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Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 4. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), Leading Confederates on the battle of Gettysburg. (search)
contradicted, I am satisfied. General Lee, had he seen fit, could have assumed a defensive position, and popular opinion in the Northern States would have forced the commander of the Federal army to attack. And further, to corroborate the fact that General Lee was not compelled to attack Meade where Meade chose to wait for him, 1 will show, I am confident, that the Battle of Gettysburg was the result purely of an accident, for which I am probably, more than any one else, accountable. Napoleon is said to have remarked that a dog fight might determine the result of a great battle. Almost as trivial a circumstance determined the Battle of Gettysburg being fought at Gettysburg. It is well known that General Meade had chosen another point as his battle-field. On the 29th of June, 1863, General Lee's army was disposed as follows: Longstreet's corps, at or near Chambersburg; Ewell's corps, which had been pushed east as far as York, had received orders to countermarch and concentrate
Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 5. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), Advance sheets of Reminiscences of secession, war, and reconstruction, by Lieutenant-General Richard Taylor. (search)
arch's heroes, were anxious to get away and leave the glory and renown of defense to others. Johnston was in no sense responsible for the construction of these forts nor the assignment to their command of these self-denying warriors, but his line of communication was uncovered by their fall and he was compelled to retire to the southern bank of the Tennessee river. From the enlighteners of public opinion a howl of wrath came forth. Johnston, who had just been Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, Napoleon, was now a miserable dastard and traitor, unfit to command a corporal's guard. President Davis sought to console him, and the noblest lines ever penned by man were written by Johnston in reply. They even wrung tears of repentance from the pachyderms who had attacked him, and will be a text and consolation to future commanders who serve a country tolerant of an ignorant and licentious press. As pure gold he came forth from the furnace, above the reach of slander, the foremost man of all t
s supplies, he would not only have exposed his communications to interruption, but he would have subjected himself to the necessity of recrossing the river in the face of Price's army, and cutting his way back to Duvall's Bluffs, or retreat upon Napoleon! The former, under the circumstances, would be hazardous in the extreme, as it would dishearten our troops, and lend to the superior forces of Price an enthusiasm which would prove but the forerunner of victory. The retreat upon Napoleon wouldNapoleon would have given Price an open road to Missouri, where we have no adequate force to meet him. In short, the plan was not feasible, and there remained to be done but the one thing, which was done. A reconnoissance revealed the fact that, in advancing along the river to the assault of the rebel works on the north bank, we would be subjected for eight miles, as well as in the attack itself, to an enfilading fire from rebel batteries, along the south bank of the Arkansas. This new obstacle would prob
the demoralized and exhausted condition of the insurgents. Johnston did not arrive to raise the siege, nor did success attend any of the attempts from within to break the skilfully drawn lines of General Grant. On the fourth of July, General Pemberton laid down his arms and surrendered the post, with thirty thousand men, two hundred pieces of artillery, seventy thousand small arms, and ammunition sufficient for a six years defence. This capture was as remarkable as the famous one made by Napoleon at Ulm. On the same day an insurgent attack upon General Prentiss, at Helena, situated on the west bank of the Mississippi, in the State of Arkansas, was repulsed with the loss of many prisoners on the part of the assailants. As if the anniversary so identified with the nation's hopes was appointed to be peculiarly eventful, Lee, who had again entered Maryland, and, passing through that State, had approached the Susquehanna, threatening Harrisburgh, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Baltimo
Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buell, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War: Volume 2., McClellan organizing the grand Army. (search)
n in the army itself — a judge all the more relentless for the very reason that discipline gives it no opportunity to express itself — had as yet been able neither to pronounce on them, nor to ratify the preferences of the general-in-chief. Paradoxical as it may seem, would it not really have been better could McClellan have received a check at first, as Grant did at Belmont, rather than to have begun with the brilliant campaign in West Virginia which won for him the sobriquet of The young Napoleon? Just at the time when I joined his staff the exacting confidence of the people and the Government was laying on him an almost superhuman task. In forging the puissant weapon which, later, snatched from his grasp, was destined, in the hands of the Great Hammerer, to bray the army of Lee, he acquired an imperishable title to the gratitude of his compatriots. He wrought, will it be said, for the glory of his successors? No! He labored for his country, even as a private soldier who dies fo
Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buell, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War: Volume 2., chapter 5.26 (search)
r, in his official report, says: On arriving on the field, I found General Couch with four regiments and two companies of infantry and Brady's battery. These troops were drawn up in line near Adams's house, and there was a pause in the battle. General Sedgwick, commander of Sumner's leading division, says: Upon debouching into the open field near Adams's house, we found Abercrombie's brigade of Couch's division sustaining a severe attack and hard pushed by the enemy. Kirby's six Napoleon guns were promptly placed in position facing south. The infantry of Sedgwick's division was put on the right and left, in Couch's defensive line. The Federal accounts show that repeated attempts were made by the Confederates to carry the position, but without success; that the contest continued until dark, at which time Kirby's battery faced west, without having otherwise changed position, and the infantry on the left of the battery was also facing west, with its left very near the railro
Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buell, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War: Volume 2., I.--General Johnston to the rescue. (search)
a portion of its equipment, no matter what the cause may be; so that when the retreat was commenced the next morning I endeavored to keep all the men of my section well in hand, and ready to assist at a moment's notice. For six miles north of Williamsburg the entire army was falling back over a single road, and as there had been frequent rains, this road was badly cut up, and the mud in many places was up to the axles of the auns. Finally my weak team balked with the gun — a 1 2-pounder Napoleon — in a deep hole. Every effort was made by the drivers to dislodge the gun, but without avail; and I found when I got to the wheels, with as many men as could be utilized, that the horses could not be made to work in concert. The whole line to the regr was at a dead stand-still, when I observed a party of mounted officers coming down the road from the front, and in a few moments more I recognized General Johnston at their head. We all were covered with mud and straining every muscle to e
Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buell, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War: Volume 2., Lee's attacks north of the Chickahominy. (search)
nothing of the kind; and as he placed the continuance of the siege upon the hazard of Cold Harbor, he was bound to put every available man into that fight. Just before we crossed the Chickahominy, I asked General Garland if he remembered what Napoleon said at Austerlitz when one of his marshals had begged permission to attack a column of the Austro-Russian army which was making a flank movement. Garland replied: I, too, was just thinking that McClellan was saying to his officers, as NapoleonNapoleon did, When your enemy is making a false movement, do not strike him till he has completed it ; and it may be that he will gobble up Richmond while we are away. While we were lying all day idle on the 28th, unable to cross the Chickahominy, the clouds of smoke from the burning plunder in the Federal camps and the frequent explosions of magazines indicated a retreat; but Whiting kept insisting upon it that all this was but a ruse de guerre of McClellan preparatory to a march upon Richmond. I m
Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buell, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War: Volume 2., Jackson's raid around Pope. (search)
by the navy, was not assailable, General Lee, resuming the defensive at Richmond, resolved to strike out by his left in the direction of Washington, with the idea that the Army of the Potomac might be forced to abandon the James River, in defense of its own capital, threatened by this move. Contemporaneously with our operations on the Chickahominy, the Washington authorities had been organizing the Army of Virginia of three efficient corps d'armee; and, continuing the search for a young Napoleon, had assigned General Pope, fresh from the West, with his new laurels, to command this select organization. This army, under its dashing leader, was at the same time moving toward Richmond by the Orange and Alexandria Railway, so that our move by the left had also in view the Army of Virginia, as the first obstacle in the way of relief to Richmond — an obstacle to be removed, if possible, before it could be greatly reinforced from other commands. The assignment of General John Pope to c
Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buell, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War: Volume 2., Antietam scenes. (search)
e universal comment. But not a soldier stirred from his position. McClellan saw it, but issued no order. All through the day most of the Fifth Corps remained in reserve. The battle was in the main fought by divisions--one after another. There was no concerted action, no hammering all along the line at the same time. Heavy blows were given, but they were not followed up. It has been said that McClellan's excuse for not throwing in Porter's corps at that moment was the reason given by Napoleon at Borodino when asked why he did not at a certain moment put in the Imperial Guard: If I am defeated to-day, where is my army for to-morrow? There was no parallel between Antietam and Borodino. The moment had come for dividing Lee's army at its center and crushing it back upon the Potomac in utter rout. A. P. Hill, on his way from Harper's Ferry to join Lee, was at that moment fording the Potomac at Shepherdstown. This General McClellan did not know, but the fact was before him that Fr
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