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stars on his shoulder-straps, or distinctive color. Alarms were frequent during the week, both night and day, and the Texans under Hood, down the railroad, and Wright's Louisianians and Georgians, down the Williamsburgh road, were continually popping at the enemy. These skirmishes were not of an important character, but since inity, and occupied a small copse to the right of the road, and south of Barker's Farm, a plan was formed to advance, and drive them away. Without consulting General Wright, eight corn-panics of this regiment assailed Sickles's men, and though the enemy were superior in number, they drove them out of the thicket with much loss. left of the road near Sickles's brigade; the Louisianians were on the right, in their old picket-grounds, and a Georgia regiment still farther to the right. General Wright's orders were to hold their positions, and, if attacked, reenforcements should be forthcoming. Sickles's men seemed to invite a combat, and the gallant Louis
athered all that remained in compact order, and filed obliquely to the woods. But here he breathed his last. The Federals had sent through the timber a brigade to cut off his retreat. Our men, exasperated by their losses, gave a loud shout, and assailed them with such fury, that they broke and fled after a fight of ten minutes, leaving the remnant of this command to retire to the rear, to mourn the loss of hundreds, who, like Norman, fell, sabre in. hand, with their face to the enemy. Wright's brigade was also sent forward, but met with a similar fate. It seemed as if Magruder was intent on killing his men by detachments, for there seemed to be no settled plan of action; and instead of rapidly pushing forward reenforcements to succor those in front, the unfortunate commanders were compelled to stand before the enemy's pieces, without support, until decimated, and then retire as formerly. Several brigades at different times were hurled against this position, but with like succ
uch exposed to our accurate fire. From the best sources of information, I learn that our killed and wounded amounted to eight thousand, exclusive of a few prisoners; one thousand of our wounded were left behind, and a convention entered into for the burial of the dead. It has been stated by Northern journals that we lost thirty thousand in all, but this is pure fiction. Among our losses in this engagement were General Stark and Brigadier-General Branch killed; Brigadier-Generals Anderson, Wright, Lawton, Armsted, Ripley, Ransom, and Jones, wounded. I learn that during the thirty hours, or more, which intervened between the engagement and our retreat, little was left upon the battle-field in cannon or arms, but every thing worth attention was carried off. Although the enemy claim to have captured thousands of arms and dozens of cannon, I need not add that this, for the most part, was all imagination. McClellan's loss has been placed at twelve thousand killed, wounded, and missin
cavalry push into Murfreesboro and beyond. During the forenoon the army crosses Stone River, and with music, banners, and rejoicings, takes possession of the old camps of the enemy. So the long and doubtful struggle ends. January, 5 I ride over the battle-field. In one place a caisson and five horses are lying, the latter killed in harness, and all fallen together. Nationals and Confederates, young, middle-aged, and old, are scattered over the woods and fields for miles. Poor Wright, of my old company, lay at the barricade in the woods which we stormed on the night of the last day. Many others lay about him. Further on we find men with their legs shot off; one with brains scooped out with a cannon ball; another with half a face gone; another with entrails protruding; young Winnegard, of the Third, has one foot off and both legs pierced by grape at the thighs; another boy lies with his hands clasped above his head, indicating that his last words were a prayer. Many Conf
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, The Passing of the Armies: The Last Campaign of the Armies., Chapter 4: Five Forks. (search)
lled, and all that fighting, together with that at Sailor's Creek, High Bridge, and Farmville have been concentrated in one grand assault, of which the sharp-edged line along the White Oak Road would have been one blade of the shears, and Ord and Wright and Parke on the main line the other, and the hard and costly ten days chase and struggle would have been spared so many noble men. Lee would not have got a day's start of us in the desperate race. Sheridan cutting the enemy's communications and rolling up their scattering fugitives would have shown his great qualities, and won conspicuous, though not supreme honors. Warren would have shared the glories of his corps. Humphreys and Wright with their veterans of the Second and Sixth, whose superb action compelled the first flag of truce contemplating Lee's surrender, would not have stood idly around the headquarters' flag of the Army of the Potomac, with Longstreet's right wing brought to bay before them, waiting till Lee's final answe
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, The Passing of the Armies: The Last Campaign of the Armies., Chapter 5: the week of flying fights. (search)
tation with a view to cutting off the retreat of the fugitives from Wright's and Ord's attacks, and closing in on Petersburg. Sheridan, arrivlle, and thence towards Sailor's Creek, while the Sixth Corps under Wright moves from Jetersville by the shortest roads to the same rendezvousve towards Amelia Court House had commenced that morning, I ordered Wright's Corps, which was on the extreme right, to be moved to the left, pvement was, proceeds this naive narration, to get the Sixth Corps, Wright's, next to the cavalry, with which they had formerly served so harmrence to the work of the Sixth Corps before the onset of Early when Wright had already made a stand and was turning the tide backward as Sheries. Moreover, for that one fight, Sheridan complains that although Wright obeyed his orders, he refused to make his report to him until positnd at every crossing some hot vanguard of Sheridan or Humphreys or Wright or Griffin, or at last of Ord; and each time, too, after fighting m
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, The Passing of the Armies: The Last Campaign of the Armies., Chapter 6: Appomattox. (search)
ficulty surmise, General Grant deems it proper to transfer his own personal presence, as he says, to the head of the column, or, as Badeau puts it, to join Sheridan's column. This was now fighting Gordon's command and Lee's cavalry at Appomattox Court House. Accordingly, General Grant, having sent this suggestive answer to General Lee, took a road leading south from a point a mile west of New Store, for a good twenty-mile ride over to Sheridan, leaving great responsibility on Humphreys and Wright. Lee was repeatedly sending word to Humphreys asking for a truce pending consideration of proposals for surrender. Humphreys answered that he had no authority to consent to this, but, on the contrary, must press him to the utmost; and at last, in answer to Lee's urgency, he even had to warn General Lee that he must retire from a position he was occupying somewhat too trustingly on the road not a hundred yards from the head of the Second Corps column. Lee's reason undoubtedly was that he w
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, The Passing of the Armies: The Last Campaign of the Armies., Chapter 9: the last review. (search)
cross, of equal arms. Symbol of terrible history in old-world conflicts-Russian and Cossack and Pole; token now of square fighting, square dealing, and loyalty to the flag of the union of freedom and law. These are survivors of the men in early days with Franklin and Smith and Slocum and Newton. Later, and as we know them best, the men of Sedgwick; but alas, Sedgwick leads no more, except in spirit! Unheeding self he fell smitten by a sharpshooter's bullet, in the midst of his corps. Wright is commanding since, and to-day, his chief-of-staff, judicial Martin McMahon. These are the men of Antietam and the twice wrought marvels of courage at Fredericksburg, and the long tragedy of Grant's campaign of 1864; then in the valley of the Shenandoah with Sheridan in his rallying ride, and in the last campaign storming the works of Petersburg-losing eleven hundred men in fifteen minutes; masters at Sailor's Creek, four days after, taking six thousand prisoners, with Ewell and five of hi
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, The Passing of the Armies: The Last Campaign of the Armies., Chapter 10: Sherman's Army. (search)
ernment as he had understood it from Lincoln, made terms for the surrender of Johnston's army, involving matters pertaining to the political status of the Southern people and a policy of reconstruction,--undoubtedly therein exceeding any prerogatives of a military commander,--the President disapproved of them and gave directions for hostilities to be resumed. But in carrying these into effect, Secretary Stanton took an equally unwarrantable course in his orders to Meade and Sheridan, and to Wright (then at Danville), to pay no attention to Sherman's armistice or orders, but to push forward and cut off Johnston's retreat, while in fact Johnston had virtually surrendered already to Sherman. Halleck repeated this with added disrespect; and still more to humiliate Sherman, Stanton gave sanction by his name officially signed to a bulletin published in the New York papers entertaining the suggestion that Sherman might be influenced by pecuniary considerations to let Jeff Davis get out of
l force of Sheridan, until the middle of October. On the 19th he was again at Cedar Creek, between Strasburg and Winchester, and had struck an almost mortal blow at General Sheridan. The Federal forces were surprised, attacked at the same moment in front and flank, and driven in complete rout from their camps. Unfortunately this great success did not effect substantial results. The enemy, who largely outnumbered Early, especially in their excellent cavalry, re-formed their line under General Wright. Sheridan, who had just arrived, exerted himself to retrieve the bad fortune of the day, and the Confederates were forced to retire in their turn. General Early's account of this event is interesting: I went into this fight, he says, with eight thousand five hundred muskets, about forty pieces of artillery, and about twelve hundred cavalry, as the rest of my cavalry, which was guarding the Luray Valley, did not get up in time, though ordered to move at the same time I moved to the att
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