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1. Virginia was a "battle ground" from the beginning to the end 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 or 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 showed in the utter desolation 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 Southern State dismembered by the 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 Gen. 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 are 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 volumes 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 friends 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 her writers has already claimed that "Chancellorsville" was a '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 that 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."


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In Volume IV. of the "Confederate Military History," at page 19, will be found a carefully prepared account of the battle at Bethel, written by D. H. Hill, Jr., son of the intrepid soldier of that name who commanded the First 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: 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 shot from a Parrott 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 the commanding general, along with those from North Carolina, not only in his report of the battle but also, and in complimentary terms, in the report of Gen. (then Col.) 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."

Gen. 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 of 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 of these 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 3d day of July, 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 dispositions and allignments 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 Wilcox's 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 center. Pettigrew's Division was composed of Archer's, Pettigrew's, Davis's, and Brockenbrough's Brigades, supported by Scales's and Lane's Brigades of Pender's Division, then commanded by Gen. Trimble; Scales's Brigade (commanded by Col. Lowrance) being in rear of Archer's (commanded by Col. Fry), and Lane's being on the left of Scales, supporting Pettigrew's Brigade (then commanded by Col. 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 Gen. 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

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