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[605]

The list of casualties in the division is defective, in that no reports have been received from the First, Third, Fourth, and Ninth regiments Virginia cavalry, General Fitz. Lee's brigade. Captain J. Hardeman Stuart, who was sent to capture the enemy's signal party, was deterred by the number of the guard; but the man who had his horse left without him, and he marched afoot with Longstreet's column to Groveton, in which memorable battle he shouldered a musket and fought as a private. He was killed at the storming of Groveton Heights, among the foremost. No young man was so universally beloved, or will be more universally mourned. He was, moreover, a young man of fine attainments and bright promise.

J. E. B. Stuart, Major-General, commanding.


Reply of Major-General Stuart to Major-General Trimble's statement of the capture of Manassas.

headquarters cavalry division, A. N. Va., April 25, 1863.
General R. H. Chilton, A. A. G.:
General: My attention has been recently called to Brigadier-General J. R. Trimble's report of the capture of Manassas on the night of the twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh of August, 1863.

As affecting my own official report of the matter, it is proper I should state the following as addendum to my report, and request that it be so filed, together with the corroborating statements of Surgeon Eliason, with me at the time, and Colonel Wickham, who show wherein General Trimble is in error in his report.

Human memory is frail, I know; and while, in what I have said or may say on this subject, my recollection is as vivid as upon any other contemporaneous event, about which there is no difference, I lay no claim to infallibility, and I am very far from imputing to the veteran General Trimble any improper intention or motive in what he has said. Wishing to be brief, I hope the accompanying papers, (A and B,) referred to above, and also General Trimble's papers of the sixth of January and tenth of April, and my own official report, may be attentively read; what follows will then be better understood.

The idea which, strange to say, never entered General Trimble's head, never for one moment left mine — that he was under my command on that occasion. It is hard to account for, and yet I remember that he sent me no message upon the capture of Manassas, but sent it direct to General Jackson; and besides, he failed to submit to me his official report, which he should have done. I attributed these omissions to a certain jealousy of authority which officers older in years are apt to feel toward a young superior in rank, and never suspected that the question of my being in command was involved in any kind of doubt in his mind. I received instructions from General Jackson, and was told by him that Trimble's brigade would be sent to me. I pushed on with the cavalry to surprise the place; but the train which ran the gantlet at Bristoe put the garrison on the alert. I awaited Trimble's arrival to make the attack, as well as to give Wickham more time, with his regiment, to seize the avenues in rear of Manassas, which he did in a very creditable manner, as shown in his report. Now, as to the interview when General Trimble came up: He says, “It was arranged between General Stuart and myself that I should form line,” &c. How arranged? I was a Major-General, he a Brigadier; I assigned especially to this duty, and notified that General Trimble would report to me. It is true that I am not in the habit of giving orders, particularly to my seniors in years, in a dictatorial and authoritative manner, and my manner, very likely, on this occasion was more suggestive than imperious. Indeed, I may have been content to satisfy myself that the disposition which he himself proposed accorded with my own ideas, without any blustering show of “orders” to do this or do that. My recollection is clear that I indicated that the centre should rest on the railroad. The cavalry under Wickham had already been sent long before Trimble's arrival to seize the avenues of escape and await events. Wickham, Eliason, and myself have corresponding impressions, without conference, as to the events of the night. Wickham says he carried out his instructions to the letter, and reported to General Trimble as soon as the place was taken. He says the first fire occurred about twelve, and that it was about two A. M. before any further firing was heard, and then the place was taken. General Trimble says the place was taken at half past 12 A. M. Eliason thinks it was even later than two. So do I. All accounts agree, General Trimble's too, that the place was taken without difficulty. General Trimble remarks that he admits that it was taken without difficulty, so far as my execution contributed to its capture. I certainly could not have participated more than I did without officiously interposing to assist Brigadier-General Trimble to command two regiments of his brigade, in an enterprise attended with so little difficulty. I commanded in the capture of Manassas quite as much as either General Jackson or General Lee would have done had either been present. That Colonel Flournoy did not enter the place till two or two and a half hours after its capture; he may have been ordered elsewhere previously. In fact other regiments did not get in till late the next day. Does that signify that Wickham, with his regiment, was not in the right place and performed the important part assigned him, as stated so circumstantially by him? General Trimble says I did not reach the place till seven or eight o'clock. I was in plain view all the time, and rode through, around, and all about the place soon after its capture. [See Dr. Eliason's statement.] General T. is mistaken. I can account for it, however, by the fact that I did not find him till probably that hour, for I looked and inquired for him, but could not find him. I took direction of affairs. I gave orders. I know they were obeyed, by infantry as well as by cavalry.


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