GENERAL ROUSSEAU relates the following incident of Shiloh:
Two days after the battle I walked into the hospital tent on the ground where the fiercest contest had taken place, and where many of our men and those of the enemy had fallen. The hospital was exclusively for the wounded rebels, and they were laid thickly around. Many of them were Kentuckians, of Breckinridge’s command. As I stepped into the tent, and spoke to some one, I was addressed by a voice, the childish tone of which arrested my attention: “That’s General Rousseau! General, I knew your son Dickey. Where is Dick? I knew him very well.” Turning to him, I saw stretched on the ground a handsome boy about sixteen years of age. His face was a bright one, but the hectic glow and flush on the cheeks, his restless manner, and his grasping and catching his breath as he spoke, alarmed me. I knelt by his side and pressed his fevered brow with my hand, and would have taken the child into my arms, if I could. “And who are you, my son?” said I. “Why, I am Eddy McFadden, from Louisville,” was the reply. “I know you, General, and I know your son Dick. I’ve played with him. Where is Dick?” I thought of my own dear boy, of what might have befallen him; that he, too, deluded by villains, might, like this poor boy, have been mortally wounded, among strangers, and left to die. My heart bled for the poor child; for he was a child; my manhood gave way, and burning tears attested, in spite of me, my intense suffering. I asked him of his father. He had no father. His mother. He had no mother. Brothers and sisters. “I have a brother,” said he. “I never knew what soldiering was. I was but a boy, and they got me off down here.” He was shot through the shoulder and lungs. I asked him what he needed. He said he was cold and the ground was hard. I had no tent nor blankets; our baggage was all in the rear at Savannah. But I sent the poor boy my saddle-blanket, and returned the next morning with lemons for him and the rest; but his brother, in the Second Kentucky regiment, had taken him over to his regiment to nurse him. I never saw the child again. He died in a day or two. Peace to his ashes. I never think of this incident that I do not fill up as if he were my own child.
Originally posted 2008-04-02 14:43:56.