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With the Old Confeds

by Samuel D. Buck.

Patriotic young Southerners who rallied to the colors in 1861 often gave colorful names to the volunteer companies they formed. These units soon mustered into Confederate service and became lettered companies (usually A through I, and K) in numbered regiments, but the soldiers continued to cherish the names they had first given them: The Southern Rejectors of Old Abe (a company in the 41st Mississippi), the Tyranny Unmasked Artillery (47th Virginia) and the Pig River Invincibles (46th Virginia), to name just a few.

Samuel D. Buck joined Company H of the 13th Virginia Infantry, which carried the whimsical moniker “Winchester Boomerangs.” A uniformed photo of a handsome, fresh-faced Buck, oozing ardor, graces the front of his 1925 memoir With the Old Confeds. But he was hardened by his experiences in the Virginia theater, recorded so vividly in his memoir.

Buck pulled no punches. Of the collapse of the Confederate line at Fisher’s Hill and Cedar Creek, he wrote how Southern morale had waned and how defeat simply bred a loss of confidence that led to more defeat. Men began to abandon positions they would have held tenaciously earlier in the war: A “cavalryman came down our line telling the men they were flanked….I have often regretted I did not shoot him. One demoralized man yelling ‘we are flanked’ would demoralize an army….Such men should be shot.”

Reprints can be ordered at TheOld Proceeds benefit the Kernstown Battlefield Association.


Originally published in the August 2008 issue of Civil War Times. To subscribe, click here.