Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/221

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H&kem mil. 217

rico county, sworn to before R. H. Nelson, a magistrate, then and afterwards a member of my cavalry company, and now living on tier's 1 arm, in Henrico county, can be seen in the records .l the Union and ConlVdnatr Armio, Mriea i. Vol. XI, page 677, and they prove beyond question that the road on which (inn-nil Ma- grudrr wa-. conducted by these guides was the only Quaker road known to those people; and now, after thirty-four years have elapsed, you may go there and the same road will be pointed out as the Qua- ker road.

DEFENCE OF MAGRUDER.

There has been a charge more serious than that of mistaking roads, laid to the door of this gallant and unfortunate commander; and I want to disprove that to-night, and vindicate his memory. Not many months ago, meeting accidentally a gallant Confederate general, and the conversation turning on the war, he remarked that the battle of Malvern Hill was a sad and melancholy mistake, and that it was a serious and unfortunate occurrence that General Ma- grudcr was under the influence of liquor. I have heard Federal officers, when commenting on the Malvern Hill fight, make the same charge. Not long ago a veteran's son said to me that this impres- sion was on his mind, derived, he thought, from conversations he had heard around his father's fireside. I wish to say, for the infor- mation of this camp, and the citixens of this city, that General Ma- gruder was perfectly sober the whole day. I did not leave his side, except to carry some order; I spread his blankets that night, and, lying near by, heard the whole conversation between him and Gen- eral Lee in regard to the fight. In the record of the Union and Confederate Armies, series i, Vol. II, page 683, will be found the certificate of E. J. Eldridge, Surgeon of the i6th Georgia regiment, bearing directly upon this point. I quote in part:

"Concerning his condition in reference to intoxication, I can say most positively, that if he was under the influence of liquor, I failed entirely to see it. Had he been laboring under such influence, I must have noticed it. I am positive that he had not even taken a drink, most certainly was not the least excited from this cause."

It would be an easy task to show that at no time during that pe- riod, was Magruder inactive or inefficient. Swinton, the historian, says of the fight at Savage's Station:

"Magruder attacked in front with characteristic impetuosity