18th North Carolina Infantry Regiment
The text of the newspaper article below was provided by Roy Richardson,
a great great grandson of Capt. V.V. Richardson.
THE DEATH OF STONEWALL JACKSON
AGAIN. — That gallant soldier and excellent gentleman, Capt. V.V. Richardson, of Columbia county, addressed a letter to the editor of the Wilmington Review, some weeks ago, concerning the death of Jackson, which escaped our notice at the time. As the statement of one who may almost be termed an “eye witness,” Capt. Richardson’s letter is a valuable contribution to the discussion of this subject, revived by the unexpected statement of Mr. Capps that the wounding was before dark, instead of after night as we think has been abundantly proven.
The following is Capt. Richardson’s letter:
WHITEVILLE, N.C., Jan. 18, 1884.
Editor Daily Review: — As much has been said and written recently about the wounding of General Stonewall Jackson, and as I was present on that memorable night I deem it not out of place for me to testify to the correctness of the statements made by Capt. A. H. H. Tolar and our much esteemed and gallant Brigadier General James H. Lane, as I have read them in the Daily Review.
As stated by General Lane, our regiment, the eighteenth North Carolina, had taken its position on the left of the plank road for the purpose of making a night attack, for it was then dark, when we heard the firing of musketry in our front followed by the rapid approach of cavalry, as we thought. The order was given to fire, which was obeyed by the men of that gallant old regiment, who little dreamed that they were giving the death wound to their much beloved commander; he who had led them so often to victory. It was not until they were sufficiently near to be seen by the flash of the musketry fire and for the command “cease firing!” You are firing on your own men,” to be heard, that we knew not but that we were dealing death to our enemy, but alas! we were not, for by the light of the muskets could be seen the gallant Hill and other Confederate officers endeavoring to stop the firing of our regiment. At last quiet was restored when General A. P. Hill asked: “What regiment is this?” A reply came from some one, “The 18th N.C.” He then inquired hastily, “Who commands here?” I informed him, “Col. Purdie.” Almost at the same moment he was met by that gallant officer. They had a conversation, but what passed between them I do not know. While they were not far from me, I stepped to the front a few paces; there I found several persons with a dim light around the body of an officer of the party, whose name I do not remember, who was killed at the same time and who I believe belonged to the commissary or quartermaster’s department. Col. Purdie and Gen. Hill separated, and I was at once informed by Col. Purdie that we had wounded General Jackson, but to say nothing about it to the men, as he feared it would have a demoralizing effect. There is no doubt that the 18th N.C. regiment gave Gen. Jackson his wound and that it was between 8 and 9 o’clock at night.
There is an incident which I desire to mention. About twilight, while our brigade was upon the plank road before forming in line of battle, Gen. Jackson passed along the edge of the plank road in the direction of the enemy, and as was always the case the men cheered him as he passed and that grand old commander, flushed with the victory of the evening, took off his hat in recognition of their salutation, and never looked grander. The regiment that was then making that wilderness ring with their cheers for him, little thought that they were destined in a few hours to take the life of an idolized officer, one who had their affections and confidence, and the admiration of the world. Thus it was that the last cheer received by him on the battle field was from the men of the regiment who in a short while afterward inflicted upon him his mortal wound.
V. V. Richardson
Late Capt. Co. C, 18th N. C. Regiment
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