Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 06.djvu/69

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Second Battle of Manassas—Reply to General Longstreet.

"It will be the duty of the historian and the sage in all ages to let no occasion pass of commemorating this illustrious man; and until time shall be no more will a test of the progress which our race has made in wisdom and in virtue be derived from the veneration paid to the immortal name of Washington."




The Second Battle of Manassas—A Reply to General Longstreet.

By General S. D. LEE.

In the June number of the Southern Historical Society Papers for the present year is General Longstreet's second paper on Gettysburg, and an extract of his official report of the second battle of Manassas. It is the first time these papers have been seen by me, and I deem it proper for historical accuracy and in vindication of a gallant and efficient artillery command that I notice them.

General Longstreet, in his Gettysburg article, in endeavoring to explain his official relations with General R. E. Lee, brings up the battle of second Manassas, and writes as follows:

"The next day the Federals advanced against General Jackson in very heavy force. They soon made the battle so severe for him that he was obliged to call for reinforcements. At about 3 P. M., while the battle was raging fiercely, I was riding to my front when I received a note from Generals Hood and Evans, asking me to ride to a part of the field where they were standing. I changed my course and hurried to the point indicated. I found them standing upon a high piece of ground, from which they had full view of the battle being made against Jackson. We could see the solid masses of the Federals forming for a charge against Jackson's weakening lines. They were gathered in immense force, and it seemed impossible that Jackson's thin line could withstand the onset. The Federals moved forward steadily, surging on in solid blocks, headed directly for Jackson's lines. Just then a courier arrived in great haste with orders from General Lee for me to hurry to the assistance of Jackson. It was in the very crisis of the battle. I had very serious doubts about being able to reach General Jackson in time to be of any service to him. I had no doubt, however, that