Alexander, Edward Porter

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#1
For God's sake come quick. The 18 guns have gone. Come quick or my ammunition will not let me support you properly.

Message from Alexander to Brig. Gen Pickett.

Third Day at Gettysburg, July 3, 1862

:cannon:
 

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#2
artillery fun

"When I saw their line broken & in retreat, I thought the battle was ours. Of course, I had known it was going to be all along, but now the hard part of it was over. All the rest would only be fun, pursuing the fugitives & making targets of them."

E. P. Alexander, Fighting for the Confederacy.
 
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#5
"I saved ammunition all the war. But that was because our supply was always scant. But it is generally the poorest economy in the world to save ammunition in battles."

E. P. Alexander, Fighting for the Confederacy.
 
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#6
Alexander was put in the awkward position of being the man to say when or whether Pickett's Charge should go. Longstreet certainly didn't want to give the order, and he wrote messages to Alexander putting the onus on him. Alexander wanted no part of that decision, but eventually he wrote the famous message quoted above, "For God's sake come quick!"
 

K Hale

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#8
"What will the ladies say?"

(Quoted by Albert J. Myer: "Major Alexander was on board and had to swim ashore to escape -- He had with him a balloon made of ladies silk dresses which we captured. He wept on reaching shore & exclaimed......")
 

M E Wolf

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#9
Recollections of a Confederate Staff Officer (Sorrel)
Chapter X—Second Battle Of Manassas, August 29 And 30, 1862
[excerpt]
At this date, July and August, 1862, food was plentiful and good. No variety, but fresh beef or bacon, flour, coffee and sugar were issued in full rations. There was an abundance of whiskey, but comparatively little drunkenness. Encouragement and incentives to good conduct came from the General-in-Chief down through the officers. Previous to the Chickahominy Campaign a balloon had been constructed for reconnoitering. The enemy had several and we also wanted one, so the women—Heaven bless them!—came to the front with, it may be, tearful eyes but willing hearts and chipped in all their pretty silk frocks and gowns. It was a wonderfully picturesque balloon and at first did some little service, captive to a locomotive pushed far to the front. Then it was packed on a little steamboat ill an adventurous cruise down the James. She ran aground, was gobbled up, with the bright ball-dress balloon, by the delighted Yankees, and that was the last of the pretty things of our sisters, sweethearts, and wives.

(General Longstreet's staff officer G. Moxley Sorrel wrote this, and Sorrel would rise up to be a General in his own right.)
Recollections of a Confederate Staff Officer (Sorrel)
Introduction--By John W. Daniel
[excerpt]
General Sorrel has not attempted a military history. He has simply related the things he saw and of which he was a part. He says of his writings, "that they are rough jottings from memory without access to any data or books of reference and with little attempt at sequence." What his book will therefore lack in the precision and detail as to military strategy or movement, will be compensated for by the naturalness and freshness which are found in the free, picturesque, and salient character of his work.
==========================================================
Southern Historical Society Papers.
Vol. XXXIII. Richmond, Va., January-December. 1905
Balloon Used For Scout Duty.
Terrible Experiences of a Confederate Officer who saw the Enemy from Dizzy Heights.
ROPE CUT AS HE ASCENDED.
An Ascent That Completely Unnerved the Aeronaut, But He Finally Came Down Safely.
From the Times-Dispatch, September 20th, 1905.
uring the war between the North and the South many events of absorbing interest occurred, and it has been the object of the Times-Dispatch to record as many as possible of these in the Confederate column of this paper.

The following account of Capt. John Randolph Bryan's trips in a war balloon, while attached to General J. B. Magruder's head-quarter's before Yorktown, we consider as well deserving publication, as it was (so far as known to us) the first time a balloon was used by the Confederates in order to ascertain the position and strength of the Union forces.

It will add to the interest of this narrative to know that at the time Capt. Bryan was making his ascensions from the Confederate lines General Fitz John Porter was performing the same service for the Union army which lay facing the Confederates. His experience was similar to that of Captain Bryan's, in that his balloon rope broke and his balloon also drifted aimlessly in the air.

General Porter's balloon was a much more expensive affair than the one the Confederates could afford, and was attached to the ground by a silken rope. Although General Porter escaped without injury in this adventure, the exploit is now recorded in bronze upon a monument to him.

Capt. Randolph Bryan at present resides in Birmingham, Ala. He is the eldest brother of Mr. Joseph Bryan of this city, of Mr. St. George T. C. Bryan, and of the Rev. Braxton Bryan, of Petersburg.
 

K Hale

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#10
Anything to do with Civil War balloons is absolutely fraught with comedy.
 

prroh

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#11
Anything to do with Civil War balloons is absolutely fraught with comedy.
Genl Porter's balloon trip almost ended in disaster when it broke free and drifted over the rebel lines. Luckily the wind shifted and he landed safely.

Fitz-John Porter's aide Lt George A. Custer made several trips his descriptions of the trips were very funny. In one letter (I think to Libby, but may be wrong) He describes his first ascent. He says that he got in the wicker basket that came up above his waist and was maybe six feet in diameter. As the balloon rose up the basket seemed , to him, to shrink until, at the appogee, it seemed like the basket only came up to his ankles and instead of a fairly wide platform, he felt like he was balanced on a stick. As someone who is afraid of heights, I know exactly what he meant, having experienced the same sensation.

The Confederate balloons were not made from silk dresses but from bolts of silk dress goods. Dresses would be uneven and would be a mass of leaks. All the different patterns and colors of the dress goods would look like they came from the dresses.
 

K Hale

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#12
During the Peninsula campaign, some officer (I forget who) got in one of the Confederate balloons, which also wound up making an unscheduled trip over the Union lines. Like Porter, the wind blew the balloon back into friendly airspace before it could be shot down. In Sears' To the Gates of Richmond, he described this wind as "a Confederate breeze."
 

K Hale

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#13
Is there any difference at all between Fighting for the Confederacy and Military Memoirs of a Confederate?
Reviving this thread to say that Fighting for the Confederacy's preface says that Military Memoirs is FftC with the personal parts removed. Alexander wrote FftC for his kids, then decided it ought to be published as a military history. So he went through and deleted personal references -- which, IMO, are the best part of the book. FftC, in turn, went unpublished for decades.

FftC is on my shortlist of possible responses to the classic question, "If you were stranded on an island and could have only one book..."
 

K Hale

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#14
OK, here's one. Alexander is describing Beauregard, and then out of nowhere, almost as an afterthought, he adds this:

"His hair was black, but a few months afterward when some sorts of chemicals & such things became scarce it began to come out quite gray." :rolleyes:

(You know who else started the war with dark hair, and a year later it was white? Just saying... :cool: )
 



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