Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 12.djvu/247

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Eclectic History of the United States. 237

and noble character made him one of the great heroes of the war. At the moment when the Confederate cause seemed lost, suddenly General Kirby Smith arrived with fresh forces for their relief. The Union troops, exhausted by intense heat and furious fighting, were thrown into confusion, and battle was changed to flight. * * ^ * Later in the evening Colonel Einstein, of Pennsylvania, returned to the battle-field and brought off six cannons." The errors in this are so numerous that it would suit about as well for the description of any other battle as for that of Manassas. General Beauregard did not command the Confederate army ; that did not contain 40,000 men; McDowell's forces were not inferior in numbers to it, and they were not en- tirely composed of "volunteers for ninety days." As the Union army was the attacking party, to speak of them standing their ground or keeping their positions is sheer nonsense. The Confederate forces were driven back, but they were not rallied by Stonewall Jackson; nor were any cannon taken from the battle-field late in the day by Federal troops.

Of Jackson's death at Chancellorsville, it is said (page 297), " He was re- turning in the evening to his camp, when he was fired upon through a blunder of some of his own men, and was mortally wounded." Jackson was killed during a lull in the battle while he was preparing to press his victory further. Nothing could be wider of the mark than to say he was returning to his camp.

In regard to Gettysburg, it is said (pages 297-8), " The armies were equal in numbers, each counting 80,000 men. * * * * The Southern loss is said to have been 36,000; that of the North, 23,000." There is no excuse at this day for so gross a misstatement of facts. Lee's force was between 60,000 and 70,000 men, Meade's something over 100,000. The losses were about equal, and were in the neighborhood of the figures given above as the North- ern loss.

On page 311 we find: "On the ist of April Sheridan advanced to Five Forks, twelve miles in rear of Lee's position, and captured its garrison of 5,000 men." Five Forks was not in Lee's rear and had no " garrison." It was the scene of a pitched battle between Sheridan and Pickett, where the Confederates were badly defeated and lost many prisoners.

Again, on page 312, we have: "Finally, on the 9th, Lee surrendered his entire command, then consisting of less than 28,000 men, at Appomattox Courthouse, Va." As Lee's command was 20,000 less than 28,000 at the surrender, the author might have been satisfied with a smaller margin.

This same sort of carelessness may be found through the book from the earlier pages, where Richmond is made a flourishing settlement in 1660, downwards.

3. But after all, these, though important, are not the chief defects. The whole book is a poor, scrappy, ill-arranged syllabus, written much in the style of an abridged dictionary, and the study of its pages under the guidance of the questions for review and of the synopses given would be about as valuable and interesting to the children for whom it is intended as the study of so many pages of an inaccurate and badly compiled dictionary. It is about as well suited to strengthen and develop mind as sawdust is to promote the growth of muscle.