THE BATTLE OF MARION--GENERAL JOHN C. BRECKINRIDGE-- WITCHER AND HIS NIGHTHAWKS--THE KENTUCKIANS WIN CHOICE OF POSITION--INCIDENTS.
"Beside him many a war-horse fumes,
Around him waves a sea of plumes."
THE battle of Marion was fought in the rain, mud and cold, on Saturday and Sunday, December 17 and 18, 1864, between about one thousand Kentuckians, under Breckinridge, and four thousand or more Federals, commanded by General Stoneman. Among the Federals was a regiment or two of "smoked Yankees"--as the Confederates facetiously called the negro troops.
The morose and dejected Kentuckians, waiting in the mud and cold, recovered their nonchalant gayety when General Breckinridge appeared and rode to the front.
What a handsome and imposing appearance he made! Tall, straight, dignified, he was the ideal Kentuckian among Kentuckians.
"His stately mien as well implied
A high born heart, a martial pride."
Elegantly appareled, wearing the full dress uniform of a Confederate major-general, his bearing was indeed knightly. A brilliant staff of dashing officers followed in his train. Among them were Colonel J. Stoddard Johnston, adjutant- general, and Captain Blackburn, aid-de-camp.
While this imposing, handsome general and glittering retinue slowly rode along the column, going to the front, it was interesting to note the many quaint remarks, some witty, some grave, some cynical and others prophetic, made by a thousand Kentucky cavalrymen. Such as the following: "Boys, he'll do." "W-h-e-w! ain't he grand?" "Boys, that man has been Vice-President of the United States."