Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 21.djvu/189

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181

The men were posted at long intervals in the trenches, and a few pickets placed in front of and on top of the works to prevent sur- prise and disaster.

Men and officers saw and appreciated at a glance the great advan- tage gained by opportune movement, and they resolved instinctively to defend and hold the Howlett- House fortifications to the death, if necessary, until reinforcements came.

All kept guard that night because the force was too weak and scat- tered for any to sleep.

Word was sent back to General Corse that his " disobedient boys ' ' were in the Howlett-House entrenchments. He was slow to believe it, and only when he came in person with his command next morn- ing could he realize what a clever swoop had been made by a hand- ful of bold, dashing fellows of rebel proclivities.

General Corse didn't reprimand the boys at all for flagrant viola- tion of orders. Perhaps he forgot to do so.

By the way, there were not many better men or braver officers in the Army of Northern Virginia than M. D. Corse, of Alexandria, and his soldiors admired and loved him with a sort of filial affection. They had several nick-names for him.

IMPORTANT ADVANTAGE.

Now, that achievement has never been properly noticed in print, in my judgment, so far as the men and officers engaged in it were con- cerned, because it secured without much bloodshed a most important advantage to Lee's army on the James. It established the Confed- erate line at Howlett' s House were elaborate earthworks for infantry, artillery, and heavy siege-guns were erected for the defence of Rich- mond. It was one of the strongest positions on the river to guard against naval approaches, and it was afterwards constructed into a fort (Howlett House battery), with heavy guns to keep the enemy's iron-clad? at bay.

I cannot recall all of the officers of the Fifteenth Regiment that took part in this adventure, but I do remember Major Hammett Clarke, Captains Allen M. Lyon, M. W. Hazlewood, J. M. Gunn, G. H. Charters, J. C. Covers, John Vannerson; Lieutenants A. L. Phillips, J. K. Fussell, A. L. Lumsden, E. M. Dunnavarit, W. L. Smith, Peter Bowles, B. B. Bumpass, P. H. Hall, John Dansie,