Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/60

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
Southern Historical Society Papers.


Never in the history of modern war has such a force achieved such a victory—a victory remarkable for the disparity in numbers, armament and personnel as for the magnitude of its result and the skill with which it was guided.

Two hundred and fifty men, too old, and boys too young for war, accomplished it, under the command of a wounded officer, who discarded all precedents of bridge defence in placing his force with the bridge behind it, and in using the bank of the river as his parapet.

The result was undoubtedly the salvation of the Army of Northern Virginia.

General Wilson led six thousand veterans, thoroughly armed and equipped, and was one of the ablest and most daring of the Federal commanders.

His object in this movement was to cut off Lee's supplies and compel him to retreat.

It was Wilson who next year led the last invasion up Alabama and broke up the effective resistance of the field forces in that State.

Dabney H. Maury



The following letter gives another account of this remarkable battle:

Randolph, Charlotte County, Va., Aug. 24, 1891.

General D. H. Maury:
My Dear General: * * * My brother, then under eighteen years of age was engaged in the battle. He assures me that there were in the fort not more than between four and five hundred men and boys—men over forty-five from the surrounding counties, and a few army men and officers on furlough; that of this number not more than two hundred and and fifty, under command of Coleman, were engaged in the fight in repelling the Federal assault upon the bridge; that only two Confederates were killed, viz.: The Rev. Mr. Burke, an Episcopal minister in the neighborhood, and Dr. Sutphin, a prominent