Stuart was made a Brigadier-General for his gallantry and skill on the outposts, and wrote Colonel Hill, who was then comanding the brigade, a most complimentary letter concerning the conduct of the Thirteenth Virginia regiment. I recollect that a facetious private in one of our companies (poor fellow, he fell at Gaines's Mill in 1862, bravely doing his duty) remarked in reference to this letter, which was read out on dress parade, “I do not like it at all. It means ‘you are good fellows, and there is more bloody work for you to do.’ It is preparatory to butting our heads against those stone walls down about Arlington. I would rather exchange our Minnie muskets for old flint-locks, and get no compliments from the Generals, and then, perhaps, we might be sent back to Orange Court-house, to guard the sick and wounded.” I remember one night, two of us were on picket-post in a drenching rain, and had received orders to be especially alert, as the enemy were expected to advance that night. We had constructed very respectable breastworks in a fence-corner, with port-holes for our guns, and were prepared to give a warm reception to any approaching blue-coats. About two o'clock in the morning, the rain still pouring in torrents, my comrade was quietly smoking his pipe, while I was keeping a sharp lookout, when he suddenly called me by name, and said: “I want here and now, in this drenching rain, on the outpost, to lay down a plank in my future political platform. If I live to get through this war, and two candidates are presented for my suffrage, the very first question I mean to ask will be: ‘Which one of them fit?’ and I mean always to vote for the man who fit. I tell you those able-bodied men who are sleeping in feather beds to-night, while we are standing here in the rain to guard their precious carcasses, must be content to take back seats when we get home.” I gave him my hand there in the dark, and my pledge that I would stand with him on the camp platform. These frequent movements with cavalry, often requiring long or very rapid marches, made the men begin to speak of the regiment as the “foot cavalry.” But the first time I ever heard the sobriquet publicly applied was after the evacuation of Manassas, in March, 1862, while General Ewell was holding with his division the line of the
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