a donkey began an unmerciful bray, when a unanimous shout came up from the impenitent and sorrowless gray-coats, ‘Hold on, Colonel, one at a time, one at a time.’ There is a delicacy of insinuation about this reply, which makes it unsurpassed and unsurpassable. No! I was not that colonel, though I could tell of as grievous a mishap to myself did not modesty forbid. I will tell rather of some other glorious exploits of the ragged Rebels. At Boonsboro, or South Mountain, my division, reduced to five thousand men by battle, disease, hard marching and want of shoes, was called upon to confront McClellan's army and to hold Turner's Gap against two corps of that army, while two other corps were in supporting distance. The immense wagon-yard and parks of reserve artillery of Lee's whole army were at the foot of the mountain on the west side. General Lee himself, with Longstreet's command, was at Hagerstown, thirteen miles off. A thin curtain of men extending for miles along the crests of the mountains on that bright Sabbath day in September, was all we had to check a vast, perfectly organized and magnificently equipped army. There was nothing else to save our trains and artillery; there was nothing else to prevent McClellan from cutting in between Lee and Jackson; there was nothing else to save Longstreet's corps from irretrievable ruin. That thin curtain once broken, the enemy would have full possession of all our supply trains and supplies—ordnance, commissary and quartermaster stores; worse still, the two wings of Lee's army would have been riven asunder, never to be reunited. But there were giants in those days of 1862, and the haggard, weary, worn-out private in the ranks was a hero in his own right, and capable of multiplying himself into overwhelming numbers. From 9 A. M. till 3 1/2 P. M. two brigades and three regiments held at bay Reno's corps (said officially to be fifteen thousand strong), which attacked on our right, moving on the old Braddock road. Then three very small brigades of Longstreet's command, in an exhausted condition from their hot and hurried march, came to our assistance. With their aid the crests of the mountain and the road were held. Reno was killed at nightfall in Wise's field, where the fight began in the morning, and within fifty yards of where our beloved Garland fell. But on our left a commanding hill was lost before sundown. All the fighting before five o'clock was on our right, and the first reinforcements from Longstreet were turned off in that direction where the enemy advanced very cautiously, because advancing in the woods and constantly apprehensive of surprise from overwhelming numbers.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
General Ewell at First Manassas .
Colonel Campbell Brown 's reply to General Beauregard .
The Merrimac and the Monitor —Report of the Committee on Naval Affairs.
Report: [to accompany bill H. R. 244 .]
Official reports of the battle of Gettysburg .
Report of Colonel Bryan Grimes , of Fourth North Carolina .
Operations of detachment from Cashtown to Williams -Port—report of Major Charles Richardson .
From the Rapidan to Spotsylvania Courthouse .
Report of General R. S. Ewell .
Report of General A. L. Long , from 4th to 31st of May , 1864 .
Evacuation of Richmond .
Reunion of the Virginia division Army of Northern Virginia Association.
Orations at the unveiling of the statue of Stonewall Jackson , Richmond, Va. , October 26th , 1875 .
Governor Kemper 's address.
The battle of Honey Hill .
Battle of Chickamauga .
Report of Brigadier-General B. R. Johnson .
Letter from General Hagood on recapture of a flag.
The cavalry affair at Waynesboro .
General Sherman 's method of making war.
Letter from Colonel Stone .
Gleanings from General Sherman 's despatches.
The Wee Nee Volunteers of Williamsburg District, South Carolina , in the First ( Gregg 's) Regiment—Siege and capture of Fort Sumter .
The Kilpatrick - Dahlgren raid against Richmond .
Statement of Lieutenant Bartley , of the United States signal corps .
The Confederate account.
Authenticity of the Dahlgren papers.
The opening of the lower Mississippi in April , 1862 -a reply to Admiral Porter .
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