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[266] intimate, and tender during the whole war. That his confidence in me was never shaken there is the most abundant proof; but I cannot be tempted, even by direct misrepresentations, into a discussion of this subject. I will advert to one point that will go to show the relations that existed between us. It is an incident of the second battle of Manassas.

When the head of my column reached that field it was about 12 o'clock on the 29th. As we approached the field we heard sounds of a heavy battle, which proved to be General Jackson very severely engaged with the enemy. As my column deployed on the field, the enemy at once withdrew, in good order, however, and took up a strong position a little in the rear or where the heaviest fighting had been going on. During the lull that succeeded, General Lee rode up to where I was and told me that he had determined to attack the position taken by the enemy and indicated his purpose to have me open the fight. My men were then arranged for battle, but I asked General Lee to withhold the order for attack until I had made a careful reconnoissance and determined exactly how the troops had best be handled. He consented, of course, to this, and I went forward to make the reconnoissance. After a careful examination of the ground I rode back to General Lee, and reported that the position was very strong and the prospects hardly such as to warrant the heavy sacrifice of life that a serious attack would involve. General Lee was not satisfied, however, but seemed disposed to insist upon an attack. He began to suggest moves by which an advantageous assault might be made. Before the question was at all decided a dispatch was received from General Stuart, giving us notice that a very strong column was moving up against my right. General Lee ordered me at once to reinforce that part of my line and be ready to repel the attack. I ordered the reinforcing column to the march and rode out rapidly in advance, that I might see precisely what was needed. The threatening column proved to be General Fitz John Porter's command. After seeing it, I reported back to General Lee that it was too light a column in my opinion to mean a real attack. This presumption was correct, and the advance soon halted and then withdrew.

General Lee then recalled the question of an immediate attack upon the main position of the Federals. I was thoroughly convinced that the position was too strong to be taken without very severe loss, and I suggested to General Lee that the attack be postponed, and that we make a forced reconnoissance just at nightfall, and that we could then prepare to attack at daylight, if it seemed advisable after thorough investigation to make the attack at all. He consented very readily to this, and I left him to prepare for the forced reconnoissance. The reconnaissance was successfully made at nightfall. During the night several of my brigadiers came in and they all agreed in reporting the position very strong. At about midnight Generals Hood and Evans,%and possibly one or two others, came to my headquarters and made similar reports, expressing apprehensions as to the result of the attack. Everything developed by this closer reconnaissance went to confirm the impression made upon me by my reconnoissance during the day. I therefore determined not to make the attack, and ordered my troops back to the original line of battle.


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