Изображения страниц

the whole movement with distinctness. He says this in his official report:

"Gen. 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 Scales's Brigades under Gen. Trimble. The troops moved steadily on under a heavy fire of musketry and artillery, the main attack being directed against the enemy's left center. 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 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 Gen. Lee here says.

We next quote from Gen. Longstreet's report, who was standing not very far from 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 halfway 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 the 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. Maj. Gen. 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 gaining 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 and drove it back, capturing about half of those of it who were not killed or wounded."

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, Gen. James H. Lane, who was at first in command of Pender's Division, but having been relieved of that by Gen. Trimble, then commanded his own North Carolina Brigade. He says:

"Gen. Longstreet ordered me to form in the rear of the right of Heth's Division, commanded by Gen. Pettigrew. Soon after I had executed this order, putting Lowrance (commanding Scales's Brigade) on the right, I was relieved of the command of the division by Gen. Trimble, who acted under the same orders that I received. Heth's Division was much larger than Lowrance's Brigade and my own, which were 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] Lowrance'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 Lowrance. 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 or the unsatisfactory nature of the post-bellum statements relied on entirely, it would seem, by the advocates of North Carolina's claim, can be found than by contrasting Gen. Lane's report with what is said by Capt. Louis G. Young (now of Savannah, Ga., a gallant and gifted Confederate who was in the charge as an aide on Gen. Pettigrew's staff). In an address recently delivered by him on Gettysburg, a copy of which he has kindly sent us Capt. Young says:

[ocr errors]

Gen. Trimble and his brigade (division) were not, and had not been, in supporting distance. They also must have been delayed, as was Davis's 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 Gen. 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 was 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."

It will be seen that this statement is (unintentionally, we know) not only at variance with the report of Gen. Lane, but also with those of Gens. Lee, and Longstreet, both of whom confirm Gen. 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 Col. Lowrance, who, it will be remembered, commanded Scales'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, which was on an eminence in front strongly fortified and supported by infantry, was playing upon us." "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 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 Lowrance 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 at it may, he nowhere 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 Maj. Joseph A. Englehard, assistant adjutant general of Pender's Division, then commanded by Trimble, is substantially to the same effect as those of Gen. Lane and Col. Lowrance, and for that reason we do not quote what he says. That of Col. Shepard, of Archer's Brigade, after describing the charge, and saying our lines, both right and left, gave way, says:

"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." (Italics ours.)

This is the only official statement we have found which claimed that any other troops than those of Pickett entered the enemy's works. But since Archer's Brigade, which, Gen. 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 the men of this brigade did.

The report of Maj. J. Jones, of the Twenty-sixth North Carolina, who commanded Pettigrew's Brigade after Col. 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 way, and we were being rapidly flanked. With our thinned ranks and in such a position it would have been folly to stand, and against such 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

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »