Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

“One of them was a better soldier than I was.”

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Hall on August 23, 2010

Private Lawrence Daffan, Co. G, Fourth Texas Infantry, at Sharpsburg (Antietam), September 17, 1862:

Then the Texas Brigade was ordered to charge; the enemy was on the opposite side of this stubblefield in the cornfield. As we passed where Lawton’s Brigade had stood, there was a complete line of dead Georgians as far as I could see. Just before we reached the cornfield General Hood rode up to Colonel [Benjamin F.] Carter, commanding the Fourth Texas Regiment (my regiment), and told him to front his regiment to the left and protect the flank. This he did and he made a charge directly to the west. We were stopped by a pike fenced on both sides. It would have been certain death to have climbed the fence.

Hays’ Louisiana Brigade had been in on our left, and had been driven out. Some of their men were with us at this fence. One of them was a better soldier than I was. I was lying on the ground shooting through the fence about the second rail; he stood up and shot right over the fence. He was shot through his left hand, and through the heart as he fell on me, dead. I pushed him off and saw that “Seventh Louisiana” was on his cap.

The Fifth [Texas], First [Texas] and Eighteenth Georgia, which was the balance of my brigade, went straight down into the cornfield, and when they struck this cornfield, the corn blades rose like a whirlwind, and the air was full.

Lawrence Daffan was seventeen years old at the time. He survived this fight, and the assault on Little Round Top at Gettysburg the following year, only to be captured in late 1863 and spend the remainder of the war as a prisoner at Rock Island, Illinois.

Quotation from Voices of the Civil War: Antietam (Time-Life, Inc., 1996). Image: “The Hagerstown Pike,” by Walton Taber.

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