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Copyright, 1910, by 
Randolph H. McKim 

All rights reserved 


[ W . D • o] 




I HAVE set down in the pages that follow some of 
my experiences and observations during my ser- 
vice with the Army of Northern Virginia, first as a 
private soldier, then as a staff officer, and finally as 
a chaplain in the field. I served in the ranks under 
Gen. Jos. E. Johnston and Gen. Thos. J. Jackson; as 
a staff officer under Brigadier-Gen. Geo. H. Steuart 
in the army of Gen. R. E. Lee; and as a chaplain in 
the Second Virginia Cavalry under Col. Thos. T. 
Munford, in the brigade of Gen. Fitzhugh Lee. 

It has not been my purpose to write a history of the 
campaigns in which I took so humble a part, but simply 
to present a few pen and ink sketches of the life and 
experience of a Confederate soldier, in the hope that 
I may thereby contribute in some small degree to a 
better understanding of the spirit of the epoch — both 
of the soldiers who fought the battles, and of the 
people on whose behalf they dared and suffered what 
they did. 

In telling this plain and unvarnished story I have 
been aided by the diary, or rather the diaries, which 
I kept during the war, and from which I have freely 
quoted, just as they were written, without recasting 
the sentences, or improving the style, or toning down 
the sentiments they contain. The thoughts and the 
opinions expressed, and the often crude form in which 



they are cast, are just those of a young soldier, jotted 
down on the march, or by the camp-fire, or in the quies- 
cent intervals of battle, without any thought that 
they would ever be put into print. This I have done, 
believing that I would thus best attain my object, 
— to show the mind and the life of the Confederate 
soldier as they were while the struggle was going on. 
But there was a hiatus in my material. My diary 
for the larger part of one of the four years of the war 
was lost, and therefore I have omitted those months 
from my narrative. 

I have also tried to give the point of view of the 
young men of the South in espousing the cause of the 
Confederacy, and to remove some misapprehensions 
still entertained in regard to the motives which ani- 
mated the men who followed the banner of the South- 
ern Cross. 

In connection with the Gettysburg campaign, I 
have undertaken to discuss the much mooted ques- 
tion of the action of Gen. J. E. B. Stuart, with the cav- 
alry under his command. This I have felt constrained 
to do because of the view (erroneous, as I believe) 
presented by Col. John S. Mosby in his recent book 
on the subject. 

I have also reproduced an article written many years 
ago by request, and published in the Southern His- 
torical Society Magazine, telling the story of the part 
taken at Gettysburg by the Third Brigade of John- 
son's Division, Ewell's Corps. And in the Appendix 
I have placed an Oration upon the Motives and Aims 
of the Soldiers of the South, delivered in 1904 before 
the United Confederate Veterans. 

Fully sensible how much I stand in need of the 


reader's indulgent good-will as he follows me in this 
simple story of an obscure soldier's life in the Army 
of Northern Virginia, I still hope that what I have 
recorded may, here and there, throw a side-light 
on the conditions under which the Confederate soldier 
lived and fought those four stern, fateful yeaFS, and 
give fresh emphasis to his purity of motive and his 
heroic constancy in danger and adversity. 

One closing word as to the spirit in which I have 
undertaken this modest contribution to the literature 
of the Civil War. I am not, in these pages, brooding 
over the ashes of the past. The soldiers of the South- 
ern Cross have long ago bowed to the decree of Almighty 
God in the issue of the great conflict. His will is wiser 
and better than ours. We thank God that to-day 
the sun shines on a truly reunited country. We love 
our Southland; we are Southern men; but we are glad 
that sectionalism is dead and buried, and we claim 
our full part in working out the great destiny that 
lies before the American people. We may not forget 
— we veterans of the Civil War — that the best of 
our life and work lies behind us: morituri salutamus. 
But whatever of life remains to us we have long ago 
dedicated to the service of our common country. 
We joyfully accept our share in the responsibilities, 
the opportunities, the strenuous conflicts, of the future, 
against foes within and without, for the moral and 
material glory of our country. We are Americans in 
every fibre; and nothing that pertains to the honor, to 
the welfare, to the glory, of America is foreign to us. 



I On the Brink op the Maelstrom 1 

University of Virginia, April, 1861 — Secession flag on 
the rotunda — Excitement among the students — Divi- 
sion of sentiment among the professors — Removal of the 
flag — How Virginia was transformed from a Union State 
to a Secession State — Bronze memorial tablets in the 
rotunda — Great number of alumni in the Confederate 
Army — University student military companies ordered 
to Harper's Ferry — Visit to Baltimore — Return to Uni- 
versity — Examination. 
II The Constitutional Issue Involved in the CrvrL 

War 11 

The question of slavery. 

III First Experiences of a Raw Recruit .... 23 

Departure from the University — En route for Balti- 
more — News of martial law in that city — A letter — 
Arrival at Winchester — Decision to enter the army — 
Expectation of battle at Darksville — My first dinner in 
camp — First Maryland Infantry — Col. George Steu- 
art — The forced march from Winchester to Manassas 
— Experiences on the march — Letter to my mother — 
A letter from home. 

IV Our First Battle 34 

Six miles at double-quick to the battle field — Charge 
of the First Maryland — Victory — General Elzey the 
Bliicher of the day — Gen. Kirby Smith — The New 
York Zouaves — The rout of the Union Army — Letter 
to my mother. 
V Camp Life 40 

Picket duty — Strict discipline of Colonel Steuart — 
Characteristics of the men of the First Maryland— Colonel 
Steuart seized by a sentry — Experiences as cook and 
wood chopper — A famous apple pie — A loaf of bread 
three feet long — Hard drilling — Rash enthusiasm and 
its consequence — A letter to my mother — Service at 
General Johnston's headquarters — A letter. 
VI Winter Quarters, 1861-62 49 

Centreville Camp — Approach of winter — Building 
huts for winter quarters at Fairfax Station — High 
character of the men of our mess — Letter describing 
life in our hut — Books read — Subjects discussed — 



Intelligence and education among the rank and file of the 
Confederate Army — "Evelina" — Two ladies visit camp 
— Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston — Religious services in 

VII A Winter Furlough . . 62 

Confederate armies melting away — Offer of thirty 
days furlough for reenlistment — Return to civilization 

— Warm welcome everywhere — The Southern people 
like one family — Every house the soldier's home — My 
numerous relatives — Millwood — Bollingbrooke — The 
mischievous boy at the Shenandoah ford — Delights of 
the Clarke neighborhood— "Saratoga" — "Carter Hall" 

— "New Market" — Michelet — Richmond — Inaugura- 
tion of President Davis — Fall of Fort Donelson — Rev. 
Peyton Harrison — Visit to Brandon — Jamestown Island 

— Fredericksburg — Letter to my mother — Charlottes- 
ville — Return to camp — State of the country — Relig- 
ious feeling among the people. 

Vm The Opening of the Campaign of 1862 .... 75 
McClellan's strategy — Evacuation of Manassas — 
On the banks of the Rappahannock — Engagement with 
the enemy — Severity of the weather — Hard marching 

— A bed of three fence rails — No tents for several 
weeks — Severe exposure — Starvation rations — Letter 
to my mother — March to Culpeper — To Rapidan and 
Orange — Hospitality of the people — Patient fortitude 
of the soldiers — Swimming in the Rapidan — Beauty of 
the country — Few reenlistments and the reason — 
Swift Run gap — Stonewall Jackson — Milroy — Colum- 
bia bridge — Swift marching — Almost drowned in the 
Shenandoah — The acme of the Confederate soldier's 

LX Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign .... 90 
Stonewall Jackson — His rise in the face of official 
prejudice — Characteristics of the man — His rigid dis- 
cipline — Contrast between him and Robert E. Lee — 
Relations between the two men — Opinion of General 
Miles — Jackson a devout Christian — Jackson unites 
his two divisions — Attack on Luray — " Maryland 
whip Maryland" — Gallantry of the Federal Mary- 
landers — Our marching songs — "Maryland, my Mary- 
land" — March on Winchester — Gen. Dick Taylor — 
First battle of Winchester — Enthusiastic reception 
by the inhabitants — Death of Robert Breckinridge 
McKim — General Banks — Effect of the victory — 
Alarm in Washington — Transformation of the military 
situation in Virginia — Failure of our cavalry — Bolivar 
Heights — Four armies move against Jackson — His 
masterly retreat — Peril of General Winder's force — 
Saved by Jackson's astuteness — Fine service of the First 
Maryland — Engagement near Harrisonburg — Death 
of Ashby — My promotion — Battle of Cross Keys — 



Defeat of Fremont — General Steuart wounded — My 
horse shot under me — Sketch of General Ewell — Two 
panic-stricken men — Battle of Port Republic — Defeat 
of Shields — Results of campaign. 

X Between Campaigns 117 

In attendance on my wounded general — Letter to my 
mother — On duty in Richmond — Maryland Line — 
Staunton, Virginia — Organization of Second Maryland 
Regiment — September, 1S62, General Steuart at Win- 
chester — Organization of Maryland Line — Post duty 

— Hiatus in my diary — Letter to my mother — General 
Steuart takes furlough — Winter in Staunton — A Christ- 
mas feast — Decision to enter Episcopal Church — 
Reasons for so doing — Application for appointment on 
General Trimble's staff. 

XI The Battle of Chancellorsvtlle 126 

I report for duty to Fredericksburg — Some account 
of the battle of Chancellorsville — Hooker's movement 

— His over-confidence — The audacious strategy of Lee 

— Jackson's flank movement — Mr. Lincoln's advice to 
Hooker — Stonewall Jackson falls — Battle continued 
next day — The genius and daring of Lee — Death of 
Major William Duncan McKim — His interment at 

XII The Opening of the Gettysburg Campaign . . . 133 
Dining with General Lee — Report for duty to General 
Steuart — The Third Brigade — Its strength — Religious 
services in camp — We break camp June 3d and march 
northward — Organization of the army — Rapid march 
toward Winchester — Rev. George Patterson — Cavalry 
battle at Brandy Station — J. E. B. Stuart defeats Pleas- 
anton — Fredericksburg to Winchester in seven days 

— General Milroy surprised — Works at Winchester 

XIII The Battle of Stephenson's Depot 148 

Night march — Battle begins before daylight — 
Milroy's attempt to escape — A severe battle — Out- 
numbered by the enemy, at first — Dement's battery 

— The struggle for the bridge — Conspicuous gallantry 
of the cannoneers — Arrival of reinforcements — Sur- 
render of the enemy — Spoils of victory — Gallantry of 
Steuart's brigade. 

XIV The March to Gettysburg 155 

Crossing the Potomac — Joy of the Maryland men 

— The justification of Marylanders joining the Confed- 
erate Army — Number of Marylanders in the service 

i — Their peculiar trials — Second Maryland Battalion — 
I Warm reception in Shepherdstown — Battle ground of 
I Sharpsburg — Present of a battle flag. — Religious 
susceptibility of the men — Character of the invasion — 
Lee's conception of war — General Lee's order respect- 
ing private' property — Fine conduct of the Confeder- 



ate soldiers — Expedition to McConnellsburg — Com- 
position of the force — A lonely ride — Major Harry 
Gilmor — Behavior of the Confederate in contrast with 
that of the Federal soldiers — General Sherman's defini- 
tion of war — General Sheridan to Bismarck — Purchase 
of copies of New Testament — Surprise of storekeeper — 
Long and fatiguing marches — We rejoin Johnson's 
division — Orders to countermarch June 29th — Battle 
of Gettysburg begins. 
XV The Battle of Gettysburg: Observations and Per- 
sonal Incidents 168 

Object of the campaign — Lee's intentions — Advance 
upon Harrisburg — Change of plan and reason — Colonel 
Mosby's error — Purpose to concentrate at Cashtown 
— Battle precipitated by Lieutenant-General Hill — First 
day's fight — Lee absent — Charge of Gordon's brigade 

— Justification of General Lee's decision to attack — 
General Ewell's fatal error July 1st — General Long- 
street's failure and disobedience July 2d — Its dis- 
astrous result — Captain Battine's criticism — Charge 
of Pickett's division — The omens of victory with the 
Confederates — Failure due to Lee's lieutenants — 
Failure also to coordinate the attacks — Gettysburg 
a drawn battle — Lee's army unshaken — He offers 
battle July 4th — Again for three days near Hagerstown 

— Spirit of Lee's army unbroken — Sufferings of the 
men on the retreat — Personal experiences — Iglehart 

— The artillery duel July 2d — Prayer on the battle 
field — Going to sleep in the midst of the battle, July 3d 

— Narrow escapes — Fortitude of the Third Brigade — 
Their heroic conduct — Retreat from Culp's Hill, 
1.30 a.m., July 4th — Major Benj. Watkins Leigh — In- 
cident at Williamsport — Another incident — Chaplain 
Patterson reads the burial service over a living man. 

XVI Steuart's Brigade at Gettysburg — A Narrative . 192 

XVH Preparation for the Chaplaincy 209 

Resignation — Letter to my mother — Studies at 
Staunton, Virginia — Dr. Sparrow — Hospital work — 
Unwearied labor of the Southern women — Unity of feel- 
ing — Licensed to deliver addresses — Books used — 
Character of preparation — Anecdote of Dr. Sparrow 

— Ordained deacon — Start for the army — My horse 
"Charlie" — Report for duty in Chew's battalion artil- 
lery — Commission not issued — Compelled to leave — 
Appointed Chaplain Second Virginia Cavalry — Active 
work in the interim — Rev. Richard H. Phillips taken 
prisoner — Confined at Camp Chase. 

First Experience as Chaplain in the Field 

I join Second Virginia Cavalry — Ordered out to meet 
the enemy — Composition of the Second Virginia — Relig- 
ious service twice a day — Cooperation of the officers 

— Mass meeting of communicants — Regimental choir 



— Resolutions adopted — Open mindedness of the 

XVIII Eakly's Vadley Campaign of 1864 223 

^ Early's advance on Washington — General Sheridan — 

The Spencer rifle and the Sharp's rifle — Eleven engage- 
ments in less than a month — Third battle of Winchester 

— Early's defeat — Good service of the cavalry — Front 
Royal — Feelings of a chaplain on the .firing-line — 
General Early and the chaplain — Early's defeat at 
Fisher's Hill — Death of Captain George Williamson 

— Tribute to him — Fighting again — Preaching and 
marching — Baptism by immersion — Thrilling experi- 
ences on a blind horse — Sheridan's burnings — Wound- 
ing of Captain Basil L. Gildersleeve — Death of Prof. 
Lewis Minor Coleman — Cavalry fight near Waynes- 
boro — Battle of Cedar Creek — Answer to prayer — 
Service in the breastworks — Conferences on personal 
religion — Victory at Cedar Creek turned into defeat — 
Rebukes administered — Organization of Y. M. C. A. 

— Offer myself as substitute for Rev. R. H. Phillips — 
Frequent engagements — Early winter — Supply of 
New Testaments — Successful engagement — Work in 
hospital — Cutting down trees — My horse fed with 

XTX The Winter Campaign of 1864-65 .."... 243 
Expedition to West Virginia — Suffering of the men 

— Sleeping under a blanket of snow — A mountain 
march — Hardships of a chaplain — On sick leave — 
Death of my father — Visit to Edge Hill — Col. Thos. 
Jefferson Randolph — Virginia Legislature and Emanci- 
pation — Revulsion of feeling — Abandonment of the pro- 
ject — Responsibility of Abolitionists — Virginia's record 
on slavery — Mr. B. Johnson Barbour — Cleaning out a 
church — St. Paul's Church, Richmond — Solemnity of 
services — Building a chapel — My horse breaks down 

— Sermon in St. Paul's, Richmond. 

XX The Close of the Drama 254 

Hampton Roads conference — Preamble and resolu- 
tions — Lee made commander-in-chief — Confederacy 
collapsing — Resources exhausted — Opinion of Lord 
Wolseley and Charles Francis Adams — Journey to 
Staunton — Condition of returned Confederate prisoners 
— Treatment of Northern prisoners in the South — Scar- 
city of provisions — Grant's refusal to exchange — Com- 
parative mortality in Northern and Southern prisons — 
Arrival at Staunton — Return to the army — Surrender 
of General Lee — Desertions from his army — Why Lee 
could not extricate his army — His plans revealed to 
Grant — Did Grant outgeneral Lee in the retreat? — 
Error of James Ford Rhodes — Scene at surrender — 
Lee's heroic conduct — Tributes to the soldiers of Lee's 
army — My ride to Staunton — News of the surrender 



discredited — Second Virginia Cavalry after the sur- 
render — Maryland Cavalry makes the last march for the 

Conclusion 277 

Appendix 283 

A. The Soldiers of the South — An Oration . ... 285 

B. Gen. J. E. B. Stuart in the Gettysburg campaign 

— A reply to Col. John S. Mosby 337 


Belvtdere, Baltimore, Md Frontispiece 


Lieut.- Gen. Thos. J. ("Stonewall") Jackson .... 90 

Lieut. Randolph H. McKim, 1862 110 

Gen. Robert Edward Lee 134 

Gen. Thomas T. Munford 220 

Rev. Dr. R. H. McKim, 1904 286 





ON a bright morning in the month of April, 1861, 
there is a sudden explosion of excitement at 
the University of Virginia. Shouts and cheers are 
heard from the various precincts where the students 
lodge. Evidently something unusual has occurred. 
The explanation is soon found as one observes all 
eyes turned to the dome of the rotunda from whose 
summit the Secession flag is seen waving. It has 
been placed there during the night by persons then 
unknown. Of course it has no right there, for the 
•University is a State institution and the State has not 
seceded; on the contrary the Constitutional Conven- 
tion has given only a few days before a strong vote 
for the Union. 

But it is evident the foreign flag is a welcome in- 
truder in the precincts of Jefferson's University, for 
a great throng of students is presently assembled on 
the lawn in front of the lofty flight of steps leading up 
to the rotunda, and one after another of the leaders of 
the young men mounts the steps and harangues the 
crowd in favor of the Southern Confederacy and 
the Southern flag waving proudly up there. Among 
the speakers I recall Wm. Randolph Berkeley, the 
recently elected orator of the Jefferson Society. 

So general was the sympathy with the Southern cause 



that not a voice was raised in condemnation of the 
rebellious and burglarious act of the students who 
must have been guilty of raising the Southern flag. 
Not so general was the approval of the professors; 
some of these were strong Union men, among them one 
who was deservedly revered by the whole student 
body, Prof. John B. Minor, the head of the Law De- 
partment. Walking up under the arcades to his lec- 
ture room, he was shocked at the sight that met his 
eyes, and (so a wag afterwards reported) broke forth 
into rhyme as follows: 

"Flag of my country, can it be 
That that rag's up there instead of thee!" 

Meantime the excitement waxed greater and greater, 
so much so that the students forsook their lecture 
rooms to attend the mass-meeting on the lawn. In 
vain did Prof. Scheie de Vere endeavor to fix the 
attention of his class by the swelling periods of his 
famous lecture on Joan of Arc. The proceedings 
outside on the lawn interested them much more than 
the tragic fate of the Maid of Orleans, and one after 
another they rose and stalked out of the lecture room 
to join in the overture to another and more tremen- 
dous tragedy then unfolding itself to the world, until 
the baffled professor of modern languages gave up the 
attempt and abruptly closed his lecture. 

At this juncture the burly form of Dr. Albert Taylor 
Bledsoe, professor of mathematics, was seen mount- 
ing the steps of the rotunda, his great head as usual 
far in advance of the rest of his body. At once there 
was silence in the throng. To him the students gave 
a respectful attention, such as, I fear, in their then 


mood, they would not have given to Professor Minor. 
For Dr. Bledsoe was an enthusiastic advocate of Seces- 
sion, to such an extent that he would not infrequently 
interlard his demonstration of some difficult problem 
in differential or integral calculus — for example, the 
lemniscata of Bernouilli — with some vigorous remarks 
in the doctrine of States' rights. 

At this juncture, however, the big-brained profes- 
sor spoke to the young men in a somewhat different 
strain. He began by saying he had no doubt the stu- 
dents who had put up that flag were "the very nicest 
fellows in the University," but, inasmuch as the State 
of Virginia had not yet seceded, the Secession flag did 
not really belong on that rotunda, and he hoped the 
students themselves would take it down, — "but," he 
said, " young gentlemen, do it very tenderly." 

The facts of the case were these. A group of seven 
students (of whom I was one) bought the bunting 
and had the flag made, seven stars and three bars, by 
some young lady friends who were bound to secrecy, 
and then, having supplied themselves with augers and 
small saws, they went to work after midnight and sawed 
their way through five doors to gain access to the roof 
of the rotunda, where, in their stocking feet, they at 
length succeeded, not without risk of a fatal fall, in 
giving the "Stars and Bars" to the breeze, just as the 
first faint streaks of dawn appeared on the eastern 
hills. They then scattered and betook themselves to 
bed, and were the last men in the University to hear 
the news that the Secession flag was floating over the 

It was not many days after this occurrence that Mr. 
Lincoln issued his proclamation calling upon Virginia 


to furnish her quota of troops to coerce the seceded 
States back into the Union, and thereby instantly 
transformed the old Commonwealth from a Union 
State into a seceded State. All differences now dis- 
appeared among her statesmen and her people, and 
Virginia with entire unanimity threw in her lot with 
her Southern sisters "for better, for worse, for weal 
or for woe." 

It was the threat of invasion that revolutionized the 
position of the State of Virginia. In illustration of 
this I refer to the case of a talented young man from 
Richmond who had been an extreme and uncompro- 
mising " Union man" — the most extreme among all 
the students at the University. He was also bold and 
aggressive in the advocacy of his opinions, so much so 
that he became very unpopular, and his friends feared 
"serious trouble and even bloody collision." The 
morning President Lincoln's proclamation appeared 
he had gone down town on personal business before 
breakfast, and while there happened to glance at a 
paper. He returned at once to the University, but not 
to breakfast; spoke not a word to any human being; 
packed his trunk with his belongings; left a note for 
the chairman of the faculty explaining his conduct; 
boarded the first train for Richmond, and joined a 
military company before going to his father's house 
or taking so much as a morsel of food. What was the 
overwhelming force which thus in a moment trans- 
formed this splendid youth? Was it not the God- 
implanted instinct which impels a man to defend his 
own hearthstone 1 1 

1 The story is told by Major Robert Stiles in his "Four Years under 
Marse Robert." 


The visitor to the University to-day will see on the 
rotunda porch two large bronze tablets on the right 
and left of the central door, on which are graven the 
names of the alumni who laid down their lives in the 
Civil War for the independence of the South. There 
are just five hundred and three names. 

The number itself is significant. If five hundred 
died, there must have been more than two thousand 
five hundred, perhaps as many as three thousand, on 
the rolls of the Confederate armies, who called this 
University mother. We have no accurate register 
of the number of alumni who were living in 1861 and 
fit for military service. But we do know that of the 
six hundred and twenty-five who were students here 
when the tocsin of war sounded, five hundred and 
thirty hailed from the seceding States, and about 
five hundred and fifteen went to the front. Two 
of the professors followed their students, — our illus- 
trious professor of Greek, Basil L. Gildersleeve, who 
was wounded fighting with Gordon in the valley of 
Virginia — he still fives, thank God! to adorn Amer- 
ican scholarship — and Lewis Minor Coleman, our 
right royal professor of Latin, who fell gloriously 
while commanding a battalion of artillery at Freder- 

These numbers are significant. They bear eloquent 
witness, not only to the gallantry of our brother alumni, 
but to the unanimity of the Southern people in that 
great struggle, and they afford convincing proof of 
the falsity of the theory, held by some historians of the 
Civil War, that the uprising of the Southern people 
was the result of a conspiracy of a few ambitious 
leaders. When we see five hundred and fifteen out of 


six hundred and twenty-five students, 1 representing 
the flower of the intellect and culture of the South — 
its yeomen as well as its aristocracy — spring to arms 
at the first sound of the long roll, we realize that the 
resistance offered to coercion in 1861 was in no sense 
artificial, but free and spontaneous, and that it was 
the act of the people, not of the politicians. 

This conclusion may be fortified by a comparison 
with the record of a great New England university. 
The memorial tablets at Harvard contain the names 
of one hundred and seventeen of her alumni who gave 
their lives to the cause of the Union, while the whole 
number who entered the Union army and navy was nine 
hundred and thirty-eight. If the same proportion of 
loss held among the men of our Alma Mater, then there 
would have been four thousand students and alumni 
of the University of Virginia in the army and navy of 
the Confederate States. But the proportion of killed 
in action was greater on our side, so that this total 
must be much reduced. We know from the records 
that not less than two thousand five hundred of the 
men who followed the battle flag of the Southern Cross 
were sons of this Virginia University. The actual 
number was probably considerably larger. Thus 
though her students and alumni of military age were 
less numerous than those of Harvard, in something 
like the proportion of four to seven, yet there were more 
than three times as many of them serving with the 
colors in the great conflict; and while one hundred and 
seventeen men of the Cambridge university laid down 

1 This number represents all the students from all the States, North 
as well as South. Not a few came from localities which were not in 
sympathy with the South. 


their lives for the Union, five hundred and three of 
the men of the University of Virginia died for the 
Southern cause — more than four times as many. 

As I think of some of these brave young fellows, I 
recall the scene that used to be presented many an 
afternoon on the slope of the hill directly to the south 
of the University lawn — D'Alphonse, the stalwart 
professor of gymnastics, leading his numerous pupils 
in singing the "Marsellaise," or "Les Girondins." 
The clear fresh voices of those fine young fellows come 
back to me as I write, — the fine tenor of Robert 
FaUigant rising above the rest, — singing: 

"Par la voix du cannon d'alarme, 
La France appelle ses enfants, 
Allons, dit le soldat, aux armes, 
C'est ma mere, je la defends. 

Chorus, "Mourir pour la patrie, 
Mourir pour la patrie, 
C'est le sort le plus beau 
Le plus digne d'envie!" 

Alas! how soon and how unexpectedly were those 
words to be exemplified on the field of battle, in the 
gallant deaths of many who sang them then, with little 
realization of their possible significance for them. 

There were two military companies organized at 
the University the autumn before the fateful cloud 
of Civil War burst upon the land. These were in no 
way connected with the organization of the institution, 
but were purely private and voluntary. One called 
itself "The Sons of Liberty," the other took the name 
of "The Southern Guard." To the latter I belonged, 
and when Virginia joined the Confederacy, these two 


companies of boys were ordered to Winchester, Va., 
to join in the movement of Gen. Thomas J. Jackson 
against Harper's Ferry. 

I remember that after a long railway ride in box 
cars (which sadly tarnished our uniforms) we were 
detrained at Strasburg, and marched to Winchester, 
eighteen miles distant, beating handsomely in the march 
the regular companies of State militia that formed 
part of the expedition. 

The two University companies remained several 
weeks at Harper's Ferry, and were then very properly 
ordered back to their studies. I did not tarry so long, 
but made my way to Baltimore, where stirring scenes 
had been witnessed on the 19th of April, when the 
Massachusetts troops en route to Washington were 
attacked by the populace.. 

Arrived there I very soon found " nothing would be 
doing," — advices from Confederate headquarters in 
Virginia discouraging any attempt in that quarter, 
and so after about a week's sojourn, I returned to the 
University, promising my mother to stay till the end 
of the session. 

While in Baltimore at dear old "Belvidere," the 
beautiful home of my childhood and boyhood, I had 
to endure the pain of my father's displeasure, because 
of my espousal of the Southern cause. He himself 
had been in warm personal sympathy with the South, 
but through the strong intellectual influence of a near 
relative his political sympathy had been turned to the 
North. His heart was with my mother's people, but 
his head turned him to the side of the Union. I men- 
tion it because ihis difference was, by reason of our 
great mutual attachment, very painful to us both. 


In an interview between us, when he had expressed 
himself in severe condemnation of my course, I turned 
and said with much feeling, "Well, father, I comfort 
myself with the promise, 'When my father and my 
mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.'" 
And so we parted never to meet again, for he died 
in January, 1865. A noble and high-minded man he 
was, and particularly devoted to me. Nothing but 
the strongest conviction of duty could have led me to 
act contrary to his wishes. During the whole war I 
constantly sent him messages of love, and sometimes 
wrote to him. When my marriage took place, Feb- 
ruary 26, 1863, he sent my bride a beautiful present 
with his likeness. My first child was named for him, 
"John," to which I added "Duncan" for my much- 
loved cousin. When my ordination was approaching, 
in April, 1864, I wrote him as follows: 

"My father, I ask to be remembered at the family altar, 
that God may prepare me for the responsible office which I am 
about tremblingly to undertake after seven months' study." 

No picture of this crucial epoch is a true one which 
suppresses these most painful divisions of sentiment 
which often occurred in devoted families. 

When I returned to the University I had lost, first 
and last, six weeks at a critical part of my course. 
My "tickets," this my second year, were French, 
German, moral philosophy, and senior mathematics. 
I determined to drop German and concentrate on the 
other three schools. And then, finding the "math." 
examination coming on in ten days, I gave my whole 
time to preparation for that severe test. Such was 
the excitement among the students, many of whom 


were already leaving to join the Army, that study was 
very difficult, so I betook myself to a little one-room 
structure at the foot of Can's Hill on the north side, 
isolated from other buildings, and there studied the 
differential and integral calculus from twelve to four- 
teen hours a day for the ten days before examination, 
Sunday excepted, with the result that on the day of 
the test I soon developed a severe headache, which 
nearly cost me my diploma. However, I passed, and 
later passed also in my other tickets, and received 
the three diplomas on Commencement day, much to 
my satisfaction. 

These, with diplomas in Latin and Greek taken the 
previous year, made the path clear to the coveted and 
difficult honor of M.A. the third year. 1 But that "third 
year " never came. It was " knocked out " by four years 
in the school of war under Stonewall Jackson and Lee. 
And when these were passed, I had entered on the 
active duties of life. 

I wrote to my mother, June 20th, as follows: "I 
stand moral philosophy on Tuesday next. To-morrow 
and next day I am to read two essays in the Moral 
class, — one on two of Butler's sermons, one on a 
chapter in the Analogy. I got through French exam- 
ination very well, I believe, but I am scared about 
my last math, examination. I find that I mistook 
one of the questions." 

1 On an average not more than a dozen students made the " M.A." 
in a year. 



SOMETHING may here be appropriately said, 
before proceeding with my narrative, upon the 
constitutional question involved in the action taken 
by Virginia in seceding from the Union, and the action 
of these young men at the University in obeying her 
summons and rallying to the standard of the Southern 

Virginia loved the Union which her illustrious sons 
had done so much to establish. She refused to secede 
from the Union until she was called upon to assist in 
the work of coercing the already seceded States back 
into the Union. This she refused to do. She would 
not raise her arm to strike down her Southern sisters. 
She would not be a party to the coercion of a sovereign 
State by the general government. That, she had been 
taught by the fathers of the Constitution, Washing- 
ton, Madison, Jefferson, and Hamilton, was an uncon- 
stitutional act. Alexander Hamilton had denounced 
the proposal to coerce a State as a mad project. 
Edmund Randolph said it meant "civil war." So 
the project was abandoned in the Constitutional Con- 
vention. Her people believed that the several States 
possessed the inalienable right of dissolving the com- 
pact with their sister States whenever they became 



convinced that their sacred rights were no longer 
safe in the Union. 

All acknowledge that the right of Secession does 
not exist to-day. The fourteenth amendment has 
changed the character of the Federal Constitution. 
The surrender at Appomattox, moreover, involved 
the surrender of the right of Secession. Since the 9th 
of April, 1865, the Union has been indissoluble. That 
is universally acknowledged in the South to-day. But 
it was not so in 1861. Logically and historically 
the weight of evidence is clearly on the side of 
those who hold that the right of withdrawing from 
the Union existed from the foundation of the gov- 

Mr. Madison, the "father of the Constitution," 
held that, in adopting the Constitution, "they were 
making a government of a Federal nature, consisting 
of many co-equal sovereignties." Washington held 
that the Union then formed was "a compact." In a 
letter to Madison, Aug. 3, 1788, he uses this language, 
"till the States begin to act under the new compact." 
John Marshall said in the debate on the adoption of 
the Constitution: "It is a maxim that those who give 
may take away. It is the people that give power, 
and can take it back. Who shall restrain them? They 
are the masters who give it." This was said in discuss- 
ing Virginia's right "to resume her powers if abused." 
Whatever he may have held late in life, this was his 
opinion in 1788 in the great debate on the Constitution. 
He was then in his thirty-third year. See Elliott's 
Debates, III, p. 227. It is an historical fact that the 
Constitution was regarded as a compact between the 
States by the leaders of opinion in New England for 


at least forty years after its adoption. In the -same 
quarter the sovereignty of the States was broadly 
affirmed, and also the right of a State to resume, if need 
be, the powers granted or delegated under the Consti- 
tution. When Samuel Adams objected to the preamble 
because it expressed the idea of "a National Govern- 
ment instead of a Federal Union of sovereign States," 
Governor Hancock brought in the tenth amendment 
reserving to the States all the powers not expressly 
delegated to the General Government. 

Webster and Story apostatized from the New Eng- 
land interpretation of the Constitution. I may here 
recall the fact that the first threat of Secession came 
from the men of New England. Four times before 
the Secession of South Carolina, Secession was threat- 
ened in the North, —in 1802-1803, in 1811-1812, 
in 1814, and in 1844-1845. The first time it came 
from Col. Timothy Pickering, of Massachusetts, a 
friend of Washington and a member of his Cabi- 
net; the second time from Josiah Quincy, another 
distinguished citizen of Massachusetts; the third time 
from the Hartford Convention of 1814; and the fourth 
time from the Legislature of Massachusetts. Josiah 
Quincy in the debate on the admission of Louisiana, 
Jan. 14, 1811, declared his "deliberate opinion that, 
if the bill passes, the bonds of this Union are virtually 
dissolved, ... as it will be the right of all [the States], 
so it will be the duty of some, to prepare definitely 
for a separation, — amicably if they can, violently 
if they must." In 1812 pulpit, press, and rostrum in 
New England advocated Secession. In 1839 John 
Quincy Adams declared "the people of each State 
have a right to secede from the Confederated Union." 


In 1844 and again in 1845 the Legislature of Massa- 
chusetts avowed the right to secede and threatened to 
exercise the right if Texas should be admitted to the 
Union. This was its language: 

"The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, faithful to the 
compact between the people of the United States, according 
to the plain meaning and intent in which it was understood 
by them, is sincerely anxious for its preservation, but it is 
determined, as it doubts not the other States are, to submit 
to undelegated powers in no body of men on earth." 

This expresses exactly the attitude of the seceding 
States in 1861. Thus the North and the South at 
these two epochs (only a dozen years apart) held the 
same view of the right of withdrawal from the Union. 
And the ground of their apprehension was very sim- 
ilar. New England believed that the admission of 
Louisiana and Texas would give the South a prepon- 
derance of power in the Union, and hence that her rights 
within the Union would no longer be secure. The cot- 
ton States believed that the election of a sectional 
President by a party pledged to the abolition of sla- 
very gave the North a preponderance of power in the 
Union and left their rights insecure. And when Vir- 
ginia beheld the newly elected President preparing 
to coerce the seceding States by force of arms, she be- 
lieved that the Constitution was being violated, and 
that her place was now with her Southern sisters. 

It is a fact full of significance that even Alexander 
Hamilton, strong Federalist as he was, could threaten 
Jefferson with the Secession of New England, " unless 
the debts of the States were assumed by the General 
Government." And Madison spoke of the thirteen 


States as "thirteen sovereignties," and again he said, 
"Each State, in ratifying the Constitution, is consid- 
ered as a sovereign body," 

Daniel Webster, in 1830 and again in 1833, argued 
that the Constitution was not a "compact," not a "con- 
federacy," and that the acts of ratification were not 
"acts of accession." These terms, he said, would imply 
the right of Secession, but they were terms unknown 
to the fathers; they formed a "new vocabulary," in- 
vented to uphold the theory of State sovereignty. 
But in this Mr. Webster was wholly mistaken. 
Those terms we now know were in familiar use in 
the great debates on the Constitution. In 1787 Mr. 
Gerry, of Massachusetts, said, "If nine out of thirteen 
States can dissolve the compact (i.e., the Articles 
of Confederation), six out of nine will be just as 
able to dissolve the new one." (It had been agreed 
that the consent of nine out of the thirteen States 
should be sufficient to establish the new government.) 
Gouverneur Morris, Alexander Hamilton, Washington 
all spoke of the Constitution as a "Compact," and 
of the new government as a "Confederacy." Both 
Massachusetts and New Hampshire, in their acts of 
ratification, refer to the Constitution as a "solemn 
Compact." We have then the authority of Webster 
himself for the opinion that these terms implied the 
right of Secession. 

Nor is this all. Virginia, New York, and Rhode 
Island all declared in their acts of ratification that the 
powers granted by them to the General Government 
"may be resumed by them." Thus the right of Seces 1 
sion was solemnly asserted in the very acts by which 
these States ratified the Constitution. That asser- 
tion was part of the ratification. The ratification was 


conditioned by it. And the acceptance of these States 
as members of the Union carried with it the acceptance 
of the Constitution and the recognition of the right of 

This was recognized by Webster in his matnrer 
years. See his speech at Capon Springs, W. Va., in 1851. 

I have thought it just to my comrades of whom I 
am to write in these pages to give at the outset this 
defence of the course they took in 1861. They fol- 
lowed that interpretation of the Constitution which 
they received from their fathers — from Jefferson and 
Madison and Washington — rather than that which 
can claim no older or greater names than those of Story 
and Webster. 

These arguments appeared to us convincing then. 
They are no less convincing to-day from the standpoint 
of things as they were in 1861. And we appeal to 
the candid judgment of history to decide whether, 
believing as we did, we were not justified in doing what 
we did. The most recent, and one of the ablest, 
of Northern historians acknowledges that "a, large 
majority of the people of the South believed in the 
constitutional right of Secession," and as a consequence 
believed that the war on the part of the National 
Government was "a war of subjugation." But surely 
it is an act of patriotism to resist a war of subjuga- 
tion, spoliation, and conquest, and by that standard 
the soldiers of the Confederate Armies must go down 
to history not as traitors, but as patriots. Our argu- 
ment for the constitutional right of withdrawing from 
the Union may, or may not, appear conclusive, but at 
least the right of revolution, asserted by our sires in 
1776, cannot be denied to their descendants of 1861. 


On that ground I claim the assent even of those who 
still stoutly deny the right of Secession to the asser- 
tion that the armies of the South were composed not 
of traitors, but of patriots. 

There was a time, during those dark days of Recon- 
struction, when public opinion in the North demanded 
that we, who had fought under the Southern flag, should 
prove the sincerity of our acceptance of the results 
of the war by acknowledging the unrighteousness of 
our cause and by expressing contrition for the course 
we pursued. 

But could we acknowledge our cause to be unright- 
eous when we believed it just? Could we repent of 
an act done in obedience to the dictates of conscience? 
Our late antagonists — now, thank God, our friends 
— may claim that our judgment was at fault; that 
our action was not justified by sound reasoning; that 
the fears that goaded us to withdraw from the Union 
were not well grounded; but, so long as it is acknowl- 
edged that we followed duty as we understood it, 
they cannot ask us to repent. We could not repent 
of obeying the dictates of conscience in the face of 
hardship, danger, and death! 

And now I turn to the consideration of a grievous 
reproach often directed against the men who fought 
in the armies of the South in the Civil War. When 
we claim for them the crown of patriotism, when 
we aver that they drew their swords in what they 
believed to be the cause of liberty and self-govern- 
ment, it is answered that the corner-stone of the South- 
ern Confederacy was slavery, and that the soldiers who 
fought under the banner of the Southern Cross were fight- 
ing for the perpetuation of the institution of slavery. 


That is a statement which I wish to repudiate with 
all the earnestness of which I am capable. It does a 
grievous injustice to half a million patriot soldiers 
who were animated by as pure a love of liberty as 
ever throbbed in the bosom of man, and who made 
as splendid an exhibition of self-sacrifice on her behalf 
as any soldiers who ever fought on any field since 
history began. 

In the first place, I ask, If slavery was the corner- 
stone of the Southern Confederacy, what are we to say 
of the Constitution of the United States? That instru- 
ment as originally adopted by the thirteen colonies 
contained three sections which recognized slavery. 
(Art. 1, Sec. 2 and 9, and Art. 4, Sec. 2.) And whereas 
the Constitution of the Southern Confederacy prohib- 
ited the slave trade, the Constitution of the United 
States prohibited the abolition of the slave trade for 
twenty years (1789-1808) ! And if the men of the South 
are reproached for denying liberty to three and a half 
millions of human beings, at the same time that they 
professed to be waging a great war for their own lib- 
erty, what are we to say of the revolting colonies of 
1776 who rebelled against the British crown to achieve 
their liberty while slavery existed in every one of 
the thirteen colonies undisturbed? Cannot those his- 
torians who deny that the South fought for liberty, 
because they held the blacks in bondage, see that 
upon the same principle they must impugn the sincer- 
ity of the signers of the Declaration of Independence? 
We ask the candid historian to answer this question: 
If the colonists of 1776 were freemen fighting for lib- 
erty, though holding the blacks in slavery in every 
one of the thirteen colonies, why is the title of soldiers 


of liberty denied the Southern men of 1861, because 
they too held the blacks in bondage? Slavery was 
an inheritance which the people of the South received 
from the fathers, and if the States of the North, within 
fifty years after the Revolution, abolished the insti- 
tution, it cannot be claimed that the abolition was 
dictated by moral considerations, but by differences 
of climate, soil, and industrial interests. 

Let me here state a fact of capital importance in 
this connection: the sentiment in favor of emancipa- 
tion was rapidly spreading in the South in the first 
quarter of the nineteenth century. Wilson acknowl- 
edges that "there was no avowed advocate of slavery" 
in Virginia at that time. In the year 1826 there were 
one hundred and forty-three emancipation societies 
in the United States, and of these, one hundred and 
three were in the South. So strong was the sentiment 
in Virginia for emancipation that, in the year 1832, 
one branch of her Legislature came near passing a 
law for the gradual abolition of slavery; and I was 
assured in 1860 by Col. Thomas Jefferson Randolph, 
who was himself a member of the Legislature that 
year, that emancipation would certainly have been 
carried at the next session but for the reaction created 
by the fanatical agitation of the subject by the Abo- 
litionists, led by Wm. Lloyd Garrison. Though 
emancipation was defeated at that time by a small vote, 
yet the Legislature passed a resolution postponing the 
consideration of the subject till public opinion had 
further developed. The Richmond Whig of March 6, 
1832, said: "The great mass of Virginia herself rejoices 
that the slavery question has been taken up by the 
Legislature, that her legislators are grappling with the 


monster," etc. A Massachusetts writer, George Lunt, 
says: "The States of Virginia, Kentucky, and Ten- 
nessee were engaged in practical movements for the 
gradual emancipation of their slaves. This movement 
continued until it was arrested by the aggressions of 
the Abolitionists." 

These facts are beyond dispute: 1. That from 1789 
down to 1837 slavery was almost universally consid- 
ered in the South a great evil; 2. That public opinion 
there underwent a revolution on this subject in the 
decade 1832-1842. What produced this fateful change 
of sentiment? Not the invention of the cotton gin, 
for that took place in 1793. No, but the abolition 
crusade launched by Wm. Lloyd Garrison, Jan. 1, 
1831. Its violence and virulence produced the result 
that might have been expected. It angered the South. 
It stifled discussion. It checked the movement toward 
emancipation. It forced a more stringent policy toward 
the slave. The publication of Garrison's "Liberator" 
was followed, seven months later, by Nat Turner's 
negro insurrection in which sixty-one persons — men, 
women, and children — were murdered in the night. 
President Jackson, in his message of 1835, called atten- 
tion to the transmission through the mails "of inflam- 
matory appeals addressed to the passions of the slaves, 
in prints and various sorts of publications, calculated 
to stimulate them to insurrection, and to produce all 
the horrors of a servile war." 

The conclusion is irresistible that but for that vio- 
lent and fanatical movement slavery would have been 
peaceably abolished in Virginia, and then in other 
Southern States. 

Before leaving the subject I would like to recall 


one or two historical facts. Not the Southern people, 
but the Government of Great Britain, must be held re- 
sponsible for American slavery. The colony of Virginia 
protested again, and again, and again to the British 
King against sending slaves to her shores — but her pro- 
test was in vain. In 1760 South Carolina passed an act 
prohibiting the further importation of slaves, but Eng- 
land rejected it with indignation. Let it be remem- 
bered, too, that Virginia was the first of all the States, 
North and South, to prohibit the slave trade, and Georgia 
was the first to incorporate such a prohibition in her 
Constitution. Virginia was in fact in advance of the 
whole world on this subject. She abolished the slave 
trade in 1778, nearly thirty years before England did 
the same, and the same length of time before New 
England was willing to consent to its abolition. 

But I am chiefly concerned to show that my com- 
rades and brothers, of whom I write in these pages, 
did not draw their swords in defence of the institution 
of slavery. They were not thinking of their slaves 
when they cast all in the balance — their lives, their 
fortunes, their sacred honor — and went forth to endure 
the hardships of the camp and the march and the perils 
of the battle field. They did not suffer, they did not 
fight, they did not die, for the privilege of holding their 
fellow men in bondage! 

No, it was for the sacred right of self-government 
that they fought. It was in defence of their homes 
and their firesides. It was to repel the invader, to 
resist a war of subjugation. It was in vindication of 
the principle enunciated in the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence that "governments derive their just powers 
from the consent of the governed." 


Only a very small minority of the men who fought 
in the Southern armies — not one in ten — were finan- 
cially interested in the institution of slavery. We 
cared little or nothing about it. To establish our inde- 
pendence we would at any time have gladly surren- 
dered it. If any three men may be supposed to have 
known the object for which the war was waged, they 
were these: Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, and 
Robert E. Lee. Their decision agrees with what I have 
stated. Mr. Lincoln consistently held and declared 
that the object of the war was the restoration of the 
Union, not the emancipation of the slaves. Mr. Davis 
as positively declared that the South was fighting 
for independence, not for slavery. And Robert E. 
Lee expressed his opinion by setting all his slaves 
free Jan. 8, 1863, and then going on with the war for 
more than two years longer. In February, 1861, Mr. 
Davis wrote to his wife in these words, "In any case 
our slave property will eventually be lost." Thus the 
political head of the Confederacy entered on the war 
foreseeing the eventual loss of his slaves, and the 
military head of the Confederacy actually set his slaves 
free before the war was half over. Yet both, they say, 
were fighting for slavery! 



NOW at length I had redeemed my promise to my 
mother, in leaving Baltimore, that I would not 
enter the army, at any rate till the end of the session 
of the University. But I had made another promise. 
On June 20th I had written her: "You know that of 
course I will join no company without papa's consent. 
Though I did do it once, I shall not do it again." 
Accordingly, when the session closed, I was minded 
to return to Baltimore and plead for permission to join 
the Southern Army. I even contemplated — in the 
event of being unable to get through the lines — to 
go up to the home of my aunt, Mrs. Garrett, some 
eighteen miles from the University, and settle down 
" quietly," "trying to make myself useful teaching 
the children French and arithmetic." 

But in cherishing such an idea I reckoned without 
the Zeitgeist. Day after day the spirit of the epoch 
wrought in me more and more mightily till I felt that 
I could no longer resist the call to follow the example 
of my kindred, my friends, and my fellow students, 
and enlist in the Southern Army. 

But there were two obstacles in the way: first, my 
rash promise just mentioned, that I would not enlist 
without my father's consent, and secondly this: my 
young cousin, Robert Breckinridge McKim, was, to 



some extent, under my charge, and he stoutly insisted 
that if I joined the army he would do the same. In 
vain I reasoned with him that he was under age — not 
yet eighteen — while I had just passed my nineteenth 
birthday — consequently my duty was to my country, 
his was to his mother. 

Unable to move him from his purpose, I said: "Very 
well, Robert, I will go with you to Baltimore and deliver 
you to your mother, then my responsibility will end." 

But on our way to Winchester, intending to make 
our way into Maryland, I heard of the declaring of 
martial law in Baltimore and the planting of artillery in 
the public squares of our city. This intelligence swept 
away all further hesitation as to the course I ought to 
pursue. I saw that, if I did go back I should to a cer- 
tainty be arrested as having been at Harper's Ferry 
in arms against the government. And I strongly 
hoped that my father could no longer stand with Mr. 
Lincoln's administration when he found that he 
" meant to establish a despotism and call it by the 
sacred name of Union." Many other Union men had 
been swung over to the Southern side by this, — 
surely my father would be also. I remembered, too, 
how he had taught me that, next to God, my allegiance 
was due to my country before all other obligations. 
The fact is that by this time the cause of the South 
had become identified with liberty itself, and, being 
of military age, I felt myself bound by every high and 
holy consideration to take up arms to deliver Mary- 
land from the invaders who were polluting her soil. 

At Bristoe Station, en route to Winchester, I had 
visited the troops at the front. There I saw several 
first cousins who were in the army, Wirt Harrison, 


and Major Carter Harrison, and Major Julien Harri- 
son. I heard that thirty-six of my Harrison cousins 
were in the service. I saw many friends and fellow 
students in the uniform. And I confess I felt humili- 
ated when I saw these men, already bronzed, by 
camp life, while ' my face was as white as a piece of 
writing paper, and I was wearing citizen's clothes. 

This experience intensified the conviction which 
had already taken possession of my mind, and I felt 
that now all hesitation was at an end. 

The following letter tells my mind at this period: 

Winchester, July 11, 1861. 
My dear Mother: 

I left the University last week expecting to be in Balti- 
more before now, but on my way I heard of the declaring 
of martial law and of the unlimbering of artillery in the 
public squares of our city. This was more than my endur- 
ance could stand and I determined to come up here and 
join Willie Murray's company and aid in driving those 
insolent oppressors out of our city. I feel this to be my 
duty and I earnestly hope it will not be displeasing to either 
you or papa. I cannot but hope and trust that papa has 
before this awakened to a sense of the despotism which 
Lincoln is building up for himself, and that he is as desirous 
as I am to drive every Northerner from the State of Mary- 
land. I would go home if I could and try and get -his and 
your consent to my present course, but they are so strict 
now that I fear they would arrest me for having been to 
Harper's Ferry, as there are so many informers nowadays. 
I am very sorry not to see you once more before joining, 
but it is impossible. I hope I may be among those who 
before long shall march into Baltimore and deliver her from 
her oppressors. Poor Baltimore! my heart bleeds for her. 
Bob McKim has come up here and joined a Virginia artillery 


company. Duncan is in the same company I am in. He 
is a splendid soldier and very enthusiastic. You need not 
be alarmed about me, my dear mother; there is some danger 
in case of battle, but very little; the Yankees cannot shoot. 
But, dear mamma, if anything should happen to me, 
remember that your son is not afraid to die for the liberties 
of his country, that he scorns being a Tory and that he can 
look up to Heaven and ask a blessing upon the cause he is en- 
gaged in, and commit his soul to God on the battle field, and 
then fear not the sting of death or the victory of the grave. 

When we entered the train which was to take us to 
Strasburg en route to Winchester, whence we meant 
to make our way into Maryland, I called Robert to 
me and told him I could no longer delay responding 
to the call of my country, and was resolved to join 
the army as soon as we reached Winchester, but he 
must continue on his way and do his duty by return- 
ing to his mother. I shall never forget the dear boy's 
joy when he heard of my resolve. He sprang to his 
feet, clapped his hands, and said, "I shall follow your 
example," nor could I dissuade him from his resolve. 

Arrived at Winchester, we made our way next morn- 
ing, eighteen miles, to Darksville on the Martinsburg 
pike, where the army of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston was 
encamped. I enlisted July 11th, ten days before the 
battle of Manassas. We found the troops forming 
in line of battle to meet the reported advance of Gen- 
eral Patterson, which was hourly expected. Natu- 
rally we sought the regiment of Maryland infantry, 
in whose ranks I soon found a place in the company 
of my dear friend Capt. Wm. H. Murray. But Bob 
McKim, unable to find a musket, went over to the 
Rockbridge (Va.) Artillery, and decided to enlist in 


its ranks, as he had several friends in the company. 
The brave boy met his death at the battle of Winches- 
ter, May 25th, 1862, only ten months later, gallantly 
serving his piece. 

General Patterson did not advance, however, so 
we had no battle that day, but I had two little fore- 
tastes of army life which I will mention. Our captain 
having given instructions to the men as they stood in 
line of battle that, when any member of the company 
should be wounded, but one man should leave the field 
to care or him, my cousin Duncan McKim, who was 
immediately in front of me, turned to me and said 
with a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his lips, "Ran- 
dolph, when you fall, I'll carry you off the field." I 
thanked him, with rather a sickly smile, and thought 
that soldiering was getting to be a serious business. 

After waiting several hours for General Patterson's - 
call, to no purpose, about four p.m. we stacked arms, 
broke ranks, and charged upon the camp-fires, eager 
for dinner, which had been interrupted by the call to 
arms. Having had nothing to eat since early morn- 
ing, and having ridden eighteen miles, and stood in 
the ranks several hours, my appetite was keen, and 
I gladly accepted Giraud Wright's invitation to "dine" 
with him. My host provided the "dinner" by dipping 
a tin cup into a black camp kettle and procuring one 
iron spoon. He then invited me to a seat on a rock 
beside him and we took turns at the soup with the 
spoon, each also having a piece of hard-tack for his 
separate use. Alas! my dinner, so eagerly expected, 
was soon ended, for one or two spoonfuls of the greasy 
stuff that came out of the camp kettle completely 
turned my stomach, and I told my friend and host I 


was not hungry and would not take any more. In- 
wardly, I said, "Well, I may get used to standing 
up and being shot at, but this kind of food will kill me 
in a week!" 

I had expected a baptism of fire, and looked forward 
to it with some nervousness, but instead I had had a 
baptism of soup which threatened an untimely end to 
my military career! 

The real experience of a soldier's life now began in 
earnest. Drill and discipline were applied to the new 
recruit, by dint of which the raw material of young man- 
hood was to be converted into a soldier. The man at 
the head of this military factory was Col. George H. 
Steuart, and he thoroughly understood his business. 
A "West Pointer," and an officer in the old army, he 
was imbued with a very strong sense of the value of 
strict discipline. The First Maryland Infantry was 
under his command and he very soon "licked it into 
shape," and it began to have a reputation for preci- 
sion of drill and excellence in marching. 

These qualities were to be subjected to a practical 
test very soon, for not many days after the experience 
narrated in the last chapter, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston 
quietly broke camp near Winchester and took up his 
march for Manassas, there to effect a junction with Gen- 
eral Beauregard and help him win the first great battle 
of the war. We marched late in the afternoon of July 
18th, and by midnight were ten or twelve miles on our 
way. As we approached the village of Millwood, Clarke 
County, I observed the home of my aunt, Mrs. Wm. 
Fitzhugh Randolph, brightly illuminated, and when I 
entered, the dear old lady met me with perplexity on 
her face and said, "Randolph, what am I to do? The 


soldiers have been coming in ever since five o'clock, 
and they have eaten up everything I have in the house, 
and still they keep coming." "No wonder," I replied, 
"your house is right at the cross-roads, and you have 
it brightly illuminated, as if you expected them. Put 
out the lights and shut the doors and you will soon be 
at peace." 

Well, the door that shut out the rest shut me in, 
and I had a few hours sleep on a bed, after a refreshing 
"bite" in the dining-room. By four o'clock I was on 
the road again with one or two of my company, 
approaching the river which the army was obliged to 
ford. As we trudged along, with knapsack and mus- 
ket, in a lonely part of the road, we were overtaken 
by a mounted officer, muffled up in a cloak, who gruffly 
demanded what we were doing ahead of our regiment, 
to which I hotly replied, " What business is that of yours? " 
One of my companions pulled me by the sleeve and 
said, "Man, that is General Elzey; you'd better shut 
up, or you'll be arrested and put in the guard-house, 
or shot for insubordination." I suppose I must have 
known he was an officer, and that my reply was a gross 
breach of discipline. But obedience and submission 
to military authority was a lesson I had not yet learned 
in my seven days of soldiering. The general, however, 
paid no attention to what I said, and my only punish- 
ment was the amusement of my fellow soldiers at my 
greenness. It was a lonely spot and it was still rather 
dark. Perhaps that accounts for the general's making 
as if he did not hear my insubordinate reply. 

After wading the Shenandoah we took our way up 
through Ashby gap and were soon descending the 
eastern slope of the Blue Ridge. Near the great tree 


whose branches stretch into four counties we went into 
camp, and our mess was presently delighted by the 
approach of a well-furnished wagon from the farm of 
Mr. Robert Boiling, in charge of the old gentleman 
himself. He was the father of John Boiling, one of 
the privates in Murray's company. Both John and 
his father were very popular men that day in Com- 
pany H, and long lingered the delicious memory of 
those Virginia hams and well-fed poultry and goodies 
too numerous to mention. 

It was here I received a letter from my mother which 
showed that she had no idea I had enlisted in the army, 
or would do so. I immediately sat down and wrote 
her the following letter, wholly devoted to explaining 
my course of action and deprecating her displeasure 
and my father's. It must have been indited just 
before taking the cars which were to convey us to 
the battle of Manassas, fought the next day. It 
contained no allusion to our forced march, or to the 
approaching battle. 

Piedmont Station, 

Saturday, July 20, 1861. 

My most precious Mother: 

Mr. Hall has just made his appearance and handed me 
your letter and dear Margie's. It grieved me to the quick 
to find that you are still in ignorance of my real position 
in Virginia now, and I confess I almost felt self-reproached 
when you said that you were perfectly satisfied with my 
promise not to join the Southern Army "without my father's 
consent." I recollect full well writing the letter, and that 
was the thing which has kept me back so long from follow- 
ing what I have felt my duty to my country. This made 


me change my mind about joining when I had almost made 
up my mind to it some time ago, and this made me resolve 
to use every effort to get home and try and get consent to 
do so. I would not now be in the army, and would be at 
home, I expect, if the condition of things in Baltimore had 
not rendered it pretty certain that I would be arrested 
because I went in arms to Harper's Ferry. 

I say then in justification of my course that I could not 
get home safely to get advice, and I felt very hopeful that 
papa, as most other Union men in Baltimore, had changed 
his sentiments when he found that the government means 
to establish a despotism and call it by the sacred name of 
Union. I do not now believe, after learning that I am dis- 
appointed to a great extent in this expected change so far, 
that papa will not finally cease to support what he has 
believed a free and righteous government, when he finds 
beyond contradiction that Lincoln has overthrown the 
government of our forefathers and abolished every principle 
of the Declaration of Independence. 

My dear, dear mother, I could hardly restrain tears in 
the midst of all the confusion and bustle of the camp this 
morning when I read your letter with those renewed expres- 
sions of your tender love for me. Oh, I hope you will not 
think me unworthy of such a love. If I have erred, do be 
lenient to me, you and papa both, and do not disown your 
son for doing what he felt to be a holy duty to his country. 
Papa, if you place yourself in my position, with the profound 
conviction I have of the holiness and righteousness of this 
Cause, ask yourself whether you would not have unhesi- 
tatingly done what I have done. You have yourself, in 
my hearing, placed the duty of country first in this world's 
duties and second only to the duty I owe my God. How 
then am I reprehensible for obeying what -my very heart of 
hearts told me was my country's call, when I had some hope 
that your will would not be at variance with it, and I was 
unable to find out whether it was or not? 


I have suffered much in mind and still do suffer. At all 
events I am not actuated by selfish or cowardly motives. 
How easy it would have been to sit down at quiet Belvidere, 
preserving an inactivity which all my friends would have 
regarded as honorable, than at the possible loss of your 
parental love and care, and at the sacrifice of my comforts 
and the risk of my life, to do what I have done — enlist 
as a common soldier (i.e., a volunteer private) in the cause 
of liberty and right ! Camp lif e is a hard life — I know 
by experience. Forced marches, scanty provisions some- 
times, menial offices to perform, perfect discipline to submit 
to, are not attractive features to anyone. Then military 
life has little charm for me. I have no taste for it, and no 
ambition for military glory. But I am ready and willing 
to suffer all these hardships, and, when necessary, to lay 
my life upon the altar of my country's freedom. 

I hope I do not seem to boast or to glorify myself in speak- 
ing thus, but if I know my own heart this is the truth, 
and God give me grace to be consistent with this profession. 
Do not, my precious mother, be too much alarmed and too 
anxious about me. I trust and hope that God will protect 
me from "the terror by night" and "the destruction 
that wasteth at noon-day." I feel as if my life was to 
be spared. I hope yet to preach the Gospel of the Lord 
Jesus Christ; but, my dear mother, we are in God's hands, 
and He doth not willingly afflict or grieve the children of 
men. " He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most 
High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." He 
does all things well, and He will give you grace to bear 
this trial too. Farewell, dear mother and father, Telfair, 
Mary, and Margie. I am, in this life and the next, 

Your fond and affectionate 



The following letter from my mother reflects the 
sentiment prevalent in Baltimore at that time: 

Baltimore, July 1, 1860. 
My beloved Child: 

The plot thickens around us here, the usurpation becoming 
more and more dictatorial. Thankful I feel that we are 
not personally endangered, but I do not feel the less indig- 
nant at the outrageous arrest of our citizens, or the less 
sympathy for my neighbors who are subjected to the tyranny 
of the arbitrary power in Washington. We are such a loyal 
people, that it takes only 30,000 men to keep us quiet; and 
our police and marshal of police arrested! There will be 
no stop to this until you send them flying from Virginia, 
then we may have a chance to show our loyalty. 



AS we disembarked from the cars on that Sunday- 
morning, July 21st, 1861, the distant booming 
of cannon fell upon our ears, and we realized that now 
we were indeed on the fiery edge of battle. We had 
orders to cast off our knapsacks that we might march 
unimpeded to the field. Leaving them in a pile by 
the roadside under a small guard, we were soon march- 
ing at the double quick for Manassas. Our pulses 
beat more quickly than our feet, as we passed on, the 
sounds of battle waxing nearer and nearer every mo- 
ment. It was a severe test of endurance, for the field 
was six miles away, and the heat of that July day was 
very exhausting. The weather had been very dry, 
and the dust rose in clouds around us, as we double- 
quicked on — so thick was it that I distinctly remember 
I could not see my file-leader. 

We were by and by near enough to hear the rattle 
of the musketry, and soon we began to meet the wounded 
coming off the field in streams, some limping along, 
some on stretchers borne by their comrades. Stern 
work was evidently right ahead of us, and it did not 
steady our nerves for our first battle to be told, as the 
wounded told us, especially those whose wounds were 
slight, that it was going very badly with our men at 
the front. At length the dreadful six-mile double- 



quick march was over, and the firing line was -right 
in front of us. Some few — very few — had dropped 
out exhausted. All of us were nearly spent with the 
heat and the dust and the killing pace; and a brief 
halt was made to get breath, moisten our lips from 
the canteens, and prepare for the charge. I remember 
how poor "Sell" Brogden, panting and exhausted, 
turned to me and asked for a drink of water from my 
canteen. I had scarcely a swallow left, but he was so 
much worse off than I, and his appeal was so piteous, 
that I gave him the last drop. 

We had arrived on the field in the nick of time, at the 
very crisis, when victory or defeat was trembling in the 
balance. The Federal general, McDowell, had turned 
General Beauregard's flank, and only Gen. Joe John- 
ston's timely arrival on that flank of the Confederate 
position had saved him from disaster. Jackson at the 
head of his Virginia troops was " standing like a Stone- 
wall" — those were the words of General Bee as he 
sought to rally his retreating South Carolinians. But 
the Confederate line was wavering, and the result of 
the day hung in grave doubt, when Elzey's brigade 
arrived on the field and deployed for attack. Of 
this brigade, the leading regiment (the one first on the 
field) was the First Maryland under Colonel Steuart, and 
it was the blow struck by this fine body of men, 600 
strong, that turned the balance of battle in favor of 
the Southern Army. Looking back now, I think the 
moral effect of the great cloud of dust which rose as 
we double-quicked to the field, and which was easily 
seen by the Federals, was worth quite as much as our 
600 muskets in action. For it gave the enemy the 
impression that it was at least a brigade instead of a 


regiment that was being launched against them at the 
moment of our charge. This was intensified by the 
shout, "Go in, Baltimore" which rose above the din of 
battle as we swept forward. It so happened that 
the same Massachusetts regiment which was so roughly 
handled by the people in the streets of Baltimore on 
the 19th of April was in our front on the 21st of July, 
and prisoners afterwards told us that when we charged 
the Massachusetts men said, "Here come those d — d 
Baltimore men! It's time for us to git up and git!" 
Then, after the day was won, and General Elzey, our 
brigade commander, was saluted as the Bliicher of 
the day, we men of the First Maryland were proud to 
say that our regiment was the head of the spear that 
Elzey drove into the vitals of the enemy that eventful 

I remember that after the first rush, when a brief 
pause came, some of us dashed down to a tiny little 
brook for a mouthful of water — only to find the water 
tinged with blood. Nevertheless not a few stooped 
and lapped it up where it was clearest. 

The first man I saw fall in the battle was Gen. 
Kirby Smith, who was riding by the side of our col- 
umn before we deployed for the charge. He fell in 
the most spectacular way — the reins falling from his 
grasp, he reeled in the saddle, threw out his arms and 
fell to the ground, seriously but not fatally wounded. 

The New York Zouaves, in their red breeches, were 
deployed as skirmishers in our front, and did us 
some damage before we formed our line. One of the 
amusing incidents that occurred (and the Confederate 
soldier was always eager to see some fun in the serious 
work of war) was when Geo. Lemmon in his excite- 


ment fired his musket too close to Nick Watkins' head 
and shot a hole in his cap — fortunately not in his 
head — and Nick turned and said in the coolest way, 
" George Lemmon, I wish you'd look where you're 
shooting — I'm not a Yankee." 

How well I remember our eager expectancy that 
night. We had seen the rout, and had followed the 
fleeing Federals some distance along the road back 
towards Washington. It was full of the evidences 
of the panic into which the Union Army had been 
thrown. I need not describe a scene so often described 
before. But with all the evidences of the demoraliza- 
tion of our enemy, we were confident they could be 
pursued and Washington taken, if the Confederate 
Army pressed on. This we confidently expected, and 
were bitterly disappointed when the next day, and the 
next, came and went without any serious advance. 

As I lay down to sleep on the battle field that night, 
I had much to think of. The weariness of the day and 
the peril of the battle were lost sight of in the awful 
scenes of death and suffering to which we had been 
introduced that day for the first time. I had seen the 
reality of the battle field, its carnage, its desolation, 
its awful pictures of the wounded, the dying, and the 

Somehow I was especially moved by the sight of 
the battery horses on the Henry Hill, so frightfully 
torn by shot and shell. The sufferings of the poor 
brutes, not in their own battle or by their Own fault, 
but for man's sake, appealed to me in a peculiar way. 

Mingled with my devout thankfulness for my own 
safety was my sorrow as news came in of friend after 
friend, and some relatives too, who had fallen. 


It was reported all over Virginia that I *had been 
among the killed. One of my cousins, Col. Randolph 
Harrison, when he saw me, exclaimed, " Why, I thought 
you were dead." These unfounded reports were often 
the occasion of much needless distress to the relatives 
of the men in the field. 

The following letter referred to the battle: 

Fairfax, Co. H, July 30, 1861. 
My dear Mothek: 

I have written twice since the battle to tell you I was 
safe; still I will embrace this opportunity, as I know you 
will be glad to hear from me whenever you can. We have 
been here some time, ever since the fight in fact. How grate- 
ful I feel that none of our close friends in the Maryland 
regiment were killed, or even wounded in the fight. Yet 
we have to mourn the loss of two very near to us in ties 
of blood, and others dear by friendship. Cousin Peyton 
Harrison — dear sweet fellow — I saw him only a week 
before his death, — and Cousin Carter Harrison who fell 
in the battle of Thursday while bravely bringing up his 
men to battle. 

My dear mother, I am so grateful to God for sparing 
me in safety through the dangers of the day for your sake 
and the sake of the dear girls and Telly and papa as well. 
I thought of you all on the field of battle, and prayed God 
to spare me, or, if not, to comfort you, for I know that it 
would be a severe blow to you to lose me in this way so soon. 
Still, confident in the justice of our cause, and looking to 
the great God of truth and justice to be our salvation, I 
was ready to yield up myself, if necessary, on the altar of 
my country. Our regiment behaved beautifully on the 
field; they would pick blackberries, though, notwithstanding 
the indignation of the officers. We were in that brigade 
which came up so opportunely just as the fortune of the 


day seemed to be going against us. We fired several times 
on the Yankees and drove them before us, though our 
numbers were far inferior to theirs. It was truly the 
hand of Providence which gave us the victory on that day, 
and our Congress very appropriately gave thanks to Him 
and appointed last Sunday as a day of thanksgiving. The 
panic which spread among the Northern Army was almost 
unaccountable; they were beaten back with half their num- 
bers, but there was no need of such a flight as they made to 
Alexandria, leaving behind them all their baggage trains, 
ammunition, etc. We only had fifteen to twenty thousand 
men engaged, because we had so many points to defend, and 
did not know where they were going to attack us. In the 
same way, I suppose, they had only about 35,000. The 
people in this neighborhood said that when they saw the 
army pass here they thought we would never return again, 
but that the Southern army would be certainly crushed. How 
different the result ! When they passed here on the way up, 
they destroyed all the private property, broke into the houses 
and pillaged everything; but when they returned they 
hadn't time for anything of that sort. They were perfectly 
demoralized; thousands had no arms at all. I have a 
splendid overcoat gotten from a number they left behind. 
Cousin Wirt Harrison was wounded in the foot. Holmes 
and Tucker Conrad were killed side by side. 



AFTER the battle of Manassas, we settled down to 
camp life, varied by occasional picket duty at 
one of the advanced outposts, such as Mason's and 
Munsen's Hill, whence the Maryland hills could be 
seen and which for that reason was a favorite post 
with our boys. Our colonel, George H. Steuart, had 
no superior as a camp officer in the Army of Northern 
Virginia. He kept his camp in good order by careful 
policing. He paid particular attention to the quarter- 
master and commissary departments, and looked well 
after the interests of his men, holding every officer, 
including the surgeon, to the strict performance of his 
duty. But he drilled us hard — generally six hours 
a day; company drill two hours before breakfast, 
regimental drill two hours after breakfast; and, when 
he rose to be brigadier brigade drill two hours in the 
afternoon. Moreover, he was a strict disciplinarian, 
and it was not easy for any breach of his orders to 
escape his lynx-eyed observation. He had some tough 
elements to deal with in some of his companies, and 
when these became unruly, the colonel was severe 
in his punishments. It was not uncommon in his 
camp to see two or three men tied up by the thumbs 
to a cross-pole — and in those July and August days 
this punishment was peculiarly painful. One some- 



times heard men muttering curses and threatening to 
"shoot old Steuart" in the first battle they got into. 
But after Manassas, when the good result of his strict 
drill and discipline was seen, he became popular with 
the men. The regiment soon had the reputation of 
being the best drilled and the best marching regiment 
in Gen. Joe Johnston's army; and the men, proud of 
this, well knew that they owed it to Colonel Steuart. 

We had a large drum corps, and its quick-step march 
was unique in that army of 30,000 men around Manas- 
sas that s umm er. It was a fine sight to see the First 
Maryland marching with that quick Zouave step by 
which they were distinguished. It was a sturdy body 
of men, not so tall as the Virginia regiments usually 
were, but well set up, active and alert, and capable 
of much endurance. Best of all, they stood to their 
work and showed the same fine soldierly qualities 
that characterized the Maryland line in the first Revo- 
lutionary War. 

Colonel Steuart was in the habit of testing his men 
when on guard in some lonely spot by suddenly rushing 
upon them on foot or on horseback, taking them by 
surprise if possible. One night a sentinel had been 
posted near the colonel's tent, and part of his duty 
was to protect a lot of tent-flies piled up close by. In 
the small hours of the night, Colonel Steuart crept out 
of the rear of his tent, and stealthily approaching, 
while the sentinel was leaning on his musket, gazing 
at the stars and probably thinking of his sweetheart 
or his mother, took up one of the tent-flies, shouldered 
it, and was walking off with it when the sentinel, turn- 
ing, rushed upon him, and pretending not to recognize 
him, seized him by the shoulders and gave him such 


a shaking that the colonel could hardly get breath to 
cry, "I'm your colonel — I'm your colonel!" Then 
when the sentry let go his hold and apologized, the 
colonel slapped him on the back and said, "Good sol- 
dier! Good soldier! I'll remember this." 

The regiment was divided into messes containing 
each about fifteen men, and two of these were detailed 
for the duty of cooking and chopping wood and bring- 
ing water. In many of the Southern regiments there 
were negro cooks, but we, of Maryland, had to do our 
own cooking, and first we had to learn how — a slow 
and painful process. Bacon and flour and salt con- 
stituted our bill of fare, with some kind of substitute 
for coffee, which was a mighty poor make-believe. 
At first we could only make " slap-jacks," — composed 
of flour and water mixed, and floated in bacon-grease. 
When sufficiently fried on one side, it was then "up" 
to the cook to toss the frying-pan up and cause the 
half-cooked cake to turn a somersault in the air and 
come down "slap-jack" on the pan again — if it did 
not happen to come down in the fire instead. But by 
degrees we learned to make biscuits baked in the small 
oven, and to boil our beef (when we had any), and make 
soup at the same time. Horse beef was issued some- 
times, and we found it a difficult dental proposition. 
On a famous occasion when we had invited Captain 
Murray to dine with us, I suggested to my co-cook, 
Sergeant Lyon, that we should create an apple pie. 
He was doubtful if the thing could be done. The apples 
we had in hand as the result of a forage, but how on 
earth were we to make the pastry? I told him I remem- 
bered (when a smaller boy) seeing our cook Josephine 
make pastry, rolling out the dough thin and sticking 


little dabs of butter all over it — then folding it and 
rolling it again. So we made some dough as if for 
biscuit, then rolled it with a bottle on the top of a 
barrel, and planted it thick with small pats, of butter 
— doubled it over and rolled it — and repeated the 
process until the butter was exhausted. The pie that 
resulted from all this culinary strategy we considered 
fit to set before a general, to say nothing of a mere 
captain. In this connection I recall once on a march 
making a loaf of bread about three feet long and one- 
eighth of an inch thick by wrapping the dough round my 
ramrod and setting it up before the fire to bake. With 
the modern breech-loader this could not have been done. 

About once a week it was my duty to cook for the 
mess of fifteen men, or else to chop the necessary wood 
and fetch the water. One of our number, Harry Oliver, 
a gentleman of wealth and position before he became 
a soldier, was an enthusiast, almost a monomaniac, 
about washing, spending much of his leisure time 
washing himself or his clothes, and I recall more than 
one occasion when it was his turn to cook break- 
fast, that when we returned from our first two hours 
drill, eager for breakfast, Harry was nowhere to be 
seen, nor was there any breakfast prepared — he was 
"off at the branch washing." So our mess No. 5, not 
without maledictions on Harry, were compelled to go 
out breakfastless to the second drill of two hours more. 
Well, I daresay it was a good preparation for the bad 
time coming when we had to march and fight so often 
on an empty stomach. 

On picket duty sometimes we lived for three days 
on corn plucked in the fields and roasted in the shuck, 
a process highly conducive to diarrhoea. 


On one of these occasions, after a long march, our 
captain at nightfall called for volunteers to perform 
a special duty, without specifying what the duty was. 
Some of us, fancying, as we were on an advanced picket 
and very near the enemy, that it was some exciting 
and adventurous task, stepped out of the ranks and 
offered ourselves as volunteers. What was our dis- 
gust when we discovered it was special guard duty! 
When my turn came it was very dark and raining 
heavily, and I was in a very bad humor with myself 
and everybody else for having thus put my head into 
the noose. Arrived at my post, the sentinel whom I 
relieved gave me the instructions he had received and 
whispered the countersign, which I could not under- 
stand, though I asked him twice to repeat it. Quite 
out of patience I turned to the corporal of the guard 
and said, " Corporal, I wish you'd tell me the counter- 
sign, I can't understand this man." He approached 
and whispered something like "Wanis." "Spell it," 
I said. In reply he whispered with staccato emphasis 
on each letter, "We-e-noos." Then at last I under- 
stood that the countersign was " Venus" \ It was too 
funny! Here was an illiterate Irish sentinel pronoun- 
cing "Venus" in the most approved, modern European 
style! It almost put me in a good humor. 

I would here point out that our Maryland men faced 
from the start some of the hardships and limitations 
that came to many Southern regiments at a later stage 
of the war. In some commands the private soldiers 
had their trunks with them. It is related of a young 
Richmond gentleman, private in the Howitzers, that 
he had as part of his outfit a dozen face towels besides 
bath towels, and that when orders were issued that all 


trunks should be sent back to Richmond, the elegant 
young dandy took offence and sent in to the captain 
his "resignation"! 

Needless to say, our Maryland boys had neither 
trunks, nor cooks, nor woodchoppers. 

The following letter refers to this period: 

Faibfax, Co. H, August 3, 1861. 
To mt Mother: 

Though I have written I think three times since the battle 

to assure you of my safety, yet the news which Mr. 

brings, that I am reported among the killed in Baltimore, 
makes me anxious to embrace this new and certain oppor- 
tunity of setting your mind at rest on this score, especially 
as the report is current at the University and in Richmond, 
and you may suppose it occurred in some way since the 
fight, on picket duty for instance. You have no idea how 
I long to see you and dear old Belvidere again. I lay in 
my tent the other morning while the rain poured in torrents 
outside, and pictured to myself the dear old place with the 
damasks on the porch, so fragrant, and then I entered the 
door in imagination and saw you all seated at a comfortable 
breakfast-table while I was almost drenched and obliged 
to fly to my crowded tent before completing my breakfast 
by half. 

You should see me engaged in cooking, making fires, 
washing, etc. It is truly hard work and young men like 
Duncan, Wilson Carr and myself find that it is a difficult 
thing to make bread and coffee good enough to support fife. 
Our mess consists of ten, some of whom I will mention; 
Duncan, Wilson Carr, Willie Colston, Giraud Wright, Charlie 
Grogan, Mc Henry Howard. We have no yeast, and so 
our bread must needs be heavy and indigestible as we have 
no means of rolling it out into biscuits. We make rice 
cakes though, and frequently get corn meal and make first- 


rate corn bread. We are able occasionally to get our bread 
cooked by the country people and we buy sometimes eggs, 
with a stray chicken or two. You have no idea how one 
gets accustomed to any sort of fare. I can now eat salt 
junk of the very fattest with great gusto, and drink coffee 
without milk, made in the company pot, and feel refreshed. 
The first hard washing of my clothes which I did, burned 
off the skin from my arms dreadfully. Sometimes we have 
been out all day and part of the night in a drenching rain. 
In that forced march from Winchester to Manassas we 
knew no distinction between night and day, but marched 
during both without rest almost, and almost entirely without 
food. Our regiment marches very fast and finds it very 
tiresome marching behind some Virginia and Tennessee 
regiments. We passed through Millwood, and Aunt Jane 
had her house lit up and was giving supper to all the soldiers 
who came in on their way. From five to six o'clock in 
the afternoon till three in the morning she was cooking for 
them, till she was eaten out of house and home nearly. 
We forded the Shenandoah up to our breasts and then 
marched on to Piedmont where we were delayed some 
time. We reached the Manassas Junction at 10.30 o'clock 
Sunday morning. As I told you, during the whole march 
we had not a single regular meal. Immediately after the 
victory we were marched back to Manassas (some six miles) 
and stayed there all Monday in a drenching rain, without 
tents, blankets or overcoats. Our company was out on 
picket duty night before last and we could hear the drums 
beating in the enemy's camp nearly all night long. We 
were within seven miles of Alexandria. 

You would like to know how I spend a day here. The 
bugle sounds at half past four and then we go out to drill 
till six. Then we get breakfast, wash and get ready for 
drill again at nine o'clock. Then we drill an hour and a half 
or two hours. Then sleep, or write a letter, or clean up 
camp, or wash clothes, or put the tents in order. Then get 


dinner ready — drill again in the evening (the whole regi- 
ment together, battalion drill) at five o'clock. Dress 
parade at 6.30 p.m. Then supper. Soon after, at nine 
o'clock, the tattoo sounds and roll is called; then at 9.30 
come three taps on the drum and all lights must instantly 
be extinguished. I have been very sick all day for the first 
time, but am nearly well now. Good-by, my dear mother, 
— God bless and keep you all. I am sad often thinking 
of my dear home and longing to hear from you. Wish 
I could see you again just for one little day or week. 
Never cease to pray for your fond son. 

Sometime in October I was detailed for duty dur- 
ing two days at General Johnston's headquarters at 
Centreville under Major John Haskell, a gallant mem- 
ber of a gallant South Carolina family of brothers, 
who did royal service in the Confederate Army. Wm. 
Haskell was one of my most valued friends at the Uni- 
versity. I looked up to him with reverence. He 
fell at the battle of Gettysburg — a costly sacrifice 
to the Southern cause. Major John still lives, wearing 
an empty sleeve, witness of one of his many brave 

During those ten days I had frequent opportunity 
of seeing that superb soldier and strategist, Gen. Joseph 
E. Johnston, whose removal in 1864 from the command 
of the southwestern army sealed, or at any rate has- 
tened, the doom of the Confederacy. 

The following letter refers to this period: 

Centreville, October 20, 1861. 

I sat up late reading, and after putting out the candle, 

stretched myself out on my pallet of straw, and commenced 

thinking. It was about midnight and not a sound could 

be heard but the dull pattering of the rain on the tent. 


Everything that can distract the mind was hushed, and 
I seemed to hear only the voice of the Almighty in each 
drop of rain. I felt then that I was a spirit, an immortal 
spirit — consciousness of my bodily, mortal nature almost 
left me. The God that sends each drop of that rain on its 
separate mission, — can He not take care of all dear to 
me? Can He not restore us peace, and return me to my 
home? . . . And will not all he does be right and good and 
for the best?" 



T HE autumn of 1861 was spent in camp at Centre- 
ville. Out tents were pitched on the summit 
of a bare hill, from which the encampment of the entire 
army of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston — about 30,000 
men — was visible. At night, when the camp-fires 
glowed all round us for miles, it was a very beautiful 
sight. My cousin, W. Duncan McKim, and I used to 
he there and fancy we were looking down on the city 
of Baltimore from Belvidere hill. He would say, 
" Randolph, there are the lights of Barnum's Hotel, 
and there is the Shot Tower, and there is the jail, and 
far away there are the lights on Federal Hill." Our 
thoughts turned, in every quiet hour, to home and kin- 
dred and friends. Duncan had a great aversion to 
serving as cook for our mess of fifteen men, and when 
his turn came round for this duty, he would do his 
best to exchange with some comrade for guard duty. 

As winter approached, we suffered with the cold 
on that bleak hill-top, and some of the men excavated 
the entire space under their tents to the depth of 
three or four feet, and so slept snug and warm, while 
the less energetic of the company were exposed to the 
keen, cold winds. This, however, had occasionally 
its disadvantages. I remember, for instance, one night 
as I was going out to take my guard duty, looking 



enviously into one of these tents and seeing the men 
grouped cosily together in their "dug-out," some read- 
ing, some playing cards, all quite secure from the sweep 
of the wintry winds; and I wished I could return after 
my four hours "on guard" to such a snug refuge. But 
before my watch was over there arose a tempest of wind 
and rain, and when I passed that tent again, it had 
collapsed, and there were six inches of water in the cosey 
place," and blankets and knapsacks, etc., were all 

John Boiling, his cousin Robert, and I had a small 
"A" tent together in that camp. It was just wide 
enough to hold the three of us when we lay "spoon 
fashion," and by "pooling" our assets of blankets, we 
managed to sleep warm — at least the fortunate man in 
the middle was quite comfortable. But after lying an 
hour or so on the rough stony ground, our bones would 
begin to ache, and the man who waked up first, aching, 
would punch the others so that all might turn over 
together and preserve the "spoon" alignment, for only 
in that formation would the blankets cover all three. 
So, often during the night, the order would be given to 
our little squad by whichever man wanted to turn over, 
"Company A, right face," or "Company A, left face." 

Later, I think early in December, we moved from 
Centreville to the vicinity of Fairfax Station, and there 
built ourselves huts for winter quarters. The spot 
selected was a forest of pines, in the midst of which 
we hewed out an open space large enough to accommo- 
date huts for the entire regiment. This was unaccus- 
tomed work for many of us. Indeed, very few men in 
Murray's company could wield an axe, but, under the 
pressure of stern necessity, we learned the art just as 

WINTER QUARTERS, 1861-62 51 

we had learned the art of cooking. We hacked down 
the trees "somehow," and at last — long after our, 
comrades in most of the other companies — we got 
our huts built, and set to work to make ourselves 

The composition of our mess was notable. It was 
certainly a rare group of men to be serving as private 
soldiers, on the m unifi cent pay of eleven dollars per 
month, Confederate money. There was Harry Oliver, 
a country gentleman of large means, and Wilson Carr, 
a lawyer who left a good practice in Baltimore to shoul- 
der a musket for the Confederacy, and Hedmond, a 
highly educated Irish gentleman, and Wm. Duncan 
McKim, a graduate of Harvard, the president of the 
"Hasty Pudding Club" there and an intimate of 
Rufus Choate. Then there was McHenry Howard, a 
second-honor man of Princeton, and John Boiling, who 
had taken M.A. at the University of Virginia, an honor 
so difficult of achievement; and, most accomplished 
of all, Geo. Williamson, master of several modern lan- 
guages, educated in a European university, widely 
read and widely travelled. He was a man of great 
personal charm and of the most exalted ideals. So 
nice was his sense of duty and honor that we dubbed 
him "Mr. Conscientious Scruples." We had also a 
candidate for Holy Orders in the Episcopal Church, 
and I, too, had devoted myself at the age of sixteen 
to the ministry of the Gospel. I may say that, in 
such a circle of accomplished men, the conversation 
in our log hut, as we lay in our bunks waiting for taps 
to sound, was of a very high order. In a fragment 
of a diary kept at this time (Jan. 24th, 1862), I find 
the following entry: 


"I have felt my ignorance lately in listening to men in 
the mess of greater age and far greater reading and infor- 
mation than myself. In listening to George Williamson, 
describing the cities, and the manners of foreign countries, 
and the monuments of art and antiquity in Europe, I 
have felt a longing to travel, and to learn more of men and 
things; and I have sighed in contemplating my ignorance 
of the world of Nature, of literature and of art, and yearned 
to drink deep of knowledge." 

I sent to the University of Virginia for some of my 
books, among them some nice editions of the classics 
that belonged long ago to my father, — only to lose 
them all when we suddenly broke camp in the spring 
and left all such impedimenta behind. 

The following letter gives a picture of our life in 
winter quarters at Fairfax Station: 

Winter Quarters, January 27, 1862. 
To my Mother: 

Wouldn't you like to peep in on us some evening as we 
sit around our stove amusing ourselves until it is time to 
retire? We are a happy but a boisterous family, as the 
neighbors next door will tell you. Our amusements are 
various — reading, singing, quarreling, and writing. We 
employ the twilight in conversation, the subject of which 
is the "latest grape-vine" (i.e., rumor), or a joke on the 
Colonel, or when we are alone, our domestic concerns. We 
amuse ourselves with the many-tongued rumors which 
float about on the popular breeze, that England or France 
has recognized the Confederacy, or that the Confederates 
have gained a new victory, etc., etc. Then there are frequent 
domestic quarrels, free fights, passes with the bayonet, 
and hand to hand encounters, to vary the monotony of our 
peaceful fife here. As soon as night sets in the candles 

WINTER QUARTERS, 1861-62 53 

are lit and we draw round the stove and take down. our 
books, or else someone reads aloud till the newspaper arrives, 
when other occupations are suspended, and we listen to 
the news of the day. Then someone proposes a song and 
"Maryland, my Maryland" is generally the first. We 
hear that it is universally popular in Baltimore. We sang 
it by request for General Beauregard some time since. 
I will send you an account of it taken from the Richmond 
Dispatch. I was one of the singers. The "enthusiastic 
young lieutenant" was my captain. Sometimes we get 
George Williamson to tell of his travels in Europe. He is 
so entertaining, so happy in conversation, and so thoroughly 
cultivated, that it is delightful to listen to him. He is 
one of the finest men I know. Do the girls know him well? 
We laugh at him about his restless energy. If he cannot be 
at anything else, he will drive some nails to hang his coat 
on, or make a shelf to put his books on, or something of 
the sort. We visited Carvel Hall the other night (C, 
George, Mac, Jim G. and myself) and had a very pleasant 
time. Some of the party played whist, and the rest (Carvel, 

George and I) talked cozily around the fire. Colonel , 

a Virginian, came in and sat down with us, and talked to 
us in as friendly a way as if we had been his equals in rank. 
Later in the evening we had oysters, raw and stewed, and 
at intervals of about half an hour, those who drank indulged 
in whiskey-toddy. When we returned to our hut (""Mrs." 
Boiling and "Mrs." Redmond had promised to sit up for us) 
we found the mess chest and a barrel and boxes piled up 
before the door: this was followed by a fall, and then we 
routed the rest out of bed and the fight that ensued made 
such a noise that the colonel sent some men to arrest us. 
They did not do it though. We have a cook now and live 
very comfortably. It is a great satisfaction to feel that all 
this is the work of our own hands. We appoint an "officer 
of the day " whose duty it is to make the fire and spread 
the ashes on the floor and sweep up. We have a kitchen, 


outside the shanty. This morning we had inspection, and 
afterwards each shanty was inspected by the colonel and 
staff. "Ah!" said he, "this looks like a soldier's house." 
Our roof is of shingles, out of trees felled by our own hands. 
Our beds are made of light poles laid close together; they 
have a pleasant spring to them and I think as agreeable a 
bed as I ever slept in. Yesterday I put up a rack for the 
guns, and everything is now in first-rate order. Who knows 
how long we will be here to enjoy the fruit of our labors? 
Our disaster in Kentucky is much to be deplored. Yet 
our men fought well till they were overpowered. 

I have been promoted to the rank of corporal of the 
Color Guard, (about two months ago.) Intend trying to 
improve the months of inactivity by reading and studying 
German. I received from you the other day some gloves 
and sugar plums. The last article was particularly accept- 
able. Don't try to send me anything, for it is so uncertain, 
and I have everything I want. Love to all. 

Among the other literature that occupied me during 
these few brief weeks in winter quarters, I find note 
of the following: some of the works of Spenser, the 
poet, and bis Life; Macaulay's Essay on Madame 
D'Arblay, and the latter's famous novel, "Evelina"; 
also Carlyle's "Heroes and Hero-worship." And 
among the subjects discussed in our mess, I find the 
following: Vattel and Phil more on International Law; 
Humboldt's works and travels; the African explora- 
tions of Harth, the great German traveller, from the 
Atlantic almost to the Red Sea, in a line a few degrees 
above the equator; the influence of climate on the 
human features; the culture of cotton; the laws relat- 
ing to property, etc. In further illustration of the high 
character of the rank and file of the Confederate Army, 

WINTER QUARTERS, 1861-62 55 

I may mention that in the Rockbridge Artillery (Va.) 
(one company) there were, in 1861, seven* Masters of 
Arts of the University of Virginia (a degree very diffi- 
cult of attainment there), twenty-eight college grad- 
uates, and twenty-five theological students, — all these 
serving as private soldiers. 

I may also mention that the present eminent profes- 
sor of oriental languages in Harvard University, Dr. 
Crawford H. Toy, was a private in a Virginia regiment. 
He was found by a friend in an interval of the battle 
of Cold Harbor in June, 1864, lying on his oil-cloth, 
immersed in the study of Arabic. Major Robert Stiles, 
in his fascinating book, "Four Years under Marse 
Robert," writes: 

" I had lived for years at the North, had graduated recently 
from Yale, and had but just entered upon the study of law 
in the City of New York when the war began. Thus torn 
away by the inexorable demands of conscience and of loyalty 
to the South, from a focal point of intense intellectual life 
and purpose, one of my keenest regrets was that I was 
bidding a long good-by to congenial surroundings and com- 
panionships. To my surprise and delight, around the 
camp-fires of the First Company, Richmond Howitzers, 
I found throbbing an intellectual life as high and brilliant 
and intense as any I had ever known." 

He adds that no law school in the land ever had 
more brilliant or powerful moot court discussions than 
graced the mock trials of the Howitzer Law Club. 

"I have known," he says, "the burial of a tame crow . . . 
to be dignified not only by salvos of artillery, but also by 
an English speech, a Latin oration, and a Greek ode, which 
would have done honor to any literary or memorial occasion 
at old Yale." 


Nor was this high type of men confined to the troops 
of Maryland and Virginia. By no means. In the 
Louisiana regiments, for instance, in Dick Taylor's 
brigade, besides his " gentle Tigers," who were indeed 
chiefly of a decidedly tough element, the Seventh 
and Ninth Louisiana were largely made up of planters 
and the sons of planters, and the majority were said 
to be men of fortune. And so it was in many regi- 
ments from the other Southern States. 

The following from my diary shows the feeling of 
a youth of nineteen about the deteriorating influence 
of army life. 

"Friday, Jan. 24th, 1862. Nearly seven months have 
flown by in my soldier's life, and they have been months 
of external activity, but activity of the body only. It has 
been a period of mental slumber — nay, sloth — for the 
mind has not even dreamed, it has stagnated, — the outward 
life, the daily duties of a soldier, have been all-absorbing, 
and reflection — the turning of the mind back upon itself — 
has been almost entirely obscured. This has been the ten- 
dency, but need not have been the result, except to a degree, 
of circumstances. The gaze of men has been upon me 
by day, and by night wearied nature has claimed repose. 

" I wish to begin anew a reflective life, now that a breath- 
ing spell is afforded after the labors of the campaign. In 
this humble hut, when my companions are wrapt in slumber, 
I will say to my mind 'Be free!' I desire also to improve 
the time, and to discipline and drill my mind. To this 
end, daily reading, a greedy ear, and a summing up at 
the end of each day of what I have learned by reading, 
by listening, and by observation, will be conducive." 

What a boy of nineteen thought of "Evelina" is 
thus set down under date of Feb. 1, 1862: 

WINTER QUARTERS, 1861-62 57 

"I read the story before knowing anything of the estab- 
lished reputation and great merit of Miss Burney. The 
admiration then which the purity and simplicity of her 
style, and the vivacity of her wit awakened in me, was totally 
unprejudiced. I received her book as she threw it on 
the world, with no reco mm endation save its own intrinsic 
merits. The simple truth of her delineation of character, 
and the exalted morality which pervades the whole book, 
struck me with great force, even while ignorant of the literary 
period in which she wrote, when novels were generally 
vicious, and always indelicate. The character of Evelina 
approaches as near as may be my ideal of female delicacy 
and refinement. Yet she seems to me to have lacked 
firmness and decision on several occasions, and to have 
shown too facile and yielding a disposition. Macaulay's 
critique is extremely interesting. He places the author 
in the rank of eminent English novelists, yet denies her 
the first rank." 

One day word came to our quarters that two ladies 
desired to see my cousin, W. Duncan McKim, and my- 
self at Fairfax Station. This was exciting news, but 
I found Duncan very reluctant to obey the summons. 
In civilized life he had been rather exquisite in dress 
and manners, and he shrank from appearing in the 
presence of ladies, surrounded as they would be by 
well-dressed and well-mounted staff officers, in his 
rough private's garb. He seemed particularly sensi- 
tive about wearing a roundabout jacket instead of a 
coat before them. However, he yielded to my persua- 
sions, and we prepared to go to the station, brush- 
ing and polishing up to the best of our ability. I think 
we succeeded in finding or borrowing, each, a white 
collar for the occasion! 

The ladies who had summoned us were Miss Hetty 


Cary, of Baltimore, and Miss Connie Cary, of Virginia. 
They had ridden to Fairfax Station on the cow-catcher 
of an engine to visit the army, and when we approached 
they were on horseback in the midst of a bevy of 
mounted officers, for they were both famous beauties, 
and, besides, enthusiastic friends of the cause. When 
the young lieutenant who had ridden to our camp to 
deliver the message saw us coming he pointed us out 
to the ladies, saying, "There come your friends." 
We heard afterwards (fortunately not then) that they 
told him he must be mistaken — those men could not 
be the gentlemen they were expecting. Doubtless we 
were much changed and looked very rough. It was 
embarrassing for us; but when we were near enough 
to be recognized, they were most gracious and soon 
put us at our ease. 

Life in winter quarters was varied by a very occa- 
sional excursion. Thus, under date of February 6, I 
find the following entry: 

"On Tuesday I rode to Centreville and passed a delightful 
day, principally in the genial company of my dear friend 
Galliard. He is a man of sweetness of disposition and such 
warmth of feeling as is rarely met with; and he is withal 
so intelligent in his conversation, and so spirited and reso- 
lute in his actions that no one that knows him could 
withhold their admiration. I borrowed of him Carlyle's 
" Heroes and Hero-worship." On my return I found a letter 
from Tom Mackall. He is in his cousin Colonel Mackall's 
office, and he is Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston's adjutant- 
general at Bowling Green, Ky. His letter is full of interest, 
and I have learned more from it of the Bowling Green army 
and the situation of affairs in that quarter than by all that 
has been in the papers since the place was occupied. The 
army (he thinks) is a very fine one, equal in many respects 

WINTER QUARTERS, 1861-62 59 

to our army here, — deficient in the manual of arms and 
in 'the cadenced step/ but familiar with the evolutions 
not only of the battalion and the brigade, but also of the 
division. He is much struck with the remarkable superi- 
ority of the horses and mules to those in this army. The 
army too is much better provisioned. He tells me he 
is confident if I get a certificate from Colonel Steuart 
and go out there, his cousin, Colonel Mackall, will appoint 
me drill master with rank and pay of first or second lieu- 

How th ankf ul I feel that I did not take this bait 
and leave the army of Lee and Jackson, but contented 
myself with my place as a private soldier in the Army 
of Northern Virginia, and so had part in the great cam- 
paigns of 1862, 1863, and 1864. 

I have mentioned above the name of Gen. Albert 
Sidney Johnston, the co mm ander of the western 
Confederate Army. He fell, as will be remembered, 
at the battle of Shiloh, April 6th, 1862, in the moment 
of a great victory achieved by his masterly strategy 
and his indomitable resolution. Nothing is clearer 
than that, had he lived to follow up his success and carry 
out his plans, General Grant's army would have been 
destroyed before General Buell with his fresh troops, 
25,000 strong, could have reached him. I embrace 
this opportunity of paying the tribute of my reverent 
admiration to this great soldier and knightly Chris- 
tian gentleman, and I would recall to the reader the 
fact that he lost his life as a result of his chivalrous 
act in imperatively requiring his surgeon, who should 
have been by his side, to go to the help of the Federal 
wounded on the field of battle from which their army 
had been driven. "These men," he said, "have been 


our enemies; they are now our prisoners. Do all you 
can to relieve their sufferings." 

Had the surgeon been with General Johnston when 
he received his wound, he could easily have saved 
his life. He bled to death from a wound in the lower 
part of the leg. This unselfish act of his at Shiloh sur- 
passes the deed of Sir Philip Sidney at Zutphen, which 
has made him an immortal example of generous 

This brief sketch of life in winter quarters would be 
incomplete without some reference to the religious 
services which some of us conducted in our company. 
Our chaplain was a man without much force, and with 
still less zeal for his sacred functions, so that we felt 
the need of supplementing his efforts. Under date 
of Jan. 30th, 1862, I find the following: 

"For the third or fourth time in these singular months 
since July last, I endeavored to give an impetus to my 
cherished idea of social prayer-meetings, and this time (the 
beginning of Dec, 1861) with marked success. They were 
held nightly, instead of weekly, or occasionally, as before. 
At first we met in private tents, but finally we procured a 
tent for the purpose, and fitted it up with rude benches 
so as to accommodate twenty-five or thirty men. Gradually 
our numbers had increased, and this would hardly give 
seats to as many as would come. Among the attendants 
were some from the other companies of the regiment. 
Captain Murray was a regular and devout attendant. I 
began to feel grateful for the success of the effort in its 
outward manifestations, and hopeful of its inward benefit 
to the soldiers of the regiment. Giraud Wright, George 
Williamson, Valiant, and myself regularly conducted the 
meetings. Giraud and I used extempore prayer; the others 

WINTER QUARTERS, 1861-62 61 

the forms of the Prayer-book. This continued til^ we broke 
up our camp at Centreville and removed to our present 
position. In the hurry of departure, I forgot the tent and 
it was left behind. This loss, together with the all-absorbing 
employment of building our winter quarters has broken 
up this hopeful work. I cannot acquit myself of much 
blame on this account. Thus, after five or six weeks this 
effort, like its predecessors, was discontinued." 

But another effort was made, for on Tuesday, Feb. 
4th, I wrote in my diary: 

"On Saturday evening I again commenced the prayer- 
meetings. Only a few came, but I felt sure the numbers 
would increase. The next day I was sent over to Major 
Snowden's headquarters as corporal of the guard and was 
obliged to stay all night. I read the xxvuth chapter of 
St. Matthew aloud to the men on guard." 

Later in the war a wave of religious interest and 
revival swept over the entire Army of Northern Vir- 
ginia, — but it has often been described and I need 
not dwell upon it here. 



AS the spring of 1862 approached, the Confederate 
authorities were confronted by the prospect 
of seeing their armies melt away in face of the enemy, 
by reason of the fact that most of the regiments had 
been enlisted for but one year. So, to encourage 
reenlistment, a furlough of thirty days and a bounty 
of fifty dollars were offered to all volunteers who should 
reenlist "for two years" [so my diary reads, but my 
memory says "for the war" — and this I think is cor- 
rect], " provided not more than one-fifth of a regiment 
shall be absent at one time." Hearing this news, I 
told Watkins and Inloes of it, "and proposed to them 
to embrace the offer." "Next day we went round 
and talked to those of the regiment who were in camp 
(the bulk of it being on picket), and finally seven agreed 
to reenlist." "In a few days we will get our furlough 
and the bounty of fifty dollars and leave this delectable 

Words cannot express the delight a soldier felt at 
the prospect of a return to "civilization" for the space 
of thirty days. To have the opportunity of a daily 
bath, or at least a daily "wash up"; to change one's 
clothes; to sleep in a bed; to hear no "reveille" at 
four in the morning; not to be disturbed in the evening 
by the inevitable "taps"; to sit down at a table covered 



with a white cloth; not to be met at every meal by the 
unvarying "menu" of "slap-jacks and bacon," or 
"bacon and soda biscuit," — yes, to feast on the "fat 
of the land" before the land had grown lean and hun- 
gry, as it did in another twelvemonth ; to bask in the 
smiles of the noble women of the Confederacy; to enjoy 
once more their delightful society; to be welcomed 
and feted like a hero wherever you went by the men 
as well as the women, — all this was an experience 
the deliciousness of which no man who has not been 
a Confederate soldier can have any idea of, — and the 
private soldier enjoyed it in a higher degree than the 
commissioned officer, for he generally had a few more 
comforts, or at least a few less hardships, than the sol- 
diers in the ranks. True, we Maryland boys had no 
home waiting to open its doors to us during our fur- 
lough, but the Virginians always gave us a peculiarly 
warm welcome, and, because we were exiles, did their 
best to make us feel that their homes were ours. The 
soldiers of the Union were well clothed and well fed, but 
they could never have such a welcome as we had, or 
be such heroes as we were when they went on furlough, 
because there was no such solidarity of feeling in the 
North as there was in the South. The condition of 
the two peoples was entirely different. The Southern 
soldier was fighting to repel invasion. He was regarded 
as the defender of the homes and firesides of the people. 
The common perils, the common hardships, the com- 
mon sacrifices, of the war, welded the Southern people 
together as if they were all of the same blood, all of 
one family. In fact, there was, independently of the 
war, a homogeneity in the South that the North knew 
nothing of. But when the war came all this was 


greatly intensified. We were all one family then. 
Every Confederate soldier was welcomed, wherever- he 
went, to the best the people had. When he approached 
a house to seek for food or shelter, he never had the 
least misgiving as to how he would be received. The 
warmest welcome and the most generous hospitality 
awaited him — that he knew beforehand. 

Such an experience, even though it lasted but thirty 
or forty days, was a compensation for much that he 
endured. The memory of it lingers delightfully after 
eight and forty years. We could truly say, "Olim 
meminisse juvahit" And to have passed four years in 
such an atmosphere, to have felt one's self a unit in such 
a society, where all hearts beat as one, where all toiled 
together, and suffered together, and hoped and gloried 
together, or else bent before the same blast of adver- 
sity, — that was something to have lived for — some- 
thing to die for, too — something the fragrant memory 
of which can never pass away. 

In my case, however, there was more even than 
this. Allied, through my noble mother, with many 
of the old families of Virginia, — the Randolphs, the 
Harrisons, the Carters, the Pages, the Nelsons, the 
Lees (to name no more), — I found myself among kins- 
folk wherever I went in the old State. During my 
thirty days furlough, which somehow was lengthened 
out to forty days, I visited Clarke County, and then 
Richmond and the James River, and Lynchburg, and 
Fredericksburg and Charlottesville and Staunton, and 
in all those places I was welcomed by people of my own 
blood, who knew all about me, and who received me, 
not only with cordiality because I was a Confederate 
soldier, but with affection because I was a relative. 


So on my travels, those six weeks, I had "the best 
time going" and was as happy as the days were long. 
Millwood, Clarke County, was my first objective. 
Taking the train at Manassas, February 7th, I 
got out at Piedmont, where fortunately I found a 
conveyance which took me as far as Upperville. To 
quote from my diary: 

"For the second time I travelled over that road, but this 
time in a different direction, under different circumstances 
and for a different purpose. All the scenes and occurrences 
of the 19th, 20th, and 21st of July came vividly back. How 
weary and worn had I trudged with musket and knapsack 
over that same road, little conscious of the eventful scene I 
was soon to play a part in. It was a moonlight night and 
I recognized each turn in the road and each spring by the 

It was late when I reached Bollingbrooke. The 
family had retired to bed, and it was with difficulty 
I waked them up. John Boiling was one of my mess, 
and news of him was welcome, even at the midnight 
hour. Next day, Willie, a younger son, drove me to 

"At the highest point in the gap (through the Blue Ridge), 
just beside the road stands a tree whose branches overshadow 
parts of four counties: Fauquier, Loudon, Warren and Clarke. 
We reached the Shenandoah before we expected to, so 
pleasing was the road, and so busy was my mind recalling 
each spot associated with the march of the 19th of July. 
The river was swollen many feet above the watermark of 
last summer. It swept on rapidly as if defying any attempt 
to ford it a second time. Indeed, independent of its depth, 
it would have been impossible for man or horse to stem 
such a tide. . . . Willie Boiling told me that when he and 


his father drove to our camp at Winchester last summer 
a little boy at the ford directed them purposely to drive 
into a deep hole, and when they were almost drowned, 
rolled over on his back on the river bank, convulsed with 
laughter. They were obliged to take the horses out and 
hire some men to drag the wagon out with ropes. It appears 
it was this boy's habit to hang about the ford and watch 
for strangers and make them drive into this hole for his 
amusement. He could not have been more than eight or 
nine years of age." 

I was again the guest at Millwood of one of my 
mother's sisters, Mrs. Wm. Fitzhugh Randolph, to 
whom I have already referred. 

"Aunt Randolph makes a baby of me. I am not allowed 
to wait on myself — not even to pick up a pin! At my 
age I do not particularly enjoy swaddling bands!" 

Here I lingered for twelve days of my precious thirty, 
visiting many of the delightful country homes, din- 
ing out, spending the night in some cases, singing 
with the girls, sleigh-riding, attending a wedding, 
and other festivities. 

At "The Moorings" lived the family of my quon- 
dam navy cousin, now Major Beverly Randolph. At 
"Saratoga" I was welcomed by my charming cousins, ' 
Mary Frances and Lucy Page. We sang together 
"Maryland, my Maryland," and I sang for them 
"The Leaf and the Fountain," "The Pirate's, Glee," 
and "Silence," which they seemed pleased with. I 
dined also at stately "Carter Hall," and my diary 
mentions that "seven, eight, and nine o'clock struck 
while we were at the dinner table." They "compelled 
me to stay all night," — to my sorrow, for breakfast 


was not served next day till eleven o'clock, *and this 
to a soldier disciplined for months to answer roll-call 
at four a.m. was no small trial! "Bored to death," 
was my memorandum of this. Another day I dined 
at "New Market" with my cousin Dr. Robert Pan- 
dolph, and was warmly received and as usual "com- 
pelled to stay all night." Cousin Lucy (Dr. R.'s 
wife) "was very affectionate and kissed me." "Next 
morning, after prayers, seeing an old lady with a cap 
on come into the room," I supposed she was Mrs. 
Randolph, "though looking much older than on the 
previous evening." Accordingly "I saluted her with 
a kiss before the old lady had time to show her sur- 
prise," and before I discovered that it was Mrs. Bur- 
well, Mrs. Randolph's mother. We had never met 
before, but nobody seemed surprised at what I had 

I may here set down a remark in my diary to this 
effect: "I have never heard anyone here address any- 
one else by a more formal title than ' cousin.' What- 
ever the company, it is always the same." 

This reminds me of Michelet's description of Bur- 
gundy, which is applicable in several respects to Vir- 
ginia. However, the only part of it I can now recall 
is this, "It is a land of joyous Christmases, where 
everyone calls everyone else 'cousin.'" My diary 
mentions also the wedding of Mr. Warren Smith and 
Miss Betty Randolph, which took place at "New 
Market" at five p.m., "with eight bridesmaids." 
The entertainment which followed was prolonged 
till one o'clock next morning. 

Such was the happy gayety and the prodigal hos- 
pitality in old Clarke County the first winter of our 


cruel war. It had not yet felt the iron heel of the 
invader. The winters that followed till 1865 would 
tell a different tale. It is still a beautiful country, 
and some of the fine old homesteads still survive, 
though few of them are owned by the same old 

I next turned my steps, February 20th, to Rich- 
mond, the capital of the Confederacy, where I 
found another nest of relatives and many frjends. 
At Piedmont, where I struck the railroad and spent 
the night, "I wrote some blank verse rather to vent 
my feelings than to while away the time," — the 
subject whereof has not been preserved in my record! 
Met many old acquaintances on the way, and made 
some new ones, among them a very clever and charm- 
ing young lady, with whom I had "a long conver- 
sation on the subject of matrimony," — altogether 
impersonal, however! 

I was just in time for the inauguration of Mr. Jeffer- 
son Davis as President of the Confederate States of 
America. It took place February 22d, in the Capitol 
Square, amid a downpour of rain. In the evening 
the President held a levee which I attended in com- 
pany with Mrs. James Lyons and Miss Mary Lyons, 
enjoying myself hugely, and finding Mr. Davis very 
gracious and affable. He was a man of fine presence 
and of distinguished abilities, as was well recognized 
in ante helium days when he was Secretary of War, 
and later when he represented Mississippi in the 
United States Senate. It was he who first projected 
a transcontinental railway. His State papers were 
models of vigorous English. He was a graduate of 
West Point, and had shed his blood gallantly in the 


Mexican War. Had he been quite ignorant of mil- 
itary matters, he would have been a more successful 
President. In that case it is likely Robert E. Lee 
would have been made commander-in-chief in 1862, 
instead of in 1865, when it was too late. 

The Southern people forgave all his mistakes and 
set him on high as their martyred President, when 
Gen. Nelson Miles put him in irons at Fortress Mon- 
roe after the war was over. He was a man of exalted 
character, and had a knightly soul. 

In Richmond I met " acquaintances innumerable," 
and many relations, among the former "Tom Dudley" 
(destined to be a famous bishop), with whom I dined. 
He was, I think, in one of the departments of the 
government in Richmond. 

The very next day, February 23d, Fort Donelson 
fell, and my Uncle Peyton's son, Dabney Harrison, 
was killed, gallantly leading his company. He was 
a Presbyterian minister, but felt the call to defend his 
State from the invader, and, doffing his ministerial 
office, raised a company in his own congregation and 
was elected its captain. His course and his fate 
were similar to those of Bishop Polk, who laid aside 
his episcopal robes and became lieutenant-general 
in the Southwestern Army — with this difference, 
that he had had a military education at West Point. 
General Pendleton, Lee's chief of artillery, was an- 
other example of a clergyman. entering the army as a 

The same day my uncle lost his daughter Nannie 
by scarlet fever at Brandon on the James River. 
The previous July, at the battle of Manassas, the dear 
old gentleman had lost another son, Capt. Peyton 


Harrison, and still another, Wm. Wirt Harrison, had 
been severely wounded. Not long afterwards, his 
married daughter Mary, Mrs. Robt. Hunter, died 
in childbed, her illness brought on prematurely by a 
raid of the Federal soldiers. Still later his son, 
Dr. Randolph Harrison, was wounded and died, and 
his youngest son Harry was taken prisoner. 

He bore it all like a noble Roman — or rather like 
a brave Christian, which he was. The story of this 
family is that of many another in the South. 

I may here mention that I had twenty-four first 
cousins in the Confederate Army on my mother's 
side, most of them bearing the name of Harrison. 

After some halcyon days in Richmond among my 
many friends, college mates, and kinsfolk, I took the 
steamboat, February 26th, down the river to upper 
Brandon, the home of my mother's sister, Mrs. Wm. 
B. Harrison and her husband. There I indulged in the 
sport of wild duck shooting several times with vary- 
ing luck. George Harrison, a year younger than I, 
was at home, and we had long talks over the fire till 
the "wee sma' hours," much of it about the Christian 
ministry, to which we both aspired, and we usually 
ended with united prayer. 

The following Sunday was the Fast Day appointed 
by President Jefferson Davis, and we rode horseback 
to Cabin Point to the Episcopal Church, and received 
the holy communion together. 

The following Sunday was stormy, so we had the 
church service at home, and I read a sermon aloud. 
I also examined Dr. A. T. Bledsoe's "Theodicy," — a 
very able book, by the way. 

The next day, March 3d, George and I set out for 


Jamestown Island, but the boat was caught in a fog 
and obliged to return. On the 4th we started again 
and reached the island, which we found fortified with 
thirteen guns, Columbiads, thirty-two pounders, and 
Dahlgrens. How strange a spectacle — the island 
where the first English settlers landed in 1607 and 
planted the seeds of English civilization, English lib- 
erty, and the English Church, fortifying itself against 
the invasion of the descendants of the Puritans who 
landed in 1620! 

George's brother and my dear friend, Capt. Shir- 
ley Harrison, was there in command of a company 
of heavy artillery. He was "well, and living like a 
lord"! Twice more we went ducking. 

It is sad to reflect on the fate of my uncle's princely 
home of Brandon, where in the old days as many as 
forty guests would sometimes be entertained. It 
was shelled later in the war by the Federal gunboats 
and rendered untenantable. After the war financial 
disaster overtook him and his sons, and the place was 
sold for debt. 

Lower Brandon and Berkeley were two other Harri- 
son seats, much older than my uncle's. The family's 
history in America began in 1634 with Benjamin 
Harrison, the emigrant. It was one of the most dis- 
tinguished in the old colonial days. 

March 6th I returned to Brandon, and next day 
drove with my uncle William to Petersburg, thirty 
miles — roads very bad, and the journey took seven 
hours. We found Richmond under martial law. March 
8th I proceeded to Fredericksburg, where I was the 
guest, at Kenmore, of another aunt, Mrs. Randolph 
Harrison. Visited also "Santee," the home of Mr. 


Sam Gordon. Saw more Harrison soldiers, my cous- 
ins. The following extract from a letter to my mother, 
written just before returning from furlough, may illus- 
trate the spirit of the Southern people at this time: 

Kenmore, March 10, 1862. 

Our affairs look dark, but not hopeless. The war may 
be a long one, but it can have but one termination — our 
independence. We are stimulated to new exertion, our 
people are roused to action, and there exists a deep-seated 
resolve in the heart of the nation, to choose extermination 
before subjugation. "God and the Right" is our motto. 
For my part, I have cast my lot irrevocably with this sacred 
cause. I have reenlisted, and shall continue to do so until 
the end is accomplished. If I fall, do not grieve for me. 
Your son would prefer such a death to any but a martyr's, 
and you will not be ashamed to think that I have died in 
my country's cause. But I have no presentiment whatever, 
— I only speak of possibilities. 

Good-by, father, mother, brother, sisters. God bless you 
all is my prayer. 

On March 11th I set out again for Millwood — why, 
I do not know, for my thirty days furlough was at 
an end, and I have no record of its extension — though I 
conclude it must have been, for I would not have 
been insubordinate, I am sure. I travelled by stage 
as far as Mt. Jackson, but did not reach Millwood, for 
Manassas had been evacuated, Winchester also, and 
Clarke County was now in possession of the enemy. 
I passed through Staunton, where I found more Har- 
rison relations, and then stopped at Greenwood 
Depot with another sister of my mother, Mrs. Dr. 
Garrett. Then to Charlottesville, where of course I 


met many friends, and also another daughter of my 
Uncle Peyton, Mrs. Hoge, and the widow of my 
cousin Dabney Harrison. 

March 17th I set out again for camp, but was 
"stopped" at Gordonsville and obliged to return to 
"Edge Hill," where I had a nest of Randolph cousins 
— among them Cousin Sarah, who later wrote that 
charming book, "Domestic Life of Thomas Jefferson." 
We had a most interesting horseback ride together to 
Monticello, Jefferson's seat. 

March 22d set out once more for camp, and on the 
23d, by walking ten miles from Culpeper Court House, 
reached the regiment encamped on the Rappahannock, 
having been absent six weeks. 

I have given some account of my visits to different 
parts of Virginia during my furlough because they 
reflect the spirit and the life of the people at that 
period of the war, February and March, 1862. There 
was still much comfort, even luxury, in the manner 
of living, and a spirit of joyousness and gayety among 
the young. The war had not yet begun to press 
heavily on the resources of the South. There had 
been in Virginia but one great battle, and that had 
resulted in so great a victory that there was an abso- 
lute confidence among all classes of the ultimate 
success of the cause. This feeling was damped by 
the reverses in the west at Fort Donelson, the last 
week in February; and the surrender of so large a 
force, in face of the indignant protest of Gen. N. B. 
Forrest, was galling to the pride of the South. I 
found everywhere I went a deep religious feeling. 
At the great houses in Clarke County I was gener- 
ally asked to conduct family worship. The churches 


in Richmond and elsewhere were largely attended. 
Among the young men, I found it easy to introduce 
the subject of religion. The following entry in my 
diary illustrates this: 

"While at Brandon, George and I had some very sweet 
interviews. One of them is peculiarly pleasant to recall. 
He was speaking of his future prospects in life, and I turned 
the conversation to the ministry, and was delighted to find 
that he had himself frequently thought of it. I endeavored 
to strengthen and encourage his inclinations to enter the 
sacred calling. He told me it had been his sainted mother's 
wish that he should devote himself to God, and that his father 
echoes the same desire. Then I invited him to join me in 
prayer, and with tears of penitence and humility we sought 
God's blessing. . . . Never did we embrace with as much 
tenderness and emotion as when we rose from that prayer 
at the still midnight hour." 

I brought back with me to camp thirty-four copies 
of the New Testament for distribution and made 
this entry: 

"The campaign now opening is likely to be a very active 
and also a very bloody one. How necessary to enter upon 
it with a soul at peace with God, and a mind prepared for 
any event!" 



EARLY in March the war entered upon a new 
phase. General McClellan had withdrawn from 
Johnston's front at Manassas, and transported his 
army by water to Fortress Monroe, and was now ad- 
vancing on Richmond by way of the peninsula, making 
the York River and the James his bases. Undoubtedly 
this was good strategy on his part, for it enabled him 
to advance under protection of the Federal gunboats 
nearly as far as Williamsburg. In fact, McClellan 
established his lines on the Chickahominy, within 
a day's march of Richmond, with very small loss, 
fighting only one battle, the unimportant battle of 
Williamsburg, in securing a position so near the cap- 
ital of the Confederacy. It cost General Grant, two 
years later, a long and hard-fought campaign, with 
many bloody battles, involving the loss of nearly 
one hundred thousand men, to get as close to Rich- 
mond as his predecessor had done with only trifling 
loss. So far, surely, the strategic honors were with 
McClellan, and had he been given in 1862 the supreme 
authority which Grant wielded in 1864, enabling him 
to summon to his aid, as he earnestly wished to do, 
General McDowell with his forty thousand men from 
Fredericksburg, it is doubtful whether the army of 



Lee could have achieved the victory it did in those 
seven days battles before Richmond. 

Before my return to camp, Gen. Joseph E. John- 
ston had transferred the bulk of his army to the 
peninsula to contest the advance of McClellan; Gen. 
T. J. Jackson had been sent to the valley, and the 
division of General Ewell was left on the old line. 
Our regiment was attached to his command. Manas- 
sas had been evacuated. Our log huts at Fairfax 
Station had been left, and all our little accumulations 
of comfort lost. Our tents had been burned at Manas- 
sas, for what reason I do not know, and I found the 
regiment bivouacking under their blankets stretched 
over poles on a little rocky hill back of the Rappahan- 
nock. My precious store of books had of course 
been left behind and lost. We now had two months 
of marching and countermarching, without any object 
that we could divine, under conditions of more acute 
discomfort than we had ever known before, enlivened 
by an occasional skirmish or artillery duel. The fol- 
lowing sketch, under date of March 28th, may serve 
as a sample: 

"On the banks of the Rappahannock. The bridge is on 
fire at both ends — the flames of a house on the opposite 
side of the river darting fiercely up to the sky. Our regi- 
ment in fine of battle. A shell has just passed hissing over 
our heads. The bridge blows up as I write with a double 
explosion. The Yankees are shelling the woods as they 
advance. Our artillery on our left has just opened. I 
suppose we intend protecting General Steuart's retreat. It 
is not desired to fight unless the Federals press us hard. — 
Another shell. — Another — An officer rides up and asks 
for five rounds of cartridges from each man of our regiment. 
He has but fifteen rounds to a man. We have forty. — 


The Baltimore Light Artillery fires its first shell. This is 
their maiden engagement. The Federal infantry advances 
toward the river; they are saluted by the Baltimore Light 
Artillery from an eminence on our right. The enemy's 
artillery changes position. As yet they have not found 
our range. The bridge falls in with a rattle like the dis- 
charge of musketry, or the rattling of wagons. The Balti- 
more Light Artillery are firing round shot, and not shell, 
as I supposed. — Infantry firing in rapid succession. One 
of our companies (Goldsborough's) is engaged, deployed as 
skirmishers. Now they are moving double quick (still as 
skirmishers) by the left flank. The Artillery at the other 
side has slackened its fire. — Chesney (Elzey's adjutant- 
general) dashes past at full speed between us and our 
skirmishers. — Musketry again from skirmishers. — Another 
rattling crash, from the bridge, I suppose. — The Federals 
discover the Baltimore Light Artillery and begin to open 
on them. They reply, and it seems probable we shall 
have a brisk artillery duel. They seem to have gotten the 
range of our battery. . . . Wagons are seen on the other 
side of the river. It may be an armed reconnoissance in 
force after forage. The battery on our right has Umbered 
up, and is moving off. A shell bursts between — [Here we 
were called to attention and moved off a mile or so from 
the river. It was nearly dusk. The enemy shelled us as we 
retreated up the railroad, but without doing us any damage. 
General Elzeyand Captain Brockenbrough had a very narrow 
escape: a shell burst just between them, throwing light on 
their faces. The Baltimore Light Artillery did good practice, 
driving the enemy's artillery twice from their position. Our 
cavalry next day crossed the river and found two (artillery) 
horses dead, and that several cannon balls had passed through 
the house behind which the enemy took refuge.] " 

On Good Friday, April 18th, we had another artil- 
lery duel. 


The weather was very severe through March and 
far into April — " much rain and sometimes sleet or 
snow. As late as April 10th the ground is covered 
with snow frozen and the air is very keen. The moun- 
tains look beautiful in their white garments." March- 
ing and bivouacking without tents (which were not 
supplied us again till April 6th), we had many rough 
experiences, often drenched to the skin, and as the 
wood was wet and soggy, sometimes it was next to 
impossible to light a fire. A favorite device was to 
get three fence rails and rest them at one end on the 
ground, placing the other end on the third rail of the 
fence, the middle rail depressed below those on either 
side. This made a bed which kept us out of the mud, 
while we covered with our blankets and made out to 
be fairly comfortable — only the knots or other pro- 
tuberances of the rails made themselves objectionable. 

In one of those "driving sleets" 

"John Post and I constructed a bunk together with 
blankets stretched over and straw to lie on. We were 
obliged to retreat into it about one o'clock. We talked as 
long as we could about old times and Monument street girls. 
He read me an extract from a letter from R. N., and showed 
me the daguerreotype of a mutual friend. Then we went 
to sleep and would not have waked up till morning but for 
the cold and rain on our feet and the water which gradually 
crept under us. We went off about eleven o'clock from a 
camp where the mud was ankle deep to a warm country 
house (Mr. Wise's) just above Brandy Station, where we 
stayed till next day." 

Another entry, March 30th, is as follows: 

"We awoke to the most disagreeable consciousness that 
the rain of the day preceding was unabated, that our feet 


were wet and cold, that the straw on which we were lying 
was almost saturated, and our bodies of course chilled with 
the wet and cold." 

The Mr. Wise mentioned above, who treated us 
so hospitably (refusing compensation), used to keep 
the Warm Springs, Va., and knew my father and 
grandfather. It was Sunday, and Post and I sang 
hymns together. Then we read the New Testament 
and wrote letters to our people in Baltimore. 

During the weeks of March when we had no tents 
and when the weather was so inclement and our expo- 
sure so unusually severe, we would slip off to some 
private house whenever opportunity offered and leave 
could be obtained, and sometimes without leave. 
Only in this way, I think, could we have endured the 
ordeal. Often our only meal in camp was a piece 
of hardtack and a piece of bacon toasted on a forked 
stick. And when at length the tents were furnished, 
orders were issued that they should be pitched every 
night and struck every morning early — evidently 
to prevent the enemy discovering our whereabouts. 

I give here part of a letter written to my mother 
on my twentieth birthday: 

Tuesday, April 15, 1862. 

After dinner. — The regiment has gone out to drill, but 
I am excused as cook. I have not told you of the receipt 
of three letters from you all a few days ago. One dated 
February 28th, from you (in which I am glad to find you 
so cheerful, my precious mother); a second containing one 
from Telly (Feb. 28), one from Sister Mary (Nov. 8th!!!), 
and a third from Marge written on the 4th and 5th. How 
exultantly I seated myself on my bunk and, strewing my 


letters around, devoured them one by one, over and over 
again. I gave George Williamson your message, for which 
he thanks you warmly; he sends kindest regards to you all. 
So does Jim Howard. Telly's letter amused and enter- 
tained me greatly: he has "broken out" in so many new 
places, I shall not know him when I see him. Tell him, 
however, to stay where he is. He is so full of Shakespeare 
and the classics that he will despise such a rough soldier 
as his brother has gotten to be. But the f unni est meta- 
morphosis in the boy is his conversion to the creed of Byron 
and Cupid. He need not flatter himself that he can cut 
me out in Annapolis. When I come home "from the wars," 
I will throw him in the shade completely by my "honorable 
wounds," "deeds of valor," etc.! I can't thank you all 
enough for your frequent letters; every one attests the spirit 
of a love which I have not deserved and can never repay. 
There was one for Duncan from sister Mary too, enclosed 
in mine. He is, you know, on General Trimble's staff, his 
aide-de-camp. You never saw such a change in a man in 
your life. When he returned from Richmond with his 
sunburnt hair cut off, his beard shaven, except mustache 
and imperial "staff" boots replacing his old "regulations," 
and his dirty uniform exchanged for a nice new suit, it was 
hard to recognize him. You may imagine how he was 
changed by camp life, when I tell you that Mr. Hollings- 
worth was introduced to him as Captain Jones, talked with 
him some time, and finally left him to go in search of his 
friend Duncan McKim, who he learned was in the hotel. 
How fortunate he is to be with Carvel, Jim L., Wm. C. 
(Carvel's brother-in-law), and on General Trimble's staff. 
We were so amused at an incident over there some time since 
before Jim and Duncan had their appointments. Geo. W., 
Duncan, and one other of our mess took dinner at the 
General's. A Colonel Kirkland from Mississippi (or N. C.) 
came in; after our boys left he remarked to Carvel: "Those 
men are very well educated and have remarkably good 


manners for privates." I have been enjoying myself lately 
in visiting about in the neighborhood (generally in quest 
of meals). One day I got lost in an immense forest twelve 
miles long; it was a sleety, misty day, and the water was an 
inch deep all the way. I walked from eleven to three before 
I came to a house; then I went in to dry myself, and was 
invited out to dinner; returning I slept at another house 
where were two very pretty ladylike girls; we talked together 
some time, then I sang "Maryland" to a new audience, and 
took my departure, though the old white-haired father 
asked me to stay all night. I have been there once since, 
and borrowed a volume of Mrs. Hemans' poems. There 
is a beautiful stanza at the commencement of the "Forest 
Sanctuary," which I will transcribe: 

"The voices of my home! I hear them still! 
They have been with me through the dreamy night — 
The blessed household voices, wont to fill 
My heart's clear depths with unalloyed delight! 
I hear them still, unchanged : — though some from earth 
Are now departed, and the tones of mirth — 
Wild, silvery tones — that sang through days more bright, 
Have died in others, — yet to me they come, 
Singing of boyhood back — the voices of my home." 

The poetry was certainly not of a very high order 
of merit, but the sentiment waked a warm response 
in the heart of the exile soldier boy. 

On the evening of April 18th, Good Friday, orders 
were received to leave our camp on the Rappahan- 
nock and take up the line of march for Culpeper. 

This is my entry on that occasion: 

"We started at dusk after standing drawn up in line of 
battle for an hour and a half in a furious storm of rain. We 
could only turn our backs upon it and take it. At last, 


thoroughly drenched, we set out (along the railroad track), 
and what with the darkness and the mud and the culverts 
and cow-catchers we had a most miserable march. We 
would move three or four steps and halt, then three or four 
more and halt again — this, from dusk till two o'clock in 
the night when we reached Culpeper, — six miles in seven 
hours! Then laid us down in the rain and slept till morning. 
No rations served out! Charlie Grogan and I were most 
hospitably entertained by a Mrs. Patterson near Culpeper. 
She gave us also ground coffee and green coffee, and offered 
us sugar and salt." — "Marched four miles on the road to 
Madison Court House. Halted a couple of hours. Then 
marched back in a drenching rain over muddy roads at 
almost a double quick. Still no rations. Men almost 
broken down with the weather and with fasting. Halted 
a mile above Culpeper for the night; still raining hard. 
Ground wet, wood soggy, air cold, men starved. In the 
morning [it was Easter Sunday] set out again up the rail- 
road in a cold, driving rain. Redmond and I walked a 
mile ahead and got a plain breakfast and tried to dry 
ourselves. Rejoined the regiment and marched twelve miles 
to Rapidan. Still no rations furnished. Stopped at Colonel 
Taliaferro's to see Miss Molly. Had an elegant dinner — 
enjoyed 'civilization.'" "Rode up from Rapidan to Orange 
on the cars — five miles; got in ahead of the regiment; 
stayed at a private house on the outskirts of the village, 
at Mrs. Bull's. She and her pretty daughters pleased me 
much. She invited me to stay all night, which I did. 
After I got into bed, the door opened and two gentle- 
men came in with a candle. I started up and asked if I 
had made a mistake. They said 'No,' and soon General 
Trimble and I recognized each other." "Monday, April 21st, 
1862. Rained pitilessly all day. The regiment rode up 
to Gordonsville ten or twelve miles on open cars. This 
is one of the severest experiences we have ever had. Friday 
evening, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday exposed constantly 


to cold, drenching rain, with no shelter, and during two 
whole days without anything to eat. Our blankets and 
clothing were soaked with water: we marched wet, slept 
wet, and got up in the morning wet. On the evening of 
Monday we got tents . . . orders to march in the morning 
with two days cooked provisions." 

These quotations (rather tedious, I fear, to the 
reader) show several things very clearly. First, the 
wretchedness of our commissariat; second, the hard- 
ships of the Confederate infantrymen; and third, the 
never-failing hospitality of the people of the country, 
rich and poor alike. 

What a debt of gratitude we poor weary, starved 
men owed them, and especially the women, for their 
goodness. They heartened us for our severe work, 
and inspired us with fresh resolve to defend the coun- 
try from the invaders. How one would like to express 
to them now (to such as may be still living) our heart- 
felt thanks for what they did for us eight and forty 
years ago! 

In the light of a narrative like this, the fortitude 
and steadfast devotion of the Confederate soldier 
stands out in strong light. How patiently he trudged 
along those muddy roads, carrying musket and knap- 
sack, cold and wet and hungry day after day — with- 
out murmuring, without ever a thought of giving the 
thing up, without regretting his act in leaving home 
and exiling himself for the Confederate cause, though 
his State had not seceded. I do not remember that 
any of our men deserted then, or at any time during 
the war. Not many of that regiment were as I was; 
for Virginia was a second home to me, and everywhere 
I went I found my mother's kin. This made it more 


natural and easier for me to stand up to the work 
and stick to the Cause. 

The frequent absences from the regiment, even 
over night, which I have mentioned, seem to show a 
lack of the strict discipline of which I have spoken 
on a previous page as the characteristic of Colonel 
Steuart. But I think that about this time he was 
promoted to be brigadier-general, and given another 
command; and besides two things are to be considered: 
first, that under such circumstances, discipline was 
necessarily and wisely relaxed, and, second, that our 
commanding officer knew he could trust us to report 
for duty in any emergency that might arise. Yet 
failure to perform camp duty, or absence from roll- 
call would bring its punishment. Several times I 
mention having been put under arrest for the latter 
omission, and once that I was made sergeant of the 
guard for the night because of my absence at Orange 
Court House. 

The inclement weather of that unfriendly spring 
continued nearly to the end of April. As late as the 
25th we had snow, and about the same time my record 
is, "In camp we have no shelter and it is almost im- 
possible to cook. This morning it is again raining 
hard." And again, "Poor Giraud Wright sat up all 
night in the rain over the fire, and is now sleeping 
with his head resting on a chair." 

Notwithstanding the cold, whenever the sun did 
come out, Redmond and I would plunge into the chill 
waters of the swift Rapidan and have a swim. Bath- 
ing was a rare privilege, and so much valued that it 
was my habit during the winter at one of our camps 
to break the ice and take a plunge in a pool of water 


by the side of the railroad. Under the genial sun we 
would soon forget our miseries and enjoy the beauti- 
ful scenery sometimes spread out before us in our 
marches. Here is a note of April 25 th: 

"This is a beautiful country, and highly cultivated. 
Tobacco is successfully grown. Farms are large. Dwell- 
ings, all the way from Culpeper to Gordonsville and from 
Gordonsville to this point on the Rapidan, are large and 
handsome. . . . The spring has arrived very suddenly. 
Vegetation has sprung as it were from death to vigorous life 
without the usual intermediate stages. Fruit trees are all 
in bloom except the later varieties. Even pear trees are 
beginning to blossom. The wheat is luxuriant and wears 
a constant and fresh verdure. The banks of the river just 
above our camp are enchanting. The river flows narrow, 
but deep, and very rapid. The banks, from which the water 
has receded, are covered with the wildest and rankest 
growth of weeds and flowers, the usual denizens of marshy 
ground. Running along parallel to the right bank is a rocky 
cliff, about forty or fifty feet high. It is covered with trees, 
some of them growing out of the clefts in the rocks, and 
many of them (wild cherry, dogwood, etc.) covered with 
bloom. Ferns hang gracefully over the rocks, while the 
level at the foot is completely carpeted with moss; from 
wild flowers of every variety and hue spring up." 

About this time Giraud Wright was made second 
lieutenant in Doctor Thorn's company. He was the 
eighth member of our mess (No. 5) who had received 
a commission. 

I have alluded to the fact that some of our companies 
were enlisted for only twelve months. Well, on April 
29th, an order came from General Elzey to these 
companies to elect their officers in accordance with 
the terms of the Conscript Act. Col. Bradley Johnson 


harangued the men and tried to induce them to con- 
form to the order, but they refused to elect any officers, 
holding that the Conscript Act did not apply to Mary- 
landers. The number of the men who had reenlisted 
in February and taken the furlough was not large. 
This was not because their interest in the cause, or 
their loyalty, had cooled, but because almost every 
man wanted to enter some other branch of the service, 
— the cavalry, for instance, or the artillery. Col. 
Bradley Johnson was much chagrined by the action 
of the men just mentioned, and when, on May 17th, 
Company "C" was mustered out of the service before 
the rest of the regiment, and marched off to the rear, 
he called out dramatically, as he pointed in the oppo- 
site direction, "Men of the First Maryland Regiment, 
there is the way to the enemy." 

In a letter written about this time, I said, "It seems 
probable we will miss all the great struggles likely to 
occur before this month is out." How little we knew 
what was before us! 

The first week of May — I believe it was May 2d — 
we left Standardsville and marched across the moun- 
tain, fifteen miles, and camped in "Swift Run Gap," 
which we reached about nine p.m. Here we came in 
touch with Stonewall Jackson's division. That astute 
and able commander, in order to deceive the enemy's 
scouts, gave orders that EwelPs division should occupy 
the camp of his division, which marched out in the 
dark, leaving its camp-fires burning, so that it should 
appear that Jackson was still there. Then making a 
forced night march, he was many miles away before 
the morning light, marching to attack Milroy, west 
of Staunton, and leaving Ewell to await his return. 


Now began that campaign of Jackson in the valley 
which has been so famous ever since and which estab- 
lished his reputation forever as a great soldier and a 
brilliant strategist. But of this more later on. 

While Stonewall was marching to West Virginia, 
beating Milroy, and marching back again — which 
occupied about three weeks — we remained in camp 
at Swift Run Gap perhaps two weeks, where the monot- 
ony was varied for some of us by visits to the refined 
and hospitable home of Doctor Jennings, whose charm- 
ing daughters greatly attracted us. There we had 
music and song and bright and merry converse, which 
speedily banished the memory of the hardships of 
the past two months. There came to our camp here 
three Frenchmen whose errand and whose identity 
much mystified us. One of them, de Beaumont, 
claimed to be an officer in the Chasseurs d'Afrique. 
They were suspected of being spies, but we had no 

May 16th we marched seventeen miles (in the 
rain, of course) over a bad road and camped near 
Columbia Bridge. May 17th marched to the top of the 
mountain as if Gordonsville were our objective, — 
" beautiful scenery, delightful atmosphere, and water 
bursting, sparkling and cold, from the rocks." 
Under this inspiration and without any emergency that 
I can recall, we made the three and one-half miles in 
forty-five min utes, though the mountain road was 
steep. We were in the habit of making seven miles 
in two hours, but that day we beat our record. 

After spending Sunday the 18th on top of the moun- 
tain in sight of Culpeper and Luray, we marched 
next day down the mountain and back to Columbia 


Bridge, a distance of thirteen miles. The weather 
was very warm. As soon as we had stacked arms 
there was a break for the Shenandoah, where hundreds 
of men were soon to be seen all along the banks stand- 
ing on the water's edge or in the water, washing them- 
selves or their clothes. The river was in flood, and 
no one dared to attempt to swim across, till Redmond, 
the athlete of our mess, a well-developed, well-seasoned 
man of about thirty years of age, plunged in and struck 
out for the opposite shore. He was watched with 
breathless interest by almost the entire regiment, 
and when at length he accomplished the feat, and stood 
safe on the other bank, a great shout went up from 
hundreds of throats. Not willing to be outdone, even 
by Redmond, I also made the plunge and tempted 
the flood. I crossed successfully, losing less distance 
than he, and stepped out on the shore in triumph, 
receiving, as he had received, the acclaim of the 
crowd. But unfortunately I was seized with a chill 
the moment after, and when I tried to swim back, my 
strength left me after a few strokes, and I was at the 
mercy of the current. I made up my mind that my end 
had come and said my prayers accordingly, but, the 
river making a sharp curve just there, I was carried by 
the current near to shore, and by a desperate effort 
succeeded in making a landing. 

Two other misfortunes awaited me before that day was 
done. I found myself afflicted as the Egyptians were on 
a famous occasion (see Exodus viii. 16). The plague 
which baffled the magicians, and of which they con- 
fessed to Pharaoh, "This is the finger of God," had long 
since visited the Confederate camps, but till that unlucky 
day I had been exempt. But now my turn had come. 


The same evening I yielded to temptation and 
"supped at the hospitable board of Mr. Long, where 
we had music and conversation." The result is thus 
tersely stated in my diary: "Put under arrest in 

The first of these occurrences marks an experience 
which was the very acme of our trials borne for the 
cause. No hardship, or enforced self-denial of food, 
or rest, or comfort, was as hard to bear. It brought 
a sense of humiliation that is difficult to describe, 
although it was just the inevitable consequence of the 
conditions under which we lived. I set down the 
unpleasant fact because my object in these pages is 
to give a true picture of the life we led as private 



(^\N the 22d of May, 1862, General Jackson returned 
^-^ from his successful expedition against Milroy and 
united his division with that of Ewell. From that day 
the First Maryland Regiment was under " Stonewall's" 
immediate command and marched and fought under 
his eye. It will always be our pride and boast that 
we had an active part in that marvellous campaign 
of his in the valley of Virginia, from May 22d to June 
10th, and that we so conducted ourselves as to win his 
confidence and to be assigned such duty as could only 
have been given a command which he thoroughly 

Of this great soldier a few words may here be said. 
From the hour when, at the battle of Manassas, 
General Bee pointed to him and cried to his wavering 
South Carolinians, "There stands Jackson, like a 
stone wall!" the rank and file of the army gave him 
their complete confidence, and were ready to follow 
wherever he led, and to attempt whatever he com- 
manded. Not so the authorities at Richmond. Not 
so all the officers of high rank in the field. Generals 
who had known him at West Point and remembered 
that his scholastic rank was low, and that only by 
patient plodding could he keep up with his class, 
found it difficult to believe that Jackson could be a 




brilliant soldier. Those also who had known him as 
the quiet and by no means inspiring professor at the 
Virginia Military Institute felt the same scepticism. 
They acknowledged his steadfast courage and his 
unflinching resolution. Those qualities had been dis- 
played by him in the Mexican War at Vera Cruz, Con- 
treras, and Chapultepec, 1 and now again at Manassas 
and at Kernstown, but his critics said, first, that he 
was indeed the man to lead a forlorn hope into the 
jaws of death, but had not capacity to command a 
brigade; and when he had disproved this in battle, 
they said that he could fight a brigade under the eye 
of a capable superior officer, but could never fill an 
independent command, which required strategy and 
judgment. It will be remembered that, owing to the 
representations of General Loring, in the winter of 
1861, the Richmond authorities so hampered and 
interfered with Jackson that he wrote his resignation, 
resolving to enter the ranks as a private soldier, and that 
it was only with great difficulty he was induced to 
withdraw it. The prejudice he encountered in high 
quarters was such that at each step forward that he 
made toward military greatness his detractors had 
fresh objections to make to his further advancement. 
"He might do to command a brigade, but not a divi- 
sion." Next, "Well, he had done pretty well as a 
division commander, but could never handle an army 
independently." It was not till after the brilliant 
series of victories which he won in the valley in 1862 

1 When asked after the close of the Mexican War if he felt no trepi- 
dation when so many were falling around him at Chapultepec, he replied, 
"No, the only anxiety of which I was conscious during the engagement 
was a fear lest I should not meet danger enough to make my conduct 


that the voice of detraction was silenced. And even 
after that at Malvern Hill, when Jackson ordered a 
charge, General Whiting was heard to exclaim, "Great 
God! Won't some ranking officer come, and save us 
from this fool!" He came! 

All the while the soldiers of the army adored 
him. His appearance at any part of the line al- 
ways and instantly roused the greatest enthusiasm, 
and wild shouts rent the air as long as he was in 
sight. On these occasions he would put spurs to 
his horse and gallop out of sight as soon as possible. 
This popularity was the more remarkable when it is 
remembered that he was very stern, very silent, very 
reserved, and by no means an ideal leader in appear- 
ance. His figure was bad, his riding was ungraceful 
(he rode, as I remember him, with short stirrups and 
with one shoulder higher than the other), and his uni- 
form usually rusty, with scarce anything to mark him 
out as a general. He never made a speech to his sol- 
diers, he was a stern disciplinarian, exacting implicit 
obedience not only from the rank and file, but from the 
brigadiers and major-generals. Let one of these fail 
to march with his brigade or division at the hour 
prescribed in Jackson's orders, and he might expect 
to be put under arrest with no more ceremony than if 
he had been a second lieutenant or a sergeant of the 
guard. And then the men knew that Stonewall would 
march them hard, and fight them hard, and require 
the greatest sacrifices of them. At the battle of Kerns- 
town General Garnett held his position until his brigade 
had been decimated and then, overwhelmed with num- 
bers, retreated without Jackson's order. For this 
Jackson rebuked him and put him under arrest. 


In nearly all these respects he was a contrast to 
Gen. Robert E. Lee, who was elegant in person and 
handsome in features, a superb rider, the very beau 
ideal of a soldier, urbane, also, and gracious in manner, 
with a native dignity which stamped him as a king 
of men. He had also the rare gift of a rich and melo- 
dious voice, which alone would have marked him out 
in any company. While no man, not even Jackson, 
could have been a more lion-hearted and aggressive 
fighter than Lee, yet he lacked the other's strictness 
and severity as a disciplinarian. It has been said of 
him that he was too epicene, too gentle, and indeed, 
if he had a fault as a commander, it lay in that direc- 
tion. There were occasions when more of Jackson's 
sternness and inflexibility in dealing with his generals 
would have been conducive to success on the field of 

These two great soldiers were types respectively of 
the Puritan and the Cavalier. Jackson was a Presby- 
terian, with many of the Puritan's characteristics. He 
was Oliver Cromwell, without his selfish ambition. 
Robert E. Lee, on the other hand, was a devout and 
loyal son of the Episcopal Church, a Cavalier in bearing 
as he was in blood, but with a simplicity and purity 
of character that was certainly not characteristic of 
King Charles's gallant and dashing leaders. But 
though they were thus men of very different types, they 
completely trusted and understood one another, and 
formed a combination that was well nigh irresistible. 
Lee regarded Jackson as his right arm, while it is on 
record that Jackson said of Lee that he was the only 
man he would be always willing to follow blindfolded. 

I need say nothing of the great place this modest 


and reticent soldier, Thomas J. Jackson, made for him- 
self among the great captains of history. Distinguished 
military critics like Lt. Col. G. F. R. Henderson (whose 
two volumes on the life and career of Stonewall Jackson 
are the classic on the subject) have said all that need 
be said on that subject — and said it with authority. 
I remember hearing General Miles (at that time com- 
mander-in-chief of the United States Army) speak of 
him with the most enthusiastic admiration. In his 
estimation Jackson was beyond question the greatest 
soldier developed in our Civil War. His name was 
equivalent in value to a corps d'armee. He said that 
in the Federal Army he inspired at all times the great- 
est apprehension. "We never knew whether he would 
descend upon us on the right flank, or the left, or out 
of the clouds. He was the very embodiment of the 
genius of war, and, had he lived, in my opinion the 
South must certainly have succeeded. I have gone 
carefully over the history of the campaigns that fol- 
lowed his death, and there were at least half a dozen 
critical occasions when, in my opinion, his presence 
would have certainly insured victory to the Confederate 

I give this utterance of General Miles, not as express- 
ing my own opinion (which of course is of no conse- 
quence on a subject demanding the knowledge of an 
expert military critic), but only as a sample of the 
exalted estimate in which General Jackson is held 
among military men. What I think most extraor- 
dinary is, that this plain soldier wrote his name so 
high on the roll of the great soldiers of the world's 
history in so short a time. It was less than two years 
between his first battle, that of Manassas, July 21st, 


1861, and his last immortal victory at Chancellorsville 
on the 3d of May, 1863. Indeed it might be said that 
he carved his great fame in one short twelvemonth, — 
for the battles that have made his name i mm ortal 
were all fought between May 25th, 1862, and May 3d, 

I will only add that unquestionably one of the feat- 
ures of Jackson's character which commanded the 
confidence of the soldiers was his sincere piety and his 
strong faith. The men of that army believed in God, 
and they liked to feel that the leader whom they fol- 
lowed was a man of God and a man of prayer. 

There are many anecdotes that might be told in 
illustration of "Stonewall's" devout religiousness, but 
they are probably familiar to most of those who will 
read these pages. 

He was a man of prayer, and often while his soldiers 
slept, this devout soldier was pouring out his soul in 

"Appealing for his native sod, 
In forma pauperis to God; 
1 Lay bare thine arm — stretch forth thy rod, 
Amen.' That's Stonewall's way." 

After his death one of his grim veterans said the Lord 
sent his angels to escort "Stonewall" to heaven, but 
they could not find him anywhere in the precincts of 
the camp. So they returned to the heavenly courts 
to make report to that effect, when to their astonish- 
ment there he was. "Old Jack" had outflanked the 
angels and got to heaven before them! 

It was on the 22d of May that Jackson united his 
two divisions near Luray and began his movement 


against Banks. The following is the entry in my 

"Marched through to Luray in fine spirits to the music of 
our 'sullen drums,' and in the light of 'brightest eyes were 
ever seen.' Made about seventeen miles on the road to 
Front Royal. General Jackson with his army joined us 
and created great enthusiasm. Next morning (23d) army 
commenced moving at daybreak. Ewell's and Johnson's 
divisions passed us, while we halted. Orders came for the 
Maryland regiment (our own) to take the advance. We 
passed the two divisions without making a halt, marching 
twelve miles on a stretch, seven of which we made in two 
hours. Great enthusiasm as we passed through the army 
at our rapid, swinging Zouave step, singing 'Baltimore, 
ain't you happy? ' Bradley Johnson made a stirring appeal 
to some of Smith's men who had refused to do duty [because 
their term of enlistment had expired]: they took up their 
arms again. Halted some four or five miles outside of 
Front Royal to rest. Then we advanced rapidly, capturing 
the enemy's picket as we went. The Maryland regiment 
(ours) was formed in line of battle and burst suddenly into 
the town, driving the whole Federal force out at the other 
end. Women and children, wild with delight and grati- 
tude, some with tears in their eyes, welcomed us as their 
deliverers. I never felt the bliss of aiding my fellow men 
so much as then. Fought several hours outside the town 
with the First Maryland (Union) Regiment. Repulsed 
them. Captured immense stores and 1400 prisoners. Saved 
the bridge and several railway trains. That night the First 
Maryland 'Rebels' stood guard over the First Maryland 
'Loyals.' Next morning we carried them in triumph into 
Front Royal, the scene of their former domination." 

While the bullets were whistling through the streets 
of the little town, a lovely girl of about fifteen years 


ran out of one of the houses and, waving a Confederate 
flag, cried, "Go it, boys! Maryland whip Maryland!" 
She was much excited and seemed unconscious of her 

General Jackson's order that our regiment should 
take the front and make the assault on the town was 
due to the discovery that it was occupied by the First 
Maryland Federal Regiment. He thus put us on our 
mettle to show which were the best men and the truest 
representatives of Maryland. It must be acknowl- 
edged that the "loyal" Marylanders were made of 
good stuff. They put up a gallant fight and when, on 
their defeat, they were pursued by our cavalry, they 
would form in small squares and fight to the death. 
My record says "only a score or two escaped." 

Allusion is made above to our singing as we marched. 
That we often did, and with fine effect — upon our 
spirits ! I have seen our men weary with a long march, 
and dragging along without any semblance of order, 
fall into line and march with cadenced step, almost 
forgetting their fatigue, when some one would start 
one of our familiar songs and the whole column would 
instantly take it up. 

Neither words nor tune had any merit, but there 
was rhythm in it, at least, which appealed to the ear 
and helped the step. One of our favorites was : 
"Baltimore, ain't you happy, 

We'll anchor by and by; 
Baltimore, ain't you happy, 

We'll anchor by and by. 
We'll stand the storm, it won't be long, 

We'll anchor by and by." 

The verses were all identical, except that the apos- 


trophe was different. "Maryland" was invited to 
be "happy," and "old soldiers" likewise, and "South- 
erners" and "Confederates," etc. 

Still another prime favorite was "Gay and Happy." 
the chorus of which ran: 

" So let the wide world wag as it will, 
We'll be gay and happy still; 
Gay and happy ,^ gay and happy, 
We'll be gay 'and happy still." 

This resolve to be "gay and happy" might be con- 
sidered heroic under the conditions that often environed 
us. But sung by a ragged regiment, marching through 
rain and mud, with weary limbs and empty stomachs, 
the element of the ludicrous was often more conspicu- 
ous than the heroic. 

Another favorite ran thus: 

"As I was going to Derby, 
'Twas on a market day, 
I saw the biggest ram, sir, 
That ever was fed upon hay. 
The wool upon his back, sir, 
It grew full two yards high, 
And the horns upon his head, sir, 
They reached up to the sky." 

Chorus: "Oh, what a lie! Oh, what a lie!" 

The verses that followed were of the same high order 
of poetical merit! They were always sung by a little 
fellow who had a high tenor voice and the chorus was 
then sung by the rest of the regiment. The effect of 
several hundred voices roaring out, "Oh, what a he! 
Oh, what a he!" was very grotesque and amusing. 


The fact is we were soldier boys, and sometimes the 
"boy" was more in evidence than the "soldier." In 
camp we had a more varied repertoire of songs, such 
as "Maryland, my Maryland," "The Bonnie Blue 
Flag," "There's Life in the Old Land Yet," — and of 
course, "Dixie." We had also some of our college 
songs on occasion. A Richmond gentleman added the 
following verses to Mr. Randall's "Maryland": 

"Cheer up, brave sons of noble sires, 
Of Maryland, my Maryland! 

Strike for your altars and your fires, 
Maryland, brave Maryland! 

The tyrant's power must soon grow less, 

Virginia feels for thy distress, 

Thy wrongs she surely will redress, 
Maryland, brave Maryland! 

"When the despot's power is flown, 

From Maryland, dear Maryland; 
And liberty's regained her throne, 
In Maryland, old Maryland; 
Then shall her sons once more be free, 
Her daughters sing of Liberty, 
And close united ever be 

Virginia and Maryland. 

I may here transcribe some verses that appeared in 
the Baltimore South: 

"What will they say down South, 

When the story there is told, 
Of deeds of might, for Southern right, 

Done by the brave and bold? 
Of Lincoln, proud in springtime, 


Humbled ere summer's sun? 
They'll say, ' 'Twas like our noble South, 
They'll say, "Twas bravely done.' 

" What will they say down South, 

When hushed in awe and dread, 
Fond hearts, through all our happy homes, 

Think of the mighty dead? 
And muse in speechless agony 

O'er father, brother, son? 
They'll say in our dear gallant South, 

'God's holy will be done!' 

" What will they say down South, 

The matron and the maid, 
When withered, widow'd hearts have found 

The price that each has paid, 
The gladness that their homes have lost 

For all the glory won? 
They'll say in our dear, noble South, 

'God's holy will be done!' 

'What will they say down South? 

Our names both night and day 
Are in their hearts, and on their lips, 

When they laugh, or weep, or pray. 
They watch on earth, they plead with Heaven, 

Then foremost to the fight! 
Who droops or fears when Davis cheers, 

And God defends the right!" 

After the fight at Front Royal referred to above, the 
army moved on Winchester in two columns, Jackson by 
Strasburg, Ewell by the straight road from Front Royal. 
Our regiment made twenty-two miles that day, with 
only dry crackers (nothing else) for rations. We 


seem to have left our blankets behind, that we might 
march the faster, so that when night came we "couldn't 
sleep," — it was so cold without them. This was on 
Saturday, May 24th. Of the next day, Sunday, the 
25th, I shall- always have a vivid remembrance. It 
was my first battle at Winchester. By three a.m. we 
were in line of march, five miles from Winchester: 

"As the sun rose, the Sabbath stillness was broken by 
General Jackson's artillery on our left. Then the battle 
commenced along the whole line. We pressed on through 
the smoke and mist till we were nearly in the town." 

For some time we could not see friend or foe, but 
through the fog we could hear the orders of the Fed- 
eral officers to their men. Well, after three or four 
hours heavy fighting the enemy yielded before the 
charge of the Louisiana Brigade, and the whole fine 
dashed forward, entering the town by 8.30 a.m. "For 
the first time in the valley, 'the Rebel yell,' that strange 
fierce cry which heralded the Southern charge, rang 
high above the storm of battle." 

I would like to pay a passing tribute to that fine 
soldier and gallant gentleman, Gen. Dick Taylor, who 
commanded the Louisiana Brigade. Enough to say 
that he speedily won the confidence of Jackson as a 
resolute and skilful commander, — though when he 
heard him utter an oath he said, "I'm afraid you are 
a wicked fellow." His conduct and that of his splen- 
did brigade on this occasion elicited universal admira- 
tion. Ewell cheered himself hoarse as he witnessed 
their charge. It was in truth a gallant feat of arms. 

Strange sights were seen in those two days of fighting 
before Winchester, — Federal cavalrymen strapped 


to their saddles, so that when made prisoners and 
ordered to dismount they couldn't obey till time was 
given them to unstrap themselves, — and soldiers 
equipped with breastplates to protect them from the 
musket balls! 

In the rush into Winchester that morning of May 
25th I suffered a serious loss — serious in my eyes, at 
least, at the time. 

At Front Royal I had filled my haversack with "good 
things" from the captured stores; and during our 
rush at double quick into the town, the strap broke, 
and away went all the rich stores it contained! I 
groaned in spirit that I could not stop to recover that 
precious haversack. 

My diary proceeds: 

"We were received with the most enthusiastic demon- 
strations of joy by the inhabitants, who thronged the streets 
regardless of the death-shots flying around them. Our 
timely arrival saved the city from being blown up. The 
storehouse was on fire at one end. The retreating miscreants 
took delight in telling the women and children they would be 
blown up. We saved the medical stores too. Colonel Dorsey 
behaved with gallantry and was wounded. I found him 
at Mrs. Hugh Lee's. I was detailed to take care of him and 
stayed till the Wednesday afternoon following, revelling in 
the enjoyment of ladies' society in particular and civilized 
life in general." 

That was a joyous breakfast table that Sunday 
morning at Mrs. Lee's. The battle was over. We 
were all "heroes" and "deliverers" in the eyes of the 
charming women of the family, and all was proceeding 
gayly till the entrance of my friend Berkeley Minor 
brought me the sad news of the death of Robert Breck- 


inridge McKim, my young cousin, who had joined the 
Rockbridge Artillery near this very town less than 
eleven months before. He fell gallantly serving his 
piece in the battle. It was a painful shock to me, for 
I was warmly attached to the noble boy. Procuring 
a horse, I rode out to the field and found him laid out 
in a barn, with a label attached, on which was his 
name. The minie-ball had pierced his head just above 
the forehead, leaving the face undisfigured. His 
features wore a peaceful expression, and I believe his 
soul was at peace with God in the better world. How 
joyous he used to be and how well he sang our college 
songs, "Lauriger Horatius," "The Irishman's Shanty," 

I remember once, at a Sunday afternoon students' 
prayer meeting, Bob was called on to pray, and promptly 
answered in the phrase we used in the lecture room 
when the lesson had not been studied — "unprepared!" 
To this call to meet his Maker in the storm of battle, 
dear Bob had no need to make that answer. He was gay 
and joyous, but true and good, and he had given him- 
self to Christ. This is a fair sample of the checkered 
life we led. Joy and sorrow were strangely mixed. 
Whenever possible, we were "gay and jappy," as 
one of our favorite marching songs had it. The dear 
women of the South, young and old, always met us 
with smiles, and did everything to cheer our hearts, 
even when their own were sore and sad for some loved 
one who had fallen. As the war went on and became 
more and more bloody, there were few families which 
did not mourn a father, or a husband, or a brother 
who had fallen in battle. The valley of Virginia was 
for four years a constant battle ground. Up and down, 


all the way from Staunton to Shepherdstown, the two 
armies swept, till at the end it was reduced to a scene 
of desolation. I myself participated in five battles 
at or near Winchester, and it is said the town changed 
hands more than eighty times during the war. To 
Winchester I had come with the University companies 
en route to Harper's Ferry, in April, 1861. To Win- 
chester again Robert and I had come in July, 1861, 
to join Johnston's army. At Winchester now Robert 
had yielded up his life. At Winchester and at Steven- 
son's Depot I was to see severe fighting in June, 1863. 
Near Winchester again I was to be in the fatal battle 
of September, 1864, and at Cedar Creek the following 
October I was to see Gordon's victory turned into 
defeat by General Early's mistakes, — at least, that is 
my opinion. 

Its people were devotedly loyal to the Confed- 
eracy, and my heart warms to-day to the dear old 
town, as I think what a warm welcome it always 
gave us. 

In this battle General Jackson, by his brilliant strat- 
egy, ably seconded by the blindness and the blunders 
of the Federal commander, General Banks, had suc- 
ceeded in attacking the army at Winchester with a 
force double its numbers. He led a force of 17,000 
men, infantry, artillery, and cavalry. Three or four 
weeks before this disaster, General Banks had written 
to Mr. Stanton expressing regret that he was "not to 
be included in active operations during the su mm er." 
On that 25th of May, the Confederate commander 
relieved him of that regret in very rude but effective 

This unexpected blow delivered at Winchester by 


Jackson reverberated with telling effect through the 
whole North. Mr. Lincoln and his cabinet were 
alarmed for the safety of the Capital. Stanton wrote 
the governor of Massachusetts: " There is no doubt 
that the enemy in great force are marching on Wash- 
ington." General McDowell, who was just starting to 
reinforce McClellan, was stopped, and his 40,000 men 
cancelled from the advance on Richmond. Fremont 
was ordered to support Banks. Even McClellan 
was ordered either to attack Richmond at once, or 
come to the defence of Washington. Such was the 
alarm that in one day nearly 500,000 men volunteered 
to save the Union. 

Thus this great soldier had in a single engagement 
transformed the whole military situation in Virginia, 
— and the cause of the South, till then shrouded in 
gloom, had suddenly been irradiated with hope. By 
an unfortunate and almost inexcusable refusal to obey 
an order of Jackson because it did not come through 
Ewell, the pursuit of Banks's defeated army by our 
cavalry was delayed until the splendid opportunity 
was lost. Three days later part of the army advanced 
as far as Halltown, and the Stonewall Brigade, with 
our regiment and a battery of artillery, was pushed for- 
ward to Bolivar Heights, which was within range of 
Harper's Ferry. There we had some fighting — chiefly 
a duel of artillery — but the only man I remember seeing 
injured was an artilleryman who was shot in the thigh 
by a rifle ball at a distance of approximately 900 yards. 
That was looked upon as a remarkable achievement 
at that period in the history of war. How different it 
is to-day! I also recall that the wound was a horrible 
one — the flesh was dreadfully torn and lacerated. 


The enemy had resorted to the reprehensible practice 
of using explosive bullets. 

While this was going on the Federal generals 
were laying their plans to cut off the retreat of 
General Jackson, and "bag" him and his whole 
army. Four armies were set in motion from differ- 
ent directions against him — that of General Shields, 
detached from McDowell's army at Fredericksburg, 
10,000 men; another force of 10,000 under General 
Ord; Fremont coming from the west with 15,000 men; 
besides 15,000 more under Banks and Saxton, moving 
south from the Potomac, — in all 50,000 men against 
Jackson's 15,000. I recall, while at Bolivar Heights, 
seeing a courier ride up in haste and hand General 
Jackson a despatch, and I noted his face and manner 
when he read it. He gave quick orders to a member 
of his staff and then, putting spurs to his horse, dashed 
off in the direction of Winchester. The information 
he had received was that Shields and Fremont were 
marching upon his rear to cut- his co mmu nications and 
intercept his retreat. The bulk of Jackson's army was 
not far east of Winchester, which is about thirty miles 
west of Bolivar Heights. As soon as orders could 
reach them, these troops were put in motion up the 
valley towards Strasburg, which lies at the foot of the 
Massanutten Mountain. 

Thus there was a gap of thirty miles between us and 
the rest of the army, and when we began our retreat 
at daybreak next morning, our officers realized that 
we were in grave danger of being cut off and captured. 
All day long, through the rain and mud, we trudged 
on, till at dark we reached Winchester; but we did not 
tarry here, but pushed on with weary limbs till we 


passed Newtown, having marched, with musket and 
knapsack, forty miles between dawn and nine or ten 
o'clock at night. We lay down to rest by the road- 
side just as we were, making no camp, lighting no fires, 
too much exhausted to care for anything except rest. 
I may here remark that the constant marching in this 
campaign, day after day and week after week, so hard- 
ened our muscles that when fatigue came there was 
no soreness or stiffness of the muscles, but just a gen- 
eral exhaustion — a "caving in" of the energies. 

By early dawn we were again on the march, with 
rather depleted ranks, for not a few of the men had 
dropped by the way, unable to keep up the pace. It 
was Sunday morning — one week after our victory 
at Winchester — and now it looked as if our turn for 
defeat had arrived — or rather for defeat and capture 
— for what could our one brigade do against the Fed- 
eral army that might be already interposing itself 
between General Jackson and us? It was a silent and 
a gloomy column that trudged along the turnpike 
that morning. Officers and men were silent as the 
grave, — occupied all with the same gloomy appre- 
hensions. I fancied that even the gallant and intrepid 
General Winder (who commanded the Stonewall Bri- 
gade, to which we were temporarily attached) looked 
chagrined and gloomy. Not a few of us, I imagine, offi- 
cers as well as men, were secretly indulging in criticism 
of General Jackson for allowing us to be isolated as we 
had been, thirty miles in advance of the army. These 
anxieties came to a climax when, about eight o'clock, 
we heard the booming of artillery ahead of us. The 
men exchanged glances, but no one spoke a word, 
though the same thought was in every mind, "We are 


cut off now — it is all up with us." But not so! The 
guns we heard were Jackson's guns. He did not wait 
for Fremont to reach the valley pike, but advanced a 
part of his army several miles to meet him, threw 
out skirmishers, placed artillery in position, and 
opened upon the advancing Federals. In this way he 
held Fremont several hours till Winder and his bri- 
gade had time to make a junction with the rest of the 
army at Strasburg. How different our feelings then! 
Our spirits rose; we forgot our fatigue and were ready 
to sing 

"Baltimore, ain't you happy?" 

What the men said to each other then was of a differ- 
ent complexion, — "Old Jack knows what he's about! 
He'll take care of us, you bet!" From that hour we 
never doubted him. 

And now began the retreat of our army up the val- 
ley, vigorously pursued by the Federal army under 
General Fremont. On our left ran the Massanutten 
mountain, and on the other side of that great barrier 
was General Shields with his army of 10,000 men. 
Could these two armies unite, they would overwhelm 
us by superior numbers; but General Jackson did not 
intend that they should unite. It was his purpose to 
fight them separately, and having beaten one, then to 
throw himself upon the other. Meanwhile, our Mary- 
land regiment was given by Jackson the post of rear- 
guard, — an honor which we highly appreciated and 
were determined to show that we deserved. For a 
week this retreat continued, and we were under fire 
every day and nearly all day. We would be deployed 
as skirmishers to hold the enemy in check while the 


wagons and the ammunition train pursued its slow 
and tortuous course. A battery of our artillery co- 
operated with us in protecting the retreat of the army, 
saluting the Federals with shot and shell as they 
advanced — then limbering up and galloping off to 
a new position, while our skirmish line slowly with- 
drew, taking advantage of every little hillock, or clump 
of trees, or outcropping of rocks, to stop and fire upon 
the pursuing cavalry. This operation was constantly 
repeated during the day, and day after day. It was 
exciting and perilous and fatiguing work, but I think 
we did the business to "old Jack's" satisfaction. Now 
and then a cavalry dash would be made and the enemy 
would win some small advantage, but the trains were 
protected, and the army moved with due deliberation 
up from Strasburg to Harrisburg. 

Three miles beyond that place a severe engagement 
took place, in which the First Maryland took part, 
encountering and beating the gallant Pennsylvania 
" Buck-tail" rifle regiment. Among those who fell 
on our side was Turner Ashby — a great loss, for he 
was one of the most daring and skilful cavalry leaders. 
Jackson mourned his loss as irreparable. His daring 
feats of arms on his famous white charger had become 
the theme of song and story. In his report, Stonewall 
said of him: "His daring was proverbial, his powers 
of endurance almost incredible, his character heroic, 
and his sagacity almost intuitive in divining the pur- 
poses and movements of the enemy." This, I think, 
was on Friday, June 6th. Next day all was quiet. 
Our guns were silent the first time in fifteen days. 
Sunday morning, June 8th, I was sent for betimes by 
Brig.-General Geo. H. Steuart, who, after a brief ser- 


vice with the cavalry, had been assigned to an infantry 
brigade. I went at once to his headquarters, expect- 
ing a reprimand, or to be ordered under arrest, because 
I had, with John Gill, slipped out of the col umn in the 
dark and spent a night (or rather part of the night) in 
a house in Harrisburg, where we were refreshed with 
food and a wash. "Has the general found this out?" 
I said to myself. What was my relief when he informed 
me that he had decided to make me his aide-de-camp, 
as he had observed "that I had been a good soldier 
and had been the first man in the regiment to set the 
example of reenlisting for the war." I thanked him, 
and returning to my mess began packing my knapsack 
preparatory to moving up to headquarters. Observ- 
ing this, the men asked me what I was doing, and in 
reply I told them I was tired doing the duty of an infan- 
tryman and was going up to headquarters to be on 
the general's staff. I have mentioned that most of 
my immediate friends had preferred not to reenlist, 
and as the day approached (it was now only two weeks 
off) when our company was to be mustered out, I had 
been made the butt of many a gibe as to what would be 
my fate after that. I would, said they, be drafted into 
E.'s company — which was made up of roughs — and 
what would I do then? Well, now it was my turn to 
laugh, as I told them that the general said one reason 
he had selected me was that I had been the first to 

My cousin, Wm. Duncan McKim, had, previous 
to this, been appointed aide to General Trimble, and 
McHenry Howard had been given a place on General 
Winder's staff. 

I entered at once on my duties, but was embarrassed 



by the fact that I had neither horse, nor sword, nor 
spurs — and of course no uniform but my gray jacket 
with the chevrons of a sergeant on the left arm, having 
been made color sergeant not long before. I had 
hardly reached headquarters when the enemy was 
reported advancing, and in a very short time the bloody 
battle of Cross Keys, Sunday, June 8th, had begun. 
General Steuart bade me mount a beautiful black horse 
belonging to Major Kyle, the quartermaster, who was 
absent. I felt happy and proud when I found myself 
astride of that fine animal. 

I need not describe the battle that ensued. That 
has been done with admirable accuracy by Lieut.-Col. 
Henderson in his "Life of Stonewall Jackson," and 
by various other writers. Ewell, with 6,000 infantry, 
5 batteries, and a small cavalry force, defeated Fre- 
mont, with over 10,000 infantry, 12 batteries, and 
2,000 cavalry. It is amusing now to read Fremont's 
despatch to Shields, who was just across the mountain. 
"The enemy need only a movement on the flank to 
panic-strike them. No man has had such a chance 
since the war co mm enced. You are within thirty 
miles of a broken, retreating army." In two days 
that "broken army" was to smash up the two armies 
of Shields and Fremont, numbering 25,000 men! 

As the battle progressed, I was sent by General 
Steuart with a despatch to Major-General Ewell, who 
was in active command. I found him surrounded 
by his staff of young officers, well mounted and hand- 
somely equipped. He gave me an order to take back 
to General Steuart, but when I turned to go, Major 
Kyle's horse positively refused to face the very heavy 
artillery fire directly in front. In vain I dug my heels 


into his side. Whereupon General Ewell laughed aloud 
and said, "Ha! Ha! a courier without any spurs!" 1 
This, in the presence of his staff, was too much to bear 
patiently. I was very angry and felt the blood suffuse 
my face. To call me a "courier" when I was a "First 
Lieut, and A. D. C," with pay of 135 Confederate 
dollars per month and allowances, — almost enough 
by 1864 to purchase a pair of cavalry boots! And to 
do this before his whole staff on the field of battle! 
However, I could only swallow the affront and obey 
the general's suggestion, "Young man, you will have to 
go back another way." 

So I started back "another way," but before 
long struck a Virginia regiment lying down in the 
long grass in support of our batteries which were 
hotly engaged just in front. I reined up and asked 
if there was any officer who would lend me a spur, 
as I was bearing an important despatch and my 
horse would not "face the music" of the Parrots. 
Then up rose an officer, who, I afterwards learned, was 
Major John Ross. He kept rising till his stalwart fig- 
ure was six feet three inches in the air, then he stooped 
and unbuckled one of his spurs and handed it to me. 
I dismounted, buckled it on, remounted, and thanking 
the major, rode off, not by the "other way round," 

1 General Ewell is thus described by Gen. Dick Taylor in that 
racy volume of his " Destruction and Reconstruction " : 

" Bright, prominent eyes, a bomb-shaped, bald head, and a nose 
like that of Francis of Valois, gave him a striking resemblance to a 
woodcock; and this was increased by a bird-like habit of putting 
his head on one side to utter his quaint speeches." 

He was a bold horseman, a fine fighter, and a fine commander. 
He had a supreme admiration for Jackson, and used to say "he 
never saw one of Jackson's couriers approach without expecting an 
order to assault the North Pole! " 


but the direct way, across the bare horseshoe knoll, 
right in front, where, I think, all of our artillery was 
concentrated, and upon which the enemy's cannon were 
directed from several different points, like the spokes of 
the section of a wheel converging on the hub. It was 
a very hot place indeed, and the hottest spot was a 
little in rear of our batteries, where the lines of artil- 
lery fire met and crossed. I noted it in my diary as 
"a perfect hail of shell, cannon-balls, and bullets." 
My beautiful black was not to be blamed for not wish- 
ing to spoil his beauty in such a terrible place! But 
now, with the sharp spur plunged into his side, he had 
no option but to obey his rider; so away we went 
full speed across the infernal spot. Well, just in the 
middle of it, a round shot tore up the ground under- 
neath us and passed harmlessly to us on its deadly 
path, and at that moment my little infantry cap flew 
off my head. Then ensued in my mind a brief but 
fierce battle (it lasted just about one second) between 
Pride and Fear. Fear said, "If you get off this horse 
to pick up that cap, you are a dead man!" But Pride 
promptly replied, "You won't ride up to the general's 
staff with no cap on your head!" Well, Pride con- 
quered, and I was fool enough to rein up, dismount, 
and pick up my worthless cap, — but I enjoyed that 
immunity which the proverb says is given to children 
and fools, for neither my noble horse nor I was touched 
just then by any of the flying missiles of death. 

In that battle I saw two men absolutely overcome by 
"panic fear" — and I do not recall any other examples 
through the whole war. One of these was an artillery 
man who had taken refuge under the caisson, where 
he crouched trembling like a leaf. I saw a sergeant 


ride up and point a pistol at his head, saying, "Come 
out from under there and do your duty, and you'll 
have some chance of your life, but if you stay there, 
by the Eternal, I'll blow your brains out." I didn't 
stay to see what the result was. Then, shortly after, 
I saw another soldier crouching in terror behind a 
tree. The next moment came a round shot, which 
went through the tree and absolutely decapitated the 
man! Major Stiles tells a story of a little army dog 
named "Bob Lee," who became demoralized at the 
battle of Chancellorsville and took shelter behind a 
tree, "crouching and squatting as a demoralized man 
might have done." He, however, escaped with his 

I suppose these two men might, under other circum- 
stances and on other occasions, have stood up to their 
duty as good soldiers. He who, on one particular day 
and under certain mental or physical conditions, may 
play the coward, may be steady and true on another day 
in face of danger. It is certainly a familiar fact that 
the bravest troops are sometimes for some unaccount- 
able reason seized with panic. I may here say that I 
never felt inclined to dodge when a shell came shriek- 
ing through the air — simply because I always said 
to myself, "Why, you are just as liable to dodge your 
head into the shell as away from it — for you don't 
know at what point it will pass." 

Another thing I saw that day, which is, I think, 
unusual, was this : a Parrott shell leaped into the midst 
of a group of men and exploded, killing and wounding 
several. It was close to me, and I saw the shell as it 
dropped. That was the unusual circumstance, — to 
see the shell come. Later in the battle my beautiful 


black was shot under me. The ball went right through 
his head. I heard the "thud" as it struck, and then 
the noble animal tumbled and fell, but I quickly with- 
drew my feet from the stirrups and as he fell over on 
one side, I sprang off on the other. My first thought 
as he lay there before me was, "How shall I ever pay 
Major Kyle for that horse?" 

I left the field instantly to procure another horse, 
but before I returned, my chief, Gen. Geo. H. Steuart, 
had been shot by a canister ball, which pierced the 
upper part of the chest and lodged in the back. 

It was then my duty, as of his personal staff, to pro- 
cure an ambulance and carry him off the field, and after 
that to find quarters for him in some safe place within 
the lines. 

The battle ended, as all know, in victory for Ewell. 
Jackson was on the field, but did not interfere with 
his subordinate. No officer contributed more to the 
success than our gallant Marylander, General Trimble. 
During the beginning of the battle of Cross Keys 
a sharp encounter took place on the other side of the 
mountain at Port Republic between some of Jackson's 
force and the advance brigade and cavalry of General 
Shields. The latter were driven back in confusion and 
with serious loss. 

I find the following entry in my little diary on 
June 15th at the University of Virginia: 

"Here I have been since Wednesday morning with Gen- 
eral Steuart, who was wounded on Sunday in that terrible 
battle with Fremont's forces. This campaign with Jackson 
from May 23d to June 9th has been a most eventful one, 
fraught with danger and hardship beyond anything I have 
ever experienced. Yet God has brought me safely through 


it all. I have been in three pitched battles and numerous 
skirmishes. Last Sunday I had a horse shot under me, but 
my life has been graciously spared, and to-day I am a 
monument of God's merciful protection. . . . Last Sabbath, 
while riding backwards and forwards in a perfect hail of 
shell, cannon-balls, and bullets, I was deeply impressed 
with my entire dependence on God's care, and in gratitude 
for my preservation, I inwardly resolved to devote myself 
more perfectly to his service, and especially to urge my fellow 
men to repent and turn to God." 

The battle of Port Republic was fought the next 
day, and Shields' army was hurled back down the Luray 
valley in confusion, with heavy loss in killed, wounded, 
and prisoners. 

By these operations of Stonewall Jackson, McDow- 
ell's army of 40,000 men and 100 guns, which should 
have gone to McClellan's aid in his advance against 
Richmond, were held back, and thus Richmond was 



A S a member of the personal staff of Gen. Geo. H. 
** Steuart it was now my duty to be in attendance 
on him in the hospital until he should have recovered 
from his wound, or until he assigned me to some other 
duty. Accordingly I was a good deal with him at 
the University of Virginia, where he remained for some 
time during his convalescence. I also spent some 
time in Staunton, where I went to purchase a horse 
and other equipment — uniform, sword, pistol, spurs, 
etc. — suitable to my rank as a staff officer. While 
there I made the acquaintance of Miss Agnes Gray 
Phillips, who became my wife on the 26th of February, 

I would here make mention of the generous hos- 
pitality extended to all Confederate soldiers by Rev. 
R. H. Phillips and his wife. There my cousin, Major 
Wm. Duncan McKim, was nursed for months after 
his serious wound received at the battle of Sharpsburg, 
Sept. 22, 1862. There another cousin of mine, Joseph 
Irving, was nursed at a later stage of the war till he 
died. There all our soldiers, and especially exiled 
Marylanders, found ever a welcome and a home. All 
that hospitality and kindness and sympathy could 
do to cheer and help them was freely given in that 
lovely Christian home. 



The latter part of June I made a visit to Richmond 
to secure my co mmis sion and equipment. The fol- 
lowing letter refers to this period: 

Richmond, June 24, 1862. 
My dearest Mother: 

Still in Richmond, you see, though the 1st of June has come 
and gone, and still the "Young (very young) Napoleon" 
tarries outside the Capitol. It is almost impossible to realize, 
as I sit quietly at the table in Mrs. Nicholas' dining room, 
that there are two immense armies lying opposite each other 
scarcely five miles from the limits of the city. A battle 
may occur at any moment: when it comes it will be fearful 
in carnage and most momentous in its result; it will decide, 
it seems to me, whether our independence will be at once 
established or whether this war shall drag its weary and 
blighting length over years yet to come. But, mother, I 
have confidence in God's help and guidance and in the valor 
and fortitude of our Southern troops. You are wondering 
what I am doing here. Well, I will tell you. If you have 
received a letter I wrote you from Charlottesville last week, 
you know that I am now General Steuart's aide-de-camp, 
that he was wounded severely in the shoulder, that I came off 
the field with him and brought him to Charlottesville where 
he now is. I have just arrived here. My business is to get 
my commission and equipment. On my way I stopped in 
Lynchburg at Mrs. Blackford's. Saw Vinnie and her hus- 
band, and received from Mr. Tom Taylor the loan of a 
beautiful sword captured at Manassas; it has "U. S." on 
the hilt, but that means (for me) "United South." 

They were all very affectionate and kind. We are all 
brothers and sisters now in the South. I always feel sure 
wherever I am that I will be a welcome guest on account 
of the proud title I bear, "a soldier of the South." We are 
suffering many privations now; everyone is obliged to deny 
themselves the luxuries of life; you would be astonished at 


the universal scarcity of what were once considered the 
necessities of life. Tea is $10 a pound, for instance; fine 
uniform cloth $13.75 per yard; beef $1.00 per lb.; chickens 
$1.00 apiece, etc. But still you hear no complaint; the 
people seem willing to bear this, and much more, if necessary. 
It is astonishing to see how cheerfully people give up those 
nearest and dearest to them as sacrifices to the great cause. 
Nothing could surpass the devotion with which the ladies 
have nursed and watched the sick and wounded. They 
cook regularly for them themselves; all the delicacies are 
given up to them; the little white sugar left in the Con- 
federacy is always laid aside for them. It is beautiful on 
the other hand to observe the fortitude and patience which 
the wounded soldiers show in the hospitals. WKile at 
Charlottesville I several times went through one of the 
hospitals, and talked to some of the wounded, and read 
the Testament to them. One poor Georgian, dangerously 
wounded, interested me deeply. You know I have been 
through all that campaign with Jackson in the valley, and 
would not have missed it for my commission. If any 
American general is like Napoleon, he is. Our gallant First 
has been in the advance, and then covered the retreat 
all the way. It was badly cut up, but covered itself with 
glory. Phil Coakley slightly wounded — Willie Colston 
dangerously. These are the only two you know, except 
poor Nick Snowden who was killed. 

When the general was somewhat recovered, he 
ordered me to Richmond to open headquarters for the 
organization of the Maryland Line. This was early 
in August, 1862, but I cannot remember that much was 
accomplished there in that enterprise. 

During the s umm er the First Maryland Regiment 
was disbanded,Jts term of enlistment having expired. 
This was done at Charlottesville. Very soon — almost 


immediately afterward — the Maryland Battalion of 
infantry was organized. It was afterward known as 
the Second Maryland Regiment. 

Early in September, 1862, General Steuart, though 
still unfit for active duty in the field, was ordered to 
Winchester, and given command of the Maryland Line, 
then being organized there. It consisted of infantry, 
artillery, and cavalry. We, who were members of his 
staff, including Capt. Geo. Williamson, Lieut. McHenry 
Howard, Major Kyle, and myself, were much occupied 
in the duties connected with this organization and its 
equipment with arms, uniforms, and supplies. Our 
general had command also of the post and of the region 
of country in that part of the valley. The roads to 
Romney, to Martinsburg, and to Berryville were care- 
fully picketed. Prisoners were sometimes brought in 
from the front, once or twice in sufficient numbers to 
require a detail of a considerable number of men to 
escort them up the valley to Staunton. 

We had a busy but an uneventful autumn and win- 
ter. Owing to these post duties with my still disabled 
chief, I took no part in the stirring campaign which 
embraced the two great battles of Second Manassas 
and Sharpsburg, or in the winter campaign marked by 
the battle of Fredericksburg. And it was not until 
the following spring that General Steuart was able to 
resume active duty in the field. 

Of this whole period I have no diary to refer to, and 
therefore I pass it over, unwilling to rely on my memory 
for the narrative of events. This is of little moment, 
however, for I am not attempting in these pages to tell 
the history of the war, or to give a full record of my 
experience in it, but only to present such sketches of 


the life I led as may assist in a better understanding 
of the everyday experiences of the Confederate soldier 
in that great struggle. 

During a considerable part of this post duty at 
Winchester, I performed the duties of adjutant-general, 
Captain Williamson having been invalided to Staunton, 
where Major W. Duncan McKim was enjoying himself 
while he slowly recovered from his wound. The Second 
Maryland Infantry was with us there. Lieut. -Gen. 
Jackson was often in Winchester the early part of 
the winter. During this period I continued to write 
to my brother Telfair, urging that it was his duty to 
stay at home and care for his father and mother, who 
were growing old — and not come South to enter the 
army. It was hard for the gallant boy to take my ad- 
vice, but he did, though I know it took more courage 
than to shoulder a musket and follow Jackson. 

I insert here a letter referring to the life at Winchester 
at this time: 

Headquarters, Winchester, 
November 20, 1862. 
To mt Mother: 

Again I write a letter which I expect to leave behind 
me in Winchester when we evacuate the town. This time 
I think we shall certainly leave here, as some of the troops 
already have marching orders. Flying reports, which I 
don't believe, come to us of General Hill being defeated 
and General Longstreet attacked. Jackson, with a large 
army, is here, though, and we may be overwhelmed, but 
never defeated. General Steuart has been commandant of 
this post for more than two months, as you know, perhaps. 
He is charged with the rear-guard in the movement with 
the Maryland Line. This is the second time Marylanders 
have been the last to leave Winchester. I am sorry to leave 


it. I like some of the people very much, particularly the 
Courads, whom I know very well. They would correspond 
exactly with sister Mary's idea of refinement and culture. 
They have been very kind to me. I hope you may meet 
them. I will give this to them and possibly some lines, 
which mamma will recollect, "Wife, Children, Friends." 
Grandpa used to sing them. I have added three verses to 
the song and I want you to see them. 

George Williamson is in Staunton on sick furlough: I 
am acting adjutant-general. I have a great deal of work 
to do, and sometimes it gives me quite a bad headache. 
Of course George is staying at Mr. Phillips' and enjoying 
himself hugely. Duncan has left Staunton and is staying 
at Edge Hill. He has entirely recovered, I believe. All 
other friends are well, I believe. Yesterday I saw Mr. Hill 
of La., who stayed with Mr. Sam Smith on Park Street, 
and knew you all. I was in the office attending to business 
when he came in and enquired for Lieut. Randolph McKim. 
I have not yet received the letter sent by him. Have 
heard frequently from you lately, my last was Oct. 30th. 

Give my warmest love to all my friends in dear old Balti- 
more. I love them and my native town more the longer I 
am separated from them. I cherish no hopes that do not 
include Baltimore and Maryland in the bounds of our 
Confederacy. I love every stone and every tree in both 
of them, however much I may love the South and my 
Southern friends. They are all kind and good to me, but 
cannot take the place of those I have bid such a long 
farewell to. 

After serving as commander of the Post at Winches- 
ter for about three months, General Steuart found that 
his wound was growing worse and that he was unfit 
for the duties of the office. He therefore requested 


a furlough of three months, and took his departure for 
Savannah, Ga. This threw me out of active service, 
and some time in December, 1862, I went to Staunton 
and arranged to remain there until such time as Gen- 
eral Steuart should be able to take the field. 

Here I spent the Christmas of 1862, referred to in 
the following letter. The picture it gives represents 
a rare oasis in our Confederate experience. 

Staunton, December 27, 1862. 

We are just through the "festivities" of Christmas and 
Duncan and I have been wondering how you all enjoyed 
yourselves on that day. I said "the festivities" of Christ- 
mas; they consisted only of a very nicely prepared and 
beautifully set out family dinner. We had everything that 
you could think of, except ice-cream and iced fruit, etc. Our 
plum-pudding too did not have any raisins in it, but cherries 
made a very good substitute. Shall I give you our bill of 
fare? — Oyster Soup — Roast Turkey, Ham, Round of Beef, 
Fresh Beef, Fried Oysters, Lobster Salad — Hominy, 
Potatoes, Beans, Salsafy, Rice, Dried Fruit — Plum-pudding, 
Charlotte Russe, Jelly, Pound Cake, and Jelly Cake, Puffs, 
etc., and Java Coffee! That will do for the Southern Confed- 
eracy, where everybody is starving! You must not suppose 
people generally, however, are so fortunate. Mrs. Phillips 
is a capital housekeeper, and had large supplies of every- 
thing on hand when the war broke out. I only make this 
enumeration to show you how well Duncan and I fared on 
Christmas Day. The day was a very happy one to me. We 
had breakfast about nine, and then family prayers. We 
attended at the Episcopal Church and heard a beautiful 
discourse from Dr. Sparrow. I am much delighted with 
11 the dear old Doctor" as he is called. So much learning and 
piety are seldom found combined with so much simplicity 


of character and such childlike meekness and love. His 
prayers and his exhortations are peculiarly delightful. 

I utilized the time in Staunton (besides teaching a 
small class in Latin, French, and English) in general 
reading and in particular in the investigation of the 
question of primitive Church government. It was 
during this winter of 1862-63 that I finally decided 
to enter the Episcopal Church. 

My mother was an Episcopalian, having been con- 
firmed by Bishop Moore, and all but two of her eleven 
brothers and sisters were of the same faith. The 
Harrison family, which had been identified with Vir- 
ginian history since 1634, had always been of the Church 
of England. The same was true of the Randolphs 
and the Carters and the Carys — from all of which 
families my mother was descended. In Baltimore 
my mother and father had attended Christ Church 
when it stood east of the Falls, and also the second 
Christ Church on Gay Street, of which the two brothers 
Johns had successively been rectors. My first recol- 
lection of any church service was of this latter church 
and of Dr. Henry Johns vested in his black gown. 
Later my father decided to attend Dr. Plummer's 
Presbyterian Church, in which faith he had been 
brought up, and of that church I became a member 
when I was fifteen years of age. But at the Univer- 
sity of Virginia I had become much interested in the 
Episcopal service, so that now, when I was considering 
my preparation for the ministry, I decided to investi- 
gate the question of Church government for myself. 
The result of this decided me to become a candidate 
for orders in the Episcopal Church, which I did in 
the spring of 1863. 


My Uncle Peyton Harrison was a stanch Presby- 
terian, and when we met after the war, he said, "Well, 
Randolph, you have left the Church of your Fathers." 
"Yes," I replied, "I have returned to the Church of 
my Forefathers." 

When General Steuart's three months furlough ex- 
pired, he found himself still unfit for duty in the field, 
and as a consequence I became restless and dissatisfied 
at my long absence from the army. I had now been 
out of active service for four months. 

Accordingly I made application through my cousin, 
Major W. Duncan McKim, for an appointment on 
General Trimble's staff. This plan failed, as that 
general's staff was already excessively large. My 
cousin, however, wrote me that Gen. Rooney Lee 
(W. H. F. Lee) had expressed a desire to have me on 
his staff. However, before this could be consu mm ated, 
General Steuart wrote that he would shortly require 
my services. Of this I was glad, as I fully shared the 
sentiment expressed by my friend McHenry Howard, 
that a commission as captain of ordinance had no 
attraction for h im if it could separate him from the 
Maryland Line. We were proud of our State. We 
were fighting to set her free to choose her lot with North 
or with South, and we were confident what her choice 
would be. The army, never turned northward, but 
we began to hope that we should soon help to liberate 
our native State. That General Steuart would be in 
command of the Maryland Line, or some part of it, I 
did not doubt. And so the event proved, for at Win- 
chester in June, 1863, the Second Maryland Infantry 
was attached to his brigade. 



/^N Sunday, May 24th, 1863, I received orders to 
^-^ report to my chief, General Steuart, at Fredericks- 
burg. The great battle of Chancellorsville, which dis- 
played so brilliantly the military genius of both General 
Lee and General Jackson, had been fought on May 2d 
and 3d, resulting in a great victory for the Confederate 
Army. It has been described by an able military 
critic (Colonel Henderson) "as the tactical masterpiece 
of the nineteenth century." General Hooker's strategy 
appears to me worthy of all praise. It only failed 
because it was confronted by the superior strategy 
of Lee and by the indomitable valor of the army 
which he commanded. Sedgwick, with 22,000 men, 
was thrown across the Rappahannock River below 
Fredericksburg on April 29th. But this was not the 
real line of attack, but was meant to deceive Lee, 
while Hooker with the main body of his army was 
marching to the upper fords in order to turn Lee's 
right flank. This operation was carried out so suc- 
cessfully that, on the 30th of April, General Hooker 
issued a general order to his army, felicitating them 
and himself on what had been accomplished, in the 
following terms: "The operations of the last three 
days have determined that our enemy must either 
ingloriously fly, or come out from behind his defences 



and give us battle on our own ground, where certain 
destruction awaits him." 

He would have done well to remember the scriptural 
admonition, "Let not him that putteth on his armor 
boast as he that taketh it off." Lee was not deceived 
by the movement of Sedgwick on his right flank. He 
divined that the real attack would be on his left, 
and accordingly leaving Early with 9,000 men to 
hold Sedgwick in check, moved with Jackson to meet 
Hooker. The Federal general, with six army corps, 
was intrenched at Chancellorsville in an apparently 
impregnable position. To meet this host of more than 
90,000 men, Lee had but 48,000 of all arms, and it is 
not surprising that Hooker should have so confidently 
expected that with such a force in such a strong posi- 
tion on his left flank and Sedgwick with 22,000 men 
(perhaps as many as 30,000) moving on his right rear, 
the Confederate general would be compelled to retreat. 
His plan was admirably conceived, and thus far ad- 
mirably, as well as swiftly, executed. But there was 
an unknown quantity in the problem which upset all 
Hooker's calculations. That was the audacious strat- 
egy of Lee with the incomparable Jackson at hand to 
put it into execution. Hooker cannot be blamed for 
not anticipating the audacity of the plan which his 
great antagonist now proceeded to develop. Lee had 
already divided his army, by leaving Early at Deep 
Run, below Fredericksburg, twelve miles away. He 
now decided to still further divide it by sending Jack- 
son with his whole corps to turn Hooker's right flank 
and crush it by a sudden and unexpected blow, while 
he, with only two divisions, those of Anderson and 
McLaw, numbering less than 14,000 men, stood facing 


the great army of his antagonist, 70,000 strong at this 
point. In deciding upon such a plan, Lee took a tre- 
mendous risk, but a general who, with 57,000 men of 
all arms, is opposed to an army of more than twice 
his own numbers (130,000 was the strength of the 
Federal Army) can only hope for success by taking 
great risks. 1 Two circumstances justified this auda- 
cious movement, — first, that the density of the forest 
growth made it possible to screen the march of General 
Jackson around Hooker's right rear, and second, that 
Lee possessed in Stonewall Jackson a lieutenant who 
was so brilliantly qualified to execute it with celerity, 
with resoluteness, and with skill. 

With such secrecy and swiftness did Jackson march 
his corps around Hooker's right flank that he was in 
position to deliver his assault before the enemy had 
any information of his approach. It is almost pathetic 
to read Hooker's despatch to Sedgwick, dictated at 
4.10 p.m., May 2d, bidding him " capture Fredericks- 
burg and vigorously pursue the enemy," and adding, 
"We know that the enemy is fleeing to save his trains" 
— this while Jackson was actually preparing to launch 
the thunderbolt which was to overwhelm his right 
wing, inflicting a staggering blow upon "the finest 
army on the planet," and rendering abortive all the 
well-laid plans of its commander. 

Mr. Lincoln, in one of the most remarkable letters 

1 The Confederate Army was thus separated into three parts : Early 
ten or twelve miles away, southward, with 12,000 men facing Sedgwick 
with 23,000; Lee, with about 13,000, facing Hooker's entrenched force 
of 70,000; and Jackson with 30,000, marching twelve miles away to turn 
Hooker's right flank. Then there was Reynolds, with 16,000 Federal 
troops as a reserve corps. To all this host must be added the numerous 
Federal cavalry. 


ever addressed to the co mm ander of a great army, 
had given General Hooker, in closing, this advice, 
"And now, beware of rashness! Beware of rashness! 
but, with energy and sleepless vigilance, go forward 
and give us victories." I do not think he can be 
accused of rashness of action in this campaign, but 
he was certainly rash in speech when he boasted to 
his soldiers and to his officers of the certain defeat of 
the Confederate Army, — first, before he had struck a 
blow, and secondly, in the midst of the battle, at the 
very hour when Jackson's crushing blow was about to 
descend upon him. In his order book he displayed an 
audacity which is astounding — it surpassed the audac- 
ity of Lee on the field of battle — for, after his magni- 
ficent army had been driven defeated and humiliated 
across the Rappahannock, back into the. camps 
from which it had marched with such triumphant 
expectations a week before, General Hooker issued an 
order congratulating his army "on its achievements 
in the last seven days," and adding, "The events of 
the last week may swell with pride the heart of every 
officer and soldier in this army." 

It would be a work of supererogation for me to give 
any extended account of this famous battle, so thor- 
oughly described by various military critics, but I 
may make one or two further remarks to complete 
the general view I have given of the plan of Lee and 
the manner of its execution. After Jackson had fallen 
by the fire of some of his own men at dusk on the 2d 
of May, in the full tide of victory, Gen. J. E. B. 
Stuart, a soldier of whom Colonel Henderson, the Eng- 
lish critic, says that he was "no unworthy successor 
of Stonewall Jackson," had been placed in command 


of his corps, but he did not arrive until midnight, so 
that nothing could be done until the next morning. 
Then, in cooperation with Lee, he delivered blow after 
blow, with great effect, against the army of Hooker, 
and Chancellorsville fell- into the hands of the Con- 
federates. At this moment, ten a.m., when preparing 
an assault on Hooker's third line of intrenchments, 
which must have been fatal to the Federal Army, the 
arm of Lee is arrested by the news that Sedgwick has 
captured Marye's Heights at Fredericksburg, has swept 
Early out of his path, and is marching with his 25,000 
or 30,000 men on Lee's rear. 

This was disquieting news indeed. Lee had intended 
that Early should keep between him and Sedgwick. 
Instead, Early had retreated on the Plank road in the 
direction of Richmond. Thus he had become sepa- 
rated from Lee, and could render him no assistance. It 
was a critical moment. The battle was not yet won. 
On the contrary, it might easily be turned into defeat 
for Lee, with Hooker in his front and Sedgwick in his 

But the genius of Lee was equal to the emergency. 
He resolved on a movement "even more daring," says 
the Comte de Paris, "than that which, the day previ- 
ous, had brought Jackson upon the flank of the enemy." 
Suspending his attack on Hooker, he turned with 
McLaws' and Anderson's divisions, advanced swiftly 
against Sedgwick, attacked him, and drove him back 
over the river. This operation, necessary for Lee's 
salvation, was the means of delivering Hooker from 
his perilous situation; for when the Confederate chief- 
tain returned to strike Hooker the coup de grace which 
Sedgwick's advance on his rear had arrested, the 


Federal general had withdrawn his army and the next 
day he made good his retreat by the very fords which 
Jackson would have seized had he not been cut down 
by that deplorable accident. 

I will only add that the battle of Chancellorsville 
illustrates the cons umm ate genius and audacity of 
the two great Southern commanders not more con- 
spicuously than it displays the sublime devotion and 
intrepidity of the rank and file of the Confederate 

It had for me a painful personal interest (although 
I took no part in it myself) because my gallant cousin, 
Major Wm. Duncan McKim, was killed in the conflict 
of May 3d, during one of the assaults on the intrench- 
ments of Hooker. I was told afterward that he was 
the only officer in the division who remained mounted 
in the midst of that frightful hail of bullets, there in 
the thick woods. An officer of the Stonewall Bri- 
gade went to him and besought him to dismount — 
indeed remonstrated with him seriously upon the 
foolhardiness and uselessness of his keeping the saddle 
under the circumstances; and when he could not pre- 
vail upon him to take his advice, returned to his com- 
pany saying, "Well, it is only a question of minutes 
when he will fall." And so it was — very soon he was 
seen to reel in the saddle and fall to the ground. His 
death must have been almost instantaneous. But in 
fact it was not, I believe, foolhardiness that made him 
thus sacrifice his life. It appears that the day before 
he had received a severe contusion on the leg from a 
grapeshot, and the brigade surgeon told him he was 
unfit to go into the battle on the 3d. But Duncan could 
not be restrained. He got into the saddle somehow, 


and marched with his command. Then, when Capt. 
Wm. Randolph begged him to dismount, he refused 
because he knew he could not walk. He had been ever 
a gallant soldier, cool and fearless on the field of battle. 
At Sharpsburg in September, 1862, he had been shot 
through both thighs and was taken to the residence of 
Rev. R. H. Phillips, in Staunton, where he was tenderly 
nursed for months by Mrs. Phillips and her daughter 
Agnes. It was, I think, about the 1st of February, 1863, 
that Duncan returned to the field, though even then his 
wound had not entirely healed. I here pay my tribute 
of love and admiration to this noble man and brave 
soldier. Fascinating in manners, handsome in person, 
charming in conversation, high-spirited, a man of high 
ideals and warm affections, brave to a fault, and always 
good company, — there were few young men who laid 
upon the altar of the Confederate cause a more costly 
sacrifice than did he. 

I went to the battle-field about ten days, perhaps 
two weeks, after he fell, found the spot where he 
was buried, and had him disinterred. He had been 
wrapped in his blanket and buried without a coffin, 
and mother Earth had so closely held him in her 
embrace that when we lifted him up and unwound 
the blanket, he lay before us as perfectly preserved 
as if he had fallen only a few hours before. We buried 
him in the cemetery at Staunton, whence, upon the 
conclusion of the war, he was removed to Greenmount 
Cemetery, Baltimore. There he rests in peace — 
"Siste viator, heroa calcas." I was now the last sur- 
vivor of the three of my name who had entered the 
Confederate service at the outbreak of the war. 



rr^HREE weeks after the battle of Chancellorsville I 
•*■ received, as I have said, orders to report for duty 
at Fredericksburg, and on Wednesday, the 27th of May, 
I set out from Staunton for the army. 1 On Thursday, 
after a ride of twenty-seven miles, I reached General 
Lee's headquarters at 1.45 p.m. The general received 
me graciously and asked me to dine with him, which 
I was, of course, glad to do. The highest officer in the 
army would have esteemed it a great honor — what, 

1 Richmond, May 23, 1863. 
My dear Mr. McKm: 

I have just time to say that I received an order this morning to 
report to General Lee at Fredericksburg for assignment to duty, and will 
leave without delay. From what Gen. A. P. Hill said this morning, 
I expect to be assigned to command of a brigade in Jackson's old division. 
Come to Fredericksburg immediately by the shortest route, if they 
will not take your horse on the cars. It will be better anyhow to ride 
from Gordonsville to the army. I hope the battalion and staff officers 
will be ordered to join me. I fear the Maryland Line is broken up, 
never to be together again, the same as it was anyhow. It will be a 
great disappointment if I cannot have the staff officers with me, and 
the battalion after all the trouble I have had for more than a year 
past. I had hoped to have had command in the valley. When I 

see you I will have much to say. Mr. goes up in the morning 

and will take this. You will find me somewhere with the army. With 
the battalion I would have a magnificent brigade. 
Believe me, 

Most sincerely yours, 

George H. Steuart. 


then, were the feelings of a young "first lieutenant 
and A. D. C." in sitting down at the board of the great 
soldier who was the idol of the armies and the people 
of the South? The simple courtesy and genial hos- 
pitality of General Lee would have put me at ease, if 
I had been a stranger; but he had several times been 
a guest at my father's house in Baltimore, when he was 
in charge of the construction of Fort Sollers in the 
Patapsco River, so that I felt at home in his presence. 
Our families were on very friendly and fa mili ar terms. 
Indeed the general was a cousin of my mother, both 
being descended from the famous "King" Carter. 

As I talked with him after dinner, he cast his eyes 
across the Rappahannock to the camps of General 
Hooker's army and said to me, "I wish I could get at 
those people over there." That was the expression by 
which he uniformly designated the Federal Army. He 
was very friendly, talked of the days when he used to visit 
Belvidere, and inquired after my father and mother 
and my sisters. I spent that night, or the next, at 
the headquarters of Gen. Edward Johnson, who was 
to be such a familiar figure to me in battle in the 
approaching campaign. There I saw Carvel Hall, who 
gave me a full account of Duncan McKim's death, 
describing his magnificent gallantry. 

On Saturday, -the 20th, General Ewell arrived in 
camp with his wife — a new acquisition — and with 
one leg less than when I saw him last. From a mili- 
tary point of view the addition of the wife did not 
compensate for the loss of the leg. We were of the 
opinion that Ewell was not the same soldier he had 
been when he was a whole man — and a single one. 

I dined with General Colston, and later the same 



day General Steuart assumed command of the Third 
Brigade, and I the duties of assistant adjutant-general, 
in the absence of Captain Garrison. The brigade 
consisted of the following regiments: 

10th Virginia, Colonel Warren. 

23d Virginia, Lieutenant-Colonel Walton. 

37th Virginia, Major Wood. 

1st North Carolina, Colonel McDowell. 

3d North Carolina, Major Parsley. 

Major Stanard was our chief commissary, Capt. N. S. 
Byrd was acting quartermaster. The strength of the 
brigade was as follows: 

10th Virginia. 
37th Virginia 
23d Virginia 
1st North Carolina 
3d North Carolina 
Total present for duty 1941 

The Maryland regiment joined us later. 

I note that the daily ration was f lb. bacon and l| lbs. 
flour per man, and for every 100 men 6 lbs. of sugar, 
15 lbs. of peas, 2 lbs. soap, and 3 lbs. salt. 

The men were armed with long-range guns, calibre 
58. There were but 1,069 bayonets in the brigade 
and 1,480 muskets; 51,000 rounds of ammunition in 
the hands of the men, and 50,000 in the ordnance 

Four of our five regiments had chaplains : 

1st North Carolina, Rev. W. R. Gaultney (Baptist). 
3d North Carolina, Rev. Geo. Patterson (Episco- 

On the roll 627, 

present for duty 


" 740 





a it 





na " " 927 





la " " 921 






23d Virginia, Rev. Mr. Morton (Presbyterian). 
10th Virginia, Brother Balthus, Exhorter. 

My duties as adjutant-general were soon over. I 
barely had a chance to make out and send in the 
monthly report of the brigade when Captain Garrison 
arrived and assumed his duties, I taking again my 
proper office as aide-de-camp. 

That was my first Sunday with the brigade, and I 
attended service in the First North Carolina camp and, 
after a sermon by the chaplain, I rose and addressed 
the men. There was a large attendance. The influ- 
ence of the revival the preceding winter was still felt. 

In this connection I may mention that I had resolved 
when about sixteen years of age to devote myself to 
the Christian ministry. At the time I entered the 
University, at seventeen years of age, and during my 
course there, it was my intention to go to China as a 
missionary. It was not till later that I concluded I 
might be more needed at home than abroad. The 
inward call to preach Christ to my fellow men pressed 
strongly upon me in my camp life, and I find many 
entries in my little diaries showing my sense of respon- 
sibility in relation to it. Thus on June 3d: 

"Read, talked, and prayed with about fifteen men at a 
log house near camp. Gave them tracts. They asked my 
name and on my return, as I was riding by, they stopped 
me and asked what chapter it was I had read to them. It 
was the 27th Psalm, 'The Lord is my light and my salvation; 
whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of 
whom shall I be afraid? ' One of the poor fellows was under 
sentence of death." 

I found General Steuart very willing to have me 


conduct prayers in his tent in the evening; often the 
adjutant and he and I were the only persons present. 
The general read his Bible and Prayer-Book regu- 
larly. Throughout this thrilling campaign, I found 
many opportunities of trying to help my comrades 
and fellow officers in the spiritual life. Looking back 
now over forty-five years of ministerial life, I am 
prepared to say that in my whole experience I have 
never found men so open to the frank discussion of the 
subject of personal religion as the officers and men of 
Lee's army. The example of our great commander 
and of Stonewall Jackson and of "Jeb" Stuart — indeed 
of most of our officers of high rank — had much to do 
with this, in my estimation. 

So wide was the door of opportunity, and so great 
the need of consecrated men to preach Christ in the 
army, that I often wished I was already ordained and 
commissioned as a chaplain. There were occasions 
when I was mistaken for a clergyman. 

It was on the evening of June 3d that we received 
orders to break camp at Hamilton's Crossing, cook 
three days rations, and take up the fine of march 
northward. That day may be said to mark the open- 
ing of the Gettysburg campaign, although it does not 
appear that General Lee had yet formed his plans 
with definiteness — certainly he did not have Gettys- 
burg in his eye at that time. 

The army had been organized into three corps, 
commanded respectively by General Longstreet, Gen- 
eral Ewell, and General A. P. Hill. Longstreet had 
now his whole corps present, McLaws' division, which 
participated so effectively in the battle of Chancellors- 
ville, and the divisions of Hood and Pickett, which, 


unfortunately for Lee, had been at Suffolk and did 
not arrive in time, as Major-General French, in his 
Memoir, t hinks they ought to have done. These two 
divisions only were transported by rail direct from 
Richmond to the vicinity of Culpeper. McLaws' 
division marched June 3d. EwelTs corps followed 
on June 5th. A. P. Hill's was left at Fredericksburg, 
to make Hooker believe that Lee's whole army was 
still in front of him on the Rappahannock. The ruse 

Our division took up the line of march June 5th at 
two a.m. — this unusually early start being intended, 
I suppose, to prevent our movement being discovered 
by the gentleman who daily ascended in the balloon 
to spy upon us and report to General Hooker. We 
marched in the following order: 

The 2d Brigade, General Jones; 

The 4th Brigade, General Nicholls; 

The 3d Brigade, General Steuart; 

The 1st Brigade (Stonewall) ; 
all under command of Gen. Edward Johnson, a vigor- 
ous man and a stalwart fighter. Marching by way of + 
Massaponax Church and Spottsylvania Court House, 
we halted several hours at the latter place to let 
Early's division, also of Ewell's corps, pass us. In 
spite of our very early start we made only fifteen miles 
and went into camp about 2.30 p.m. 

Next day reveille sounded at three a.m. and by four 
a.m. we were in line, but received countermarching 
orders and returned to camp. 

About this time General Pleasanton, in command of 
Hooker's whole cavalry force, was making prepara- 
tions for crossing the Rappahannock and attacking 


"Jeb" Stuart, who, with the bulk of the Confederate 
cavalry, was camped near Brandy Station on the Rap- 
idan. It is just possible some rumor of this movement 
may have reached our commander and this may account 
for our countermarching. However, by three p.m. 
we were again in motion, and we " marched till night 
. . . and were overtaken by a violent rainstorm." 

June 7th we marched at 4.30 a.m. and struck the 
Plank road fourteen miles from Orange Court House. 
Verdiersville lay in our route and here "we filed right 
and took the road to Raccoon Ford, nine miles distant. 
The weather was fine, the roads excellent, the men in 
good spirits, but they have had no rations." One of 
them remarked good-humoredly, "They put a fellow 
in the guard-house now for taking a drink of water; 
and as to eating — that's out of the question." The 
same day we crossed the Rapidan, not at Raccoon, but 
at Somerville Ford, in the usual Confederate way. 
No pontoons for us! 

June 8th. Reveille at four, marched at six, passed 
through Culpeper Court House at -10.30 a.m., and 
camped at three p.m. 

It was at this time that I began to become acquainted 
with Rev. Geo. Patterson, chaplain of the Third North 
Carolina Regiment, who had two conversations with 
Duncan McKim, and administered to him the holy 
communion the Sunday before he fell. Though I 
was on the staff, he asked me if I was a clergyman — 
some of the officers had told him so. That evening 
at dusk, in the tent of Major Parsley of his regiment, 
we solaced ourselves by singing songs. Patterson 
was present. I found the men all much attached to 
him — malgre his eccentricities and his very rigid 


churchmanship. He was a true and a brave man and 
did his duty faithfully as he understood it. Before the 
war he had been a chaplain on a plantation of North 
Carolina, where there were 500 negroes, of whom 180 
were communicants of the Episcopal Church. The 
master paid him a salary of $3,000 a year for his ser- 
vices as chaplain. "Their chapel was too small to hold 
them at daily morning and evening prayer." Though 
they could not read, they joined earnestly in the re- 
sponses, having committed them to memory. He had 
also taught them one or two of the Psalms, so that 
they repeated them responsively in the service. By 
the master's orders no work was done on fast days or 
feast days, nor of course on Sundays. Such was Pat- 
terson's influence over them that the previous winter 
he had "brought away 175 of them out of the Federal 
lines, under shell fire and without any guard, and 
entirely of their own accord." He told them Lincoln 
had made them all free, but had no right to do it, 
and they would be sinful to leave their masters, but 
could do as they chose. And I was told that not one 
of the 500 ran away. 

Tuesday, June 9th, was an eventful day. As we 
marched toward Sperryville, cannonading was heard 
in the direction of Culpeper Court House. We halted 
instantly and soon orders came to march back. This 
was about three in the afternoon. General Pleasan- 
ton after a night march had crossed the Rappahannock 
at two points with the intention of destroying General 
Stuart's cavalry, which was massed in Culpeper County. 
In a very severe fight, characterized by great gallantry 
on both sides, our superb J. E. B. Stuart had routed 
both of Pleasanton's brigades and captured a good 


deal of his artillery and hundreds of his troopers. 
Again, as at Chancellorsville, General Stuart showed 
a very high degree of skill in handling his brigades. 
Owing to the thick fog on the river, the Federal cavalry 
were able to cross without being discovered, and the 
Confederates were taken by surprise; but by the valor 
of the officers and men, both of the cavalry and artil- 
lery, and by the brilliant leadership of their chief, the 
tide of battle was turned, and both Gregg and Buford 
driven back over the river, Stuart having beaten them 
in detail. 

It was a hard-fought battle — this of Brandy Sta- 
tion. " General Gregg's battery was captured .and 
recaptured several times." Doubtless it was to guard 
against the possible emergency of Stuart's defeat that 
our brigade was ordered back toward Cuipeper, 

Notwithstanding these stirring events, we had eyes 
for the beautiful scenery through which we were pass- 
ing, as the following extract shows: 

Camp near Ctjlpeper, 
June 9, 1863. 
To my Mother: 

We left Fredericksburg, as you know, on Friday and have 
been on the march ever since until to-day. We came through 
Spottsylvania C. H. and struck the plank road to Orange 
a few miles from Verdiersville. There we turned off to the 
right and took the road to Somerville Ford, which is a few 
miles above Raccoon Ford on the Rapidan. This brought 
us through a beautiful country and we began to catch 
glimpses of the distant Blue Ridge. The view from the crest 
of the hills which extend along the south bank of the Rapidan 
was enchanting. The ground sinks almost precipitately 
within a hundred yards of the river. The river itself was 


swollen from the recent rain, and the water as red as Albe- 
marle soil. The banks on either side were lined with wil- 
lows which dipped their branches in the stream and made 
a beautiful feature in the landscape. Just above the ford 
there was a waterfall and an old mill in the last stages of 
decay. The north bank rises more gradually. Just upon 
the s ummi t of a little knoll opposite the ford two tall chimneys 
mark the spot where once stood a large old-fashioned country 
house. From this point the ground ascends very gently 
and broad fertile fields he on either side of the road, with 
here and there a pretty white cottage. Beyond rises the 
Piedmont Range and the dim blue mountains form the back- 
ground. You can better imagine than I describe, how 
beautiful the aspect which was spread out beneath us for 
miles as we reached the crest of the range of hills I have 
described. Now cast your eye down the road that leads 
to the ford and see that dense column of men stretching 
down to the river, across its swollen current up the farther 
bank, and extending for miles until lost where the road 
enters a thick grove of trees. Many of the men took off 
shoes and stockings, but some regiments marched straight 
through without breaking ranks. The water was nearly 
waist deep, but the men pushed on with shouts, in fine 
spirits. It was one of the most picturesque scenes I have 
ever witnessed, and the second of the kind in which I have 
borne a part since the war began. It was Sunday, but the 
air was fresh and cool, the roads in splendid order, and I 
enjoyed the march very much. . . . The orders about rails 
have been very strict and the general ordered me to go 
through every regiment in the brigade and see if there 
was a single rail taken, and if so, to make the men carry 
it back to the fence. It was a very disagreeable duty, and, 
I felt, put me in the light of a spy before the men. Still, 
I made no complaint, but rode up and down our five regi- 
ments, among the poor weary fellows, and executed his order 
faithfully. When I returned, and had unsaddled and un- 


bridled, I reported to the general, and he ordered me to 
saddle up again and ride through the wagon yard and search 
for rails. This provoked me, and the discomforts of our 
mess arrangements added to my vexation, and induced me to 
write as I did. Let me tell you now what a good dinner 
we had yesterday. I exchanged a pound of sugar for more 
than half a pound of fresh butter and a quart and a half 
of buttermilk. Then we had some bread toasted and some 
black-eyed peas boiled and some ham fried, and though we 
ate with our pen-knives, we enjoyed it very much. 

June 10th we resumed our march, but not till four 
p.m., and at dark were only fourteen miles beyond Cul- 
peper Court House, and six miles this side of Sperry- 

June 11th we again had an early reveille and marched 
at 4.30 a.m., passing through Spenyville and Little 
Washington, and making camp at 1.30 p.m., having 
made sixteen miles. 

Friday, June 12th, we had reveille at three, and at 
4.30 a.m. took up our march via Flint Hill for Front 
Royal, where we arrived at two p.m. 

"Dined luxuriously (!) with Samuels, inspector of our 
brigade. At four we crossed the Shenandoah on Confed- 
erate pontoons — that is, by wading straight through in 
column of fours. Forded both branches, the men cheering 
and in fine spirits. I never saw a ford so well made. The 
march has been remarkable, scarcely any stragglers. Made 
twenty-three miles to-day and two fords. Halted fourteen 

miles from Winchester at dark. Supped with Mrs. , 

a very pretty and very rebellious lady! Probability of a 
fight to-morrow. Held prayers!" 

This march of Ewell's corps was remarkable in sev- 
eral respects. In the first place four brigades of infan- 


try with baggage and ordnance trains had marched 
from Fredericksburg to Winchester in seven days, 
though one day had been lost by a countermarch. 
(The itinerary I have given shows a succession of very 
early starts from two a.m. to four a.m.) In the next 
place, the movement was so well planned and carried out 
that the Federal commander-in-chief had no idea that 
Ewell had left his camp at Hamilton's Crossing. Stu- 
art's cavalry screened the inception of the movement 
and after we got a good start the Blue Ridge masked 
our march. That so large a force should have been 
withdrawn from General Hooker's front without his 
having an inkling of it, in spite of his balloon, and 
that this force should have marched from the Rappa- 
hannock River to the lower valley without being dis- 
covered by the Federal scouts, is truly astonishing. 
It is not creditable to General Hooker, or to his chief 
of cavalry, General Pleasanton, or to his chief of 
scouts, whoever he was. 

And now Ewell was preparing to swoop down upon 
General Milroy, like an eagle on his unsuspecting prey. 
That officer was in command of an army of 9,000 men, 
and was occupying Winchester, which he had strongly 
fortified. He did not dream that any of Lee's infantry 
had crossed the Blue Ridge. He had been warned of 
a possible raid by Stuart's cavalry, but that he did not 
fear. Indeed for weeks the minds of Hooker and Pleas- 
anton seem to have been wholly preoccupied by that 
cavalry raid of Stuart, which they were certain he was 
preparing. The way in which this idea held them 
amounted almost to an obsession. 

As to the advance of Lee's army, which had been 
going on for a week, this is what Milroy says in 


his self-exculpation for being caught napping by 

"I deemed it impossible that Lee's army with its 
immense artillery and baggage trains could have 
escaped from the Army of the Potomac and crossed 
the Blue Ridge through Ashby's, Chester's, and Thorn- 
ton's Gap, in concentric columns. The movement 
must have occupied four or five days; notice of its 
being in progress could have been conveyed to me by 
General Hooker's headquarters in five minutes, for 
telegraphic communication still existed between Balti- 
more and Winchester." 

But no notice or warning of Ewell's approach came 
to him, and when on the 12th he sent out the 12th 
Pennsylvania Cavalry on a reconnoissance in the direc- 
tion of Front Royal, and its commanding officer re- 
ported to Milroy that at Cedarville, about twelve 
miles from Winchester, he encountered a large force 
of the enemy composed of cavalry, infantry, and 
artillery, — the general discredited the report. 

Out of this false security the Federal general at 
Winchester was rudely awakened by the guns of Ewell 
on June 13th about 11.30 a.m. Our brigade moved 
at 4.30 a.m., our men much fatigued. We were to 
support the Stonewall Brigade. 

"Early begins the attack on the Strasburg road. Occa- 
sional artillery firing all day. Heavy rain in the after- 
noon [which probably delayed operations]. About nine p.m. 
I was ordered to post three companies on picket on our 
right flank. It was very dark ana stormy, and having with 
difficulty got the men together, I led them through the 
thick undergrowth and at last struck the road. Became 
thoroughly drenched and much fatigued. With ditches, 


fences woods to obstruct, I did not finish my task till eleven 
o'clock, when I regained camp only by the sagacity of my 
horse. Slept in the rain covered by a wet blanket. 

" As usual, Sunday was the day of the real battle. Though 
we expected to be in the assault on Milroy's strong works, 
it fell to the lot of Early's Brigade on the opposite side of 
the fort to do this. It was a picturesque battle. Early's 
Artillery opened vigorously on the north of the forts. We 
could see the flash of his guns, sixteen discharges per minute, 
while the Stars and Stripes waved defiantly amid the bursting 
shells in the rolling smoke, the sun sinking red and angry 
behind the western clouds, the advance and retreat of the 
skirmishers with the sharp crack of the rifle, while cavalry 
and artillery gallop into position and infantry file in column. 
This, with the frowning line of breastworks along the range 
of hills on the left of the Martinsburg road, forms a scene 
I have leisure to admire and note down, as I sit on my horse 
on an eminence comparatively safe from danger." 

The rebel yell of Early's men, as they charged posi- 
tion after position, could be plainly heard above the 
din of battle. Our own brigade had taken a position 
east of the forts and the Martinsburg road and north- 
east of Winchester, where we could protect the right 
flank of our division. We were expecting every moment 
to be ordered forward, but the order did not come, and 
at no time during the battle were we heavily engaged. 
I heard some of our men chaffing and joking about 
the expected charge. One said, "When we charge 
the intrenchments, boys, recollect the crackers inside." 
"Yes," replied his comrade, "but they'll serve out 
rations of ammunition to us first." A third "jolly 
Reb" took up the conversation with the remark, "Well, 
if Mr. Early's gang and Mr. Rodes' gang would charge 
those works without us I wouldn't mind." Then 


another, "It's a lottery business, if we go in." "Yes," 
was the rejoinder, "and some of us will draw a capital 

I give this as a sample of the way our men would 
crack jokes with one another on the very edge of battle. 
The fighting continued after the sun had disappeared. 
The flashes of the guns in the succeeding darkness 
produced a lurid, weird effect. The operations of the 
day had given us possession of the outer defences of 
Milroy's position. It remained to complete on the 
following day the work so well begun. 

But would the Federal general, thus hemmed in 
by superior forces, wait to be attacked next morning? 
There was apprehension that he would make an effort 
during the night to withdraw his forces. 



TN anticipation of such an attempt as referred to at 
-*■ the close of the preceding chapter, the brigade of 
General Steuart moved, as soon as night set in on Sun- 
day, June 14th, down the Benyville pike to its junc- 
tion with the road to Jordan's Springs, where it turned 
head of column left so as to strike the Winchester and 
Martinsburg pike at a point about four and a quarter 
miles from the former place, at Stephenson's Depot. 

Here, at 3.30 a.m., a halt was made at a wooden 
bridge which carried the road across the railroad cut, 
about 400 yards from the Martinsburg pike, which 
ran at right angles to the road. Gen. Edward Johnson, 
our division commander, rode across the bridge with 
some staff officers to reconnoitre. I happened to be 
in front and was thus the first to discern in the dim dusk 
of early morning the approach of a column of the 
enemy's cavalry. The leading files fired and wheeled, 
and I sent a pistol shot after them. The expectation 
of our officers was justified — Milroy had evacuated 
the forts and was retreating to Harper's Ferry. There 
ensued a severe and hotly contested engagement. 
General Milroy had his whole force behind him, while 
only part of one of Johnson's brigades was up, viz., 
our own, with a strength of less than 2,000 men, a 
battery of artillery and no cavalry. At first, indeed, 



we had less than half that number in position to con- 
test the advance of the enemy. 

Our infantry was at once formed in the railroad 
cut to the right and left of the bridge just mentioned. 
The enemy came bravely on in our front, cheering and 
firing. Their fire passed for the most part over the 
heads of our infantry posted in the railroad cut, and 
partially protected by the embankment, but the gen- 
eral and staff officers on horseback on the nearer side 
of the railroad cut were much exposed. The Tenth 
Virginia and the First and Third North Carolina regi- 
ments alone stood the brunt of the first attacks, until 
our battery of artillery arrived (Dement's), when two 
guns were unlimbered on a slope in rear of our fine 
and to the left of the road, while the intrepid officer in 
command pushed one gun forward and planted it on 
the bridge flush with our firing line, and another to the 
left and rear. Both these pieces were in easy musket 
shot of the enemy. Our artillery fire demoralized the 
enemy a great deal, as they could not reply, having 
abandoned all their artillery in the Winchester forts in 
their retreat. After the failure of their first and second 
frontal attacks on the bridge, they sought to turn our 
left flank by a force of cavalry and infantry which 
General Johnson, "old Alleghany" as he was called, 
met by for min g a line perpendicular to our front line 
with part of the Louisiana Brigade which had just 
come up. I can see him now, as I write, riding up and 
down, vehemently giving orders, and waving the big 
cane which he carried instead of a sword, because of 
the lameness which resulted from his wound at the 
battle of Alleghany. His bravery and regardlessness 
of danger was an inspiration to the men, who responded 


with alacrity to his example. The staff officers had a 
busy time in carrying out the orders of our chiefs at 
this stage of the battle. It was now that I had a nar- 
row escape. In riding from our centre to the left 
flank I rode a little too high on the slope occupied by 
our artillery before mentioned, when, at one of the 
discharges, a solid shot from one of our guns passed 
so close to my head that the wind of it almost knocked 
me from my horse. 

While this effort to turn our left flank was still in 
progress, Milroy made a vigorous attack upon our right, 
which rested in a wood, and was "refused" at a sharp 
angle toward our rear. Thus we were assailed in 
front and on both flanks, and for some time our right, 
was in great danger, until the old Stonewall Brigade, 
arriving in the nick of time, saved the position there. 

The centre now engrossed our attention, for the 
enemy were making desperate efforts to break through 
at the bridge. The situation was serious, for the am- 
munition of the Third Brigade was all but exhausted — 
one round only left. That little wooden bridge wit- 
nessed one of the most superb displays of dauntless 
intrepidity that was seen during the whole war. The 
men serving the piece planted there were fearfully 
exposed. It was the key of our position, and the fire 
of the enemy was especially directed to disabling that 
gun, which had so long held them at bay. Lieut. 
C. S. Contee was in command. His men fell around 
him till all were killed or wounded but hims elf and 
one other, but they continued undauntedly serving 
their piece in its perilous position, unsupported except 
by a line of bayonets below in the railway cut. At 
every discharge the recoil carried the gun almost over 


the side of the bridge, but before it could roll over, , 
these brave men were at the wheel rolling it back into 
its place. Two sets of c ann oneers, thirteen out of 
sixteen, were killed and disabled. 

But now Lieutenant Contee's leg was broken, and 
there was but one man left (he is living to-day), and 
he could not serve the gun alone. The enemy were 
pressing forward in another determined charge when 
Lieutenant Morgan and I came to the help of the one 
hero remaining on the bridge unh urt. 1 I had seen the 
desperate situation of the gun and had ridden up as 
rapidly as my tired horse could cany me to see if I 
could render any help. Springing from my horse 
and throwing the reins over the arm of a poor fellow 
lying wounded in the fence corner, I ran to the caisson, 
and taking four canister shot in my arms, ran up the 
bank to the bridge where Morgan met me. Together, 
with the assistance of the one cannoneer, we served 
the Federals with grape and canister just in time to 
smash up their charge and save the bridge. They were 
within less than forty yards of it. I then mounted my 
horse (who was wild with excitement) and set out 

1 1 append an extract from the Report of Major-Gen. Edward 
Johnson, Rebellion Records, vol. xxvn., p. 502. " Before closing this 
report, I beg leave to state that I have never seen superior artillery 
practice to that of Andrew's battalion in this engagement and especially 
the section under Lieutenant (G.S.) Contee (Dement's battery), 
one gun of which was placed on the bridge above referred to, and the 
other a little to the left and rear. Both pieces were very much exposed 
during the whole action. Four successive attempts were made to 
carry the bridge. Two sets of cannoneers (13 out of 16) were killed 
and disabled. Lieutenant^Colonel Andrews and Lieutenant Contee, 
whose gallantry calls for special mention, fell wounded at this point. 
Lieutenant John A. Morgan, First North Carolina Regiment, and 
Lieutenant Randolph H. McKim took the place of the disabled cannon- 
eers, rendering valuable assistance, deserving special mention." 


in a full run for reinforcements. Meeting two regi- 
ments of Nichol's Brigade, commanded by Colonel 
Williams, I cried to them to hurry forward and save 
their comrades and the fortunes of the day at the 
bridge. The Louisianians readily responded, but their 
commanding officer, " thinking it best not to expose 
himself ," declined to accept orders from me, which 
of course he had a perfect right to do. Whether he 
ought to have refused my appeal is another question. 
General Steuart was on the right and Major-General 
Johnson on the left. In the centre there was no gen- 
eral officer, so there was no one who could command 
the regiments to move forward. At length they 
responded to my appeal, however, and moved forward 
to support the Third Brigade, but by this time the 
enemy had had enough of Morgan's canister and gave 
over the attempt to capture the bridge. 

Captain Garrison now went to the rear after the 
a mmuni tion wagons, and was nearly captured by a 
body of the enemy which had gotten in our rear between 
us and our wagon train. Fortunately they were only 
intent on making their escape. 

By this time our whole division was up, and the 
advantage in numbers, which for several hours had been 
with the Federals, was now with us. The Stonewall 
Brigade on our right, led by General Walker, now 
charged with a yell and swept the enemy before them. 
Beaten back at every point and unable to break our 
lines, the enemy in our front surrendered. The num- 
ber of prisoners captured in this battle was upward 
of 3,000. Total here and at Winchester more than 
4,000. Also a train of about 200 wagons, 22 pieces 
of artillery (taken at Winchester): viz., 15 three-inch 


rifles, 5 twenty-pound Parrott guns, and 2 eighteen- 
pounder howitzers. The enemy's loss at Stephenson's 
Depot, in killed and wounded, was heavy, ours much 
less. General Milroy with his cavalry succeeded in 
making his escape. Colonel Mosby, in his recent book, 
says Ewell had plenty of cavalry. If so, I never saw 
them, and it is a pity that General Ewell did not dis- 
cover them and send them to intercept Milroy on this 

Thus the battle of Stephenson's Depot terminated 
successfully for Ewell — disastrously to Milroy. The 
operations of the 13th, 14th, and 15th were a complete 
surprise to the authorities in Washington. As late 
as the 14th a telegram from General Halleck informed 
General Schenck that it was " reported that Long- 
street's and Ewell's Corps had passed through Cul- 
peper Court House in the direction of the Valley." In 
fact Longstreet was still encamped in Culpeper County 
on the 14th of June, and it was not till the 15th, the day 
of the battle at Stephenson's Depot, that his three 
divisions — Hood's, McLaws', and Pickett's — took 
up the line of march northward. But though this 
affair ended in disaster to Milroy, it was a close call. 
G. H. Steuart's Brigade arrived at the bridge in the nick 
of time. One hour later, or even half an hour, would 
have been too late. And it was with great difficulty 
Steuart was able to hold his own against Milroy's 
determined attacks with superior numbers during 
the first hour of the engagement. But for the heroism 
of those Maryland cannoneers serving the gun on the 
bridge and the other near by, Milroy's infantry must 
have broken through and escaped, with disastrous 
results to the Third Brigade. They stood to their guns 


till fifteen out of sixteen fell, and even then the one 
man remaining on the bridge would not give up the 
gun. But the question arises, Ought such a risk to 
have been incurred? If there was apprehension that 
the enemy would try to escape by that road, ought 
not at least two or three brigades have been there to 
meet him, instead of one? The others were so far 
back that they arrived almost too late to save that 
one from disaster. 

All honor to the men of Steuart's Brigade for what 
they did that morning. I visited the battle field 
many years after, and thought I recognized the very 
fence corner where the wounded soldier lay who allowed 
me to hitch my horse to his arm, while I ran to Contee's 
help on the bridge. Some three years ago I was 
attending the decoration of the graves of the Confed- 
erate dead in Arlington Cemetery, and was sitting on 
the platform waiting for my turn to speak, when an 
arm was thrust up from the crowd below and my 
hand warmly grasped. The owner, looking up, said, 
"I was one of the men lying wounded on the bridge 
that day at Stephenson's, when you came up." 



ON Wednesday, June 17th, at two p.m. we took up 
our line of march northward, halting at Smith- 
field, and marching again next morning at four. This I 
have noted as a "very oppressive march" — probably 
because of the heat. We crossed the Potomac near 
Shepherdstown on Thursday about half past two. 
My chief, Gen. G. H. Steuart, and I rode side by side 
through the river, and our horses' feet touched the 
sacred soil of our native State at the same moment; but 
before I could guess his intention the general sprang 
from his horse, and dropping on his hands and knees, 
kissed the ground. This act of his was the expression 
of a feeling of love and loyalty which was deep and 
strong in the hearts of us all. We loved Maryland. 
We were proud of her history, of her traditions. We 
felt that she was in bondage against her will, and we 
burned with desire to have part in liberating her. She 
had not seceded. There was no star in the Confederate 
battle flag to represent Maryland. But we believed, in 
spite of the division of sentiment in the State, that if 
she had been free to speak, her voice would have been 
for the South. At the very inception of the struggle, 
her Legislature had been invaded by the military arm, 
and a number of its members had been thrown into 



prison, but the last act of that Legislature, before it 
was deprived of its liberty, was to pass a resolution 
declaring coercion an unconstitutional act, subversive 
of freedom, and expressing its sympathy with the 
South and its desire for the recognition of the Southern 

Marylanders who joined the Confederate Army are 
sometimes blamed for their act, on the ground that 
they had not the excuse which the men of Virginia 
and other Southern States had, that they were obeying 
the mandate of their native State in the course they 
pursued. But the State of Maryland, in its last free 
utterance, had in effect forbidden her sons to aid in 
the subjugation of the Southern States, on pain of par- 
taking in the crime of subverting liberty. Had we 
then remained at home, we should have been liable 
to conscription in the armies raised for this very pur- 
pose — the subjugation of the Southern States. Were 
we not, then, justified by our loyalty to our State in 
exiling ourselves from Maryland to avoid having part 
in a service which she had branded as an assault on 
constitutional liberty? And if our State had declared 
by the voice of her Legislature that the Southern Con- 
federacy ought to be recognized, did not loyalty to 
Maryland justify our act in giving what aid we could 
for the establishment of the independence of the 
Confederacy? In fact, as the case presented itself to 
our minds, we were compelled to choose between the 
love of the Union and the love of liberty. We could 
not feel ourselves blameworthy, because we preferred 
Liberty without Union to Union without Liberty. I 
speak now of what we believed — of our deep and 
solemn convictions. Those who differ with us may 


challenge, if they will, the correctness of our judgment; 
they cannot fairly impeach our patriotism. 

Believing as we did that the war was a war of sub- 
jugation, and that it meant, if successful, the destruc- 
tion of our liberties, the issue in our minds was clearly 
drawn as I have stated it, — The Union without Lib- 
erty, or Liberty without the Union. And if we are 
reminded that the success of the Federal armies did 
not involve, in fact, the destruction of liberty, I answer 
by traversing that statement, and pointing out that 
during all the long and bitter period of "Recon- 
struction," the liberties of the Southern States were 
completely suppressed. Representative government 
existed only in name. In the end, by the blessing of 
God, the spirit of the martyred Lincoln prevailed over 
the spirit of despotism as incarnated in Thaddeus 
Stevens and Charles Sumner, and after long eclipse 
the sun of liberty and self-government again shone 
south of Mason and Dixon's line. 

There were not less than twenty thousand Mary- 
landers who went into voluntary exile that they might 
fight for the Southern cause, and wherever they were, 
in whatever branch of the service, they made an honor- 
able name for fortitude and valor. Many of them 
rose to positions of distinction. Maryland furnished 
three major-generals to the Confederate Army and 
eleven brigadiers. I may repeat here what I have 
written elsewhere, that "to be a Confederate soldier 
meant for the Marylander, in addition to hardship and 
danger, exile from home and kindred. It meant to 
be cut off from communication with father and mother, 
brother and sister, and wife. It meant to have an impen- 
etrable barrier of forts and armies between him and all 


he loved and cherished best in the world. Oh, the lone- 
liness of the Maryland soldier of the Confederate Army 
on his solitary post, when on guard duty — or in the 
silence of the night wrapped in his blanket under the 
stars — or lying wounded on the battle field, or sick 
in hospital! Oh, the unutterable longing then for the 
faces of those whom he had left behind!" 

It was natural, then, that whenever in our campaign- 
ing we came in sight of the hills or the shores of Mary- 
land, our men would be wrought up to a high degree 
of excitement, and the hope would leap up in our hearts 
that we might soon be marching triumphantly to our 
old homes again. 

The Second Maryland Battalion (successor to the first 
regiment, which had been mustered out in the s umm er 
of 1862) was about this time attached to Steuart's 
Brigade; and when we reached Shepherdstown on 
Thursday, June 18th, on our way to cross into Mary- 
land, it was given the front of the column. The cit- 
izens of the town — especially the ladies — gave us 
an enthusiastic reception. The general and all his 
staff had bouquets presented them. It was a gala 
day for the Maryland men. When we were well over 
the river and had gone into camp, the Maryland bat- 
talion had songs and great rejoicings, and Lieut. Jas. 
Franklin made an appropriate address. I made this 

" It was an hour full of hope long deferred, and now, 
actually on the soil of my native State, which my feet have 
not pressed since the first of May, 1861, I find it difficult 
to realize that it is not all a dream." 

The following Sunday, June 21st, found us camped 
near the battle ground of Sharpsburg, which had been 


fought Sept. 17th, 1862. With intense interest we 
recalled the thrilling story of that tremendous conflict, 
the bloodiest of the war up to that time, when Lee, 
with 35,000 men, held his ground successfully against 
McClellan with 87,000, in that fierce struggle, when 
American manhood on both sides displayed its highest 
qualities of valor and intrepidity. That the Federal 
general, when the disposition of Lee's several corps 
was revealed to him by the mysteriously intercepted 
despatch, should not have destroyed the Confederate 
Army in detail, separated as its two wings were, must 
forever tarnish his reputation as a co mm ander, excel- 
lent as he was as an organizer and as a tactician! A 
study of this battle reveals the marvellous intrepidity 
and determination of General Lee. He stands out 
here as a daring and aggressive fighter, second in these 
qualities not even to his great Lieutenant Stonewall 
Jackson. The Council of War at the close of the battle 
vividly reflects this fact. Going over part of the field, 
the extreme left of the Confederate position, we saw 
trees that had been cut down as if by the teeth of a 
saw by the concentrated musketry fire, — silent wit- 
nesses of the destructive volleys of the opposing armies. 

The same morning we had received from the ladies 
of Shepherdstown a battle flag for our brigade head- 
quarters. The women in that town were always dis- 
tinguished for their devotion to the Confederate cause. 
How many a poor fellow was their debtor for help 
and sympathy in time of need. In Sharpsburg, too, 
we were pleased to find decided evidences of the sym- 
pathy of the people. 

Looking over the notes which I kept of this campaign 
in a little pocket note-book about four inches square — 


kept in pencil, by the way, in a very fine hand and yet 
distinctly legible after the lapse of over forty-five years 
— I am impressed anew with the religious suscepti- 
bility of the rank and file of Lee's army. I find fre- 
quent mention of religious services by the chaplains, 
and of prayer-meetings, conducted sometimes by my- 
self. Thus the day after we crossed the Potomac I 
"attended and conducted one of the prayer-meetings 
of the Maryland Regiment with much pleasure." 

And on Sunday, June 21st, the Rev. Mr. Patterson 
of the Third North Carolina "held service, preached, 
and administered the communion." Again, on June 
22d, Monday: 

"This morning, after reading and praying in the woods, 
I saw a group of our men looking at some soldiers' graves, 
and, with their permission, read (the Bible) and prayed 
with them." 

These brave men who followed Lee with such sub- 
lime devotion felt no incompatibility in their calling 
as soldiers with the profession of a Christian. They 
were not soldiers of fortune; they were not mercenaries; 
they were soldiers of duty. And they were not waging 
a war of aggression, or of conquest, but of self-defence. 
They were in arms to protect their homes and their 
firesides from the invader. This invasion of Pennsyl- 
vania on which they were entering was a defensive 
operation. It was to draw the Federal armies out of 
Virginia. And I may here say that Lee's army strictly 
observed the order of their noble chief, in which he 
charged his soldiers not to molest private property. 
"The duties exacted of us," said he, "by civilization 
and Christianity are not less obligatory in the coun- 


try of the enemy than in our own." Compare with 
this the statement of General Sherman as to his 
famous march to the sea: 

"I estimate the damage done to the State of Georgia at one hun- 
dred million dollars, at least twenty millions of which inured to our 
benefit, and the remainder was simply waste and destruction." 

Again and again in this Pennsylvania campaign the 
citizens told us that we treated them far better than 
their own soldiers did. I can truly say I didn't see a 
fence rail burned between Hagerstown and Gettysburg. 

Supplies of cattle and other necessaries were taken 
and paid for in Confederate money, the only money 
we had. Major Harry Gilmor, in his account of this 
business says, "My orders were, in all cases where the 
horses had not been run off and hidden, to leave a pair 
of plough horses to each family, and to take no milch 
cows at all." 

Colonel Fremantle of the British army bears testi- 
mony' to the good conduct of our men. He says: 
"I went into Chambersburg and witnessed the singu- 
larly good behavior of the troops toward the citizens. 
... To one who has seen, as I have, the ravages of 
the Northern troops in Southern towns, this forbear- 
ance seems most commendable and surprising." 

I append General Lee's order on this subject. 

Headquarters Army of Northern VrRGiNiA, 
Chambersburg, Pa., June 27, 1863. 

General Order No. 73. 

"The co mm anding general has observed with marked satisfaction 
the conduct of the troops on the march, and confidently anticipates 
results commensurate with the high spirit they have manifested. No 
troops could have displayed greater fortitude or better performed the 
arduous marches of the past ten days. Their conduct in other respects 
has, with few exceptions, been in keeping with their character as soldiers 
and entitles them to approbation and praise. 


"There have, however, been instances of forgetfulness on the part 
of some, that they have in keeping the yet unsullied reputation of the 
army, and that the duties exacted of us by civilization and Christianity 
are not less obligatory in the country of the enemy than in our own. 
The commanding general considers that no greater disgrace could 
befall the army, and through it our whole people, than the perpetration 
of the barbarous outrages upon the innocent and defenseless and the 
wanton destruction of private property that have marked the course 
of the enemy in our own country. Such proceedings not only disgrace 
the perpetrators and all connected with them, but are subversive of 
the discipline and efficiency of the army, and destructive of the ends 
of our present movements. It must be remembered that we make war 
only on armed men, and that we cannot take vengeance for the wrongs 
our people have suffered, without lowering ourselves in the eyes of all 
whose abhorrence has been excited by the atrocities of our enemy, 
and offending against Him to whom vengeance belongeth, without 
whose favor and support our efforts will prove in vain. 

"The commanding general, therefore, earnestly exhorts the troops 
to abstain, with most scrupulous care, from unnecessary or wanton 
injury to private property, and he enjoins upon all officers to arrest 
and bring to summary punishment all who shall in any way offend 
against the orders on this subject. 

"R. E. Lee, 


I have now to make brief mention of an expedition 
under Gen. G. H. Steuart to McConnellsburg, Fulton 
County, Pennsylvania, which lies beyond the Tusca- 
rora Mountains, which constitute the western boun- 
dary of the great Cumberland Valley that runs from 
Hagerstown to Harrisburg. A glance at the map 
will show that McConnellsburg is as far west of Hagers- 
town as Gettysburg is east of it; that its latitude is 
considerably north of that of Gettysburg; and that 
in order to reach it, General Steuart's force had to cross 
three subsidiary ranges of mountains. 

The force under Steuart's command consisted of the 
Third Brigade (which included now the Second Mary- 
land infantry in addition to the three Virginia regi- 


ments and the two North Carolina regiments), a 
battery of artillery, and Major Gilmor's cavalry. The 
column moved from Sharpsburg at five a.m., (Tuesday, 
June 23d, and passed through Hagerstown about noon, 
receiving there an enthusiastic reception from the ladies 
of the town. "It was a proud day for the Maryland 
men, and they stepped out beautifully to the tap of the 
drum." Camp was made five miles north of Hagers- 
town near the Pennsylvania line at three p.m., after 
a march of seventeen miles. The march thence to 
McConnellsburg, a distance of upward of twenty miles, 
was made on Wednesday, by way of Greencastle, 
Upton, and Mercersburg, passing through two gaps 
in the mountains. When we were already eleven 
miles on our march, the general sent me back to Hagers- 
town after the Maryland cavalry, which had not yet 
reported to him as ordered. We were marching 
through the mountains in the enemy's country, far 
from any support, without any cavalry to feel the way 
before us. I had a lonely ride back, also through a 
hostile country, and did not find Major Harry Gil- 
mor till after I had reached Hagerstown. He and I 
then rode ahead, the cavalry following some distance 
behind. Gilmor was one of the most daring and reck- 
less of the cavalry leaders in the army, — a man of 
great stature, powerful build, and great physical endur- 
ance. His "Four Years in the Saddle" is full of excit- 
ing and daring episodes, illustrating the character of 
the man. Stopping at a farmhouse for refreshment 
for man and beast, Gilmor entered into conversation 
with the farmer, and I was much amused to hear him 
tell the farmer that we were certain of success, because 
our army, from General Lee down, was wholly com- 


posed of Christian men — his own conversation being 
punctuated meanwhile with many an oath. He 
explained that he was a rare exception. Indeed, he 
looked more like one of Claverhouse's dragoons than a 
leader in an army of saints. My horse and I had cov- 
ered fifty miles before night. General Steuart was an 
exacting chief, and what with the reveilles before 
daylight, the forced marches, and the many orders to 
be executed, I had not had for a long time more than 
three or four hours sleep a day. I find a note in my 
diary in this campaign, that in five days I had had but 
twelve hours sleep all told. 

The behavior of the men since we entered Pennsyl- 
vania had been most exemplary. At M'cConnells- 
burg there had been one breach of General Lee's orders, 
but that was the solitary exception. I find this note, 
"Our division has not burned a fence rail since we have 
been in Pennsylvania," and also this, "The people 
were frightened to death, and only asked us to spare 
their lives and not burn their houses. But finding us 
so quiet and orderly, they became calm and said we 
treated them much better than their own men." 

What a contrast was all this to the behavior of the 
Federal armies in Virginia and throughout the South 
from the beginning to the end of the war, with some 
honorable exceptions. In their very first march, 
from Alexandria to Manassas, the Union soldiers pil- 
laged the houses of the people and committed many 
depredations. When, after that battle, we passed 
through Fairfax Court House, the people had much to 
tell of what they had suffered during the forward march 
of McDowell's army. General Sherman's famous 
dictum that "War is hell" is undoubtedly true of 


war as conducted by him in Georgia and the Carolinas, 
and as conducted by Sheridan in Virginia. It has no 
application to war as conducted by General Lee in 
Pennsylvania — always excepting the horrors of the 
battle field. When General Sheridan visited the head- 
quarters of the Prussian Army before Sedan, he told 
Bismarck that the correct principle on which to con- 
duct an invasion was to " leave the people nothing but 
eyes to weep with." 1 Those words well embody the 
ruthless spirit in which he ravaged the valley of Virginia 
in 1864. 

From McConnellsburg we marched on Friday,' June 
26th, eastward again, passing through the gap to 
Loudonton in Franklin County, and thence through 
St. Thomas almost to Chambersburg in the Cumberland 
Valley, a distance of over twenty miles. Major Gilmor 
captured near St. Thomas "sixty head of cattle, forty 
horses, some mules, and a few militia." We had now 
marched about fifty miles in Pennsylvania and had 
encountered no opposition of any kind till the appear- 
ance of the "few militia" now mentioned. Neverthe- 
less, we had marched with due precaution, a squadron 
of cavalry in front, then one regiment of infantry, 
then a section of artillery, then the rest of our infantry, 
then another section of artillery, then ambulance and 
wagon trains, and lastly a rear guard of cavalry. 

Saturday, the 27th, we passed through Chambers- 

1 General Sheridan thus expressed himself: "The proper strategy 
consists, in the first place, in inflicting as telling blows as possible 
upon the enemy's army, and then in causing the inhabitants so much 
suffering that they must long for peace, and force their government 
to demand it. The people must be left nothing but their eyes to 
weep with over the war." Secret pages of Bismarck's history by 
Moritz Busch, vol. i., p. 128. 


burg and Green Village and on to Shippensburg, through 
which we pressed to Stoughstown, seven miles farther, 
and camped at Big Spring near Springfield. "At 
Springfield I bought seven copies of the New Testa- 
ment" for distribution among the men. The surprise 
of the storekeeper when an officer of the terrible Rebel 
Army desired to purchase copies of the New Testa- 
ment may be imagined. Perhaps he thought if the 
rebels would read the Good Book, they might repent 
of their wicked Rebellion. This recalls a familiar story 
of General Lee. Some time after the war, he received 
a letter mforming him that the writer had learned 
that the Arlington family Bible was in the possession 
of a lady in a certain Western city and suggesting that 
if the general would write to her and claim it, it might 
be restored to his possession. But General Lee said 
in reply that he would not disturb the lady on the sub- 
ject, adding, with that quiet humor which distinguished 
him, that if she would read the Good Book and reflect 
upon its precepts, perhaps she would restore it of her 
own accord. 

On Sunday, the 28th, we were still marching north- 
ward toward Harrisburg, and were now within less than 
a day's march of Carlisle. My notes mention that 
the men were much broken down, many of them having 
marched barefooted. 

The object of this expedition of ours into the moun- 
tains west of the Cumberland Valley was, I suppose, 
the capture of cattle for the supply of the commissa- 
riat. If I recollect aright, it had Dot been very success- 
ful in this respect, though the sixty head were a welcome 
auxiliary to the needs of the army. 

But now evidently we were marching to effect a 


junction with the other divisions of our corps. Ewell 
had been instructed by Lee to move towards the Sus- 
quehanna, and threaten Harrisburg. At this time 
part of his corps was at Carlisle, about eighteen miles 
southwest of Harrisburg, and part, under Early, was 
at York, about twenty-five miles southeast of Harris- 
burg, and within, say, eight miles of the Susquehanna. 
Ewell had sent forward his engineer, Captain Rich- 
ardson, with Jenkins* Cavalry to reconnoitre the de- 
fences of Harrisburg, and "was starting on [Monday] 
the 29th for that place, when ordered by the general 
commanding to join the main body of the army at 
Cashtown, near Gettysburg." No doubt, therefore, 
our brigade was pressing on to join General Ewell 
in front of Harrisburg, but on that same day, Monday 
the 29th, at nine a.m. we received orders to "march 
back toward Chambersburg." This countermarch was 
continued that day and Tuesday, the 30th, till we 
reached Green Village, when we moved, head of column 
left, and marched east toward Fayetteville. Then 
Wednesday, July 1st, we passed through Fayetteville 
and through the gap to Cashtown. "On top of the 
mountain we heard rapid cannonading." The battle 
of Gettysburg — so big with fate — had begun. 



"DEFORE proceeding to record my personal experi- 
*** ences and observations on this eventful field, 
I shall endeavor to explain, as best I can, the signifi- 
cance of the operations of the Confederate Army up to 
this point, and the plan of campaign which the com- 
mander-in-chief apparently had in mind. 

Well, it is clear in the first place that the object of 
General Lee in the invasion of Pennsylvania was to 
draw the Federal armies out of Virginia, and to relieve 
that State of the war at least for a brief period. This 
Pennsylvania campaign, although offensive in form, 
was defensive in purpose. This is made clear by Gen- 
eral Lee's letter of June 8th to Mr. Seddon, Secretary 
of War at Richmond, and his letter to Mr. Jefferson 
Davis from Williamsport on June 25th. 

Secondly, when entered upon, it was not Lee's inten- 
tion to fight an offensive, but a defensive battle. He 
says in his Report of July 31st, 1863, "It had not 
been intended to fight a general battle at such a dis- 
tance from our base, unless attacked by the enemy." 

Thirdly, up to the night of June 28th, at which time 
Lee was at Chambersburg with the corps of Longstreet 
and Hill close at hand, it was Lee's intention to continue 
the advance northward, and apparently to concentrate 



his entire army at Harrisburg. This is affirmed in 
both his Reports, that of July 31st, 1863, and that of 
January, 1864. We cannot suppose so crucial a point 
would have been twice affirmed by the commander-in- 
chief if it had not been true. He says in the former 
Report, " Preparations were now made to advance 
upon Harrisburg." In the latter, "Orders were there- 
fore issued to move upon Harrisburg." 1 

Fourth, that plan was abandoned for a reason which 
is thus stated in Lee's second Report, "The advance 
against Harrisburg was arrested by intelligence received 
from a scout on the night of the 28th to the effect that 
the army of General Hooker had crossed the Potomac 

1 Colonel Mosby says in his book, " Stuart's Cavalry in the Gettysburg 
Campaign" (p. 115), "If General Lee had intended to take his army to 
Harrisburg, as Marshall says, he would not have turned to the east at 
Chambersburg, and would not have sent Heth on to Cashtown." 

To prove these facts he quotes Colonel Fremantle, the English visitor 
who states that he found Generals Lee and Longstreet camped on the 
Gettysburg road, three quarters of a mile east of Chambersburg — 
this on June 27 or 28 — and he also quotes Jacob Hoke's "Great In- 
vasion" which states that on Friday, 26th, Rodes division and Johnson's 
also moved down the Harrisburg road, and that about 8 a.m. Heth's 
division of Hill's corps entered Chambersburg, but instead of following 
Johnson's and Rodes' divisions, turned east in the direction of Gettys- 
burg and encamped near Fayetteville. Hoke concluded from this 
that Baltimore and Washington were Lee's destination — Now do 
these facts certainly prove that Lee had not at that time any intention 
of concentrating his army at Harrisburg? I do not think so. It does 
not seem to have occurred to Colonel Mosby that the movements which 
Mr/ Hoke witnessed might have been intended to produce on the minds 
of the Federal authorities at Washington (to whom they would certainly 
be reported) the same impression which they produced on the mind 
of Mr. Hoke — in other words to deceive the enemy as to his real 

But there is another explanation. General Hill in his Report states 
that he was ordered to move through York, cross the Susquehanna, 
and then move against Harrisburg. 


and was approaching the South Mountain. In the 
absence of the cavalry it was impossible to ascertain 
his intentions; but to deter him from advancing fur- 
ther west, and intercepting our com mi mi cations with 
Virginia, it was determined to concentrate the army 
east of the mountains." 

Fifth, this eastward movement, and concentration 
east of the South Mountain, does not explain the 
battle of Gettysburg. It did not necessarily result 
in a battle at that place. The orders given, and the 
reports of Ewell and Early, make it plain that the 
purpose of the Confederate commander was to con- 
centrate the army in the vicinity of Cashtown, where 
it would have held a very strong defensive position — 
impregnable indeed — and where Lee if attacked could 
have fought a defensive battle, as he purposed to do. 

This, then, was the situation when the sun rose 
on July 1st. A. P. Hill's corps had marched from 
Chambersburg east to Cashtown, and all his divisions 
except Anderson's were already east of the mountains. 
Ewell's divisions were on the march for the same point; 
Edward Johnson, having marched southwest from 
Carlisle by way of Shippensburg and Fayetteville, 
on the west of the great South Mountain; Rodes' 
division having marched from Carlisle directly south 
across the South Mountain, and on the east side of 
the same, by way of Heidlersburg and Middletown; 
and Early's division southwest from York by way of 
Hunterstown and Mummasberg. Longstreet's corps 
was marching from Chambersburg east to Cash- 

What the purpose of the Confederate commander- 
in-chief was in this concentration at Cashtown can 


perhaps only be inferred. Longstreet had advised 
Lee to concentrate east of South Mountain and "bear 
down to meet the enemy." But Lee himself had, 
before leaving Virginia, expressed his determination 
not to fight a great battle unless attacked. Colonel 
Mosby's ingenious suggestion has, therefore, much 
in its favor. Arguing from the fact that Lee left all 
the gaps south of Cashtown open, he thinks Lee meant 
by so doing to entice Hooker to cross into the Cumber- 
land Valley, " seize Lee's communications and strike 
him in his rear." "That was Lee's own favorite ma- 
noeuvre, and no doubt he calculated that Hooker would 
follow his example; if so, he would flank Hooker and 
go on to Washington." Colonel Mo'sby adds that 
Hooker took the bait, and intended to do what Lee 
hoped he would do, but Halleck interposed his veto, 
and Hooker indignantly asked to be relieved. On 
June 28th, in the afternoon, at Frederick city, Hooker 
was relieved of the command of the Army of the Poto- 
mac. This fact, according to the testimony of General 
Longstreet, became known to General Lee that same 
night before midnight. 

Sixth. The battle of Gettysburg was precipitated 
by the advance of Lieutenant-General Hill the early 
morning of July 1st. Lee had certainly given his 
lieutenants to understand that he did not wish a 
general engagement brought on. Ewell says in his 
Report that on the 1st of July he was moving with 
Rodes' division towards Cashtown, and had ordered 
Early to follow, but before he reached Middletown, 
which is about nine miles east of Cashtown and nearly 
the same distance north of Gettysburg, he "received 
notice from General Hill that he was advancing upon 


Gettysburg," and that he therefore " turned the head 
of Rodes' column towards that place by the Middle- 
town road, sending word to Early to advance directly 
on the Heidlersburg road." General Ewell also says 
that he "notified the general commanding of his move- 
ments, and was informed by him that, in case we found 
the enemy's force very large, he did not want a gen- 
eral engagement brought on until the rest of the army 
came up." Now as General Lee's headquarters that 
morning were at Greenwood, nine miles west of Cash- 
town, it must have taken several hours for Ewell to 
send him this message and receive his reply. In fact, 
before General Lee's answer arrived Ewell says Hill 
was heavily engaged, Carter's artillery of his own corps 
was in action, and heavy masses of the enemy were mov- 
ing into position in his front. There is no evidence 
that General Lee expected a battle that day. In fact, 
he was fifteen miles away when Hill began his forward 
movement. He wrote General Imboden from Green- 
wood, July 1st, 7.30 a.m. that his headquarters for the 
present would be near Cashtown, — eight miles west 
of Gettysburg — this while Hill and Heth were already 
marching into battle northwest of Gettysburg. No 
one claims, I believe, that the commander-in-chief 
ordered this advance of Lieutenant-General Hill. 1 
So that we appear justified in the conclusion that 
General Lee was dragged into this great battle by the 
unauthorized action of one of his lieutenants in ad- 
vancing without orders and fighting a battle. In his 
report General Hill says he advanced for the purpose 

1 Gen. E. P. Alexander says, "Hill's movement to Gettysburg 
was made of his own motion, and with the knowledge that he would 
find the enemy's cavalry in possession." Memoirs, p. 381. 


of making a reconnoissance — to ascertain if the enemy- 
were in force near Gettysburg. 

There were nearly 50,000 men engaged in the battle 
that day, Rodes and Early having come to Hill's assist- 
ance in his extremity. They turned the tide in favor 
of the Confederates, who till their arrival had had the 
worst of it. The charge of Gordon's Georgia brigade 
of Early's division at three p.m. gave the coup de grace 
to the Federal line. It has been thus described : 

"Without waiting for artillery to prepare their way, or 
for skirmishers to feel for the enemy, the array of Georgian 
troops descended on both wings of the 11th Corps, and, 
with the precision acquired on many battle fields, swiftly 
and silently moved forward to the assault without firing 
a shot. The sight of Jackson's veterans once more threaten- 
ing to close with them in hand to hand conflict struck a chill 
to the hearts of men they had so recently defeated, and 
who now had to face that long brown line hardly distinguish- 
able from the corn over which it trampled, save for the 
fringe of steel glittering above it in the July sun, and for 
a dozen crimson standards which flaunted defiantly the 
starry cross of the Confederacy. Like the sickles of a great 
line of reapers the sharp bayonets came nearer through the 
ruddy gold of the ripening wheat; then the line disappeared, 
only to emerge a minute later unbroken and unhesitating 
from the willows which lined the little stream. The sight 
was too much for the nerves of Barlow's men. Some there 
were who gallantly stood to be bayoneted when their 
comrades fled. Barlow himself and many superior officers 
fell in the fire which preluded the Southern charge, but 
the first line was borne back half a mile before it rallied 
on its reserves at the Almshouse." — Capt. Cecil Battine, 
"Crisis of the Confederacy," pp. 196, 197. 

The battle, which lasted six hours, resulted disas- 


trously to the Federals. General Reynolds was killed, 
the 11th Corps was almost annihilated, 5,000 prisoners 
were taken, including two general officers, and three 
pieces of artillery, and the enemy driven two miles 
into and beyond Gettysburg. 

But it was a costly victory, for it compelled Lee 
to accept the alternative of retreating or fighting 
— fighting on a field where the Federal Army had every 
advantage of position, where it must be assailed at 
great disadvantage to the assailants, whether on the 
right or the left flank or in the centre. Whoever has 
visited the field will recognize the great difficulty of 
a concerted attack by the forces of Lee, and also that 
when Meade was attacked in one part of his line, he 
could hurry troops easily and quickly from another 
part to its succor, because his line was like a horseshoe, 
or rather like a fish-hook. 

And yet General Lee's decision to attack the Fed- 
eral Army the next day was justified by the situation 
at nightfall of July 1st. The enemy to the number of 
about 25,000 had been defeated with great loss and 
driven from the field in disorder. One of his corps 
was almost annihilated. The finest officer in the Union 
army had been killed. Lee's army was well concen- 
trated, Longstreet's corps (the last) having bivouacked 
within four miles of Gettysburg, while a large part 
of the Federal Army was still far from the field. And 
the key of the position, Little Round Top, was within 
his grasp, — if he might count on his orders being 
obeyed. General Lee could not foresee that the first 
corps, then four miles from the field, would not be 
launched against Little Round Top till four p.m. in- 
stead of nine a.m. the next day. 


But to proceed with my observations. I have 
intimated that General Stuart was not the only one 
of Lee's lieutenants who failed to accomplish what 
might have been expected of him in the Gettys- 
burg campaign. 1 The serious error of Gen. A. P. Hill 
has already been referred to. That was followed by 
the grave mistake of Lieutenant-General Ewell in not 
pressing the pursuit of the enemy and seizing Cemetery 
Hill. General Lee did not arrive in sight of the field 
until 2.30 p.m., and could not therefore grasp the situ- 
ation in all its features, but he promptly sent a staff 
officer to General Ewell, saying that he could see the 
enemy in retreat over the hill and suggesting, but not 
commanding, that he should be pursued and Cemetery 
Hill seized. General Early, General Gordon, and 
General Trimble were all urgent with General Ewell 
to advance. Col. E. V. White, about dark, "saw the 
enemy leaving Cemetery Hill," and reported to Gen- 
eral Ewell what he had seen. No advance was made, 
and the enemy proceeded leisurely, during the night 
and next morning, to fortify their position and make it 
impregnable. Had it been attacked on the evening 
of July 1st, it would have been easily taken, as we now 
know, and the great battle would have been fought on 
another field, or else would have terminated disas- 
trously for the Federal Army. 

The next failure was on the part of General Long- 
street. The Confederate commander, upon his arrival 
on the field after the battle of July 1st was over, had 
immediately seen the great importance of Little Round 
Top. I saw him sweep the horizon with his glass, and 
noted that he scanned that elevation with great atten- 
1 See Appendix, B. 


tion. Accordingly General Longstreet was ordered to 
move the next morning "as early as practicable with 
the portion of his command that was up, around to gain 
the Emmitsburg road on the enemy's left" (Long- 
street's statement). This order he took the responsi- 
bility of disobeying (by his own confession), preferring 
to wait till the last of his brigades was up; and so the 
movement which should have been made early in the 
day (his troops bivouacked within four miles of 
the battle field the night before) did not take place till 
four p.m. Thus the golden opportunity was lost which 
would have given Lee the key of the battle field. Even 
then, at that late hour, it was discovered during the 
attack that Little Round Top was unoccupied, and 
Longstreet was asked by one of his generals for per- 
mission to make a flank movement and seize it, — 
which could easily have been done; but he refused, 
saying his orders were to attack in front. 

This looks like a sullen refusal of a great opportu- 
nity by one whose advice the evening before had been 
dissented from by the commanding general. Major 
F. G. R. Henderson, the distinguished English military 
critic, comments as follows: 

"His summary message to the divisional commander 
to carry out the original plan, at least, lays him open to the 
suspicion that although he was prepared to obey orders, 
it was like a machine and not like an intelligent being." 

If he hesitated to act on his own initiative, the com- 
mander-in-chief could easily have been consulted. 

By this fatal and inexcusable delay the advantage 
of superior numbers which was with the Confederates 
on the morning of the 2d of July was thrown away. 


Before Longstreet attacked, the advantage of numbers 
had shifted to the other side by the arrival of large 
bodies of Federal troops. 

Had this been seized by the Confederates, Meade 
could not have held his position. It dominated the 
whole Federal line. But there was great and unac- 
countable delay; so that the Federals got possession of 
it, arriving about twenty min utes before the column 
of Longstreet. It would appear that Hancock marched 
twenty miles while Longstreet was marching six. 

Now there can be no doubt that that eminence of 
Little Round Top was the key of the battle field, and 
Lee's recognition of this, with the knowledge that his 
troops were near enough to seize it, completely justi- 
fies his decision to fight on that field. He could not 
anticipate the unnecessary delay in the execution of 
his order. No wonder he showed impatience the next 
day as hour after hour passed, and still Longstreet's 
column did not appear. Colonel Taylor says it was 
the only occasion during the war when he ever saw 
General Lee impatient. 

Captain Battine, the English military critic, in dis- 
cussing the question whether Lee should have attacked 
the Gettysburg position, says : 

"The point on which the question really depended was 
what chance the Confederates had of inflicting a decisive 
defeat, and there can be no doubt that the opportunity 
was the brightest they had made for themselves since they 
let McClellan escape from the banks of the Chickahominy. 
One third of the Federal Army had been severely defeated, 
the remainder were concentrating with difficulty by forced 
marching; a prompt deployment of all his available forces 
would have placed victory within Lee's grasp. The reso- 


lution to attack was therefore sound and wise, — the failure 
lay in faults of execution which were caused to some extent 
at any rate by the want of sympathetic co-operation of the 
corps commander." — " Crisis of the Confederacy," p. 207. 

Into the question whether the charge of Pickett's 
division on the third day ought to have been ordered 
— whether Lee had a right to expect that it would suc- 
ceed — I do not propose to enter. I will only say, he 
did not have the cordial cooperation of his second in 
command, and the charge was not made, and was 
not supported, as he directed. Major Henderson, 
the English military critic and author of the "Life of 
Stonewall Jackson," has left a valuable discussion of 
the battle of Gettysburg in which he says that it was 
the purpose of General Lee that the charge should 
have been made by 30,000 men. Instead, 15,000 
made the charge, while the rest of the army looked 
idly on! 

Thus it appears that in this great crisis of the war, 
the Confederate commander-in-chief was not properly 
supported by his subordinate commanders. All three 
of his lieutenant-generals failed him at need, as well 
as his chief of cavalry. Never had Lee commanded 
so fine an army as when he crossed the Potomac to 
enter upon this Pennsylvania campaign. It was 
better^ equipped than ever before. Its discipline was 
excellent, its morale superb. It had the prestige of 
victory. It was full of confidence and enthusiasm. 
It had unbounded trust in the genius of its com- 
mander. Never was it so confident of victory. 

That victory did not crown its efforts does not appear 
to have been due to the failure of its chief or to any 
lack of heroic courage on the part of the rank and file 


of the army, but to the strange and unaccountable 
shortcomings of four splendid soldiers upon whom Lee 
was accustomed to rely with confidence, and who had 
ever been loyal to him. It must also be admitted 
that Lee's tactics in this battle were not at all up to 
the standard of his strategy. There was a strange 
failure to coordinate the attacks of the several corps 
of the army. Splendid assaults were made at differ- 
ent points of the line; but in no instance were these 
supported. There seemed to be a paralysis ■ of the 
coordinating faculty all along the line. If we seek the 
ultimate solution of the mystery of this failure when 
all the omens pointed to success, we can only say, 
"It was not the will of God." Like Hector at Troy, 
Lee was fighting against the supernal powers. And yet 
it can hardly be said that Gettysburg, though a Con- 
federate failure, was a Federal victory. It was rather 
a drawn battle. The first day was marked by a splen- 
did success for the Confederates, with large spoils of 
war, in prisoners (5,000) and in artillery (20 pieces). 
The second day Sickles was almost annihilated by 
Longstreet. The third day Pickett's magnificent charge 
was repulsed, and the charge of Johnson's division on 
Culp's Hill likewise. 

But Lee was foiled, not beaten. The morale of his 
army was not shaken. He offered battle on Seminary 
Ridge all day of July 4th, but Meade did not accept 
the gage. It was not considered by him or his corps 
commanders prudent to do so. The Federal Army was 
more seriously shaken than its opponent. Its losses 
were considerably larger. fr.\ 

When Lee decided to retire into Virginia, after Meade 
had declined his offer of battle on July 4th, his retreat 


was so deliberate that in twenty-four hours he only 
marched seven or eight miles. 
Here is the record in my diary: 

"On Saturday night (July 4) we left camp at Gettysburg, 
marching very slowly in consequence of the length of the 
ordnance and artillery train, and the ruggedness and 
mountainous nature of the road. The enemy pursued us 
with great caution, not daring to attack. By Sunday 
night we had made about seven or eight miles. Monday 
we marched as far as Waynesboro just beyond the moun- 

Then on Tuesday we continued our march and made 
eight miles, going into camp on the Leitersburg road, 
three miles east of Hagerstown. Wednesday we were 
still in camp at the same place. Thursday we "lay in 
camp." Friday we moved camp to a point three miles 
beyond Hagerstown. The Federal cavalry was twice 
defeated in attacks on his trains, once July 6th, at 
Williamsport, by Imboden, and again at Hagerstown, 
July 7th, by General Stuart. 

Near Hagerstown Lee again offered battle on July 
11th, a week after the conflict ended at Gettysburg, 
— his only defences being the light breastworks thrown 
up by the men with their bayonets. Sunday, the 12th, 
his army was still in line awaiting attack, but no attack 
was made. Meade had called a council of war to 
consider whether he should attack or no. Mr. Lin- 
coln was telegraphing him that he had only to close 
his hand and crush Lee; but Meade's generals coun- 
selled him against it — they realized that if he did, 
he would find he was closing it on a hornet's nest. 

It is a great mistake to suppose that the army of 


Lee was at all shaken or demoralized by the battle. 
It was on the contrary as full of fight as ever — as 
ready to obey the commands of its idolized chief. 
Very few brigades had had so hard fighting or suffered 
such heavy losses as that of Gen. Geo. H. Steuart (the 
third brigade of Johnson's division), but our men were 
eager for the Federals to attack us at Hagerstown, 
and confident we could repulse them. 

This spirit and this confidence is reflected in my 
diary and in my correspondence. In a letter to my 
mother I wrote: 

Hagerstown, July 7, 1863. 
"The army is in fine spirits and confident of success when 
they again meet the enemy. This you may rely upon and 
so you may comfort yourselves with it. A militiry blunder 
was committed, but the men never fought better." 

Again I wrote: 

Martinsbttrg, July 15, 1863. 

"Let me tell you not to believe the stories in the Northern 
papers about the rout and demoralization of our army. 
We remained in Maryland ten days after the battle, and 
yet our enemy dared not attack us, though we lay in line 
of battle three days within half a mile of him. Our loss 
was not as heavy as theirs according to their own account, 
either in killed or prisoners. The men are in good discipline 
and spirits, and ready to teach our foes a lesson when they 
meet them again." 

In the same letter I said: 

"My heart bleeds when I think of the bitter disappoint- 
ment you have all experienced in the retreat of our army from 
Maryland. To us who have thought the hopes, for two 
long years deferred, were about to be realized, and have 


suddenly been so grievously disappointed — to us it is a 
heavy blow, and our hearts are bowed with the greatness of 
our grief — but to you, brave, noble women of Maryland, 
it must be far more bitter and more crushing. Our deepest 
sympathies go out to you, but still we say, Hope on! Do not 

And in my diary: 

"Saturday, July 11. This morning formed in line of 
battle, left resting a mile or two from Hagerstown. . . . The 
Potomac is still unfordable, but if the enemy only will 
attack us, we don't want to cross the river. 1 May the Lord 
be on our side and show Himself our Helper and our Defense. 
Our trust is in his right hand, and in His holy arm. Our 
own strength will not save us. ... I went into the last 
battle feeling that victory must be ours — that such an army 
could not be foiled, and that God would certainly declare 
Himself on our side. Now I feel that unless He sees fit to 
bless our arms, our valor will not avail." 

When General Lee did cross the Potomac (the night 
of July 13th), the passage was effected successfully, 
without the loss of a single piece of artillery — and 
scarcely a wagon. That was a trying march for Lee's 
army from Gettysburg to Hagerstown. 

"During the whole march it rained hard, and the men 
had not one day's rations in the three. Consequently 
depredations were committed [such as pig sticking, chicken 
taking, etc.] Fence rails were burned for the first time in 
Pennsylvania, and by permission. I have seldom suffered 
as much on any march. Want of food and sleep, and the 

1 The following entry the Thursday previous shows we were not at 
all nervous about the proximity of the enemy. "Dr. Johnson, Johnnie 
Boyle, and I went out to see Mr. Berry and took dinner. Returning, 
supped with Mr. Rogan. Made sick by the good things." Next day, 
"Rode in the ambulance for the first time since I've been a soldier." 


tediousness of movement, together with the inclemency of 
the weather and the roughness of the roads." 

Reverting to the story of the battle, there are one 
or two things I wish to mention of a personal nature. 
As we were on the march to the field, on July 1st, the 
distant booming of the c ami on in our ears, one of the 
privates of Murray's company came up to me, during 
a brief halt by the roadside, and said he wanted to 
speak to me. It was James Iglehart, of Annapolis. 
We stepped aside, and I said, "What is it, Iglehart?" 
He answered, "Lieutenant, I want to ask your par- 
don." "My pardon!" said I. "Why, what on earth 
do you mean?" "I've done you an injustice," he said, 
"and before we go into this battle, I want to tell you 
so, and have your forgiveness." I told him I could 
not imagine what he meant, and he then said that he 
had thought from my bearing toward him that I was 
"proud and stuck up," because I was an officer and he 
only a private in the ranks, but now he saw that he was 
entirely mistaken and he wanted to wipe out the un- 
spoken injustice he had done me. The next time I heard 
his voice was in that last terrible charge on Culp's Hill, 
when our column had been dashed back like a wave 
breaking in spray against a rock. "McKim," he cried, 
"McKim, for God's sake, help me!" I turned and saw 
him prostrate on the ground, shot through both thighs. 
I went back a few yards, and putting my arm round 
him, dragged him to the shelter of a great rock and laid 
him down to die. There are two things that rise in 
my thought when I think of this incident. One is 
that if he hadn't come to me two days before and re- 
lieved his mind as he did, the gallant fellow would 
not have asked my help. And the other is that the 


men in blue in that breastwork must have been touched 
with pity when they saw me trying to help poor Igle- 
hart. It took some minutes to go back and get him 
behind that rock, and they could have shot us both 
down with perfect ease if they had chosen to do it. 

In my Narrative I have referred to that tremen- 
dous artillery duel which shook the earth for two hours 
on the afternoon of the second day of the battle. I 
now set down the fact that I held my watch in my hand 
and counted the number of discharges in one minute: 
it was one hundred and eighty. "It was a beautiful 
sight, but an awful one." I think it was before this 
that I went, first to the Tenth Virginia, and then to the 
Second Maryland Regiment, and conducted religious 
services. There was a peculiar solemnity in thus appeal- 
ing to the Almighty for His protection on the battle 
field itself, just before rushing forward to assault the 
lines of the enemy. The men were lying on their arms, 
momentarily expecting to be ordered to the charge, 
and they seemed thankful for the opportunity of join- 
ing in divine worship. It was for many a poor fellow 
his last service on earth. 

In talking with survivors of this great battle, I have 
sometimes remarked that I thought I had performed 
an exploit at Gettysburg that none of them could 
match. "What is that?" "Why," said I, "I went 
sound asleep in the very midst of the heaviest firing, 
lying in the Federal breastworks!" And I did, in very 
deed and truth. I had taken three men, at the crisis 
of the conflict, when word had come to General Steuart 
that our ammunition was almost exhausted, and had 
gone on foot to the ammunition wagons about a mile 
distant and brought three boxes of ammunition in 


blankets swung to rails through the burning sun up 
Culp's Hill to our men. When I at length dropped my 
precious burden in the breastworks, I fell over utterly 
exhausted with the exertion, and with the loss of sleep 
for six days before the battle, and fell asleep. Such 
exhaustion completely banishes the sense of danger; 
and the bursting shell and whistling bullets made no 
impression on me whatever in those moments of utter 
collapse. Whether I slept two minutes, or five, I do 
not know, but I was rudely awakened by a piece of 
shell striking me painfully on the back, but its force 
was spent — it did me no real hurt. 

This reminds me that on one of the recent occasions 
when the graves of the Confederate dead in Arlington 
were being decorated with flowers, a gentleman came 
up to me and said, "Dr. McKim, I am very glad to 
see you again. It is more than forty years since we 
met, and we were not acquaintances then; but I can 
never forget the face of the man who brought us that 
ammunition in the Federal breastworks on Culp's Hill. 
I claim the privilege of introducing myself to you." 

Very few men in that battle in our brigade but were 
touched by shot or shell, even if they escaped being 
wounded. I myself was touched four times without 
being hurt. A ball grazed my shoulder as I was bring- 
ing the ammunition up Culp's Hill. Another went 
through my haversack and ripped the back off a New 
Testament I had in my pocket. Then the piece of 
shell rebounded from a tree and struck me in the back 
as I have mentioned. But the most remarkable escape 
I had was from a ball which struck me on the wrist 
as I was forming the line for the last charge on Culp's 
Hill. The pain was sharp for a moment and my arm 


was thrown out violently by the blow, but no bone was 
broken, and not a drop of blood drawn — only a large 
lump over the wrist-bone, red and angry looking. 
"Your arm is broken, is it not, lieutenant?" said 
Colonel Warren of the Tenth Virginia. "I don't know 
yet/' said I, as I drew off my gauntlet; while inwardly 
I said, "I hope it is. I'd be glad to compromise with 
the loss of an arm to get out of this hopeless charge." 
But I had no excuse for not going forward. The ball 
had struck a brass button on my gauntlet and had 
glanced aside; and the reason I wore gauntlets with 
brass buttons was that I had exchanged mine, which 
had none, for those of my cousin, Major W. Duncan 
McKim, who preferred mine to his! 

I would like here to pay a tribute to the splendid 
fortitude of the Third Brigade, and especially of the 
Second Maryland Regiment, on Culp's Hill on July 3d. 
And I refer not so much to that last magnificent charge, 
in which that regiment was conspicuous above others, 
but to the steadiness with which the brigade obeyed 
the order to evacuate the intrenchments and retire to 
the foot of the hill. As I have said elsewhere, "To 
rush forward in the fire and fury of battle does not 
test a soldier's mettle as it does to retreat, under 
such circumstances, in good order. And I point to 
that column, after that night and day of battle, after 
their terrible losses, after that fatal repulse in the bay- 
onet charge, their nerves shaken by all that they had 
endured, — I point to it marching steadily down that 
hill of death, while the heroic Capt. Geo. Williamson 
and another staff officer, with drawn swords, walked 
backward (face to the enemy) to steady them — never 
breaking into a run, never losing their order, — and 


I say, "Then and there was the supreme exhibition of 
their soldierly qualities!' " 

I extract from my diary the following passage. 
Referring to the night of the 2d, I wrote: 

" General Steuart ordered me again to the hospital to bring 
up the ambulances. I did not return till half past three in the 
morning and so got no sleep. [I remember that I had just 
lain down with my bridle over my arm when the first shell 
of the Federal artillery came crashing over our heads. 1 At 
four this morning the enemy opened fire, contrary to our 
expectations. We had heard the rumbling of wagons and 
artillery all night and supposed they were leaving." [In- 
stead they were massing their artillery to drive us out.] 

Swinton says, "During the night a powerful artil- 
lery was accumulated against the point entered by the 
enemy." He further says, "The troops of the 12th 
Corps had returned from the left, and the divisions 
of Williams and Gray, aided by Shaler's brigade, of 
the Sixth Corps, entered upon the severe struggle to 
regain the lost position of the line." Thus not less 
than seven brigades were launched against that one 
small brigade of Steuart. Had Longstreet attacked 
on the right at daybreak as ordered, this could not have 
been done. Was there any heroism displayed in that 
tremendous battle greater than that exhibited by those 
2,200 men of the Third Brigade? 1 

Let it be remembered, too, that while we were 
pounded for hours by that powerful artillery, we had 
not a single piece on that hill to make reply. They 
marvelled that we did not return their artillery fire. 
Resuming the extract from my diary: 

1 By that time their number was less than 2,000. 


"This hill [on our right] commanded the breastworks 
which we held, and we were exposed to an enfilading fire 
of musketry and artillery from four a.m. till eleven a.m." 

Referring to the charge ordered by Major-General 
Johnson, and disapproved by Steuart and Daniels: 

"The men were mowed down with fearful rapidity, by 
two lines in front and a force on the left flank, besides an 
artillery fire from the left rear. It was the most fearful 
fire I ever encountered, and my heart was sickened with 
the sight of so many gallant men sacrificed. The greatest 
confusion ensued, — regiments were reduced to companies 
and everything mixed up. It came very near being a rout." 


"We were next formed on the breastwork [of the enemy] 
and exposed to a terrific fire exceeding, by the testimony of 
all, any engagement the army has been in. I never felt 
so miserable in my fife — the possibility of defeat, the 
slaughter of the men, the retreat from the breastworks, 
and the consequent confusion, and the almost certain expec- 
tation of being killed or wounded, and the vivid fore- 
sight of the grief of my poor wife — all made me feel 
more miserable than I have ever been before. But I 
strengthened my heart by prayer and was enabled to be 
perfectly calm. The storm of shot and shell was terrible, 
yet I went to sleep in the midst of it several times, so weary 
was I. We formed again at the foot of the hill and remained 
till evening, when new troops were brought on and fighting 
continued till now (five p.m.)." 

This shows that my notes were made on the battle 
field. The fighting after that hour was only sharp- 
shooting — no volley firing — no charges or counter- 
charging. It is amazing that the Federals made no 
attempt to drive us across the creek. It shows how 


badly they were punished and how seriously their 
morale was shaken. 

"At 1.30 a.m. [July 4] the order was given to retire, and it 
was executed so quietly that though the enemy's pickets were 
only fifty yards from ours they did not discover it till day 
broke and we had formed in line of battle along a ridge 
beyond the town. [Seminary Ridge.] Here we threw up 
a hasty breastwork and awaited the attack of the enemy 
all day, but night came without developing any such inten- 
tion. During the morning the baggage trains were sent off 
toward Williamsport, and we followed very slowly late in 
the night [eleven p.m.]." 

One of the officers killed on Culp's Hill was Major 
Benjamin Watkins Leigh, of the staff of Major-Gen. 
Edward Johnson. Nothing was known at the time 
of the manner or place of his death; but many years 
afterward I had a letter from a Federal officer in 
Massachusetts telling how it occurred. It seems that 
Major Leigh, seeing a group of Confederates in a very 
exposed position raise a white flag in order to sur- 
render to the enemy, gallantly rode into their midst 
to prevent the execution of their purpose. While so 
engaged he met his death, and my correspondent said 
that the day after the battle he was found lying on 
the field still in the saddle, his horse dead with him 
as if a part of him — horse and rider having been 
killed at the same moment. It was, my correspond- 
ent said, a strange spectacle. Stranger perhaps it 
was that I should receive the story of his death a 
quarter of a century after it occurred, from one whom 
I did not know, and of whom I had never heard. 

At Williamsport the following amusing incident 
occurred. While the wagon-trains were massed there 


waiting for the river to fall, the enemy's cavalry ap- 
proached and shelled the banks of the river. There 
is a deep hollow or depression there on the north side 
of the Potomac, and here the wagons were parked. 
A Confederate quartermaster officer approached the 
spot during the artillery fire and was amazed to observe 
that not a single teamster was to be seen. He could 
not account for it, until he happened to look toward 
the river, and there saw hundreds of black heads just 
showing above the water. The negro teamsters with 
one accord had plunged into the river to escape the 
shells, and were submerged to the neck! 

During an artillery duel at or near Williamsport 
the negro servant of one of our officers appeared on 
the scene, close to the artillery while it was in action. 
"Caesar," said the officer, "what are you doing here? 
Have I not ordered you always to keep in the rear 
when fighting is going on?" "Yes, Marster," said 
the negro, "I know you is told me dat. But I declar' 
fo' God, I'se look ebery whar on dis here battle field 
dis day, and I cyarnt find no rear." The river was the 
rear of the Confederate line, and the Federals were 
shelling it vigorously to prevent a crossing. 

I have mentioned on a previous page the chaplain of 
the Third North Carolina Regiment, Rev. Geo. Patter- 
son. The following incident well illustrates the char- 
acter of the man. One of the officers of the brigade 
was desperately wounded in the battle of the third 
day, and Mr. Patterson was promptly by his side to 
minister to him. He took a lantern and went out alone 
on the battle field and found him. It had become known 
that we had orders to withdraw, and the good chap- 
lain told the wounded young man that he would be 


obliged to leave him and march with his regiment, 
whereupon the officer asked him to read the burial 
service over him before he left, "for," said he, "I 
know I'm as good as dead." To this request Mr. 
Patterson gave a cheerful assent, and there on the 
battle field, in the darkness of the night, by the light 
of a lantern, the solemn service was read, and Mr. 
Patterson bade the dying officer farewell. 

But the colonel did not die, but recovered his 
health, and many years afterwards, in the year 1886, 
in a Western town, he met Rev. Mr. Patterson and 
cordially greeted him. That gentleman, however, did 
not recognize him, and shading his eyes with his hand, 
looked at him intently a moment and then shook his 
head, saying, "I don't know you. Who are you?" 
The officer replied, "I am Colonel B., of — North 
Carolina Regiment." To which Patterson promptly 
replied, "Now I know you are lying, for I buried 
him at Gettysburg!" 



New York, March 4, 1878. 
Rev. J. Wm. Jones, D.D., 

Secretary Southern Historical Society. 

Deab Sib: The sketch which I send herewith has been 
prepared at the urgent request of several of the survivors of 
the Third Brigade (Second Corps, A. N. V.), who think that 
justice to the memory of the heroic men of that command 
who gave up their lives at Gettysburg demands a more 
extended notice than has yet appeared of the part borne 
by them on that bloody field. (Owing to the fact that on 
the 3d of July I was occupied chiefly on the right of the 
line, my narrative relates principally to the deeds of the 
regiments on the right.) In preparing the narrative my 
memory has been assisted by pocket memoranda, made on 
the field, and by letters written immediately after the events 
related. This enables me to hope that in all substantial 
points this account may be relied on as accurate. 

It is proper to add that I was attached as aide-de-camp 
to the staff of the brigadier-general commanding the brigade, 
so that I had excellent opportunities of informing myself 
of its condition and its deeds. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, ■ 

Randolph H. McKim. 

f I^HE third brigade of Johnson's division entered the 

■*- battle of Gettysburg very much jaded by the hard 

marching which fell to its lot the week previous. It 

Reprinted from "Southern Historical Society Papers," June, 1878. 



formed part of an expeditionary force of infantry, 
cavalry, and artillery which was detached from the 
Second Corps on the 24th of June, under the command 
of Brig.-Gen. George H. Steuart, and ordered to Mer- 
cersburg and McConnellsburg. In the execution of the 
duty assigned it was required to perform some heavy 
marching, as the following itinerary record will show: 

Tuesday, June 23, 1863. — Broke camp near Sharpsburg, 
and, passing through Hagerstown, halted five miles beyond 
at three o'clock. Distance, seventeen miles. 

Wednesday, June 24. — Moved at 4.30 a.m. At Green- 
castle filed to the left on the road to Mercersburg. Entered 
McConnellsburg about nine p.m. after a march of twenty- 
four miles. 

Friday, June 26. — Marched from McConnellsburg to 
Chambersburg, twenty miles, through a steady rain. The 
cavalry under Major Gilmor captured sixty head of cattle, 
forty horses, a few mules, and some militia. 

Saturday, June 27. — Column moved at 7.30 a.m., through 
Shippensburg, to Springfield. Men much broken down, 
having marched nineteen miles, many of them barefooted. 

Sunday, June 28. — After a short march of six or seven 
miles made camp at two p.m., about five miles south of Car- 
lisle. Rejoined our division to-day. 

Monday, June 29. — About nine a.m. received orders 
to march back to Chambersburg. Great surprise ex- 
pressed. Marched eleven miles and camped one mile 
south of Stoughstown. 

Tuesday, June 30. — Column moved at five a.m. Passed 
through Shippensburg, to Green Village, where we took left 
road to Fayetteville. 

Wednesday, July 1. — Column moved at seven a.m. 
Passed through Fayetteville. On top of mountain heard 
rapid cannonading. Soon saw the smoke of the battle, and 
then of burning houses. Hurried to the front, but the battle 


was over. Distance from our camp on Monday to Gettys- 
burg, thirty-five miles. This was marched by the brigade 
on Tuesday and Wednesday. It may have been a greater 
distance; it was not less. Our camp on the night of the 30th 
must have been not far east or west of Greenwood. 

Thus it appears that the men of the Third Brigade 
had marched, within the nine days preceding the 
battle, at least 133, perhaps as many as 138 miles. 
But, though weary and footsore, they moved forward 
with alacrity to take part in the great conflict which 
had already begun. In the first day's action they were 
not engaged, the enemy having been driven from the 
field by A. P. Hill, Rodes, and Early before their arrival. 
The time of their arrival may be fixed by the circum- 
stance which I distinctly remember, viz., the arrival 
of General Lee upon the field, his survey of the enemy's 
position on Cemetery Hill with his glass, and the des- 
patch of one of his staff immediately in the direction 
of the town. 

Passing over the scene of conflict, where the line of 
battle could be in some places distinctly traced by the 
ranks of dead Federal soldiers, they entered the town 
of Gettysburg a little before dusk. (The time of our 
entering the town I fix by the fact that I easily read 
a letter handed me by Major Douglass.) After con- 
siderable delay the brigade moved to the east and south- 
east of the town and halted for the night, the men 
lying down upon their arms in confident expectation 
of engaging the enemy with the morning light. 

Greatly did officers and men marvel as morning, 
noon, and afternoon passed in inaction — on our part, 
not on the enemy's, for, as we well knew, he was plying 
axe and pick and shovel in fortifying a position which 


was already sufficiently formidable. Meanwhile one of 
our staff conducted religious services, first in the Tenth 
Virginia, then in the Second Maryland Regiment, 
the men gladly joining in the solemn services, which 
they knew would be for many of their number the last 
they should ever engage in on earth. At length, after 
the conclusion of that tremendous artillery duel which 
for two hours shook the earth, the infantry began to 
move. It was past six p.m. before our brigade was 
ordered forward — nearly twenty-four hours after we had 
gotten into position. We were to storm the eastern 
face of Culp's Hill, a rough and rugged eminence on 
the southeast of the town, which formed the key to 
the enemy's right centre. Passing first through a 
small skirt of woods, we advanced rapidly in line of 
battle across a corn field which lay between us and the 
base of the hill, the enemy opening upon us briskly 
as soon as we were unm asked. Rock creek, waist- 
deep in some places, was waded, and now the whole 
line, except the First North Carolina, held in reserve 
on our left flank, pressed up the steep acclivity through 
the darkness, and was soon hotly engaged with the 
enemy. After the conflict had been going on for some 
time, I ventured to urge the brigadier-general com- 
manding to send forward the First North Carolina to 
reinforce their struggling comrades. 1 Receiving orders 
to that effect, I led the regiment up the hill, guided 

1 It was dark, and General Steuart detained one regiment in the 
field mentioned to prevent our flank being turned. The firing in the 
woods now became very rapid, and volley after volley echoed and re- 
echoed among the hills. I felt very anxious about our boys in front, 
and several times urged General Steuart to send the reserve regiment 
to the support of the remainder of the brigade. — Extract from letter 
written after the battle. 


only by the flashes of the muskets, until I reached a 
position abreast of our line of fire on the right. In 
front, a hundred yards or so, I saw another line of fire, 
but owing to the thick foliage could not determine 
whether the musket flashes were up or down the hill. 
Finding that bullets were whistling over our heads, 
I concluded the force in our front must be the enemy, 
and seeing, as I thought, an admirable chance of turn- 
ing their flank, I urged Colonel Brown to move rapidly 
forward and fire. When we reached what I supposed 
the proper position, I shouted, "Fire on them, boys; 
fire on them!" At that moment Major Parsley, the 
gallant officer in command of the Third North Carolina, 
rushed up and shouted, "They are our own men." 
Owing to the din of battle the command to fire had 
not been heard except by those nearest to me, and I 
believe no injury resulted from my mistake. I men- 
tion it only to assume the responsibility for the order. 
Soon after this the works 1 were gallantly charged and 
taken about 9.30 p.m., after a hard conflict of two hours, 
in which the Second Maryland and the Third North 
Carolina were the chief sufferers. 2 Among those who 
fell severely wounded was Col. James R. Herbert, of 
the Second Maryland. The losses in the two regiments 
named were heavy, but the men were eager to press 
on to the crest of the hill. This, owing to the darkness 

1 Let me tell you the character of their works. They were built of 
heavy logs, with earth piled against them to the thickness of five feet, 
and abattis in front. — Extract from a letter. 

2 Bates (author of "The History of the Battle of Gettysburg ") shows 
his ignorance of the real state of the conflict when he says> "the fast- 
coming darkness drew its curtains around the vulnerable parts every- 
where spread out." It was 9 or 9.30 p.m. before the works to which 
he refers were taken by our brigade two hours after dark. 


and the lateness of the hour, it was resolved not to do. 1 
A Federal historian (B. J. Lossing, in his "Pictorial His- 
tory of the Civil War") gives the following account 
of this night conflict: " Johnson moved under cover of 
the woods and deepening twilight, and expected an 
easy conquest by which a way would be opened for the 
remainder of Ewell's corps to the National rear; but 
he found a formidable antagonist in Greene's brigade. 
The assault was made with great vigor, but for more than 
two hours Greene, assisted by a part of Wadsworth's 
command, fought the assailants, strewing the wooded 
slope in front of the works with the Confederate dead 
and wounded, and holding his position firmly. Finally, 
his antagonist penetrated the works near Spangler's 
Spring, from which the troops had been temporarily 
withdrawn." (Vol. Ill, p. 691.) This statement 
needs correction. There is no doubt of the fact that 
the works taken by Steuart's brigade that night were 
occupied by Federal troops and that they poured a 
deadly fire into its ranks. After this fire had been 
kept up for two hours those troops were indeed " with- 
drawn" — but the orders came from the men of Steuart's 
brigade, and they were delivered at the point of the 
bayonet. 2 

1 Again and again did the rebels attack in front and flank ; but as 
often as they approached they were stricken down and disappeared. 
(Bates' "Gettysburg," p. 139.) This is one of his many misstatements. 
I say of my own knowledge that the only troops in position to assault 
this work on the flank were those of the Third Brigade, and they made 
no attempt to take it until the next day. This is, unhappily, too 
true. An assault then would have promised success. 

2 1 find a similar statement in Swinton's "Army of the Potomac," 
p. 355, in a pamphlet by Dr. Jacobs, and in an article by General 
Howard in the Atlantic Monthly, July, 1876. I was at a loss to account 
for it until I observed that General Howard describes the vacated 


It is sufficient answer to this statement of the 
Federal historian to quote the language of General 
Lee's official report (Southern Historical Society Papers 
for July, 1876, p. 42): "The troops of the former 
(Johnson) moved steadily up the steep and rugged 
ascent under heavy fire, driving the enemy into his 
intrenchments, part of which were carried by Steuart's 
brigade, and a number of prisoners taken." 

The position thus so hardly l won and at so dear a 
cost was one of great importance. It was within a 

works as situated between McAllister's Mill and Culp's Hill. From 
these works part of the 12th Corps had been withdrawn to reinforce 
Meade's left. But these were not the works occupied by Steuart's brigade, 
whose charge was made on Culp's Hill itself, to the north of Spangler's 
Spring. Bates says: "Passing over the abandoned breastworks further 
to the right, the enemy found nothing to oppose him, and pushed out 
through the woods in their rear over the stone fences that skirt the 
fields farther to the south, and had nearly gained the Baltimore pike. 
Indeed, the reserve artillery and ammunition, and the headquarters 
of General Slocum, the commander of the right wing of the army, 
were within musket range of his farthest advance." (Page 140.) 
This statement, if true at all, must have reference to the movements of 
troops on our left. Steuart's men did not advance beyond those 
redoubtable works which, although vacant, belched forth flame and 
Minie balls, which were just as fatal as though they had been occupied 
by soldiers! Being dark, we cannot say we saw the men behind them, 
but we saw the musketry flashes and we felt the balls that came thick 
into our ranks, and some of the private soldiers who survive testify 
that when they leaped the works they saw dead and wounded Federal 
soldiers on the other side. 

1 Bates himself, on another page (147), makes an admission fatal 
to his former assertion: " On the extreme Union right he had effected 
a lodgment [this, remember, General Lee says was done by Steuart's 
brigade], and had pushed forward in dangerous proximity to the very 
vitals of the army; . . . the night was sure to give opportunity for 
dispositions which would oust him from his alreadt dear-bought 
advantage." How was it " dear-bought " if occupied without oppo- 
sition? Verily, unoccupied breastworks must have been fatal spots 
in that battle. 


few hundred yards of the Baltimore turnpike, which 
I think it commanded. Its capture was a breach in 
the enemy's lines through which troops might have 
been poured and the strong positions of Cemetery Bill 
rendered untenable. General Howard says: "The 
ground was rough, and the woods so thick that their 
generals did not realize till morning what they had 
gained." Dr. Jacobs says: "This might have proved 
disastrous to us had it not occurred at so late an hour." 
And Swinton declares it was "a position which, if field 
by him, would enable him to take Meade's entire line in 
reverse." ("Army of the Potomac," p. 355. l ) 

It is only in keeping with the haphazard character 
of the whole battle that the capture of a point of such 
strategic importance should not have been taken advan- 
tage of by the Confederates. It remains, however, 
no less a proud memory for the officers and men of the 
Third Brigade that their prowess gained for the Con- 
federate general a position where "Meade's entire line 
might have been taken in reverse." 

But if the Confederates did not realize what they had 
gained, the Federals were fully aware what they had 
lost. Accordingly, they spent the night massing troops 
and artillery for an effort to regain their works. "Dur- 
ing the night," says Swinton (page 356), "a powerful 
artillery was accumulated against the point entered 
by the enemy." Through the long hours of the night 
we heard the rumbling of their guns, and thought 
they were evacuating the hill. The first streak of day- 

1 Bates is of the same opinion: "Had he known the advantage which 
was open to him, and all that we now know, he might, with the troops 
he had, have played havoc with the trains, and set the whole army 
in retreat; but he was ignorant of the prize which was within his grasp." 
— Page 140. 


light revealed our mistake. It was scarcely dawn 
(the writer of this had just lain down to sleep after a 
night in the saddle) when their artillery opened upon 
us, at a range of about 500 yards, a terrific and gall- 
ing fire, to which we had no means of replying, as our 
guns could not be dragged up that steep and rugged 
ascent. 1 Then, a little after sunrise, their infantry 
moved forward in heavy force to attack us. "The 
troops of the 12th Corps," says Swinton, "had re- 
turned from the left, and the divisions of Williams and 
Geary, aided by Shaler's brigade, of the Sixth Corps, 
entered upon a severe struggle to regain the lost posi- 
tion of the line." 2 They drove in our skirmishers, 
but could not dislodge us from the works we had cap- 
tured, although these were commanded in part by the 
works on the crest of the hill to our right, whence a gall- 
ing fire was poured into our ranks. Next a strong 
effort was made to take us in flank, and I well remem- 
ber that at one time our line resembled three sides of 
a pentagon, the left side being composed of some other 
brigade, centre and right composed of our own bri- 
gade, which thus occupied the most advanced position 
toward the crest of the hill. 3 About this time, I think, 

1 "To one conversant with the ground, it is now apparent why the 
enemy did not reply. The creek, the forest, and the steep acclivities 
made it utterly impossible for him to move up his guns, and this cir- 
cumstance contributed to the weakness of his position and the futility 
of his occupation of this part of the line. . . . But, though he fought 
with a determined bravery well worthy the name of the old-time leader, 
yet he gained no ground and had sustained terrible losses." 

2 The enemy was evidently before us in immense numbers, and posted 
behind two lines of breastworks. To resist them we had but one 
division, which was subsequently strengthened by the brigades of 
Smith and Daniel. — Extract from a letter. 

3 "The crest of the hill to the right was still more difficult of approach, 


word came to General Steuart that the men's ammuni- 
tion was almost exhausted. One of his staff immedi- 
ately took three men and went on foot to the wagons, 
distant about a mile and a quarter, and brought up 
two boxes of cartridges. "We emptied each box into a 
blanket and swung the blanket on a rail, and so carried 
it to the front." It was now, I think, about half -past 
nine, and ever since four o'clock the fire of the enemy 
had been almost continuous, at times tremendous. 1 
Professor Jacobs says, "The battle raged furiously, and 
was maintained with desperate obstinacy on both sides." 
He goes on to speak of the "terrible slaughter" of our 
men. General Howard says: "I went over the ground 
five years after the battle, and marks of the struggle 
were still to be observed — the moss on the rocks 
was discolored in hundreds of places where the bul- 
lets had struck; the trees, as cut off, lopped down, 
or shivered, were still there; stumps and trees were 

and from it the enemy were able to enfilade our whole line. . . . The 
struggle for the hill now became more and more fierce. The enemy 
endeavored to drive us out of the works. They attacked us in front 
and in flank, and opened a terrific cannonading upon us from a battery 
posted about 500 yards off. ... On the right and left flank, where 
our lines were almost perpendicular to the front line, there were no 
breastworks, and the struggle was very fierce and bloody. Our men 
maintained their position, however, and received reinforcements." 
(Extract from a letter-) The Third North Carolina was on the right, 
and suffered most heavily during this part of the battle, so that but 
a handful were left to participate in the final charge. 

1 "As the day wore on, the heat from the fire and smoke of battle, 
and the scorching of the July sun, became so intense as to be almost 
past endurance. Men were completely exhausted in the progress 
of the struggle, and had to be often relieved; but revived by fresh air 
and a little period of rest, again returned to the front." (Bates, 
p. 142.) No such refreshing rest had our brave men. They were never 
relieved for a moment during all that seven-hours' unintermitting fire 
of which General Kane speaks. 


perforated with holes where leaden balls had since 
been dug out, and remnants of the rough breastworks 
remained. I did not wonder that General Geary, who 
was in the thickest of this fight, thought the main 
battle of Gettysburg must have been fought there." l 
(Atlantic Monthly, July, 1876, p. 66.) 

But all the efforts of the enemy failed to dislodge 
us. Unassisted, the Third Brigade held the position 
they had won the night before. Several writers speak 
of Johnson being heavily reinforced. It may be. But 
I feel sure that that far-advanced line of earthworks 
into which Steuart had driven his brigade like a wedge 
the night before was held by him alone through all 
those terrible hours on the morning of the 3d of July. 
The reinforcements which came to Johnson must 
have been employed on the flanks or on some other 
portion of the line than that occupied by us. 2 

1 Whitelaw Reid wrote as follows: "From 4 to 5 there was heavy- 
cannonading also from our batteries nearest the contested points. . . . 
The rebels made no reply. . . . The musketry crash continued with 
unparalleled tenacity and vehemence." (Bates, p. 142.) Later in the 
morning he says: "The batteries began to open again on points along 
our outer line. They were evidently playing on what had been Slo- 
cum's line of yesterday. The rebels then were still in our rifle-pits. 
Presently the battery on Slocum's Hill . . . opened too, aiming ap- 
parently in the same direction. Other batteries along the inner line, 
just to the left of the Baltimore pike [McAllister's Hill] followed the 
signal, and one after another opened up, till every little crest between 
Slocum's headquarters and Cemetery Hill began belching its thunder. 
. . . Still no artillery response from the rebels." — Page 143. 

2 My diary says that Johnson was "subsequently" reinforced by 
the brigades of Smith and Daniel. Probably this was just before 
the last fatal charge. I remember the latter brigade coming up at 
that time. I did not see it before, and I did not see Smith's brigade 
at all. Or both brigades may have been employed on the right and 
left flanks at an earlier hour. I would only state it as my conviction 
that the captured works were held by the men who captured them from 


Then came General Ewell's order to assume the offen- 
sive and assail the crest of Culp's Hill, on our right. 
My diary says that both General Steuart and General 
Daniel, who now came up with his brigade to support 
the movement, strongly disapproved of making the 
assault. And well might they despair of success in 
the face of such diffi culties. The works to be stormed 
ran almost at right angles to those we occupied. 1 
Moreover, there was a double line of entrenchments, 
one above the other, and each filled with troops. In 
moving to the attack we were exposed to enfilading 
fire from the woods on our left flank, besides the double 
line of fire which we had to face in front, and a battery 
of artillery posted on a hill to our left rear opened upon 
us at short range. 2 What wonder, then, if Steuart 
was reluctant to lead his men into such a slaughter- 
pen, from which he saw there could be no issue but 
death and defeat! But though he remonstrated, he 
gallantly obeyed without delay the orders he received, 
giving the co mm and, "Left face," and afterwards, 
"File right." He made his men leap the breastworks 
and form in line of battle on the other side at right 
angles, nearly, to their previous position, galled all the 

9 P.M., July 2d, to 10 A.M., July 3d, and by none others. During 
the last hour of their occupation (10 to 11) the right of the works was 
held by the brigade of General Daniel. 

1 They were confident of their ability to sweep him away and take 
the whole Union line in reverse. Fortunately, Greene had caused 
his flank to be fortified by a very heavy work, which the make of the 
ground favored, extending some distance at right angles to his main 
line. — Bates' " Gettysburg," p. 139. 

2 Professor Jacobs seems to allude to this when he says: "In this 
work of death, a battery of artillery placed on a hill to the right of the 
Baltimore turnpike, and some distance south of the cemetery, was 
found to have performed a prominent part." — Page 40. 


time by a brisk fire from the enemy. Then drawing his 
sword, he gave the command, "Charge bayonets!" and 
moved forward on foot with his men into the jaws of 
death. On swept the gallant little brigade, the Third 
North Carolina on the right of the line, next the Second 
Maryland, then the three Virginia regiments (10th, 23d, 
and 37th), with the First North Carolina on the extreme 
left. Its ranks had been sadly thinned, and its energies 
greatly depleted by those six fearful hours of battle 
that morning; but its nerve and spirit were undimin- 
ished. Soon, however, the left and centre were checked 
and then repulsed, probably by the severe flank fire 
from the woods; and the small remnant of the Third 
North Carolina, with the stronger Second Maryland 
(I do not recall the banners of any other regiment), were 
far in advance of the rest of the line. On they pressed 
to within about twenty or thirty paces of the works — 
a small but gallant band of heroes daring to attempt 
what could not be done by flesh and blood. 1 

The end soon came. We were beaten back to the 
line from which we had advanced 'with terrible loss, 
and in much confusion, but the enemy did not make a 

1 Since writing the above I have met with the following account 
of this memorable charge in Bates' book (page 144): "Suddenly the 
quiet was broken by a yell bursting from thousands of lungs, and the 
next instant their gray lines emerged in sight dashing madly on. . . . 
They had scarcely come into easy musket range when the men in 
blue along the line sprang to their feet and poured in a deliberate volley. 
The shock was terrible. The on-coming force was staggered, and for 
a moment sought shelter behind trees and rocks; but obedient to the 
voices of their officers, they struggled on, some of the most desperate 
coming within twenty paces of the Union front. 'It cannot be denied,' 
says Kane, 'that they behaved courageously.' They did what the 
most resolute could do, but it was all in vain. . . . Broken and well- 
nigh annihilated, the survivors of the charge staggered back, leaving 
the ground strewn with their dead and desperately wounded." 


counter charge. By the strenuous efforts of the offi- 
cers of the line and of the staff, order was restored, 
and we re-formed in the breastworks from which we 
had emerged, there to be again exposed to an artillery 
fire exceeding in violence that of the early morning. 
It remains only to say that, like Pickett's men later 
in the day, this single brigade was hurled unsupported 
against the enemy's works. Daniel's brigade remained 
in the breastworks during and after the charge, and 
neither from that command nor from any other had we 
any support. Of course it is to be presumed that 
General Daniel acted in obedience to orders. 1 We 

1 "As soon as we were unmasked a most terrific fire was opened 
upon us from three directions. In front, on a rising ground heavily 
wooded, the enemy were posted in two lines behind breastworks, one 
above the other, so that both fines fired upon us at once. On the left 
was a piece of woods, from which the enemy's sharpshooters opened a 
very galling fire, raking our whole line. This decided the failure of 
our attempt to storm their works, for the regiments of the left first 
halted (while the right of the line advanced), and then fell back. . . . 
Still we pressed on. General Steuart, Captain Williamson, and I 
were all on the right centre, where were the Second Maryland and eight 
men of the Third North Carolina. Oh! it was a gallant band. We had 
our sabres drawn, and were cheering on the men, but there was little 
need of it. Their gallantry did not avail, and their noble blood was 
spilled in vain. ... It was as if the sickle of Death had passed along the 
line and mown down the noblest and the bravest. Major Golds- 
borough fell (as we supposed), mortally wounded. That brave officer 
and noble gentleman, Captain Murray, fell dead. Friends dropped 
all around me, and lay writhing on the ground. ... It was more than 
men could endure, and reluctantly they commenced falling back. 
Then our task was to prevent a rout, for the brigade was terribly 
cut up and the men much demoralized. Behind some rocks we ralhed 
the scattered regiments and made a stand. Finally we took our old 
position behind the breastworks, supported by Daniel's brigade. 
Here we lay for about an hour under the most furious infantry and 
artillery fire I have ever experienced, but without much loss." {Extract 
from a letter describing the battle.) I give it just as I find it, adding that 
if the tattered battle flag of the Third North Carolina was followed by 


remained in this breastwork after the charge about an 
hour before we finally abandoned the Federal entrench- 
ments and retired to the foot of the hill. The Federal 
historians say we were driven from our position. Thus 
Swinton affirms that "it was carried by a charge of 
Geary's division." This statement I deny as an eye- 
witness and sharer in the conflict to the close, and as 
one of the staff who assisted in carrying out the order 
withdrawing the troops to the base of the hill. It was 
a very difficult thing to withdraw the fragments of a 
shattered brigade down a steep hill in the face of the 
enemy, and I have a vivid recollection of our apprehen- 
sions of the result of such a movement. But it was 
done, not before a charge of the enemy, but in obedi- 
ence to orders, and we were not pursued, nor were the 
works occupied by the Federals until we reached Rock 
creek, at the base of the hill. 

A few of our men on our left, rather than incur the 
danger of retiring down the hill under that very heavy 
fire, remained behind in the entrenchments and gave 
themselves up. The base of the hill reached, skir- 
mishers were thrown out, and we remained on the west 
side of Rock creek till 11.30 p.m., when we retired 
silently and unmolested. I find the following record 
in my diary referring to the time when we retired to 
the foot of the hill: "New troops were brought on, 
and fighting continued until now (five p.m.)." This 
must refer to picket firing. 

It only remains that I give such statement of our 
losses as my materials enable me to make. Unfortu- 
nately, I have returns only from three regiments re- 
only a handful, it was because they had already suffered more heavily 
than any other regiment. 


corded. In the Tenth Virginia (which I think was 
very small) the loss was (killed, wounded, and missing) 
64. This I have not been able to verify. The Third 
North Carolina lost, according to my memoranda 
(killed, wounded, and missing) 207 out of 312 men. 
Dr. Wood, of that regiment, writes that this corresponds 
very nearly to statistics in his possession. The Second 
Maryland lost, according to my notes, 206 men. Other 
estimates (by Colonel Herbert and Major Golds- 
borough) put their loss, one at 250, the other at 222. 
One company, that of the lamented William H. Mur- 
ray, carried into battle 92 men and lost 18 killed, 37 
wounded; total 55. Another estimate (by the orderly 
sergeant of Company A) puts it at 62. My diary 
states that the brigade mustered about 2,200 before 
the battle. At Hagerstown, on the 8th of July, about 
1,200 men reported for duty. It is probable that 
others subsequently came in, as I cannot think the 
loss was so great as 1,000 men, in the face of the follow- 
ing entry in my diary, July 4th: "Total loss in the 
brigade (killed, wounded, and missing), 680." 

There were probably many stragglers on the march 
to Williamsport, some of whom may have been taken 
prisoners; but many no doubt afterward came in. 
The entire loss might be put at 800. * 

1 "What a field was this! For three hours of the previous evening, 
and seven of the morning, had the most terrible elements of destruction 
known to modern warfare been wielded with a might and dexterity 
rarely if ever paralleled. The woods in which the battle had been 
fought was torn and rent with shells and solid shot and pierced with 
innumerable Minie balls. Trees were broken off and splintered, 
and that entire forest, where the battle raged most furiously, was, 
on the following year, leafless, the stately but mute occupants having 
yielded up their fives with those whom they overshadowed." (Bates' 
" Gettysburg," p. 145.) And speaking of the state of the hill on the 4th: 


These fearful losses sufficiently indicate the charac- 
ter of the work those brave men were called on to do. 
The Light Brigade at Balaklava lost about one-third 
of their number (247 men out of 673 officers and men) 
in their famous charge. That, indeed, was over in 
twenty minutes, while these two regiments sustained 
their loss of one-half and two-thirds during a conflict 
of ten hours duration. But at least we may claim for 
the men of the Third Brigade that they maintained a 
long and unequal contest with a valor and a constancy 
worthy of the best troops. 

"We came upon numberless forms clad in gray, either stark and stiff or 
else still weltering in their blood. . . . Turning whichever way we chose, 
the eye rested upon human forms lying in all imaginable positions. . . . 
We were surprised at the accuracy as well as the bloody results of our 
fire. It was indeed dreadful to witness." — Id. p. 145. 



TN the autumn of 1863, I tendered my resignation 
•*■ as first lieutenant and aide-de-camp, in order to pre- 
pare myself for ordination to the ministry of the Prot- 
estant Episcopal Church. This was in fulfilment of 
a resolution recorded in my diary, Jan. 1, 1863, that 
if the war did not terminate in the approaching cam- 
paign, I would not feel justified in longer delaying my 
preparation for the ministry, to which I had devoted 
myself when I was sixteen years of age. My action 
was stimulated by my deep sense of the pressing need 
of chaplains in the army, and my conviction that 
the opportunities for usefulness therein were very 

In tendering my resignation to Gen. S. Cooper, 
adjutant and inspector-general, at Richmond, I stated 
that I had been "looking forward to the Christian 
ministry for the last five years, and for several months 
had been a candidate for orders in the Protestant 
Episcopal Church." I added that it was "my desire 
to commence my studies at once at the seminary in 
order to be prepared for ordination the ensuing spring, 
at which time it is my purpose to reenter the service 
in the capacity of chaplain." And I further stated 
that I was not "actuated by a desire to avoid duty in 
the field, but by the wish to fit myself for a position 



in which I shall be able to render the army more effi- 
cient service than at present." 

Brigadier-General Steuart, my chief, endorsed my 
application in the following terms: 

"Approved and respectfully forwarded. I appointed 
Lieutenant McKim my A. D. C. on account of the faithful 
and efficient manner in which he performed his duty as a 
soldier in the First Maryland Regiment. He acted most 
gallantly at Cross Keys, Winchester, and Gettysburg, and 
has always discharged his duties faithfully. I regret to lose 
his services, but consider the reasons he assigns sufficient, 
having been cognizant of the facts. 


"Geo. H. Steuart, 
"Brig.- Gen." 

Major-General Johnson also approved my applica- 
tion, and finally General Lee himself, and accordingly 
it was accepted by the President, to take effect Sept. 1, 

I left the army with a heavy heart. Though the 
step I had taken was dictated by a high sense of duty, 
it cost me a painful effort. Indeed I can truly say that 
it was a severer test of my courage to turn my back 
on my general and my brother officers, and those brave 
soldiers whom I had led, than to face the Federal breast- 
works on Culp's Hill. I had, however, every evidence 
that both officers and men respected my motives and 
understood my purpose. It had been generally known 
among them that I was a candidate for orders, and I 
had so often conducted religious service in camp and 
even on the battle field that it was no surprise to them 
that I should now go forward to the consu mm ation of 
my purpose to enter the ministry. But, in spite of this, 


I could not overcome the thought that my retirement 
from the army looked like the desertion of my comrades 
and of the cause. 1 

My studies were conducted at Staunton, Virginia, 
under the Rev. Wm. Sparrow, D.D., dean of the Theo- 
logical Seminary of Virginia. He was the only pro- 
fessor, but he was a host in himself — a fine Greek and 
Hebrew scholar, a theologian of great learning, and a 
profound and original thinker, to whom Phillips Brooks 
felt deeply indebted. In Greek and Latin I had grad- 
uated at the University of Virginia; also in moral 
philosophy; so that Hebrew and apologetics, with 
church history and theology proper, were now my 
chief concern. The previous winter I had studied alone 
Home's "Introduction to the Bible." Under these 
circumstances and under such an inspiring teacher 
as Dr. Sparrow, I was able, by diligence, to fit myself 
to pass my examinations for deacon's orders, after eight 
months study, and was ordered deacon by Bishop 
John Johns, of Virginia, May 11th, 1864, in Trinity 

1 In a letter to my mother about this time I wrote : "Though I shrank 
from the imputation which some would probably cast upon such a 
course at such a crisis, — duty was imperative even more than honor! — 
God has made the way easy for me, and instead of opposition and mis- 
construction, I have been astonished to find how generally my course 
has been approved and my motives appreciated by my friends. General 
Steuart in his endorsement of my resignation gives me the credit of 
'having performed my duties faithfully.' 

"It was approved by my division commander and by Lieutenant- 
General Ewell, and also by General Lee, and finally by the President, 
to take effect September 1, 1863. I tell you this, my mother, that 
you may know that, though your son has left the field, his escutcheon 
is still untarnished by the imputation of fear. Tell papa that I recollect 
that he did not use to think me a brave boy. I do not think I am 
naturally so, but I have moral courage at least, and my confidence in 
God has taken away all fear of death, when in the discharge of my duty." 


Church, Staunton, Virginia. I had several fellow- 
students, Wm. F. Gardner, Edward H. Ingle, and Hor- 
ace Hayden. During the winter I gave lessons in 
French and Latin to the daughters of the Rev. Rich- 
ard H. Phihips, my father-in-law. 

Such spare time as I could command was largely 
spent in the hospitals in work among the sick and 
wounded soldiers. That was before the discovery of 
antiseptic surgery, and consequently the sufferings 
of the wounded were far greater than would now be 
the case, and the atmosphere of the hospitals was 
often painfully offensive, making work there very try- 
ing to the nerves. The devotion of the women of the 
South to the sick and the wounded was sublimely 
beautiful. They never flinched or wearied in their 
blessed labors to alleviate the sufferings of the poor 
fellows who were wounded or stricken with disease. 
Indeed the community was like one family. Such was 
the unity of feeling, such the common devotion to the 
cause, that it was like the co mm unal life in the early 
Church. Whatever the people had, of means, or of 
comforts, or of luxuries, was freely poured out for the 
brave fellows who were suffering in the hospitals 
(many of which were churches or chapels converted 
to that use) for the Confederacy. It might almost 
have been said, "The multitude were of one heart 
and one soul; and none of them said that aught of the 
things which he possessed was his own, but they had 
all things common." History will hardly show a nearer 
approximation to that primitive communal unity 
than was seen in the South, and perhaps especially 
in Virginia, which was the chief theatre of the war. 
In this unity and solidarity there was large compensa- 


tion for the suffering and the destitution which became 
more and more acute as the war dragged its slow 
length along. 

On the 10th of Feb., 1864, I was licensed by Bishop 
Johns "to perform the service and deliver addresses 
and exhortations as authorized by Canon III, § 3, 
Title I, of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Con- 
federate States." 

Under this authority I did service in the hospitals 
and elsewhere, and had practice in extempore speak- 
ing, which was a useful preparation for my work in 
the army. 

I find the following list of some of the text-books 
which we used under Dr. Sparrow's direction: 

Conant's Gesenius Hebrew Grammar. 

Gesenius Hebrew Lexicon. 

Hebrew Bible. 

Greek Testament. 

Paley's Evidences. 

Butler's Analogy and Sermons. 

D'Aubigne's History of the Reformation. 

Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History. 

Schaff's Church History. 

I had the use of the excellent library of the Rev. 
Richard H. Phillips, my wife's father, and the great 
advantage of his counsel and experience. Dr. Sparrow 
required of us an essay on some topic, assigned by him 
once in two weeks, and later we began the composition 
of sermons, of which I had a store of, I think, twelve, 
when I began my duties as chaplain. This was a very 
small "barrel," but it was of little consequence because 
written sermons were not the proper "ammunition" 
for use in the army. "The paper" was found to be a 


non-conductor, and words straight from the heart were 
the only "arrows" that seemed to go to the mark. 

I may here set down an anecdote relating to Dr. 
Sparrow's preaching. After a sermon by him in Trin- 
ity Church, Staunton, three gentlemen stood in the 
church yard and discussed the preacher. One of them, 
I think Judge Sheffey, said, "Well, Dr. Sparrow can 
certainly dive down deeper — " "Yes," interrupted 
Col. John Baldwin, "and stay under longer" — 
"Yes," added Bishop Wilmer, "and come up drier!" 

Nevertheless, all thoughtful men found him an in- 
spiring and stimulating preacher. 

As soon as possible after my ordination, I set out for 
the army, having received what I supposed were satis- 
factory assurances that I would be appointed chap- 
lain of Major Chew's battalion of artillery, which was 
camped at that time near Richmond. 

I left Staunton May 30th, mounted on a beautiful 
little blooded bay horse, "Charlie," of the then famous 
"Messenger" stock. He had previous to the war 
belonged to my wife, but had joined the army, like 
all good Virginians, and I had discovered him by 
accident, and had persuaded his owner to trade him 
for my "war-horse" Roy, a showy animal of "Mor- 
gan" stock. He agreed to the exchange on condi- 
tion that I would not ride him in the army, but 
send him home to my wife. That was just what I 
wished to do, as I had so often heard her regret that 
she had consented to part with him. So on our 
return from Gettysburg, I found a soldier who had 
gone barefooted through the campaign, and obtain- 
ing a furlough for him to visit his family in Augu&ta 
County, sent the horse by him to Staunton. Weeks 


passed before " Charlie" was delivered in Staunton, 
and when he arrived he was in such a deplorable con- 
dition that none of the family recognized him. The 
soldier had taken him home and hitched him to the 
plough, and so overworked and misused the beautiful 
little animal that he was unfit for use for many months, 
and^ when at length he was partially restored to condi- 
tion it was found that he was almost totally blind. 

This unfitted him for my wife's use, but I thought I 
could manage to ride him in the army, for the reason 
that he had such splendid action that the risk of stum- 
bling was reduced to a minimum. 

He carried me well to the army, making twenty-three 
miles a day the first two days, and thirty-three miles 
a day the third and fourth day. Unfortunately, as 
my diary states, he "shied into the canal," but I man- 
aged to avoid going in with him. I have no recollec- 
tion of how I got him out. At length on June 5th I 
rode into the camp of Major Chew's battalion artillery. 
The same day, in the evening, I held service "and had 
a large and attentive audience and made an address 
suggested by the hymn, "A charge to keep I have." 

I was now happy in the belief that I had achieved 
my ambition, — I was commissioned and equipped 
for my work as a mini ster of Jesus Christ in the army 
that I loved so well. I had made a propitious begin- 
ning of my service as chaplain, and could now go for- 
ward and, by God's blessing, preach and five the 
Gospel to good purpose. 

But I was to be disappointed. I learned on investi- 
gation that formal application for my appointment as 
chaplain of the battalion had never been made, and 
Major Chew informed me that until I received the 


appointment, I could not draw rations or forage. He 
proceeded at once to make the formal application to 
the Department, but, pending its action, I had no 
status in the army, and was obliged with great chagrin 
to leave camp and await my commission as chaplain. 
More than a month elapsed before I heard from the 
Department, and the answer was that Mr. Seddon, 
Secretary of War, decided that the law made no pro- 
vision for the appointment of chaplains to battalions, 
but only to regiments, and therefore the application 
of Major Chew could not be granted. 

Col. Thomas Munford, of the Second Virginia Cav- 
alry, Fitz Lee's brigade, now made application for my 
appointment as chaplain of his regiment, but it was not 
till August 23d that I finally received my commission, 
and was qualified to join Colonel Munford's command. 

During the interim, however, between my ordination 
and my entrance on my duties as chaplain I was not 
idle. I preached frequently in Trinity Church, Staun- 
ton, and elsewhere. For example, my diary notes 
that on August 4th, August 5th, August 6th, August 
7th, and August 8th, I preached at the Virginia Hos- 
pital, Staunton, to the sick and wounded soldiers. 
And again, at Rawley Springs, I preached four times in 
one week. 

At this time it was my habit to translate daily one 
chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, and then render 
ten verses back from English into Greek. 1 

I will here note an event of painful interest to my 

1 It may be amusing to note the following: 

"June 24, 1864 — Hired servant girl Milly till December 25th, agree- 
ing to furnish her one linsey dress, one cotton dress, one pair shoes, 
etc., etc., together with board and medical attendance." 


immediate family. About June 12th, my father-in- 
law, Rev. Richard H. Phillips, for so many years the 
highly esteemed and beloved principal of the Virginia 
Female Institute, was captured in the mountains of 
Nelson County, Virginia, and carried off a prisoner 
with Hunter's army to Ohio. When the Institute 
closed the first year of the war, Mr. Phillips had de- 
voted himself to the work of supplying the army with 
cloth made in local mills, and had been commissioned 
captain in the Co mmi ssary Department. Upon the 
approach of Major-General Hunter's army he had 
packed up the co mmis sary stores in wagons and sought 
safety for them across the Blue Ridge in Nelson County. 
Here he was captured, together with all the stores under 
his charge. I suffered, too, a loss there, for he had 
taken my uniform which I had worn as Steuart's aide, 
"for safe keeping," and this was carried off by Hun- 
ter's raiders. I had also left with him a pair of saddle- 
bags, which contained about hah of my little store 
of sermons, — a precious commodity in my eyes. My 
friend Rev. Dr. Norton suffered a similar loss by the 
same raiding army when it visited Lexington. Some 
years after the war he attended service in some Western 
city, and heard one of his own sermons delivered from 
the pulpit by the rector of the parish. It must have 
been a great temptation to the clergyman who had 
become possessed of those sermons to use them, for 
Dr. Geo. Norton was a pungent and powerful preacher. 
I never heard that my sermons received a similar com- 
pliment, — but none the less I mourned the loss of a 
considerable part of my small capital. 

Rev. Mr. Phillips was compelled by his captors to 
march on foot all the long way from Arlington through 


Virginia and West Virginia to the Ohio River. It 
was a forced march, for General Hunter was hastening 
to make good his escape. The weather was very hot 
and oppressive, and the fatigue told seriously on a man 
of Mr. P hilli ps' age. He was obliged to subsist much of 
the way on parched corn, and was at one time so fam- 
ished that he was fain to pick up the green onion tops 
thrown away by the Federal soldiers. He was kept a 
prisoner in Camp Chase for ten months, and there 
endured much unn ecessary hardship, gratuitously in- 
flicted by the prison authorities in retaliation for alleged 
cruelties on Northern prisoners of war in the South. 
When he was exchanged and returned home, he had 
aged twenty years and was scarcely recognized by his 

During his confinement in prison Rev. Mr. Phillips 
did very effective spiritual work among his fellow pris- 
oners both by preaching and by private personal influ- 
ence. He was able to state, in a letter written about 
Christmas, that swearing among the men had ceased 
entirely. To his high character as a Christian man, he 
added the charm of culture and great geniality. 

As instances of the rigorous treatment alluded to 
above, I recall his telling me that the rations issued to the 
prisoners were so scant that he had repeatedly known 
some of the men to cook three days rations and consume 
it all at one meal, and go without anything the rest of 
the three days. He also mentioned that spoiled fish 
were issued to the prisoners on more than one occasion. 

No doubt the personality of the particular officer 
in command of the prisons, both North and South, 
was often the determining factor in the treatment 
meted out to the prisoners. 



It was on August 30th, 1864, that I left Staunton to 
report for duty to Col. Thomas T. Munford, as chap- 
lain of the Second Virginia Cavalry, then camped near 
Winchester. My beautiful little bay, blind though he 
was, carried me at a good pace down the valley, 25 
miles the first day, 32 the second, 35 the third. So on 
September 2d I found myself at last installed in my 
new duties, so eagerly looked forward to. 

The very next day the brigade of Gen. Fitz Lee was 
ordered out to meet the enemy. I mounted my horse, 
and took my place as a matter of course in the column 
as it marched. This was a surprise to many of the 
men, and one called out to me, "Hello, Parson, are you 
going with us into battle?" "Oh, yes," I replied with 
a laugh, "I'm an old infantry soldier, — I don't mind 
these little cavalry skirmishes." Then rose in his 
stirrups a rough trooper from the backwoods, and 
brandishing his sabre over his head exclaimed, "That's 
right, Paason. You stick to us, and we'll stick to you! " 
I recall his appearance to this day; he had long yellow 
hair almost to his shoulders, his complexion was sallow, 
and his eyes were so light that they almost looked 
white. From that moment he was my fast friend. 
Often when he returned from picket he would bring 
me something in his haversack, a peach, or a pear, or 
some other unusual delicacy. 

It was a fine body of men, that Second Virginia Cav- 
alry, made up as follows: Co. A from Bedford County; 
Co. B from Lynchburg; Co. C from Botetourt County; 
Co. D from Franklin County; Co. E from Amherst 
County; Co. F and Co. G from Bedford County; Co. H 


from Appomattox County; Co. I from Campbell County; 
Co. K from Albemarle County. 

I found among the officers some very congenial 
spirits, and the rank and file were always ready to 
respond to my efforts. Very soon our relations were 
established on a cordial basis. Plenty of marching, 
plenty of common hardships, and not a little fight- 
ing, quickly made us good friends. There was some 
fighting that first day of our acquaintance. Somewhere 
on the field of expected battle, I conducted a religious 
service (" after a severe struggle with my diffi dence") 
and "addressed the men on the spur of the moment 
on God's providence and the necessity of depending 
on Him." It was on Friday, September 3d. 

My diary shows that I established the rule of having 
prayers in the regiment daily, both morning and even- 
ing, and that I generally made a short address. This 
would be prevented by a heavy rain, but a "drizzling 
rain" appears to have been no obstacle. "Throwing 
up breastworks" would hinder the service, but it was 
held even on days when the regiment was on the march, 
— of course after making camp or bivouack. It ap- 
pears also that the attendance was "very good." I 
rose regularly about five, sometimes half an hour earlier, 
groomed and fed my horse, and was early ready for any 
duty. If the regiment went on picket, prayers would 
first be held, unless it was very early. I believe the 
morning service was usually before breakfast and the 
evening service at sunset, though sometimes, especially 
on Sunday, it would be after dark, for I well remember 
once, while I was speaking, the fire died down and went 
out, and I could no longer see the faces of the men, 
and for that reason my address came to a speedy end. 



I was fortunate in having the sympathy and active 
aid, in all this, of our colonel, Tom Munford, a gallant 
and skilful officer (who served the cause with unwaver- 
ing fidelity to the last day and the last shot at Appo- 
mattox), and also of his adjutant, Samuel Griffin, — 
"Tip," as we always called him. 

As soon as practicable after joining the regiment, 
I secured lists of the men in each company who were 
communicants of any church. I then had a mass 
meeting of communicants, and sought to strengthen 
their resolution to be faithful to their profession, and 
steadfast in their religious duties, and active in Chris- 
tian work among their comrades. I prepared a series 
of resolutions along those lines and they were adopted 
by the meeting. My next effort was to build up a 
choir for the better rendering of the hymns at our 
services, and I had choir meetings when possible. 

The following extracts illustrate our life at this 
period : 

"Thursday, Sept. 15th. — Morning prayers at seven: large 
attendance. Preached at sunset on the Fall and its Conse- 
quences. Very large audience." "Friday, 16th. — Evening 
service at sunset and address on Abraham's Intercession 
for Sodom as inciting Christians to pray for the country. 
Very large attendance. Singing improved." "Sept. 17th, 
Saturday. — Held meeting of Christians at nine and after 
prayer and deliberation appointed committee to report 
to-morrow (Sunday) at three o'clock. As chairman I was 
appointed to draft resolutions. . . . Usual large attendance 
at evening prayer." 

And this extract shows how willing the men were 
to attend service under difficulties: 

"Sunday, Sept. 18. — Ordered off at daylight. Held 


11 o'clock service and preached on John iii. 5 [apparently 
after the regiment had reached its destination]. Hughes, 
our blacksmith, came to me for advice and comfort. Pre- 
sented cl aims of the Episcopal Church at some length to 
Cunningham of Co. D, who has never joined any church, 
being a recent convert. Returned to old camp at 3.30 p.m. 
Preached again at night on John iii. 5. Committee approved 
my resolutions." 

(Two services, two sermons, two marches, and two 
conferences in one day.) 

I found these sturdy men very ready to discuss the 
great question of religion, and open to conviction. 
Even the gayest and the most seemingly thoughtless 
would listen with deep attention. Danger and death 
were at their right hand very often, and this gave 
emphasis to the counsels and warnings I addressed 
to them both in public and private. 



WTHIN a little more than two weeks after I 
joined Colonel Munford's regiment, the army 
under Major-General Early entered upon a very 
active campaign in the valley of Virginia. That officer 
had moved into Maryland in July and had pushed his 
advance to the very suburbs of Washington, creating 
great alarm among the authorities there. It was 
thought at the time by many that a commander 
with more dash than Early — Stonewall Jackson, for 
example — would have attempted the capture of the 
city, and with much probability of success. But it 
is doubtful if General Lee's instructions to his lieu- 
tenant contemplated so bold an enterprise with a force 
no larger than that which he had under his command. 
The purpose of the expedition was to threaten Wash- 
ington and draw off troops from Lee's front for its 

Gen. Phil Sheridan had accordingly been sent into 
the valley with a strong and well equipped army to 
oppose any further advance by Early. These able 
officers were thus pitted against each other, but the 
Federal general had greatly the advantage in numbers 
and in the armament and equipment of his troops. 
His cavalry, for instance, was armed with the repeating 
Spenser rifle, while the Confederate cavalry had only 



the Sharp's rifle at best. Often during this campaign 
did I keenly feel the inequality of the conflict between 
our brave fellows and their antagonists in this respect. 
It was hard to see the Bluecoats firing eight rounds 
without reloading, while the boys in gray could fire 
but one. But this was not the worst. Some of Early's 
force were armed with only the long cumbrous sport- 
ing rifle — utterly unsuited for mounted men. This 
circumstance was to produce disastrous results at a 
critical moment, as we shall see. 

Between the 19th of September and the 18th of Octo- 
ber — less than a month — Munf ord's regiment partici- 
pated in eleven engagements, three of which were 
pitched battles, viz., Winchester, Fisher's Hill, and 
Cedar Creek. 

The third battle of Winchester was fought on Sept. 
19th, 1864. Fitz Lee's cavalry brigade was employed 
first on one flank, then on the other, and did some 
very effective work, especially in covering General 
Early's retreat. The defeat was a great surprise to 
us, for we had seen the enemy driven back along a 
great part of the line. I particularly recall a brilliant 
charge of Rodes' division, which seemed at the time to 
be the coup de grace. Ordered just then over to the 
right flank, we were astonished later to learn that our 
left had given way, and that the disorder had extended 
so far that a retreat was ordered. This was about 
sunset, the battle having continued all day. Seeking 
the cause of this sudden change in the aspect of affairs, 
I learned that a part of General Imboden's mounted 
command, armed with those long, cumbrous, muzzle- 
loading rifles, utterly unfit for mounted men, had given 
way in disorder and rushed back pell-mell through our 


infantry line, which was thus broken and thrown into 
confusion, not by the enemy, but by that mass of 
ill-armed and half-organized men. The Federals, 
taking advantage of this breach in our line, charged 
vigorously, and so our almost victory was turned into 

It was now that Fitz Lee's cavalry did very impor- 
tant service in checking the Federal pursuit and 
covering Early's retreat. On the left flank we were 
dismounted and charged on foot, "driving the enemy's 
cavalry in confusion." On the retreat they tried to 
outflank us at Hollingsworth's Mills, "but our brigade 
charged beautifully with sabres and discomfited them." 
At one time during the day our men were in breast- 
works, under circumstances which I do not now dis- 
tinctly recall, but I think it was when checkmating 
an attempt to turn our right. I think they must 
have been light intrenchments thrown up in haste, 
and occupied by our men olismounted. After remain- 
ing there some time with our men under the enemy's 
shelling, I withdrew to the place where the led horses 
were, one hundred yards in the rear, and there min- 
istered as best I could to one of our poor fellows, who 
was almost cut in two by a shell. It was one of the 
most awful sights I ever witnessed during the war. 

This was the first time the Confederates had been 
defeated at Winchester. Twice previously, in 1862 
and in 1863, victory perched on their banners here. 
It was a discouraging blow, especially when success 
had seemed in their grasp till the unfortunate occur- 
rence I have related late in the day. After a very 
harassing and fatiguing night march, we reached 
Front Royal at eight a.m. of the 20th, having had one 


hour's sleep, and no food for twenty-four hours. In 
the battle of the day previous I had discovered that 
it took a good deal more nerve to go through a fight as 
a non-combatant than as a soldier. As a staff officer 
in battle I had always had plenty to do to occupy my 
mind, and very little time to reflect on the danger of 
the situation. As a chaplain on the firing line with 
the men, I had nothing to do but to sit on my horse 
and be shot at (unarmed, of course), waiting for a call 
to attend some wounded man. Having passed through 
both experiences, I can say that the role of a chaplain 
at the fiery front takes more nerve "by a jugful" 
than that of a staff officer. Yet I am certain that 
the chaplain who sticks to his men through thick and 
thin will have tenfold influence over them for that 

In this connection I am reminded of an amusing 

occurrence. One of our chaplains, Rev. Dr. Ij , 

who had fallen heir to Gen. Stonewall Jackson's sorrel 
mare, was riding at the head of our column as we 
marched down the valley, when suddenly we ran into 
the enemy's pickets, and the rifles began to crack at 
a very lively rate, whereupon the aforesaid chaplain 
turned the sorrel's head the other way, and began to 
pace rapidly to the rear. Just then General Early 

appeared, and seeing Dr. Ij , he called out in that 

high-pitched drawling voice which was peculiar to 

him, "Hello, Parson L , where are you going? 

You've been praying for forty years to get to heaven, 
and right down this road there's a first-rate chance 
to go there quick, and you won't take it!" 

After an interval of one day active operations were 
resumed. September 21st, at Front Royal, our cav- 


airy had quite a severe engagement with the enemy. 
There were charges and countercharges made gal- 
lantly on both sides. Several of our men were killed 
and a number wounded, among them the captain of 
Co. A and the captain of Co. K. At length our bri- 
gade retired before superior force. All through this 
campaign it was most aggravating to see the Federal 
troopers using their repeating carbines, while our 
brave fellows must reload after each shot, — eight 
shots to our one they had. The same day, at even- 
tide, five miles from Front Royal, there was an artil- 
lery duel, in which the gunners of our brigade "did 
beautiful practice — blew up one of their caissons, 
and silenced one of their batteries." 

We were slowly retreating down the valley, and on 
the 22d we had taken up a position at Milford, twelve 
miles from Luray. The enemy attacked us, but we 
held him off all day, losing some of our men in the 
fight. We were so early and so busily engaged that 
we had "neither breakfast nor dinner" that day. 
However, we had a "good supper." 

This was another dies nefasta for our little army, 
for General Early was again defeated at Fisher's Hill. 

Once more I suffered a great personal loss, for my 
dear friend Capt. George Williamson, serving on Gen- 
eral Gordon's staff, was killed at Fisher's Hill, while 
bravely, but, as it seems, rashly, exposing himself on 
the picket line. 

This gallant soldier and accomplished gentleman 
was the son of Gen. Geo. W. Williamson, a resident 
at that time of the city of New York, where his other 
son, David B. Williamson, was engaged in the prac- 
tice of law. His uncle, Mr. Chas. A. Williamson, 


was a resident of Baltimore. There were few young 
men in the Southern Army possessed of such talents 
and such personal charm as George Williamson. He 
was widely read, and his culture was refined and broad- 
ened by travel and by intercourse with the world. 
Yet he was unspoiled and "unspotted by the world," 
— a man of inflexible principle, governed in all his 
actions by a high sense of duty, gracious, courteous, 
knightly in bearing, one of whom it could be truly 


" His strength was as the strength of ten 

Because his heart was pure." 

To all these virtues was added the crown of a Christian 
faith and a Christian life. 

I have just been reading again with reverential 
emotion a letter which he addressed to me on August 
1st, seven weeks before he fell. On the envelope are 
written these words, "To be opened only after my 
death." He had a strong presentiment that he would 
not survive the campaign. In the intimacy of our 
circle of friends he would say that officers in the Con- 
federate Army must not spare themselves — they must 
inspire the men by their example — more and more 
this was demanded of them now that the struggle was 
becoming more difficult and more desperate, — it 
was our only hope of success. Noble gentleman! He 
lived up to his faith and died a victim to it. 

In the letter he entrusted to me the fulfilment of 
his last wishes and the administration of his affairs. 
To his father and to his brother he sent this message, 
"Tell them I endeavored to live as I trust I shall die, 
a Christian soldier and gentleman, leaving them little 
cause of sorrow in my death." In closing he said, 


"Bury me, if possible, at Duncan's side, if my death 
entitles me to a place beside the brave dead." 

I was proud then — I am proud to-day — that this 
superb man, this most noble and gallant gentleman, 
addressed me in this his last testament as "his best 
and dearest friend." I could have no higher aim 
than to deserve to be so honored. He was that rare 
type of friend who would dare to tell the truth, however 
unwelcome it might be. He did not hesitate to point 
out my faults to me — even to rebuke me if he saw I 
was in the wrong. 

September 23d, the day after the battle of Fisher r s 
Hill, I find that our cavalry was still holding the posi- 
tion at Milford. "The enemy have retired from our 
front, finding it impossible to drive us out." On the 
24th we returned toward Luray, marching through New- 
market Gap. Again my record shows that the active 
campaign did not stop our usual regimental religious 
service, for though we were engaged that day in 
"throwing up breastworks" at Columbia Bridge ford, 
I held service and "addressed the men on the Thirty- 
seventh Psalm in connection with the condition of our 
cause." That same day (Saturday) Lomax's old 
brigade "suffered a reverse near Luray." Our own 
brigade marched across the river by nine p.m., and the 
marching and the fortifying and the sendee was all 
done (and endured) on an empty stomach — "nothing 
to eat all day." The next day, Sunday, 25th, we 
marched to Conrad's store in Rockingham County, 
but again I find record of religious sendee, — "preached 
in camp in the afternoon on II Peter hi. 11 (The Day 
of Judgment) and had more than usual attention." 
This was followed by a severe night march, with only 


an hour's sleep. The men suffered greatly with cold. 
"The road was terrible." Marching and camping 
with officers and men, and going with them into battle, 
I had constant opportunities of urging upon them the 
claims of the religion of our Lord and Saviour Jesus 
Christ. Many were the long, earnest talks we had 
together. I found the minds and hearts of these 
brave fellows good soil for the word of God. To 
some I administered the rite of baptism. If any pre- 
ferred immersion, I was ready to administer the sac- 
rament in that mode. One such case came up in 
midwinter, and all things were ready for the plunge 
into the bitter cold water, when orders came to march, 
and the baptism had to be postponed. Circumstances 
arose which made the postponement indefinite. I 
confess it was no small relief, for our wardrobes were 
so limited that I fear we should have had no change 
of clothing after the ordeal was past. It was easy to 
appreciate that immersion might have been the natural 
and normal method of baptism in the River Jordan, 
but quite the reverse in the Shenandoah in midwinter! 
During these weeks of hard marching, night and day, 
much of it over very rough, back roads, and in the 
various fights that had taken place, I had been riding 
my beautiful little bay "Charlie." He had been 
blinded, by ill usage, as I have explained, but his action 
was so fine, and his spirit so unconquered by adversity, 
that his blindness was not noticeable by the casual 
observer. His conduct during this hard campaign en- 
titles him to be enrolled in the Legion of Honor of those 
brave horses who have borne themselves with peculiar 
distinction on the field of battle and on the toilsome 
march. If ever a blind horse went through a campaign 


more gallantly than my little Charlie, I have yet to 
hear his name. In the darkness I could not steer 
him clear of the rocks and other obstacles on those 
awful roads', but never once did he fall with me. Some- 
times his feet would slip on the smooth rocks, but when 
I tightened my rein and sat snug in the saddle he would 
always spring up on to his feet again, even if he had to 
make two attempts. Riding across the rough fields, 
he made the same record. I could guide him to a 
fence partly let down and let him put his" nose over, 
and if it were not more than two feet high, he would 
carry me over without difficulty. 

Two achievements of his in particular, I think, are 
worthy of mention. Sheridan, after his success at 
Fisher's Hill, had the valley almost at his mercy, — 
and the "tender mercies" of General Sheridan were 
like "the tender mercies of the wicked," only more 
so ! His troopers were burning and destroying, up and 
down that fertile region, barns, crops, farming imple- 
ments, everything except the roofs over the people's 
heads. How my blood boiled as I saw the dense clouds 
of smoke ascending in different quarters of the horizon ! 
He had penetrated to Staunton. Had he burned the 
town? Was that the smoke of the town that I saw 
in the far distance? I determined to ascertain. So, 
September 27th, obtaining leave of absence from the 
colonel, I sallied up the valley to see what the situation 
was. At first I kept to the back road, but surveying the 
pike and seeing a body of the enemy moving down the 
valley, away from the scene of destruction, I concluded 
to venture down on to the pike, arguing that the troops 
I saw were probably the rear of the column. I pro- 
ceeded accordingly up the pike, but had not ridden 


much more than half a mile when, at a sudden turn in 
the road, I met a troop of Federals coming down. 
They were almost upon me before I saw them. Rein- 
ing up sharply, I wheeled and put spurs to my horse 
and dashed off in a full run, pursued by the Federals, 
who fired, as they rode after me, many shots. It was 
a critical moment for me. I was confident Charlie- 
could beat them running, but what would happen when 
I undertook to make the right angle turn out of the 
pike and back to the hill road? Could the dear blind 
little chap make the turn without stumbling and fall- 
ing, going at that speed? Certainly it was very 
doubtful. But I slackened speed a bit, held him 
well up, and made as wide a turn as possible, and 
the gallant beast bore me safely away from my pur- 
suers on to the back road. Fortunately it was an 
up grade. Had it been a down grade, he must have 
fallen. Being unarmed, as I always was since becom- 
ing a chaplain, I did not return the fire of my friends 
in blue. 

Some weeks after this, when our cavalry had again 
advanced down the valley nearly to Winchester, the 
regiment was moving, company front, across a field, 
when suddenly the Federal cavalry appeared directly 
in our rear, and were evidently preparing to charge. 
Whereupon our commanding officer, ordering the col- 
umn to face about, so that the rear company became 
the front, sounded a charge against the enemy. It 
was executed in fine form, and the Federals were 
driven back. In the charge my blind little hero had 
become very much excited, and continually forged 
ahead until I found myself neck and neck with one of 
the sergeants at the very head of the rushing regiment. 


On we went across the open field, over rocks and fallen 
fences, and other obstacles, till the sergeant, turning 
to me, expostulated at my riding a blind horse in that 
reckless fashion. Just then the recall sounded, and I 
pulled Charlie up and we rode quietly back to the 
main body. Again my faithful little friend had justi- 
fied my confidence. 

I record these two achievements to his honor. 

On September 27th, the day of my unsuccessful 
i attempt to reach Staunton, I find a record of another 
fight, and among the wounded was Capt. Basil L. Gilder- 
sleeve, serving on the staff of General Gordon. This 
accomplished and brilliant scholar, the greatest " Gre- 
cian" of his day in America, had been my professor 
of Greek at the University of Virginia in 1859-60. 
On the closing of the University he had entered the 
service, and had shown that he could emulate the cour- 
age of the heroes of Hellas as successfully as he could 
expound the intricacies of their beautiful language. 
He carries to this day, in his limping gait, the witness 
of his gallantry in that fight forty-five years ago, but, 
though long past seventy years of age, his intellect 
marches as erect and vigorous as ever. His career 
may remind us that the cause of the South rallied to 
its support men of every rank and condition in life, 
the student and the scholar, not less than the man of 

Another of my professors, Lewis Minor Coleman, 
who filled with great distinction the chair of Latin, 
became lieutenant-colonel of artillery and gave up his 
glorious life at the battle of Fredericksburg in 1862, 
— in the same battle in which one of his most bril- 
liant students, Randolph Fairfax, fell, leaving behind 


him a shining example as a young Christian soldier. 
The life of this beautiful and accomplished boy (for 
he was not of age when he was killed) was written by 
Rev. Dr. Philip Slaughter, and was circulated widely 
in the army. I think we used to call him the young 
"Hedley Vickars." 

Then the next day, September 28th, near Waynes- 
boro, there was a pretty hot engagement, artillery and 
cavalry participating. About half past four p.m. we 
"attacked the enemy and after a sharp fight drove 
him two and a half miles" towards Staunton. I was 
busy after nightfall tending the wounded, a number 
of whom on both sides had sabre cuts, for it was what 
cavalrymen called "a very pretty fight," in which the 
columns met and fought hand to hand with the sabre 
— a rather rare occurrence, for the cavalry were being 
rapidly transformed into mounted infantry and used 
the carbine and the repeating rifle much more than the 
sword. The following morning, 29th, I had the rather 
unusual experience of ministering spiritually to one 
of the enemy. This is the record I find: "Read and 
prayed with Robert B. Fry, of Co. F, 18th Pennsyl- 
vania Cavalry." I think I also wrote a letter for him 
to his father, West Fry, at Fayetteville, Washington 
County, Pennsylvania. This was evidently Robert 
Fry's return visit to us, for we visited his home on the 
1st of July, 1863, en route to Gettysburg! 

I now had a week with my family very happily in 
Staunton, but found the household much troubled over 
the captivity and imprisonment of the Rev. R. H. 
Phillips. Here I replenished my supply of ammu- 
nition, — Testaments, prayer-books, and hymnals. 

Our next engagement was at Cedar Creek. We 


marched October 13th from our breastworks at Fisher's, 
eight miles down the back road, and engaged the enemy. 

At one stage of the fight, a squadron of the regiment 
was drawn up behind a little slope, mounted and ready 
to charge when needed. The enemy was feeling for 
us with his artillery, and his shells were dropping un- 
comfortably near. I rode to the front of the squadron, 
drew out my little Psalm book, read the Twenty- 
seventh Psalm, and offered prayer for the divine bless- 
ing and protection, the men reverently removing their 
hats. When I had finished, the commanding officer 
moved the squadron about twenty or thirty yards to 
a spot which he thought less exposed. No sooner was 
the movement executed than a shell came hurtling 
through the air, struck the ground and exploded on the 
very spot we had just left. The men exchanged glances 
at this, and I heard one of the roughest of the troopers 
say to another, "Bill, I say, that does look like an 
answer to pra'ar, doesn't it?" 

Two days after this I distributed among the men 
150 hymnals, 50 prayer-books, and about 20 copies 
of the New Testament. We had our usual prayer- 
meeting that evening, and the next day, Sunday, 
October 16th, I held service in the breastworks, using 
the Episcopal liturgy for the first time "with encour- 
aging success," and preaching on "the Great Alterna- 
tive," I Chron. xxxiii. 9. In the afternoon held another 
service, and preached on Phil, hi, "forgetting the 
things which are behind," etc. That night the regi- 
ment went on a night expedition to surprise the enemy. 
In this I did not take part, my horse being unfit for the 

Tuesday, 17th, as I was preparing for our usual 


evening service, marching orders were received. We 
marched all night and attacked the enemy at daylight. 
I find almost daily in this active campaign mention 
of earnest conversations with officers or men on the 
great theme of personal reUgion, and I have no mention 
or recollection of meeting with a rebuff. The next 
day, October 19th, was an eventful one, for then was 
fought the battle of Cedar Creek, so brilliant in its 
beginning, so disastrous in its ending. I will not 
attempt to tell the story of this famous engagement, 
but I will remind the reader of Gen. John B. Gordon's 
brilliant strategy — how during the night of the 18th 
he carried a part of his command over a very difficult 
mountain pass by a rough foot-path, and fell upon the 
Federals like an eagle descending out of the clouds, 
surprising them, driving them, routing them, pursuing 
them through their camps; and then how the major- 
general with the rest of the little army came upon the 
scene by another route, and in an evil hour stopped 
the pursuit, so that the Federals had time to rally and 
re-form. By this time the Sixth Corps 1 — the only 
one which, though demoralized, was not broken — 
advanced and checked the retreat of the fleeing Fed- 
erals; and then the Federal co mm ander brought his 
vastly superior numbers into play, assumed the offen- 
sive, attacked the Confederates, and the sun, which in 
rising had looked down on a glorious Confederate 
victory, beheld, as he sank to rest, that victory turned 
into defeat. It was one of those bitter experiences 

1 Col. Thoa. H. Carter, our chief of artillery, says : "The Sixth 
Corps was retiring before artillery alone, and the other two corps 
were in full and disorganized flight at nine o'clock in the morning." 
See Gen. John B. Gordon's account of this battle in his "Reminis- 
cences," pp. 352-372. 


which began now to be not uncommon, as the South 
became more and more exhausted and the superior 
numbers and resources of the North were brought into 
effective operation. 

It was cert ainl y the belief of the rank and file of our 
little army that if that glorious soldier, John B. Gordon, 
had been in supreme command that day, there would 
have been no check in the pursuit; the enemy would 
not have been given time to rally his routed forces; 
the Sixth Corps would have been swept along with the 
rest of the beaten army, and the magnificent begin- 
ning would have been crowned by a complete victory 
before the day was over. Nothing is more clear than 
this, — it was not Sheridan's Ride, but Early's Halt, 
that wrested victory from the Confederates on that 
eventful day! 

I have two closing notes on this day. Our regi- 
mental evening service was held in face of the enemy's 
pickets, and then we had another all night march 
back to our breastworks, only to be again in the saddle 
next morning (the 20th) for a march all day. Friday, 
21st, the regiment marched again and camped near 
Forestville, where, at nightfall, we had our prayer- 
meeting and I spoke on the last three verses of Heb. iv. 
Saturday evening's address was on the words, "Will 
a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed Me." Sunday 
the regiment was ordered on picket. Nevertheless 
we had our service at brigade headquarters, and late 
in the day I joined my regiment on the picket fine, 
after I had rebuked the sutlers for selling their mer- 
chandise on the Lord's Day and had written a letter 
to Colonel Morgan remonstrating with him very ear- 
nestly on the impropriety of establishing his head- 


quarters in a church. Monday we returned to camp 
and had our service in the evening at brigade head- 
quarters; Tuesday the same in the first squadron, with 
an address on "The Brazen Serpent." 

Soon after this, on October 26th, I organized a branch 
of the Young Men's Christian Association in the regi- 
ment, and I find a record of its meetings from time to 
time through that stirring fall and winter, in spite of 
our constant marches. It met the second time on 
the following Sunday evening. At the University of 
Virginia I had taken active part in the Y. M. C. A., 
which, by the way, was the first such Association 
organized at any institution of learning. That was in 

We kept up our choir meetings also, and this con- 
tributed to the interest in the daily services. I have 
mentioned that my father-in-law, Rev. Richard H. 
Phillips, was a prisoner in Camp Chase, Ohio. His 
family was greatly distressed by his captivity, and 
feared the consequences of the hardship and the unnec- 
essary rigor to which he was subjected. This induced 
me to think of offering myself as a substitute for him, 
to procure his release and restoration to his family. 
Accordingly, on October 31st I addressed a letter to 
Colonel Ould, the Confederate commissioner for ex- 
change of prisoners, asking him to propose to the Fed- 
eral authorities to accept me as a prisoner in place of 
Mr. Phillips. On the 9th of November I wrote to two 
members of the Confederate Congress, Col. John B. 
Baldwin and Hon. Allan T. Caperton, on the same 
subject, but nothing ever came of it. Mr. Phillips was 
a prisoner for ten months, when he was exchanged 
in the ordinary course. 


It was a hard campaign for us, marked by almost 
daily marches, and by frequent fights more or less 
important. Thus, on November 11th, we marched 
below Cedar Creek and had an engagement in which 
we lost two killed and five wounded. Again the next 
day there was " cavalry fighting all day." My record 
says that General Rosser's (Confederate) brigade 
was "stampeded," but "our regiment charged beauti- 
fully and drove the enemy six miles." General Lomax 
"whipped them too," but McCausland lost two pieces 
of artillery. So it would seem that honors were easy 
that day between the blue and the gray. The follow- 
ing Sunday we marched back to camp, twenty-five 
miles, the weather very cold, "snowing and blowing." 
Winter had set in early, for I noted a heavy snow on 
November 5th. 

One of my efforts was to supply all the men who 
wished it with copies of the New Testament. To 
this end I appointed one in each company to ascer- 
tain how many were desirous of being supplied with 
them. I also circulated a subscription for the supply 
of "religious papers," and I note November 14th the 
receipt of $106 from Co. A for this purpose. 

Apparently to supply these needs I made a visit 
to Staunton, November 15th, "riding all night and 
reaching there at nine a.m." 

After a three days visit there, during which my 
gallant little "Charlie" had the honor of carrying his 
mistress again after an interval of three years, I returned 
to camp on the 19th of November, riding from Staun- 
ton to Newmarket between 6.30 a.m. and dusk. Two 
days afterward I distributed my cargo, 70 Testaments, 
40 hymnals, and about 100 prayer-books. Next day, 


21st, the enemy advanced with three divisions of cav- 
alry. "We met them with one brigade and some 
infantry skirmishers and drove them beyond Edin- 
burgh, a distance of six miles," losing in our regiment 
three killed and eight wounded, to whom I endeavored 
to minis ter the consolations of religion. 

I will give here a transcript of my little diary to show 
how my days were spent. 

"Nov. 22d. Talked with Jones of Co. G, who was danger- 
ously wounded to-day. Nov. 23d. Went to see Jones at 
sunrise. Read and prayed with him with much earnestness 
in presence of his family and some soldiers. . . . Visited 
two badly wounded men of the First Regiment, talked and 
prayed with them. Went to Mt. Jackson hospital, and 
talked with Brooking and McGinness, each of whom has 
lost a leg. On the way back conversed with Sergeant 
Cleburne, who was once a professor of religion. Held prayer- 
meeting and spoke on 103d Psalm. Small attendance 
because of the cold. . . . Thursday, 24th. Rose at daylight 
and went to see Jones. Talked and prayed with him. 
Performed the burial service over W. H. Cocke of Co. G, 
and addressed the throng on death and its lessons. Went 
to see Harris, Co. A. He is a Christian. Read and prayed 
with him with much delight. Drew near to God in evening 
prayer. Held prayer-meeting and spoke on "The Sting 
of Death is Sin." Friday, Nov. 25th. "Rose at daylight — 
weather very cold — withdrew to the woods for prayer. . . . 
Visited Jones and talked and prayed with him. He cannot 
believe — that is his difficulty. Regiment on picket. Rode 
five miles to see B. W. Taylor and found him somewhat 
better. . . . Nov. 26th. Rose before daylight and prayed 
with Taylor. Rode to picket post, stopping to see Jones 
on my way. Sunday, Nov. 27th. Distributed papers to 
men at sunrise, and gave notice of services. Rode to Dr. 


Meem's and returned with Dr. Mitchell (Presbyterian), of 
Lynchburg, who preached for me on the joy in heaven 'over 
one sinner that repenteth.' Rode with him to see Jones." 

On another day I was occupied "cutting down two 
trees," visiting the hospital at Mt. Jackson, where 
I ministered to seven wounded men, and in the evening 
(December 6th) "had the largest and best attended 
prayer-meeting for a long time. A trooper knelt in 
token of his desire for the prayers of the congregation." 

Out troopers were in the habit of taking corn from 
the fields for their horses. This was a very reprehen- 
sible practice, and I took occasion to remonstrate with 
the men against it. I urged that it was the duty of 
the quartermaster's department to supply food and 
forage for our animals, and that it was subversive of 
discipline for the men to get their own supplies. But, 
above all, I insisted that the unhappy valley of Virginia 
had been swept almost bare of subsistence by the 
marching and countermarching of the two armies, 
and that of late the Federal cavalry had been robbing 
the people mercilessly, so that if we took the corn and 
fodder that were left, we were in fact taking the bread 
out of the mouths of the women and children. To 
all my arguments some of the men opposed the abso- 
lute necessity they were in to keep their horses in con- 
dition to do service and to defend the country from 
the advance of the enemy. This I met by the argu- 
mentum adequum. "Look at my horse," I said. "He 
is in as good condition as any horse in the regiment, and 
I have not taken an ear of corn for him since I have been 
in the command!" When I said this I saw a twinkle 
in the eye of my principal antagonist in the argument, 
as he replied, "That's all very well, Parson, but you 


don't see the men a feedin' of him while you are 
asleep!" On one occasion there was more serious 
ground for rebuke, for some depredations had been 
committed which reflected on the good name of the 
regiment. When I heard of it, I had the church bugle 
call sounded, and the men assembled in considerable 
numbers. After a very brief religious service, I ad- 
dressed them, rebuking severely the act alluded to, 
calling it by its right name, and unsparingly condemn- 
ing the perpetrators whoever they might be. It was 
evident from the scowling countenances of two or three 
of my auditors that the shot had taken effect — the 
guilty parties had been hit. It was the only instance 
of such conduct that I remember during my connection 
of nearly eight months with the Second Cavalry. 



\\ TE were now to undertake an expedition into West 
* * Virginia, under command of General Rosser, a 
dashing and adventurous officer, but in my humble 
opinion lacking sometimes in that poise and judgment 
so essential to the best results in a campaign. 

We set out on Dec. 7th, 1864, and the next day 
crossed the mountains and camped in a little valley on 
the south fork of the Potomac. On the 9th we reached 
Petersburg. Later we tore up some miles of the Balti- 
more and Ohio R. R. 

This appears to have been the whole purpose of the 
expedition. It was accomplished at considerable cost 
— indeed, it cost very dear, for to say nothing of the 
intense suffering the men endured in crossing and 
recrossing the Alleghany in the midst of a very cold 
winter, horses and men were much broken down by the 
marches, and' the brigade subsequently joined the army 
near Richmond "much the worse for wear," and by 
no means as fit for service as it had been at the begin- 
ning of the winter. One evening we reached the top 
of the Allegheny Mountains just before dusk, and 
bivouacked in the forest. We had no wagons, and of 
course no tents — nothing, in fact, but what each 
trooper carried on his saddle. Every man was supposed 
to have a small tent-fly rolled up behind him. These 



were about six feet long and perhaps eighteen inches 
across, — two of them buttoned together and stretched 
across a small pole cut from the forest and supported 
by two forked sticks formed a little shelter under which 
two men could crawl and have some protection from 
falling weather. 

Just at dusk snow began to fall, and it was evi- 
dently to be a heavy one. Quickly then these tiny 
shelter tents began to spring up in the forest. But 
unfortunately for us, neither Adjutant Griffin nor I 
possessed a tent-fly. So we had no resource but to 
lie down and cover up with what blankets we had and 
a rubber overall — this as quickly as possible before the 
ground had become covered with the snow. This, 
then, we did, while our comrades, standing by the little 
feeble fires of brushwood, bade us good-bye, saying, 
"We expect to find you buried alive in the morning." 
This expectation was literally realized, for "Tip" 
Griffin and I were covered up by a blanket of snow 
eight inches deep, — buried, but still alive. Tip, 
though, had the advantage of me, for he slept soundly 
with his head completely covered, while I, requiring 
fresh air, was compelled from time to time to lift the 
cover, whereupon the snow would roll in (our saddles 
making a little mound behind our heads), and then 
the heat of my body would melt it, — so that I had a 
most miserable night, not because of the cold, for the 
snow kept me warm, but by loss of sleep and the dis- 
comfort of lying in a pool of melted snow — "almost 
suffocated with the weight of the snow on my head." 
Another severe experience I recall was this. We crossed 
one of the mountain brooks not less, I think, than twenty 
times in a day's march, and the weather was so cold 


that the water as it splashed upon the horses froze, 
and their legs and bellies were covered with little icicles. 
But the forepart of the top of one of my boots was gone, 
so that my sock was exposed, and it soon became a 
frozen mass over my foot, so that I was obliged to dis- 
mount and walk all day (sometimes to double-quick) to 
prevent my foot being frozen or frost-bitten. More- 
over I was miserably mounted — on a little long-haired 
mouse-colored beast, not much larger than a large 
sheep. I had not ventured to take my blind Charlie 
on this winter expedition over frozen roads. Often 
these were very slippery. 

When Sunday came, it was simply impossible to 
conduct service. I rode thirteen miles that day to pro- 
cure forage for our horses. On the 12th I rode on to 
Petersburg (W. Va.), and had bread baked for the men. 
This threw me behind the column and I had hard 
work catching up with the regiment. 

During all this march back over the mountains 
and to Eastern Virginia, our men had to scratch a 
fresh hole in the hard snow, at the end of every day's 
march, to bivouack for the night. 

My verdict was that I had suffered more hardship 
in the office of chaplain than I ever did as a private 
soldier carrying a musket and a knapsack. 

On December 17th I was ordered to the hospital 
at Staunton for treatment of an injury to my hand. 

I returned to camp at Swope's Depot early in Janu- 
ary, and at once resumed the daily services. On the 
8th we received orders to march eastward to Waynes- 
boro and thence over the Blue Ridge. Taking Staun- 
ton en route, I consulted a surgeon there, who said it 
would be dangerous to return to camp in the condition 


my hand was in. It was much swollen and very pain- 
ful. It seemed strange to be put hors de combat for 
weeks by a trifling injury, after passing through so 
many battles and minor engagements scathless. I 
had once lost a day by indisposition — the only occa- 
sion during the war when I had to ride in the ambu- 
lance — and now I had lost three weeks and was to lose 
more by this accident. 

On January 20th, while still in Staunton, I received 
news of the death of my dear father, who died at the 
age of sixty-five years, at his beautiful home, Belvi- 
dere, in Baltimore. 

It was not till January 25th that I was able 
to rejoin my regiment. Starting early I rode across 
the Blue Ridge and made " Clover Plains" by evening 
— the lovely home of my aunt, Mrs. John Boiling 
Garrett, on the eastern slope of the mountains. Next 
day I dined at the dear old University from whose 
classic shades so many of us went forth in 1861 to join 
the Confederate armies; and pushed on in the after- 
noon to "Edge Hill," the home of Col. Thos. Jefferson 
Randolph, grandson of Thomas Jefferson, beautifully 
situated on a hill almost under the shadow of famous 

How well I recall the giant form of Colonel Ran- 
dolph, as he sat and talked of the olden days of 
Virginia, of his illustrious grandfather, and of the 
Legislature of Virginia in 1832, when the whole State 
was so deeply stirred by the scheme for the emanci- 
pation of the negroes. He was a member of that body, 
and he told me that a large majority of the members 
was in favor of the measure; but after careful con- 
sideration it was deemed wiser to postpone action upon 


it until the next session, in order that the details of 
the scheme might be more maturely considered. 

But before the Legislature reassembled, there 
occurred a violent ebulition of fanaticism on the part 
of the Abolitionists of New England. The Southern 
slave-holders were held up to the scorn and detestation 
of mankind, and the vengeance of God and man was 
invoked against them for the awful crime of slavery. 

The consequence was a complete reaction of public 
opinion in Virginia on the subject of the abolition of 
slavery, so that when the Legislature next assembled, 
the whole project was dropped. Thus was wrecked 
the most hopeful scheme of getting rid of the institu- 
tion of slavery that had ever been proposed since its 
introduction in 1619. We may lament that the men of 
Virginia did not rise superior to the feelings naturally 
begotten by this unfair and fanatical assault, but, 
human nature being what it is, we cannot be surprised 
that the affair te rmin ated as it did. 

Had it been otherwise — had the gradual emancipa- 
tion of the slaves been decreed by Virginia — there 
can be little doubt that Maryland, Kentucky, Mis- 
souri, North Carolina, and Tennessee would have fol- 
lowed her example; and in time the moral pressure 
on the cotton States would have been so strong that 
they, too, must have adopted some scheme of emanci- 
pation. That this blessed consummation was not 
realized must be set down to the account of the fanat- 
ical Abolitionists, because of their violent and unjust 
arraignment of the South for an institution which she 
did not create, but had inherited, and against which 
the State of Virginia had many times protested in her 
early history. 


It is not always remembered by students of American 
history that the original draft of the Declaration of 
Independence as drawn by Thos. Jefferson arraigned 
the king of England for forcing the institution of slavery 
on the people of the colonies against their will. It 
is also too often forgotten that the first government 
on earth to abolish the slave trade was the Common- 
wealth of Virginia. It was one of the first acts of the 
Old Dominion after her independence had been estab- 
lished, long before old England passed her ordinance 
against it. And when the thirteen colonies formed the 
United States, in 1789, the voice of Virginia was raised 
in earnest advocacy of the immediate abolition of the 
trade in negro slaves, but owing to the opposition of 
New England, in alliance with some of the cotton 
States, the evil traffic was given a twenty years further 
lease of life. 

From Edge Hill, after one delightful evening, I 
rode on to Barboursville, January 26th, suffering not 
a little with the cold, for the thermometer registered 
fourteen degrees above zero. There I spent the night 
with another charming Virginia gentleman, a member 
of the Confederate Congress, Mr. B. Johnson Barbour. 
He was of a younger generation than Colonel Randolph, 
and an active participant in the affairs of the State 
and the Confederacy, experienced in political life, a 
man of broad and generous culture, and an orator of 
great ability. In such delightful company and in 
such a charming home it would have been delightful 
to tarry, but I could not yield to the temptation, and 
so pushed on the next day, reaching camp about one 
p.m. On Sunday, the 28th, I resumed my dutie?-with 
my regiment, preaching in the Blue Run Baptist 


Church, the condition of which left much to be desired. 
So, next day I spent several hours "cleaning out the 
church." My diary shows that our daily prayer- 
meetings were kept up through the remainder of this 
hard winter and up to the evacuation of Richmond, 
whenever circumstances permitted, and I always 
made an address or preached a sermon. It is pleasant 
to remember now, after the lapse of forty-four years, 
the loyal support those brave men of the Second Vir- 
ginia Cavalry gave me, young and inexperienced as I 
was, in my work as chaplain among them. 

They gave liberally, too, out of their small means for 
the soldiers' paper which I was interested in circulating 
among the men, and for the purchase of Bibles and 
prayer-books and hymnals. 

On Sunday, February 5th, my morning service was 
appointed as usual, but orders were received to march 
to Richmond, so that my congregation was reduced 
to four men, — to whom, however, I preached. Our 
camp was on the nine-mile road, six miles from Rich- 
mond. The next Sunday (12th) was very windy and 
cold, so that only fifteen men responded to bugle call 
at church time. Open air service in such bitter weather 
had its difficulties. But I find record of many personal 
interviews with officers and men at this period about 
their souls' interests. On the 19th I preached both 
morning and afternoon in St. Paul's, Richmond, of which 
Rev. Dr. Minnegerode was the rector. The President 
of the Southern Confederacy was a regular attendant 
at its services, as were many other government officials. 
It was a very notable congregation that assembled there 
those last Sundays of the life of the Confederacy. Many 
distinguished officers would often be seen there, and 


always many of the soldiers, and the costumes of the 
ladies, made up with such ingenuity out of very slender 
resources, would have furnished a curious study to the 
woman of to-day versed in matters pertaining to female 
toilette. There was a deep solemnity in those Sunday 
services in the chief church of Virginia, when such 
momentous issues hung in the balance, when often 
the distant booming of the cannon reminded the wor- 
shippers that a life and death struggle was even then 
going on. Not a few of those who sat listening to the 
words of the preacher felt that a dark cloud of impend- 
ing disaster overhung the church and the city, which 
might burst at any hour and overwhelm us all. But 
others, especially the young officers and the young 
women, were full of hope, and even the sacred precincts 
of the sanctuary could hardly restrain the ebullition of 
their gayety. It was, on the whole, a brilliant spectacle 
presented to the eye of the preacher as he ascended 
the pulpit of St. Paul's and surveyed the great congre- 
gation before him. To one as new as I then was to 
the pulpit, and accustomed to audiences composed 
solely of my comrades in arms, clad in their rusty uni- 
forms, it was at first a little disconcerting. 

Having found it so difficult to conduct service in the 
open air in the cold and inclement weather of winter, I 
set about building, by the help of the men, a chapel for 
our use in winter quarters. We built it of logs and cov- 
ered it with tent-flies. In about two weeks we were able 
to occupy it, but two days later the brigade was ordered 
off (March 7th), and I believe we never used it again. 
I had much personal work among the men at this time 
and was occupied preparing some of them for baptism 
and the holy communion. That last Sunday (March 


5th) I had a large and interested congregation. It was 
to be my last service with the regiment, for when, on 
the 7th of March, it was ordered off, I could not accom- 
pany it, for my horse had completely broken down — 
was in fact quite unable to carry me, and so I was left 
behind. In about a week, being unable to procure a 
fresh mount near Richmond, I obtained leave to go to 
Staunton for the purpose. 

Before I left, on Sunday, March 12th, I preached 
again at St. Paul's in the evening. My sermon was on 
"The Divine Providence in Human Affairs," and my 
text was, 

Ps. xcvii. 1, 2: "The Lord reigneth . . . clouds and 
darkness are round about Him. Righteousness and judg- 
ment are the habitation of His throne." 

The following extract may be of interest as illustrat- 
ing the state of mind of clergy and people at that crisis 
in the history of the Confederacy: 

In conclusion what should be our state of mind in view 
of the doctrine of the text? What practical effect should 
belief in God's universal providence have upon us? 

1. We should rejoice. "The Lord reigneth, let the Earth 
rejoice." After all, "though the heathen rage and the people 
imagine a vain thing" "the Lord reigneth:" He will "make 
the wrath of man to praise Him" and "the remainder of 
wrath" He will "restrain." "Fret not thyself," timid 
believer, "because of evil doers, neither be thou envious 
against the workers of iniquity, for they shall soon be cut 
down like the grass, and wither as the green herb." Yes! 
blessed be God, the wicked shall not always triumph; 
Truth and Justice will assert their rightful supremacy; 
Innocence will be vindicated; and right will at last be might; 
because "the Lord reigneth." 


For right is might since God is God; 

And right the day must win; 
To doubt would be disloyalty, 

To falter would be sin. 

Christian, are you anxious and troubled? It is your 
privilege to be calm and confident. Does the future fill 
you with evil forebodings? Does it seem to hang over you 
like some frowning precipice? It is your privilege to "take 
no thought for the morrow" and to rely on his promise 
"my grace is sufficient for thee." Remember, though the 
heavens may gather blackness, though thunders roll and 
lightnings gleam, though the depths may yawn and the 
billows mount up to the skies, — yet above all " the Lord 
reigneth." The issue is in His hands. Hecan still the raging of 
the sea, and co mm and a great calm, and we have His promise 
that "all things shall work together for good to those that 
love Him." Brethren, it is more than our privilege, it is 
our duty to believe His word. We live in the midst of 
troublous times. The calamity is not yet overpast. We 
are arrived at the crisis in the fate of our beloved country. 
Whatever the result, the Christian need not fear. He is 
in the hands of his covenant God, and he may calmly 
await the issue. Calmly? Yes! but not idly; he has a work 
to do, he owes a duty to his country and as a Christian he 
must perform it. His country is in danger, what can he 
do? Take his place among her soldiers and stand up for 
her defence? Yes, this he must do; but this is not all. The 
battle is not to the strong. "The Lord reigneth," his Lord 
who has promised to hear his prayer, and he must take his 
place upon his knees and pray for divine help. 

2. The doctrine of divine providence should also make 
us tremble lest we resist His will and bring down His ven- 
geance upon our guilty heads. "The Lord reigneth, let the 
people tremble!" Ah, with what awful solemnity ought 
these words to fall upon the ears of a nation engaged like 


ours in a struggle for existence with an enemy vastly their 
superior in numbers and all material resources! Let us 
tremble, lest in a spirit of boastfulness and self-confidence 
we rely upon our own valor and prowess and forget to 
ask help of Him in whose hands are the issues of life and 
death, of victory and defeat! Let us tremble, lest by per- 
sisting in our impenitence and rebellion and plunging into 
reckless gayety and dissipation, while on the very verge of 
ruin, we excite the indignation of that God upon whose 
favor alone we depend for success. Let us tremble, lest we 
harden our necks and despise the chastening of the Lord; 
lest in our madness we charge God with injustice; lest we 
exhibit in our own case an example of the prophet's words, 
"The people turneth not to Him that smiteth them, neither 
do they seek the Lord of Hosts," — therefore "His anger 
is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still." 



ABOUT this time occurred the famous Hampton 
Roads Conference between the representatives 
of the Confederate Government and Mr. Lincoln. 
Much discussion grew out of it, and it was feared the 
resolution of the people and of the army to continue 
the struggle would be shaken. To counteract such a 
tendency, a meeting of our regiment was held on Febru- 
ary 13th, and the situation of the country was discussed. 
I took part in the discussion, and offered a series of 
resolutions which were enthusiastically adopted. They 
were as follows: 


Whereas, under the influence of the reverses which have 
recently befallen our arms, a feeling of despondency and 
gloom has manifested itself among the people at home; and 

Whereas, the impression seems to prevail that the soldiers 
in the field are likewise discouraged and disheartened — 
even to the point of being willing to make peace with our 
enemies on the basis of Reconstruction: 

Thereupon, be it resolved, That we indignantly repel the 
charge of despondency, as a slander upon our good name as 
Confederate Soldiers, and as unjust to the past services we 
have rendered; and we do at the same time declare our deter- 
mination never willingly to lay down our arms, until we have 
extorted from the world an acknowledgment of our right to 
govern ourselves. 



Resolved, 2d, that far from considering our past reverses 
as just cause for despondency or despair, we look upon them 
as urgent appeals for more vigorous and determined efforts 
than we have ever yet put forth; and we deem this a fit 
occasion for reiterating our belief that these States are fully 
equal to the task they have undertaken of throwing off 
the yoke of Northern oppression and fanaticism, and vindi- 
cating their God-given right to be free. 

Resolved, 3d, that to talk of submission or compromise 
at this stage of the struggle — when we have already paid 
the price of liberty in the blood of our best and bravest — 
would be the basest treachery to the memory of those who 
have fallen, and would prove us unworthy of freedom — 
unworthy the possession of this fair Southern land. 

Resolved, J+th, that having entered upon this contest 
with the conviction that our rights and interests were no 
longer safe under the government of the United States; 
and the developments of the past four years having doubly 
confirmed our worst apprehensions, we cannot see any 
distinction between Reconstruction and subjugation, except 
that in the latter case, though everything else were lost, 
honor at least would remain to us. 

Resolved, 5th, that we hail the accession of Gem Robert 
E. Lee to the supreme leadership of our armies as an omen 
of victory; and we are satisfied that uncompromising firmness 
and self-sacrificing patriotism on the part of the army and 
the people in the coming campaign are all that is necessary, 
under the guidance and blessing of Almighty God, to secure 
our independence, and restore to us the halcyon days of 

Resolved, 6th, that the best way to incline our enemies 
to peace is to prepare vigorously for war; and we warn our 
people that the apparent willingness of the Washington 
government to treat for peace is a veil for hostile purposes, 
and is intended to paralyze our energies and sow discord 
and discontent among: our citizens and soldiers. 


The sentiments of these resolutions were those 
entertained by Lee's brave soldiers at this period of 
the tremendous struggle, when the surrender of his 
army and the collapse of the Southern Confederacy 
was so near at hand — only seven weeks away. We 
in the field could not realize the true situation. The 
fatal mistake of removing Gen. Joseph E. Johnston from 
the command of the Southwestern Army had destroyed 
the last hope of resisting Sherman's advance in that 
direction. After Hood's defeat the cotton States 
were at his mercy — and his " tender mercies" were 
"cruel" indeed. Even if Lee could continue to hold 
out against the hosts of General Grant, beleaguering 
Petersburg and Richmond, it was now only a question 
of time when he would find Sherman with a great army 
marching on his rear. Yet his great soul did not quail 
even then, and the men who had followed him with 
supreme devotion since June, 1862, could not believe 
that defeat was possible, while he was still their com- 
mander. They hailed his recent appointment to be 
commander-in-chief of all the Confederate armies as 
an omen of victory. They did not realize that this 
appointment came at least a twelvemonth too late. 
Had Lee been in supreme command in May, 1864, as 
Grant was of the armies of the United States, the story 
of the war would have been greatly different. Joseph 
E. Johnston would not have been removed — Sher- 
man would perhaps have been defeated — certainly he 
would have been checked, and his march to the sea 
might never have taken place. One also may believe 
that the genius of Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest would 
have been recognized by Lee in time to have given 
scope to his marvellous abilities for General Sherman's 


discomfiture. That brilliant plan which he vainly 
submitted to the Richmond authorities for cutting off 
Sherman's co mmuni cations could hardly have failed 
to secure the approval of Lee. 

Lord Wolseley, in his appreciation of Lee, published 
shortly after the death of the latter, truly said that 
whoever would justly estimate what Lee accomplished 
must take into consideration the important fact that 
he was never given supreme command until within a 
few weeks of the overthrow of the Confederacy. Even 
his direction of the movements of the Army of North- 
ern Virginia was subject to the approval of the Rich- 
mond authorities. It is almost pathetic to read that 
when Lee was planning his campaign into Pennsyl- 
vania in 1863, he had to submit it for approval to Jas. 
A. Seddon, Secretary of War. One feature of his plan 
was, in fact, negatived by Mr. Jefferson Davis. I 
mean the organization of an army (however small) at 
Manassas under Lieutenant-General Beauregard. This 
would have been a menace to Washington, and might 
have held a portion of the Army of the Potomac in 
its defence, thus weakening the strength of the army 
which Lee was to meet at Gettysburg. 

But as we see it now, the task of the Confederate 
generals was too great for human hands to accomplish. 
The South was worn out by attrition and starvation. 
Her resources were exhausted. Her ports were closed 
— hermetically sealed by the great navy of the United 
States — and she had not within her own territory the 
supplies necessary to carry on such a war against so 
rich and powerful a foe. The process of exhaustion had 
been going on till her sources of life were almost gone. 

"In my opinion, as a student of war," wrote Vis- 


count Lord Wolseley to me some years ago, "it was 
the blockade of your ports that killed the Southern 
Confederacy, not the action of the Northern armies." 1 
This view was ably set forth by the Hon. Hilary A. 
Herbert in an address delivered while he was Secretary 
of the Navy; and Hon. Chas. Francis Adams, in his 
oration at Lexington, Va., at the centennial of General 
Lee's birth, presented the same view with great force. 

I come now to the end of the story of my experi- 
ences as chaplain of the Second Cavalry. 

On the 15th of March I left Richmond for Staunton 
by the Danville R. R., accompanied by my wife, who 
had been a guest at Westwood, the home of Col. Thos. 
H. Ellis, for a week or two, and my father-in-law, 

1 Following is the text of the letter referred to above. 

Farm House, Glynde, Lewes, 

Deab Sir: November 12 > 1904 - 

It was very kind of you to send me a copy of your speech to the 
Confederate veterans. I have perused it with the deepest interest. 
It has revived my remembrance of the sympathy with which I watched 
the campaigns to which you so eloquently allude in "The Confederate 
Soldier, his Motives and Aims." 

I have often pondered over the effect upon the future of the United 
States that a refusal on the part of Mr. Lincoln to hand us back Messrs. 
Mason and Slidell would have had. In my opinion, as a student of 
war, the Confederates must have won had the blockade of the Southern 
ports been removed by us, as it would have been at once if the North 
had been ruled by a flashy politician instead of the very able and far- 
seeing Mr. Abraham Lincoln. 

It was the blockade of your ports that killed the Southern Con- 
federacy, not the action of the Northern armies. 

However, you are now a united people, and as such by far the great- 
est power in the world. I earnestly hope our two nations may always 
be closely united. With such a union of heart and strength firmly 
established, we might easily forbid all great wars in the world. What 
a glorious end to aim at! 

I have always hoped for such a close alliance of the English race 


Rev. Richard H. Phillips, who had returned from the 
military prison at Camp Chase, Ohio, where he had 
been confined for ten months. I have already referred 
to the sad change in this noble gentleman, which the 
privations and sufferings of his imprisonment had 
wrought. The train which took us out of Richmond 
carried also a large number of exchanged prisoners. 
They presented a pitiful sight — many of them ema- 
ciated to the last degree, many suffering with dis- 
tressing coughs that showed they were marked for 
the grave. It could not be expected that one out of 
ten of that train load of Confederate soldiers would 
ever be fit for duty again. The treatment of Northern 
prisoners in Southern prisons has been much discussed. 
An important sidelight is cast on this subject by a 
consideration of the conditions existing in the South 
during the war. As regards medicines, let it be noted 
that quinine sold in Richmond as early as July, 1862, 
for $60 an ounce, while in New York it was but $5 
per ounce. That was before Confederate currency 
had so frightfully depreciated. As regards food and 
clothing, I see from my diary that in February, 1864, 

throughout the world, for every Christian man must realize, that 

whilst war is a dire scourge, peace on earth and good will toward all 

men is not only the highest philosophy, but the injunction of Him 

whose followers we all profess to be. 

Again thanking you for your great kindness in sending me a copy 

of your great speech, allow me to subscribe myself, 

Yours very faithfully, 


To the Revd. R. H. McKim, etc., etc., 

Washington, U. S. 

P. S. — It was most kind of Mrs. Hugh Lee to ask you to send me 

the copy of the speech in question. rrr 


The speech to which Lord Wolseley refers is given in the Appendix, 

p. 286. 


milk was $2 per gallon; a pound of candles cost $7; a 
pair of boots, $140; half soling a pair of boots, $11; a 
roadside breakfast, $5; a box of blacking, $4; a halter, 
$10; butter, $5 per pound; 1 pair of shoestrings, $1.50. 
In December, 1864, 1 bought 6 pounds butter for $54, 
1 turkey, $17, 1 spool cotton, $5, soap, $2 per pound. 
In January, 1865, 1 yard mourning crepe cost $140, 
putting one shoe on my horse, $5. Five dollars in 
gold brought $200. Soon after a pair of woman's 
shoes cost $200, and 3 pounds of tea and a few pounds 
of sugar cost $465. It is recorded in the diary of a 
refugee that in Richmond, the last winter of the war, 
sugar was $20 per pound, meal, $40 per bushel, flour, 
$300 per barrel, ham, $7 per pound. One feed for a 
horse cost $5, board of a horse for one month, $300. 

At the table of General Lee, commander-in-chief 
of the Confederate armies, there was meat only twice 
a week, while the usual fare was boiled cabbage and 
sweet potatoes and corn pone. 

How, then, could our prisoners be properly fed amid 
such scarcity of provisions? And how could they be 
properly supplied with medicines when these existed 
in such very small quantities in the South? Medi- 
cines had been made, by the United States authorities, 
contraband of war. 

It ought also to be remembered that Jefferson Davis 
offered in the summer of 1864 to surrender the sick and 
wounded Federal prisoners in his hands without equiv- 
alent, but though the offer was accepted, the neces- 
sary transportation did not arrive until the following 

Again I recall the fact that General Grant refused 
to carry out the cartel for the exchange of prisoners, 


lest the Confederate armies should be reinforced. In 
August, 1S64, he wrote to General Butler as follows: 

"It is hard on our men in Southern prisons not to exchange 
them, but it is humanity to those left in the ranks left to 
fight our battles. At this particular time, to release all 
rebel prisoners North would insure Sherman's defeat and 
would compromise our safety here." 

I will not stop to observe at how much higher valua- 
tion this shows that one Southern soldier was held 
than one Northern soldier, but I ask, Upon whom, 
then, rests the responsibility for the prolongation of 
the suffering of Northern soldiers in Southern prisons? 

I believe that as a rule the Confederate authorities 
did the best they could for the prisoners they held, 
if regard be had to the scarcity of provisions and the 
great paucity of medicines and hospital comforts in 
the South at that time. 

Can the same be said for the United States author- 
ities in their treatment of Southern prisoners of war? 

But the best refutation of the charge against the 
South in this respect is furnished by a comparison of 
the statistics of the respective mortality in the prisons 
at the North and those at the South. 

The whole number of Federal prisoners in Southern 
prisons was, in round numbers, 270,000, and of Con- 
federate prisoners in Northern prisons 220,000. But 
the deaths of Confederates in Northern prisons were 
26,436, while of Union soldiers in the Southern prisons 
only 22,576 died. (See Report of Mr. Stanton, Fed- 
eral Secretary of War, dated July 19, 1866 — also 
Report of Federal Surgeon-General Barnes.) Thus 
the -per centum of deaths in Southern prisons was less 


than nine, while the per centum of deaths in Northern 
prisons was more than twelve. 1 

1 At the beginning of the war, May 21, 1861, the Confederate Con- 
gress passed an Act providing that 

"Rations furnished prisoners of war shall be the same in quantity 
and quality as those furnished to enlisted men in the army of the Con- 

And in General Orders, No. 159, the Commissary-General ordered 
that — 

"Hospitals for prisoners of war are placed on the same footing as 
other Confederate States Hospitals in all respects." 

These orders were loyally obeyed. 

The publication of the reports and correspondence relative to the 
exchange and treatment of prisoners — they fill four volumes of the 
"Rebellion Records" — furnishes a complete vindication of the Con- 
federate Government from responsibility for the sufferings of Federal 
prisoners in the Southern prisons. They show that from the beginning 
to the end of the war the authorities of the Confederacy were eager to 
exchange the prisoners in their hands, but not till July 22, 1862, did 
the work of exchange begin. It continued till April 1, 1864, less than 
two years, when it was stopped by General Grant, and was not resumed 
till the latter part of January, 1865. And it was during this period 
that the greatest suffering and mortality of the prisoners in our hands 
occurred, — because of the great scarcity of food, and clothing, and 
medicines, and other comforts in the South at that period. 

To meet this unfortunate situation and to mitigate the great suffer- 
ing, Judge Ould, the Confederate commissioner on exchange for pris- 
oners, proposed October 6, 1864, "that each government shall have 
the privilege of forwarding for the use and comfort of such of its pris- 
oners as are held by the other, necessary articles of food and clothing." 

It took a whole month to get the consent of the Federal authorities 
to this proposal. Previous to this, January 24, 1864, Judge Ould 
proposed that the prisoners on each side should be attended by their 
own surgeons, and that these "should act as Commissaries, with power 
to receive and distribute such contributions of money, food, clothing, 
and medicines as may be forwarded for the relief of prisoners." These 
surgeons were also to have full liberty to make reports to their respect- 
ive governments of any matters relating to the welfare of prisoners. 

To this humane proposal of the Confederate commission no reply 
was ever made. But it remains on record, pointing forever an accusing 
finger at the United States authorities, who would not embrace the 


But to resume my narrative. We had a long and 
laborious journey. The first Sunday after our de- 
parture, March 19th, we had arrived in Lynchburg, 
where I preached in St. Paul's morning and evening. 
From that place we proceeded in an open wagon, on 
the 22d, reaching Lexington on the evening of the 23d. 

opportunity of relieving the sufferings of the unfortunates in the pris- 
ons, North and South. 

By a stroke of his pen General Grant could have emptied the pris- 
ons at Richmond, Anderson ville, and other Southern places; but he 
would not do it. Why? Because, as we now know, "he preferred that 
the Confederates should be burdened with caring for these Federal 
prisoners when living, and charged with their death, should they die." 

To any reader who is under the impression that the conditions 
existing in Libby Prison and at Andersonville find no parallel in any 
Northern prison, we commend the perusal of the report of Dr. Wm. H. 
Van Buren, of New York, on behalf of the United States Sanitary 
Commission, May 10, 1863, in which a state of things is described at 
Camp Douglas and at St. Louis, among the Southern prisoners, too 
horrible to quote. The physicians who investigated the condition of 
the prisoners at St. Louis, say: 

"It surely is not the intention of our government to place these 
prisoners in a position which will secure their exter mina tion by pes- 
tilence in less than a year." 

To conclude, let me quote the language of Mr. Charles A. Dana, 
who was the Federal Assistant Secretary of War during the war. 
In an editorial in the New York Sun (in 1876) he said: 

"The Confederate authorities, and especially Mr. Davis, ought 
not to be held responsible for the terrible privations, sufferings, and 
injuries which our men had to endure while they were kept in Confeder- 
ate military prisons. The fact is unquestionable, that while the Con- 
federates desired to exchange prisoners, to send our men home, and to 
get back their own, General Grant steadily and persistently resisted 
such an exchange. ... It was not the Confederate authorities who 
insisted on keeping our prisoners in distress, want, and disease, but 
the commander of our own armies. . . . Moreover there is no evidence 
whatever that it was practicable for the Confederate authorities to 
feed our prisoners any better than they were fed, or to give them any 
better care and attention than they received." 

See "Official Report of the History Committee of the Grand Camp, 
C. V., Department of Virginia, by Hon. Geo. L. Christian." 


There we rested till Monday, 27th, and on the 26th I 
preached for Dr. Norton, then in charge of the church 
there, — its rector, Rev. Dr. Pendleton (a graduate of 
West Point) being an artillery officer in Lee's army. 
After a tedious wagon journey we at length arrived in 
Staunton on the 27th at eleven p.m. As soon as possible 
I procured a fresh horse — a beautiful bay mar e, 
the best mount I had during the war — and set out 
to rejoin my regiment. 

But it was too late. As I approached Richmond, 
I learned it had been evacuated, and soon found the 
enemy were between me and our army. After several 
futile attempts, I at length reached a point nine miles 
from Appomattox, only to learn that General Lee 
had that day, April 9th, surrendered what remained 
of the Army of Northern Virginia. It was impos- 
sible to believe it, until I saw some of the men who 
had been included in the surrender and been paroled. 
To say that I was not prepared for such an issue feebly 
expresses what I felt. Such was the confidence of 
Lee's soldiers in his supreme ability that, spite of all 
the evidences of the exhaustion of the Confederacy 
and the depletion of its armies, we could not for a mo- 
ment entertain the thought that the Army of Northern 
Virginia could be compelled to lay down its arms and 
give up the struggle. The fact is that army was starved 
out — or rather the South was starved out, and could 
no longer feed its people or its soldiers. The number 
of desertions from the ranks during the previous month 
was ominous of the end that was preparing. And the 
reason was to be sought, not in the weakening of the 
resolution or the devotion of the men, but in the plead- 
ings of the women at home. The distress existing in 


the farmhouses and cabins, where dwelt the wives and 
children of the soldiers of Lee's army, had become so 
acute that it could no longer be borne in silence; and 
every mail brought letters to the men, telling the hard 
conditions of life — the desperate straits to which their 
families were reduced — and appealing to them to 
come home and help keep them from starvation. 
These appeals were heart-rending, and if the men, by 
hundreds and thousands, responded by deserting the 
ranks and hastening to the relief of their wives and 
children, who will throw the first stone of condemna- 
tion at the course they took? That they meant to 
return to the colors, when they had put in a crop, or 
made some provision for the wants of their families, 
I do not doubt. 

I will here set down the substance of a conversation 
I had many years afterward with Gen. Custis Lee, 
the eldest son of our commader-in-chief. The facts 
he related are surely most important to the right under- 
standing of this last act in the great drama of the Civil 

Gen. Custis Lee was captured at the battle of Sailor's 
Creek, together with many other Confederate officers. 
There followed kindly greetings between the Union 
and the Southern soldiers, some of whom had been 
associated in the old Federal army. While this was 
going on, Gen. Custis Lee says one of the Union officers 
(it was General Benham) said to one of the Confed- 
erates, "Oh, you could not get away. We knew before- 
hand every move you were going to make! " Asked 
to explain his meaning, he said that when the Union 
Army entered Richmond, one of the first places they 
made for was the executive mansion, and there in a 


scrap basket a soldier picked up a document which 
proved to be a communication from General Lee to 
the Secretary of War, containing information of the 
most important character. It seems that the Con- 
federate Congress (one or both houses, I do not remem- 
ber which) had requested General Lee to inform the 
President what his plans were, in the event of its becom- 
ing necessary to evacuate Richmond; and General 
Lee (always obedient to the civil authority) had sent 
to Mr. Davis a confidential statement, indicating the 
lines by which he would withdraw his army, and the 
points where he wished supplies to be accumulated 
for its use. 

The officer to whom this document was shown at 
once recognized its great importance, and took immedi- 
ate steps to have it forwarded, post haste, to General 
Grant, so that within twenty-four hours after Lee 
began his retreat, his whole plan of operations was laid 
before the Union commander. 

Gen. Custis Lee told me that some time after the 
conclusion of the war he was in his father's office going 
over some papers with him, and then for the first 
time narrated to him what General Benham of the 
Union Army had said on that occasion. When General 
Lee heard the story he was greatly moved, and ex- 
claimed, "Well, Custis, that explains it! I could never, 
till now, understand why I failed to extricate that 
army. I never worked harder than I did to accom- 
plish it, yet every move I made was at once check- 
mated. It also explains why General Grant, who, 
the first day after the evacuation of Petersburg seemed 
hesitating and uncertain in his movements, became sud- 
denly very vigorous and displayed more energy, skill, 


and judgment in his movements than I ever knew 
him to display before." 

This extraordinary incident is of the deepest interest 
to the student of that campaign, and explains to us, who 
were Lee's soldiers, how it came to pass that his army 
was so soon and so hopelessly hemmed in. 1 

The most candid of the Federal historians, Dr. 
James Ford Rhodes, expresses the opinion that "in 
these final operations Grant outgeneralled Lee. The 
conditions," he says, "were not unequal: 49,000 men 
opposed 113,000, and the game was escape or surrender. 
He also intimates that some Confederate writers have 
admitted that "if everything had been managed prop- 
erly the Army of Northern Virginia might have eluded 
surrender and protracted the war." 

In reply let it first be said that if the Confederate 
officers responsible for the conduct of affairs at the 

1 1 append a copy of a letter on this subject addressed to Major 
Walthall, and printed in the Memoirs of Jefferson Davis by his wife 
(1890), Vol. II, p. 595. But I have preferred to give in the text the 
incident as related to me orally by Gen. G. W. C. Lee on the occasion 
referred to. 

"After I was taken prisoner at Sailor's Creek, with the greater 
part of the commands of General Ewell and General Dick Anderson, 
and was on my way to Petersburg with the officers of the three com- 
mands, we met the United States engineer brigade under command 
of General Benham, whom I knew prior to the breaking out of the war 
as one of the captains of my own corps — the engineers. 

"He did not apparently recognize me, and I did not make myself 
known to him; but he began talking to General Ewell, in a loud tone 
of voice which could be distinctly heard by all around. 

"I heard General Benham say, among other things, that 'General 
Weitzel had found, soon after his entrance into Richmond, a letter 
from General Lee, giving the condition of the Army of Northern Vir- 
ginia and what he proposed to do should it become necessary to with- 
draw from the lines before Richmond and Petersburg, and that the 
letter was immediately sent to General Grant. In answer to some 


battle of Five Forks had "managed properly" — if 
they had carried out the plans of their great chief 
with a fair degree of fidelity — that battle would have 
been a Confederate victory, and Sheridan, as he testi- 
fied himself, would have been captured. But there 
was grievous neglect — there was inexcusable derelic- 
tion of duty — and, as a consequence, Lee's lines were 
broken and he was forced to retreat. If evidence of 
the truth of this statement is demanded, the fact that 
the Confederate general officer, whose name has been 
always associated with the most superb feat of arms 
at Gettysburg, was relieved of his command by Gen- 
eral Lee while on the retreat to Appomattox may 
serve as sufficient confirmation at least of the opinion 
of the commander of the Army of Northern Virginia. 

So much for the direct cause that compelled the retreat. 
And for the rest, the extraordinary fact related by 
Gen. G. W. C. Lee is entirely sufficient to dispose of 
the statement that Grant outgeneralled Lee in the 
retreat to Appomattox. When the Hon is caught in 
the net, it does not require the skill of a mighty hunter 
to slay him. 

doubt expressed by General Ewell or someone else, General Benham 
replied, 'Oh, there is no doubt about the letter, for I saw it myself.' 
"I received the impression at the time, or afterward, that this letter 
was a confidential communication to the Secretary of War in answer 
to a resolution of the Confederate Congress asking for information 
in 1865. When I mentioned this statement of General Benham to 
General Lee, some time afterward, the latter said, 'This accounts for 
the energy of the enemy's pursuit. The first day after we left the 
lines he seemed to be entirely at sea with regard to our movements; 
after that, though I never worked so hard in my life to withdraw our 
army in safety, he displayed more energy, skill, and judgment in his 
movements than I ever knew him to display before.' 

UtrUeCOPyl "G. W.C.Lee." 


Dr. Rhodes, it is true, in the passage just quoted 
wrote in ignorance of the fact that chance had put 
General Grant in possession of the plans of General 
Lee. But it is strange that so careful a writer should 
have committed himself to the statement that "the con- 
ditions" between the two armies "were not unequal." 
He sees only the naked fact of 49,000 Confederates 
against 113,000 — which, by the way, is a quite exag- 
gerated estimate of Lee's forces when the retreat began. 
He has no eyes for the enormous difference in the equip- 
ment of the two armies, — the one "armed, clothed, 
equipped, fed, and sheltered as no similar force in the 
world's history had ever been before," — the other 
almost starved, having been long on greatly reduced 
rations, scantily clothed, its vitality lowered by expo- 
sure to cold and hail and sleet, and by overwork in the 
trenches, consequent on the smallness of their numbers. 
Nor has the Federal historian any recollection of the 
difference between the condition of the mounts of the 
cavalry of the two armies. He forgets that the horses 
in Lee's army had long been, like the men, on starva- 
tion rations. Surely, when we consider these facts, 
one must say that if ever two armies faced each other 
under unequal conditions, it was when the soldiers of 
Lee and Grant grappled with each other in those last 
days before Appomattox. The true estimate of the 
situation was given by Mr. Charles Francis Adams 
when he said in his oration at Lexington: 

" Finally, when in April the summons to conflict came, the 
Army of Northern Virginia seemed to stagger to its feet, 
and, gaunt and grim, shivering with cold and emaciated 
with hunger, worn down by hard, unceasing attrition, it 
faced its enemy, formidable still." 


I will not dwell upon the affecting scenes that were 
witnessed when the terrible fact became known that 
the remnant of the Army of Northern Virginia was to 
be surrendered to General Grant and the mighty host 
under his command. Those heroes of more than a 
hundred battles wept like children when the news 
came. To the very last they were unconquered. 
That very morning they had fought with all their 
old intrepidity and resolution. And they would have 
fought on, had their beloved commander bid them, 
till the last man had fallen face to the foe; but when 
Lee told them to sheathe their swords and stack their 
muskets, they obeyed him, though with breaking hearts. 

This, his last act as the co mm ander of the Confed- 
erate armies, was every way worthy of his heroic 
character. How much easier to have put himself at 
the head of his surviving soldiers and died with them 
in one last splendid but desperate charge! Or again, 
how much easier to have yielded to the counsels of 
some of his captains, and, having cut his way through 
the encircling Federal host, to have continued the 
struggle in a guerilla warfare that might have been 
prolonged indefinitely! 

Both of these temptations he put aside, and rose to 
the height of the supreme sacrifice which duty to his 
people demanded. "The question is," he said to his 
officers, "Is it right to surrender this army? If it is 
right, then I will take all the responsibility." He asked 
no man to share with him that awful responsibility — 
to bear any part of the burden of that tremendous 
decision. He took it all — he bore it all, on his own 
heroic shoulders. Is there in history any finer spectacle 
of self-devotion for duty's sake than this? Is it any 


wonder his soldiers idolized him, and were ready to die 
for him ? Were they not justified in looking to him as 

"The great prince and man of men." 

As I draw the curtain over this scene at Appomattox 
I would pay my tribute of admiration to that superb 
army whose history closed that day. My own words 
would to some extent be discounted by the fact that 
I served myself in its ranks. I will therefore rather 
refer to the opinions of some of its illustrious oppo- 
nents, — to "Fighting Joe" Hooker's testimony that 
"it exhibited a discipline and efficiency which the Army 
of the Potomac had vainly striven to emulate," — to 
the words of Swinton, "that incomparable Southern 
Infantry, which, tempered by two years of battle, and 
habituated to victory, equalled any soldiers that ever 
followed the eagles to conquest," — to the generous 
tribute of Major Jas. F. Huntington, "the indomitable 
courage, the patient endurance of privations, the 
supreme devotion of the Southern soldiers, will stand 
on the pages of history, as engraven on a monument 
more enduring than brass," — to the acknowledgment of 
another Federal commander that the army of Lee "was 
the finest army that ever marched on this continent." 

To all these tributes I add the generous acknowl- 
edgment of Mr. Chas. Francis Adams "that Lee and 
the Army of Northern Virginia never sustained de- 
feat. Finally succumbing to exhaustion, to the end 
they were not overthrown in fight." 

And for myself I can only repeat what I have said 
elsewhere on a public occasion: "These men were heroes, 
if ever heroes were. What hardships did they not 
uncomplainingly endure, on the march, in the bivouac, 


in the trenches! What sacrifices did they not cheer- 
fully make for a cause dearer than life itself! What 
dangers did they not face with unquailing front! Who 
that ever saw them can forget those hardy battalions 
that followed Stonewall Jackson in his weird marches 
in the great valley campaign? Rusty and ragged 
were their uniforms, but bright were their muskets 
and their bayonets, and they moved like the very 
whirlwind of war! . . . They were private soldiers — 
fame will not herald their names to posterity. They 
fought without reward, and they died without distinc- 
tion. It was enough for them to hear the voice of duty, 
and to follow it, though it led them by a rugged path 
to a bloody grave. . . . They were not soldiers of for- 
tune, but soldiers of conscience, who dared all that 
men can dare, and endured all that men can endure in 
obedience to what they believed the call of their coun- 
try. If ever men lived of whom it could be truly said 
that their hearts echoed the sentiment, 

" Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori " 

these were the men. They loved their State. They 
loved their homes and their firesides. They were no 
politicians. Most of them knew little of the warring 
theories of constitutional interpretation. But one 
thing they knew — armed legions were marching upon 
their homes, and it was their duty to hurl them back 
at any cost. For this, not we only who shared their 
perils and hardships do them honor — not the South- 
ern people only — but all brave men everywhere. 

"Nameless they may be on the page of history, 
but the name of the soldier of the Army of Northern 
Virginia will echo round the world through the ages 


to come, and everywhere it will be accepted as the 
synonym of valor, of constancy, and of loyalty to the 
sternest call of duty." 

As I have stated, I was not present at the surrender, 
but having found the enemy between me and our army, 
had made a wide de"tour, and was still nine miles away 
when the news came to me that all was over. 

As soon as I was assured beyond doubt of the over- 
whelming fact, I turned Lady Grey's head back toward 
Staunton, and that day we covered together sixty-five 
miles, — the longest ride I had ever made. When, the 
second day after, I reached Staunton, night had set 
in, and I hoped to get home without being observed or 
recognized. But it was moonlight, and as I rode 
through the main street, I was soon surrounded by a 
group of men eager for news from the army. I said, 
" There is news, but I prefer not to tell you what it is, 
for I know you will not believe it." The answer was 
a chorus of demands to tell what it was. Again I 
demurred and asked to be excused — only to meet 
the same reply. So at last I said, "Well, if you will 
have it — General Lee has surrendered to General 
Grant!" This, as I anticipated, was greeted with 
derisive laughter, and I was told I was demoralized 
and had accepted a groundless rumor as the truth. 

In fact, the people could not believe it possible. The 
disaster was too utterly overwhelming to be accepted 
on the testimony of one man. 

When our idolized leader sheathed his sword at 
Appomattox the world grew dark to us. We felt as if 
the sun had set in blood to rise no more. It was as if the 
foundations of the earth were sinking beneath our feet. 

I recall saying to Dr. Sparrow soon after my arrival 


in Staunton, "I feel as if I had nothing left to live for!" 
— only to receive from the dear old man a tender but 
well-deserved rebuke for such an unchristian sentiment. 
In closing my narrative, I wish to put on record in 
these pages that my regiment, the Second Virginia Cav- 
alry, under the command of that gallant gentleman, 
Col. Cary Breckinridge, performed valiant service dur- 
ing the closing days of the great drama. It acted with 
its accustomed gallantry, and more cannot be said. 
General Munford did not consider that his cavalry 
was included in the surrender of General Lee's army, 
for reasons which it is not necessary here to explain. 
Col. Cary Breckinridge gives the following account of 
the course pursued by the Second Virginia Cavalry; he 
says, " After leaving Appomattox Court House, we 
made a detour to the right through woods and fields 
and roads, over hills and valleys, bearing to the left. 
After going perhaps a mile, were reached the Lynch- 
burg road, at the top of a considerable hill, a few miles 
west of Appomattox Court House. In making this 
move there were some lively encounters with the Fed- 
eral Cavalry, more particularly on our left, where 
General Rosser and W. H. F. Lee were fighting. . . . 
Almost simultaneously with the arrival of the Second 
Virginia Cavalry in the road, certainly the last to reach 
it, as we neared the rear of the enemy, a small force 
of their cavalry came charging up the road, and attacked 
us in the rear. We wheeled about and a squadron or 
two was ordered to charge them, which was done in 
good style, the enemy retreating in the direction of 
the Court House. Holding our position on the hill, 
the enemy came our way the second time, and were 
again driven back. 


"This was done handsomely by the First Maryland 
Cavalry, under the following circumstances: When the 
enemy, in full charge, was seen coming at them, not over 
a hundred yards distant, Capt. W. J. Raisin, command- 
ing the first squadron and riding with Colonel Dorsey, 
at the head of his regiment, remarked, 'Colonel, we 
must charge them, it is the only chance,' and the 
words had not left his lips when Dorsey, who had per- 
ceived the necessity, gave the command, { Draw sabre ! 
Gallop! Charge!' And this little band of Mary- 
landers hurled themselves against the heavy column 
of the enemy and drove them back. This was the last 
blow struck by the Army of Northern Virginia." 

" This was the last action in which the Second Vir- 
ginia Cavalry had a part, and with the charge of the 
First Maryland Cavalry may be said to have been the 
last effort made by any portion of Lee's army in behalf 
of the Southern cause." 

General Munford held that as his command was 
outside of the lines, he did not consider that he was 
included in the terms of the surrender, and hence he felt 
at liberty to withdraw his skirmishers, having already 
gained the Lynchburg road. Accordingly, he marched 
the regiment to Lynchburg and there it was disbanded, 
on the very spot where it had been organized in 1861, 
— disbanded "subject to reassemble for the contin- 
uance of the struggle." It had made for itself an hon- 
orable record; it left June 1, 1861, with 700 men upon 
it rolls, and it is shown that 7 of its captains were killed 
and 10 wounded; 10 of its lieutenants were killed and 
22 wounded; 2 sergeants were killed; 1 adjutant killed; 
138 men were killed; 362 wounded; 89 died in service; 
75 were captured; making an aggregate accounted 


for 654. I may here mention that Lieut.-Col. Cary 
Breckinridge received five sabre cuts in one engage- 
ment. Its blood was spilt from the first Manassas to 
Appomattox. About ten days later General Munford 
received a co mmuni cation from the President of the 
Confederate States, ordering him to join the army of 
Gen. Joe Johnston, and there lies before me an order 
dated Headquarters Munford's Cavalry Brigade, April 
21, 1865, in which General Munford makes a stirring ap- 
peal to his soldiers to rally once more to his banner and 
continue the struggle. This order concludes as follows: 

"We have still a country, a flag, an army, and a govern- 
ment. Then to horse! A circular will be sent to each 
of your officers, designating the time and place of assembly. 
Hold yourselves in instant readiness, and bring all true 
men with you from this command who will go, and let us 
who struck the last blow, as a part of the Army of Northern 
Virginia, strike the first with that victorious army which, 
by the blessing of our gracious God, will yet come to redeem 
her hallowed soil. 

"Thos. T. Munford, Brigadier-general 

"Commanding Division." 

A few days after the issuance of this order General 
Munford learned that Gen. Joe Johnston was negotiat- 
ing to surrender his army. This put an end to his 
project, designated in the said general order. In the 
meantime, however, it had reached Colonel Dorsey of 
the First Maryland Cavalry and that officer immedi- 
ately rallied his command and was proceeding to join 
General Munford, but he, on the 28th of April, wrote 
Colonel Dorsey, informing him of General Johnston's 
approaching surrender and of the abandonment of the 


SOME four or five years ago, while attending a 
reunion of Confederate veterans at Nashville, I 

made the acquaintance of Colonel , who told 

me the following story. 

At the outbreak of the war in 1861, he, then a very 
young man and resident in Tennessee, went to his 
father and said, " Father, I have thought over the issue 
between the North and the South and have decided 
that it is my duty to join the Southern Army." To 
which his father, also a Tennesseean, replied, "All 
right, my son, you must of course act as your conscience 
dictates, but I must tell you that I also have earnestly 
reflected on the situation and have decided that it is 
my duty to join the Union Army." And so they parted 
in all kindness, to serve in the opposing armies. 

Now it happened that in one of the battles in the 
southwest the father and the son, each in command 
of a regiment, the one under the Stars and Stripes, 
the other under the Stars and Bars, met in deadly 
conflict, neither being aware of the identity of his 
antagonist; and the son took the father prisoner, not 
knowing it was his father. This was a remarkable 
experience not often paralleled, but what was more 
remarkable still was the statement made to me by 

Colonel that the fact that he and his father 

were fighting on opposite sides in that tremendous 



conflict made no difference in their feelings toward 
each other. So absolutely did father and son respect 
each other's conviction of duty that their mutual affec- 
tion remained unchanged. 

In bringing to a close my fragmentary record of 
experiences and observations as a Confederate soldier, 
I would like to say that I hope nothing I have written 
will seem inconsistent with the respect I feel for the 
honest convictions of the brave men who fought against 
the South, under the same constraint of duty as that 
which actuated us in the opposite ranks. Good and 
true men reached different conclusions in that supreme 
issue presented in 1861. It was inevitable. As Mr. 
Charles Francis Adams has said, "In case of direct 
and insoluble issue between sovereign State and sover- 
eign Nation, every man was not only free to decide, 
but had to decide the question of ultimate allegiance 
for himself; and whichever way he decided he was 
right." Brave men respect each other. Men who 
draw the sword for conscience' sake should, and will, 
sooner or later, recognize the equal right of their antag- 
onists who are also in arms for conscience' sake. 

This was finely expressed a quarter of a century ago 
by a brave Union soldier, now a justice of the Supreme 
Court. 1 

"We believed that it was most desirable that the 
North should win; we believed in the principle that 
the Union is indissoluble; but we equally believed that 
those who stood against us held just as sacred convic- 
tions that were the opposite of ours, and we respected 
them, as every man with a heart must respect those 
who gave all for their belief." 

1 Justice 0. W. Holmes. 


But that same profound respect for the convic- 
tions which conscience enforces makes it impossible 
for us who stood for the South in 1861 to profess any 
repentance, or any regret, for the course we then took. 
A man cannot repent of an act done in the fear of God 
and under the behest of conscience. We did what we 
believed in our hearts was right. We gave all for 
our belief. We cannot regret obeying the most solemn 
and sacred dictates of duty as we saw it. 

We would not do aught to perpetuate the angry 
passions of the Civil War, or to foster any feeling of 
hostility to our fellow citizens of other parts of the 
Union. But we must forevermore do honor to our 
heroic dead. We must forevermore cherish the sacred 
memories of those four terrible but glorious years of 
unequal strife. We must forevermore consecrate in 
our hearts our old battle flag of the Southern Cross 
— not now as a political symbol, but as the conse- 
crated emblem of an heroic epoch. The people that 
forgets its heroic dead is already dying at the heart, 
and we believe we shall be truer and better citizens 
of the United States if we are true to our past. 

The Southern people have already shown the world 
how the defeats of war may be turned into the victories 
of peace. They have given mankind an example of 
how a brave and proud race may sustain disaster, and 
endure long years of humiliation, yet rise again to power 
and glory. 

I have said elsewhere two things of the Confederate 
soldier which I wish to repeat here. 

The first is that the supreme issue in his mind in 
all that great struggle was not, as is generally supposed, 
the dissolution of the Union. No, the dissolution of 


the Union was not what the Confederate soldier had 
chiefly at heart. Nor was the establishment of the 
Southern Confederacy what he had chiefly at heart. 
Both the one and the other were secondary to the 
preservation of the supreme and sacred right of self- 
government. They were means to the end, not the 
end itself. 

And the second thing I wish to say is that I do not 
believe the valor and devotion of the armies of the 
South were so lavishly poured out in vain. By their 
all-sacrificing patriotism they arraigned before the 
world the usurpation of powers and functions which 
by the Constitution were reserved to the States — and 
their arraignment has not been in vain. Silently, as 
the years have rolled by since Appomattox, its accus- 
ing voice has been heard, and its protest has become 
effective, until to-day the rights of the States — of 
all the States — are recognized as inviolate by both 
the executive, the legislative, and the judicial depart- 
ments of the Government. And therefore I hold that 
just as surely as the enemies of the North saved the 
Union from dissolution, so surely did the armies of the 
South save the rights of the States within the Union. 
So that, if it is due to the valor of the Northern Army 
and Navy that we have to-day an indissoluble Union, 
it is equally due to the valor of the Confederate soldiers 
and sailors that that indissoluble Union is composed 
of indestructible States. 

Thus victor and vanquished will both be crowned 
with the laurel of victory by the future historian. 

I will add one other conviction which I deeply 
cherish. The Confederate soldier has left a legacy of 
valor and of liberty to his fellow countrymen, North 


and South, which is destined to be recognized as a part 
of the national inheritance. 

A recent historian of "The Greatness and Decline of 
Rome" * has remarked that the whole course of ancient 
history proves the tenacity and depth of republican 
ideas and traditions in the little Greek or Italian re- 
publics, and the difficulty of abolishing their liberties. 
He tells us that the republicanism of ancient Rome 
which the empire seemed to crush and destroy has still 
been mighty in modern Europe. It has inspired Europe 
to fight for her great ideals of liberty, without which 
European history would have been a counterpart of 
Oriental history, a continuous succession of despotisms, 
rising one upon the ruins of another. 

It is thus that I believe the heroic spirit of liberty 
which animated the soldiers of the Confederacy, though 
it seemed to be crushed and destroyed at Appomattox, 
will in generations to come inspire Americans to fight 
for the high ideals of freedom and self-government 
which the men of the North and the men of the South 
have alike inherited from their forefathers. It will 
be recognized that the men who followed the battle 
flags of the Confederacy at such cost of hardship and 
trial and peril — exhibiting a devotion, a fortitude, a 
valor, and a self-sacrifice never surpassed — were 
animated by motives as pure and unselfish as ever 
stirred the hearts and nerved the arms of patriots. 
And so it will come to pass that the glorious valor and 
steadfast devotion to liberty which characterized the 
Confederate soldier will be acknowledged as a part of 
the national inheritance, to be treasured and guarded 
by every American who loves his country and values 

1 Professor Ferrero. 


the traditions of her glory. The fact that he did not 
succeed in his enterprise will abate no jot or tittle from 
the honor paid to his memory; for I dare to believe 
that the American of the future will recognize the 
eternal truth that it is not success which ennobles, 
but duty well done — manhood illustriously displayed, 
whether in victory or defeat. 

Thus the fame of the Confederate soldier will shine 
with imperishable lustre: 

"Immota manet, saecula vincit." 


A. Oration at Nashville. 

B. Gen. J. E. B. Stuart in the Gettysburg Campaign 

A Reply to Col. J. S. Mosby. 








JUNE 14, 1904 


Rectos of the Chubch of the Epiphant, Washington, D.C. 

Tis yap rj ruiv iroitiv ovva/xevwv rj tuv Xeyciv eVicrra/ieVcjv ov Trovrjcra. 
Kal <piXoao<prj(reL fiov\6fievo<; afxa re ttJs olvtov Siavoias kclI ttJs eKeiVwv 
apeTrjs fivrj/Atlov eis a-rravra rov xpovov KaTaAi7reZv. — IsoCTOtes 

Originally Published 
By Order of the United Confederate Veterans 



Ladies and Gentlemen, Comrades and Fellow-citizens: 

It is with deep emotion that I rise to address you to-day. 
When I look over this vast concourse of the brave men and 
the noble women of the South — representing every one 
of the eleven sovereign States once associated in the South- 
ern Confederacy — and when I look into the faces of the 
veteran survivors of that incomparable army that fought 
with such magnificent valor and constancy for four long years 
under those tattered battle flags, now furled forever, I am 
overwhelmed at once by the dignity and the difficulty of 
the task assigned me. There is such a vast disproportion 
between the powers which the occasion demands and those 
which I possess, that I should not dare to essay the task but 
for my confidence in your generosity and forbearance to 
a speaker who at least can say: "I too loved the Lost Cause 
and marched and fought under the banner of the Southern 

There are two unique features which must arrest the 
attention of every observer of this scene to-day. The first 
is the fact that all this pageantry, all this enthusiasm, is a 
tribute to a lost cause. The second is the fact that we 
assemble under the victorious banner to pay our reverend 
homage to the conquered one. 

A stranger coming into our midst and observing our pro- 
ceedings might suppose that we were met here to celebrate 
the foundation of a State, or to acclaim the triumph of armies, 
or to exult in the victory of a great cause. But no! Nine 
and thirty years ago our new republic sank to rise no more; 
our armies were defeated; our banner went down in blood! 



What then? Are we here to indulge in vain regrets, to lament 
over our defeat, or to conspire for the reestablishment of 
our fallen cause? No! The love and loyalty which we 
give to the Lost Cause, and to the defeated banner, is a 
demonstration of the deep hold that cause had upon the 
hearts of the Southern people, and of the absolute sincerity 
and the complete devotion with which they supported it; 
but it is no evidence of unmanly and fruitless repining over 
defeat, nor of any lurking disloyalty to the Union, in which 
now, thank God, the Southern States have equal rights 
and privileges with all the other States of our broad land. 
We saw our banner go down, with breaking hearts. When 
our idolized leader sheathed his sword at Appomattox the 
world grew dark to us. We felt as if the sun had set in blood 
to rise no more. It was as if the foundations of the earth 
were sinking beneath our feet. But that same stainless 
hero whom we had followed with unquestioning devotion 
taught us not to despair. He told us it was the part of 
brave men to accept defeat without repining. "Human 
virtue," he said, "should be equal to human calamity." 
He pointed upward to the star of duty, and bade us follow it 
as bravely in peace as we had followed it in war. Hence- 
forth it should be our consecrated task, by the help of God, 
to rebuild the fallen walls of our prosperity. 

And so we accepted the result of the war in good faith. 
We abide the arbitrament of the sword. We subscribe as 
sincerely as the men who fought against us to the senti- 
ment: "One Flag, one Country, one Constitution, one 
Destiny." This is now for us an indissoluble Union of inde- 
structible States. We are loyal to that starry banner. We 
remember that it was baptized with Southern blood when 
our forefathers first unfurled it to the breeze. We remember 
that it was a Southern poet, Francis Scott Key, who immor- 
talized it in the "Star Spangled Banner." We remember 
that it was the genius of a Southern soldier and statesman, 
George Washington, that finally established it in triumph. 


Southern blood has again flowed in its defence in the Spanish 
war, and should occasion .require, we pledge our lives and 
our sacred honor to defend it against foreign aggression, as 
bravely as will the descendants of the Puritans. And yet, 
to-day, while that banner of the Union floats over us, we 
bring the offering of our love and loyalty to the memory of 
the flag of the Southern Confederacy! Strange as it may 
seem to one who does not understand our people; incon- 
sistent and incomprehensible as it may appear; we salute 
yonder flag — the banner of the Stars and Stripes — as the 
symbol of our reunited country, at the same moment that 
we come together to do homage to the memory of the Stars 
and Bars. There is in our hearts a double loyalty to-day; 
a loyalty to the present, and a loyalty to the dear, dead 
past. We still love our old battle flag with the Southern 
cross upon its fiery folds! We have wrapped it round our 
hearts! We have enshrined it in the sacred ark of our 
love; and we will honor it and cherish it evermore, — not 
now as a political symbol, but as the consecrated emblem 
of an heroic epoch; as the sacred memento of a day that 
is dead; as the embodiment of memories that will be tender 
and holy as long as life shall last. 

Let not our fellow-countrymen of the North mistake the 
spirit of this great occasion. If Daniel Webster could say 
that the Bunker Hill monument was not erected "to per- 
petuate hostility to Great Britain," much more can we 
say that the monuments we have erected, and will yet 
erect, in our Southland, to the memory of our dead heroes, 
are not intended to perpetuate the angry passions of the 
Civil War, or to foster or keep alive any feeling of hostility 
to our brethren of other parts of the Union. No; but these 
monuments are erected, and these great assemblages of our 
surviving veterans are held, in simple loyalty to the best 
and purest dictates of the human heart. The people that 
forgets its heroic dead is already dying at the heart; and we 
believe it will make for the strength and the glory of the 


United States if the sentiments that animate us to-day- 
shall be perpetuated, generation after generation. Yes, 
we honor, and we bid our children honor, the loyalty to 
duty — to conscience — to fatherland — that inspired the 
men of '61, and it is our prayer and our hope that, as the year3 
and the generations pass, the rising and the setting sun, the 
moon and the stars, winter and summer, spring and aut umn , 
will see the people of the South loyal to the memories of those 
four terrible but glorious years of strife; loyally worshipping 
at the shrine of the splendid manhood of our heroic citizen 
soldiers, and the even more splendid womanhood, whose 
fortitude and whose endurance have challenged the admira- 
tion of the world. Then, when the united republic, in years 
to come, shall call, "To arms!" our children, and our chil- 
dren's children, will rally to the call, and, emulating the 
fidelity and the supreme devotion of the soldiers of the Con- 
federacy, will gird the Stars and Stripes with an impene- 
trable rampart of steel. 

But it is not the dead alone whom we honor here to-day. 
We hail the presence of the survivors of that tremendous 
conflict. Veterans of more than forty years! you have 
come from all over the South — from the Patapsco and the 
Potomac, the James and the Rappahannock, the Cumber- 
land and the Tennessee, the Mississippi and the Rio Grande 
— from the sea-shore — from the Gulf — from the Blue 
Ridge and the Alleghanies, and some of you even from the 
shores of the Pacific Ocean — to pay your tribute to the dead 
cause and the dead heroes who laid down their lives for it. 
May I, on behalf of this great assembly — on behalf of the 
whole South — offer you a tribute of respect and venera- 
tion to-day? We hail you as the honored survivors of a 
great epoch and a glorious struggle. We welcome you as 
the men whom, above all others, the South delights to 

It is indeed a matter of course that we, your comrades 
and your fellow Southrons, should honor you. But we are 


not alone. Your brave antagonists of the Northern armies 
begin at last to recognize the purity of your motives, as they 
have always recognized the splendor of your valor. The 
dispassionate historian, even though his sympathy is given 
to the North, no longer denies the sincerity of your belief 
in the sacredness of your cause. The world itself confesses 
the honesty of your purpose, and the glory of your gallant 
struggle against superior numbers and resources. Most 
of you that survive have no insignia of rank, no title of dis- 
tinction. You were private soldiers, — but I see round your 
brows the aureole of a soldier's glory. You are transfigured 
by the battles you have fought : Nashville, Franklin, Perry- 
ville, Murfreesboro, Shiloh, Chickamauga, in the West; 
and Manassas, Seven Pines, Mechanicsville, Sharpsburg, 
Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilder- 
ness, and Cold Harbor, in the East. 

But you have done more than bare your breast to the 
foeman's steel. You have shown to the world how the 
defeats of war may be turned into the victories of peace. 
You have taught mankind how a proud race may sustain 
disaster and yet survive and win the applause of the world. 
In those terrible years of Reconstruction — how much more 
bitter than the four years of war ! — you splendidly ex- 
emplified the sentiment, 

"Mergas profundo, pulchrior exilit!" 

Out of the depths of the bitter flood of Reconstruction the 
South emerged, through your fortitude, through your 
patience, through your courage, more beautiful than ever. 
For all this your people honor you in your old age. They 
cherish the memory of your deeds, and will hand it down a 
priceless heirloom to their children's children. You are not 
pensioners on the bounty of the Union, thank God! Your 
manhood is not sapped by eating the bread of dependence. 
You have faced poverty as bravely as you faced the cannon's 
mouth, and so I salute you as the aristocracy of the South! 


Your deeds have carved for you a place in the temple of her 
fame. They will not be forgotten — the world will not for- 
get them. Your campaigns are studied to-day in the .mili- 
tary schools of Europe; yes, and at West Point, itself. 

But, alas! your ranks are thinned. Each year the artil- 
lery of the great destroyer of human life mows down hundreds 
of the men in gray. One after another of our great captains 
has said "Adsum," as the angel of God has called the roll 
beyond the river. Since you last met, two of those illustri- 
ous leaders have passed from our sight — Longstreet, the 
brave, and Gordon, the superb — Gordon, whose white 
plume, like the plume of Henry of Navarre, was ever in the 
forefront of the charging line — Gordon, of whom we may 
say — and what could be higher praise? — that he was 
worthy to be the lieutenant of Lee, and the successor of 
Stonewall Jackson in the confidence and affection of the 
Army of Northern Virginia — Gordon, who, at Appomattox, 
taught us not to lose faith in God, and for a quarter of a 
century before his death taught us to have faith in our fellow- 
citizens of the North. As we think of those superb leaders, 
now gone from our gaze, we are tempted to say: Alas! the 
stars by which we have guided our course have set, one by 
one, beneath the horizon. But no! Let us rather say that 
death has only placed them higher in the firmament, as 
fixed stars, whose deathless light shall never fail us in the 
generations to come. Dead? Are these our heroes dead? 
No, they yet live as live the heroes of old; as Leonidas lives 
in the firmament of patriotism; as Shakespeare lives in the 
firmament of intellect; as Newton and Bacon live in the realm 
of science; as Jefferson and Madison and Marshall five in 
the realm of statesmanship; as Washington lives in the 
realm of pure and steadfast love of liberty. Veterans, 
when I say this I am not giving utterance to the partial 
and prejudiced view of a Southern soldier; I am but echo- 
ing the judgment of the world. 

The ablest military critic in the British army in this gen- 


eration has placed Lee and Stonewall Jackson in the same 
group with Washington and Wellington and Marlborough, 
the five greatest generals, in his opinion, of the English- 
speaking race; and the President of the United States, Mr. 
Roosevelt, -has said in his "Life of Thomas H. Benton" : "The 
world has never seen better soldiers than those who followed 
Lee; and their leader will undoubtedly rank, as without 
any exception, , the very greatest of all the great captains 
that the English-speaking peoples have brought forth; and 
this, although the last and chief of his antagonists, may him- 
self claim to stand as the full equal of Wellington and Marl- 
borough." As to the rank and file, General Hooker of the 
Union Army has said that "for steadiness and efficiency" 
Lee's army was unsurpassed in ancient or modern times, 
— "We have not been able to rival it." And Gen. Chas. 
A. Whittier of Massachusetts has said, "The Army of North- 
ern Virginia will deservedly rank as the best army which 
has existed in this continent, suffering privations unknown 
to its opponent. The North sent no such army to the field." 
It is, then, not the extravagance of hyperbole, but the 
sober utterance of truth, to say that these heroic leaders 
and the heroic men who followed them — sublime in their 
devotion to duty; magnificently unregardful of the possi- 
bility of waging successful war against such vast odds of num- 
bers and resources — have raised a monument more lasting 
than brass or marble; higher and grander than the great 
pyramid of Egypt; more splendid than the tomb of Napo- 
leon at the Hotel des Invalides; more sublime than West- 
minster Abbey itself — a monument which will rivet the 
gaze of generations yet unborn — a monument at whose feet 
mankind will bow in reverence so long as freedom survives 
on earth. It is a shaft not made with hands — a spiritual 
obelisk — on which all men will read: "Sacred to the memory 
of men who laid down their lives, their fortunes, and their 
sacred honor in loyal obedience to the call of duty as they 
understood it." 


Comrades, standing here at the foot of that unseen column, 
reared by the valor and the virtue of the citizen soldiers 
of the Armies of the South, I feel that a duty is laid upon 
me, which I may not refuse to perform. From the hills and 
valleys of more than a thousand battle fields, where sleep 
the silent battalions in gray, there rises to my ear a solemn 
voice of command which I dare not disobey. It bids me 
vindicate to the men of this generation the course which the 
men of the South followed in the crisis of 1861. It is not 
enough that their valor is recognized. It is hot enough that 
their honesty is confessed. We ask of our Northern breth- 
ren — we ask of the world — a recognition of their patriot- 
ism and their love of liberty. We cannot be silent as long 
as any aspersion is cast by the pen of the historian, or by 
the tongue of the orator, upon their patriotic motives, or 
upon the loftiness of the object they had in view through 
all that tremendous conflict. We make no half-hearted 
apology for their act. It is justice for which we plead, not 

The view of the origin and character of the course of 
action followed by the Southern States in 1861, which has 
so widely impressed itself upon the popular mind, may be 
summed up in four propositions. First, that the Secession 
of the cotton States was the result of a conspiracy on the 
part of a few of their leaders, and that it was not the genuine 
expression of the mind of the people. Second, that the act 
whereby the Southern States withdrew from the Union was 
an act of disloyalty to the Constitution, and of treason to 
the United States government. Third, that the people of 
the South were not attached to the Union and were eager 
to seize upon an excuse for its dissolution. Fourth, that 
the South plunged into a desperate war for the purpose of 
perpetuating slavery, and made that institution the corner- 
stone of the new confederacy which it sought to establish. 

I propose briefly to examine these propositions, and shall 
endeavor to show that every one of them, when scrutinized 


under the impartial light of history, must be pronounced 
essentially erroneous. Believing that they are erroneous 
and that they do grave injustice to the memory and the 
motives of the men of the South in that great crisis, it becomes 
a sacred duty to expose the unsubstantial foundation upon 
which these opinions rest, lest our children and our children's 
children should misr ead and misunderstand the acts of their 
fathers. . 

1. I need not spend much time upon the first of these 
propositions. The evidence at the disposal of the historian 
is conclusive that the action taken by the cotton States in 
withdrawing from the Union had the support of an over- 
whelming majority of the people of those States. There 
was no conspiracy. The people were in advance of their 
leaders. The most recent, and perhaps the ablest, of the 
Northern historians, acknowledges this, and says that had 
not Davis, Toombs, and Benjamin led in Secession, the 
people would have chosen other leaders. The number of 
unconditional Union men in the seven States that first 
seceded, he declares, was insignificant, and he makes the 
remarkable admission that "had the North thoroughly 
understood the problem, had it known that the people of 
the cotton States were practically unanimous and that 
the action of Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee was 
backed by a large and genuine majority, it might have 
refused to undertake the seemingly unachievable task." * 
There can be no question, then, that the impartial historian 
of the future will recognize that, whether right or wrong, 
the establishment of the Southern Confederacy was the 
result of a popular movement — was the act, not of a band of 
conspirators, but of the whole people, with a unanimity 
never surpassed in the history of revolutions. 

2. I come now to the question whether the act of the 
Southern States in withdrawing from the Union was an act 

1 Rhodes' History of the United States, Vol. Ill, p. 404. 


of disloyalty to the Constitution and of treason to the gov- 
ernment of the United States. This once burning question 
may now be discussed without heat. It is no longer a prac- 
tical, but a thoroughly academic, question. The right of 
Secession, if it ever existed, exists no longer. The Four- 
teenth Amendment to the Constitution has changed the 
character of our political fabric. When we surrendered 
at Appomattox, the right of Secession was surrendered 

But when we say that right does not exist to-day, we do 
not acknowledge that it did not exist in 1861. On the con- 
trary, we maintain that it did exist, and that those who 
maintained its existence had upon their side, logically and 
historically, the overwhelming weight of evidence. Our 
late antagonists-, who are now our brethren and our fellow- 
citizens, cannot be expected to agree with us in this propo- 
sition, but we put it to their candor and their sense of 
justice to say whether the South had not as good a right to 
her opinion of the meaning of the Constitution as the North 
had to hers. There were in 1860 two interpretations of that 
instrument, there were two views of the nature of the gov- 
ernment which was established. On what principle and by 
what authority can it be claimed that the view taken by the 
South was certainly wrong, and that the view taken by the 
North was certainly right? Or, waiving the question which 
view was really right, we ask our Northern friends to tell 
us why the South was not justified in following that inter- 
pretation which she believed to be the true one? . She 
had helped to build — nay, she was the chief builder of — 
the fabric of the Constitution. A Massachusetts historian 1 
has said that, of the five great men who molded the nation, 
four were men of the South — Washington, Jefferson, Mad- 
ison, and Marshall; and though these great men differed in 
political opinion, yet three, at least, Washington, Jefferson, 

1 Mr. John Fiske. 


and Madison, are on record as declaring that the Consti- 
tution was a compact between the States, and that those 
thirteen States were thirteen independent sovereignties. 1 

1 Even Marshall might be appealed to in support of that view; for 
in the debate on the adoption of the Constitution he used the follow- 
ing language: "Can they [the Congress] go beyond the delegated powers? 
If they were to make a law not warranted by any of the powers enu- 
merated, it would be considered by the judges [of the Supreme Court] 
as an infringement of the Constitution which they are to guard. . . . 
They would declare it void." — Magruder's "Life of Marshall," p. 82. 

Whatever he may have thought of the nature of the government 
at a later period, he here stands forth as an advocate of that view 
which confines the government to the exercise of such powers as are 
distinctly "enumerated." He was then (1788) in his thirty-third 

In the same debate, referring to Virginia's right to resume "her 
powers, if abused," he said, "it is a maxim that those who give may 
take away. It is the people that give power, and can take it back. 
Who shall restrain them? They are the masters who give it." (Elli- 
ott's "Debates," III, p. 227, quoted in "The Republic of Republics," 
p. 109.) Words could not more plainly avow the right of the people 
of a State to resume the powers delegated to the General Government. 

As to Mr. Madison's opinion, it is enough to quote his declaration 
that in adopting the Constitution they were making "a government 
of a federal nature, consisting of many co-equal sovereignties." 

As to Washington's views, when he said of the proposed Union under 
the Constitution, "Is it best for the States to unite?" he clearly recog- 
nized that it was the people of each State who were to form the Union. 
The United States would be, when formed, the creature of the States. 
He often speaks of the accession of the individual States to the proposed 
government, which he calls "the New Confederacy." (Letter to Gen- 
eral Pinckney, June 28, 1788.) 

This new Union was in his eyes "a compact." In a letter to Madi- 
son, August 3, 1788, he uses this language: " Till the States begin to act 
under the new compact." (See on this "The Republic of Republics," 
pp. 222-230.) 

In the letter written by Washington, by order of the Convention, 
to accompany the copy of the proposed Constitution sent to each State, 
the following passage occurs: 

"It is obviously impracticable in the Federal Government of these 
States to secure all rights of independent sovereignty to each, and yet 
provide for the interest and safety of all." This certainly implies 


Let the young men of the New South remember the part 
the Old South took in the planting and training of Anglo- 
Saxon civilization on these western shores. 

Our New England brethren have been so diligent in 
exploiting the voyage of the Mayflower, and the landing of 
the Pilgrims, and their services to morality and civilization 
and liberty in the new world, that they seem to have per- 
suaded themselves, and would fain persuade the world, 
that American liberty is a plant chiefly of New England 
growth, and that America owes its ideas of political inde- 
pendence and representative government, and its reverence 
for conscience, to the sturdy settlers of our northeastern 
coasts. Her orators and her poets, year after year, on Fore- 
fathers' Day, not only glorify — as is meet — the deeds of 
their ancestors, but seem to put forward the claim, in amaz- 
ing forgetfulness of history, that it is to New England that 
the great republic of the West owes the genesis of its free 
institutions, the inspirations of its love of civil and religious 
liberty, and its high ideals of character. 1 

It is then not amiss to remind the Southern men of this 
generation that thirteen years before the Mayflower landed 
her pilgrims at Plymouth Rock, three English ships, the 
Sitsan Constant, the Godspeed, and the Discovery, came to 
anchor in the James River, Virginia; and that the vine of 
English civilization and English liberty was first planted, 
not on Plymouth Rock, in 1620, but at Jamestown Island, 
Virginia, on the 13 th of May, 1607. What Webster so nobly 
said of the Mayflower may be as truly said of these three 
ships that bore the first Virginia colony. "The stars that 
guided them were the unobscured constellations of civil and 
religious liberty. Their decks were the altars of the living 

that each State entering the Union was an independent sovereign, 
which surrendered some of its rights for the good of all. 

1 Rev. Dr. Coyle in a recent sermon before the Presbyterian Gen- 
eral Assembly refers to "the Puritan Conscience which put rock founda- 
tions under this Republic." 


God." Let me also recall the fact that on July 30, 1619, 
eighteen months before the Pilgrims set foot on American 
soil, the vine of liberty had so deeply taken root in the 
colony of Virginia that there was assembled in the church 
at Jamestown a free representative body (the first on 
American soil) — the House of Burgesses — to deliberate 
for the welfare of the people. There also, more than a cen- 
tury before the Revolution, when Oliver Cromwell's fleet 
appeared to whip the rebellious Old Dominion into obedi- 
ence, Virginia demanded and obtained recognition of the 
principle "No taxation without representation"; and there, 
in 1676, just one hundred years 'before the revolt of the 
Colonies, that remarkable man, Nathaniel Bacon, " soldier, 
orator, leader," raised the standard of revolt against the 
oppressions of the British Crown. 

But this is not all. That spot on Jamestown Island, 
marked to-day by a ruined, ivy-clad, church tower and a 
group of moss-covered tombstones, is the sacred ground 
whence sprang that stream of genius and power which con- 
tributed most to the achievement of American independence, 
and to the organization of American liberty. That first 
colony, planted in tidewater Virginia, was, in the revolu- 
tionary period, prolific in men of genius and force and in- 
tense devotion to liberty never perhaps equalled, in modern 
times, in any region of equal size and of so small a popula- 
tion. This is acknowledged by careful and candid histo- 
rians to-day, among whom I may mention Senator Lodge, of 
Massachusetts. It was a Southern orator, Patrick Henry, 
who gave to the colonists in his matchless eloquence the slo- 
gan, "Give me liberty or give me death!" It was a South- 
erner, Richard Henry Lee, who brought forward in the first 
Congress the motion that "these colonies are, and by right 
ought to be, free and independent states." It was a South- 
erner, Thomas Jefferson, who drafted the immortal Declara- 
tion of Independence! It was a Southerner, George Mason, 
who had earlier drawn the Virginia Bill of Rights, a docu- 


ment of even profounder political statesmanship, and which 
was taken by Massachusetts as the model of her own bill 
of rights! It was a Southerner, George Washington, -who 
made good the Declaration of Independence by his sword 
after seven years of war! It was a Southerner, James Mad- 
ison, who earned the title "Father of the Constitution"! 
It was a Southerner, John Marshall, who became its most 
illustrious interpreter! 

I ask, then, in view of all this, whether the South was not 
justified in believing that the views of constitutional inter- 
pretation which she had inherited from such a political an- 
cestry were not the true views? Let our Northern friends 
answer, in all candor, whether the South, with such an hered- 
ity as this, with such glorious memories of achievement, 
with such splendid traditions of the part her philosophers 
and statesmen and soldiers had taken, both in the winning 
of independence, and in the building of the temple of the 
Constitution, had not good reason for saying, "We will 
follow that interpretation of the Constitution, which we 
received from our fathers — from Jefferson and Madison 
and Washington — rather than that which can claim no 
older, or greater, names than those of Story and Webster." 
For be it remembered that for forty years after the adoption 
of the Constitution, there was approximate unanimity in 
its interpretation upon the great issue on which the South 
took her stand in 1861. In truth Webster and Story apos- 
tatized from the New England interpretation of the Con- 
stitution. It is an historical fact that the Constitution was 
regarded as a compact between the States for a long period 
(not less than forty years after its adoption) by the leaders 
of opinion in the New England States. Moreover, in the 
same quarter, the sovereignty of the States was broadly 
affirmed; and also the right of the States to resume, if need 
be, the powers granted under the Constitution. 1 

1 Samuel Adams objected to the preamble to the Constitution. 
"I stumble at the threshold," he said; "I meet a National Government 


These statements will no doubt be received by many with 
surprise, possibly with incredulity. Permit me then briefly 
to justify them by the unquestionable facts of history. The 
impartial historian of the future will recall the fact that 
the first threat of Secession did not come from the men of the 
South, but from the men of New England. Four times 
before the Secession of South Carolina, the threat of Seces- 
sion was heard in the North — in 1802-03, in 1811-12, 
in 1814, and in 1844-45. The first time it came from 
Col. Timothy Pickering, of Massachusetts, a friend of Wash- 
ington and a member of his Cabinet; the second time from 
Josiah Quincy, another distinguished citizen of Massachu- 
setts; the third time from the Hartford Convention, in which 
five States were represented; the fourth time from the Legis- 
lature of Massachusetts. 1 

instead of a federal Union of sovereign States." To overcome this, 
Governor Hancock brought in the Tenth Amendment as to the reserva- 
tion to the States of all powers not expressly delegated to the General 

The Websterian dogmas had then no advocates in New England. 
Hancock, Adams, Parsons, Bowdoin, Ames, were all for State sover- 

1 The statement in the text might be made even stronger, as the 
following facts will show: 

January 14, 1811, Josiah Quincy, of Massachusetts, in the debate 
on the admission of Louisiana, declared his "deliberate opinion that, 
if the bill passes, the bonds of the Union are virtually dissolved; . . . 
that as it will be the right of all [the States], so it will be the duty of 
some to prepare definitely for a separation — amicably, if they can, 
violently, if they must." 

In 1812 "pulpit, press, and rostrum" of New England advocated 
Secession. In 1839 ex-President John Quincy Adams urged publicly 
that it would be better for the States to "part in friendship from each 
other than to be held together by constraint," and declared that "the 
people of each State have the right to secede from the confederated 
Union." In 1842 Mr. Adams presented a petition to Congress, from 
a town in Massachusetts, praying that it would "immediately adopt 
measures peaceably to dissolve the Union of these States." In 1844, 
and again in 1845, the Legislature of Massachusetts avowed the right 


And what were the occasions calling forth these declara- 
tions of the purpose of dissolving the Union? The first 
was the acquisition of Louisiana; the second was the pro- 
posed admission of Louisiana as a State into the Union; 
the third was dissatisfaction occasioned by the war with 
Great Britain; the fourth was the proposed annexation of 
Texas. These measures were all believed by the New Eng- 
land States to be adverse to their interests. The addition 
of the new States would, it was thought, destroy the equilib- 
rium of power, and give the South a preponderance; and 
therefore these stalwart voices were raised declaring that 
there was in the last resort a remedy, and that was the dis- 
solution of the Union. This was the language held by the 
legislature of the leading New England State in 1844: 

"The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, faithful to the compact 
between the people of the United States, according to the plain 
meaning and intent in which it was understood by them, is sincerely 
anxious for its preservation, but it is determined, as it doubts not 
the other States are, to submit to undelegated powers in no body 
of men on earth." 

This stalwart utterance of the great State of Massachu- 
setts expresses exactly the attitude of the seceding States 
in 1861. They believed that "the compact between the 
people of the United States" had been violated, and that 
they could no longer enjoy equal rights within the Union, and 
therefore they refused to submit to the exercise of "undele- 
gated powers" on the part of the National Government. 

Thus the North and the South, at these different epochs, 

of Secession and threatened to secede if Texas was admitted to the 

Alexander Hamilton threatened Jefferson with the Secession of New 
England "unless the debts of the States were assumed by the General 
Government." February 1, 1850, Mr. Hale offered in the Senate a 
petition and resolutions, asking that body to devise, "without delay 
some plan for the immediate peaceful dissolution of the American 
Union." And Chase and Seward voted for its reception. (See " Oration 
of Mr. Leigh Robinson, December 13, 1892," p. 32.) 


held the same view of the right of withdrawal from the 
Union. When New England became alarmed lest the South 
should gain a preponderance of power in the Union, she 
declared, through the potent voice of the Legislature of 
Massachusetts, that she would dissolve the Union rather 
than submit to the exercise, by the government, of undele- 
gated powers. 

The South held with great un animi ty to the doctrine of 
State Sovereignty, and that that sovereignty was inviolable 
by the General Government. She had good right and rea- 
son to believe it, for it had been the faith of her greatest 
statesmen from the very foundation of the republic. Mr. 
Madison, the Father of the Constitution, held to that faith; 
and when Patrick Henry opposed the adoption of the Con- 
stitution upon the ground that the words, "we, the people," 
seemed to imply a "consolidated government" and not "a 
compact between States," he replied that it was not "we, the 
people," as composing one great body, but "the people as 
composing thirteen sovereignties." l 

In fact, the original language of the preamble was: "We, 
the people of the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, 
Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Penn- 
sylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, 
South Carolina, and Georgia, do ordain, declare, and estab- 
lish the following Constitution." This preamble was passed 
una nim ously; nor was there any change of opinion upon this 
point, but when it was seen that unanimous ratification by 
all the States could not be expected, it was decided that 
the consent of nine States should be sufficient to establish 
the new Confederacy, and as it could not be known before- 
hand which nine of the thirteen would ratify the instrument, 
the names of the States had to be omitted from the preamble. 
Mr. Madison further says: "Each State, in ratifying the 
Constitution, is considered as a sovereign body, independ- 

1 Elliott's "Debates," Ed. 1836, Vol. Ill, pp. 114, 115. 


ent of all others, and only to be bound by its own voluntary 
act." l 

Daniel Webster, in his great speech in reply to Mr. Hayne, 
in 1830, and again, in 1833, in his reply to Calhoun, argued 
that the Constitution was not a "compact," not a "confed- 
eracy," and that the acts of ratification were not "acts of 
accession." These terms, he said, would imply the right of 
Secession, but they were terms unknown to the fathers; they 
formed a "new vocabulary," invented to uphold the theory 
of State Sovereignty. 

But in fact all these terms were in familiar use in the great 
debates on the formation of the Constitution. In 1787 
Mr. Gerry, of Massachusetts, speaking in the Constitutional 
Convention, said: "If nine out of thirteen States can dissolve 
the compact (he was speaking of the Articles of Confedera- 
tion) six out of nine will be just as able to dissolve the new 
one hereafter." Gouverneur Morris, of Pennsylvania, in the 
same debates, repeatedly described the Constitution as a 
compact. Alexander Hamilton speaks of the new govern- 
ment as "a confederate republic" a "confederacy," and calls 
the Constitution a "compact." General Washington writes 
of the Constitution as a compact, and repeatedly uses the 
terms "accede" and "accession," and once the term "seces- 
sion." If any further proof were needed, it is furnished by 
the form in which both Massachusetts and New Hampshire 
ratified the Constitution. Both of these States, in their 
acts of ratification, refer to that instrument as " an explicit 
and solemn compact." 

The proof, then, is overwhelming that the fathers and the 
conventions of the States used those very terms which Mr. 
Webster declared in 1830 and 1833 implied the right of 
Secession, and which he had himself used in 1819, and used 
again in 1850 and 1851. As to the independent sovereignty 
of the States, it was certainly held by the Federalists as well 

1 Federalist, No. XXXDC. 


as by their opponents. 1 Thus Alexander Hamilton defends 
the constitutional exemption of the States from suit in the 
courts, on the ground that it was "one of the attributes of 
sovereignty," "enjoyed by the government of every State 
in the Union." Elsewhere he speaks of the States of the 
Union as "thirteen independent States." Benjamin Frank- 
lin, Gouverneur Morris, and Roger Sherman held similar 
language. And John Marshall, afterward Chief Justice, 
denying that a State can be called to the bar of a Federal 
Court, said: "Is it rational to suppose that the sovereign 
power shall be dragged before a court?" 2 

As to the right of dissolving the compact, as a last resort, 
in defence of its rights by any State, let our children and 
our children's children never forget that it was a right fre- 
quently asserted in the earliest period of our constitutional 
history. 3 Thus the people of Virginia, in their act of rati- 
fication, "declare and make known that the powers granted 
under the Constitution, being derived from the people of 
the United States, may be resumed by them, whensoever 
the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression," 

1 Charles Francis Adams in his Phi Beta Kappa Oration, 1902, 
said, "It does not He in the mouths of the descendants of the New Eng- 
land Federalists of the first two decennials of the nineteenth century 
to 'invoke the avenging pen of history' to record an adverse verdict 
in the case of any son of Virginia who threw in his lot with his State in 
1861." (Page 34.) 

Governor Randolph of Virginia, in the Virginia Ratifying Conven- 
tion, urged that the rights of the States were safeguarded in the Con- 
stitution, and added, "If you say that notwithstanding the most 
express restrictions, they [the government] may sacrifice the right of 
the States, then you establish another doctrine — that the creature 
can destroy the creator, which is the most absurd and ridiculous of all 
doctrines." (Elliott's "Debates," Vol. Ill, p. 363.) (See "The Re- 
public of Republics," (p. 396.) 

John Dickinson and Ellsworth speak in the same strain of the inde- 
pendent sovereignty of the States. 

* Elliott's "Debates," Vol. HI, p. 503. 

» Elliott's "Debates," Vol. I, pp. 360, 361, 369. 


and New York and Rhode Island went even farther and 
declared "that the powers of government may be reassumed 
by the people whenever it shall become necessary to their 
happiness." * Thus the right of Secession was solemnly 
asserted in the very acts by which these States ratified the 
Constitution. That assertion was part of the ratification. 
The ratification was conditioned by it. And the acceptance 
of the States as members of the Union carried with it the 
acceptance of the condition and the recognition of the right 
of Secession. 

Mr. Webster, in his maturer years, in fact in the very 
last year of his illustrious life, distinctly recognized the right 
of Secession. In his speech at Capon Springs, Va., in 1851, 
he said: 

"If the South were to violate any part of the Constitution 
intentionally and systematically, and persist in so doing, 
year after year, and no remedy could be had, would the 
North be any longer bound by the rest of it? And if the 
North were deliberately, habitually, and of fixed purpose, 
to disregard one part of it, would the South be bound any 
longer to observe its other obligations? ... I have not 
hesitated to say, and I repeat, that if the Northern States 
refuse, wilfully and deliberately, to carry into effect that 
part of the Constitution which respects the restoration of 
fugitive slaves, and Congress provide no remedy, the South 
would no longer be bound to observe the compact. A bar- 
gain cannot be broken on one side, and still bind the other 
side." 2 

Looking back then to-day, my comrades, over the four and 

1 In 1898, Mr. Madison, in a report to the Virginia Legislature, 

"The States, being the parties to the constitutional compact, 
and in their sovereign capacity, it follows of necessity that there can be 
no tribunal above their authority to decide in the last resort whether 
the compact made by them be violated." 

2 Curtis's "Life of Webster," Vol. II, pp. 518, 519. 


forty years which separate us from the acts of Secession 
passed by the Southern States, we say to the men of this 
generation, and to those who will come after us, that the 
opprobrium heaped upon those who then asserted the right 
of Secession is undeserved. That right had not been then 
authoritatively denied. On the contrary, it had been again 
and again asserted North and South by eminent statesmen 
for nearly sixty years after the formation of the Union. 
Those who held it had as good right to their opinion as those 
who denied it. The weight of argument was overwhelmingly 
in their favor. So clear was this, that the United States 
government wisely decided, after the fall of the Confed- 
eracy, that it was not prudent to put Jefferson Davis upon 
his trial for treason. Let it be remembered that the forma- 
tion of the United States, in 1788, was accomplished by nine 
of the States seceding from the Confederacy which had 
existed for eleven years, and which had bound the States 
entering into it to "a perpetual Union." Thus the Union 
itself was the child of Secession ! 

These arguments appeared to us convincing then. They 
are no less convincing to-day. They may not appear so 
to some of our friends in the North; but we appeal to them 
in all candor, and I do not believe our appeal will be in vain, 
to say whether the South, believing as she did, was not jus- 
tified in the forum of conscience in doing what she did. The 
eminent Northern historian, to whom allusion has already 
been made, acknowledges that "a large majority of the 
people in the South believed in the constitutional right of 
Secession," and as a consequence that the war on the part 
of the National Government "seemed to them a war of 
subjugation." l Again he says it was "in their eyes a fight 
for their property and their liberty against spoliation and 
conquest." But if so, was not their resistance justified? 
Is it not the act of patriotism to resist spoliation and con- 

1 Rhodes' History of the United States, Vol. Ill, pp. 400, 401. 


quest, and were not those dead heroes of ours, whose conse- 
crated memories we honor to-day, patriots in the noblest 
sense of the word? Upon every recurring Fourth of July 
for eighty-five years the Southern men had been reminded, 
by the reading of the Declaration of Independence, that 
"governments derive their just powers from the consent 
of the governed." Is it surprising, then, that when the 
people of the South, en masse, deliberately refused their con- 
sent to the government of the United States, they should 
have felt themselves justified in what they did by the prin- 
ciples of the Declaration of Independence? Our argument 
for the independent sovereignty of the States may not appear 
conclusive to many of our Northern friends, but at least 
they cannot deny to the men of '61 the same right of revo- 
lution that their patriot sires and ours asserted in 1776. 
But, if so, then we claim the assent even of those who most 
stoutly deny the right of Secession, to the assertion that the 
armies of the South were composed, not of traitors, but of 
patriots. They will, they must, agree with us, that no man 
can be a traitor if his heart is pure and his motives patriotic. 

There was a time, during those dark years of Reconstruc- 
tion, when public opinion in the North demanded that we 
who had fought under the Southern flag should prove the 
sincerity of our acceptance of the results of the war by 
acknowledging the unrighteousness of our cause, and by 
confessing contrition for our deeds. 

But could we acknowledge our cause to be unrighteous 
when we still believed it just? Could we repent of an act 
done in obedience to the dictates of conscience? The men 
of the North may claim that our judgment was at fault; 
that our action was not justified by reason; that the fears 
that goaded us to withdraw from the Union were not well 
grounded; but, so long as it is admitted that we followed 
duty as we understood it, they cannot ask us to repent. A 
man can only repent, I repeat, of what he is ashamed, and it 
will not be claimed that we should be ashamed of obeying 


the dictates of conscience, in the face of hardship and danger 
and death. 

That able and honest, though biassed, historian to whom 
I have just referred, speaking of Robert E. Lee, confesses 
that "censure's voice upon the action of such a noble soul 
is hushed," and he declares that the time will come when the 
whole American people will "recognize in him one of the 
finest products of American life, for surely as the years go 
on we shall see that such a life can be judged by no partisan 
measure, and we shall come to look upon him as the English 
of our day regard Washington, whom little more than a 
century ago they delighted to call a rebel." 1 Most true a 
testimony, but, my comrades, what is here so nobly acknowl- 
edged of our glorious chieftain, must be seen to be true also 
of the gallant men who followed him; and we feel sure that 
the time is coming, if it has not already come, when it will 
be recognized all over the land of which that starry flag is 
the emblem, that the soldiers who fought under those tat- 
tered battle flags of the Southern Cross were animated by 
as pure a patriotism and as high a devotion to liberty as any 
men who ever fought, on any field, in any age of the world. 
That acknowledgment indeed has already been made, and 
made nearly a generation ago, by two of the most gallant 
sons of New England who were our foemen in the great 
strife — I mean General Francis Bartlett and Captain Oliver 
Wendell Holmes of Massachusetts. Captain Holmes now 
occupies a seat upon the Supreme Bench of the United 
States. Let me ask you to listen to the generous words 
which he uttered nearly a quarter of a century ago : 

"We believed that it was most desirable that the North 
should win; we believed in the principle that the Union is 
indissoluble, but we equally believed that those who stood 
against us held just as sacred convictions that were the 
opposite of ours, and we respected them as every man 

1 Rhodes, lb., p. 413. 


with a heart must respect those who give all for their 
belief." 1 

All honor to the valiant soldier and accomplished scholar 
who uttered those words! All honor, too, to another noble 
son of New England, Charles Francis Adams, who has more 
recently declared, recognizing the same principle, that both 
the North and the South were right in the great struggle of 
the Civil War, because each believed itself right. 2 

3. I come now to the third proposition which I engaged 
to consider. It is said, and widely believed, that the people 
of the South were not attached to the Union and were eager 
to seize upon an excuse for its dissolution. Even if it were 
conceded that the South had the right of Secession, or at 
any rate the right of revolution, we are told that if she loved 
the Union as she ought to have loved it, she would not have 
exercised that right. 

In considering this assertion it will be necessary to dis- 
tinguish in our reply between the States that first seceded 
and the border States of Virginia, Tennessee, North Caro- 
lina, and Arkansas, which later gave in their adhesion to 
the Southern Confederacy. As to the former — the cotton 
States — if it be true, as candid historians acknowledge, 
that their people "all held that the North was unconstitu- 
tionally and unjustly attempting to coerce the sovereign 
States" 3 ; if it be true, as we have seen is now conceded, 
that the people of those States solemnly believed that their 
liberties were assailed, and that the war waged against them 
was a war of subjugation, then I submit that they were 

1 Address at Keene, N. H., on Memorial Day. 

2 When Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee were cadets at West 
Point the text-books in use on political science were by St. George 
Tucker, a Southern writer, and William Rawle, a Northern writer, and 
both taught the right of a State to secede. (See " Republic of Repub- 
lics," by W. J. Sage, p. 32.) Can these illustrious men be attainted 
as traitors because they put in practice the principles taught them by 
the authority of the government of the United States? 

3 Rhodes, lb., p. 402. 


constrained to choose between their love of the Union and 
their love of liberty; and I do not believe that any brave 
and candid patriot of any Northern State will condemn 
them because, holding that belief, they made the choice they 
did. The judgment of the South may be impeached, 1 but 
not her patriotism; not her love for the Union; if, shut up 
to such an alternative, she preferred liberty without Union 
to Union without liberty. 

The case of the border States is somewhat different. 
Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Missouri, 
Tennessee, were all opposed to Secession. They refused 
to follow the lead of South Carolina. For example, as late 
as April 4 Virginia voted by eighty-nine to forty-five against 
the ordinance of Secession. They believed the Southern 
States had just grievances against the North, and that there 
was much to justify the fears which they entertained, but 
they were not prepared to dissolve the Union. They still 
hoped for redress within the Union by constitutional means. 
Moreover, the men who became our greatest generals, and 
our most illustrious and determined leaders in the Southern 
Confederacy, were, a majority of them, earnest Union men. 

2 Yet her judgment was sustained by some of the most illustrious 
men of the North. Millard Fillmore had said, in 1856, referring to the 
possible election of Fremont, as a sectional President, "Can they have 
the madness or folly to believe that our Southern brethren would sub- 
mit to be governed by such a chief magistrate?" And Rufus Choate, 
the same year, wrote that if the Republican party "accomplishes its 
objects and gives the government to the North, I turn my eyes from 
the consequences. To the fifteen States of the South that government 
will appear an alien government. It will appear worse. It will appear 
a hostile government. It will represent to their eye a vast region of 
States organized upon anti-slavery, flushed by triumph, cheered onward 
by the voices of the pulpit, tribune, and press; its mission to inaugu- 
rate freedom and put down the oligarchy; its constitution the glitter- 
ing and sounding generalities of natural right." 

If this was true in 1856, how much more in 1860, after the John 
Brown raid, and when the hostility between the North and the South 
had reached such an acute stage! 


I think it may be said, too, that the States which furnished 
most of the munitions. of war and most of the fighting men 
were opposed to Secession. The Union which their fore- 
fathers had done so much to create, 1 first by the sword and 
then by the pen and the tongue, was dear to their hearts. 

But there came a cruel issue. On the 15th of April, 1861, 
President Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for 75,000 
men to coerce the seceded States back into the Union. The 
border States were called upon to furnish their quota of armed 
men to march against their Southern brethren. Thus an 
issue was forced upon them which the future historian, 
however antagonistic to the South, must ponder with sym- 
pathy and emotion. The men of these border States were 
compelled to decide either to send soldiers to fight against 
their brethren, or to say, "We will throw in our lot with them 
and resist military coercion." Now, whatever division of 
sentiment existed in regard to the policy, or even the right, 
of Secession, there was almost complete unanimity [in these 
States in repudiating the right of coercion. That right had 
been vehemently repudiated in the discussions in the Con- 
stitutional Convention by James Madison, Alexander 
Hamilton, and Edmund Randolph. The South remained 
true to the doctrine of the fathers on this point. 2 

It is vain to ask at this date what would have happened 

1 When, after the Revolution, it became apparent that jealousy 
of the preponderance of Virginia, resulting from the vastness of her 
domain, would prevent the formation of the Union, that State, with 
truly queenly generosity, gave to the Union her Northwestern Terri- 
tory, out of which the States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, 
Wisconsin, and part of Minnesota, were afterward carved. This was 
in 1787. Has any other State, or group of States, done as much in 
proof of attachment to the Union? Moreover she dedicated this vast 
territory as free soil, by the ordinance of 1787. 

1 Mr. Madison opposed the motion to incorporate in the Constitu- 
tion the power of coercing a State to its duty, and by unanimous con- 
sent the project was abandoned. Alexander Hamilton denounced 
the proposal to coerce a State as "one of the maddest projects ever 
devised." Edmund Randolph said it meant "civil war." 


if that fatal proclamation of April 15 had never been issued, 
but it is impossible to repress the thought that perhaps, 
after all, the truest statesmanship rested with those who, 
like Edward Everett, and Horace Greeley, and William H. 
Seward, and General Scott, believed that the policy of coer- 
cion was a political error. Certain it is that but for that 
policy those great States just enumerated would not have 
thrown in their lot with the Southern Confederacy, and it 
is a supposition by no means destitute of rational founda- 
tion that without their support the seven States which had 
already seceded would have ultimately sought readmission 
to the Union, and that the Union might have been saved, 
and slavery ultimately abolished, without the dreadful cost 
of a fratricidal war and without the unspeakable horrors of 
that Reconstruction period, when the star of liberty sank as 
if to rise no more on the Southern States, 1 and without that 
act — the quintessence of injustice to the whites, and of 
unkindness to the blacks themselves — I mean the act which 
conferred the right of suffrage indiscriminately on the newly 
emancipated slaves. 

But, waiving all this, I come back to the question, Can 
any blame attach to the people of the border States for 
choosing as they chose in the face of the cruel alternative, 
which was forced upon them by Mr. Lincoln's proclamation, 
to abandon the Union, or to draw their swords against their 
Southern brethren? 

It has been well and wisely said by a recent historian 
(Mr. Rhodes) that "the political reason of Virginia, Mary- 
land, and Kentucky inclined them to the North, their heart- 
strings drew them to the South." I put it to any man with 
a heart to say, whether, when the bayonet is directed against 
the bosom of a member of one's own household, he is to blame 

x Out of that horror of great darkness the heroic soul of Robert 
Edward Lee cried aloud in agony: "Had I foreseen these results of sub- 
jugation, I would have preferred to die at Appomattox with my brave 
men, my sword in this right hand." 


for throwing himself into the breach in his defence, even 
though the bayonet be in the hand of the officer of the law? 
I affirm that the ties of blood and kindred are more sacred 
even than those which bind a man to the government of 
his country. Could the men of Virginia and North Caro- 
lina and Tennessee be expected to raise their hands against 
their family altars and firesides, whatever view they might 
have taken of the constitutional questions at issue? But 
the men of those States believed with great unanimity that 
the sovereignty of a State was inviolable by the General 
Government. That was the faith they had received from 
their fathers, from a long line of illustrious statesmen and 
political philosophers. Of this let one decisive example 
suffice. Though Robert E. Lee abhorred the idea of Seces- 
sion and loved the Union with a passionate devotion, yet 
when he was asked by a member of a committee of Congress 
whether he did not consider that he was guilty of treason in 
drawing his sword in behalf of the South, he answered: 
"No, I believed my allegiance was due to the State of Vir- 

The people of the South believed, as we have said, that 
government derives its just powers from the consent of the 
governed. They believed the General Government had no 
rightful power of coercion. Their New England brethren 
had for many years confirmed them in that belief. More- 
over they believed a union by force not the Union which 
the fathers had in view. A governmental fabric pinned 
together by bayonets did not seem to them a republic, but 
a despotism. 

4. I come now to consider the opinion, so widely held, 
that the South plunged into a desperate war for the purpose 
of perpetuating slavery, and made that institution the cor- 
ner-stone of the new confederacy which it sought jto establish. 
Before dealing directly with this, however, a little history 
upon the subject of the relation of the South to slavery will 
be salutary. 


Certainly we have no tears to shed over its abolition. 
There is not a man in the South who would wish to see it 
reestablished. But there are several facts, unknown to some, 
and ignored by other, historians, which are essential to a 
right understanding of this question. I shall hold them up 
to the light to-day, because I would not have the attitude 
of that dear, noble, old South misrepresented or misunder- 
stood by our descendants. 

In the first place let it never be forgotten that it was the 
government of England, and not the people of the South, 
which was originally responsible for the introduction of 
slavery. In 1760 South Carolina passed an act to prohibit 
further importation of slaves, but England rejected it with 

The colony of Virginia again, and again, and again, pro- 
tested to the British king against sending slaves to her shores, 
but in vain — they were forced upon her. 1 Then, too, 
Virginia was the first of all the States, North or South, to 
prohibit the slave-trade, and Georgia was the first to incor- 
porate such a prohibition in her organic constitution. In 
fact, Virginia was in advance of the whole world on this 
subject; she abolished the slave-trade in 1778, nearly thirty 
years before England did, and the same period before New 
England was willing to consent to its abolition. Again, 
at the formation of the Constitution, Virginia raised her 
protest against the continuance of that traffic, but New 
England raised a voice of objection, and, uniting her influ- 
ence with that of South Carolina and Georgia, secured the 
continuance of the slave-trade for twenty years more, by 
constitutional provision. 2 On the other hand the first stat- 
ute establishing slavery in America was passed by Massa- 
chusetts, December, 1641, in her code entitled Body of 
Liberties. The first fugitive slave law was enacted by the 

1 One hundred petitions against the introduction of slaves were 
sent by the colonists of Virginia to the British government. 

1 "The Critical Period of American History," by JohnFiske, p. 262. 


same State. She made slaves of her captives in the Pequot 
war. Another fact to be remembered is that every Southern 
State legislated against the slave-trade. 

Thus slavery was an inheritance which the people of 
the South received from the fathers; and if the States of the 
North, after the Revolution, sooner or later abolished the 
institution, it cannot be claimed that the abolition was dic- 
tated by moral considerations, but by differences of climate, 
soil, and industrial interests. 1 

It existed in several of the Northern States more than 
fifty years after the adoption of the Constitution, while 
the importation of slaves into the South continued to be car- 
ried on by Northern merchants and Northern ships, without 
interference in the traffic from any quarter, until it was 
prohibited by the spontaneous action of the Southern States 

Note this also: The contest between the North and the 
South over the extension of slavery to the territories was 
a contest on the part of the South for equal rights under 
the Constitution, and it ought to be clearly understood that 
it did not involve the increase of slavery. Had that right 
been conceded, not one additional slave would have been 

J The Supreme Court in 1857 held the following language: "This 
change had not been produced by any change of opinion in relation to 
this race, but because it was discovered by experience that slave labor 
was unsuited to the climate and productions of these States, for some 
of them . . . were actively engaged in the slave-trade." 

Goodell's "Slavery and Anti-slavery" — an authority not friendly 
to the South — says (pp. 10-11) that the merchants of New England 
seaports "almost monopolized the immense profits of that lucrative, 
but detestable, trade." 

The principal operation of abolition in the North, says an English 
authority, "was to transfer Northern slaves to Southern markets." 
(Ingram's "History of Slavery," London, 1895, p. 184.) 

On March 26, 1788, the Legislature of Massachusetts passed a law 
ordering all free negroes out of the State. If they would not go volun- 
tarily, they were to be whipped out. This confirms the view stated 
in the text. 


added to the number existing in the country. "It was a 
question of the distribution or dispersion of the slaves rather 
than of the extension of slavery. Removal is not exten- 
sion. Indeed, if emancipation was the end to be desired, 
the dispersion of the negroes over a wider area, among 
additional territories, eventually to become States, and in 
climates unfavorable to slave labor, instead of hindering, 
would have promoted this object by diminishing the diffi- 
culties in the way of ultimate emancipation." x 

And now I call your attention to a fact of capital impor- 
tance in this discussion; viz., that the sentiment in favor of 
emancipation was rapidly spreading in the South in the 
first quarter of the nineteenth century. Wilson acknowl- 
edges -"there was no avowed advocate of slavery" at that 
time in Virginia. It is stated on high 2 authority that, in 

1 This is the language of Jefferson Davis, but the argument is Henry 
Clay's. In 1820 he argued that the extension of slavery was far-seeing 
humanity, and Mr. Jefferson agreed with him, saying that spreading 
the slaves over a larger surface " will dilute the evil everywhere and 
facilitate the means of getting fina lly rid of it." Mr. Madison took 
the same view. These three statesmen were all earnest emancipa- 

2 Judge Temple of Tennessee. "The Covenanter, the Cavalier, 
and the Puritan," p. 209. 

"In 1822 there were five or six abolition societies in Kentucky. 
In 1819 the first distinctively emancipation paper in the United States 
was published in Jonesboro, eastern Tennessee." There were eighteen 
emancipation societies in that region organized by the Covenanters, 
Methodists, and Quakers. 

lb., p. 208. 

A Massachusetts writer, Geo. Lunt, says: "The States of Virginia, 
Kentucky, and Tennessee were engaged in practical movements for 
the gradual emancipation of their slaves. This movement continued 
until it was arrested by the aggressions of the Abolitionists." 

The people of the South believed they were, at heart, more friendly 
to the Negro race than their Northern brethren, and such facts as the 
following appeared to justify their belief. In 1830, Senator Benton 
called attention to the "actual expulsion of a great body of free colored 
people from the State of Ohio, and not one word of objection, not one 
note of grief." The whole number expatriated was estimated at ten 


the year 1826, there were 143 emancipation societies in the 
whole country; and of this number 103 were established in 
the South. It is well known that one branch of the Legis- 
lature of Virginia gave a very large vote in favor of a law of 
emancipation in the year 1832, and I was assured in 1860, 
by Col. Thomas Jefferson Randolph, of Virginia, the grand- 
son of Mr. Jefferson — himself an influential member of the 
legislature in 1832 — that emancipation would certainly 
have been carried the ensuing year, but for the revulsion 
of feeling which followed the fanatical agitation of the sub- 
ject by the Abolitionists of the period. The legislature of 
1832, though it defeated the emancipation bill by a small 
majority, yet passed a resolution postponing the considera- 
tion of the subject till public opinion had further developed. 1 
It is our belief, and we put the statement on record, that 
our children and children's children may remember it, that 
but for passions naturally roused by the violent attacks 
made upon the moral character of the Southern slave-holder, 
slavery would have been peaceably abolished in the border 

thousand. He added: "This is a remarkable event, paralleled only 
by the expulsion of the Moors from Spain and the Huguenots from 
France." In 1846 the liberated slaves of John Randolph were driven 
by a mob away from the lands which had been purchased for them in 
Ohio. In 1855 the Topeka (Kansas) constitution adopted by the Free- 
soilers contained an article, ratified by a vote of almost three to one, 
forbidding any free negro to reside in the State, and this was accepted 
jay the Republican House of Representatives. In 1860 the consti- 
tutions of thirty out of thirty-four States of the Union excluded negroes 
from exercising the suffrage. Facts like these did not tend to confirm 
the confidence of the people of the South in the sincerity of the agita- 
tion on behalf of the negro. 

1 The Richmond Whig of March 6, 1832, said: 

"The great mass of Virginia herself triumphs that the slavery ques- 
tion has been taken up by the legislature, that her legislators are 
grappling with the monster, and they contemplate the distant but 
ardently desired result [emancipation] as the supreme good which a 
benevolent Providence could vouchsafe." — Niles Register, Dec. 10, 
1831, p. 266 and p. 78. 


States before the middle of the nineteenth century, and it 
cannot be doubted that the sentiment against it must ulti- 
mately have become so strong that it would also have been 
abolished in the cotton States without violence and without war. 

This opinion is scouted by Northern historians; but let 
the facts be calmly weighed in the balance: 

It is acknowledged that slavery was almost universally 
-considered a great evil in the South from 1789 down to 1837. 

It is further acknowledged that public opinion there under- 
went a revolution on this subject in the decade 1832-42; it 
was now spoken of by some of her writers and leaders for the 
first time as a blessing. 1 

It is a fact which cannot be denied in the light of history, 
that the sentiment in favor of emancipation was rapidly 
spreading in the South down to 1832. I have already 
quoted the statement made to me in 1860 by a member of 
the legislature of Virginia of 1831-32 that its members 
were agreed at that time on the principle of emancipation. 

What, then, produced this fateful change of sentiment, 
which the historian records between 1832 and 1837? It is 
often said that the invention of the cotton-gin was the cause. 
But that invention came in 1793. It was forty years too 
early to account for this phenomenon which we seek to 

It is our belief that the future historian, who shall be a 
careful student of human nature, and of the motives which 
influence its action, as well as of historical facts, will see in 
the abolition crusade which was launched by William Lloyd 
Garrison, Jan. 1, 1831, the real cause of this revolution in 
Southern sentiment on the subject of slavery. 

The violence and the virulence of that crusade produced 
its natural result. 2 It angered the South. It stifled dis- 

1 See Rhodes, History of United States," Vol. Ill, pp. 54, 68. 

2 One of these writers said the only hope for the moral improvement 
of the whites in the South was the amalgamation with the black race. 
Slave-holders were called "bloodhounds." 


cussion. It checked the movement toward emancipation. 
It forced a more stringent policy toward the slave. 

The people of the South, of whom Von Hoist writes that 
they were as moral and as religious as any other people in 
the world, found themselves held up to the odium of man- 
kind for the abominable crime of holding men in bondage, 
an act which holy men like Jonathan Edwards and George 
Whitfield had committed in the eighteenth century, with- 
out offence to the most sensitive conscience. But this was 
not all. The publication of Garrison's Liberator Jan. 
1, 1831, was followed, seven months after, by Nat. Tur- 
ner's negro insurrection, in which sixty-one persons, men, 
women, and children, were murdered in the night. The 
South naturally, and I think with reason, connected these 
two events as cause and effect, 1 and the ghastly spectre of 
servile insurrection, like that which desolated San Domingo, 
rose before the imagination of the people from the Potomac 
to the Rio Grande. After this the emancipation societies 
in the South were dissolved and all discussion of the subject 
ceased. As to the character of that abolition crusade, I 
agree with Henry Clay that its authors were reckless of 
consequences, ready to "hurry us down that dreadful preci- 
pice that leads to civil war and the dissolution of the Union." 
I agree with Rufus Choate that the Abolition party was "a 
party which knows one-half of America only to hate it." 
I agree with Edward Everett in applying to the Abolition- 
ists the words of the poet: 

"Arouse the tiger of Hyrcanean deserts; 
Strive with the half -starved lion for its prey ; 
Lesser the risk, than rouse the slumbering fire 
Of wild fanaticism." 

As to its methods, it is enough to recall the fact that in 
1835 President Jackson, in his message to Congress, called 

ir The governor of Virginia publicly expressed his belief that this 
insurrection "was designed and matured by fanatics in some of the 
neighboring States." 


attention to the transmission through the mails "of inflam- 
matory appeals addressed to the passions of the slaves, in 
prints and in various sorts of publications, calculated to 
stimulate them to insurrection, and to produce all the hor- 
rors of a servile war." Now, bearing these facts in mind, 
and remembering the statement quoted from Col. Thomas 
Jefferson Randolph, that the abolition crusade was the imme- 
diate [cause of the legislature of Virginia abandoning the 
scheme of emancipation, which they had previously been 
agreed on in principle, we hold that the future historian 
will confirm our claim that, but for the fanaticism of the Abo- 
litionists, slavery would certainly have been peaceably abol- 
ished in Virginia, and probably in the other Southern States. 1 
But this is not the whole story. That movement was 
as essentially unjust as it was violent and fanatical. It 
was a demand for immediate emancipation without com- 
pensation or consideration of any kind. England in 1833 
abolished slavery in the West Indies, but she compensated 
the slave-owners, devoting 8100,000,000 to that purpose. 
But never in all the long abolition agitation of thirty years, 
from 1831 to 1861, was there any proposition to remunerate 
the South for the loss of her slaves. 2 Her people were ex- 
pected to make a sacrifice for emancipation never demanded 
before of any people on earth. I do not forget Mr. Lin- 
coln's proposal, in March, 1862, but that was addressed to 
the border States which had not seceded, and, besides, had 
it been otherwise, it came too late, when flagrant war had 
embittered the hostility between the sections. 

1 Daniel Webster in his 7th of March speech attributed the change of 
sentiment in Virginia on the subject of slavery to the intemperance of the 
Abolitionists. Many other Northern leaders were of the same opinion. 

2 Mr. John Ford Rhodes (I, 381), indeed, says that there can be no 
doubt that the North would have gladly agreed to emancipation with 
compensation, but he is not able to adduce any evidence in support 
of this opinion beyond an obiter dictum of Mr. Seward in the Senate 
that he was willing "to apply the national treasure to effect the peace- 
ful, voluntary removal of slavery itself." 


It is said, however, to the reproach of the South, that her 
sentiments on the subject of slavery were behind the age 
in 1861. But how far was she behind? And why? 

Let her critics remind themselves that, as late as 1821, 
the State of Rhode Island sent a slave-trader to represent 
her in the United States Senate. As late as 1833 a great 
English minister, Sir Robert Peel, would have nothing to 
do with either immediate emancipation or gradual. And 
Mr. Gladstone, at the same epoch, while admitting that 
the extinction of slavery was "a consummation devoutly 
to be desired and in good earnest to be forwarded," yet held 
that "immediate and unconditional emancipation, without 
a previous advance in character, must place the negro in a 
state where he would be his own worst enemy." It is fair 
to remember also that Pitt, Fox, Grenville, and Grey, while 
eager to bring the slave-trade to an instant end, habitually 
disclaimed as calumny any intention of emancipating the 
blacks on the sugar islands. 

Again the dispassionate enquirer will reflect that it was 
much easier, and much less costly, to be an enthusiastic 
Abolitionist in old England, or New England (where slavery 
was not profitable), than in the Southern States, where 
the labor of the black was necessary to the cultivation of 
the great staples. 

The people of the South, too, could better realize the diffi- 
culty and the danger of emancipation. She was, as Jeffer- 
son said, in the position of the man who held the wolf by the 
ears — she didn't want to hold on, but she was afraid to 
let go. 

Was she to blame if she feared to repeat the mistakes and 
failures of the English abolition movement, of which Mr. 
Disraeli said: "The movement of the middle class for the 
abolition of slavery was virtuous, but it was not wise. It 
was an ignorant movement. The history of the abolition 
of slavery by the English, and its consequences, would be 
a narrative of ignorance, injustice, blundering, waste, and 


havoc, not easily paralleled in the history of mankind." 
If, then, we acknowledge that the South was behind the rest 
of the civilized world in 1861 in her sentiment on the subject 
of slavery, we think her apology is ample: First, that she 
was interested in the perpetuation of slavery as no other 
people ever was; second, that the difficulty and the danger 
of emancipation pressed upon her as upon no other people; 
and third, that her sentiment, which had been for a quarter 
of a century moving steadily toward emancipation, was 
violently turned back by the fanaticism of the abolition 
crusade. 1 

But the Southern Confederacy is reproached with the fact 
that it was deliberately built on slavery. Slavery, we are 
told, was its corner-stone. Even that most honest historian, 
Mr. Rhodes, says, "Their fight, they averred, was for liberty, 
and yet they were weighted by the denial of liberty to three 
and one-half million of human beings." 

But if slavery was the corner-stone of the Southern Con- 
federacy, what are we to say of the Constitution of the United 
States? That instrument as originally adopted by the 
thirteen colonies contained three sections which recognized 
slavery. 2 And whereas the constitution of the Southern 
Confederacy prohibited the slave-trade, the Constitution 
of the United States prohibited the abolition of the slave- 
trade for twenty years! And if the men of the South are 
reproached for denying liberty to three and a half millions 
of human beings, at the same time that they professed to 
be waging a great war for their own liberty, what are we to 
say of the revolting colonies of 1776, who rebelled against 

1 We acknowledge with sorrow that there was a painful deteriora- 
tion in the attitude of many influential men in the South toward sla- 
very between 1840 and 1860. There was even a movement of some 
strength in favor of the revival of the slave-trade in the decade preced- 
ing the war. This change of view cannot be excused, but it was 
undoubtedly the reaction from the violent fanaticism of the aboli- 
tion movement. 

* Article I, Sections 2 and 9, and Article IV, Section 2. 


the British crown to achieve their liberty, while slavery- 
existed in every one of the thirteen colonies unrepudiated? 
Cannot these historians who deny that the South fought for 
liberty, because they held the blacks in bondage, see, that 
upon the same principle they must impugn the sincerity 
of the signers of the Declaration of Independence? For 
while, in that famous instrument, they affirmed before the 
world that all men were created free and equal, and that 
"governments derive their just powers from the consent 
of the governed," they took no steps whatever to free the 
slaves which were held in every one of the thirteen colonies. 
No, my friends, if the corner-stone of the constitution of 
the Southern Confederacy was slavery, the Constitution 
of 1789 — the Constitution of the United States — had a 
worse corner-stone, since it held its aegis of protection over 
the slave-trade itself! We ask the candid historian then to 
answer this question: If the colonists of 1776 were freemen 
fighting for liberty, though holding men in slavery in every 
one of the thirteen colonies, why is the tribute of patriotism 
denied to the Southern men of 1861 because they too held 
men in bondage? 

If George Washington, a slave-holder, was yet a champion 
of liberty, how can that title be denied to Robert E. Lee? 

Slavery was not abolished in the British dominions until 
the year 1833. Will any man dare to say there were no 
champions of human liberty in England before that time? 

But after all that may be said, we are told that slavery 
was the cause of the war, and that the citizen soldiers of the 
South sprang to arms in defence of slavery. 

Yes, my comrades, History, or rather let us say Calumny, 
masquerading as History, has told the world that that battle- 
flag of yours was the emblem of slave power, and that you 
fought, not for liberty, but for the right to hold your fellow- 
men in bondage. 

Think of it, soldiers of the Southern Cross ! Think of it, 
followers of Lee and Jackson and Albert Sidney Johnston! 


You were fighting, they say, for the privilege of holding your 
fellowmen in bondage! Will you for one moment acknowl- 
edge the truth of that indictment? Ah, no! that banner 
of the Southern Cross was studded with the stars of God's 
heaven, like Old Glory itself. You could not have followed 
a banner that was not the banner of liberty! You sprang 
from the loins of freemen ! You drank in freedom with your 
mother's milk! Your revolutionary sires were not inspired 
by a more intense devotion to liberty than you were! 

Tell me, were you thinking of your slaves when you cast 
all in the balance, your lives, your fortunes, your sacred 
honor, in order to endure the hardships of the march, and the 
camp, and the peril and the suffering of the battle field? 
Why, it was but a small min ority of the men who fought 
in the Southern armies — hardly one in ten — that were 
financially interested in the institution of slavery. 

There is, however, a court to which this contention may be 
referred for settlement — one whose decision all men ought 
to accept. It is composed of the three men who may be 
supposed to have known, if any men knew, the object for 
which the war was waged, — Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson 
Davis, and Robert E. Lee. And their decision is unanimous. 
Mr. Lincoln always declared that the object of the war 
was the restoration of the Union, and not the emancipation 
of the slaves. Mr. Davis as positively declared that the 
South was not fighting for slavery, but for independence. 
And Robert E. Lee expressed his opinion by setting all his 
slaves free Jan. 8, 1863, and then going on with the war 
for more than two years longer. 1 

1 1 will only add that if the North waged the war not for the Union 
but for the slave, then it is remarkable that Mr. Lincoln and his advisers 
never found out that fact. And as to the South — if, indeed, she fought 
not for liberty but for her property in slaves — it is still more remark- 
able that Jefferson Davis should have embarked on the enterprise 
of Secession, believing that he would as a consequence lose his slaves, 
for in February, 1861, he wrote to his wife in these words, "In any case 
our slave property will eventually be lost;" and that General Lee should 


I will not apologize, my comrades, for having taxed your 
patience so long. You will recognize at once the importance 
and the difficulty of the task I set myself to perform, and you 
will not begrudge the consecration of even so long a time as 
I have detained you to-day, in order that the true story of 
the course pursued by the Southern States should again be 
set forth. 

The generation which participated in that great struggle 
is rapidly passing away, and we believe that no fitting occa- 
sion should be neglected by those who yet survive, to vindi- 
cate the motives and to explain the principles of the actors 
in that great drama. Only by iteration and reiteration 
by the writers and speakers of the South will the real facts 
be rescued from oblivion, from misunderstanding, and from 
misrepresentation, and the conduct and characters of our 
leaders, and the heroic men who followed them, be under- 
stood and honored as they ought to be honored by the gen- 
eration that comes after us. And, my friends, the fulfilment 
of this duty will make for unity arid fraternity among Ameri- 
cans, not for sectionalism. It will strengthen, not weaken, 
the bonds of the Union in the years to come if the genera- 
tions yet unborn are taught to recognize that the principles 
and the aims of the men of the South were as high and as 
pure as those which animated their foemen of the North. 
Had the men of '61, North and South, known each other, 
and respected each other, and each other's motives, that 
terrible Civil War would never have been. Let the Union 
of the future be founded on mutual respect, and to this end 
let the truth concerning the principles and acts of the old 
South be told — the whole truth and nothing but the truth 
— "nothing extenuated, nor aught set down in malice." 

have emancipated every one of his slaves more than two years before 
the close of the war. Thus the political head of the Confederacy 
entered on the war foreseeing the eventual loss of his slaves, and the 
military head of the Confederacy actually set his slaves free before the 
war was half over; yet both, they say, were fighting for slavery! 


Comrades and fellow-citizens, we thank God that to-day 
the sun shines upon a truly reunited country. Sectional- 
ism is dead and buried. In the providence of God the Span- 
ish War has drawn North and South together in bonds of 
genuine brotherhood. Their blood has watered the same 
soil; their common patriotism has glorified again the land of 
Washington. Men who faced one another in deadly con- 
flict at Shiloh and Gettysburg rushed side by side under 
the Stars and Stripes up the heights of San Juan and 
El Caney. There was no North or South on those fields of 
battle, or in Santiago Harbor, or in front of Manila. Yes, 
and, as was well said by our own Hilary Herbert at the 
Peace Jubilee, "Out of the grave of sectionalism arose the 
triumphant spirit of Americanism." Men of the South, we 
have part in that spirit of Americanism. It is our heritage 
as well as theirs. 

For one moment let us turn from the sacred past — from 
the memories of this day and hour — and look into the 
future. And what is it that we behold? Surely a Pisgah 
prospect of beauty and hope! A great destiny opens before 
America. Great are her privileges, her opportunities, her 
responsibilities. The God of nations has given her possi- 
bilities of power and usefulness among the peoples of the 
globe -that are almost boundless. He has great things for 
this nation to do. He has given her a great part to play in 
the spreading of civilization and liberty and religion through- 
out the world. Blind indeed will the people be if they do 
not see it so — faithless if they do not grasp it! But I 
want to say that we of the South claim our part in this 
great destiny of America. Eagerly and joyfully we ac- 
cept our share in the responsibilities, in the opportuni- 
ties, in the strenuous conflicts, in the conquests, in the 
glory of the future of our country. To that future we 
turn our faces. To its duties, to its labors, to its battles 
we consecrate ourselves, our strength, and our manhood. 
We are Americans, and nothing that pertains to the honor, 


to the welfare, to the glory of America is, or shall be, 
foreign to us. 

But this occasion belongs not to the future, but to the 
past. Let our closing thoughts then be dedicated to the 
memory of our dead — that mighty host of brave soldiers 
and sailors who fell under the banner of the Lost Cause forty 
years ago. The Grecian orator, whose words I have chosen 
as a motto for my address, speaking of the Athenians, ex- 
claims, "Is there a poet or an author who will not do his 
utmost, by his eloquence and his knowledge, to immortal- 
ize such heroic valor and virtue?" Such is, my feeling as 
I think of those now silent battalions of Southern soldiers 
that sleep on so many hard-fought fields. But where is the 
poet or the orator who can fitly eulogize them? The pen of 
a Thucydides, the tongue of a Pericles or a Demosthenes, 
the harp of a Homer, were needed justly to tell the epic story 
of that great struggle in which the best and bravest sons 
of our Southland freely laid down their lives; a struggle so 
gigantic in its proportions that the siege of Troy — the 
famous battles of the long Peloponnesian War — even the 
great engagements of Marathon and Leuctra, of Salamis and 
Chaeronea — sink into insignificance in the comparison. 

I will not attempt then to pronounce a fitting panegyric 
upon those brave men, nor upon their splendid leaders: 
captains whose valor, whose prowess, whose skill, whose 
heroic constancy were never outshone on any field, in any 
age, by any leaders of men; not by Agamemnon, "King of 
Men"; not by Achilles, the "swift-footed," "the invincible"; 
not by Ulysses, "the wise"; nor by Ajax, "the mighty"; not 
by Miltiades at Marathon; nor by Leonidas himself at Ther- 
mopylae; nor by any of the long line of illustrious heroes and 
patriots who, in ancient and in modern times, have shed 
lustre on manhood by their valor or by their constancy. 
Comrades, it is my conviction that the Muse of History 
will write the names of some of our Southern heroes as high 
on her great roll of honor as those of any leaders of men 


in any era. Fame herself will rise from her throne to place 
the laurel with her own hands upon the immortal brows of 
Robert E. Lee, and Albert Sidney Johnston, and Stonewall 
Jackson. I grant, indeed, that it is not for us who were 
their companions and fellow-soldiers to ask the world to 
accept our estimate of their rightful place in history. We 
are partial, we are biassed in our judgments, men will say. 
Be it so. We are content to await the .calm verdict of the 
future historian, when, with philosophic impartiality, the 
characters and achievements and motives of our illustrious 
leaders sHall have been weighed in the balances of Truth. 
What that verdict will be is foreshadowed, we believe, by 
the judgment expressed by Field-Marshal Lord Wolseley, 
who said, "I believe General Lee will be regarded not only 
as the most prominent figure of the Confederacy, but as the 
great American of the nineteenth century, whose statue is 
well worthy to stand on an equal pedestal with that of Wash- 
ington, and whose memory is equally worthy to be en- 
shrined in the hearts of all his countrymen." What that 
verdict will be was in fact declared by Freeman himself 
when he said that our Lee was worthy to stand with Wash- 
ington beside Alfred the Great in the world's temple of 

What you ask of me, however, comrades, in these closing 
moments is quite apart from the task of the historian or 
the orator. It is simply to give honest utterance to the 
love and admiration that glow in the breast of every one 
of us for those our companions-in-arms who fell on the almost 
countless bloody fields of that Titanic struggle in repelling 
the invaders from our soil. All honor to their memory! 
We cannot call their names. They are too numerous to be 
told over, even if we had here the muster-rolls of all the 
Confederate armies. But if their names could be called, 
we could answer as was answered for that famous hero, La 
Tour d'Auvergne, the "first Grenadier of France" — whose 
name, though he was no more, was still borne on the muster- 


roll of his regiment — "Dead on the field of honor!" Only- 
two months ago the urn containing the heart of that illus- 
trious soldier was removed to Paris to rest under the dome 
of the Hdtel des Involutes, and while the order rang out "Au 
Drapeau," arms were presented and the captain of the Forty- 
sixth Regiment, in accordance with the old tradition, called 
out the name, "La Tour d'Auvergne!" After a second or 
two of silence the answer came back in clear and ringing 
tones, "Dead on the field of honor." 

Comrades, we make that answer to-day, forty years 
after the end of the war, and our children and chil- 
dren's children in generations to come^ will repeat it, as 
the names of our veterans shall be called, — "Dead on 
the field of honor!" Yes, for these men to whom we pay 
the tribute of our homage were heroes, if ever heroes 
were. What hardships did they not uncomplainingly 
endure, on the march, in the bivouack, in the trenches! 
What sacrifices did they not cheerfully make, for a cause 
dearer than life itself! What dangers did they not face 
with unquailing front! Who that ever saw them can for- 
get those hardy battalions that followed Stonewall Jack- 
son in his weird marches in the great Valley campaign? 
Rusty and ragged were their uniforms, but bright were their 
muskets and their bayonets, and they moved like the very 
whirlwind of war! 

They fill, most of them, nameless graves. They were 
private soldiers. Fame does not, and will not, herald their 
names and deeds to posterity. They fought without reward 
— and they died without distinction. It was enough for them 
to hear the voice of duty, and to follow it, though it led 
them by a rugged path to a bloody grave. " Tell my father 
I tried to do my duty," was the last message of many a dying 
soldier boy to his comrades on the field of battle. Oh! it 
is for this we honor and revere their nameless memories 
to-day. They were not soldiers of fortune, but soldiers 
of duty, who dared all that men can dare, and endured all 


that men can endure, in obedience to what they believed the 
sacred call of country. If ever men lived of whom it could 
be truly said that their hearts echoed the sentiment, "Dulce 
et decorum est pro patria mori" these were the men. They 
loved their State; they loved their homes and their firesides. 
They were no politicians. They knew little of the warring 
theories of constitutional interpretation. But one thing 
they knew — armed legions were marching upon their homes, 
and it was their duty to hurl them back at any cost! For 
this, not we only, who shared their perils and hardships, do 
them honor — not the Southern people only — but all brave 
men everywhere. Nameless they may be, but the name 
of "Confederate soldier" will echo around the world through 
the coming years and will be accepted as the synonym of 
valor, of constancy, and of loyalty to the sternest call of 

My comrades, I have been in the Eternal City, surrounded 
by the deathless relics and monuments which commemorate 
the glorious achievements of the citizens and soldiers of 
ancient Rome. I have paced the aisles of that stately 
church in which Venice has piled up the splendid memorials 
in brass and in marble of the men who made her name great 
in Europe — who made her to sit as a queen upon her watery 
throne among the nations. I have stood under the dome 
of the Hotel des Invalides, in Paris, on the spot upon which 
France has lavished with unstinted hand her wealth and her 
art to shed glory upon the name to her greatest soldier — 
his sarcophagus reposes upon a pavement of costly marbles 
gathered from all quarters of the globe, and so arranged as 
to represent a Sun of Glory irradiating the name of the hero 
of Marengo, and of the Pyramids, of Jena, and of Auster- 
litz. And I have meditated in awe-struck silence beneath 
the fretted roof of "Westminster Abbey, surrounded by the 
almost countless memorial marbles which twenty genera- 
tions of Englishmen have erected to celebrate the fame of 
their most illustrious kings and nobles, soldiers and patriots, 


jurists and statesmen, poets and historians, musicians and 

But on none of these occasions have I been so impressed 
with the patriotic and unselfish devotion that human nature 
is capable of, as when I have contemplated the character 
and the career of the private soldiers of the Confederacy. 
Not for fame or for reward, not for place or rank, not lured 
by ambition, or goaded by necessity, but in simple obedience 
to duty, as they understood it, these men suffered all, sacri- 
ficed all, dared all — and died! No stately abbey will 
ever cover their remains. Their dust will never repose 
beneath fretted or frescoed roof. No costly bronze will ever 
blazon their names for posterity to honor — but the Poto- 
mac and the Rappahannock, the James and the Chicka- 
hominy, the Cumberland and the Tennessee, the Mississippi 
and the Rio Grande, as they run their long race from the 
mountains to the sea, will sing of their prowess forevermore ! 
The mountains of Virginia and Tennessee and Georgia will 
stand eternal witnesses of their valor, though no Thorwald- 
sen chisel on their solid rocks a lion like that at Lucerne, 
stricken to the death, but even in death, and as its life-blood 
ebbs away, protecting the shield committed to its defence. 

As I recall the magnificent valor of those half-fed, half- 
clad legions of the Confederacy, the thought comes: "But 
after all they failed. The Confederacy fell. The banner 
of the Southern Cross sank to earth to rise no more. All 
the courage and the constancy of those heroic souls could 
not, or, at any rate, did not, bring success. Their cause is 
known to-day as 'the lost cause.'" Yes, as we remember 
the superb but fruitless prowess they displayed on so many 
fields, the words of the poet recur to our minds: 

"In vain, alas! in vain ye gallant few, 
From rank to rank your volleyed thunders flew." 

But was it in vain? I do not believe it. It is true that 
their flashing bayonets did not establish the new Confed- 


eracy. It is true that those proud armies of Lee and John- 
ston were slowly worn away by attrition until, reduced to 
gaunt skeletons of what they had been, they surrendered 
to the vast hosts of the Union armies. But it is not true 
that those gallant Southrons suffered and died in vain. 
No brave battle fought for truth and right was ever in 
vain! The truth survives, though the soldier of the truth 
perishes. His death, his defeat, becomes the seed of future 
success. Over his dead body the armies of the truth march 
to victory. I might say that to have given, amid disaster 
and defeat, such splendid examples of what American man- 
hood can accomplish, was enough to prove that they did not 
shed their blood to no purpose. " Being dead they yet speak." 
They tell us and our children and children's children, that 
courage, self-sacrifice, and loyalty to conviction are sub- 
lime; they are better than mere success; they carry with 
them their own reward. Death was not too high a price 
to pay for the exhibition to the world of such heroism as 
theirs. That cannot die. It shines as the stars with a 
deathless light above the sordid and selfish aims of men. 
It will inspire generations to come with noble ideals of un- 
selfish living. It is a new example of the profound words 
of Jesus: "He that loseth his life shall find it." 

It is said that on the spot where the three devoted patriots 
of the three Swiss cantons met, by the borders of Lake 
Lucerne, and bound themselves in a solemn league to rid 
Switzerland of the tyrant's yoke, three fountains afterward 
sprang up. The legend embodies an eternal truth. The 
soil trodden by a patriot is holy ground, and, though his 
banner may go down in disaster, and he himself perish, 
and his cause be overwhelmed by defeat, yet his memory and 
his example will remain a benediction to his people. Foun- 
tains of blessing spring up on the sod consecrated by the 
patriot's sufferings and sacrifices for his country. 

Let us note, then, wherein they failed and wherein did 
not fail. They failed to establish the Southern Confederacy, 


Why? For no other reason but this — God decreed other- 
wise. Yes, my comrades, the military genius of our com- 
manders was not at fault, the valor of the Confederate 
armies was not at fault; but it was God's will that this 
country should not be divided into two rival nations, jealous 
of each other; armed against each other. It may be said 
they failed to preserve the institution of slavery. I answer 
again they did not draw their swords to defend slavery. It 
was the cause of liberty that fired their souls to do, to dare, 
and to die. They conceived that the Federal Government 
was trampling on the liberties of the States, and they rose 
in their defence. It was the sacred heritage of Anglo- 
Saxon freedom, of local self-government won at Runnymede, 
that they believed in peril when they flew to arms as one man 
from the Potomac to the Rio Grande. They may have been 
right, or they may have been wrong, but that was the issue 
they made. On that they stood. For that they died. 

That, be it remembered, was the supreme issue in the 
mind of the Southern soldier. The dissolution of the Union 
was not what he had chiefly at heart. The establishment of 
the Soidhern Confederacy was not what he had chiefly at heart. 
Both the one and the other were secondary to the preservation of 
the supreme and sacred right of self-government. They were 
means to the end, not the end itself. 

Did they fail then in this, their supreme and ultimate aim ? 
I answer, they did not fail to make such a protest against the 
aggressions of power upon the province of liberty as has 
filled the world with its echo. They did not fail in success- 
fully arraigning by the potent voice of their superb valor 
and their all-sacrificing patriotism the usurpation of powers 
and functions which, by the Constitution, were distributed 
to the States. 

It is my belief that the close and candid student of public 
opinion in our country, these forty years past, will conclude 
that this protest of theirs has not been in vain. In spite of 
the historians who have misread the causes and the objects 


of the war on the part of the South, the fact that the 
Confederate soldiers and the people of the South made their 
superb struggle and their marvellous sacrifices for the right 
of local self-government, has silently impressed the minds of 
the American people, with the result that that right has been 
steadily gaining in the strength of its hold upon the people 
of many of the States of the Union. 1 

So convinced am I of this, that I make bold to predict 
that the future historian will say that while the armies of 
the North saved the Union from dissolution, the armies of 
the South saved the rights of the States within the Union. 
Thus victor and vanquished will both be adjudged victorious, 
for, if it is due to the Federal soldier that the Union is hence- 
forth indissoluble, it is equally due to the Confederate 
soldier that this indissoluble Union is composed, and shall 
forever be composed, of indestructible States. 

Comrades, when I consider these things I no longer echo, 
as I once did, the sentiment which Lucan puts into the mouth 
of a great Roman: 

" Victrix causa diis placuit, 
sed victa Catoni," 2 

for I see that the "conquered right" has won the victory 
after all; the conquered banner triumphs in defeat; the lost 
cause is lost no longer, and God, who denied us success in 
the way of our own choosing, has granted it in another and 
better way. 

Yes, ye gallant defenders of our stainless Confederate 

1 Members of Congress from the South observed a great change in 
this respect in the sentiments of their fellow members from the North 
and the West. Moreover, the limitation of the authority of the Gen- 
eral Government to those powers distinctly delegated, and the reserva- 
tion to the States of the powers not delegated, has been affirmed again 
and again by the Supreme Court since the war. 

2 Rendered by Dr. E. A. Washburn thus: 

"Let a conquering might 
Bribe all the gods to silence, — 
Cato's choice be with the conquered right!" 


banner, ye did not die in vain! Your deeds have cast a 
halo of glory over our Southern land which will only grow 
brighter as time advances. Your memory will be a price- 
less heritage which we will transmit to our children's chil- 
dren untarnished. None shall ever write "traitor" over 
your graves unrebuked by us, while God gives us the power 
of speech! Farewell, brave comrades, farewell, till the tryst 
of God beyond the river. The bugle has sounded "taps" 
over your graves. After all these years its pathetic notes 
still vibrate in our ears, reminding us that we shall see your 
faces no more on earth. 

But we clasp your dear memory to our hearts to-day once 
more. Ye are "our dead"; ours ye were in those stern years 
from 1861 to 1865, when we marched and camped and battled 
side by side; "ours" by the sacred bond of a common conse- 
cration to a cause which was holy to us; ye are "ours" to-day 
as we recall with pride your cheerful endurance of unaccus- 
tomed hardships — your heroic steadfastness in danger and 
disaster, your magnificent courage in the deadly trenches, 
or at the flaming cannon's mouth. 

Ye were "our dead" when ye lay stark and stiff on the 
bloody fields of Manassas, of Winchester, of Shiloh, of Perry- 
ville, of Chickamauga, of Fredericksburg, of Malvern Hill, 
of Chancellorsville, of Sharpsburg, of Gettysburg, of the 
Wilderness! Ye will be "ours" again when the last great 
reveille shall sound, and the brothers whom the fortunes of 
battle divided shall be reunited in the better land! 


A Reply to Colonel John S. Mosbt 1 

By Randolph Harrison McKim, late First Lieutenant and 
A. D. C. Third Brigade, General Edward Johnson's 
Division, Army of Northern Virginia 

Col. John S. Mosby, the brave and able commander of a 
famous partisan corps in Virginia during the Civil War, has 
published a book in exposition of the part borne by Gen. J. E. 
B. Stuart's cavalry in the Gettysburg campaign, and in 
defence of that heroic officer from the unfavorable criticism 
passed on his course in that campaign. 2 The splendid 
services of Jeb Stuart to the Southern cause are written 
on the heart of the Southern people; and his superb leader- 
ship in that brilliant, though mistaken, raid round the 
Federal Army between June 27th and July 1st, and, later, 
his invaluable service on the retreat from Gettysburg, are, 
I think, universally acknowledged. They were long ago 
celebrated, among others, by General Fitzhugh Lee in his 
description of the Gettysburg campaign contained in his 
life of Gen. Robert E. Lee, pp. 265-266. 3 The most brilliant 
cavalry officer of the Army of Northern Virginia did not 

1 An address delivered before the Lee Camp Confederate Veterans, 
Richmond, Va., Jan. 21, 1910. 

2 "Stuart's Cavalry in the Gettysburg campaign," 1908. He 
also published in November, 1908, an article on the same subject in 
the " Journal of the Military Service Institution," to which I replied 
in the same journal, May, 1910. 

3 It is remarkable that Colonel Mosby should include Gen. Fitz Lee 



have to wait for Colonel Mosby to sing his praises in the 
year 1908. 

But there have been, and are, many of the soldiers of 
Lee, who, though they yield to none in their admiration 
of General Stuart, nevertheless are of opinion that he 
made several serious errors of judgment in the Gettysburg 
campaign, and that these contributed not a little to the 
Confederate failure. Unfortunately, these recent publi- 
cations of Colonel Mosby are of such a character that it 
is necessary to reopen this painful subject, and to speak as 
plainly as that writer has done. This is the more necessary 
because his argument is so plausible, and is stated with 
so much dialectical skill, that only the very careful reader 
is likely to detect its fallacies. 

Colonel Mosby first impeaches the accuracy of both of 
General Lee's Reports of the Battle of Gettysburg (of 
July 31st, 1863, and January, 1864) in several important 
statements made therein; viz.: 1. That General Lee was in 
ignorance of Hooker's movements until the night of June 
28th, 1863, when General Longstreet's scout reported his 
army approaching South Mountain; 2. That General Lee 
then, and therefore, changed his plan and ordered his 
army to concentrate east of South Mountain; 3. That 
it had been Lee's intention to concentrate at Harrisburg 
and that he ordered Hill and Longstreet to that place 
after reaching Chambersburg; 4. That "the absence of 
the cavalry rendered it impossible to obtain accurate in- 
formation" of the movements and position of the Federal 

This serious impeachment of General Lee's accuracy in 
regard to the particulars of his own campaign is largely 

among those who have thrown the blame of the Gettysburg campaign 
on Stuart. For General Lee says: "This officer has been unjustly 
criticised for not being in front of Lee's army at Gettysburg, but Lee 
and Longstreet must be held responsible for his route." ("Life of 
General Lee," p. 265.) 


based on a letter taken from General Lee's Official Letter 
Book, and dated at Chambersburg, June 28th, 7.30 a.m., 
in which General Lee says to General Ewell : 

"I wrote you last night stating that General Hooker was 
reported to have crossed the Potomac and is advancing by 
way of Middletown, the head of his column being at that 
point in Frederick County. I directed you in my letter to 
move your forces to this point." 

Colonel Mosby declares that this letter refutes "every 
word" of the statements of General Longstreet, Colonel 
Marshall, General Long, Colonel Walter Taylor, General 
Fitz Lee, and General Lee's own report in regard to the 
campaign in the particulars above named. He further says 
that General Ewell's and General Early's reports show that 
the movement against Harrisburg was arrested on June 
27th, and thus agree with the statements of the letter of 
June 28th, which he quotes. 

Now I affirm, on the contrary, that the reports of Ewell 
and Early are irreconcilable with the accuracy of the date 
of this famous letter. Nobody can reconcile this letter, 
as dated (June 28th, 7.30 a.m.), with the indisputable 
facts of the campaign. The genuineness of the letter is 
undisputed — it is in the well-known handwriting of Colonel 
Venable, of Lee's staff — but the accuracy of the date is 
called in question. Suppose it to have been written on 
June 29th, and it is then in complete harmony with Gen- 
eral Lee's report, with the statements of his staff on the 
points at issue, and with the reports of General Long- 
street, General Ewell, and General Early. 

Now this famous letter turns out to have been copied in 
the letter book of General Lee from memory, by Col. Charles 
Venable. It is marked thus: "From memory — sketch of 
a letter." 

It is not the original letter. It was copied afterward 
some time before July 1st — the date of the next letter. It 
cannot therefore have the same authority as the original 


would have. Especially on the question of date, it is more 
liable to error. Let us now suppose that there was a mistake 
in the date, and that it should have been dated "June 29th, 
7.30 a.m.," instead of June 28th, 7.30 a.m." 1 Then the 
first order to Ewell to march back from Carlisle written 
"last night" would be dated June 28th, not June 27th. 

If this hypothesis harmonizes with the reports of Ewell 
and Lee and with the dates when the divisions of the Third 
Corps began their march to Cashtown, then the probability 
of its correctness becomes very strong. 

It seems to me it does thus harmonize. 

Consider that such a despatch was of supreme importance, 
and would therefore be sent as fast as a courier could carry 
it. Colonel Marshall testifies that it was long after ten p.m., 
June 28th, when he found General Lee in conference with 
the scout who brought the intelligence of Hooker's move- 
ments. Even if the despatch was not sent until midnight, 
General Ewell might easily have received it by six in the 
morning, for it is, as Colonel Mosby reminds us, only thirty 
miles from Chambersburg to Carlisle. 

Now, if it was written on the 27th, and received by Ewell 
early on the morning of the 28th, why did Gen. Edward 
Johnson's division not receive orders to march back south- 
ward from Carlisle till nine a.m., on the 29th, as my diary 
proves? (I was a staff officer in Johnson's division and 
kept a careful diary of the campaign.) But, if it was written 
on the 28th, despatched at midnight, and received by Ewell 
by six or seven a.m., of the 29th, orders to Gen. Edward 
Johnson and to General Rodes might well have been issued 
as early as nine a.m. 

Again, if Ewell received the order on the morning of the 
29th, it exactly harmonizes with his statement in his report 
that he "was starting on the 29th" for Harrisburg "when 
ordered by the general commanding to join the main 

1 Since writing the above I have learned that Colonel Stribling 
has made a similar suggestion, but I have not yet seen his paper. 


body of the army." He says, "I was starting on the 29th 
for that place when ordered by the general commanding 
to join the main body of the army at Cashtown." 

Again, it appears that Johnson's reserve artillery and 
trains were passing through Chambersburg after midnight 
of the 29th. Mr. Jacob Hoke, Mosby's authority, says it 
was between one and two a.m. From this Colonel Mosby 
infers they "must have started on the evening of the 28th." 
But why? If they had started at nine or ten a.m., on the 
29th, could not the head of the train have covered thirty 
miles and reached Chambersburg by one or two hours after 
midnight? Thirty miles in sixteen hours is not at all 
extraordinary, especially in an emergency. Mr. Hoke, 
whom Mosby cites as a witness, says the trains were 
moving "hurriedly" — "at a trot." This shows they were 
making a forced march. 1 

Turn now to Early's report. He says that on the evening 
of the 29th he received General Ewell's instructions to move 
back to the west side of South Mountain, together with a 
copy of Lee's order to him — evidently the first order. 
Now if my hypothesis is correct, and if Ewell received Lee's 
letter in the early hours of the 29th, what was to prevent 
Capt. Elliott Johnson from riding from Carlisle to York, a dis- 
tance of thirty-six miles, as Colonel Mosby points out, between 
eight a.m. and five p.m.? I myself rode for Gen. Geo. H. 
Steuart fifty miles by daylight on June 23rd, in Pennsyl- 
vania. But on the supposition that Ewell received that 
famous letter and order on the morning of the 28th, how 
can we account for the fact that Early did not receive 
Ewell's order till the evening of the 29th? 

I submit that these facts make it beyond contradiction 
that there is an error in the date of the letter as it was copied 
from memory. The supposition that General Lee sent 

1 If this was the artillery of Col. Snowden Andrews, that was camped 
five miles south of Carlisle, so that it had only twenty-five miles to 
march to Chambersburg. 


that letter to Ewell on the night of June 27th bristles with 
improbabilities. There is the improbability that Lee would 
have waited till the 30th to order Hill and Longstreet to 
march to Cashtown. There is the improbability that an 
order of such importance would not be despatched with due 
military expedition. Its omission from Lee's letter book 
is suggestive of haste. It was written at night, and would 
seem to have been despatched at once without taking time 
to copy it in the letter book. This increases the improba- 
bility that it would not be sent post haste to Ewell. 

Then there is the improbability that Ewell, having received 
so supremely important an order, should have put off its 
execution for twenty-four hours — from the morning of 
the 28th to the morning of the 29th. Again, there is the 
improbability that he should have waited twenty-four hours 
before he sent his staff officer to transmit General Lee's 
order to General Early at York. Then, finally, there is the 
improbability that General Longstreet and Colonel -Taylor 
and Colonel Marshall and General Long and General Lee 
himself should all have believed and stated that the news 
of the proximity of Hooker should have been brought by 
a scout on the 28th, if the fact was really known on the 27th. 

Colonel Mosby's whole argument on this point hinges 
on the accuracy of the date of the letter or rather, "sketch 
of a letter" written down from memory. It appears to 
me immensely more likely that Colonel Venable made a 
mistake of date in writing that sketch of Lee's letter than 
that all the improbabilities I have enumerated should have 

Colonel Mosby says: "Nobody can reconcile this letter 
with Lee's report." Neither can anybody reconcile this 
letter, as dated, with the facts of the campaign as reflected 
in the reports of Ewell and Early. Either Colonel Venable 
in writing the letter from memory made a mistake in dating 
it the 28th, or General Lee and General Longstreet and 
General Long and Colonel Marshall and Colonel Taylor 


were all mistaken in the belief that the change in the plans 
of the campaign was due to the arrival of a scout on the 
night of the 28th. Which is the more likely supposition? 
If it was written on the 29th, it is in complete harmony 
with General Lee's report. But even if it were granted 
that Lee knew on the 27th of June that Hooker had crossed 
the Potomac, that fact would not advance one step the 
contention of Colonel Mosby that Lee had no need of 
Stuart's cavalry with his army during those critical days 
from June 27th to July 1st. 

In order to confirm his denial that General Lee intended 
to concentrate his army at Harrisburg, Colonel Mosby 
points to the fact that A. P. Hill's corps was turned east- 
ward on its arrival at Chambersburg and camped near 
Fayetteville. This, he thinks, conclusive against any such 
intention. But General Hill in his report says (" Rebellion 
Records," Vol. XXVII, pt. 2, p. 606): 

"On the morning of June 29th, the Third Corps 

was encamped on the road from Chambersburg to Gettys- 
burg, near the village of Fayetteville. I was directed to 
move on this road in the direction of York, and to cross the 
Susquehanna, menacing the communications of Harrisburg 
with Philadelphia, and to cooperate with General Ewell." 
These doubtless were the orders written by Colonel Marshall 
the night of the 28th of June. 

General Early also in his report says it had been his 
intention to cross the Susquehanna by the bridge at Wrights- 
ville and move up the left bank of that river against Harris- 

Thus General Early, General Hill, and General Ewell 
all testify that they had been ordered to move against Harris- 
burg; yet Colonel Mosby asserts that Lee had no such 
plan, though it is stated in both his reports, as well as by 
his staff officers. 

It may be granted that there are certain inaccuracies in 
the reports of the battle signed by General Lee, but it is 


asking too much of our credulity to have us suppose that 
General Lee did not know when and why he changed his 
plan of campaign at Chambersburg. There are also inac- 
curacies in General Stuart's report, as when he says that 
General Lee informed him it was likely one column of the 
army would move through Gettysburg, the other through 
Carlisle. What General Lee wrote was that one column 
would move through Emmitsburg, the other through 

And now as to the second, and main, point of Colonel 
Mosby's contention that Gen. J. E. B. Stuart acted in 
strict accordance with General Lee's instructions between 
the 23d of June and the 2d of July. What were General 
Lee's instructions to General Stuart? He wrote to Ewell 
that he had instructed General Stuart "to march with 
three brigades across the Potomac and place himself on 
your right and in communication with you, keep you advised 
of the movements of the enemy, and assist in collecting 
supplies for the army." To General Stuart himself Lee 
wrote on June 22d, "You can move with the other three 
(brigades) into Maryland and take position on General 
Ewell's right, place yourself in communication with him, 
guard his flank, keep him informed of the enemy's movements 
and collect all the supplies you can for the use of the army. 
One column of Ewell's army will probably move toward 
the Susquehanna by the Emmittsburg route, another by 

[Observe that when General Lee gave General Stuart 
this order to take position on General Ewell's right, that 
officer was just leaving Hagerstown. In his report (" Rebel- 
lion Records," Vol. XXVII, pt. 2, p. 443) he says that on 
June 22d he "received orders from the commanding general 
to take Harrisburg, and next morning Rodes and Johnson 
commenced their march into Pennsylvania."] 


This order was repeated in a letter to General Stuart 
dated June 23, a part of which I quote: 

Headquarters, Abmt of Northern Virginia, 
June 23, 1863, 3.30 p.m. 
Major-General J. E. B. Stuart, Commanding Cavalry: 

General, . . . 

If General Hooker's army remains inactive you can leave 
two brigades to watch him, and withdraw with the three 
others, but should he not appear to be moving northward, 
I think you had better withdraw this side of the mountain 
to-morrow night, cross at Shepherdstown next day, and 
move over to Fredericktown. 

You will, however, be able to judge whether you can pass 
around their army without hindrance, doing them all the 
damage you can, and cross the river east of the mountains. 
In either case, after crossing the river, you must move on 
and feel the right of Ewell's troops, collecting information, 
provisions, etc. 

Give instructions to the commander of the brigades 
left behind to watch the flank and rear of the army, and 
(in the event of the enemy leaving their front) retire from 
the mountains west of the Shenandoah, leaving sufficient 
pickets to guard the passes, and bringing everything clean 
along the valley, closing upon the rear of the army. 
I am very respectfully and truly yours, 
(Signed) R. E. Lee, General. 

Thus, in the very last communication received by General 
Stuart from General Lee, the order was emphatically 
given that as soon as he crossed the river, he should place 
his command on Ewell's right and march with him toward 
the Susquehanna. 

The commanding general indicated Frederick as Stuart's 
first objective, and he thought he had better cross the river 
at Shepherdstown, but gave him the option of crossing 


east of the Blue Ridge if he could do so without hindrance. 
General Stuart found Hooker's army in the way — a 
big "hindrance" surely — but yet chose to cross east of 
the Ridge, thus cutting himself off from both Ewell and 

Now, the first question is, Did General Stuart carry out 
the above instruction and do these things? The history 
of the campaign shows that he did none of these things. 
He was not on Ewell's right in the march toward the Sus- 
quehanna; he did not guard his flank; he did not keep him 
advised of the movements of the enemy. The second 
question is, Did General Lee give Stuart discretion to take 
such a route as, in the event, prevented his carrying out 
these instructions? Was he allowed to cross the Potomac 
east of the Blue Ridge, and pass "by the enemy's rear," 
and so find himself in such a position that he could not carry 
out those instructions? 

Now Colonel Mosby here puts a gloss on the record, and 
represents that General Lee instructed General Stuart 
to "move into Pennsylvania and join Ewell on the Susque- 
hanna." (Page 88.) Throughout the whole discussion he 
again and again represents General Lee's order in this way, 
as an order to proceed to the Susquehanna and join General 
Ewell. (Pages 89, 91, 154, 180.) 

But this is not what General Lee ordered him to do, but 
to place himself on Ewell's right in the latter's movement 
''toward the Susquehanna," to guard his flank and keep 
him informed of the enemy's movement. Colonel Mosby 
eliminates all this and represents the order received by 
General Stuart to be to "join Ewell on the Susquehanna" 
and then "act as Ewell's chief of cavalry." (Page 89.) 
Again, "Lee had informed Stuart that he would find Ewell 
on the Susquehanna." (Page 180.) 

Lee had done nothing of the kind. I submit that this 
is a complete misreading, or misstatement, of General 
Lee's instructions. Though General Lee and General 


Longstreet both suggested that Stuart should cross east of 
the Blue Ridge and pass in the rear of Hooker's army, it was 
evidently the intention that he should, as soon as possible, 
connect with General Ewell in his northward march "toward 
the Susquehanna." General Stuart himself says in his 
report that he was directed "to proceed with all despatch 
to join the right of the army in Pennsylvania." 

In his zeal to justify General Stuart, Colonel Mosby 
has misread, and so misstated, the records. Such careless- 
ness in a crucial point like this is inexcusable. 

Here let it be noted that, in order to interpret correctly 
the meaning and intent of General Lee's communications 
to General Stuart in those critical days, June 22-24, it is 
essential to place before the mind's eye the situation of the 
two armies at the time. General Stuart in his report says: 

"I submitted to the commanding general the plan of 
leaving a brigade or so in my present front, and, passing 
through Hopewell or some other gap in the Bull Run Moun- 
tains, attain the enemy's rear, passing between his main 
body and Washington, and cross into Maryland, joining 
our army north of the Potomac. The commanding general 
wrote me authorizing this move if I deemed it practicable." 

Now, at the time of this correspondence, Ewell's corps, 
whose right flank Stuart was "to guard," was just beginning 
its march northward from Hagerstown, and General Hooker's 
army was in Virginia. General Stuart's plan, then, con- 
templated passing round General Hooker's rear, while his 
army was still south of the Potomac; and General Lee's 
authorization contemplated that, and that only. It did not 
authorize Stuart to carry out his plan of passing round 
the enemy's rear after the enemy had transferred his army 
to the north side of the Potomac. Colonel Mosby confirms 
this view, for he says (p. 212): "The orders contemplated 
Stuart's crossing the Potomac in advance of both armies." 

And General Stuart's plan, proposed to General Lee, 
and to which he understood General Lee agreed, was, to 


use the words of his report, "to cross into Maryland, joining 
our army north of the Potomac." He gives no intimation 
that he understood that he was to join Ewell "on the Sus- 
quehanna," as Colonel Mosby states the case. General 
Stuart also tells us that General Lee "directed me, after 
crossing, to proceed with all despatch to join the right of 
the army in Pennsylvania." 

Colonel Mosby himself says: "The object was to go the 
most direct route to Ewell." (Page 212.) 

Precisely here was the error of judgment committed by 
the gallant Stuart — he did not keep in view the main 
object of his expedition, which was to cooperate with Ewell 
in his march from the Maryland line to Harrisburg. This, 
the first and principal duty imposed upon the chief of cavalry 
by the commanding general, was subordinated to the sec- 
ondary and incidental object of damaging General Hooker's 
communications and making a raid around his army. 

When General Stuart discovered that the Federal Army 
was moving to cross the Potomac, which it did three days 
before he crossed at Seneca Ford, two things should have 
been considered by him, first, that the reason given by 
General Longstreet for the suggestion that he should pass 
in the rear of the Federal Army (viz., that his passage of the 
Potomac by Shepherdstown "would disclose our plans") no 
longer existed, for evidently the enemy had discovered Lee's 
northern movement and were following him; and, second, 
that General Lee's permission to pass around the rear of 
the Federal Army did not apply to the situation now 
developed when the Federal Army had left Virginia. He 
had permission to make that movement only if there was 
no "hindrance" in the way. To take that course now (after 
June 25th) would completely prevent the main object of 
his expedition, which was to "join the right of the army in 
Pennsylvania" on its march "toward the Susquehanna." 

These observations receive support from the comment 
of an able and accomplished military critic, Captain Cecil 


Battine. In his " Crisis of the Confederacy " (1905) he 
says, referring to General Stuart's raid: 

"By the light of what happened, it may now be said that 
the raid was a mistake, and especially when Stuart found 
the Federal Army to be moving northward did he co mmi t, 
an error of judgment in attempting to traverse its lines 
of communication, thus severing his connection with Lee 
at the crisis of the campaign." (Page 156.) 

"Balancing what might be gained against what was certain 
to be lost for the invading army by the absence of the best 
half of the cavalry with its distinguished chief, the same 
judgment must be made as Jackson pronounced on Stone- 
man's raid six weeks earlier." (Page 158.) 

"Having acquired this knowledge (that the Federal Army 
was marching north), Stuart would certainly have done 
well to have marched up the right bank of the Potomac and 
so made sure of rejoining the army, but his character was 
not one to lightly abandon an enterprise which he had 
once undertaken." (Page 160.) 

Colonel Henderson, the distinguished author of the " Life 
of Stonewall Jackson," is of the same opinion. He says: 
" Stuart forgot for once that to cover the march of the army 
and to send in timely information are services of far greater 
importance than cutting the enemy's communications and 
harassing his rear." ("The Science of War," p. 303.) 

It must also be acknowledged, I think, that Stuart erred 
in judgment again in the course he took after he had brought 
his five thousand horsemen across the Potomac during the 
night of June 27th. Instead of proceeding "with all des- 
patch" to join Ewell, he stopped to break up the canal, to 
intercept and capture boats (at least a dozen of them), and 
burn them. He also captured a great wagon train and 
"took it along." Some of the teamsters were chased into 
the suburbs of Washington. That was on the morning of 
the 28th. These proceedings consumed valuable time that 
should have been devoted to marching to Ewell. By that 


time Lee was at Chambersburg and Ewell had already- 
been one day at Carlisle. Was it not Stuart's duty to 
make all speed to overtake Ewell, as three precious days 
had been lost? And could he do this encumbered by cap- 
tured wagon trains? It is about seventy-five or eighty 
miles from Seneca Ford to York, which could readily have 
been covered by Stuart's horsemen in two marches if that 
was his objective. He knew that Hooker had crossed the 
Potomac and was marching northward. Then would it 
not seem that his supreme purpose should have been to 
march day and night and to place himself in communication 
with Ewell, and be at hand for whatever service his cavalry 
could render? He does not seem to have been of that 
opinion, for he had only gone as far as Westminster by the 
evening of the 29th. Now Westminster is about fifty miles 
or less from Seneca Ford, where he had crossed. Had he 
pressed on, the morning of the 28th, he could easily have 
reported to General Early at York (thirty miles farther) 
before nightfall of the 29th, not long after that officer 
received orders to march to Cashtown, or certainly before 
daybreak of the 30th. In either case he would not have 
made the fruitless march to Carlisle on July the 1st, but 
would have marched with Early on the 30th, and would 
almost certainly have been interposed between the enemy 
and the infantry of Early and Hill, and would thus probably 
have prevented the battle from being precipitated by Hill 
on the morning of July 1st. Since writing the above, I 
find that Colonel Henderson reached the same conclusion. 
(See his "Science of War," p. 289.) 

There can be no doubt that the march of Stuart's horse- 
men was seriously impeded by the captured wagon train 
which he "took along." x Colonel Mosby admits (page 191) 

1 This is also the judgment of Gen. E. P. Alexander, who says (page 
375): "In saving a large number of wagons instead of burning them, 
and in delaying twelve hours to parole his prisoners instead of bringing 
along the officers and letting the men go, Stuart committed fatal 


that he might have reached York on the 30th instead of 
July the 1st, if he had burned the wagons. He crossed the 
river the night of the 27th, and York is about eighty miles 
from the ford. More important is the statement of General 
Stuart himself in his report in more than one place. Thus, 
on page 695, "Rebellion Records," Vol. XVII, he says, 
speaking of the engagement at Hanover: 

"If my command had been well closed now, this cavalry 
column would have been at our mercy; but, owing to the 
great elongation of the column, by reason of the 200 wagons 
and hilly roads, Hampton was a long way behind, and Lee 
was not yet heard from on the left." 

Again, on page 696, he says: 

"Our wagon train was now a subject of serious embarrass- 
ment, but I thought by making a devour of the right by 
Jefferson, I could save it." 

Two possibilities were eliminated by the drag put on 
General Stuart's column by the captured wagon train: 
1. But for the delay thus occasioned he might have marched 
from Westminster to Gettysburg by Littletown, as appar- 
ently he hoped to do, for he could have reached West- 
minster certainly by the morning of the 29th, instead of 
at sundown (for that place is only forty-five or fifty 
miles from Seneca ford), and at that earlier hour he prob- 
ably would not have found the Federal cavalry on that road. 1 
That cavalry reached Littletown during the night of the 29th. 

blunders." And he adds, "The delay caused to subsequent marches 
by the long wagon train, and the embarrassment of protecting it, was 
responsible for the loss of time, which made, on the whole, a sad failure 
of the expedition." 

1 In his report General Stuart says he reached Westminster at 
five p.m. and camped at Union Mills, midway between Westminster 
and Littletown, on the Gettysburg road (page 695). Scouts reported 
that the Federal cavalry had reached Littletown during the night. 
But for this it would appear Stuart would have marched to Gettysburg. 
Instead he marched to Hanover. General Kilpatrick in his report 
says "Stuart was making for Littletown." 


2. Had he decided instead to press on through Hanover to 
York he would have been able to effect a junction with Gen- 
eral Early at York by the evening of the 29th, or the early 
morning of the 30th, and his superb leadership would then have 
been available in the march from York to Cashtown on the 
30th, and in the operations on the fateful 1st of July. 

Certainly it is not strange that General Lee should have 
been surprised that he had no intelligence from General 
Stuart between the 23d of June and the 2d of July; and 
the question is whether that long delay was unavoidable 
under the circumstances in which General Stuart found 
himself after he parted with General Lee. Colonel Mosby 
says General Lee had studied astronomy and knew the 
nature of an eclipse. Yes, but General Lee was not sur- 
prised at the eclipse, but at the length of its duration. He 
sent couriers in every direction to gain, if possible, news 
of General Stuart. Colonel Mosby insists it was no part 
of General Stuart's duty to report to General Lee the move- 
ments of Hooker's army. Yet Stuart himself writes in 

Gen. E. P. Alexander, in his important work, page 375, says that had 
General Stuart's column "here followed the direct road via Little- 
town to Gettysburg, only about sixteen miles away, it could have 
occupied Gettysburg before 11 a. m. on the 30th, when it would have 
found itself in good position in front of Lee's army, then concentrated 
at Cashtown." And he adds that in that case "Lee's army would 
have occupied some strong position between Cashtown and Gettys- 
burg, and the onus of attack would have been on the Federals, as had 
been the plan of the campaign." 

It would have been natural for General Stuart to make Gettysburg 
his objective, for in his report he says he had been instructed that one 
column of bur army would move "by Gettysburg." His language 
is not conclusive as to whether he had meant to march by Littletown 
and Gettysburg, but it is a natural inference from what he says that 
but for the news that during the night of the 29th the Federal cavalry 
had reached Littletown, he would have marched to that place and so 
on to Gettysburg. But for that unnecessary and fatal delay he would 
have been at Littletown before the Federals, and could have reached 
Gettysburg by the early morning of the 30th. 


his report, " It was important for me to reach our column with 
as little delay as possible, to acquaint the commanding 
general with the nature of the enemy's movements, as well 
as to place with his column my cavalry force." (Page 695.) 

Colonel Mosby tells us of Stuart's energetic action in 
Hooker's rear between the 27th of June and the 1st of July; 
but General Lee did not instruct him to destroy Hooker's 
trains, or to damage the canal, or to break Hooker's com- 
munication with Washington, or to burn the railroad bridge 
at Sykesville, but "after crossing the river (at Shepherds- 
town, or Seneca), you must move on and feel the right of 
Ewell's troops, collecting information, provisions, etc." 
It was a brilliant raid, executed with great skill and with 
marvellous endurance and intrepidity — but it was not 
ordered by General Lee, and the results were very un- 

Does it not appear reasonable that General Stuart, 
having been, even if without fault of his own, delayed two 
days in crossing the Potomac, would then have felt, if he 
was to perform the service entrusted to him by General 
Lee on the 23d of June, he must march with all possible 
haste, by the shortest practicable route, to place himself 
in touch with General Ewell? 

Did he do this? Or, did not his eager and aggressive 
nature lead him to undertake enterprises which greatly 
delayed his march? The infantry of the Fifth Corps of the 
Federal Army was only one day behind Stuart's column at 
Westminster, though when he began his movement that 
corps was in Virginia. 

But there is a previous question. When Longstreet and 
Hill had crossed the Potomac, and Hooker, learning the 
fact, had followed, the plans of the Confederate commander 
were, as I have stated, revealed to General Hooker, and the 
reason given for Stuart's march being made in rear of the 
Federal Army, no longer existed. Should not that officer 
then have reverted to the other route and crossed at Shep- 


herdstown so as to be able to carry out his instructions as 
promptly as possible? Was not this course also the more 
important when he found that he could not cross the Potomac 
on the 25th, because the Federal columns were moving 
north? His cavalry had been assigned a definite part in 
the campaign then opened — that is, to guard Ewell's flank, 
keep him informed of the enemy's movements, and collect 
supplies for the army. Everything should have been 
subordinated to the accomplishment of this end. Had it 
been, General Stuart would have resisted the temptation 
to break the Federal communications with Washington, 
and to capture and carry off the enemy's wagon train, and 
would have joined Ewell several days before he did. How- 
ever brilliant and daring his operations in Hooker's rear, 
and however beneficial their results, it is not pertinent 
to the question at issue, which is simply this: Did General 
Stuart exert himself with whole-hearted energy to carry 
out the instructions he received, and in the most expeditious 
manner? In so critical and fateful a movement as the 
invasion of Pennsylvania, it was supremely important 
that every officer should carry out the orders of the com- 
mander-in-chief with the strictest fidelity and exactness. 
As a matter of fact, Ewell made his march to the Susque- 
hanna (starting on June 23d from Hagerstown) without 
receiving any aid from General Stuart. That officer 
was not able to accomplish any of the things he was charged 
to do in connection with Ewell's advance. And he was 
not able to accomplish them because, first, he took the 
course behind the Federal Army when the reason for that 
line of march no longer existed and when the circumstances 
under which he had received permission to do so had com- 
pletely changed; and, secondly, because having crossed the 
Potomac on the 27th, he did not then march as directly 
and as expeditiously as possible, to effect a junction with 
General Ewell. It cannot be supposed that when Lee 
gave Stuart his instructions on June 22d, he had any idea 


that that officer would not report to General Ewell until 
the 1st of July — the ninth day afterward. 

Colonel Mosby says that Stuart's cavalry could not 
have been of any material service to Lee even had they 
been present at Gettysburg from the beginning of the battle, 
and yet he says (page 189) that "the withdrawal of Buford's 
cavalry left Sickles' flank in the peach orchard uncovered — 
'in the air,'" "and that Longstreet took advantage of it and 
struck him a stunning blow." These two statements are 
inconsistent. Colonel Henderson is of opinion that the 
skilful handling of the Federal cavalry "practically decided 
the issue of the conflict." ("Science of War," p. 278.) 

Colonel Mosby makes much of the alleged inconsistency 
of the statement in General Lee's report of Jan., 1864, that 
Stuart was instructed " to lose no time in placing his command 
on the right of our column as soon as he perceived the enemy 
moving northward," with the orders he actually received 
to accompany the column of General Ewell. But is there 
any inconsistency? In using this language, Lee was thinking 
of his army as a unit, and could not have meant that he 
expected Stuart to be with Longstreet when he had ordered 
him to be with Ewell, as is stated in the report which Mosby 
criticises. This is explicitly stated in the same report a 
sentence or two before the allusion to "the right of our 
column." "Our column," in the connection in which it 
stands, can only mean General Ewell's column. Such 
criticism is captious and unfair. 

In analyzing Colonel Mosby's defence of General Stuart, 
and pointing out what I consider his mistakes, I have had 
no desire to associate myself with those who seek to cast 
the whole responsibility for the failure of the Gettysburg 
campaign on the shoulders of the commander-in-chief 
of the cavalry of the Army of Northern Virginia. General 
A. P. Hill, General Ewell, General Longstreet — especially 
the last — must all share it with him. I think it must be 
acknowledged that the battle was precipitated by the un- 


authorized advance of General Hill on July 1st. I think 
also that Colonel Mosby is right in the opinion that Lee 
had no intention of fighting a general battle at Gettysburg: 
he was dragged into it by his lieutenant. But on the other 
hand, I think that if General Stuart had been with Early, 
as he might and ought to have been, on the night of the 
29th, or the morning of the 30th, 1 his cavalry would in all 
probability have prevented the rash advance of General 
Hill. Marching from York to Cashtown on the 30th, by 
way of Heidlersburg, he would have felt the enemy, ascer- 
tained his position and his strength and left no excuse for 
that reconnoisance which prematurely brought on the battle 
on a field Lee had not selected. . . . Colonel Mosby's book 
involves very serious strictures on General Lee, which his 
soldiers are loath to accept save on the most incontrovertible 
evidence. He asks us to believe, as I have said, that the 
report of the Gettysburg campaign which General Lee 
signed in January, 1864, not only reflects gross injustice 
on General Stuart, but bristles with inconsistencies and 
grievous mistakes on points of capital importance. It is 
incredible that these two reports of the battle were signed 
by General Lee without reading them. It is inconsistent 
with his habit in other cases. We know that he took time 
to read General Pickett's report of the battle. Why not 
then read his own reports? And if General Lee read them, 
then certainly their salient statements, to say the least, 
have the stamp of his authority. But Colonel Mosby 
asserts that it was not Lee's purpose on the 28th of June to 
advance against Harrisburg, though he says so in his report, 
and though Colonel Marshall says he himself sent orders to 
that effect to Hill and Longstreet on the night of the 28th. 

1 Colonel Mosby says, page 191, if Stuart had arrived on the 
30th at York "he could not have communicated with Lee." No, 
but he would have received the orders Lee had issued for concentra- 
tion at Cashtown, and he would have marched that day with Early 
toward Cashtown. 


He insists also that the change of plan and the orders to 
concentrate at Cashtown were not the consequence of the 
intelligence brought by a scout on June 28th, although 
General Lee affirms it in his report. No matter: Colonel 
Mosby knows better; he is sure that Lee had ordered Ewell 
back from Carlisle on the 27th, and he is satisfied of this 
by the letter in Lee's letter book, not copied, but written 
from memory afterward by Colonel Venable. His whole 
argument on this point rests, as I have said, on the accuracy 
of the date of that letter. I have shown that, on the hypo- 
thesis of an error in date, the 28th instead of the 29th, 
the inconsistencies Colonel Mosby alleges disappear. 1 

1 Colonel Mosby is of the opinion that the scout who came in at 
Chambersburg late on June 28th was as unreal as Caesar's ghost at 
Philippi. "No spy came in at Chambersburg," he says. Yet General 
Longstreet positively affirmed it. General Lee's report states it as 
a fact and Colonel Marshall says that he was sent for to General Lee's 
tent after ten p.m., June 28th, and found him in conference with a 
man in citizen's dress, who proved to be General Longstreet's scout. 
This is a threefold cord of testimony not to be easily rent asunder by 
the ipse dixit of Colonel Mosby. What appears conclusive proof to 
Colonel Mosby that the story of the scout is a myth is the statement, 
in after years coupled with it, that the said scout also brought intelli- 
gence of the appointment of General Meade that very day to the com- 
mand of the Army of the Potomac; but there is no mention of this in 
General Lee's report. It may be a later edition to the original story. 
But whether true or false, it does not concern the defenders of the 
accuracy of General Lee's statement in his report. It is not alluded 
to either in that report or in the report of General Longstreet. How- 
ever, the fact is that General Hooker telegraphed his resignation on 
the evening of June 27th. Meade was at once appointed in his place, 
and the news of his appointment reached Frederick in the forenoon 
of June 28th. Colonel Mosby thinks it impossible that the alleged 
scout could have carried this news so soon from Frederick to Longstreet 
at Chambersburg. But if by some chance the said scout learned the news 
in the forenoon of the 2Sth, is it certain he could not have travelled 
fifty-five miles before eleven p.m.? President Roosevelt could have done 
it; perhaps he could. I do not think his quotation from Colonel Free- 
mantle proves that the news of Hooker's being suspended was not 
received by Longstreet until the 30th of June. But, as I have said, 


Now General Lee's report does reflect on General Stuart, 
so far as to intimate surprise that he did not report to Ewell 
or to Lee before the 2d of July, and it reflects the feeling 
of the commander-in-chief that he was greatly embarrassed 
by this absence. But it leaves it an open question whether 
that absence was unavoidable. Now, if there was one 
feature in Lee's character that was conspicuous and unde- 
niable, it was his magnanimity. He showed it in a remark- 
able degree at Gettysburg, and when he states in his report 
the fact of Stuart's absence, and the embarrassment it 
caused him, his soldiers feel that the statement is to be 
accepted as absolutely true. Military critics at once 
recognize that the absence of the cavalry was the most 
serious drawback to the success of the campaign. We 
think Lee was a better judge than Colonel Mosby whether 
the cavalry of Stuart, under such a superb leader as he was, 
would have contributed to the success of the campaign, 
or would have, at least, prevented the precipitation of the 
battle when and where it occurred. 

I do not think Colonel Mosby has shown that Stuart 
was without blame, and I therefore feel that part of the 
responsibility (I do not say the larger part) for the failure 
of the campaign must rest on him. And when I say this, 
I nevertheless yield to none in my admiration of that superb 
soldier whose military genius and magnificent intrepidity 
place him so high among the great leaders of the Confederate 

the question is of no importance in the argument on behalf of the 
accuracy of General Lee's statement in his report. 

Gen. E. P. Alexander is another witness on both these points. He 
says (page 379), that on June 28th, General Lee still believed Hooker 
had not crossed the Potomac; that he issued orders for an advance 
of his whole army next day upon Harrisburg; but that his plan was 
changed by the arrival of General Longstreet's scout about midnight 
of the 28th, with news that Hooker had crossed into Maryland, and 
that he had been superseded. 


It is greatly to be regretted that Colonel Mosby should 
have deemed it proper, in defending General Stuart against 
what he considers unjust criticism, to indulge in these 
strictures upon the conduct and the military judgment of 
General Lee. He declares, as we have seen, that General 
Lee was absolutely in error in several of the salient and most 
important points of his reports. Or, if we wish to save 
General Lee's reputation in these respects, he suggests an 
alternative, inconsistent with Lee's whole character and 
record, and dishonorable to him as a responsible officer; 
viz., that he signed his reports without reading them. Was 
Lee then an automaton to do the bidding of Colonel Marshall, 
his military secretary? 

Again, in referring to General Lee's suggestion before he 
embarked on the Pennsylvania campaign, June 23d, that 
General Beauregard should be sent to Culpeper Court 
House with an army, however small, to threaten Washington, 
Colonel Mosby dismisses the subject lightly with the remark 
that "if it had been practicable to raise such an army, as 
the campaign closed the next week at Gettysburg, it could 
not have been assembled in time to render any assistance 
to General Lee in the Pennsylvania campaign." (Page 84.) 
Yet there were five brigades at Petersburg, Richmond, 
and Guinea Station, besides three brigades in North Carolina, 
and if General Beauregard and even two of these brigades 
had been at once sent forward to Culpeper, they could 
have reached there by rail in a few days, and the moral 
effect would have been such as probably to turn back some 
of Hooker's army for the defence of Washington — greatly 
to Lee's advantage in the approaching battle. Captain 
Battine, a military critic of ability, remarks that it would 
have been "worth incurring great risks" to have drawn 
four of these brigades — "to comply with this suggestion 
about Beauregard." (Page 166.) 

Again, Colonel Mosby challenges General Lee's statement 
tha the was embarrassed by the absence of General Stuart 


with the larger part of the cavalry. Colonel Mosby knows 
better — Lee had all the cavalry that he needed. It does 
not appear to be necessary to ascribe infallibility to General 
Lee, in order to justify the conclusion that that great soldier 
probably knew better than the gallant partisan colonel 
whether or not the presence of Stuart and his horsemen 
could have been of great service to him in the campaign. 
General Lee doubtless was not infallible, but his judgment 
in military matters was, if we may say so without offence, 
much less fallible than that of Colonel Mosby. 

The same able writer already referred to says (p. 195) : 

"Probably it was the want of information due to the lack 
of cooperating cavalry which lay at the root of the halting 
tactics of the Confederate leaders. Thus every move of 
the enemy took them by surprise and inspired them with 
unnecessary caution at the very moment when boldness 
would have gained so much." (See pp. 219 and 220.) 

But the most painful thrust which Colonel Mosby makes 
at the reputation of General Lee is contained in the following 

"There is a floating legend that General Lee assumed all 
the blame of his defeat. He did not; his reports put all the 
blame on Stuart." 

That General Lee said to his soldiers after the repulse 
of Pickett's charge that he was responsible for the failure 
is not a "floating legend" but a well-attested fact. That 
he refrained from reproaching his three lieutenants, Hill 
and Ewell and Longstreet, with their share in the defeat 
is another well-known fact. That he wrote to Jefferson 
Davis that touching and pathetic letter asking that a younger 
and better man be placed in command of the army, because 
of his lack of success, is yet another proof that he assumed 
the responsibility of the failure. And to say that in his 
report he "put all the blame on Stuart" is a grave inac- 
curacy. The first report states the simple fact, without 
any animadversion, that "the absence of the cavalry 


rendered it impossible to obtain accurate information." 
The second rehearsed the orders given General Stuart, 
and added that it was expected that officer would "give 
notice of the movements" of the Federal Army, but as 
"nothing had been heard from him," it was "inferred that 
the enemy had not yet left Virginia." 1 The report leaves 
it an open question whether Stuart was, or was not, to 
blame for his absence and for the lack of information. 
General Fitz Lee, in his life of General Lee, with these reports 
before him, states that General Lee and General Longstreet 
were responsible for Stuart's absence, a statement with 
which I cannot agree. 

The untoward conclusion of the Pennsylvania campaign 
— in a drawn battle which compelled him to retreat, instead 
of in the decisive victory he had a right to expect — must 
have been a crushing blow to the spirit of General Lee: 
and it must forever remain a splendid illustration of the 
magnanimity of that great soldier that he made no attempt 
to shield his military reputation behind the shortcomings 
of his lieutenants. To state the consequence of the absence 
of General Stuart was a part of the story — the res gestce — 
of the campaign, and could not have been omitted in any 
intelligent account of the same. But to refrain, as he did, 
from stating that the absence of that officer and his command 
was due to a failure to strictly observe the orders he had 
received — was a generous and magnanimous act which 
has few parallels in military history. It is to be deeply 
regretted that any officer who ever drew sword in Lee's 
army should seek to tarnish the splendor of such noble 

On the whole I fear the careful critic will be constrained 
to pass on Colonel Mosby's book the criticism that writer 

1 1 have quoted on a previous page a passage from General Stuart's 
report of his operations, in which he states that it was "important" 
for him to "acquaint the commanding general with the movements 
of the enemy." 


has passed on Colonel Marshall's work in Lee's report: 
"It is a fine example of special pleading, and the composition 
shows that the author possessed far more of the qualities of 
an advocate than of a judge." 

Bridgeport National 
Bindery, Inc. 

JAN. 2001