Say What Saturday: Richard S. Ewell "You Might Have Killed the Very Finest Mare in Lee's Army"

lelliott19

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Most people here have probably heard the story, told by John B. Gordon, about Ewell being shot in the [wooden] leg at Gettysburg? This exchange between Ewell and the infantrymen of Gordon's brigade is somewhat lesser known. Gordon tells it best.

...This same eccentric officer, General Ewell, at another time, was riding out in front of my line, on what he called an independent scout of his own, and he rode most too far. A squadron of Union cavalry got after him and chased him back. He was riding one of the most magnificent animals that ever stood on four feet; and as he came flying in, closely pursued by the Union cavalry, my line opened fire on him and his pursuers, but he came in safely and, reining up to my lines, he opened fire on them of a different kind.

He asked, in his peculiarly emphatic style: "What in the world are you shooting at me for? Why don't you shoot at the other fellows?" They answered: "General, we are shooting at the other fellows, and you, too; but we did not know who you were." He replied: "Boys that is a good excuse at this time, but you must be more careful; you might have killed the very finest mare in Lee's army."

Source: Lucian Lamar Knight, A Standard History of Georgia and Georgians, Volume 3, page 1617.
 

Ole Miss

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Poor Ewell forever named the "man who lost Gettysburg" was at the least a little not quite right as we say in Mississippi. He wobbled through life cutting his own path and eventually married the love of his life, his first cousin, the widow Lizinka Campbell Brown. True to his eccentric nature he always introduced her as " My wife, Mrs. Brown." The died within 5 days of each other in 1872.
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David
 

Tom Elmore

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Ewell must have had something going for him to become a lieutenant general and be given an independent assignment by Lee to rout Milroy and raid Pennsylvania before the rest of the army came up. Here's another story from a civilian's perspective:

June 16 [1863], late afternoon. Ewell unexpectedly sent his carriage, which holds five, for the girls of Mrs. Lee to attend a 6 p.m. ceremony renaming Fort Milroy, Fort Jackson. It was a triumph to raise our flag over the 500 Yankee prisoners in the fort. When they returned, we had tea and the table looked so pretty. The party consisted of Gen. Ewell, Gen. Early, etc. … Gen. Ewell announced that his headquarters will be here and he was writing and receiving dispatches all the evening. I was charmed with him; he is rather abrupt in his manners, but he is enthusiastic and quick. (Mrs. Hugh Holmes Lee, Quiet Courage, The Story of Winchester, Va., in the Civil War, by Jerry W. Holsworth, Blue & Gray Magazine, 1997, vol. XV, issue 2, p. 48; Mrs. Lee lived in downtown Winchester at 132 North Cameron Street)
 

John S. Carter

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Most people here have probably heard the story, told by John B. Gordon, about Ewell being shot in the [wooden] leg at Gettysburg? This exchange between Ewell and the infantrymen of Gordon's brigade is somewhat lesser known. Gordon tells it best.

...This same eccentric officer, General Ewell, at another time, was riding out in front of my line, on what he called an independent scout of his own, and he rode most too far. A squadron of Union cavalry got after him and chased him back. He was riding one of the most magnificent animals that ever stood on four feet; and as he came flying in, closely pursued by the Union cavalry, my line opened fire on him and his pursuers, but he came in safely and, reining up to my lines, he opened fire on them of a different kind.

He asked, in his peculiarly emphatic style: "What in the world are you shooting at me for? Why don't you shoot at the other fellows?" They answered: "General, we are shooting at the other fellows, and you, too; but we did not know who you were." He replied: "Boys that is a good excuse at this time, but you must be more careful; you might have killed the very finest mare in Lee's army."

Source: Lucian Lamar Knight, A Standard History of Georgia and Georgians, Volume 3, page 1617.
Why could Jackson had been so fortunate? A saying that goes something like'' The fortunate ones live to do what they will do but the unfortunate die and do not achieve what what they could have achieved.
 
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