drill, discipline and preparation for active service in the field of his regiment.
A graduate of the Military Academy at West Point
, and for a few years an officer in the regular army, endowed with a mind of great strength and quickness, constant in purpose, daring and brilliant in execution, prepared for the science of war and revelling in its dangers and fierce encounters, and with a spirit fired with a determination to excel in the profession of arms; it is not to be wondered at, that, under his capable authority and the influence of his stirring example, the regiment, to be ever afterwards known as Ramseur
's, should rapidly take form and shape as a strong, disciplined and efficient body of men; nor that the impress of his spirit and the effect of his training should, as its subsequent career demonstrated, be retained, not alone to characterize the natural development of veterans, but, likewise, as a part of its heritage of honor, so long as the flag under which he arrayed them claimed an existence amid the heraldry of nations.
Short as was the length of his authority over them, the force of his activity, zeal and fearlessness was felt and recognized by the Forty-Ninth (Ramseur
's) Regiment through all its struggles and hardships, in the camp, on the march, in making or meeting assaults, advancing or retreating; in sunshine and storm, through the long and wearing siege of Petersburg
, where it rushed alone into the cavalier line after Grant
's mine was sprung, and at skirmish distance in the works held two Federal army corps at bay for three hours—the slender link by which the two halves of General Lee
's army was united—until reinforcements could be brought seven miles to retake the crater, when disasters fell fast and fierce on the cause for which they fought, as well as when before their steady charge the foe gave way, and victory perched on their well-worn battle flag, when death had thinned its ranks and suffering made gaunt the survivors, until at last its lines were crushed—its shout and shot the last to be heard—on the field of Five Forks
, where its life and that of the Confederacy
was ended forever.
, whose soil has been made sacred by the ashes of so many great and strong men, her jurists, her statesmen, her magistrates, her teachers, her ministers and priests, her soldiers and her patriots, holds within her bosom the dust of no nobler or more perfect man than that of Stephen Decatur Ramseur
The regiment was officered by men of education, and, for the most part, in the full vigor of young manhood.
Its rank and file was taken from the Piedmont
region of the State