Robinson's Early Morning Attack On Federal Drill Camp"
Atlanta Journal, March 1, 1902
"To the Editor Atlanta Journal:
As I am a reader of your valuable paper and enjoy specially, your stories of the civil
war, I will give you an instance of my experience in some of the days that tried to the
fullest, not only all powers of human endurance, but the very souls of the soldiers.
There are many living--both of the Gray and the Blue who will remember the episode I shall
attempt to recall. I will not try to remember dates, but it was sometime after the Battle
of Chickamauga, and prior to the contest on Missionary Ridge. Our battalion of reserved
artillery composed of Massenburg's Battery, from Macon, Slocum's, of New Orleans [5th Co. W. A.]; Yate's and Lumsden's, of Alabama; Havis', of Perry, Ga., of which I was a member, commanded by Major
Robinson [Felix H. Robertson], by the way a great favorite of General Bragg, then commanding the
Army of Tennessee. Major Halinguist [Hallonquist], General Bragg's chief of artillery, one
day while riding about the lines accompanied by Major Robinson discovered, way around to
our right, a Yankee drill camp, just across the river. The position from which they viewed
it was a commanding one. Major Robinson got Colonel Halinguist to intercede with General
Bragg--to allow him to take his battalion of 24 guns around--arrive there just after
nightfall, and the next morning, as the companies were hurrying out to reveille, give them
a surprise in the way of shot and shell. Bragg gave his consent, and one day just after
the hazy Indian summer sun had turned towards the west, the call to boots and saddles rang
out in bugle notes from battalion headquarters. We hitched six good horses to each gun,
the drivers stood ready to mount. Each soldier had a blanket across his shoulders, belted
to the waist, a canteen of water, and haversack containing supper and breakfast. We filed
out, skirted around the Ridge, and on calculated time went into battery upon the position
selected. Major Robinson attending to the details in person. Each cannoneer lay down at
his post beside his gun; each driver by the side of his horse.
"In the morning, just as the gray streaks of dawn began to appear, we were aroused by
the jingling of Robinson's spurs. Silently we stood at our posts. The sun rose clear and
bright, lifting the fog from the river that wound like a band of silver around the fertile
banks. On the other bank was a sight beautiful to behold. As the sound of reveille floated
out upon the ambient air there came a host hurrying to roll-call from the many snow-white
canvas tents. Robinson rode slightly in advance of the center of the battalion, between
Massenburg on the right and Havis on the left. He was to give
the signal to fire by raising and lowering his word three times. The guns were carefully
trained. Shot and shell were rammed home, the friction primers inserted and the lanyards
held taut, and as the sabre came down the third time there was hurled into that array of
bright blue coats and glittering brass buttons a shower of death-dealing iron from the
throats of our 24 Napoleon cannon and Parrott rifles.
But it was our time to be surprised.
Before we could reload there came an answer in the shape of schrapnel
(sic) case shot, which
exploded about 15 feet in our front, killing a man in my detachment, wounding some others
and also several
Robinson's next order was to "limber up," which I took time to do. Then I struck
a bee-line for camp, but the shells from those Yankee guns kept up with us for about three
miles, calling out "Where are you? Where are you?"
How Halinguist and Major Robinson ever reconciled General Bragg with the disastrous result
of their little pleasure trip I never knew. I know there are many in Georgia who will
remember the incident, and I expect, many who on that morning were tenting on that