Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 06.djvu/263
Second Battle of Manassas Rejoinder to General Longstreet. 253*
report and his writings, which, after being pointed out to him, he evades. He can't get around the fact of Lee's battalion of artillery being between himself and Jackson, and the position and space they occupied' was just the one for artilery to have done the good service he claimed for his two batteries. There is no doubt of the fact that the artillery,, playing on the Federal column had a great deal to do with its signal repulse; and before General Longstreet's version of the bat- tle can pass into history, he must establish the fact that Colonel Lee's battalion took no part in the action, and in considering the- ground over which the Federals moved, he must overcome the dis- tance made necessary by Colonel Lee's command between himself and the enemy.
My position between General Longstreet and General Jackson necessarily placed me nearer the enemy than General Longstreet's position, and gave me a full view of the battle. The Federal assault was beautiful and gallant in the extreme. The first two. lines of battle leaving the woods opposite the left of my position,, and in front of Jackson, swept across an open field of fourteen hundred yards immediately to my left and front, under the con- centrated fire of Jackson's infantry in their immediate front, posted behind a railroad embankment, and the rapid fire of my four bat- teries at close range. These two lines never faltered; they went across and lodged on the embankment; nothing could stop them. The supporting lines twice moved out of the woods, and advanced a considerable distance into the open field, passing over their dead com- rades; but the deadly fire of the artillery upon them, to use Long- street's language, was such "that no troops could live under it,"" and they had to retire. When they were driven back the two front lines at the embankment had to retrace their bloody steps, pursued by Jackson's infantry, and under the crushing fire of our artillery . Longstreet's two batteries no doubt played on the reserves, but they never fired a shot at the front lines, and they did as good service as any artillery could do at their distance, for there was no-' better artillery in the army than in Longstreet's corps. It is a slander on those gallant Federal troops, who lost over one-third of their number, to say that General Longstreet's two distant batte- ries routed them, and it should not pass into history as a fact.
This Federal assault, too, was repulsed, and Jackson's infantry was. pursuing and did follow the enemy into the woods before Longstreet's troops moved in their magnificent advance. This I am certain of,, for I was about moving my artillery forward, yet hesitated to do