In your opinion, what’s the best, recorded quotation for ordering a charge during the Civil War and who said it?
“Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” Admiral David G. Farragut, Battle of Mobile Bay, 5 August 1864. It’s not certain that is exactly what he said, but numerous witnesses reported that he said something similar, and this is the version that has come down in Navy lore.
Not only the the best, but one of the most well known …
“Come on You Wolverines” by Custer at the battle of Gettysburg. Big battle more important out come.
He’s lucky he wasn’t captured, wounded or killed on July 2nd when he led a charge against Cobb’s Legion Cavalry near Hunterstown.
August Willich at Shiloh: “Little children, today decides the fate of America. If we are beaten today everything is lost. Let us do our duty as a free man does!”
Not exactly on point, but I keep thinking of the July 1, 1863, unrecorded response by “Baldy” Smith to JEB Stuart’s demand that he and his militia units occupying Carlisle surrender (which they didn’t). There are references to the “salty” language used, but it appears that it might have been too much to be recorded for the prim and proper 19th century eyes to read and ears to hear.
Stonewall Jackson…..”The Institute will be heard from today”
Probably apocryphal, but in the movie, “Gettysburg” when Chamberlain yells “Bayonets”, that sends a shiver down my spine.
I heartily second Farragut above. One that has always struck me is Stonewall Jackson on May 2, 1863:
“Are you ready, General Rodes?” asks Jackson.
“You can go forward then.”
“Boys, now strike so that the chips fly!” Colonel (afterwards major general) Peter Joseph Osterhaus in the Battle of Pea Ridge, cheering the men of the 12th Missouri Infantry, the very regiment he had recruited…
Maybe not the best, but Brig. Gen. Lewis Armistead was heard to shout the following at The Angle during Pickett’s Charge: “Come on boys, give them the cold steel. Who will follow me?”
Charge Those Lines! Hancock to the First Minnesota on day 2 at Gettysburg,
Stonewall ordering the start of his Chancellorsville flank attack. “ General Rhodes, you may move your men forward!”
“After hearing Major General Pope’s letter read, Commander Walke was asked if he would run the gauntlet [past the 47 guns at Island No.10] himself; and he replied that he would.” Waiting only for a sufficiently dark night to mask the approach of the lumbering ironclad, Walke rigged the Carondelet for her perilous voyage: pikes and cutlasses to repel boarders were distributed throughout the gunboat; the guns were run back and the ports closed; and preparations put in place to scuttle the vessel, should she be disabled in the downstream run, in order to avoid capture.
Commander Walke asked for volunteers, believing his was likely a suicide mission. One man was replaced. In addition, 23 sharpshooters of the 42nd Illinois asked, and were given permission to ride aboard the Carondelet on her fateful run.
The weather indicated rain; and on the evening of 4 April 1862 grumbling thunder and pulses of lightning within the clouds indicated a severe storm coming up the river rapidly.
“All ready, cast off the hawsers,” commanded Henry Walke. And the Carondelet commenced her run…
Hiram Burnham at Second Fredericksburg, May 3, 1863 – “Boys, I have a government contract… One thousand rebels, potted and salted, and got to have ’em in less than five minutes.”
“Put it on my tab.” – Major General Joe Hooker, ordering a charge, probably.
Upon receiving orders from Lt Gen John Bell Hood at the Battle of Franklin to conduct a frontal assault, Major General Patrick Cleburne turned to Brigadier General Daniel C. Govan: “Well, Govan, if we are to die, let us die like men.” ?
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