on as it was light enough to see, however, the enemy was found in position on his formidable heights awaiting us.
The result of efforts during the night and early morning to secure Culp's Hill had not been reported, and General Lee sent Colonel Venable of his staff to confer with the commander of the Second Corps as to opportunity to make the battle by his left.
He was still in doubt whether it would be better to move to his far-off right.
About nine o'clock he rode to his left to be assove all the troops around on the right and attack on that side.
I do not think that the errand on which I was sent by the commanding general is consistent with the idea of an attack at sunrise by any portion of the army. Yours, very truly, Charles S. Venable.
Baltimore, Md., May 7, 1875. Dear General, . . .
I have no personal recollection of the order to which you refer.
It certainly was not conveyed by me, nor is there anything in General Lee's official report to show the attack on the 2
ried so slowly that it did not amount to much, if anything.
General Hancock's evidence on that point is: General Meade told me before the fight that if the enemy attacked me, he intended to put the Fifth and Sixth Corps on the enemy's flank.
From which it is evident that the withdrawal of the divisions of my right, to be put in the column of assault, would have been followed by those corps swinging around and enveloping the assaulting columns and gaining Lee's line of retreat.
Colonel Venable thinks it a mistake to have put Heth's division in the assaulting column.
He says,--They were terribly mistaken about Hethl's division in this planning.
It had not recuperated, having suffered more than was reported on the first day.
But to accept for the moment Colonel Taylor's premises, the two divisions referred to would have swelled the columns of assault to twenty-three thousand men. We were alone in the battle as on the day before.
The enemy had seventy-five thousand men on
The distance of march was twenty-eight miles. Soon after my arrival at the shops, Colonel Venable, of general Headquarters staff, came with orders for a change of direction of the column th troops, seeing him off his balance, refused to follow, begged him to retire, and presently Colonel Venable, of his staff, reported to me General Lee's efforts to lead the brigade, and suggested thativen.
I present here a letter from General Alexander and an extract from one written me by Colonel Venable.
The former says,--
Augusta, Ga., June 12, 1879. My Dear General,--
Absence prevented e distance covered will show.
Very truly yours, E. P. Alexander. General Longstreet.
Colonel Venable writes,--
July 25, 1879. Dear General,--
... Well, the morning came.
The enemy attacke Field on the left, restoring the battle.
It was superb, and my heart beats quicker to think about it even at this distance of time ....
Yours, very truly, Charles S. Venable. General Longstreet.
r-like of the many noble deeds of the war.
While waiting near my rear, General Lee received information, through Colonel Venable, of his staff, as to the disaster at Sailor's Creek.
He drew Mahone's division away, and took it back to find the fout the severity of my note in respect to Colonel Marshall's interference with my division the night before, up rode Colonel Venable, of General Lee's staff, and wanted to know if he, General Lee, had received his message.
General Lee replied No, when Colonel Venable informed him that the enemy had captured the wagon-trains at Sailor's Creek. General Lee exclaimed, Where is Anderson?
Where is Ewell?
It is strange I can't hear from them.
Then turning to me, he said, General Mahone, I have r by the left flank, and off we were for Sailor's Creek, where the disaster had occurred.
General Lee rode with me, Colonel Venable a little in the rear.
On reaching the south crest of the high ground at the crossing of the river road overlooking
he right of the artillery and infantry, as they advanced to clear the way. They reported some success, capturing two pieces of artillery, when General Ord's column came up. He had, besides his Army of the James, the Fifth Army Corps. These commands, with the cavalry, pushed the Confederates back a little, while the two corps of the Army of the Potomac were advancing against my rear-guard.
Of the early hours of this, the last day of active existence of the Army of Northern Virginia, Colonel Venable, of General Lee's staff, wrote thus:
At three o'clock on the morning of that fatal day, General Lee rode forward, still hoping that he might break through the countless hordes of the enemy, who hemmed us in. Halting a short distance in rear of our vanguard, he sent me on to General Gordon to ask him if he could break through the enemy.
I found General Gordon and General Fitz Lee on their front line in the dim light of the morning, arranging our attack.
Gordon's reply to the messag