Open main menu

Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/212

This page needs to be proofread.

204 Southern Historical Society Papers.

During the most of the year 1864, he served on the staff of Gen- eral R. D. Johnston, participating in the famous Valley Campaign of General Jubal A. Early, and towards the last of that year, after the battle of Winchester, he was transferred to the staff of Major- General G. C. Wharton, who had succeeded to the command of General]. C. Breckinridge's Division when that officer entered the cabinet of the Confederacy.

On March 2nd, 1865, at the battle of Waynesborough, he had his horse killed under him, and was captured by the enemy's troops under Sheridan. This time he was not exchanged, but remained in prison at Fort Delaware until after the war had closed, not receiving release until about June, 1865.

Major James P. Smith, that gallant Christian soldier, who is now the editor of the Central Presbyterian, and who served with Captain Halsey on General Wharton' s staff, writes of his capture as follows:

"At the retreat from Waynesboro he and I were among the few officers that escaped the town. I overtook him on the east side of the Shenandoah and we rode together half-way up the mountain to- ward the mountain top, when a squadron of Federal cavalry came charging up behind us shouting and firing. His horse was wounded and he was captured. The head of the Federal column stopped to make him a prisoner, and that delay enabled me to get over the mountain into Albemarle."

Major Smith also says he is sure that he was entitled to the rank of major, and it is certain that he was usually addressed as such by his comrades after the war, but as the writer is unable to secure defi- nite information as to whether his commission as major was actually made out, he is referred to here by the designation of captain, as found in the official reports. General G. C. Wharton, in reply to a letter of inquiry about this, /vrites:

" Your letter making some inquiries in regard to your gallant and honored father, and my personal friend, is received. Major Don P. Halsey was assigned to the division which I commanded when and after General J. C. Breckinridge assumed the duties of Secretary of War. This was the latter part of September, 1864. About the same time Major J. P. Smith was assigned 'as inspector-general. Major Halsey as adjutant-general served in this capacity until the unfortunate affair at Waynesboro, when General Early, thinking that Sheridan would take the same route to Lynchburg that Hunter had taken, viz: through Lexington, placed our troops on the west side of Waynesboro, with the river in our rear, effectually preventing