Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 34.djvu/220

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


212 Southern Historical Society Papers

From the Times- Dispatch, August 26, 1906

VALLEY CAMPAIGN OF GENERAL EARLY.

Was one of Most Brilliant and Stubbornly-Fought of the Entire War Extended for Four Months.

Correspondent who was Long with Famous General Describes His Personality.

A few days after the disastrous Battle of Cedar Creek, Va., fought October 19, 1864, I was shown a letter by General Early from General Lee, answering Early's report. General Lee, in his letter, placed to Early's account no blame for the defeat, but assured him in the kindest manner that he had accom- plished in his campaign all and more than he expected. He also assured him that he considered the movement a forlorn hope, made for the purpose of withdrawing from his front and overtaxed army as many men as possible. In this respect it was eminently successful, as it compelled General Grant to send to the Valley three of his best corps of infantry and Sherman's superb cavalry.

When the Second Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia left its winter quarters, on the south bank of the Rapidan, the 4th of May, 1864, it was commanded by Lieutenant-General Ewell, and had 20,000 men on duty, fully officered. It fought Grant on the 5th and 6th of May at the Wilderness; on the 8th and loth at the river Poe, and on the I2th at Spotsylvania Courthouse, where Jackson's old division, with its artillery of sixteen pieces, was nearly destroyed at the "Bloody Angle" by Hancock's Corps. It fought again at the North Anna river, and again at Bethesda Church, or second Cold Harbor.

When General Early assumed command and was ordered to Lynchburg with this corps, its ranks had been reduced to less than 6,000 effective men. It was not an army; it was a disor- ganized rabble divisions commanded t by colonels, brigades by majors, regiments by captains and companies by sergeants, and