Diary of Henry Clay Dickinson: Fort Pulaski NM continues the story of the Immortal 600

Indeed, the story of the Immortal 600 did not end when the prisoners left Morris Island.  I’m glad to see Fort Pulaski National Monument is continuing to mark the sesquicentennial of the events by posting excerpts from the diary of Henry Clay Dickinson, Captain of the 2nd Virginia Cavalry and one of the Immortal 600:

This, and more, are posted to the park’s Facebook page.

And a reminder, if you visit the park in person, Fort Pulaski is flying the 35-star US flag of the pattern used at the fort 150 years ago.  A small sesquicentennial gesture, but a strong one.


One thought on “Diary of Henry Clay Dickinson: Fort Pulaski NM continues the story of the Immortal 600

  1. Craig, glad to see this attention given to the “Immortal 600,” and with your indulgence, I’d like to highlight the unique significance of one of these brave men as it relates to the opening stage of the Gettysburg Campaign.

    Bruce Gibson, a cousin of Robert E. Lee, was born in Loudoun County, VA, in 1830, and soon became commander of Co. “A,” 6th Virginia Cavalry. Described by his men to be “brave as a lion,” Captain Gibson was in command on the morning of June 9, 1863, when Federal cavalry attacked over Beverly’s ford to open the Battle of Brandy Station–the war’s largest cavalry battle, and the opening action of the Gettysburg Campaign.

    Observing his men evidenced signs of panic in reacting to the fierce Union assault, Captain Gibson shouted, “Stay cool, men, and shoot to kill.” Once his men steadied, Captain Gibson organized a temporary defense and in the process his troopers fired into the faces of the 8th New York Cavalry, killing Lt. Henry Cutler, the first soldier to die in the Gettysburg Campaign.

    So, it is an historical fact that one of the “Immortal 600” had the distinction of being the first Southern officer to command a combat action in the Civil War’s threshold military campaign.

    Captain Gibson was captured at Yellow Tavern on May 11, 1864, and soon found himself suffering serious deprivations along with the other “600” unfortunates. But he survived the war, became a prominent businessman and postmaster in Winchester, VA, and died, much beloved, in 1901.

    In Major Ogden’s fine book, “Immortal Six Hundred,” praise is conveyed to Captain Gibson as being “a true, generous soul, whose ministrations to to his sick comrades…made him loved and honored.”

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