Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/383

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377
The Truth of History.

story on your personal knowledge. You have evidently been imposed on by one of those baseless canards of which the idle gossip of the camps was so prolific. You and I both endeavor to live by that Divine rule: "Do unto others as you wish they should do to you." I request you to apply this question to yourself: Had your connection with the Confederate armies been like mine—brief and modest—how would you like to have it made known to posterity by the pen of the popular historian so as to leave you standing in the attitude of a skulker, and a butt for quite a "silly and scurvy jest?"

You would not feel reconciled to the attitude by the two facts that the whole picture was and is utterly fictitious, and that at this late day only one in ten of those who have read the story will ever see its correction.

The authentic facts of the case are these: General Jackson was himself present during that terrible artillery fire, having dismounted, as all the officers of his staff were advised to do, and was standing much nearer those noted gate-posts than I was. At last, when the fire became very terrible, he flung himself upon his horse and galloped to the rear, but I was under orders from him to remain near the spot in order to direct movements. This I did until my tasks were finished. The interval between his retirement and mine I spent partly in conference with General Hood, who was standing dismounted in front of his brigade, some forty or fifty yards east of the gate-posts.

Very respectfully yours, etc.,  

R. L. Dabney.



Dr. J. William Jones' Reply to the "Open Letter" of Rev. Dr. R. L. Dabney.


ATLANTA, GA., January 5, 1892.

Rev. Dr. R. L. Dabney:

My Dear Brother,— I have just seen your "open letter" to me, published in the Richmond Dispatch of the 2d instant, and I hasten to assure you of my deep regret that I have connected your name with an anecdote which you pronounce without foundation, and especially that you regard it (or at least the version of it you have heard) as reflecting upon you, and placing you in a false and discreditable light.

Let me assure you that nothing was further from my purpose than to publish an incident of even doubtful authenticity, or to publish even what seemed to me authentic, if it should wound you, or seem to you or to any one to reflect upon you in the least degree.