David W. Goodlett pointed me to this article. It provides additional insight on the tension between the officers of the Evans
Brigade and the commander Shank Evans. (CI-R82-2507.3)
To the Public
It is a well-known fact that a
difficulty occurred between Brigadier-General N.G. Evans and myself, at Kinston, (N.C.) in December 1862; after which various
charges and specifications were preferred by Gen. Evans against me.
I have stood the ordeal of a trial, and as
yet final action has not been had on the decision of the Court.
Various rumors are in circulation, well-calculated
to seriously affect my character at home and at a distance. It therefore becomes my duty, in advance of the final action on
the case, to present some of the testimony in my behalf, in order to arrest erroneous statements, busily disseminated, until
the matter is finally disposed of, or till such time as I can be able to lay the whole record before an impartial public.
With those who are conversant with the whole affair, I am full exculpated from any blame, and I can confidently
appeal to them at all times to sustain me.
The difficulty originated in this way: The forces engaged on Sunday
at Kinston had been ordered to fall back across the Neuse River by Gen. Evans, and after the most of them had crossed, Lieut.
Corrie, of Gen. Evans Staff, rode up and said that the General ordered the forces to return to the opposite side, (the side
next to the enemy.) I believed, from Lieut. Corries appearance, actions and conduct, that he was drunk; and, as the order
was an unreasonable one, could not think such an order was given. Whereupon I said to Lieut. Corrie, Go, bring Gen. Evans
here, and if he orders me, I will go, be he drunk or sober.
He returned, and in a few minutes brought Gen. Evans,
was at once placed in arrest, and the order to recross was immediately countermanded, and our forces retreated in the direction
Gen. Evans, in his testimony on the trial, said his forces did not amount to more than two thousand,
and that of the enemy to twenty-two thousand infantry and seventy-two pieces of artillery.
I am thus explicit in
showing the beginning of the difficulty, in order that the reader may understand the application of testimony I will here
Major Hilton of the 22d S.C. Regiment, witness in behalf of the Defendant:
the said order have been executed at the time it was given, or at any time before it was countermanded?
No; it could not have been done
Question- If it had been executed, would it not have probably caused the loss of
the Regiment: and the whole Brigade?
Answer- If it had been executed, the whole Brigade would have either been
killed or captured. Could not have taken any position at all.
Question- State whether Lieut. Corrie was drunk or
sober on that day. If drunk, state your reasons for so supposing.
Answer- I think he was drunk. He reeled on his
horse; his face was red; thick tongued, and actions generally that of a drunken man.
Question- State your opinion
as to my conduct in the battle at Kinston, and whether you saw in me any evidences of fear.
Answer- Conduct good.
Saw no fear in you; was calm and cool all the time.
Question- State on what other occasion you have seen me under
fire; the circumstance; my conduct; the opinion of our own and other officers in respect thereto; and my general reputation
as a man of courage.
Answer- Saw Col. Goodlett at Secessionville, Rappahannock, (Va.) At Kinston, Saturday evening,
the 13th December, led charge on horseback; you were in front some fifteen or twenty paces. At Rappahannock charged on foot
about one thousand yards, in the face of heavy artillery fire. The Colonel was some fifteen or twenty pace in advance, urging
on the men. The Colonels reputation as a man of courage is as good as any mans. Never heard it doubted. Have heard officers
in other regiments speak in high terms of his conduct at Rappanhannock.
Captain J.M. Pickens, Co. G. 22nd S.C.
Regiment, examined on part of Defendant:
Question- What was my conduct during the Battle of Kinston? Did you see
any evidence of fear in me?
Answer- Showed remarkable coolness and fearlessness; remained most of the time on horseback;
led Regiment on horseback.
Question- What is my general reputation as a man of courage?
Answer- So far
as I know, as good as any officer I am acquainted with.
Sergeant-Major G.B. Lake, 22nd South Carolina Regiment,
examined on part of Defendant:
Question- If said order had been executed, what would have been the probably result?
Answer- Regiment would have been captured or killed if it had recrossed bridge. Enemy were off some three hundred
yards, advancing in heavy column, and artillery was soon placed in position which commanded the bridge.
Did you ever see me under fire on other occasions? If so, describe the circumstances, and my conduct; what was said about
it by the officers of our Regiment and others.
Answer- Saw Col. Goodlett under fire at Rappahannock, six or eight
hours; was very cool and self-possessed; so much so that it was the subject of remark, not only in our Regiment, but in others.
One position, where men were concealed and protected from the fire, Col. Goodlett was standing up watching the movements of
the enemy, exposed all the while to a severe fire of shot and shell. That day the Colonel led charge some distance ahead of
the Regiment. At Secessionville, the Colonel behaved with great coolness; and the evening the 17th Georgia Regiment was cut
up so, on James Island, He was under heavy fire, and acted with his usual coolness.
Question- Did you witness
my conduct on Saturday evening of the Kinston fight? Describe it; what was generally said about it?
led the charge, some twenty or thirty paces ahead of the Regiment on horseback, under a heavy fire; was as cool as on other
occasions. Heard officers and men speak in terms of praise that night of the Colonel.
Question- What evidences
of fear did you see in me in the night on Sunday at Kinston?
Answer- Saw no evidences of fear whatever.
Question- What was the condition of Lieut. Corrie on Sunday of Kinston fight?
Answer- I thought him drunk.
He acted like a drunken man; reeled on his horse; speech not as it should have been; acted every way like a drunken man.
Major J.R. Culp, 17th S.C. Regiment, witness in behalf of Defendant:
Question- Did you see me under fire
at Rappahannock? What was my condition on that occasion? What has generally been said respecting it?
saw you under fire there, and was impressed with your coolness particularly. Your conduct was not only unexceptionable, but
in the highest degree commendable. I have often heard it spoken of, not only by the officers of my Regiment, but by those
of the whole Brigade. The situation at the Rappahannock was one of the most trying I have been in. We had to look danger in
the face, and be shot at by artillery. I have never seen a man exhibit more coolness on any occasion than Col. Goodlett did
Question- What is my present reputation as a man of courage
Answer- Never heard a man doubt
it; is as good as any man in the Brigade.
Captain W.H. Edwards, 17th S.C. Regiment, witness for Defendant:
Question- Did you witness my conduct on the Rappahannock? If so, describe it, and state what was generally said about
Answer- Saw Col. Goodlett at Rappahannock; thought him as cool a man as was on the field. It was talked over
after the fight, as too his coolness. I was very near him greater portion of the time; heard him talk to Colonel Gadberry
and other members of the Brigade, under severe fire of shot, shell and shrapnel. It was as severe a position as the Brigade
has ever been in.
Question- What is my present reputation as a man of courage?
Answer- I have never
heard it doubted. Reputation in Brigade good.
Question- did you see Lieut. Corrie at any time during the fight
at Kinston on the 14th December. Was he drunk or sober? Describe his actions and mode of speech.
Answer- When I
first saw him he was evidently under the influence of liquor. From his manner, conversation and countenance, I know he was
either under the influence of liquor or its equivalent.
Question- Did the 17th S.C. Regiment recross the river
when ordered? Did not recross. Order was countermanded by Gen. Evans before Regiment recrossed Bridge.
D.J. Logan, Company F, 17th S.C. Regiment, witness on part of Defendant:
Question- did you see me under fire on
the Rappahannock? What was my conduct on the occasion, and what was generally said respecting it?
Answer- I did.
Conduct for courage was as good as it could be. Your bearing was calculated to inspire every one around you and the same conduct
and confidence. It has been the subject of remark amongst the officers of my Regiment. Heard them speak in the highest terms
Question- What is my present reputation as a man of courage?
Answer- Good, sir. Never heard
it impeached by any one.
I could introduce the testimony of sixteen other witnesses from the 22nd S.C. Regiment,
all testifying to my conduct in every engagement I have been in with the Regiment; but I do not deem it necessary, as the
reader must be perfectly satisfied that no imputation whatever can be thrown upon my character as a man of courage.
I will now introduce the testimony of Dr. W.P. Hooper, 41st Regiment N.C. Cavalry, who acted in the capacity of Courier
to General Evans during the fight at Kinston. Examined on behalf of Defendant:
Question- Did you notice Lieut.
Corrie on Sunday of the fight at Kinston? Was he drunk or sober? If you think he was drunk, please state your reasons fully.
Answer- Lieut. Corrie was drunk; had been with him all day, and carried liquor for him. He drank liquor enough to
make him drunk. He ranted, reeled and could scarcely sit in the saddle. Had two bottles of liquor; large black bottles; held
over a quart each.
Question- About how much in your judgment, did Lieut. Corrie drink?
more than Gen. Evans. Only two drinks were given out in the morning, and about two left in the evening. Lieut. Corrie and
Gen. Evans drank the balance. Lieut. Corrie called for the bottle every time he met me.
Question- did you hear
Gen. Evans say anything respecting my conduct on Saturday evening of the fight at Kinston? If so, state it
Heard Gen. Evans speak of the charge Col. Goodlett made Saturday evening, several times on his way back to Kinston, and that
night and next morning. He said that Col. Goodlett had driven the enemy back, etc., and frequently said Col. Goodlett was
a noble fellow. Spoke in the highest terms of Col. Goodlett.
Question- What do you think would have been the result
of the order to recross the Bridge had been executed?
Answer- If they had recrossed, the Brigade would have been
killed or captured.
By the introduction of the testimony of Dr. Fleming, Surgeon of the 22nd South Carolina Regiment,
I will show the reason why I did not participate in the battles of the first Maryland Campaign.
I left Charleston,
S.C., on the 10 August, 1862, in feeble ---------------------- and excessive fatigues overcame me and threw me into fever
when I reached Dranesville, (Va.)
Question- Do you know why I did not go into the Maryland campaign? Where
did you last see me before that campaign and what was my condition?
Answer- I left Colonel Goodlett in Dranesville,
(Va.) about the 1st September, 1862. He was quite sick from affection of the liver. I advised him to remain behind and go
to a private house in the country.
Question- Where and when did you next see me? What was my condition then?
Answer- Next saw you on Opequan Creek, near Shepardstown, (Va.) about the last of September, had the appearance
of a man that had been very sick.
Question- how long did I remain with the Regiment at that time? Why did I leave
Answer- Did not remain long with Regiment; left at Winchester to go to private house. Had two chills before
you left, and was in a senseless condition when you left camp. Chills were of a congestive type, and you were suffering from
Question- Have you ever heard my conduct on the Rappahannock spoken of? If so, what was generally
said about it?
Answer- I have heard that Col. Goodlett behaved with remarkable coolness and gallantry, both in
and out of the Regiment.
Question- What is my present reputation as a man of courage?
Answer- I dont
think your courage is doubted at all.
I am willing to throw the record in my case before the public, and it is
my intention to do so as soon as my friends deem it proper. It covers some two hundred pages of closely written foolscap,
accompanied with a map giving the location of the field of battle and all the points of interest.
To my friend
in the army and at home I can say of a truth, that I have been most cruelly, bitterly and vindictively persecuted. The principal
witnesses against me are my bitterest enemies, and were directly or indirectly interested in having me removed from office.
I have severely commented upon them in my final defense and statements before the Court, and I am satisfied that the testimony
sustains me all I say of them.
As regards the attempted censure of the Court of Inquiry at Goldsboro, (N.C.) in
the case of Gen. Evans, I have to say that I was not a witness in the case, as I had unkind feelings towards him.
is not a particle of testimony in said case upon which the court could base an opinion as to the motives that induced me to
prefer charges against Gen. Evans.
Feeling that I have not done anything that will reflect upon my character as
a gentlemen, I respectfully ask my friends to bear with me patiently, with the assurance that in due time all will be well.
Greenville, May, 1864.