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lity have been distinguished by some emblem to which every victory added a new lustre. They looked upon their badge with pride, for to it they had given its fame. In the homes of smiling peace it recalled the days of courageous endurance and the hours of deadly strifeand it solaced the moment of death, for it was a symbol of a life of heroism and self-denial. The poets still sing of the Templar's cross, the Crescent of the Turks, the Chalice of the hunted Christian, and the White plume of Murat, that crested the wave of valor sweeping resistlessly to victory. Soldiers! to you is given a chance in this Spring Campaign of making this badge immortal. Let History record that on the banks of the James thirty thousand freemen not only gained their own liberty but shattered the prejudice of the world, and gave to the Land of their birth Peace, Union, and Liberty. Godfrey Weitzel, [Official.] Major-General Commanding. W. L. Goodrich, A. A. A. General. This corps was compos
with the Cheyennes on the Solomon's Fork of the Kansas river, in July 1857. In that wild life of the prairie, now chasing the buffalo, now pursuing the treacherous savage, Stuart had passed nearly all his waking hours in the saddle, and thus became one of the most fearless and dexterous horsemen in America, and he had acquired a love of adventure which made activity a necessity of his being. He delighted in the neighing of the charger and the clangour of the bugle, and he had something of Murat's weakness for the vanities of military parade. He betrayed this latter quality in his jaunty uniform, which consisted of a small grey jacket, trousers of the same stuff, and over them high military boots, a yellow silk sash, and a grey slouch hat, surmounted by a sweeping black ostrich plume. Thus attired, sitting gracefully on his fine horse, he did not fail to attract the notice and admiration of all who saw him ride along. This is not the place to expatiate on the military character o
, always knowing him to be beyond all modern men in chivalry, as he was equal to any one in courage. He combined the virtues of Sir Philip Sidney with the dash of Murat. His fame will live in the valley of Virginia, outside of books, as long as its hills and mountains shall endure. Never was truer comparison than that of Ashby to Murat and Sidney mingled; but the splendid truth and modesty of the great English chevalier predominated in him. The Virginian had the dash and fire of Murat in the charge, nor did the glittering Marshal at the head of the French cuirassiers perform greater deeds of daring. But the pure and spotless soul of Philip Sidney, thatMurat in the charge, nor did the glittering Marshal at the head of the French cuirassiers perform greater deeds of daring. But the pure and spotless soul of Philip Sidney, that mirror of chivalry, was the true antetype of Ashby's. Faith, honour, truth, modesty, a courtesy which never failed, a loyalty which nothing could affect-these were the great traits which made the young Virginian so beloved and honoured, giving him the noble place he held among the men of his epoch. No man lives who can remember a
s long, hard work in the service. I have often seen him engaged in that work, which gave him his great fame; and this phase of the young officer's character obtrudes itself, rounding and completing the outline. With what obstinate and unyielding courage he fought!-with a daring how splendid, how rich in suggestion of the antique days! He entered upon a battle with the coolness and resolution of a great leader trained in a thousand combats, and fought his guns with the fury and elan of Murat at the head of his horsemen. No trait of the ground, no movement of the enemy, ever escaped his eagle eye. With an inborn genius for war which West Point had merely developed, and directed in its proper channels, he had the rapid comprehension-intuition almostwhich counts for so much in a leader. Where the contest was hottest and the pressure heaviest, there was Pelham with his guns; and the broken lines of infantry, or cavalry giving ground before irresistible numbers, heard their deep vo
tol hurled one of the enemy. Iii. I have spoken of his modest, almost shy demeanour. All this disappeared in action. His coolness remained unaffected, but he evidently felt himself in his proper element, and entitled to direct others. At such moments his suggestions were boldly made, and not seldom resulted in the rout of the enemy. The cavalry once in motion, the quiet, modest gentleman was metamorphosed into the fiery partisan. He would lead a charge with the reckless daring of Murat, and cheer on the men, with contagious ardour, amid the most furious storm of balls. His disregard of personal exposure was supreme, and the idea that he was surrounded by peril never occurred to him. He has repeatedly told the present writer, with that simplicity and sincerity which produce conviction, that in action he was wholly unconscious of the balls and shells flying and bursting around him — that his interest in the general result was so strong as to cause him to lose sight of th
Fitzhugh Lee, General Lee, Chapter 3: a cavalry officer of the army of the United States. (search)
ve his knees, jingling spurs, clanking saber, and slouched hat, upon whose looped — up side gay feathers danced. Or can we imagine him with the devil-may-care look and jaunty bearing generally ascribed as attributes of the rough rider ? We can not fancy him charging the French columns with the fury of a Ponsonby at Waterloo; or riding boot to boot with dashing Cardigan and his death or glory squadrons into the jaws of death, into the mouth of hell at Balaklava; or side by side with fearless Murat and his twelve thousand cavalry at Jena; or as fast and furious as Stuart, or Sheridan, Forrest, or Custer. And yet it is safe to say, had the opportunity offered, this new cavalry officer would have been found equal to the emergency. The cavalry genius of Cromwell is readily admitted, in spite of the fact that he was forty-four years of age when he first drew his sword, and Lee was now forty-six. General Foy, in his history of the Peninsular War, writes: Apres les qualities necessaire[s]?
Fitzhugh Lee, General Lee, Chapter 8: commands the army defending Richmond, and seven days battles. (search)
uate at West Point of the class of 1854, and a soldier from the feathers in his hat to the rowels of his spurs. He was twenty-nine years old when Lee ordered him to locate McClellan's right flank and in the full vigor of a robust manhood. His brilliant courage, great activity, immense endurance, and devotion to his profession had already marked him as a cavalry commander of unquestioned merit. He had the fire, zeal, and capacity of Prince Rupert, but, like him, lacked caution; the dash of Murat, but was sometimes rash and imprudent; was as skillful and vigorous as Frederick the Great's celebrated cavalry leader, and, like Seidlitz, was willing to break the necks of some of his men by charging over rough ground if he made bold horsemen of the rest and gained his object. He would have gone as far as Cardigan, with cannon to right of him, cannon to left of him, cannon in front of him. He was a Christian dragoon — an unusual combination. His Bible and tactics were his text-books. H
Fitzhugh Lee, General Lee, Chapter 13: campaign in Virginia.-Bristol Station.-mine Run.-Wilderness. (search)
. I am glad you have some socks for the army. Send them to me. They will come safely. Tell the girls to send all they can. I wish they could make some shoes, too. We have thousands of barefooted men. There is no news. General Meade, I believe, is repairing the railroad, and I presume will come on again. If I could only get some shoes and clothes for the men I would save him the trouble. On November 1st Lee reviewed his cavalry corps, much to the delight of J. E. B. Stuart, who, like Murat, was not averse to the pomp of war. The cavalry chief was in all his glory with his fighting jacket and dancing plume. The cavalry corps numbered-by the returns of the day before-seven thousand nine hundred and seventeen. Many squadrons were absent on picket and other detached duty, but at least five thousand sabers passed his front. It was an inspiring sight. The privates, who were graceful riders, owned the horses, which were generally good. From Camp Rappahannock, November 1, 1863
price. From Georgia came Commander Tattnall, John B. Gordon, that gallant knight whose bravery and skill forced him through rank to rank to the highest command. Wounded in every battle, until at the last, at Appomattox, he beat back Sheridan's cavalry and captured artillery from him until within the last halfhour's life of the Army of Northern Virginia, when he reported his corps fought to a frazzle. Then, and then only, was the emblem of truce displayed. Joseph Wheeler, the young Murat of the cavalry, General Lawton and his no less distinguished brother-in-law, E. Porter Alexander, the skilful engineer and accomplished artillery officer, for gallantry promoted to be Brigadier-General and Chief of Artillery of Longstreet's Corps; and Hardee, the scientific dauntless soldier; Walker, David R. Jones, Young, Denning, Colquitt, and a shining list I have not space to name. Mississippi gave her Ferguson, Barksdale, Martin, the two Adams, Featherston, Posey, and Fizer, who le
Baron de Jomini, Summary of the Art of War, or a New Analytical Compend of the Principle Combinations of Strategy, of Grand Tactics and of Military Policy. (ed. Major O. F. Winship , Assistant Adjutant General , U. S. A., Lieut. E. E. McLean , 1st Infantry, U. S. A.), Chapter 4: grand tactics, and battles. (search)
hostile camp. At Marengo, at Lutzen, at Eylau, there were a kind of surprises, but these were in reality only unexpected attacks to which this name cannot be given. The only great surprise that we could cite, is that of Taroutin, in 1812, where Murat was assailed and beaten by Benningsen; in order to justify his want of prudence, Murat alleged that he reposed upon a tacit armistice, but there existed no such convention, and he allowed himself to be surprised by an unpardonable negligence. Murat alleged that he reposed upon a tacit armistice, but there existed no such convention, and he allowed himself to be surprised by an unpardonable negligence. It is evident that the most favorable manner of attacking an army, is to fall upon its camp a little before day, at the moment when it is expecting nothing of the kind; confusion will then be inevitable, and if to this advantage is joined that of being well acquainted with the localities, and of giving to the masses a suitable tactical and strategic direction, we may flatter ourselves with a complete victory, barring unexpected events. This is an operation of war which must not be despised, al
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