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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 seigeguns of batteries, and bombs of iron-clads. This they encountered unbroken to the last, and until they were ordered to raise their indomitable 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 Yorktown, 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 59th Virginia Regiments of the legion were left to my command, and to these were added the 26th and 34th Regiments of Virginia, largely composed 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 Chaffin's Bluff and the entire district from Richmond to Williamsburg, 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. Richardson, of the 46th, and Colonel W. B. Tabb, of the 59th, were added two batteries of artillery under Major A. W. Starke, commanded 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
scouted the enemy incessantly, and so effectually as to keep them close to their seventeen redoubts at Williamsburg. The 59th was stationed mostly at the Diascund, its rangers keeping the miserable 5th Pennsylvania Cavalry timidly at bay. Under orders, they guarded the River road whilst the battles around Richmond were going on, until the last at Malvern Hill was fought, when, without orders, they reinforced the fagged forces of General T. H. Holmes, on Lee's extreme right, and where they stood unbroken for two days under the Paixhans and bombs of the enemy's batteries and ironclads, though regiments of infantry and batteries of artillery of General Junius Daniel's command stampeded through their ranks. After that, Colonel A. W. Starke riddled one of the enemy's sidewheel steamers from the heights of Deep Bottom. Again, in 1863, they were given the most difficult order to be executed which can be issued from headquarters. To make a divertisement in favor of Longstreet in his operations around Suffolk, in Nansemond, and to prevent the enemy from sending reinforcements from Yorktown against him, orders were issued to me from Richmond to move with all my available force as low down the peninsula as possible, and to do all the damage possible to the enemy and threaten him as closely as was in my power, without hazarding a battle unless certain of sucWith 1,100 men, we moved to the six miles' ordinary in James City, ascertained that the enemy, 3,000 strong, already apprised of our movement, had occupied Fort Magruder and the other sixteen redoubts around Williamsburg, and we planned to destroy his stores of munitions and provisions at Whitaker's Mill, nearly four miles in his rear. Tabb, with only 218 men, a portion of the 59th, was sent forward that night, and we attacked the redoubts in front with 900 men at daybreak the next morning. The plan succeeded gloriously, in destroying from $300,000 to $500,000 worth of stores and their quarters at Whitaker's Mill, witnout the loss of a man. We occupied Williamsburg and vicinity for about a week in face of an enemy in our front three times our number; relieved many of the inhabitants of their durance vile; saved much property, and avenged somewhat the outrages which had followed Shingler's raid, and returned. to Chaffin's to meet the thanks of the War Department and of General Elzey. Tabb and Page and Captain Rives, with a section of artillery, especially met my commendation.
After this, in September, 1863, this brigade was ordered to report to General Beauregard at Charleston, South Carolina. Whilst at Chaffin's Bluff, its men and officers began to chafe somewhat that
they were not put into a service where more laurels and less hard service could be gained. But there was one officer who nobly said: "I am ready to do my whole duty wherever I am put, and if my superiors in command see fit to give me the least glorious duty to perform, I will do it with the same alacrity that I would or could perform those duties which are crowned with the brightest leaves of honor; and if duty don't require of me to incur greater danger than that of the service at this post, I thank God for the chance of being spared to my little family. Any may have the honors of war, if I can be allowed to do my duty wherever put, and I can be spared to my wife and child." From that moment forward I set that man down as a true man and soldier of the first water and purest crystal, all of which he so proved to the moment of his death at his post, so brightly, so grandly, so great and so good as to make the name of Colonel P. R. Page immortal among angels in Heaven if not among men on earth. During the durance at Chaffin's, the time was not lost in drilling, and without any disparagement to other regiments, my own or those of other commands, I hesitate not to say that the officers of the 26th Regiment of Virginia, from Colonel Page and Lieutenant-Colonel J. C. Council down to the sergeants and corporals, had perfected its drill to a degree superior to that of any regiment known to me in the entire army of General Lee. Mahone had the best drilled brigade, but this was the best drilled regiment known to me in the Confederate army. It twice saved my brigade by its regular and orderly and steady rally; once at the White Oak road, on the 31st March, 1865, near Hatcher's Run, and again on the 6th April, 1865, at Sailor's creek, on the retreat to Appomattox.
And before I leave the camps at Chaffin's and at Diascund and at the White House on the Peninsula, I cannot omit to pay a tribute to the people who remained at home to make bread for our army and comforts for the boys of our brigade. However, other soldiers in the field may have suffered for want of supplies or from neglect of quartermasters and commissaries, I must do credit and pay but just
dues to our purveyors as far above the general demerits of their class in the army. Major W. F. C. Gregory, as Commissary, and Majors F. D. Cleery and H. C. Watkins of our brigade were above reproach in the discharge of their duties. Gregory, particularly, was distinguished as surpassing his own superiors so far that in the last retreat he was the main agent of supplies to Johnson's Division, though he was but the commissary of our brigade. But though so well served officially, what I desire to say most gratefully is: that
our supplies whilst at Chaffin's were vastly aided and improved by "the old folks at home" in King and Queen, Gloucester, Mathews, Essex and Accomack and Northampton. The latter counties had to run a blockade through narrow passes in the smallest craft, at night, but they sent clothes and medicine and food. Essex and Mathews and Gloucester poured out their cornucopias upon us; but Oh! shall I ever forgot the little hen-coop carts of King and Queen. They were constantly coming packed to the tops of their coverhoops always with good things from the dear mothers and sisters and wives at home! I had seen those little characteristic carts before the war in the market-places of Richmond, and felt a funny feeling about them, such as used to titulate my nerves by seeing the fish-carts around Norfolk and Portsmouth, drawn by the tackies of Blackwater, 130 of which, in a single day, I have counted which had but thirty eyes. As an eastern shore man I could not but think how incomparable with them was "the train and steers" of Accomack. But the war taught me how precious they are and capacious too of every sort of good things. One of those little carts, hauled by a poney, was like an open sesame, it was full of hams and chickens and eggs and melons and cakes and cider and home-made wine and letters and socks and blankets. And the memory of its fullness is nothing to that of its pathos. Not a company got its home greetings that some poor soldier did not bring to me some choicest present of the sweets he so seldom got, compared with my own opportunities. "Why my good comrade keep 'em for yourself, you need them more than I do." But no, he would'nt, he could'nt eat them if I did not take part, and hear what the "old woman" or the children said about us. God bless my true hearted, humble, brave privates who loved for me to taste their morsels of good things. There was no generosity like theirs. It forgot everything but self-sacrifice and devotion, cheerfully made and paid. They all "accepted their situations:" to fight to the death and to endure to the end for a faith and a principle, rather than eat the diet of dictation thrown by the hands of tyranny as husks to swine!
We arrived at Charleston in Sept., 1863, with an effective force of 2,850 infantry, and found in Gen. Beauregard and Col. David B. Harris, a Lt.-General and a Chief Engineer worthy of the citizen soldiers who composed our brigade.
The command preceding that of Beauregard had an effective force of 45,000 men, to defend the department from North Carolina to the cape of Florida; whilst Beauregard had for the same defence
only about 17,000 effective men. This compelled a distribution of forces very wide apart, and hardly in supporting distances, so large were the districts and extended the coasts of the command. To our brigade was assigned the duty of guarding the entire district lying between the Ashley and the Edisto, with the exception of James' island. On the Atlantic front it extended from the Stono to the Edisto, including Johns' island, Kiahwah, Seabrooks, Jehosse, Kings, and Slau's islands, and the Wadmalaw. At first, our headquarters were at Wappoo, and then farther South at Adams' Run, and extended from Willtown on the Edisto, to the Church Flats on the Stono, posting Willtown, the Toogadoo, the Dahoo, King's island, Glen's island, Church Flats, and the Haulover, near the mouth of the Bohickett on John's island, besides the forces in reserve at Adams' Run. It was a very laborious and hazardous defence of a coast indented for every mile almost, by waters accessible not only to the war steamers, but to the land forces from Morris' island in the occupancy of the enemy. In every emergency these troops did their whole duty promptly, successfully, and with the approbation and commendation of their superiors. Their duties were constant and active during the whole period from September, 1863, until March, 1864, in doing guard duty in the most exposed situations, and in details upon extensive earth-works, at many and various points. But they were not left to non-combatant work alone. They had two memorable opportunities of showing their alacrity and bravery in the fields of battle. The two war steamers, Marble Head and Pawnee, were too curious in running up the Stono to peer at a Quaker battery, which had been placed above the mouth of the Abbepoola, to deter the enemy, and Colonel Page commanding, with Major Jenkins of the South Carolina troops, and Colonel Del. Kemper of the artillery, were ordered to drive them off. This they did with gallantry, riddling the Marble Head, but the Pawnee got a cross fire on our batteries, and forced Page to fall back, but he fully effected the purpose of the expedition, and won my most hearty thanks. He was
one of the coolest men I ever saw under fire. On his dull sorrel horse, he rode about the field under showers of shot and shell, without turning his head, or giving it a twitch even at the sound too near of that awful aerial whisper: "where is he? where is he?" before an explosion which crashed as if heaven and earth were coming together. His mounted unconcern was so marked that it did not escape the notice of that cool and gallant soldier, Major Jenkins, the brother of the lamented General M. Jenkins, of South Carolina.