"An incident at Chancellorsville"

"An incident at Chancellorsville"

[source: National Tribune, 21 September 1911, page 7, column 3.]
[I have not been able to identify Raitt. He is not in the pension index by name (accessed on Ancestry), or in the 1890 veterans' census (accessed on Ancestry), and the index to compiled service records (for Pennsylvania) has no 'Rait' or 'Raitt' entries (accessed on Fold3, 28 Apr 15)]
[I have proofread this page.]

An Incident at Chancellorsville.

Editor National Tribune: After the three days' conflict at Chancellorsville, May 1, 2, and 3, Hooker determined to abandon the field. To do this successfully and quickly a road seven miles long, reaching from the river line of defense to one of the nearby fords, had to be opened thru that dense forest. May 4 marked the beginning and end of this undertaking.

The Inspector-General of the Fifth Corps had general supervision of the men, and came along where details from Humphrey's Division were at work. He concluded that the men were soldiering too much. He ordered the officers in charge of the detail to call the roll of men. While this was underway absentees came along, dropping in one by one. These were put under arrest by his orders. He questioned them as to the cause of their absence. One excuse and then another was offered. None seemed satisfactory to the irate officer. He dismounted, and had a firing party detailed, of which I was one. He ordered us to load our guns. We stood at order arms.

"The safety of this army depends upon the completion of this road," he said. "I propose to make one man suffer for all." He then wrote as many numbers on bits of white paper as there were men under arms. These bits were placed in a pot, and each man was told to draw out one. The unlucky number fell to a fine-looking young man. He asked permission to step forward and make a plea for himself. He did this as only an innocent soldier could. He asked his friends and officers to corroborate his statements. Maj.-Gen. Alexander Webb, who afterwards gained well-earned fame as the commander of the Philadelphia Brigade at the Bloody Angle at Gettysburg, in repelling Pickett's charge, got off his high horse, and did not make an example of that young man as he intended.--

C. Raitt, Co. H, 91st Pa.

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revised 15 Mar 05
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