19 March 2015

Battle Of Waynesboro 150th Anniversary ~ Part 4

Gathering at the Harman Monumnet 2 March 2015
Local historian and attorney, J.B. Yount, III made the following comments about William Harman on the anniversary of the Battle of Waynesboro (2 March this year):
“He was killed near here in the course of the conflict, seeking to defend the town, [the one he was born in] striving to rally the retreating soldiers in the village streets, after being order to surrender or seeking to escape capture,” Yount said. “If we were ever challenged as he was on March 2, 1865, the last day of his life, would we acquit ourselves with the same bravery, honor and commitment to things that are sacred to us? I hope that each of us can say we would.”
Those remarks were taken from a March 3 News-Virginian article which you can read here. Williams Harman was brother to John Harman who was Stonewall Jackson's quartermaster. There were actually five Harman brothers who fought for the Confederacy. Along with William and John, there was also Michael G., Asher W. and Thomas L., who died of typhoid in 1861. The remaining three brothers all survived the war. In a genealogy record published in 1926 and titled Harman-Garber Record, the following is noted about these brothers:
At the beginning of the war between the states in April 1861, there lived at Staunton, Virginia, the “Harmans,” all natives of Staunton and Augusta County, Virginia. This family consisted of five brothers; Michael G. Harman, John A. Harman, William H. Harman, Asher W. Harman, and Thomas L. Harman. All were in the prime of early manhood, had families and were prominent business men of the town. They were among the first to offer their services to the Confederate cause…. A Yankee officer of distinction who served in the union army who knew these Harman brothers before the war and their war record in the Confederate army said they reminded him of a family of five brothers who served with distinction in the Yankee army and were known as the “Fighting McCooks” and that he thought these Harman brothers should be known in the Confederate army as the “Fighting Harmans.”
Ironically, just days before the battle, a local paper noted that Harman had read and “forcibly explained…resolutions” to “a large and enthusiastic meeting of the citizens of Augusta County, held at their Court House on Monday the 27th day of February 1865.” The first resolution after the preamble was, oddly enough, prophetic for the distinguished Virginian:
That we have a firm and certain conviction of the justice of our cause, and will maintain it at every sacrifice of blood and treasure.
Just three days later, Harman lay dead on his hometown’s Main Street, having given that ultimate “sacrifice of blood and treasure”—his own life.

More on the Battle of Waynesboro coming soon.


Eddie said...

"ohn Harman who was Stonewall Jackson's quartermaster. "

A umber of interesting anecdotes involving John Harman. One from John Imboden --

"I never knew him [Jackson] to let profanity pass without a rebuke but once. The incident was reported to me by the chief actor in it, Major John A. Harman, who was Jackson's chief quartermaster, and a man of extraordinary qualifications. It happened at Edwards Ferry, on the Potomac, when our army was crossing into Maryland in the Antietam campaign. Major-General D. H. Hill's division was crossing, when Jackson rode up, and found the ford completely blocked with Hill's wagon-train. He spoke sharply to Hill (who was his brother-in-law, they having married sisters) for allowing such confusion. General Hill replied that he was not a quartermaster, or something that implied it was no part of his business to get tangled wagons out of the river. Jackson instantly put Hill in arrest, and, turning to Major Harman, ordered him to clear the ford. Harman dashed in among the wagoners, kicking mules, and (the) apparently inextricable mass of wagons, and, in the voice of a stentor, poured out a volume of oaths that would have excited the admiration of the most scientific mule-driver. The effect was electrical. The drivers were frightened and swore as best they could, but far below the Major's standard. The mules caught the inspiration from a chorus of familiar words, and all at once made a break for the Maryland shore, and in five minutes the ford was cleared. Jackson witnessed and heard it all. Harman rode back to join him, expecting a lecture, and, touching his hat, said: 'The ford is clear, General! There's only one language that will make mules understand on a hot day that they must get out of the water.' The General, smiling, said: 'Thank you, Major,' and dashed into the water at the head of his staff."

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Yes, I think that was in Bud Robertson's book. Quite a family.