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[140]

He was ordered at first to the command of Bee's brigade, their general having been killed at Manassas.

It will be remembered that, after that collision, both sides began to realize the magnitude of the impending struggle, and to raise, equip and discipline their armies with more military order and detail. And in the South, preparations for better defences than the batteries hastily thrown up, were going forward.

General Whiting gave his best efforts, as a trained soldier, to the equipment and training of the troops, while his engineering skill was freely drawn upon for the public welfare.

General Whiting was assigned the command of the brigade of General Bee, killed at Manassas. This was composed of the 6th North Carolina, 4th Alabama, 2d and 11th Mississippi. Major J. S. Fairly, now Lieutenant-Colonel J. S. Fairly, of Charleston, S. C., who served with distinguished ability on the staff of General Whiting, says, in a letter to the speaker:

With Bee's and the Texas Brigade, under General Wigfall, the division went into winter quarters near Dumfries, Va., and built heavy batteries, commanding the Potomac river, sometimes inflicting loss upon the enemy attempting its navigation; but his great work and constant care during the whole winter, was, first to have his troops make themselves comfortable winter quarters; next, to organize them for the victories they were to win, by thorough drill—constant drill—by squad, by company, by regiment, by brigade, by division, or as the troops called the last, “ neighborhood drill;” thus accustoming the troops to act in concert, and in the presence of each other, so giving them confidence in each other and in their officers.

“Little Billy,” as the troops endearingly called him, was indefatigable.

With the opening spring, our retreat from Dumfries, and march from Fredericksburg began, aud was accomplished without loss, although the roads were indescribably bad. We encamped near Fredericksburg and thence went to the Peninsular to await General Johnston's further movements.

When spring opened, Johnston determined to evacuate Norfolk and Yorktown, and retire upon Richmond, there to meet the enormous army gathering under General McClellan. The evacuation was skilfully performed, and the enemy checked in direct pursuit at Williamsburg, largely by the sacrifice of the 5th North Carolina,

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W. H. C. Whiting (3)
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