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[55] desperately wounded. The surgeon warned him that it must prove fatal. He replied cheerfully, ‘I don't feel like dying yet.’ ‘But,’ said the surgeon, ‘there is no instance on record of recovery from such a wound.’ ‘Well, then,’ he rejoined, ‘I will put my case upon record.’ His unexpected recovery was owing, the surgeon thought, chiefly to his resolute will.

His knightly courtesy was shown when a colonel of the Federal army, on his way as a prisoner to Richmond, begged permission to see his old friend, lying in a house by the roadside. The meeting was of the most friendly character. At parting Major Wheat directed his orderly to give Colonel P. some money and underclothing, saying, ‘he will need them in prison, poor fellow.’ Major Wheat's mother, who had flown to him as soon as she had heard in her distant home of her darling's disaster, and still righteously indignant at the invasion and desecration of the soil of her own loved, native State, warmly opposed this generous order of her wounded son. But he insisted, saying, ‘Why, my dear mother, P. is as conscientious in this war as we are; and if our places were changed he would do as much for me—wouldn't you, P.?’

The popular sentiment, in the army and out of it, was in favor of his immediate promotion to the command of a regiment, if not of a brigade. One of his friends, a Confederate officer, said to him, ‘Wheat, I would give a thousand dollars to stand in your shoes today.’ Whereupon Wheat demurely directed his orderly to give Captain B. his shoes. Various efforts were made, but nothing had been done for his advancement when, at the end of two months, the Major returned to his battalion. He was not fully recovered, and President Davis advised him to go hone with his father (they had called together to pay their respects), and ‘keep quiet until he was entirely well.’ The Major quickly replied, ‘I shall keep quiet, Mr. President, as long as yourself and the army do, but no longer.’

Very soon afterwards he returned to his command, and was with Jackson in all that brilliant campaign which resulted in the discomfiture, successively, of Fremont, Shields, and Banks. He was always among the foremost in the fight, taking batteries, and driving the enemy from his strongest position. The newspapers of the day seldom give an account of a battle in which his name and daring are not conspicuously mentioned.

After all his wonderful escapes, our patriot hero and martyr fell in the bloody battle of Gaines' Mill, near Cold Harbor, on the 27th of June, 1862. It was one of those desperate ‘seven days’ fighting

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Chatham Roberdeau Wheat (4)
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