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[237] back, rode to the front of one of his brigades just ready to go into the fight, and offered to lead it in the charge. How his brave boys refused to follow him, shouting with tears in their eyes: ‘General Lee to the rear! General Lee to the rear! We will go forward, but General Lee must go to the rear!’ Until some of the men firmly, but respectfully, laid their hands upon the bridle of his horse and turned his head to the rear. Then the old hero raised his hat in his peculiar dignified way, and rode slowly back, while the brigade went forward with more dash and courage than ever before, because they had commanded ‘Mars Bob,’ and he had obeyed their command.

It was in this bloody angle that an oak tree, as large around as a man's body, was cut down by minie balls alone, and its trunk can now be seen in the war office at Washington city.

I have spoken of this charge of Hancock's corps, because it has been ignorantly charged that our troops were taken by surprise.

There may have been some want of care on the part of the troops and their officers in not keeping their powder dry, and had it been a rainy night, they would have taken greater precautions, and the disaster would never have occurred.

As an illustration of the dangers and the casualties of the campaign of 1864, it is only necessary to take Johnson's division as a sample. That division had been recruited and reorganized during the preceding winter, and went into the campaign with a major-general, four brigadier-generals, and a full complement of field and company officers. Its rank and file was composed of about 6,000 men. On the 5th and 6th of May, two of its brigade commanders were killed, and about one-half of its field officers, and about one-third of the men were killed or wounded. After the 6th of May it was increased by the addition of Hays' brigade, about 800 strong. On the 12th two more of its brigade commanders were wounded, and the one remaining, with the division commander, was captured. Of the rank and file nearly all in line on that day were killed, wounded or captured. The whole remnant of the 6,000 was formed into one small brigade, and a colonel promoted to command it.

A fact not generally known, is that on the 12th of May, 1864, the famous Stonewall brigade, which had won renown on so many battlefields, ceased to exist as a separate organization, and the few remaining members, not above two hundred in all, with the other fragments


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