Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 06.djvu/289

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279
Wounding of Stonewall Jackson.

same town with the undersigned, and is known to be thoroughly reliable.

A comparison of Captain Wilbourn's narrative with that of General Revere will show that it was utterly impossible for the party of mounted men of which the latter speaks to be that with General Jackson, and that it was equally impossible for the group of several persons around the wounded man, which he claims to have seen, to be Captain Wilbourn and his companion Wynn. General Revere says that the cavalcade that rode up near to him when he was on his picket-line near the Plank road, after being rejoined by the horseman who detached himself from the party "to pierce the gloom," returned at a gallop, and "the clatter of hoofs soon ceased to be audible." When it is considered that, besides this clatter of hoofs, "the silence of the night was unbroken save by the melancholy cries of the whippowil," which latter were still heard when the clatter of horses' hoofs had ceased to be audible, before the firing occurred, it is very apparent that General Revere was quite a long distance from the Confederate lines. Along a straight and hard road as this one was, the sound of the hoofs of horses in a gallop can be heard a long distance. General Jackson did not get out of hearing of his own men, nor out of sight of General Hill's party, and was riding slowly to the front when first fired on. Captain Wilbourn is certain that he was not more than fifty or sixty yards in front of General Hill,[1] while Captain Adams thinks he was not more than twenty or thirty yards in front, and the latter walked the whole distance. The difference in their estimates is not unnatural, as it was in the night, and they occupied different standpoints. The question who composed the cavalcade that General Revere claims to have seen, is then involved in a still greater mystery than that which hangs over the man on horseback seen by Wilbourn and Wynn. As to the group of persons alleged to have been seen around a wounded man lying on the ground, it is to be presumed that General Revere did not mistake two men for several, and that the sight of two men dismounted and engaged in administering to another badly wounded would not have caused visions of the dreaded Libby to flit before the imagination of one who was so well mounted, equipped and armed, especially when those two men had no more formidable weapons than the glasses, flags, key or index, pencils, etc., appropriate to them as members of the Signal


  1. As stated in a letter subsequent to the one herewith given.