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numbered about 14,000; those of the enemy were not less than 40,000, and the presence of Gens. Grant, Butler and Hancock on the field attested the breadth and seriousness of the enterprise. Yet this important and brilliant victory was scarcely ever heard of in Richmond, a few miles away. The only notice of it was a paragraph in the Whig, giving the credit to Mahone-who had never been nearer the battle-field than Petersburg, and who was even ignorant that a battle had been fought-and "hoping that his modesty would not prevent him hereafter from at least reporting his victories.” Field's division was not even mentioned—a remarkable instance indeed of apocrypha, and the uncertainty of "the gazette” in heralding and distributing the honours of war.
It was in the last days of the Confederacy that Field's division shone in its greatest and most peculiar glory; for, to the very day of the surrender, it was remarkable that this body of troops was in prime fighting condition, compact and brilliant, partaking of none of the disorganization around it, animated by its glorious memories, and retaining its arms and spirit to the last. We respond to the noble and touching pride of its commander, when he writes: “I am proud of my division, always was, but was never so proud of it as on that black 9th of April, when, for the first time on the retreat, our army was all together, and I could compare their sol. dierly appearance and numbers and bearing with the wrecks about me." On the 1st April, Field's division was about the strength of the others; on the 9th he surrendered nearly 5,000 men-more than half Gen. Lee's entire infantry force surrendered in arms. Although it constituted the rear-guard on the retreat, and was thus constantly exposed, there was scarcely a straggler from the division, and but few captures. The division was composed of five brigades: Laws' Alabama, Jenkins' (afterwards Bratton's) South Carolina, Benning's and Anderson's Georgia, and Gregg's Texas. Jenkins was killed in the Wilderness, and Benning badly wounded there. At Cold Harbour, Law was wounded slightly, but was afterwards detached, and never rejoined his brigade. At Charles City road, October 7, 1864, Gregg was killed, and Bratton painfully wounded.
Gen. Field relates a pleasant incident of the surrender. While his division was at Appomattox Court-House, waiting to obtain their paroles, Gen. Meade, whose army was just in his rear, sent
to request that Gen. Field would conduct him through his lines, on his way to make his personal respects to Gen. Lee, who was a mile in front. As Gen. Meade at the head of a large and brilliant staff passed through Field's Division, the men gathered along the route in numerous squads, attracted by the spectacle. The two Generals were side by side conversing, when Gen. Meade turned to Gen. Field, with the remark, “your troops are very complimentary to me.” “How so ?” asked the latter. “Why, those fellows there,”—pointing to a group of soiled and grim Confederates—“say I look like a Rebel." "Do you take that for a compliment?” said Gen. Field. “To be sure I do,” replied Gen. Meade; "any people who have shown the courage and spirit you have, must have their admirers everywhere."
MAJ.-GEN. ROBERT E. RODES.
Graduates at the Virginia Military Institute.- A civil engineer in Alabama.-Elected
to a Professor's chair in the Virginia Military Institute.-Commands a Brigade at Seven Pines-Gallantry at Chancellorsville.—Complimented on the field by Stonewall Jackson.-Killed at Winchester.-A touching tribute to his memory.
ROBERT E. RODES was born in Virginia, but was a citizen of Alabama when that State seceded from the Union. He was the second son of the late Gen. David Rodes of the city of Lynchburg. He entered the Virginia Military Institute as a cadet in July, 1845, and graduated with great distinction, July 4, 1848. His eminent qualifications as a scholar and a soldier led to his immediate appointment as assistant professor in the Institute, and he discharged the duties of this position with the highest credit until July, 1851, when he resigned, to enter the profession of civil engineering.
In this new field he soon rose to distinction and, having removed to Alabama, he was appointed the chief-engineer of the Great Northeastern and Southwestern railroad, connecting New Orleans with Tuscaloosa.
When the State of Louisiana was about to organize the Military Academy at Alexandria, the name of Rodes was presented to the Board of Visitors, without his knowledge, for the position of Superintendent of that Institution. The uncertainty of his acceptance of the appointment, and other considerations, led to the selection of the now notorious Maj.-Gen. Wm. T. Sherman.
In 1859, the Board of Visitors of the Virginia Military Institute, in the organization of the school of Applied Science, divided the Chair of Natural Philosophy, then occupied by “Stonewall”
Jackson and formed a Chair of Applied Mechanics. To this chair Rodes was unanimously elected, and, although the interruption of the war forced him to take the field, he was always regarded as professor elect in the honourable institution of learning where his own genius had been nurtured, and around which his affections clung to the last moment of his life.
He promptly joined the standard of his adopted State, Alabama, and raised a company of infantry of which he was elected captain. This company was incorporated in the 5th Alabama Regiment, and, on the organization of the regiment, Rodes was chosen its Colonel. He came to Virginia in command of his regiment, in May, 1861; and his career soon gave evidence of the heroism and gallantry, which afterwards immortalized the name of his brigade and division in the Army of Northern Virginia. Promoted to the rank of Brigadier-General at Manassas, his command shared in all the hardships and glory of the first campaign of Virginia. At the battle of Seven Pines he led the charge upon the intrenched position of the enemy, and carried it with fearful loss to his brigade, he himself receiving a severe wound. His command on this field was composed of the 3d, 5th, 6th, 12th and 26th Alabama regiments and Carter's battery, making an aggregate of about 1,500 men.
In the estimation of his friends, he won, on this bloody field, promotion to a higher grade; but this honour was delayed to make his merits more conspicuous. At the battle of Chancellorsville, as senior Brigadier, he commanded D. H. Hill's division, and it was his gallant charge, with his clarion shout, “Forward men-over friend or foe!” that broke the enemy's line. It was the most glorious incident of his military life. With one division he drove before him the whole right wing of Hooker for three hours. He had fought under the eye of Jackson and won the last and characteristic applause of the great commander on the field of battle. “Gen. Rodes,” he said, "your commission as MajorGeneral shall date from the 2d May.” The promise of Gen. Jackson was studiously fulfilled by the government immediately after his death, and Gen. Rodes was promoted and placed in permanent command of the division he had so bravely led at Chancellorsville. He continued to lead it with consummate gallantry and skill until the disastrous batte of Winchester, in the autumn of 1864, when he fell at its head in the execution of an attack against the enemy which promised to decide the day. He was struck in the head by a ball, and died in half an hour after reaching the hospital.
Young, earnest, vigilant, intrepid, sagacious, Gen. Rodes was one of the most brilliant and valuable division commanders in the Army of Northern Virginia. His loss was keenly felt; a bright career of usefulness and distinction was before him; yet he had already accomplished a name to be remembered, and he sleeps with honour in the soldier's grave, reposing in the bosom of his own Virginia. Truly, proudly and tenderly has Gen. Francis H. Smith, the revered scholar and honoured superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute, written over the graves of the two men whom this school claims as her ornaments : “ Jackson and Rodes, associate professors in the same institution, associate officers in the same army, each finds a resting place on the banks of our noble James, and Lexington and Lynchburg will henceforth be the Meccas of the patriot soldier in his pilgrimage of honour to the sleeping heroes of our Revolution !"