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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twelve, or between ten and twelve o'clock on the 11th, at the same time requesting that the artillery which had been withdrawn should be sent back to its original position.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 I then found that the artillery which had withdrawn the night previous had not returned, but looking, I saw it just coming in sight.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

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G. H. Steuart (1)
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