Perryville Cleanup Day 2016: A Special Request

Once the land on the Grave’s Property was secured, we were asked by Kurt Holman if we were willing to come back down and remove the remainder of the fence isolating this parcel from the rest of the field. How could you say no? Another 300-500 foot of fence was removed by members of the 1st Tennessee, Co. B while dodging rainstorms. With the additional help of Kurt Holman, this line is now cleared and the property is fully accessible for the 2016 Saturday scenario. This is also the final resting place of many of the Rock City Guards, Co. A, B and C of the 1st Tennessee who fell that day. Below is an excerpt from Marcus Toney:

Company B lost fourteen killed and thirteen wounded. Among the dead was a young man named Robert S. Hamilton. He came to Nashville in 1860, and was a proof reader in the Southern Methodist Publishing House. We were very intimate friends. He was an ardent secessionist, while his family in Kentucky were divided on the war question. In the charge Robert was shot through the forehead, and fell not far from wdiere Tom Lanier and gallant Jack Goodbar fell. Colonel Fields detailed me to stay and take care of the wounded and do the best I could to bury the dead. After getting all the wounded off, with the aid of reflected rays from a burning barn which the exploding shells fired, I penned the following:

Battlefield, Perrvville. Kv., October 8, 1862.
Mrs. IV. C. Hamilton, Lexington, Ky.: Robert was killed
in gallant charge this evening. Will take care of remains
until you arrive. MARCUS B. TONEY.

Mrs. Hamilton was Robert’s sister-in-law. and 1 wrote to her because his brother, W. C. Hamilton, was a Union man, and Robert never wrote a line to him; but all his correspondence was with his sister-in-law, and he always read her letters to me ; therefore T wrote to the sister-in-law rather than to the brother. The blue and the gray mingled together all that night re- moving the wounded. I approached one of the blue and asked him if he would deliver the note to Mrs. Hamilton, and he promised me that he would.

It was a sad sight that night as I gazed upon- the upturned, ghastly faces of our dead ; and the cries of the wounded for “water!” “water!” “water!” were heartrending. Before daylight all of our wounded had been brought from the field. A farmer named Goodnight, who lived some half mile from the battle- field, had deserted his house on the eve of battle, and we turned it into a hospital. On the second floor in the small room were the following: J. H. Woldridge, B. P. Steele, T. H. Maney, M. B. Pilcher, Mac Campbell, Lute Irwin, J. H. Wheless, and Lieutenant Hammond. These eight men were my patients. Four of them were on the bedsteads and four on the floor. Comrade Woldridge lost both of his eyes, and Captain Pilcher, Captain Steele, Lieutenant Maney, Mac
Campbell, and Lute Irwin were all badly wounded. For three nights I did not close my eyes in sleep.

About the third day after the battle a messenger came upstairs and said that a lady was in waiting to see me. This was my first meeting with Mrs. Hamilton. Air. Hamilton was with her, and they brought a hearse and casket, and a carryall with blankets and provisions for our wounded. I accompanied Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton to the battlefield. I had buried twenty-seven of the Rock City Guards in a gully near by where they fell, and not far from the battery that they charged so gallantly. I did not have any implement to bury with, but with the use of a breastplate taken from the body of a dead Federal I invented a tool which formed a kind of scoop, and with this covered our boys with the dirt. I had buried Robert Hamilton at the head of the twentv-seven, and when we reached the spot I raked the dirt from his face and said: “Mrs. Hamilton, this is Robert.” “Is it possible,” she replied, “that these arc Robert’s remains?” I said: “I will soon satisfy you.” Reaching down. I caught one of his hands, and. brushing the dirt away, I said to her: “Do you see this?” She replied: “I am satisfied.” Robert was a very studious young man, and in his deep studies I have seen him bite his nails to the quick, and frequently brought blood. When Mrs. Hamilton saw the hand and the condition of the finger nails, she knew they were Robert’s. When the body was taken to the hospital and prepared for burial, there was no doubt in her mind.