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Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/356

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348 Southern Historical Society Papers.

1 ' North Carolina fight," and that Gettysburg ought to be so de- nominated, too; and so our friends go on claiming from step to step r just as during the war,

" From rank to rank their volleyed thunders flew."

As before stated, we have no intention or desire to detract one iota from the fame of North Carolina, except where attempts have been made to augment her fame at the expense of Virginia. Keeping this purpose steadily before us, we now propose to inquire whether, or not, some of the claims set up by North Carolina, in this legend, do injustice to Virginia? And first, as to the claim that she was "First at Bethel."

In Volume IV, of the Confederate Military History, at page 19, will be found a carefully prepared account of the battle of Bethel, written by D. H. Hill, Jr., son of the intrepid soldier of that name, who commanded the ist North Carolina in that fight, and, therefore, one with every natural incentive to say all that could be said truth- fully, both on behalf of his father and his regiment. He says:

"About nine o'clock in the morning of the loth (June), the Fed- erals appeared on the field in front of the Southern works, and Gre- ble's battery took position. A shot from a parrott gun in the Con- federate works ushered in the great civil war on the land. ' '

This first shot was fired from the battery of the Richmond (Va.) Howitzers, which had already fired the "first shot" fired on Vir- ginia's soil nearly a month before at Gloucester Point. We are not claiming, however, any special credit for having fired this conceded first shot, the firing of which was only fortuitous. But Virginia was at Bethel, along with North Carolina, not only represented by the Commanding-General, himself a Virginian, but by all three arms of the service infantry, artillery, and cavalry; and these troops are mentioned by him, along with those from North Carolina, not only in his report of the battle, but also, and in complimentary terms, in the report of General (then Colonel) D. H. Hill, commanding the only North Carolina troops there. Was not Virginia at Bethel then, standing side by side with North Carolina ? Did she not do her duty there as well ? If she did, why the invidious claim that North Carolina was First at Bethel? Is this just to Virginia ? We think not, in all kindness and courtesy.

Bethel is in Virginia, and to claim that the troops of any other State were more prompt in defending her soil, than those from Vir- ginia, necessarily reflects on Virginia.