|26th Georgia Infantry (CSA) |
|Name: William Edwin Clark||Rank: Corporal ||Company: A |
Corporal William Edwin “Moore” Clark -
William Edwin “Moore” Clark was born about 1842 in Brunswick, Georgia to Elihu Clark and Ann Catherine Moore. Moore had a sister Mary Julia Clark. His mother was formerly married to James William Pettigrew, who died in December 1838. His half brother was 1st Lieutenant George William Pettigrew, also of Co. A, 26th Georgia Infantry “Brunswick Riflemen”.
CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS OF GEORGIA 1861-1865, VOLUME III,
Clark, William E. - Private May 29, 1861. Appointed 4th Corporal August 1, 1862. Wounded at Richmond, Va. June 1, 1864. Died from wounds June 3, 1864.
Colonel J. E. Dart tells the history of Brunswick Riflemen
(Brunswick News, July 3, 1911 - extract contributed by Janet S. Williams)
I may be charged with too much sentiment with incidents connected with my
old comrades, the Brunswick Riflemen, yet sentiment is that finer feeling,
twin sister to sympathy, for no heart can open to sympathy without letting
in sentiment are but the outpourings of true, faithful hearted, and if
sometimes as I think of my boyish comrades, and should for a moment see
them again on the tented field, in the bivouac, in the front of battle, and
should I recall them through a mist of tears, it is because, standing as I
am today upon the shores of long pent-up and barren years, the heart at
time grows tender as I remember them in the past years.
In my article about Lieut. Pettigrew, I made an abstract from his last
letter home, and his anxiety about the fate of his little brother Moore,
after the Battle of Manassas, when the Riflemen lost sixteen out of
eighteen members wounded.
In the winter of 1863 smallpox broke out in the Army and Moore was one of
the first stricken and was sent to the hospital at Lynchburg. He was always
a diffident boy (only 16 years old) but after he learned of his brother's
death, he was never known to join in any of the sports of the camp. While
he was sick in the hospital, his mother sent him a butternut suit woven by
her own hands.
I must digress for a moment, not to give history, but to recall to the
students of history what brought on the fight at Turkey Ridge. On June 1,
1864, General Grant, failing in his flank movement, on May 5, 1864, at the
Wilderness, to flank Gen. Lee on the right, failing on the 6th, failing at
Spotsylvania on May 12th, failing at South Anna, his next objective point
was Cold Harbor, which would have cut off General Lee's communication with
Richmond. Therefore, to attract his attention, he (General Grant) made a
heavy demonstration at Turkey Ridge on June 1st. So much for history.
A few days before, the 8th Georgia Battalion, fresh from Georgia, were
attached by special request to our Brigade (Gordon's). Late in the evening
of May 31st, Moore returned from hospital and joined us. When the boys saw
him with his new butternut suit they began guying him. 'Where did you get
that suit? Who made that suit for you?' When with a choking voice he
answered, 'Boys, don't laugh at my clothes; it is the best my poor mother
Then Sergeant John Spears (and I digress long enough to say that when
speaking of brave boys, ready at every call of duty, who shirked no danger,
if you should ask me what was the embodiment of quiet, unassuming bravery
as a Confederate soldier, I should say John J. Spears. If he deserves kind
words, I shall say them of him while living, for 'Flattery cannot soothe
the dull cold beat of death.') He (Sgt Spears) spoke up and said, 'Boys,
don't make fun of Moore's clothes, you see how it hurts him.' There was no
more guying; every boy was sorry and did all he could to make Moore forget
The next day, June 1, 1864, we had thrown up hasty entrenchments on a
slight hill, with an open field in front. Skirmishers about three hundred
yards in front had dug some trenches and piled rails in front. About three
o'clock in the afternoon the enemy made a fierce assault upon the rifle
pits, driving out the skirmishers. General Gordon came down the line and
said, 'these pits must be re-taken at any cost.' Our regiment (26th
Georgia) and the 8th Georgia Battalion were selected to retake them. The
entire command, about 1,000 men, was waiting for the 8th Battalion to form
on our left.
Sergeant Spears said to Moore, 'Don't go into this fight, you are just out
of the hospital, you are weak. Stay in the breastworks.' 'No, Sergeant.',
he replied, 'yesterday the boys laughed at my clothes, and if I don't go,
they will laugh at me and say I'm a coward.' Then I said to him, 'Moore,
the boys meant no harm. Stay as the Sergeant says, you are not able to go.'
But go he would. At about five o'clock, the line having been properly
adjusted, Colonel Lilly was placed in command. The enemy had kept up a
steady and heavy rifle fire from the rifle pits, and as we swept over the
breastworks and across the open field straight for the rifle pits (we had
our guns loaded before making the charge) we did not stop to fire and load,
but reserved it until within 30 yards of the enemy, when, as if by common
consent, a murderous volley was fired and the pits were ours. There was
Sergeant Spears, Moore Clark, John Martin and the writer in one pit, and to
our surprise not fifty yards beyond, in a heavy piece of timber, there was
a solid line of battle who opened fire upon us. I remember John Martin,
that brave Irish boy, had an old Austrian musket loaded with ball and
buckshot. The charge was so heavy that over time he fired the musket would
kick so hard it would kick Martin back, and every time he fired a shot he
would exclaim, 'Take that, ye Northern devils; but I would rather have yes
by the wood of the head.'
A bullet striking human flesh gives a sickening thud. It was not long
before I heard the sound and I saw Martin, who was about three feet to my
left, fall back dead. A short time after the sound was repeated and little
Moore said, 'Boys, they have got me.' He was mortally wounded. It was now
after dark when I heard another thud and Sergeant Spears said, 'Jake, they
have got me.' and I was left alone out of the four in that pit. Martin was
dead, Moore mortally wounded, and Sergeant Spears seriously wounded. Now,
John Spears, my old comrade, is this true? If not, I ask you to say so.
About 11 o'clock, all alone in the pit, I had been loading and firing my
Enfield rifle as fast as I could; in fact, it became so hot at times I had
to lay it down to cool off. Suddenly I saw form just to my right, and I
recognized Lt. Rudolph's voice. Coming over quickly to where I was, he
asked, 'Where are the other boys?' 'There is Martin,' I answered, 'dead;
Moore is mortally wounded, Sergeant Spears is badly wounded and gone to the
rear.' 'Why,' he whispered, 'are you here? Don't you know the line has
fallen back to the breastworks?' 'No sir,' I answered. 'Well, come on', he
whispered, 'let us get out of this.' He stooped down and placed his hand on
Martin's head, and whispered, 'Yes, poor John is gone.'
Moore was taken to the hospital at Richmond where he died two days after.
His mother had but two sons, George and Moore - one her first-born and the
other her last-born, her baby boy.
When, one by one the remnants of the Riflemen returned to desolate homes,
this gray-haired mother met each and all with a kind greeting. She did not
murmur; she did not ask us 'Why did you leave my brave boy George behind;
where is my curly haired Moore, who often knelt at my knee to lisp his
childish prayers?' No, she was content to bow to the mandate of the Great
Maker and say, 'Thy will, not mine, be done.'
They say there are worlds so remote from ours 'their distance is
immeasurable by numbers that have name.' If there be such a world, is this
patient old mother, who gave all she had on the altar of her Country's
cause, resting with her boys 'amidst the amaranthine bowers of Heaven?'
|Contact Name: John Frost Murlin|
|Contact E-Mail: Click for E-mail|
Please type in your password