I imagine the newly enlisted man-child, Pvt. William Greene Dodson, sitting on a train to Petersburg, in the company of his uncle, Sgt. Benjamin F. Dodson and other Mecklenburg County farmers. The sights, smells and sounds of battle were yet but words from others’ mouths. Would this young man have been excited? Scared? Resolute?
Company B, 34th Virginia Infantry arrived in Petersburg May 1864 as part of Wise’s Brigade, under the command of P.G.T. Beauregard, and were charged with the protection of the railroad hub. Greene and Ben would have welcomed the local Citizen’s Militia who helped swell the troops’ numbers to a scant 2,200 bodies. Perhaps Greene wondered what kind of hell he had entered, as he stared at this landscape, stripped of trees, riddled with tunnels, rifle pits and bombproofs. A bleak reality must have confronted the young soldier, even before the first bullets whistled in his ears.
2 thoughts on “Wordless Wednesday: The Dodsons of Company B”
gruesome. put me right there.
Doesn’t it? The photos of battle are so harrowing and heartbreaking I can’t imagine why our species insists on engaging in this “manly warfare.”