|Boyce's Battery Macbeth Light Artillery C.S.A.
has left some holes in the texts.
The author of the articles, writing under the Latin pseudonym “Vidi,” has been identified as Lieutenant Hazel Furman
Scaife. (“Vidi” is the “I saw” segment of the quote “I came, I saw, I conquered” attributed to Julius Caesar in Lives of the
Caesars by Suetonius.)
Lieutenant Scaife was an 1860 graduate of Furman University and received the benefits of a classical education
including Latin studies. One of his brothers, Charner Terry Scaife, was enrolled at the university when the war began.
Brothers Charner and James Scaife served with Hazel in Macbeth Light Artillery.
Hazel Furman Scaife was born on June 1, 1837, to Ferdinand and Mary Wilkes Scaife. The 1850 U.S. Federal Census
of Union County South Carolina lists the parents and 12 children. Ferdinand is listed as a planter with real estate valued
at $28,000 and so was certainly able to provide for the higher education of his sons.
With the outbreak of war in 1861, the Scaife men, father and sons, enlisted in the military to support South Carolina.
Hazel Scaife went almost directly from the college classrooms to the field of war , enlisting for six months with the 1st
South Carolina Infantry. Many of the men of Macbeth Light Artillery served initially with this regiment, and the following
first article of the series relates their experiences at that time.
Warren Scott, Ordnance Sergeant
Macbeth Light Artillery
Hendersonville, North Carolina
February 25, 2010
The Weekly Union Times
Union C. H., South Carolina
Vol. XVII – New Series
Written for the Times
Macbeth Light Artillery
By One of Them
The Macbeth Light Artillery has an unwritten history that must be wrested from oblivion by the surviving members of the
company, or it will be forever lost. During the war I read all the official reports of the battles in which it took a part, and
many reminiscences since, and if any allusion has been made to the company it has not been my pleasure to see it. I
am induced to write out my recollections of it, more with the view of drawing out others, than any hope of interesting the
That the efficiency of the Macbeth Light Artillery may be better understood, I deem it worth while to speak briefly of the
first Company that left Union in defense of the ordinance of secession, passed 20th Dec. 1860, by the representatives of
the people of South Carolina assembled in convention at Columbia. In anticipation of that Act, a company had been
organized in Union with that fearless soldier J. M. Gadberry as Captain. As soon as the ordinance of secession was
passed he left the convention, of which he was a member, and immediately proceeded with his company to Charleston,
where preparations for war was actively going on. The company was assigned duty on Sullivan’s Island and became one
of the ten that composed Col, Maxcy Gregg’s first South Carolina regiment. Col. Gregg’s command was soon transferred
to Morris Island, where it remained until after the fall of Fort Sumpter. The infantry on the surrounding islands were
witnesses, rather than participants of the bombardment that humbled the stars and stripes and hoisted the Palmetto flag
over Fort Sumpter. To us the war now seemed over, and our thoughts were of going home without military glory. A few
evenings, however, after the fall of Sumpter, while the regiment was on dress parade, Col. Gregg made us a speech,
telling us that we came to Charleston to fight the enemy, that we had been disappointed, but there was still a chance for
us. The enemy had invaded Virginia, and Gov. Fletcher asked South Carolina for help. Shall he call in vain? All who
are willing to go step four paces to the front. More than three-fourths of our company stepped to the front and
contrasted most favorably to the other companies which were pretty equally divided between the front and rear lines.
After we returned to our camps, a patriotic appeal was made to the company by our worthy and popular orderly
sergeant, Charles W. Boyd in his easy flowing style and, with few exceptions, those who did not volunteer at dress
parade now wheeled into line. The next day we were transferred to Charleston and took the train at the North Eastern
depot for Richmond.
Ovations, feasting, patriotic speeches, love making were in order at stations, towns and cities along the line of travel.
The war spirit had set aside the etiquette or formality of an introduction, and our company, being composed largely of
young men, love making at first sight, was to them the most interesting feature of these patriotic demonstrations. We
had some young married men in the company, who were very much in the way of the blushing youths who had no
experience in the art of courting. The former sent cupids darts to the hearts of the girls, while the latter thought it
necessary to approach them as Grant did Richmond, by circumlocution. Many have since learned that directness was a
quicker if not the better plan. The trip from Charleston to Richmond was an enjoyable one, and long to be remembered.
On reaching Richmond we were assigned quarters at the Fair Grounds. Our camps were thronged daily by the citizens
of Richmond, and we were lionized as much as if we had swallowed Fort Sumpter, Maj. Anderson and his men. We did
not think it necessary to dampen their admiration for us, by telling them that in taking Fort Sumpter we were soldiers at a
distance. In a few weeks our delightful stay in Richmond ended, and we took the train for Manassas Junction. Pretty
much the same scenes were enacted along the lines of travel that we had witnessed in our trip to Richmond.
We heard a great deal about Manassas as a strategic point, and imagined that it was a city of some importance, and that
we would have a delightful time there, as we had had in Richmond. You can well imagine our disappointment when we
found ourselves emptied out in a barren old field with scarcely a house in view. But there was no time for lamentations
over the contrast between the uninviting field and the happy home that glided so swiftly by in Richmond. We were now
living amid stirring times. War clouds were now gathering thicker and darker and the excitement more intense. I have no
diary for refreshing my memory, but it was the next day, but it was, perhaps, the next day after we reached Manassas,
that Col. Ellsworth invaded Virginia, entering the State at Alexandria, and captured a company of Virginians stationed
there. As Ellsworth descended from the hotel with the secession flag that floated from the dome, he was shot dead by
Jackson, the proprietor, who in turn was himself shot and bayoneted to death by the federal soldiers. Such was the
exciting news, ten times magnified, that refugees and escaping soldiers brought on the first train from Alexandria, while
reports that the enemy were marching on Manassas were rife the live-long day. As a precautionary measure, I suppose,
Col. Gregg led his regiment after dusk two or three miles along the dirt road to Alexandria and bivouaced on the banks of
Bull Run. None of us dreamed that night of the interest the coming events would give that insignificant little stream in the
history of our country.
The next day was Sunday, and as we were marching back to camp, a woman, who had doubtless heard of the exciting
rumors of the previous day, took us for yanks and prompted by the inspiration of an ardent love of country, lost no time
in debating the manner of her going, but with her dress to her knees, to expedite her speed, the good woman went in all
haste to make known our approach to General Bonham, of South Carolina, who was then in command at Manassas. A
Tennessee regiment reached Manassas during the night and, like Kemper’s Battery, which was already there, knew
nothing of Gregg’s nocturnal visit to Bull Run. To stimulate the practice of soldierly promptness, as well, perhaps, as to
indulge a joke, the long roll was beat, and when we came in sight these two commands were in line of battle ready to give
us an inhospitable reception. We halted long enough to make ourselves known, and then marched to our camps under
a flag of truce. Regiments were now daily coming from the South and our regiment, being pioneer troops, was advanced
to Centreville, seven miles nearer Washington. We found a company of Virginians at Centreville, and I saw no better
looking soldiers during the war. It was commanded by Captain Marr, man of fine appearance, graduate of the Virginia
Military School, and looked every inch a soldier. When we took up quarters at Centreville, Capt. Marr moved his
command to Fairfax C.H., seven miles still nearer Washington.
There were no events of interest during our stay at Centreville to relieve the monotony of camp life, save an occasional
false alarm, followed by beating the long roll and marching out of our camps to meet an enemy that did not come until
after we returned to our homes in South Carolina. It was here that the measles began its devastating work and filled
more graves with Confederate soldiers than did the bullets of the enemy. One of our number fell victim to its ravages,
and we laid him away with military honors in the churchyard of the little Episcopal church on top of the hill.
The next excitement grew out of the news that Capt. Thomas, of the Federal army, had dashed into the town of Fairfax,
wounded Col., afterwards Gen. Ewell, and killed Capt. Marr. Capt. Thomas was a native of Virginia and afterwards
commanded the Federal forces at the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee. The body of Capt. Marr was brought to Centreville
the morning after the fight, and it had a depressing effect on our men. Col. Gregg sent our company that evening to
Fairfax C.H., in answer to Col. Ewell's call for help. He drew us up in line and read the words he had written Col. Ewell
and they were, in effect, if not the very words, "I have sent you a company in whose courage and steadiness you can
depend." We arrived after dark and found a sumptuous supper awaiting us at the hotel, given to the company by the
citizens of the town. We slept that night in the church, and I never heard that anybody stood guard. The next morning
we returned to our camps at Centreville; but in a few days Col. Gregg advanced his whole company to Fairfax C.H.
We were six months volunteers, and our terms of service were drawing to a close; but it was foreign to Col. Gregg's
ambition to return to South Carolina without the smell of battle, and no doubt, he believed the same spirit animated the
bosom of each member of his regiment. So, on the morning of the second day after we went into camps at Fairfax C.H.,
with three days cooked rations in our haversacks, and reinforced by a section of Kemper's battery, we started for
Dranesville, where we were told the enemy had crossed the Potomac and we would there meet a foeman to try our grit.
As we were marching out of town a hen came running so dangerously near to our company that Lieut. Joseph F. Gist,
with the skill of a practiced fencer, took off her head--prophetic of what became of the imaginary enemy at Dranesville.
The Lieut’s haversack was full of well cooked meats, and he left the hen fluttering where she fell.
Dranesville was an inconsiderable place, twenty miles north of Fairfax C.H. We arrived there about sundown, worn and
jaded and no enemy with whom to measure arms. We knew nothing of the importance of husbanding our resources.
Indeed, our improvidence was so great that three days rations were consumed or wasted in twenty-four hours. The next
morning we fell into line to retrace our steps, hungry and dejected. I do not know that it was in the original programme to
return by another route leading several miles nearer Washington and by a little station on the railroad between
Alexandria and Fairfax C. H., bearing the name of Vienna, or it may have been that a fresh trail of the enemy was a
temptation that now induced Col. Gregg to make the call at Vienna. At any rate we soon noticed that we were deflecting
to the left of the road we came, and were told that Vienna was our objective point, and that the yanks were there
repairing the rail road. As we near the site station silence was enjoined, and we slipped down through the pines to the
station is cautiously as the huntsman would pursue a flock of wild turkeys. As usual, disappointment was the coin in
which we were paid for our trouble. The command now turned toward our camps: but ere we had marched three
hundred yards, we heard the train of the enemy and scarcely had time to double quick back to our position on top of a
hill over looking the station and Gadberry's company to deploy skirmishers to a line of woods 300 yards in front. The
train was shut out from our view by woodland on our left. Boom, boom, in rapid succession from Kemper’s two guns told
us that the enemy had rounded the curve in the road, and work of carnage begun. We could hear the command of the
enemy--fall in--double-click. It was in the direction of Washington, however, and not towards us. By some means the
engine came uncoupled from the train, and two flats and as many coaches, with six or eight of the killed and wounded fell
into our hands. Col. Gregg could not have chosen a more advantageous position if he had had ever so much time for
selecting it, and the enemy could not have approached us under greater disadvantages than they did, if we could have
had the ordering of it. They were exposed on open flats in front of the engine, and is not surprising that the Washington
papers reported the next day 117 of them killed and wounded. It was one of the first fights of the war, and if the time and
number of shots fired are considered, it was the bloodiest battle of the war. I am quite sure that more than ten minutes
did not elapse from the time we first heard the train until the firing ceased. And I am equally confident, that the firing did
not exceed five minutes. We had already marched 15 miles that day, and 7 miles were stretched out between us and our
camp. We were not equal to Jackson's foot cavalry, and but for the little incident at Vienna, many of us would have given
out on the road. When we reached the camps it was all aglow with excitement. Old man Loveberry Musgrove, who was
left with others in charge of the camps, declared that he knew Col. Gregg was after them, for he could see the smoke
from the cannons going up in the shape of a Palmetto tree.
In a few days our time of service expired and we left for our homes. War had now become a reality, and our backs were
towards the enemy, and that may have had something to do with the marked absence of any patriotic demonstrations
along the road. Our trip back to South Carolina was as quiet as a funeral march to the grave. Many, many of that
splendid company are numbered with the pale army of the dead. At the Union Depot we found our friends in force to
welcome us back as they had done six months previous to bid us good bye.
P. S. I will devote my next to the Macbeth Light Artillery.