Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 24.djvu/88

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


80 Southern Historical Soded/ Papers.

Hill's Corps on the 5th of May. The Federals, by a strange chance, attacked Hill's Corps while withdrawing, which was thrown into great confusion, and retreated righting. Longstreet's column was just coming up. General R. E. Lee started to lead them into action, to check the wild rush of the Federals. Many of us heard the Texas soldier tell General Lee to go to the rear. I was in a few feet of General Lee for a long time that morning, while trying to rally the retreating Confederates. He was on Old Traveler.

GENERAL GORDON PLEADING.

The second occasion occurred just six days thereafter, early on the ever-memorable i2th of May, 1864, when Hancock, by night sur- prise, had captured the angle occupied by General Johnson, and cap- tured nearly his entire division, with many pieces of artillery. Gen- eral R. E. Lee again attempted to lead the fresh troops coming up to retake our lost works. I was there, and saw the gallant John B. Gordon remonstrating with General Lee to go to the rear, which he finally did, and Gordon led brigade after brigade against the enemy, my own included, and we recaptured the works in our front and held them all day, and until 10 P. M., when we were withdrawn to form the new line. I remember sending Captain Perry, of my reg- iment, back that awful i2th of May, 1864, to tell our artillery to ele- vate their guns, as their shells were exploding just over us, and kil- ling my men. Captain Perry returned and said: "My God, they are Yankee batteries ! " At this battle, the musketry rolled for twenty hours continuously. So you see, this matter, which seems to be in such great confusion, happened twice, and comrades write about each without giving dates, and hence the conflict. I com- manded the Fourteenth Georgia Regiment, Thomas's Georgia Brig- ade, Wilcox's Division, and A. P. Hill's Corps, and saw both occur- rences, and all writers nearly are correct.

Captain R. D. Funkhouser writes from Mauvertown, Va. : "The details of the ' Lee-to-the-rear ' incident are given at the request of W. T. Gass, of Texas. The claims of Alabama and Texas are cor- rect. Their account occurred on the 5th or 6th of May, 1864, at the Wilderness proper. The battle of Spotsylvania, or Horse-shoe, occurred on the i2th of May, fifteen or twenty miles distant.

I was first lieutenant of Company D, Forty-ninth Virginia Infan- try (the famous Extra-Billy Smith's old regiment), up to the battle of Spotyslvania. After that I commanded my company, and was cap-