In the carefully written and full report of General Magruder
, he refers to the Charles City
Cavalry as follows:
‘The brave and devoted troopers of the Charles City
Cavalry were on this, as on all other occasions, distinguished for the promptness, intrepidity, and intelligence with which they discharged their important duties; and to their chivalric and enterprising lieutenant, Hill Carter, Jr.
, I owe a public acknowledment of the great services he has rendered his country on every occasion which has presented itself.’
It may not be inappropriate to remark that this company, to which General Magruder
refers, lost the first man killed in battle in the war; for Samuel W. Prvor
had been killed in a skirmish below Bethel church, the Confederate
line, and was sleeping in his family burying ground in Charles City county
, before Wyatt
fell at Big Bethel in June, 1861.
It also lost about the last man killed in the war; for its gallant first lieutenant, William H. Harwood
, who had passed through every cavalry fight of his command, and been engaged in as many hand-to-hand encounters as any man in the service, fell pierced through by a cannon ball, in the desperate charge on General Gregg
's brigade, the day before the surrender at Appomattox
Benjamin H. Harrison
was captain of this company at Malvern Hill
thus refers to him:
‘The noble, accomplished, and gallant Harrison
, commander of the Charles City
Troop, uniting his own exertions with mine, rallied regiment after regiment, and leading one of them to the front, fell, pierced with seven wounds, near the enemy's batteries.’
This worthy member of one of Virginia
's historic families, was a close kinsman of the Benjamin Harrison
of 1774, who, when the storms of revolution were gathering, stood at Jefferson
's right hand, as Partrick Henry
stood at his left, to make the voice of Virginia
heard in behalf of self-government.
He was a resident of that section of Virginia
from whose soil sprang three men who became Presidents
of the United States
He possessed in the highest degree all those heroic and lovable traits of character that endeared him to his men. One of them, closer to him than many, had the day before, while resting at Timberlake's Store, tried to dissuade him from rash exposure of his life.
But a noble and dauntless spirit impelled him, when it was not required nor expected of him, to lead
the advance infantry regiments, and die, as Armistead
died afterwards on the heights of Gettysburg
, hard by the enemy's artillery.
The calmness and composure of the citizens of this city through all the trying days previous to and during the conflict was never exceeded in the history of any people, not even in Rome
when in the forum were sold the very fields on which the victorious Carthagenians
From the files of the Dispatch
of that time, I quote as follows:
‘A distinguished lawyer, whose age prevented him being in the field, exclaimed to a friend when the battle (Malvern Hill
) was raging: “ I am proud of Richmond
I am proud of my fellow-citizens.
I could never have believed it possible for human beings to behave so admirably as they have done to-day.
From my soul I am proud of them.”
In the issue of this paper of the 3d of of July, we find the following notices:
‘Major John Stewart Walker
, former captain of the Virginia
Life Guards, was killed on Tuesday.
He was a gallant officer, and one of our best and most influential citizens.
, son of the Secretary
of the Commonwealth
, also fell mortally wounded.’
There also, you will find a long list of the killed and wounded, and notices of the work in the hospitals, and tributes to the noble women in this city, ministering angels of charity then as now.
The sons they had sent forth with the Roman
matron's injunction were returning upon their shields.
In habiliaments of mourning they visited the hospitals, ministering to the Southern
youths who, far from home and friends, were suffering and dying.
The unshaken faith of the noble women of the South
upheld and prolonged the heroic struggle for constitutional rights, while their cheerful sacrifices in their isolated homes, providing for and teaching their little children and praying for the absent husband and father, oftentimes with no protector save the faithful slaves who watched over the defenceless homes, furnishes the most unique and striking example of devotion to duty the world has ever known.
The descendants of such women will rehabilitate a land impoverished by war and afflicted with unjust and discriminating legislation.
When under the guiding hand of Providence
her vexed problems are settled and she enters once more upon a career of prosperity, another monument will crown one of the hills of this consecrated city, erected by the sons of veterans and dedicated to the noble women of the South