William Mead Dane, of the First Company Richmond Howitzers writes---
Death of Captain McCarthy
About six o’clock, there fell the saddest loss, to the battery, that it had yet been called to bear. Captain McCarthy stood up at the work to watch what was going on in front. One moment, I saw him, standing there;—the next instant, I heard a sharp crash, the familiar sound of a bullet striking, and McCarthy was lying, flat on his back, and motionless. We jumped to his side! Nothing to be done! A long bullet from a “globe sight” rifle had struck him, two inches over his right eye, and crashed straight through his brain. He lay without motion two or three minutes, then his chest rose, and fell, gently, once or twice, and he was still, in death.
And there, on that red field of war, with shells, and bullets whistling all about, over his dead face, dropped the tears of brave men, who loved him well, and had fought with and followed him long! We had seen his superb courage in battle; his patient bearing of hardship, his unfaltering devotion to duty always; his kind,[Pg 210] cordial comradeship! We knew him to be a soldier, every inch, and a patriot to his heart’s core!
We knew, and said, that among all her sons, Virginia had no braver son, than this one, who had died for her. Sadly we lamented—“What shall we do, in battle, and in camp, and on march, his form and face missing from among us?” There was not a sadder group of hearts along that blood-drenched line that evening, than ours, who bowed deeply sorrowing over the form of our dead captain. We took his body in our arms, and bore it to where we could place it in an ambulance.
It was sent to his home, and family, in Richmond, and buried in “Shockoe Cemetery.” And now,—after thirty-two years have passed, we, the old “Howitzers,” still carry the name of “Ned McCarthy” in our hearts! We keep his memory green; we think of him, and rank him as a typical Confederate Soldier. One who by his splendid courage and devotion shed luster upon the name.
His stalwart form has gone to dust. The light of his bright, brave face has long gone from our eyes; the soul-stirring war time—when we were with him—has long passed away. The changes and chances of this mortal life have brought many experiences to us who survived him. Our feet have wandered far, into many paths. We have toiled, and thought, and suffered, and enjoyed much, in the long years, since we last looked upon his form dead on the red field of[Pg 211] “Cold Harbor.” “The strong hours have conquered us” in many things. But—the noble memory of this man! as a patriot and a hero!
Ah! that lives in our hearts! The hearts of his comrades who, with their own eyes, saw him live and bear, and fight and die—for Virginia—and the South.
The battle of Cold Harbor ended Grant’s direct advance on Richmond. He drew off in confessed defeat and inability to go on—afterwards, he advanced by way of Petersburg.