Career and Character of General Micah Jenkins, C. S. A: 'Vigiliis Et Virtute' (Classic Reprint)
David's lamentation for Jonathan, 'fallen in the midst of the battle': Milton's Lycidas, Young Lycidas, 'dead ere his prime': Tennyson's 'In Memoriam,' called by Frederick William Robertson 'one of the most victorious songs that poet ever chanted' - these are the classic pictures of the early dead that come before the mind in their beauty when we think of Gen, Micah Jenkins, as elegantly arrayed in his uniform of Confederate gray he lay, in the symmetry of his martial form, stricken to death upon the soil of Virginia in the battle of the Wilderness.
'A king once said of a prince struck down,
Taller he seems in death.'
More than 39 years ago, Micah Jenkins's brilliant career came to its end, in the providence of God, in the 29th year of his age. As we take now the measure of the man and contemplate him in the light of his full stature, as revealed to us in his own letters, as well as in the letters of his friends and comrades, how aptly may it be said of Jenkins, as of the 'prince struck down,'
'Taller he seems in death.'
Of the brigade known successively as Anderson's, Jenkins's and Bratton's and composed of the famous regiments, immortalized in Confederate history - First South Carolina volunteers (Hagood), Fifth South Carolina volunteers. Sixth South Carolina volunteers, Second South Carolina Rifles, and Jenkins's Palmetto Sharpshooters - it is not my purpose to treat. That duty - the history of a grand brigade that won the confidence of Lee and his warhorse (Longstreet) - I shall leave to a gallant colonel of the famous brigade, such as Asbury Coward, or to Col. Jas. A. Hoyt, or to some Confederate survivor who followed the fortunes of Jenkins from First Manassas to his martial coronation in the wilds of the Wilderness, May 6, 1864.
Acceding to the appreciated wishes of the family and the friends of Micah Jenkins, my own close friend from 1851 to 1864, and furnished with all the letters and memoranda throwing light upon the subject, I propose to portray, as best I can, the career and character of a noble South Carolinian who was the ornament of his State and a thunderbolt of war in the army of our Confederate Ilium - our fallen Troy.
In seeking to rise to the height of my theme, I shall not base my arguments upon unsupported statements, but shall present the letters and the documents to prove propositions and to confirm deductions. In executing my plan of treatment of my subject, I shall present the chief tributes heretofore paid to Jenkins: next Jenkins's own accounts of the principal battles in which he bore a part, supported by the accounts of Longstreet and others: next I shall attempt to give a true insight into his lofty character - to portray his inner life as a knightly. Christian man, as a soldier after the type of a Stuart, a Jackson and a Lee: and lastly, I shall close with such additional points and paragraphs as may seem to me the proper ending of my memorial work.
I. The Tributes To Jenkins.
Brig.-Gen. M. Jenkins.
(From the Charleston Mercury, May 12, 1864 - an editorial written six days after the fall of Jenkins.)
Micah Jenkins was a third son of Capt. John Jenkins, of Edisto Island, S. C. He entered the South Carolina Military Academy in the year 1851, at the age of 15, and graduated in 1854, with the first honor of his class. The following January he established with his classmate, Asbury Coward, now colonel of the Fifth regiment of Jenkins's brigade, the Military School at Yorkville, S. C., and, young as he was, at once exhibited the singular aptitude for command which his after career so signally illustrated.
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