David Corbett recently wrote: "I read your post with interest ! I have read that a Major Barry of the 18th ordered the firing and also many years ago read an article in which Lt. George Corbett of the 18th ordered the firing .... What are your thoughts , sir ?"
My thoughts - as hard as I have thought about it, I don’t think that I ever heard anyone but Major Barry ordering the men to fire. After the first volley by the 18th NCT, an officer came forward, possibly AP Hill, yelling "We are friends! Cease firing! Major Barry retorted with "It’s a lie! Pour it into them, boys!" and an even greater fire was opened upon the Confederate horsemen.
Was there more than one officer in the 18th NCT ordering his men to fire? Undoubtably. It is possible that one of those officers was Corbett of Company E? Yes, it is. Corbett was a first lieutenant at the time and remained in that position for the rest of the war.
Barry was promoted to colonel on May 27, 1863. His promotion was "back-dated" to May 3. He was assigned command of the brigade after Lane’s wounding. Many believed that Lane would not return. Barry was appointed brigade general, but before his appointment could be confirmed, he was wounded in the right hand (July 2, 1864). Lane returned, and Barry’s appointment was cancelled. Barry was in command of the regiment at the end of the war and was paroled in Raleigh on May 12, 1865. After the war, Barry returned to Wilmington and was editor of a newspaper. He died March 24, 1867. He was 27 years old.
Some of his friends and family said that Barry "died of a broken heart" for his role in Jackson's death.