Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/379

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Fort Gregg Again. 371

thing less than one hundred supernumerary artillerymen from all the Southern States. They were armed with rifles for the time being, with the understanding that they would resume their respective com- mands when the campaign opened in the spring. Thus we had one hundred and twenty men, and they were the men that Captain Jones found on his arrival at Fort Gregg. They had been placed there by General Lee. They had never made their escape from any place. Jones' statement is that they had escaped from the right and begged to go to the rear, and after hesitating to comply with their request he at last concluded to let them go, provided they would leave their guns with him; and to that they readily consented.

Surely Captain Chew and others who, I hope, are living, will sus- tain me in saying that no man left Fort Gregg out of Chew's com- mand that day. We were reinforced by men who had been defeated on our right. There were no organized regiments or companies entering Fort Gregg. They came in singly or in squads, every man to his liking. Much of Captain Jones' report is correct in part, and I regret that he has the actual facts mixed in regard to the men gar- risoned in Fort Gregg by order of General Lee months before the battle on the 2d of April, 1865.

After being recruited by about one hundred and fifty men, who came from the lines on the right of Fort Gregg, the defenders num- bered two hundred and fifty men. With that small number we were opposed by the Twenty-fourth Army Corps of nine thousand strong. What other forces assailed us that day, if any, I don't know.

As Captain Jones says, we repulsed several determined charges with great slaughter to the enemy. The New York Herald acknowl- edged a loss of two thousand and four hundred killed and crippled.

When the Federals were forming for their final charge, I sug- gested to Captain Chew, of Maryland, to surrender, as there was no chance of ultimate success by holding out any longer. My advice was not accepted, as the captain said he had been superseded by some infantry officers, who had come to his help. There were so many Federals coming over the parapet in the last charge we could not shoot them all; they swarmed in and showed us no quarter. It was not so much their officers who caused them to desist from shoot- ing us.

General Lee was looking at us, and when he saw what was going on he dispatched his courier, William Callerton, to Colonel Poague's artillery, ordering him to open fire on Fort Gregg with all his guns, which he at once did. The first shell fell close in front of me. Four