The ghost of Civil War General Barnard Bee will be in Morristown in June. He is the guest speaker at the first meeting of the newly organized Lakeway Civil War Roundtable at the Golden Corral Restaurant.
General Bee will be portrayed by Gary M. Prince, Knoxville attorney and Civil War historian and collector. Gary will display General Bee’s engraved 1851 Colt military revolver and relate how Bee became one of the first generals killed in the first major battle of the War Between the States and helped create one of the most “famous legends” of the war.
General Bee was born in Charleston, South Carolina and graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point. In the Mexican War he was brevetted “for gallant and meritorious conduct.”
When the War Between the States began, Bee resigned his commission in the U.S. Army and joined the Confederate Army. He was promoted Brigadier General and commanded the 3rd Brigade of the Army of the Shenandoah at the First Battle of Manassas by southern accounts, or Bull Run as the Federals called it, on June 21, 1861.
During the battle, Gen. Bee’s brigade was in the forefront of the battle and was threatened with being overrun by Union troops. He saw General Thomas Jackson and his brigade standing on a small slope of a hill. General Bee rode up to Jackson and said, “Sir, they are beating us back.” To which Jackson replied, “Sir, we’ll give them the bayonet.”
General Bee rode hastily back to his brigade and tried to rally his troops by shouting out the famous words “There stands Jackson like a stone wall. Rally around the Virginians.” Unknowingly, Bee had bestowed upon Jackson his defining nickname. Unknowingly, he had spoken his last recorded words. He led his brigade back into battle and was wounded. He died the next morning. He is buried in Pendleton, South Carolina. Bee’s father was governor of Texas, and he earned laurels in the Mexican War, but he will always go down in Civil War history as the man that gave “Stonewall” his nickname.
Gary Prince, portrayer of the ghost of Gen. Bee, grew up in Knoxville with a love of the Civil War. His father, Dr. Tom Prince, also loved history and the home was filled with Civil War books and collectables. Gary and his brothers Tommy and Steven and neighbors wore matching uniforms and played Civil War soldiers and battles instead of cowboys and Indians or ball games. Gary said he dressed as Confederate General Robert E. Lee until he was in the sixth grade. His great, great Uncle Sgt. Eugene Prince was a scout for General George Custer and was at the Battle of Little Bighorn against Crazy Horse. Gary has a sister, Gayle Prince, who lives in Montana. He said his father Dr. Tom Prince went to medical college when he was 17 years old and had to wait until he was 21 to get his certificate to practice. He was the oldest physician in Tennessee when he passed away.
Gary purchased the Gen. Bee revolver from an old friend and civil war relic dealer about 5 years ago, and became an authority on the general.
Gary said his friend, Kevin White, a Vietnam War hero and gunsmith, will discuss the history of Gen. 1851 Colt revolver and two single-shot pistols in the display that came from General Longstreet’s Civil War Battle of Campbell Station in Knoxville in September 1863.
Attorney Gary M. Price is a member of the firm of O’Neil, Parker & Williamson, 7610 Gleason Road in West Knoxville.
The public is invited to attend the Lakeway Civil War Roundtable program at Golden Corral in Morristown, TN. There is no admission. Check civilwarcourier.com for the date and time, next month’s calendar section, or our Facebook. Donations will benefit the General Longstreet Museum in Russellville.
-By Reece Sexton