Saturday, June 8, 2013

June 5, 1863

June 5, 1863

---Siege of Vicksburg, Day 14

---Siege of Port Hudson, Day 9

---Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart holds a grand cavalry review in honor of Gen. Lee (who is unable to attend).  Over 9,000 Confederate cavalrymen, along with several batteries of flying artillery, are on hand for the event, very close to Brandy Station, Virginia.

---George Michael Neese, a Virginian serving in Chew’s battery in the Horse Artillery, witnesses the festivities at Stuart’s Grand Review:

As soon as the whole line was formed General Stuart and his staff dashed on the field. He was superbly mounted. The trappings on his proud, prancing horse all looked bright and new, and his side-arms gleamed in the morning sun like burnished silver. A long black ostrich feather plume waved gracefully from a black slouch hat cocked up on one side, and was held with a golden clasp which also stayed the plume. Before the procession started General Stuart and staff rode along the front of the line from one end to the other. He is the prettiest and most graceful rider I ever saw.  When he dashed past us I could not help but notice with what natural ease and comely elegance he sat his steed as it bounded over the field, and his every motion in the saddle was in such strict accord with the movements of his horse that he and his horse appeared to be but one and the same machine. Immediately after General Stuart and staff had passed along the front of the whole line he galloped to a little knoll in the southeast edge of the field near the railroad, wheeled his horse to a front face to the field, and sat there like a gallant knight errant, under his waving plume, presenting in veritable truth every characteristic of a chivalric cavalier of the first order. He was then ready for the review, and the whole cavalcade began to move and pass in review before the steady, martial, and scrutinizing gaze of the great cavalry chieftain of America.

Neese goes on to say that “I do not pretend to know or guess at the number of men in line, but there were thousands, and it was by far the largest body of cavalry that I ever saw on one field. . . . three bands of music were playing nearly all the time while the procession was moving, a flag was fluttering in the breeze from every regiment, and the whole army was one grand magnificent pageant, inspiring enough to make even an old woman feel fightish.”

---Lt. Col. Arthur Fremantle, of Her Majesty’s Coldstream Guards, visiting on assignment from the Crown, has visited the Confederate Army in Tennessee, and is preparing to travel on to Virginia.  He has a singular encounter there with meeting a woman who had served in combat:

I left Chattanooga for Atlanta at 4.30 P.M. The train was much crowded with wounded and sick soldiers returning on leave to their homes. A goodish-looking woman was pointed out to me in the cars as having served as a private soldier in the battles of Perryville and Murfreesborough. Several men in my car had served with her in a Louisianian regiment, and they said she had been turned out a short time since for her bad and immoral conduct. They told me that her sex was notorious to all the regiment, but no notice had been taken of it so long as she conducted herself properly. They also said that she was not the only representative of the female sex in the ranks. When I saw her she wore a soldier’s hat and coat, but had resumed her petticoats.

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