Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/77

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

The Artillery Defenders of Fort Gregg. 71

and General Gibbon stated to General Wilcox at Appomattox that he lost eight hundred men in the assault. How many of the two hundred men were Mississippians, and how many North Carolinians, I cannot tell. I think I am safe in saying, however, that the men of Harris's brigade were the only organized body of infantry in the fort; the others had been rallied there by officers of different com- mands when falling back from the lines.

I remember that Colonel Chew, and probably a few of his men, were bivouacking somewhere near the Gregg House, his command having been, so he gave me to understand, disbanded. Being from Maryland, and their time having expired, they were awaiting an opportunity to go home.

Colonel Chew was in Gregg when the assaults were made, but took no part in the defence. What he did do a statement would come better from himself than from any one else. For many years a quarter of a century it has been claimed by Pollard and General Lane that Chew's battery participated in the defence of Gregg. It is full time that this should be set right.

The guns in the fort were guns of the first company Washington Artillery, commanded by Lieutenant Frank McElroy of the third company of the Washington Artillery, and manned by cannoneers of that command.

I have never seen any statement from Colonel Chew claiming the credit of the action of the artillery at Gregg, or that it was his bat- tery that was entitled to the credit of the gallantry shown ; but as by his silence he has accepted the verdict due a brother officer, will he not give us his account of the defence of Fort Gregg ?

In Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume XVIII, page 283, under heading of Chew's battery," we read as follows :

"The 16th of January (1865) Shoemaker's and our (Thompson- Chew's) batteries disbanded, to be called in by general orders at any time. Called in through the papers April 1, 1865; ordered to report to Captain Carter at Lynchburg. I saw the order on the 2d."

This extract would go to show that Chew's (Thompson's) battery was disbanded in January, 1865, and that on the day the lines were broken and Gregg fell Colonel Chew had no command at Petersburg.

WILLIAM MILLER OWEN, Late Lieutenant- Colonel Artillery, A. N. V.