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The old Texas brigade, [from the Richmond times, September 22, 1891.]

Memorial stone to their heroism erected in the Wilderness—their devotion to General Lee.

On May 6, 1864, the advanced forces of the Army of Northern Virginia confronted the army of General Grant in the ‘Wilderness of Spotsylvania’ in its grand move ‘on to Richmond.’

General Grant had two days before successfully, without opposition, crossed his army over the Rapidan at Ely's and Germanna fords and was marching towards Gordonsville. Ewell with the Second corps—Stonewall Jackson's old command—occupied the left on the Confederate front, covering the old turnpike, and in his advance was first to meet and check the enemy. His corps had been in winter quarters about Orange Courthouse, and hence was nearest to the enemy. Longstreet, with his corps, was in winter quarters about Gordonsville, and did not arrive upon the scene of impending conflict, on the Confederate right, until May 6th, when he arrived in time to give much needed relief to the troops of A. P. Hill, who had been fighting steadily during this and the day previous. The battle-line of Ewell's corps extended across the old turnpike, which was about his centre, and on which was their heaviest fighting. A. P. Hill and Longstreet's troops marched down and occupied the [123] Orange plank-road. The turnpike and plank-road each runs from Fredericksburg to Orange Courthouse. Palmer's old field on the turnpike and Tapp's old field on the Orange plank-road, the site of the memorial stone just erected, are about five miles apart, and were the centres of heaviest fighting in the battle of the Wilderness.

Heroism and devotion to Lee.

In commemoration of their heroism and devotion to General Lee shown by the Texas brigade this stone was erected. The scene, the memory of which we would thus perpetuate, is graphically described by Rev. J. William Jones in his ‘Personal Reminiscences of General R. E. Lee.’ It was a crisis in the battle when Longstreet's corps first came upon the field, headed by the ‘Texas brigade, led by the gallant Gregg.’ ‘General Lee rode to meet them,’ and was advancing as their leader in the charge. The soldiers perceiving this shouted: ‘Go back, General Lee.’ ‘Do go back.’ ‘General Lee to the rear!’ A ragged veteran stepped from the ranks and seized his bridle-rein. The command refused to advance until their beloved chieftain had retired. Then those gallant Texans nobly rushed forward and drove the enemy from the field. Around the hallowed spot where this stone now stands are the open graves of about forty of that fearless and devoted band, who attested their love for General Lee and their country. Their remains were removed and now sleep in the Confederate cemetery of Fredericksburg. General Longstreet was soon after wounded by his own men near this spot while leading a victorious charge. Had the record of him then been ‘Dead on the Field of Glory,’ his happy fate would have been like that of ‘Wolfe falling in the arms of victory on the Heights of Abraham.’

The stone.

This stone, four feet high, of massive white field-quartz, lay on the side of the old turnpike just on the advance battle-line and breastworks of Ewell's corps. Subjected to a ‘bapbometic fire baptism’ of battle, it became a fitting memorial tribute from the hard-fought and victorious lines of Ewell's ‘Second corps’ to her sister corps under Longstreet to now and forever stand as a battle monument above these graves of the Texas brigade.


Pleasing spectacle.

It was a pleasing spectacle to see with the Confederate veterans of the neighborhood their children and grandchildren with zeal and enthusiasm assisting in the noble work of removing and erecting this memorial stone. It stands upon and is buttressed by quartz rocks, which were used as a part of the rifle-pit breastworks on the skirmish line in their front. It is beautifully shaded in a grove of oak and hickory, pine and cedar in Tapp's old field, and is sixty feet north of the Orange plank-road, and eighty feet in rear of the Confederate breastworks to the east.

Near to that great forest known as the ‘Weird Wilderness Woods,’ where, like shells buried in ocean depths, that have caught from the roar of contending waves and cliffs perpetual murmurs, so here the myriad piney-tops have caught from the din of battle and the shock of arms a requiem which they whisper in musical monotone over the graves of our martyred dead.

Ground to be deeded.

A lot surrounding this stone is to be deeded by the owners of Ellwood estate to the Ladies' Southern Memorial Society to be held in trust forever for the sacred uses and objects for which this memorial was erected, believing this society to be the best custodian for the battle monuments of the South.

The writer is not of the number of those who so rejoice in a reconstructed and restored Union that they are ever singing paeans for a centralized Government being established by a subversion of our dearest constitutional rights and liberties, but sees in the spontaneous erection of these simple monuments to perpetuate truth, valor and patriotism the evidence that the spirit which animated the heroes of old still burns in the hearts of their children. Some one has rightly said that ‘a country without monuments is a country without a history,’ to which we would add that a country without heroes in her past, remembered, revered and loved in her present, is without hope for her future.

hope. Wilderness, Spotsylvania county, Va., September 10, 1891.

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