Newspaper Page Text
The Pate of the " Stonewall Brigade."
The "Stonewall Brigade" of the Rebel army is said to have been entirely used up in Sheridan's late battles, not enough of it remaining to make up a minimum company. It was formed of the elite of the first families in the Shenandoah Val ley, of young men, born, as they thought, to lives of ease, made so by the labors of slaves.— It has been recruited, it is said, at various times, with six thousand men, so that under the lead ership of Jackson and Early, eleven thousand " Stonewallers" have measured the dust. It was the fortune or misfortune of this Brigade to have fallen under the command of Thomas Jonathan Jackson, whose restless temperament and active habits gave it plenty of work. It made its first reputation at Bull Hun, where it " stood firm like a stone wall," when chivalric South Caro lina regiments were flying. But it had been in service before that time. It was one of the ob stacles which Patterson encountered at Falling Waters. It was on the field of Manassas in time to participate in that battle. It was at Contreville until October, 1861, when it was sent to Winchester. Near this place it was whipped by General Shields, on the 23d of March, 1862.— Retreating up the Valley, it suffered in various skirmishes, and was then called to Richmond. — In May, 1862, it was back again in the Valley. Here it was mancevred with dexterity. It was launched at Fremont on the twenty-third of that month, and helped to drive the Union troops back. From that place it was marched with great rapidity to meet Banks, whose plan was to unite with Fremont. The latter fought at Mid dletown, was defeated and retreated, fighting, through Winchester, and unfu he had reached and crossed the Potomac. This success was one of the most brilliant achievements of the " Stone wall Brigade," upon which its subsequent fame was chiefly built. But it did not remain long quiet; it was repulsed in an attack upon Har per's Ferry, and again in retreat bofore the first of June. Fremont followed, and encountered the rear guard of Jackson's troops near Stras burg. The " Stonewall Brigade" was now flying up the Valley as fast as it had rushed down it a few weeks before. The men did great marching and burned the bridges behind them to delay their pursuers. At Cross Keys, on tho Bth of June, Fremont whipped the "Stonewall Brigade," and the whole of Jackson's army. The latter withdrew in the night, leaving his killed and wounded behind him, and succeeded in crossing the Shenandoah, although Shields was marching up to intercept him. This failure was a disaster which had a most important effect upon the campaign against Richmond, which was then in full progress un der Mod-Han.' It enabled Jackson to bring his men suddenly upon the right wing of the Army of the Potomac. On the 29th of Juno he fell on Fitz John Porter's Corps, which had been much exhausted in the battle of Games' Mills, drove it toward the Chickahominy, and gained the bat tle for the Rebels. On the 29th, crossing the Chickahominy, the "Stonewall Brigade" fought the Federal troops at Frazer's Farm ; and on the Ist of July it was gloriously whipped at Malvern Hill, in which battle Jackson's Corps lost sever al thousand in killed and wounded. In July the Brigade was sent with other troops to Gordonsville. On the 9th it was again whip ped by Pope at Cedar Mountatn, and retreated to Orange Court House. On the 18th Lee effect ed a junction with Jackson, and the latter took up the line of march for Thoroughfare Gap, which he passed through, surprising a small Federal force at Manassas and defeating them. ( Pope, learning this, sent McDowell to intercept Jackson at the Gap. The latter moved back, being in advance of Lee's support. At Kettle Run, on the 27th, he was brought to bay, and the " Stonewall Brigade" was once more defeated, and Jackson retreated to the Bull Run Moun tains. Longstreet and Lee were coining up, and on the 30th the "Stonewall Brigade" fought in tho second battle of Bull Run, in which it was suc cessful. The battle of Chantilly followed, which was substantially a defeat for the Rebels, but the "Stonewall Brigade" was not in it, having moved off toward Maryland. It crossed the Potomac on the sth of September and occupied Frederick next day. This was the first experiment upon the temper of " My Mary land," in which State a rising in favor of tho Confederates was anxiously expected. Jackson's part of the campaign was to attack Harper's Ferry. Troops were sent to invest that place, and through the stupidity of Colonel Ford in abandoning Maryland Heights, the attempt suc ceeded. The " Stonewall Brigade" had the glory of marching into town on the 25th, taking all the stores and munitions of war with fifteen thous and prisoners. Lee being defeated at South Mountain, Jackson was hurriedly called to re inforce him. Leaving A. P. Hill at Harper's Ferry he marched to the succor of his chief. At Antietam the hardest part of the fighting fell to his share, and here the "Stonewall Brigade" was whipped again. For several months these troops remained in the Valley, but were finally called to join Lee at Fredericksburg. Here Jackson's part of the line was attacked by Franklin in the battle of the 13th of December, but the latter was repulsed. In the latter part of April and the beginning of May the battle of Chancellorsville was fought, and to Jackson, the "Stonewall Brigade," and other troops was intrusted the task of turning Hooker's right wing. How successfully he executed the task is a painful matter of history. The Eleventh Corps was routed, and in the melee Jackson was shot by his own men. Thus fell an officer who has attracted more attention than any other who has fought on the side of the Rebellion, a bold, bad man, whose piety was a fantasy, and whose humanity was as stern as that of the Moslem. His brigade was given to Elzey, and during subsequent operations it participated in the Reb el losses and triumphs. It took part in the ope rations against Winchester in June, 1863, and was signally defeated at Gettysburg, in July.— It was with Lee at the battle of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania Court House and Cold Harbor du ring the present year. It was detached after Grant crossed to the south side of the James River, and again moved down the Shenandoah Valley and crossed into Maryland. At the Mo nocacy its progress was checked by General Wallaco. It was in the various skirmishes in which Crooks and Hunter had command of the Federal troops. At the battle of the Opequan this brigade was a thousand strong and lost heavily. At Fisher's Hill Sheridan wiped it out. If a "Stonewall Brigade" appears again in this war, it will be a new organization with an old nam©. The fortunes of the " Stonewall Brigade" are typical of the rebellion. It has had its victo ries again and again, only to lose its strength j and now, being totally obliterated from the ros ter of the Rebellion, which has had its triumphs and its defeats, but under all circumstances has retrograded to the point of exhaustion, awaiting the final blow which will -close its bloody career forever. ■ » ■ Friendly Pickets. We have often remarked that when the bel ligerent troops are lying near one another for any length of time they become quite commu nicative and friendly. They forget that they are enemies, and a kind of chivalric honor and oourtesy are strictly observed during their self appointed truce. If they are compelled to fire during the existence of this self-constituted ar mistice, they fire the first volley in the air, so as to give the others time to get back. The following incident, which happened a week or two ago in front of the Fourteenth Corps of Sherman's army, fully illustrates how sensitive they are on such occasions of their honor.-— Our works aro pretty close to the enemy's and the pickets nearly meet in the center. There was no, firing along the lines, and it occurred to the poor fellows on both sides that it would be pleasant to get up out of their rifle pits, stretch their cramped limbs, and have a little friendly intercourse with their neighbors. So a sort of ventriloquism conversation ensued from the pits, and all preliminaries being satis factorily arranged, a regular truce was agreed upon. They jumped up, shook off the dirt, and met in so friendly a way that one would have thought they were tho best and most loving neighbors in the world. Trade was carried on in a small scale, escapes and adventures recounted, and home friends and scenes warmly disoussed. In the midst of the thing, the Rebels in the rear called out to their comrades, " Boys, come back, the Major is coming." Now it happened that the Major was an old, rusty crusty customer, and had no hand in the truce at all; so when ho came up he was in a fume, and called out, " you, come back here; and why the h don't you fire ?" The men came back, but refused to fire on our fellows until they had got to their pits, which set tho Major in suoh a boiling rage that he snatched a gun and popped at one of our men, slightly wounding him. A regular cry of indignation at suoh a viola tion of faith was raised by his men, and five of them actually walked out of his linos into ours vowing that they could not, in justice to their honor, serve any longer in an army where hono rable treaties were so grossly violated. Thoir comrades refused to interfere, and evidently deeply sympathized with their offended dignity. I Our boys received them warmly; even the wounded man joined in the welcome. ■ * ■ ... _ During the recent freshet near Petersburg, when a portion of the Federal fortifications was submerged and several soldiers were drowned, one man, while struggling in the water, cried out: "I'm Captain Semmes! where'a the Deer hound?" That was as cool and self-possessed as Morcu cutio, who died with a joke on his lips, A curious circumstance occurred recently in Brussels, namely tho prosecution of a photo graphist by a gentleman for exhibiting his photograph at the shop door. He said that owing to the circumstances, and the ugliness of the picture, he had lost a good chance of mak ing a rich marriage.