Sunday, September 15, 2013

Love From The Tomb

Love From The Tomb

Brigadier General Junius Daniel

Junius Daniel was born in 1828 in Halifax, North Carolina. He lived there until given an appointment to West Point by President James K. Polk. He graduated 33 out of 42 in the class of 1851. His graduation was delayed a year because of an injury that occurred during artillery practice. He would serve seven years in the army before resigning to run a plantation in Louisiana. When the war began, Daniel immediately returned to North Carolina and offered his services to the Confederacy.
Daniel was made colonel of the 14th North Carolina Infantry. He was offered the position of colonel of the 43rd North Carolina Infantry and the 2nd North Carolina Cavalry. Moving to Virginia, he saw action during the Peninsula Campaign and the Seven Days Battles. He had a horse killed beneath him at Malvern Hill. Dazed, he walked to the rear and regaining his senses, mounted another horse and returned to the fight.
President Jefferson Davis was so impressed with Daniel that he promoted him brigadier general in September 1862. Sent to North Carolina with his brigade, Daniel missed Chancellorsville. Lee placed his brigade in Rodes Division for the Gettysburg Campaign. Daniel again distinguished himself in the fighting on the first day at Gettysburg where he lost more men than any other Confederate brigadier.
Daniel and his brigade wouldn’t be absent from Lee’s army again. He would see action in the Battle of the Wilderness. At the Battle of Spotsylvania when the Federal army overran the Mule Shoe, Daniel would see his last battle. As parts of the Confederate army attempted to resist the Federal onslaught, Daniel had his brigade well in hand. He urged his brigade forward against the enemy force and saluted his old 14th North Carolina Infantry personally.
He was then struck in the stomach by a bullet. There was nothing surgeons could do for him. They eased his pain as best they could. The next day he sent his wife Ellen Long (who he’d married just before the war began) a “message of love, love from the tomb.” He sent her his pocket watch and asked her to care for his servant, William. He also asked that his horse be taken care of and asked about how his brigade had fared in the fight. He then died.

General Daniel's pocket watch

General Robert E. Lee, Lieutenant General Richard Ewell, Major General John B. Gordon, and Brigadier General Bryan Grimes all praised the leadership ability of Junius Daniel. He was one of the Confederacy’s better brigade commanders and rumors circulated that Lee intended to promote him to major general.

Brigadier General Junius Daniel was 35 years old. He rests today in the Old Colonial Churchyard, Halifax, North Carolina. 

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