The Death of Brig. Gen. Barnard Bee

10 04 2022

Barnard Bee.

The death of this pure chevalier will ever be esteemed one of the brightest yet saddest incidents of the present great war. The very embodiment (as he was) of Carolina chivalry, he deeds of valor on the plains of Manassas astonished even the general in command, accustomed as he was to Southern fervor and acquainted as he had recently become with Carolina enthusiasm. But in the midst of his heroic efforts, the fatal ball was numbered which assigned him a soldier’s grave. It has long been said and sung, that “to die for one’s country” is “sweet” as well as “honorable;” the thought was never more fully verified than in the death scene of this hero. We quote a touching account of General Bee’s last moments from a letter addressed to the Charleston Courier;

“While participating in the thickest of the fight, a ball penetrated the groin and passed upwards in the region of the stomach. He was at once borne from the field to a neighboring hospital, and after a temporary rest there, removed to Manassas, where an apartment was provided for him in the hotel. Among those who called upon the wounded General on the day following, was his old friend, Col. Tupper, of Charleston, who was on the Staff of General Smith, and himself slightly hurt. Bee was lying on a mattress, calm, composed, and evidently not in much pain. Aware of his approaching end, he was engaged in dictating to one of his Staff his last missive to his family, being so absorbed in this task that he appeared not to observe the slightest movement which transpired around him. At intervals he would drop away into a dreamy kind of repose and seem to sleep, by a preconcerted arrangement his Aid would touch him slightly in the centre of his forehead with the point of his pencil, when the General would recover his faculties and proceed. In due time his labor of love was finished, and he turned his attention to the company present. Col. Tupper was among these, and as the hands of the two friends met for the last time, Bee gently drew him down so as to be more distinctly heard, while Col. Tupper bent upon his knee and laid his face upon that of the dying man. The latter then said: “Colonel, our acquaintance has been of a very pleasant nature. It’s hard to part where friends are so dear, but I must soon leave you. God bless and protect you.” With others of his friends he also exchanged brief words of parting.

“Shortly afterwards, the dying General asked to be raised in his bed, which being done, with his hands clasped, eyes burning with an almost supernatural light as if he already looked upon the glories of another world, he repeated a verse, but unfortunately I can only give the last two lines:

My spirit soars to meet its God,
I die in the arms of victory.

“With these upon his lips, the hero was laid back upon his pillow and without a struggle sank into his eternal rest.

“He had emphatically carried his life in his hand and the grace of God in his heart, and when the messenger came, it found him ready and willing to obey the summons. Death to him was no rugged path. He had

No earthly clinging
No lingering gaze
No strife at parting
No sore amaze;
But sweetly, gently,
He passed away
From the world’s dim twilight
To endless day.

Edgefield (SC) Advertiser, 8/21/1861

Clipping Image



One response

6 05 2022
Around the Web May 2022: Best of Civil War & Reconstruction Blogs and Social Media - The Reconstruction Era

[…] the nickname “Stonewall” shortly before he died at the First Battle of Bull Run. The Blog Bull Runnings posted an August, 1861 Obituary for Bee that does not mention Stonewall at […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: