alone by the love of truth and justice?
When disputes arise as to the details of battles fought — and it appears to be inevitable that they should arise — it is to old comrades in arms, who were present and took part in those about which there are differences of opinion, that we must look for information; these are competent to settle satisfactorily all disputed points, and as they cannot come together for that purpose, they are forced to appear in print, to have recourse to the newspapers and periodicals.
I prepared and sent to the Southern Historical Society for publication, a brief outline of such military operations, as I had knowledge of, that occurred in the vicinity of Petersburg
during several days preceding the evacuation of that town and Richmond
The defence of Battery Gregg was included in that brief narrative, inaccurate accounts of which I had read in history,1
And as I wrote to correct, in part, the misstatements of others, it was my purpose to be as accurate as the information I had, as to what I was relating, would permit.
I had near me at the time my own report of the incidents referred to, and if I was mistaken in any details given, it would give me much pleasure to have them pointed out, to the end that they be corrected, for I would regret exceedingly to find in history, errrors that could be justly charged to any delinquency on my part.
I must reiterate all that contribution — found in the July (1877) number of these papers — contained, with reference to Battery Gregg.
If, however, there be any mistake in what was then written, it may be as to the numbers of those that defended it. I have always believed there were about two hundred; it is possible I may have underestimated, though they were placed there by my order and in my presence.
That number of men was, I thought at the time, as many as could conveniently fire over the crest of the work.
referred by name to those who had written of the attack and defence of Gregg, as well as to the time of, and periodicals in which publications were made, and adds, “I shall now state a few facts from memoranda made in writing in the latter part of the year 1865” ; and then gives information as to where his brigade was the night of April 1st, and how and under what orders he reported to me the next morning near the Newman house
, on the plank road.
Then says, “As I approached I saw that the enemy had broken his (Wilcox
) lines in heavy force, and was extending in line of battle across the open fields in direction of the Southside railroad.”