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Zzzfought under a Paling Star.

First. Jackson fought when the prestige of the Confederacy was in the ascendancy. Early, when it was on the decline. Atlanta fell before Sherman the day before he defeated Crook, at Kernstown. Our misfortunes at Vicksburg, Gettysburg, Missionary Ridge and Knoxville, had taken place before Early's campaign begun. The waning resources of the Confederacy and the collapse of its finances, had changed the face of affairs. With Mississippi, Kentucky and Tennessee overrun, the Trans-Mississippi cut from us, and the lower basin useless, the enemy could concentrate at will against our forces in Georgia and Virginia.

Second. The Valley was a garden and a granary when Jackson fought. Early fought in a desert, where ‘the crow flying over it would have to carry his rations.’ He had to practice the art of Napoleon—scatter to subsist, and concentrate for battle. He had men seizing and grinding stacks of wheat while battle raged about them. What shall we eat and wherewithal shall we be clothed, was the problem of his men, and if they plundered battlefields it was hunger and nakedness that prompted them.

Third. Jackson's Cavalry was not overmatched by the enemy's, as Early's was, three to one. The Valley, now denuded of fences and swept by fire, was a splendid field for cavalry operations; and Early felt and expressed his sense of deficiency in cavalry. His own was more overnumbered than any other arm of the service; it was terribly overworked and overstrained—for instance, Payne's Brigade was under fire every day for a month before the battle of Winchester. The Federal Government supplied its troops with good mounts and bountiful forage, while our cavalry had to make shift to get horses as best they could, many being absent at all times in search for them. When they got them, it was equally difficult to feed them; and [319] more than once brigades were disbanded to get horses, while their remnants fought dismounted. When Sheridan mustered a cavalry corps that reported over sixteen thousand for duty, finely mounted and equipped, with sabres, pistols, and repeating rifles, our troopers had to procure any kind of weapons they could, while their half-famished steeds reminded us of the poor jades of Henry the Fifth at Agincourt.

The gum down roping from their pale, dead eyes,
And in their pale, dull mouths the gimmal bit
Lies foul with chewed grass, still and motionless;
And their executors, the knavish crows, fly over them
All impatient for the hour.

It must be remembered Early's first chief of cavalry, General Robert Ransom, was compelled to retire from ill health, and that he also lost the valuable services of General Fitzhugh Lee by his wound at Winchester. That Rosser and Lomax, McCausland, and their subordinates did so well under the circumstances is wonderful, and I wish I had time to refer more at length to their various exploits. Rosser's movements at New Creek and Beverley—where he lit up the closing scenes of disastrous war with signal victories—deserves especial mention.

Many splendid deeds and names have I left out of my recital which well deserve historic praise. What a glowing page might be made of the brave partisan Mosby's remarkable movement in Sheridan's rear, where with less than 500 men, he kept many thousands occupied guarding communications of the Federal army and the approaches to Washington. But these will not be overlooked or forgotten. They would adorn but they would not vary the thread of my story.

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Zzzgeneral Early (4)
John Sheridan (2)
Thomas L. Rosser (2)
Stonewall Jackson (2)
Sherman (1)
Robert Ransom (1)
William H. Payne (1)
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