Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/7

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


Tin- Carter <>f H'/*,'* //////,/,/,.

or calculating the issue; they asked not "whether it would pay " or what would be their fate, if they failed. It was enough that honor, and self-respect, and a sense of duty and a love of liberty and of law to guard it, required of them to resist ursurpation, and to assert and fight for the rights of conscience and self-government.

How they fought was worthy of the precious and undying Cause, for which they died not in vain. During Magruder's stubborn stand across the Peninsula and the York river, from Warwick river to Gloucester Point, the most if not all of these men were enrolled in his lines. They were among the forlorn 7,000, only baring their brave breasts and keeping their vigils against the countless columns of an enemy attacking their redoubts and breast- works with seige- guns of batteries, and bombs of iron-clads. This they encountered unbroken to the last, and until they were ordered to raise their indomi- table defences of Yorktown and move to the defences of Richmond. This they did after the victory at Bethel, and after fighting most gloriously the battles at Williamsburg and Barhamsville.

During this period, before the evacuation of the defences of York- town, I was in command of a legion of 2,000 men and two regiments of Virginia Volunteers in the Kanawha valley. To pass over the scenes there of Scary and Pocataligo, and the evacuation of that valley, and the burning of Gauley Bridge, and of Carnifax, and of Honey Creek, on the east peak of Sewell Mountain, and of Camp Defiance and the Slaughter Pen of Roanoke Island, after Richmond was invested by McClellan's army, my legion was converted into a brigade of infantry, and was reorganized. The 46th and 5Qth Vir- ginia Regiments of the legion were left to my command, and to these were added the 26th and 34th Regiments of Virginia, largely com- posed of men from the counties of Mathews, Gloucester, King and Queen and Essex. This reorganization was effected early in the spring of 1862, and we were soon posted to guard the batteries at Chaftin's Bluff and the entire district from Richmond to Williams- burg, on the James, Chickahominy and Pamunkey rivers.

To the four regiments commanded by Colonel Powhatan R. Page, of the 26th, Colonel J. Thomas Goode, of the 34th, Colonel J. H. Rich- ardson, of the 46th, and Colonel W. B. Tabb, of the 59th, were added two batteries of artillery under Major A. W. Starke, com- manded by Captains Armistead and French, with a few cavalry for videttes.

This small force did post duty at Chaffin's for sixteen months, from April, 1862, until September, 1863. During that time they