Southern Historical Society Papers/Volume 02/July/Correspondence between Colonel Bassett French and General Wade Hampton

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Southern Historical Society Papers, July 1876

Correspondence between Colonel S. Bassett French and General Wade Hampton.

The following letters are a pleasing illustration of the spirit of our noble women during the war, and of the courage with which they inspired our soldiers:

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Headquarters Valley Department,
September 22, 1862.

Brigadier-General Wade Hampton, Commanding Cavalry Brigade:

General—The women of Virginia, guided by unselfish patriotism, have been ready to sacrifice ease, comfort and even life in the great struggle for liberty. Their labors of love in clothing our army, their attendance upon our sick and wounded, their earnest and continuing invocation of Heaven's blessings on our arms have won, as they deserve, the admiration of the country. The fair ones of Fredericksburg, burning with impatient restraint under the temporary dominion of the enemy, have devoted a portion of the hours of their captivity, while their harps hung upon the willows, in weaving a guidon for their brave countrymen who have devoted themselves to the accomplishment of our independence. From this noble band of brothers they have selected you as the recipient of this token of their favor, in the abiding faith that it will be cherished by you and your brigade with a devotion akin to the sentiment which prompts the gift. They know that the honored name you bear will be a guarantee to them that the work of their hands will lead your gallant command to "Honor and Immortality."

I am only for a few days longer at these headquarters, and will deliver the "guidon" to your order.

I have the honor, General, to be, with high respect,

Your obedient servant,

S. Bassett French,
Colonel and A. D. C. to Governor of Virginia.


Headquarters Valley District.
Near Martinsburg, September 25, 1862.

Colonel—Under orders from General Hampton, I conducted to this point the escort detailed to receive and guard the guidon presented by the ladies of Fredericksburg to Hampton's Cavalry Brigade.

In your absence, the package containing the gift has been handed me by Major Paxton, with whom I have left General Hampton's note of thanks in reply to your letter.
I have the honor to be, Colonel,

Very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
Theodore G. Barker,
Capt. and A. A. General Hampton's Cavalry Brigade.

Colonel S. Bassett French, A. D. C.

Headquarters Hampton's Brigade,
September 24th, 1862.

Colonel S. Bassett French, A. D. C.:

Colonel—Your letter informing me that you were charged by the ladies of Fredericksburg with a guidon to be presented to my brigade, has just reached me and I beg you to transmit to the patriotic and noble donors our warmest and most grateful thanks for the high honor they have done us. Their beautiful gift shall indeed "be cherished by me and by my brigade with a devotion akin to the feelings which prompt the gift." It shall be cherished most sacredly; it shall be borne proudly; it shall be defended whilst there is an arm to strike in its defence or a heart to remember the noble women who gave it to us. And if it should not be our fortune to entitle ourselves to the proud motto emblazoned on its folds, and to win for ourselves "Honor and Immortality," we can at least promise that no breath of dishonor shall taint our sacred standard. Thanking you, sir, for the manner in which you have discharged the duty entrusted to you by my fair country-women of Fredericksburg, and again offering to them my most sincere thanks, together with my best wishes,

I am, very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
Wade Hampton,