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Robert Stiles, Four years under Marse Robert, Chapter 2: Introductory Sketches. (search)
, I did not happen to hear him speak. Mr. Preston, Mr. Stuart, and Mr. Flournoy, as well as Mr. Baldwin, were, later, members of the Secession Convention of Virginia, but all were Union men up to President Lincoln's call for troops. Mr. Preston and Mr. Stuart were not only finished orators, but statesmen of ability and experience. Both had graced the Legislature of their State and the Congress of the United States, and both had been members of the Federal Cabinet --Mr. Preston during General Taylor's and Mr. Stuart during Mr. Fillmore's administration. Mr. Preston was afterwards a member of the Confederate Senate and Mr. Stuart one of the commissioners appointed by Virginia to confer with Mr. Lincoln as to his attitude and action toward the seceded States. Mr. Botts made a very powerful address before the convention, but the spirit of it did not please me. He belittled the John Brown raid, at the same time accusing Governor Wise of having done everything in his power to magnif
Robert Stiles, Four years under Marse Robert, Chapter 8: Seven Pines and the Seven Days battles (search)
ring, hawk fashion, somewhere over beyond and back of McClellan's right flank. We next showed him the disparity in numbers, McClellan, by his own report, dated June 20, 1862, six days before the fighting began, having Present for duty one hundred and five thousand eight hundred and twenty-five (105,825) men ; and as he was anticipating battle and calling lustily for reinforcements, his force was probably substantially increased during these six days; while Lee, as demonstrated by Col. Walter H. Taylor, adjutant-general of his army, and Gen. Jubal A. Early, both better informed on the subject than any other man ever was, had a little under or a little over eighty thousand (80,000) men present for duty when the fight opened, including Jackson's forces. Moreover, our inferiority in artillery, both as to number and character of guns, and as to ammunition also, was shocking. Meanwhile, we were walking out, to and across the Chickahominy, by the Mechanicsville turnpike or the Mead
Robert Stiles, Four years under Marse Robert, Chapter 9: Malvern Hill and the effect of the Seven Days battles (search)
interview described in the preceding chapter, was never drawn. The understanding in the army at the time was that Huger and Holmes were to have drawn it, but that their commands lost their way in the almost trackless forest. In an address on The campaigns of Gen. Robert E. Lee, delivered at Washington and Lee University in 1872, on January 19th, Lee's birthday, Gen. Jubal A. Early says: Holmes' command, over six thousand strong, did not actually engage in any of the battles. But Col. Walter H. Taylor, in his Four years with General Lee, published in 1877, already referred to, repeats three times — on pages 51, 53, and 54-that Holmes' command numbered ten thousand or more; and it is obvious, upon a comparison of the two statements, that Early's figures, over six thousand, did not include Ransom's brigade, which numbered thirty-six hundred. It seems incredible, yet it appears to be true, that General Holmes was very deaf; so deaf that, when heaven and earth were shuddering with
Robert Stiles, Four years under Marse Robert, Chapter 10: Second Manassas-SharpsburgFredericksburg (search)
en thousand one hundred and sixty-four (87,164) men of all arms. General Early thinks he had ninety-three thousand one hundred and forty-nine (93,149), while Colonel Taylor says and shows that General Lee had less than thirty-five thousand two hundred and fifty-five (35,255); Early says less than thirty thousand (30,000). Take iellan recites them in his testimony above referred to, p. 440, and speaks of the effect of this order upon his movements. It was well understood among us. As Colonel Taylor says: The God of battles alone knows what would have occurred but for the singular incident mentioned; it is useless to speculate on this point, but certhat he would. There is, or perhaps I should say there was, a feeling that we should have ourselves made attack upon him, and that General Jackson favored it. Colonel Taylor, General Early, and other authorities scout any such idea. I do not feel that anything would be gained by reopening the discussion. Tennyson is in error
Robert Stiles, Four years under Marse Robert, Chapter 16: Gettysburg (search)
left to his discretion when and where he should cross the river-whether east of the mountains, or in the track of the infantry at the mouth of the Valley; but Colonel Taylor says: He was expected to maintain communication with the main column, and especially directed to keep the commanding general informed of the movements of the advancing a line against Culp's Hill when Lee reached the field and stayed the movement. Nothing could be less like Lee and nothing further from the truth. Colonel Taylor makes this full and explicit statement: General Lee witnessed the flight of the Federals through Gettysburg and up the hills beyond. He then directed me and affectionate kindness than any other of our leading generals ever did. But the truth must be told, and Ewell was the last man on earth to object to this. Colonel Taylor speaks of the discretion General Lee always accorded to his lieutenants. In the exercise of this discretion, Ewell probably decided it best not to press his
Robert Stiles, Four years under Marse Robert, Chapter 17: between Gettysburg and the Wilderness (search)
Logan, --leading them toward the bars,--we must git out o‘ this, and mighty quick, too! As he got his pets out in the road and was hitching them up again, Colonel Taylor and Colonel Marshall and the rest of General Lee's staff rode up and reported to Tuck's friend and took orders from him, and Tuck waked up to the fact that heve pieces of artillery; and that, when his force engaged was inferior to ours. In November, at the tete-de-pontt at Rappahannock Bridge, he wrote for us what Colonel Taylor calls the saddest chapter in the history of this army, by snapping up two brigades, of twelve or fifteen hundred men, and four pieces of artillery, which had radually working our way up toward the main body of the army again, and were sent, after Mine Run, to guard the middle fords of the Rapidan. I have quoted Colonel Taylor as saying that the disaster at Rappahannock Bridge was the saddest chapter in the history of the Army of Northern Virginia, and I am confident General Lee fe
Robert Stiles, Four years under Marse Robert, Chapter 18: Campaign of 1864-the Wilderness (search)
back across the river on a log. As to his capacity and our estimate of it, we did not think much of him as a strategist, but we did credit him with the vigor and trenchancy of mind that cut right through to the only plan upon which, as I believe, we ever could have been overcome-and the nerve to adhere to that plan relentlessly, remorsely to the very end, in spite of all the suffering and shrinking and weeping of the people. That plan was the simple but terrible one of attrition. As Colonel Taylor says: If one hundred and forty thousand men are made to grapple in a death struggle with sixty thousand men; of the former, twenty thousand should survive the total annihilation of the latter, even though the price exacted for such destruction be in the ratio of two to one. Behold the theory of the Federal commander and an epitome of his construction of strategy, as exemplified on the sanguinary field extending from the Wilderness to James River. But there were two other subord
Robert Stiles, Four years under Marse Robert, Chapter 19: Spottsylvania (search)
or takes up his pen to write, seems to feel it solemnly incumbent upon him to expatiate upon the fearful fire of musketry. What I have to say about the matter will doubtless prove surprising and disappointing to many; but first let me quote Colonel Taylor's account of it, from pages 130 and 131 of his invaluable work, so frequently referred to: The army was thus cut in twain, and the situation was well calculated to test the skill of its commander and the nerve and courage of the men. Dises. No living man nor thing could. stand in the doomed space embraced within those angry lines; even large trees were felled, their trunks cut in twain by the bullets of small arms. Every intelligent soldier, on either side, is aware of Colonel Taylor's deserved reputation for careful and unprejudiced observation and investigation, and for correct and accurate statement, and General Fitz Lee, in his Life of General Robert E. Lee, at p. 335, fully agrees with him, saying: The musketry fire
Robert Stiles, Four years under Marse Robert, Chapter 20: from Spottsylvania to Cold Harbor (search)
e, seeing the respective commanding officers in person. On the first round I did not find General Lee at his quarters, and was told that he had ridden down the road to the lines. When I reached the lines I heard he had passed out in front. Following him up, I found him in the rain with a single piece of horse artillery, feeling the enemy. My second ride was made largely at night, and, as I remember, every officer I desired to see was asleep, except at Army Headquarters, where I found Colonel Taylor in his tent on his knees, with his prayer-book open before him, and General Lee in his tent, wide-awake, poring over a map stretched upon a temporary table of rough plank, with a tallow candle stuck in a bottle for a light. I remember saying to myself, as I delivered my message and withdrew, Does he never, never sleep? Again General Grant slid to the east, and we moved off upon a parallel line. I think it was during this detour-or it may have been an earlier or a later one--that I w
Robert Stiles, Four years under Marse Robert, Chapter 24: fatal mistake of the Confederate military authorities (search)
ould have gone far to atone for having nothing put inside our stomachs if we had had a red ribbon or some such thing pinned outside our jackets. Not only did I never see or hear of a promotion on the field, but I do not believe such a thing ever occurred in any army of the Confederacy, from the beginning to the end of the war. Indeed, I am confident it never did; for, incredible as it may appear, even Lee himself did not have the power to make such a promotion. On page 147 of his book, Colonel Taylor, the Adjutant-General of his army, says: General Lee should have been supreme in all matters touching the movements and discipline of his Army; whereas, under the law and the regulations of the Department of War made in conformity thereto, he had not even the power to confer promotion on the field of battle. I have myself heard other prominent Confederate leaders complain of their utter powerlessness in this regard, and it is generally understood that Jackson more than once thre
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