Chapter 20: battle of the Wilderness
- Review. -- Lee's force. -- situation. -- Longstreet's position. -- Longstreet's march. -- Ewell's advance. -- Ewell's fight.
Lee honored our return to his command with a review. It was the only one ever held, after the one in the Shenandoah Valley, in Oct., 1862. He was not given to parades merely for show. Now, doubtless, he felt and reciprocated the stirrings of affection in the hearts of his men, inseparable from our return from bloody Chickamauga, upon the eve of what all felt must be the struggle to a finish, and no one who was present can ever forget the occasion. It took place in a cleared valley with broad pastures, in which our two divisions of infantry, with my old battalion of artillery, could be deployed, not far from Mechanicsburg, where we were encamped some six or eight miles south of Gordonsville. It is now over 40 years, but in imagination I can see to-day the large square gate-posts, without gate or fence, for troops had been everywhere in that vicinity, marking where a country road led out of a tall oak wood upon an open knoll in front of the centre of our long double lines. And as the well-remembered figure of Lee upon Traveller, at the head of his staff, rides between the posts and comes out upon the ground, the bugle sounds a signal, the guns thunder out a salute, Lee reins up Traveller and bares his good gray head and looks at us, and we give the ‘rebel yell’ and shout and cry and wave our flags and look at him once more. For a wave of sentiment — something like what came a year later at Appomattox when he rode back from his meeting with Grant — seemed to sweep over the field. All felt the bond which held them together. There was no speaking, but the effect was as of a military sacrament.  Dr. Boggs, a S. C. chaplain riding with the staff, said to Col. Venable, Lee's aid, ‘Does not it make the General proud to see how these men love him?’ Venable answered, ‘Not proud. It awes him.’ He rode along our lines close enough to look into our faces and then we marched in review and went back to our camps.
|2D corps. Hancock|
|5TH corps. Warren|
|6TH corps. Sedgwick, Wright|
|9TH corps. Burnside, Parke|