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[23]

The march to Spotsylvania.

On the 8th we marched to Spotsylvania, and, as before stated, there was no rest for our troops that day and night. My recollection is that I had been in my saddle almost continuously since the morning of May 5th, and on the morning of the 9th, after having been in my saddle all night, I almost fell from my horse about daylight, and went to sleep near where I had tied him under a tree, but was soon waked up by his restlessness, caused by bullets flying around him. I speak of myself only to illustrate the conditions of hardship we had endured. But General Johnson was in his saddle all night, doing the best he could without any assistance from engineers or from any person familiar with the topography of the country in the formation of his division in line, according to the orders he had received, to form on and extend Rodes' right. We did not even know the position of the enemy, and had no intimation of his proximity until we saw the camp fires of which I have spoken. And when daylight appealed, it was found that General Johnson had only done the best he could have done under the circumstances, and this line was afterwards approved by General Lee and his engineer officers, as the best that could have been adopted, because it commanded all the low grounds in our front, over the greater part of which we had full view.

It was suggested to draw the line back from two to three hundred yards from the salient, but this was not done before the 12th, because such line would have been entirely through the woods, and we would have lost the benefit of the view of the country in our front; besides, the salient, fortified with artillery, was considered full protection.

I say all this in vindication of that gallant officer, Major General Edward Johnson, than whom no one was braver, to show that the selection of this line was in no way left to the soldiers, nor even to his subordinates. On the contrary, it was formed with all the care and consideration which could have been expected or required of him on that occasion. And I know whereof I speak.


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