Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Captain John N. Runyan 74th., Indiana Infantry.

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"When the Regiment was camped at Lavergne, Tenn., I visited Nashville— fifteen miles away— quite often and on each occasion stopped with Captain Driver, a Union resident of the city whose home was the headquarters of Union officers and soldiers in the city temporarily. I became quite well acquainted with the family, the Captain and his wife and two grown daughters.

After being wounded in front of Kenesaw, I was first taken to Field Hospital, thence to Athens, thence to Chattanooga, where an order came to send the officers up to Lookout Mountain and the men back to Nashville. This was done by two men gathering up the cot and carrying it down to the train but a .short distance or if an officer he was carried to the ambulance and sent up the mountain. I overheard the order to the men so when they took up my cot, my uniform had been neatly hidden under the covers and I told them "I go to the train so in due time I reached Nashville and was taken to the Officers' Hospital where I got the surgeon to telegraph my father who soon arrived. Upon his arrival he failed to fall in love with the surroundings and I suggested that he go over to Captain Driver's and see if he would not take me in. He did so and upon asking the surgeon's permission he granted it and I was soon located in a nice room with many comforts about me and with one of Captain Driver's daughters reading to or conversing with me.

One day while thus seated the ligature sluffed off the artery and the blood spurted all over bed and wall.  The lady gave a war whoop, I gave a yell and soon the room was full of people. Quick action with a tourniquet stopped the flow of blood and my life was saved. A few days after my father arranged to take me home which was done, by placing me on a cot, hiring men to carry same to and from trains and transporting me in an express car.

In 1905 I visited Nashville and I hunted up Captain Driver's daughter, finding the Captain and his wife had both died.  I visited his old homestead, which stood exactly as it had during the war. I stood in the same room where my life had so nearly ebbed away forty years before. I saw with my mind's eye the past go by. I called to mind the suffering I had gone through, the weary couch that supported me. I felt the sutuers tearing in my wound and the laps lying open as they did while going over the corduroy road from Field Hospital to Athens. 1 saw the ghastly face of a comrade who died at my side in the ambulance while going over that terrible road. I heard the spade digging his grave but a few feet from the road side and knew some mother's darling was being laid in a grave that no loving hand could ever bedeck with sweet flowers. I remembered how in the hospital at Chattanooga a lady unknown to me came to my cot and kneeling pleaded in prayer with "Our Father in Heaven" to spare my young life and permit me to return to loved ones at home. God bless that lady wherever she be for I often think that her prayer with those of my mother and father and sisters must have reached the Throne.

The most disagreeable march and night passed by the 74th Regiment was the day we marched from Nashville, Tenn. to Lavergne and camped under cedar trees no tents  snow, sleet and rain.

The last time I saw my colored servant (a boy of about twelve years of age) was at Chickamauga. When the first volley was fired he started for the rear on jack-rabbit time and as I was otherwise "engaged" I failed to have him leave my haversack.

Should any of the boys see him, kindly give him my address and have him return my haversack by "Parcels Post".
He can keep the "Hard Tack and S.- B.- ".

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