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North Carolina and Virginia.

Report of the history Committee of the grand Camp Confederate Veterans, of Virginia.

To the Grand Camp Confederate Veterans of Virginia.
Your History Committee again returns its thanks to you, and the public, for the flattering and cordial way in which you have received its last report. It will be as gratifying to you, as it is to the Committee, to know, that we have heard of no attempt to controvert any statement contained in any report of this Committee up to this time. It will also be gratifying to you to learn, that at the late Re-union of the United Confederate Veterans held in New Orleans, the several reports of your Committee were not only incorporated as a part of the report of the History Committee of that great organization, but received its unanimous and unqualified endorsation.

We had expected in this report, to discuss a very different subject from that which now claims our attention. Indeed we deeply regret that the matter which demands our attention at this time, should have to be considered by us at all. But we conceive it to be our first duty to our Mother State to see that her record in the Confederate war is kept true, and not misunderstood or misrepresented by either friend or foe. We have always deprecated controversies between Confederates. We think, as General Early once said, there is glory enough attached to the Confederate struggle for all of us to have a share, that we should stand together and see that the truth of that conflict is preserved; this is all we have a right to ask, and we should be content with nothing less.

This being our position, we repeat our sincere regret that some recent publications from representatives of our sister State of North Carolina have come to us in such a way, and that these publications emanate from such sources, that they demand consideration and attention at the hands of your Committee. We again repeat our sorrow, that we feel compelled to notice these matters, and in doing so, we shall strive to say nothing which will even tend to detract from the fame won by the glorious Old North State in the Confederate war, except in so far as attempts have been made to augment that fame at the expense of Virginia.

We know the people of North Carolina, and greatly admire their [341] many virtues and noble characteristics. We knew the soldiers sent by her to the Army of Northern Virginia. We have seen their splendid bearing and frightful sacrifices on many a field of carnage, and we bear willing testimony to the fact, that no truer, better or braver soldiers ever stood on the ‘bloody front of battle.’ North Carolina is truly a great State, inhabited by a noble people, and with a record of which she has a right to be proud. We love State pride, and particularly that State pride and devotion to principle, which has made North Carolina do what she could to preserve the names and records of her soldiers in the Confederate armies. Every other Southern State should follow her example, no matter what it may cost to do so.

No truer patriots ever lived or died for their country, than those who fought in the Confederate armies. These men are as well satisfied now, as they ever were, that their cause was just. They enlisted at the command of their several States; they did their duty to the best of their ability; they are, and have a right to be, proud of their achievements, and they have a right to expect that their States will see to it that their names and the record of their deeds are preserved.

Conceding, as we cheerfully do, the great fame achieved by North Carolina in the Confederate war, it seems to us from reading the publications to which we have referred, that some of our friends from that State have not been either just or generous in some of their allusions to her Sister States, and have seemed both spiteful and boastful in some of their charges, claims and references to their ‘next-door neighbor,’ Virginia. What Virginia may have done to provoke this, we are not advised. If aught, we regret it. It is these charges, these claims and seeming reflections on Virginia alone, that we now propose to consider, as we feel in duty bound to do. In doing this we shall not imitate the course pursued by some of the writers to whom we have referred. Some of these have not hesitated to reflect on the people and soldiers of Virginia in the harshest, and, in our opinion, most unjust manner. We shall not imitate these writers, (1) Because we feel confident that they do not, in their criticisms on Virginia and her people, reflect the real feelings of North Carolinians towards Virginians; and (2) Because neither the people of Virginia, nor the soldiers sent by her to the Confederate armies need any defence at our hands. The presentation of the truth of what Virginia did and dared and suffered for the Confederate cause is her complete and perfect vindication, and it is a part of this task that we now filially, but cheerfully, assume. [342]

First. The first and most serious claim made by North Carolina is that she furnished more troops to the Confederacy than any other Southern State.

This claim has been made and published far and wide, and, as far as we know, no attempt has been made to controvert it. It generally assumes the form of a boast, but sometimes is made the basis of a complaint. We saw, not long since, in a North Carolina paper (the Charlotte Observer of May 17, 1903), a statement from the pen of a distinguished writer of that State, in which he complained that partiality had been shown to Virginia, and consequent injustice done to North Carolina, during the war, in the appointment of the general officers of the army, especially, he said, since Virginia had only furnished about seventy-six thousand (76,000) troops to the Confederacy, to North Carolina's one hundred and twenty-six thousand (126,000), or fifty thousand more than Virginia.

So far as the question of partiality is concerned, since President Davis, who made all these appointments, was not a Virginian, there was no reason why he should have been partial to Virginians unless their merits warranted it. And, in our opinion, no good reason is given by this writer for any such alleged misconduct on his part. We believe Mr. Davis was not only a true patriot, but a great and good man, and that it would have been almost impossible to have found anyone who could or would have discharged the delicate and difficult duties of his office more satisfactorily to all than he did.

But what concerns us far more is the claim made by this writer that North Carolina, with a smaller population than Virginia, furnished fifty thousand more troops to the Confederacy. This claim necessarily implies that North Carolina was more loyal to the Confederate cause than Virginia, or, in other words, discharged her duty in this, the greatest crisis in the history of these States, better than Virginia.

Let us examine the record on this point first, then, and see if this claim is sustained by it.

In Series IV, Vol. III, at page 95, of what are termed The War of the Rebellion Official Records, will be found a carefully prepared official report to the ‘Bureau of Conscription’ of the Confederate War Department, giving in much detail the number and character of the troops furnished by the States of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi, up to January 25, 1864. This report shows that the ‘total number of men’ sent [343] to the field by Virginia, up to that time, was (page 102) one hundred and fifty-three thousand, eight hundred and seventy-six (153,— 876), whilst the total number sent by North Carolina, up to that time, was only eighty-eight thousand, four hundred and fifty-seven (88,457), or sixty-five thousand, four hundred and nineteen less than Virginia.

This report further shows that, according to the then last census, there were then remaining in Virginia, between the ages of eighteen and forty-five, thirteen thousand, two hundred and forty-eight men to be accounted for as soldiers; and in North Carolina twelve thousand, eight hundred and seventy-seven. So that, if every man of those unaccounted for in North Carolina had been subsequently sent to the field, and not one of those from Virginia, still, according to this report, Virginia would have furnished fifty-two thousand, five hundred and forty-three more than North Carolina.

At page 99 of this report, in referring to North Carolina, the following statement is made:

The Adjutant General of the State has estimated, that the State has put into the service one hundred thousand men, but his calculations contain an apparent error, in which he has accounted for fourteen thousand men, twice. His estimate should therefore be less than mine.

We do not quote this, for the purpose of intimating that North Carolina may (unintentionally, of course,) still be counting ‘twice,’ in making up the number she now claims; but only to show, that her own Adjutant-General did not then claim that North Carolina had furnished more than one hundred thousand men, when Virginia had then sent to the field, as shown by this report, one hundred and fifty-three thousand eight hundred and fifty-six, and rather more than double the number with which she is credited by the distinguished writer to whom we have just referred.

At page 100, this same report, in accounting for the troops furnished by South Carolina, occurs this item and statement, viz:

Without passing through camps 13,953.

‘A large part of this number (13,953) will be found to have volunteered in North Carolina regiments, having been drawn into that State by the inducements of double bounty, which was at one time offered to volunteers.’

These troops from South Carolina are, doubtless, counted by [344] North Carolina in the number she now claims, and may, to some extent, account for how she furnished ten thousand more soldiers to the Confederacy than her voting population, as shown in a then recent election, of which fact she now so justly boasts.

As showing that the report from which we have quoted is substantially correct, the largest number of troops we have seen anywhere claimed to have been furnished by North Carolina is that contained in the report from the present Adjutant-General's office, and this number is put at about one hundred and twenty-seven thousand, and, of course, this includes the ‘total of all men disposed of’ from the State—all in the field, and all exemptions, from whatever cause. The report from which we have quoted above (page 103) gives North Carolina one hundred and twenty-six thousand six hundred and twenty-three, and to Virginia (counting in the same way) one hundred and seventy-eight thousand, nine hundred and thirty-three, or fifty two thousand, three hundred and sixteen more than North Carolina.

Whilst this report gives the number of regiments, battalions and batteries furnished by Virginia, it does not give the number of those furnished by North Carolina; but we are enabled to supply this apparent omission from another source, to be found in the same volume at page 722. As late as October 11, 1864, Governor Vance wrote to General Bragg (a native of North Carolina), then stationed in Richmond, asking Bragg to furnish him with the number of troops furnished by North Carolina to the Confederacy, and saying he wished this information in order to ‘know what North Carolina had done in comparison with the other States,’ in view of a proposed meeting of the Governors of the South, then about to assemble at Augusta, Ga. On this letter of enquiry there is an endorsement stating, that whilst the number of troops furnished by North Carolina could not be given, without laborious research, there was then in the Confederate service from that State sixty-seven regiments, five battalions, twelve unattached companies, two State regiments doing service for the Confederacy, and nine battalions of reserves then organized. The report of January 25, 1864, above referred to, shows that Virginia had then sent to the field sixty-three regiments of infantry, forty battalions of infantry, twenty regiments of cavalry, forty battalions of cavalry, and one hundred and twenty-five batteries of artillery (p. 96).

A comparison of these organizations of the two States gives this result, viz: that where North Carolina had furnished the Confederacy, [345] in all arms of the service, sixty-nine regiments, Virginia had furnished eighty-three; where North Carolina had furnished fourteen battalions, Virginia had furnished eighty, and that where North Carolina had furnished twelve unattached companies (presumably batteries), Virginia had furnished one hundred and twenty-five batteries; and, it is worthy of remark, that the report showing the number of these Virginia organizations is dated eight months in advance of that showing the number of the North Carolina organizations.

Second. Another charge made by another distinguished North Carolina writer (Cap. W. R. Bond in his pamphlet entitledPickett or Pettigrew’) is, thatcitizens of Virginia were filling nearly one-half of the positions of honor and trust, civil and military,’ in the Confederacy.

So far as the appointment of the general officers of the army is involved in this charge, we have already said that we believe they were made by Mr. Davis solely on the merits of the appointees; and we think it will be addmitted by all that some of these appointments could not have been improved upon, or perhaps made at all from any other State.

As to the charge, so far as it applies to the other military officers, this was made by Governor Vance during the war, and, if any one wishes to see a complete refutation of it, they have only to refer to the letter from General Lee to the Confederate Secretary of war, dated September 9th, 1863, Reb. Rec., Series 1, Vol. XXIX, Part II, p. 723.

As to the civil positions of honor and trust, of which this writer says, one-half were filled by Virginians, and that Richmond thought ‘all should be thus filled:’ If he means by this to charge that Virginia had a larger number of men exempted from military duty to fill these places than any other State (as would have been reasonable, since she had the largest number in the field, and was the seat of the capital, with all the departments of the government), then the report, from which we have just quoted, shows that, in this he is greatly mistaken. This report, at page 103, shows that the ‘total exempts’ in Virginia at that time, was twenty five thousand and sixty-three; whilst those in North Carolina numbered thirty-eight thousand one hundred and sixty-six. And in the same volume in which this report is found, at page 851, will be seen this remarkable exhibit, under the heading ‘Number of State Officers’ in each Southern State exempted on certificates of their Governors. This last report shows that whilst the number of these officers exempted [346] in Virginia was fourteen hundred and twenty-two, the number exempted in North Carolina was fourteen thousand six hundred and seventy-five; more than ten times as many as in any other Southern State.

Third. A third claim made by another distinguished North Carolina writer is, that one of the effects of the fight made by theBethel Regimentat Bethel, was thepossibly holding Virginia in the Confederacy.’ (See article by Major Edward J. Hale, 1st N. C. Regt, ‘61 to ‘65, p. 123).

The only theory on which we can account for this uncalled for suggestion is, that the writer wished to attribute to this regiment the greatest possible achievement the fecundity of his imagination could conceive of, and hence this ‘unkindest cut of all’ made at our old Mother. Virginia joined the Confederacy before North Carolina, and we will show later on, by the testimony of all the representatives of all the Southern States, that no State in the Confederacy showed more devotion to the cause, and that none was ready to make, or made greater sacrifices in its behalf.

We have no intention or desire to magnify either the services rendered by Virginia to the Confederacy, or the sufferings and sacrifices of her people for the Confederate cause. Indeed, from what we know of these, we think it would be difficult to do this. But, since some North Carolina writers have laid so much stress on the part performed by their State in these directions (a claim we have no disposition to contest), it seems to us both pertinent and proper, to call attention to two things, which apply to Virginia but do not apply to North Carolina, or to any other Southern State. These are—

(1) Virginia was a ‘battle-ground’ from the beginning to the close of the war. No people who have not had this experience can form any conception of what it means, and this was literally true of Virginia, ‘from her mountains to her seashore.’ Every day and every hour, for four long years, the tramp or the camp, the bivouac of the battle of both armies, were upon Virginia's soil; six hundred of the two thousand battles fought were fought in Virginia, and the fenceless fields, the houseless chimneys, the charred ruins and the myriad graves left all over Virginia at the close of the war, marked and measured the extent to which her material resources had contributed to that struggle, and the devotion of her people to the Confederate cause. These things also shewed in the utter desolation [347] produced by the war, and in the difficulties and disadvantages the State and her people have labored under ever since.

(2) Virginia was the only State dismembered by the war. One-third of her territory (the richest in many respects) and one-third of her people, were actually torn from her, by the mailed hand of war, not only without her consent, but contrary to an express provision of the Federal Constitution. The true history of this ‘political rape,’ as it was termed by General Wise, is one of the blackest political crimes in the annals of history.

Fourth. The fourth claim or claims (and the last to which we can refer), preferred by North Carolina, is set forth in these very striking terms, viz: That she was-

‘First at Bethel; farthest to the front at Gettysburg and Chickamauga; last at Appomattox.’

This legend in this form is inscribed on the cover of each of the five volumes published by the State, entitled ‘North Carolina Regiments, 1861-65,’ to be thus perpetuated throughout all time.

Of course, such claims, thus asserted, and conveying to the world what these necessarily do, should be above and beyond all criticism or cavil. Let us see if these will stand this test? Before instituting this inquiry, let us first ask, respectfully, why these claims are made at all? The learned editor of the volume to which we have just referred disclaims that they are intended as a boast; but, we again respectfully ask, Can they mean anything else than that North Carolina means by them to proclaim the fact, that the troops furnished by her were better, and therefore did better, at the important points named, than those from any other State? It is worthy of note, too, that our frends are getting more aggressive in their claiming with the passing of time. The first form assumed by this legend, and inscribed on the Confederate monument at Raleigh, was only—

‘First at Bethel; last at Appomattox.’

We next hear of it, as inscribed on her memorial room in Richmond, as—

‘First at Bethel; farthest to the front at Gettysburg; last at Appomattox.’

And now, Chickamauga's ‘bloody front’ is also included. One of of her writers had already claimed that ‘Chancellorsville’ was a [348] ‘North Carolina fight,’ and that Gettysburg ought to be so denominated, too; and so our friends go on claiming from step to step, just as during the war,

‘From rank to rank their volleyed thunders flew.’

As before stated, we have no intention or desire to detract one iota from the fame of North Carolina, except where attempts have been made to augment her fame at the expense of Virginia. Keeping this purpose steadily before us, we now propose to inquire whether, or not, some of the claims set up by North Carolina, in this legend, do injustice to Virginia? And first, as to the claim that she was ‘First at Bethel.’

In Volume IV, of the Confederate Military History, at page 19, will be found a carefully prepared account of the battle of Bethel, written by D. H. Hill, Jr., son of the intrepid soldier of that name, who commanded the 1st North Carolina in that fight, and, therefore, one with every natural incentive to say all that could be said truthfully, both on behalf of his father and his regiment. He says:

‘About nine o'clock in the morning of the 10th (June), the Federals appeared on the field in front of the Southern works, and Greble's battery took position. A shotfrom a parrot gun in the Confederate works ushered in the great civil war on the land.’

This first shot was fired from the battery of the Richmond (Va.) Howitzers, which had already fired the ‘first shot’ fired on Virginia's soil nearly a month before at Gloucester Point. We are not claiming, however, any special credit for having fired this conceded first shot, the firing of which was only fortuitous. But Virginia was at Bethel, along with North Carolina, not only represented by the Commanding-General, himself a Virginian, but by all three arms of the service—infantry, artillery, and cavalry; and these troops are mentioned by him, along with those from North Carolina, not only in his report of the battle, but also, and in complimentary terms, in the report of General (then Colonel) D. H. Hill, commanding the only North Carolina troops there. Was not Virginia at Bethel then, standing side by side with North Carolina? Did she not do her duty there as well? If she did, why the invidious claim that North Carolina was First at Bethel? Is this just to Virginia? We think not, in all kindness and courtesy.

Bethel is in Virginia, and to claim that the troops of any other State were more prompt in defending her soil, than those from Virginia, necessarily reflects on Virginia.


As to Gettysburg.

We were there, and by reason of our position on the field, we saw that battle, as we never saw any other. We saw the charges of Pickett's, Pettigrew's and Pender's Divisions. We saw some of Pickett's men go over the enemy's works, and into their lines. We did not think then, and do not think now, that Pettigrew's and Pender's went so far, and we know this was the consensus of opinion of those around us at the time.

But be this as it may; the world's verdict is, that Pickett's men went as far as men could go, and did all that men could do. Mr. Charles Francis Adams has recently written of them, that the vaunted charge of Napoleon's Old Guard at Waterloo did not compare with that of Pickett's men, and was ‘as boys' play beside it.’

General John B. Gordon, of Georgia, perhaps the most distinguished Confederate officer now living, who was at Gettysburg, has very recently written, that the ‘point where Pickett's Virginians, under Kemper, Garnett and Armistead, in their immortal charge, swept over the rock wall, has been appropriately designated by the government as the high water mark of the rebellion.’ And we believe this will be the verdict of history for all time.

Since there has been so much discussion on this point, and some of it, we think, both unfortunate and intemperate, we propose to consider this claim calmly and dispassionately, not from what we saw, or what we and others may have thought at the time of the battle, or may think now, but from the official reports of the commanding officers, written only a few days after the battle. These reports are the best evidence, and must, and will be accepted, as conclusive of what then occurred. We have read so much of all these reports, Confederate and Federal, as we could find published, and as would throw light on this question, and we propose to make such extracts from the most important as we think should settle this controversy for all time. It is proper to say in this connection, that the statements contained in these reports were accepted as true at the time, and remained so for thirty years. History, both at the North and at the South, has been based on them, and it seems to us remarkable, that this controversy should have arisen so long after the happening of the events as thus established. But the controversy has now arisen, and hence the necessity for appealing to the record to settle it. The question is, which troops went ‘farthest to the front,’ i. e., penetrated the enemy's works farthest, on the 3rd day of July, [350] 1863, at Gettysburg, in the famous charge of that day, Pickett's, Pettigrew's or Pender's? We say Pickett's; North Carolinians say Pettigrew's. In order to understand the situation, and the quotations we shall make from the reports, it is necessary to state what forces constituted the ‘charging column,’ and the disposition and alignment of these forces. This column was composed of Pickett's Virginia Division on the right, and a part of Heth's Division (commanded by Pettigrew) on the left, with a part of Anderson's Division to guard the left flank of Pettigrew, and Willcox and Perry's Brigades of Anderson's Division the right flank of Pickett. Pickett's Division was called the ‘directing division,’ and was composed of Kemper's, Garnett's and Armistead's Brigades—Kemper's on the right, Garnett's on the left, supported by Armistead in the rear and centre. Pettigrew's Division was composed of Archer's, Pettigrew's, Davis' and Brockenbrough's Brigades, supported by Scales' and Lane's Brigades of Pender's Division, then commanded by General Trimble, Scale's Brigade (commanded by Colonel Lowrence) being in rear of Archer's (commanded by Colonel Frye), and Lane's being on the left of Scales, supporting Pettigrew's Brigade (then commanded by Colonel Marshall). All of the reports refer to the magnificent way in which all of these troops advanced to the charge, and we shall institute no comparison between them; they were all gallant and glorious Confederate soldiers, and we believe, the ‘best the world ever saw,’ as they have been pronounced by the present chief Magistrate of this country.

We come now to the reports. We quote first from that of General Lee, written after he had received those of his subordinates, and based upon what was contained in them, as well as what he saw on the field; and his position on the field was such, that he could see the whole movement with distinctness. He says this in his official report:

General Longstreet ordered forward the column of attack, consisting of Pickett's and Heth's Divisions, in two lines, Pickett on the right. Wilcox's Brigade marched in rear of Pickett's right, to guard that flank, and Heth's (commanded by Pettigrew), was supported by Lane's and Scale's Brigades, under General Trimble. The troops moved steadily on, under a heavy fire of musketry and artillery, the main attack being directed against the enemy's left-centre. His batteries opened as soon as they appeared. Our own having nearly exhausted their ammunition in the protracted cannonade that preceded the advance of the infantry, were unable to reply, [351] or render the necessary support to the attacking party. Owing to this fact, which was unknown to me when the assault took place, the enemy was enabled to throw a strong force of infantry against our left, already wavering (italics ours) under a concentrated fire of artillery from the ridge in front and from cemetery hill on the left. It (the left), finally gave way, and the right, after penetrating the enemy's lines, entering his advance works, and capturing some of his artillery, was attacked simultaneously in front and on both flanks, and driven back with heavy loss.’

We have only to remember that Pettigrew's Division was on the left and Pickett's on the right to understand clearly what General Lee here says. We next quote from General Longstreet's report, who was standing not very far from General Lee, and saw the whole movement. He says:

‘The advance was made in very handsome style, all the troops keeping their lines accurately, and taking the fire of the batteries with coolness and deliberation. About half-way between our position and that of the enemy, a ravine partially sheltered our troops from the enemy's fire, where a short halt was made for rest. The advance was resumed after a moment's pause, all still in good order. The enemy's batteries soon opened on our lines with canister, and our left seemed to stagger under it, but the advance was resumed, and with the same degree of steadiness. Pickett's troops did not appear to be checked by the batteries, and only halted to deliver a fire when close under musket range. Major-General Anderson's Division was ordered forward to support and assist the wavering columns of Pettigrew and Trimble. Pickett's troops, after delivering fire, advanced to the charge, and entered the enemy's lines, capturing some of his batteries, and gained his works. About the same moment, the troops that had before hesitated, broke their ranks and fell back in great disorder (italics ours), many more falling under the enemy's fire in retiring than while they were attacking. This gave the enemy time to throw his entire force upon Pickett (italics ours), with a strong prospect of being able to break up his lines or destroy him before Anderson's Division could reach him, which would in its turn have greatly exposed Anderson. He was, therefore, ordered to halt. In a few moments the enemy, marching against both flanks and the front of Pickett's Division, overpowered it and drove it back, capturing about half of those of it who were not killed or wounded.’ [352]

Surely, comment here is unnecessary, and no one who has read Longstreet's book will accuse him of partiality to Virginians.

We next quote from the report of that gallant soldier and splendid gentleman, General James H. Lane, who was at first in command of Pender's Division, but having been relieved of that by General Trimble, then commanded his own North Carolina brigade. He says:

General Longstreet ordered me to form in the rear of the right of Heth's Division, commanded by General Pettigrew. Soon after I had executed this order, putting Lowrence (commanding Scale's Brigade) on the right, I was relieved of the command of the division by General Trimble, who acted under the same orders that I received. Heth's Division was much larger than Lowrance's Brigade and my own, which was its only support, and there was, consequently, no second line in rear of its left. Now in command of my own brigade, I moved forward to the support of Pettigrew's right, through the woods in which our batteries were planted, and through an open field about a mile, in full view of the enemy's fortified position, and under a murderous artillery and infantry fire. As soon as Pettigrew's command gave back (italics ours), Lowrence's Brigade and my own, without ever having halted, took position on the left of the troops, which were still contesting the ground with the enemy (italics ours). My command never moved forward more handsomely. The men reserved their fire, in accordance with orders, until within good range of the enemy, and then opened with telling effect, repeatedly driving the cannoneers from their pieces, completely silencing the guns in our immediate front, and breaking the line of infantry which was formed on the crest of the hill. We advanced to within a few yards of the stone wall (italics ours), exposed all the while to a raking artillery fire from the right. My left was here very much exposed, and a column of the enemy's infantry was thrown forward from that direction, which enfiladed my whole line. This forced me to withdraw my brigade, the troops on my right having already done so.’

The troops directly on Lane's right were those of Lowrence. But if he refers to Pickett's too, then he does not pretend that his own men entered the enemy's works as Pickett's did, which, as we shall see, is the real point at issue.

Scarcely a more striking illustration of the frailty of human memory, and the unsatisfactory nature of the post bellum statements, [353] relied on entirely, it would seem, by the advocates of North Carolina's claims, can be found than by contrasting General Lane's report with what is said by Captain Louis G. Young (now of Savannah, Ga., a gallant and gifted Confederate, who was in the charge as an aide on General Pettigrew's staff), in an address recently delivered by him on Gettysburg, a copy of which he has kindly furnished us. Captain Young says:

General Trimble and his brigade (division) were not, and had not been in supporting distance; they must also have been delayed, as was Davis' Brigade, in the woods on Seminary ridge. Be this as it may, they were too late to give any assistance to the assaulting column. When I delivered my message, I knew it was too late, and I recall my sad reflection, “What a pity that these brave men should be sacrificed!” Already had the remnant of Pickett's and Heth's Divisions broken. They broke simultaneously. They had together struck the stone fence, driven back the enemy posted behind it, looked down on the multitude beyond, and, in the words of General McLaws, who was watching the attack, “rebounded like an India rubber ball.” The lodgment effected was only for an instant. Not twenty minutes elapsed, as claimed by some, before the handful of braves were driven back by overwhelming numbers. Then Trimble's command should have been ordered to the rear. It continued its useless advance alone, only to return before it had gone as far as we had.’ (Italics ours.)

It will be seen that this statement is (unintentionally, we know) not only at variance with the report of General Lane, but also with those of Generals Lee and Longstreet, both of whom confirm General Lane in the statement that Pettigrew's men gave way before those of Pickett did.

But let us quote again from the official reports, and this time from that of Colonel Lowrence, who, it will be remembered, commanded Scale's North Carolina Brigade, which was supporting Pettigrew. He says:

“We advanced upon the enemy's line, which was in full view, at a distance of a mile. Now their whole line of artillery was playing upon us, which was on an eminence in front, strongly fortified and supported by infantry.” * * * ‘All went forward with a cool and steady step; but ere we had advanced over two-thirds of the way, troops from the front came tearing through our ranks (italics ours) which caused many of our men to break, but with the remaining [354] few we went forward until the right of the brigade touched the enemy's line of breastworks as we marched in rather an oblique line. Now the pieces in our front were silenced. Here many were shot down, being then exposed to a heavy fire of grape and musketry upon our right flank. Now all, apparently, had forsaken us.’

Now the troops in front of Lowrence were those of Pettigrew, and he says they gave way a third of a mile before they got to the enemy's works. But be this as it may, he no where says that any of his men entered the enemy's works; and none of the reports, that we have seen, say that any North Carolina troops did this, which, as we have seen, is the real point at issue. We have already shown, and will do so more conclusively later, that Pickett's men (or some of them) certainly did this. The report of Major Joseph A. Englehard, Assistant Adjutant-General of Pender's Division, then commanded by Trimble, is to the same effect, as those of General Lane and Colonel Lowrence, and for that reason we do not quote what he says. That of Colonel Shephard, of Archer's Brigade, says, after describing the charge, and saying our lines, both right and left, gave way:

Archer's Brigade remained at the works fighting as long as any other troops either on their right or left, so far as I could observe. Every flag in the brigade, excepting one, was captured at or within the works of the enemy.’

This is the only official statement we have found which claims that any other troops than those of Pickett entered the enemy's works. But since Archer's Brigade, who, General Heth says, were the ‘heroes of Chancellorsville,’ was composed entirely of Tennesseeans and Alabamians, we hardly think our North Carolina friends can mean their claim to be mistaken for what this brigade did.

The report of Major J. Jones, of the 26th North Carolina, who commanded Pettigrew's Brigade after Colonel Marshall was wounded, says:

* * * ‘When within about 250 or 300 yards of the stone wall, behind which the enemy was posted, we were met with a perfect hailstorm of lead from their small arms. The brigade dashed on, and many had reached the wall, when we received a deadly volley from the left. The whole line on the left had given away, and we were being rapidly flanked. With our thinned ranks and in such a position, it would have been folly to stand and fight against such [355] odds. We therefore fell back to our original position in rear of the batteries.’

It will be seen that this officer does not claim that any of his men entered the works, or that the troops on his right (Pickett's and Archer's) gave way first; but those on his left, the other two brigades of Pettigrew's Division. The reports of Generals A. P. Hill, Heth and Davis throw no light on the question, and we have been unable to find any report from General Pickett, or from any officer of his division, except that of Major Charles S. Peyton, of Garnett's Brigade, which would throw any light on this question. Major Peyton says this:

‘Our line, much shattered, still kept up the advance until within about twenty paces of the wall, when, for a moment, it recoiled under the terrific fire that poured into our ranks both from their batteries and from their sheltered infantry. At this moment Genera Kemper came up on the right and General Armistead in rear, when the three lines, joining in concert, rushed forward with unyielding determination and an apparent spirit of laudable rivalry to plant the Southern banner on the walls of the enemy. His strongest and last line was instantly gained; the Confederate battle-flag waved over his defences, and the fighting over the wall became hand to hand, and of the most desperate character; but more than half having already fallen, our line was found too weak to rout the enemy. We hoped for a support on the left (which had started simultaneously with ourselves), but hoped in vain (italics ours). Yet a small remnant remained in desperate struggle, receiving a fire in front, on the right, and on the left, many even climbing over the wall and fighting the enemy in his own trenches until entirely surrounded, and those who were not killed or wounded were captured, with the exception of about 300 who came off slowly, but greatly scattered, the identity of every regiment being entirely lost, and every regimental commander killed or wounded.’

Colonel Walter H. Taylor, of General Lee's staff, who was on the field standing by General Lee and saw the movement, says:

‘It is needless to say a word here of the heroic conduct of Pickett's Division, that charge has already passed into history as “one of the world's great deeds of arms.” While doubtless many brave men [356] of other commands reached the crest of the heights, this was the only organized body which entered the works of the enemy.’1

General Long, who was also on General Lee's staff, .after describing the order in which the charge was made, says:

But the tempest of fire which burst upon the devoted column quickly reduced its strength. The troops of Heth's Division (Pettigrew's), decimated by the storm of deadly hail which tore through their ranks, faltered and fell back in disorder before the withering volleys of the Federal musketry. This compelled Pender's (Trimble's) Division, which had marched out to support the movement, to fall back, while Wilcox, on perceiving that the attack had grown hopeless, failed to advance, leaving Pickett's men to continue the charge alone. The other supports, Hood's and McLaws' Divisions, which had been expected to advance in support of the charging column, did not move, and were too remote to offer any assistance. The consequence was that Pickett was left entirely unsupported.

Yet the gallant Virginians marched steadily forward, through the storm of shot and shell that burst upon their devoted ranks, with a gallantry that has never been surpassed. As they approached the ridge their lines were torn by incessant volleys of musketry as by a deadly hail. Yet with unfaltering courage the brave fellows broke into the double-quick, and with an irresistible charge burst into the Federal lines and drove everything before them toward the crest of Cemetery Hill, leaping the breastworks and planting their standards on the captured guns with shouts of victory.

Whilst nearly all of the Federal reports which refer to this charge do so in almost as enthusiastic terms as the Confederate, yet only two or three of them designate, by name, the troops who were in advance and who actually entered their works. These few, however, leave no doubt on this point. General Hancock says: [357]

‘When the enemy's line had nearly reached the stone wall, led by General Armistead,’ &c. (Italics ours.) General Webb, who commanded the brigade immediately in front of Pickett, says:

‘The enemy advanced steadily to the fence, driving out a portion of the 71st Pennsylvania Volunteers. General Armistead passed over the fence with probably over a hundred of his command, and with several battle flags,’ &c. (Italics ours.)

General Henry J. Hunt, who commanded the Federal Artillery, says:

‘The enemy advanced magnificently, unshaken by the shot and shell which tore through his ranks from the front and from our left. * * * * * When our canister fire and musketry were opened upon them, it occasioned disorder, but still they advanced gallantly until they reached the stone wall behind which our troops lay. Here ensued a desperate conflict, the enemy succeeding in passing the wall and entering our lines, causing great destruction of life, especially among the batteries.’

The other reports show what ‘enemy’ is here meant.

It will thus be seen that every one of the official reports, both Federal and Confederate (with the exception of that of Colonel Shep hard, of Archer's Brigade, not composed of Carolinians), which refer to the troops who entered the enemy's works, point unmistakably to those of Pickett's Virginians. This is the positive testimony on this point, and the negative is almost as strong; which is, that none of the official reports from the officers commanding the North Carolina troops make any such claim for their troops—a claim that would certainly have been made if the facts had warranted it. Not only is this true, but General Lane, in his letter published long after the war in the Southern Historical Society Papers, whilst complaining (and perhaps justly) of the little credit given the North Carolina troops for their conduct in this charge, makes no such claim for them. Indeed, Captain S. A. Ashe, of North Carolina, late AdjutantGen-eral Pender's Division, who was in the charge, in his address published in Vol. V, North Carolina Regiments, ‘61-65, whilst claiming at the close that North Carolina troops ‘advanced the farthest and remained the longest,’ says at page 152:

‘Some of Pettigrew's North Carolinians advanced to the wall itself (italics ours), doing all that splendid valor and heroic endurance could do, to dislodge the enemy, but their heroism was in vain.’ [358]

And only a very few of the many post bellum witnesses quoted from by him, claim any more than the official reports show. As to the value of these post bellum statements as compared with the ‘official reports,’ prepared at the time, we cannot do better than to quote from what General Lane said in the article in the Southern Historical Society Papers, before referred to. He says, speaking of his own report of the battle of Gettysburg:

I am sure the public will consider this official paper, written about a month after the battle, a more valuable historical document than the many recent articles written from memory, which is at all times treacherous, and as every Confederate soldier knows, particularly so as regards the incidents, &c., of our heroic struggle for independence.

And then goes on to give instances of the unreliability of these statements from memory.

We have heretofore said we could find no official report of this battle from General Pickett. The following letter explains why this report was not published. It will be found in Series I, Volume XXVII, Part III, page 1075, Reb. Rec., and is as follows:

Gen George E. Pickett, Commanding, &c.
General,—You and your men have crowned yourselves with glory; but we have the enemy to fight, and must carefully, at this critical moment, guard against dissensions which the reflections in your report would create. I will therefore suggest that you destroy both copy and original, substituting one confined to casualties merely. I hope all will yet be well.

I am with respect, your ob't servant,

R. E. Lee, General.

We make no comments on this letter, and when read in the light of the official reports, it would seem to need none.

We do not intend to be misunderstood. We have not done so, and we do not intend to reflect in any way on any of the North Carolina troops. On the contrary, we think, considering the fact that they were engaged and sustained heavy losses in the first day's battle, and were thus deprived of many of their brigade, regimental and company officers, they behaved with signal gallantry; but our contention, and our only point is, that the present claim set up by North Carolina, that her troops were ‘farthest to the front’ at Gettysburg, is not sustained by the record. [359]

We have recently learned, that whilst our friends from North Carolina do not now claim that their men entered the enemy's works, as some of Pickett's did, yet they say that as the point where Pickett's men struck these works they were further advanced to the front than where Pettigrew's men struck them, and as ‘Captain Satterfield and other North Carolinians of the 55th North Carolina fell within nine yards of the wall, this settles it that the men from this State (North Carolina), fairly earned the title “Farthest at Gettysburg.” ’ Note by the editor North Carolina Regiments, ‘61-65, Vol. V, p. 101.

We remark in the first place that the 55th North Carolina was in Davis' Brigade, the furthest brigade to the left (save one) in the ‘charging column,’ and being without any support, as explained by General Lane, we thought it was conceded that this brigade and Brockenbrough's were the first troops to give way.

But surely our friends are not basing their claim on any such narrow and technical ground as is here indicated, and as surely this is not the meaning they intended to convey by this claim. We might as well claim that the picket on the flank of Meade's army or captured within his lines, was ‘farthest to the front.’ Every soldier knows that the ‘frontof an army is wherever its line of battle is (whether that line is zigzag or straight), and the opposing troops which penetrate that line are farther to the front, than those which do not.

We have shown, we think, conclusively, that the Virginians under Pickett did penetrate the enemy's line on the 3d of July, 1863, in the famous charge at Gettysburg, and that the North Carolinians, under Pettigrew and Trimble, did not.

Another ground on which, we understand, North Carolina bases this claim is, that the losses in Pettigrew's and Trimble's Divisions in this battle were greater than those of Pickett. All the statistics of losses, we have seen, of the battle of Gettysburg include those in the different commands in all three days combined. Since, therefore, Pettigrew's and Trimble's men were engaged in the battles of the first day, as well as those of the third, and as Pickett's were only engaged on the third day, of course, the losses of the first two divisions in the two days' battles were greater than those of the last named in the one day's battle.

If our friends from North Carolina would adopt the language of her gallant son, Captain Ashe, from whom we have already quoted, and say of Gettysburg: [360]

“It was indeed a field of honor, as well as a field of blood, and the sister States of Virginia and North Carolina have equal cause to weave chaplets of laurel and cypress” there, no one in Virginia would have just cause of complaint, and certainly none would ever have come from this committee on this point. But when her claim is set forth in the invidious (and, we think, unjust) form it is, we think it not only our right, but our duty to appeal to the record, and to set Virginia right from that record; and this is all we have tried to do.

As to Chickamauga.

We have already protracted this report too far to warrant us in investigating the grounds on which this claim is based by North Carolina. Virginia was at Chickamauga, too, along with North Carolina. We have always understood that these troops did their duty on this field as well as those from any other State. This is all we claim for Virginia, and all that was claimed for North Carolina, until very recently. We will only remark, as to this belated claim, that we have read the full and detailed report of this great battle, written by the Commanding General, a native of North Carolina, and in it he nowhere refers to any specially meritorious services rendered by the few North Carolina regiments there.

As to Appomattox.

The writer had been permanently disabled by wounds before Appomattox, and therefore cannot speak, personally, of what occurred there, and there are no official reports to appeal to. From what we have heard of the surroundings there—the scattered condition of the different commands, the desultory firing, and the confusion incident to that event—we should think it difficult, if not impossible, to decide, with any degree of certainty, what troops were really entitled to the honor claimed here by North Carolina.

We do know, however, that this honor is claimed by troops from several of the Southern States; and we have heard it asserted, with great plausibilty, that the last fighting was done by troops from Virginia. We cannot prolong this report to discuss the merits of these several claims, a discussion which would, in our opinion, be both fruitless and unsatisfactory.

In the Army of Northern Virginia nearly every Southern State was represented. The Confederate Secretary of War said of that army in his report of November 3, 1864, that it was one ‘in which every virtue of an army and the genius of consummate generalship [361] had been displayed.’ And this again, we believe, is the world's verdict. Is this not glory enough to give us all a share? Let us, then, not be envious and jealous of each other, where all did their part so well.

Virginia makes no boast of the part borne by her in that the greatest crisis of her history. She only claims that she did her duty to the best of her ability. She has, therefore, no apologies to make either for what she did or may have failed to do. It is true that she was somewhat reluctant to join the Confederacy; not because she had any doubt of the right of secession, or of the justice of the Confederate cause; but only because of her devotion to the Union of our fathers, which she had done so much to form and to maintain from its foundation. But when she did cast her lot with her Southern sisters, she bore her part with a courage and devotion never surpassed; and the record shows this in no uncertain way. In the address issued and signed by every member of the Confederate Congress in February, 1864, not written by a Virginian, she is thus referred to:

‘In Virginia, the model of all that illustrates human heroism and self-denying patriotism, although the tempest of desolation has swept over her fair domain, no sign of repentance for her separation from the North can be found. Her old homesteads dismantled; her ancestral relics destroyed; her people impoverished; her territory made the battle-ground for the rude shocks of contending hosts, and then divided with hireling parasites mockingly claiming jurisdiction and authority, the Old Dominion still stands with proud crest and defiant mien, ready to trample beneath her heel every usurper and tyrant, and to illustrate afresh her Sic Semper Tyrannis, the proudest motto that ever blazed on a nation's shield or a warrior's arms.’

On such testimony as this, Virginia can safely rest her title to share equally with her Southern sisters in the ‘wealth of glory’ produced by the war, and this equality is all she asks or would have. She disdains to pluck one laurel from a sister's brow.

School books.

We have but little to add since our last report about the books used in our schools, as there has been no change in these, so far as we know. We have received from the publishers, the ‘American Book Company,’ a copy of the School History of the United States, by Philip A. Bruce, Esq. This work is well written; accurate in its [362] statements, as far as we are capable of judging; well gotten up by the publishers, and is a very good school history. Mr. Bruce is a Virginian, and his book is, therefore, written from a Southern point of view. But we think he fails to state the South's position in reference to the late war as strongly as it can or should be stated to our children; e. g., at Section 418, he says:

‘The Southern people maintained, that the constitution was simply a compact or agreement between sovereign and independent States,’ &c.— without saying whether they were right or wrong in so maintaining. Again at Section 419, he says: ‘the South thought,’ &c. We think we know what the opinions of the author are on these important questions, and that our chileren should have the benefit of these opinions wherever they are based on such well ascertained facts as are here referred to.

Stepping Stones to Literature.

The volumes with this title have been brought to our attention by Captain Carter R. Bishop, of Petersburg, a member of the committee, and at our request he has prepared the following, it would seem, well merited criticism, which we respectfully commend to the serious consideration of the Board of Education of the State.

Captain Bishop's paper is as follows:

This Committeee has hitherto confined its attention entirely to matters of history proper, but the lamented Dr. Hunter McGuire, in outlining our work, included among the subjects of our criticism, any text book of our schools which failed to do justice to the South.

We have recently examined critically the series of readers in most common use and find them far from what they should be. An intelligent child soon learns that authors may dogmatize in the statement of facts about which there may be a difference of opinion. This puts him on his guard, and he accepts the teachings of hig history as truths subject to such future correction as may be justified by a wider knowledge of the matter.

But the most ineradicable opinions are those formed by inference, without assertion or contradiction, during the formative period of a child's mind. The error thus implanted is never suspected 'till it is unalterably fixed. There are poisons whose only manifestation is the inexplicable death of the victim. An antidote would have saved him, but its need was not indicated 'till death made it useless. [363]

Did the South during the last century and a half have no orators, poets nor writers whose work might be of service in the literary development of the child? Were the Southerners so enervated by the luxury of slavery as to produce nothing worthy of a place among the selections from the best writers and speakers of the language?

The average child using the Stepping Stones to Literature, would be forced so to conclude. For, mark you, this series of readers consists of seven grades; the majority of children in our schools never reach the last of the seven, and in this one only is there a word from a Southern lip or pen. The selections were made or approved by a Boston lady naturally from the literature with which she was most familiar. The New England school of authors fully represented, and biographical notes make sure that the child shall know the section to which they belong and the loving reverence in which they are held; but the information of this kind about the Southern authors is marked in its meagerness. Its extent is as follows: Patrick Henry “lived in Virginia during the Revolutionary War.” Mrs. Preston “was born in Philadelphia, and lived in Lexington, Virginia,” “General Gordon was a Confederate officer,” and “Sidney Lanier was a Southern poet.” For the man who does not want his child to know more than this of the home and nativity of Southern authors, these books are good enough. But if there is such a man in our land, his only plea for such a wish would have to be his own unbounded ignorance.

The South has produced orators whose impetuous eloquence has made men rush with a glad cheer into the very jaws of death; statesmen, whose wise counsel has restrained the fierce heat of a hot-blooded people; preachers, whose words have convinced the sinner, cheered the saint and comforted the bereaved; writers, whose sentiments have placed the wreath of undying glory on the tomb of heroes and inspired a people of desolated homes to rehabilitate their land made sacred by the graves of such heroes; poets, whose graceful fancy has gilded the mountain tops with the lights of other days and caused those in the gloom of despair to look up and resolve to lead lives worthy of such hallowed associations.

Must the children of the South grow up in ignorance of these authors? Such is the unconscious intent of our Board of Public Education as evinced by their adoption of these Readers for the schools.

The seventy-eighth Psalm contains a long category of God's dealings with his chosen people. It was appointed to be sung in [364] the temple service. Was it that the Elders might warm their hearts afresh and restrain their evil inclinations as they recited again and again God's mercies and His wrath? Possibly this was one result of its use, but that it was not its main object we learn from the introduction of this Psalm of instruction, where we read: “ For He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers that they should make them known to their children; that the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children.” There you have it. The Divine plan was to lodge that which we wish to remain in the mind of the child. Can we improve upon His plan?

If we wish the authors so dear to us, of whom we are so justly proud, to be loved in the future, or even known outside of a mere handful of dry and bloodless book-worms, we must to-day make them known to our children.

All the criticisms so far made on the Stepping Stones to Literature are negative. We have pointed out things that are wanting. But there is one selection to which we will call special attention. It is, “The battle hymn of the republic,” by Julia Ward Howe, in the Sixth Reader, which represents the invading Northern army as the coming of the Lord in vengeance. Comment on such blasphemy is unnecessary. Surely no Southerner could have taken the trouble to advise himself of the existence of such an outrage on our children.

1 Further, as to what Pickett's Division did or accomplished at Gettysburg, reference may be made to the communication of Thos. R. Friend in the Times-Dispatch of November 24, 1903, both as to the action of the division and the presence in the assault of General Pickett himself ‘in the front.’ Mr. Friend states implicitly that he was with General Pickett throughout the same.

See also the testimony of Captain Robert A. Bright, of his staff, ante, p. 228. Some years since there also appeared in an issue of the same paper the emphatic testimony of a number of Confederate States officers as to these points in issue, corroborating what is stated herein.—Ed.

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