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[118] gallant band of the bravest of the brave, whose glories should never be forgotten or unhonored or unsung, for—

How sleep the brave who sunk to rest,
By all their country's wishes blest!
When spring with dewy fingers cold,
Return to deck their hallowed mould;
She then shall dress a sweeter sod
Than fancy's feet have ever trod.

By fairy hands their knell is rung,
By forms unseen their dirge is sung.
There Honor comes, a pilgrim gray,
To bless the turf that wraps their clay;
And Freedom shall awhile repair,
To dwell a weeping hermit there.

Well, indeed, might friend and foe write highest laudations of so gallant a charge, rarely equalled, and never surpassed, in all the resplendent record of that ever glorious army. The blow thus delivered, at the very opening of that memorable campaign, not only stunned the enemy—who never attacked again on the Peninsula!— but furnished the whole army with an inspiring example, which could not but have an admirable effect.

General Hill found them, as did General Lee afterwards, too ready to get ahead, for he says that the Twenty-fourth pressed before all the other regiments, and without waiting for them to come up and the line to be formed, dashed at the enemy as soon as they saw him, and before he was ready for them to do. But no other fault had he to find with them, for in his report he says: ‘The courage exhibited by the Fifth North Carolina and the Twenty-fourth Virginia made too wonderful an impression upon the Yankees, and doubtless much of the caution exhibited in the subsequent movements was due to the terror inspired by the heroism of these noble regiments. History has no example of a more daring charge. * * * * It contributed largely to detain McClellan, to demoralize his troops, and to secure our retreat from a vigorous and harassing pursuit.’

General Early in his report says: ‘The Twenty-fourth Virginia, as I had anticipated, came directly upon the battery, emerging from the woods over a fence into the field within musket range of the farm-houses, of which the battery was posted. This regiment, without pausing or wavering, charged upon the enemy under a heavy fire and drove back the guns, and the infantry supporting them, to ’

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McClellan (1)
Robert Edward Lee (1)
Yorktown D. H. Hill (1)
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