Major-General Johnson at Spotsylvania. From the times-dispatch, November 26, 1905.The Confederate General who met bayonets of enemy with a cane.
Wonderful fighting then. Graphic story of the Spotsylvania fight told by Major Robert Hunter.
Major Robert W. Hunter is one of those soldiers of Virginia and the Confederacy to whose name may be written ‘from Manassas to Appomattox.’ In the first battle he was in the Second Virginia Infantry of the Stonewall Brigade, and in the closing scene at Appomattox was on the staff of Major-General John B. Gordon, of Georgia, who afterwards became the successor of Jackson, Ewell and Early as commander of the Second Corps. He was in Jackson's and in Early's Valley campaigns alike, and in all the great battles in which the famous Second Corps participated. Did he write his reminiscences, as it is hoped he may, there is no man living who could relate more of the vivid scenes of the wondrous story of the Army of Northern Virginia. Enclosed is an account taken from his lips of the Bloody Angle of Spotsylvania, on the 12th of May. It is a finality on the question which sometimes has been raised by the uninformed with respect to Major-General Edward Johnson. So far from being surprised, he was most diligent and active to prevent the catastrophe which resulted, and his report shows it; but I will not anticipate Major Hunter's story. He became adjutant-general of Johnson's division shortly after the battle of Gettysburg, where Major Benjamin Watkins Leigh, his predecessor, was killed. Gallantly did he serve throughout the war, and on that terrific day at Spotsylvania, which he graphically recounts, Major-General Edward Johnson (‘Old Alleghany,’ as the soldiers called him, on account of his sturdy fighting on Alleghany mountain), has never received the notice to which his long, arduous and great services and his notable feats of arms entitled him. His adjutant-general, Major Hunter, who is as accomplished with  the pen, as with the sword, has done much to pluck from the wave of oblivion the names and deeds of some of our bravest and best. It is hoped that he will give to history an account of his chief which will do justice to one who was not only a fine commander of many exploits, but is also a modest gentleman. Early's old division and Johnson's also were changed after the battles of the Wilderness, on the 5th and 6th of May. On the 8th of May, A. P. Hill being sick, Major-General Early was put in command of his corps. General Stafford, of Louisiana, having been killed, the two Louisiana brigades of Hays and Stafford, both of which were small, were consolidated under General Harry T. Hays. He was wounded on May 10th, and they were now at Spotsylvania, under Colonel Zebulon York. R. D. Johnson's North Carolina brigade had been assigned to Early's division, and on May 6th and on the 12th of May the two divisions of Early and Johnson were composed as follows: （1) Early's old division, under Gordon, consisted of Pegram's Virginia brigade of five regiments, under Colonel J. S. Hoffman; Gordon's Georgia brigade of six regiments, under Colonel C. A. Evans, and the North Carolina brigade of four regiments, under Brigadier-General R. D. Johnson; in all, fifteen regiments. （2) Major-General Edward Johnson's division consisted of Brigadier-General Geo. H. Steuart's brigade of two North Carolina and three Virginia regiments; John M. Jones' old brigade (general having been killed May 5th), under Colonel V. A. Witcher, which consisted of six Virginia regiments, and also of Brigadier-General Harry T. Hays' consolidated brigade of ten regiments, under Colonel York, and the old Stonewall brigade of five Virginia regiments, under Brigadier-General James A. Walker; in all, twenty-six regiments, many of which were remnants.
Major Hunter's story.
On the night of May 11th, 1864, Major-General Edward Johnson sent me back of his line of battle at Spotsylvania to Lieutenant-General Ewell to tell him he was sure that the enemy would attack his division next morning, the 12th; that they were massed in his front, and that there was every manifestation of intended assault;  also, that the position could not be held without the artillery, which had been moving off. I rode to General Ewell and gave him the message. General Ewell said that ‘General Lee had positive information that the enemy was moving to turn his right flank, and had been so informed by the most reliable scouts, and that it was necessary for the artillery to move accordingly.’ I rode back to General Johnson, who was at the McCool House. He was lying down in the house. I told him I could not impress General Ewell with his views, and that he had better go and see him in person. General Johnson arose and said: ‘I will go at once,’ and mounting his horse, he and I rode to General Ewell, who was in another house not far off, lying down, and apparently very uneasy. He got up and told General Johnson that he had told me as to General Lee's information, but was soon convinced by General Johnson that the assault would be made. Colonel William Terry, of the Fourth Virginia Infantry, Stonewall brigade, who had charge of the front line, had told General Johnson of his observations, and had been so close to the enemy that he could hear their talk as they massed together. General Ewell then sent orders for the artillery to be returned to our front, close up, and General Johnson, on his return to the McCool House, instructed me to issue a circular of warning and direction.