One of Col. Lunsford L. Lomax’s Men in J.E.B. Stuart’s Division, James Zachariah McChesney, 11th Virginia Cavalry, Captures a Battery of Union Guns at the Battle of Brandy Station. This Letter Describes the Battle & Includes “A STAND OF COLORS” Which They Captured!
In the book, Confederate Cavalry Last Days of Chivalry by Louella H. Bales, the author states: “Colonel L. L. Lomax and his Eleventh Virginia Cavalry, of Jones’ brigade, at that point came charging up the hill and directly over the crest, taking the enemy’s three pieces of artillery and the cannoneers. It was a determined and courageous fight…”
This 4 page letter written in pencil by McChesney is on captured Union patriotic stationery, along with a captured patriotic envelope on which is mounted a 2 ½ inch piece of the flag he captured. Above the flag is written in ink, “Brandy Station June 10, 1863”. His sister to whom the letter is written has neatly attached the piece of flag. Overall the patriotic letter sheet and cover with flag attached make for a wonderful display.
Not only is there a piece of flag from the most famous Cavalry battle ever fought on U.S. soil, but McChesney’s battle letter has fantastic content. Here is some of it:
- Brandy Station near Culpepper C. H. June 10th 1863. My Dear Sister, You will see by this paper that we have been fighting Yankees and capturing more articles from them.
- Yesterday I was a participant in one of the largest and most brilliant Cavalry engagements that has ever been fought since the days of Murat in the reign of Napoleon.
- There was about ten thousand Cavalry engaged on each side. It was on the plains of Culpepper that this engagement took place, a better I don’t believe could have been selected in Virginia for a Cavalry fight.
- As far as the eye could reach over a broad and level expanse of country, you could see Regts. and Brigades of Cavalry engaged. One place you might behold a Regt. charging a battery and hear the shrieking of shells and the whistling of grape.
- At another you might see a Regt. of our men fighting a Brigade of Yankees in line of battle, Oh, it was a most glorious victory but cost us some of our best men.
- The 12th Va. Cav. was the 1st engaged and was driven back by the enemy. Our Regt. was ordered up and we drove them with a yell before us, some of them come right up to us and cut our men across the heads with their sabres, but they paid the forfeit with their lives.
- They charged right up to Chew’s battery and attempted to take it, but were driven back. They charged up to Stuart’s Headquarters and took artillery with them.
- When Stuart sent orders for our Regt. to charge them, we charged a Brigade of Cavalry and captured 3 pieces of artillery. We (our Regt.) made four charges and was successful every time in driving superior numbers of the enemy before us.
- OUR COMPANY CAPTURED A STAND OF COLORS, A PIECE OF WHICH I ENCLOSE and about 200 prisoners were captured by the Regt.
- I captured another splendid Yankee Cavalry saddle worth $100.00 for the one I lost. Our Regt. lost 30 killed, wounded, & missing.
- Old Genl. Jones said if Col. Lomax always did as well as he did yesterday that he would be a Brig. Genl. before 3 months.
- We fought superior no.s of U. S. Regulars several times. Prisoners say that they had a Div. of 20,000 Cay. across the river & 2 Div.’s of Infantry.
- The dismounted Cav. of Stuart’s Div. whipped the Yankee Infantry in every instance. Our Regt. was shelled twice by our own Artillery and come very near killing some of us.
- A Yankee shot struck a tree about a foot above my head while I was off my horse fixing my saddle and passed through it and over my head.
- Genl. Wm. H. Lee was wounded. Col. Williams of N. C. killed. Lt. Col. Hampton, S. C. killed. Col. Butler leg shot off & Major Ball of our Regt. was wounded, and Lt. Sherrard was wounded & Hockman killed of our Regt.
- Last Friday 10,000 of our Cav. were reviewed by Genls. Lee & Stuart & last Monday 10,000 more including our Brigade were reviewed by Lee, Longstreet, Ewell, & Stuart.
- We have about 20,000 Cavalry here. I suppose there were about one thousand Yankees captured, and I know of six pieces of Artillery.
- I don’t know how many more may have been captured by the whole command. There is no telling how many Yankees were killed and wounded. The battle was fought over such a large tract of country.
- Our loss must have been 3 or 400, and I don’t believe the Yankees could have fallen short of 1,200 killed & wounded.
- Give my love to all & a kiss to you. Your affectionate brother, James Z. McChesney Co. F 11th Va. Cav. Jones’ Brig. Stuart’s Div. near Culpepper C. H.
- I saw Cousin John McBride the other day. He was well. We passed his Div. as we went down.
- On front page at the top: Bro. Wm. was here Monday night. You must not stay away too long. All well.
The best Confederate Brandy Station battle letter we have seen… plus that great relic.
#L6-10-63VA – Price $4,250