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Act of Kindness 40+ Years Later - 23rd New Jersey & 8th Alabama

Discussion in 'The Eastern Theater' started by lelliott19, Jan 9, 2017.

  1. lelliott19

    lelliott19 2nd Lieutenant Forum Host Trivia Game Winner

    Mar 15, 2013
    Hilary Herbert E Burd Grubb.JPG
    http://digital.archives.alabama.gov/ http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6148

    On May 18, 1907, Hilary Abner Herbert (left) penned a letter to Edward Burd Grubb, Jr. (right)

    At the time of the letter, Hilary Herbert was US Secretary of the Navy.

    But 44 years earlier (May 3-4, 1863) he had been a young Lt Col of the 8th Alabama Infantry at the Battle of Salem Church. Herbert wrote the letter to express his appreciation for an "act of kindness" perpetrated 44 years after the fact.
    [​IMG] 23rd New Jersey Monument at Salem Church near Fredericksburg, Va

    Dear Sir:

    A recent number of the Montgomery Ala. Advertiser copies an account from the Fredericksburg Star of May 3rd, of the erection of a "Monument to Commemorate the Services of the 23rd New Jersey Volunteer Infantry in the Battle of Salem Church, Virginia, May 3rd, 1863," and I have noted with unmixed pleasure that while on one of the plates upon the monument are inscribed the words:

    To the memory of our heroic dead comrades who gave their lives for their country's honor on the battlefield, this tablet is dedicated.

    Upon another plate is this inscription:

    To the brave Alabama boys, our opponents on this field of battle, whose memory we honor, this tablet is dedicated.
    I was with my regiment, the 8th Alabama, and was its Lieutenant Colonel in the bloody fight which you and your brave soldiers have so fittingly commemorated. Indeed, the 8th Alabama was on the south side of the plank road, and therefore almost immediately confronted your gallant regiment. Being the oldest surviving field officer of the five Alabama regiments that participated in the memorable struggle, I feel that I may appropriately assume, on behalf of the Alabama boys whose memory you and your brave soldiers so chivalrously extol, to extend to you and the other survivors of the 23rd New Jersey, as I do hereby, the heartfelt thanks of the living Alabamians who participated in that battle.

    ....The brave soldiers of the 23rd New Jersey are not the first, either Federal or Confederate, that have done honor to those who were their opponents in the civil war. Many an orator, thank God, both Northern and Southern, has delighted his audience by patriotic sentiments along this line. But as far as I know, the gallant regiment which you had the honor to command at Salem Church, is the first to inscribe upon an enduring monument erected to the memory of its own dead so noble a special tribute to those who were its antagonists in the particular field marked by the monument.

    In conclusion, permit me to personally testify, as I well may, to the superb courage of the gallant boys whom you so nobly led in that bloody battle at Salem Church. Expressing the hope that at some time in the future I may have the gratification of meeting you in person, I am, sir, with the sincerest admiration and respect,
    Yours very truly
    Hilary A Herbert
    last Colonel 8th Ala Vols

    (and yes, he really signed it as HAH, last Colonel 8th AL....not HAH, Secty of the Navy)
    Transcribed from http://digital.archives.alabama.gov/
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2017

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  3. Legion Para

    Legion Para 1st Lieutenant Forum Host Retired Moderator

    Jul 12, 2015
    Thanks for posting this great story. thumbsup.gif thumbsup.gif thumbsup.gif thumbsup.gif thumbsup.gif


    Journey to Honor

    Journey to Honor" follows the 23rd New Jersey Infantry Regiment from disaster to redemption in the American Civil War. The story is based on the unpublished diary of Josiah Crispin, a young Quaker who believes he must fight to save the Union. In August 1862, he joins the 23rd New Jersey. The war is going badly. Confederate victories threaten to entice Maryland and other states to secede. The North needs a victory and the Army needs reinforcements, so Crispin and his friends are rushed to Fredericksburg without basic training. The 23rd arrives so ill disciplined and untrained that they are written off as a bunch of "Yahoos." The Yahoos are honor-bound to serve nine months. They start an intense on-the-job transition from citizens to soldiers and learn the Rebels are not their only enemy. Incompetent officers, deadly new weapons, sickness and savage weather are just as lethal. Crispin keeps a day by day account of these events in his diary. But, when Josiah is wounded and captured, he finds he has only minutes to choose between losing the record forever and trusting an enemy soldier to send the diary home. "Journey to Honor" is the true story of the Yahoos epic struggle as seen through the eyes of the soldiers who lived and died in it.

    Sbc, John Hartwell and lelliott19 like this.
  4. lelliott19

    lelliott19 2nd Lieutenant Forum Host Trivia Game Winner

    Mar 15, 2013
    Apparently, Grubb was surprised to receive the response and, was evidently unaware that the Lt Col Herbert he faced in battle 44 years earlier was the same Hilary A. Herbert, Secretary of the Navy.

    Edgewater Park, N.J.
    May 23, 1907

    Col. the Honorable Hilary A Herbert
    Washington, D.C.

    Dear Colonel Herbert,
    It has surely fallen to the lot of but very few men in this world, ever to have received, from a brave and gallant foeman, forty-four years after a battle, such a splendid letter as I have the honour to acknowledge from you, and moreover, to have received it unawares from one, who after the war was over, served a re-united country in one of its highest offices with such signal ability and distinction.

    I beg, sir, on behalf of myself, and my comrades, the survivors of the Twenty-third New Jersey Volunteers, their descendants, relations, and friends, whose name is legion in this State, to tender our most sincere thanks for your letter, to reciprocate most heartily all the noble sentiments contained therein, and to assure you that we congratulate ourselves, that by good fortune, we happened to be the first to mark in enduring bronze, the sentiments which we are sure are uppermost in the hearts of every Northern soldier, for the men who evinced the courage of their convictions by such heroic bravery in the days gone by.

    I may add that while we knew that Gen Cadmus Wilcox had noted in his report of the Battle of Salem Church how gallantly Lieut. Colonel Hilary A. Herbert had rallied and fought the 8th Alabama after a disabling wound to Colonel Royston, we certainly did not know that our country was indebted for distinguished services as Secretary of the Navy to the officer whose final line of battle we could not break through.

    I hope, sir, I may have the pleasure of meeting you personally, and I shall have the honor of calling upon you when I am in your vicinity. With great respect, I am,
    Very sincerely yours,
    E. Burd Grubb

    Transcribed from http://digital.archives.alabama.gov/
    O' Be Joyful and Sbc like this.
  5. Sbc

    Sbc Sergeant

    Aug 18, 2015
    Love it! This is truly the greatness of America.
    lelliott19 likes this.
  6. lelliott19

    lelliott19 2nd Lieutenant Forum Host Trivia Game Winner

    Mar 15, 2013
    Cool story - Thought I'd bump it up for those who participate in the TRIVIA.

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