THE OLD WAR HORSE
THE VOICE OF GENERAL JAMES LONGSTREET CAMP #1247, SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS
VOLUME 7, ISSUE 4, APRIL, 2005
The Siege of Petersburg, Virginia, proved to be the longest campaign of the War Between the States, one in which Robert E. Lee conducted a masterful defense of "The Cockade City" prolonging not only the life of the Army of Northern Virginia, but assuring the survival of Richmond and ultimately the survival of the entire Confederacy for an additional 9 « months. To the casual or uninitiated observer, the Siege of Petersburg is often viewed as one event, lengthy but not very exciting. After all, a "siege" can be defined as "a long, distressing or wearying period," and many people have come to think of Petersburg as simply the somewhat uneventful prelude to the fall of Richmond and the drama of Appomattox. However, nothing could be further from the truth. No fewer than 13 major engagements took place during that "long, wearying period," each of great importance in and of themselves, and at least one Union General was relieved of command for his mishandling of troops in combat. Hardly boring times. In fact, Petersburg may be viewed militarily as a microcosm of the entire War; "the War in a nutshell" so to speak, as every conceivable tactical maneuver of the day was put in play by one or both sides. There was the street-to-street fighting of June 9, 1864. There were the covert and undercover operations leading to the surprise assault at the Crater. There was the grand strategy of the attack on the Weldon Railroad. There was the spectacle of the mass infantry charge at Fort Stedman, and the deadly pageantry of the cavalry charge at Five Forks where Fitz Lee fended off repeated attacks of George Custer's Federal horsemen. Without a doubt, the battlefields of Petersburg provided a stage for the theatrics of warfare to be acted out in full measure. The drama of war during the Siege of Petersburg occasioned many strange and inexplicable events, but none was more bewildering or more tragic than the death of one of the Army of Northern Virginia's most trusted and capable leaders, General A. P. Hill. Ambrose Powell Hill was born in Culpeper, Virginia, in 1825. He graduated from West Point, entered the United States Army serving in Mexico and against the Seminole Indians. When secession overtook Virginia, Hill like many of his fellow officers resigned his commission and entered the service of the Confederacy. He distinguished himself at the Battle of Williamsburg in the 1862 Peninsula Campaign, and was a "tower of strength" during the Seven Days Battles around Richmond. Hill saved the day for the Army of Northern Virginia at the Battle of Antietam when he reinforced Lee's right flank at the last possible moment to repel an assault by Union General Burnside. When Stonewall Jackson was mortally wounded at Chancellorsville, it was Hill whom Jackson directed to assume command, and after recovering from a wound received later in the battle, Hill was promoted to lieutenant general in May of 1863. He was subsequently given command of the newly constituted Third Corps, and at Gettysburg he directed the figh f the first day although suffering from a debilitating illness. At Petersburg, A. P. Hill and the Third Corps held the western end of the Confederate line, where at dawn on the morning of April 2, 1865, the Union Army broke through the Southern defenses at what is now Pamplin Historical Park. General Hill was meeting with Generals Lee and Longstreet at the Turnbull House when a frantic courier burst in with news of the breach in Hill's line. The General immediately excused himself and along with three members of his staff quickly rode toward the threatened portion of the field. The party was attempting to reach the Pickerall House, then the headquarters of Major General Henry Heth, but soon Federal skirmishers were encountered along the intended route. His party taking several prisoners, Hill ordered two of his escort to deliver the Federals to General Lee while he and his orderly, a Sergeant Tucker, continued toward Heth's headquarters, but large numbers of Union troops now blocked their path along the Boydton Plank Road. Hill and Tucker took to the woods in an effort to skirt the Yankee force and make contact with Heth's line. According to Sergeant Tucker, the General had been unusually quite and pensive during the entirety of their ride, speaking only a few words, but suddenly Hill broke his silence. "Sergeant, should anything happen to me you must go back to General Lee and report it." The startled Sergeant agreed. Very shortly thereafter, the pair came upon two Federals in the wood-line. Corporal John Mauk and Private David Wolford of the 138th Pennsylvania Infantry had fought in the breakthrough earlier that morning, had reached the South Side Railroad along with a number of other Federal troops, and were returning to their commands when they saw "two men on horseback coming from the direction of Petersburg, who had the appearance of officers." It is here that the mystery begins. Hill, for reasons known only to him and over the expressed objections of Sergeant Tucker, determined to take the two lone Northerners prisoner. He drew his pistol and rode to within 10 yards of the Yankees who had by this time taken cover behind a large tree. As the General and his Sergeant approached, both Federals fired. Private Wolford's shot went wide, but Corporal Mauk's round found its mark, severing Hill's left thumb, continuing into his chest where it struck his heart, and exiting through his back. The commander of the Third Corps was killed instantly, dead before he hit the ground. The circumstances surrounding the death of A. P. Hill are puzzling in the extreme. Why did the commander of an entire corps of the Army of Northern Virginia, in the midst of a rapidly deteriorating military situation with the fate of the Confederate capital at stake, feel compelled to go out of his way to take two totally insignificant Union soldiers prisoner? He and his courier could have easily maneuvered around the Pennsylvanians and continued on their intended mission to reach Henry Heth on another part of the field. Gravely concerned for Hill's safety, Sergeant Tucker strongly counseled against approaching the Federals who were already behind cover, with weapons at the ready. Indeed, the courageous Sergeant admonished the General to stay out of harm's way and allow him (the Sergeant) to attempt the apprehension. Hill would not listen. It was almost as if he intended the consequences of his actions. Did A. P. Hill commit suicide in a grove of pine trees on the outskirts of Petersburg? He had stated on several occasions that he did not wish to survive the fall of the Confederacy, and the military situation at that point in time was grim to say the least. The Siege of Petersburg by Union forces was coming to a close. Federal troops were tightening the noose on a Confederate army weakened by lack of food, supplies, medicine, and desertion. Southern troops were deserting by the hundreds, many compelled to go home and care for starving women and children who were suffering the privations of U. S. Grant's version of "total war." If Petersburg fell, so too did Richmond and then the entire Confederacy. Any soldier possessive of the intelligence and experience of A. P. Hill could not help but realize the end was near. Hill was tired, stressed, overworked, and above all ill. His chronic ailments had taken their toll not only upon his health but on his mental faculties as well. What better way to escape the destruction of the Confederacy then to die a warrior's death on the field of battle at the hands of the enemy? While it can never be proven, it remains a possibility. Another possibility is that Hill was suffering from what was known at the time as "the fog of war;" a condition that would come to be known in later years as battle fatigue. Physically and mentally exhausted, the General simply may not have "been thinking straight" when he detoured from his mission to accost two inconsequential Union soldiers for no military purpose whatsoever. Whatever the reason, the Confederacy lost one of its most capable leaders. Upon hearing of Hill's death, General Lee wept, stating, "He is now at rest, and we who are left are the ones to suffer." Buried at first in a private cemetery in Chesterfield County and later in Richmond's Hollywood Cemetery, A. P. Hill was eventually interred under a large monument in the city's suburbs where present day Laburnum Avenue and Hermitage Road intersect. We may never know what crossed the General's mind early on that April morning, but we do know that A. P. Hill was a shining example of Southern manhood, possessive of honor, pride and devotion to duty; qualities that won him and those like him the respect and admiration of friend and foe alike as champions of a noble and just cause. General Hill, we salute you! Deo Vindice Harry
Camp member Ben Baird had emergency eye surgery recently at Virginia Eye Institute. We understand that recovery may take some time. We wish Ben the best. "Grow" seems to be the motto of our Camp. At our recent meeting we inducted new members David Morin and Peyton Roden. In addition we have three members, Joseph Keller, Gene Lyon, and John Stevens, who have transferred to our Camp from another local camp. We have received from headquarters the membership certificate of Matthew Warren Ferguson, whose ancestor is Captain Edmond Macon Ware of the 5th Virginia Cavalry. We shall induct him at a meeting in the near future. Matthew was brought to our Camp by his uncle, David Ware. David is one of our best recruiters. It was great to have David back with us after his recent surgery. What a great turnout at the March meeting. There were 40 members and 11 guests. David Ware's sister Martha Ware Petro wrote on the guest signup sheet by her New York address," I only live there I'm not a Yankee." Please plan to help out at the road cleanup Saturday, April 16. We'll meet at Enon Church, Studley Road (Route 606), Hanover County at 10:00 AM. By the time you receive this, we'll be well into Confederate Heritage and History month. Celebrate your heritage and honor your ancestor by speaking up for Confederate heroes. I had the privilege in late March to give my Monument Avenue slide presentation at a meeting of a senior group at a local church. Each time, as I prepare and then give this talk, I am inspired by the courage, dedication, hard work, patriotism, religious faith, and sacrifice of the men whose statues are on Monument Avenue. Douglas Southall Freeman said of the years he spent researching and writing his biographies of George Washington and Robert E. Lee that he had been in good company. I feel the same way. How fortunate we have been in our Camp to have had programs in the last two Camp meetings about Stonewall Jackson and Jeb Stuart which put us all in great company. Let me urge all Camp members to attend the Virginia Division Convention May 20-22 at the Sheraton Inn, 6624 West Broad Street. As the host camp, we want to make a good showing. It will be helpful even if you attend only the business session. Harry Boyd, his wife Barbara, Taylor Cowardin, Mike Kidd, and others have put in a lot of hard and effective work planning the Convention. The best way we can thank them and show our appreciation for their efforts is to attend the Convention. Walter Tucker
(The New) ROMA'S RESTAURANT 8330 STAPLES MILL RD. LOCATED IN "THE SHOPS AT STAPLES MILL" TURN LEFT AT FIRST STOPLIGHT NORTH OF THE WISTAR SHOPPING CENTER DINNER- SOCIAL 6:00 PM
The speaker for April will be Dr. Louis H. Manarin. Dr. Manarin is a prolific author, renowned historian and former State Archivist of the Commonwealth. His writing career spans over four decades, starting in 1961 with his earliest books, The Wartime Papers of R. E. Lee and also A Guide to Military Organizations and Installations which he edited for the North Carolina Confederate Centennial Commission. These were followed by: 1963-Directory of Officials 1861-1865 1965-The Bloody Sixth (as co-author with R. W. Iobst) 1966-North Carolina Troops 1861-1865 1966-Richmond at War (as Editor) 1969-Richmond Volunteers 1979-Lee in Command 1983-In God's Service: Chamberlayne Baptist Church 1853-1953 1984-The History of Henrico County 1986-Sir Thomas Dale 1986-Cumulative Index, The Confederate Veteran Magazine 1893-1932 1988-Directory of Repositories in Virginia 1990-15th Virginia Infantry 2001-Richmond on the James (as Co-author with G.W, Rogers) 2004-Henrico County- Field of Honor Dr. Manarin will speak about the role of Henrico County and its residents during the War Between the States and will discuss his new book, Henrico County - Field of Honor. Be sure to come to this meeting to hear Dr. Manarin's presentation and meet him in person. Let's give him a hearty Longstreet welcome!
MIKE KIDD, TOM PERRY AND TAYLOR COWARDIN For the second straight month our speaker stated that he wanted to focus on the man rather than the soldier. Tom Perry grew up in Patrick County and became interested in James Ewell Brown Stuart when he read Virginia Highway historical marker KG-2 which told of Stuart's birthplace at Laurel Hill, which home came from the family of Jeb's mother, the Pannills. Tom's slides throughout the program told us that he's been lots of places where other Stuart aficianados haven't. Laurel Hill burned in 1848. Thanks to Tom Perry's dedication and hard work there is now at Ararat, VA a 75 acre park with interpretive signs marking the location. Tom with tongue in cheek laughingly said he did this because he's still mad at being born in North Carolina. The original Jeb was the eighth child and last son to survive of William Alexander Stuart and Elizabeth Letcher Pannill Stuart. Young Jeb looked up to his brother William Alexander Stuart, Jr. who ran the vital salt works in Saltville during The War. Jeb went away to school at age 12 and entered Emory and Henry College at age 15. Having promised his mother he would never drink, he became active in the temperance movement. Once when he stopped at Monticello, he chipped off a piece of stone as a souvenir. Always an observer of the ladies, he wrote that the women in Charlottesville were the ugliest he'd ever seen. On leave from West Point, Jeb visited Betty Hairston of the plantation Beaver Creek, near Martinsville. She saved Jeb's letters. That house still stands. After West Point Jeb served with the 1st US Cavalry, where one of his best friends was John Sedgwick. He spent six years in Kansas, where he owned land and wrote for newspapers. He met and Married Flora Cooke there and founded a church. In 1856 he met John Brown. Jeb was at the War Department October 1859 and was sent with Robert E. Lee and a contingent of Marines to Harper's Ferry, where John Brown attempted to lead a slave revolt and was holed up in the fire station. Tom showed us a slide of Fort Bent, CO, where Jeb was stationed 1860-61. He resigned from the US Army 3 May 1861 and returned to his native Virginia. He was sent to Harpers Ferry to serve under Thomas J. Jackson. Jeb's father-in-law remained in the US Army, despite being a Virginian. Jeb and Flora changed the name of their son from Philip St. George Cooke Stuart to James Ewell Brown Stuart, Jr. In 1863 Stuart began losing people close to him, as his sister Flora, his artilleryman the Gallant Pelham, his banjo player Sam Sweeney, and Stonewall Jackson died. Despite their miles-apart temperaments, Stuart and Jackson respected and liked each other. In yet another irony, in May 1864 the initial battle at Spotsylvania took place at Laurel Hill. Stuart's good friend from the pre-war Army, Union General John Sedgwick was killed there. On the way to counter Sheridan's move to Richmond, Jeb said goodbye to Flora at the Fontaine House. Stuart's troop was outnumbered 2 to 1 at Yellow Tavern. To an officer who came to him after his wounding he said, "Go back and do your duty. I'd rather die than be whipped." Taken to Richmond, Stuart was visited by Jefferson and Varina Davis. Before Flora could get to him, he sang his favorite hymn, Rock of Ages, and said, "I am resigned. God's will be done. Upon hearing of Stuart's death, General Lee said, "He never brought me a piece of bad information. I can scarcely think of him without weeping." Jeb Stuart, Jr. served in the United States Army during the Spanish American War and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. His rank of Captain was the same as that of his father in the US Army. Tom Perry's mother has planted forsythia at the birthplace. The yellow blooms remind us that yellow was the color of the cavalry, and the soldier whom many regard as the greatest cavalryman in this country's history received his mortal wound at Yellow Tavern. Listening and watching intently at Tom's outstanding presentation were the original Jeb's direct descendants Jeb Stuarts, IV, and V, and Daryl Cooke and Will Wallace, direct descendants of Flora Cooke Stuart's brother John Rogers Cooke. Unfortunately, Jeb Stuart IV had a commitment which did not permit him to be with us. Walter
2003-2004 CAMP OFFICERS LONGSTREET CAMP #1247Commander: Harry Boyd 741-2060 1st. Lt. Cmdr.: Taylor Cowardin 356-9625 2nd Lt. Cmdr.: Michael Kidd 270-9651 Adjutant/Treasurer: Walter Tucker 360-7247 Quartermaster: R. Preston Nuttall 276-8977 Chaplain: Henry V. Langford 340-8948
PUBLICATIONSWebmaster: Gary F. Cowardin 262-0534 Website: longstreetscv.org War Horse: David P. George 353-8392
The following is a cumulative listing of contributors to the upkeep of “The Old War Horse” for the period July, 2004 through the current month. As you know, our cumulative listing starts in July of each year. Ben Baird Lloyd Brooks Phil Cheatham John Coski § Brian Cowardin* Clint Cowardin Gary Cowardin* Ron Cowardin* Taylor Cowardin Raymond Crews* Lee Crenshaw John Deacon* Jerold Evans Pat Hoggard* Charles Howard Chris Jewett Jack Kane* Michael Kidd Ann Lauterbach+ Frank Marks Lewis Mills Conway Moncure Jerry Morris Joe Moschetti Richard Mountcastle* Ken Parsons Norman Plunkett §* Joseph Seay Bill Setzer Will Shumadine Austin Thomas Walter Tucker* John Vial David Ware Hugh Williams Bobby Williams Legend: * - Multiple contributions § - Visitor Donation + - in memory of Past Cmdr. Tom Lauterbach
PEYTON RODEN & DAVID MORIN We are delighted to welcome Peyton and David to our Camp! If you did not meet them in March, please introduce yourself to them at the April meeting. Let's give these men a hearty Longstreet welcome and make them feel that they are indeed a part of the finest Camp in the Confederation!
TWO NEW WINNERS!!Our March raffle produced two winners! David Ware receiving a print of Mosby and his men. John Vial receiving a small wad of Confederate currency. J.E.B Stuart, VI was the smiling presenter of both prizes!
A TAD OR TWO OF HUMORSLIM'S LAW Any significant military action will occur at the junction of two or more map sheets. Field Marshall Viscount Slim of Burma (World War II for you youngsters!) CONSERVATIVE VS. LIBERAL A conservative sees a man drowning 50 feet from the shore, throws him a 25-foot-long rope, and tells him to swim to it. A liberal throws him a rope 50 feet long, then drops the end and goes off to perform another good deed. KIND WORDS You can get more with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word. A SOBERING THOUGHT Just before being blasted off into orbit Astronaut Wally Schirra was asked by Dr. E.R. Annis, "What concerns you the most?" Schirra thought and then replied, "Every time I climb up on to the couch [in the capsule] I say to myself,' Just think, Wally, everything that makes this thing go was supplied by the lowest bidder.'"
CALENDAR OF EVENTSAPRIL 9,10 33rd Annual American Civil War Show, Dulles Expo Center (South Building), Chantilly. Saturday 9-5, Sunday 10-2. Sponsored by Northern Virginia Relic Hunters Association. For info, John Graham, 703-823-1958 or firstname.lastname@example.org APRIL 16, 17 Civil War Adventure Camp with Civil War immmersion experience at Pamplin Historical Park, Petersburg. Musket firing, mortar shooting, medical field program, soldier food, communications. For info: 877-PAMPLIN; www.pamplinpark.org APRIL 23 "Beyond April, 1865" Symposium at the Library of Virginia, Richmond. Hosted by the Museum of the Confederacy. Speakers include: Noah H. Trudeau, Mark Bradley, David Blight. For info: Dr. John Coski, 804-649-1861, ext. 27. MAY 6-8 Dixie Days on over 100 acres at Pole Green Park, Hanover, VA. Encampments, tacticals and skirmishing. Infantry, artillery and cavalry demonstrations. 4th grade students on Friday. Reenactor bounties. Free to public. Hosted by Cold Harbor Guards, Camp 1764, SCV. For info: www.coldharborguards.com MAY 14 "Impregnable Works or Wretchedly Defective Line? Taking a Closer Look at Spotsylvania's Earthworks" 141st anniversary of the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House walking tour over the Bloody Angle & Lee's Last Line, led by Historian Mac Wycoff, Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park. Free, 1-4 pm. Meet at the Bloody Angle parking area at driving tour stop #14. Covers two miles, wear comfortable walking shoes and carry water. For info: 540-373-6122 or 540-786-2880; www.nps.gov/frsp/vc.htm
SNAPSHOT CORNERBeauvoir, home of Jefferson Davis in Biloxi, Mississippi
A BLACK DAY FOR THE DAVIS FAMILYOn April 30, 1864, at the White House of the Confederacy in Richmond, little Joe, the five year old son of Jefferson and Varina Davis, fell from the back balcony of the house into the yard and was grievously injured, dying the next day. This was a terrible blow to President Davis and his wife.
TWO OF LEE'S LETTERSTo his sister Mrs. Anne Marshall: Arlington, Virginia April 20, 1861 My Dear Sister, I am grieved at my inability to see you...I have been waiting for a 'more convenient season' which has brought many before me deep and lasting regret. Now we are in a state of war which will yield to nothing. The whole South is in a state of revolution, into which Virginia, after a long struggle, has been drawn; and though I recognize no necessity for this state of things, and would have forborne and pleaded to the end for redress of grievances, real or supposed, yet in my own person I had to meet the question whether I should take part against my native State. With all my devotion to the Union and the feeling of loyalty and duty of an American citizen, I have not been able to make up my mind to raise my hand against my relatives, my children, my home. I have therefore resigned my commission in the Army, and save in the defense of my native State, with the sincere hope that my poor services may never be needed, I hope I may never be called upon to draw my sword. I know you will blame me; but you must think as kindly of me as you can, and believe that I have endeavoured to do what I thought right. To show you the feeling and struggle it has cost me, I send you a copy of my letter of resignation, I have no time for more. May God guide and protect you and yours, and shower upon you everlasting blessings, is the prayer of your devoted brother. R. E. Lee Arlington, Virginia April 20, 1861 To General Scott: General: Since my interview with you on the 18th inst. I have felt that I ought no longer to retain my commission in the Army. I therefore tender my resignation, which I request you will recommend for acceptance. It would have been presented at once but for the struggle it has cost me to separate myself from a service to which I have devoted the best years of my life, and all the ability I possessed. During the whole of that time more than a quarter of a century-I have experienced nothing but kindness from my superiors and a most cordial friendship from my comrades. To no one, General, have I been as much indebted as to your self for uniform kindness and consideration, and it has always been my ardent desire to merit your approbation. I shall carry to the grave the most grateful recollections of your kind consideration, and your name and fame shall always be dear to me. Save in defense of my native State, I never desire again to draw my sword. Be pleased to accept my most earnest wishes for the continuance of your happiness and prosperity and believe me, most truly yours, R. E. Lee
A CALL TO ARMS!!! THE LONG ROLL IS SOUNDING!!!OUR COMPATRIOTS NEED YOU TO JOIN THEM AT THE ANNUAL CONVENTION OF THE VIRGINIA DIVISION AT THE SHERATON RICHMOND WEST HOTEL 6624 WEST BROAD STREET IN RICHMOND, VA. FRIDAY, MAY 20, 2005-SUNDAY, MAY 22, 2005 HELP US TO MAKE THIS AN UNFORGETTABLE CONVENTION FOR THE MEN OF THE VIRGINIA DIVISION DO IT NOW BY SENDING IN YOUR REGISTRATION!!