I count it my proud privilege to have entered the service as “high private in the rear rank” of the famous old Thirteenth Virginia Infantry, and I do not hesitate to affirm that (while that regiment was not superior to others of our army in morale
) it would be impossible to pick out of any community in the land a nobler body of men than they were.
Our colonel was A. P. Hill
, who, by gallantry and skill, and solid merit, rose to the rank of lieutenant general; achieved a reputation for the highest qualities of the soldier, and on that last sad day at Petersburg
, with a sick furlough in his pocket, yielded up his noble life in an attempt to restore his broken lines.
Our lieutenant colonel
was James A. Walker
, who won his wreath and stars by cool courage and notable skill; who was the last commander of the old “Stonewall Brigade;” who led Early
's old division to Appomattox Court-House, and who has since occupied a prominent position; is now Lieutenant Governor
, and exerts a potent influence in the affairs of the Commonwealth
Our major was J. E. B. Terrill
, one of the very best drill-masters in the service, whose gallantry was conspicuous on every occasion, and whose well-merited appointment as brigadier general the Confederate Senate confirmed at the very hour at which he fell at Bethesda Church, in June, 1864, while leading the old Fourth Virginia Brigade in a heroic charge.
Our company officers were, many of them, men fitted for the highest command, and among the rank and file were those competent, in every respect, to command a brigade, or even a division.
There were not a few private soldiers in that army who were wealthy planters, merchant princes, leading citizens, men of. rank and influence, at home.
It has been a subject of general remark that since the war our Governors, legislators, Congressmen, Senators
, city and county officers, our leading business and professional men, the engineers on our railroads, the professors in our colleges, and even our preachers, have been, as a rule, selected from among those who “wore the gray.”
The Radical press has sneered at this, and held it up as a proof of the existence of a “rebellious spirit” still in the South
It is true that there is a feeling among our people that they owe something to the men. who risked their lives for what they believed to be the cause of justice and right; but the real truth of the matter is that when we look for one of our best
men to fill any position of honor, emolument or trust, we naturally turn to a Confederate soldier — for the native talent, education, and moral worth of the South
were in our army.
But the religious
element which entered that army, or was developed in it, has absolutely no parallel in all history.