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[178] the enemy were in the immediate front of our weak lines and in the act of advancing. The guns in these two batteries had the widest possible field of fire, they being in barbette; the mutual support and protection designed by the engineers for these two works to give the one to the other was thwarted at the the critical moment by this chief of artillery. It was a well conceived and timely act of General Harris, setting fire to the log-cabin winter quarters of a brigade that covered the front of Whitworth; he thus held the enemy at bay, and during that time the four guns — had they remained — could have delivered a rapid fire of schrapnel and grape upon the flank of the enemy, scarcely four hundred yards distant. It is probable, had this been done, the enemy would have been repulsed, and although Gregg would have been finally captured, yet during the time of preparation for a renewal of the assault the little garrison might have been withdrawn. I was not without hopes, before the engagement had been joined that such would be the result. Knowing General Harris well and esteeming him very highly, I can say he would make no statement he did not believe to be true, and of the errors cited by myself, the most of them are trivial in kind and unimportant, and that they have evidently resulted from writing in hasteis shown by the fact that they have been proven to be errors by referring to the very authorities cited by himself. In conclusion, the infantry in Battery Gregg was made up of detachments from Harris's Mississippi brigade, Lane's North Carolina brigade and Thomas's Georgia brigade. There were more men from Harris's than from Lane's, and less from Thomas's than from Lane's. There were in it two pieces of artillery; I never heard until long subsequently from what State they came, and it was my impression there were a few artillerymen armed as infantry. The entire force at the time was believed by me to be about two hundred; it is very probable they were underestimated. Statements made by those in the battery at the time induce me to believe there must have been more than I supposed. Of the little force that defended it so bravely sixty-seven were killed.

C. M. Wilcox. Washington, February 23, 1881.

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N. H. Harris (4)
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February 23rd, 1881 AD (1)
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