Bury Me on the Field, Boys!
Chatham Roberdeau Wheat
was born in Alexandria, Va.
, on the 9th of April, 1826; his father being an Episcopal clergyman, and of an old Maryland
family; his mother a granddaughter of Gen. Roberdeau
, a Huguenot, and the first general of the Pennsylvania
troops in the Revolutionary war; who built a fort at his own expense, and advanced the outfit for our first Commissioners to the court of France.
was graduated A. B. at the University of Nashville, Tenn., in 1845.
Having been chosen the year before, the representative of his literary society in the junior competitive exhibition of oratory, he departed from the established usage by making an extemporaneous address, which gave bright promise of the eloquence for which he became afterwards distinguished.
He was reading law at Memphis
at the breaking out of the Mexican
war, and was among the first to volunteer.
His father, then rector of Christ church, Nashville
, had written to advise him to wait awhile, and promised he might go if there should be another call for volunteers.
Before he could get his father's letter (the mail by stage being then four days between the two cities), one was received from him, to this effect: ‘Dear Pa, “a chip of the old block,” I knew you would be ashamed of me if I did not volunteer as soon as the call came.
My name I am proud to say, is the very first on the list.
I have been unanimously elected second lieutenant in a company of cavalry.
Please send “Jim” by some careful hand.’
This was a fine blooded horse, whose dog-like training and wonderful sagacity made him a chief actor in many scenes both tragic and comic, and a universal favorite in his master's regiment.
Upon the expiration of the twelve months for which they had enlisted, this regiment was disbanded at Vera Cruz
, and most of the men returned home; but Wheat
raised a company of one hundred and four men, and was chosen captain.
The night before they left the city he was seized with vomito, or yellow fever.
In a hammock swung between two mules he was carried up to Jalappa, where he arrived in an insensible condition.
As soon as he was able he