Tuesday, March 22, 2011


The Richmond Dispatch
March 22, 1861

Military spirit and genius of the South.

Lt. Gen. Daniel Harvey Hill
(Library of Congress)
     Major D. H. Hill of the North CarolinaMilitary Institute, in his eloquent "Essay on Military Education," delivered at Wilmington, North Carolina, before the State Educational Convention," thus illustrates the military spirit and genius of the Southern people:
     "The armies of the Revolution were commanded by Washington, a Southern General. The officers, who distinguished themselves in an especial manner in the war of 1812, were Southern born and Southern-bred, Jackson, Coffee, Harrison, Scott and Gaines. The commanding Generals in the Mexican war, Scott, and Taylor, were both of Virginia. The Chief of Ordnance under Gen. Scott, and the next most important; officer was Huger, of South Carolina. The Chief of Engineers was Lee. of Virginia. the only man the Army acknowledges to be fit to be the successor to Gen. Scott. The chief leaders in skirmishing were Lane, of North Carolina, and Hays, of Tennessee.      
     The light batteries of Artillery which did such wonderful execution at Palo Alto, Resaca de la Palma, Monterey, Buena Vista, and in the Valley of Mexico, were generally under the command of Southern men, Ring Gold, Ridgelry, Bragg, Washington, Steptoe and Magruder. The heavy ordnance was under the control of Huger, of S. C., and Laidley, of Virginia. The battery of Mountain Howitzers, was directed by Reno, of Virginia. The dashing charge of cavalry at Resaca de la Palma, which has a worldwide reputation. was made by May, of Washington city. A far more brilliant affair was witnessed by ten thousand American soldiers drawn up in battle array on the beach at Vera Cruz, and by English. French and Spanish vessels of war in the harbor. A little steamer, armed with two heavy pieces of ordnance and manned by some 20 sailors, pushed up under the very walls of Vera Cruz, with its 400 pieces of artillery, and within easy range of the formidable Castle of San Juan D'Ullos, and from that position bombarded the city for half an hour. Projectiles of enormous weight and size fell thick as hall-stones around the little vessel, any one of which must have sunk her. The interest of the spectators was painful in the extreme, but the very insignificance of the steamer proved an efficient protection; she was too small a mark to be hit, and as she came back bearing her gallant crew, all dressed in their red jackets, the very earth shook with the cheers of the ten thousand exulting voice on the beach. The officer in command was Tetanal, of Georgia, the same who, at the risk of his commission and his life, interposed last year and rescued the defeated British at the Peiho Forts in China.
     During the sledge of Fort Brown the pulley of the flag got deranged, so that it could not be raised. An officer climbed the staff, and in the midst of a terrible tempest of shot and shell calmly and deliberately arranged the halyards, righted the pulley, and hoisted the flag. The exploit of Jasper at Fort Moultrie was as nothing, in comparison with this daring deed. That officer was Hanson, of Washington city, a descendant of John Hanson, of Maryland, President of the First Congress, and of Col. John Hanson Harrison, one of the most distinguished of Washington's aids. Years before the siege of Fort. Brown, General Worth had pronounced him the bravest man in the army. He was gentle and modest as a girl, kind and courteous to all, a devoted and enthusiastic Christian, a gentleman in the highest acceptation of the word. Just after the battle of Contreras, a rude litter, with a dead officer on it, was borne by. 'Sergeant, what officer is that? Capt. Hanson, of the 7th Infantry, sir? The soldier had fallen on the field of honor. Two gallant brothers, Capt. Wrightman K. Hanson, 7th Inf., the most enterprising young officer of the Florida War, and Passed Midshipman Jno. Hanson, both also fell in the service of their country.
     Santa Anna made the fatal mistake, at Cerro Gordo, of leaving Telegraph Hill unfortified. Gen. Scott discovered it, and sent up a young officer, with some 70 men, to seize it. An immense force of Mexicans came to dislodge him. He threw his men behind rocks and trees, and sent for succor. The Rifle Regiment came up and found themselves hotly pressed, and would have been driven back but for the timely arrival of the 2d Infantry. During all this time, that gallant Lieutenant held his position, and had he lost it, the battle of Cerro Gorde never would have been won. That intrepid young man was Gardner, of Washington city. The storming column against the main work on Cerro Gordo Hill was led by that tried veteran Harney, of Georgia." 
     Major Hill adds that the South has not merely evinced military spirit on the field. but in authorship. The books in use on infantry tactics were prepared by Scott, of Virginia, and Hardee, of Georgia. The Manual of Artillery Tactics in use is by Major Anderson, of Kentucky. The only works in this country on the Science of Artillery, written in the English language, are by Kingsbury and Gibbon, of North Carolina, and the only books on Military Engineering, by Mahan, of Virginia. The published experiments of Mordecai, of South Carolina, convey all our information of the strength of gunpowder and of cannon, and the proper tests for their trial.

No comments: