Captain Jack lived and died in Columbia, where he was well known and liked.
That night after the fight was over, we expected to have a night attack so my Colonel sent his orderly, who was James H. Adams of Company K and as fine a little fellow as ever lived, for me to come to his quarters. He told me he had made an order for one hundred men, boys we were then, to go out on the advance picket line where the enemy was right in front of us, and that I must take command. I replied to him that I was the youngest Captain in the Regiment. He said that made no difference, and that if there was any fighting to be done he wanted his "little solders" to have a place in the picture. Doctor George Howe and myself were in command, he being my second Lieutenant.
Our line was on the edge of a heavy forest or swamp and just in front was a large broom-straw field. We put out pickets and prepared to meet the enemy who was in front of us. It was the worst night I ever spent, very chilly, and a heavy rain falling all night. We did not have long to wait before the advanced picket line came in a rapid pace and reported that they had to fall back as the enemy was advancing. Soon we heard the band music. By the vivid flashes of lightning we could see the glittering steel bayonets as the Yankees advanced. I doubled my picket posts with my relief, expecting an attack at any moment; but they only maneuvered and marched and counter-marched. The movement was only a "feint," a demonstration for an attack, so that their main forces could get away on their gunboats. In a short while they retired, then everything became quiet, not a sound was to be heard except the pouring rain and the terrific peals and the steady roll of thunder. We were a tired lot, being worn out and weary from the previous day's march and fight. I took off my relief to let them get what rest they could, even in the rain. I tried to make myself comfortable by the root of a large tree, and as the old darkey says, I think I caught a nap or two between showers.
When morning came and I awoke I found on each side of me, at my very elbows, two of the blackest dead negro soldiers I have ever seen. Oh, horrors! I leave you to imagine my feelings when I found I had been sleeping between two black Yankee soldiers who had been killed in the battle the day before and whose glazed eyes seem to follow me as I jumped to my feet, without a yawn and without a stretch.
Day found us alone with our enemy's dead. Not a live Yankee was to be seen. So we had to dig trenches and bury their dead. As often as I have looked back on that scene, I have chuckled over the persistence of our wise old Colonel in sending his boys out there, in the rain, in lightning and in thunder, among the dead, as lesson in the hard and fearful but important work of the active soldier.
From Grahamville we were ordered to James Island where we stayed until the fall of Charleston. On the Island were the First and Second Regiments. They were in good quarters and had not seen the hard service we boys had. When we left, the Regulars were made the rear guard of the column, thinking, that as they were old soldiers, they could keep the boys in ranks.
My old servant, Jesse, who had served my three older brothers in Virginia, came to me saying: "Boss, I come to say goo'by. I sorry to leave you case I promised old Marster to tek good care o' you and bring you home dead or alive, but I jist tell you, young Boss, I cain't tek that long march you all is goin' on; God on'y knows w'ere you'll stop, en I's got de rheumatism so bad in my legs from runnin' round a'ter you boys, I cain't hardly walk. W'en I was wid your brudder George in the Hampton Legion I had er horse but w'en times got so bad en I could'nt git feed for de horse Marse George sont me home. Goo'by young Boss, I hope you'll git tru' all right, I t'ink de war's mos' done case Char'ston done fall." On leaving he forgot to give me my only change of clothing so I bought a shirt from on of the Regulars for twenty-five dollars in Confederate money. Soon I found I had bought a shirt andľa supply of "grey backs." The next day I could have gotten all the clothing I wanted for nothing as these men tried to carry everything they had and when they commenced to break down and give out they threw their extra baggage away. We boys had nothing except what we had on and our blankets around our necks like a horse collar.
After we got to Fayetteville I met General Hampton and Colonel Tom Taylor who was on his Staff. I got one hundred dollars from Col. Taylor and ten of us went to the hotel for dinner, which took my hundred dollars to pay for. That was the last Confederate money I ever spent.
A short time before we reached Fayetteville, a squad of Yankees captured Gen. Hampton's horse and those of his Staff while they were at dinner. The General took his Staff and Couriers and charged the Yankees and recaptured their horses. Here at Fayetteville were turned over to us about six hundred prisoners to be taken to Raleigh, N.C., to be paroled or exchanged.
This was a lot of prisoners that Gen. M. C. Butler had captured the night before when he ran General Kilpatrick out in his night robe, also Miss Mary Boozer of this City (Columbia), who had left here in my aunt, Miss Harriet Elmore's carriage (Mrs. Harriet Elmore). They took the carriage from the old Elmore home on Taylor Street, then called "Taylor's Lane."
There was among those prisoners a tall, red headed, red whiskered Colonel who asked Colonel Harrington to parole him on his word of honor as a gentleman, to allow him to straggle and pick his way out of the mud and water as best he could as he was sick and weak. I asked my Colonel to allow me to exchange hats with the prisoner, who wore a beautiful black hat with a long waving black feather and a gold cord, my old worn shoes for his fine top boots, also his watch with a very handsome gold chain. My Colonel was surprised at my request and replied to me: "Why, Captain, would you treat a prisoner of war in this way?" I told him that if he allowed that red headed fellow to go he would never see him again, although he had given his word to report that night when he got to camp, and, truly, never did we see our Colonel or his beautiful hat and feather.
We were attached to General Hardee's corps. The only time I saw him during our long march from Charleston was on the road from Fayetteville to Raleigh. I saw him as he crossed a bridge, which our Regiment had just fired. A little further along he remarked to us, "Boys, it's a pretty rough march," and his buggy wheels then were almost hub deep in mud. He drove a pair of black horses.
While on that march I broke down two or three times, so hungry I could hardly go. I felt as though I would rather get into a fight than have to march. We passed a turnip patch, which the boys soon cleaned up. John McGuire, one of my company, shot his finger off climbing over the fence in unsoldierly hurry, and after that he said he lost his finger in the battle of Turnipville in North Carolina.
On another day we met a farmer with a wagonload of sweet potatoes, which the boys immediately charged and captured. Tom Leavy of my company fell from the wagon, the wheel ran over his leg, breaking the leg badly and he was a cripple for life. Years after in talking of the gallant charge he said he was wounded at Wagonville near Potatoville, N.C.
I hope, my kind readers, you will excuse me for the rambling way I take in giving you an account of my experiences, but you must remember that it has been over fifty years since we boys were soldiers, and doing our part as best we could. We did not feel the brunt of battles as our older comrades did, but we certainly saw the Elephant's tail in such experiences as heavy marching, cold and hunger, in going barefooted and ragged.
My experiences about this time recalls again my old servant, Jesse, who was again with me, so applicably that I can not refrain from bringing him in another time. As soon as we would pitch camp, if only for the night, old Jesse would disappear, but this did not cause us any worry as we knew he would return, the there would be something doing; and beforehand we could almost smell the chicken frying. He was very fond of his "dram" as the old darkies called it, so old Jesse was a good forager in more ways than one. If there was any whiskey to be had he was sure to find it, and would always divide with the boys who were also fond of a nipľa nip trulyľas he would remind us to "tech" it lightly as it was very strong, that it was blockade stuff. I don't think it ever saw the inside of a ship, for it tasted to much like green persimmons. I think it was made from sorghum cane, which was planted so largely during the war.
We asked old Jesse how he managed to get on to all these good things, while the country was in such a bad fix. His reply was, "Boss, I belonoged to de Secon' South Carolinae in de Hampton Legion en' w'at a nigger in Gin'rel Butler comman' cain't fin' ent wo't havin'. His men would sure fight w'en dere was fightin' to be done but w'en dey was in wintah quatahs dey would sure ramble dem mountains ovah en' have a good time. Oh, (and he would smack his lips), dat fine ol' apple jack and peach brandy we used to git."
Well, to wind up this little narrative, we carried our six hundred prisoners on to Raleigh and they were paroled. We were ordered to report to Durham Station, North Carolina. We rode there on flat cars loaded with salt. From there we went to Spartanburg, where we stayed for a few days. We then marched to Columbia. We had never surrendered, so the plan was that those of us who had not and who were able to carry out the plan were to reorganize the remnants of our scattered army across the Mississippi.
We reached Columbia from the North end of Main Street (Richardson St. in 1865), and the first thing we saw was a long row of black chimneys and as we looked from once well known and beautiful places in every direction were to be seen other lone black chimneys, a once grand Capital City made black and desolate by the hand of war. It is truly as Sherman said: "War is hell."
On reaching home, I treated myself to a good bath and a new uniform which I found in my father's house which had been used as headquarters by some Yankee officers and so saved from the torch of Sherman's vandals. The uniform and other clothing I found in a fireplace, bundled and marked to be sent to me but Sherman had taken the town before they could be sent.
In a few days I got my company together, such as were able for duty. We went into camp by the river, where the penitentiary now stands. But it was not for long, as the City was soon put under martial law with Horton in command. I was arrested on the street and taken to the South Carolina College where I was locked up for awhile then paroled. My parole and sword are in the Relic Room at the State House among other relics of The Cause that was lost and doubly dear because bravely maintained and lost.
Before closing this feeble attempt to recall the events of fifty years ago, I wish to refer to a noble soldier and gentleman of the old school who died a year or so ago, Captain Iredell Jones. I knew him before the war while he was in College. On the march to Raleigh, North Carolina, just after the Bentonville fight where he had been wounded, and also on his way to Raleigh in a vehicle, I saw him for the first time since he left College. Tired and worn nearly out, I was resting by the roadside, stretched out on a patch of fresh spring grass, when he came along. "Hello, Taylor, what are you doing here?" I told him I had broken down and had stopped to rest. He wanted me to be in the buggy with him, but I told him I would have to get a permit from my Colonel first, which together we got as soon as I could find the Colonel, and the next day we reached Raleigh. I have never appreciated a ride so much before or since. In the years which have passed since then, whenever we met he or I would allude to the time he took me up by the road side. But it has been along time ago and the vicissitudes of life have been so varied that it seems more like a dream than a reality.
I have written much more than I expected or intended but the Lost Cause is ever dear to us, boys of those days, old men now. So I only ask that any of my older comrades who saw and felt the real brunt of battles for four long and weary years will not be uncharitable to the writing of one of the sixteen year old boys, whose hair is now turning grey. In a few more years, a Confederate soldier will be a name of the past but the noble women of the South will ever keep our graves green with garlands and roses in the Spring and our memory fresh in the songs and stories of gallant deeds by the bravest men the world has ever known.
In closing, I would say that I would like to hear something from some of the other boys. In the Third Regiment there was Captain Bradley's Company from Sumter, Captain Drake's from Bennettsville, Captain Broom's from Fairfield, Captain McKnight's from Kingstree, one from Kershaw, also a company from Newberry and Marlboro, Captain E. Evans, and one from Spartanburg. The others I am sorry to say I have forgotten. Also, I regret that I have not met many of the Regiment since the war.
I would like to state right here that my Yankee Colonel of the black hat and sweeping feather never left the State of North Carolina. Several years after the war I was on a camp hunt in the Cashier's Valley. There we joined General Hampton who was also on a camp hunt. After a little while of conversation following our meeting, he said to me: "Lawrence, you know that Yankee Colonel you boys let get away; he lives near here, is married and has a family, you ought to go see him." I did not look him up. I was on a hunt for pleasure, not Yankees, the war being over.

Columbia, S.C. July 7, 1916.

Published in:
South Carolina Division
United Daughters of the Confederacy
Recollections and Reminiscences 1861-1865
Volume 7, (1990), pp. 400-406
Source: M. C. Butler Chapter, U.D.C., Columbia, S.C.

Regimental Page >

If you have any information about these troops or these units, please contact me at
Bil Brasington