Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Death Of Gen. Lander

The brave and chivalric Gen. Lander is no more.  Last evening the melancholy tidings reached us that he died during the afternoon at Paw Paw, in Western Virginia.  This intelligence will fall mournfully upon the country in its hour general rejoicing.  The nation could illy spare so good a man and so daring a soldier at this juncture.

Frederick W. Lander was born in Massachusetts, and was by profession an engineer.  In 1848-9 he surveyed the great wagon road to California, and soon after his return was brought prominently before the public as the second of Hon. John F. Potter, when he was challenged by that pink of Virginian chivalry, Roger A. Pryor.  By his judicious management of that case he enabled Mr. Potter to vindicate the representatives of the North against the braggarts of the South.  When Pryor declined to fight Potter with Bowie knives, Lander politely offered to espouse the case of his principal, and give the Virginian the choice of any weapon he please, but Pryor discreetly declined.  That affair put a stop to the insolence of the chivalry in the United States House of Representatives for some time, and taught them to mend their plantation manners.

When the Southern rebellion broke out, General, then Col. Lander, threw himself into the struggle in behalf of the Union, and was detailed to Western Virginia, under Gen. McClellan. – There he participated with Col. Kelley in the attack upon Philippi on the 3d of June, and distinguished himself throughout that brilliant campaign, which culminated in the victories of Rich Mountain, Laurel Hill, and Carrick’s Ford.  For his part in this campaign the President made him a Brigadier in July last.

Gen. Lander received his death-wound at Edward’s Ferry, where so many of his comrades from Massachusetts also met their fate.  The day after the butchery of Col. Baker, Lander was ordered to the scene of action, and while conducting a reconnoisance, received a painful wound in his leg.  From the debilitating effects of that wound, aggravated, no doubt, by his herculean efforts to free his department of the Rebels.

It will be remembered that this faithful officer conscious that he needed repose, after his late brilliant victory, asked to be relieved from duty; but the exigencies of the service were such that he did not press his request.  True to his trust, he remained at his post to the last, and died, like a soldier, with his harness on his back.  It is probable that he was not himself aware of his extreme danger, for we learn that it was not till five o’clock yesterday afternoon that his wife was summoned to his side.  Ere a special train could be prepared for her, the news of his decease was received.

Gen. Lander was a frank, bold, open-hearted man, of noble and generous nature, and commanding presence.  He looked the soldier, every inch of him, and scorned to ask his men to go where he himself would not cheerfully lead the way.  They knew this, and loved him as a brother.  Gen. Shields succeeds to his command. – {Tribune.

– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, March 8, 1862, p. 2

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