Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 32.djvu/133
A Midnight Charge. 121
replied, " we are going to retreat now, and I want the regiment to cover our retreat. ' '
I never saw such a distressed looking body of men in my life as they looked to be, many of them shedding tears when they heard our gallant General had been shot, and the first they knew of his being shot, was when General Fitz Lee told them with tears in his eyes. He knew too well what a shock such sad news would be to the Old First. He knew what the men thought of Stuart, and what their beloved General thought of them.
The regiment was General Stuart's old regiment. He was their first colonel. He drilled them thoroughly on foot and on horse- back. I suppose it was one of the best drilled regiments in the whole cavalry service, if not the best. He endeared himself to his men, and the men endeared themselves to him. The First did cover the retreat and fought all night, holding the enemy in check until we got to Mechanicsville the next morning. There we met the enemy again and defeated them. Mr. Oliver's statement, I have no doubt or part of it is correct, the part about his own Company K. The other companies could easily have been ordered from the field to meet the horses, without his knowing it, as he was stationed in the extreme left and probably not in sight. Mr. Dor- sey's statement also, I have no doubt, is correct; both could easily be to my mind. I knew Company K, and I know General Stuart thought very highly of it. It was a gallant command and I know it had a high regard for our beloved General Stuart. These state- ments of Mr. Oliver's and Mr. Dorsey's, I saw in the issues of October 23, 1903, of the Baltimore Sun. General Stuart was no doubt seen giving orders to the First Virginia Cavalry in line of battle to go to meet their horses, to mount and make a charge, to save the Baltimore Artillery. He did not get mounted in time to make the charge. That action of General Stuart's may have been mistaken by others for rallying his men to charge to save the Balti- more Artillery.
These statements are absolutely correct, and can be substantiated. My captain, C. F. Jordan, will confirm many of them. There has been so many differences of opinion as to how Stuart was mortally wounded, and how he happened to be where he was, at the time he was shot, I, being in a position to know something about it, have made these statements.
WM. B. POINDEXTER.
P. O., Greenlee, Rockbridge county.