His regiment was never in the presence of the enemy without his being there in command.
His officers and men were devoted to him. He fully enjoyed their admiration, esteem and confidence.
Many letters to him in life and after his death to his widow, convey unqualified appreciation of him as a man and a commander.
His family made every effort to ascertain where his body was buried, but all in vain.
He sleeps in the trenches with those who made that charge of Pickett
's division immortal.
He was the idol of his family, admired and loved by them with an affection and devotion which words fail to convey.
For their sake and for the sake of those survivors here who knew him, I make as a part of this address a touching incident of the reunion of the association of Pickett
's division at Gettysburg
on the 3rd of July, 1887, as published at the time in the Landmark:
Adjutant J. F. Crocker
, of the Ninth Virginia, in the course of his remarks, in receiving from Col. Andrew Cowan
, of Cowan
's Battery, the sword of the unknown Confederate officer who fell within a few feet of the guns of the battery, while giving the order: ‘Men!
take these guns,’ alluded to the sad memories awakened by the scenes of the day. In this connection, and as illustrative of them, he had come to the battlefield of Gettysburg
bearing a sacred request from the invalid widow of a gallant Confederate officer who was killed in the charge of Pickett
's division, asking him to make a prayer at the spot where her dear husband fell, for his long sorrowing widow and orphan sons, with the hope that God, in some way, would bless the prayer to their good.
That gallant officer was Col. James Gregory Hodges
, of the Fourteenth Virginia regiment, the brother of the speaker's wife.
He stated that early and careful but unavailing efforts had been made to find the place of his burial and he now desired to find and have identified the spot where he fell.
The simple story brought tears to many who stood around.
When the speaker closed his address, General H. J. Hunt
, chief of artillery
of the Union
army, in whom kindness and courage are equal virtues, came promptly forward and gave his hand warmly to Adjutant Crocker
and in sympathetic tones said, ‘I can tell you something of Colonel Hodges
, of the Fourteenth Virginia; I can carry you to ’