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Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 9. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), Reminiscences of the army of Northern Virginia, or the boys in gray, as I saw them from Harper's Ferry in 1861 to Appomattox Court-house in 1865. (search)
It will be for me, therefore, a privilege and a pleasure to recall a few reminiscences of our grand old army, as I saw it, and to give some pen pictures of it, which I trust will be true to life, of interest to old comrades and others, and not devoid of historic value. I will not dwell upon the details of leaving home — at sundown on the memorable 17th day of April, 1861--in obedience to a telegram from the governor of Virginia, of the ovation along the route to Manassas, Front Royal, Strausburg, and Winchester to Harper's Ferry, nor of the bloodless victory in the capture of the armory, arsenal, and an invaluable quantity of arms, machinery, etc., which were safely sent to Richmond. The world has rarely seen a more splendid body of men than the volunteer companies who composed the troops which captured Harper's Ferry. Among the rank and file were the very flower of our Virginia men, and, perhaps, half of those who afterwards attained the highest rank in the Virginia forces were
Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 9. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), Reminiscences of the army of Northern Virginia. (search)
had not long to wait. General Banks retreated down the valley, and took a strong position at Strausburg, while Jackson raised the drooping hopes of the Confedracy by the following characteristic disn which suddenly rises from the valley opposite Swift Run Gap, and as suddenly terminates near Strausburg, fifty miles below), and is one of the loveliest spots that the sun shines upon. As we moved to lead the advance, which was directed on Front Royal, in order to flank Banks's position at Strausburg. The ubiquitous Ashby had pressed his cavalry close up to Strausburg, and had stretched acrosStrausburg, and had stretched across the main valley a cordon of pickets, which completely concealed our movements as we pressed on rapidly towards our objective point. I well remember when Jackson first came to the front of our columant fight of Col. Ashby, at Bucktown, and the complete turning of the position of the enemy at Strausburg, were all results of these rapid movements which I have not space to describe in detail. We
Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 9. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), Reminiscences of the army of Northern Virginia. (search)
ming in sight of Middletown, Jackson saw that the pike was filled with a rapidly retreating column, and immediately he ordered Captain Poague, of the famous Rockbridge artillery, to open on the moving mass, while General Dick Taylor was ordered to charge with his splendid Louisiana brigade. The best troops find a sudden attack on them while retreating in column a severe test, and these broke in wildest confusion, the main body hurrying on towards Winchester, while a part retreated back to Strausburg. Our brigade was hurried forward at a double quick, but only got there in time to see the rear of the retreating column, and witness the wild confusion presented by upturned wagons, dead and wounded horses and men, muskets, knapsacks, etc., scattered over the fields, while pursued and pursuers were disappearing in the distance. Our column now pressed on along the main pike to Winchester, passing along the whole route the deserted wagons of the enemy. At Newton there was a temporary chec
Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 9. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), Reminiscences of the army of Northern Virginia. (search)
allow himself to be cut off, and his foot cavalry proved fully equal to the emergency. On the afternoon of the 30th of May we entered the lists for a race to Strausburg. I can never forget that march. Press forward, was the constant order, and when the troops were well nigh exhausted, word was passed down the column: General egiment accomplished a march of more than forty miles without rations, and fairly won the sobriquet of foot cavalry. Meantime the main army had hurried on to Strausburg, upon which point Fremont was rapidly advancing, while Shields was waiting to join him from Front Royal. The head of Ewell's column filed to the right at StrauStrausburg, and was soon engaged in a sharp skirmish with Fremont's advance, to whom we offered the gage of battle, until the Stonewall brigade and the Second Virginia regiment could come up. The object of the halt having been thus accomplished, Jackson leisurely moved up the Valley with his prisoners and his immense wagon trains, load
Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 9. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), Reminiseences of the army of Northern Virginia. (search)
er to have heard General Ewell say just the day before we broke camp and started for Richmond: Well, our reinforcements are coming up, and after a few days rest we shall march rapidly down the Valley again and beat up the enemy's quarters about Strausburg, and when some time afterwards I intimated to General Ewell's chief of staff that he had merely made that remark for effect, as he, of course, knew of the contemplated movement, that officer assured me that General Ewell (the second in command)agog with the glorious news. Several hours afterwards Colonel Munford sent back his guests, who, of course, carried the news to headquarters. Colonel Munford pushed his advance down to New Market, and the Federal army immediately retreated to Strausburg, where they were busily engaged in fortifying against Jackson at the very time when the foot cavalry were thundering on McClellan's flank before Richmond. Our march was so secretly undertaken and so secretly executed that our higher officers