Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/96

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


90 Southern Historical Society Papers.

eral officer made him the cynosure of all. In a strong, decided tone he inquired of the nearest aide, what troops we were and who com- manded. He was told that Colonel Jackson, with five Virginia regi- ments had just arrived, and pointed to where the colonel stood at the same time. The strange officer then advanced, and we of the regi- mental staff crowded to where he was to hear the news from the front. He announced himself as General B. E. Bee, commanding South Carolina troops ; he said that he had been heavily engaged all the morning, and being overpowered, are now slowly being pushed back ; we will fall back on you as a support ; the enemy will make their appearance in a short time over the crest of that hill. " Then sir, we will give them the bayonet," was the only reply of Colonel Jackson. With a salute, General Bee wheeled his horse and disap- peared down the hill, where he immortalized himself, Colonel Jackson and his troops, by his memorable words to his own command : " Close up, men, and stand your ground. Colonel Jackson with five regiments of Virginia troops is standing behind us like a stonewall, and will support you." Thus was the name of " Stonewall" given to General Jackson and his famous brigade. General Bee was killed the next moment. Our entire line lay in the pine thickets for one long hour, and no man, unless he was there, can tell how very long it was to us. Under fire from two batteries throwing time-shells only, they did not do a great amount of killing, but it was terribly demor- alizing. Then there was a welcome cessation; and we were wondering why, and when the fighting would begin for us. After nearly half an hour the roar of the field pieces sounded louder than I had yet heard, and evidently very near us; this was the much criticised movement of Rickett's, who had ordered his battery down the opposite hill, across the pike and up the hill we were on, where, wheeling into battery on the level top, opened with grape and canister right into the thicket and into our exposed line. This was more than Colonel Jackson could stand, and the general order was " Charge and take that bat- tery ! " Now the fight of Manassas, or Bull Run, began in earnest for the position we held was the key of the field. Three times did our regiment charge up to and take this battery, but never held it ; for though we drove the regiment supporting it, yet another was always close behind to take its place. A grey-headed man, sitting sideways on horseback, whom I understood to be General Heintzle- man, was ever in one spot directing the movements of each regiment as it came up the hill; and his coolness and gallantry won our admira- tion. Many fragments of these regiments charged on us in turn as