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In that other field of naval warfare the destruction of an enemy's commerce, Confederate genius was also resplendent. We had but few cruisers afloat, more than fifty vessels were searching for them, they had no port of refuge, their own ports were blockaded, and yet the Geneva Commission found that three of these cruisers had destroyed ships and cargoes of the value of $15,000,000. Maffitt in the Florida and Semmes in the Alabama won immortal fame, and the exploits of Waddell in the Shenandoah will ever be remembered. with admiration.
When the flag of the new nation was furled forever upon land, the Shenandoah was far off in the Northern Pacific among American whalers, and the last gun for the Confederacy was fired from her deck June 22d, 1865. The Shenandoah found her way to a British port, and surrendered to a British Admiral, November 6th, 1865.
To sum up the history of the Confederate Navy it is an almost unbroken record of energy and devotion and genius making a brave struggle, and often almost on the point of succeeding against odds that were absolutely overwhelming.
We build monuments to heroes, prompted by the noblest impulses of the human heart, and that future generations may imitate their example. In performing our sacred duties to-day let Alabamians rejoice that, as Alabama in the civil war gave Dixon and Semmes and thousands of other brave men to the Confederacy, so now in our war with Spain she has given Richmond Pearson Hobson to the Navy and Joseph Wheeler to the Army of the United States.
At the conclusion of his speech Mr. Herbert escorted Miss Janie Watts to the sailor statue, which she gracefully unveiled while reciting the following anonymous lines which are inscribed on the pedestal:
"The seaman of Confederate fame
Startled the wondering world,
The band rendered “Southern Marsellaise" and as the last notes of the martial air died away, the chairman introduced Major J. M. Falkner who had been selected to speak for the cavalryman's statue.
MAJOR FALKNER'S WORDS.
As a member of General Wheeler's corps, Major Falkner had
seen many things that formed material for an interesting recital yesterday. He said:
Ladies and Gentlemen :
It was an inspiration on the part of the good women of the Ladies' Memorial Association in selecting granite for the statues representing the different arms of the Confederate service, nothing else could so truly represent the courage, the firmness of purpose, the stability, and their determination to dare all things in defence of a cause which they believed to be just, and in behalf of which they risked all they had or hoped for in this life. While this granite shall last, the history of their unflinching courage will not die.
I can only speak of the men who came under my own observation, and of the things that I saw myself, and therefore, will have to content myself in what little I have to say, chiefly with a recital of the operations of Wheeler's Cavalry, having been with it from its organization until the end of the war.
It may be interesting to some of you to know that the very first cavalry attached to what was afterwards known as the Army of the Tennessee, were from Alabama. These consisted of two companies, one commanded by Captain Bo vie, of- Talladega, and one commanded by my father, then Captain Jefferson Falkner. These companies were really ordered out to be sent to Ben McCullough in Missouri, but at the request of General Polk the orders were countermanded by the War Department, and we were stopped in transit at Corinth, Miss., and a few days afterwards we went to Union City, Tenn., where we were soon joined by a cavalry company commanded by Captain Cole, of Louisiana. We remained at Union City, at which point several regiments of infantry and several batteries of artillery were camped until the Federal Government sent a gunboat as far South as Hickman, on the Mississippi river, thus disregarding the neutrality of Kentucky; we then moved to Columbus, Ky., the cavalry moving ahead of the trains, protecting bridges, etc. So far as I now remember, these three companies were the only cavalry I saw until about the time of the occupation of Columbus, Ky., at which point other companies and battalions were added from time to time.
Since the days of the Krag-Jorgensen rifle and the Mauser rifle, it has been said that the whole plan of fighting must be changed; that the distance between combatants must be greater than heretofore,
and that we would have battles taking place where the distance between contending forces is a thousand yards or more.
What would you think of a body of cavalry to-day, going out armed only with muzzle-loading shot guns and pistols and sabres, to contend against cavalry armed with Krag-Jorgensen or Mauser carbines? It must not be forgotten that in 1861 the Federal cavalry were armed with the Burnside carbine and Maynard carbine, and the Colt's repeating rifle, either of which was capable of killing a man more than a mile distant; and yet the majority of the Confederate cavalry, in the beginning, were armed only with muzzle-loading shot guns, only a very few of them having pistols and sabres in addition. Yet, with these crude weapons the Confederate cavalry did not hesitate to face the superbly equipped Federal cavalry. Knowing that they stood no chance whatever at long range they adopted at once the tactics of hurling themselves into the midst of the enemy and making the fight as sharp and swift as it was possible to do it. By this method of fighting we found that there were few weapons more effective at short range than a double barreled shot gun loaded with buckshot. It must not be forgotten that every Confederate cavalryman had to furnish his own horse, bridle and saddle, and keep himself mounted during the term of his service. The Confederate government furnished none of these things. When one of our horses was killed there was no market so inviting as the camp of the enemy, and there were few dark, rainy nights in which some Confederate trooper did not furnish himself a mount from the camp of the enemy. And I believe it can be said without successful contradiction that when the war closed in 1865, more than fifty per cent. of the arms, accoutrement and equipment generally of the Confederate cavalry, bore the imprint of the United States.
These men performed the severest duties. Exposed to all kinds of weather, always moving; without exaggeration, there was scarcely a pig path between the Tennessee and Mississippi rivers, from Cairo, Ill., to Corinth, Miss., that was not traversed by the small bands of cavalry then connected with the army, locating the enemy, ascertaining promptly every move that was made, and not a movement of our own army was made without the presence of this cavalry, always leading the advance, and covering the retreat of our army. They were in hundreds of engagements where men were killed, of which no mention is made in history, but in which engagements as heroic, deeds were performed as any of those ever chronicled in song or story. In the general engagements as a rule, the cavalry were upon
the flanks of our army, and on many occasions assaults were made with a view of turning our flanks, and the cavalry, both on foot and on horse, would contest with the enemy every inch of ground, and history fails to record an instance where the flank of our Army of the Tennessee were ever turned by reason of the cavalry giving
Do you recall the battle of New Hope Church? I had the honor on that occasion, to carry the news to our gallant Kelley, and to the immortal Pat Cleburne, that Hooker's corps was then in the woods, advancing on the line. then held by Wheeler's cavalry dismounted, with no entrenchments and breastworks whatever. On that occasion the fight was made principally by Cleburne's Division and Wheeler's Cavalry, and Hooker's Corps was driven in confusion from the field, and in this battle more men were left dead upon the field than were killed during the entire war between Spain and the United States.
During the battle of Murfreesboro, Wheeler's cavalry more than once, made a complete circuit of Rosecrans' entire army, destroying practically every wagon and team that he had, making it absolutely impossible for Rosecrans to make an attempt to follow Bragg for more than twenty-four hours after Bragg had retreated. I was in the city of Murfreesboro, Tenn., myself, with a squad of cavalry the night after Bragg had retreated therefrom.
I can truthfully say to you from my own observation and experience, that Wheeler's cavalry fought every branch of the Federal army, including such armored vessels as they had upon the rivers and streams of the country in which this cavalry was located. For instance, only a short time after the battle of Murfreesboro, Colonel William B. Wade, that gallant and noble son of Mississippi, Colonel of the 8th Confederate cavalry, to which I was attached, contrary to orders, stole our little regiment away, together with two pieces of artillery from Wiggin's battery, while Wheeler was on a raid in the rear of Nashville, and stationed us upon the banks of the Cumberland, where the snow was not less than a foot deep. Very soon a transport came along, when only a few shots from the small arms were necessary to effect the capture of the vessel. In the course of half an hour another transport came which was captured in like manner. Then a third came, which, after an attempt to run by us, notwithstanding our fire, was also compelled to surrender. It is needless to say that after each boat was tied to the bank a visit was made by details specially made for that purpose to each one of the
boats, where an abundance of supplies, both solid and liquid, were obtained and enjoyed by the men. Finally a very suspicious smoke was seen up the river and a gunboat hove in sight, commanded by Lieutenant Van Dorn, who at once took in the situation, increased his speed and prepared for action. But he had no sooner come within range of the small arms than volleys were fired into each and every port hole and at the pilot, until they were compelled to surrender, the artillery, at the direction of Colonel Wade, having "fired a salute." Three of these boats, including the gunboat, were burned, and all the prisoners taken from the several boats were placed upon the largest vessel and sent on their way rejoicing. A short time after this I read what purported to be an account of this action in a Southern paper, the headlines of which characterized Wheeler's Cavalry as Wheeler's Horse Marines."
As the war progressed, and as our men became accustomed to the ways and tactics of the enemy, who would often times charge upon our outposts immediately upon seeing the picket, with a view of capturing the grand guard or picket reserves, it became seldom that we would lose one of our men in that way. Although it was impossible to mount their horses and form themselves before the enemy would be upon them, each and every man would mount and fly in different directions, in a few moments rallying again at the proper place. evidence that this was not the result of demoralization or cowardice, I will tell you of an incident in which one of our Alabama boys, not exceeding fourteen years of age, was the principal actor. In front of Luverne, between Murfreesboro and Nashville, a part of the 1st Alabama Cavalry, which was Clanton's old regiment, was on picket duty on the pike. A battalion of Federal cavalry under a gallant officer came up, and upon approaching our picket post he instructed his men that immediately upon the firing of our picket, for every man to rush in and capture his man, so that when the picket fired they all came with a yell and a dash. This little boy, with no arms but an old Austrian rifle, and riding a little gray pony, dashed down a lane leading due south, toward where my own command was on picket. The Federal officer, thinking he had a safe thing, selected the boy as his man, and pursued him down the lane for two or three hundred yards. Finally the little fellow leaped off his pony and over the fence. The Colonel dashed up and demanded his surrender, but the little fellow, with his old Austrian rifle resting on a rail and with his finger on the trigger said: "I guess I've got you! I guess I've got you!" Whereupon he made the Colonel drop his pistol and