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 when, after being delayed in crossing the Rappahannock on pontoons by the excellent marksmanship of
we next met the troops of General Meagher—the Irish brigade—as they advanced, followed by other troops, which after a stubborn fight, gave way, and retreated across the Rappahannock. And here again were we to suffer another heavy loss—this time our gallant first lieutenant, James Ellett, that noble, chivalrous soldier, then in command of the battery. His death cast a gloom over the whole battalion. His bravery and self-possession, combined with the polished manners of the gentleman, were such as to endear him to his company, as well as to a large circle of acquaintances. And here too, fell Johnny Paine, another one of our Richmond boys, whose example in all those virtues that tend to develop the character of the Christian gentleman was such as to gain the love and esteem of his comrades. The battery suffered severely in this fight in wounded, and I regret I have not their names to record here. But such calamities are incident to war, and the soldier boy has now become somewhat enured to such scenes. It was here, too, we were to meet that useful organization known as the
composed of some of our oldest and most respected citizens, whose deeds of kindness will ever be remembered by the soldiers of the Army of Northern Virginia. The battle of Fredericksburg having been fought and the Federal army having been again defeated and sent bleeding back across the Rappahannock, the star of Burnside, which had reached its zenith, was under a cloud, and he had evidence of the unstableness of the plaudits of men, for soon he was to be relegated to privacy, there to ponder over the what-might — have been. Surely that army had good cause to be discouraged. There evidently was a dire want of cohesion, as was illustrated in the rapid cutting off of the heads of the commanding officers. At this period of the war the Federal army had had no less than four commanders—McDowell, McClellan, Pope, and Burnside—and the latter was now to give way to another general, Joe Hooker, known also by the euphonious title of ‘Fighting Joe.’ We will follow him later on.
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