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Hagood's brigade: its services in the trenches of Petersburg, Virginia, 1864.

[An address by General Johnson Hagood before the Survivors' Association of Charleston District, South Carolina, April 12, 1887, at Charleston, South Carolina.]

The Survivors' Association of Charleston District, including the present county of Berkeley, held its annual meeting at the German Artillery Hall April 12, 1887. The following officers were elected for the ensuing year: President, W. Aiken Kelly; First Vice-President, John S. Fairly; Second Vice-President, A. G. Magrath, Jr.; Third Vice-President, Zimmerman Davis; Fourth VicePresi-dent, D. B. Gilliland; Secretary, J. W. Ward; Treasurer, H. F. Faber.

The following ex-Confederates were admitted to membership: F. W. Wagener, James F. Izlar, F. L. Meyer, F. C. Schulz, E. T. Legare, W. W. White, F. W. Lesemann, W. H. Bartless, A. H. [396] Prince, Joseph Riddock, James Campbell, W. H. Sutcliffe, Louis Elias, Wade H. Manning, the Rev. Robert Wilson, D. D., and T. L. Ogier, M. D.

An invitation to attend the unveiling of the Calhoun monument was accepted, and an appropriately engraved certificate of membership was adopted.

General C. I. Walker then addressed the meeting in feeling terms on the death of General Arthur M. Manigault, a member of the Association. Colonel Zimmerman Davis introduced resolutions of regret at the death of General Roswell S. Ripley. General Huguenin referred eloquently to the life and public services of the late General J. C. Minott, and Colonel John S. Fairly proposed resolutions of regret on the death of Captain Thomas M. Miller, a brother member of the Association, which were unanimously adopted. After this, the members and invited guests adjourned to the adjoining hall, where an elegant supper was served.

At the head of the table were seated President Kelly, with General Johnson Hagood and Colonel P. C. Gaillard on either side. Among the guests were Dr. G. B. Lartigue, of Barnwell, formerly of General Hagood's staff; General James F. Izlar, of Orangeburg, and Captain W. H. Bartless, of Beaufort, ex-captain of the Yeadon Light Infantry.

President W. Aiken Kelly, after a brief and eloquent introduction, proposed the first toast of the evening:

The Annual Reunion of the Survivors' Association of Charleston District-Always hailed as the occasion when we can fight our battles over again, and recall the reminiscences of the eventful past.

Responded to by General Johnson Hagood, who spoke as follows:

General Hagood's Address.

Gentlemen of the Survivors' Association—I have been requested by your committee to prepare for this occasion a sketch of the service of Hagood's brigade in the trenches at Petersburg. It gives me pleasure to do so. Some detailed account of the part borne by one brigade in that siege is indicative of the service of others, and while the narrative must necessarily be largely personal to the men whom I had the honor to command, the record of their devotion is that of all who there ‘followed the sword of Lee.’

After the disastrous repulse at Cold Harbor in June, 1864, Grant lingered for a few days on that front of Richmond, and then determined to transfer his operations to the south side of the James, [397] making Petersburg his immediate objective. In the arrangement at that time of the defences of the Confederate capital, this position constituted their right flank, and covered the communication with the South and West, upon the maintenance of which depended a successful defence. By the 13th the Federal army was in full march from Cold Harbor. Lee followed, intervening between it and Richmond on the north side of the James, as it was still open to Grant until he had crossed that stream to turn directly upon the capital. In this movement Hoke's division, of which Hagood's brigade was a part, followed in reserve. At 5 P. M. on the 14th it was ordered back some eight miles to the vicinity of the pontoon bridge near Drewry's Bluff. Here it was in position to return to Lee or go speedily to Beauregard at Petersburg. The passage of the James at Harrison's Landing developed fully Grant's design, and Lee, ordering Hoke to Beauregard, followed with the remainder of his army. Hoke crossed the river at 11 A. M. on the 15th and marched by the turnpike; but when opposite Chester station was informed that partial transportation by rail awaited him, and was directed to hurry forward his command. Hagood's brigade was at once dispatched by rail; Colquitt followed some time after, and the remaining brigades continued their march on the pike.

At noon on the 15th Smith's corps of the Federal army, being Grant's advance, was before the eastern defences of Petersburg, manned by Wise's brigade and the local militia, composed of the boys and old men of the city. After consuming the evening in reconnoissance and preparation, Smith assailed with a cloud of skirmishers and easily carried the works, capturing some artillery and prisoners. Just after this success Hancock's corps arrived; but the enemy, instead of pressing on and seizing the town, which lay at his mercy, determined to await the morning before making a decisive advance.

Hagood's brigade reached Petersburg at dark, and while the men were being got off the cars and formed in the streets, its commander proceeded to Beauregard's headquarters to report for orders. General Beauregard was on the lines, and Colonel Harris of his staff was instructing General Hagood to move out on the Jerusalem plank road and take position where it issued from the lines, when a courier arrived announcing that the enemy had carried our works from battery No. 3 to battery No. 7 inclusive, and that our troops were in full retreat. Hagood was now instructed to move out immediately upon the City Point road (the road uncovered by this success of the [398] enemy) and take a position to check his advance, and upon which a new defensive line might be established. It was a critical moment. The routed troops were pouring into the town, spreading alarm on every hand, and there was no organized command available for resisting the advance which the enemy was supposed to be making, except this brigade and Tabb's Virginia regiment, which still held a portion of the lines. It would be daylight before Hoke's division could all get up, and the main body of Lee's army was miles away. In this emergency Beauregard directed the withdrawal of the troops on the Bermuda Hundreds line (between Petersburg and Richmond) and their transfer to the threatened point. Finding these lines abandoned, Butler next day took possession of them, and even essayed to renew his efforts against the Petersburg and Richmond railroad. With the arrival, however, of the main body of the Confederate army, he was without much trouble again remanded to the limits within which he had been consigned by the previous battle of Drewry's Bluff.

It was after dark when General Hagood received his orders, and being entirely ignorant of the localities, as well as unable to learn much from the confused and contradictory accounts of the volunteer guides who accompanied him, when he reached the fork of the City Point and Prince George roads, just beyond the New Market race course, he halted the brigade, and leaving it under Colonel Simonton, rode forward, accompanied by Captain Molony and Lieutenant Martin, of the staff, to make a personal reconnoissance. He encountered the enemy's picket on the latter road at the ford, where it crosses Harrison's creek, inside of the original line of defences. The reconnoitering party had nearly ridden into it when they were warned by a wounded Confederate by the road-side. They were not fired upon. Turning across the fields toward the City Point road, General Hagood was opportunely met by a courier with a map from Colonel Harris, who had also the foresight to send with it a bit of tallow candle and matches.

General Colquitt at the same time coming up ahead of his brigade, in conference with that officer, and with the aid of the map, the line of Harrison's creek was determined on, and Hagood's men put in position. Colquitt's brigade arriving, took post on the right, and extended the line across the Prince George road, having first brushed out the picket at the ford with skirmishers. Harrison's creek emptied into the Appomattox in rear of Battery No. 1, which was the initial point of the original defences, and on the bank of the river. [399] Its west fork crossed these defences near No. 15. The line now taken was, therefore, the chord of the are of our captured or abandoned works, and ran along the west bank of the main creek and its western fork, having very good command over the cleared and cultivated valley in its front. The old line from Battery 1 to Battery 2 was held by Tabb's regiment, and it was relieved by the Twenty-seventh South Carolina. The brigade left thus rested on the river, and its right extended to near the Prince George road. The Confederates immediately and rapidly intrenched themselves.

The next morning, the 16th of June, was the anniversary of the battle of Secessionville, and the first shell fired by the enemy in the gloaming, and when it was yet entirely too dark to know more than the general direction in which to aim it, killed Captains Hopkins and Palmer and Lieutenant Gelling, of the Twenty-seventh regiment, who had all served with distinction in that battle, and the first of whom had been then severely wounded. The same shell also wounded several enlisted men of the Twenty-seventh. The brigade commander, wearied out, had fallen asleep some half hour before, and this shot awaked him. Its successors from the same battery showed that the position of the Twenty-seventh was completely enfiladed, and the morning light made evident a fact that had not been appreciated in the night—this regiment was advanced beyond the general line. It was accordingly at once drawn back to the west side of the creek. Two field-pieces, abandoned by our troops the day before on the City Point road, beyond our present position, were also brought in. They were found to be spiked, and were, therefore, sent to the rear.

The enemy shelled Hagood furiously all day, and the skirmishers on his front were constantly engaged. The Federals several times appeared to be forming for battle beyond rifle range, there being no artillery on his portion of our line, and about dark assailed his centre. They were repulsed after keeping up the effort for an hour, never having got nearer than seventy-five yards to his entrenchments. On Hagood's right the enemy's assault was better sustained, and they suffered heavily, They met with no success. Lieutenant Allemong, of the Twenty-seventh regiment, was killed to-day.

On the 17th the same heavy shelling and skirmishing continued on our front. About half-past 6 the enemy again assaulted heavily the brigade on our right, and were repulsed with considerable slaughter. Still further to the right several assaults were made during the day, one of which met with some success, but the Confederates rallying drove them back. The loss in the Federal ranks to-day was acknowledged [400] to be four thousand. They claimed to have captured four guns, and probably got in addition some two hundred prisoners. Their long range artillery practice on Hagood's front was accurate, as it always was when there was no artillery to reply, and the brigade suffered several casualties.

In the meantime General Beauregard had determined on taking a more compact and shorter line of defence than the one now occupied, and during these two days fighting it had been partially prepared for occupation. It was this last line which was held during the siege that ensued. It was some eight hundred yards nearer the city, and, like the line first taken, was the chord to an arc of the original defences, still more of which was now abandoned. This line was at first a simple trench with the parapet on the further side, and though it was afterwards amplified it retained the general character of a trench and was known as ‘The Trenches,’ in distinction from the portion of the original lines retained by us. The last were artillery redoubts connected by infantry breastworks. The ‘trenches’ opposed Grant's front of attack; the remaining portion of the enceinte was not assailed until, perhaps, the closing day of the siege in 1865.

At I:30 A. M. on the 18th, Hagood's brigade moved back on the new line to the position assigned it. His left was again on the Appomattox, thence running southward nearly at right angles to the river, his line crossed the City Point road and extended to the eminence known as Hare's Hill, where Colquitt prolonged the general line. The New Market race course was in front of the right of the brigade, and the approach to its position was generally level. By daylight the Confederates were quietly in position and diligently strengthening their incomplete works.

Shortly after daylight the enemy advanced upon our old works, and finding them abandoned came on with vociferous cheers. As soon as their skirmishers encountered ours in the new position, their line of battle halted and heavy skirmishing commenced. This continued until about 2 P. M., the skirmishers alternately driving each other. The brigade lost several killed and wounded and a few prisoners, but inflicted an equal or greater loss upon the enemy and captured twenty-five or thirty prisoners.

At 2 P. M. the enemy formed for assault upon the portion of the brigade between the river and the City Point road, and a little later moved forward. A regiment was pushed up along the bank of the river, under cover of the grove and buildings of the younger Hare, some two hundred and fifty yards on our left front. It came in [401] column, and as soon as its head was uncovered endeavored to deploy. The remainder of their force came forward in line of battle. A rapid fire was opened upon the column as soon as it showed itself, and upon the line at about three hundred yards. The column never succeeded in deploying, and the line broke after advancing about fifty yards under fire. They were rallied and again brought forward, but were repulsed in confusion and with heavy loss. The voices of the Federal officers in command could be plainly heard. The Twenty-first, Twenty-seventh and Eleventh regiments repulsed this attack. South of the City Point road the Seventh battalion and Twenty-fifth regiment were not at this time assailed. Later in the afternoon, when the enemy made a general assault upon the Confederate lines to the right, the Twenty-fifth fired a few volleys obliquely into the assailing lines moving over Hare's Hill. The skirmishing here, however, in the morning was particularly heavy and obstinate. Major Rion, of the Seventh, commanded the brigade skirmishers with his usual gallantry. He was wounded in the arm, but continued in the field until night. Lieutenant Felder, of the Twenty-fifth, was also wounded, and Lieutenant Harvey, of the Seventh, was killed.

These three days fighting resulted, on the part of the Confederates, in taking a line of defence which, constructed and from day to day strengthened and developed under fire, grew into formidable siege works, impregnable to all direct attack. On the Federal side the loss of ten or twelve thousand men in the three days was proof that, even in their present incomplete condition, held by such men as Lee commanded, they could not be carried by assault. Grant accordingly sat down regularly before the place and ordered siege operations begun.

Compared with the enemy's, the Confederate loss was inconsiderable. In Hagood's brigade the casualties of the three days amounted to two hundred and twenty, of which thirty-six were killed. The loss in the character of the officers killed was, however, severely felt. Ward Hopkins was the senior captain of the Twenty-seventh regiment, and, after Colonel Gaillard, commanded the confidence of the men perhaps as much as any officer in it. His loss was a calamity to the regiment. Captain Palmer was a graduate of the State Military Academy and an efficient officer. Lieutenants Allemong and Harvey were also good officers. Lieutenant Gelling was the adjutant of his regiment, and his brigade commander had had occasion to notice and specially commend his conduct at Cold Harbor.

On the 21st Grant extended his line of investment somewhat more [402] to his left, gaining no material advantage and losing three thousand men to Lee in the operation. His cavalry were at the same time dispatched against the railroad communications of Petersburg to the south and west, and succeeded in doing some slight damage, when they were encountered by the Confederate cavalry at Stony Creek and completely overwhelmed. A remnant escaped into the Federal lines before Petersburg, having lost their entire artillery and train and a thousand prisoners.

There now occurred an episode in the siege that attracted no general attention, but was a bitter experience to Hagood's brigade, which bore the consequences of its miscarriage. Grant's line had by this time extended a considerable distance from the river, and his communication with his base at City Point was behind his right flank, which rested on the river. General Lee, in conjunction with General Beauregard, determined to assume the offensive, drive in Grant's right wing, seize his line of retreat, and, forcing him away from his base, inflict such a blow as would raise the siege if not put an end to the campaign. The plan appeared feasible. The morale of the Confederate army was at its highest; that of the enemy at probably its lowest during the campaign, and the great disparity of losses inflicted by Grant's sledge-hammer style of fighting had brought the two armies at this time to no insurmountable inequality of numbers, other conditions being favorable.

Accordingly, a powerful battery of forty-four field-pieces was, on the night of the 23d June, got into position on the north bank of the Appomattox, here quite narrow, to enfilade the enemy's line, and Fields's division of Longstreet's corps, with other troops, was massed behind Hagood's position, next the river, to follow up the attack which the latter was to lead. Anderson's brigade headed Fields's column, and Benning's brigade, under Colonel DuBose, was next. The following official papers narrate what followed

Headquarters Hagood's brigade, Hoke's division, 26th June, 1864.
Captain Otey, A. A. G.:
Captain—I am required to make a full report of the operations of my brigade in front of Petersburg on the 24th instant. My brigade occupied the left of our line of entrenchments, resting on the south bank of the Appomattox, the Twenty seventh, Twenty-first and Eleventh regiments filling the space from the river to the City [403] Point road, and the Twenty-fifth and Seventh battalions extending along the lines south of the road. The enemy's entrenchments were, at this point, parallel to ours, at a distance of near four hundred yards, an open field, with a rank growth of oats upon it, intervening. Each side had slight rifle-pits a short distance in front of its entrenchments. Our line of entrenchment was single. The enemy appeared to be entrenched in three lines close together, and the attack developed the fact that in their first line they had four and a half regiments, numbering some sixteen hundred or seventeen hundred men.

My division commander had instructed me the night before to be ready for movement in the morning, without indicating what it would be. About dawn on the 24th, he, in person, informed me that a general engagement was contemplated that day, and instructed me in detail as to the part my brigade was to take in bringing it on. A heavy cannonade was to be opened from the north side of the river upon the enemy's position, and five minutes after it had ceased I was to charge the portion of the line between the river and the City Point road, with the Twenty-seventh, Twenty-first and Eleventh regiments. He informed me that I was to be closely supported by Anderson's brigade. When we had succeeded in driving them from their first line, Anderson was to occupy it until his supports arrived, when he was to press on against their second and third lines, while pivoting my three regiments on their right and bringing up the other two regiments of the brigade, I was to form along the City Point road perpendicular to my first position, then, taking the enemy's first line as a directrix, I was to clear Colquitt's front as far as Hare's Hill.

While General Hoke was still explaining the plan of battle to me, Lieutenant Andrews reported from General Anderson, stating that the latter was in position and had sent him to keep in communication with me. In consultation with General Hoke my plan of attack was settled and every preparation made.

The artillery opened precisely at 7 A. M. and ceased precisely at 7:30. At 7:20 A. M. I sent Lieutenant Andrews to General Anderson to say I would move in fifteen minutes. He left me with speed. A delay of several minutes, however, occurred in my movement, and at precisely 7:42 I advanced. I am so far thus accurate as to time because I did not see my support; did not know their exact distance in the rear; and, being governed in my instructions by time, noticed the watch closely.

My advance was made with four hundred picked men and officers as skirmishers, followed by the remainder of the three regiments [404] (about five hundred and fifty men) in a second deployed line at close supporting distance. Lieutenant-Colonel Nelson, Seventh battalion, commanded the skirmishers. I took direction of the second line. The attack was make. The enemy were driven from their rifle-pits without resistance of moment; their first line was gained, and a portion of it captured; some thirty prisoners were taken and sent to the rear, and the enemy's whole line was seriously shaken, his men in numbers running from the works.

Discovering our small force, and the attack not being followed up, his first line rallied, reinforcements were rapidly pushed up from his rear, and we were compelled to fall back. This was done slowly, and the enemy endeavoring to follow us, was driven back. My men, under orders, laid down amid the oats about half-way between the two hostile entrenchments to await Anderson's advance, and then go with him. Numbers of them, however, got back to our rifle-pits, and were permitted to remain there with the same orders as the more advanced line. None of them came back to our entrenchments, except a few skulkers, whom every attack develops, and in this case I am happy to say they were very few.

How much time was occupied in these movements I am unable to say, as I did not look at my watch again. When the vigor of my attack was broken and my men had begun to fall back, the left of Benning's brigade, moving by a flank and coming from across the City Point road, reached the right of the entrenchments I had left in advancing, and then stopped. A discussion between MajorGen-erals Hoke and Fields ensued, and after some delay this brigade moved in and was ready to advance. The report of Colonel DuBose, commanding Benning's brigade, will show the time of his arrival and the then condition of affairs. General Anderson's report will explain the delay in his arrival. Major-General Hoke was on the ground during the whole morning, and can speak of his personal knowledge.

The order of attack being countermanded, I kept out all day as many of my men as the rifle-pits would hold, withdrawing the remainder by squads. At night all were withdrawn. My loss was about a third of the force engaged, twenty-five being killed, seventy-three wounded and two hundred and eight missing, making an aggregate of three hundred and six. The gallant Lieutenant-Colonel Nelson, of the Seventh, Captains Buist and Mulvaney and Lieutenant White, of the Twenty-seventh, Captain Rayser and Lieutenant Riley, of the Eleventh, and Lieutenant Clements, of the Twenty-first, are missing. Lieutenants Huguenin and Trim, of the Twentyseventh, [405] Lieutenants Ford and Vandeford and Chappell, of the Twenty-first, and Lieutenant Smith, of the Eleventh, are wounded, and Captain Axson, of the Twenty-seventh, was killed at the head of his company.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Johnson Hagood, Brigadier-General Commanding.

Headquarters Hoke's division, July 2, 1864.
Captain—In obedience to orders from department headquarters, I respectfully report that a plan of an attack upon the enemy was settled upon on the 23d June, 1864, which plan is fully known to the commanding general. On the night of the 23d June General Hagood was made familiar with the mode of attack sufficiently for him to make the necessary arrangements. No other officer of my command was aware of the intended advance. This precaution was taken fearing that by some means the enemy might learn our intentions and prepare for us.

In accordance with the plan my arrangements were made, which are fully and properly given in the enclosed report of General Hagood. Dividing my forces to the left into two heavy skirmish lines, one to be supported by the other, and the whole to be supported by Brigadier-General Anderson's brigade of Fields's division, formed in line of battle behind the hill in rear of the entrenchments then occupied by Hagood's left. As was directed, the artillery from the batteries on the north side of the river opened fire upon the entrenchments of the enemy as soon as the morning mists had cleared away, and continued its fire with great accuracy, but no execution, for half an hour. After the lapse of five minutes the fire of these guns was directed upon the batteries of the enemy, drawing in a great degree their fire from the advancing infantry, which, as far as I could see was the only service rendered by our guns. Indeed, I fear we were injured more than we gained by their use, as it notified the enemy of our intended attack. My intention was to attack immediately after our guns opened upon the enemy's batteries; but as General Anderson had not reported I delayed, and immediately one of his staff-officers appeared, by whom General Anderson was informed that in fifteen minutes the advance would certainly take place, which would give [406] him time to reach the entrenchments then occupied by General Hagood. At the time appointed the advance was ordered, and immediately my second line followed. The first line gallantly entered the entrenchments of the enemy and did their duty nobly, and (as was witnessed by General Lee himself) succeeded not only in breaking the enemy, but drove them from their works. It was never expected that the entrenchments of the enemy could be held by these two lines of skirmishers, but that they should occupy them till the line of battle should come up. I asked Major-General Fields, who was on the ground, to order General Anderson forward, as a moment's delay would be fatal. He immediately sent the order, which had been previously sent, to General Anderson to go forward. It is proper here to state that this was my third effort to get General Anderson forward after my first notice to him that ‘in fifteen minutes I would certainly move forward.’ Some time after General Fields's second order was sent to General Anderson, he received a note from him saying that the entrenchments were still occupied by General Hagood's troops. In this he was greatly mistaken, as will be seen by General Hagood's report; and, if necessary to prove this mistake, Colonel DuBose, commanding Benning's brigade, will corroborate the fact that the entrenchments were then free of troops, except some stragglers, of whom I am sure no command is exempt. Colonel DuBose had by this time moved up in line of battle on the right of General Anderson's position, and after reaching the trenches moved by a left flank down them, and occupied the point in them which Anderson was to have taken. After some time (I suppose an hour) General Fields put another brigade in the trenches on the left of the City Point road with a view to attack, and seemed anxious to do so; but I advised against it, as the enemy had had time and had made all preparation for us, and I felt assured he would sustain a heavy loss and accomplish nothing. At this time orders were received from General Lee for me to report to him in company with General Fields; and, hearing the condition of affairs, he directed the attack abandoned.

I was much troubled at the loss of my men, who did their duty truly and well, without results which to me appeared certain and surely ought to have been reaped. It is not my desire to place blame or responsibility upon others; I fear neither. In making the foregoing statements I merely give facts to the best of my knowledge, and the commanding general can draw his own conclusions. I have unofficially heard that both I and my command were censured by [407] the commanding general. My regret is in attempting this attack without full command of all the forces which were to participate. Both the plan of battle and attack were good, but failed in the execution. The enemy became extremely uneasy along his entire line when the attack was made, and had we been successful at that point, our results would have been such as have not been heretofore equalled. General Hagood did everything in his power to give us success, and desired to push forward when, in my judgment, it would have been hazardous.

Very respectfully,

R. F. Hoke, Major-General. To Captain John M. Otey, A. A. G.


Respectfully forwarded to General R. E. Lee for his information. It will be seen by the reports of Generals Hoke and Hagood that they are not responsible for the failure of the attack on the 24th ult., which would undoubtedly have been successful had the supports advanced in time. General Hoke is mistaken, if he refers to me, when he says: “I have heard unofficially that both I and my command have been censured by the commanding general.” I stated only that “the success would have been most brilliant had the skirmishers been properly supported.” His report and that of General Hagood prove the correctness of my assertion.

General Hoke says on second page of his report: “After a lapse of five minutes the fire of the guns' (i. e., forty-four guns on the north side of the Appomattox,) ” was directed upon the batteries of the enemy, drawing in a great degree their fire from the advancing infantry, which, as far as I could see, was the only service rendered by them. Indeed, I fear we were injured more than we gained by the use of our guns, as it notified the enemy of our intended attack. The object of opening the fire of the batteries, referred to during the half hour preceding the infantry attack, was to demoralize the enemy's troops occupying the defensive lines which were to be attacked, and which were enfiladed and taken in reverse by those batteries. It was expected also that the heavy artillery fire would throw into confusion any supports the enemy might have concealed in the woods near his line. The best proof of the entire success of the plan is the facility with which an unsupported line of skirmishers got possession of those lines, with a loss of only twenty-five killed and seventy-two wounded. I am decidedly of opinion that, [408] regard being had to locality and attending circumstances, no better results could have been obtained than by the plan adopted, and which failed only because not properly supported.

G. T. Beauregard, General. Headquarters Department North Carolina and South Carolina, 5th July, 1864.

Thus failed a brilliant design which might have given a different complexion to the history of this famous siege. The reports given are the only official papers in connection with it that have come to the knowledge of the writer. No court of inquiry was held. So carefully was the knowledge of the intended movement guarded, and so completely did it fail in the very beginning of its execution, that its purpose appeared at the time not to have been suspected by either army, and to the men and officers of the line of Hagood's brigade it appeared inexplicable why they had been rushed upon a triple line of entrenchments, garnished with artillery and manned with four-fold their number of infantry. Some of their best blood paid the penalty.

Colonel Nelson was standing by Hagood's side on the right of the line when Hoke's aide brought the order to advance. The men who had been told off to follow his lead were intently watching him, and when he was directed to go, without speaking he drew his handkerchief from his breast and raised it aloft. The men sprang over the parapet with a yell, and rushed upon the enemy across the intervening space, he moving upon the right of the line. When they were driven back and had laid down amid the oats, keeping up their fire and awaiting the coming of the supports, he moved erect along the whole length of his line, and shortly after reaching the left disappeared. Subsequently it was learned that he was killed. Thus fell a devoted patriot, a gallant soldier, a courteous gentleman.

Captain Axson was a valuable officer. He was mortally wounded early in the charge, and lingered painfully for some hours, where succor could not reach him. Captain Mulvaney was captured upon the enemy's works waving his cap and cheering on his men. Lieutenant Trim lost his arm, and was put on the retired list. Lieutenants Smith, Vandeford and Chappell died of their wounds. Chappell was a young officer, whose good conduct at Walthall Station, and again at Drewry's Bluff, had attracted the attention of the brigade commander, and had in each instance procured him a compliment on [409] the field. At first he seemed likely to recover from his wound and he had obtained an invalid leave. When pulling on his boot, preparatory to leaving the hospital for home, he ruptured an artery near which the ball had passed and bled to death. Some days after he had been wounded, General Hagood had sent him a handsome pistol captured from a Federal officer, with a note saying that it was intended as a testimonial of his uniform gallantry and good conduct. When the surgeon informed him that the blood could not be staunched, and that he must die, he called for his pistol and had it laid beside him on his cot. The pistol with its history was carefully forwarded to his widowed mother as a memorial of her noble boy.

There was slain, too, upon this field, among the non-commissioned officers, Pickens Butler Watts, First Sergeant of Alston's company, Twenty-seventh regiment, the most distinguished soldier of his rank at that time in the brigade. He had been mentioned for conspicuous gallantry in every battle in which his regiment had been engaged in this campaign, and in the pursuit of the routed Federal army into its lines at Bermuda Hundreds, when weak from sickness he had fainted on the march, he declined to use an ambulance, but recovering, pushed on and at nightfall was in the ranks of his company, skirmishing with the enemy. Eldred Gault, sergeant-major of the Eleventh regiment and brother of its colonel, was also wounded in this affair and died some days later.

On the morning of the 18th of June, when Beauregard retired from the Harrison creek line to the one now held, the latter, from the bank of the Appomattox to near the Jerusalem plank road, where it ran into the line of the original defences, was in some places a trench not over two feet deep; in other places not a spade had been put in the ground, the line had been merely marked out by the engineers. The enemy following up immediately, this portion of the defences, as previously noticed, was constructed in the intervals of battle or under the constant fire of sharpshooters; and consequently remained a siege trench—the men standing in the ditch from which the earth was taken that formed the parapet and the latter having no exterior ditch and but little elevation; in place of which, to impede an assailing column, resort was had to abattis, chevauxde-frise, palisades, back-water, etc. Very little artillery was placed on the line of the infantry trench. Generally the mortars and guns used were placed in suitable positions in rear. There were few, if any, guns used by the defence of heavier calibre than a Cohorn mortar or a field-piece. In the progress of the siege, with incessant [410] labor night and day, the Confederate works were strengthened in profile, drained, traversed and covered approaches made. There were few, if any, bombproofs; and the men had no shelter from the weather save an occasional tree on the line, or their blankets hoisted after the fashion of the tent d'abris.

Grant's lines conformed to the general direction of the defence, at distances ranging from two to four hundred yards, and between the opposing lines each side had its rifle-pits occupied by a picket-line at night, which was withdrawn in the day. At the Jerusalem plankroad the lines ceased their parallelism, and the Federal line proceeded southerly toward the Weldon road, where bending back it eventually rested upon the Blackwater Swamp, thus ensconsing the besieging force in a complete entrenched camp. Upon the latter portion of their lines collision was only occasional, and partook of the nature of field fighting. But from the Jerusalem plank road back to the Appomattox the fire of artillery and sharpshooters was incessant, frequently continuing night and day, never ceasing from dawn till dark.

The morning of the 19th opened with heavy firing from sharpshooters, which continued all day, and ceased at night on Hagood's front. For this and several days the casualties were numerous from the imperfect protection as yet secured by the men. There were two Napoleons on Hagood's line where it crossed the City Point road, and on the 21st he caused one of them to be arranged for vertical fire by depressing the trail in a pit until the gun had an angle of forty-five degrees elevation, and firing with small charges. He had seen it done at the siege of Charleston; and here, as there, it answered admirably as an expedient. On the 23d eight Cohorns were placed in position, in rear of his left, and subsequently another battery of these was established behind his right, when it joined Colquitt. The enemy had mortar batteries in our front by the 27th, but the fire from these did at no time much damage on this portion of our line. He found it difficult to drop his shell upon the thin riband of a trench running parallel to him, and falling front or rear of it, they did no harm. When they fell in the trench, which was seldom, the frequent traverses limited their destructice effect. The most galling artillery fire to which the brigade was subjected was from Hare's Hill, whence its line was partially enfiladed. The enemy now also erected, at some distance in rear of his right, a battery of Parrotts, and commenced shelling the city. The portion of it within range was soon abandoned by the inhabitants, though some remained, taking refuge [411] in their cellars when the bombardment was heavy. After making his own works in our front secure from assault, Grant at first appeared to have resorted to regular approaches by zig-zags and parallels, but these were discontinued after little progress had been made, and the impression prevailed on the Confederate side that he had resorted to mining Accordingly, counter-mines were commenced at the points where the hostile lines were nearest. In the construction of these the shaft, with a cross-section of six by four feet, generally began to be sunk some thirty or forty feet behind the infantry trench, and descended at an easy grade till it reached the water-bearing stratum at the particular point, which was seldom over thirty feet beneath the surface. Then pushing forward until from sixty to a hundred feet in front of the trench had been gained, the gallery was extended laterally right and left for a greater or less distance to cover the menaced point. This was the general outline of their construction, but some were very elaborately executed, ramifying in every direction. All were ceiled with plank and scantling as the work advanced, and were lighted and ventilated by perpendicular shafts. Holes were also bored with earth augers from the galleries horizontally towards the enemy to serve as acoustic tubes in conveying the sounds of hostile mining. Sentinels were kept in the galleries night and day, and their cool, quiet aisles were delightful retreats from the heat and turmoil of the trenches. It must be confessed, however, that there was something in the dank stillness that reigned within them which, with the ever present death aboveground, was suggestive of the grave.

About the 28th of July the Federal commander was discovered transferring troops to the north side of the James, and Lee began to send over troops to meet this threat against Richmond. On the 29th, Grant suddenly brought back his troops, and on the 30th July, at daylight, sprung a mine under the salient on the Baxter road, held by Elliott's South Carolina brigade. The breach was immediately assailed and occupied, but the enemy were unable to get beyond the Crater, where he was held at bay until the arrival of reinforcements expelled him, and our original lines were re-established. This was, perhaps, the most prominent event of the siege, but it is not within the scope of this sketch to go into its details, Hagood's brigade being in no way connected with it. The fighting over the Crater was desperate, the Confederates sustaining twelve hundred casualties, and inflicting a loss of over six thousand upon the enemy, of which eleven hundred were prisoners. [412]

The ordinary details from the troops for guard and picket and fatigue duty were very heavy. All the men were required to sit in line of battle upon the banquette, arms in hand and officers at their posts, for the half hour preceding and the half hour after dark. From this time till an hour before daylight one-half of the men, not on other duty, were kept awake at a time in the same position, while the other half were allowed to get what sleep they could in the bottom of the trench, their arms and accoutrements laid aside, but near at hand, and disturbed by the frequent passage of inspecting officers or fatigue parties blundering along in the dark over their prostrate forms. From an hour before day until after good daylight all were aroused and stood to arms fully equipped and prepared to repel assault. Again, during the day only one-half were allowed to lay off their equipments at a time, and none were permitted, day or night, to leave their assigned places in the trench without special permission. The company officers remained at all times with their men in the trench; the field officers and brigade staff had their respective pits some six feet in rear of the general trench, and were permitted to use them except when the men were standing to arms. Division commanders were from six hundred yards to half a mile in rear, and generally occupied houses in the suburbs. Generals Lee and Beauregard had their headquarters near each other on the hill north of the Appomattox, near Pocahontas bridge, and, with their staffs, were in tents. The men in the trenches served as sharpshooters by regular detail. The constant use of the shoulder in shooting produced bruises and soreness, so that they accustomed themselves to resting the rifle on the parapet and firing it as a pistol. The accuracy of their fire was frequently spoken of by letter-writers to the Northern papers, and our men, as at Wagner, became very fond of it. It was a relief to the passive endurance which made up so large a part of their duty.

Such severe service, continued day in and day out for so long a time, was trying to the last degree upon men already jaded by an active campaign. For some time during July not a field-officer was present for duty, and four out of the five regiments of the brigade were commanded by lieutenants. To preserve anything like organization and efficiency, General Hagood was compelled to consolidate companies temporarily and to assign to duty, as commissioned officers, non-commissioned officers and even privates. In doing this, he selected men who had hitherto been mentioned for good conduct in battle. Not a day passed without more or less casualties, and from [413] the fact that the wounds were generally in the head or upper part of the person, and from the enfeebled state of the general health of the men, they were mostly fatal. Diseases of a low nervous type carried the men to the field infirmary, and at one time there were five hundred cases in Hagood's alone. These field infirmaries were places in the woods by some roadside in the rear of the city, provided sometimes with a few tents, never with enough, and sometimes with none, where the men were sent whom it was thought possible to restore to duty in a short time, and where the surgical operations were performed. The regimental surgeons were here. The assistant surgeons were in some place more or less sheltered, as near as one could be found to the lines. Litter-bearers brought the wounded to them, and after temporary treatment they were dispatched in two-horse ambulances to the infirmary. The various post hospitals in Petersburg, Richmond, and even further off, received the severe cases. These hospitals were generally well managed, but the field infirmaries were the scene of much suffering, partly unavoidable and partly from mismanagement. It depended entirely upon the fidelity and administrative ability of the senior surgeon of a brigade how each was managed. The brigade commander was expected to exercise a supervision over them, which his duties in the trenches prevented from being more than nominal, and the higher medical officers were not, within the writer's observation, particular enough in supervising their brigade subordinates.

The foregoing narrative has given the outline of the military events and surroundings—the naked skeleton of the history; but it is difficult to convey to one who has not had a similar experience an idea of the actual reality, of the labor and sufferings of the men, who for those long hot summer months held, without relief, the trenches of Petersburg. The following extracts from the journal (Mss.) of Lieutenant Moffett, then acting inspector on the brigade staff, and who gallantly and faithfully discharged his full share of the duties performed, presents vividly the life we led:


says he, ‘are men called upon to endure as much as was required of the troops who occupied the trenches of Petersburg during the months of June, July and August. It was endurance without relief; sleeplessness without excitement; inactivity without rest; constant apprehension requiring ceaseless watching. The nervous system was continually strained, till the spirits became depressed almost beyond endurance. * * * * Day after day, as soon as the mists which overhung the country gave way to the dawn, and [414] until night spread her welcome mantle over the earth, the sharp-shooting was incessant, the constant rattle of small arms and the spiteful hissing of bullets never ceased, and was only drowned by the irregular but daily bombardment from heavier metal. No place along the line could be considered safe; the most sheltered were penetrated by glancing bullets, and many severe wounds were received in this way. The trenches themselves were filthy, and, though policing was rigidly enforced, it was impossible to keep down the constant accumulation. Vermin abounded, and diseases of various kinds showed themselves. The digestive organs became impaired by the rations issued and the manner in which they were prepared. Diarrhoea and dysentery were universal; the legs and feet of the men swelled until they could not wear their shoes, and the filth of their persons from the scarcity of water was almost unbearable. But all of this they endured, and, although in a few instances desertions occurred, and even self-mutilation was resorted to, to escape the horrid nightmare that brooded upon spirits not highly enough tempered to endure it, the great majority of men stood all their sufferings with unflinching constancy, and never yielded till disease drove them to the field infirmary.’ * *

Such was the life of the soldier in the trenches; and the following verses, appearing anonymously in a Petersburg paper during the siege, depict what was its frequent ending. The verses may lack smoothness, but those who were there will recognize the realism of the picture:

Dirty and haggard,
     Almost a blackguard,
They bore him away
     From the terrible fray;
From the clash and the rattle,
     In the front rank of battle,
Almost dead, shot through the head,
     They reached his gory ambulance bed.

The ambulance jolts,
     But the driver bolts,
And away he flies,
     Drowning the cries
Of the poor private,
     Glad to arrive at
The hospital door, where to be sure
     The surgeon, he thinks, can effect a quick cure.

So wan and pale,
     With plaintive wail,
All alone he dies; [415]
     But nobody cries.
Bear away the clay,
     To the dead-house; away!
Who cares! who ever sheds tears
     Over ragged and dirty soldiers' biers!

A box of pine,
     Say three feet by nine,
They place him in;
     Away from the din
Of battle and strife,
     Then hurried for life,
Under the stones to bury the bones
     Of the poor soldier whom nobody mourns.

In his home far away,
     A letter some day,
Perhaps may tell
     How the poor soldier fell.
Then tears, ah! how deep,
     The loved ones will weep,
When they hear that the bier
     Of him they so loved, awoke not a tear.

Hagood's brigade served sixty-five consecutive days in the trenches of Petersburg, entering them with an aggregate of twenty-three hundred men and officers. When withdrawn on the 20th of August, to participate in the fighting on the Weldon road, incident to Grant's turning operations, but fifty-nine officers and six hundred and eighty-one men remained present for duty.

General Hagood's address was received with enthusiastic applause, which was indefinitely prolonged when Colonel P. C. Gaillard, his old comrade in arms, walked up and congratulated him.

Soon after the conclusion of General Hagood's address, the second regular toast was proposed by Colonel John S. Fairly:

Our dead

Nor shall their glory be forgot
     While Time her record keeps,
Or Honor guards the hallowed spot
     Where Valor proudly sleeps.

Drank standing and in silence.

Third toast, by D. B. Gilliland, fourth vice-president:

The Confederate Soldier—Poorly paid, clad and fed, with little training or rigid discipline, he endured more, accomplished more, and fought better than any soldier in any army in any age.


In response, Colonel Zimmerman Davis read a letter from a distinguished officer of the English army, who also served in the Confederate army, paying a glowing tribute to the exalted heroism and indomitable valor of the individual men composing the Confederate army.

Fourth toast, by Captain A. W. Marshall: ‘The Infantry—They stood like a stone wall.’ Responded to by the Rev. Robert Wilson, D. D.

Fifth toast, by Dr. F. L. Frost: ‘The Artillery— “A little more grape, Captain Bragg.” ’ Responded to by the Rev. C. E. Chichester.

Sixth toast, by Colonel Zimmerman Davis: ‘The Cavalry—The men who were always fighting.’ In response, a letter was read from General M. C. Butler, warmly commending the Soldiers' Home established at Richmond, Va.

Toasts to ‘Our Southern Women’ and ‘The Press’ were proposed and fittingly responded to, and after many volunteer toasts and a social interchange of war reminiscences and adventures o'er flood and field, the assemblage dispersed.

Seal of the Southern Historical Society and the great seal of the Confederate States of America.

A seal of the design herewith presented was adopted by the Executive Committee of the Southern Historical Society, in meeting held October 26th, 1888, and it will be observed that it decorates the title-page of this volume also. [417]

The design, offered by the Secretary, was, as is obvious, adapted from the familiar great or broad seal of the late Confederate States of America, and it may be assumed that there will scarce be division in sentiment as to its peculiar appropriateness as the insignia of the body charged with the just preservation of the muniments of that obliterated government and quieted cause. The seal, which is one and one-half of an inch in diameter, may be thus described: a soldier mounted—the horse in motion (adapted from the equestrian statue of Washington, by Crawford, in the ground of the State Capitol of Virginia), within a circle. This circle surrounded with a wreath composed of the staple vegetable productions of the Southern States—corn, wheat, cotton, tobacco and sugar—and within outer circles the legend, ‘the Southern Historical Society, organ-Ized May I, 1869,’ and the motto, ‘Deo vindice,’ with the further inscription, within the smaller circle and immediately above the equestrian figure, ‘Re-organized August 15, 1873.’ [418]

The seal, which is excellently engraved, was generously executed, without cost to the Society, by Mr. M. S. O'Donnell, Boston, Massachusetts.

It seems meet that some account of the origin of the famous prototype of the seal of the Society should be given here. Further, a recent publication in that admirable exponent and enlightened medium, the New Orleans Picayune, happily gives so many ungarnered details of the adoption of the Great Seal, that it becomes a duty to aid in their permanent preservation.

The Great Seal of the Confederate States of America was engraved in 1864, by the late Joseph S. Wyon, of London, England, predecessor of Messrs J. S. and A. B. Wyon, chief engravers of Her British Majesty's seals, etc., and reached Richmond not long before the evacuation of the city, April 3, 1865. It was of silver, and in diameter measured nearly four inches. At the evacuation it was overlooked by the Confederate authorities, and subsequently fell into the possession of the late genial and accomplished Colonel John T. Pickett, of Washington, D. C., who, after having a number of electrotype copies in copper, silver and gold plating made from it, presented the original to Colonel William E. Earle, of Washington, D. C. This last gentleman, on December 27th, 1888, formally presented it to the State of South Carolina. The announcement of the gift elicited from the Picayune, in its issue of January 6, 1889, the interesting report of an interview, by one of its representatives, held with Hon. Thomas J. Semmes, of New Orleans, which follows:

Mr. Semmes said it always afforded him pleasure to converse on the events of the war, particularly the transactions of the Confederate Senate. He was attorney-general of Louisiana in 1861. When it became necessary to elect to the Confederate Senate, organized under the new constitution, Mr. Semmes and General Edward T. Sparrow were chosen senators from this State. In drawing for terms he drew that for four years, while General Sparrow drew that for six years. This was at Richmond, Va., in February, 1862.

In speaking of his services in the Senate, Mr. Semmes said he was appointed a member of the finance committee in conjunction with Hon. R. M. T. Hunter, of Virginia, and Hon. Robert Barnwell, of South Carolina and a member of the judiciary committee, of which Hon. B. H. Hill was chairman. He was also chairman of the joint committee on the flag and seal of the Confederate States. He drafted, under the direction of Hon. R. M. T. Hunter, the “tax in kind” [419] bill, which practically supported the Confederacy during the last two years of the war.

As member of the finance committee, he advocated the sealing and calling in of the outstanding Confederate currency, on the ground that the purchasing power of the new currency to be issued in exchange would be greater than the total amount of the outstanding currency in its then depreciated condition. He made a report from the judiciary committee adverse to martial law.

Upon being questioned as to the seal which he had designed, Mr. Semmes said it was a device representing an equestrian portrait of Washington (after the statue which surmounts his monument in the capitol square at Richmond), surrounded with a wreath, composed of the principal agricultural products of the Confederacy, and having around its margin the words: “Confederate States of America, 22d February, 1862,” with the motto, Deo vindice.

In the latter part of April, 1864, quite an interesting debate was had on the adoption of the motto. The House resolutions fixing the motto as Deo Duce Vincemus being considered, Mr. Semmes moved to substitute Deo vindice majores aemulamur. The motto had been suggested by Professor Alexander Dimitry. Mr. Semmes thought Deo vindice sufficient and preferred it. He was finally triumphant.

In this connection it is appropriate and interesting to reproduce the speech made by Mr. Semmes on that occasion. It was as follows:

Mr. President—I am instructed by the committee to move to strike out the words duce vincemus in the motto and insert in lieu thereof the words Vindice majores aemulamur, ‘Under the guidance and protection of God we endeavor to equal and even excel our ancestors.’ Before discussing the proposed change in the motto, I will submit to the Senate a few remarks as to the device on the seal.

The committe has been greatly exercised on this subject, and it has been extremely difficult to come to any satisfactory conclusion. This is a difficulty, however, incident to the subject, and all that we have to do is to avoid what Visconti calls “an absurdity in bronze.”

The equestrian statue of Washington has been selected in deference to the current popular sentiment. The equestrian figure impressed on our seal will be regarded by those skilled in glyptics as to a certain extent indicative of our origin. It is a most remarkable fact that an equestrian figure constituted the seal of Great Britain from the time of Edward the Confessor down to the reign of George [420] III, except during the short interval of the protectorate of Cromwell, when the trial of the King was substituted for the man on horseback. Even Cromwell retained the equestrian figure on the seal of Scotland, but he characteristically mounted himself on the horse. In the reign of William and Mary the seal bore the impress of the king and queen both mounted on horseback.

Washington has been selected as the emblem for our shield, as a type of our ancestors, in his character of princeps majorum. In addition to this, the equestrian figure is consecrated in the hearts of our own people by the local circumstance that on the gloomy and stormy 22d of February, 1862, our permanent government was set in motion by the inauguration of President Davis under the shadow of the statue of Washington.

The committee are dissatisfied with the motto on the seal proposed by the House resolution. The motto proposed is as follows: Deo Duce Vincemus—(Under the leadership of God we will conquer).

The word duce is too pagan in its signification, and is degrading to God, because it reduces him to the leader of an army; for scarcely does the word duce escape the lips before the imagination suggests “exercitus,” an army for a leader to command. It degrades the Christian God to the level of pagan gods, goddesses and heroes, as is manifest from the following quotation; Nil desperandum Tenero duce. This word duce is particularly objectionable because of its connection with the word vincemus—(we will conquer). This connection makes God the leader of a physical army, by means of which we will conquer, or must conquer. If God be our leader we must conquer, or he would not be the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, nor the God of the Christian. This very doubt implied in the word vincemus so qualifies the omnipotence of the God who is to be our “leader,” that it imparts a degrading signification to the word duce in its relations to the attributes of the Deity.

The word vincemus is equally objectionable because it implies that war is to be our normal state; besides, it is in the future tense — “we will conquer.” The future is always uncertain, and ,therefore, it implies doubt. What becomes of our motto when we shall have conquered? The future becomes an accomplished fact, and our motto thus loses its significance.

In addition to this there are only two languages in which the words will and shall are to be found—the English and the German—and in those they are used to qualify a positive condition of the mind and [421] render it uncertain; they are repugnant to repose, quiet, absolute and positive existence.

As to the motto proposed by us, we concur with the House in accepting the word Deo—God. We do so in conformity to the expressed wishes of the framers of our Constitution, and the sentiments of the people and of the army.

The preamble of the Provisional Constitution declares that “We, the deputies of the sovereign and independent States of South Carolina, etc., invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain,” etc.

In this respect both our Constitutions have deviated in the most emphatic manner from the spirit that presided over the construction of the Constitution of the United States, which is silent on the subject of the Deity.

Having discarded the word “duce,” the committee endeavored to select in lieu of it a word more in consonance with the attributes of the Deity, and therefore more imposing and significant. They think success has crowned their efforts in the selection of the word “vindex,” which signifies an assenter, a defender, protector, deliverer, liberator, a mediator and a ruler or guardian. “Vindex” also means an avenger or punisher.

No word appeared more grand, more expressive or significant than this. Under God as the asserter of our rights, the defender of our liberties, our protector against danger, our mediator, our ruler and guardian, and, as the avenger of our wrongs and the punisher of our crimes, we endeavor to equal or even excel our ancestors. What word can be suggested of more power, and so replete with sentiments and thoughts consonant with our idea of the omnipotence and justice of God?

At this point the committee hesitated whether it were necessary to add anything further to the motto “Deo vindice.” These words alone were sufficient and impressive, and, in the spirit of the lapidary style of composition, were elliptical and left much to the play of the imagination. Reflection, however, induced us to add the words “majores aemulamur,” because without them there would be nothing in the motto referring to the equestrian figure of Washington. It was thought better to insert something elucidative or adaptive of the idea to be conveyed by that figure. Having determined on this point, the committee submitted to the judgment of the Senate the words “majores aemulamur,” as best adapted to express the ideas of “our ancestors.” ‘Patres’ was first suggested, but abandoned because [422] ‘majores’ signifies ancestors absolutely, and is also more suggestive than “patres.” The latter is a term applied to our immediate progenitors who may be alive, whereas ‘majores’ conveys the idea of a more remote generation that has passed away.

That being disposed of, the question arose as to the proper signification of the word “aemulamur.” Honorable emulation is the primary signification of the word; in its secondary sense it is true it includes the idea of improper rivalry, or jealousy. But it is used in its primary and honorable sense by the most approved authors.

The secondary and improper sense of the aemulari is excluded in the proposed motto by the relation it hears to “Deo vindice.” This relation excludes the idea of envy or jealousy, because God, as the asserter of what is right, justifies the emulation, and as a punisher of what is wrong checks excess in case the emulation runs into improper envy or jealousy. In adopting the equestrian figure of Washington, the committee desires distinctly to disavow any recognition of the embodiment of the idea of the “cavalier.” We have no admiration for the character of the cavalier of 1640 any more than for his opponent, the Puritan. We turn with disgust from the violent and licentious cavalier, and we abhor the acerb, morose and fanatic Puritan, of whom Oliver Cromwell was the type. In speaking of Cromwell and his character, Guizot says that “he possessed the faculty of lying at need with an inexhaustible and unhesitating hardihood which struck even his enemies with surprise and embarrassment.”

This characteristic seems to have been transmitted to the descendants of the pilgrims who settled in Massachusetts Bay to enjoy the liberty of persecution. If the cavalier is to carry us back to days earlier than the American Revolution, I prefer to be transported in imagination to the field of Runnymede, when the barons extorted Magna Charta from the unwilling John. But I discard all reference to the cavalier of old, because it implies a division of society into two orders, an idea inconsistent with confederate institutions.

Mr. Semmes moved to amend by substituting ‘vindice’ for ‘duce,’ and it was agreed to.

In taking his leave, the reporter was informed by Mr. Semmes that he did not know the seal was in existence and was glad to learn that it had been presented to the State of South Carolina, the first State which seceded from the Union.

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