Reminiscences of the army of Northern Virginia.
Paper no. 8.
“Seven days around Richmond.”
The memorable 27th day of June, 1862, found our column in motion at an early hour, and as my own regiment (the Thirteenth Virginia Infantry), under its heroic Colonel
, J. A. Walker
, was in the advance of Ewell
's division and Jackson
's corps, I had a very favorable opportunity of seeing and hearing much of interest that occurred on that bloody but glorious day.
A friend gave me a very vivid description of a meeting between Lee
and A. P. Hill
on the roadside not far from Walnut-Grove Church. General Lee
sat on a cedar stump; Jackson
stood around him; the staff officers of each gathered in groups hard by, and the three conversed in earnest undertones as Lee
gave his Lieutenants
their final instructions.
I did not have the privilege of witnessing this scene, but I saw all three of them during the day, and could well imagine what a grand subject for the painter's brush the picture presented.
I had seen General Lee
only once before — the day on which he came from Washington
to offer his stainless sword to the land that gave him birth and the State
to which his first allegiance was due. Then his raven hair and mustache were only slightly silvered.
Now the cares of the past twelve months had whitened his hair and full beard, and he seemed at least twenty years older.
As I gazed that day upon this splendid figure, five feet eleven inches high, and weighing 175 pounds, clad in a uniform of simple gray, with only the stars which every Confederate Colonel
was entitled to wear, and saw those brown hazel eyes, that beaming countenance, and the whole bearing of that “king of men,” as he gracefully mounted his charger and quietly rode to the front, I was fully impressed with the idea that I had seen one every inch a soldier, who was prepared to handle with signal ability the splendid army under his command, and lead it to glorious victory.
“Old Jack” I have described before, but as I saw him that day in his dingy uniform, covered with the dust of the Valley
, his faded cadet cap tilting on his nose, mounted on his old sorrel, nibbling a lemon and seeming to me to be in a very bad humor as he gave his sharp, crisp orders, and was evidently very impatient at the delay in the march of