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Captain Hamilton D. Wade
| Captain Hamilton D. Wade joined the Montgomery,
or Wise Fencibles, under Captain (later Colonel) Trigg, at Christiansburg,
Virginia as orderly sergeant. The company was assigned to the Valley of
Virginia under General T.J. Jackson, then at Harper's Ferry. It afterwards
became Company G, 4th Virginia Infantry, under Colonel J.F. Preston. This
regiment, with the 2nd, 5th, 23rd and 27th made up the famous Stonewall
Brigade. While at Harper's Ferry, Company G was detailed on the skirmish
line for the brigade and was the last to leave Harper's Ferry when evacuated.
This company helped to blow up and destroy the bridges over the Potomac
River. While at Harper's Ferry, Mr. Wade was so severely wounded that for
a while it was considered fatal. He was wounded again in the first battle
of Manassas. He was the first man wounded in the company. In 1862 he was
wounded in the second battle of Manassas, and in 1863 he was wounded at
At Cold Harbor in 1862, he was promoted to First Lieutenant and was made Captain at the battle of the Wilderness.
Captain Wade was in twenty-two battles, including that great battle of Chancellorsville which General Fitzhugh Lee said, "was as high a type of a defensive battle as ever adorned the pages of history". And Colonel W. Taylor said." Of all the battles fought by the Army of Northern Virginia, that of Chancellorsville stands first as illustrating the consummate skill, audacity, and military genius of the commanders and the valor and determination of the men".
The courage and determination which Captain Wade showed in being always in the thick of the fight, despite the many times he was wounded, were remarkable. The physical man, no doubt, many a time had fought hard battles with the mental; but his indomitable courage and stern sense of duty, united with an unusually strong will, prevailed. General Stonewall Jackson, recognizing the courage of the man, gave him the very important and dangerous position of commaner of the sharpshooters. He was the gallant, fearless commander of this brave company until the close of the War, General John B. Gordon keeping him there until the surrender.
Mr. Kyle Montogue of Christiansburg, who was in General Bradley T. Johnson's Brigade while Johnson was fighting Sheridan on the Occoquan below Winchester in August of 1864, said they had been heavily engaged from five in the morning until three in the afternoon, fighting ten to one, when all had suddenly become quiet and he asked Captain Junkin, who was in command, "What does this mean?" The Captain replied, "I don't like it. They have something up their sleeve." There was a line of infantry as far as the eye could reach. Many of our men were wounded, we were well nigh exhausted. Junkin said, "Look what we have to face." Just then, we looked and saw Captain Wade coming at the head of a long line of sharpshooters on horseback. They seemed to be almost flying, so rapidly did they ride to our aid. Such a Rebel yell went up from our midst has seldom been heard! Never shall I forget the gallant appearance of Captain Wade that day as he rode in front of his men, his face aglow, and also the sound of his voice as he cheered them on. On that same spot we had a big battle sometime afterwards. General Bradley Johnson's command has been sent back there and Captain Wade, with his sharpshooters in the advance, had been gone about an hour when we heard a volley on the main pike. General Johnson stopped the command, listened, and waited. After another volley, we marched to see what it meant. Sheridan was charging the sharpshooters with five thousand men. Cpatain Wade's men were in such a position that they could only see the horses of the enemy. He commanded, "Aim at the horses!"and as horse after horse fell, the victory was gained.
General Titus Williams, commander of the consolidated Virginia regiments said, " I saw the signature of General Lee promoting Captain Wade to Colonel, but in the confusion at the close the commission was never received by him."
Captain Wade was a most modest man, no praise of himself in any position could ever be obtained from him. He never told of a duel fought face-to-face with one of the other side with such bravcery that long after the War the family received letters asking if the brave man whose name had been in some way obtained, could be Captain H. D. Wade of this place. Once he had a hand-to-hand fight with five United States soldiers, killed four of them, and wounded the fifth, who surrendered. The story was told by an eyewitness and Captain Wade admitted it explaining, " I would have run, but had on a pair of new shoes and couldn't."
Like Stonewall Jackson, Captain Wade was a man of the highest Christian character. He was brave and a true soldier in the hard battle of his life for all the South after the War as he was when facing the enemy at Chancellorsville. On Saturday at midnight, May 9, his spirit returned to God, who gave it.
The Methodist Church here loses a most valued and efficient officer, the Camp of Confederate Veterans a beloved Commander; the Hamilton Wade Chapter, U.D.C. which was named in his honor, a most efficient and kind helper and advisor. Of course these bodies, and a large circle of friends and relatives, can in no wise sorrow as do his bereaved widow and children, but as love for the South endures, men like him must live in the hearts of those for whom they gave their blood and for whom they fought with such unfaltering courage in the face of the greatest difficulties.
© 2009 Hamilton Wade Chapter UDC
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