1861 May 28

Genl Cocke
dear Sir,

Freel was
the name of the lady who
was to die if there were no
fight–

Respy
R. S. Ewell


Richard S. Ewell, 1817-1872, known as “Old Baldy” was a career army officer who resigned when his home state of Virginia seceded and joined the Confederate forces. Three days after this letter was written, in a skirmish at Fairfax Court House he would become one of the first senior officers wounded in the war. He fought well throughout the war under Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee but his reputation suffered after he refused to take Cemetery Hill in the battle of Gettysburg on July 1 1863 when given “discretionary” orders by Lee. Ewell’s failure to take the high ground led to 150 years of speculation by “Lost Cause” adherents on whether or not Stonewall Jackson would have done so and won the battle for the south.

MSS 640

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*