Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/129

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The Old Texas Brigade. 123

Orange plank-road. The turnpike and plank-road each runs from Fredericksburg to Orange Courthouse. Palmer's old field on the turnpike and Tapp's old field on the Orange plank-road, the site of the memorial stone just erected, are about five miles apart, and were the centres of heaviest fighting in the battle of the Wilderness.


In commemoration of their heroism and devotion to General Lee shown by the Texas brigade this stone was erected. The scene, the memory of which we would thus perpetuate, is graphically described by Rev. J. William Jones in his "Personal Reminiscences of Gen- eral R. E. Lee." It was a crisis in the battle when Longstreet's corps first came upon the field, headed by the " Texas brigade, led by the gallant Gregg." " General Lee rode to meet them," and was advancing as their leader in the charge. The soldiers perceiving this shouted: "Go back, General Lee." "Do go back." "Gen- eral Lee to the rear !' ' A ragged veteran stepped from the ranks and seized his bridle-rein. The command refused to advance until their beloved chieftain had retired. Then those gallant Texans nobly rushed forward and drove the enemy from the field. Around the hallowed spot where this stone now stands are the open graves of about forty of that fearless and devoted band, who attested their love for General Lee and their country. Their remains were removed and now sleep in the Confederate cemetery of Fredericksburg. General Longstreet was soon after wounded by his own men near this spot while leading a victorious charge. Had the record of him then been "Dead on the Field of Glory," his happy fate would have been like that of" Wolfe falling in the arms of victory on the Heights of Abraham."


This stone, four feet high, of massive white field-quartz, lay on the side of the old turnpike just on the advance battle-line and breast- works of Swell's corps. Subjected to a " baphometic fire baptism " of battle, it became a fitting memorial tribute from the hard-fought and victorious lines of E well's "Second corps" to her sister corps under Longstreet to now and forever stand as a battle monument above these graves of the Texas brigade.