44th Georgia Company C at Doles Marker Gettysburg, Pa. Remembrance Day 2013.
To Corp. Jim Marshall
44th Georgia Vol. Inf., Co. C.
From Lt. Frederick Fleet
26th Virginia, VI, Company B
on Leave at Green Mount, Virginia
When the history of our nation is shared in decades to come, it will not be history books that deliver the full story of our Heritage. Rather, it will be the stories shared around a parlor, the visits to hallowed ground that mark the landscapes of the Continent, and the entries in Family Bibles documenting the lives and tragedies of our Southern People.
Such an entry exists in the Fleet Family Bible today, which I am saddened to share with you, penned by my Father Dr. Benjamin Fleet. Sr. I relay it exactly as is written :
Benjamin R. Fleet, Jr. was murdered by the Yankees on the 2nd of March 1864 in King Wm Cty; near Mr. Anderson Scott’s, whither he had gone as a Scout, where he met the Advance Guard of the Enemy dressed in Confederate Uniform,
and was killed by them. Aged 17 years, 5 months & 1 day.
Benny, Willie Taliaferro, and Mr. Sizer were making a reconnaissance yesterday morning near Aylett’s when they came upon three soldiers disguised in Confederate uniforms, only to discover a group of Yankee troopers advancing in the road directly behind them. Jerking their mounts around, Benny and his companions attempted to escape, but shots rang out and Benny and Willie were struck.
Benny’s new Canadian horse was later discovered grazing on our lawn at Green Mount, and Stuart, Benny’s dog, led us to where Benny’s body lay. He had been struck in the arm and must have run into the woods to escape. With no tourniquet to stanch the blood flow he died from loss of blood. We are yet to know the whereabouts of poor Willie Taliaferro.
Last evening I joined with the Home Guard and some detached rebel units in pursuit of the Yankee murderers, who are cavalrymen with Colonel Ulric Dahlgren and was present when we came upon a body of 100 Union soldiers near Walkerton. We posted our men in ambush, entrapping and surrounding them. Col. Dahlgren was at the head of his column and while attempting to cut his way out was shot and killed by our forces lying in wait. After Dahlgren was dropped a general volley was poured into the Federal ranks, causing a considerable panic, which was heightened by the intense darkness.
I take no consolation in the death of Colonel Dahlgren, as the loss of brother Benny leaves me with an emptiness inside that I find rather debilitating. I have asked Mother to send me the newspaper should Benny’s obituary appear, of which I shall send a copy to you.
I am resolved to wear black crepe around my arm in memory of Benny, and have enclosed for you a photo of dear brother Benny.
I must return to duty with the 26th Virginia shortly, and have been informed that we are headed to Florida where we have been attached to Gen. Finnegan’s Brigade under Major General Patton Anderson.
I close in relating a sermon from Rev. Drayton from the text, “We Glory in Tribulation”, in which he showed that the severe tribulations through which we have been and are now passing require patience and experience in coping.
May the Grace of God see us through these times,
Lt. Frederick Fleet
26th Virginia, VI, Company B