previous next
[121] column of attack, unsupported, against the centre of the enemy's position, no officer of the army present whose opinion is entitled to respect can believe.

What has been written in reply to General Longstreet's two articles on the battle of Gettysburg has, for the want of time, been hastily prepared, and reached a length that was not anticipated, Many inaccuracies have been pointed out; only two more will now be cited, for which there seems to be no excuse, nor are they important, save only as illustrating the carelessness with which General Longstreet has written. In his first article he says: “I cannot see, as has been claimed, why the absence of General Lee's cavalry should have justified his attack of the enemy.” No one ever heard it claimed that General Lee because his cavalry was absent attacked the enemy at Gettysburg. And in his supplementary article: “All night long of the 1st (April) we marched with Field's division from Richmond to Petersburg, reaching that point at early dawn on the 2d. I at once went to General Lee's headquarters and found him in bed in his tent. While I was sitting upon the side of his couch, discussing my line of march and receiving my orders for the future — this involving a march on the Five Forks--a courier came in and announced that our lines were being broken in front of the house1 in which General Lee slept. I hurried to the front, and as fast as my troops arrived they were thrown into action to check the advance of the Federals until night had come to cover our retreat.”

General Grant had withdrawn the bulk of his forces from the north side of the James on the 27th March, and not until six days after did General Longstreet become aware of it and make his night march to reach Petersburg, and arrived, as he states, at “early dawn.” It was near 7 A. M. on the 2d that Colonel Venable, Aidde-Camp to General Lee, came to me on the Boydton plank-road, a mile in advance of the Petersburg line of defences, and informed me that General Lee wished the enemy to be checked and delayed aslong as possible, for Longstreet's troops had not yet arrived to fill the gap between the right of our lines and the Appomattox. Colonel Venable brought with him General Harris' brigade of Mahone's division. The enemy were delayed an hour or more, and when the troops were finally withdrawn to the Petersburg line of defences, General Longstreet's troops began to arrive, and Field's division, or the most of it, came up and was placed in the interval

1 General Longstreet makes General Lee sleep both In a tent and house.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Gettysburg (Pennsylvania, United States) (1)
Five Forks (Virginia, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
R. E. Lee (7)
James Longstreet (6)
C. S. Venable (2)
Charles W. Field (2)
William Mahone (1)
N. H. Harris (1)
U. S. Grant (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
March 27th (1)
2nd (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: