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Chapter 3:

The latter part of October McClellan's movements determined General Lee to withdraw from the Valley of the Shenandoah, leaving his cavalry in rear, and to return to the Valley of the Rappahannock. Accordingly, my division took its place, about the 26th, in the marching columns of Longstreet's Corps, which moved in the direction of the latter point. During the previous month of quiet and rest, the troops had received a supply of shoes and clothing, and had improved in drill and discipline. This splendid corps, therefore, exhibited a very different appearance from that which it presented in its ragged and bare-footed condition, a short period before in Maryland.

We halted in the vicinity of Culpepper Court House, where shortly afterwards intelligence was received that McClellan had been superseded by the appointment of Burnside. This General promptly made a demonstration on the Upper Rappa-hannock, as he moved towards Fredericksburg. General Lee crossed to the south side of the Rapidan, and, by the latter part of November, the Federal and Confederate Armies again confronted one another at Fredericksburg, where we quietly awaited the development of events. [49]

On the 11th of January, 1863, General Burnside having completed all necessary preparation, began to lay pontoons above and below the railroad bridge which had been destroyed. That entire day and night he consumed in crossing his forces to the southern bank of the river, under cover of, at least, one hundred pieces of artillery. During the 12th he formed his line below and above Deep Run, whilst upon the range of hills overlooking the valley, Lee's forces lay in readiness to receive the attack. General Jackson had, meantime, moved up to form line on our right, and that day, if I remember correctly, as we were riding together in direction of General Lee's headquarters, the conversation turned upon the future, and he asked me if I expected to live to see the end of the war. I replied that I did not know, but was inclined to think I would survive; at the same time, I considered it most likely I would be badly shattered before the termination of the struggle. I naturally addressed him the same question, and, without hesitation, he answered that he did not expect to live through to the close of the contest. Moreover, that he could not say that he desired to do so. With this sad turn in the conversation, the subject dropped. Often since have I thought upon these words, spoken casually by each of us, and which seem to have contained the prophecy of his untimely death and of my own fate.

My division was again the centre of the Confederate Army, as it rested in line of battle opposite Deep Run, full of spirit and impatient for action. The following morning, after the fog had disappeared, and at about 10 o'clock, the heavy lines of the enemy advanced upon our right and against Jackson's forces, but were driven back beneath the fire of our guns posted on that part of the line. Again, at about 1 p. m., the attack was renewed, and the Federals penetrated into a gap left in Jackson's front line. They were, however, speedily repulsed by his brigades held in reserve. My troops repelled with ease the feeble attack made on their immediate front, whilst [50] Longstreet's remaining forces on the left drove the enemy back repeatedly with great slaughter near Marye's Hill.

I was directed in this battle, as at Second Manassas, to obey the orders either of Generals Lee, Jackson, or Longstreet. About sunset, after the musketry fire had nigh ceased, I received instructions through an officer of Jackson's staff to join in a movement on my right as soon as A. P. Hill's division advanced. The order was accompanied with a message from General Jackson that he intended to drive the enemy into the river. I responded that I was in readiness to act, but, for some reason unknown to me, these orders were countermanded.

About 10 o'clock that night I rode back to my encampment to procure a cup of coffee, and, General Lee's quarters being within a few hundred yards, I walked up the ridge and presented myself at his tent. He immediately asked me what I thought of the attack by the enemy during the day. I expressed my opinion that Burnside was whipped; that no good general would ever make an assault similar to that upon my right and left, without intending it as his main effort, and that the heavy roll of musketry I had heard clearly convinced me that the hardest part of the battle had been fought. He then remarked that he did not think Burnside had made his principal attempt, but would attack again the next day, and that we would drive him back and follow him up to the river. After conversing a few moments longer, during which time he was in the highest spirits, I returned to my line, where I continued the remainder of the night.

The morning of the 14th both Armies still lay face to face, no aggressive movement having been initiated by either side; when about noon Generals Lee and Jackson rode by my position, and invited me to accompany them on a reconnoissance towards our right. We soon reached an eminence, not far distant from Hamilton's Crossing on the railroad, and upon which some of our batteries were posted. From this point we had a magnificent view of the Federal lines on their left, some seven in number, and each, seemingly, a mile in length. [51] General Jackson here turned to me, and asked my estimate of the strength of the enemy then in sight and in our immediate front. I answered fifty thousand, and he remarked that he had estimated their numbers at fifty-five thousand.

Strange to say, amid this immense assemblage of Federal troops not a standard was to be seen; the colors were all lowered, which circumstance induced me to abide by the opinion I had expressed to General Lee the night previous. The two Armies stood still during this entire day, and the following morning we awoke to find the enemy on the north side of the Rappahannock.

In this vicinity my division was quartered for the Winter, and my tent remained near that of General Lee. It was my privilege to often visit him during his leisure hours, and converse with the freedom of yore upon the frontier. In one of our agreeable chats, in company with General Chilton, his chief of staff, he complained of his Army for burning fence rails, killing pigs, and committing sundry delinquencies of this character. I spoke up warmly in defence of my division, declaring that it was not guilty of these misdemeanors, and desired him to send Chilton to inspect the fences in the neighborhood of my troops. General Lee, who was walking up and down near his camp fire, turned toward me and laughingly said, “Ah, General Hood, when you Texans come about the chickens have to roost mighty high.” His raillery excited great merriment, and I felt I was somewhat at a stand; never-theless, I urged that General Chilton be sent at least to inspect the fences.

Time passed pleasantly till the early Spring, when General Longstreet marched back to Petersburg, and thence towards Suffolk — a movement I never could satisfactorily account for, and which proved unfortunate, since it allowed General Hooker, who had superseded Burnside the latter part of April, to cross the Rappahannock and attack General Lee in the absence of one-half of his Army. The transcendent genius of “Stone-wall,” by which he executed one of his most brilliant moves [52] to the rear of the assailants, once more thwarted the Federal Commander, who was hurled back beyond the Rappahannock to seek refuge upon Stafford Heights. But alas! at a terrible sacrifice, an irreparable loss to the Confederacy: the immortal Jackson.

I had received information of Hooker's anticipated advance, and was most anxious to rejoin my old'chief, General Lee. Never did I so long to be with him as in this instance, and I even proceeded so far as to apply for permission to move with my division to his support. The request, however, was not granted.

Longstreet, after receiving the order to join General Lee, made every effort to accomplish this great end, but his wagons were, unfortunately, out in search of forage, and the march was consequently delayed; for which reason we failed to reach Chancellorsville in time to participate in the battle.

Nothing was achieved against the enemy on the expedition to Suffolk, at which point he possessed a safe place of refuge within his strong fortifications, protected by an impenetrable abatis. During our sojourn in this vicinity, quite a spirited affair occurred between our troops and the Federal gunboats, on the Nansemond river, and in which I suffered a grave misfortune in the loss of Captain Turner, of the Fifth Texas. As an outpost officer, he was gifted with the same pre-eminent qualities which distinguished the gallant Upton.

On the march from Suffolk to Chancellorsville, intelligence reached us of the Confederate victory and of the death of Jackson. This latter event occasioned me deep distress. I was hereupon prompted to write to General Lee, giving expression to my sorrow, and, at the same time, to my regret at our failure to join him before the great battle he had just fought and won. In reply to my brief note, he addressed me as follows:

Camp Freds, 21st May, 1863.
my Dear General:--Upon my return from Richmond, I found your letter of the 13th awaiting me. Although separated from me. I [53] have always had you in my eye and thoughts. I wished for you much in the last battle, and believe had I had the whole Army with me, General Hooker would have been demolished. But God ordered otherwise.

I grieve much over the death of General Jackson--for our sakes, not for his. He is happy and at peace. But his spirit lives with us, and I hope it will raise up many Jacksons in our ranks. We must all do more than formerly. We must endeavor to follow the unselfish, devoted, intrepid course he pursued, and we shall be strengthened rather than weakened by his loss. I rely much upon you. You must so inspire and lead your brave division, as that it may accomplish the work of a corps. I agree with you as to the size of the corps of this Army. They are too large for the country we have to operate in for one man to handle. I saw it all last campaign. I have endeavored to remedy it — this in a measure at least — but do not know whether I shall succeed. I am much obliged to you always for your opinion. I know you give it from pure motives. If I am not always convinced, you must bear with me. I agree with you also in believing that our Army would be invincible if it could be properly organized and officered. There never were such men in an Army before. They will go anywhere and do anything if properly led. But there is the difficulty — proper commanders — where can they be obtained? But they are improving — constantly improving. Rome was not built in a day, nor can we expect miracles in our favor.

Wishing you every health and happiness, and committing you to the care of a kind Providence,

I am now and always your friend,


R. E. Lee. General J. B. Hood, Commanding Division.

Again early in May we were in bivouac in the Rapidan, and preparations were initiated for another campaign. The artillery and transportation were carefully inspected, and whatever was found unserviceable was sent to the rear. At this period my division was in splendid condition, its four brigades being under the direction of Law, Benning, Anderson and Robertson. Past service had created with each command a feeling of perfect confidence in its associate whenever brought under fire. The artillery had again been increased by the addition of a number of pieces, as will be seen by the following report of Colonel Owen: [54]

headquarters battalion Washington artillery, New Orleans, February l5th, 1879.
Copy of Report of Major Henry's Battalion of Artillery, July 19th, 1863, attached to Hood's Division, First (Longstreet's) Corps, Army of Northern Virginia:

battery commanders.12 Napoleons.10 Parrots.3 inch Rifle.
Captain Buckman,4  
Captain Garden,31 
Captain Reiley,231
Captain Latham,22 

Official copy from original return, 18.


W. M. Owen, Late Adjutant to Chief Artillery First Corps.

This battalion completed the organization of as brave and heroic a division, numbering, approximately, eight thousand effectives, as was ever made ready for active service. So high-wrought was the pride and self-reliance of the troops that they believed they could carve their way through almost any number of the enemy's lines, formed in the open field in their front.

Soon after the Ist of June the Confederate forces crossed the Rapidan, and advanced again in the direction of Maryland. About the middle of the month we forded the Potomac, which was so swollen by recent rain that the men were forced to uplift their cartridge boxes, in order to keep dry their ammunition. Nevertheless, they marched in regular order to the northern bank of that beautiful stream, and, as they moved through the deep water the inspiriting strains of “Dixie” burst forth from bands of music. Never before, nor since, have I witnessed such intense enthusiasm as that which prevailed throughout the entire Confederate Army.

Shortly afterwards we crossed into Pennsylvania, amid extravagant cheers which re-echoed all along the line. Our [55] forces marched undisturbed, and were massed in the vicinity of Chambersburg, where intelligence was received of General Meade's assignment to the command of the Federal Army.

My headquarters were again in close proximity to those of General Lee, and, after a few days devoted to rest and quiet, I, as usual, rode to pay him my respects. I found him in the same buoyant spirits which pervaded his magnificent army. After the ordinary salutation, he exclaimed, “Ah! General, the enemy is a long time finding us; if he does not succeed soon, we must go in search of him.” I assured him I was never so well prepared or more willing.

A few days thereafter, we were ordered to Gettysburg, and to march with all possible speed.

The following letter, which I addressed General Longstreet in 1875, gives, up to the hour I was wounded and borne from the field, an account of the part taken by my command in the great battle which ensued:

New Orleans, La., June 28th, 1875.
General James Longstreet:--General, I have not responded earlier to your letter of April 5th, by reason of pressure of business, which rendered it difficult for me to give due attention to the subject in regard to which you have desired information.

You are correct in your assumption that I failed to make a report of the operations of my division around Suffolk, Va., and of its action in the battle of Gettysburg, in consequence of a wound which I received in this engagement. In justice to the brave troops under my command at this period, I should here mention another cause for this apparent neglect of duty on my part. Before I had recovered from the severe wound received at Gettysburg, your corps (excepting Pickett's Division) was ordered to join General Bragg, in the West, for battle against Rosecranz; my old troops — with whom I had served so long — were thus to be sent forth to another Army — quasi, I may say, among strangers — to take part in a great struggle; and upon an appeal from a number of the brigade and regimental officers of my division, I consented to accompany them, although I had but the use of one arm. This movement to the West soon resulted in the battle of Chickamauga, where I was again so seriously wounded as to cause the loss of a limb. These severe wounds in close succession, in addition to the all-absorbing duties and anxieties attending the last year of the war, prevented me from submitting subsequently a [56] report, as likewise one after the battle of Chickamauga, in which engagement — whilst you led the left wing--I had the honor of commanding your corps together with three divisions of the Army of Tennessee, respectively under A. P. Stewart, Bushrod Johnson and Hindman. Thus, the gallantry of these troops, as well as the admirable conduct of my division at Gettysburg, I have left unrecorded.

With this apology for seeming neglect, I will proceed to give a brief sketch, from memory, of the events forming the subject of your letter:

My recollection of the circumstances connected with the attempt, whilst we were lying in front of Suffolk, to reach General Lee in time to participate in the battle of Chancellorsville, is very clear. The order directing your corps to move to the support of General Lee, was received about the time Hooker crossed the Rappahannock. Unfortunately we had been compelled by scarcity of forage to send off our wagons into North Carolina to gather a supply from that State. A short delay necessarily ensued, as couriers had to be dispatched for requisite transportation before the troops could move. Every effort, however, was made to get to Lee at the earliest moment. If my memory betrays me not, you repaired in advance of your corps to Petersburg or Richmond, having issued orders for us to march with all possible speed to Lee, on the Rappahannock. I was most anxious to get to the support of my old chief, and made strenuous efforts to do so; but, whilst on a forced march to accomplish this object, I received intelligence of our victory at Chancellorsville, and of Jackson's mortal wound. We, nevertheless, continued our march, and eventually went into bivouac upon the Rapidan, near Gordonsville.

After the battle of Chancellorsville, preparations were made for an offensive campaign.

Accordingly, my troops moved out of camp, crossed the Rapidan about the 5th June, 1863, and joined in the general move in the direction of the Potomac. We crossed the river about the middle of the same month, and marched into Pennsylvania. Hill's and Ewell's Corps were in advance, and were reported to be in the vicinity of Carlisle. Whilst lying in camp, riot far distant from Chambersburg, information was received that Ewell and Hill were about to come in contact with the enemy near Gettysburg. My troops, together with McLaws's Division, were put in motion upon the most direct road to that point, which, after a hard march, we reached before or at sunrise on the 2d of July. So imperative had been the orders to hasten forward with all possible speed, that on the march my troops were allowed to halt and rest only about two hours, during the night from the 1st to the 2d of July.

I arrived with my staff in front of the heights of Gettysburg shortly after daybreak, as I have already stated, on the morning of the 2d of [57] July. My division soon commenced filing into an open field near me, where the troops were allowed to stack arms and rest until further orders. A short distance in advance of this point, and during the early part of that same morning, we were both engaged in company with Generals Lee and A. P. Hill, in observing the position of the Federals. General Lee--with coat buttoned to the throat, sabre-belt buckled round the waist, and field glasses pending at his side — walked up and down in the shade of the large trees near us, halting now and then to observe the enemy. He seemed full of hope, yet, at times, buried in deep thought. Colonel Freemantle, of England, was ensconced in the forks of a tree not far off, with glass in constant use, examining the lofty position of the Federal Army.

General Lee was, seemingly, anxious you should attack that morning. He remarked to me, “The enemy is here, and if we do not whip him, he will whip us.” You thought it better to await the arrival of Pickett's Division — at that time still in the rear — in order to make the attack; and you said to me, subsequently, whilst we were seated together near the trunk of a tree: “The General is a little nervous this morning; he wishes me to attack; I do not wish to do so without Pickett. I never like to go into battle with one boot off.”

Thus passed the forenoon of that eventful day, when in the after-noon — about 3 o'clock--it was decided to no longer await Pickett's Division, but to proceed to our extreme right and attack up the Emmetsburg road. McLaws moved off, and I followed with my division. In a short time I was ordered to quicken the march of my troops, and to pass to the front of McLaws.

This movement was accomplished by throwing out an advanced force to tear down fences and clear the way. The instructions I received were to place my division across the Emmetsburg road, form line of battle, and attack. Before reaching this road, however, I had sent forward some of my picked Texas scouts to ascertain the position of the enemy's extreme left flank. They soon reported to me that it rested upon Round Top Mountain; that the country was open, and that I could march through an open woodland pasture around Round Top, and assault the enemy in flank and rear; that their wagon trains were packed in rear of their line, and were badly exposed to our attack in that direction. As soon as I arrived upon the Emmetsburg road, I placed one or two batteries in position and opened fire. A reply from the enemy's guns soon developed his lines. His left rested on or near Round Top, with line bending back and again forward, forming, as it were, a concave line, as approached by the Emmetsburg road. A considerable body of troops was posted in front of their main line, between [58] the Emmetsburg road and Round Top Mountain. This force was in line of battle upon an eminence near a peach orchard.

I found that in making the attack according to orders, viz.: up the Emmetsburg road, I should have first to encounter and drive off this advanced line of battle; secondly, at the base and along the slope of the mountain, to confront immense boulders of stone, so massed together as to form narrow openings, which would break our ranks and cause the men to scatter whilst climbing up the rocky precipice. I found, moreover, that my division would be exposed to a heavy fire from the main line of the enemy in position on the crest of the high range, of which Round Top was the extreme left, and, by reason of the concavity of the enemy's main line, that we would be subject to a destructive fire in flank and rear, as well as in front; and deemed it almost an impossibility to clamber along the boulders up this steep and rugged mountain, and, under this number of cross fires, put the enemy to flight. I knew that if the feat was accomplished, it must be at a most fearful sacrifice of as brave and gallant soldiers as ever engaged in battle.

The reconnoissance of my Texas scouts and the development of the Federal lines were effected in a very short space of time; in truth, shorter than I have taken to recall and jot down these facts, although the scenes and events of that day are as clear to my mind as if the great battle had been fought yesterday. I was in possession of these important facts so shortly after reaching the Emmetsburg road, that I considered it my duty to report to you, at once, my opinion that it was unwise to attack up the Emmetsburg road, as ordered, and to urge that you allow me to turn Round Top, and attack the enemy in flank and rear. Accordingly, I despatched a staff officer, bearing to you my request to be allowed to make the proposed movement on account of the above stated reasons. Your reply was quickly received, “ General Lee's orders are to attack up the Emmetsburg road.” I sent another officer to say that I feared nothing could be accomplished by such an attack, and renewed my request to turn Round Top. Again your answer was, “General Lee's orders are to attack up the Emmetsburg road.” During this interim I had continued the use of the batteries upon the enemy, and had become more and more convinced that the Federal line extended to Round Top, and that I could not reasonably hope to accomplish much by the attack as ordered. In fact, it seemed to me the enemy occupied a position by nature so strong — I may say impregnable — that, independently of their flank fire, they could easily repel our attack by merely throwing and rolling stones down the mountain side, as we approached.

A third time I despatched one of my staff to explain fully in regard to the situation, and suggest that you had better come and look for your-self. I selected, in this instance, my adjutant-general, Colonel Harry [59] Sellers, whom you know to be not only an officer of great courage, but also of marked ability. Colonel Sellers returned with the same message, “General Lee's orders are to attack up the Emmetsburg road.” Almost simultaneously, Colonel Fairfax, of your staff, rode up and repeated the above orders.

After this urgent protest against entering the battle at Gettysburg, according to instructions — which protest is the first and only one I ever made during my entire military career — I ordered my line to advance and make the assault.

As my troops were moving forward, you rode up in person; a brief conversation passed between us, during which I again expressed the fears above mentioned, and regret at not being allowed to attack in flank around Round Top. You answered to this effect, “We must obey the orders of General Lee.” I then rode forward with my line under a heavy fire. In about twenty minutes, after reaching the peach orchard, I was severely wounded in the arm, and borne from the field.

With this wound terminated my participation in this great battle. As I was borne off on a litter to the rear, I could but experience deep distress of mind and heart at the thought of the inevitable fate of my brave fellow-soldiers, who formed one of the grandest divisions of that world-renowned army; and I shall ever believe that had I been permitted to turn Round Top Mountain, we would not only have gained that position, but have been able finally to rout the enemy.

I am, respectfully, yours,

Notwithstanding the seemingly impregnable character of the enemy's position upon Round Top Mountain, Benning's brigade, in concert with the First Texas Regiment, succeeded in gaining temporary possession of the Federal line; they captured three guns, and sent them to the rear. Unfortunately, the other commands, whose advance up a steep ascent, was impeded by immense boulders and sharp ledges of rock, were unable to keep pace up the mountain side in their front, and render the necessary support. Never did a grander, more heroic division enter into battle; nor did ever troops fight more desperately to overcome the insurmountable difficulties against which they had to contend, as Law, Benning, Anderson and Robertson nobly led their brave men to this unsuccessful assault. General Law, after I was wounded, assumed [60] command of the division, and proved himself, by his courage and ability, fully equal to the responsibilities of the position.

The losses were very heavy, as shown by the reports, and have often caused me the more bitterly to regret that I was not permitted to turn Round Top Mountain.

The following officers of my staff, most of whom served with me throughout the war, rendered gallant and efficient service, not only in this great battle, but upon many fields where we were thrown together in the heat of action: Colonel W. H. Sellers, Assistant Adjutant General; Colonel E. H. Cunningham, Inspector General; Major B. H. Blanton, Captain John Smith, Captain James Hamilton, Lieutenant E. B. Wade, Aides-de-Camp; Major N. B. George, Quarter Master; Major Jonas, Commissary; and Captain D. L. Sublett, Ordnance Officer, faultlessly discharged their duties in their respective departments. Dr. John T. Darby, Chief Surgeon, distinguished himself by his untiring energy in caring for the wounded; the eminent talent which he displayed in his province, during our struggle, has since deservedly won for him a high position in the medical world.

My official reports bear testimony to the valuable services of other gentlemen temporarily attached to my headquarters. In truth, I can say with pride that no General was ever more ably supported by staff officers than myself, during the war.

When the Confederate Army fell back from Gettysburg, I followed our marching column in an ambulance, suffering very much from the wound received in my arm. In the same vehicle lay General Hampton, so badly wounded that he was unable to sit up, whereas I could not lie down. We journeyed together in this manner to Staunton, a distance of some two hundred miles. Along the pike were seen our wounded, making their way to the rear, and the noble women of Virginia, standing by the wayside to supply them with food, and otherwise administer to their wants.

I remained for a period of one month under medical treatment, first at Staunton and then at Charlottesville, whence I [61] proceeded to Richmond. About the 14th of September my division passed through the Capital, under orders to join General Bragg in the West for the purpose of taking part in battle against Rosecranz. Although I had but partially recovered, I determined, for reasons already stated in my letter to General Longstreet, to place my horse upon the train, and follow in their wake.

I arrived at Ringgold, Georgia, on the afternoon of the 18th, and there received an order from General Bragg to proceed on the road to Reid's bridge, and assume command of the column then advancing on the Federals. I had my horse to leap from the train, mounted with one arm in a sling, and, about 3 p. m., joined our forces, then under the direction of General Bushrod Johnson and in line of battle. A small body of Federal cavalry was posted upon an eminence a short distance beyond. On my arrival upon the field I met for the first time after the charge at Gettysburg a portion of my old troops, who received me with a touching welcome. After a few words of greeting exchanged with General Johnson, I assumed command in accordance with the instructions I had received, ordered the line to be broken by filing into the road, sent a few picked men to the front in support of Forrest's Cavalry, and began to drive the enemy at a rapid pace. In a short time we arrived at Reid's bridge across the Chickamauga, and discovered the Federals drawn up in battle array beyond the bridge, which they had partially destroyed. I ordered forward some pieces of artillery, opened fire, and, at the same time, threw out flankers to effect a crossing above and below and join in the attack. Our opponents quickly retreated. We repaired the bridge, and continued to advance till darkness closed in upon us, when we bivouacked in line, near a beautiful residence which had been fired by the enemy, and was then almost burned to the ground. We had driven the Federals back a distance of six or seven miles. Meantime, the main body of the Army crossed the Chickamauga at [62] different points, and concentrated that night in the vicinity of my command.

General Bragg having formed his plan of attack the following morning, I was given, in addition to my own division, the direction of Kershaw's and Johnson's Divisions, with orders to continue the advance. We soon encountered the enemy in strong force, and a heavy engagement ensued. All that day we fought, slowly but steadily gaining ground. Fierce and desperate grew the conflict, as the foe stubbornly yielded before our repeated assaults; we drove him, step by step, a distance of fully one mile, when nightfall brought about a cessation of hostilities, and the men slept upon their arms.

In the evening, according to my custom in Virginia under General Lee, I rode back to Army headquarters to report to the Commander-in-Chief the result of the day upon my part of the line. I there met for the first time several of the principal officers of the Army of Tennessee, and, to my surprise, not one spoke in a sanguine tone regarding the result of the battle in which we were then engaged. I found the gallant Breckinridge, whom I had known from early youth, seated by the root of a tree, with a heavy slouch hat upon his head. When, in the course of brief conversation, I stated that we would rout the enemy the following day, he sprang to his feet, exclaiming, “My dear Hood, I am delighted to hear you say so. You give me renewed hope; God grant it may be so.”

After receiving orders from General Bragg to advance the next morning as soon as the troops on my right moved to the attack, I returned to the position occupied by my forces, and camped the remainder of the night with General Buckner, as I had nothing with me save that which I had brought from the train upon my horse. Nor did my men have a single wagon, or even ambulance in which to convey the wounded. They were destitute of almost everything, I might say, except pride, spirit, and forty rounds of ammunition to the man.

During that night, after a hard day's fight by his old and trusty troops, General Longstreet joined the Army. He [63] reported to General Bragg after I had left Army headquarters, and, the next morning, when I had arranged my columns for the attack and was awaiting the signal on the right to advance, he rode up, and joined me. He inquired concerning the formation of my lines, the spirit of our troops, and the effect produced upon the enemy by our assault. I informed him that the feeling of officers and men was never better, that we had driven the enemy fully one mile the day before, and that we would rout him before sunset. This distinguished general instantly responded with that confidence which had so often contributed to his extraordinary success, that we would of course whip and drive him from the field. I could but exclaim that I was rejoiced to hear him so express himself, as he was the first general I had met since my arrival who talked of victory.

He was assigned to the direction of the left wing, and placed me in command of five divisions: Kershaw's, A. P. Stewart's, Bushrod Johnson's, and Hindman's, together with my own. The latter formed the centre of my line, with Hindman upon my left, Johnson and Stewart on the right, and Kershaw in reserve. About 9 a. m. the firing on the right commenced; we immediately advanced and engaged the enemy, when followed a terrible roar of musketry from right to left. Onward we moved, nerved with a determination to become masters of that hotly contested field. We wrestled with the resolute foe till about 2.30 p. m., when, from a skirt of timber to our left, a body of Federals rushed down upon the immediate flank and rear of the Texas brigade, which was forced to suddenly change front. Some confusion necessarily arose. I was at the time on my horse, upon a slight ridge about three hundred yards distant, and galloped down the slope, in the midst of the men, who speedily corrected their allignment. At this moment Kershaw's splendid division, led by its gallant commander, came forward, as Hindman advanced to the attack a little further to the left. Kershaw's line formed, as it were, an angle with that of the Federal line, then in full view in an open [64] space near the wood. I rode rapidly to his command, ordered a change of front forward on his right, which was promptly executed under a galling fire. With a shout along my entire front, the Confederates rushed forward, penetrated into the wood, over and beyond the enemy's breastworks, and thus achieved another glorious victory for our arms. About this time I was pierced with a Minie ball in the upper third of the right leg; I turned from my horse upon the side of the crushed limb and fell — strange to say, since I was commanding five divisions — into the arms of some of the troops of my old brigade, which I had directed so long a period, and upon so many fields of battle.

Long and constant service with this noble brigade must prove a sufficient apology for a brief reference, at this juncture, to its extraordinary military record from the hour of its first encounter with the enemy at Eltham's Landing, on York river, in 1862, to the surrender at Appomattox Court House. In almost every battle in Virginia it bore a conspicuous part. It acted as the advanced guard of Jackson when he moved upon McClellan, around Richmond; and, almost without an exceptional instance, it was among the foremost of Longstreet's Corps in an attack or pursuit of the enemy. It was also, as a rule, with the rear guard of the rear guard of this corps, whenever falling back before the adversary. If a ditch was to be leaped, or fortified position to be carried, General Lee knew no better troops upon which to rely. In truth, its signal achievements in the war of secession have never been surpassed in the history of nations.

The members of this heroic band were possessed of a streak of superstition, as in fact I believe all men to be; and it may here prove of interest to cite an instance thereof. I had a favorite roan horse, named by them “Jeff Davis;” whenever he was in condition I rode him in battle, and, remarkable as it may seem, he generally received the bullets and bore me unscathed. In this battle he was severely wounded on Saturday; the following day, I was forced to resort to a valuable [65] mare in my possession, and late in the afternoon was shot from the saddle. At Gettysburg I had been unable to mount him on the field, in consequence of lameness; in this engagement I had also been shot from the saddle. Thus the belief among the men became nigh general that, when mounted on old Jeff, the bullets could not find me. This spirited and fear-less animal performed his duty throughout the war, and after which he. received tender care from General Jefferson and family of Seguin, Texas, until death, when he was buried with appropriate honors.

When wounded I was borne to the hospital of my old division, where a most difficult operation was performed by Dr. T. G. Richardson, of New Orleans. He was at the time Chief Medical Officer of the Army of Tennessee, and is now1 the President of the Medical Association of the United States.

The day after the battle I was carried upon a litter some fifteen miles to the residence of Mr. Little, in Armuchee Valley. I remained there about one month under the attentive care of Mr.Little and Mrs. Little, the parents of the gallant Colonel Little, of my division, and under the able medical attendance of Dr. John T. Darby.

I then received intelligence from General Bragg that the enemy was contemplating a raid to capture me. I at once moved to Atlanta, and thence to Richmond.

General Longstreet, has since the war, informed me that he telegraphed the authorities of the Confederate Government from the battle field, on the day I was wounded, urging my promotion to the rank of Lieutenant General, and was kind enough about the same time to send the following letter:

headquarters, Chattanooga, September 24th, 1864.
General:--I respectfully recommend Major General J. B. Hood for promotion to the rank of Lieutenant General, for distinguished conduct and ability in the battle of the 20th inst. General Hood [66] handled his troops with the coolness and ability that I have rarely known by any officer, on any field, and had the misfortune, after winning the battle, to lose one of his limbs.

I remain, sir, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,


J. Longstreet, Lieutenant General. General S. Cooper, Adjutant and Inspector General.


Headquarters, near Chattanooga, September 24th, 1863.

W. D. 1988.
J. Longstreet, Lieutenant General, recommends Major General J. B. Hood for promotion to the rank of Lieutenant General for distinguished services in the battle of the 2oth inst.

I cordially unite in this just tribute.

Braxton Bragg, General.
Respectfully submitted to the Secretary of War.

By order

Ed. A. Palfrey, Lieutenant Colonel and Assistant Adjutant General
Respectfully submitted to the President.

I cannot too warmly express my appreciation of the character and services of this distinguished officer, and cordially concur in recommending his promotion, if only as an appropriate testimonial of the gratitude of the Confederacy.

J. A. Seddon, Secretary of War. 3d October, 1863.
The services of Major General Hood, and his character as a soldier and patriot, are equal to any reward, and justify the highest trust. The recommendation to confer additional rank, as a testimonial, must have been hastily made. The law prescribes the conditions on which Lieutenant Generals may be appointed. Please refer to act.

Jefferson Davis. October 3d, 1863.

The subjoined extract from a letter of the Hon. Mr. Seddon, Secretary of War, addressed to Senator Wigfall will explain the endorsement of President Davis: [67]

Richmond, Va. October 14th, 1863.
* * * * I have felt the deepest interest for your friend, and I trust I may say mine, the gallant Hood. He is a true hero, and was the Paladin of the fight. I need not say how willingly I would have manifested my appreciation of his great services and heroic devotion by immediate promotion, and but for some rigid notions the President had of his powers (you know how inflexible he is on such points), he, too, would have been pleased to confer the merited honor. * * *

I remained in Richmond, and, having been blessed, with a good constitution, rapidly recovered from my wound. By the middle of January, 1864, I was again able to mount my horse and enjoy exercise. My restoration was so complete that I was enabled to keep in the saddle when on active duty, and, during the remainder of the war, never to require an ambulance either day or night. Often President Davis was kind enough to invite me to accompany him in his rides around Richmond, and it was thus I was for the first time afforded an opportunity to become well acquainted with this extraordinary man, and illustrious patriot and statesman of the South. His wonderful nerve and ability, displayed at a most trying epoch of our history, commanded my admiration; he was not only battling with enemies abroad, but with a turbulent Congress at home.

It was during our pleasant excursions round Richmond that he imparted to me his purpose to largely re-enforce General J. E. Johnston's Army at Dalton, for the object of moving in the early Spring to the rear of the Federal Army, then concentrating at Chattanooga. He also expressed a desire to send me to command a corps under General Johnston. I was deeply impressed with the importance of this movement, and cheerfully acquiesced in the proposition of the President, but with the understanding that an aggressive campaign would be initiated. I was 10th, indeed, to leave General Lee and the troops with whom I had served for so long a period.

I was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General, left Richmond about the 1st of February, arrived at Dalton, [68] Georgia, on the 4th, and reported for duty to General J. E. Johnston.

A short time before leaving the Capital General Breckinridge, whilst we were together in my room at the Spotswood Hotel, approached the seat I was occupying, and placed his hands upon my head, saying, “My dear Hood, here you are beloved by your fellow-soldiers, and, although badly shattered, with the comfort of having done noble service, and without trouble or difficulty with any man.” In truth, the course of my official duties up to this hour had not, I might say, been ruffled in any degree. My relations with my superiors, as well as with officers of lesser rank, had been of a most friendly character. But alas, after a journey over a smooth sea for many days-aye three years--a storm suddenly arose which lasted not only to the close of the war, but a long period thereafter.

The foregoing chapters, which contain a brief record of my experiences up to the day I reported for duty in the Army of Tennessee, were written after the body of this work was prepared for publication. As the Dalton-Atlanta campaign presents no action which rises to the dignity of a general battle, and since the strictures of General Johnston demand my earnest attention, I shall here discontinue the relation of events in the order which I have thus far observed, and resume the narrative at the period I assumed command of the Army around Atlanta. I shall substitute a reply to the erroneous and injurious statements in my regard, brought forward by General Johnston, and which will sufficiently record the part I bore in the campaign of that Spring and early Summer.

1 1878-79.

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