I saw them around Atlanta and in Hood's Nashville campaign, and I know that, on consultation with Major General Clayton, I designated Gibson's brigade to cross the Tennessee river in open boats, in the presence of the enemy, opposite Florence, Ala., and a more gallant crossing of any river was not made during the war. The enemy was supposed to be in large force, covered by the banks, but Gibson and his men never enquired as to numbers when they were ordered forward, and their gallant bearing soon put the enemy's sharpsh-sooters to flight and secured a good crossing for two divisions of my corps. At Nashville, where Hood was defeated by Thomas, Gibson's brigade, of my corps, was conspicuously posted on the left of Pike, near Overton Hill, and I witnessed their driving back, with the rest of Clayton's division, two formidable assaults of the enemy, and my corps repulsed all attacks till compelled to retire because the two corps on my left had given back and the enemy was already in my rear. They were rallied readily, about two and one-half miles in rear of the original line, by brigades and divisions. I recollect, near dark, riding up to a brigade near a battery and trying to seize a stand of colors and lead the brigade against the enemy. The color-bearer refused to give up his colors, and was sustained by his regiment. I found it was the color-bearer of the Thirteenth Louisiana, and it was Gibson's Louisiana brigade. Gibson soon appeared by my side, and in my admiration of such conduct I exclaimed: “Gibson, these are the best men I ever saw. You take them and check the enemy.” Gibson did lead them and did check the enemy. This incident ought to satisfy any member of the Thirteenth Louisiana that that regiment was as gallant as any in the service and it affords me great pleasure, as a comrade, to add my mite in their vindication.
Yours truly, S. D. Lee.