View Full Version : Pickett's Mill - singular chain of coincidence

12-31-2006, 12:16 AM
<SMALL>“There occurred at the Battle of New Hope Church <ED: Mill Pickett’s>an incident which impressed me greatly. In the last charge an Indiana regiment came up in front of my regiment in splendid style. Although we poured into them a deadly fire they closed the gaps in their line and pressed steadily forward, until they were almost upon us, but they could not stand our terrible fire. When but a few feet from the points of our bayonets they seemed to wither away and those not killed or wounded were forced to fall back. The color bearer of the regiment fell with his flag, instantly another seized the flag and held it aloft only to fall dead, again and again it was raised only to fall again, until six brave men yielded up their lives in trying to keep it flying. The sixth man fell with the flag in front of our company and only about twelve feet from us. There it lay, a prize within our grasp. I could have reached it with a single bound, but thought as it was already ours I would wait until their line had been fully driven back before picking it up. When that Indiana regiment broke and fell back leaving the flag on the ground at our feet one of the federals turned and seeing it was being left behind threw down his gun, came back and picked it up. He straightened himself to his full height, gritted his teeth and flapped his flag in our faces. Instantly a half dozen rifles were leveled on him and in another moment he too would have fallen pierced with bullets, but just then one of boys cried out, “don’t shoot him, he’s too brave.” We lowered our rifles and gave him a cheer as he carried his flag safely away. </SMALL>
<SMALL>Before that regiment got away I captured a young prisoner, about my own age and during the very brief conversation we had on the field I learned that he and I had sat on the same bench in the same primary school we attended in Indiana before I moved to Texas, and when he told me the name of his colonel I recognized it as one that my mother had often mentioned to me as the same close friend of her girlhood days. After the war was over I had positive information that the identical flag which I came so near capturing and which was saved only by the bravery of the man who turned back and lifted it aloft, was made and presented to that regiment by Mothers oldest sister, and as the battle was fought on my mother’s birthday, I was struck with the singular chain of coincidence.”

Only a Private: The Civil War Memoirs of William J. Oliphant, Edited by James M. McCaffrey</SMALL>
<SMALL>Contributed by Scott Mckay (smckay1234@aol.com) of Co. G 10th Texas (http://members.aol.com/SMckay1234/LivingHistory/)</SMALL>

01-03-2007, 09:02 PM
What are the chances of that happening? Not only from the same state, but the same area.

Was the Indiana regiment ever identified by Mr. Oliphant, or what area of the state he came from before moving to Texas?


01-04-2007, 03:17 AM
The world is full of miracles! Very impressing story.
Thank you Paul!

01-04-2007, 08:56 AM
A similar incident in the ANV with Confederate General Thomas Jackson's reply:

"I don't want them brave, I want them dead!"

05-07-2015, 07:40 AM
Was the Indiana regiment ever identified by Mr. Oliphant, or what area of the state he came from before moving to Texas?

I wondered the same thing... The author here believes it is the 32nd Indiana:
https://books.google.com/books?id=sRD1tFnNcAEC&pg=PA65&lpg=PA65&dq=william+oliphant+only+a+private+he%27s+too+brav e&source=bl&ots=xTW_UeHGC5&sig=lPkvvU7WYX0cKfBIU0qfaEF6fVQ&hl=en&sa=X&ei=q01LVbyfA9GfyATdw4G4Bw&ved=0CB4Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=william%20oliphant%20only%20a%20private%20he's%2 0too%20brave&f=false

PS... Pardon the necropost. ;-)

05-08-2015, 06:31 AM
I'm glad you resurrected it.

Due to the piecemeal nature of the US attack, wasn't the 32nd the only Hoosier regiment in the vicinity? I know that seems odd for the A of the C, but there were so few regiments engaged along the part of the line facing Granbury.

I believe the 32nd's regimental is in the Lily collection at Monument Circle. Madeus picked up their recruiting flag, which includes a NYC maker's name, for his collection.

The 32nd was a German regiment, wasn't it?

05-08-2015, 11:54 AM
Mess'r Brown,

Yes... They were the German regiment!

I have not been to the Lilly museum on the circle for a few years. Their flag might be there. However, the bulk of Indiana's ACW regimental flags are housed in the basement of the World War Memorial, downtown Indianapolis. If the 32nd's flag is not at the circle museum, it is certainly in the collection at the WWM.