108 Southern Historical Society Papers.
alone were their superiors, and that, being as we were better sol- diers, braver, more dashing and earnest, more devoted, and of greater fortitude, and armed with perfect right, if with imperfect weapons, we need never hesitate to engage them whenever we met, regardless of odds. And it also cured these boasting, confident invaders of many errors, most of whom were hirelings and without principle, who overestimated their own prowess as greatly as they foolishly and to their own great confusion, oftimes did our numbers; who till then believed, as they had been assured, that there was no fight in the Southerners that at heart they were utterly opposed to making war, had been forced into the army against their will, and would not stand for a moment against these mighty men of war from the North. Here, now, they learned another lesson, as they did also in battle after battle, when we continually attacked them upon their own ground, or beat them away when they attacked us, until at last they were compelled to yield the palm of valor and superiority to that ragged and poor, half starved and half armed but incomparable Southern infantry, which had met and foiled them at every turn, and finally, to offer a tribute and testimony thereto, the like of which was never before witnessed, when, at the Second Cold Harbor, in sight of Richmond's towers and steeples, they threw down their guns and refused to charge, saying and acting, from general to private, that it was worse than useless for them to attack these veterans of the Army of Northern Virginia, and Grant sent word to Washington that his army would fight no more, and that preparations for peace had best be begun, and the chief authorities there so ordered. What better evidence of the great superiority of our soldiers could be adduced, and that too, from those who before Williamsburg believed that we could not resist these mighty warriors from New England ? And yet there are many now who have for- gotten these lessons of actual war, and are again asserting that they were our equals.
All day long there had been fighting, with Longstreet alone on our right, who stood upon the defensive. There was no need for the reserves to come up, and so Hill had done nothing but wait, and now the battle was over and the day nearly gone, when Hill asked leave to attack Hancock on our left, and Early 's Brigade was to lead. Then it was that the offensive war now assumed at the close of the day and a charge was made upon General Hancock, and though by the Twenty-fourth Virginia at first alone, and afterwards assisted by the Fifth North Carolina, their repulse was represented