Walton was not in full command of the artillery of the First corps at the battle of Gettysburg. My orders, however, as well as my instructions, quoted in another part of the narrative, were addressed to Colonel J. B. Walton as Chief of Artillery, and show conclusively that he was in command on that day. Colonel Alexander figured more prominently in the correspondence that passed between myself and the artillery simply because I had consulted personally with Colonel Alexander on these points before the battle opened, and because he was most directly interested in the handling of the artillery massed at the peach orchard, and under cover of which Pickett was to make his charge. Colonel Walton was a brave and capable officer, and I regret that my narrative was so construed as to reflect upon his fair and spotless record. There were two or three trifling inaccuracies in my first account of this battle which need correction: The scout, upon whose information the head of our column was turned to the right, reported at Chambersburg on the night of the 28th of June. It is printed the 29th. Several orders that I issued on the 1st of July, and so dated, appear under the date of the 18th. The real strength of Pickett's division was 4,500 bayonets. It was printed at 5,500. In the paragraph where I stated that General Meade anticipated my attack of the 3d, and told General Hancock that he intended to throw the Fifth and Sixth corps against its flanks when it was made, it is printed that he gave this information in the “evening,” when, of course, it should have been “morning.” With these trifling exceptions, the article, as printed, was correct. I have now done, for the present, with the campaign of Gettysburg. What I have written about it has been compelled from me by a desire on the one hand to have future historians properly informed upon the most important movement of the war, and a necessity on the other hand of correcting important misstatements made ignorantly or maliciously concerning it. I have written nothing that was not supported by abundant proof, advanced no opinions not clearly justified by the facts. As disastrous as the results of that battle were, and as innocent as I was of bringing them upon my people, I accepted my share of the disaster without a murmur, and cheerfully bore the responsibility of it as long as there was a possibility of injuring the cause we were engaged in by a discussion of the points involved. I should probably have never written a line concerning the battle had it not been for the attempt of the wordy soldiers to specifically fix upon me the-whole burden of that battle-their rashness carrying them so far as to lead them to put false orders in the mouth of our great captain, and charge me with having broken them. To disprove these untrue assertions, and to give the world the truth concerning the battle, then became what I considered an imperative duty. I repeat that I regret most deeply that this discussion was not opened before the death of General Lee. If the charges so vehemently urged against me after his death had been preferred, or even suggested, in his lifetime, I do not believe they would have needed any reply from me. General Lee would have answered them himself, and have set history right. But, even as the matter is, I do not fear the verdict of history on Gettysburg. Time sets all, things right. Error lives but a day-truth is eternal.
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Table of Contents:
Fifth annual meeting of the Southern Historical Society , October 31st ., 1877 .
Address of General John T. Morgan , U. S. Senator from Alabama .
Fifth annual report of the Executive Committee of the Southern Historical Society , for year Ending October 31st , 1877 .
Leading Confederates on the battle of Gettysburg .
General James Longstreet 's account of the campaign and battle.
Our Gettysburg series.
The true story of the capture of Jefferson Davis .
Letter from Admiral Semmes .
Letter from Colonel William Preston Johnston , late aid to President Davis .
A correction of General Patton Andersons report of the battle of Jonesboro , Ga.
Advance sheets of Reminiscences of secession, war, and reconstruction, by Lieutenant-General Richard Taylor .
Torpedo service in the Harbor and water defences of Charleston .
A review of the First two days operations at Gettysburg and a reply to General Longstreet by General Fitz. Lee .
Letter from General Winfield Hancock .
Letter from John B. Bachelder , Esq.
Letter from General R. Lindsay Walker .
Official report of General W. N. Pendleton , Chief of artillery , A. N. V .
Battle of Murfreesboro .
Letter from President Davis -reply to Mr. Hunter .
Decision of the Supreme Court of Tennessee that the Confederacy was de jure as well as de facto-opinion of Judge Turney .
The bank of Tennessee v. Wm. B. Cummings , Adm'r.
Steuart 's brigade at the battle of Gettysburg .--a narrative by Rev. Randolph H. McKim , D. D. , late First Lieutenant and Aide-de-camp, Confederate army .
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