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[259] proud, and now still more so, that I once belonged to your brigade. As their division commander, and as a citizen of Alabama, I wish to express my joy and pride, and as a citizen of the Confederacy, my gratitude at their conduct. The significance of this grand movement, when considered in connection with the circumstances accompanying it, will not be underrated, either by the enemy or our own people. They will, as I do, see in this the beginning of the end, the first dawn of peace and independence, because they will see that these men are unconquerable. To have been the leaders of this movement in this glorious army throws a halo of glory around your brigade which your associates in arms will recognize to envy, and which time will not dim. Convey this evidence, feebly at best, but doubly so in comparison with what I would express of my appreciation of the course you and your men have pursued in this matter, and see now, having written ‘Excelsior’ in the records of your camp history, that your fighting record shall hereafter show you, not only to have been among the brave, but the bravest of the brave.

And now, dear sir, let me congratulate you upon being the commander of so noble a body of gallant and patriotic men!

(Signed)

R. E. Rodes, Major-General.


June 6, 1864. About 8 o'clock Rodes' division packed up their baggage and marched down the breastworks near Richmond, and turning to the left at the same point as we did on the 30th of May, and continuing our course nearly a mile under a hot, broiling sun, when, coming up with Early's division, under Ramseur, and Gor-.don's division, we halted a few hours. At 2 o'clock P. M. we resumed our march towards the right flank of the enemy, going one mile, and then halting until dark. Skirmishing was brisk, and cannonading rapid in our front. We expected to be engaged at any moment, but something prevented, and we returned to a pine woods on the Mechanicsville turnpike, and remained during the night A good many straggling Yankees were captured, and reported the enemy moving to their left flank, and say their men are destitute of shoes, deficient in rations, and very tired of fighting, etc. They also report Burnside's negroes at the front. The enemy, unwilling to expose their own persons, not only invoke the aid of Ireland, Germany and the rest of Europe, but force our poor, deluded, ignorant slaves into their ranks. They will prove nothing but food for our bullets.

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