Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 06.djvu/273

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Wounding of Stonewall Jackson.

of the picket line, progressing gradually to the left, where I stopped to rectify the post of a sentinel not far from the Plank road. While thus engaged I heard the sound of hoofs from the direction of the enemy's line, and paused to listen. Soon a cavalcade appeared approaching us. The foremost horseman detached himself from the main body, which halted not far from us, and riding cautiously nearer, seemed to try to pierce the gloom. He was so close to us that the soldier nearest me levelled his rifle for a shot at him; but I forbade him, as I did not wish to have our position revealed, and it would have been useless to kill the man, whom I judged to be a staff officer making a reconnaissance. Having completed his observations, this person rejoined the group in his rear and all returned in a gallop. The clatter of hoofs soon ceased to be audible, and the silence of the night was unbroken save by the melancholy cries of the whippowil, which were heard in one continuous wail like spirit voices, when the horizon was lighted up by a sudden flash in the direction of the enemy, succeeded by the well-known rattle of a volley of musketry from at least a battalion. A second volley quickly followed the first, and I heard cries in the same direction. Fearing that some of our troops might be in that locality, and that there was danger of our firing upon friends, I left my orderly and rode toward the Confederate line. A riderless horse dashed past me toward our lines, and I reined up in presence of a group of several persons gathered around a man lying upon the ground apparently badly wounded. I saw at once that these were Confederate officers, and visions of the Libby began to flit through my mind; but reflecting that I was well armed and mounted, and that I had on the greatcoat of a private soldier, such as was worn by both parties, I sat still, regarding the group in silence, but prepared to use either my spurs or my sabre as occasion might demand. The silence was broken by one of the Confederates, who appeared to regard me with astonishment; then speaking in a tone of authority, he ordered me 'to ride up there and see what troops those were,' indicating the Rebel position. I instantly made a gesture of assent, and rode slowly in the direction indicated until out of sight of the group, then made a circuit round it and returned within my own line. Just as I had answered the challenge of our picket, the section of our artillery on the Plank road began firing, and I could plainly hear the grape crashing through the trees near the spot occupied by the group of Confederate officers."

Then follows a statement that about a fortnight after this occurrence, a Richmond paper was seen by the writer, detailing the circumstances of the death of Stonewall Jackson, and containing the statement about the person on horseback, substantially as it is given in the extract from a Richmond paper of 1865, referred to in the letter of Captain Wilbourn, given hereafter. This convinced General Revere, as he says, that the wounded man seen by him was Stonewall Jackson, and he concludes the story thus: