site logo
[no picture yet]

[no picture yet]

Confederate (CSV)


Samuel Boston Lathan

(1842 - 1939)

Home State: South Carolina

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 17th South Carolina Infantry

Before Sharpsburg

From Chester County, he enlisted on 19 March 1862 in Company D, 17th South Carolina Infantry.

On the Campaign

He was wounded by gunshot to the thigh in action at Turner's Gap on South Mountain, MD on 14 September 1862. He later described his experience:

On Sabbath morning the Brigade left Funktown and marched back to South Mountain, arriving there about 4 o'clock in the afternoon, and were immediately deployed in line of battle on the crest of the mountain at right angles and to the west of the turnpike. Our right, the 17th SCV, had barely gotten in position when it was attacked by the 127th Pennsylvania [sic, probably 8th PA Reserves]. The fighting was terrific, but we held our position until after dark when all the Confederates were withdrawn.

All the severely wounded were left on the battlefield and were taken prisoners. It was my misfortune to be among this number. I was wounded about dark and was unable to walk - lay where I fell all night-during which time I suffered the most excruciating thirst it was possible for a person to undergo. Just as we were going into battle, George Jackson, Co I, got my canteen to fill with water but never got it to me again as the fight was on before he returned.

Early in morning next day two union soldiers passed by where I was lying. I asked them for some water and they gave me some. Also, one of them filled his canteen with water and gave it to me. I have it yet and prize it highly. I regret I forgot the Yank's name that gave it. About 10 o'clock in the day a Regiment of Yankees - in line of battle passed by where I was lying - and the Surgeon get off his horse, dressed my wound, had the ambulance corps remove me a short distance near a road, gave me a blanket and some hard tack and bacon, and gave me instruction to keep the bandage on my wound moist.

I remained here until Thursday morning when, together with several wounded, I was removed to a barn about 300 yards by the reserve ambulance corps. We were given some rations, and those of our own wounded that could walk kept us in water. A great many of the citizens of the surrounding county visited the battle field and would stop and look at us and treated us somewhat similar to (the way) the Pharisees did to the man that fell among thieves near Jericho.

On Sabbath morning September 21st, just one week from the time I was wounded, I was placed in an ambulance and started for Fredrick City. We stopped that night at Middletown. I slept in the ambulance in the streets. The next morning the lady of a house near where the ambulance was standing sent a servant to inquire if I would like to have a cup of coffee. I told her yes and a regular breakfast. She sent out a good breakfast for two as there was another wounded boy in the ambulance with me. He would not eat any of it. I drank both cups of coffee and wrapped up his portion and put it in my haversack for future use. But, we had scarcely gotten out of town before he begged me out of it, saying he would not take it from a Yankee but would from me. I failed to see the difference ...

We arrived at Fredrick City about 12 o'clock noon ...

The rest of the War

He was treated at US Army hospitals in Frederick, MD from 21 September to 5 November 1862, when he was transferred to Baltimore. He was treated there at the home of Charles Pepar until he was sent from Fort McHenry to Fortress Monroe, VA for exchange on 29 December 1862. He was in a hospital in Petersburg, VA in January 1863 and in CSA General Military Hospital #1 in Wilmington, NC in March. He was on light duty as a nurse and in the commissary at Wilmington, NC until he rejoined his Company for the Vicksburg Campaign in the Summer of 1863. He afterward served in the Commissary Department in the Carolinas to at least March 1865. He was captured near Raleigh and paroled at Greensboro, NC.

After the War

He was a teacher and school principal in various Fairfield County towns then moved to Chester, SC in 1872, where he lived for the rest of his life. He was a bookkeeper, agent of the Richmond and Danville Railroad (1876-79), and a partner in several mercantile and manufacturing businesses. By 1920 he was manager of the Chester County Farmer's Warehouse Company and the leading cotton broker in Chester. He received an honorary Doctor of Literature degree from Erskine College in 1934 and lived to be 96 years old.

References & notes

His service from his Compiled Service Records via the Historical Data Systems database. Wound and hospital details from the Patient List.1 Personal details from a 1938 interview done by WPA's Folklore Project (1936-39), online from the Library of Congress, and from a bio sketch by grand-nephew Bill Lathan, source of the quote above. His gravesite is on Findagrave.


05/02/1842; Blackstock, SC


03/08/1939; burial in Evergreen Cemetery, Chester, SC


1   National Museum of Civil War Medicine, and Terry Reimer, Frederick Patient List, Published 2018, first accessed 17 September 2018, <>, Source page: patient #0  [AotW citation 21502]