Here’s a first-person narrative of Major William Capers White‘s death on 17 September 1862. Capers led the “Bloody” 7th South Carolina Infantry that day. I only rarely see this kind of detail …

As we moved through the open ground towards the enemy’s lines, under terrible fire of shell and shrapnel, a bomb burst just above the Major’s head, knocking him down, and bruising his face very severely against the ground. I noticed him as he rose from the ground, and wiping the blood and dust from his face, pressed forward again. Soon after we engaged the infantry of the enemy in a skirt of woods, and driving them thence, charged them through the field beyond, until they fled behind their batteries for protection. Upon a ridge, immediately in front of a battery of four howitzers, and upon the left of which the enemy had placed a second battery, the regiment, which had become detached from the brigade, halted, and opened fire upon the supports of the battery in our front. Instantly, both batteries were turned against us, and a heavy fire of grape and canister poured into our ranks.

The right wing had halted. White and I, seeing we were in point blank range of the batteries, had pressed the left wing forward under the hill, the colors continuing to advance. Just here, Major White passed down the line from the right (the acting Lieutenant Colonel), and said to me “We can take that battery – forward!” We both passed through the ranks and moved side by side, with the colors, to the front, and had almost reached the battery, (the guns of which were already abandoned) when the Major was struck in the cheek by a rife ball, fired by one of the infantry to the rear of the battery. Still he pressed forward, until within twenty yards of the battery, when just at this moment the guns, re-manned, opened upon us, and swept the Major, falling at first discharge, being struck about the ear with grape shot. I paused a moment beside him, but seeing that he was already quite dead, I moved back to the woods where the rest of the Brigade was formed, while the enemy moved up and occupied that portion of the field where the Major’s body lay.

This from his obituary in the Charleston Mercury of 2 December 1862 quoting an unnamed Captain of the 7th South Carolina. Thanks to Chris Yoder for the transcription and for finding the Major’s photograph.

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