Today in History, October 20, 1864:
The relationships in the Civil War have always amazed me.
Read to the end to be amazed.
Stephen Dodson Ramseur was born in Lincolnton, North Carolina in 1837.
In 1860, he graduated the United States Military Academy at West Point in the US Army.
The next year he was one of many in the US Army who left the service to join the Confederacy…because it encompassed their “Country”.
Young “Dod” proved to be a daring, impetuous, and courageous leader and quickly rose to be the youngest Major General in the Confederate Army.
At the Battle of Malvern Hill in the Peninsular Campaign, he was seriously wounded when shot in the right arm, temporarily paralyzed. He drew the attention of Gen. Robert E. Lee and was promoted.
At Chancellorsville his brigade scored a major victory, fighting with Stonewall Jackson and J.E.B. Stuart. Ramseur was wounded in the leg during this battle.
At Gettysburg, it was Dod’s Brigade that chased the Union forces back through the town in a rout.
In the Wilderness Campaign he fought valiantly at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, being shot from his horse, once again hit in the right arm.
Taking over Jubal Early’s division, he fought courageously at Cold Harbor and Petersburg. During the Shenandoah Valley Campaigns, he again fought hard…
On October 19, during the Battle of Cedar Creek, he was shot from his horse again. He mounted a second horse, and was again shot from it. Mounting a third horse to continue the fight, he was shot twice through the lungs, finally bringing him down.
He was loaded into an ambulance to be treated…and his ambulance was captured by Union forces. The Union took him to Belle Grove Plantation for treatment by Union doctors, but it was no use.
Next is the most telling part of Dod’s fascinating story. Word of his capture and condition spread quickly.
As he lie dying, many of his friends…Union officers including George Armstrong Custer that had been his contemporaries before the war, rushed to his side and held an hours long vigil for their friend, keeping him company until he passed on October 20, 1864.
If only we could emulate to recognize our “enemies” were not always so, or to show mercy to them.
One thought on “Fierce Enemies…and Brotherly Love”
Stories like this always move me – and there are a ton of them to be found in the Civil War especially. It seems I can’t read one memoir without coming across a story of helping a wounded soldier from the other side. In one memoir I read (Elisha Hunt Rhodes – All for the Union) he talked about happening upon the funeral for a fallen soldier in gray, and he and his friends took their hats off and joined the mourners. Very moving.
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