Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 06.djvu/79

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69
Second Battle of Manassas—Reply to General Longstreet.


cent. As shell after shell burst in the wavering ranks, and round-shot plowed broad gaps among them, you could distinctly see through the rifts of smoke the Federal soldiers flying and falling on every side. With the explosion of every bomb, it seemed as if scores dropped dead or writhed in agony upon the field. Some were crawling upon their hands and knees; some were piled up together, and some were scattered around in every attitude that imagination could conceive."

Can it be possible that the shot and shell here spoken of may have formed a part of the "perfect hail of balls into their flanks" spoken of by General Longstreet in describing his several batteries in the Gettysburg article?

Another writer says: "Suddenly, at 4 P. M., regiment after regiment of infantry were thrown out of the woods upon our left, and advanced in very good order for the purpose of driving out our pickets and taking our batteries on the left flank. In an instant, Colonel Lee, always cool and self-possessed, ordered every howitzer to the left, and then such a blaze of artillery as I never heard. The guns, from the nature of the ground, were close together, and it was almost impossible to distinguish the discharge of the guns in our own from those in other batteries. It was clear that the next thirty minutes would determine the fate of our batteries. At the same time the enemy made his infantry advance, he commenced a most furious cannonading.  *   *   *  The shells burst above, around, beneath us. Every man is at his post; no talking, no ducking of heads now. All intense, silent earnestness. It was an hour big with every man's history. It was a struggle for life.  *   *   *  It seemed that the very heavens were in a blaze, or like two angry clouds, surcharged with electricity, and wafted by opposing winds, had met in terrific battle."

(The above was written by Dr. Parker, one of the most respected physicians now in Richmond, who was a captain of artillery in this battle.)

Esten Cooke, in his history of Jackson, places Colonel Lee's artillery on Jackson's right, and between Jackson and Longstreet on the ridge, and vividly describes Colonel Lee's use of his batteries.

Last, but not least, President Davis, in a speech to the Mississippi Legislature in Jackson, Mississippi, December, 1862, thus speaks of General S. D. Lee, who commanded the batteries on the ridge between Jackson and Longstreet at second Manassas: "And I have reason to believe that at the last great conflict on the field