to procure for him an eligible position in the Federal
had a great affection for his old commander, and a still greater for the old flag.
It was, therefore, a most painful sacrifice to sever those ties which had been made more sacred by much service and suffering in their behalf.
But he felt the call of a still higher and holier duty, and he obeyed; it was to stand in the lot, and to share the fortunes of his own people and kindred and family.
In the spirit which animated that purest of patriots, R. E. Lee
, and from a like stern sense of duty, he gave his hand with his heart in it to the South
Stopping but a day at Montgomery, Ala.
, then the seat of the Confederate government, to learn the situation of affairs and the probable opening of the campaign, he hurried on to New Orleans, where he hoped to raise a regiment of volunteers for immediate service.
Before his arrival the Governor
of the State
, by authority of the Convention
which passed the ‘Ordinance of Secession,’ had put in commission all the officers of the large force already raised.
But at the call for volunteers to go to Virginia
, where it was certain the Federal
government would strike the first blow, five full companies were organized by General Wheat
in a few days.
And but for his impatience to join in the first fight, then thought to be imminent, he could easily have raised a regiment.
Making all speed with his battalion (entitling him, of course, only to the rank of Major
—a secondary consideration with one who thought more of the cause than of himself), he arrived at the front in time to take that conspicuous part in the first battle of Manassas
which made ever after the ‘Louisiana
Tigers’ a terror to the enemy.
had called the first company raised the ‘Old Dominion Guard.’
But another company named ‘The Tigers,’ and having the picture of a lamb with the legend ‘as gentle as’ for its absurd device (lucus a non lucendo
),exhibited such reckless daring and terrible havoc in their hand-to-hand struggle with the head of the attacking column, that the name of ‘Tigers,’ as often as ‘Wheat
's Battalion,’ was thereafter its popular designation.
, in his official report, mentioned Major Wheat
in the most flattering terms, as having won for himself and his command the ‘proud boast of belonging to that heroic band who saved the first hour at the battle of Manassas
's being in the position to bear the brunt of the enemy's first onset (unexpected at that point, which was the extreme left), in heavy column, was one of the several providences which ‘saved the day.’
He was here