Sunday, December 03, 2006

Captain Henry T. Owen, CSA

On July 3, 1863, Captain Henry T. Owen of Company C, 18th Virginia, marched with his men into the face of death. As players in Pickett's Charge, they stepped away from Seminary Ridge and, along with over 12,000 others, surged forward into a storm of artillery fire and the roar of several thousand muskets. Surviving the assault, Captain Owen would take command of the 18th after most of the regiment's other officers died or received disabling wounds. Some time later, he wrote to his wife of a dream that haunted him as the horror of that battle lingered on.

"Far away to the front, I saw the dim outlines of lofty hills, broken rocks, and frightful precepts which resembled Gettysburg. As we advanced further, I found we were fighting that great battle over again and I saw something before me like a thin shadow which I tried to get around and go by. But it kept in front of me and whichever way I turned, it still appeared between me and the enemy. Nobody else seemed to see or notice the shadow which looked as thin as smoke and did not prevent my seeing the enemy distinctly through it. I felt troubled and oppressed but still the shadow went on before me. I pushed forward in the thickest of the fray trying to lose sight of it and went all through the battle of Gettysburg again with this shadow forever before me and between me and the enemy.

And when I came out behind the danger of shot, it spoke to me and said, "I am the angel that protected you. I will never leave nor forsake you."

The surprise was so great, that I awoke and burst into tears. What had I done that should entitle me to such favor beyond the hundreds of brave and reputed men who had fallen on that day leaving widowed mothers and widowed wives, orphaned children and disconsolate families to mourn their fates?"



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The War of Confederate Captain Henry T. Owen

1 comment:

Peaches Pride said...

In reading the book, "The Brothers War: Civil War Letters to Their Loved Ones from the Blue and Gray" edited by Annette Tapert, I was profoundly moved by Capt. Owens' letter. His words reflect an honorable man. When writing to his "Dear Harriet" he clearly shows his honesty, compassion and struggles. Had I lived in the era of the 1880s it would have been a pleasure to have the Captain as a friend.