Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 38.djvu/242
228 Southern Historical Society Papers.
"Breckinridge has gained, all things considered, the most bril- liant victory of the war, achieved by small numbers against such fearful odds. Under his command was the Corps of Cadets from Lexington, under Major Shipp, composed of boys from fourteen to eighteen years of age. These boys fought like tigers, and were the admiration of friends and foes. At one time they ad- vanced on a battery stationed on an eminence covered with cedars and supported by a full regiment of infantry. They were going up in perfect line, the colors a little in advance. The battery, of four pieces, was pouring cannister into them, and two color- bearers were knocked down. When within four hundred yards, the infantry rose and opened upon them, Major Shipp halted and ordered them to fix bayonets, which they did under a terrible tire. While doing this Major Shipp was knocked down by a piece of shell, and lay for a moment breathless, but almost imme- diately was on his feet and calling out to the Cadets, 'Follow my lead, boys,' started for the artillery, all of which he captured, together with a large part of the infantry, who said they felt ashamed that they had been whipped by boys."
Lieutenant-Colonel Shipp has given in his official report a de- tailed account of the operations of the Corps of Cadets, from the moment of their leaving the barracks until their return. His report is as follows :
"Headquarters, Corps of Cadets.
July 4, 1864. General :
In obedience to General Orders Xo. , Headquarters, Vir- ginia Military Institute, June 2J, 1864, 1 have the honour to submit the following report of the Corps of Cadets, under my command, in the field, from May nth to June 25th, inclusive:
In obedience to orders from Major-General Breckinridge, com- municated through you at 7 P. M. on the morning of May nth, the Corps of Cadets, consisting of a battalion of four companies of infantry and a section of three-inch rifled guns, took up the line of march for Staunton. The march to Staunton was accom- plished in two day-. 1 preceded the column on the second day