Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 23.djvu/315
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three Federal officers stood their ground, and attempted to cut their way out. We were not much more than a skirmish line, and lu-ic tin se three desperate men came down right amongst us, whilst our mm were reloading, cutting and slashing with their sabn -s as they r. nne. A sight so unusual puzzled our men at first, but soon find- ing these fellows to be in earnest, some one cried out, " Kill the
d d Yankees," and instantly the three men went down as if they
had suddenly melted away. I remember seeing the dust fly from their coats behind as the bullets passed through their bodies. One of these officers proved to be (ieneral Theodore Read, of the Fed- eral army, who was in command of the detachment. I have since learned, through a lawyer friend, Walter Sydnor, of Hanover county, Va., an interesting fact concerning this officer. He says that after the war he was a student at the University of Missouri, and there met Dr. Daniel Read, the father of General Read, an elegant old gentleman, who was then the president of that institution, and that the old gentleman blamed General Grant for the death of his son, and never forgave him. He told my friend that his son was on the staff of a corps commander under General Grant, and being yery young, and ambitious of distinction, but, having had little opportunity to distinguish himself on the staff, he begged to be given the command of that detachment, believing the war nearly over, and his opportunities almost gone, this, perhaps, was his last, as he thought. Grant yielded, and gave it to him. The old gentle- man said Grant well knew that in so doing he was throwing his boy in the path of Lee's whole army, and that his chances of ever coming out alive were few; that as commanding officer, he should not have sacrificed the boy in that manner. He was very bitter towards Grant, says my friend.
It was a sad day for this ambitious youth when he sought distinc- tion by throwing himself in the path of those harassed veterans of Lee, even though they were on the road to Appomattox. Those grim warriors of Brandy Station and Trevillian's little knew and lit- tle recked of this ambitious youth or his hopes. He had crossed the retreating lion's path and he must meet his doom.
A BRAVE FEDERAL OFFICER.
Soon the same cavalry came charging down again, and this time one officer stood his ground after a volley had again scattered his men. Major James Breathed, our chief of artillery, who will never be forgotten as long as a cavalryman of the Army of Northern Vir-