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Let Us Die Like Brave Men: Behind the Dying Words of Confederate Warriors

Daniel W. Barefoot

John F. Blair, Publisher
$19.95 hardcover
6 x 9     
281 pages
black-and-white photos throughout
Published in 2005

Private Stringfellow of Houston of Missouri was aiding in the Confederate defense when he was badly wounded. His captain thought the young man dead as he was being borne from the field—until he heard a voice from the stretcher: “No, Captain, they have not killed me; they have just shot out my eye, and when I get back from the hospital I can shoot that much faster, as I won’t have to shut it.”

Stonewall Jackson’s last recorded words were more poetic. His amputated left arm had already been buried in its own grave following his wounding at Chancellorsville. The Confederate nation awaited news of Jackson’s fate as he lay at nearby Guiney’s Station in May 1863. “Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of trees,” he said at the last.

Let Us Die Like Brave Men tells the stories behind the dying words of 52 warriors who fell for the Southern cause. It includes soldiers from every Confederate state and gives equal play to men high-ranking and obscure. A few were not even part of the military. For example, James F. Jackson was a boxer and former militiaman who heard a Yankee colonel proclaim, “Behold my trophy,” upon tearing down the Stars and Bars in Alexandria, Virginia. Jackson nodded at the shotgun in his own hands and coolly replied, “Behold mine.”

Though the men in this book fell tragically, their voices continue to speak from beyond the grave. Their courage in the face of death serves as an uplifting example to all Americans who cherish the ideals of bravery, self-sacrifice, and duty.

Stories included in Let Us Die Like Brave Men:

  • Brigadier General Lewis Addison Armistead
  • Brigadier General Turner Ashby
  • Colonel Isaac Erwin Avery
  • Brigadier General William Barksdale
  • Colonel Francis Stebbins Bartow
  • Captain John Yates Beall, Confederate States Navy
  • Chaplain Emmeran Bliemel
  • Captain Peter Bramlett
  • Colonel Henry “Harry” King Burgwyn, Jr.
  • Major General Patrick Ronayne Cleburne
  • Artilleryman Edward Cooper
  • Captain William Francis Corbin
  • George Cummings, Body Servant
  • Private Samuel Davis
  • David Owen Dodd, Telegrapher
  • Colonel Mike Farrell
  • Captain Champ Ferguson
  • Captain Dabney Carr Harrison
  • Brigadier General Robert Hopkins Hatton
  • Brigadier General Benjamin Hardin Helm
  • Private Stringfellow Houston
  • Private Charlie Jackson
  • James F. Jackson, Innkeeper
  • Lieutenant General Thomas Jonathan Jackson
  • Private Dewitt Smith Jobe
  • Corporal James Cal Jones
  • Captain Robert Cobb Kennedy
  • Lieutenant Richard Rowland Kirkland
  • Private John Frederick Krenson
  • Lieutenant Colonel David Berkley Lang
  • Lieutenant Isaac Lightner
  • Dr. David Herbert Llewellyn, Assistant Surgeon
  • Second Lieutenant William Preston Mangum, Jr.
  • Colonel James Keith Marshall
  • William Bruce Mumford, Disabled Soldier
  • Private William Thomas Overby
  • Colonel William Johnson Pegram
  • Major John Pelham
  • Brigadier General James Johnston Pettigrew
  • Major General Stephen Dodson Ramseur
  • Lieutenant Nathaniel D. Renfroe
  • Colonel William Peleg Rogers
  • Edmund Ruffin, Fire-Eater
  • Hiram T. Smith, Civilian
  • Major General James Ewell Brown Stuart
  • Captain George Washington Summers and Seargeant Isaac Newton Koontz
  • Color Sergeant James Hunt Taylor
  • Unidentified Confederate Soldier
  • Captain Hugh Augustus White
  • Colonel William Orton Williams
  • First Lieutenant John E. Wilson
  • Private William Youree


“I found Barefoot's book to be a powerful read, truly well researched and strong in delivery of death messages that run the gamut from almost humorous to heart-wrenching. The meticulous research does not encumber the reader, and the stories flow easily one to another. The overall end result of the Confederate cause is apparent throughout the book, though the moments of elation, often just before the death of the named participants in this book, create a happy/sad reading experience that cannot leave your soul untouched.” —Amazon.com reviewer