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'with so much of the romance of the war,- and whose gentle and enthusiastic courage and knightly bearing had called to mind ■the recollections of chivalry and adorned Virginia with a new chjaplet of fame, had, on the 5th of *June, fallen in a skirmish near Harrisburg.
"The last time I saw Ashby," writes a noble comrade in arms, Colonel Bradley T. Johnson of ihe Maryland Line, "he was riding at the head of the column with General Ewell—his black face in a blaze of enthusiasm. Every feature beamed with the joy of the soldier. He was gesticulating and pointing out the country and positions to General Ewell. I could imagine what he was saying by the motions of his righ^arm. I pointed him out to my Adjutant. 'Look at Ashby; see how he is enjoying himself.'"
. A few hours later and the brave Virginian, so full of life, was a corpse. Our men had fallen upon a body of the enemy concealed in a piece of woods and under the cover of a fence. Ashby was on the right of the 58th Virginia. He implored the men to stop their fire, which was ineffectual, and to charge the enemy. They w^ere too much excited to heed him, and turning towards the enemy he waved his hand—" Virginians, charge!" In a second his horse fell. He was on his* feet in an instant. "Men," he cried, "cease firing—charge, for God's -sake, charge!" The next instant vhe fell dead—not twenty yards from the concealed marksman who had killed him.
To the sketch we have briefly given of this campaign, it is just to add one word of reflection. It had been frequently and very unwarrantably asserted that the people of what wTas once the garden spot of the South, the Shenandoah Valley, were favourably inclined to the Union cause, and that many of them had shown a very decided spirit of disloyalty to the Confederate authority. The best refutation of this slander is to be found in the enemy's own accounts of his experiences in that region.
The fact is, that the people of this Valley had ^suffered to i most extraordinary .degree the fiery trials and ravages of war. Their country had been bandied about from the possession of the Confederates to that of the Yankees, and then back again, until it h^ad been stripped of everything by needy friends on the one side, and unscrupulous invaders on the other. Some portions of the country were actually overrun -by three armies in two weeks. In such circumstances there were, no doubt, expressions of discontent,'which had been hastily misinterpreted as disloyal demonstrations; but, despite these, there is just reason to believe that a spirit of patriotism and integrity abided in the Valley of Virginia, and that it had been maintained under trials and chastisements much greater than those which had befallen other parts of the Confederacy.
MEMOIR OF TURNER ASH*BY.
The writer had proposed a record in another and more extensive form of the principal events of the life of Turner Ashby; but the disappointment' of assistance to sources of information from persons who had represented themselves as the friends of the deceased, and from whom the writer had reason to. expect willing and warm co-operation, has compelled him to defer the execution of his original and cherished purpose of giving to the public a worthy biography of one whose name is a source of immortal pride to the South, and an enduring ornament to the chivalry of Virginia. But the few incidents roughly thrown together here may have a certain, interest. They give the key to the character of one'of the most remarkable men of the war; they, afford an example to be emulated by our soldiers; they represent a type of courage peculiarly Southern in its aspects; and Ihey add an unfading leaf to the chaplet of glory which Virginia has~gathered on the blood-stained fields of the war.
It is not improper here to state the weight and significance given to the present revolution by the secession of Virginia. It takes time for revolutions to acquire their meaning and proper significance. That which was commenced by the Cotton States of the South, attained its growth, developed its purpose, and became instantly and thoroughly in earnest at the period when the second secessionary movement, inaugurated by Virginia, confronted the powers at Washington with its sublime spectacles.
Virginia did not secede in either the circumstance or sense in which the Cotton States had separated themselves from the Union. She did not leave the Union with delusive prospects of peace to comfort or sustain her. She. did not secede in the sense in which separation from the Union was the primary object of secession. Her act of secession was subordinate; she was called upon to oppose a practical and overt usurpation on the part of theGovernment at Washington in'drawing its sword against the sovereignty of States and insisting on the right of coercion; to contest this her separation from.the Union was necessary, and became a painful formality which could not be dispensed with.
A just and philosophical observation of events must find that in this second 8«*cessionary_ movement; of the Southern States, the revolution was put on a ba.-is infinitely higher and tinner in all its moral and constitutional aspects: that at this period it developed itself, acquired its proper significance, ai <1 "Wa* broadly translated into a w tr of liberty. The movement of Virginia had more than anything else added to the moral influences of the resolution and perfected its justification in the eyes of the world It was plain that she had not seceded on an issue of policy, but one of distinct and practical constitutional right, and that, too, in the face of a war which frowned upon her own. holders, and which necessarily was to make her soil the principal theatre of its .ravages arid woes. Her attachment to the Union had been proved by the most untiring and noble efforts to save it; her Legislature originated the Peace Conference, which assi misled at Washington in February, 1861; her representatives in Congress sought in that body every mode of honourable pacification: her Convention sent delegates to Washington to persuade Mr. Lincoln to a pacific po.ioy*; and in every form of public aj-semhly, every expedient of negotiation was essayed to save the Union. When these efforts at pacification, which Virginia had made with an unselfishne?s without parallel, and with a nobilit\ of sprit that scorned any misrepresentation of her office, proved abortive, she did not hesitate to draw her sword in front of the enemy, and to devote all she possessed and loved and hoped for to the fortunes of the "war. It is not necessary to recount at length the services of this ancient Commonwealth in the war for Southern independence. She furnished nearly all of the arms, ammunition and accoutrements tna.t won the early battles; she gave the Confederate service, from her own armories and stores, seventyfiv« thousand rifles and muskets, nearly three hundred pieces of artillery, and a magnificent armory, containing all the machinery necessary for manufacturing arms on a large-scale; and on every occasion she replied to the call for troops, ifntil she drained her arms-bearing population 1o the dregs.
It is a circumstance ot most honourable remark, that such has been the conduct of Virginia in this war, that even from the base and vindictive enemy tributes have been forced to the devoted courage and heroic qualities of her sons. The following extraordinary tribute from the Washington Jtq u'>ticant the organ of ab lition at the Yankee capital, is a compliment more expressive than anything a Virginian could say for his own State and its present generation ot heroes;
44 If there has been any decadence of the manly virtues in the Old Domin"ion, it is not because the present generation has proved itself either weak **or cowardly or unequal to the greatest emergencies.. No people, with so «4few numbers, ever put into the field, and kept there so long, troops more "numerous, brave, or more efficient, or produced Generals of m-oi^e merit, hi •* all the kinds and grades of military taleut. It is not a worn-out, effete race "which has produced Lee, Johnston, Jackson, Ashby and Stuart. It is not a "worn-out and effete race which, for two years, has defended its capital "against the approach of an enemy close upon/their borders, and'outnnm'bering them thirty to one. • It is not a worn cut and effete race which has "preserved substantial popular unity under all the straits and pressure and "saerific."« of this unprecedented war. 'Let history,' as was said of another "race, 'which records their unhappy fate as a people, do justice to their "rude virtues as men.' They are fighting madly in a bad cause, hut they "are fi hting bravely. They have'few cowards and no traitors. The hard'•ships of war are endured without a murmur by all classes, and the dangers "of war without flinching, by the newest conscripts: wljile their gentry, the "offshoot of their popular social system^,have thrown themselves into the "camp and field With all the dash and high spirit of the £urop* an jiobksne of "the middle ages, risking, without apparent concern, upon a desi eiate a3"venture, til that men value; and after a generation of peace and repose "and sec>rHty, which had not emasculated them, presenting to their enemies "a trained and intrepid front, as of men born and bred to war."
What has been said here of Virginia and her chatacteristics in the present revolution, is the natural and just preface to what we have to say of the man wllo, more'*than any one else in this war, illustrated the chivalry of the Commonwealth and the virtues of her gentry. Turner Ashby was a thorough Virginian. He was an ardent lover of the old Union. He was brought up in tlmt conservative and respectable school of politics which hesitated long to bacrifice a Union which had been, in part, constructed by the-most-illustrious of the sous of Virginia;, which had conferred many honours upon her; and which was the subject of many hopes in the future. But when it beetme evident that the life of the Union was gone, and the sword was drawn for constitutional liberty, the spirit of Virginia was again illustrated by Ashby, who showed a devotiou in the field even more admirable than the virtue of political principles. .
Turner Ashby was the second son of the late Colonel Turner Ashby, of "R se Bank," Fauquier county, and Dorothea F. Green, the daughter of the late James Green, Sr., of Rappahannock county. Colonel Ashby, at his death, left three s*a»s and three daughters the eldest of whom diu not exceed twelve years of age at the time of his death—to the sole care of their devoted mother. To her excellent sense, generous disposition and noble character, the Confederacy is indebted for two as noble and gallant men as have won soldiers' graves during this war..
The lather of Turner Ashby was the sixth son, that reached manhood, of Captain Jack Ashby, a man of mark in the day in which he lived, and of whom many anecdotes are still extant, illustrative of his rernarkat ly character. One of these belongs to the colonial times, and is interesting:
"When the news of the disastrous defeat and death of General Braddock "reached Fort Loudoun, (now Winchester, Virginia,) Johu Ashhy was there, "and his celebrity as a horseman induced the British Commandant of the "post to secure his services as bearer of dispatches to the Vice -Royal Governor at Williau.sburg. Ashby at once proceeded on his mission, and in an "incredibly short time presented himself belore the commander at Fort Lou"doun. -This official, of choleric disposition, upou the appearauce of Ashby, "brbKe out in severe reproach for his deky in proceeding on his mission, ajiil "was finally struck'dumb with astonishment, at the presentation of the Govpernor's reply to the dispatch! The ride is said to have been accomplished "in the shortest possible time, and the fact is certified in the records of Frederick county court."
Upon the breaking out of the Revolution of 1776, Captain Jack Ashby raised a company in. his neighbourhood in the upper part of Fauquier. It was attached to the third Virginia regiment, under command of General Marshall. He was in the battles of Brandy wine, German to wti, and several other of the most desperately contested fields of the Revolution. From exposure and hardships endured upon the frontiers of Canada, he contracted disease, from whiclj he was never entirely relieved to the day of his death. He continued in the service during the whole period of the Revolution, and after the proclamation of peace, quietly settled upon his beautiful farm not far from Markham Station, upon the Manassas Gap railroad. Four, of his sens, John, Samuel, Nimrod and Thomson, served in the war of 1812.
The father of our hero died, as we have stated, leaving a family of children of tender age. Young Turner was put to school, where it does not appear that he showed any peculiar trait in his studies; but he was remarkable among his young associates for his sedate manners, his grave regard for truth, and his appreciation of points of honour.
Turner Ashby never had the advantages of a college education, but he had a good, healthy mind^ he was an attentive student of human nature, and a convenient listener where information was to be gained; and be possessed those, ordinary stores of knowledge which may be acquired by a moderate use of books and anattentive intercourse with men. He was engaged for some time in merchandise at Marknam's Depot. The old homestead of his father still stands near there, and not far from the homestead of the Marshalls. The tastes of Ashby were too domestic for politics. He was at one time Whig candidate for the Virginia Legislature from Fauquier, but «was defeated by a small majority. This was his only public'appearance in any political strife, and but little else is known of him as a politician beyond his ardent admiration of and personal attachment to Robert E. Scott.
Ashby's attachment to domestic life was enlivened by an extreme fondness for manly^pastimes. He was a horseman from very childhood, and had the greatest passion for equestrian exercises. His delight in physical excitements was singularly pure and virtuous; he shunned the dissipations fashionable among young men; and while so sober and steady in his habitf as sometimes to be a joke among his companions, yet he was the foremost in all innocent sports, the first to get up tournaments and fox chases, anoj almost always the successful competitor in all manly games. . His favorite horse was trained for tournaments and fox-hunting, and it is said to have been a common pastime of Ashby to take him into the meadow and jump him over hay cocks and stone fences. Some of his feats of horsemanship are memorable, and are constantly related in bis neighbourhood. 'While at the Fauquier Springs, which he frequently visited, and where he got tip tournaments after the fashion of the ancient chivalry, he once displayed his horsemanship by riding into the ball-room, up and down steep nights of steps, to the mingled terrour and admiration of the guests. No cavalier was more graceful. The reserve of