previous next

[465] Major Wheat, than whom no one displayed more brilliant courage, until carried from the field, shot through the lungs, though, happily, not mortally stricken. But in the desperate contest to which these brave gentlemen were for a time necessarily exposed, the behavior of officers and men, generally, was worthy of the highest admiration; and assuredly, hereafter, all there may proudly say: We were of that band who fought the first hour of the battle of Manassas. Equal honors and credit must also be awarded, in the pages of history, to the gallant officers and men who, under Bee and Bartow, subsequently marching to their side, saved then from destruction and relieved them from the brunt of the enemy's attack.

The conduct of General Jackson also requires mention, as eminently that of an able, fearless soldier and sagacious commander—one fit to lead his efficient brigade. His prompt, timely arrival before the plateau of the Henry house, and his judicious distribution of his troops, contributed much to the success of the day. Although painfully wounded in the hand, he remained on the field to the end of the battle, rendering invaluable assistance.

Colonel William Smith was as efficient, as self-possessed, and brave; the influence of his example and his words of encouragement was not confined to his immediate command, the good conduct of which is especially noticeable, inasmuch as it had been embodied but a day or two before the battle.

Colonels Harper, Hunton, and Hampton, commanding regiments of the reserve, attracted my notice by their soldierly ability, as with their gallant commands they restored the fortunes of the day, at a time when the enemy, by a last desperate onset, with heavy odds, had driven our forces from the fiercely contested ground around the Henry and Robinson houses. Veterans could not have behaved better than these well-led regiments.

High praise must also be given to Colonels Cocke, Early, and Elzey—brigade commanders—also to Colonel Kershaw, commanding, for the time, the 2d and 8th South Carolina regiments. Under the instruction of General Johnston, these officers reached the field at an opportune, critical moment, and disposed, handled, and fought their respective commands with sagacity, decision, and successful results, which have been described in detail.

Colonel J. E. B. Stuart likewise deserves mention for his enterprise and ability as a cavalry commander. Through his judicious reconnaissance of the country on our left flank, he acquired information both of its topographical features and of the positions of the enemy, of the utmost importance in the subsequent and closing movements of the day on that flank; and his services in the pursuit were highly effective.

Captain E. P. Alexander, C. S. Engineers, gave me seasonable and material assistance early in the day with his system of signals. Almost the first shot fired by the enemy passed through the tent of his party, at the stone bridge, where they subsequently firmly maintained their position in the maintenance of their duty—the transmission of signal messages of the enemy's movements—for several hours under fire. Later, Captain Alexander acted as my Aide-de-Camp, in the transmission of orders and in observation of the enemy.

I was most effectively served throughout the day by my volunteer aids—


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: