Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 34.djvu/182
174 Southern Historical Society Papers.
him and leading the Maryland regiment to the battle. Seeing Smith fall, Elzey oblivious to the perilous situation exclaimed to Major Bradley T. Johnson: "God is just; Smith is dead! Johnson, get his horse. This means for me six feet of ground, or a yellow sash" worn only by generals. The horse ran off and the gallant major was suffering from scurvy.
Elzey, though brave, was presumptive; moreover, he did not possess the calibre of Smith. Smith had immortalized himself, and recovering from his almost fatal wound, he returned to us a Major-General. The sequence is strange : Almost a year there- after, Elzey, commanding his brigade in the battle of Cold Har- bor, received just such a wound as Smith's, which likewise made him a Major-General.
ELZEY, BLUCHER OF THE DAY.
It happened that about the time the Maryland regiment reached the battlefield President Davis also arrived, having come from Richmond by railroad and ridden on horseback from Manassas. He was first seen among the troops fighting on Jackson's right, encouraging and rallying them. Jackson sent to inquire what civilian was rallying his men, and the information brought back was satisfactory. Jefferson Davis at that period was rated among the elite of living American soldiers. Having learned of the conduct of the Maryland regiment, the President promptly rode over, and saluting our colonel, addressed him as General Elzey, and General Beauregard dubbed him the Blucher of the day. Nevertheless, had we been 15 minutes later in checking the enemy, advancing, there would, probably, have been no Blu- cher of Manassas, because they would have enveloped Jackson's left flank, which, with the extreme left two regiments under Colonel Jubal A. Early must have retired, and quite likely not in the best order, judging from the evidences of demoralization we witnessed during the last half of our march. A regiment was seen resting by the roadside, and scores of men were leisurely making for the rear, who, replying to anxious questions as to the progress of the battle, answered, to a man, that our army was defeated. General Smith (riding at a trot, we at double- quick step), would now and then turn to us and in a command- ing tone exclaim : "Pay no attention to those skulkers and pol-