Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 06.djvu/284

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Southern Historical Society Papers.

was a dry eye in the whole party as I related the affair to them. About the time I had finished relating it, General Lee came out, booted and spurred, and ordered his horse and his staff to be ready to ride as quickly as possible. Calling me to him, he took me in and spread out before me, with his own hands, a nice breakfast, taking it from a basket which had been sent him by some lady in the neighborhood, and made me sit down and eat. He ordered me to lie down right there and sleep and rest as soon as I had eaten. As I finished eating he mounted his horse, and just then Captain Hotchkiss came up—this was just before day. I started off with General Lee, but he made me go back, and told me to lie down and rest, saying, "I know you rode all night, and the greater portion of the night previous, and you must have rest." So I rested until the battle began, and then joined my command again.

I have written you hurriedly, but have given the facts, which you can put into shape. If there is any part not sufficiently clear, please call my attention to it, and I will explain. If Wynn should remember anything not given, in connection with the solitary rider, or anything different from what I have written, I will write it to you as soon as I see him, which will be very soon.

I have given you a very rough sketch, as I had to write in great haste for want of time, but hope it will answer your purpose.

I think this sketch, with the article endorsed and marked to show the portion furnished by me, and the part referred to in Dabney's Life of Jackson, will be sufficient to give a correct and connected account of the whole transaction.

I am often questioned about the affair, and nearly every one says that it was strange that General Jackson should give an order to troops to fire at everything, and especially cavalry, approaching from the direction of the enemy, and then go and place himself in a situation to be fired on himself. I heard of no such order, and feel sure no order of the kind was given. If there had been such an order, it would have been given to the skirmishers; and there would have been no necessity for such an order to them, as they would certainly fire any way. Even if the General had given such an order, he was not going contrary to it, as he thought there was a skirmish line in front to which he was going. There proved to be no such line—not even a picket or a vidette—and hence the wounding of General Jackson. The failure to have out a skirmish line was really the cause of his being fired on, and whoever was at fault in that matter is the party to blame, and is responsible for the accident.[1] I don't know whose was the fault, but have an opinion which I don't care to express. The troops who wounded the General were not to blame, and as it would only make them

  1. In advancing upon the enemy, firing, it was impossible to keep a line of skirmishers in front, unless the line of battle was prevented from firing. By getting mixed together, the divisions commanded by Rodes and Colston had been thrown into much confusion, and a skirmish line could not be sent out from either of them. While Hill's division was coming up into line and relieving the other troops, it was impracticable for some time to throw out skirmishers, so that, probably, the failure to have such a line at the time was really the fault of no one, but was inseparable from the situation of affairs.—J. A. E.