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the combats of the Peninsula, where, at Williamsburg, he led a regiment of infantry in the assault; in the battles of Cold Harbour and Malvern Hill, at the second Manassas, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, and the scores of minor engagements which marked almost every day upon the outposts. He missed the battle of Chancellorsville, greatly to his regret, having gone home, after an absence of two years, to witness the bombardment of Charleston and see his family. It was soon after his return in May that the fatal moment came which deprived the service of this eminent partisan. At the desperately contested battle of Fleetwood, in Culpeper county, on the 9th of June, 1863, he was sent by General Stuart to carry a message to Colonel Butler, of the 2d South Carolina cavalry. He had just delivered his message, and was sitting upon his horse by the Colonel, when a shell, which also wounded Butler, struck him upon the right knee and tore his leg in two at the joint. He fell from the saddle
t line, from the Douglas of Scotland, and his father, who was born on the Roanoke river, in Charlotte county, Virginia, was one of the most accomplished gentlemen of his time. He emigrated to South Carolina at the age of twenty-one, married, and commenced there the practice of law. To the son, the issue of this marriage, he gave the name of William Downs Farley, after his father-in-law, Colonel William F. Downs, a distinguished lawyer, member of the Legislature, and an officer of the war of 1812. The father of this Colonel Downs was Major Jonathan Downs, a patriot of ‘76; his mother, a daughter of Captain Louis Saxon, also distinguished in our first great struggle; thus our young partisan of 1863 had fighting blood in his veins, and, in plunging into the contest, only followed the traditions of his race. From earliest childhood he betrayed the instincts of the man of genius. Those who recollect him then, declare that his nature seemed composed of two mingled elements — the one
December 19th, 1835 AD (search for this): chapter 1.10
l, his leg shattered by a fragment of shell, and the brave true soul went to rejoin its Maker. One of the chiefest spites of fate is that oblivion which submerges the greatest names and events. The design of this brief paper is to put upon record some particulars of the career of a brave soldier-so that, in that aftertime which sums up the work and glory of the men of this epoch, his name shall not be lost to memory. Farley was born at Laurens village, South Carolina, on the 19th of December, 1835. He was descended, in a direct line, from the Douglas of Scotland, and his father, who was born on the Roanoke river, in Charlotte county, Virginia, was one of the most accomplished gentlemen of his time. He emigrated to South Carolina at the age of twenty-one, married, and commenced there the practice of law. To the son, the issue of this marriage, he gave the name of William Downs Farley, after his father-in-law, Colonel William F. Downs, a distinguished lawyer, member of the Le
giment. After a desperate encounter he and his little party were all captured or killed, and Farley was taken to the Old Capitol in Washington, where he remained some time in captivity. General Bayard mentioned this affair afterwards in an interview with General Stuart, and spoke in warm terms of the courage which led Farley to undertake so desperate an adventure. Released from prison, Farley hastened back to his old stamping ground around Centreville, reaching that place in the winter of 1861. He speedily received the most flattering proposals from some eminent officers who were going to the South-west; but chancing to meet General Stuart, that officer took violent possession of him, and thenceforth kept him near his person as volunteer aide-de-camp. With this arrangement Farley soon became greatly pleased. He had already seen Stuart at work, and that love of adventure and contempt of danger — the coolness, self-possession, and mastery of the situation, however perilous — which
March, 1862 AD (search for this): chapter 1.10
an immense gulf should miraculously open, and an oracle should declare that the honour and peace of the country could only be maintained by one of her youths throwing himself into it, do you believe you could do it? He looked serious, and answered earnestly and with emphasis, I believe I could. Thus permanently attached as volunteer aide to General Stuart, Farley thereafter took part in all the movements of the cavalry. He was with them in that hot falling back from Centreville, in March, 1862; in the combats of the Peninsula, where, at Williamsburg, he led a regiment of infantry in the assault; in the battles of Cold Harbour and Malvern Hill, at the second Manassas, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, and the scores of minor engagements which marked almost every day upon the outposts. He missed the battle of Chancellorsville, greatly to his regret, having gone home, after an absence of two years, to witness the bombardment of Charleston and see his family. It was soon after his r
na at the age of twenty-one, married, and commenced there the practice of law. To the son, the issue of this marriage, he gave the name of William Downs Farley, after his father-in-law, Colonel William F. Downs, a distinguished lawyer, member of the Legislature, and an officer of the war of 1812. The father of this Colonel Downs was Major Jonathan Downs, a patriot of ‘76; his mother, a daughter of Captain Louis Saxon, also distinguished in our first great struggle; thus our young partisan of 1863 had fighting blood in his veins, and, in plunging into the contest, only followed the traditions of his race. From earliest childhood he betrayed the instincts of the man of genius. Those who recollect him then, declare that his nature seemed composed of two mingled elements — the one gentle and reflective, the other ardent and enthusiastic. Passionately fond of Shakspeare and the elder poets, he loved to wander away into the woods, and, stretched beneath some great oak, pass hour after
June, 1863 AD (search for this): chapter 1.10
the work with all the skill and readiness of one who engages in that occupation for which, by Providence, he is especially designed. He served from the beginning of the war to the hard battle of Fleetwood, in Culpeper, fought on the 9th of June, 1863. There he fell, his leg shattered by a fragment of shell, and the brave true soul went to rejoin its Maker. One of the chiefest spites of fate is that oblivion which submerges the greatest names and events. The design of this brief paper dment of Charleston and see his family. It was soon after his return in May that the fatal moment came which deprived the service of this eminent partisan. At the desperately contested battle of Fleetwood, in Culpeper county, on the 9th of June, 1863, he was sent by General Stuart to carry a message to Colonel Butler, of the 2d South Carolina cavalry. He had just delivered his message, and was sitting upon his horse by the Colonel, when a shell, which also wounded Butler, struck him upon t
ss occasions he surprised the enemy's pickets; and with three others, waylaid and attacked a column of several hundred cavalry led by Colonel (afterwards General) Bayard, whose horse he killed, slightly wounding the rider. This audacious attack was made some ten or fifteen miles beyond the Southern lines, and nothing but a love o pines; and although they might easily have remained perdus until the column passed, and so escaped, Farley determined to attack, and did attack-firing first upon Bayard, and nearly stampeding his whole regiment. After a desperate encounter he and his little party were all captured or killed, and Farley was taken to the Old Capitol in Washington, where he remained some time in captivity. General Bayard mentioned this affair afterwards in an interview with General Stuart, and spoke in warm terms of the courage which led Farley to undertake so desperate an adventure. Released from prison, Farley hastened back to his old stamping ground around Centreville
ich he bore his own State. He joined Gregg's regiment, in which he served three months, and on the disbanding of which he became an independent fighter. From this time commences that career of personal adventure and romantic exploits which made him so famous. Shouldering his rifle-now riding, then on foot-he proceeded to the far outposts nearest to the enemy, and was indefatigable in penetrating their lines, harassing detached parties, and gaining information for Generals Bonham and Beauregard. Falling back with the army from Fairfax, he fought-though so sick that he could scarcely stand — in the first battle of Manassas, and then entered permanently upon the life of the scout, speedily attracting to himself the unconcealed admiration of the whole army. To note the outlines even of his performances at that time, would require thrice the space we have at our disposal. He seemed omnipresent on every portion of the lines; and if any daring deed was undertaken-any expedition which
nferior to that which he bore his own State. He joined Gregg's regiment, in which he served three months, and on the disbanding of which he became an independent fighter. From this time commences that career of personal adventure and romantic exploits which made him so famous. Shouldering his rifle-now riding, then on foot-he proceeded to the far outposts nearest to the enemy, and was indefatigable in penetrating their lines, harassing detached parties, and gaining information for Generals Bonham and Beauregard. Falling back with the army from Fairfax, he fought-though so sick that he could scarcely stand — in the first battle of Manassas, and then entered permanently upon the life of the scout, speedily attracting to himself the unconcealed admiration of the whole army. To note the outlines even of his performances at that time, would require thrice the space we have at our disposal. He seemed omnipresent on every portion of the lines; and if any daring deed was undertaken-an
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