Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 7.djvu/737

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Benton had been commissioned brigadier-general. In the desperate charge of that day he was mortally wounded, and the career of this able and gallant officer came to an end before he had an opportunity to enjoy the honors of his new position.

Brigadier-General William L. Brandon entered the service in the spring of 1861, and as lieutenant-colonel of the Twenty-first Mississippi went to Virginia, but not in time for the First Manassas, up to that time the greatest pitched battle that had ever been fought on American soil. The ardent Southern youth who went to Virginia in 1861 were all eager to be in the first great battle, and many of the later arrivals feared that they had missed the last great occasion to strike a blow for the rights of the South. The Twenty-first Mississippi was placed in the Potomac division of the Confederate army in Virginia, and during the summer and fall of 1861 was on duty in the northeastern part of the State. When McClellan in the spring of 1862 began his advance up the peninsula, the army under Gen. Joseph E. Johnston was thrown across his path. Then came Williamsburg and later Seven Pines. At the last-named battle General Johnston was wounded and the command of the army of Northern Virginia devolved on Robert E. Lee, who soon inaugurated an aggressive campaign. The soldiers who regretted not having a part in the victory of Manassas soon had an opportunity of proving their mettle on an even greater field. During the fierce battles of the Seven Days, the Twenty-first Mississippi suffered heavily in officers and men, losing for a time the services of its colonel, Benjamin Humphreys, and its lieutenant-colonel, Brandon, disabled by wounds. The severity of his wounds kept Brandon out of the field for several months. Returning to duty as soon as able he continued to serve as lieutenant-colonel until after Gettysburg. General Barksdale was killed in that battle and Colonel Humphreys be-