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[321] volley of artillery. The hills on the right were not taken, but yet the signal for the centre to advance was given. Our brigade was formed, the Fifty-fourth and Twenty-second deployed in line of battle, the former on the left, supported by the Sixteenth in double column, the Forty-second supporting the Twenty-second. At ten minutes before twelve o'clock the brigade was moving forward, the right wing led by Col. De Courcy, and they had advanced but a short distance when we found ourselves in the toils of an almost impassable “abattis” of fallen timber, where it was impossible to preserve our formation in line of battle; the gallant labor of these regiments was of no avail for the object in view, as part of the Twenty-second Kentucky and the Forty-second Ohio. came into a deep and wide bayou which separated them from the open ground in front of the enemy's works. The Sixteenth, Fifty-fourth, and part of the Twenty-second having a much easier road to traverse, had dashed across the bayou and commenced the charge over the open ground. Officers and men of the Twenty-second seeing the splendid advance of the Sixteenth, remarked to Colonel De Courcy: “There is the effect of discipline.” Not being able to cross the bayou immediately in front of the right wing, the order was given, “By the left flank,” and at “double-quick.” We now traversed once more, though in another direction, the “abattis,” and by a comparative easy slope rushed down and across the bayou, and soon reached, notwithstanding a heavy fire of shell and musketry, the open ground, too late, however, to afford assistance to the brave men in the advance. They had reached the foot of the enemy's works; the Sixteenth, Fifty-fourth, and Twenty-second planted their colors there, but were compelled to fall back. Batteries in front, right, and left, and indeed there were batteries so placed as to command even our rear, (after an advance of one hundred yards over the open ground,) and rifle-pits in every conceivable place filled with men which vomited one sheet of flame on the approach of our men. No troops could stand such an amount of concentric fire, and our men retired. The Forty-second was halted and deployed in line of battle to cover the retreat of repulsed regiments. This regiment performed this duty well, reentering our lines in perfect order. Gen. Blair's brigade got as fair as the enemy's first line of rifle-pits, and moved not beyond them. Colonel D)e Courcy's brigade did go beyond them, and got up to the main line of the enemy's works; and when this brigade had to retreat, Blair's brigade had already left. Much has been said about Gen. Blair's bravery. I do not wish to detract from it, but I can assure you he did nothing that day to merit the ridiculous encomiums heaped upon him. When I got to the bayou I found said General Blair safely ensconced (and very excited) under the high bank. W. E. W., not content with bespattering Blair with indiscreet praise, proceeds to bespatter De Courcy's brigade with mud. But it is the oily, dirty stuff of a liar; for he lies when he says that D)e Courcy's brigade was late in coming up; that it was the reserve; that Blair's men cried out for the reserve, and saw it not coming to their help. Why, De Courcy's men were started for the charge by the same signal which moved Blair's, and though the distance they had to go over was greater, they advanced far beyond the rifle-pit where Blair's men had stopped, and out of which they did not move until they retreated, many of them throwing away their arms, and nearly all their colors. Why does W. E. W. suppress the fact about the loss of so many colors? De Courcy's brigade brought all theirs back, torn to pieces by shot, shell, and rifle-bullet. What was the state of De Courcy's brigade after the charge? A statement of the losses will alone suffice to show the world how nobly it attempted to do its duty. In short, it is apparent that W. E. W.'s intentions is to make a hero of Blair and his men at the expense of De Courcy and his brigade. The question must be put, Why is this attempt made? Is it to make capital for the politician at the expense of the soldier, whose non-promotion proves so clearly that the latter has no friends near the White House, whatever the reason? I am one among the many who are ready to prove that W. E. W. has put that in print about De Courcy's brigade which is false, and which will do injury to their fame unless distinctly denied, and suppressed that which will do it honor. That he has put in print supremely ridiculous and exaggerated accounts of Blair's doings, suppressing in toto that which would certainly injure him. This attempt will fail, and fail with a tremendous recoil, for there can be no comparison between the two men. Blair is notoriously ignorant of all matters appertaining to his present profession, and it is well known that he has not the most distant conception of the simplest manoeuvres.

Whilst Col. De Courcy is as well known for his theoretical and practical knowledge of the soldier's art and science, and as a tactician has given proof of the facility with which he can handle any number of regiments — handle them, I mean, in a technical manner. As to bravery, I know not what General Blair's may be. Its quantity and quality may be all that W. E. W. says it is; so be it, for I wish not for a moment to detract from it. But Col. De Courcy I have seen often under fire, and it is his bearing on such occasions which has given him the great hold which he has acquired, notwithstanding the severity of his discipline, over all ranks of the regiments in his brigade. Under fire this officer's tactical perceptions appear to be as clear as on the peaceful drill-ground. His manner is there always cool, and if any confusion takes place, he can, and he always has restored good order. But two things above all. First: He is always under fire whenever and however small a portion of his brigade may be engaged. Second: He never, when danger is in front, orders his men to “go on,” as some do, but giving the example, he leads with a “come on.”


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