Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 20.djvu/75

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The Battle of the Wilderness.

refusing to give up his colors to Colonel (later General) G. M. Sorrel, of Longstreet's staff, a few weeks ago I wrote to General Sorrel to make some inquiries of him as to his recollection of this incident, and promptly received from him a reply confirming my own impressions in many particulars and giving several additional particulars. His letter was so interesting that I determined at once to read it to the camp, but after reflection it occurred to me that I might get together the recollections of other participants in the action and read them all as interesting details of that part of this celebrated action in which our particular command figured so conspicuously.

With this purpose, I turned over my correspondence with General Sorrel to several members of our camp, who were present in this action as members of the Twelfth Virginia regiment, and requested each of them, after reading it, to furnish me his recollection of the incidents referred to, and also any other details or incidents of the engagement that they could recall. The several responses of the gentlemen of whom this request was made, together with the statements of other participants, will be furnished in the order in which they were given, and I feel satisfied that my correspondence with General Sorrel, supplemented by these statements, will interest you as they have interested me.

My letter to General Sorrel I mailed to Savannah, Georgia, and was as follows:

"Petersburg, Va., January 13, 1892.

"General G. M. Sorrel, Savannah, Ga.:

"Dear General—Being anxious to know if your recollection and mine accorded, as to certain movements made at the Battle of the Wilderness, May 6th, 1864, in which we both participated, I take the liberty of addressing you this communication, and hope (if not trespassing to much upon you time), you will do me the kindness to favor me with a reply.

"You will remember Mahone's brigade, of Anderson's division, was quartered near Madison Run Station. 'We broke camp on the morning, I think, of the 4th, and bivouacked near Rapidan Station that night. In the early morning of the 6th we made a forced march to the battle-field, which we reached about ten o'clock.

"Mahone's brigade was ordered very soon afterwards to the right in the Wilderness. After going some distance through the thicket, we encountered the enemy, apparently bivouacking, and little expect-