Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Guest at Elkwood

Today at Brandy Station: August 8, 1861

From the Richmond Daily Dispatch

"Gen. E. Kirby Smith, of Florida.
Brandy Station, Culpeper co., Va.,
August 5, 1861.
Messrs Editors: I have the gratification to inform the readers of your valuable paper, and the friends of this distinguished and gallant officer, that his case is entirely hopeful, and that in a short time he will be ready to enter upon the discharge of his duties. His injury, though extensive, and inflicted by a large-size Minnie ball, was strictly a flesh wound. It grazed the spinal column, passing between the processes, coursing through the muscles of the neck, and passing out near the clavicle or collar-bone. He has suffered but little pain, has been cheerful at all times, and the wound has done better than usual, although his escape is to the writer a miracle. This gallant and accomplished officer bore a conspicuous part in the ever-memorable battle of Bull Run on the 21st July. He may be termed the Brucher in that glorious victory for the South. He commanded Elzy's brigade, which was the first to turn the tide of battle in our favor, causing the minions of Lincoln's invading forces to retreat like hares before our gallant army. The General was wounded when in the act of turning the enemy's right wing, which was endeavoring to flank us on our left, and just as he was giving the order by a rapid march to cut off and take as prisoners several thousand of the enemy. The God of Battles, who smiled upon us on that memorable occasion, has spared this noble and chivalric son of the South for future brilliant achievements in behalf of the great principles of constitutional liberty. The General is at the hospitable mansion of our esteemed county man, Richard H Cunningham, Esq., where he receives every kindness and attention."

Culpeper became a center for caring for the wounded Confederate soldiers following First Manassas. Most of the wounded stayed in a hospital that was built in downtown Culpeper. Kirby was recovering at Elkwood, home of Richard Hoop Cunningham, which was close to to confluence of the Hazel and Rappahannock Rivers. Elkwood would be destroyed a year later by Union soldiers under John Pope as he evacuated Culpeper in the opening stages of the Second Manassas Campaign. Another 'hero' of the fight, Major Roberdeau Wheat, was at Bellville in Brandy Station. Bellville is now named Beauregard, whose name was suggested by Wheat to honor the victor of Manassas.

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