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Stonewall Jackson's ‘most dreaded foe.’ [from the Christian Observer Louisville, Ky., November 20, 1895.]

Worse than Pope's army.

A story never before published, as related by an ex-confederate officer, who is now a resident of Norfolk, Va.

About daylight of the day before the second battle of Manassas, I was ordered to report to General T. J. Jackson, with a detail of one hundred men for special duty. Upon arrival at the headquarters and making myself known by presenting the order of General J. E. B. Stuart, General Jackson told me to come with him, and rode some fifty or one hundred yards from his staff, turned towards me and halted. Then he said, ‘Captain, do you ever use liquors?’ I replied, ‘No, sir.’ He then said: ‘I sent to General Stuart to send me a special detail of one hundred men under command of an officer who never used spirituous liquors. Are you that man?’ I said, ‘Yes, sir; I was detailed on that account.’

‘Well, sir, I have an order to give, upon the full and exact execution of which depends the success of the present movement, and the result of the battle soon to be fought. Can I trust you to execute that order?’

I replied that if to keep sober was all that was needful he could rely upon my obedience.

He said, ‘No that is not all, but unless you can resist temptation to drink you cannot carry out my orders; but I will explain.’ He then pointed to a large frame depot or warehouse and said: ‘Take your command up to that warehouse, have a large number of barrels of bread rolled out and sent down the railroad to a point about five hundred yards from the warehouse, so that my men can get all the bread they want as they pass, and then take some picked men into the building and spill all the liquors there; don't spare a drop, nor let any man taste it under any circumstances. I expect you to execute this order at any cost.’ [334]

He pulled down his cap and was about to ride back to his staff, when I said to him: ‘General, suppose an officer of superior rank should order me under arrest and then gain possession of the warehouse?’

He said, with an air of solemnity I shall never forget, coming close to me and looking as if he would look me through: ‘Until I relieve you in person you are exempt from arrest except upon my order in writing.’ He then said: ‘I fear that liquor more than General Pope's army,’ and rode off.

I took my men to the warehouse, now so important in my eyes, and threw a guard around it, placing five men at each entrance, with orders to neither allow any one to enter, nor to enter themselves. I then put some prisoners under guard to roll out the bread nearest the doors. In a little while this was done, and to guard was apparently all that was required. But in a little while I was called to one entrance to find a general officer with his staff demanding that the guards should either allow him to enter or bring out some liquor. Upon my refusal to comply with his request, he ordered his adjutant to place me under arrest.

I told him that I was put there by General Jackson in person, and exempted from liability of arrest. He gave his staff an order to dismount and enter the warehouse, and I gave my men the order to level their guns, and ‘make ready.’ This made the thirsty General halt, and hold a consultation with his officers, who concluded to try persuasion. But they soon found that no liquor could be had. They then asked my name, and to what command I belonged, and threatened to report me for disobedience of orders to a superior officer.

Just then General A. P. Hill came galloping up with his staff. I explained the position to him, and soon saw that he took in the sitution, as he ordered the thirsty squad off. Then he said: ‘Have you orders to burn this building?’ On my replying that I had not, he went off. Within an hour General Jackson sent me an order to burn the building, and after it was well destroyed, to report to him. This I did. No man got a drink that day. And the foe that Stonewall Jackson most dreaded was powerless for evil.

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