Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/224

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220 Southern Historic/


In the carefully written and full report of General Magruder, he refers to the Charles City Cavalry as follows:

' ' The brave and devoted troopers of the Charles City Cavalry were on this, as on all other occasions, distinguished for the prompt- ness, intrepidity, and intelligence with which they discharged their important duties; and to their chivalric and enterprising lieutenant, Hill Carter, Jr., I owe a public acknowledment of the great services he has rendered his country on every occasion which has presented itself."

It may not be inappropriate to remark that this company, to which General Magruder refers, lost the first man killed in battle in the war; for Samuel W. Pryor had been killed in a skirmish below Bethel church, the Confederate line, and was sleeping in his family burying ground in Charles City county, before Wyatt fell at Big Bethel in June, 1861. It also lost about the last man killed in the war; for its gallant first lieutenant, William H. Harwood, who had passed through every cavalry fight of his command, and been engaged in as many hand-to-hand encounters as any man in the service, fell pierced through by a cannon ball, in the desperate charge on Gen- eral Gregg's brigade, the day before the surrender at Appomattox.

Benjamin H. Harrison was captain of this company at Malvern Hill. Magruder thus refers to him:

"The noble, accomplished, and gallant Harrison, commander of the Charles City Troop, uniting his own exertions with mine, rallied regiment after regiment, and leading one of them to the front, fell, pierced with seven wounds, near the enemy's batteries."

This worthy member of one of Virginia's historic families, was a close kinsman of the Benjamin Harrison of 1774, who, when the storms of revolution were gathering, stood at Jefferson's right hand, as Partrick Henry stood at his left, to make the voice of Virginia heard in behalf of self-government. He was a resident of that sec- tion of Virginia from whose soil sprang three men who became Presidents of the United States. He possessed in the highest de- gree all those heroic and lovable traits of character that endeared him to his men. One of them, closer to him than many, had the day before, while resting at Timber-lake's Store, tried to dissuade him from rash exposure of his life. But a noble and dauntless spirit impelled him, when it was not required nor expected of him, to lead