previous next
[30] and nothing more, closed in with the New Englanders, he would have found room for his brush on our side, too, of the picture he has so well drawn.

The struggle, indeed, was a memorable one. It was the consummation of the grand debate between Massachusetts and South Carolina. Webster and Calhoun had exhausted the argument in the Senate, and now the soldiers of the two States were fighting it out eye to eye, hand to hand, man to man. If the debates in the Senate chamber were able and eloquent, the struggle on that knoll at Manassas was brave and glorious. Each State showed there that it had ‘the courage of its convictions.’ General Gordon does not exaggerate or paint too highly the scene of that conflict. But it was too fearful, if not too grand, to last. Slowly at first the New Englanders began to give back, and step by step we pressed on them every inch gained by us, until Colonel McGowan, with the Fourteenth of our brigade and the Forty-ninth Georgia, coming up to our assistance, Grover's men at last broke, and then followed the awful and pitiful carnage of brave men who have failed in an assault. Grape and canister cruelly tearing to pieces in their retreat those whose lives had escaped while fighting hand to hand with their foes.

But our work was not yet over for the day. Another assault was preparing for us. This time it was Phil. Kearney, a distinguished soldier in the Mexican war, one for whom South Carolinians had a very kindly feeling from his intimacy with a beloved son of the State who had fallen, killed by the Indians, in a small affair a year or two before the breaking out of the war, and in whose death the State had felt that she had lost a young soldier of brilliant promise.1 Kearney, who was to die before our division but three days after, was now forming his line for another determined effort to turn our left and drive us from the position we had held all day.

General Gordon says:2

‘The Federal line was formed with Poe's brigade on the right, Birney on the left, and Robinson in reserve. Before it were the six brigades of A. P. Hill's division and one of Ewell's in two lines. Hill held the most important point of Jackson's line—his left. He had been entrusted with this defence because Jackson knew that his zeal and courage in the Southern cause was equal to his own. Notwithstanding this disparity of numbers, General Kearney, without hesitation, gave the command to assault the ’

1 Lieutenant James Stuart, who had distinguished himself in Mexico and was killed by the Indians in 1851.

2 Army of Virginia, Gordon, page 274.

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.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
South Carolina (South Carolina, United States) (1)
Mexico (Mexico, Mexico) (1)
Massachusetts (Massachusetts, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Philip Kearney (3)
George H. Gordon (3)
A. P. Hill (2)
Noah Webster (1)
James Stuart (1)
Robinson (1)
Poe (1)
Samuel McGowan (1)
Stonewall Jackson (1)
Grover (1)
R. S. Ewell (1)
Calhoun (1)
Birney (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1851 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: