Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 06.djvu/261

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
Second Battle of Manassas—Rejoinder to General Longstreet.

General Longstreet, with his letter, sends a letter from Colonel J. B. Walton, in which he (Colonel W.) labors to prove that he first discovered the ground on which my artillery was posted and fought on the 30th of August; that he (Colonel W.) had occupied this same ground with his own artillery on the previous day, 29th of August, and was engaged in a severe artillery fight: a proposition I never for a moment denied, but, on the contrary, quoted from General Longstreet's official report to establish the fact and show that my eighteen guns were on Longstreet's left, "between himself and Jackson, in a commanding position," while the two batteries Longstreet put in position to my right—and for which he claims the sole credit of the repulse of the Federals—had to fire across my entire front from a less advanced position.

Moreover, what has Colonel Walton's account of his artillery fight on the 29th of August, and his selection of position, to do with the battle on the 30th August, after he had withdrawn from that position?

Colonel Walton's letter establishes this fact, viz: that at 3.30 P. M. on the 29th of August he withdrew all his batteries for repairs and to refill his chests, and he did not return, thereby leaving a gap open of over a quarter of a mile between General Longstreet and General Jackson, and that it was this identical gap which my artillery of eighteen guns filled at dawn on the 30th of August, upon consultation with and at the suggestion of General J. B. Hood.

Longstreet did not put me there. General R. E. Lee approved of my position, and ordered me to stay there when I reported it to him—a most fortunate circumstance, as it made an almost continuous line of battle, and filled the ugly gap on the high and advanced ridge made by the withdrawal of General Longstreet's artillery under Colonel Walton the day before.

General Longstreet is in error in saying that in my previous, article I claim to reply to "a part of his official report of the second battle of Manassas as published in an article on the Gettysburg campaign by himself"—as a more careful perusal will show him. I state that in the June number of the Historical Papers, for the first time, I saw his Gettysburg article, and also an extract from his official report. The article itself treats only of his allusions to second Manassas and to the official extract.

It is the misfortune of General Longstreet, if in trying to explain "his official and personal relations with General R. E. Lee" by giving "an account of the leading features of second Manassas" as