Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/73

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The Artillery Defenders of Fort Gregg. 67

the night of the 25th March, to "construct pits for two pieces of ar- tillery, and to be in position before daylight."

Obtaining negroes from the engineer corps, we worked all night, and at sunrise, when General Lee rode up from his headquarters, the pits were finished and occupied by two guns of the Washington Ar- tillery under Lieutenant Harry Battles. We were much gratified at the kind commendations of General Lee, that our work had been promply accomplished. Not so fortunate, however, were our neigh- bors the infantry on our left for the works they had thrown up under the direction of the engineers were too far " down the slope/' and General Lee, with some evidence of dissatisfaction at the error, and in the absence of engineer officers, proceeded to lay out a new line, planting the stakes and driving some of them with his own hands. The enemy had made a feeble advance the evening before, learning, it was presumed, the fact of the breaking of the dam.

Fort Gregg was a detached work in rear of the main line, and at right angles with it. To its right, and within musket-shot, was another work, called Fort Whitworth (not Alexander, as erroneously called by General Lane). These two forts or, as they really were, simple earthworks were to have been connected by rifle-pits, but this was never done, and the neglect was keenly felt later on, which I will mention in regular sequence.

During the winter there had been a garrison in Fort Gregg of dis- mounted and supernumerary artillerists from the different batteries on the lines around Petersburg the Washington Artillery, the Don- aldsonville (Louisiana) Artillery, and others I do not now recall.*

These men were armed with muskets and commanded by Lieu- tenant Frank McElroy, third company, Washington Artillery.

The day after the completion of the gun-pits in front of Gregg, Gene- ral Lee ordered a larger work to be constructed upon the site of the pits, and when completed by the engineers with a large force of men, was occupied by Lieutenant Battles and his two guns.

Extract from my diary :

" March 2$th. Fighting all day all along the lines. Am in com- mand at Fort Gregg. Enemy take our picket line. Attack ex-

  • October 12 "One-half of our artillery drivers, armed with muskets,

put on duty at Fort Gregg." My Diary.