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“ [63] well knew that it meant the sacrifice of everything he had accumulated), and sped to his mother State, where he at once enlisted as a private soldier in the Third Battery of ‘Richmond Howitzers,’ then under orders to join the ‘Army of the Peninsula.’ He was at this time, as the writer of these lines remembers (for we were in the same gun-detachment), a singularly handsome man, genial, yet dignified, blessed with a keen sense of humor, fond of a good story, but instantly austere at any hint or irreverence touching religious matters, always cheery when hardships had to be endured, and speedily became known to officers and men as one of the most resolute and daring soldiers in the command. The Third Battery of Howitzers” saw, perhaps, more actual fighting than any other artillery company in ‘the Army of the Peninsula,’ and Venable, born trooper though he was, was always proud and glad, during the years after the war, to meet in ‘reunion’ his old artillery comrades, with whom, as simple cannoneer he had received his first ‘baptism of fire.’

He took part with his battery in all the actions and minor affairs of that army in ‘61, and of the Army of Northern Virginia until the summer of 1862, when he was made ‘Captain and Commissary’ of the First Regiment of Virginia Artillery, commanded by the gallant and accomplished Colonel John Thompson Brown (former Captain of the Second Battery of ‘Howitzers’) who at the very beginning of the ‘Campaign of '64’ fell in action at ‘The Wilderness,’ mourned by an army.

This position Venable held until the spring of ‘63.

Commissaries and Quartermasters, with few exceptions, never went into action. Indeed, for them to do so, was contrary to explicit and very proper ‘orders.’ So, too, of Surgeons. But Venable could no more keep out of a fight than Stuart's ‘Chief Surgeon,’ Talcott Eliason, of whom Stuart says in his rollicking fashion (in his official report of the Gettysburg Campaign): ‘Surgeon Eliason, though without a superior in his profession, would, from his conduct on the field, excel as a Colonel of Cavalry.’

The ‘Commissary of the First Virginia Artillery’ had a way of suddenly turning up in the very thick of things to ask his

Colonel some utterly idle and irrelevant question about rations


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Jane Reid Venable (3)
J. E. B. Stuart (2)
Talcott Eliason (2)
John Thompson Brown (1)
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1862 AD (1)
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