Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 20.djvu/93

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The Battle of the Wilderness.

87

to re-form their ranks, and we being largely outnumbered, it became necessary for us to fall back to about the position occupied by our line before making the attack. When I was sitting on a log that evening, General Mahone came up, and taking a seat by me, said, ' Colonel Feild, it was very unfortunate for our cause that Longstreet was wounded. Had this not occurred, we would have driven Grant across the river before night in spite of all he could have done. We had two miles of his left thoroughly routed, and this part of the line driven back on the other troops would have demoralized his whole army.'

" I had almost forgotten to say I was surprised when I learned that the Twelfth Virginia had crossed the plank-road, and that it was on this regiment that a portion of the brigade fired. When the firing was going on I thought that the Twelfth was in its position on the right of the brigade.

    • We had no further fighting that evening. I was left in charge of

the sharpshooters in front of the brigade during the night, which I consider one of the most unpleasant of my life. The woods were on fire, and the cries of the wounded made the night hideous. Gen- eral Anderson being assigned to the command of Longstreet' s corps, General Mahone was placed in command of his division, and Colo- nel D. A. Weisiger, of the Twelfth regiment, assumed command of Mahone's brigade. This left my regiment, the Twelfth, of which I was lieutenant-colonel, without a field officer. I, thinking it but right that I should return to it, so stated to General Mahone, who agreed with me, and I accordingly took command of the regiment the next morning. I must state, however, that it was great reluc- tance that I gave up the command of the sharpshooters, the finest body of men that I had ever seen, the picked men of Mahone's brigade."

In order that there may be a better understanding of the plan of that part of the great battle in which our brigade and regiment took part, as narrated in the foregoing letters and statements, I have deemed it best to conclude this address by making some extracts from the official records to be found in Volume xxxvi, part I, series I of " The War of the Rebellion" and from Swintpn's "Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac. ' '

General Longstreet, in his report {Rebellion Record, Volume xxxvi, part i, page 1054), says: