says: “At half-past 3 o'clock the order was given General Hood
to advance upon the enemy, and hurrying to the head of McLaws
' division, I moved with his line.”
What business had he, a corps commander, to advance with the line of battle on one part of the field?
Instead of taking a position from which he could see the progress of the battle all along the line, and with the practiced eye of a great captain, taking in at once the whole situation, eager to discover and quick to take advantage of any mistake of his adversary, or weak points in his line, he was playing the part simply of a gallant brigadier, and advancing with his line of battle at one end of it, leaving the other to take care of itself or to be directed by his subordinates.
There was no necessity for a display of his gallantry; no one questioned his courage.
Had he been in his proper place, and exercising that vigilance and sagacity which his high position and duty required, the moment that his troops got possession of Round Top
, he would have reinforced them and have sent at least a portion of his artillery to occupy it, and thus have secured the position which General Meade
admits would have rendered it impossible for him to have held the ground he then occupied.
It would have won the battle, or at least have forced Meade
to have abandoned his position.
So great a general as R. E. Lee
never orders an impossibility.
Having written all that I purposed writing, it is, perhaps, in bad taste to add anything more; but at the risk of criticism, I will relate two incidents of the battle.
The following did not come under my own observation, but I am satisfied of its correctness, and relate it as I received it. Any one who knows old Colonel Mike Bulger
, of Tallapoosa county, Alabama
, will see that it is characteristic.
As already stated, he fell severely wounded on the evening of the 2d.
His regiment fell back and left him on the field.
He was struck in the breast by a minnie ball, which passed directly through his left lung.
He was Sitting by a tree and the blood gushing from his wound, when the Federals
came on him. A captain or some subordinate officer, approached him and demanded his sword, when the following colloquy ensued:
B.--What is your rank, sir?
— I am a captain, sir
, and demand your sword.
B.--I am a lieutenant-colonel, sir
, and will surrender my sword only to an officer of equal rank.