Such is the unadorned record of the career of the noble young Virginian. Such a recital, necessarily brief, and touching upon the mere dates and leading events, must always be unsatisfactory, especially to those who personally knew the original. For behind the naked statement, the dry and incomplete record, is the living, breathing individual, whose face and form and character survive in memory. These lines can give no adequate idea of William Randolph. It was one of the bravest of the brave who thus followed Jackson in all his hard campaigns; marching, musket on shoulder, in the ranks; who mounted the works at Gettysburg, and faced the fire unmoved; who was everywhere in the fore-front of battle, leading, cheering, and inspiring all; and who fell at last on the bloody field of the Wilderness, soon after uttering the grand words: “Jesus can receive the soul of the warrior on the battle-field as well as on the softest couch.” Of the mere attribute of courage we could give, if necessary, a hundred instances. It is the amount of this testimony which excludes it, and we present but a paragraph or two: the first from a letter of General Terry, the last commander of the Stonewall Brigade, to Dr. Randolph, after the death at Cedar Creek, in October, 1864, of Captain Robert Randolph, a younger brother of our subject:I knew your sons, William and Robert, well; “ writes General Terry. ” I am proud to say they were my intimate, personal friends. They possessed my unbounded confidence as friends, as gentlemen, and as soldiers. No man has given to the Confederate cause two better soldiers and more gallant gentlemen. As the brigade commander, I feel their loss; and deeply have I to regret the fall of Lieutenant-Colonel William W. Randolph, so soon after his promotion to a position which, I feel assured, he would have filled with distinguished credit to himself and the service. I was looking forward to the day when still further honors awaited your sons. While you have cause to sorrow over their early graves, yet you have reason to be proud to know that they fell where duty called, at the head of their commands. They fell by no random shot, but where the fire was the hottest.“As an officer,” says Major R. W. Hunter, in an eloquent eulogy delivered upon the character of his dead friend and associate, in the Virginia Legislature, “as an officer, Colonel Randolph possessed the entire confidence of those above and below ”
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