Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 01.djvu/372

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364
Southern Historical Society Papers.

Letter from General Wilcox in Reference to Seven Pines.

Balitmore, March 23, 1876.

Rev. J. William Jones,
 Secretary Southern Historical Society, Richmond, Va.:


Dear Sir—The February number of the Southern Historical Society Papers has in it a letter from General Johnston, pointing out errors as to the strength of the Army of Northern Virginia in the beginning of June, 1862; these errors being, as he alleges, in the account of the "Seven Days Fighting," now being published by the Society.

The last paragraph of the letter referred to our losses at Seven Pines, as follows: "The author gives our loss at Seven Pines, on the Williamsburg road, at about 4,800. General Longstreet, in his official report, dated June 11th—when, if ever, the number of killed and wounded must have been known—gives it roughly at 3,000. General D. H. Hill, whose division did all the fighting on that road from three o'clock (when it began) to six, and four-fifths of it from six to seven, when it ended, sets his down at 2,500, leaving 500 for that of R. H. Anderson, who came into the front line at six on the 31st, and Pickett's and part (two regiments) of Pryor's, June 1st, which is consistent. According to the writer, two brigades and a half in two hours lost about as heavily as four brigades in four hours of hard fighting."

The two brigades and a half mentioned by General Johnston were not all of Longstreet's division that fought on the 31st of May and June 1st. After the capture of the enemy's entrenchments and artillery on the right of the road in a field, and near several houses, a portion of the Eleventh Alabama, of Wilcox's brigade, under Colonel Nydenham Moore, was ordered to drive the enemy from the woods near a small house, several hundred yards to the right and a little to the front. In executing his orders, Colonel Moore's horse was killed and he himself received two wounds, one of which proved mortal, he dying about one month subsequently. The fraction of his regiment under him at the time lost heavily. Nor were Pickett's brigade and part of Pryor's all of Longstreet's command that were engaged on the 1st of May. It was on Wilcox's front that the firing began early on the morning of the 1st of May, and soon extended to the left, covering Pryor's entire front. These brigades were in line on the left, parallel with the Williamsburg road and facing north, the right of Wilcox's brigade over a