Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 06.djvu/227

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Second Battle of Manassas—Reply to General S. D. Lee.

was selected, occupied and fought upon the day before Colonel Lee reached the battle field).

General Longstreet in his report says:

"Early on the 29th the columns were united and the advance to join General Jackson was resumed.  *   *   *  Colonel Walton placed his batteries in a commanding position between my line and that of General Jackson and engaged the enemy for several hours in a severe and successful artillery duel.

"During the day (30th) Colonel S. D. Lee, with his reserve artillery placed in the position occupied the day previous by Colonel Walton, engaged the enemy in a very severe artillery combat. The result was, as on the day previous, a success."

General Robert E. Lee in his report to the Secretary of War says:

"August 29th, Colonel Walton placed a part of his artillery upon a commanding position between Generals Jackson and Longstreet, by order of the latter, and engaged the enemy vigorously for several hours.

"On the morning of the 30th the enemy again advanced  *   *   *  The batteries of Colonel Stephen D. Lee took the position occupied the day before by Colonel Walton."

What is contained in the foregoing is, I suppose, sufficient to establish that the fine position selected for the artillery was selected and occupied by artillery of my artillery corps the day before Colonel Lee arrived near the scene of the battle, which he reached only on the 30th, and that he occupied the identical position the day following that upon which my batteries had engaged the enemy in a very severe artillery combat vigorously for several hours. I cannot add to this evidence of the fact that Colonel Lee did not have, and could not have had by any possibility, anything to do with the selecting or securing that splendid position for artillery combat, no matter to whom the credit may belong.

I have hastily and imperfectly written (nothing from memory) what is here for such use as you may be disposed to make of it, but, with the understanding, that I cannot for a moment suppose that Colonel Lee intended to convey the idea that he selected the position I occupied and fought upon when he, with his battalion, was still at Thoroughfare Gap.

With my apology for the unsatisfactory manner I accomplished your wishes and submitting to any correction,

I remain, very truly yours,

J. B. Walton.

General James Longstreet, Gainesville, Ga.