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Title: Picket or Pettigrew - An Historical Essay
Author: Bond, W. R.
Language: English
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  PICKETT OR PETTIGREW?

  AN
  HISTORICAL ESSAY,
  [REVISED AND ENLARGED.]

  BY

  CAPT. W. R. BOND,
  Sometime Officer Brigade Staff Army Northern Virginia.

  “Tell the truth and the world will come to see
  it at last.”--EMERSON.

  SECOND EDITION.

  Single copy,      $ .25
  Five copies,       1.00

  W. L. L. HALL, PUBLISHER.
  Scotland Neck, N. C.



DEDICATION.


To the memory of the brave men of HILL’S CORPS, who were killed while
fighting under the orders of General Longstreet, on the afternoon
of July 3rd, 1863; whose fame has been clouded by the persistent
misrepresentations of certain of their comrades, this “little book” is
affectionately dedicated.

            W. R. B.

  Scotland Neck, Halifax Co., N. C.,
          October, 1888.


  Copyrighted 1888,
  BY
  W. W. HALL.


  THE COMMONWEALTH JOB PRINT,
  SCOTLAND NECK, N. C.



PREFACE.


The first edition of this pamphlet appeared a short time before
the publication of the Official Records relating to Gettysburg.
Consequently many things of importance to the subject treated were
unknown to the writer. Such facts as he possessed of his own knowledge
or could gather from his comrades and other sources, together with
a lot of statistics secured from the War Department, were published
and with gratifying results. Very many of the statements then made
and which were not open to successful contradiction were so much at
variance with the general belief that the brochure attracted wide
attention, especially among old soldiers. From Tacoma on the Pacific
slope and Augusta, Maine, from Chicago and New Orleans, came assurances
of interest and appreciation. In fact there are very few States from
which there have not come expressions either of surprise that the
slander should ever have originated or of sympathy with the effort to
right a great wrong.

That the two thousand copies formerly issued should have been disposed
of two years ago and that there is still a demand for the pamphlet, is
deemed sufficient reason for this edition. And the recent publication
in New York of a history repeating the old falsehoods emphasizes the
need of keeping the facts before the public.

It would be a matter of regret should any statement in these pages
wound the sensibilities of any personal friends of the author, still in
such an event he would be measurably consoled by the reflection that
here as in most matters it is best to “hew to the line and let the
chips fall as they may.”

Scotland Neck, N. C., April, 1900.



GENERAL JAMES JOHNSTON PETTIGREW.

  “There lived a knight, when knighthood was in flow’r,
  Who charm’d alike the tilt-yard and the bower.”


The family of Johnston Pettigrew was one of the oldest, wealthiest
and most influential of Eastern Carolina. His grandfather, Rev. Chas.
Pettigrew, was the first Bishop-elect of the Diocese of North Carolina.
Be was born upon his father’s estate, Bonarva, Lake Scuppernong,
Tyrrell county, North Carolina, on July 4th, 1828, and died near
Bunker’s Hill, Va., July 17th, 1863, having been wounded three days
before in a skirmish at Falling Waters. He graduated with the first
distinction at the University of North Carolina in 1847. A few months
after graduation, at the request of Commodore Maury, principal of the
Naval Observatory at Washington, he accepted a professorship in that
institution. Having remained thereabout eight months he resigned and
went to Charleston, South Carolina, and became a student of law, in the
office of his distinguished relative, Hon. Jas. L. Pettigru, obtaining
a license in 1849. In 1850 he went to Europe to study the civil law in
the German Universities. There also he became thoroughly acquainted
with the German, French, Italian and Spanish languages. He became so
well acquainted with Arabic as to read and appreciate it; also with
Hebrew. He then traveled over the various countries of the Continent,
also England, Scotland and Ireland. In 1852 he became Secretary of
Legation to the U. S. Minister at the Court of Madrid. In the winter of
1861 he had printed in Charleston, for private circulation, an octavo
volume of 430 pages, entitled “Spain and the Spaniards,” which has been
very much admired by every one who has read it, for its learning, its
research and the elegance of its style. Having remained in Madrid only
a few months he returned to Charleston and entered upon the practice
of law with Mr. James L. Pettigru. In December, 1856, and December,
1857, he was chosen a member of the Legislature from the city of
Charleston. He rose to great distinction in that body, by his speech
on the organization of the Supreme Court, and his report against the
re-opening of the African Slave Trade. He failed to be re-elected in
1858. Again in 1859 he went to Europe with the intention of taking
part in the war then in progress between Sardinia and Austria. His
application to Count Cavour for a position in the Sardinian Army, under
Gen’l Marmora, was favorably received. His rank would have been at
least that of Colonel; but in consequence of the results of the battle
of Solferino, which took place just before his arrival in Sardinia, the
war was closed and he was thereby prevented from experiencing active
military service and learning its lessons. In 1859 he became Colonel
of a rifle regiment that was formed and that acted a conspicuous
part around Charleston in the winter of 1860–61. With his regiment
he took possession of Castle Pinkney, and was afterwards transferred
to Morris Island, where he erected formidable batteries. He held
himself in readiness to storm Fort Sumpter in case it had not been
surrendered after bombardment. In the spring of 1861, his regiment
growing impatient because it could not just then be incorporated in
the Confederate Army, disbanded; Col. Pettigrew then joined Hampton’s
Legion as a private, and went with that body to Virginia, where
active service was to be met with. A few days afterwards, without
any solicitation on his part, he was elected Colonel of the 22d
North Carolina Troops. While at Evansport, he was offered promotion,
but declined it, upon the ground, that it would separate him from
his regiment. Late in the spring of 1862 an arrangement was made by
which his regiment was embraced in the brigade. He then accepted the
commission. He and his brigade were with Gen. Johnston at Yorktown
and in the retreat up the peninsula. He was with his brigade in the
sanguinary battle of Seven Pines, or Fair Oaks, where he was severely
wounded, and left insensible upon the field and captured. He was in
prison only about two months, and on being exchanged he returned to
find that in his absence his beloved brigade had been given to General
Pender. A new brigade was then made up for him. How well this body was
disciplined and of what material it was made this essay has attempted
to show. In the autumn of 1862, he was ordered with his brigade to
Eastern North Carolina, where he was engaged in several affairs, which
though brilliant have been overshadowed by the greater battles of the
war. In May, 1863, his brigade was again ordered to Virginia, and ever
after formed a part of the Army of Northern Virginia. While commanding
Heth’s division, in Longstreet’s Assault, though his horse had been
killed, and he had received a painful wound--a grapeshot shattering his
left hand--he was within a few feet of his own brigade when the final
repulse came. On his regaining our lines, his remark to Gen. Lee that
he was responsible for his brigade, but not for the division, shows
that he was satisfied with the conduct of a part, but not with that of
all the troops under his command.

As to one of the two brigades that gave way before the rest of the
line, he labored under a very great misapprehension. He did not know
then, and the reading world has been slow to realize since, how very
great had been its loss before retreating. As to the fact that in
proportion to the number carried into the assault its loss had been
more than twice as great as that of any of Pickett’s brigades, there is
not the slightest doubt. The highest praise and not censure should be
its reward.

At Falling Waters, on the 14th, he had just been placed in command of
the rear guard, which consisted of his own and Archer’s brigade, when
a skirmish occurred in which he was mortally wounded. He died on the
17th, and his remains were taken to his old home, Bonarva, and there he
lies buried near the beautiful lake, whose sandy shores his youthful
feet were wont to tread. May he rest in peace!



PICKETT OR PETTIGREW?


Longstreet’s assault on the third day at Gettysburg, or what is
generally, but very incorrectly, known as “Pickett’s Charge,” has
not only had its proper place in books treating of the war, but has
been more written about in newspapers and magazines than any event in
American history. Some of these accounts are simply silly. Some are
false in statement. Some are false in inference All in some respects
are untrue.

Three divisions, containing nine brigades and numbering about nine
thousand and seven hundred officers and men, were selected for the
assaulting column. The field over which they were ordered to march
slowly and deliberately, was about one thousand yards wide, and was
swept by the fire of one hundred cannon and twenty thousand muskets.
The smoke from the preceding cannonade, which rested upon the field,
was their only cover. In view of the fact, that when the order to
go forward was given, Cemetery Ridge was not defended by Indians or
Mexicans, but by an army, which for the greater part, was composed of
native Americans, an army, which if it had never done so before, had
shown in the first and second day’s battles, not only that it could
fight, but could fight desperately. In view of this fact, whether the
order to go forward was a wise thing or a frightful blunder, I do
not propose to discuss. The purpose of this paper will be to compare
and contrast the courage, endurance and soldierly qualities of the
different brigades engaged in this assault, dwelling especially upon
the conduct of the troops commanded respectively by Generals Pickett
and Pettigrew.

If certain leading facts are repeated at the risk of monotony, it will
be for the purpose of impressing them upon the memories of youthful
readers of history. As a sample, but rather an extreme one, of the
thousand and one foolish things which have been written of this affair,
I will state that a magazine for children, “St. Nicholas,” I think it
was, some time ago contained a description of this assault, in which a
comparison was drawn between the troops engaged, and language something
like the following was used: “Those on the left faltered and fled. The
right behaved gloriously. Each body acted according to its nature, for
they were made of different stuff. The one of common earth, the other
of finest clay. Pettigrew’s men were North Carolinians, Pickett’s were
superb Virginians.” To those people who do not know how the trash
which passes for Southern history was manufactured, the motives which
actuated the writers, and how greedily at first everything written by
them about the war, was read, it is not so astonishing that a libel
containing so much ignorance, narrowness and prejudice as the above
should have been printed in a respectable publication, as the fact,
that even to this day, when official records and other data are so
accessible, there are thousands of otherwise well-informed people all
over the land who believe the slander to be either entirely or in part
true. And it looks almost like a hopeless task to attempt to combat an
error which has lived so long and flourished so extensively. But some
one has said, “Truth is a Krupp gun, before which Falsehood’s armor,
however thick, cannot stand. One shot may accomplish nothing, or two,
or three, but keep firing it will be pierced at last, and its builders
and defenders will be covered with confusion.” This little essay shall
be my one shot, and may Justice defend the right.

In the great war the soldiers from New York and North Carolina filled
more graves than those from any of the other States. In the one
case fourteen and in the other thirty-six per cent. of them died in
supporting a cause which each side believed to be just.

Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia each had about the same number of
infantry at Gettysburg, in all twenty-four brigades of the thirty-seven
present. Now, this battle is not generally considered a North Carolina
fight as is Chancellorsville, but even here the soldiers of the old
North State met with a greater loss (killed and wounded, remember,
for North Carolina troops never attempted to rival certain Virginia
brigades in the number of men captured), than did those from any
other State, and, leaving out Georgians, greater than did those from
any two States. Though the military population of North Carolina was
exceeded by that of Virginia and Tennessee, she had during the war
more men killed upon the battlefield than both of them together. This
is a matter of record. It may be that she was a little deliberate in
making up her mind to go to war, but when once she went in she went
in to stay. At the close of the terrible struggle in which so much of
her best blood had been shed, her soldiers surrendered at Appomattox
and Greensboro more muskets than did those from any other State in the
Confederacy. Why troops with this record should not now stand as high
everywhere as they did years ago in Lee’s and Johnston’s armies, may
appear a problem hard to solve, but its solution is the simplest thing
in the world, and I will presently give it.

The crack brigades of General Lee’s army were noted for their close
fighting. When they entered a battle they went in to kill, and they
knew that many of the enemy could not be killed at long range.
This style of fighting was dangerous, and of course the necessary
consequence in the shape of a casualty list, large either in numbers
or per centage, followed. Then there were some troops in the army who
would on all occasions blaze away and waste ammunition, satisfied if
only they were making a noise. Had they belonged to the army of that
Mexican general who styled himself the “Napoleon of the West,” they
would not have been selected for his “Old Guard,” but yet, without
exception, they stood high in the estimation of the Richmond people,
much higher indeed than very many of the best troops in our army.

As said above, Longstreet’s assault is almost invariably spoken and
written of as “Pickett’s charge.” This name and all the name implies,
is what I shall protest against in this article. At the battle
of Thermopylæ three hundred Spartans and seven hundred Thespians
sacrificed their lives for the good of Greece. Every one has praised
Leonidas and his Spartans. How many have ever so much as heard of the
equally brave Thespians? I do not know of a case other than this of the
Thespians, where a gallant body of soldiers has been treated so cruelly
by history, as the division which fought the first day under Heth and
the third under Pettigrew. I have no personal concern in the fame of
these troops, as I belonged to and fought in another division; but in
two of its brigades I had intimate friends who were killed in this
battle, and on their account I would like to see justice done. Among
these friends were Captain Tom Holliday, A. A. G., of Davis’ Brigade,
and Harry Burgwyn, Colonel of the 26th North Carolina. (This regiment
had more men killed and wounded in this battle than any one of the
seven hundred Confederate or the two thousand Federal ever had in any
battle. Official records show this.) And then, too, I know of no reason
why truth, honesty and fair dealing should not be as much prized in
historical as in business matters.

As the battle of Gettysburg was the most sanguinary of the war, as
by many it is considered “the turning of the tide,” so the final
charge made preceded and attended as it was by peculiarly dramatic
circumstances, has furnished a subject for more speeches, historical
essays, paintings and poems than any event which ever occurred in
America. Painters and poets, whose subjects are historical, of course
look to history for their authority. If history is false, falsehood
will soon become intrenched in poetry and art.

The world at large gets its ideas of the late war from Northern
sources. Northern historians, when the subject is peculiarly Southern,
from such histories as Pollard’s, Cook’s and McCabe’s, and these merely
reflected the opinions of the Richmond newspapers. These newspapers in
turn got their supposed facts from their army correspondents, and they
were very careful to have only such correspondents as would write what
their patrons cared most to read.

During the late war, Richmond, judged by its newspapers, was the most
provincial town in the world. Though the capital city of a gallant
young nation, and though the troops from every State thereof were
shedding their blood in her defence, she was wonderfully narrow and
selfish. While the citizens of Virginia were filling nearly one-half
of the positions of honor and trust, civil and military, Richmond
thought that all should be thus filled. With rare exceptions, no
soldier, no sailor, no jurist, no statesman, who did not hail from
their State was ever admired or spoken well of. No army but General
Lee’s and no troops in that army other than Virginians, unless they
happened to be few in numbers, as was the case of the Louisianians and
Texans, were ever praised. A skirmish in which a Virginian regiment or
brigade was engaged was magnified into a fight, an action in which a
few were killed was a severe battle, and if by chance they were called
upon to bleed freely, then, according to the Richmond papers, troops
from some other State were to blame for it, and no such appalling
slaughter had ever been witnessed in the world’s history.

Indiscriminate praise had a very demoralizing effect upon many of their
troops. They were soon taught that they could save their skins and
make a reputation, too, by being always provided with an able corps of
correspondents. If they behaved well it was all right; if they did not
it was equally all right, for their short-comings could be put upon
other troops. The favoritism displayed by several superior officers
in General Lee’s army was unbounded, and the wonder is that this army
should have continued to the end in so high a state of efficiency.
But then as the slaps and bangs of a harsh step-mother may have a
less injurious effect upon the characters of some children than the
excessive indulgence of a silly parent, so the morale of those troops,
who were naturally steady and true, was less impaired by their being
always pushed to the front when danger threatened, than if they had
always been sheltered or held in reserve.

Naturally the world turned to the Richmond newspapers for Southern
history, and with what results I will give an illustration: All war
histories teach that in Longstreet’s assault on the third day his
right division (Pickett’s) displayed more gallantry and shed more
blood, in proportion to numbers engaged, than any other troops on any
occasion ever had. Now, if gallantry can be measured by the number
or per centage of deaths and wounds, and by the fortitude with which
casualties are borne, then there were several commands engaged in this
assault, which displayed more gallantry than any brigade in General
Longstreet’s pet division. Who is there who knows anything of this
battle to whom the name of Virginia is not familiar?

To how many does the name of Gettysburg suggest the names of Tennessee,
Mississippi or North Carolina? And yet the Tennessee brigade suffered
severely; but the courage of its survivors was unimpaired. There were
three Mississippi regiments in Davis’ brigade, which between them had
one hundred and forty-one men killed on the field. Pickett’s dead
numbered not quite fifteen to the regiment. The five North Carolina
regiments of Pettigrew’s division bore with fortitude a loss of two
hundred and twenty-nine killed.

Pickett’s fifteen Virginia regiments were fearfully demoralized by a
loss of two hundred and twenty-four killed. Virginia and North Carolina
had each about the same number of infantry in this battle. The former
had three hundred and seventy-five killed, the latter six hundred and
ninety-six.

When in ante-bellum days, Governor Holden, the then leader of the
Democratic cohorts in North Carolina, was the editor of the “Raleigh
Standard,” he boasted that he could kill and make alive. The Richmond
editors during the war combining local and intellectual advantages
without boasting did the same. They had the same power over reputations
that the Almighty has over physical matter. This fact General
Longstreet soon learned, and the lesson once learned, he made the most
of it. He would praise their pet troops and they would praise him, and
between them everything was lovely. He was an able soldier, “an able
writer, but an ungenerous.” Troops from another corps, who might be
temporarily assigned to him were invariably either ignored or slandered.

The Gascons have long been noted in history for their peculiarity of
uniting great boastfulness with great courage. It is possible that some
of General Longstreet’s ancestors may have come from Southern France.
His gasconade, as shown of late by his writings, is truly astonishing,
but his courage during the war was equally remarkable. Whether his
Virginia division excelled in the latter of these characteristics as
much as it has for thirty-six years in the first, I will leave the
readers of this monograph to decide.

If to every description of a battle, a list of casualties were added,
not only would many commands, both in the army of Northern Virginia
and in the army of the Potomac, which have all along been practically
ignored, come well to the front; but those who for years have been
reaping the glory that others sowed, would have the suspicion that
perhaps after all they were rather poor creatures. Our old soldier
friend, Col. John Smith, of Jamestown, Va., to an admiring crowd,
tells his story: “He carried into action five hundred men, he charged
a battery, great lanes were swept through his regiment by grape and
canister, whole companies were swept away, but his men close up and
charge on, the carnage is appalling, but it does not appall, the guns
are captured, but only he and ten men are left to hold them. His
regiment has been destroyed, wiped out, annihilated,” and this will
go for history. But should Truth in the form of a list of casualties
appear, it would be seen that Colonel Smith’s command had fifteen
killed and sixty wounded. That is three in the hundred killed, and
twelve in the hundred wounded. Some gallantry has been displayed, some
blood has been shed, but neither the one nor the other was at all
phenomenal. “There were brave men before Agamemnon.”

In some commands the habit of “playing possum” prevailed. When a charge
was being made, if a fellow became badly frightened, all he had to do
was to fall flat and play dead until his regiment passed. Afterwards
he would say that the concussion from a shell had stunned him. It is
needless to say that troops who were addicted to this habit stood
higher abroad if their correspondent could use his pen well, than they
did in the army.

Was it arrogance or was it ignorance which always caused Pickett’s
men to speak of the troops which marched on their left as their
SUPPORTS? It is true that an order was issued and it was so published
to them that they should be supported by a part of Hill’s Corps, and
these troops were actually formed in their rear. It is equally true
that before the command to move forward was given this order was
countermanded and these troops were removed and placed on their left.
As these movements were seen of all men this order could not have been
the origin of the belief that Pettigrew had to support them. Was it
arrogance and self-conceit? It looks like it. That their division
stood to Lee’s army in the same relation that the sun does to the
solar system. But then these people, it not blessed with some other
qualities, had brains enough to know that our army could fight and
conquer, too, without their assistance. They did comparatively little
fighting at Second Manassas and Sharpsburg, had only two men killed at
Fredericksburg, did not fire a shot at Chancellorsville, for they were
miles away, and it is no exaggeration to say that they did not kill
twenty of the enemy at Gettysburg.

The front line of troops, the line which does the fighting, was always
known as “the line.” The line which marched in rear to give moral
support and practical assistance, if necessary, was in every other
known body of troops called the supporting line or simply “supports.”
Pickett’s division had Kemper’s on the right, Garnett’s on the left,
with Armistead’s marching in the rear of Garnett’s. Pettigrew’s formed
one line with Lane’s and Scales’ brigades of Pender’s division, under
Trimble, marching in the rear of its right as supports. How many
supporting lines did Pickett’s people want? The Federals are said
occasionally to have used three. Even one with us was the exception.
Ordinarily one brigade of each division was held in reserve, while the
others were fighting, in order to repair any possible disaster.

To show how a falsehood can be fortified by Art, I will state that I
visited the Centennial Exposition at Philadelphia and there saw a very
large and really fine painting representing some desperate fighting
at the so-called “Bloody Angle.” Clubbing with muskets, jabbing with
bayonets and firing of cannon at short range, was the order of the
day. Of course I knew that the subject of the painting was founded upon
a myth; but had always been under the impression that while many of
Pickett’s and a few of Pettigrew’s men were extracting the extremities
of certain undergarments to be used as white flags, a part of them were
keeping up a scattering fire. While before the painting a gentleman
standing near me exclaimed: “Tut! I’ll agree to eat all the Yankees
Pickett killed.” Entering into conversation with him I learned that
he had been at Gettysburg, had fought in Gordon’s Georgia brigade,
and that he did nor have a very exalted opinion of Pickett’s men. As
our Georgian friend was neither remarkably large nor hungry-looking,
several persons hearing his remark stared at him. That he did
exaggerate to some extent is possible, for I have since heard that
among the dead men in blue, near where Armistead fell, there were six
who had actually been killed by musket balls.

Col. Fox, of Albany, N. Y., has published a work entitled, “Regimental
Losses.” In it is seen a list of the twenty-seven Confederate regiments
which had most men killed and wounded at Gettysburg. Readers of the
histories of Pollard, Cooke and McCabe will be rather surprised to find
only two Virginia regiments on this list. Those who are familiar with
battlefield reports will not be surprised to see that thirteen of these
regiments were from North Carolina and four from Mississippi. Three of
the last named and five of the North Carolina regiments met with their
loss under Pettigrew.

The North Carolina brigade had in killed and wounded eleven hundred
and five, which is an average to the regiment of two hundred and
seventy-six. There was not a Confederate regiment at either First or
Second Manassas which equalled this average, and no Virginia regiment
ever did.

This brigade on the first day met those of Biddle and Meredith, which
were considered the flower of their corps, and many old soldiers say
that this corps--the First--did the fiercest fighting on that day of
which they ever had any experience, and the official records sustain
them in this belief. Biddle’s brigade was composed of one New York and
three Pennsylvania regiments. Meredith’s, known as the “Iron” brigade,
was formed of five regiments from the west. (By the way, the commander
of this body, Gen. Solomon Meredith, was a native of North Carolina, as
was also Gen. Jno. Gibbon, the famous division commander in the second
corps, and North Carolina luck followed them, as they were severely
wounded in this battle.) Pettigrew’s brigade, with a little assistance
from that of Brockenborough, after meeting these troops forced them
to give ground and continued for several hours to slowly drive them
’till their ammunition became nearly exhausted. When this occurred the
Federals had reached a ridge from behind which they could be supplied
with the necessary ammunition. But not so with Heth’s troops. The field
was so open, the contending lines so close together, and as every house
and barn in the vicinity was filled with sharp-shooters, they could
not be supplied and were in consequence relieved by two of Pender’s
brigades. In the meantime the enemy was re-enforced by a fresh brigade
of infantry and several wonderfully efficient batteries of artillery,
and so when the brigades of the “right division” made their advance
they suffered very severely before their opponents could be driven from
the field. Meredith’s brigade this day had 886 killed and wounded and
266 missing; Biddle’s 642 killed and wounded and 255 missing. The loss
in Brockenborough’s Virginia was 148. For the whole battle, as said
before, Pettigrew’s killed and wounded amounted to 1,105; probably
two-thirds of this loss occurred on this day.

These facts and figures are matters of record, and yet with these
records accessible to all men, Swinton, a Northern historian, in the
brilliant description he gives of the assault on the third day says
that “Heth’s division, commanded by Pettigrew, were all raw troops,
who were only induced to make the charge by being told that they had
militia to fight and that when the fire was opened upon them they
raised the shout, ‘The Army of the Potomac! The Army of the Potomac!’
broke and fled.” As after the battle the Virginia division had the
guarding of several thousand Federal prisoners, captured by Carolinians
and Georgians, they are probably responsible for this statement.

But to return to the fight of the first day. The Honorable Joseph
Davis, then a Captain in the 47th, late Supreme Court Judge of North
Carolina, speaking of this day’s battle, says: “The advantage was
all on the Confederate side, and I aver that this was greatly, if
not chiefly, due to Pettigrew’s brigade and its brave commander. The
bearing of that knightly soldier and elegant scholar as he galloped
along the lines in the hottest of the fight, cheering on his men,
cannot be effaced from my memory.”

Captain Young, of Charleston, South Carolina, a staff officer of
this division, says: “No troops could have fought better than did
Pettigrew’s brigade on this day, and I will testify on the experience
of many hard fought battles, that I never saw any fight so well.”
Davis’ brigade consisted Of the 55th North Carolina, the 2nd, 11th and
42nd Mississippi. The 11th was on detached service that day. The three
which fought also faced splendid troops. Here, too, was a square stand
up fight in the open. During the battle these three had, besides the
usual proportion of wounded, one hundred and forty-eight killed. Only
two dead men were lacking to these three regiments to make their loss
equal to that of ten regiments of Pickett’s “magnificent Virginians.”

Cutler’s brigade composed of one Pennsylvania and four New York
regiments was opposed to that of Davis, and its loss this day was
602 killed and wounded and 363 missing, and many of the missing were
subsequently found to have been killed or severely wounded. With
varying success these two brigades fought all the morning. The Federals
finally gave way; but three of their regiments, after retreating for
some distance, took up a new line. Two of them left the field and
went to town, as the day was hot and the fire hotter. It is said they
visited Gettysburg to get a little ice water. However that may be, they
soon returned and fought well ’till their whole line gave way.

The ground on which these troops fought lay north of the railroad
cut and was several hundred yards from where Pettigrew’s brigade
was engaged with Meredith’s and Biddle’s. As Rodes’ division began
to appear upon the field Davis’ brigade was removed to the south
side of the cut and placed in front of Stone’s Pennsylvania brigade
(which, having just arrived, had filled the interval between Cutler
and Meredith) but did no more fighting that day. After securing
ammunition it followed the front line to the town. Had the interval
between Daniel’s and Scales’ been filled by Thomas’, which was held
in reserve, neither of these Carolina brigades would have suffered
so severely. The 2nd and 42nd Mississippi and 55th North Carolina of
Davis’ for the battle had 695 killed and wounded, and about two-thirds
of this occurred in this first day’s fight.

To illustrate the individual gallantry of these troops I will relate
an adventure which came under my observation. It must be borne in
mind that this brigade had been doing fierce and bloody fighting
since nine o’clock and at this time not only its numerical loss but
its per centage of killed and wounded was greater than that which
Pickett’s troops had to submit to two days later, and that it was then
waiting to be relieved. Early in the afternoon of this day my division
(Rodes’) arrived upon the field by the Carlisle road and at once went
into action. My brigade (Daniel’s) was on the right, and after doing
some sharp fighting, we came in sight of Heth’s line, which was lying
at right angles to ours we approached. The direction of our right
regiments had to be changed in order that we might move in front of
their left brigade, which was Davis’. The Federal line, or lines, for
my impression is there were two or more of them, were also lying in the
open field, the interval between the opposing lines being about three
hundreds yards. Half way between these lines was another, which ran
by a house. This line was made of dead and wounded Federals, who lay
“as thick as autumnal leaves which strew the brooks in Vallambrosa.”
It was about here that the incident occurred. A Pennsylvania regiment
of Stone’s brigade had then two flags--state and national--with their
guard a short distance in front of them. One of these colors Sergt.
Frank Price, of the 42nd Mississippi and half a dozen of his comrades
determined to capture. Moving on hands and knees ’till they had nearly
reached the desired object, they suddenly rose, charged and overcame
the guard, captured the flag and were rapidly making off with it, when
its owners fired upon them, all were struck down but the Sergeant,
and as he was making for the house above referred to a young staff
officer of my command, having carried some message to Heth’s people,
was returning by a short cut between the lines, and seeing a man with
a strange flag, without noticing his uniform he thought he, too, would
get a little glory along with some bunting. Dismounting among the dead
and wounded he picked up and fired several muskets at Price; but was
fortunate enough to miss him. Sergeant Price survived the war. His home
was in Carrollton, Mississippi. Recently the information came from one
of his sons, a name-sake of the writer, that his gallant father was no
more; he had crossed the river and was resting under the shade of the
trees. The parents of Mr. Price were natives of the old North State.
Does any one who has made a study of Pickett’s “magnificent division,”
suppose that even on the morning of the 5th, when only eight hundred of
the nearly or quite six thousand who had engaged in battle reported for
duty, sad and depressed as they were, it could have furnished heroes
like Price and his companions for such an undertaking, as in spite of
friends and foes was successfully accomplished? General Davis says
that every field officer in his brigade was either killed or wounded.
My old classmate, Major John Jones, was the only one left in the North
Carolina brigade, and he was killed in the next spring’s campaign.

The following extract is taken from a description of the assault
by Colonel Taylor, of General Lee’s staff: “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 of other commands reached the
crest of the heights, this was the only organized body which entered
the works of the enemy.” Pickett’s left and Pettigrew’s and Trimble’s
right entered the works. Men from six brigades were there. Which
command had most representatives there is a disputed point. As to the
superior organization of Pickett’s men what did that amount to? In the
nature of things not a brigade on the held was in a condition to repel
a determined attack.

Just before the final rush two bodies of Federals moved out on the
field and opened fire, the one upon our right the other upon the left.
The loss inflicted upon our people by these Vermonters and New Yorkers
was very great, and not being able to defend themselves, there was
on the part of the survivors a natural crowding to the centre. The
commander of a Federal brigade in his report says, “Twenty battle flags
were captured in a space of one hundred yards square.” This means that
crowded within a space extending only one hundred yards there were
the remnants of more than twenty regiments. But Col. Taylor says that
Pickett’s division “was the only organized body which entered the
enemy’s works.”

The late General Trimble said: “It will be easily understood that
as Pickett’s line was overlapped by the Federal lines on his right,
and Pettigrew’s and Trimble’s front by the Federal lines on their
left, each of these commands had a distinct and separate discharge of
artillery and musketry to encounter, the one as incessant as the other,
although Pickett’s men felt its intensity sooner than the others, and
were the first to be crushed under a fire before which no troops could
live. While Pettigrew and Trimble suffered as much or more before the
close because longer under fire, in consequence of marching farther.”
And again: “Both Northern and Southern descriptions of the battle of
Gettysburg, in the third day’s contest, have without perhaps a single
exception, down to the present time, given not only most conspicuous
prominence to General Pickett’s division, but generally by the
language used have created the impression among those not personally
acquainted with the events of the day that Pickett’s men did all the
hard fighting, suffered the most severely and failed in their charge,
because not duly and vigorously supported by the troops on their right
and left. It might with as much truth be said that Pettigrew and
Trimble failed in their charge, because unsupported by Pickett, who had
been driven back in the crisis of their charge and was no aid to them.”

Some time ago Gen. Fitz Lee wrote a life of his uncle, Gen. Robert E.
Lee, and in a notice of this book the courteous and able editor of a
leading Richmond newspaper gives a fine description of the part borne
by Pickett’s division in Longstreet’s assault on the third day, but
has little or nothing to say about the other troops engaged; whereupon
a citizen of this State (North Carolina) wrote and wished to know if
there were any North Carolinians upon the field when Pickett’s men so
greatly distinguished themselves. In answer the editor admits that
he had forgotten all about the other troops engaged, and says: “We
frankly confess that our mind has been from the war until now so fully
possessed of the idea that the glory of the charge belonged exclusively
to Pickett’s division that we overlooked entirely the just measure
of credit that Gen. Fitz Lee has awarded other commands.” Whereupon a
correspondent of his paper, curiously enough, is in high spirits over
this answer, and referring to it says: “It is especially strong in what
it omits to say. The picture of the charge, as given by Swinton, as
seen from the other side, would have come in perfectly; but it would
have wounded our North Carolina friends and was wisely left out.”

Now, as to the impertinence of this correspondent who refers to what
Swinton said, there is a temptation to say something a little bitter,
but as the writer has made it a rule to preserve a judicial tone as far
as possible, and in presenting facts to let them speak for themselves,
he refrains from gratifying a very natural inclination. Probably
with no thought of malice Swinton, in making a historical flourish,
sacrificed truth for the sake of a striking antithesis. This of course
he knew. Equally of course this is what the correspondent did not know.
No one ever accused John Swinton of being a fool.

A distinguished writer in a recent discussion of this assault says:
“History is going forever to ask Gen. Longstreet why he did not obey
Gen. Lee’s orders and have Hood’s and McLaw’s divisions at Pickett’s
back to make good the work his heroic men had done.” Not so. History is
not going to ask childish questions.

A Virginian writer in closing his description of this assault has
recently said: “Now, this remark must occur to every one in this
connection. Pickett’s break through the enemy’s line, led by Armistead,
was the notable and prodigious thing about the whole battle of
Gettysburg.” If so, why so?

The commanders of Wright’s Georgia and Wilcox’s Alabama brigades report
that when fighting on Longstreet’s left on the afternoon of the second
day, they carried the crest of Cemetery Ridge and captured twenty-eight
cannon. The truth of this report is confirmed by General Doubleday, who
says: “Wright attained the crest and Wilcox was almost in line with
him. Wilcox claims to have captured twenty guns and Wright eight.”

In another place he says, in speaking of a certain officer: “On his
return late in the day he saw Sickle’s whole line driven in and found
Wright’s rebel brigade established on the crest barring his way back.”

Late in the same afternoon over on our left in Johnson’s assault upon
Culp’s Hill, Stewart’s brigade carried the position in their front
and held it all night. Also late the same afternoon two of Early’s
brigades, Hoke’s North Carolina and Hay’s Louisiana, carried East
Cemetery Heights, took many prisoners and sent them to the rear,
several colors, and captured or silenced twenty guns (spiking some
of them before they fell back). And a part of them maintained their
position for over an hour, some of them having advanced as far as the
Baltimore Pike. It is an undoubted fact that even after their brigades
had fallen back parts of the 9th Louisiana and 6th North Carolina,
under Major Tate, held their position at the wall on the side of the
hill (repelling several attacks) for an hour, thus holding open the
gate to Cemetery Heights, and it does seem that under cover of night
this gate might have been used and the Ridge occupied by a strong force
of our troops with slight loss.

On the afternoon of the third day the men who were in front of the
narrow space abandoned by the enemy, and some who were on their right
and left, in a disorganized mass of about one thousand, crowded into
this space for safety. (Less than fifty followed Armistead to the
abandoned gun.) When, after about ten minutes, they were attacked
they either surrendered or fled. No one knows what State had most
representatives in this “crowd” as the Federal Col. Hall calls them,
but the man who wrote that they did “the notable and prodigious thing
about the whole battle of Gettysburg” thinks he knows. All soldiers now
know, and many knew then, that in sending 9,000 or 10,000 men to attack
the army of the Potomac, concentrated and strongly fortified, there was
no reasonable hope of success.

The thing of most interest to readers of history is the question to
which of the troops engaged on that ill-starred field is to be awarded
the palm for heroic endurance and courageous endeavor. To know the
per centage of killed and wounded of the different troops engaged in
this assault, is to know which are entitled to most honor. Some of the
troops in Pettigrew’s division met with a loss of over 60 per cent.
The per centage for Pickett’s division was not quite 28. The 11th
Mississippi, as said elsewhere, was the only regiment in Pettigrew’s
or Trimble’s divisions, which entered the assault fresh. Most of the
other troops of these commands had been badly cut up in the first day’s
battle, and the exact number they carried into the assault is not
known, but entering fresh the number taken in by the Eleventh is known,
and the number it lost in killed and wounded is reported by Dr. Guild.
Consequently there cannot be the slightest doubt that its per centage
of loss for the assault was at least 60. It is fair to presume that the
per centage in the other regiments of its brigade was equally great.
It is also fair to presume that the brigade immediately on its right,
which went somewhat farther and stayed somewhat longer under the same
terrific fire, lost as heavily.

If the charge of the Light Brigade at Balaklava in which it lost 35
per cent. has rendered it famous, why should not the charge of Davis’
brigade in which it lost 60 per cent. render it equally famous? And
if the blundering stupidity of the order to charge has excited our
sympathy in behalf of the British cavalry, is there not enough of
that element in the order to the infantry brigade to satisfy the most
exacting? And if Davis’ brigade deserves fame why do not all the
brigades--with one exception--of Pettigrew and Trimble also deserve it?

Col. W. E. Potter, of the 12th New Jersey, Smyth’s brigade, Hay’s
division, in an address delivered several years ago, after speaking
in very complimentary terms of the conduct of the North Carolina and
Mississippi brigades of Pettigrew’s division, says: “Again a larger
number of the enemy was killed and wounded in front of Smyth than in
front of Webb. Of this, besides the general recollection of all of us
who were then present, I have special evidence. I rode over the field
covered by the fire of these two brigades on the morning of Sunday,
July 5th, in company with Lt. Col. Chas. H. Morgan, the chief of staff
of Gen. Hancock, and Capt. Hazard. As we were passing the front of
Smyth’s brigade, Col. Morgan said to Hazard: ‘They may talk as they
please about the hard fighting in front of Gibbon, but there are more
dead men here than anywhere in our front.’ To this conclusion Hazard
assented.”

After the frightful ordeal they had been through it is not to the
discredit of any of the troops engaged to say that when they reached
the breastworks, or their vicinity, there was no fight left in them,
for there is a limit to human endurance. This limit had been reached,
and this is shown by the fact that there was not an organization
upon the field which, when an attack was made on its flank, made the
slightest attempt to change front to meet it, but either surrendered or
fled. This being the case the only thing of interest is to decide which
brigades received the most punishment before this limit was reached.

During the recent discussion in the Richmond newspapers as to whether
any of the North Carolina troops reached a point at or near the enemy’s
works, the most prominent writer on the negative side of the question
gives extracts from the reports of certain participants in the charge
to corroborate his opinion, and by a singular oversight gives one
from the report of Major John Jones, then commanding Pettigrew’s own
brigade, who says: “The brigade dashed on, and many had reached the
wall when we received a deadly volley from the left.” To have reached
the stone wall on the left of the salient, they must necessarily have
advanced considerably farther than any troops on the field. And yet
the above writer in the face of Major Jones’ testimony, thinks that
neither his nor any North Carolina troops were there. But then he
quotes from the Federal Col. Hall, “who,” he says, “gives a list of
the flags captured by his command when the charge was made.” Amongst
them he mentions that of the 22nd North Carolina, and says: “If this
can be accepted as true it of course ends all controversy.” Col. Hall
reports that at the close of the assault his brigade captured the flags
of the 14th, 18th, 19th and 57th Virginia, and that of the 22nd North
Carolina. Webb reports that his command captured six flags, but does
not name the regiments to which they belonged. Heth captured those of
the 1st, 7th and 28th Virginia. Carroll’s brigade those of the 34th
North Carolina and 38th Virginia. Smyth’s brigade those of 1st and
14th Tennessee, 16th and 52nd North Carolina and five others, the
names not given, and Sherrill’s brigade captured three, the names not
given. Thus we have the names of eight Virginia, four North Carolina
and two Tennessee and fourteen reported captured, names not given. In
all twenty-eight, which accounts for Pickett’s fifteen, Scales’ five,
Pettigrew’s own three and Archer’s four. One of Pettigrew’s and one
of Archer’s having been carried back, some of the other troops must
have lost one. If official reports which say that the flags of the
1st and 14th Tennessee, and of the 16th, 22nd, 34th and 52nd North
Carolina were captured, cannot be accepted as true and thus “end all
controversy,” perhaps a re-statement of the fact that twenty-eight
colors were taken at the close of the assault may do so, for as said
above the Virginia division had only fifteen flags.

To show the disproportion that existed at the close of the fight
between the numbers of men and flags, one officer reports that
his regiment charged upon the retreating rebels and captured five
regimental battle-flags and over forty prisoners, and a brigade
commander speaking of the ground at and in front of the abandoned
works, says: “Twenty battle-flags were captured in a space of 100 yards
square.”

There is one fact that should be remembered in connection with this
assault, namely: That of all breastworks a stone wall inspires most
confidence and its defenders will generally fire deliberately and
accurately and cling to it tenaciously.

The stone wall ran from the left and in front of Lane’s, Davis’ and
Pettigrew’s North Carolina brigades and ended where the right of the
last named rested at the close of the assault. At this point works made
of rails covered with earth began and ran straight to the front for
some distance and then made a sharp turn to the left in the direction
of Round Top, continuing in nearly a straight line beyond Pickett’s
right. It was a short distance to the right of the outer corner of
these works when Webb’s men gave way.

Several years ago there was published in the Philadelphia “Times,”
an article by Col. W. W. Wood, of Armistead’s brigade, giving his
recollections of this affair. As the writer had very naively made
several confessions, which I had never seen made by any other of
Pickett’s men, and had evidently intended to speak truthfully, I
put the paper aside for future reference. I shall now make several
selections from it and endeavor to criticise them fairly. Our
artillery crowned the ridge, and behind it sheltered by the hills lay
our infantry: “The order to go forward was obeyed with alacrity and
cheerfulness, for we believed that the battle was practically over, and
that we had nothing to do but to march unopposed to Cemetery Heights
and occupy them. While making the ascent it was seen that the supports
to our right and left flanks were not coming forward as we had been
told they would. Mounted officers were seen dashing frantically up and
down their lines, apparently endeavoring to get them to move forward,
but we could see that they would not move. Their failure to support us
was discouraging, but it did not dishearten us. Some of our men cursed
them for cowards, etc.” So far no great courage had been required. But
what troops were they that Pickett’s people were cursing for cowards?
On the right they were Perry’s Florida and Wilcox’s Alabama, under
the command of the latter General. Their orders were that when twenty
minutes had elapsed after the line had started they were to march
straight ahead and repel any body of flankers who should attack the
right. This order was obeyed to the letter. At the required time they
moved forward and kept moving. About where Pickett should have been
(Pickett’s line had previously obliqued to the left) not a Confederate
was to be seen. They kept on and single handed and alone attacked the
whole Federal army, then exulting in victory. Of course they were
repulsed, but when they knew they were beaten did they surrender that
they might be sheltered in Northern prisons from Northern bullets? Not
they. They simply fell back and made their way, as best they could,
to the Confederate lines. Is there any significance in the facts that
shortly after this battle Gen. Wilcox was promoted and Gen. Pickett and
his men were sent out of the army? What other troops were they whom
these men were cursing for being cowards? Some of them were the choice
troops of A. P. Hill’s old division, ever famous for its fighting
qualities, others were the survivors of Archer’s brigade of gallant
Tennesseans, Mississippians, brave and impetuous, North Carolinians,
always steady, always true. These men were cursed as cowards, and by
Pickett’s Virginians! Achilles cursed by Thersites! A lion barked at by
a cur.

But there was one brigade, and only one, in Pettigrew’s division which
failed in the hour of trial. It was from their own State, and had
once been an efficient body of soldiers, and even on this occasion
something might be said in its defense. But had this not been the case,
to the men of Armistead’s brigade (who were doing the cursing) the
memory of their own behavior at Sharpsburg and Shepherdstown should
have had the effect of making them charitable towards the shortcomings
of others.

Let us allow the Colonel to continue: “From the time the charge began
up to this moment, not a shot had been fired at us nor had we been
able to see, because of the density of the smoke, which hung over the
battlefield like a pall, that there was an enemy in front of us. The
smoke now lifted from our front and there, right before us, scarcely
two hundred yards away, stood Cemetery Heights in awful grandeur. At
their base was a double line of Federal infantry and several pieces
of artillery, posted behind stone walls, and to the right and left of
them both artillery and infantry supports were hurriedly coming up. The
situation was indeed appalling, though it did not seem to appall. The
idea of retreat did not seem to occur to any one. Having obtained a
view of the enemy’s position, the men now advanced at the double quick,
and for the first time since the charge began they gave utterance to
the famous Confederate yell.” So it seems that all that has been spoken
and written about their having marched one thousand yards under the
fire of one hundred cannon and twenty thousand muskets, is the veriest
bosh and nonsense. They marched eight hundred yards as safely as if
on parade. When the smoke lifted they charged for two hundred yards
towards the breastworks; the left only reached it--the right never did,
but lay down in the field and there and then fifteen hundred of them
“threw down their muskets for the war.” Colonel Wood continues: “The
batteries to the right and left of Cemetery Heights now began to rain
grapeshot and canister upon us, and the enemy’s infantry at the base
of the Heights, poured volley after volley into our ranks. The carnage
was indeed terrible; but still the division, staggering and bleeding,
pushed on towards the Heights they had been ordered to take. Of course
such terrible slaughter could not last long. The brave little division
did not number men enough to make material for prolonged slaughter.”

The carnage was for them indeed terrible, and their subsequent
behaviour up to their defeat and rout at Five Forks, showed that
they never forgot it. Let us see what was this horrible carnage. The
fifteen regiments, according to General Longstreet, carried into the
charge, of officers and men, forty-nine hundred. It is more probable
that the number was fifty-five hundred. If they had the former number
their per centage of killed and wounded was nearly twenty-eight, if
the latter, not quite twenty-five. On the first day the North Carolina
brigade lost thirty and on the third sixty per cent. The “brave, the
magnificent,” when they had experienced a loss of fifteen killed to the
regiment, became sick of fighting, as the number surrendered shows.
One regiment of the “cowards,” the 42d Mississippi, only after it had
met with a loss of sixty killed and a proportionate number of wounded,
concluded that it was about time to rejoin their friends. Another
regiment of the “cowards,” the 26th North Carolina, only after it had
had more men killed and wounded than any one of the two thousand seven
hundred Federal and Confederate regiments ever had, came to the same
conclusion. The five North Carolina regiments of this division had five
more men killed than Pickett’s fifteen.

To continue: “In a few brief moments more the left of Armistead’s
brigade, led by himself on foot, had passed beyond the stone wall,
and were among the guns of the enemy, posted in rear of it. General
Garnet had before then been instantly killed, and General Kemper had
been severely wounded. The survivors of their brigades had become
amalgamated with Armistead’s.” How can any one see any organization to
boast of here? “Our line of battle was not parallel to the Heights, and
the left of the diminished line reached the Heights first. The right of
the line never reached them. The men of the right, however, were near
enough to see General Armistead shot down near a captured gun as he was
waving his sword above his head, and they could see men surrendering
themselves as prisoners. Just then a detachment of Federal infantry
came out flanking our right, and shouted to us to surrender. There was
nothing else to do, except to take the chance, which was an extremely
good one, of being killed on the retreat back over the hill. But a few,
myself among the number, rightly concluded that the enemy was weary of
carnage, determined to run the risk of getting back to the Confederate
lines. Our retreat was made singly, and I at least was not fired
upon.” If the division had equalled Col. Wood in gallantry, it would
not have surrendered more sound men than it had lost in killed and
wounded, as by taking some risk the most of those captured might have
escaped as he did. The Colonel concludes: “When the retreat commenced
on the night of the 4th of July, the nearly three hundred men who had
been confined in the various brigade guard houses were released from
confinement, and they and their guard permitted to return to duty in
the ranks, and many detailed men were treated in the same way. On the
morning of the 5th of July, the report of the division showed not quite
eleven hundred present. Eleven hundred from forty-five hundred leaves
thirty-four hundred, and that was the number of casualties suffered
by Pickett’s little division at Gettysburg.” I have known individuals
who took pride in poverty and disease. The surrender of soldiers in
battle was often unavoidable; but I have never known a body of troops
other than Pickett’s, who prided themselves upon that misfortune.
General Pemberton or Marshal Bazaine may have done so. If they did,
their countrymen did not agree with them, and it is well for the fame
of General Lee and his army that the belief that the road to honor
lay in that direction, was not very prevalent. Pickett’s division has
been compared to a “lance-head of steel,” which pierced the centre of
the Federal army. To be in accord with the comparison, it was always
represented as being smaller than it really was.

Colonel Wood, at the conclusion of his article, puts its strength at
4,500 officers and men, at the beginning at 4,500 “men.” This last
would agree with General Longstreet’s estimate of 4,900 effectives.
Knowing as I do the average per brigade of Jackson’s Veterans--one-half
of the army--and that they had been accustomed to fight two days for
every one day fought by Longstreet’s men, I think it probable that
Pickett’s brigade must have averaged nearly, if not quite, two thousand.

But I will place the strength of the division at fifty-five hundred. I
have heard that fifteen hundred were surrendered. Official records say
that thirteen hundred and sixty-four were killed and wounded.

According to Colonel Wood, leaving out the three hundred guard-house
men, eight hundred appeared for duty on the morning of the 5th. These
three numbers together make thirty-six hundred and sixty-four, which
taken from fifty-five hundred leaves eighteen hundred and thirty-six,
and this was the number of men which the “brave little division” had
to run away. They ran and ran and kept running ’till the high waters
in the Potomac stopped them. As they ran they shouted “that they were
all dead men, that Pettigrew had failed to support them, and that their
noble division had been swept away.” The outcry they made was soon
heard all over Virginia, and its echo is still heard in the North.

After our army had re-crossed the river and had assembled at Bunker
Hill, the report that Pickett’s division of “dead men” had drawn
more rations than any division in the army, excited a good deal of
good-natured laughter. Among the officers of our army, to whom the
casualty lists were familiar, the question was often discussed, why it
was that some of Pettigrew’s brigades, marching over the same ground
at the same time, should have suffered so much more than General
Pickett’s? This question was never satisfactorily answered ’till
after the war. The mystery was then explained by the Federal General
Doubleday, who made the statement that “all the artillery supporting
Webb’s brigade (which being on the right of Gibbons’ division, held the
projecting wall) excepting one piece, was destroyed, and nearly all
of the artillerymen either killed or wounded by the cannonade which
preceded the assault.”

Of course there were exceptions, but the general rule was that those
troops who suffered the most themselves inflicted the greatest loss on
the enemy and were consequently the most efficient. Colonel Fox says:
“The history of a battle or war should be studied in connection with
the figures which show the losses. By overlooking them, an indefinite
and often erroneous idea is obtained. By overlooking them many
historians fail to develop the important points of the contest; they
use the same rhetorical descriptions for different attacks, whether
the pressure was strong or weak, the loss great or small, the fight
bloody or harmless.” As it was the custom in some commands to report
every scratch as a wound, and in others to report no man as wounded who
was fit for duty, the most accurate test for courage and efficiency is
the number of killed. In the eight brigades and three regiments from
Virginia in this battle, three hundred and seventy-five were killed,
and nineteen hundred and seventy-one wounded. That is for every one
killed five and twenty-five hundredths were reported wounded. In the
seven brigades and three regiments from North Carolina, six hundred and
ninety-six were killed and three thousand and fifty-four wounded. That
is for every man killed only four and forty hundredths appeared on the
list as wounded.

If it be a fact that from Gettysburg to the close of the war, among the
dead upon the various battlefields comparatively few representatives
from the Virginian infantry were to be found, it is not always
necessarily to their discredit. For instance, even at Gettysburg two
such brigades as Mahone’s and Smyth’s had respectively only seven
and fourteen men killed. It was not for them to say whether they
were to advance or be held back. Their duty was to obey orders. In
the same battle two of Rodes’ North Carolina brigades--Daniel’s and
Iverson’s--had between them two hundred and forty-six men buried upon
the field. Here we see that the eight regiments and one battalion,
which formed these two North Carolina commands, had twenty-two more men
killed than Pickett’s fifteen. And yet Virginia history does not know
that they were even present at this battle.

Now, for a brief recapitulation. The left of Garnett’s and Armistead’s
brigades, all of Archer’s and Scales’ (but that all means very few,
neither of them at the start being larger than a full regiment) a few
of the 37th and the right of Pettigrew’s own brigade took possession of
the works, which the enemy had abandoned on their approach. Pettigrew’s
and Trimble’s left and Pickett’s right lay out in the field on each
flank of the projecting work and in front of the receding wall, and
from forty to fifty yards from it. There they remained for a few
minutes, ’till a fresh line of the enemy, which had been lying beyond
the crest of the ridge, approached. Then being attacked on both flanks,
and knowing how disorganized they were, our men made no fight, but
either retreated or surrendered. Archer’s, Scales’ and Pettigrew’s own
brigade went as far and stayed as long or longer than any of Pickett’s.
Davis’ brigade, while charging impetuously ahead of the line was driven
back, when it had reached a point about one hundred yards from the
enemy. Lane’s, the left brigade, remained a few moments longer than any
of the other troops and retired in better order.

Now, it must not be inferred from anything in this paper that there has
been any intention to reflect upon all Virginia infantry. Far from it.
The three regiments in Steuart’s mixed brigade and Mahone’s brigade
were good troops. Perhaps there were others equally good. But there was
one brigade which was their superior, as it was the superior of most
of the troops in General Lee’s army. And that was Smith’s brigade of
Early’s division. These troops in spite of the Richmond newspapers and
the partiality of certain of their commanders, had no superiors in any
army. Never unduly elated by prosperity, never depressed by adversity,
they were even to the last, when enthusiasm had entirely fled and hope
was almost dead, the models of what good soldiers should be.

[Sidenote: DEATH’S THE TEST.]

“It is not precisely those who know how to kill,” says Dragomiroff,
“but those who know how to die, who are all-powerful on a field of
battle.”

Regiments that had twenty-nine or more officers and men killed on the
field in certain battles:

  Regiment.    Brigade.       Battle.     Killed.
  13 Ga.       Lawton.      Sharpsburg.     48.
   3 N. C.     Ripley.          ”           46.
   1 Texas.    Wofford.         ”           45.
  13 N. C.     Garland.         ”           41.
  30 Va.       Walker.          ”           39.
  48 N. C.        ”             ”           31.
  27  ”           ”             ”           31.
  50 Ga.       Drayton.         ”           29.
  57 N. C.     Law.      Fredericksburg.    32.
   2  ”        Ramseur.  Chancellorsville.  47.
   4  ”           ”             ”           45.
   3  ”        Colston.         ”           38.
   7  ”        Lane.            ”           37.
   1  ”        Colston.         ”           34.
  37  ”        Lane.            ”           34.
  23  ”        Iverson.         ”           32.
  13  ”        Pender.          ”           31.
  22  ”           ”             ”           30.
  51 Ga.       Semmes.          ”           30.
   4  ”        Doles.           ”           29.
  18 N. C.     Lane.            ”           30.
  26 N. C.     Pettigrew.  Gettysburg.      86.
  42 Miss.     Davis.           ”           60.
  11 N. C.     Pettigrew.       ”           50.
   2 Miss.     Davis.           ”           49.
  45 N. C.     Daniel.          ”           46.
  23  ”        Iverson.         ”           41.
  17 Miss.     Barksdale.       ”           40.
  55 N. C.     Davis.           ”           39.
  59 Va        Armistead.       ”           35.
  52 N. C.     Pettigrew.       ”           33.
  11 Ga.       Anderson.        ”           32.
   5 N. C.     Iverson.         ”           31.
  13 S. C.     Perrin.          ”           31.
  13 N. C.     Scales.          ”           29.
   2  ” Batt.  Daniel.          ”           29.
   3  ”        Steuart.         ”           29.
  20  ”        Iverson.         ”           29.

The proportion of wounded to killed was 4.8 to one. That is, if 100
are killed 480 will be wounded. When 100 men are killed, there will be
among the wounded 64 who will die of wounds. While this may not always
be the case in a single regiment, yet when a number of regiments are
taken together the wonderful law of averages makes these proportions
rules about which there is no varying.

There is an old saw which says that “it takes a soldier’s weight in
lead and iron to kill him.” Most people believe that this saying has
to be taken with many grains of allowance, but it was shown during the
war to be literally true. In the battle of Murfreesboro the weight
of the 20,307 projectiles fired by the Federal artillery was 225,000
pounds, and that of the something over 2,000,000 musket balls exceeded
150,000 pounds and their combined weight exceeded that of the 2,319
Confederates who were killed or mortally wounded.

In the Federal armies deaths from wounds amounted to 110,000 and from
disease and all other causes about 250,000, a total of about 360,000.
For deaths in the Southern armies only an approximation can be arrived
at. Probably 100,000 died of wounds and as many more of disease, a
total of about 200,000 which added to the Federal loss, makes about
560,000. This number of soldiers drawn up in battle array would make a
line 112 miles long.

[Sidenote: WEBB’S PHILADELPHIA BRIGADE AND OTHER TROOPS.]

With singular in appropriateness this brigade and several other Federal
organizations have erected monuments to commemorate their gallantry
upon the third day’s battlefield. It would appear that they should have
been erected on the spot where their gallantry was displayed. It does
not require much courage to lie behind breastworks and shoot down an
enemy in an open field and then to run away, as it and the other troops
in its vicinity did, when that enemy continued to approach. But, while
it does not add to their fame, it is not to their discredit that they
did give way. For however much discipline and inherent qualities may
extend it, there is a limit to human endurance, and they had suffered
severely, Webb’s brigade in three days having lost forty-nine per
cent. If there ever have been troops serving in a long war who never
on any occasion gave way ’till they had lost as heavily, they were the
superiors of any in Napoleon’s or Wellington’s armies. The loss in the
British infantry at Salamanca was only twelve per cent. That of the
“Light Brigade” at Balaklava was only thirty-seven. That of Pickett’s
only twenty-eight, and they were ruined forever. It is true that the
North Carolina and Mississippi brigades of Heth’s division lost in the
first day’s battle about thirty and on the third at least sixty per
cent., and this without having their morale seriously impaired, but
then both of these organizations were composed of exceptionally fine
troops.

[Sidenote: HETH’S DIVISION.]

This division was composed of Archer’s Tennessee and Alabama regiments,
Pettigrew’s North Carolina, Davis’ Mississippi and Brockenborough’s
Virginia brigades. Counting from right to left, Archer joining
Pickett’s left, this was the order in which they were formed for the
third day’s assault. Soon after the order to advance was given the
left brigade gave way. The others advanced and did all that flesh and
blood could do. Gen. Hooker, who has written the Confederate military
history for the Mississippi troops, quotes from Dr. Ward, a surgeon
who witnessed the assault, who says that the fire of Cemetery Hill,
having been concentrated upon Heth’s division, he saw no reason why
North Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama troops should not
participate in whatever honors that were won on that day; for, says he,
all soldiers know that the number killed is the one and only test for
pluck and endurance. Gen. Hooker then states, “The brigades in the army
which lost most heavily in killed and wounded at Gettysburg, was (1)
Pettigrew’s North Carolina, (2) Davis’ Mississippi and North Carolina,
(3) Daniel’s North Carolina and (4) Barksdale’s Mississippi.” These
four had an average of 837 killed and wounded. Pickett’s three brigades
had an average of 455.

[Sidenote: PER CENTAGES.]

Some have contended that the number of deaths and wounds is the test
for endurance, others that the per centage is the true test. It may
be that neither the one nor the other alone, but that rather both
together should be taken into account. The same per centage in a large
regiment should count for more than that in a small one. For while
only one Confederate brigade is reported to have reached as high as 63
per cent., the regiment, the smaller organizations, more frequently
attained that rate. Thirteen are known and several others are supposed
to have reached it. And as to the company, there was hardly a hard
fought battle in which at least one did not have nearly every man
killed or wounded. The writer knows of four in as many North Carolina
regiments which in one battle were almost destroyed. In three of these
the per centage went from eighty-seven to ninety-eight, and the fourth
had every officer and man struck. Taking Colonel Fox’s tables for
authority, we find that of the thirty-four regiments standing highest
on the per centage list six were from North Carolina, and these six
carried into battle two thousand nine hundred and nine; only two of
the thirty-four were from Virginia, and their “present” was fifty-five
for one and one hundred and twenty-eight for the other. Tennessee,
leading the list in number, has seven, Georgia and Alabama each has
six. The two States, whose soldiers Virginia historians with a show of
generosity were in the habit of so frequently complimenting, Texas and
Louisiana, make rather a poor show--the former has only one regiment on
the list and the other does not appear at all.

The 26th North Carolina had 820 officers and men at Gettysburg, and
their per centage of killed and wounded was exceeded by that of only
two Confederate and three Federal regiments during the whole war, and
those five were all small, ranging from one hundred and sixty-eight
to two hundred and sixty-eight. As Senator Vance’s old regiment
unquestionably stands head on the numerical list, so should it, in the
opinion of the writer, stand on that of per centages. As, for reasons
not necessary to mention here, this list relates almost entirely to
the early battles of the war, it is not as satisfactory as it might
be. Though North Carolina should head the list in the greatest per
centage in any one regiment, it does not in the number of regiments.
Early in the war, when it was generally believed that peace would come
before glory enough to go round had been obtained, the North Carolina
troops were, to a certain extent, held back. For this reason, however
flattering to our State pride, Colonel Fox’s table is, as it stands, it
would have been vastly more so had it covered the whole war, especially
the last year, when the fortunes of the Confederacy, were held up by
the bright bayonets of the soldiers from the old North State.

    “Carolina, Carolina, Heaven’s blessings attend her!”

[Sidenote: “A POOR THING, BUT MINE OWN.”]

We see in field returns for February and March, 1865, that Pickett’s
division was the largest in the army. There is nothing remarkable
about this fact, for they were not engaged in the bloody repulse at
Bristoe Station, were not present at the Wilderness, were not present
at Spottsylvania, and did not serve in those horrible trenches at
Petersburg. In the same report we see that their aggregate, present
and absent, was 9,487. It may be that since the world was made there
has been a body of troops with 9,000 names on their muster rolls,
who, serving in a long and bloody war, inflicted so little loss upon
their enemy or suffered so little themselves. It may be, but it is not
probable. With one exception no division surrendered so few men at
Appomattox.

Col. Dodge, of Boston, in his history speaks of the commander of this
division as “the Ney of Lee’s army.” If satire is intended it is
uncalled for as the Virginian never inflicted any loss upon the enemy
worth mentioning; certainly not enough to cause any Yankee to owe him a
grudge.

[Sidenote: DAVIS’ BRIGADE.]

This brigade was composed of the 2nd, 11th and 42nd Mississippi and
55th North Carolina. The two first were veteran. They had fought often
and always well. The 42nd Mississippi and 55th North Carolina were full
regiments, Gettysburg being their first battle of importance. The two
first named served in Law’s brigade of Hood’s division at Sharpsburg
or Antietam, where they greatly distinguished themselves, as they had
before at First Manassas and Gain’s Mill. The 11th Mississippi was the
only fresh regiment outside of Pickett’s division that took part in the
assault of July 3rd, so all of its loss occurred on that day, that loss
being 202 killed and wounded. The number they carried in is variously
stated at from 300 to 350. If the one, the per centage of their loss
was 67, if the other, 57.

[Sidenote: PENDER’S DIVISION.]

This famous division, consisting of two North Carolina, one Georgia and
one South Carolina brigade, was first commanded by Lieutenant-General
A. P. Hill (who was killed just at the close of the war), after his
promotion by Pender, who was killed at Gettysburg, and afterwards by
Wilcox.

[Sidenote: RODES’ DIVISION.]

At this time this division consisted of three North Carolina,
one Georgia and one Alabama brigade. It was first commanded by
Lieutenant-General D. H. Hill, who was promoted and transferred to the
West. Then by Rodes, who was killed at Winchester, then by Grimes, who
was assassinated just after the war. Just after Gettysburg, Gen. Lee
told Gen. Rodes that his division had accomplished more in this battle
than any other in his army. The record this body made in the campaign
of 1864 has never been equalled. It had more men killed and wounded
than it ever carried into any one action. The records show this.

[Sidenote: JOHNSON’S DIVISION.]

This division was composed for the most part of Virginians. It had only
two North Carolina regiments, the 1st and 3rd. During the Mine Run
campaign General Ewell and General Johnson were together when a Federal
battery opened fire upon the division and became very annoying. What
did these Virginia Generals do about it? “Only this and nothing more.”
The corps commander quietly remarked to the division commander: “Why
don’t you send your North Carolina regiments after that battery and
bring it in?” At once these regiments were selected from the line, and
were forming to make a charge, when the battery was withdrawn.

[Sidenote: WHAT THE TROOPS FROM THE DIFFERENT STATES CONSIDERED BLOODY
WORK.]

The seven Confederate regiments, which had most men killed in any
battle of the war, were the 6th Alabama, ninety-one killed; 26th North
Carolina, eighty-six; 1st South Carolina Rifles, eighty-one; 4th North
Carolina, seventy-seven; 44th Georgia, seventy-one; 14th Alabama,
seventy-one; and 20th North Carolina, seventy. Pickett’s “veterans”
must have thought that to have nine or ten men to the regiment killed,
was an evidence of severe fighting, for the most of them think even to
this day, that to have had nearly fifteen to the regiment killed at
Gettysburg was a carnage so appalling as to amount to butchery.

[Sidenote: IVERSON’S BRIGADE.]

This brigade consisted of the 5th, 12th, 20th and 23rd North Carolina.
It was first commanded by Garland, who was killed in the Maryland
campaign, then by Iverson, then by Bob Johnson, then by Toon. The
20th was a fine regiment. At a very critical time at Gain’s Mill, it
captured a battery. It is on Colonel Fox’s list as having had on that
occasion seventy killed and two hundred and two wounded. Equally good
was the 12th. That brilliant and lamented young officer, General R. E.
Rodes, once made a little speech to this regiment in which he said
that after Gettysburg General Lee had told him that his division had
accomplished more in that battle than any division in his army, and
that he himself would say that the 12th North Carolina was the best
regiment in his division. Only last week, while visiting a neighboring
town, I saw a bald headed old fellow, who was Color Sergeant of this
regiment at Chancellorsville. It was charging a battery when its
commander, Major Rowe, was killed and for a moment it faltered. Just
then it was that Sergeant Whitehead rushed to the front with the
exclamation: “Come on 12th, I’m going to ram this flag down one of them
guns.” The regiment answered with a yell, took the battery and held it.

In the seven days’ battle this regiment had 51 men killed on the field.
It suffered most at Malvern Hill, where private Tom Emry of this
county was complimented in orders and promoted for gallantry.

General Hancock having witnessed a very gallant, but unsuccessful
charge of the 5th N. C. at Williamsburg, complimented it in the highest
terms. Lieutenant Tom Snow of this county--a Chapel Hill boy--was
killed on this occasion and his body was delivered to his friends by
the Federals.

With such Colonels as Christie, Blacknall and Davis,--the first two
dying of wounds--the 23rd could not fail in always being an “A No. 1.”
regiment. This brigade at Gettysburg had one hundred and eleven killed,
and three hundred and forty-four wounded.

In the fall of 1864 near Winchester, General Bradley Johnston of
Maryland was a witness of the conduct of this brigade under very trying
circumstances, and he has recently written a very entertaining account
of what he saw, and in it he is very enthusiastic in his praise of
their courage and discipline, comparing them to Sir Colin Campbell’s
“Thin Red Line” at Balaklava.

[Sidenote: DANIEL’S BRIGADE.]

This brigade consisted of the 32nd, 43rd, 45th, 53rd and 2nd battalion,
all from North Carolina. It was first commanded by Daniel, who was
killed at Spotsylvania. Then by Grimes and after his promotion by
Colonels, several of whom were killed. To say that this brigade
accomplished more in the first day’s battle than any other, is no
reflection upon the other gallant brigades of Rodes’ division. General
Doubleday, who, after the fall of General Reynolds, succeeded to the
command of the First Corps, says that Stone’s Pennsylvania brigade held
the key-point of this day’s battle. These Pennsylvanians, occupying a
commanding position, were supported by other regiments of infantry
and two batteries of artillery. Daniel’s right, Brabble’s 32nd
North Carolina leading, had the opportunity given it to carry this
“key-point” by assault, and gloriously did it take advantage of that
opportunity. No troops ever fought better than did this entire brigade,
and its killed and wounded was greater by far than any brigade in its
corps. The 45th and 2nd battalion met with the greatest loss, the
former having 219 killed and wounded, the latter 153 out of 240, which
was nearly 64 per cent. When, on the morning of the 12th of May at
Spottsylvania, Hancock’s corps ran over Johnson’s division, capturing
or scattering the whole command, this fine brigade and Ramseur’s North
Carolina, and Bob Johnston’s North Carolina, by their promptness and
intrepidity, checked the entire Second corps and alone held it ’till
Lane’s North Carolina, Harris’ Mississippi and other troops could be
brought up.

[Sidenote: RAMSEUR’S BRIGADE.]

This famous brigade consisted of the 2nd, 4th, 14th and 30th North
Carolina. It was first commanded by General Geo. B. Anderson, who was
killed at Sharpsburg. Then by Ramseur, who was promoted and killed
at Cedar Creek. Then by Cox. The fondness of this brigade for prayer
meeting and Psalm singing united with an ever readiness to fight,
reminds one of Cromwell’s Ironsides. It fought well at Seven Pines when
one of its regiments, having carried in six hundred and seventy-eight
officers and men, lost fifty-four per cent. in killed and wounded. At
Malvern Hill it met with great loss. It occupied the bloody lane at
Sharpsburg. At Chancellorsville out of fifteen hundred and nine, it
had one hundred and fifty-four killed and five hundred and twenty-six
wounded, or forty-five per cent. On the 12th of May at Spottsylvania it
acted probably the most distinguished part of any brigade in the army.
It did the last fighting at Appomattox, and about twenty-five men of
the 14th, under Captain W. T. Jenkins, of Halifax county, fired the
last shots. To see these poor devils, many of them almost barefooted
and all of them half starved, approach a field where a battle was
raging was a pleasant sight. The crack of Napoleons, the roar of
Howitzers and crash of musketry always excited and exhilerated them,
and as they swung into action they seemed supremely happy.

[Sidenote: LANE’S BRIGADE.]

Lane’s brigade consisted of the 7th, 18th, 28th, 33rd and 37th North
Carolina. It was first commanded by General L. O. B. Branch, who was
killed at Sharpsburg. The 7th and 18th appear upon Colonel Fox’s per
centage table, both having in the seven days’ fight lost 56 per cent.
The numerical loss for the brigade was 807. At Chancellorsville it
had 739 killed and wounded. In the history of this battle by Col.
Hamlin, of Maine, the conduct of this brigade is spoken of very highly.
In Longstreet’s assault as it moved over the field the two wings of
its right regiment parted company, and at the close of the assault
were several hundred yards apart. The point of direction for the
assaulting column was a small cluster of trees opposite to and in front
of Archer’s brigade, and while the rest of the line dressed on this
brigade, by some misunderstanding, four and a half regiments of Lane’s
dressed to the left. It went some distance beyond the Emmittsburg
road, but fell back to that road, where it remained fighting ’till all
the rest of the line had given way, when it was withdrawn by General
Trimble.

Some time ago a Union veteran in a St. Louis paper gave an account of
what came under his observation at Spottsylvania. His command had been
repulsed and was being driven by Lane’s brigade, when he was shot down.
As the victorious line swept by a Confederate was struck, falling near
him. The conduct of a young officer, whose face was radiant with the
joy of battle, had attracted his attention, and he asked his wounded
neighbor who he was. His reply was, “That’s Capt. Billy McLaurin, of
the 18th North Carolina, the bravest man in Lee’s army.”

[Sidenote: ARCHER’S BRIGADE.]

This superb brigade consisted of three regiments from Tennessee, one
regiment and one battalion from Alabama. It suffered very severely
the first day; on the third it was gallantly led by Colonel Frye, who
says, referring to the close of the assault: “I heard Garnett give a
command. Seeing my gesture of inquiry he called out, ‘I am dressing on
you.’ A few seconds later he fell dead. A moment later a shot through
my thigh prostrated me. The smoke soon became so dense that I could
see but little of what was going on before me. A moment later I heard
General Pettigrew calling to rally them on the left (referring to a
brigade which had just given way). All of the five regimental colors
of my command reached the line of the enemy’s works, and many of my
officers and men were killed after passing over it.” Colonel Shepherd,
who succeeded Colonel Frye in command, said in his official report that
every flag in Archer’s brigade, except one, was captured at or within
the works of the enemy. This brigade and Pettigrew’s were awarded the
honor of serving as a rear guard when the army re-crossed the river.

[Sidenote: HOKE’S BRIGADE.]

Two of General Early’s brigades made a very brilliant charge on the
second day; but being unsupported were forced to fall back. They were
Hoke’s North Carolina, commanded by Colonel Avery, who was killed, and
Hayes’ Louisiana. They did equally well in every respect, yet one is
always praised, the other rarely mentioned. Hoke’s brigade consisted
of the 6th, 21st, 54th and 57th. First commanded by Hoke, after his
promotion by Godwin, who was killed in the Valley, and then by Gaston
Lewis.

The 54th was on detached duty and did not take part in this battle. Mr.
Vanderslice, in his fine description of this affair, does full justice
to our North Carolina boys, and closes by saying: “It will be noted
that while this assault is called that of the ‘Louisiana Tigers,’ the
three North Carolina regiments lost more men than the five Louisiana
regiments.”

[Sidenote: PAY YOUR MONEY AND TAKE YOUR CHOICE.]

From a book recently published, entitled, “Pickett and His Men,” the
following paragraph is taken: “Pettigrew was trying to reach the post
of death and honor, but he was far away and valor could not annihilate
space. His troops had suffered cruelly in the battle the day before
and their commander had been wounded. They were now led by an officer
ardent and brave, but to them unknown.”

Col. Carswell McClellan, who was an officer of Gen. Humphreys’ staff,
comparing the assault made by this General at Fredericksburg with
that which is known as Pickett’s, says: “As the bugle sounded the
‘charge,’ Gen. Humphreys turned to his staff, and bowing with uncovered
head, remarked as quietly and as pleasantly as if inviting them to
be seated around his table, ‘Gentlemen, I shall lead this charge. I
presume, of course, you will wish to ride with me.’” Now, compare that
to Pickett, who was not within a mile of his column when they charged
at Gettysburg--Pettigrew and Armistead LED Pickett’s division there.
Of this grand assault of Humphreys I can do no better than quote Gen.
Hooker’s report: “This attack was made with a spirit and determination
seldom, if ever, equalled in war. Seven of Gen. Humphreys’ staff
officers started with the charge, five were dismounted before reaching
the line where Gen. Couch’s troops were lying, and four were wounded
before the assault ceased.”

[Sidenote: THE SCHOOL GIRL’S HERO.]

But as he spoke Pickett, at the head of his division, rode over the
crest of Seminary Ridge and began his descent down the slope. “As he
passed me,” writes Longstreet, “he rode gracefully, with his jaunty
cap racked well over his right ear and his long auburn locks, nicely
dressed, hanging almost to his shoulders. He seemed a holiday soldier.”
Echo repeats the words: A holiday soldier! A holiday soldier!

[Sidenote: THERE NOW!]

Even Gen. Lee was unfair to our troops, and Gen. Long, his biographer,
in more than one place misapprehended the facts. In reply to a letter
from this writer he promised to make a correction if a second edition
of his large and interesting biography was called for.

We refer to the third day at Gettysburg so soon again because of a
letter that reached us on Monday postmarked “Charleston, S. C., April
9.” It comes from a soldier who did not belong to either Pettigrew’s
or Pickett’s command. He writes, and he is clearly a man of education
and fairness:

“I am glad to see you are taking up the claim of Pettigrew’s brigade
to share in the glory of Gettysburg. Why not go a little further?
Pettigrew led his division. Pickett did not. Pettigrew was wounded, and
no member of his staff came out of the fight without being wounded or
having his horse shot under him. Neither Pickett nor any member of his
staff nor even one of the horses was touched. Why? Because dismounted
and on the farther side of a hill that protected them from the enemy’s
fire.” There is in this city a letter from a distinguished, able,
scholarly Virginian that states that General Pickett was not in the
charge at all. There now! The correspondent adds: “Investigate the
statement, and if correct, this will help to make history somewhat
truthful.” He gives excellent authority--a gallant citizen of Savannah,
Ga., who was in the battle and of whom we have known for more than
thirty-three years. Let the whole truth come out as to the splendid
charge on the third day, who participated in and who went farthest in
and close to the enemy.--Wilmington Messenger.

[Sidenote: GOV. KEMPER KILLED IN BATTLE AND OTHER MATTERS.]

The following extract is taken from a magazine article written by Mr.
J. F. Rhodes in 1899:

“Then the union guns re-opened. When near enough canister shot was
added, ‘the slaughter was terrible.’ The Confederate artillery
re-opened over the heads of the charging column trying to divert
the fire of the union cannon, but it did not change the aim of the
batteries from the charging column. When near enough the Federal
infantry opened, but on swept the devoted division. Near the Federal
lines Pickett made a pause ‘to close ranks and mass for a final
plunge.’ Armistead leaped the stone wall and cried, ‘Give them the
cold steel, boys,’ laid his hand on a Federal gun, and the next
moment was killed. At the same time Garnett and Kemper, Pickett’s
other brigadiers, were killed. Hill’s corps wavered, broke ranks and
fell back. ‘The Federals swarmed around Pickett,’ writes Longstreet,
‘attacking on all sides, enveloped and broke up his command. They drove
the fragments back upon our lines. Pickett gave the word to retreat.’”

To give a clear idea of the closing events of this assault it will be
well to mention several things not generally known. Just at the point
which had been occupied, but was then abandoned by Webb’s brigade,
there was no stone wall, but a breastwork made of rails covered with
a little earth. These works jutted out into the field. On both sides
of this salient there were stone walls. Of the one thousand men who
reached these works of rails and earth only about fifty followed
Armistead to the abandoned guns. The others stopped there. Seeing this
all to their right, more than half the column did the same, and having
stopped they were obliged to lie down. The left of the line continued
to move on for a while when they, to prevent annihilation, also fell to
the ground. This discontinuance of the forward movement, showing that
the momentum of the charge had spent itself, meant defeat. Our men knew
this, but there they lay waiting for--they knew not what. All other
things that happened--the capture of men, muskets and flags--were for
the Federals mere details in reaping the harvest of victory.

[Sidenote: SAFE SURRENDER OR DANGEROUS RETREAT?]

Leaving out Lane’s brigade, which lay far over to the left in the
Emmittsburg road, our line, which was so imposing at the beginning of
the assault, covered the front of only two Federal brigades at its
close. Into the interval between Lane’s and Pettigrew’s troops New
Yorkers were sent, who attacked the left of the latter’s own brigade.
About the same time Vermonters moved up and fired several volleys
into Pickett’s right. Which body of these flankers first made their
attack has been a subject of some dispute, but it is a matter of no
importance. Neither attack was made before Armistead was wounded. But
there is a matter of very great importance, and that is to correctly
decide which of the two contrary lines of action taken that day is the
more honorable and soldier-like. Here were troops lying out in the
open field, all of them knowing that they had met with a frightful
defeat. Those on the left, seeing a move on the part of the enemy to
effect their capture, thought it a duty they owed themselves, their
army and their country to risk their lives in an effort to escape.
Acting upon this thought they went to the rear with a rush, helter
skelter, devil take the hindmost, and the most of them did escape.
Those on the right when ordered to surrender did so almost to a man.
The North Carolinians, Alabamians and Tennesseeans upon the field felt
that to surrender when there was a reasonable hope of escape was very
little better than desertion. If the opinions of the Virginians were
not quite as extreme as this, they certainly would have been surprised
at that time had they been told that their conduct was heroic. Since
then maudlin sentimentalists have so often informed them it was that
now they believe it. The time may come when history will call their
surrender by its right name.

[Sidenote: STRAGGLERS.]

The late Gen. James Dearing, of Virginia, at the time of the battle an
artillery major, witnessed the assault, and shortly afterwards, giving
a description of it to a friend of the writer, mentioned a circumstance
which partly accounts for the fact that all of Pickett’s troops were
not captured. It was that from the very start individuals began to
drop out of ranks, and that the number of these stragglers continued
to increase as the line advanced, and that before a shot had ever been
fired at them it amounted to many hundreds. This conduct on the part
of so many must be taken into consideration in accounting for the
shortness of our line at the close of the assault; also that the troops
both to the right and left dressing upon Archer’s brigade there was in
consequence much crowding towards the centre. By adding to these causes
the deaths and wounds the explanation of a condition which has puzzled
many writers is readily seen.

[Sidenote: “THE POST OF DEATH AND HONOR.”]

General Longstreet is supposed to have always thought that after the
second of Pettigrew’s brigades gave way there were none of Hill’s
troops left upon the field. This General, while honest, was so largely
imaginative that his statement of facts is rarely worthy of credence.
He says that “Pickett gave the word to retreat.” There are very many
old soldiers, many even in Richmond, who do not believe that Pickett
was there to give that word. That in the beautiful language of a recent
writer, “He may have been trying to reach the post of death and honor,
but he was far away, and valor could not annihilate space.”

[Sidenote: JUDGING OTHERS BY OURSELVES.]

Gen. Longstreet is reported recently to have said at Gettysburg that
if Gen. Meade had advanced his whole line on July 4th he would have
carried everything before him. It is hardly fair for Gen. Longstreet
to do so, but he is evidently judging the army by his troops, some of
whom are said to have been so nervous and shaky after this battle that
the crack of a teamster’s whip would startle them. He is mistaken, for
it must be remembered that the enemy was about as badly battered as we
were, and that the troops composing Ewell’s and Hill’s corps had beaten
this enemy only two months before when it was on the defensive. Now we
would have been on the defensive; is it probable that we would have
been beaten?

[Sidenote: PETTIGREW’S BRIGADE.]

This brigade was composed of the 11th, 26th, 47th, 52nd and 44th North
Carolina. When the army went on the Gettysburg campaign the last named
regiment was left in Virginia. That this brigade had more men killed
and wounded at Gettysburg than any brigade in our army ever had in any
battle is not so much to its credit as is the fact that after such
appalling losses it was one of the two brigades selected for the rear
guard when the army re-crossed the river. At Gettysburg Capt. Tuttle’s
company of the 26th regiment went into the battle with three officers
and eighty-four men. All the officers and eighty-three of the men were
killed or wounded. In the same battle company C. of the 11th regiment,
had two officers killed (First Lieut. Tom Cooper, a University boy,
was one of them) and thirty-four out of the thirty-eight men killed
or wounded. Capt. Bird with the four remaining men participated in the
assault of the third day, and of them the flag bearer was shot and
the captain brought out the colors himself. He was made major, and
was afterwards killed at Reams Station. Bertie county should raise a
monument to his memory. In the assault Col. Marshall, of the 52nd,
commanded this brigade ’till he was killed. At the close of the battle
Maj. Jones, of the 26th, was the only field officer who had not been
struck, and he was subsequently killed at the Wilderness.

[Sidenote: DESERTION.]

With the exception of South Carolina probably no State in the
Confederacy had so few soldiers “absent without leave” as North
Carolina. Owing to unfortunate surroundings neither the head of the
army nor the administration ever realized this fact. The same harshness
that forced thousands of conscripts into the army who were unfit for
service, and kept them there until death in the hospital released
them, caused more soldiers from North Carolina (some of whom had shed
their blood in defence of the South) to be shot for this so-called
desertion than from any other State. Though the military population
of the Tar Heel State was not as great as that of at least two of the
others, her soldiers filled twice as many graves, and at Appomattox,
Va., and Greensboro, N. C., surrendered twice as many muskets as those
of any other State. There was a singular fact in connection with
these so-called desertions. In summer, when there was fighting or the
expectation of a fight, they never occurred. Only in winter, when
the men had time to think of their families, hundreds of whom were
suffering for the necessaries of life, did the longing desire to see
them and minister to their wants overcome every other sentiment, and
dozens of them would steal away.

[Sidenote: UNDESERVED CONTEMPT.]

Wonder and surprise must be felt by any intelligent officer of any
of the European armies who rides over that part of the lines held by
the army of the Potomac which was assaulted on the afternoon of July
3rd, 1863. Wonder that sixty or seventy thousand men occupying the
commanding position they did and supported by hundreds of cannon should
have felt so much pride in having defeated a column of less than ten
thousand. For had their only weapons been brick-bats they should have
done so. Surprise that Gen. Lee should have had so supreme a contempt
for the Federal army as to have thought for a moment that by any sort
of possibility the attack could be successful.

[Sidenote: A LEAF OF NORTHERN HISTORY].

No longer ago than last August a New York magazine contained an
elaborately illustrated article descriptive of the Gettysburg
battlefield. As long as the writer confines himself to natural scenery
he acquits himself very creditably, but when he attempts to describe
events which occurred there so many years ago he flounders fearfully.
Of course Pickett’s men advance “alone.” Of course there is a terrific
hand-to-hand battle at what he calls the “bloody angle.” In this battle
he says that many of Doubleday’s troops lost from twenty-five to forty
per cent. “The slaughter of the Confederates was fearful--nearly
one-half of them were left upon the field, Garnett’s brigade alone
having over three thousand killed and captured.” This is Northern
history.

Now for facts: Pickett’s men did not advance “alone.” There was no
terrific battle inside the enemy’s works. None of Doubleday’s troops
lost there from twenty-five to forty per cent. There was not one
regiment in Gibbons’ or Doubleday’s commands which, after the shelling,
lost one-fourth of one per cent. As to Garnett’s brigade, as it carried
in only two thousand or less and brought out a considerable fragment,
it could hardly have had over three thousand killed and captured. It
did have seventy-eight killed and three hundred and twenty-four wounded.

Gen. Doubleday in writing to ask permission to make use of the pamphlet
in a history he was then preparing, suggested only one alteration, and
that was in regard to Stannard’s Vermont brigade, which had fought only
the day before, and not the two days as the pamphlet had it.

[Sidenote: UNION SENTIMENT IN NORTH CAROLINA.]

On the retreat Kilpatrick attacked our ambulance train and captured
many wounded officers of Ewell’s corps. Among them was one from my
brigade who, when in hospital, was asked by a Federal surgeon if the
well-known Union sentiment in North Carolina had anything to do with
the large proportion of wounded men from that State. Being young and
inexperienced in the ways of the world he indignantly answered, “No.”

[Sidenote: HUMBUGGERY OF HISTORY.]

Early in the war the best troops in the army of Northern Virginia
could not have fighting enough. At that time they were simple
enough to believe that there was some connection between fame and
bravery. After a while they learned that a dapper little clerk of the
quartermaster’s department, if he had the ear of the editor of the
Richmond “Examiner,” had more to do with their reputation than their
own courage. When this fact became known there was “no more spoiling
for a fight,” but it was very often felt to be a hardship when they
were called upon to do more than their proper share of fighting.

[Sidenote: BROCKENBOROUGH’S VIRGINIA BRIGADE.]

The 40th, 47th and 55th Virginia regiments and 22nd Virginia battalion
composed this brigade. Up to the reorganization of the army after
Jackson’s death, it formed a part of A. P. Hill’s famous light
division. That it did not sustain its reputation at Gettysburg had no
effect upon the general result of that battle. Their loss was 25 killed
and 143 wounded.

[Sidenote: LONGSTREET’S MEN.]

If any searcher after the truth of the matter consults the records
and other sources of reliable information, paying no attention to the
clap-traps of Virginia writers, he will find, to say the least, that
the troops of Ewell’s and Hill’s corps were the peers of the best and
the superiors of a large part of the soldiers of Longstreet’s corps. In
the battle of the second day if the four brigades of McLaw’s division
had fought as well as did Wright’s and Wilcox’s of the third corps,
we would have undoubtedly gained a victory at Gettysburg. Hood’s was
the best division, but it was defeated at Wauhatchie, Tenn., by troops
that the men of the second and third corps had often met and never
failed to drive. As to Pickett’s “writing division:” From Malvern
Hill to Gettysburg was exactly one year, and in this time the four
great battles of Second Manassas, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg and
Chancellorsville, and twice as many of less prominence were fought by
the army or parts of the army. In these battles Lane’s North Carolina,
Scales’ North Carolina and Archer’s mixed brigade of Tennesseeans
and Alabamians had three thousand six hundred and ten men killed and
wounded. In the same period Armistead’s Virginia, Kemper’s Virginia and
Garnett’s Virginia had seven hundred and seventy-two killed and wounded.

[Sidenote: SCALES’ BRIGADE.]

At Gettysburg where it had 102 killed and 322 wounded it was a small
brigade, as at Chancellorsville only two months before it had met with
a loss of nearly seven hundred. In the third day’s assault, General
Scales having been wounded, it was commanded by Col. Lowrence, who
was also wounded as was every field officer and nearly every company
officer in the brigade. This gallant little organization consisted of
the 13th, 16th, 22nd, 34th and 38th North Carolina. Its first commander
was Pettigrew, who was severely wounded and captured at Seven Pines.
Then came Pender, then Scales, late Governor of North Carolina. At
Gettysburg it and Lane’s were the only troops who were required to
fight every day.

Mr. W. H. Swallow, of Maryland, a Confederate soldier and a writer
of some note, was wounded at Gettysburg, and in one of his articles
descriptive of the battle, says: “Gen. Trimble, who commanded Pender’s
division and lost a leg in the assault, lay wounded with the writer at
Gettysburg for several weeks after the battle, related the fact to the
writer (Swallow) that when Gen. Lee was inspecting the column in front
of Scales’ brigade, which had been fearfully cut up in the first day’s
conflict, having lost very heavily, including all of its regimental
officers with its gallant commander, and noticing many of Scales’
men with their heads and hands bandaged, he said to Gen. Trimble:
‘Many of these poor boys should go to the rear; they are not able for
duty.’ Passing his eyes searchingly along the weakened ranks of Scales’
brigade he turned to Gen. Trimble and touchingly added, ‘I miss in
this brigade the faces of many dear friends.’ * * * * * In a few weeks
some of us were removed from the town to a grove near the wall that
Longstreet had assaulted. As the ambulances passed the fences on the
Emmittsburg road, the slabs were so completely perforated with bullet
holes that you could scarcely place a half inch between them. One inch
and a quarter board was indeed a curiosity. It was sixteen feet long
and fourteen inches wide and was perforated with eight hundred and
thirty-six musket balls. I learned afterwards that the board was taken
possession of by an agent of the Pennsylvania Historical Society. This
board was on that part of the fence where Scales’ brave little brigade
crossed it.”

[Sidenote: STEUART’S BRIGADE.]

This brigade was composed of the 10th, 23rd and 37th Virginia, the
Maryland battalion and the 1st and 3rd North Carolina. When Gen.
Ed. Johnson, supported by two of Rodes’ brigades, made his attack
on the morning of the third day, this brigade displayed conspicuous
gallantry. Had Gen. Longstreet moved forward at the same time, the
story of Gettysburg might have been written very differently. There was
not an indifferent company in this brigade. All were choice troops.
The 3rd North Carolina possessed in a pre-eminent degree the mental
obtuseness peculiar to so many North Carolina troops. Try as they
would, they never could master the art of assaulting entrenchments or
fighting all day in an open field without having somebody hurt. In
the Sharpsburg campaign it had more men killed and wounded than any
regiment in the army. At Chancellorsville there were only three--all
North Carolina--whose casualties were greater, and at Gettysburg
(losing fifty per cent.) it headed the list for its division. The 1st
North Carolina, a somewhat smaller regiment, in number of casualties
always followed close behind the Third, except at Mechanicsville, when
it went far ahead. It was indeed also one of those fool regiments which
could never learn the all-important lesson which so many of their more
brilliant comrades found no difficulty in acquiring.

Col. Fox in his “Regimental Losses,” says: “To all this some may sneer
and some may say, ‘Cui Bono?’ If so let it be remembered that there
are other reasons than money or patriotism which induce men to risk
life and limb in war. There is the love of glory and the expectation of
honorable recognition; but the private in the ranks expects neither;
his identity is merged in that of his regiment; to him the regiment and
its name is everything; he does not expect to see his own name appear
upon the page of history, and is content with the proper recognition of
the old command in which he fought. But he is jealous of the record of
his regiment and demands credit for every shot it faced and every grave
it filled. The bloody laurels for which a regiment contends will always
be awarded to the one with the longest roll of honor. Scars are the
true evidence of wounds, and regimental scars can be seen only in its
record of casualties.”

[Sidenote: DEFEAT WITH HONOR.]

How much punishment must a body of troops receive before they
can, without discredit to themselves, confess that they have been
defeated? In answer it may be stated that in front of Marye’s Hill
at Fredericksburg, Maegher’s and Zook’s brigades lost in killed and
wounded, respectively, thirty-six and twenty-six per cent., and
that the killed and wounded of the fifteen Pennsylvania regiments,
constituting Meade’s division, which broke through Jackson’s line, was
36 per cent. This division was not only repulsed but routed, and yet
they were deservedly considered amongst the very best troops in their
army. Ordinarily it may be safely said that a loss of twenty-five per
cent. satisfies all the requirements of military honor. Ordinarily is
said advisedly, for in our army very much depended upon knowing from
what State the regiment or brigade hailed before it could be decided
whether or not it was justified in retreating. When on the afternoon
of the third day of July, 1863, Pettigrew’s, Trimble’s and Pickett’s
divisions marched into that ever-to-be remembered slaughter pen, there
was one regiment in the first named division, the 11th Mississippi,
which entered the assault fresh, carrying in 325 officers and men.
After losing 202 killed and wounded, it with its brigade, left the
field in disorder. Correspondents of Virginia newspapers witnessing
their defeat accused them of bad behavior. Virginian historians
repeated their story and the slander of brave men, who had lost sixty
per cent. before retreating, lives to this day. In the spring of 1862
an army, consisting of ten regiments of infantry, one of cavalry and
two batteries of artillery, was defeated in the valley and the loss in
killed and wounded was four hundred and fifty-five. In the summer of
1863 there were eight regiments in the same division who took part in a
certain battle and were defeated; but they did not confess themselves
beaten ’till the number of their killed and wounded amounted to two
thousand and two (2,002)--a loss so great that it never was before
or afterwards equalled in our army or in any American army. In the
first instance all of the troops were from Virginia and as consolation
for their defeat they received a vote of thanks from the Confederate
Congress. In the second case five of the regiments were from North
Carolina and three from Mississippi. Did our Congress thank them for
such unprecedented display of endurance? No, indeed! Corrupted as it
was by Richmond flattery and dominated by Virginian opinion; the only
wonder is that it refrained from a vote of censure.

[Sidenote: WESTERN ARMY.]

Four North Carolina infantry regiments, 29th, 39th, 58th and 60th, and
one of cavalry, served in the Western army and did so with credit to
themselves and State.

[Sidenote: COOK’S BRIGADE.]

The 15th, 27th, 46th and 48th regiments composed this brigade. It met
with its greatest losses at Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Bristoe Station
and the Wilderness. The 15th, while in Cobb’s brigade, suffered great
loss at Malvern Hill in addition to above. The 48th fought at Oak Grove
June 25th, the first of the seven days’ battles, and suffered severely.
The 27th was probably more praised for its conduct at Sharpsburg than
any regiment in the army.

[Sidenote: RANSOM’S BRIGADE.]

The 24th, 25th, 35th, 49th and 56th made up this brigade. It probably
met with its greatest loss at Malvern Hill. The 24th of this brigade
and the 14th of Geo. B. Anderson’s both claim that after this battle
their dead were found nearest to where the enemy’s artillery had
stood. The brigade also displayed conspicuous gallantry at Sharpsburg,
Fredericksburg and Drury’s Bluff.

[Sidenote: JUNIOR RESERVES.]

Gov. Vance called them his “seed wheat.” There were four regiments
and one battalion of these troops. They were used for the most part
to guard bridges from raiders, but a large part of them fought at
Wise’s Fork, below Kinston, and at Bentonville, where they acquitted
themselves creditably. A witness has told the writer of having seen one
of these children who a few days before had lost both eyes by a musket
ball. He said it was the “saddest sight of a sad, sad war.”

[Sidenote: “RED LEG” INFANTRY.]

After the fall of Fort Fisher several battalions of heavy artillery
which had been occupying the other forts near the mouth of the Cape
Fear, were withdrawn and armed as infantry, joined Johnston’s army. No
troops ever fought better than they did at Kinston and Bentonville. At
the latter battle one of these battalions was commanded by Lt. Col.
Jno. D. Taylor, who lost an arm on that occasion.

[Sidenote: THE CRITICS.]

While the notices of the pamphlet have been generally favorable, it
was not to be expected that all would be so. There are those who see
no need for reopening the question herein discussed. While confessing
that a part of our troops have been directly wronged by slanderous
words and all them wronged by implication, they assert that time
only is required to make all things even, and that the dead past
should be allowed to bury its dead. Peace loving souls they deprecate
controversy, believing that from it will result only needless heart
burnings.

Then again there are others who object not only to the tone and temper
of the article, but to the mere statement of indisputable facts. There
should be, they say, a feeling of true comradeship among all who have
served in the same army, especially in such an army as ours. That
comrades should assist and defend each other in person and reputation,
and under no circumstances should anything be done or said to wound or
offend. To admit that there has been provocation in one direction does
not justify provocation in another, for two wrongs never yet made a
right. That to write of anything to the discredit of a part of the army
of Northern Virginia is to a certain extent to injure the reputation
of the whole army, and that a sentiment of loyalty to that army and
love for its head should prompt its veterans to place its honor above
all other considerations. Some old soldiers within and some without
the limits of the State have expressed these opinions. Many others may
entertain them. It may be they are right. It may be they are wrong.
Who can tell? However, letters never printed show that there are many
who think when once an effort in behalf of justice is begun it should
be continued ’till that end is attained, and be it remembered that the
justice demanded is for the dead who cannot defend themselves.

[Sidenote: KIRKLAND’S BRIGADE.]

The 17th, 42nd, 50th and 66th North Carolina composed this brigade, and
it was first commanded by Gen. Jas. Martin. It was not sent to Virginia
’till the spring of 1864, when it was placed in a division made up for
Gen. Hoke. It was hotly engaged in the battle of Drury’s Bluff where
Lt. Col. Lamb, of the 17th, was mortally wounded, at Cold Harbor where
Col. Moore, the boy commander of the 66th, was killed, at Bentonville,
Kinston, etc. But it is probable that the hardships endured in the
trenches at Petersburg were responsible for more deaths than all the
bullets of the enemy.

[Sidenote: ARTILLERY.]

Seven North Carolina batteries served in Virginia. All of them were
very efficient, but three of them were so remarkably fine that it is a
temptation to name them.

[Sidenote: CAVALRY.]

We had five regiments and one battalion of cavalry to serve in
Virginia. They were the 9th, 19th, 41st, 59th and 63rd North Carolina
troops; but generally known as 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th cavalry and
the 16th battalion. If space permitted, incidents worth mentioning
connected with each of these organizations could be told. As it is,
only two, which may interest North Carolinians generally, and citizens
of Halifax county in particular, will be mentioned. In the summer of
1864 when General Butler came so near capturing Petersburg, at that
time defenseless, the 16th North Carolina battalion was picketing the
road by which the Federals were approaching. It was then that this
battalion, assisted by two light field guns, acted with so much spirit
that the advance of Butler’s men was so delayed that time was given for
troops from Lee’s army to arrive and man the fortifications. Prominent
among the heroes on this occasion was a Halifax boy--Lt. W. F. Parker.
On the disastrous field of Five Forks our cavalry was not only holding
its own, but was driving that of the enemy when the infantry gave way.
This success of the cavalry on their part of the line was very nearly
the last ever gained by any portion of our army. They had been fighting
by squadrons and that composed of the Onslow and Halifax companies of
the 3rd regiment had just made a successful charge, when, looking to
the left, they saw the infantry retreating in disorder. The squadron
on this occasion was commanded and led by a Scotland Neck mounted
Rifleman, the late Norfleet Smith--a brave officer, a good citizen and
a loyal friend. Dear old “Boots” of other days! Lightly lie the sod
above your honored head.

  “Earth has no such soldiers now,
  Such true friends are not found.”

[Sidenote: THIRTY-SIXTH N. C. TROOPS.]

This was a heavy artillery regiment stationed at Fort Fisher when the
final attack was made upon this fort. After the fire from the ships
had dismounted their big guns and the assault by land was being made,
they snatched up their muskets and showed the enemy how well they could
use them. It is now generally conceded that not in the whole war did a
body of soldiers ever struggle so long and so desperately against the
inevitable. From traverse to traverse, from gun-chamber to gun-chamber
for several hours the hopeless struggle went on. Capt. Hunter’s Halifax
company had 58 men killed and wounded out of 80 present. A letter from
a gallant member of the company, says:

“There never was a formal surrender. It (the fort) was taken by
piece-meal--that is, one gun-chamber at a time.” When the capture
of this place was announced in Richmond and before any of the facts
regarding it were known, the abuse and vilification heaped upon
its devoted garrison was something astonishing even for that very
censorious city.

[Sidenote: CLINGMAN’S BRIGADE.]

This brigade was composed of the 8th, 31st, 51st and 61st North
Carolina. It served in South Carolina a great part of the war, and for
the gallant conduct of the 51st in the defense of Fort Wagner, this
regiment was complimented in orders. The brigade took a prominent part
in the brilliant capture of Plymouth. It was engaged at Goldsboro,
Batchelor Creek--where Colonel Henry Shaw, of the 8th, was killed--and
at other points in North Carolina, before it went to Virginia, which
it did early in 1864. There it became a part of the command of
Major-General Hoke. After having heroically borne all the privations
and dangers which fell to the lot of this “splendid division,” as
styled by General Joe Johnston, it surrendered with it at Greensboro.

[Sidenote: NUMBER OF N. C. TROOPS.]

The compiler of our Roster adds up the number of names printed in
the four volumes, and makes a total of 104,498; but to arrive at an
approximation of the real number many subtractions, and very many more
additions, will have to be made.

The First Volunteers was a six months regiment (twelve companies)
and was disbanded when its term of enlistment expired. All of its
companies re-enlisted, and thus these men were counted twice, eight
of these companies, with the addition of two new ones, becoming the
famous Eleventh regiment. Many officers were counted three, four,
and sometimes five times in cases where they had been successively
promoted. There were a great many transfers from one regiment to
another, and in nearly every instance the individual transferred would
be counted with both regiments. The Fourth cavalry battalion was
incorporated in a regiment, and its 271 names are counted twice. The
Seventh battalion (detailed artisans) contains the names of 402 men
who were detailed from regiments in active service, and of course they
were counted twice. All of these repetitions would probably reduce the
number given by the compiler of the State Roster by 3,600 and make
it about 100,900. On the other hand this number should probably be
increased by 9,100. One entire regiment (the 68th), which carried upon
its rolls at least 1,000 names, is not counted, for none of its rolls
could be found. In many regiments the rolls printed were those in use
the last year of the war, when they had been reduced to skeletons.
For instance, in the 60th regiment the rolls of only nine companies
could be found, which carried upon them only 467 names. The surviving
officers of the missing company getting together, made out a roll from
memory embracing the whole war, and the number of names was 114. So it
is certain that this regiment should have had more than twice as many
names as it is credited with. The fighting 27th is only allowed 802
officers and men, when the 26th and 28th are both given considerably
more than 1,800. The 37th is credited with 1,928 names, while the 54th
has only 663. Both of these regiments served in the army of Northern
Virginia, and it is a fair presumption that they both received about
the same number of conscripts. Basing his calculations upon our Roster,
and some other sources of information, the writer has arrived at the
conclusion that the number of soldiers furnished by North Carolina to
the Confederacy was about 110,000. Of course hundreds of this number
shortly after enlisting were discharged as unfit for service. Many more
should have been discharged and were not, but were required to undergo
hardships that they were physically unable to bear, and the consequence
was that they died by thousands.

Of the number furnished, nineteen thousand six hundred and
seventy-three are known to have been killed outright or died of wounds.
Other thousands lost legs and arms, or were otherwise mutilated for
life. Twenty thousand six hundred and two are known to have died of
disease; and very many of these deaths are directly attributable either
to the ignorance of our surgeons or the misdirected zeal that prompted
them to retain in the service men who were unfit for its duties, many
of them being little better than confirmed invalids.

The great statistician, Colonel Fox, says: “The phrase, ‘Military
population,’ as used in the eighth census, represents the white males
between the ages of 18 and 45, and included all who were unfit for
military duty on account of physical or mental infirmities. These
exempts--which include also all cases of minor defects--constitute
in every country one-fifth of the military population.” Taking
one-fifth from our military population we should have furnished to the
Confederate armies ninety-two thousand two hundred and ninety-seven
soldiers. But as said above we did send to the front about one hundred
and ten thousand, thirty-six per cent. of whom died.



APPENDIX.


            EAST LAS VEGAS, N. M.

Enclosed please find 25c. in stamps in payment for Pettigrew’s Charge.
I have read it with much interest. I think you have made a good case
and that you are right. I was at Vicksburg the same day--the Adjt. 81st
Ills. Vols. Infty.

            I am yours truly,
                  J. J. FITZGERALD,
        Post Dept. Comd’r Dept. N. M. G. A. R.

       *       *       *       *       *

            ABBEVILLE, S. C., July 1st, 1896.

Dear Sir:--I enclose 25c. in stamps for which be kind enough to send
me your pamphlet entitled, “Pickett or Pettigrew?” if you have any
copies on hand. I recently saw a copy in Charleston. You agree with
me about Pettigrew and Pickett. I was Sergt. Major of Orr’s Rifles,
McGowan’s brigade, Wilcox’s division. Some years ago I was looking at
the cyclorama of Gettysburg in Philadelphia. The Yankee who explained
the battle said that A. P. Hill’s men advanced further than Pickett’s,
and pointed out to the crowd where a number of North Carolinians fell
at the extreme front.

            Yours truly,
        ROBT. R. HEMPHILL.

       *       *       *       *       *

“JUSTICE FOR OUR DEAD IS ALL WE WANT.”

            WASHINGTON, D. C., Dec. 29th, 1888.

My Dear Sir:--Circumstances here have caused me to be so very busy
of late that I have not had time sooner to acknowledge your courtesy
in sending me the pamphlet on the battle of Gettysburg. I seize the
occasion of the holidays to do so. The pamphlet was read by every
member of my family with the keenest interest. I have to thank you
from my heart for writing it. No living man suffers more from these
mean and jealous attempts to deprive North Carolina of her proper
honor than I do. I sometimes almost get sick over them. I have always
regarded the effort of some Virginians, not all, thank God, to
deprecate the North Carolina troops in the battle of Gettysburg as
simply a damnable and dastardly outrage. * * * * * * * * *

But let us take courage. The simple truth will ultimately
prevail--simple justice is all we want for our dead.

            Your friend and fellow North Carolinian. ----

[The above was written by one who loved North Carolina and one whom
North Carolina loved to honor.]

       *       *       *       *       *

A WISE JUDGE.

The following is an extract from a letter written by a resident of
Chicago, Major Chas. A. Hale, who has the honor of having served in the
Fifth New Hampshire, a regiment which fought gallantly at Gettysburg,
and is distinguished for having sustained the greatest losses in battle
of any infantry or cavalry regiment in the whole Union army:

“There is not a shadow of a doubt in my mind but that the sons of
North Carolina, Tennessee and Mississippi carved on the tablets of
history equal laurels with the sons of Virginia in the great events
of that supreme attempt to gain victory on Cemetery Ridge. Pettigrew
and Trimble deserve equal honors with Pickett, and if we weigh with
judicial exactness more, for impartial evidence proves that they
suffered in a greater degree, and forced their way nearer the lines
where pitiless fate barred their entrance. The nearest point reached
by any troops was Bryan’s barn; this is made conclusive by evidence
on both sides. If there were a thousand Confederates inside the stone
wall at the angle more than two-thirds of that number must have been
Pettigrew’s men.”

       *       *       *       *       *

HOW PICKETT’S DIVISION ‘ABSQUATULATED.’

Pickett’s division of the army of Northern Virginia is rarely heard of
either before or after Gettysburg. No body of troops during the last
war made as much reputation on so little fighting. Newspaper men did
the work by printer’s ink and the casualties were small.

Fourteen hundred and ninety-nine were captured at Gettysburg. More
than this number “absquated” when Petersburg fell and there was a
probability of leaving Virginia. Pickett’s division made a poor show at
the surrender at Appomattox.--Abbeville, (S. C.) Medium.

       *       *       *       *       *

ÆSOP’S FABLE--THE DOG AND THE BONE.

  “They digged a pit.
  They digged it deep.
  They digged it for their brothers;
  But it so fell out that they fell in
  The pit that was digged for t’others.”

       *       *       *       *       *

An interesting contribution to the history of the battle of Gettysburg
is afforded in a pamphlet essay entitled “Pickett or Pettigrew?” by
Capt. W. R. Bond, a Confederate staff officer in the army of Northern
Virginia. Capt. Bond’s desire is to correct the commonly received
accounts of the parts taken in that battle by the troops commanded by
Gens. Pickett and Pettigrew. * * * * * * * Gen. Longstreet, according
to Capt. Bond, is largely responsible for the current misrepresentation
of the Southern side of the story of Gettysburg, and he tells in detail
a curious story of the favoritism displayed all through the war towards
everything Virginian at the expense of the soldiers from the other
Southern States.--Springfield Republican.

       *       *       *       *       *

We have read with much interest a pamphlet by Capt. W. R. Bond,
entitled “Pickett or Pettigrew?” in which the writer, a North
Carolinian, proposed to show, and does show very conclusively, that
the losses of Pettigrew’s North Carolina brigade in this charge were
greater than those sustained by Pickett or, indeed, by any command in
the army. He claims that the twenty-sixth regiment of this brigade
suffered greater loss than that of any command in modern times. The
fate of one company in this regiment recalls Thermopylæ; it was
literally wiped out--every man in it was either killed or wounded.
This pamphlet makes a glorious showing for the resolute courage and
intrepidity of the North Carolina troops, but it is endorsed by the
brave boys here who fought by their side. It also pays a high tribute
to the Tennesseeans engaged in that bloody fight, according them
the place they occupied in it and the meed of praise they justly
won.--Gallatin (Tenn.) Examiner.

       *       *       *       *       *

It contains some interesting statements from the Southern, and
especially from North Carolina, point of view, the object of its
author being to show that undue credit has been given to Pickett’s
Virginia brigades at the expense of the brigade of Pettigrew from North
Carolina. The author contends that undue prominence has been given to
the part taken by Virginia troops in the war of the rebellion, owing to
the leading part taken by Virginia newspapers and Virginia historians
in reporting the events of the war. He shows that North Carolina leads
in the report given in Col. Fox’s paper on the “Chances of Being Hit in
Battle.” Of the troops losing the most men Mississippi comes next, and
Virginia does not appear at all. He has suggestive reference also to
the possibility of Gen. Longstreet being of Gascon descent. Altogether,
his little pamphlet is lively reading.--Army and Navy Journal.

       *       *       *       *       *

A review of this pamphlet ought to and shall be carefully written.
* * * His reference to Gen. Pettigrew is in admirable taste and will
evoke new sorrow for the untimely death of that cultivated gentleman
and splendid soldier; but the dedication to Hill’s corps is marred
by a spirit which no provocation can justify. An author who loses his
temper always breaks the force of his argument and weakens his cause.
And so in the present case some salient facts which Capt. Bond presents
lose most of their strength and effect by the spirit in which he
clothes them. * * * And suppose the charge of Pickett was given undue
prominence in the general history of the war, (and we do not dispute
it), was it kind or proper on that account to make a systematic attempt
to vitiate the record of all the service rendered by Virginia to the
Confederate arms? * * * And it is a worthy duty to resurrect those
brave deeds from oblivion, a duty which Capt. Bond is well competent to
discharge, and in the discharge of which every Confederate Virginian
would bid him “God speed.” But he will pardon us for saying that the
task, to serve any good purpose, must be approached in a different
tone and temper than that displayed in his recent pamphlet, for we
have passed by much of insinuation and allegation his work contains,
hoping that a calmer frame of mind will lead the author to vindicate
in another edition the name and fame of the gallant Carolinians
without seeking to pluck one laurel from the wreath with which friend
and foe have crowned the Virginia charge at Gettysburg.--Petersburg
Index-Appeal.

       *       *       *       *       *

After an inexplicable silence of nearly twenty-five years, the North
Carolinians are beginning to assert themselves in regard to the charge
on the third day at Gettysburg. Every student of the history of the war
knows that it was not Pickett, of Virginia, but Pettigrew, of North
Carolina, who was entitled to the principal credit for the charge.
Pickett started out in command of the charging column, but stopped
when within half a mile of our line, while Pettigrew went on with his
North Carolinians and reached the farthest point attained by any rebel
troops.--National Tribune.

       *       *       *       *       *

Hall and Sledge are the publishers of this remarkable pamphlet,
which not only disparages Virginia and Virginia papers as they were
during the war between the States, but even Pickett’s Virginians. The
world has passed upon all these matters, and its verdict will not be
changed.--Richmond Dispatch.

       *       *       *       *       *

W. W. Owen, of New Orleans, late Lt. Colonel of Washington artillery,
A. N. V., writes: “I have just seen a newspaper account of ‘Pickett’s
charge,’ by Capt. W. R. Bond, and am anxious to obtain a copy. I was
at the battle of Gettysburg and I think his account of it will agree
with my idea about it, at least as far as Pickett was concerned.”
This little book is well written and the author corrects a number of
errors which have been published about certain battles of the late
unpleasantness. It is worth reading.--Tallahassee Floridian.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Wilmington Star noticing an article in the Richmond Times:

“We see from the Richmond Times that a reply is preparing to Captain
W. R. Bond’s stinging pamphlet on the battle of Gettysburg. The
Virginians do not intend to have it go down to history that North
Carolinians did as well at Gettysburg, or better, than the much
trumpeted division of Pickett. North Carolinians must see to it that
the brave men who made such a splendid record at Gettysburg are neither
defamed nor robbed.”

       *       *       *       *       *

T. Blyler, Captain in the 12th New Jersey, writes: “Your division
(meaning Pettigrew’s) advanced in our front and we bear willing
testimony to your bravery and to penetrating farther than Pickett.”

W. H. Shaver, of Kingston, Pa., who belonged to the Philadelphia
brigade, writes: “If convenient, say to Capt. Bond that I have read his
pamphlet with very great interest as well as astonishment, for we of
the North know of no other soldiers in the charge but ‘Pickett and his
Virginians.’ It is a well written article and will cause history to be
re-written.”

J. D. Vautier, of Philadelphia, Historian of the 88th Regiment of Penn.
Vols., writes: “I think it an excellent treatise, it appears to be
the impression that the Virginians did about all the fighting on the
Southern side during the war. To be a Virginian was to be all that was
good. The record shows that the North Carolinians were away up head.”

W. E. Potter, Colonel of the 12th New Jersey, writes: “In an address
delivered by myself at Gettysburg May, 1886, I called attention to the
gallant conduct of the North Carolina troops and the extent of their
losses when compared with Pickett’s. So far as I know my speech was
the first publication to point out the fact that the troops of Pickett
constituted the minor portion of the assaulting column.”

Col. George Meade, of Philadelphia, the son of Gen. Meade, who
commanded the Federal forces in this battle, writes: “I am glad to find
in it certain facts that confirm what has been my own impression as to
the important part taken by the North Carolina troops in the assault at
Gettysburg on the afternoon of the 3rd of July. I must congratulate you
on having presented your case so strongly.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Captain W. R. Bond, a North Carolinian and a Confederate soldier, who
agrees with Col. Batchelder, of Massachusetts, the Government historian
of the battle of Gettysburg, that the brilliant military exploit
popularly known as ‘Pickett’s charge’ should be called ‘Longstreet’s
assault,’ has written a pamphlet to call attention to the fact that
Pettigrew’s division of North Carolina troops in this charge went
further and stayed longer and had more men killed than Pickett’s
division of Virginians. Captain Bond presents some interesting
statements in the course of his narrative.

It may be added that the North Carolinians also lost, by one of the
frequent mischances that govern the direction of popular praise, their
share of the glory that their bravery should have gained, and which
Pickett’s division gathered in for itself.--Philadelphia Press.

       *       *       *       *       *

GEN. ULYSSES DOUBLEDAY.

Capt. Bond’s pamphlet showing that Pettigrew and not Pickett is
entitled to the glory that graced the Confederate banners at the
battle of Gettysburg, is bearing fruit. It is bound to convince any
fair-minded man who will read it. A private letter to the author
from Asheville, says that the writer had a long conversation with
Gen. Doubleday, a Federal officer and brother of the Gen. Doubleday
mentioned in the pamphlet. “Gen. Doubleday contended,” continues
the letter, “that Pickett’s men did as so-called history says they
did, and reaped all the glory.” I asked him as a personal favor
to read the essay, “Pickett or Pettigrew?” He has just finished
telling his opinion. Said he: “It opened my eyes. Your brave men have
been slandered. Capt. Bond gives chapter and verse. It is a fine
essay.”--Weldon News.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. O. W. Blacknall, of Kittrells, in a letter to the News and Observer
concerning the ceremonies at Winchester last Friday, pays a high
compliment to Capt. W. R. Bond’s book, “Pickett or Pettigrew.” Mr.
Blacknall mentions Capt. Bond’s book as being one of the documents
placed in the pocket of the corner stone, and adds:

“I will say in passing that the scholarly and profound brochure
of Capt. Bond--‘Pickett or Pettigrew’--has never received the
acknowledgment so eminently its due. Therein he clearly shows the
manner in which history was shaped to North Carolina’s detriment. The
Richmond papers seeking to please their patrons, chiefly Virginians, to
put it mildly, laid great stress on the services of Virginia troops and
little on their failures. They killed and made alive the reputations
of men as they saw fit. Pollard and other historians writing from the
Southern stand-point followed largely the Richmond papers, and thus
history was miswritten to our apparently irretrievable harm. Capt.
Bond’s pamphlet should be widely read and its substance preserved in
history.”--Scotland Neck Commonwealth.

       *       *       *       *       *

LONGSTREET AND N. C. SOLDIERS.

We copy a brief communication that will serve as an eye-opener
to Longstreet’s real claim upon North Carolina sympathizers. Our
correspondent writes:

“There are some old soldiers from North Carolina, who have always liked
and admired Gen. Longstreet and they regret to see the strictures upon
him in a recently published pamphlet. If they will read carefully the
following facts from the official records relating to the Sharpsburg
campaign, they may feel that their partiality has been misplaced.

“General Longstreet had in this campaign nine North Carolina regiments,
whose killed and wounded averaged one hundred and four. In his corps
there were eighty regiments from other States and their average was
sixty-four. In the eighty there were twenty-two Virginia regiments
and their average was thirty-two. The 48th North Carolina had more
men killed and wounded than any regiment of its corps. The 3rd North
Carolina, of Jackson’s corps, had more men killed and wounded than
any regiment in the army. In fact, more than the entire brigades of
Generals Armistead and Garnett combined. At the conclusion of his
report of the operations of this campaign, General Longstreet mentions
the names of thirty-eight officers, who had distinguished themselves
for gallantry. In this number there is not one brigade or regiment
commander from North Carolina.”--Messenger.

       *       *       *       *       *

REGIMENTAL LOSSES.

A study of regimental actions shows clearly that the battalions which
faced musketry the steadiest, the longest and the oftenest, were the
ones whose aggregate loss during the war was greatest. Fighting
regiments leave a bloody wake behind them; retreating regiments lose
few men. At Chancellorsville the heaviest losses were in the corps that
stood--not in the one that broke.--Fox.

       *       *       *       *       *

W. R. B., in Wilmington Messenger:

I write you a letter, as I wish to tell you about certain conversations
I lately had with an old Confederate--an officer of high rank, and
one who, after the war, was on intimate terms with Gen. Lee. It will
also contain a copy of a letter received by me some two months ago
from a member of Gen. Lee’s staff, and some other things which I think
will interest your old soldier readers. In one of the conversations
referred to mention was made of the letters of General Cobb (who was
killed at Fredericksburg) which have lately been published. In one
of these letters General Cobb says that Mr. Davis and General Lee
thought there was only one State in the Confederacy, and that was
Virginia. In referring to it I remarked that, allowing a little for
exaggeration, I did not think he was very far wrong; that I supposed
it was much the same in the other States, and that I knew of the
persistent injustice, and sometimes even cruelty, with which North
Carolina and her troops were treated. He at once came to the defence of
General Lee, and said he knew positively that he was not responsible
for much of the injustice of which I complained; that in the matter of
appointing and promoting officers General Lee often had very little
influence. For instance, after Jackson’s death, when the army was
reorganized and the two corps made into three, he was bitterly opposed
to having A. P. Hill and Ewell for corps commanders. He wished to have
Rodes--an Alabamian--to command one of them, and also wished to give
a division to Pettigrew and he always said if his divisions and corps
had been commanded at Gettysburg by officers of his choice he would
have gained that battle. But, said General ----, as the secretary of
war was a Virginian, and the influence of Virginia politicians was
so all-powerful, both in the executive mansion and the halls of our
congress, his wishes were not considered. Though a Virginian, he spoke
at length of this baneful influence which festered for four years in
Richmond. And just here it may be remarked that probably the most
humiliating thing connected with our struggle for independence--more
humiliating even than defeat--was the fact that North Carolinians and
other free born men should ever have allowed themselves to be at all
dominated by a public opinion, which was made by a sorry lot of ignoble
bomb-proof hunters. On one occasion I told General ---- about the
letter I had received from Col. Venable, and how lie happened to write
it. That I had heard reports as to General Pickett, while the assault
was being made, which reflected upon his courage, and was disposed to
doubt them, as I had heard that he had acted very bravely in his vain
attempt to rally his division when routed at Five Forks. I do not think
I succeeded in convincing him of this, for I think he believes yet that
General Pickett never went near his troops on this the day of their
last battle.

Wishing to know if there were any grounds for these reports, I wrote
to Colonel Venable, asking him how far into the field General Pickett
advanced with his division, and how near he was to it when it was
repulsed, and the following is his answer:

            “Remington, Fauquier County, Va.

    “Dear Sir:--It has been settled by officers of the United States
    army, that both Pettigrew’s and Pickett’s men went to high water
    mark--that is, equally far in the charge at Gettysburg. The Federal
    government has caused marks to be placed at different points on the
    field with great care.

    “The charge should even be called the charge of Pettigrew’s and
    Pickett’s men.

            “Yours respectfully,
                  “CHAS. S. VENABLE.

    “General Pettigrew was every inch a soldier and a very great loss
    to the grand old army of northern Virginia.

            C. S. V.”

It will be seen that no attention is paid to my question, as there is
no connection between it and the intended answer. This may signify
something or it may not. My letter may have been mislaid and contents
forgotten. The time has been when the reception of this letter would
have greatly gratified me, but since I have made a study of the records
and other authorities I have become convinced that, with one exception,
there was not a brigade in Trimble’s or Pettigrew’s divisions which
did not only equal but really surpass any of General Pickett’s in all
soldierly qualities on that occasion.

And now for a few of the figures you some time ago expressed the
wish to see. For the whole battle the fifteen Virginia regiments on
the right had in killed and wounded 1,360. Amongst those on the left
were the five North Carolina and three Mississippi regiments, which
constituted Pettigrew’s and Davis’ brigades, and their loss in killed
and wounded was 2,002.

What part of this latter loss was incurred on the third day will never
be accurately known; but we know from the Federals that the artillery
fire was largely concentrated upon these two brigades, and we also
know from the testimony of Federal officers, one of whom was Colonel
Morgan, General Hancock’s chief of staff, that the dead lay thicker
on the ground over which these troops had passed than upon any other
part of the field, and if we did not know these two facts the case of
one regiment furnishes a key to the per centage of killed and wounded
in its own brigade and that of the one immediately on its right. This
regiment, the Eleventh Mississippi, did no fighting on the first day,
as it was on detached service and consequently met with all its loss
in the fight of the third. We know how many it carried in, and Dr.
Guild’s report informs us of the loss, and, knowing these numbers, we
know that its per centage of killed and wounded was more than sixty--a
per centage so high that not one Virginia regiment ever made it, and
not a great many others. This and its companion regiment--the Second
Mississippi--were old troops--veterans in fact as well as in name--had
fought often and always well. By referring to the Sharpsburg Campaign
Series 1, Vol. xix. of the records, a comparison can be readily drawn
between the conduct of these two regiments in this campaign and that of
several which were afterwards at Gettysburg with Pickett. A comparison
that were it not so pitiful would be amusing.

If Pickett’s troops carried in no more than claimed their per centage
of killed and wounded was twenty-eight. But in order that their per
centage might appear as high as possible, it is probable their numbers
were always represented as smaller than they were. Their fifteen
regiments probably averaged 400. If they did not, they should have done
so, for they did not often have anybody hurt--that is, compared with
the troops in the army from the other States. In the period from the
close of the Richmond fighting to Gettysburg--one year--twelve battles
were fought by the whole or part of the army, and in these battles
Archer’s Tennessee, Lane’s North Carolina and Scales’ North Carolina
had 3,610 killed and wounded. Kemper’s Virginia, Armistead’s Virginia
and Garnett’s Virginia had 772. We can understand why these people were
handled so tenderly, for were they not made of better clay than the
fighters of the army? Fine porcelain from the province of Quang Tong
were they--things of beauty, but fragile.

In the assault Davis’ brigade had about sixty per cent. killed and
wounded. It is probable that Pettigrew’s brigade had even a higher per
centage, as they were somewhat longer under fire. It is possible that
Pickett’s was twenty-five. But whatever it was, after all, their pretty
wheelings and lovely drum major’s airs, that the enemy should have been
so ungrateful as to shoot at them, so wounded their feelings that they
had to be sent out of the army and they did not re-join it for nearly a
year afterwards.

If a line of good soldiers can be formed in rushing distance, almost
anything can be carried. But if a wide and open field has to be passed
and there is to be a loss from twenty-five to seventy per cent. and
the consequent disorganization, nothing but useless bloodshed can be
expected. This would appear to be a truth so self-evident that the
merest tyro could comprehend it. But yet Burnside and Hancock (’till
too late) do not appear to have done so at Fredericksburg. General Lee
did not at Malvern Hill and Gettysburg, and, in ignorance of this law,
the gallant Schobelef sacrificed the best division of the Russian army
at Plevna.

Bodies in motion, by their momentum, advance in the direction of least
resistance. A body of soldiers making an attack forms no exception
to this law of physics. When the Philadelphia brigade of Gibbon’s
division, which had been roughly handled the day before, gave way as
our men got in charging distance, this point of least resistance was
filled by Confederates--a disorganized mob of about 1,000--in which
several brigades had representatives, and this is very foolishly called
the “high water mark of the Confederacy.” Why, there was not a fresh
regiment in the Federal army which could not have defeated this body,
and there was a whole corps of fresh regiments at hand. The Sixth,
which by many was considered the best in the army had hardly fired
a shot. If there was any high water mark connected with this battle
it was reached the afternoon before, while McLaws, Hood and Anderson
were doing their fighting--and the precise time was when Wright’s
brigade, of the last named division, having driven the enemy before
them, had carried a battery of twenty guns. Shortly afterwards one of
McLaws’ brigades gave way, and with its defeat went our fortunes. Every
shot fired by us the next day was one more nail in the coffin of the
Confederacy.--Scotland Neck Commonwealth.



Transcriber’s Notes


Punctuation and spelling were made consistent when a predominant
preference was found in this book; otherwise they were not changed.

Simple typographical errors were corrected; occasional unbalanced
quotation marks retained.

Ambiguous hyphens at the ends of lines were retained; occurrences of
inconsistent hyphenation have not been changed.

Inconsistent possessive forms of Proper names have been made
consistent, using a government Roster of Commanders to resolve
ambiguities. In particular, General J. D. Daniel’s surname often was
misprinted as “Daniels” or “Daniels’”.

In the original book, omitted names were indicated by a series of
periods. In this eBook, four dashes (or a long em-dash) are used.

Page 51: “Christie” was misprinted as “Chirstie”; corrected here.





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software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



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