Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 06.djvu/75

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
65
Second Battle of Manassas—Reply to General Longstreet.

cut occupied by the right of Jackson's line was directly to the left and rear of the ridge—retired about 100 yards.

The ridge inclined to the front from Jackson's position, and Longstreet's line of battle inclined a little to the front from the ridge occupied by Colonel Lee's artillery. We thus readily see that the woods and the field were all the time thoroughly commanded by Colonel Lee's artillery. The distance of the woods from the rifle pieces on the right could not have been less than 1,600 or 1,700 yards. There was considerable space to the right of Colonel Lee's artillery towards the pike unoccupied. As this ridge was over a quarter of a mile long, and Longstreet's two batteries were not near Colonel Lee's, but considerably to his right, it necessarily follows that the range of his batteries must have been, to say the least, over twenty-five hundred yards. The claim in his Gettysburg article of a heavy enfilading fire being "poured unexpectedly into their charging column" can't be sustained, for when he got to where Generals Hood and Evans were, the front lines of the enemy had swept across the field and were desperately engaged fighting Jackson's infantry, and Colonel Lee's guns were concentrated on the supporting lines moving out of the woods and trying to cross the field. According to Colonel Lee's report these supporting columns only moved out of the woods twice, and each time were driven back, and when not in the field they were in the woods, never out of the range of either Colonel Lee's smooth bores or rifles, as Longstreet states was the case with his batteries at one time. Another evidence of the distance of Longstreet's two batteries is established by the fact that he did not see, certainly not speak of Colonel Lee's artillery, for he claims all the glory of crushing the assaulting columns on Jackson. He seems to know nothing of the terrible infantry struggle at the railroad excavation, which Jackson carried on unsupported by even Colonel Lee's batteries, for they even could not stop the front lines from crossing the field. Colonel Lee thinks, however, he prevented any reinforcements going up, which fact prevented the front lines from being supported, and Jackson, as usual, soon disposed of those close at hand engaging him. And when he did hurl them back and they tried to rally in the open field, the eighteen guns of Colonel Lee (the nine howitzers not five hundred yards distant) played terrible havoc in their disordered ranks, and finally swept them from the field. Jackson, true to his soldierly instincts, was pursuing. Both the Federals and Jackson's men had near exhausted their ammunition, and the writer saw the Louisiana brigade of Jackson's