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Confederate Generals are all passing away.

Rev. Dr. J. William Jones writes The Times-Dispatch this interesting letter in connection with the death of General Gordon:

1. In publishing my sketch of General Gordon, your printers make me quote from General R. E. Lee, instead of General R. E. Rodes, as saying in his official report: ‘Colonel Gordon handled his regiment in a manner that I have never seen nor heard equalled during the war.’ [190]

Gordon's regiment was in the brigade of the gallant and able General Rodes.

2. The death of General Longstreet and of General Gordon has caused some confused statements about the generals and lieutenant-generals of the Confederacy, and it may be well to give the full list in the order of their rank:

The full generals were—

1. Samuel Cooper.

2. Albert Sydney Johnston.

3. Robert Edward Lee.

4. Joseph E. Johnston.

5. P. Gustave T. Beauregard.

6. Braxton Bragg.

General Provisional Army, E. Kirby Smith.

General with temporary rank, J. B. Hood.


1. James Longstreet.

2. E. Kirby Smith.

3. Leonidas Polk.

4. Theophilus H. Holmes.

5. William J. Hardee.

6. Thomas J. Jackson.

7. John C. Pemberton.

8. Richard S. Ewell.

9. Ambrose Powell Hill.

10. Daniel H. Hill.

11. John B. Hood.

12. Richard Taylor.

13. Stephen D. Lee.

14. Jubal A. Early.

15. Richard H. Anderson.

16. Alexander P. Stewart.

17. Nathan Bedford Forrest.

18. Wade Hampton.

19. Simon B. Buckner.

20. Joseph Wheeler.

General John B. Gordon was appointed lieutenant-general by President Davis just after his brilliant capture of Fort Stedman, but [191] his commission did not reach him before the evacuation, and although he commanded a corps for some time, and on the retreat was put by General Lee in command of one wing of the army, he always wrote ‘major-general’ as his real rank. The same practically was true of General Fitzhugh Lee, who commanded the cavalry corps after General Hampton was sent south.

The ‘full generals’ have all long since crossed the river, and of the lieutenant-generals, only General S. D. Lee, General S. B. Buckner, General A. P. Stewart and General Joseph Wheeler remain.

And alas! the major-generals, the brigadiers, the other officers of the ‘field and staff,’ and the rank and file of the Confederate armies are stepping out of the ranks so rapidly, that soon there will be none left to answer roll call down here.

3. I do not wish to enter into the ‘Gettysburg controversy’ just now; I sympathize with Mrs. Longstreet in her desire to vindicate the fame of her heroic husband, and with General Fitz Lee in quoting the old Latin maxim, ‘Nothing except good about the dead.’

But we cannot afford to allow the truth of history to be sacrificed to these sentiments, and especially we cannot afford to let our great commander, Robert Edward Lee, rest under the charge that he lost the battle of Gettysburg by stupendous blunders, which his ‘Old War Horse’ saw, pointed out and remonstrated with him against at the time.

Anyone desirous of studying fully the Gettysburg campaign and battle, will find the facts very fully set forth in the Southern Historical Society Papers, especially in the papers of General J. A. Early, General James Longstreet, General Fitzhugh Lee, General Walter H. Taylor, Colonel William Allan, General A. L. Long, General E. P. Alexander, General J. B. Hood, General Henry Heth and others, and in the official reports of nearly all of the prominent officers engaged.

Meantime, it ought to be said that the charge, so freely made, that the censure of General Longstreet originated with those who opposed his political course, is utterly unsustained by the facts.

The charge that Lee lost the battle of Gettysburg by obstinately refusing to take Longstreet's advice was first published by Swinton, in his book, Army of the Potomac, which appeared in 1866, and the author gave General Longstreet as his authority for his statements. Soon after General Lee's death, there was published in the papers [192] (presumably by General Longstreet's authority), a letter written soon after the battle of Gettysburg by General Longstreet to his uncle, in which he clearly makes the charge against Lee, and intimates that if he (Longstreet) had been in command victory, instead of failure, would have resulted. Some months after, in an address at Lexington, on the 19th of January (Lee's anniversary), General J. A. Early defended his chief against this charge, and a year later General W. N. Pendleton followed on the same line.

There was a bitter controversy between Longstreet and Early in the New Orleans papers, and the next stage was two papers from Longstreet in the Philadelphia Times (which were copied into the Southern Historical Society Papers), and the series in the organ of the Southern Historical Society, which originated in a letter from the Count of Paris to the editor propounding a number of questions, which he wished answered by leading Confederates, who were in the battle of Gettysburg.

General Longstreet afterwards published his views in The Century, and in his book, From Manassas to Appomattox, there were replies from various Confederates, and elaborate defenses of Longstreet from Mr. P. J. Moran, whom the man left as a legacy to Atlanta, Captain Leslie Perry, of the War Records office, who garbled records to suit his purpose, and other Federal soldiers. General Fitzhugh Lee, in his Life of R. E. Lee, and General John B. Gordon, in his book, Reminiscences of the Civil War, give their views on Gettysburg in the course of their narratives.

But one of the most notable papers that has appeared is a review of Longstreet's book by Colonel F. R. Henderson, of the British army, author of that superb Life of Stonewall Jackson, and one of the ablest military critics of his times. He certainly cannot be charged with partisan prejudice.

I have thus given a summary of the literature of Gettysburg that any one wishing may investigate the questions involved.

And all parties should be willing to rest on the record as it has been already made up.

But if there is to be further discussion, there are certain important facts never before in print which I shall ask the privilege of giving.

J. Wm. Jones. Richmond, Va., January 12, 1904,

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