, and he himself had made none when killed at Fredericksburg
The report of General McGowan
, admirable as it is, was made several months after the battle, when other great and stirring events had intervened, and when all the officers commanding regiments on the occasion had been killed, or were absent, wounded, while he was recompiling it; and as his own regiment had been held in reserve until late in the day, he himself was uninformed as to some occurrences of the early morning, which I think worthy of note.
The story of this battle can never be told without commencing with Jackson
's great march from Jeffersonton
, on Monday morning, the 25th of August, to Manassas
, where we arrived on Tuesday evening—a march of fifty seven miles in two days.
, with his famous Light Division in Wellington
's army in the Peninsula
, was accorded the honors of the victory at Talavera
, because, though he reached the field too late to take part in the action, he had made the extraordinary march of sixty-two miles in twenty-six hours, leaving only seventeen stragglers behind.
But this was done, not with a corps, but with a small picked body of troops—three regiments, which he had carefully trained for long marches, and who were thoroughly equipped, and well shod and fed, and fresh when they started.
Our march was commenced as you will well recollect, after we had already been marching and skirmishing with the enemy across the Rapidan
for a week, when we were already jaded and when we were miserably shod.
I shall never forget that march; not all the struggle and bloodshed which followed it could efface the impression of the indomitable will and heroic endurance of our men as hungry and bare-footed they toiled over the rugged roads and rocky hillsides, pressing on as if the goal was peace and rest, and not the bloody fields to which they were so exultingly if painfully traveling.
Can I ever forget the blood stains that I myself saw on the road left by the shoeless men whose suffering was first and only to be told by the gaping wounds on their bare feet as they lay dead on the field, to which they had so heroically struggled—to die?
Thrilling descriptions of this march have been given by writers