Page:A Memoir of the Last Year of the War for Independence in the Confederate States of America.djvu/45

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for duty. It had been on active and arduous service in the field for forty days, and had been engaged in all the great battles from the Wilderness to Cold Harbour, sustaining very heavy losses at Spotsylvania C. H. where it lost nearly an entire division, including its commander, Major-General Johnson, who was made prisoner. Of the Brigadier-Generals with it at the commencement of the campaign, only one remained in command of his brigade. Two (Gordon and Ramseur) had been made Major-Generals; one (G. H. Steuart) had been captured; four (Pegram, Hays, J. A. Walker, and R. D. Johnston) had been severely wounded; and four (Stafford, J. M. Jones, Daniel, and Doles) had been killed in action. Constant exposure to the weather, a limited supply of provisions, and two weeks' service in the swamps north of the Chickahominy had told on the health of the men. Divisions were not stronger than brigades ought to have been, nor brigades than regiments.

On the morning of the 13th, at 2 o'clock, we commenced the march; and, on the 16th, arrived at the Rivanna River, near Charlottesville, having marched over eighty miles in four days.[1]

From Louisa C. H. I had sent a dispatch to Gordonsville, to be forwarded, by telegraph, to Breckenridge; and, on my arrival at Charlottesville, on the 16th, to which place I rode in advance of the troops, I received a telegram from him, dated at Lynchburg, informing me that Hunter was then in Bedford county, about twenty miles from that place, and moving on it.

The railroad and telegraph between Charlottesville and Lynchburg had been, fortunately, but slightly injured by the

  1. On the 15th, we passed over the ground, near Trevillian's depot, on which Hampton and Sheridan had fought, on the 11th and 12th. Hampton had defeated Sheridan, and was then in pursuit of him. Grant claims, in his report, that, on the 11th, Sheridan drove our cavalry "from the field, in complete rout;" and says, when he advanced towards Gordonsville, on the 12th, "he found the enemy reinforced by infantry, behind well-constructed rifle-pits, about five miles from the latter place, and too strong to successfully assault."

    This is as thoroughly a fancy sketch as can well be manufactured. There was not an infantry soldier in arms nearer the scene of action than with General Lee's army, near Cold Harbour; and the "well-constructed rifle-pits" were nothing more than rails put up in the manner in which cavalry were accustomed to arrange them to prevent a charge. Sheridan mistook some of Hampton's cavalry, dismounted and fighting on foot, for infantry; and the statement was made to cover his defeat.