23d.—Our young relative, Lieutenant G., a member of General Stuart’s staff, who was always near his person, has just been giving us a most gratifying account of General Stuart’s habits. He says, that although he considered him one of the most sprightly men he has ever seen, devoted to society, particularly to that of the ladies, always social and cheerful, yet he has never seen him do any thing, even under the strongest excitement, unbecoming his Christian profession or his high position as a soldier; he never saw him drink, or heard an oath escape his lips; his sentiments were always high-minded, pure, and honourable, and his actions entirely coincided with them. In short, he considered him, whether on the field or in the private circle, the model of a Christian gentleman and soldier. When speaking of his gallantry as an officer, Lieutenant G’s admiration knows no bounds. He speaks of the devotion of the soldiers to him as enthusiastic in the extreme. The evening before his fatal wound, he sent his troops on in pursuit of Sheridan, under the command of General Fitz Lee, as he was unavoidably detained for some three or four hours. General Lee overtook the enemy, and a sharp skirmish ensued, in which Sheridan’s rear suffered very much. In the mean time, General Stuart determined to overtake General Lee, and, with his staff, rode very rapidly sixteen miles, and reached him about nightfall. They were halting for a few moments, as General Stuart rode up quietly, no one suspecting he was there, until a plain-looking soldier crossed the road, stopped, peered through the darkness into his face, and shouted out, “Old Jeb has come!” In an instant the air was rent with huzzas. General Stuart waved his cap in recognition; but called out in rather a sad voice, “My friends, we won’t halloo until we get out of the woods!” intimating that there was serious work before them. At that hour the next night he was pursuing his weary and suffering way to Richmond. A friend, who knows how much I regretted not being able to serve General Stuart in any way, or even to be at his funeral, has been so kind as to write me a minute account of his sickness, death, and burial. “Perhaps (she says) it is not generally known how entirely General Stuart sacrificed his life to save Richmond. An officer of high rank, who knew the circumstances, told me that in all the war there was not one man more truly a martyr to our cause. In the many raids upon Richmond there was none in which we seemed in such imminent peril as the one in which General Stuart has just fallen. How we listened, and watched, and prayed, as the cannon sounded nearer and nearer, and even the volleys of musketry could be heard out on the roads by which the enemy were approaching! We knew that General Stuart had a band of about 2,000 cavalry against overwhelming odds on the Yankee side, and that he knew that upon this 2,000 men alone it depended to bar the enemy’s approach on that side. He met the Yankees, 5,000 strong, beat them back, and fell in the encounter! It was with difficulty that he could be rescued from those who were bearing him away, but one of his own troopers saved him, and with his staff and surgeon (Dr. John Fontaine) bore him to the city. We heard that he was dying, and, in spite of the anxiety and confusion reigning at such a time, many of us rushed to Dr. Brewer’s house to hear tidings of the beloved commander, whose gallantry, whose youthful gayety and chivalrous character, made him the prince among our cavalry officers. His life was ebbing out from internal hemorrhage; but his senses were as clear and his mind as calm as noontide. He asked repeatedly for his wife, who, though but fifteen miles away, could not be reached, so completely was the city hemmed in by the enemy. By his side stood our President, who, upon hearing of his situation, had hastened to thank him in the name of his country. ‘I have but done my duty,’ was the soldier’s reply. And near him was the minister of God, good Mr. Peterkin, of whose church (Episcopal) General S. was a member. He asked for his favourite hymn, and joined his feeble voice with the touching words: ‘I would not live alway.’ From time to time, he turned his head to ask, ‘Is she come?” But she, for whom his loving heart so yearned, came not till that heart was stilled forever. At the funeral—at the head of his coffin—sat the soldier who had rescued him, all battle-stained and soiled; and near by, the members of his staff, who all adored him. Upon the coffin lay a sword, formed of delicate white flowers, a cross of white roses, and above these the heavenly crown, symbolized by one of green bay-leaves. We followed him to the church, where, after appropriate ceremonies, attended by many persons, his body was taken to Hollywood Cemetery. No martial pomp, no soldier’s funeral, but—
“‘Slowly and sadly we laid him down,
From the field of his fame fresli and gory;
We carved not a line, we raised not a stone,
But we left him alone with his glory.’
Everybody was struck with the resemblance to the funeral so beautifully described in the lines just quoted. As we passed, in slow procession—
‘”We knew by the distant and random gun,
That the foe was sullenly firing.’
These guns were his funeral knell, sounding at intervals the solemn peal, with which, in the haste and uncertainty of the time, it was impossible for us to honour him.”
One of the morning papers has some lines on the same subject, more poetic, though not so graphic, as the account given by my friend:
“J. E. B. STUART.
“We could not pause, while yet the noontide air
Shook with the cannonade’s incessant pealing,
The funeral pageant, fitly to prepare,
A nation’s grief revealing.
“The smoke above the glimmering woodland wide,
That skirts our southward border with its beauty,
Marked where our heroes stood, and fought and died,
For love, and faith, and duty
“And still what time the doubtful strife went on,
We might not find expression for our sorrow;
We could but lay our dear, dumb warrior down,
And gird us for the morrow.
“One weary year ago, when came a lull
With victory, in the conflicts’ stormy closes,
When the glad Spring, all flushed and beautiful,
First mocked us with her roses—
“With dirge and bell, and minute-gun, we paid
Some few poor rites, an inexpressive token
Of a great people’s pain, to Jackson’s shade,
In agony unspoken.
“No wailing trumpet, and no tolling bell,
No cannon, save the battle’s boom receding,
When Stuart to the grave we bore, might tell
With hearts all crushed and bleeding.
“The crisis suited not with pomp, and she,
Whose anguish bears the seal of consecration.
Had wished his Christian obsequies should be
Thus void of ostentation.
“Only the maidens came, sweet flowers to twine
Above his form, so still, and cold, and painless,
Whose deeds upon our brightest records shine,
Whose life and sword were stainless.
“We well remembered how he loved to dash
Into the fight, festooned from summer bowers
How like a fountain’s spray, his sabre’s flash
Leaped from a mass of flowers.
“And so we carried to his place of rest,
All that of our Paladin was mortal;
The cross, and not the sabre, on his breast,
That opes the heavenly portal.
“No more of tribute might to us remain;
But there will come a time when freedom’s martyrs
A richer guerdon of renown shall gain
Than gleams in stars and garters.
“I claim no prophet’s vision, but I see,
Through coming years now near at hand, now distant,
My rescued country, glorious and free,
And strong and self-existent.
“I hear from out that sunlit land which lies
Beyond these clouds which darkly gather o’er us,
The happy sounds of industry arise.
In swelling, peaceful chorus.
“And mingling with these sounds, the glad acclaim
Of millions, undisturbed by war’s afflictions,
Crowning each martyr’s never-dying name
With grateful benedictions.
“In some fair, future garden of delights,
Where flowers shall bloom, and song-birds sweetly warble.
Art shall erect the statues of our knights,
In living bronze and marble.
“And none of all that bright, heroic throng
Shall wear to far-off time a semblance grander.
Shall still be decked with fresher wreaths of song,
Than the beloved commander.
“The Spanish legends tell us of the Cid,
That after death he rode erect and stately
Along his lines, e’en as in life he did,
In presence yet more stately.
” And thus our Stuart at this moment seems
To ride out of our dark and troubled story,
Into the region of romance and dreams,
A realm of light and glory.
“And sometimes when the silver bugles blow,
That radiant form in battle reappearing,
Shall lead his horsemen headlong on the foe,
In victory careering.”