Clement Anselm Evans.

Confederate military history; a library of Confederate States history online

. (page 67 of 153)
Online LibraryClement Anselm EvansConfederate military history; a library of Confederate States history → online text (page 67 of 153)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


federate capital, he fell severely wounded near Dinwiddle
Court House, leading his men in the successful fight of
Pickett's division, which preceded the disaster at Five
Forks. After the close of the war he served eight years
in the Virginia senate, held the office of superintendent
of the State penitentiary two terms, and from April, 1886,
to 1893, was superintendent of the Soldiers' Home at
Richmond. This office he was forced to surrender by
failing health, which continued until his death, March 28,
1897, at his home in Chesterfield county. He was mar-
ried in young manhood to Miss Pemberton, of Powhatan,
who, with two sons and three daughters, survived him.

Brigadier-General Henry Harrison Walker, a native of
Virginia, was appointed from that State to the United
States military academy in 1849, and was graduated in
1853 with the brevet of second lieutenant of infantry.



-676 CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

His service with the United States army was rendered
first in barracks at Newport, Ky., and then until 1855 in
New Mexico. He became second lieutenant, Sixth
infantry, in 1855, and first lieutenant in 1857, and in the
latter year was appointed aide-de-camp to Governor
Walker of Kansas. After assisting in quelling the dis-
turbances in that State, he served upon the staff of Gen-
eral Clarke, at San Francisco, three years. The seces-
sion of Virginia called him from frontier duty at Fort
Churchill, Nev. , to offer his services to his native State.
He received at first a commission as captain of infantry in
the regular army of the Confederate States. Subsequently
he was promoted lieutenant-colonel of the Fortieth Vir-
ginia infantry regiment. Field's brigade. At Gaines'
Mill he was twice wounded, and was mentioned by Gen-
eral Field as "a gallant and meritorious officer," and by
Gen. A. P. Hill as one of those deserving especial men-
tion for conspicuous gallantry. In July, 1863, after hav-
ing been in charge of a convalescent camp, he was pro-
moted brigadier-general and assigned to the command of
his old brigade, which had meanwhile been under the
leadership for some time of Gen. Henry Heth and Col-
onel Brockenbrough. He served creditably as a brigade
commander in the battles of Bristoe Station and Mine
Run, in the latter affair his brigade being the first
infantry to meet the enemy and check his advance. In
December he was ordered to the Shenandoah valley to
reinforce Early, and was recalled from that region in
March, 1864, to the main army. He did good and brave
service through the bloody battles of the Wilderness and
Spottsylvania Court House, until severely wounded on
May 10, 1864. On November loth he was assigned to
duty as a member of the general court-martial of the
department of Richmond, and his brigade, much reduced,
"was consolidated with Archer's.

Brigadier- General James A. Walker, now living in
Wytheville, Va., is the son of Alexander Walker and
Hannah Hinton, whose ancestors were among the early
Scotch-Irish settlers of the valley of Virginia. He was
born in Augusta county on the 27th of August, 1832.
After receiving the best elementary education that the
schools of the neighborhood afforded, he entered the
fourth class at the Virginia military institute in 1848.



CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY. 677

Here he remained until the spring of 1852, and was in
the graduating class of that year, when he took offense
at some remark made to him by Stonewall Jackson (then
Professor Jackson), in the lecture room, and a passage
of sharp words took place between the two. Cadet
Walker, feeling that he had been publicly insulted and
wronged by Professor Jackson, sent him a challenge to
fight a duel. It is related of Jackson by one with whom
he consulted on the occasion, that, notwithstanding he
was a grave professor and the challenger a mere boy, he
for a considerable time, debated in his mind the propri-
ety of accepting the challenge, expressing a serious wish
that it was possible to do so. Walker's rebellion in the
class-room was a grave ofiEense, at an institution where
strict military discipline is maintained; but the sending
of a challenge to one of the principal officers and profess-
ors was a crime not to be overlooked or forgiven, and
though Walker stood high in his class, and was popular
with all who knew his honest heart and chivalric qual-
ities, he was court-martialed and dismissed from the insti-
tution. In after years, when Jackson and Walker met,
as officers in the field, and the former saw his wayward
pupil in the front of every fight, always prompt, never
shirking the most arduous duties, nor flinching in the
most trying and dangerous situations, he freely blotted
from his remembrance all thought of the occurrence
between them at the institute, and pushed him for pro-
motion whenever there was an opportunity to do so.
They became friends and no officer in the army stood
higher in the esteem of Jackson than Walker. After
the war General Walker's diploma was sent to him by
order of the board of visitors, and he is enrolled as a
graduate of the Virginia military institute. After leav-
ing the institute. Walker accepted a position in the engi-
neer corps, then engaged in locating the line of the Cov-
ington & Ohio (now Chesapeake & Ohio) railroad, from
the Big Sandy river to Charlestown, and in this rough
and unexciting life he spent eighteen months. He then
resigned and returned to his home in Augusta county.
Shortly afterward he began to read law in the office of
Col. John B. Baldwin, at Staunton. During the session
of 1854-55 he took a law course at the university of Vir-
ginia, and immediately afterward began to practice his
profession at Newbem, Pulaski county, Va. In i860 he



678 CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

was elected commonwealth's attorney of that county and
filled that position until the spring of 1863. Immediately
after the John Brown raid, Walker organized a local mili-
tia company, the Pulaski Guards, and being elected their
captain, drilled them so faithfully that when Governor
Letcher called for troops from Virginia, his was one of the
best companies mustered into the service. In April, 1861,
Captain Walker and his company were ordered to report
for duty at Harper's Ferry, and there joined Stonewall
Jackson's command. Captain Walker remained with the
Fourth regiment until after the skirmish at Falling
Waters, and for conspicuous gallantry and exhibition of
high soldierly qualities, was promoted to the rank of lieu-
tenant-colonel and assigned to duty in the Thirteenth
Virginia infantry, of which A. P. Hill was colonel. Hill
was made brigadier in March, 1862, and soon afterward
Walker was made full colonel. When General Jackson
left Manassas for Yorktown, Colonel Walker's regiment
formed part of General Ewell's division. Later he
joined Jackson's command, and participated in the bat-
tles of the famous Valley campaign. Colonel Walker
commanded a brigade nearly all the year of 1862. At
Sharpsburg he commanded Trimble's brigade, and at
Fredericksburg, Early's. In the spring of 1863 he was pro-
moted to the rank of brigadier-general, and by the request
of Stonewall Jackson was ordered to take command of
the old Stonewall brigade. At the head of this famous
body of soldiers he fought at Winchester, Gettysburg,
Mine Run, Fredericksburg, Wilderness and Spottsylva-
nia Court House, and at the latter place, the 1 2th of May,

1864, received a musket ball in the elbow of the left arm,
which caused an excessively painful wound, which com-
pelled resection of the bones and his temporary retire-
ment from service. In July, 1864, with his arm still in a
sling and his health feeble, he was again called into serv-
ice and assigned to the defenses of the Richmond &
Danville and "Southside" railroads, these roads cover-
ing Lee's main line of communication and supplies. He
was successful in holding back the raiding cavalry, and
in keeping the railroad communications open with the
south and west, and for this service received the warm
commendations of his superior officers. In February,

1865, General Walker asked leave to return to the front
once more, and solicited the favor of taking charge of the



CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY. 679

brigade, which, by the death of the gallant Pegram, was
left without a brigadier, and in which was his old regi-
ment, the Thirteenth Virginia, a body of troops than
whom, he has often been heard to say, no braver ever
fought in all the famous armies of the world. His
request was granted. Being the senior brigadier, during
Early's absence in the valley of Virginia, with an inde-
pendent command, he led two brigades of the division in
a successful attack on Hare's hill. Still at the head of
this division General Walker retreated, with General
Lee, fighting by the way at Sailor's creek, High Bridge
and Farmville, to Appomattox, where he surrendered
himself and about 1,500 oflScers and men to Grant. The
war over. General Walker returned to his home in
Pulaski county, and immediately went to work putting
out a crop of com, with the two mules he had brought
home from the army with him. As soon as possible he
began to practice law, and gave his entire time to his
profession until the summer of 1868. In that year,
without any solicitations on his part, he was nominated as
the conservative candidate for lieutenant-governor, and
had canvassed several counties before the election was
postponed by order of the military authorities, and Con-
gress commenced reconstructing the State. When later
it was found expedient to nominate a Northern Demo-
crat and Gilbert C. Walker's name was mentioned. Gen-
eral Walker withdrew his name and canvassed the State
for Walker against Wells. In 1871 he was elected to the
house of delegates. In 1876 he was made lieutenant-
governor on the ticket with Governor HoUiday. During
the debt controversy in Virginia, General Walker sided
actively with the debt-paying element. After his term
as lieutenant-governor expired, he took, for several
years, little part in State politics, being kept busy by the
demands of a large law practice. He was also much
interested and very active in the development of the min-
eral resources of Virginia. While studying the interests
of his section of the State, he became an enthusiastic
"Protectionist" in politics, and, at that time, indeed, the
Democratic party in southwestern Virginia was pro-
nounced in its advocacy of protection principles. When,
a year or two later, Mr. Cleveland avowed his free trade
policy and became the Democratic leader and their can-
didate for President, General Walker severed his connec-



680 CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

tion with that party, and has since been a Republican in
principle and affiliation. He was elected to Congress
from the Ninth district of Virginia by the Republicans in
1894, and was re-elected in 1896. In July, 1898, he was
a third time nominated. In the official records of the
civil war, published by the government. General Walk-
er's name, coupled with honorable mention for gallant
conduct or faithful services, occurs a number of times
in the reports of Confederate officers. One interesting
fact connected with him is this, that he is the only officer
who ever commanded the Stonewall brigade who sur-
vived the war. All of the others. Generals Jackson,
Winder, Gamett and Paxton, were killed in battle. Col-
onels Allen, Botts and Baylor, while temporarily in com-
mand of the Stonewall brigade, also fell at the head of
their troops. As the sole surviving commander of this
famous brigade. General Walker has been an object of
much interest in the North and West, and in the last
ten years has been a number of times invited to make
addresses on commanders of the civil war and kindred
subjects, in the cities of those sections. He has in this
way been one of those ex-Confederate officers who have
had much to do with the present era of good feeling
between the sections. Like Wheeler and Lee and
others, he has long been broad-minded enough to see
that loyalty to the "lost cause" is entirely consistent
with loyalty to the government under which he lives and
from which he claims protection.

Brigadier-General Reuben Lindsay Walker was bom at
Logan, Albemarle county, Va., May 29, 1827. His
father was Capt. Lewis Walker, and his early home was
in a part of the State noted for wealth and refinement,
the prominent families of which were connected with his
by blood and affinity. He was graduated in 1845 at the
Virginia military institute, where his popularity among
his fellow cadets is one of the pleasant traditions of the
school. After graduation he adopted the profession of
civil engineer, and became employed upon the extension
of the Chesapeake & Ohio railroad. In 1857 he married
a daughter of Dr. Albert Elam, of Chesterfield county,
and a few years later engaged in farming in New Kent
county. He was sergeant-at-arms of the memorable
Virginia convention of 1861, and immediately after the



CONFEDERA TE MILITARY HISTORY. 681

passage of the ordinance of secession he applied to Gov-
ernor Letcher for commission and permission to organize
an expedition to surprise and capture Portress Monroe.
The governor denied him this opportunity, but his ability
was recognized by a commission as captain and assign-
ment to command of the Purcell battery, the first com-
pany of that arm to leave Richmond. He was stationed
with this company on the Potomac near Aquia creek, and
from that region he reached the field of First Manassas
in time to shell the retreating Federals with his six Par-
rott guns. He subsequently was in action at Potomac
creek, Aquia creek, Marlborough point. Free Stone
point and Evans' point during the summer and fall of
1861. March 31, 1862, he was promoted major, and in
this rank he served as chief of artillery of A. P. Hill's
division. During the Seven Days' battles he was sick at
Richmond, but after that he was identified with the
operations of A. P. Hill's command until the close of the
war. During the reduction of Harper's Ferry, in the
Maryland campaign, he crossed the Shenandoah with
several batteries and secured a position on Loudoun
heights that commanded the enemy's works. At Fred-
ericksburg Hill reported that Lieutenant- Colon el Walker
"directed the fire from his guns with admirable coolness
and precision." Promotion to colonel rapidly followed,
in which rank he fought at Chancellors ville, and when
Hill was called to command the Third army corps, Col-
onel Walker was appointed chief of artillery of that com-
mand. At Gettysburg he commanded sixty-three guns
and handled them with skill and effect, and later in 1863
he took part in various minor engagements. In the
campaign of 1864 he served in all the principal battles,
beginning with the Wilderness and closing with Reams'
Station. In January, 1865, he was promoted brigadier-
general and assigned to command of the Third artillery
corps, still attached to Hill's army corps. Of the con-
duct of his command in the final days at Petersburg, it
was reported: "The conduct of officers and men was
worthy of all praise, and that of the drivers and super-
numeraries of the artillery, who had been by General
Walker armed with muskets, deserves special mention.
Those in Fort Gregg fought until literally crushed by
numbers, and scarcely a man survived. ' ' On the retreat
he reached with his artillery a point between Appomat-



682 CONFEDERA TE MILITARY HISTORY.

tox Court House and Station, where he was attacked by
Custer's cavalry division on April 8th. The dashing
Federal general reported: "The enemy succeeded in
repulsing nearly all our attacks, until nearly 9 o'clock at
night, when by a general advance along my line he was
forced from his position. ' ' On the next day the army was
surrendered, and General Walker retired to private life,
with a record of participation in sixty-three battles and
combats. In 1872, after some years devoted to farming,
he removed to Alabama, as superintendent of the
Marion & Selma railroad, but four years later returned
to Virginia. He was connected with the Richmond &
Danville railroad, later had charge of the Richmond
street railways, took part in the construction of the Rich-
mond & Alleghany railroad, and was superintendent of
the building of the women's department of the State
penitentiary. In 1884 he became superintendent of con-
struction of the Texas State capitol and resided at Austin
until 1888. Subsequently he lived upon his farm at the
confluence of the James and Rivanna rivers, until his
death, June 7, 1890.

Brigadier-General Daniel Adams Weisiger, in early
manhood was a resident of Petersburg, Va., where he
engaged in mercantile pursuits until November, 1846,
when, the State of Virginia being called upon for a regi-
ment for service in Mexico, he volunteered and aided in
recruiting a company of 85 men, of which he was elected
senior second lieutenant. He was finally promoted to
the adjutancy of the regiment, which office he held until
the close of the war, and his regiment was mustered out
at Fort Monroe, in August, 1848. He returned to Peters-
burg and was again engaged in business until April,
1861. In May, 1853, he was unanimously elected colonel
of the Thirty-ninth "regiment of Virginia militia, " which
he commanded until i860, when a battalion of volun-
teers, uniformed, armed and fully equipped for active
service, was formed, and he was unanimously tendered
the command. On April 20th he was ordered to move
with his command to Norfolk. With his command and
a battery of artillery, he arrived there in the afternoon of
that day, and witnessed the evacuation of the navy yard
that night. On May 9, 1861, he was appointed colonel in
the Confederate States service, and his battalion of five



CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY. 683

companies was soon recruited to a full regiment, and
designated as the Twelfth Virginia regiment. Upon
the reorganization of the army in May, 1862, he was
re-elected colonel without opposition. After the evacu-
ation of Norfolk, he and his regiment took a position at
Drewry's bluff, and there acted in support of the fort
during the attack by the Federal gunboats, which was
handsomely repulsed. Soon afterward the regiment
was ordered to Richmond, and became a part of the army
of Northern Virginia. Leading the Twelfth, Colonel
Weisiger participated in the battle of Seven Pines, and
on June 2Sth was engaged in a heavy skirmish at
French's farm on the Charles City road. This proved to
be the commencement of the Seven Days' battles around
Richmond, which culminated in the battle of Malvern
Hill on July i, 1862. In that combat Weisiger's regi-
ment was on the extreme right of the lines, occupied the
last ridge in front of McClellan's army, and held that
position during the night when the Federal army retreated
to Harrison's landing on James river. Late in the
month of August, 1862, the Twelfth was ordered to join
the army of Northern Virginia. On August 30th they
arrived at the field of Second Manassas, early in the
morning, and were held in reserve tmtil the afternoon,
when they were ordered to the front and placed on the
right of the line of battle. After passing over a burning
rail fence, causing some confusion, which was soon recti-
fied, the regiment encountered a heavy artillery fire in
which Adjt.-Gen. William E. Cameron was severely
wounded by a piece of shell. In a very short time Brig. -
Gen. William Mahone was wounded and carried from the
field, and the brigade came under the command of Col-
onel Weisiger. About this time Brig. -Gen. A. R. Wright,
of Georgia, reported that he was hard pressed and wanted
Weisiger's assistance. The latter immediately complied,
but in the movement was caught under a heavy fire and
dangerously wounded and taken from the field. In con-
sequence he was disabled for duty in the field. On May
6, 1864, the second day of the fighting in the Wilderness,
General Longstreet was wounded and was succeeded by
Gen. R. H. Anderson, he by General Mahone, and Col-
onel Weisiger was placed in command of the Virginia
brigade as Mahone's successor. He commanded the bri-
gade thenceforward, in the battles of the campaign from



684 CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

the Wilderness to Cold Harbor, and in nearly every bat-
tle around Petersburg from June 20, 1864, until the evac-
uation. When the Federal troops occupied the gap in
the Confederate works made by the terrific mine explo-
sion of July 30th, he led his Virginia brigade, only 80a
strong, against about 5, 000 of the enemy, with such gal-
lantry and success that he was promoted to brigadier-
general, to date from the battle of the Crater. During
his military career he participated in over twenty battles
and skirmishes, was wounded three times, and twO'
horses were shot under him. He finally led his brigade
on the march to Appomattox, and was surrendered with
the army.

Brigadier-General G. C. Wharton was elected major
of the Forty-fifth regiment, Virginia infantry, in July,
1 86 1, this being one of the regiments organized by Gen-
eral Floyd in southwest Virginia. A month later he
became colonel of the Fifty-first regiment, which he led
through the Western Virginia campaign of General Floyd
during the summer and fall of 1861. Accompanying
Floyd to Kentucky early in 1862, he was assigned at
Fort Donelson to the command of a brigade composed of
his own and the Fifty-sixth Virginia regiment. In his
report of the battle, General Pillow particularly com-
mended the gallantry of Colonel Wharton and his bri-
gade, who, after being under fire or fighting in the ditches
four days, advanced and drove the enemy from their
front on February isth. On the next day, surrender
having been decided upon, a considerable part of Floyd's
command was brought away in safety, and Wharton
rendered valuable service in preserving the government
stores at Nashville. Subsequently returning to south-
west Virginia, he defeated a Federal regiment at Prince-
ton, May 17, 1862, and in September participated in Lor-
ing's occupation of the Kanawha valley, as commander of
the Third brigade of the army of Western Virginia.
Subsequently he was in command at the Narrows of
New river, with his own and Echols' brigade, until Feb-
ruary, 1863, when he was stationed in the neighborhood
of Abingdon. When Gen. Sam Jones was ordered in
July to send troops to Lee's army, Wharton was de-
tached, and Jones sent word to Lee, "He is an admirable
officer, has commanded a brigade for eighteen months.



CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY. 685

Let him command my troops until I come. ' ' He was
stationed at Winchester, and was temporarily in charge
of the Valley district. Soon afterward he was promoted
brigadier-general, and in August returned to his former
station on the Virginia & Tennessee railroad. Later he
was transferred to General Longstreet's command in east
Tennessee, until April, 1864, when he was ordered to
report to General Breckinridge. In command of his bri-
gade of veterans he took a conspicuous part in the defeat
-of Sigel at New Market, and served with honor in the
Confederate lines at Cold Harbor. Returning toward
the southwest for the defense of Lynchburg, he took
part in the pursuit of Hunter down the valley and the
expedition through Maryland to Washington. During
the Shenandoah campaign he commanded a division
comprising the infantry brigades of the old army of
Western Virginia. After suffering severely during the
valley battles of 1864, the division was badly cut up in
the fight at Wa3mesboro, March 2, 1865. After the
â– close of the war General Wharton lived at Radford.

Brigadier-General Williams Carter Wickham was the
son of William Fanning Wickham and Anne Carter, and
the great-grandson of Gen. Thomas Nelson, one of the
-signers of the Declaration of Independence and the com-
mander-in-chief of the Virginia Line in the Revolution-
ary army. He was born at Richmond, Va., September
21, 1820, moved with his parents to Hanover county in
1827; was educated at the university of Virginia, and
admitted to the bar in 1842. He practiced in a country
circuit for a few years, and then gave up the law for the
life of a Virginia planter. On January 11, 1848, he mar-
ried Lucy Penn Taylor, great-granddaughter of John
Penn, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independ-
ence from North Carolina. He was elected to the Vir-
ginia house of delegates in 1849; was presiding justice
of the county court of Hanover county for many yea:rs.
In 1858 he was commissioned captain of Virginia volunteer



Online LibraryClement Anselm EvansConfederate military history; a library of Confederate States history → online text (page 67 of 153)