Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 04.djvu/27
Defence of Batteries Gregg and Whitworth.
Swinton, page 603, Army of the Potomac says: "The attack was directed against Forts Gregg and Alexander," the last mentioned was called Battery Whitworth, "two strong enclosed works;" he then repeats Cooke's errors as to the composition of the command that held and defended Battery Gregg, but falls into one not found in Cooke; "the other, Fort Alexander," meaning Whitworth, "found no such defenders and readily fell." Battery Whitworth was held by just as true, brave, and devoted men as their comrades in Battery Gregg; it was not captured by the enemy, but evacuated by my orders when Gregg fell; the command in it, at least the infantry, were all of Harris' brigade; these and the troops outside of and near Gregg fell back to the main line around Petersburg, near a mile in rear, and were not annoyed or pursued by the enemy. Among the troops that retired at this time were Cox's North Carolina brigade, that had been thrown out from the main line, its right connecting with my left several hundred yards to the left of Gregg.
Gregg fight, have at various times appeared in newspapers, periodicals and histories, all differing and more or less inaccurate, but none varying more widely from the truth than those of the two historians, Cooke and Swinton. The former, page 445 of his Life of Gen. Lee says: "The forts, especially Gregg, made a gallant resistance. This work was defended by 250 men of Harris' Mississippi brigade, and they fought until their numbers were reduced to 30, killing or wounding 500 of the enemy. The forts were taken at last, and the Federals advanced towards the city. In this attack fell the eminent soldier, Gen. A. P. Hill, whose record had been so illustrious, and whose good fortune it was to thus terminate his life while the Southern flag still floated." The errors of this writer are, 1st, there were not 250 men in Battery Gregg on the occasion referred to; 2d, they were not all of Harris' Mississippi brigade; 3d, Gen. Hill did not fall at it, but several hours before, and beyond Pickerell's house, on the Boydton plank road, and on west side of the road; 4th, the number of men in the battery was not reduced to thirty.