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enticated; but Miss Emily Mason, in her biography, gives a correspondence between Hon. John Thompson Mason and General Lee, in which the fomer details the incident as it occurred with Gregg's Texas brigade, and asks the General about it. The reply is characteristic, and is as follows: Lexington, Va., December 7, 1865. Hon. John Thompson Mason: My Dear Sir — I regret that my occupations are such as to prevent me from writing at present a narrative of the event which you request in your letter of the 4th instant. The account you give is substantially correct. General Gordon was the officer. It occurred in the battles around Spotsylvania Courthouse. With great respect, your friend and servant, R. E. Lee. The world's history can produce no more splendid battle pictures than these, and yet so unconscious was General Lee of their bearing that he mingles two into one, and seems to have forgotten the other altogether. J. William Jones. Richmond, Va., December 10, 1879
storm of shot and shell upon either flank; and still on, pressing back the stubborn heavy mass, covering the earth in piles with the slain, till the enemy, his organization lost in confusion, retired from the dreadful carnage, yielded back the captured works, and the crisis passed, and the field was saved. Of the French engaged in what Napoleon calls the terrible passage of the bridge of Lodi, the loss was one in four. The proportion of loss in the force engaged in that charge on the 12th of May I do not know; but in one regiment — the centre regiment of one of the brigades, and if more exposed than others I know it not and know not why — the loss was one in two. There was still another account of this scene, but agreeing with the two given above in all of the essential points, written at the time by the now Professor W. W. Smith, of Randolph-Macon College--then a beardless boy serving in the Forty-ninth Virginia regiment--which was so graphic that I will publish it so soon a
May 6th, 1864 AD (search for this): chapter 1.6
or of this country, and that I was his carriage driver. Nothing so pleased the private soldier as to see his officers willing to share his dangers; and among our Confederate soldiers especially, the officer who did not freely go himself wherever he ordered his men soon lost their confidence and respect. But General Lee was an exception to this rule. The soldiers could never bear to see him exposed to personal danger, and always earnestly remonstrated against it. On the morning of May 6th, 1864, in the Wilderness, as Heth's and Wilcox's divisions of A. P. Hill's corps were preparing to withdraw from the line of their gallant fight of the day before, to give place to Longstreet's corps, which was rapidly approaching, the enemy suddenly made upon them a furious attack with overwhelming numbers. These brave men were borne back by the advancing wave. General Lindsay Walker with his artillery (superbly served under the immediate eye of Lee and Hill) was gallantly beating back the
May 12th, 1864 AD (search for this): chapter 1.6
's corps hurried to the front; Hill's troops rallied; the enemy was driven in confusion, and only the wounding of Longstreet at this unfortunate juncture prevented the utter rout, if not the crushing, of that wing of Grant's army. On the 12th of May, 1864, the Confederate lines were broken near Spotsylvania Courthouse; the Federal troops poured into the opening, and a terrible disaster seemed imminent. As Early's old division, now commanded by General John B. Gordon, was being rapidly formeds at the head of the column--Follow your Generals! was the order. They followed their Generals, passed the bridge, pierced the Austrian centre, and won the victory. In the earliest dawn of a misty morning — the morning of the memorable 12th of May, 1864--one of those tremendous massed columns, which, from time to time during that frightful campaign, were hurled against the Army of Northern Virginia, dashed against our line with the fury and force of a tornado, and burst it asunder; and, th
December 7th, 1865 AD (search for this): chapter 1.6
nto the thickest of that terrible fight by the positive refusal of the men to go forward unless their beloved Chieftain would go to the rear. These three incidents are all well authenticated; but Miss Emily Mason, in her biography, gives a correspondence between Hon. John Thompson Mason and General Lee, in which the fomer details the incident as it occurred with Gregg's Texas brigade, and asks the General about it. The reply is characteristic, and is as follows: Lexington, Va., December 7, 1865. Hon. John Thompson Mason: My Dear Sir — I regret that my occupations are such as to prevent me from writing at present a narrative of the event which you request in your letter of the 4th instant. The account you give is substantially correct. General Gordon was the officer. It occurred in the battles around Spotsylvania Courthouse. With great respect, your friend and servant, R. E. Lee. The world's history can produce no more splendid battle pictures than these, and ye
June 9th, 1879 AD (search for this): chapter 1.6
upon you! --produced a happier effect; and these brave fellows swept grandly forward, stemmed the tide, drove back five times their own numbers, retook the larger part of the works, established a new Confederate line, and converted disaster into a brilliant victory. General Lee's horse was led back through the color company of the Fifty-second Virginia regiment, which was then commanded by Captain James Bumgardner, Jr., who was an eye-witness of the scene. At the last Memorial day, June 9th, 1879, of the Augusta Association, presided over by Colonel James H. Skinner, of the old Fifty-second Virginia regiment, Captain Bumgardner made an eloquent address, from which I take the following description of the above battle picture, which I obtained from another eye-witness: There is one incident in the history of the Army of Northern Virginia, so similar in many respects to an incident in the history of the army of Italy, which occurred during that campaign, conceded to be the most
December 10th, 1879 AD (search for this): chapter 1.6
enticated; but Miss Emily Mason, in her biography, gives a correspondence between Hon. John Thompson Mason and General Lee, in which the fomer details the incident as it occurred with Gregg's Texas brigade, and asks the General about it. The reply is characteristic, and is as follows: Lexington, Va., December 7, 1865. Hon. John Thompson Mason: My Dear Sir — I regret that my occupations are such as to prevent me from writing at present a narrative of the event which you request in your letter of the 4th instant. The account you give is substantially correct. General Gordon was the officer. It occurred in the battles around Spotsylvania Courthouse. With great respect, your friend and servant, R. E. Lee. The world's history can produce no more splendid battle pictures than these, and yet so unconscious was General Lee of their bearing that he mingles two into one, and seems to have forgotten the other altogether. J. William Jones. Richmond, Va., December 10, 1879
rned upon the successful passage of the bridge of Lodi. The Austrian army with its artillery were massed upon the other side, and the narrow pass must be won in the face of the concentrated fire. The French column was formed and ordered to advance. They staggered under the withering fire and retreated; but failure was ruin, the pass must be won. They were rallied, brought back to the charge, but again retreated; yet the pass must be won; when Napoleon himself, and, by his order, Massena, Berthier, Cervoni, Dalmagne and Lannes, placed themselves at the head of the column--Follow your Generals! was the order. They followed their Generals, passed the bridge, pierced the Austrian centre, and won the victory. In the earliest dawn of a misty morning — the morning of the memorable 12th of May, 1864--one of those tremendous massed columns, which, from time to time during that frightful campaign, were hurled against the Army of Northern Virginia, dashed against our line with the fury an
James Bumgardner (search for this): chapter 1.6
r part of the works, established a new Confederate line, and converted disaster into a brilliant victory. General Lee's horse was led back through the color company of the Fifty-second Virginia regiment, which was then commanded by Captain James Bumgardner, Jr., who was an eye-witness of the scene. At the last Memorial day, June 9th, 1879, of the Augusta Association, presided over by Colonel James H. Skinner, of the old Fifty-second Virginia regiment, Captain Bumgardner made an eloquent aCaptain Bumgardner made an eloquent address, from which I take the following description of the above battle picture, which I obtained from another eye-witness: There is one incident in the history of the Army of Northern Virginia, so similar in many respects to an incident in the history of the army of Italy, which occurred during that campaign, conceded to be the most successful and splendid of all the campaigns of Napoleon, which so strikingly illustrates the character and spirit of the Confederate soldier, that I cannot for
J. A. Early (search for this): chapter 1.6
xans rushed eagerly forward and nobly redeemed their pledge. The rest of Longstreet's corps hurried to the front; Hill's troops rallied; the enemy was driven in confusion, and only the wounding of Longstreet at this unfortunate juncture prevented the utter rout, if not the crushing, of that wing of Grant's army. On the 12th of May, 1864, the Confederate lines were broken near Spotsylvania Courthouse; the Federal troops poured into the opening, and a terrible disaster seemed imminent. As Early's old division, now commanded by General John B. Gordon, was being rapidly formed to recapture the works, General Lee rode to the front and took his position just in advance of the colors of the Forty-ninth Virginia regiment. He uttered not a word — he was not the man.for theatrical display — but as he quietly took off his hat, and sat his war horse the very personification of the genius of battle, it was evident to all that he meant to lead the charge. Just then the gallant Gordon spurred
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