North Carolina at Gettysburg
Pickett's Charge a Misnomer
Sixty Years Afterwards
The Rearguard of the Confederacy
Drawing of North Carolina State flag and Confederate flag]
Chief Justice Walter Clark
North Carolina Troops at Gettysburg
Address of Chief Justice Walter Clark before N. C. Confederate Veterans Association, Durham, N. C., 24 August 1921.
It is peculiarly appropriate that this meeting of the State Veterans Association should assemble in Durham. This spot, so to speak, is centrally located in connection with the most stirring event of the great War Between the States. Two hundred miles almost due south of us the great war opened when the first shot was fired at Charleston, 12 April, 1861. Four years later, almost to a day, on 9 April, 1865, less than one hundred miles due north of this place, the last charge was made by the immortal Army of Northern Virginia, by North Carolinians, and the silver-throated cannon sobbed themselves into silence amid the hills of Appomattox. Three miles west of this place the surrender of the sole remaining great army of the Confederacy was signed between Sherman and Johnston. Besides, there is no town anywhere that will give you or any guests a more generous reception than Durham—“Renowned the world around.”
With North Carolina soldiers there will ever abide the recollection that the greatest friend of the Confederate soldiers of North Carolina since the war, has been a resident of this city—long the head of the Veterans of this State and the distinguished general-in-chief of the Confederate Veterans Association of the Army of Northern Virginia, Gen. Julian S. Carr.STATE'S GREAT WAR RECORD
Sixty years have passed since the great War Between the States began. I am glad to see present so many survivors of those four eventful years, the memory of which can never be forgotten. We cannot forget that North Carolina sent to that great struggle more men than any other Southern State, and that with a voting population of 115,000 she placed in line of battle, first and last, nearly 130,000 of her sons. When the war opened, by the firesides and on the playgrounds of North Carolina there were boys of 13 years of age, and the official records show that in 1865 nearly 5,000 of these boys then stood in the ranks of the Confederacy, having reached the age of 17—and they were then Veterans. At Belfield, Va., in the battle with the Federal fleet at Fort Branch on the Roanoke, at Southwest Creek, below Kinston, in both bombardments of Fort Fisher, in the great three-days battle at Bentonville, when Johnston flung his army across the victorious pathway of Sherman to bid him halt and he obeyed him—on these and other occasions these young veterans proved themselves heroes worthy to be the brothers and sons of those men who for four long years in the Army of Northern Virginia, and in the Army of the West, had been a lance-head of iron tempered in the fire of battle. In the last year of the war the age limit for soldiers was extended to 50, so it may be literally said that from 13 to 50 years of age, North Carolina was in the war and her 130,000 soldiers were the backbone of the Confederacy.
Col. Fox, in his great work, “Regimental Losses,” shows from the official records that North Carolina lost 14,452 killed in battle, 5,151 died of wounds,
and 20,602 died of disease, a total of 40,305, which additional returns increased to 43,000, that is to say that of every three men North Carolina sent to the front one-third came not home again.
No one will disparage for a moment the courage, the steadfastness, the loyalty of the Confederate soldiers from Virginia or any other State, but we may measure the sacrifices made by this State by citing from the same work, giving the figures from U. S. official records. Virginia lost 5,328 killed in battle, 2,519 died of wounds, 6,947 died of disease, a total of 14,794. The state which next to North Carolina lost the most men was Georgia.THE CAUSE OF VIRGINIA'S SMALLER LOSSES
Some allowance must be made for the smaller number of deaths from wounds and disease among the Virginians from the fact that they were nearer home and could have more prompt attention from their home people, and so large a proportion of the state being overrun by the enemy also reduced the number she had in battle.
These things are from the official records and are not given as any reflection upon Virginia, whose soldiers, as all the world knows, did their full and complete duty. But it is proper to recall the facts here, in your hearing, that your children and your children's children may remember that in that supreme test of war and battle North Carolina and her soldiers did their full duty and can compare with the noblest sacrifices of patriotism recorded of any people.
At Chancellorsville, as the official records of the Confederacy on file at Washington testify, North Carolina lost almost as many killed and wounded as all the other Southern states combined, 39 U. S. Official Records, 806-809. At the great battle at Gettysburg, which many esteem the decisive battle of the war, 2,592 Confederates were killed, of whom 770 were from North Carolina, 435 Georgians, 399 from Virginia, 258 Mississippians, 217 from South Carolina, and 204 Alabamians, that is to say, nearly twice as many from this State as were lost by the great State of Virginia, 43 U. S. Official Records, 338-346.
By many, Gettysburg is regarded as the decisive battle, the turning point, the high water mark of the Confederacy. Such it was by reason of the moral effect. But in fact, taken alone, it was not a victory for either side and was one of the most indecisive great battles of the war. The Federals lost more men killed and wounded than the Confederates and though the charge on the third day did not succeed, the enemy dared not make a counter charge. Lee remained the whole of the next day occupying his ground and retreated on the night following for the same reason that largely caused the charge to fail, i. e., for lack of ammunition and the difficulty of getting sufficient supplies by the long round about route, when the Federals were close to their base of supplies at Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington. Indeed, they were much nearer Richmond than our army. It was therefore but prudence to place ourselves nearer our base.ALL DID THEIR DUTY
I am not asked, however, to discuss the battle of Gettysburg in all its details nor to consider the moral effect of our failure to achieve our objective which doubtless included a march on Philadelphia and the capture of Baltimore and Washington. My subject is “The North Carolina Soldiers at Gettysburg,” but is not limited to the Pettigrew charge of the third day. I include their record during the entire three days—1, 2, and 3 July. It should be said once for all that the conduct of all the troops from all of the Southern States, and indeed on both sides, reflects honor upon the American soldier. They did their duty as men. There were mistakes on both sides, as there always is in battle, for both were groping in the dark in the effort to divine,
or guess, the situation, the forces, and the intentions of the enemy. As a great general said, “I could always win if I only knew what was on the other side of that hill.”
We had no flying machines in those days and the usual means of ascertaining the movements and the forces of the enemy was by the cavalry, of which General Lee was deprived by the absence of his cavalry under Stuart, who had not been able to resist the temptation to capture the enemy's long supply trains filled with immense quantities of provisions and army supplies of all kinds. It is on record that when chance intimation came that the enemy's advanced forces were at Gettysburg General Lee and all his high officers were utterly unable to believe it. They thought the Federal army was still far away hovering for the protection of Washington and Baltimore, and doubted even if it had crossed the Potomac.
In 1893 I was on a commission of Confederate soldiers appointed, at the request of Federal authorities, to aid in locating the position of the Confederate troops at Sharpsburg and Gettysburg. I was in the same carriage going into Gettysburg with Major-General Heth, going over the Confederate line of approach. His division had opened the fight at the crossing of Willoughby Run three miles west of Gettysburg on 1 July. Pulling out a large silver watch he said, “By that watch the battle of Gettysburg opened.” Having been sent down to Cashtown to get some shoes for his troops, and utterly ignorant, as General Lee himself was, of the nearness of the enemy, owing to the absence of our cavalry, he ran into the Federal troops. Retracing his steps he marched toward Gettysburg, coming in contact with the Federal advance force under General John F. Reynolds (who by the way was a native of Gettysburg), he ordered the advance across Willoughby Run on the other side of which, in the woods, was the famous Wisconsin “Iron Brigade” under Meredith. General Reynolds was killed and General Heth was wounded. Pettigrew took command of the division. Pettigrew's brigade was about 3,000 strong. In the 26th N. C. Regiment in that brigade 12 color bearers had been shot down, when the gallant colonel of that regiment, Henry K. Burgwyn, only 21 years of age, seizing the flag to carry it forward, was killed, the flag wrapping him in its folds as he fell. The Iron Brigade, which was in his front, was almost annihilated. The other three regiments of the brigade, the 11th, 47th, and 52nd N. C., also suffered heavily. Pettigrew's N. C. brigade lost not a single prisoner, but it lost in killed and wounded, at that spot, 1,000 to 1,100, including a number of its best officers.
In the 3 days, 1 to 3 July, the 26th North Carolina regiment lost 549 out of 800 present. The 11th N. C. regiment lost 250 out of 550 and of the 5 field officers of these two regiments present, 5 were killed or wounded and Col. Leventhorpe of the 11th was wounded and Major Ross killed. The other two regiments, the 47th N. C. and 52nd N. C., suffered, but not so severely. The 44th N. C. regiment of this brigade had been left in Virginia to guard the crossing of the North Anna River and hence was not in the battle.THE OTHER NORTH CAROLINA BRIGADES ON THE FIRST DAY
On 1 July General Lee's army was being concentrated upon Gettysburg, but was scattered over a radius from 5 to 25 miles. The 1st and 11th corps of Meade's army were 5 and 10 miles off, respectively, and his other corps were further off. About 9 o'clock, Heth's division advancing from Cashtown came in contact, on the Chambersburg Pike, with Buford's cavalry of 3,000 men, and at 2 p. m. Heth made the above attack upon Meredith's brigade in the McPherson woods, in which Reynolds was killed.
At that hour Rodes’ division of five brigades (three of them, Daniel's, Iverson's and Ramseur's, from North Carolina) were on the march from Carlisle south to Gettysburg. At the sound of Heth's battle they turned off at Heydlersburg and marched to the sound of the cannon as Desaix did at Marengo and reached the Mummasburg road (which approaches Gettysburg
Map of Gettysburg on July 1
from the northwest), about a half mile from where that road crosses Seminary Ridge and formed line of battle. Iverson's brigade was on the right and attacked the Union line. Daniel's brigade, which marched in Iverson's rear, moved to the right and struck the enemy, who, changing front, had formed in a railroad cut. Daniel there suffered very heavy loss. Ramseur's
brigade then joined up to the left of Iverson and went into the fight. Stone's Federal brigade in the railroad cut was attacked by Daniel with the 45th N. C. regiment and the 2nd N. C. battalion, who drove them out. Reforming his brigade, Daniel followed the enemy, who had rallied on Seminary Hill. Pender's division, including Scales’ and Lane's N. C. brigades, joined in the attack upon the enemy near the Theological Seminary. General Scales was wounded and the brigade was badly shattered. In the meantime, Hoke's brigade had arrived in Early's division from York and attacked the enemy to the left of the town, almost simultaneously with the attack by Pender along Seminary Ridge.
In the first day's battle 17 brigades were engaged on our side, being in the divisions of Rodes, Early, Heth, and Pender, but three of these brigades only nominally participated.
Of the 14 Confederate brigades actually engaged in the battle on the first day, North Carolina furnished six and one-half, Pettigrew's and Daniel's brigades being the two largest in the Confederate army. North Carolina also had one regiment, 55th N. C., in Davis’ brigade, which was actually engaged. The loss of the North Carolina brigades in the first day's battle was 590 killed and 2,450 wounded. The loss of all other Confederate troops engaged on that day was 371 killed and 1,804 wounded. This analysis of losses is taken from 44 U. S. Official Records of the war, 338 et seq. We captured 5,150 prisoners at Gettysburg, nearly all of whom were captured on the first day.THE SECOND DAY'S BATTLE
On the next day, 2 July, Iverson's brigade lay in the town of Gettysburg in a sunken road awaiting the order to attack Cemetery Heights. Daniel's brigade lay on Seminary Ridge all day, but after night was marched through the town to join our troops on Culp's Hill under Johnson. At daylight, 3 July, it was in a fearful engagement which it shared, among others, with the 1 and 3 N. C. regiments in G. H. Stuart's brigade. The loss of Daniel's brigade during the entire battle was 165 killed, 635 wounded, missing 116—total, 916. Ramseur's brigade on the second day was skirmishing on the southern edge of the town and on 3 July it lay in the sunken road southwest of town. There was no better brigade in the army.
Hoke's brigade, together with Hays’ Louisiana brigade, at dark on the second day made the assault on east Cemetery Heights where it was steepest and captured it, with the guns thereon, but were later driven out by superior numbers.
At an earlier hour General Pender was ordered to attack Cemetery Heights on the edge of town where the ascent was easy and could have easily carried it. If so, the enemy's army would have been cut in two and must have fallen back, but at 2:30 p. m., just as he was preparing to advance, he was struck from his horse by a fragment of shell, from which he died a few days later.
This fatality, like the shot which struck down Albert Sidney Johnson at Shiloh, when the enemy were retreating in utter confusion and the capture of both Grant and Sherman was a matter of minutes; and like the shot that struck Stonewall Jackson down at Chancellorsville when he was pursuing the fleeing enemy whom he was about to cut off from the U. S. ford—were all three occasions on which the Federal Army was saved from utter destruction. Another instance was the unaccountable inactivity of that genius of war, Stonewall Jackson, at the beginning of the Seven Days’ battle around Richmond, when he should have crossed the Chickahominy at Glendale by which mistake McClellan's army escaped surrender. This was doubtless due to severe and sudden physical disability. Four times on four great battlefields of the Confederacy, the genius of its generals, and the valor of its soldiers were thus paralyzed when complete and final success seemed inevitable. Fortune “that name for the unknown combinations of an infinite power, was wanting to us and without her aid the designs of man are as bubbles on a troubled ocean.”
Map of Gettysburg on July 2
Cemetery Ridge extends nearly two miles north and south from Cemetery Heights to Little Round Top and Big Round Top and here the Federal troops were posted for the next day's battle facing the Confederate line to the west. To our left from Cemetery Heights was Culp's Hill, which was partly occupied by both armies.
VIEWS OF CRITICS
It is easy to criticise a battle or any military movement with the full knowledge subsequently acquired of the situation and numbers on each side, but it must be remembered that both commanders are but slightly informed at the time and are groping where they do not know. Critics have pointed out that opposite our center at Cemetery Heights there was an easy, almost level route, by which, if our troops had pushed on, we would have entered the enemy's line on the second day and enfiladed it for its entire length southward, and that even if this was not perceived then early next morning if our guns had been ranged in a semi-circle and had been concentrated on that spot they would have crushed the enemy's line north of, and also southward down Cemetery Ridge and the historic charge the third day need never have been made. The criticism may be just, for the enemy's line of battle was in the shape of a fishhook. This move seems clear now to any one knowing the locality and the situation of affairs. It is said that General Ewell, commanding the Confederate Corps at that spot having lost a leg previously, had not recovered his vitality, and his next in command, General Pender, a most able general, had been mortally wounded. If Stonewall Jackson had been there (who had been killed just 60 days previously), or if Stuart's cavalry had been on hand, the result of this battle and the future of the continent and of the world might have been entirely different. However, we can only know what happened and not what might have happened.
General Lee was unquestionably one of the great generals of history. Possibly Stonewall Jackson or Bedford Forest were greater military geniuses, but take him all in all the verdict of history has been, and will probably continue to be, that General Lee had no superior as a soldier in either army.THE CHARGE ON CEMETERY RIDGE
With the lights before him General Lee decided that the enemy's line could be broken about midway Cemetery Ridge where the ground is nearly level. His own lines were 1,400 yards to the west. Under his direction our artillery opened with 140 guns upon the enemy's line at this point. The object of artillery in battle, of course, under these circumstances, is to break down the enemy's morale and when their ranks are sufficiently shaken then to advance the infantry to the assault. This charge General Lee assigned to Longstreet. There is ample evidence that Longstreet did not approve of the assault, did not deem it practicable and not only delayed in making the attack but when he did make it put in only half the troops that he should have sent forward.
Exactly at 1 o'clock p. m. the Confederate cannon opened. They ceased at 3 and the infantry promptly moved forward. On the right was Wilcox's Alabama and Perry's Florida brigades, under Wilcox, who lost the direction, and going too far to the right, struck into a ravine and finally got back to our lines without having been of material aid in the assault and with comparatively little loss. Next came Pickett's division of three brigades, all from Virginia, who had not been in the fighting at all on the other two days. In Pickett's first line were the brigades commanded by Kemper (afterwards the governor of Virginia) and Garnett, and in the second line marched Armistead's brigade. General Armistead, with a few men from Pickett's division and a few from Pettigrew's division, crossed the wall at the angle. General Armistead was killed a few yards beyond it. Among the men of Pettigrew's division who crossed the wall at the angle was Captain Jo J. Davis of the 47th N. C. (afterward Justice of our Supreme Court), who says he was captured a few yards beyond the wall and near where Armistead fell. This spot is marked by a memorial stone 31 yards beyond the wall. No one who knew Judge Davis will question the entire accuracy of any statement he made.
Pickett commanded only the 3 Virginia brigades in his division and there was no reason why the assault should have ever been styled “Pickett's charge,” except that the Richmond papers were anxious to boost him for promotion to Lieutenant-General and hence the unfounded charge by them that his division would have won out but for the conduct of the troops to the left of his division.THE WORK OF PICKETT'S MEN
Pickett's men did all that could be asked of any troops. Virginia and the whole South have cause to be proud of them. Two of his brigadiers (Armistead and Garnett) were killed and Kemper was wounded. Pickett himself
Pettigrew-Pickett Charge July 3
and his staff stopped at the Codori House, 600 yards from the wall, and did not cross the Emmetsburg pike. Counting the two brigades to the right (under Wilcox) who cut little figure and the three brigades under Pickett (15 Virginia regiments) there were five brigades in the right wing of the charge.
To the left were six brigades, the dividing line striking the stone wall at the angle where the stone wall ran directly east 80 yards and then again due north, thus the wall in front of the left wing (in which were the 3rd N. C. brigades and the N. C. regiment in Davis’ brigade, altogether 15 N. C. regiments) was 80 yards farther east, i. e., farther to the front than where Pickett's 3 Virginia brigades struck the wall. In this left wing, in the front line were four brigades of Heth's division, commanded by Pettigrew (Heth having been wounded). They were, in order from right to left: Archer's, Tennesseans; Pettigrew's, North Carolina; Davis’, Mississippi (in which was the 55th N. C.), and Brockenborough's Virginia brigade. Behind them in the second line marched Lane's and Scales’ brigades, both from North Carolina.
Both wings of the entire line moved off together. The six brigades of the left wing under Pettigrew, kept abreast of those on their right. When they got in reach of the enemy's infantry, Pickett's second line, under Armistead, as always happens, moved up to fill the gaps in the front line and the same happened as to the second line under Lane and Scales on the left. At the angle, which was the dividing point between the two wings, a few Virginians got over the wall, but were quickly captured or killed and a few North Carolinians from Pettigrew on the left got over at the same angle with Judge Joseph J. Davis, as he states. The rest of Pettigrew's men who had not been killed or wounded, pressed on to the wall which was 80 yards farther in front of them, than was the wall in front of the Virginians. Captain Satterfield of the 55th N. C. regiment was killed and Lieutenant Falls and Sergeant Whitley, of the same regiment were wounded and taken prisoners at the foot of tha wall, which was thus nearly 50 yards farther to the front than where Armistead fell, though he was beyond the wall.ASSAILED BY FLANKING FIRE
Just at this juncture or a little before, the 8th Ohio regiment struck Brockenborough's Virginia brigade on the flank, which was the left brigade under Pettigrew, and caused it to fall back on Davis’ Mississippi brigade, which in turn was partly broken, and on the right of Pickett's division the Federals opened an enfilading fire from the batteries on Little Round Top and also threw out a flanking body of infantry on the ground where Wilcox's command should have been and assailed Pickett on the right. Assailed also by a flanking infantry fire on the left of Pettigrew's command and by the artillery in front and on Little Round Top and fired on by the enemy's infantry in double rank behind the stone wall, in fact the charge dissolved and in a half hour from the moment it began there remained only the killed, the wounded and the prisoners.
The following official returns demonstrate the relative loss in this charge. Pickett's division of 15 regiments lost 1,499 men taken prisoners, 1,150 wounded, 214 killed and they lost 13 out of their 15 regimental flags. They went fresh into this fight, not having been engaged on either of the previous two days.
The five N. C. regiments in Pettigrew's division had been severely engaged in the first day's battle and their losses on the two days are not segregated, but we know that the five regiments lost at Gettysburg 1,303 killed and wounded, an average of 268 to the regiment, while Pickett's regiments averaged killed and wounded 91. There is the record.NORTH CAROLINIANS DID THEIR DUTY
While no one will contend that this shows the slightest reflection on Pickett's men, it does prove conclusively that the North Carolinians did their duty. Pettigrew's brigade alone had 190 killed. Daniel's N. C. brigade, which fought on another part of the line, had 165 killed, while Pickett's entire division of three brigades had 214 killed. No brigade in Pickett's division lost as many
killed and wounded as a single N. C. regiment (the 26th) in Pettigrew's brigade, which lost 86 killed and 502 wounded—the heaviest loss of any regiment on either side in any battle during the war.
The best proof how far a line of battle goes is where it leaves its dead and wounded, these derelicts of the bloody waves of war. The fact that Captain Satterfield and many other North Carolina dead and wounded were found at the foot of the wall on their front where the wall was 80 yards farther to the front than the wall which Pickett's division assailed, and over which no one crossed farther than General Armistead, who fell 31 yards beyond it, is conclusive proof, in this generous contest between the gallant men of the two states, that while all did their duty and there was glory enough for all, the North Carolinians beyond all question went farthest to the front at Gettysburg.
This is borne out also by the statement of the Federal officers who were facing the charge, by the statement in writing at the time by Lieutenant Colonel John T. Jones, who came out of the charge in command of Pettigrew's brigade and other witnesses whose statements have been often published and which are easily accessible.CHARGE EXCELLED ONLY BY THAT OF McDONALD
It was a gallant charge, excelled only by that of Marshall McDonald at Wagram and his charge was made with sufficient numbers and supported by artillery. At Gettysburg we charged 1,400 yards across an open field with less than 13,000 men, being half the number which General Lee directed. We moved forward before our guns had effectively shattered the morale of the enemy's infantry because of the scant supply of our ammunition. Furthermore we were not only under the fire of the enemy's guns in front, but Pickett's right flank was enfiladed by the batteries on Little Round Top and as our men neared the wall the Federal infantry assailed Pickett's right flank and Pettigrew's left flank.
General Lee promptly and magnanimously assumed the entire blame. No soldier at that time or since has criticised him for assuming that the brave men who had done such wonders under him were not equal to the impossible task he assigned them. This is no detraction from his fame nor from that of the brave soldiers who under his orders attempted the impossible.SIZE OF THE ARMY
It may give us a better idea of the battle to state the numbers and losses in the two armies at Gettysburg as they have been very accurately summed up in that great work, “Battles and Leaders of the Civil War,” Vol. 3, p. 440. According to that statement, the “Federal Returns” show that the Union army had on 30 June “effectives for duty” on the day before the battle, 101,679. The loss of that army, according to the official returns at the end of the three days, was 3,072 killed, 14,479 wounded, and 5,434 captured—a total loss of 23,003.
The Confederate strength, according to the same authority, was 70,000, including all arms, or over 30 per cent less than the Federal strength. The Confederate loss was 2,592 killed, 12,790 wounded, and 5,150 captured or missing, making a total of 20,451 being over 2,500 less than the Federals. But the Federal loss by straggling must have been excessively heavy, for at the council of war held in the Federal army by the seven corps commanders with Meade at the end of the second day's battle they reported only 58,000 men present, exclusive of cavalry, and their field returns for the infantry and artillery on 4 July, the day after the battle, was 56,138, exclusive of cavalry. 3 Battles and Leaders in Civil War, 440.
The Confederate army at this battle was divided into three Army Corps, which included infantry and artillery. These were, (1) Longstreet's corps, composed of the divisions of McLaws, with 4 brigades, Hood with 4 brigades,
and Pickett with 3 brigades; (2) Ewell's corps with the divisions of Early, which had 4 brigades, Johnson with 4 brigades and Rodes with 5 brigades; and (3) Hill's corps with 3 divisions, Anderson's with 5 brigades, Heth's with 4 brigades, and Pender's division with 4 brigades. Thus the infantry and artillery were in three corps of three divisions each—nine in all—each division having four brigades except Pickett's, which had three brigades, and Rodes’ and Anderson's divisions, which each had five brigades—a total of 37 brigades of infantry with artillery attached. The artillery was organized into 15 battalions of 4 batteries each under General Pendleton, which were assigned 5 battalions to each army corps, the total number of batteries was 69, with 287 guns, of which 30 were with the cavalry. The army was commanded by a full general (Lee); each army corps by a lieutenant-general, and each division by a major-general, and each brigade by a brigadier-general. The brigades were composed usually of four regiments each.
Besides the above, the Confederate cavalry was organized into a division under Major-General J. E. B. Stuart with six brigades commanded at that time by Hampton, Robertson, Fitzhugh Lee, Jenkins, Jones, and W. H. F. Lee.
The Federal army at Gettysburg was composed of 7 army corps besides the cavalry corps and the artillery reserve, but as the Federal organization was, as a rule, 4 regiments to a brigade, 2 brigades, sometimes 3, to a division, and 3 divisions to a corps, their army corps were, on an average, about half the number in each of ours. Their brigades were commanded by colonels, sometimes by brigadiers and their divisions, army corps, and armies were all commanded by major-generals, which was the highest rank in their army.NORTH CAROLINIANS IN THE BATTLE
In this battle North Carolina had no infantry in Longstreet's corps. In Ewell's corps this State had Hoke's brigade in Early's division and the 3 brigades of Daniel, Iverson, and Ramseur in Rodes’ division. In Hill's corps we had in Heth's division Pettigrew's brigade and 55 N. C. regiment in Davis’ (Miss.) brigade, and in Pender's division there were the brigades of Lane and Scales, that is, 7 brigades out of 37. Besides these, there were 1st N. C. and 3rd N. C. regiments in George H. Stuart's brigade and in the cavalry we had 4 N. C. regiments which were not at that time brigaded together (as they were later) and in the artillery we had the 4 batteries of Manly, Latham, Reilly, and Graham so that in fact North Carolina had 8 brigades of infantry, out of 37; one brigade of cavalry and a battalion of artillery—that is we had over one-fifth of the soldiers present and our loss in killed and wounded was nearly a third of the whole number, very much more than a fourth.
While the troops of all the Southern states were good and certainly those from old North Carolina were second to none in any respect, it did not escape notice then, and history need not suppress the fact now, that we did not have full recognition. Virginia, which great state furnished fewer troops than North Carolina and suffered far smaller loss in killed and wounded, (figures already given) had just recognition in the great head of the army, General Robert E. Lee and another Virginian, Joseph E. Johnston, was in command of the Western Army, yet in addition at Gettysburg two out of the three corps commanders and 4 of the 9 generals of divisions were from Virginia, and another, Major-General J. E. B. Stuart was in command of the cavalry corps and General Pendleton was in command of all the artillery and General Imboden of all the cavalry that was not under Stuart; while North Carolina had only one major general, General Pender, who was mortally wounded there and of whom General Lee said, regretfully, “General Pender never received his proper rank.”
Our comrades who fell on so many fields of glory come back to us across the fields of yesterday, not as we see ourselves today, but as we knew and remember them, in all the splendor of their young manhood. Age has not withered them, time and trouble have not touched them. It was glorious for them to pass in the prime of their powers, with the sunlight of victory on their faces and fronting the morning. They died in the full assurance and confident hope of our ultimate success. They saw not the torn and tattered battle flags furled forever at Appomattox. The bugle did not ring out for them, as for us, the final call to stack arms. No drums beat for them the retreat. Their ears caught only the sound of the reveille. They live in immortal youth.
We had great generals but their fame rests upon the incomparable soldiery who made them great. The greatest figure of that great time was the “Confederate soldier” of whom it can be said, not in eulogy but in simple truth, that as long as the breezes blow, while the grasses grow, while the rivers run, his record will be summed up in eternal fame in this sentence:
“He did his duty.”Resolutions Adopted by North Carolina State Veterans’ Association at Durham 24 August, 1921.
The United Confederate Veterans Association of North Carolina, in convention assembled at Durham, N. C., 24 August, 1921, do resolve:
That the Legislature of North Carolina be and are hereby petitioned to authorize the State Historical Commission to place bronze tablets with suitable inscriptions to mark the spot at Gettysburg where North Carolina went “farthest to the front”; and where Hoke's brigade carried Cemetery Heights, and the battle on Culp's Hill; also to place similar tablets, with proper inscriptions, at the “Bloody Angle,” at Spottsylvania, where so many North Carolinians laid down their lives on 12 May, 1864; at the spot where the North Carolina troops at Chancellorsville broke the enemy's right wing; also at the two memorable battlefields of Manassas, and at the most notable points, calling for such distinction, in the battles around Richmond and Petersburg and at such other notable points which, in their judgment, call forlike memorials on the other battlefields of the Civil War.
The term “Pickett's Charge” is a Misnomer
No phrase is more absolutely without foundation in fact than the term “Pickett's Charge.” There were in that historic charge 48 regiments and 2 battalions. Of these, General Pickett commanded 15 regiments in the 3 brigades in the right center, composing his division, and no more. There were 11 brigades, and he commanded only 3. The order for the charge was given to General Longstreet, and the official Reports show that he was in sole and actual command of it.
In the right wing of the charge there were 23 regiments, i. e., 4 from Alabama in Wilcox's brigade, and 4 from Florida in Perry's brigade—these 2 brigades being commanded by General Wilcox. To his left, being thus the right center of the charge, was Pickett's division of 3 brigades commanded by Armistead, Garnett, and Kemper. The left of that division was given the line of direction, which was the “clump of trees” on Cemetery Ridge.
In the left wing there were 25 regiments and 2 battalions, i. e., 5 North Carolina regiments (4 in Pettigrew's brigade and one in Davis’); Davis’ Mississippi brigade of 3 Mississippi regiments and one North Carolina regiment; Archer's Tennessee brigade, containing one Alabama regiment and one Alabama battalion, and 3 Tennessee regiments; and Brockenborough's 3 Virginia regiments and one battalion — all these under Pettigrew, commanding Heth's division, and General Heth had been wounded. In the second line of that wing (also practically under Pettigrew) there were the 10 North Carolina regiments of Scales and Lane, under Trimble, making a total of 48 regiments and 2 battalions in the whole line. Pickett's division, in the right center, also marched in two lines—two of his brigades in the front line and one in the second line.
Pickett had no command, as the officers’ reports show, of any of these troops, except the 15 Virginia regiments in his own division.
General Pickett and his staff stopped at the Codori house, 600 yards from the wall, and did not cross the Emmetsburg Pike. The charge from Seminary Ridge, where it started, to the wall on Cemetery Ridge, in front of Pickett, was 1,400 yards. To the wall in front of the left wing, where the North Carolinians went, was 1,480 yards. It is true, General Pettigrew was wounded near the wall, still in command of his division, and that two of Pickett's brigadier generals were killed and the other was wounded, all near the wall, but in stopping at the Codori house, 600 yards behind his line, General Pickett was in rear of the center of his division and in regulation distance.
The fact that he stopped at the Codori house, in rear of his division, has no significance, except that it shows, if any additional proof were needed, that he was in command only of his own division. General Longstreet, who was in command of the entire charge, was in the rear of the center of the charge, and only advanced a short distance with the men, as it was necessary for him to have supervision and oversight of the movements of the entire charge.
Maj. W. M. Robbins, who was for years one of the United States Battlefield Commissioners at Gettysburg, wrote an article, “Longstreet's Assault at Gettysburg,” which is printed in Vol. 5, Clark's Regimental Histories, pp. 101-112, in which he states that it was “Longstreet's Assault” and that Pickett commanded only the 3 brigades of his own division, and, further, that the correspondents of the press at Richmond were responsible for the slander upon the North Carolinians, Tennesseeans, Alabamians, Mississippians, and Brockenborough's Virginians, which composed the left wing. Indeed, Brockenborough's Virginians were on the extreme left, and being fired into on their flank by the 8th Ohio Regiment, was the first brigade on the left to give way. On the right, Wilcox's division, having gone astray, Stannard's Vermont command, especially the 13th and 16th Vermont, fired into the right flank of Kemper's command and broke the force of their charge.
All soldiers know that in that charge all the troops did well, and there is glory enough to go around. All that the North Carolinians, Tennesseeans, Alabamians, Mississippians, and Brockenborough's Virginians have sought to do is not to question in any particular the conduct of the 15 regiments under Pickett's command, but to refute the slander by certain correspondents of the Richmond press at that time, that the 25 regiments and 2 battalions on the left wing did not do their duty.
The following is taken from the returns of the Army of Northern Virginia of our losses at Gettysburg, printed in “44 U. S. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies,” pp. 338-346:
Pickett's division: Fifteen Virginia regiments; killed, 214; wounded, 940; prisoners, 1,499.
Heth's division, commanded by Pettigrew: The five North Carolina regiments in the first line lost 229 killed, 1,074 wounded, no prisoners. Adding the two North Carolina brigades of Lane and Scales, the 15 North Carolina regiments which were in the charge lost in the battle of Gettysburg 372 killed, 1,745 wounded, and 110 prisoners, which was a much heavier loss than the 15 Virginia regiments in Pickett's division.
There were also in the left wing Brockenborough's 3 regiments and one battalion from Virginia, which lost 25 killed, 123 wounded, and 148 prisoners. Archer's 3 Tennessee regiments and one regiment and one battalion from Alabama lost 16 killed, 144 wounded, and 717 prisoners; and Davis’ 3 Mississippi regiments (excluding 55th N. C. Regiment in that brigade, already mentioned) lost 141 killed and 548 wounded.
In the whole battle there were 770 North Carolinians killed—nearly twice as many as the 400 from Virginia who were killed.
When at Gettysburg, at the reunion of 1913, the captain of a Federal battery and the colonel of a Federal regiment, who had been posted during the battle at the wall which the North Carolinians reached, told a crowd of North Carolinians and others (while standing on the very spot) that Pettigrew's men, including the brave Mississippians and others, reached that wall, and pointed out where Satterfield, of Person County, fell, and stated that other dead and wounded were left at the foot of the wall—this was 80 yards further than the wall over which General Armistead and Judge (then Captain) Davis, of North Carolina, and some of their men passed. It is not that the North Carolinians were any braver, but it was due to the configuration of the wall, and merely shows that both sides were doing their duty, and that all went as far as they could. It was at the foot of the other wall, in front of Pickett, and 80 yards nearer to the Confederate lines, where Armistead crossed, that his 1,499 Virginians were captured. Enfiladed on the left by the 8th Ohio (which broke Brockenborough's Virginia brigade, and then the others in succession), and on the right by Stannard's Vermont regiments, and the guns from Little Round Top, with the double ranks of infantry at the wall, and the artillery, in their immediate front, these troops could not have lived across the 1,400 yards going back. Brockenborough's brigade, to their left, giving away to the
flank fire, lost fewer prisoners, but their dead and wounded were more numerous than among Pickett's men.
No official report by any officer in the charge shows a single intimation that Pickett exercised any command in the charge, except of his own 3 brigades, although many of these reports mention receiving commands from Longstreet or their own division commanders. Fifteen to twenty regiments is a full command for a major-general, which Pickett was. 48 regiments and 2 battalions, especially when taken from two different corps, as these were, was the command of a lieutenant-general, and the charge was, therefore, committed to Longstreet, as both General Lee and General Longstreet state.
As to the motives of the newspaper correspondents, they were not stated by them, and we would get nowhere now by discussing them. The motive imputed at the time was that they were willing to slander the brave men from five States in the left wing to save Pickett from failing to get promotion. No one has charged that Pickett was accessory to this. He was given another chance around New Bern that winter, and failed, and was never promoted.
The charge made in the Richmond papers, as near as it can be recalled now, was as follows: “Pickett and his magnificent Virginians would have won, but the men on the left were of meaner clay, and by their failure to go forward prevented his success.”
Whatever the motives of the statement, it was an untruth, for the brave men from five great States in the left wing suffered very much heavier loss in killed and wounded, and lost fewer prisoners in proportion to numbers, than Pickett's division. The men on the left promptly resented the imputation, and they are to be honored and not abused for proving its falsehood.
The true cause of failure was stated at the moment by Nature's nobleman, General Lee, who knew more than any one else about the matter, and who said, magnanimously and truly, “I am to blame.” All forty-eight regiments and the two battalions showed their usual gallantry, but General Lee, knowing the heights to which his men could rise, and underestimating the number of the enemy, and overestimating the extent to which the enemy's morale had been destroyed by our artillery, attempted the impossible. He was also misled by the fact that the enemy's artillery to a very large extent had ceased firing. Gen. H. J. Hunt, the Federal commander of artillery, says in his report that this was done by his orders, purposely to mislead General Lee to make the charge earlier; and General Longstreet and General Pendleton both say in their articles that we had to cease firing because our ammunition was nearly exhausted, and that we charged before the enemy's morale was sufficiently shaken.
It was General Lee's fault, as he said, but soldiers have never blamed him, because the situation at the time seemed entirely different to him from what it actually was. As Napoleon, who understood war, said, “The general has made war but a short time who has made no mistakes.” In truth, the commander of an army plays the game just like a gambler, for he can only guess what is in his opponent's hand.
It has been stated by Colonel Mosby, of Virginia, and it is public knowledge, that General Pickett was summarily dismissed from the army by General Lee at the battle of Five Forks, 1 April, 1865, but that was not on account of a lack of personal courage, but on account of his unfortunate personal habits and his absence from the post of duty at a critical moment. As already said, there has never been any imputation as to his soldierly bearing at Gettysburg, and the mention of his stopping at the Codori house was merely to show that he exercised no command except only over his own division.
Gen. G. Moxley Sorrell, who was General Longstreet's adjutant-general and aided him in supervising the charge, in his Memoirs, says, on p. 171: “The attack was made under the direction of Gen. James Longstreet, with Pickett's division of three brigades (right) and Heth's division of Hill's corps (left), with the support of several brigades of other divisions thrown into position.”
This exactly corresponds with the statements by Longstreet and Lee and the official reports of the battle; and on p. 173 he says: “While Longstreet by no means approved the movement, his soldierly eye watched every feature of it. He neglected nothing that could help it, and his anxiety for Pickett and the men was very apparent. Fearing some flank attack if we succeeded, he had sent Latrobe to the left to warn the officer against its possibility. I went off sharply in search of Pickett to watch the right, and, if necessary, move some troops in for meeting such an attempt. I did not meet with General Pickett, and was soon up with Garnett and Armistead.”
From the above statements, which correspond with the official reports, Longstreet was in command of the charge; Pickett had a division on the right, and Heth's division (Pettigrew) was on the left, and Longstreet, watching the whole situation, sent an officer to the left wing and Sorrell to Pickett's division. General Sorrell says that he did not meet with Pickett, but that he did catch up with Garnett and Armistead, who were unquestionably at the front, for both were killed there. The statement that Pickett was as far to the front as the Codori house came from his friends and is undoubtedly true. No one whom I have seen or read of claims that he went beyond it. General Sorrell's statement that he could not find him, though he readily enough found his brigadiers, did not warrant an inference that he was out of his place, though Sorrell, as adjutant-general of his corps, certainly knew where he ought to have found him.
Colonel Mosby, in his article in Munsey's Magazine, April, 1911, states that after the war he went with Pickett to call on General Lee, who received him very coldly, and when he left, Pickett was abusive of his old commander, which he (Mosby) attributed to Lee having cashiered him at Five Forks.
The army records and the register at West Point show that, though General Pickett was appointed a cadet from Illinois, he was born in Richmond, Va., 25 January, 1825. He was appointed cadet in 1842 and graduated in 1846.
Raleigh, N. C.
“Sixty Years Afterwards”
A Visit to the Battlefields of Virginia in June, 1921.
By Chief Justice Walter Clark
Walter Scott began his first novel, “Waverley,” by entitling it “’Tis Sixty Years Since.”
Reminded by Scott's opening sentence, I was moved by the lapse of sixty years recently to revisit the most memorable fields in that great struggle in the East, and in an automobile party we visited from Appomattox to Gettysburg, and from the Valley of Virginia to Williamsburg and Bethel. At the request of the editor of The News and Observer, I have endeavored to make a condensed statement of the present condition of those historic spots.
The memorable “War Between the States” began with the opening shot fired against Fort Sumter, 12 April, 1861, and the surrender of the fort the following day.
Governor Ellis, soon after that, called upon the Military Academy at Hillsboro to send down a detail of cadets to drill the troops which were pouring into Raleigh and being organized in the camps there and elsewhere. Being one of the cadets selected for this duty by Col. C. C. Tew, the superintendent of the academy, in May, 1861, I entered the Confederate Army, and during the ensuing four years had my share in the fighting. Colonel Tew was killed at the “Bloody Lane” at Sharpsburg, 17 September, 1862, being colonel of the Second North Carolina Regiment of George B. Anderson's brigade, within a few hundred yeards of the “West Woods,” where my own regiment (the 35 N. C.) was then engaged. He was a brave man and a good officer.EN ROUTE
Passing through Durham, Oxford, Clarksville, and Chase City, we first visited Appomattox. En route, we passed a few moments at Belmont, a few miles north of Oxford, where Prof. Ralph H. Graves had his celebrated school, which I left in May, 1860—sixty-one years ago. I was then a boy of 13 and had not seen the place since. Almost without an exception, my schoolmates entered the Confederate Army, and less than half came home.
As Byron says:
- “Dear is the school-boy spot we ne'er forget,
- Tho’ there we are forgot.”
Beyond Chase City, at Charlotte Court House, we saw the original will of Patrick Henry, which shows that he was a highly educated lawyer and not the country idler and rural fisherman (which the myth of William Wirt would make him), who, by accident, suddenly sprang into fame. This spot was later the scene of the famous debate between Henry and John Randolph.
It may be well here to recall the outline of the contest in the eastern part of the Confederacy from April, 1861, to the final scene in April, 1865.
The first move of the Federal Government was to capture Richmond. With this view, the Federals first sought to reach Richmond by the overland route from Washington. On July 18, 1861, they were repulsed at Blackburn's Ford over Bull Run, and three days later the better-conceived flanking movements by McDowell to envelop our right was frustrated at the battle of First Manassas. Profiting by this lesson, McClellan was then called from his successful career in West Virginia and placed in command of all the Federal troops, whom he thoroughly organized, but he abstained from any forward movement until May, 1862, when he moved the Army of the Potomac down that river, and thence up York River, landing at Yorktown, and moving upon Richmond up the Peninsula. After a fierce battle at Williamsburg, where North Carolina regiments suffered severely, he was checked in this movement by the “Seven Days Battle,” 25 June-1 July, 1862, under the walls at Richmond, and driven to change his base by a precipitate retreat to the James River at Harrison's Landing. General Lee, who had succeeded to the command of the army after Joseph E. Johnston had been wounded at Seven Pines, 31 May, conceived the idea of forcing the recall of McClellan from the James.
In August, 1862, Lee began his memorable march into Maryland after the victories at Cedar Mountain, 20 August; Second Manassas, 30 August; Chantilly, and,
- “When August with her trailing vines
- Had passed out the gates of summer,”
we crossed the Potomac, reached Hagerstown, Maryland, near the Pennsylvania line. He enveloped and captured 12,000 Federal troops at Harper's Ferry, 15 September, but narrowly escaped the capture of himself and his entire army at Sharpsburg on 17 September, 1862, this writer being in that campaign.
Both armies recrossing the Potomac, the Federals sought to reach Richmond by an intermediate route from Fredericksburg, their base being at Aquia Creek, on the Potomac. At Fredericksburg, on 13 December, 1862, the Federals, under Burnside, received one of the most disastrous repulses of the entire war.WHEN JACKSON FELL
The enemy then remained quiescent until May, 1863, when, under Hooker, their army attacked Lee and was defeated, near Fredericksburg, at Chancellorsville. The Confederate Army, however, lost its right arm in the death of Stonewall Jackson, 10 May, 1863.
In June, 1863, Lee again sought to cause the withdrawal of the Federals from Virginia by again crossing the Potomac River, and fought the drawn battle at Gettysburg, in Pennsylvania, July 1, 2, and 3, 1863. The Federals sustained a somewhat heavier loss, but the Confederates were repulsed, for they were stayed in their further advance to the Susquehanna.
On the return of both armies to the south of the Potomac, the Federals were again quiescent until May, 1864, when, their army being thoroughly reorganized and reinforced, Grant was transferred from his victorious career in the West and placed at the head of all the Union armies. On 6 May, 1864, he opened the fight by the Fredericksburg route at the Wilderness. Thoroughly defeated, though he outnumbered Lee's army two to one, he did not withdraw, as his predecessors, McDowell, McClellan, Pope, Burnside, and Hooker, had
successively done, but, moving by his left flank, attempted to get between Lee and Richmond. The bloody battle of Spottsylvania was then fought, and after a succession of attacks and repulses, Grant, at last, with a loss of more men than Lee had in his army, reached the James River, from which McClellan had been recalled two years previously. Then began the long siege of Richmond and Petersburg. Crossing the James, Grant constantly extended his left wing, as he was able to do by his superior numbers, and finally succeeded in breaking through the Confederate army on 2 April, 1865, and captured Petersburg.FEDERAL GENERALS SLOW TO LEARN
Thus it took the Federal generals four years to travel the 117 miles between Washington and Richmond and to ascertain what they should have known at the beginning—that to capture Richmond it was necessary to use the James River as a base and to capture Petersburg, thus isolating the Confederate capital by taking it in the rear. The young Napoleon had done this at Toulon in 1793, when, a major of artillery, he captured a point of land which necessitated the evacuation by the enemy's fleet of the harbor of that port, and tersely said to the commander of the French: “Go to sleep, General; Toulon is taken.” The fleet evacuated the harbor that night. Washington had done the same by the capture of Dorchester Heights, and in like manner caused the British fleet and army to evacuate Boston in 1776. But the Federals did not discover that Petersburg was the key to Richmond until they had lost over one-half million men, killed and wounded, to ascertain that patent fact.
Of course, there was fighting all along our “far-flung battle line” from the Potomac to the Rio Grande and back by the Gulf and the ocean, but I am in this article referring to the advance on Richmond from Washington.
After the evacuation of Petersburg, Lee's army, worn down by the attrition of disease, semi-starvation, and a long war, to less than 30,000 men, withdrew in the direction of Lynchburg. Grant, with an army of 150,000 men and a superb corps of cavalry, was able to throw ahead of Lee more men than Lee had in his army, at the same time pressing on his flanks and rear. With an overwhelming mass before him at Appomattox, Lee saw the impossibility of cutting his way out, and made the historic surrender on Sunday, 9 April, 1865.MONUMENT OF THE “LAST CHARGE”
The writer was at Appomattox when the monument was unveiled in 1905 by this State in memory of the “last charge” by the Army of Northern Virginia, which was made by the North Carolinians of Cox's brigade, Grimes’ division. The ground over which the charge had been made was already growing up in a pine thicket when the monument was erected, and we had very little hopes that it had not been overwhelmed since by the forest growth. We were agreeably surprised, in passing into Appomattox, to see on the right of the road a sign, “To the North Carolina Monument,” and to find the road to the monument cleared out and protected on each side by a row of cedar posts and a wire fence. The monument itself, though now in the heart of a pine thicket, is in admirable condition, and the road around it has been kept clear of undergrowth. We were unable to ascertain to whom we are indebted for this care of the monument, but presume that it must be to the ladies of the Virginia Confederate Memorial Association, in connection with the like association of this State. It would be meet and appropriate that the matter should be inquired into, and that the Legislature of this State should pass a resolution of thanks to those to whom credit is due.
The only monument which this State has erected on any battlefield, besides this to her gallant dead of 1861-65, is at Bethel, Virginia, which marks our claim to “First at Bethel,” as this does to our being “Last at Appomattox.”
At Chickamauga we have placed a stone to mark the “Farthest Advance” on that field, which was also made by North Carolinians. But at Gettysburg, where North Carolina soldiers also went “farthest to the front,” there is no memorial.WHERE THE SURRENDER OCCURRED
Appomattox Court House, where the surrender took place, has very much dwindled, and the courthouse itself has been removed and rebuilt at Appomattox Station, four miles away, on the Norfolk and Western Railroad, and the jail has been burned. The McLean house, in which the actual surrender was signed, was bought by a Northern man and was torn down. For some reason the timbers were never removed and have rotted on the spot. The Federal Government some time since bought the surrounding land, but from good policy, or perhaps proper consideration for the feelings of a gallant people, whose hopes expired on this spot, or for some other cause, has erected no monuments. The apple tree under which General Lee stood when he received and accepted Grant's invitation to a conference, was soon thereafter dug up, even to the very roots, as mementoes, by the Federal soldiers. Every one will remember the applause which the orator who nominated Grant for the presidency received when he quoted James Whitcombe Riley's lines:
- “When asked his name or what State he hails from,
- My sole reply shall be, he comes
- From Appomattox and the famous apple tree.”
It is a remarkable coincidence that the same man, McLean, who owned the Surrender House at Appomattox, owned the house around which the first battle of Manassas was fought, where the war really began. Deeming the situation too exposed, he sold it and bought this house at Appomattox. But fate followed him, as it has done many another, to the last.HOME OF SOUTH'S HEROES
From Appomattox we went to Lynchburg, Virginia, to which Hunter's army penetrated in the latter part of the war, and, crossing the mountains, we went by way of the Natural Bridge to Lexington, which is immortalized as having been the home of Stonewall Jackson, and later of Lee, and the burial place of both. The statue of Jackson, of heroic size, stands at his grave, and Valentine's recumbent statue of Lee is above his vault, beneath the church of Washington and Lee University, of which he became the president after the close of the war, and where he died. The room in the Virginia Military Institute in which Jackson lectured until the outbreak of the war has now been cut up into dormitory rooms. The grounds of Washington and Lee University, of which Lee was president after the war, and of the Virginia Military Institute, where Jackson taught at the breaking-out of the war, adjoin, with simply a boundary fence between, but the two institutions have shown no antagonism.
The house in which Jackson resided has now been converted into a hospital, and Lee's home is still the residence of the president of Washington and Lee University. To a Southerner there is no more interesting spot than Lexington, at the head of the Valley of Virginia.JACKSON'S WONDERFUL STRATEGY
Down that valley the strategy of Jackson unfolded itself to the world in all its splendor. It must be remembered that when he died the war was but half over. Had he lived, it is hardly possible that the Confederacy would have failed. As a celebrated preacher said in a prayer at New Orleans, “When the Lord saw fit to refuse success to the Confederacy, He found it necessary to take back unto Himself His servant, Stonewall Jackson.” In the last two years of the war the “Valley of Virginia” was the scene of successive victories and defeats to both sides. Every foot of it was fought over and is classic
ground. At New Market a monument stands to the heroic young cadets of the Virginia Military Institute, who, ordered out in an emergency, fought and died in the battle there. Appropriately, a monument to them also stands on the grounds of that institution at Lexington, to which institution Virginia still contributes liberally, as she did before the great war; and on the wall is a striking painting of the charge of the cadets, by Sir Moses Ezekiel, who, as a cadet himself, shared in the battle.
Passing through Staunton, we soon saw the Massanutten range, 40 miles long, which lies longitudinally in the middle of the valley, dividing it in two. This singular formation aided “Stonewall” greatly to conceal his movements. We crossed at New Market to visit the caves of Luray, and then came back to the “Pike.” Going down this, there was a constant succession of battlefields—among them Fisher's Hill, Strasburg, Cedar Creek (where Ramseur was killed and a shaft stands by the roadside, to his memory), and Kernstown, before we reached Winchester.
Winchester changed hands 58 times within the four years. There is a Confederate cemetery in which the Confederate soldiers are buried according to their States, and in which North Carolina is largely represented. Among those buried there are Generals Robert D. Johnston and A. C. Godwin, and Colonels Christie and Blacknall. In this connection it should be remembered that the official reports show that during the war North Carolina had 43,000 men killed or died of wounds or disease—a far larger number than from any other Southern State, Virginia not excepted.
Winchester was the frontier town in colonial days. From it Braddock set out on his ill-fated expedition. It was a center of battles, 1861-64. It has now become a center of apple orchards, 400,000 barrels being shipped annually.
On our way to Harper's Ferry we passed near the old home of President Monroe and “Greenway Court,” where Lord Fairfax resided, who started George Washington in life, when a lad of 16, to survey his vast landed property for purchasers.SHARPSBURG (OR ANTIETAM)
We passed through Charlestown (now in West Virginia), where John Brown was tried and executed in December, 1859. The courthouse has been changed much since the date of the trial. By a singular coincidence, Lieut.-Col. Robert E. Lee and Lieut. J. E. B. Stuart commanded the United States troops at Harper's Ferry, who captured Brown. Nearly three years later, at Harper's Ferry, 12,000 Federal soldiers surrendered to the Confederate armies in the early morning of 15 September, 1862, the command to which the writer then belonged (Ransom's brigade, Walker's division) being posted on the Loudoun Heights. McLaw's division was posted on the Maryland Heights and A. P. Hill on Bolivar Heights, thus completing the surrounding of the enemy. In the meantime that part of the Confederate army which had been left on the north side of the Potomac in the bend of the river at Sharpsburg was being heavily pressed by the enemy. Being moved rapidly from Harper's Ferry, we recrossed the river near Shepherdstown on 16 September, and at daylight on 17 September opened one of the fiercest struggles of the entire war. McClellan, as he says in his reports, had over 87,000 men in line, and Lee says that he had less than 40,000. McClellan's Morning Report for that day shows, in all, 106,000 present for duty, and Lee's, at the highest, 33,000. He opened the battle with 27,000 present. We fought with our backs to the river, and if at any time any part of the line had given away, the entire army of Lee and Jackson would have been captured, together with their leaders. This would have closed the war with a clap of thunder, and Sharpsburg would have taken its place in the history of our race by the side of Hastings and Flodden.
We repulsed the enemy in five successive assaults during the day, and held our ground the day following, recrossing the river that night without the loss of a man or so much as a wagon wheel. It was a stand-up-give-and-take-fight,
no manœuvering. It has well been called a “soldiers’ battle.” The writer was present and heard Stonewall Jackson, when riding along our line, with a single attendant, after one of these assaults, tell Colonel Ransom (later United States Senator), “I shall take some troops and get in the rear of those people. When you hear the rattle of my small arms, I wish this entire line to advance.” Ransom knew the duty of a soldier too well, and besides was too tactful to make any suggestions to General Jackson, but he said to him: “The enemy are in the lowgrounds of the Antietam just over the hill. I have a man who can climb that tree for you (pointing out a tall oak), and he can go up it like a squirrel, and let you know how many there are.” Our command was then in the “West Woods” on the Hagerstown pike and just north of the Dunkard church, and with Stonewall's consent he sent Hood, a young courier, up the tree. When near the top Ransom asked him how many troops there were in the valley. Hood answered, “Whoopee! There are oceans of them.” This was too indefinite for Jackson, who sternly said, “Count their flags, sir.” When Hood had counted as many as 39, the General curtly said, “That is enough; come down.” The attack on the enemy's rear did not take place. General Walker, our Division commander, relating the same incident, says the reason was because the enemy's right wing reached the river, and we could not get around their flank. It is probable this was not the only reason. All who remember the Dunkard church as the most notable landmark of that “well foughten field,” will regret to learn that it was destroyed in a cyclone this summer.
Jackson that day wore as usual a grey suit so faded by the weather and the sun that its color could hardly be distinguished and the gold lace on his coat was tarnished. He was what, for want of a better word, I should call a “burly” man, in fine health and I should judge about 5 feet, 11 inches.
“With a frame of adamant and a soul of fire.”
He was then 38—two years younger than Grant, who had been his fellow cadet at West Point and seventeen years younger than Lee. He wore a cap with a fall-over top (which is now in the museum at Richmond). Though it was a hot September day, he wore jack boots to the knees, probably on account of the mud that we often had. That winter, when at Fredericksburg, some admirer presented him with a brand new suit of Confederate grey with gold lace according to regulation and a new hat. When he rode down the line in this attire the troops seemed awed and hesitated whether to cheer or not, but they solved the question by giving him their customary rousing yell. There was a great difference in the attitude of the army toward Lee and Jackson. The former they loved and revered. The latter they held in the same high esteem but in an entirely different way. Whenever on the march, we heard prolonged yelling, the boys would say: “It is either old Jack or a rabbit.” These two things would always produce that result, and in all weathers and under all circumstances.GETTYSBURG
In 1893 the writer was sent on the commission of 20 Confederate soldiers appointed by Governor Carr, at request of the Federal authorities, to assist in locating the positions of the North Carolina soldiers at Sharpsburg and Gettysburg. The Report of this Commission will be found in Clark's N. C. Regimental Histories, Vol. 5, pp. 587-593, and an account of the battle, with maps, in the same volume, pp. 71-82.
On both these battlefields there are now markers placed by the United States, i. e., small granite or concrete supports with bronze tablets, carrying inscriptions marking the position of the Confederate troops, but both at Sharpsburg and Gettysburg, while there are hundreds of monuments erected by Northern states, cities, and military organizations, many very costly, to
the memory of the Union troops, there is not a single one erected by the South at Sharpsburg and only two at Gettysburg. At the latter place, there is a colossal statue of Lee sitting on his horse, located at the spot from which he viewed the assault on Cemetery Ridge 3 July, 1863, and forty yards beyond the stone wall there is a simple granite pillar which briefly states: “Here General Armistead, of Virginia, fell 3 July, 1863”; but there is no similar stone to mark where the three North Carolinians, Captain Satterfield, Lieutenant Falls, and Sergeant Whitley fell forty yards farther to the front than Armistead. This omission should be remedied by the Historical Commission of North Carolina under authority of the State. The Federal Government doubtless will allow no controversial inscription on the tablets of any monument. The stone to General Armistead does not say that he fell farther to the front, but simply that he “Fell at this spot,” and the shafts to three North Carolinians and others who fell near them and farther to the front than General Armistead should simply say that “This stone marks where they fell.” As already stated, out of the hundreds of monuments at Gettysburg, the above are the only two erected by the South.
There is, however, a noble inscription. At the northern end of Cemetery Ridge there is the steepest spot where an assault was made during the entire battle, and that hill was overcome, at that spot, by Hoke's North Carolinians and Hay's Louisianians in the battle of the second day. The writer, in 1893, was shown by the late Colonel S. McDowell Tate and Captain N. W. Ray, who belonged to Hoke's Brigade, the exact spot where our men climbed the hill and captured the enemy's battery. It was in that charge Captain Wiley Gray was killed. There stands today a handsome monument with a suitable inscription erected to the Federal Infantry and Artillery (the latter from Vermont) who held that position. On our visit to that spot the writer was giving the above statement and noting the fact that there was no inscription or monument to the brave North Carolinians and Louisianians, who made that memorable charge on the second day of July (the day before the more memorable assault along the ridge farther south, where Armistead and others fell). A gentleman standing near by, very politely asked the writer to look on the other side of the Vermont monument, and there we found recorded the truthful and generous statement referred to above that Hoke's North Carolina and Hay's Louisiana brigades had carried the heights and taken the guns which they held until driven out by reinforcements.
Returning from Gettysburg we passed through Frederick, Maryland, from which place the brigade and division to which I belonged had been ordered back in 1862 and recrossed the Potomac at Point of Rocks to complete the investment of Harper's Ferry. At Frederick we saw the monument to Barbara Freitchie which perpetuates the fictitious story which Whittier has crystallized in verse. It is well known there that the alleged incident of her flaunting the flag in the face of Stonewall Jackson had no foundation in fact. It is well authenticated that she was eighty years old and bedridden and that Jackson himself, who had been presented with a fine horse on his crossing the river, by a Maryland admirer, was injured by the horse rearing up with him, and passed through Frederick, not on horseback, but in an ambulance, as recorded in the field reports of the army.
After a short stay in Washington we went out to Manassas battlefield. The ground on which that battle was fought 21 July, 1861, was fought over at the battle of Second Manassas 30 August, 1862, the positions being exactly reversed—the Confederates occupying the ground and coming from the direction the Federals did in the first battle, and on both fields the Confederates were victorious.
We went and returned by the same route from Washington that the Federals did. We were in an automobile, but according to all accounts some of the Federals, who did not have that facility, came back about as fast as we did.
At Alexandria we saw, of course, the church pew in which George Washington and his family worshipped and the pew, just across the aisle, later occupied by Robert E. Lee and his family. We also visited Arlington and Mt. Vernon, both of which have been seen by so many thousands. On the way to Fredericksburg, we went to Pohick Church, the country church which Washington and family attended. Farther down we came to Occoquan, the prison used by the District of Columbia in which the pioneers of woman suffrage were imprisoned. Since then the XIX Amendment has made these victims and all other women, citizens and voters, and their aspirations are no longer criminal. The Dogberries who persecuted them must seek other business.
A little farther on we passed Evansport on the Potomac, where Holmes’ brigade and Pettigrew's regiment (to which the writer was then attached), were stationed, in October, 1861, in support of the batteries which had been erected to impede Federal communication on the Potomac River.FREDERICKSBURG
Further on we stopped over at Fredericksburg, where we saw again the battlefield on which Burnside was so disastrously defeated on 13 December, 1862. We saw, of course, the residence of Mary, the mother of Washington, and the monument to her memory. The general was born, however, lower down the Rappahannock in Westmoreland County. On the battlefield itself there is no monument to any Southern soldiers or command, except a small stone to mark the spot at the foot of Marye's Heights, where General T. R. R. Cobb, of Georgia, was killed, and some three miles off at the extreme right, near Hamilton Crossing, there is a monolith to the “Gallant Pelham,” Maj. John Pelham, of Alabama, barely twenty-one, whose artillery enfiladed the Federal left flank, and whose name was the only one mentioned by Lee in his Address of Congratulations to the Army after Burnside's defeat. In that address, Lee made the following reference to the enemy: “Their escape from utter destruction is now the boast of these who advanced in full confidence of victory.” Our command (Ransom's brigade) was partly on Marye's Heights, supporting the Washington Artillery, of New Orleans, and partly behind the stone wall at the front, from which we saw Thomas Francis Meagher's Irish brigade, with the green flag of Erin with the sunburst on it and the Union flag floating side by side, come up again and again, to be driven back as indeed was Franklin's entire corps.
On Washington Heights, now grown up in a dense thicket, on Friday morning, 12 December, 1862, the writer, accompanying General Ransom, saw all the famous Confederate generals at that date gathered—Lee, Jackson, Long-street, A. P. Hill, and J. E. B. Stuart, and more than thirty others. With their spyglasses they were watching the entire Federal army across the river moving to their left with the purpose of crossing at the four pontoon bridges or more which were being laid at intervals of one-half mile, under steady fire from the Confederate skirmishers and our artillery. Over those pontoons that night and early on the following morning the entire Federal army of 100,000 infantry, cavalry, and artillery crossed over. While there we also saw and heard the 180 Federal guns which poured out their fire upon the city of Fredericksburg. This city lies in the bend of the river, which was thus almost surrounded by the Federal guns. In the city itself Barksdale's Mississippi brigade and other troops in rifle pits were resisting the throwing of a pontoon bridge across the river, opposite the city where the railroad was and now is. The wounded in a steady stream were passing along the road by the point of observation, where we were, all the time.
Washington Heights was half a mile farther back and farther to the right than Marye's Heights on which the Washington artillery was stationed. It was a beld promontory that jutted out into the lowlands of the Appomattox and gave an extended view of the entire battlefield. The generals, there congregated, sat on their horses, as a rule, and closely inspected the army of
100,000 men on the other side of the river and discussed their probable movements. General J. E. B. Stuart, the famous cavalry general, then only 29, was on foot and saluted the other generals as they came up. I recall that when a very dignified and somewhat elderly general (Early) rode up on the hill, Stuart grasped him cordially by the hand and, with a sly pull, nearly precipitated him from his horse, to the amazement and consternation of the rider and to the intense delight of Stuart and the young staff officers who were present attendant on their chiefs.
Not far from Fredericksburg is the battlefield of Chancellorsville, where Stonewall Jackson fell in May, 1863, and below there and the Wilderness, (where Grant opened his campaign in 1864) in direct line to Richmond, is the famous battlefield of Spottsylvania.SPOTTSYLVANIA COURTHOUSE
At Spottsylvania Courthouse we made some inquiries as to the location of the battlefield and found it difficult to get any information. We went down the road to the spot at the edge of the battlefield of the Wilderness, where a statue stands in the road where General John F. Sedgwick, commanding a Federal corps, was killed. Coming back towards Spottsylvania we went up to a gentleman's house who could only tell us that the Spottsylvania battlefield was somewhere “over there.” A little negro about twelve years old volunteered the information that he “knowed where there was some monuments.” We induced him, with a promise of bringing him back in safety with some coin in his pocket, to jump upon the running board of the auto and show us where they were. Going through a gate, under his direction, we followed a narrow winding road a mile or so through a dense thicket and emerged at the spot where still remained signs of the breastworks at the world-famous “Bloody Angle at Spottsylvania.” Going up there we found there were some monuments erected to Union commands. Seeing a man plowing not far off, we motioned to him to come up. To an inquiry he said that he was not in the battle, being only twelve years old, but his home, at that time, was at a house about one-half mile off, and he had since built the residence standing a few yards from the apex of the famous angle. He said that a judge of the Supreme Court of South Carolina, who was in that battle, was there not long since, and had pointed out the spot where for some distance, the dead had to be twice removed from our trenches in order that the living might have room to stand and fire.CUT DOWN BY MUSKET BALLS
Not long after the war the writer, then studying law in Washington City, saw in the porch of the War Department at Washington a section of a tree 12 inches or more in diameter, which had been cut down, at this spot, entirely by musket balls from each side. Asking him in regard to it, he pointed out the stump of the tree which is still standing. Neither at this, nor on any other battlefield, did we see any monuments to Southern soldiers or commands, except those already mentioned. A number of old locations are fast passing from the memory of the people who lived nearby. The soldiers who fought in these battles are fast dying out. With some aid from the few survivors the maps made by the Federal Government after the war, might still be located on the ground, and North Carolina should take some steps to this end before it is too late. Permanent markers of granite or concrete with bronze plates bearing suitable inscriptions should preserve to future times the exact localities that were immortalized by the valor of the soldiers from North Carolina. At Thermopylæ there was a simple inscription on the monument to the dead: “Stranger, go tell it in Sparta that we lie here in obedience to her commands,” and at Leuctra, there was a terse inscription in bronze: “Siste, viator; heroa calcas”—“Stop traveler, you tread on the dust of heroes.” Surely North Carolina should, at least, place some memorial to those who died
on so many battlefields at her command. They may be nameless like the unknown French soldier who lies buried under the Are de Triomphe at Paris, but it will be proof to posterity that the North Carolina of this day still revered the valor and the memory of those who died for their country.
We passed thence along the succession of battlefields on our way down to Richmond, on which Grant lost more men than Lee had in his entire army, before he reached the James river, which he might have done by going down the Potomac and up the James to Petersburg without the loss of a man.OVER FAMOUS FIELDS
On leaving Richmond to go down the Peninsula, we paused a few moments to visit St. John's church, where Patrick Henry made his celebrated speech with the apostrophe, “I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” This speech was repeated to our party by the verger (an Italian), standing where Patrick Henry stood during the delivery of the original speech. We passed along the Chickahominy and over the fields made famous by the Seven Days battles in 1862, in which the Federals were commanded by McClellan, being the same ground in many cases, with positions reversed (as in the Second Manassas) over which Grant and his army fought in the fall of 1864.
The battlefields along the Chickahominy are too numerous to mention. At Seven Pines there still stand the Seven Pines, or their successors, from which the place derived its name, and in regard to which the late Dr. Dixon told this humorous story: When news was coming into Shelby of the soldiers killed and wounded, an old lady who had a son in the battle sat very unconcernedly in a rocking chair on her porch. Some one asked her if she was not uneasy about her son William. “No,” she replied, “didn't they say there are seven pines there? and I know Bill is behind one of them.”
The fact was not known at the time, but the official records of both armies, printed since, show that the Confederates, though victorious, lost in the Seven Days battle, in July, 1862, more than twice as many killed and wounded as McClellan. This was due not only to the fact that we were the attacking party, but because, at that time, we had the foolish idea that it was glorious to sweep the field, regardless of loss. As a result, the South lost many of her very best and bravest, whose loss could not be filled, and never fully recovered from the shock.WASHINGTON AT WILLIAMSBURG
From the Chickahominy we went down the Peninsula via New Kent Court-house to Williamsburg. There still stands the single brick building, William and Mary College (others having been erected more recently) from which graduated three presidents of the United States, and of which George Washington was at one time chancellor. This summer, for the first time in its 228 years, girls were among its graduates. It was here that while a member of the legislature the distinguished young colonel, fresh from his fame acquired at Braddock's defeat, met the young widow of Daniel Parke Custis and courted her seven months after her husband's death. Men were not such laggards in love, for he married her a very few months later, and acquired through her $100,000 in money, 15,000 acres of land, and a quota of slaves. This addition to his own property made him the wealthiest man in Virginia and probably in the country, and, coupled with his military reputation, caused him to be selected commander-in-chief of the American army when the New Englanders needed the support of the south (of which Virginia was then the largest and most influential state) in the war with England. This was a consideration, for he not only served throughout the eight years without pay, but it conciliated property holders throughout the country, who as a rule looked askance upon the Revolution as a new movement dangerous to property rights.
From Williamsburg we went down to Jamestown Island, where the first permanent English settlement was made in 1607, after the settlement at Roanoke Island, in 1584, under Raleigh, had been abandoned.
Jamestown Island was being washed away, when the United States Government, in recent years, intervened and by a granite facing stopped the further ravages of the river. The remains of the original fort are still standing, but of the original structures, there is only the tower of the church to which a new church of the original size and model has since been added.THE STORY OF POCAHONTAS
An inscription on the wall of the church appropriately, but briefly, tells the story of Pocahontas, the Indian maiden who saved not only the life of John Smith, but the colony itself. She died on a visit to England at the age of 22, leaving an only son through whom many of the proudest families in Virginia claim their descent. By a moderate calculation her descendants in the course of three centuries now number at least 10,000 or more. Among them it will be recalled have been three presidents of the United States and the wife of another (Mrs. Wilson). The first account of her is when a girl of ten she played cartwheel within the fort, that is, turning springs on her hands and feet. It is a singular comment upon history that but for this maiden so many illustrious descendants including three presidents of the United States would have had no existence. What an accident of many accidents is all history when we reflect that no one who has lived could have ever lived (since the first pair) if a single one of his millions of ancestors had mated with a different person.
At Williamsburg we passed through the field of the battle fought there on 5 May, 1862, in which Hooker's corps overwhelmed the Confederates by their numbers, and in which the 5th and 12th North Carolina regiments lost so many men. We went thence to Yorktown which was famous not only in 1862, but still more from the surrender of Cornwallis on 19 October, 1781. A tall monument erected by the Federal Government marks this spot, where the British under General O'Hara, laid down their arms—for Cornwallis, under pretext of sickness, turned over that duty to him. At Toulon in 1793, when the star of Napoleon first rose above the horizon, the commander of the defeated British contingent was the same General O'Hara. The monument records that at this surrender, besides the French fleet in the bay, which headed off Cornwallis from crossing the York river, there were 7,500 French and 5,000 Americans, besides some militia. The writer some years ago was astonished at seeing in the Gallery of Battles at Versailles the picture of the Yorktown surrender, labeled as a French victory. The description on the monument, however, sustains the proposition, for without the French fleet and the French troops, the surrender would never have occurred. Among the French who were there present were several who became distinguished under Napoleon, among them his future chief of staff, Marshal Berthier, who was at that time a lieutenant.
From Yorktown we passed Big Bethel, where North Carolina has erected, as already stated, a monument “First at Bethel.” We went to Newport News, where the Merrimac sank the men of war Constitution and Cumberland and disabled the Minnesota, and would have taken the fort the next day but for the arrival of the Monitor. We also went to Langley Field and saw besides the flying machines the four giant dirigibles which the Government is preparing for future emergencies.
At Hampton Roads we visited the “Soldiers’ Home,” where there are 2,800 veterans of the war of 1861-65, besides a few from the Spanish and the World War. These veterans receive as pensions $1 per day, besides housing, clothing, food, and 75 cents additional for any work they choose to do. For over one-half century the South has been contributing its part in the support of these and similar institutions. It is a sad contrast to what North Carolina
feels able to do for her own soldiers. For many years every Federal soldier has been receiving a pension whether disabled or not.
At Fortress Monroe the fort still remains very much as it was when the writer, as a child, first saw it, in viewing the fireworks on the night of 4 July, 1854. He still remembers placing his hands on the shoulders of a lieutenant, who afterwards was one of the most distinguished generals in the Federal Army. In the fort are the casemates in which, by the order of General Miles, Jefferson Davis was incarcerated and handcuffed. Crossing to Ocean View we returned home via Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Emporia.VIRGINIA
There is no State of more historic interest than Virginia whose admirable river system caused her to be the first and most prosperous of the colonies. At the time of the Revolution she was the most prosperous and influential member of the Union and so remained for many years afterwards. She ceded to the new government the country beyond the Ohio out of which Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan were afterwards carved, and Kentucky. During the Civil War she was largely overrun by the enemy, and lost by Congressional amputation that part of her territory which now constitutes the State of West Virginia.
Today both in area and population Virginia stands below North Carolina. Eight of the presidents of the United States were born on her soil. In the first 40 years of the Union she furnished the president for 32 years, and Massachusetts for the other 8 years. She retains many attributes of her past greatness. While her population is less than that of this State, a much larger part of it is gathered into cities—Richmond, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Petersburg, Staunton, Roanoke, and Alexandria. The result is that her country population is very much less than in this State, and her public roads are not as good as ours. In 30 of her counties the negroes are in the majority which is the case in only 14 counties in this State and 10 of these are along our Virginia border. The Valley of Virginia, in many respects, has no superior in this country, and though General Sheridan boasted during the war that he had so devastated it that “a crow flying over it must carry his own rations,” soon after the war it revived and to this day it is one of the most prosperous and picturesque valleys in the world. The writer has seen its equal in beauty and fertility nowhere except in the Valley of Mexico.
Traveling through North Carolina the prosperity in the country districts is more evident than in Virginia. If the vast wealth which has been created from the soil in this State had remained here, we would have cities and towns and institutions far superior to any state north of us. But the millions which have been wrung from us by “Big Business” whose immense corporations have confiscated the profits which should have gone to our own people, have been invested in palaces and monopolies for the benefit of those who control the tobacco and cotton industries and the water powers of this State. Until we can remedy this evil and retain for the creators of wealth a fair share of what they create, North Carolina and other Southern States will remain far behind in wealth and prosperity, and we will continue to lose the advantages to which we are entitled by reason of our climate, our fertile soil and the industry of our people.
It has been stated that the records in Washington will show that one-half of the soldiers in the Federal Army were not over twenty-one years of age. This was not the case to the same extent in the Confederate Army for while probably a larger number of young boys entered the Confederate Army, we were compelled to enlist nearly all our arms-bearing men. Early in the war the age limit in the South was from 18 to 35 which was later raised to 45 and in 1864 we enlisted the Junior Reserves which took all the boys from 17 to 18 and the Senior Reserves, 45 to 50.
When on 12 April Edmund Ruffin, of Virginia, fired from Fort Moultrie in Charleston harbor and the shell, cleaving the air, burst over Fort Sumter leaving a wreath of white smoke, “the ball was opened” and North Carolina had to choose her partners. In less than six weeks our State Convention assembled, on 20 May, 1861, and by its unanimous vote we took our stand by our sister States of the South. But before that, by 1 May, troops were pouring into Raleigh for the inevitable struggle.ON THE RETREAT
Four years to a day from that 12 April, 1861, Johnston's army (in which the writer was then serving) on 12 April, 1865, fresh from the great 3 days battle at Bentonville was passing through Raleigh on the great Retreat. This was three days after Lee's surrender, though this was unknown in Johnston's army except perhaps to its chief and a few of the higher officers. Every one in that army, from drummer boy to general-in-chief, knew, however, that the end was near, but they were determined to stay “till the ball was over.” Among those divisions and corps, the largest brigade in the army was the Junior Reserves of three regiments and a battalion from North Carolina. Every soldier in it, and nearly every officer, was under eighteen. When that gun was fired at Charleston just four years before, these were all thirteen years of age. They were now four years older and they were veterans. They had driven back the gunboats at Fort Branch on Christmas day, 1864. They had gone to Belfield, Va., to check Warren's corps in its advance on Weldon. Attached to Hoke's division, the heroes of so many battlefields, they had crossed South West creek below Kinston under fire and aided in the capture of 2,500 Federal prisoners. Later, from 19 to 21 March, under Johnston, they helped to hold back Sherman, in his victorious march, at Bentonville, in the great three days battle there. During the war North Carolina, out of a voting population of 115,000, had sent in the field, from first to last, 127,500 soldiers, and had lost more men, according to the official records, than any other State in the South. Indeed, the records show that at Chancellorsville, when Jackson fell, North Carolina lost almost as many killed and wounded as all the other States in the South put together.
Does not this record entitle the State to place suitable memorials where they fell, to the memory of those who in obedience to her laws lie on every battlefield and to those, whether still living or dead, who always carried her flag well to the front? In Paris, on the left bank of the Seine, beneath the gilded dome of the Invalides lies the noblest tomb of all time, of porphyry and marble, which incloses the ashes of the greatest soldier of modern times, if not of all the centuries—Napoleon the Great. Across the Seine, beneath the more splendid memorial—to the victories of France—the Arch of Triumph, there has been interred by order of the Republic, a private soldier, who fell in battle, fighting for his country. His name and regiment unknown, this act of the justice of the ages typifies gratitude for those who fought not for fame but died simply for their duty and their country. It is for him, that I make this plea, for the man unknown save to God, who fell, as he stood, unnoted. All honor to our generals. We love them. Our counties and our cities bear their names. But let there be a stone to mark where valor fills unmarked graves, and place on it the inscription:
“Here they stood who bore the burden of the battle.”
1 July, 1921.
The News and Observer after publishing the above letters, appended the following note as to the war experience of its correspondent.
[Note.—Chief Justice Clark entered the Confederate Army as 2nd lieutenant and drillmaster, in May 1861, when 14 years of age. Attached to Pettigrew's regiment he went with it to Virginia. Before he was quite 16 he was promoted to first lieutenant and adjutant of 35 N. C. regiment, commanded by Col. Matt W. Ransom (later United States Senator). He was slightly wounded at Sharpsburg, Maryland, 17 September, 1862, and was at the first battle of Fredericksburg, when Burnside was so disastrously defeated. On his brigade being returned to this State in the spring of 1863, he resigned and entered the State University, where he graduated 2 June, 1864. On the very next day he re-entered the service in command as major of the Sixth Battalion of Junior Reserves (5 companies) and later became major and lieutenant-colonel of the 70 N. C. Regiment, and took part in several battles, among them the three days battle at Bentonsville in March, 1865, in which for two days he commanded the skirmish, or front line, of Nethercutt's brigade. Hoke's division, Johnston's army, and was paroled with that army near High Point, 2 May, 1865, more than three weeks after Lee's surrender. Many men who served with him, or under his command, are still living, scattered all over North Carolina.—Ed. N. & O.]THE REARGUARD OF THE CONFEDERACY—CHARLES M. STEDMAN
By Chief Justice Walter Clark, of North Carolina
When the grand army of half a million soldiers with which Napoleon entered Russia, defeated by the cavalry of the hail and the infantry of the snow and depleted in numbers, was on that disastrous and ever-memorable retreat and the last column of 9,000 men from all arms of the service under Marshal Ney reached the Beresina, the bridge had been destroyed. By the efforts of the heroic Marshal a bridge was built that night. When morning dawned 30,000 Russians occupied the amphitheater of hills; and while their artillery and the floating cakes of ice in the river threatened the frail structure, the enemy's cavalry and infantry made continuous assaults, but were beaten back. The bridge was broken again and again, but was as often repaired, and at nightfall the last of the 9,000 had passed. Ney then ordered the bridge broken down and, snatching a musket from a private soldier, fired the last shot at the enemy.
All night that weary and broken column toiled on. The Marshal, worn out by constant fighting and two days and nights without sleep, staggered on alone far in the rear. Near dawn a solitary figure was seen climbing the hill at the first French outpost. Enlarged by the mists of winter and the rising dawn, he seemed of gigantic size. The sentinel, alarmed at the apparition, brought his gun to the charge and cried: “Who goes there?” The figure replied: “Marshal Ney, the rear guard of the grand army.”
In a late memorable scene in Congress one lone Confederate, appropriately from North Carolina, remained in those halls as the last representative of the great armies of the Confederacy. When an assault was made upon the memories of Lee and Jackson, this brave soldier rose to the occasion and in ever-memorable words defied those who would tarnish the memory of the mighty dead.
As a young soldier, Charles M. Stedman, or Major Stedman, as his few surviving comrades love still to call him, was the ideal of the dashing Confederate soldier. At Chancellorsville, at the Wilderness, at Ream's Station, 25 August, 1864, “the North Carolina victory,” as it was called, when four North Carolina brigades assaulted and, almost unaided, drove Warren's Corps
from behind their breastworks, and on many other occasions during that great war he distinguished himself. When the Confederate army was starting on the memorable retreat from Petersburg to Appomattox, which has been styled appropriately “the funeral march of the Confederacy,” and the enemy were pressing on our rear, Gen. Louis G. Young, of Georgia, relates (4 North Carolina Regimental Histories, page 568): “In my memory is vividly stamped the face and figure of Maj. C. M. Stedman, of the 44th North Carolina Regiment, as he advanced to meet me, his sword drawn and raised, saying in loud tones: ‘Our men are ready to advance and only await the command.’ I was very much tempted to give the command, and many a time since wished I had.” On the recent occasion when the fame of our great commanders was traduced, this sole survivor of the armies of the Confederacy in Congress, with the enthusiasm of his youth and with the burning eloquence with which his voice has rung out in many a civic contest since, repelled the charge.
If the spirits of the soldiers of Lee and Jackson who sleep on many a battle-field on mountain side and by many a river and they who since, falling beneath the leaden hail of the years, have filled honored graves throughout the South, could be summoned and down the long lines could pass, the figure of this last soldier of the Confederacy in the halls of Congress, the shadowy squadrons and battalions and brigades would salute him as “the rear guard of the Confederacy,” faithful to his comrades and their fame to the last.
Note.—The above was printed in the Congressional Record, 11 August, 1921, being incorporated in the speech of Hon. Tom Connally, Member of Congress from Texas.
FIRST AT BETHEL
FARTHEST TO THE FRONT AT GETTYSBURG AND CHICKAMAUGA
LAST AT APPOMATTOX
Allied Printing Raleigh N. C. Trades Council Union Label