Those who read history with thoughtful eyes derive as much pleasure from the study of character as from that of events.
I think that no where in the power of a noble character more strikingly illustrated than in the case of Lord Howe, the young English officer who was killed in one of the early skirmishes of the war waged for the possession of Canada
, some years before the American Revolution
achieved nothing remarkable, and yet he was deeply regretted, and all who read of him even now, are filled with a tender pity for his sad fate, so much so, that within the last few years the people of New York have given expression to their sympathy by erecting a monument to his memory on the spot where he fell, near Lake George
, more than a hundred years after his death.
Our hero, Captain Harleston
, was destined to serve his country in a far greater war, with conspicious efficiency, and to lose his life whilst participating in the most glorious defense that has ever been made by any city on this Continent.
The analogy between himself and Lord Howe lies simply in the beauty of his character.
Those who knew him are more apt to think of what he was
than of what he did;
and like Lord Howe his personal qualities have caused the many friends who loved him to regard his memory with an almost romantic sentiment of tenderness.
Many earnest souls went up to the feet of God from the battle-fields of the South
during our late war, but none ascended on less dust-soiled wings, than the one that put on immortality amongst the ruins of Fort Sumter
, the morning of November 24th 1863. “Happy are they who die in their youth when their renown is around them,” says Ossian.
Aye! happy truly is that young soldier whose record is fair, purpose pure, and heart single, for then he earns “the quick promotion of a glorious death,” and casts the honor of his devotion and his martyrdom into the balance, in favor of the cause that he loved, and has hallowed by the sacrifice of his life.
From thenceforth he belongs to his country, and is crowned forever in the hearts of all men with the laurel and the amaranth.
It is a high destiny; but the crown is won by pain and anguish.
Let us remember this, and be proportionately grateful.
Francis Huger Harleston
was a son of South Carolina
in every sense of the term.
A representative of the type of people of the old State Born of two families connected with her Revolutionary history, and indoctrinated to the hearts core with the love of “States rights” and constitutional liberty; holding in respect the “traditions of the Elders” and proud of the distinctions of the past, as well as regardful of the honor of the present.
, an ancestor, was a soldier of the Revolution, and one of the officers who fought in Fort Moultrie
against the British
The many centennials that have been celebrated during the course of the last few years seem to have brought those far off days nearer, and I think that it is very easy for us to picture to ourselves that most brilliantly successful fight of the Revolutionary war.
When the first of June 1776, dawned, the British fleet appeared off Charleston
, (numbering forty or fifty sail), and many faint hearts said loudly “It is folly and madness to attempt to oppose it. The English navy is the dread of the world.
What can a little fort made of palmetto logs and bags of sand, do against ‘men of war’ ” ? But Governor John Rutledge
, Colonel Moultrie
, his stout-hearted regiment, and other patriots replied, “We can try to turn the enemy back, and by God's help will drive them out of the harbor and save the State
, for a while at any rate, from the horrors of war.”
General Charles Lee
who commanded the Continental
troops, called Fort Moultrie
, “a slaughter pen,” and spoke of evacuating Sullivan's Island
Therefore Governor Rutledge
wrote the following laconic order to General Moultrie
, the commander of the State
During the 4th of June, thirty-six of the transports crossed the bar of the harbor, in front of Rebellion road, and anchored about three miles from Sullivan's Island
On the morning of the 28th of June 1776, the fleet weighed anchor and came sailing in beautifully, in line of battle, Admiral Sir Peter Parker
's fifty gun three-decker the Bristol
, leading the van as flag-ship, followed by the Experiment
a fifty gun ship, four frigates, the Active
, each of twenty-eight guns.
, of twenty guns, the Friendship
, an armed vessel of twenty-two guns; Ranger
sloop, and Thunder-Bomb, each of eight guns.
Between ten and eleven o'clock the Thunder-Bomb began the attack, and a most tremendous canonade ensued.
The armed vessels sailed past Fort Moultrie
, and each gave her a broad-side from their right hand batteries; then they rounded to, turned back, and raked her with those on their left.
The people of Charleston
assembled on the wharfs and looked on, in almost breathless suspense.
Thus, the engagement went on all day; the ships forming a figure of 8 as they wheeled up and down in front of the fort, whilst the Carolinians replied slowly to their fire, for ammunition was short.
At one time when the Bristol
fired her broad-side of twenty-five guns, the fort was struck in so many places simultaneously that it trembled to its base, and Colonel Moultrie
thought for a moment the whole structure was going to give way and fall to pieces under their feet; but the tough palmetto logs did their
part well, and never splintered.
Therefore has the palmetto ever since been taken as the emblem of the State
, and is dear to the hearts of her people, for it is also the symbol of courage and resolution.
Night closed in, but the battle still continued.
The whole population of Charleston
, including old men and women, spent the entire night on the wharfs and at White Point
garden, trying to guess by the flashes of the artillery which side was gaining the victory.
The firing gradually slackened, and at eleven o'clock ceased; but it was not until morning, that they knew that the “bonnie blue flag,” still floated from Fort Moultrie
Some hours later they saw the English ships sail off on the ebb tide, looking far more handsome in the eyes of the weary watchers than they had ever done before.
The proud fleet was defeated and driven off. The Bristol
had forty men killed, and seventy-one wounded. Every man who was stationed in the beginning of the action on her quarter deck, was either killed or wounded.
The Experiment had twenty-three killed, and seventy-six wounded. The Acteon
had nine killed, and six wounded. The Solbay
had eight wounded. Sir Peter Parker
was wounded; and Lord William Campbell
the late Governor
of the Province, who had voluntered his services in the expedition, received a wound which eventually occasioned his death.
The loss of the garrison was comparatively trifling; they had ten killed, and twenty-two wounded, and after this successful defense, South Carolina
had a respite of three years from the calamities of war.
won much renown in this affair by replacing the State
flag, that was shot down by the English
, under fire
. Governor Rutledge
the day after the battle presented his own silver mounted sword to him, and complimented him before the entire regiment.
A monument commenorative of his gallant action has also been erected by the “Palmetto guard,” in Charleston
, which was unveiled on the centennial anniversary of the battle, June 28th, 1876.
Colonel Frank Huger
, Captain Harleston
's grandfather, was also a soldier, but he was chiefly noted for the daring attempt he made along with a young German, to deliver General LaFayette
from the Austrian prison
I have seen letters from General LaFayette
to Colonel Huger
, in which he styles himself “your devoted, affectionate and grateful friend, Lafayette
At the age of sixteen Captain Harleston
began his training as a soldier, at the South Carolina
Military Academy, where he remained four years, graduating at twenty with the first honor of the Institute
and having throughout his collegiate course always maintained the highest position in his class.
He was also Captain
of the Cadets.
It is not often that a young man wins both of these distinctions; as the first is the reward for intellectual proficiency, and the latter is gained by military aptitude and attention to the strict rules of discipline.
About six months after he left the “Citadel” the agitation preceeding the war began.
As soon as South Carolina
“seceded” from the Union
, he volunteered his services with his old corps, the Cadets, then stationed on Morris Island
, and was made Adjutant of the battalion, commanded by Major P. F. Stevens
He was present on the memorable occasion when the Star of the West was fired upon and driven back.
When the Cadets were relieved from duty on Morris Island
, he returned to the city and was soon afterwards appointed First Lieutenant
in the First Regiment South Carolina Regular Artillery, then a battalion, and assigned to duty at Fort Moultrie
, where he remained during the months of preparation which preceeded the reduction of Fort Sumter
Just before the attack he was transferred to the Iron battery at Cumming
s Point, where his efficiency and skill were conspicuous during the bombardment.
On the occupation of Fort Sumter
April 13th, 1861, by our forces, he returned to Fort Moultrie
and was soon afterwards made Adjutant of the Battalion of Regular Artillery.
In January, 1862, he was promoted to a Captaincy in his regiment, and assigned to the command of Company D, then stationed in Fort Sumter
He assisted General Ripley
very materially in the organization of that splendid corps of artillerists who served their guns so faithfully and defended Charleston
with such skill and bravery, throughout all the long years of the war.
To take raw recruits, discipline and make regulars of them was hard enough, but to form them into artillerists was a still more difficult task.
once said to a friend laughingly “If any one wants to sound the depth of human stupidity he has only to take newly enlisted men and drill them for a couple of hours at the guns.
I show my squads fifty times in succession how to load and fire, and when I order them on the fifty-first occasion to do it without directions, I find that they know absolutely nothing.
I actually have to clench my teeth to keep from swearing at them, their awkwardness and dullness of comprehension is so wonderful.”
Yet by dint of patience and practice these very men became surprisingly expert in their handling of heavy ordnance, and could calculate with wonderful accuracy the length of fuse that would be required, and the proper elevation to give to their mortars, according to the distance that they wished to throw their shells, and their weight.
The battalion of regulars was increased until it formed two regiments and a battalion.
The First artillery, stationed at Fort Sumter
, the other regiment at Fort Moultrie
, and the battalion on James's Island
. Captain Harleston
belonged to the First artillery, and took great pride in his company.
Iron plated ships of war are now in use all over the world, but the idea was orginated at Charleston
, by Captain Hamilton
's floating ironclad battery, and the first gun-boats of a similar construction were those that came from the North
and attacked Fort Sumter
April 7th, 1863.
This iron-clad fleet had been expected by us for some time, as they had been loudly vaunted by the Northern
press for months before they arrived off Charleston
, and we received the New York papers constantly from the “blockade runners,” and knew therefore, that they were supposed to be invulnerable, and that they believed they could “take Charleston
,” without the least difficulty.
The Ironsides, a large iron-plated war ship, and seven turreted ironclad gun-boats steamed into the harbor at about 3 o'clock, on the afternoon of the 7th, of April 1863, and began their attack upon Fort Sumter
; but in a short time they were so roughly handled by the artillerists of Fort Sumter
, and the other forts and batteries around the bay, that they were forced to withdraw from the coutest, badly crippled and with their “prestige” entirely gone, like the English fleet that had come on a similar mission eighty-six years before.
The artillery practice was so good that the Brooke
gun at Fort Sumter
fired three shells that struck the Keokuk successively
almost in the same place, jarring the plates and tearing her so badly that she could hardly get out of range, and sunk during the night with her guns and everything on board (which all fell into the hands of the Confederates
.) This is only one instance illustrative of their skill; many more might be added.
The channel batteries and the sea-face batteries were the only ones that were employed by Fort Sumter
in this important engagement.
commanded the guns “in barbette” of the channel battery, and exhibited great coolness, while his precision of aim was admirable.
His calm, cheerful composure of manner always produced a striking effect upon his men in times of danger, steadying their excitement and arousing their emulation.
An amusing incident occurred during this fight, which may help to illustrate the spirit of the garrison.
In the midst of the fray, when they did not know if the fort would be knocked to pieces or not, a Sergeant double-shotted a gun, which fortunately did not explode when it was fired, but the recoil was so violent that it leaped completely off
its carriage down into the parade ground.
He turned to Captain Harleston
immediately, saluted, and said coolly, “Missing your honor.”
“Who is missing?”
asked Captain Harleston
, inspecting his company closely.
“A ten-inch Columbiad, if you please, sir.”
This joke excited much merriment among the men, for a ten-inch Columbiad is of such a size and of so great weight, that it would be almost as easy to lose a church steeple as a gun of this caliber.
The famous old Brooke
cannon was the only piece of ordnance left by the United States
authorities at the Charleston Arsenal
, when they turned it over to Mr. Porter
, about two years ago, for his fine school.
There it lies rusting away in the grass.
The boys play “tag” against the wheels, and climb upon the old war-dog to con over their lessons, quite unconscious that the hoarse voice that bayed from that iron muzzle reverberated far and near over the land, and helped to accomplish a feat of world-wide fame.
The fighting for Charleston
, which was to continue almost to the close of the war, began again on the 10th of July, 1863, at Battery Mitchel, on Morris Island
, (manned by the Regulars of the First Regiment.) Battery Wagner was heavily assaulted again and again that same night by the Union
forces, who were driven back with great slaughter; a detachment from the First Regiment doing good service there, too; and, during the continuous struggle that ensued for the possession of Morris Island
, companies from the First Regiment were constantly on duty at Batteries Wagner and Gregg, handling the guns with marked zeal and great accuracy of aim.
When an artillery officer was asked for to remount the cannon that had been dismounted by the firing of the enemy, Captain Harleston
was selected for the dangerous and difficult task, as especially fitted for the duty; and he accomplished it successfully in spite of the incessant shelling under which the work had to be executed.
After the Federals
became masters of Morris Island
, Fort Sumter
was once more attacked, by the fleet, and also by the enormous guns that they mounted on the batteries of Morris Island
, and it was soon battered to a mass of ruins under their cross fire; for it was not built to withstand the ordnance used in modern days.
Each of the huge shells thrown at her, crashed though the walls as though they were made of paste board.
The regulars got no rest night or day, and every moment their lives were in jeopardy; for besides the danger from the enemy, they were in imminent peril from the great store of powder (131,000.
pounds,) and the loaded shells, in their magazine.
Had a single spark entered
there, and ignited the powder, no one in the fort would have lived to tell the tale, for each brick would have been blown to atoms in a minute.
Every man in the garrison knew this.
On one occasion a shell struck the ventilator and exploded so near the magazine that the blast of the powder burst open the door, and filled it with smoke.
Lieutenant William Grimball
and several other men were in the magazine at the time.
Another day a shell from the fleet fell in the casement adjoining the shell-room, setting it on fire.
The explosion broke a hole in the partition wall between the rooms, and filled the shell room with so dense a smoke that it also was supposed to be on fire, and the piles of loaded shells were momentarily expected to prove the terrible fact by exploding singly or in concert.
At this critical moment when the nerves of the coolest men in the garrison were strung up to the highest pitch of excitement, and the hearts of the bravest beat quickly, Lieutenant Eldred Fickling
(then in command of company F.), was ordered to “take his company into the shell-room, and remove the shells and cartridges.”
This command was instantly obeyed, and the order executed without a second of hesitation.
Could a greater proof of courage or good discipline be imagined?
Living on the crater of a volcano that is rumbling and threatening to make an eruption at any instant is the only situation that can be compared to the position of the Regulars of the First Regiment, until the powder was shipped by night to Charleston
They could have rendered it perfectly harmless in a half hour's time, by flooding the magazine, and saturating the powder in the shells with water, but powder was too valuable in the Confederate States
to be thrown away, even when the lives of an entire regiment were at stake.
Night after night they were kept busy removing the cannon and ammunition from the fort, although they were quite aware of the fact that at any second the powder and the shells that they were handling might be exploded by the constant firing of the enemy, under which they worked.
All day working parties were steadily engaged in repairing the huge breaches made in the walls of the fort, by digging sand from the parade ground, and filling bags with it, that were used to stop the numerous gaps.
Moreover, the heat was intense; the walls having become a compact mass of mortar and bricks, there was no ventilation, whilst an August sun beamed down upon their heads.
The thermometer stood at 120 degrees during the day, in the broken casemates.
After the harassment and fatigue of night duty, the officers who were “relieved” would lie down to rest in these “quarters,” and when they arose from their
unrefreshing sleep, they could actually wring the moisture from their garments.
Yet in spite of the weariness and the danger, the buoyant spirit and courage of the regiment was magnificent, endless instances of presence of mind and cool resolution might be enumerated to prove this, but I will only mention one or two that recur to my memory just now.
Lieutenant George Dargan
was standing on the “terre-plain” of Battery Gregg, supervising the firing of the guns under his command, and wore a cap with a double facing, a shell burst near him and a fragment of it cut the front facing clear off. Without moving, except to raise his hand and reverse the cap so that his eyes might be protected by the other facing from the fierce glare of the sun, he coolly nodded his head towards the Federals
and remarked, “I bet you could not do that again.”
Five men were sitting in the hollow space besides a large cannon at Battery Wagner, and were about to eat their breakfast, when a gently smoking shell dropped right in between them; had it exploded, they would all have probably been killed in that narrow enclosure, but; before the tardily burning fuse could reach the powder, that it was intended to ignite, Sergeant
------with astonishing promptitude and courageous self-possession picked up the adjacent coffee pot
and poured the contents into the vent of the shell, thus instantly extinguishing the fire by this simple expedient, without rising from his seat.
Had he belonged to the English
army he would certainly have received the Victoria
cross, as a reward for his cool bravery, and for having in all human likelihood saved the lives of his comrades.
Lieutenant James S. Heyward
was writing a letter to his mother, at Fort Sumter
; he left his seat, crossed over to the mantle-piece to get his tobacco and refill his pipe, but before he could do so, down came a shell which smashed both chair and table to pieces.
He picked up his letter from among the “debris,” and added this postcript.
“A 300 pound shell has torn off the last page of my letter, so you will have to imagine what I wrote, as I have not time to re-write it.”
Lieutenant John Middleton
, had been on fatigue duty all night.
When “relieved” in the morning, he threw himself upon his bed, and was soon sound asleep.
He had placed his watch and several other things upon a chair besides him; suddenly an immense shell came crashing in, shattering the chair, bed, and every thing, and dashing him violently across the room.
As soon as he awoke to conciousness and discovered the state of affairs in his apartment he picked up his watch, put it to his ear to ascertain if the jar had stopped the works,
and observed in a tone of great dissatisfaction to the friends who had hurried in, supposing that he had been killed, “Plague that shell!
It has split my hair brush.”
Of course this was an affectation of indifference, for no man can knowingly escape, almost by a miracle, from a terrible death, and really remain unmoved; but even affectation may be admired where it evinces pluck.
They all laughed at their perils, and took a sort of pride in making light of them.
Yet I think that none of those soldiers who have now sobered down into middle aged men, and have lost their youthful exuberence of spirit, would care to go back and repeat their experiences at Morris Island
and Fort Sumter
Many of those who survive still dream of the old times occasionally; in slumber they fancy that they are lying on the well known parapet, by the cannon, waiting and watching for the foe; or imagine that they again hear the shells bursting around them.
Colonel Alfred Rhett
and the gentlemen who messed with him, had just sat down to dinner one day when a shell interrupted their frugal feast by dropping into the middle of the table, wounding several officers, and filling the casemate with a blinding blast of powder, and a shower of bricks and mortar.
Several individuals rushed in at once, to see if the commander, or any of the others had been killed; amongst these was Colonel Rhett
's faithful old negro servant, Dick
; as soon as he perceived that his master had not been destroyed he proceeded to take a very practical view of the situation, looking with profound disgust and melancholy at the chaotic pile of rubbish composed of about a cart load of bricks, and the fragrants of the table, crockery, etc., he said slowly, shaking his head despondently.
“All the dinner is gone, and God only knows where we are to find any more.”
The regulars were very particular as to the good appearance of their guns, their dress, and everything appertaining to them; those who were disposed to be critical, even called them dandies.
In summer the officers often wore as an undress uniform, white linen suits, set off and rendered military by their brass buttons and handsome scarlet “kepis.”
This costume was far more suited to a Southern garrison than the heavy padded broad-cloth regulation uniforms which they always were obliged to wear on parade.
Soon after sun-rise one morning during the bombardment, Colonel Rhett
went upon the parapet to examine through his field-glass the progress of the Federals
works on Morris Island
He was dressed all in white, and standing just at the head of the steps that led up to the parapet, with the rays of the eastern sun striking full on his tall figure, and the dark piles of sand bags on either hand, he presented a fine
target to the Union
artillerists who at once took advantage of the opportunity, and sent a shell at him, he saw it coming and knew that he
was the mark aimed at, but he would not go below to avoid the danger.
The Federal gunners proved themselves to be expert, for the shell whizzed by so near, that he had to throw himself on his elbow upon the sand bags to escape from its direct course; seeing him bent some-what to the left they supposed that he was cut in two, and were quite astonished when a moment later he drew himself erect, and calmly continued his inspection, with that characteristic composure under difficult circumstances, which helped to give tone to his regiment.
The shell after roaring by him, fell into the parade ground where it burst with a tremendous report.
ceaselessly and cheerfully performed his trying duty through these long weeks of wearying fatigue and danger, and fully merited his share of the “Thanks of South Carolina
, to the First regiment of South Carolina Regular Artillery;” and also of General G. T. Beaureguard
's official thanks to the same regiment.
Bomb-proofs were constructed and then
the fort was turned over to an infantry guard.
From the 10th, July, until September 5th, Colonel Rhett
, and the First Regiment had been fighting night and day against the fleet, and the land batteries of the Federals
; besides the immense fatigue duty that they had done.
Troops ammunition and provisions had often been carried in small boats the livelong night from Sumter
to Morris Island
, by the First Artillery, and they had taken an active part in all of the fighting at Battery Mitchel, Battery Wagner, and Battery Gregg, whilst the guns of Sumter
kept up a steady unremitting fire upon the enemy's camps, assaulting columns, and working parties, and the fleet, until at last she stood a silent dismantled heap of ruins.
Invaluable pieces of huge ordnance, shells, shot, powder, and large supplies of pork, flour, sugar, etc., in danger of destruction had been preserved by the hard work of the garrison; but a general mention like this can convey no adequate idea of either the severity or value of these extraordinary exertions of officers and men.
The cannon having been removed Fort Sumter
was no longer an artillery post, yet nevertheless, after the First Regiment had rested a few weeks, the companies were again sent down in detachments, to act as infantry, and assist in garrisoning it. This regiment did hard service, and lost many men at Batteries Mitchel, Wagner, Gregg, Fort
Sumter, Battery Pringle
, and at Averasboro
, and Bentonsville in North Carolina
, where they acted as infantry, after the evacuation of Charleston
------'s brigade, which preceeded the brigade of regulars, “broke,” and ------'s regiment came rushing back right through their ranks, but the “colors” were ordered to the front, and the officers called on the men to “stand firm,” and so great was their courage and discipline that not one of the regulars disobeyed the command and joined in the flight.
All day they held their slight breast-works there, although they were heavily assaulted repeatedly, by thrice their numbers.
They bivouaced on the battle field that night, and the next day the brigade received official thanks from Lieutenant-General Hardee
, who published a complimentary order that was read out to the whole corps, which spoke of their “iron firmness and measureless gallantry
Thus did the First Regiment for the third time
receive public thanks for its admirable conduct and devotion to duty.
Some years after the war had ended General Hardee
met one of the officers in New York, he shook him cordially by the hand, and then said to him, “You were one of the South Carolina Regulars who fought at Bentonville
, were you not?”
“Then you can look any man in the face as long as you live, for no troops ever fought better than you did that day.”
It is impossible to write of Captain Harleston
without dwelling somewhat at length upon the merits of his regiment, for he
had helped very materially to make it what it was, by his zeal, active energy and example.
On the 21st November Captain Harleston
's last term of duty at Fort Sumter
expired, and his company was “relieved” by another.
Having obtained a much desired furlough, he intended as soon as he was released, to go up to Columbia
and visit his family, who were joyfully awaiting his arrival, after the great dangers and hardships of the past months.
He had written to his mother, “I will be with you to-night,” but Colonel Elliott
, who at the time was the commander of the fort, asked him to remain a few days longer, “until the dark nights were past,” he “depended so much upon Captain Harleston
's vigilance and ability.”
Of course he readily and cheerfully acceeded to this complimentary request, as he always did to the call of every duty.
It was destined to be the last, for to Colonel Elliott
's great regret it was the occasion of his death.
My pen falters and my heart grows heavy as I record the sad fate of this much loved young soldier.
At 4 o'clock, on the morning of November 24th, 1863, a sentinel reported to him that the tide had washed aside some of the “chevaux-de-frise” that protected the outside of the fort from an assault, and he at once proceeded to examine the condition of
those defences; whilst inspecting them, on the outside of Sumter
, a shell burst near him, and he was terribly mangled.
He lay there alone for fifteen minutes, on the wet rocks, then finding that he did not return, they sought for him and found him in his agony.
He was borne into the fort that he had fought for so gallantly, and his heart's blood flowed upon her stones, consecrating them by that crimson baptism.
His sufferings were intense, but were endured with a fortitude and manfulness that astonished those who beheld him; until at last the end came, and he was laid to rest in his uniform, his frame having been too much shattered for his friends to attempt to touch him even after his death.
From thence, he was taken to the little country churchyard at the Strawberry plantation
on Cooper river
, and interred beside kindred dust, in the flower of his youth; the pride of his family — the Chevalier Bayard
of his regiment, ever “sans peur et sans reproche.”
It is seldom that a man is found uniting so many qualities of the head and heart.
He exercised a lasting influence for good upon all who came near him, and was admired, respected and beloved by every one.
Brave and gentle, firm but considerate of the feelings of others, high-minded and modest, and a man withal to be trusted and relied on under every circumstance of life; these, were his characteristics.
His death occasioned regret and sorrow all over the State
, and his comrades deplored his loss deeply.
If any of the survivors of the First Artillery are asked, “how was Captain Harleston
regarded in your regiment?”
the invariable reply is, “Harleston
, was the most popular captain of the regiment — a universal favorite both with the officers and the men.”
None who knew him require any testimony to assure them of the esteem in which he was held, but it gives me pleasure to record some of the observations that have been made upon him. One of his comrades said at the time of his death, “he was the noblest man I have ever known.”
Another officer who served in his company writes, “Harleston
was one who never thought of self where duty called, and his constant thoughts were for those under his charge.
He was a Christian soldier and gentleman.
I know of no higher praise.”
A correspondent makes the following statement, “I was not intimate with Harleston
, our duties at the fort lay in such different lines.
Of course I knew him as a pleasant, courteous gentleman, adored of his men, and beloved by all of his fellow officers.”
The Rev. John Johnson
, the distinguished engineer of Fort Sumter
, who was with Captain Harleston
through the long hours of his last great sufferings, speaks in the following words, “What a beautiful character that young
man had, so gentle and so strong.
I think his death was more regretted than that of any other man whom I came in contact with during the war. He was so much respected by his commanders, and so truly loved by his equals and subordinates.”
General G. T. Beauregard
testifies “he was a very gallant, and an excellent officer.”
And General Thomas Jordan
of General Beauregard
's staff), “he was an officer of distinction, and of high promise at the time of his death.”
, the charming English authoress, defines a hero
, as “a man who does more than his duty
illustrated her definition of that often mis-applied term, for I suppose she meant that a hero
is a man whose spirit carries him beyond the written letter of the law, whose earnest zeal knows no limitation but that of absolute self abnegation.
Who reads the word duty
, according to the widest interpretation, understanding it to mean his utmost endeavor
, (which no man can go beyond.) I was reminded of Miss Yonge
's idea by a conversation between two ladies (in no way related to Captain Harleston
,) who were speaking of his sad fate; one of them said, “at any rate he died in the performance of his duty, which is a nobler destiny than awaits most of us.”
The other replied, “Ah!
my dear, it was more than his duty
was not quite 24 years old when he fell, but he had lived long enough to win the thorough confidence of his superiors in rank, the hearts of his comrades and the gatitude of his State.
The brave die never;
In death they but exchange their
Country's arms for more--
Their country's heart.1