This week at work I was doing some extra research on the Stonewall Brigade. While reading through John O. Casler’s book of reminiscences, Four Years In The Stonewall Brigade, I came across an account from the Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863. The image of the soldiers in the hidden hole and their experience echoed with parts of my life and prompted some spiritual and scriptural reflections. I’ve decided to open up and share those with you and I hope you’ll find it encouraging in this challenging time.
…We were engaged with the enemy at and near Manassas Junction Tuesday and Wednesday, and again near the battle-field of Manassas on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday; in all of which God gave us the victory. May He ever be with us, and we ever be his devoted people, is my earnest prayer. It greatly encourages me to feel that so many of God’s people are praying for that part of our force under my command. The Lord has answered their prayers; He has again placed us across Bull Run; and I pray that He will make our arms entirely successful, and that all the glory will be given to His holy name, and none of it to man. God has blessed and preserved me through His great mercy. On Saturday, Colonel Baylor and Hugh White were both killed, and Willie Preston was mortally wounded…Continue reading →
Within four weeks this army has made long and rapid marches, fought six combats and two battles, signally defeated the enemy in each one, captured several stands of colors, and pieces of artillery, with numerous prisoners, and vast medical ordnance, and army stores; and, finally, driving the boastful host which was ravaging our beautiful country, into utter rout. The General commanding would warmly express to the officers and men under his command, his joy in their achievements, and his thanks for their brilliant gallantry in action and their patient obedience under the hardships of forced marches; often more painful to the brave soldier than the dangers of battle. The explanation of the severe exertions to which the Commanding General called the army, which were endured by them with such cheerful confidence in him, is now given, in the victory of yesterday. He receives this proof of their confidence in the past with pride and gratitude, and asks only a similar confidence in the future.Continue reading →
“Officers and men of the First Brigade, I am not here to make a speech but simply to say farewell. I first met you at Harper’s Ferry in the commencement of the war, and I cannot take leave of you without giving expression to my admiration of your conduct from that day to this, whether on the march, in the bivouac, the tented field, or on the bloody plains of Manassas, where you gained the well-deserved reputation of having decided the fate of the battle. Continue reading →
I crawl out about sunrise from between my two blankets, put on my shoes, walk out of my tent, hunt a basin, & wash my face, comb my hair & my toilette for the day is complete. By this time breakfast is ready & if General [Jackson] has made his appearance, we sit down & are regaled with corn bread & leaden biscuits, fried bacon & cheese, a little molasses & coffee with sugar as brown and wet as possible. Continue reading →