AN HEROIC OLD MAN.–

A soldier of the Confederate army, writing from Missionary Ridge, in October, 1863, says: “I presume you know Father Challon, a Catholic priest of Mobile. Well, he has a brother, an old man of, perhaps, sixty years, who is a member of Captain Hurtel’s company. This old man was in Kansas when the war broke out; he immediately turned his steps homeward, and coming across a Louisiana regiment, he joined it as a private. General McCullough, with whom the regiment was, happening to notice this brave old man, and also seeing how cheerfully he bore the fatigues and dangers of camp and battle, offered him a staff appointment; but Mr. Challon refused it, preferring to fight as a private in the ranks, until he could find some of the Mobile or Alabama troops. This was not effected, however, until he got to Corinth with Price’s army. Soon after, he was transferred to the 24th Alabama regiment, company A, commanded by your fellow-citizen, A. Hurtel, where he has remained ever since, discharging his duties faithfully and well, so much so, indeed, that he was noticed by the General of the brigade, and other officers, with whom he was a great favorite;any was the time that he might have been noticed sitting around the General’s fire, in free conversation with that officer, always eager for news, and when he obtained any that was good, would hurry off to impart it to his regiment. But for the incident.

“It was on the ever-memorable day of the 20th of September (battle of Chickamauga), that Mr. Challon took his place in the front ranks to attack the enemy in a strong position on a hill. Gallantly did all set on this occasion; but conspicuous among those brave men was the subject of this anecdote. They rushed on, driving the enemy from his breastworks, capturing three pieces of artillery, &c..; but the enfilade fire from the right and left was so very heavy that we were obliged to fall back. Here Mr. Challon fell with his thigh broken. Lieutenant Higley, passing by, and seeing his condition, tendered him assistance; but the old man waved him off, telling him to go and whip the Yankees, and let him alone; that he would take care of himself. We moved on, leaving the litter-bearers to take care of the dead and wounded; but in a few moments the news reached us that the enemy had set fire to the woods by their guns, and that the wounded would all be burned to death.

“Several officers immediately volunteered to take a party, and rescue the sufferers. They hastened to the spot, and succeeded in saving all our men, but not until some of them had been scorched. Among these latter was my old friend, who was manfully battling with this new enemy. He had crawled some distance from the spot where he fell, and many of the surgeons think that he, in these efforts, broke his thigh entirely, that was only fractured in the first instance by the ball. The old man is still alive, and strong hopes are entertained of his recovery, his cheerfulness aiding in it. Many of the brigade have visited him. He is always cheerful, and says, ‘No matter–the old man can die; he whipped the rascals.'”

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I’m a lover of God and His Son Jesus Christ. In addition I love to make yesterday’s words come alive through the republishing of good and profitable books of old. The Civil War project is an ongoing labor of love. – Karan

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