I don’t think I could do the narrative justice for the action seen during the Civil War as well as could the brief comments Charles Edward Broyles entered in his journal years later. So much was packed into those few years; Charles repeatedly mentioned “the horrors of war” and “the destruction of human life.” While he endured some personal suffering as well, the totality of the scenes his eyes took in, during those few years, left an indelible impact upon him.
As his narrative so briefly touched on so many battles, and included so many names mentioned, for as many as I could find, I’ve hyperlinked to further explanations in entries found at Wikipedia, if you’d like further details on the events mentioned in Charles’ notes. Other than that, I’ve left much of Charles’ spelling variations as I found it in the typewritten transcription of his original document.
In 1861 I went to Virginia a private in the 11th Ga. regiment commanded by Col. G. T. Anderson. And was with the army of General Joseph E. Johnson at Winchester Va. that made the great march to reinforce Beauregard at Bull Run. I was a foot [soldier] and not being accustomed to walking I suffered much while my feet bled freely. We did not get to the Bull Run fight. As being new troops the older was shipped from Piedmont Franquier Co. Va. in advance of us. We got there after the battle was over, but in time to witness the destruction of life and property with the horrors of war.In the fall I returned home and commenced to help raise a regiment with Col. J. A. Glenn. We succeeded and I was commissioned Major of it in 1862. I served under Kirby Smith in Kentucky in that year and in the winter came out Braggs Army. We were then soon sent to Middle Tenn. and remained there until the day before Christmas 1863 when our regiment with Stepenson’s division was ordered to Vicksburg Miss. We garrisoned this place until the Federal fleet passed Vicksburg and we then moved out on Big Black. And fought the battle of Champion Hill or Bakers Creek. This was a hard battle, I was holding my horse in the thickest of it when he was shot. I let him go to die and suppose he did. We fell back to Vicksburg and the seige commenced. It was not in my front Grant made his attack but in the Brigade to my left. I stood and witnessed the whole battle and the destruction of human life.We surrendered after 48 days and nights. During which time we suffered for food and ate mule meat. And anything we could get. We surrendered on the 4th of July 1863. Was paroled on the 9th and left on the 12th. The troops all went home. And in October of was exchanged...at Chichamauga. We followed General Burnside to London and after the battle of Chickymauga we were relieved by Longstreet and occupied missionary Ridge, while Sherman was in Chattanooga.I was commissioned Colonel of my regiment in Spring of 1864. I was in front of Sherman to Atlanta in the battles of Resacca, New Hope Church, Luss Mountain, Kennesaw, Pouder Springs, Chattahooche, and many skirmishes, and all around Atlanta I turned back with Hood and was in...Nashville Tennessee, In the two days fighting there and returned on his retreat with him to Augusta Ga.At this place I was furloughed by General Beauregard on the 5th day of February 1865, on account of rheumatism. This ended my service of the Confederacy as I was disabled and had neither horse nor money to regain my command. Then on its way to North Carolina I was paroled at Anderson Court House S. C. and in the fall of 1865 returned with my family to Dalton Ga. poor moneyless and I may say, half clothed. We worked hard and our troubles were great and many. But bourn as best we could.