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Distinguished dead [from the New Orleans Picayune, April 10, 1898.1

Of the Louisiana Division, Army of Northern Virginia.

This interesting address, containing important historical information, was read by Captain B. T. Walshe, President of the Benevolent Association of Louisiana Veterans of the Army of Northern Virginia, at the reunion of the Louisiana Veterans of the Army of Tennessee, April 6, 1898:

Mr. President and Veterans of the Army of Tennessee.

I feel that it is quite an undertaking for me to respond to the toast just proposed to the Army of Northern Virginia, and, indeed, nothing now said could add to the fame and glorious record of that army, commanded in whole or in part by those immortal heroes, the great soldiers, Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, and our own Louisiana leaders, Generals Beauregard, Harry T. Hayes, Francis T. Nicholls, Dick Taylor, William E. Starke, Eugene Waggaman, Davidson B. Penn, Leroy Stafford, Zeb York, and others, too, all Louisianians, directly in command of the Louisiana troops in Virginia.

I speak more particularly now of the infantry of that army, but to those named should be added such splendid soldiers as Colonel J. B. Walton, the first, and Colonel B. F. Eshleman, the last commander of the famous battalion, the Washington Artillery, and of which the first four companies served in Virginia, and Captain Louis E. D'Aquin and Captain Charles W. Thompson, both of the Louisiana Guard Artillery, the first named killed while commanding his battery at Fredericksburg, and the latter also killed while in command at the second Winchester. These and others, many others, the names of whom I cannot now recall, have already joined the silent majority, excepting only four-Nicholls, York, Penn and Eshleman.

Mr. President, I will not attempt to speak of the record and the glories of that wonderful army, the Army of Northern Virginia. That record is made up, and is part of the history and the glory of the Confederates States, giving lustre and prominence to the soldiers of the South; and I cannot add to the immortal fame of our comrades [378] and of ourselves, as part of that army, that invincible army of veteran soldiers. Still, sir, I may, I think, properly mention, as far as I can recall their names, those gallant spirits who died doing their duty as soldiers. Necessarily, I must be brief; therefore, will confine my remarks to the infantry, and even then I shall be obliged to limit my remarks to those gallant men who were either instantly killed or mortally wounded while in command of Louisiana regiments or battalions of infantry serving in Virginia.

Would that it was otherwise, and that time permitted me to recall the names of the brave officers of the line, the non-commissioned officers, and the grandest character of all, the uncomplaining, fearless, half-starved and poorly clad private in the ranks, and these in countless numbers, too, laid down their lives for our sacred cause and the glory of our flag.

The recital of these memories of the past must bring to all, as it certainly does to me, the warm friendship and the affectionate regard we soldiers had for each other in those days of camp life, marching and battle.

The Louisiana commands serving in Virginia were as follows: The First, Second, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth—in all, ten regiments of infantry—the First, or Dreux's, the Second, or Wheat's, Louisiana Tigers; the Fourth, or McEnery's; the first and Second Louisiana Zouaves; the Washington, or St. Paul's Foot Rifles—in all six battalions of infantry—the first four companies of the Washington Artillery, the Louisiana Guard Artillery, the Donaldsonville Artillery, and the Madison Artillery (Madison Tips)—in all, seven companies of light artillery.

These commands lost in battle the following field officers killed or mortally wounded while in command:

First Louisiana Regiment—Colonel Michael Nolan, killed at Gettysburg.

Second Regiment—Colonel Isaiah T. Norwood, mortally wounded at Malvern Hill; Colonel John M. Williams, killed at the third Winchester.

Fifth Regiment-Leutenant-Colonel Bruce Menger, killed at Spotsylvania Courthouse.

Sixth Regiment-Major Arthur McArthur, killed at first Winchester; Colonel Isaac G. Seymour, killed at Gaines' Mill; Colonel Henry B. Strong, killed at Sharpsburg, and Colonel William Monoghan, killed near Shepardstown; and to these I think I can properly add Colonel Joseph Hanlon, the last Colonel of the regiment, [379] who was shot through the body at first Winchester, never fully recovered, and died shortly after the close of the war.

Seventh Regiment—Lieutenant-Colonel Chas. DeChoiseul, Killed at Port Republic, and Major Aaron Davis, killed the day before at Cross Keys.

Eighth Regiment—Chevania Lewis, killed at Gettysburg, and Colonel German A. Lester, killed at Cold Harbor.

Ninth Regiment—Major H. L. Williams, mortally wounded at Gettysburg.

Tenth Regiment-Colonel W. H. Spencer, killed at second Manassas; Colonel John M. Leggett, mortally wounded at Chancellorsville, and Major Thomas N. Powell, killed in front of Petersburg.

Fifteenth Regiment-Lieutenant-Colonel R. A. Wilkinson, killed at the second Manassas.

First Battalion—Lieutenant-Colonel Charles E. Dreux, the first Louisiana officer to fall in the war, killed in a skirmish on the Curtis farm, near Newport News, July 5, 1861.

Second Battalion—Major Robert C. Wheat, killed at (Gaines's Mill.

Louisiana Zouave Battalion—Lieutenant-Colonel Gaston Coppens, killed at Sharpsburg.

These names are as nothing compared to the gallant officers and soldiers of the line killed in battle, when we remember that it was these men, the soldiers of the line, the private soldiers in particular, nearly everyman of whom, by training, courage and by experience in actual war was fitted to command, revealed by their devotion to principle and duty the wonderful fighting qualities of the Southern soldiers, and hence it is not surprising that such men were known as foot cavalry, the title earned by them under Lee and Jackson. And so it came to be regarded that the Army of Northern Virginia was invincible, not to be defeated, and, indeed, that is true, for at the last they were overwhelmed and overpowered by the vast armies recruited from ever clime and commanded by that great soldier, General U. S. Grant, who had his immense army supplied and equipped as no army has ever been before in modern times, and as we were told by Prof. Andrews, a distinguished veteran officer of the Union army, in his great lecture on General Lee, in this city, that in the battles in and about Petersburg leading up to the surrender, the Southern troops were outnumbered two and three to one, and at the last Grant's army outnumbered that of General Lee fully five or more to one. [380]

Time forbids my dwelling longer on the achievements of the Army of Northern Virginia, but that army was, after all, only a part of the vast body of Southerners, fighting for what to them, and to us also, appeared to be the right, and to-day from all quarters it is being made manifest that the principles that we fought for will in the end be accepted, in a measure, at all events, by our countrymen, North as well as South, and that hereafter we will stand heart and hand together—the veterans of the grand armies of the South, the Army of Tennessee and the Army of Northern Virginia, together with the veterans of the armies of the Union, led by Grant and Sherman, all ready to stand by and defend as brother Americans the flag of our reunited country and government now and forever.

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