Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Young and the Fearless

This entry is from the August 9th 1861 Richmond Dispatch, and tells the story of one boy who got another chance to be a man.
A Gallant Southern Boy.
A correspondent sends to the Dispatch the subjoined extract of a letter from an Ohio captain to the editor of the Toledo (Ohio) Blade, published in that paper on the 26th of July. Such testimony, from an enemy, of the bravery of our troops, and of an act of gallantry on the part of some unknown Virginia boy, (which has few parallels even in our army of heroes,) cannot fail to command the attention of every reader:

"About 1 o'clock there was a short cessation of hostilities — the firing was only heard in the distance. Our Brigade had been wrestling for several hours with opposing forces, principally Virginians, and were ensconced in thickets on each side of a field of no great dimensions. We occupied the Northern slope of a hill of considerable elevation, and also the top of the hill, whilst the enemy held the Southern slope.  Suddenly we observed to emerge from the opposing ranks a boy, apparently 16 or 17 years of age, armed with a musket and pistols. He double-quicked to the top of the hill, within sixty or eighty yards of our place of concealment; saw an officer on horseback, took deliberate aim at him, fired, and the officer fell mortally wounded. About the same time my company of 80 men fired at him, and he fell, I supposed pierced by many balls. What was my surprise to see this proud and over-brave boy rise from the ground only slightly wounded, seize his musket, wave his cap in triumph in our faces, and rejoin his comrades, one of whom had followed him, I suppose to bring him back. Such fearlessness I never saw before."

Unidentified Young Confederate Soldier, from the Library of Congress Collection

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