Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/75

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The Artillery Defenders of Fort Gregg. 69

as artillery. It was found that some of the linch-pins of the limbers had been carried off, but these were replaced from the caissons.

While this was being done a staff officer rode up, and in a man- datory tone wished to know "Why the devil these guns had not gone down the road with Harris' Mississippi brigade," which had been pushed forward to delay the now advancing enemy, who could be seen making toward the Appomattox river in immense force.

McElroy replied sharply that "The enemy had had possession of the guns, and he was repairing damages, and would go to the front as soon as possible."

The horses having been brought up, McElroy, by my orders, moved down the road towards the enemy and took position in rear of the left of Harris' brigade; but observing that his firing was doing the enerny no harm, I ordered him back to Fort Gregg to put his guns in position in the fort. This he did ; and there meeting Gen- eral Wilcox I heard him (Wilcox) order his aid, Captain Frank Ward (now of Baltimore) to go to General Harris and order him to withdraw his command and place it in the two forts Gregg and Whitworth. I directed McElroy to pile up all the canister that was in the limber-chests upon the platform, so as to have it handy, and to leave his limbers and horses outside the fort. What finally became of them I never heard.

Seeing McElroy and his men all ready, and Harris on his way to occupy the forts, I rode to report the state of affairs to General Lindsey Walker, chief of artillery, at Battery 45, across the ravine before alluded to, and where I had heard he was at that time, to ask for a battery to operate in the open field around the fort with any infantry that might have remained in the works near the old dam.

I should here mention that there was a battery of four pieces of artillery in Whitworth whose, I do not know.

When I saw General Walker, and made my report and suggestions, he said that " all of his batteries were engaged and that none could be spared, and that the guns in Gregg and Whitworth would be lost if they remained there, and that they must be withdrawn"

He then ordered me to go and withdraw McElroy from Gregg, and Lieutenant Richard Walke, of his staff (now of Norfolk), to with- draw the guns from Whitworth. Walke and I started across the ravine to carry out our orders, and there separated.