Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/137

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Soldier's Story of General Stuart's Death.


Simple But Vivid Account of Yellow Tavern From a
Man in the Ranks.

The New York Sun of Sunday, December 27, 1908, contains the following communication from an ex-Confederate soldier, now of Virginia:

To the Editor of The Sun:

Sir,—An article in the Literary Digest, with the title "Stuart's Last Battle" and credited to The Sun, is so wrong as to the facts leading up to the engagement of Yellow Tavern and so imaginative as to the circumstances of the wounding and death of General Stuart that I, who happened to be there in the humble capacity of a corporal in the ranks of the First Virginia Cavalry, feel impelled to state the truth about the wounding and death of our general. My own opinion has always been that his reckless bravery led to his untimely death.

I suppose there are reports in the proper archives, both Federal and Confederate, of this action of Yellow Tavern and of the movement of troops preliminary to it, but I know nothing of them. I state what came under my observation and hearing as a soldier in the ranks.

It was not at the beginning of the Wilderness campaign that the movement of the cavalry culminating at Yellow Tavern took place, but in the campaign more than a year later (May, 1864), in which the terrible battle near Spotsylvania Courthouse was fought. It was the current talk of our army that that conflict was by far the most desperate of the war. I have heard our men say that so near did the Yankees come that they could look into their eyes and even club them with the butts of their guns. It was in this battle that trees were torn and cut through and fell from the steady hail of minnie bul-