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John Esten Cooke, Wearing of the Gray: Being Personal Portraits, Scenes, and Adventures of War., Jennings Wise: Captain of the Blues (search)
Jennings Wise: Captain of the Blues I. I found in an old portfolio, the other day, the following slip from a Norfolk paper of the year 1862: The Confederate steamer Arrow arrived here this morning, from Currituck, having communicatedoving friends who knew and appreciated him. And though I shall not attempt anything in the shape of a memoir of young Jennings Wise, my few words may not prove uninteresting to those who watched, from a distance, his meteoric career, and perhaps admired his brave spirit, while ignorance of his real character led them to misunderstand him. Jennings Wise! How many memories that name recalls!--memories of gentleness and chivalry, and lofty honour, to those who knew him truly — of fancied ur dead heroes who surrendered youth, and coming fame, and friends, and home, and life for their native land-surrendered them without a murmur or a single regret-among these great souls the Genius of History must inscribe the name of Jennings Wise
to strengthen the defenses. General Huger had striven to keep his men employed; and they, at least, did not despise the enemy that frowned at them from Fort Monroe, and frequently sent messages of compliment into their camps from the lips of the Sawyer gun. The echo of the paeans from Manassas came back to them, but softened by distance and tempered by their own experience-or want of it. In Western Virginia there had been a dull, eventless campaign, of strategy rather than action. General Wise had taken command on the first of June, and early in August had been followed by General John B. Floyd--the ex-U. S. Secretary of War. These two commanders unfortunately disagreed as to means and conduct of the campaign; and General R. E. Lee was sent to take general command on this-his first theater of active service. His management of the campaign was much criticised in many quarters; and the public verdict seemed to be that, though he had an army of twenty thousand men, tolerably
good enough for his selection. Suddenly, on the 7th of February, Roanoke Island fell! Constant as had been the warnings of the press, unremittingly as General Wise had besieged the War Department, and blue as was the mood of the public — the blow still fell like a thunder-clap and shook to the winds the few remaining shreds of hope. General Wise was ill in bed; and the defense-conducted by a militia colonel with less than one thousand raw troops — was but child's play to the immense armada with heaviest metal that Burnside brought against the place. Roanoke Island was the key to General Huger's position at Norfolk. Its fall opened the Soundsof the untrained garrison; by a plucky and determined fight of the little squadron under Commodore Lynch; and by the brilliant courage and death of Captain 0. Jennings Wise — a gallant soldier and noble gentleman, whose popularity was deservedly great. But, the people felt that a period must be put to these mistakes; and so gr<
J. B. Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary, chapter 47 (search)
stant, that the troops sailing out of James River are, he thinks, destined for another attack on Wilmington. But none have left the lines in front of him, etc. Gen. Lee also writes on the 9th instant, that the commissary agents have established a large traffic through our lines, in North Carolina, for supplies; and he desires the press to say nothing on the subject. Mr. Ould, to whom it appears the Secretary has written for his opinion (he was editor once, and fought a duel with Jennings Wise, Mr. Seddon being his second), gives a very bad one on the condition of affairs. He says the people have confidence in Mr. Seddon, but not in President Davis, and a strong reconstruction party will spring up in Virginia rather than adopt the President's ideas about the slaves, etc. The Chief of the Treasury Note Bureau, at Columbia, S. C., asks where he shall fly to if the enemy approaches. It is understood one of our generals, when appealed to by the Secretary, exclaimed: To the
fering great uneasiness about the country. The enemy is attacking Roanoke Island furiously. General Wise is there, and will do all that can be done; but fears are entertained that it has not been pt very great. The Richmond Blues were captured, and their Captain, the gifted and brave 0. Jennings Wise, is among the fallen. My whole heart overflows towards his family; for, though impetuous ins. We have just been drawn to the window by sad strains of martial music. The bodies of Captains Wise and Coles were brought by the cars, under special escort. The military met them, and in the, it was melancholy to see the procession by lamplight, as it passed slowly down the street. Captain Wise has been carried to the Capitol, and Captain Coles to the Central Depot, thence to be carriedday, February 16th, 1862. This morning we left home early, to be present at the funeral of Captain Wise, but we could not even approach the door of St. James's Church, where it took place. The chu
omitable spirit; evinced a readiness to be amused or interested in every thing around them; asked that the morning papers might be read to them, and gloried in their late victory; and expressed an anxiety to get well, that they may have another chance at them fellows. The Yankees are said to have landed at West Point, and are thence sending out raiding parties over the country. Colonel Davis, who led the party here on the third, has been severely wounded by a scouting party, sent out by General Wise towards Tunstall's Station. It is said he has lost his leg. So may it be! Monday, may 18th, 1863. This morning we had the gratification of a short visit from General Lee. He called and breakfasted with us, while the other passengers in the cars breakfasted at the hotel. We were very glad to see that great and good man look so well and so cheerful. His beard is very long, and painfully gray, which makes him appear much older than he really is. One of the ladies at table, with who
e in our leaders, both in the Cabinet and on the field. Were I a credulous woman, and ready to believe all that I hear in the office, in the hospital, in my visits and on the streets, I should think that Richmond is now filled with the most accomplished military geniuses on which the sun shines. Each man expresses himself, as an old friend would say, with the most dogmatic infallibility of the conduct of the President, General Lee, General Johnston, General Hampton, General Beauregard, General Wise, together with all the other lights of every degree. It is true that there are as many varieties of opinion as there are men expressing them, or I should profoundly regret that so much military light should be obscured among the shades of the Richmond Departments ; but I do wish that some of them would refrain from condemning the acts of our leaders, and from uttering such awful prophecies, provided the President or General Lee does not do so and so. Although I do not believe their foreb
political tenets which culminated in the elevation of Abraham Lincoln to the presidency of the United States as fraught with evil to the South, they resolved to assert those rights of Sovereign States which they had learned from the fathers of the Republic; and to attempt the establishment of a government free from those disturbing causes which had for many years threatened the peace of the Union. The South was not alone in its apprehensions of danger from the triumph of a sectional party. Wise and moderate men at the North felt and expressed their fears for the safety of the country. A prominent divine, in a funeral discourse on the eminent Judge McLean, of the Supreme Court of the United States, who was taken away just as the dark shadows began to fall on the land, says: He told me that he had marked the downward progress of our nation and of our government for many years; that he knew that, as a people, we had become corrupt to the very core; that politics had degenerated
s, in Kentucky, was given up, Nashville was evacuated in the midst of dismay and confusion, and the remains of the Southern army retired southward. In all these battles there were instances of that high Christian courage which became the leading characteristic of the Southern soldiers. The capture of Roanoke Island was made by General Burnside with an immense force compared with the handful of men that defended it. Here many valuable lives were lost. Among the killed was Captain 0. Jennings Wise, son of Hon. Henry A. Wise. He commanded the Richmond Virginia Blues, and fell in the thickest of the fight. Speaking of the battle and fall of his son, in reply to a letter of condolence from a friend, General Wise said: Ah! the report of the military murders of Roanoke Island reached you! The enemy came in mist and storm, and I sent my men, only seventeen companies of infantry, to meet 15,000 of the best appointed troops. I, prostrated by pleurisy the most excruciating. Wh
of three field-pieces on the left, In this action was killed Capt. 0. Jennings Wise, of the Richmond Blues, a son of Gen. Wise, a young man of brilliant promisGen. Wise, a young man of brilliant promise, prominently connected with the Richmond press before the war, and known throughout the State for his talents, chivalric bearing, and modesty of behaviour. A corriculars of the death of this brilliant young officer: About ten o'clock Capt. Wise found his battalion exposed to the galling fire of a regiment; turning to Caps turned to pass the order, and was shot through the heart, dying instantly. Capt. Wise was wounded, first in the arm and next through the lungs, which latter wound mmunition for any of the large pieces. The forts, built on the island before Gen. Wise was assigned to the command, were all in the wrong places-at the north end ofely avoided by him; that he had paid no practical attention to the appeals of Gen. Wise; and that he had, by plain acts of omission, permitted that general and an in
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