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From the Rapidan to Spotsylvania Courthouse.

Report of General R. S. Ewell.

Richmond, Va., March 20th, 1865.
Colonel W. H. Taylor, Acting Adjutant-General:
Colonel,—When General Grant crossed the Rapidan, R. D. Johnston's North Carolina brigade, of Rodes' division, was at Hanover Junction; the Twenty-first Georgia, of Doles' brigade, same division, and Hoke's brigade, of Early's division, were in North Carolina. About 13,500 effective infantry and two thousand artillery were present. By order of General Lee, his corps and division commanders met him on Monday, 2d of May, 1864, at the Signal Station on Clark's Mountain. He then gave it as his opinion that the enemy would cross by some of the fords below us, as Germania or Ely's. They began to do so next day. About noon of the 4th we moved from our camps on the Rapidan towards Locust Grove, on the old turnpike from Orange Courthouse to Fredericksburg. Johnston's division and Nelson's battalion of artillery bivouacked two miles south of Locust Grove; Rodes just behind them, and Early at Locust Grove. The artillery was close behind Early. Ramseur's brigade, of Rodes' division, with three regiments from each of the other divisions, was left on picket. Next morning I moved down the pike, sending the First North Carolina cavalry, which I found in my front, on a road that turned to the left towards Germania Ford. About 8 A. M. I sent Major Campbell Brown, of my staff, to General Lee to report my position. In reply, he instructed me to regulate my march by General A. P. Hill, whose progress down the plank-road I could tell by the firing at the head of his column, and informed me that he preferred not to bring on a general engagement before General Longstreet came up.

Advancing slowly with J. M. Jones' brigade, of Johnston's division, in advance, prepared for action, I came, about 11 A. M., in sight of a column of the enemy crossing the pike from Germania Ford towards the plank-road. The ‘Stonewall’ (Walker's) brigade had been sent down a left-hand road, driving in the enemy's pickets within a mile and a half of Germania Ford. Being a good deal ahead of General Hill, I halted, and again reported through LieutenantCol-onel A. S. Pendleton, of my staff, receiving substantially the same [230] instructions as before. Just after they came the enemy demonstrated against Jones' brigade, and I placed Battle's, of Rodes' division, to support it, with Doles on Battle's right. They were instructed not to allow themselves to become involved, but to fall back slowly, if pressed. Some artillery posted near the pike, on Jones' front, was withdrawn. Soon afterwards the enemy fell suddenly upon Jones' right flank and front, broke his brigade and drove it back upon Battle's, which it disordered. Daniel's brigade, of Rodes' division, and Gordon's, of Early's, were soon brought up and regained the lost ground, the latter capturing, by a dashing charge, several hundred prisoners, and relieving Doles, who, though hard pressed, had held his ground. General J. M. Jones and his aide-de-camp, Captain Robert Early, fell in a desperate effort to rally their brigade. I placed it in reserve to reorganize—Battle's brigade, which had rallied in time to do good service, taking its place in the line, which was now formed on the ground first occupied. The brigades were as follows from right to left of my line: Daniel, Doles, Battle (Rodes' division), G. H. Steuart's, ‘Stonewall’ (Walker's), Stafford's (Johnson's division), Pegram, Hays, Gordon (Early's division); Battle's left and Steuart's right rested on the pike. Slight works were at once thrown up, and several partial attacks of the enemy repulsed. In a counter attack by Steuart's and Battle's brigades, two 24-pound howitzers, brought up the pike within eight hundred yards of our works, were captured. The troops were brought back to the works after posting skirmishers to hold the captured pieces till dark, when they were brought off.

General Stafford was mortally wounded in a similar attack by his own and the ‘Stonewall’ brigades late in the afternoon. The fight ing closed at dusk with the repulse of a fierce attack on Pegram's brigade. General Pegram was severely wounded, and Colonel Hoffman (Thirty first Virginia) succeeded to the command. This evening General Ramseur came up with the picket regiments, which rejoined their brigades. Ramseur went to the extreme right of my line next morning.

The 6th of May was occupied in partial assaults on my line, now greatly strengthened, and in efforts to find my flank, which were promptly checked. About 9 A. M. I got word from General Gordon, through General Early in person, that his scouts reported the enemy's right exposed, and he urged turning it; but his views were opposed by General Early, who thought the attempt unsafe. This necessitated a personal examination, which was made as soon as other duties permitted; but in consequence of this delay and other unavoidable [231] causes, the movement was not begun until nearly sunset. After the examination I ordered the attack, and placed Robert D. Johnston's brigade, of Rodes' division, that morning arrived from Hanover Junction, to support Gordon. Each brigade, as its front was cleared, was to unite in the attack. Hays was partly moved out of his works to connect with Gordon. The latter attacked vehemently, and when checked by the darkness, had captured, with slight loss, a mile of the works held by the Sixth Corps, six hundred prisoners and two brigadier-generals (Seymour and Shaler). Of the force encountered not an organized regiment remained, and nearly all had thrown away their arms. They made no attempt to recover the lost ground, but drew back their line so as to give up Germania Ford entirely. Major Daniel, of General Early's staff, joined in Gordon's attack, and was desperately wounded and maimed for life while gallantly assisting in this brilliant movement.

On the 7th of May no fighting took place except that in extending to join General Hill's left, General Ramseur came upon a division of the Ninth Corps entrenching. This he put to flight by a sudden attack of his skirmishers, capturing several hundred knapsacks and occupying the ground. On the night of the 7th the general commanding sent me word to extend to the right in conformity to the movements of the troops there, and if, at daylight, I found no large force in my front, to follow General Anderson towards Spotsylvania Courthouse. This was done. On the march, orders were received placing General Early in command of Hill's corps, transferring Hays's brigade to Johnson's division, and consolidating both Louisiana brigades under General Hays, and assigning R. D. Johnston's brigade to Early's division, of which General Gordon came in command. After a very distressing march through intense heat and thick dust and smoke from burning woods, my troops reached Spotsylvania Courthouse about 5 P. M., just in time for Rodes to repel an attempt to turn Anderson's right, which rested on the road. Rodes advanced nearly half a mile, when his left, coming upon strong works, was checked, and he was forced to halt. Johnson's division formed on his right; Gordon remained in reserve. On the 9th the lines were defined and entrenched. There were two salients: one at Rodes's right brigade (Doles's), the other at Johnson's centre, where I occupied a high open point, which if held by the enemy would enable their artillery to command our line. Johnson's right was connected by skirmishers with Hill's (Early's) left. A second line from Rodes's left centre to Hill's left, cutting off the salients, was laid [232] out by the Chief Engineer and built and occupied by Gordon's division. Heavy skirmishing took place. General Hays was severely wounded.

10th May.—The enemy's batteries getting an enfilade and reverse fire on Gordon's line, he was withdrawn and placed in rear of Rodes's left and Anderson's right (Kershaw's division), where an attack was expected. About 4 P. M. I learned that General Doles's skirmishers were driven into his works. He was ordered to regain his skirmishline at any cost, but while preparing to do so, his lines were attacked and broken, he losing three hundred prisoners. The right of Daniel's brigade was exposed and fell back to the second line already mentioned. Battle's brigade and Gordon's division were rapidly brought up and the former thrown across the head of the enemy's column, while the leading brigade (R. D. Johnston's) of the latter, with the remnants of Doles's and the right of Daniel's brigades, struck on one flank, and the ‘Stonewall’ (Walker's) of Johnson's division on the other. In a short time the enemy were driven from our works, leaving a hundred dead within them, and a large number in front. Our loss as near as I can tell was six hundred and fifty, of whom three hundred and fifty were prisoners. Captain Thomas T. Turner, my aide-de-camp, was very efficient in rallying the fugitives, and was severely wounded while assisting in recapturing several pieces of artillery which the enemy had got temporary possession of.

Wednesday, 11th May.—It rained hard all day, and no fighting took place. Towards night the enemy were reported withdrawing from Anderson's front, and were heard moving to our right; scouts stated them to be retiring to Fredericksburg. I received orders to withdraw the artillery, which was done along Johnson's front.

Thursday, May 12.—Soon after midnight Major-General Johnson reported the enemy massing before him, and General Long was directed to return the artillery to the entrenchments, and General Gordon ordered to be prepared to support Johnson. Different artillery was sent back, and owing to the darkness and ignorance of the location, it only reached the lines in time to be taken. The enemy attacked in heavy force at earliest dawn, and though gallantly resisted, their numbers and the want of artillery enabled them to break through our lines, capturing Major-General Ed. Johnson, Brigadier-General G. H. Steuart, about two thousand eight hundred men, and twenty pieces of artillery. The smoke of the guns and the mist kept the air dark until comparatively a late hour, thereby assisting the enemy, as he was enabled to mass his [233] troops as he chose. They poured through our lines in immense numbers, taking possession to the right and left of the salient, and keeping up a constant fire of artillery and musketry for 24 hours.1 General Gordon was heavily engaged, one brigade broken and its commander, General R. D. Johnston, wounded; but he held his ground, drove out the enemy in his immediate front by a strong effort, and regained a portion of our works to the right of the salient. Their main effort was evidently against Rodes's position to the left of the angle, and here the fighting was of the most desperate character. General Rodes moved Daniel's brigade from its works to meet the enemy. General Kershaw extended so as to allow Ramseur to be withdrawn, and as Daniel's right was unprotected, Ramseur was sent in there. He retook the works to Daniel's right along his whole brigade front by a charge of unsurpassed gallantry. But the salient was still held by the enemy, and a most deadly fire poured on his right flank. Accordingly, Harris's Mississippi brigade, which came to my assistance about 9 A. M., was sent to Ramseur's right; but as it still failed to fill the trenches, McGowan's South Carolina brigade, which arrived an hour later, was ordered to the same point. Only part of this brigade succeeded in reaching the trenches and joining Harris's brigade. Spite of the terrible flank-fire to which they were yet exposed, the brave troops of these three brigades held their ground till 3 A. M. the 13th May, when ordered back to the new line. General Daniel was killed and General Ramseur severely wounded early in the day, but the latter refused to leave the field. The nature of the struggle will be apparent from the fact that after the loss of Johnson's division (before sunrise) my force barely numbered eight Thousand—the reinforcements about fifteen hundred more. General Ed. Johnson estimated the enemy's force at this part of the field at over forty thousand, and I have every reason to believe this a moderate calculation. The engagement was spoken of in Northern papers as a general attack by their army. It was met only by my corps and three brigades sent to my aid, and after lasting with unintermitted vigor from half-past 4 A. M. till 4 P. M. of the 12th May, ceased by degrees, leaving us in possession of two-thirds of the works first taken from us, and of four of the captured guns which the enemy had been unable to haul off. These guns were withdrawn by hand to the McCoull house, and General Long was directed to [234] send after them at night. Major Page, whom he instructed to get them, left the duty to an orderly sergeant, who failed to find them, and they were again allowed to fall into the enemy's hands. As it was unadvisable to continue efforts to retake the salient with the force at my command, a new line was laid out during the day by General Lee's Chief Engineer some eight hundred yards in rear of the first, and constructed at night. After midnight my forces were quietly withdrawn to it and artillery placed in position. But his efforts and losses on the 12th seemed to have exhausted the enemy, and all was quiet till the 18th May, when a strong force advanced past the Mc-Coull house toward our new line. When well within range General Long opened upon them with thirty pieces of artillery, which with the fire of our skirmishers broke and drove them back with severe loss. We afterwards learned that they were two fresh divisions, nearly ten thousand strong, just come up from the rear.

On the 19th May General Lee directed me to demonstrate against the enemy in my front, as he believed they were moving to his right, and wished to ascertain. As they were strongly entrenched in front, I obtained leave to move around their right. After a detour of several miles through roads impassable for my artillery, I came on the enemy prepared to receive me. My force was about six thousand, his much larger. His position being developed and my object attained, I was about to retire when he attacked me. Part of my line was shaken, but Pegram's brigade, of Early's division (Colonel Hoffman commanding), and Ramseur's, of Rodes', held their ground so firmly that I maintained my position till nightfall, then withdrew unmolested. My loss was about nine hundred, killed, wounded and missing. Next day General Early returned to his division, and General Gordon was put in command of one composed of his own brigade and the remnants of Johnson's division. Hoke's brigade (Colonel Lewis commanding), returned to Early's division, and the Twenty-first Georgia regiment to Doles' brigade. We moved to Hanover Junction, where my corps took the right of the line. After some days' skirmishing we marched towards the Totopotomoy. When we removed, I reported to the general commanding that in consequence of a severe attack of diarrhea, I would leave General Early in command while the troops were on the march, and on Friday I rode in an ambulance to Mechanicsville, remaining in my tent Saturday and Sunday, the 28th and 29th May. On Sunday I reported that I would be on duty in two days more, and sent a certificate of Staff-Surgeon McGuire to the same effect. The commanding general [235] relieved me on Sunday, placing General Early in temporary command of my corps. I reported for duty on Tuesday, four days after my attack, and remained over a week with the army, wishing to place the question of health beyond a doubt; but the change of commanders was made permanent, and on the 14th June I was placed in command of the defences of Richmond. The losses of my corps from the 4th to the 27th May were, it will be seen, very heavy, and including prisoners, amounted to over one-half. Of the fourteen generals who began the campaign under me, Generals J. M. Jones, L. A. Stafford and Junius Daniel were killed; Generals John Pegram, Harry T. Hays, James A. Walker, and Robert D. Johnston wounded; Generals Ed. Johnson and G. H. Steuart taken prisoners, and General Early most of the time detached. General Jones had been twice wounded—at Gettysburg and Mine Run. I considered his loss an irreparable one to his brigade. General Ed. Johnson once said of General Stafford that ‘he was the bravest man he ever saw.’ Such a compliment from one himself brave almost to a fault and habitually sparing of praise, needs no remark. General Daniel's services at Gettysburg, as well as on the bloody field where he fell, were of the most distinguished character. General Walker was wounded in the attempt to stem the attack on his division early on the 12th of May. My staff during this campaign consisted of Lieutenant-Colonel A. S. Pendleton and Major Campbell Brown, Acting Adjutant-Generals; Colonel A. Smead (Colonel of Artillery), Acting Inspector-General; Major B. H. Greene, Engineer; Lieutenant Thomas T. Turner, Aide-de-camp; Lieutenant-Colonel William Allan, Chief of Ordnance; Surgeon Hunter McGuire, Medical Director; Majors John Rogers and A. S. Garber, Quartermasters (Major Harman having been transferred just before the campaign opened); Major W. J. Hawks and Captain J. J. Locke, Commissaries of Subsistence. All except Majors Brown, Greene and Rogers, and Lieutenant T. T. Turner, had been of the staff of Lieutenant-General Jackson. That officer should be held hardly more remarkable for his brilliant campaigns than for the judgment he almost invariably showed in his selections of men. It would be difficult without personal knowledge to appreciate Colonel Pendleton's great gallantry, his coolness and clearness of judgment under every trial, his soldier-like and cheerful performance of every duty. On one occasion I expressed a wish to recommend him to a vacant brigade, but he declined, thinking his services more valuable on the staff. Major Hawks deserves the highest praise I can give him for his ability and zeal in the performance of his [236] duties, so impressing me that I have often wished he could have a command in the line, if it were possible to fill his place on the staff. It is but simple justice to say that the quiet and efficient manner in which Surgeon McGuire performed the duties of his important department left nothing to be desired, while Colonel Allan's abilities were recognized at headquarters by both compliments and promotion. Major Brown had been with me from the first battle of Manassas, and on nearly every field had been intrusted with important duties. On no occasion did I have reason to regret my confidence in his coolness, judgment and discretion. I also wished to recommend him for promotion to a Tennessee brigade, but he declined. Probably no officer had more distinguished himself by repeated acts of personal bravery and dash than Lieutentant T. T. Turner, or with so slight personal advancement. Up to the time when he was wounded at Spotsylvania Courthouse he had constantly been foremost wherever opportunities presented themselves. Lieutenant Harper Carroll and Lieutenant John Taliaferro, Acting Aide-de-camps, had horses shot under them on the 12th of May, and displayed much personal gallantry. My total loss at the Wilderness was 1,250 killed and wounded. The burial parties from two divisions reported interring over 1,100 of the enemy; the third and largest made no report. When we moved, probably one-third or more were still unburied of those who were in reach of our lines. At Spotsylvania, though the enemy held the ground for a week, we found on regaining it many of their dead still unburied, while the numerous graves showed their loss to have been immense; it must have exceeded ours in the proportion of at least six to one, taking all the engagements together.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. S. Ewell, Lieutenant-General.

Report of General S. D. Ramseur, from 4th to 27th May, 1864.

headquarters Early's division, August 3d, 1864.
Major Peyton, Acting Adjutant-General:
In accordance with the request of Major-General Rodes I have the honor to submit the following brief account of the operations of my [237] brigade from the 4th of May until the 27th of May, when I was assigned to the command of this division:

I was on outpost duty with my brigade at Raccoon Ford when the enemy crossed at Germania and Ely's Ford on the 3d and 4th of May. I was left with my own brigade, three regiments of Pegram's brigade, and three regiments from Johnson's division, to resist any crossing the enemy might attempt on my front, which extended from Rapidan Station to Mitchel's Ford. On the morning of the 6th I discovered by a reconnoissance as far as Culpeper Courthouse that the main body of the enemy had crossed to the south side of the river. I therefore moved rapidly and rejoined the corps that night, taking position in echelon, on the extreme left, to protect Major-General Johnson's left flank. On the morning of the 7th I was moved in rear of our centre as a reserve either to Major-General Johnson or Rodes. Burnside's corps moved to envelope General Rodes's right, and cut off the Second Corps from the army—the distance from General Rodes to Lieutenant-General A. P. Hill's left being about a mile. General Rodes ordered me to form on Brigadier-General Daniel's right, and to push back Burnside's advance. Moving at a double-quick, I arrived just in time to check a large flanking party of the enemy, and by strengthening and extending my skirmish line half a mile to the right of my line I turned the enemy's line, and by a dashing charge with my skirmishers, under the gallant Major Osborne, of the Fourth North Carolina regiment, drove not only the enemy's skirmishers, but his line of battle back fully half a mile, capturing some prisoners and the knapsacks and shelter-tents of an entire regiment. This advance on our right enabled our right to connect with Lieutenant-General Hill's left. On the night of the 7th marched to the right, and on the 8th by a wonderfully rapid march arrived just in time to prevent, by a vigorous charge, the Fifth Corps from turning General Humphries's right flank. In this charge we drove the enemy back half a mile into his entrenchments. My brigade was then withdrawn, and constructed entrenchments on the right of Kershaw's division. On the 9th, 10th and 11th constant and sometimes heavy skirmishing with the enemy.

In anticipation of an attack on my front on the morning of the 12th of May, I had my brigade under arms at early dawn. Very soon I heard a terrible assault on my right. From the direction of the fire, I soon discovered the enemy was gaining ground. I therefore moved the Second North Carolina regiment (which I had in reserve) [238] to a position on the right perpendicular to my line of battle. The enemy had broken entirely through Major-General Johnson's line, and was massing his troops for a further advance. Major-General Rodes directed me to check the enemy's advance and to drive him back. To do this I formed my brigade in a line parallel to the two lines of works (which the enemy had taken and were holding) in the following order: on the right, Thirtieth North Carolina, Colonel Parker; on the left, Fourteenth North Carolina, Colonel Bennett; right centre, Second North Carolina, Colonel Cox; left centre, Fourth North Carolina, Colonel Grimes. This formation was made under a severe fire. Before ordering the charge I cautioned the men to keep the alignment, not to fire, to move slowly until the command ‘charge,’ and then to move forward on the run shouting ‘charge,’ and not to pause until both lines of works were ours. How gallantly and successfully my orders were executed, Major-General Rodes and Lieutenant-General Ewell can testify, for they both witnessed it. Two lines of Yankees were driven pell-mell out and over both lines of our original works with great loss. This was done without any assistance on my immediate right. The enemy still held the breastworks on my right, enfilading my line with a destructive fire, at the same time heavily assaulting my right front. In this extremity Colonel Bennett, Fourteenth North Carolina, offered to take his regiment from left to right under a severe fire and drive back the growing masses of the enemy on my right. This bold and hazardous offer was accepted as a forlorn hope. It was successfully executed; the enemy was driven from my immediate right, and the works were held, notwithstanding the enemy still enfiladed my line from a part of our works in front of Harris's brigade on my right, which he held until the last. For this all honor is due to Colonel Bennett and the gallant officers and men of his regiment. The enemy was driven out at 7:30 A. M. On the 12th we held the works under a direct and enfilade fire until 3 A. M. on the 13th, when, in obedience to orders, I withdrew to a new line.

In this action I cannot too highly commend the conduct of both officers and men. Having had my horse shot under me, and shortly after receiving a ball through my arm, I was prevented from giving the command to charge. Colonel Grimes, Fourth North Carolina, seeing this, his regiment being ‘battalion of direction,’ gave the command ‘charge’ exactly at the right time. To Colonels Parker, Grimes, Bennett, and Cox, to the gallant officers and patriotic men of my little brigade, the country owes much for the successful charge [239] which I verily believe turned the fortune of the day at that point in our favor. Our loss here was severe.

From the 13th to 19th lay in line on the left of our corps. About 3 P. M. (on the 19th of May) the corps was moved across the Ny river to attack the enemy in flank and rear. My brigade was in front. Some half-hour after the enemy discovered our movement, and when further delay, as I thought, would cause disaster, I offered to attack with my brigade. I advanced and drove the enemy rapidly and with severe loss until my flanks were both partially enveloped. I then retired about two hundred yards and re-formed my line, with Grimes's brigade on my left and Battle's on my right. At this moment the troops of Johnson's division, now under General Gordon, on Grimes's left, were flanked and retreated in disorder. This compelled our line to fall back to our first position. Here a heavy force attacked us. Fortunately Pegram's gallant brigade came in on my left in elegant style just as the enemy was about to turn me there. Several attacks of the enemy were repulsed, and we were able to hold our position until night, when we quietly and safely withdrew to our original lines. The conduct of my brigade on this occasion Major-General Rodes witnessed and can testify to. I may be pardoned for feeling that the steady bravery of my troops largely contributed to the repulse of the enemy's heavy force and the salvation of our corps.

Marched to Hanover Junction on the 22d of May. On the 23d, 24th, 25th and 26th skirmished with the enemy. On the 27th moved towards the Chickahominy, relieved from the command of my brigade and assigned to Early's division on this day. ‘Whilst we envy not others their merited glory,’ we feel it to be our bounden duty to North Carolina, to our gallant soldiers, and to our dead heroes, that we should be fairly represented in ‘History's story.’ We therefore call upon our Major-General and Lieutenant-General, both of whom witnessed our conduct on the 12th and 19th of May, to tell our fellow-citizens how we did our duty.

Respectfully submitted,

S. D. Ramseur, Major-General.


Report of General E. Johnson of 12th of May.

Richmond, Va., August 16th, 1864.
Lieutenant-General R. S. Ewell, C. S. A..
General,—I have the honor to submit the following statement concerning the events of the 12th of May at Spotsylvania Courthouse which immediately preceded the battle:

On the night of the 11th, in riding around my lines, I found the artillery which had occupied a position at the salient—a point which with artillery was strong, but without it weak—leaving the trenches and moving to the rear. I inquired the cause of the moving, and was informed that it was in obedience to orders, and that a general move of troops was contemplated. About the same time, or soon after, scouts and officers on the picket-line and brigade-commanders informed me that the enemy were moving to the right and concentrating in my front, and all concurred in the opinion that my lines would be assaulted in the morning. I concurred in this opinion, and communicated the facts that led me to believe that I would be attacked to you about twelve, or between ten and twelve o'clock on the 11th, at the same time requesting that the artillery which had been withdrawn should be sent back to its original position. At the same time I ordered my command to be on the alert—some brigades to be awake all night, and all to be up and in the trenches an hour or so before daylight. This order was obeyed.

At the first intimation of the advance of the enemy I went to the trenches. Soon after my arrival there a heavy column assaulted my right, Steuart's brigade, which, after a fierce conflict, was repulsed, with the assistance of two pieces of artillery. Immediately after this a very heavy column debouched from the pines about half or three-quarters of a mile from my works, and advanced upon the salient held by Jones's brigade. I then found that the artillery which had withdrawn the night previous had not returned, but looking, I saw it just coming in sight. I dismounted, went into the trenches, collected all the men possible to hold the enemy in check until the artillery could get into position and open upon this column, which came up in large numbers, but in great disorder, with a narrow front, but extending back to the rear as far as I could see. I ordered the artillery to drive up at a gallop. They did so. The enemy were held in check somewhat by the infantry fire, but the artillery did not [241] get into position, nor did it fire a shot upon this column before they were captured. I felt confident that a few shots would disperse this force, which offered so fine a mark to artillery; hence I remained to the last, endeavoring to check them until the artillery could get into position. There was no surprise; my men were up and in the trenches, prepared for the assault, before the enemy made his appearance. The first assault on the right, where [were] two pieces of artillery and one brigade, was handsomely repulsed. The main attack must have been repulsed, had any artillery [been] on the line, which could have possibly swept the ground over which they advanced. The ground was an open field into abattis in front for some distance.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

E. Johnson, Major-General.

Report of General A. L. Long, from 4th to 31st of May, 1864.

Staunton, November 25th, 1864.
Major,—I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the artillery of the Second Corps from the 4th of May to the 31st of May, 1864:

I received orders on the 4th of May from Lieutenant-General Ewell to move my artillery to the front. I immediately broke up my grazing camps in the neighborhood of Gordonsville, and directed Colonel Brown to move his division of artillery in the direction of Locust Grove. Cutshaw's battalion was ordered to report to Colonel Carter, who had been ordered some days before to the vicinity of Raccoon Ford, with Page's battalion of his division—Nelson's battalion had been some time on the front, operating with Early's division of infantry. On the 5th all my artillery was concentrated at Locust Grove, on the old turnpike from Orange Courthouse to Fredericksburg, in the immediate vicinity of the infantry of the Second Corps. On reporting to General Ewell I learned that the enemy was in his front. Major-General Ed. Johnson's division of infantry was advanced, accompanied by Nelson's battalion of artillery. After moving a short distance the division was deployed across the pike, and one battery (Milledge's) was put in position to the [242] right of the road in front of Jones' brigade. The enemy attacking while the position of this brigade was being changed, it became necessary to withdraw Milledge's battery. After a very spirited attack, the enemy was repulsed with considerable loss. General Ewell then took up his position without further opposition. His line extended on each side of the turnpike, the road passing through the centre of his division; the right wing was nearly at right angles to the pike, and the left wing was bent back to cover the road leading to the Germania plank-road.

The country was of such a character (being a dense wilderness) that but few opportunities offered for the effective use of artillery; nevertheless a portion of Nelson's guns were posted on a commanding ridge, with a small field in front, immediately on the road one mile from the Lacey House. Two others of Nelson's guns were placed on the road leading to Germania Ford, to operate with the troops of the left wing of the corps. The artillery during the day was several times used with effect in repulsing partial attacks of the enemy. For the better service of the artillery, our line being quite extended, I directed Colonel Brown to take charge of that portion posted on the right of the turnpike, and Colonel Carter that on the left. Early on the morning of the 6th Colonel Carter was directed to concentrate as many guns as could be spared on the left of our position, which was a good deal exposed, and the enemy was feeling in that direction as if intending to attempt our flank. These guns, with a small infantry support, sufficiently protected this point. During the day the enemy made an attack on Gordon's brigade, which was on our extreme left. Some of these guns were used with considerable effect in assisting to repel this attack. Early in the day Colonel Brown, while selecting a position for a battery, was shot by a sharpshooter and instantly killed. His loss was deeply felt throughout the whole army. He not only exhibited the highest social qualities, but was endowed with the first order of military talents. On every field where he was called to act, he was distinguished for gallantry and skill. The artillery will ever remember him as one of its brightest ornaments. Nelson's battalion was relieved during the day by guns from Lieutenant-Colonel Hardaway's and Major Cutshaw's battalions, Cutshaw occupying the position on the right of the pike, and Hardaway that on the Germania road. Lieutenant-Colonel Braxton's battalion was put in position on our extreme right, filling the interval between Rodes' right and Hill's left. A few guns were distributed along Rodes' front. [243]

The opposing forces were, during the 7th, only occupied in light skirmishing. I was directed by General Ewell to make a reconnoissance in the direction of Germania Ford. Taking one brigade of infantry and two battalions of artillery, I advanced to the Germania plank-road, striking it about a mile from the ford. Two or three regiments of cavalry were occupying the road at this point. These were soon driven away by a few well-directed shots, a small number retreating towards the ford, and the rest in the direction of the main body of Grant's army. It was discovered that the enemy had almost entirely abandoned the ford and road; it was evident that they were leaving our front. Late in the afternoon I was ordered by General Ewell to hold myself in readiness to move. Nelson, Hardaway and Cutshaw were directed to encamp at Verdiersville. Braxton and Page were ordered to remain with the infantry and move with it. The enemy was found on the morning of the 8th to be shifting his position towards Spotsylvania Courthouse. Our whole army also moved in that direction, and arrived at that place on the same evening. A few guns were put in position near the Courthouse. The infantry of General Ewell's corps bivouacked on the position it was to occupy in line of battle. On the 9th General Ewell's line was accurately established and fortified. Braxton's and Page's battalions were put in position along the line of infantry. This position, like the one at the Wilderness, was not well adapted to the effective use of artillery, the view being obstructed by forest and old field pine. General Hill's position to the right of General Ewell afforded a better field. The artillery was, however, carefully posted, with the view of rendering the most effective support to the infantry. On the morning of the 10th, Braxton and Page were relieved by Nelson and Hardaway, the former occupying the positions on Johnson's front, and the latter those on Rodes's front. In the afternoon, the enemy having massed heavily in front of Rodes (Doles's brigade) under cover of a dense pine thicket, made a sudden attack upon this brigade, broke it and entered our works, overrunning and capturing Smith's battery of Hardaway's battalion. Our infantry was soon rallied, and, being reinforced, repulsed the enemy and recaptured the battery. The Captain and some of his men were made prisoners and carried off. Hardaway's guns were principally engaged in this attack and were served with gallantry and effect. Smith's guns being without cannoneers, were manned by Captain Garber and his men, of Cutshaw's battalion. In this attack the gallant Major Watson, of Hardaway's battalion, was mortally wounded. Lieutenantnel [244] Hardaway was also wounded, but did not leave the field. On the 11th, Cutshaw's and Page's battalions were brought up and put in position, and a portion of Hardaway's battalion was relieved. The enemy made no decided attack upon any part of our line during the day.

Late in the afternoon I received orders to have all the artillery, which was difficult of access, removed from the lines before dark, and was informed that it was desirable that everything should be in readiness to move during the night; that the enemy was believed to be moving from our front. I immediately ordered all the artillery on Johnson's front (except two batteries of Cutshaw's battalion) to be withdrawn, as it had to pass through a wood by a narrow and difficult road, and the night bid fair to be very dark. The withdrawal of the artillery proved to be very unfortunate, as the enemy, instead of retreating, massed heavily on Johnson's front during the night for the purpose of attacking. At half-past 3 o'clock A. M. on the 12th, I received a note from General Johnson, endorsed by General Ewell, directing me to replace immediately the artillery that had been withdrawn the evening before; that the enemy was preparing to attack. I immediately ordered Page's battalion to proceed with all haste to the assistance of General Johnson. He moved his battalion with great rapidity, but just as he reached the point to be occupied, the enemy broke Johnson's line and enveloped and captured all of Page's guns except two, which were brought off by Captain Montgomery. At the same time two batteries of Cutshaw's battalion were captured. The enemy thus captured twenty guns, twelve from Page and eight from Cutshaw. Had the artillery been in position the result might have been different, or had the weather been favorable this disaster might have been avoided; but the morning was so dark and foggy that it was with difficulty that we could distinguish friend from foe. Every effort was made to drive the enemy from our lines, but stimulated by a successful assault, and by the desire to hold the large number of guns he had taken, he most stubbornly opposed every effort to dislodge him. He was, however, so hotly pressed that he was forced to abandon most of our works, and was prevented from carrying off, during the day, the guns he had captured. The enemy threw his whole force in this attack and kept it up till late in the afternoon. Every gun that we could bring to bear was put in position, and officers and men displayed great coolness and skill in the service of them. Major Cutshaw and Captain Garber, with the men who escaped on the capture of the batteries, succeeded in reaching some [245] of the guns which the enemy could not remove, and turning them upon the enemy, used them with great effect. Captain Montgomery was put in position with one gun in a ravine to the right of the Harris house, where he remained all day actively engaged at short range. He exhausted the ammunition from three caissons, which was used with effect. The conspicuous gallantry of these officers called forth general admiration.

About 12 M., on account of the heavy pressure the enemy was making on our lines, and the loss we had sustained in artillery in the early part of the action, I found it necessary to ask for reinforcements of artillery. Colonel Cabell and Lieutenant-Colonel McIntosh with parts of their battalions were sent to me. I am much obliged to these officers for the valuable service they rendered on this occasion. Colonel Cabell was put in position on the left of Hardaway's battalion (this battalion was now commanded by Captain Dance, Hardaway having been wounded in the early part of the day); McIntosh was held in position at the Harris house, with the exception of two guns, which were posted on the hill above the McCoull house. Colonel Carter commanded in the morning the artillery posted on the hill above the courthouse, but later in the day he joined me in front of the main attack. He rendered valuable assistance; his coolness and judgment everywhere had their effect. I was also ably assisted by Lieutenant S. V. Southall, Acting Adjutant-General, and by Lieutenant-Colonel Braxton, whose battalion was engaged throughout the day. Lieutenant-Colonel Nelson occupied a position on the courthouse hill, and handsomely assisted in repelling an attack on that portion of the line. At night a new line was established, and all the artillery was withdrawn from the positions occupied during the day and put upon it. The next day was occupied in reorganizing. Major Cutshaw was assigned to the command of Hardaway's battalion; Major Stribling was also assigned to this command. Major Page was put in command of the remnants of his own and Cutshaw's battalions.

Everything remained quiet along the lines till the morning of the 18th. The enemy about 9 A. M. advanced a heavy force against our new line. He was allowed to come within good canister range of our breastworks. Carter's division of artillery then opened a most murderous fire of canister and spherical case-shot, which at once arrested his advance, threw his columns into confusion, and forced him to a disorderly retreat. His loss was very heavy; ours was nothing. This attack fairly illustrates the immense power of [246] artillery well handled. A select force of ten or twelve thousand infantry was broken and driven from the field in less than thirty minutes by twenty-nine pieces of artillery alone.

In the afternoon,2 General Ewell having determined to make a flank movement, Lieutenant-Colonel Braxton was directed to accompany him with six guns of select calibre. After proceeding two or three miles the roads were found to be impracticable for artillery, and Braxton was ordered to return to his former position. The Second Corps, on the 21st, moved to the right to Mud Tavern, there taking the Telegraph road to Hanover Junction; arrived at that place on the 22d. The enemy soon confronted us; but not making any attempt on our lines, the artillery remained quietly in position till the morning of the 27th, when the whole army moved in the direction of Richmond, and on the 28th went into position on the Totopotomoy, General Ewell's corps being near Pole Green Church. About this time General Early assumed command of the Second Corps.

It gives me great pleasure to be able to call the attention of the Commanding General to the uniform good conduct of all the officers and men under my command. In battle they were brave and determined, and in camp they were obedient and attentive. I have ever found them what soldiers should be. I would especially call attention and express my thanks to Colonel Carter, who commanded a division of artillery, and also rendered valuable assistance in selecting positions and in the general supervision of the lines, and to Lieutenant-Colonels Nelson, Hardaway and Braxton, Majors Cutshaw and Page, commanding battalions, and to Majors Stribling and Moorman. These officers were always particularly distinguished for gallantry in the field, and for their careful attention to discipline in camp and on the march. I would also call special attention to the members of my staff. Lieutenant S. V. Southall, Acting Adjutant-General, was with me in all our operations, and rendered me the most valuable aid; he was always conspicuous for coolness and judgment. Major F. P. Turner, Chief A. G.; Captain W. J. Armstrong, C. S.; Captain Gregory, Ordnance Officer, and Dr. J. A. Strath, Chief Surgeon, were all distinguished for the able administration of their departments; also my aide-de-camp, Lieutenant R. O. Arrington.

Being absent from my command, I am unable to append a list of casualties. The chief loss was upon the capture of Cutshaw's and Page's battalions on the 12th of May. [247]

This report would have been submitted at a much earlier period had it not been for the difficulties incident to an active campaign in getting sub-reports and my own illness.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. L. long, Brigadier-General Chief of Artillery.

The Adjutant-General, Lieutenant-General Ewell's command, Richmond, Va.

Endorsement on the above report.

By General Ewell's direction, I wrote to General Long immediately upon receipt of this, asking him to specify from whom came the orders for withdrawal of his guns from General Ed. Johnson's lines. No answer ever received. Wrote a second time with same result. I heard General R. E. Lee give the order to General Long in person in General Ewell's presence.


This endorsement is not dated, but from the handwriting and the ink used I take it to have been made about 1865, before the evacuation of Richmond. The fact is as clear in my memory to-day as ever. The order was given at the Harris House shortly before sunset of the 11th. The above is a true copy.

Campbell Brown. May 6th, 1874.

1 I think this may probably be a clerical error for 14 hours, although the firing lasted far into the following night.—C. B.

2 An error, as this attack was made next day, the 19th.—C. Brown.

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