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[171] from his brigade for that purpose; this would have been more definite as to numbers. He also says “I rode in front of Battery Gregg and instructed Colonel Duncan to have plenty of ammunition brought into that work;” he was but transmitting my orders, the ammunition had been ordered up before he reached the field; also, “I assumed immediate command of Whitworth, as the larger part of my command occupied it;” this would imply that it was an act of volition on his part, instead of an order from a military superior; he was ordered into Whitworth for the reason he gave, and there being also more artillery in it. Again, he states “he was ordered by General Lee a few minutes after the fall of Gregg to retire from Whitworth,” at least he so understood it. He retired from that work by my orders. General Lee would not have sent him such an order without its passing through me, as I was in charge of that part of the field. The order reached General Harris a few minutes after the fall of Gregg, but it was dispatched to him before it was taken, when it was apparent that it must be captured. Having evacuated Whitworth, he “retired to the inner lines running from battery Forty-five to the Appomattox.” Our lines did not extend to that river, there was an interval of near one mile between the right and the river; and it was this gap that the troops from the north side of the James river filled up when they arrived.

General Harris refers to what General Lane stated in his communication on the defence of Gregg, and if he quoted him correctly, he (Lane) was wrong, for General Harris did not retire from Whitworth before Gregg was attacked in force, and then by my orders, and after the fall of Gregg; and in battery Gregg was a number of Harris's brigade, that exceeded his (Lane's), if I remember correctly.

Besides his own statement, General Harris gives one signed by a number of officers, non-commisioned officers, and privates of the Twelfth and Sixteenth Mississippi, and by several others not of those regiments. All these say, “We assert that said defence was made by the Twelfth and Sixteenth Mississippi regiments, Harris's brigade and a section of Washington artillery. There may have been a few men of other commands, but they were without organization.” I do not question the honesty and good faith of this statement; they were simply mistaken. The men of the two brigades (Lane's and Thomas's) that were in Gregg by my orders, had been in service as long as those of Harris's, and were not inferior to them in discipline. They had been engaged early in the morning, had lost heavily in killed, wounded and prisoners, but with ranks sadly thinned, they responded promptly to my orders, and recovered a portion of our lost lines, again to be given

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N. H. Harris (7)
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