1812 I Street, N.W.
Washington D.C. May 1877
My Dear Count,
Gen. Warren came to see me a few weeks ago and suggested that I should send you a copy of a paper ? by me in 1874 to the Milt. Comm. of the Senate in reply to a letter of Gen. Hancock published in a printed report of the House of Representatives. He stated that you were now engaged on the battle of Gettysburg, and that he thought my paper (with which he is familiar) might prove useful or interesting to you as it contained unpublished matters relating to that battle - as also might my journal (a meager one kept ???) of the campaign of 1864-5.
I accordingly sent to Charleston, S. C. the H. ? of my request (I am here on leave until June 20)- for a copy of the paper, which I enclose. As the Senate made no replies on the subject matter my paper was not published and ? so as to give it the same semi-official character and circulation as the one to which it is a reply. I therefore waited for an appropriate opportunity to give it publicity, and last spring prepared a modified and shorter paper for the pub. but just then Gen. Hancock's name was prominently heralded for nomination to the presidency. And I abstained - I did not want it to be used in any such connection.
I have mislaid my 'modified' paper and on reading the original I find it marked by traces of the natural feeling that his letter excited at this twice. I therefore thought of rewriting it for you, but as that part which relates to the battle is so clearly connected with this ? I have considered it best to send the paper as it is, leaving you to make such allowances and deductions on account of personal bias. There is no personal unfriendly feelings between us, au contraire or difference of professional views, as you see fit. As to the facts and my own inference from them I see no reason whatever for modifying them. I have been ? in marginal notes and at the conclusion of the paper, added in red ink some statements which may ? [elucidate?] the paper on the incident connected with the battle.
To confirm my recollection on certain points I wrote to Mr. Bachelder who has been so lay [soley?] engaged in collecting material about this battle to send one of the maps he was preparing for the engineers showing the position of our batteries and lines ?? at the time of the cannonade. He did so, and I send you a reduced copy, he has not as yet placed the enemy's lines but Gen. Humphreys told me a few days since that the work was completed and sent me three maps, one for each of the three days. I asked him to send you a set, and he told me that he has already done so. ? I send you this special one, as it a bit confined? than the general map of the 3rd days operations, my recollection is that Cowan's battery was placed more to the left, where I have made the pencil marks, and that it was first behind Stannard's Brigade. It is not very important, except to ? how difficult it is for one even who has worked as hard as Mr. Bachelder has, to put every thing just right. My own ? ? ? is that I took my place with Maj. Fitzhugh in Cowan's Battery to watch the assault. The other batteries: Rorty's, Brown's, Cushings, were I think a little more to the right and closed more to the flank. The ? however confirms my recollection as to the amount? of infantry not ? behind, but ? ? the ? of Migilvery's batteries (I remember one or two sticky incidents of men being killed in their lines, ? especially. The two ranks were lying down in open order, and behind the other, on the crest. A solid shot from a rifled gun struck the ground a few feet in front of a front rank man, passed under him, and under the ground, furrowing the ground into a ridge. The effect was to throw the man into the air to the rear as if you were to take a doll by the foot and whirl it so as to make it turn belly-over-head. He made two or three complete turns and fell some ten or fifteen feet behind the rear rank man - dead, his skin unbroken. It was a complete illustration of what is called in the west barking squirrels, the hunter fires so that the rifle ball shall hit not the squirrel but the bark of the limb on which he rests, thus by the shock whirling the squirrel to the ground - dead, without breaking the skin. It was here that my attention was fixed on the fact of there being plenty of infantry in support of these guns.
Now for my reasons for not at the time recording the facts as now given, in my official report. On that the question by(?) me(?) I have since raised. Gen. Meade informed me the day after the battle that a general had complained to him that a battery captain had refused to obey his order to open fire during the cannonade but did not give me the name of the general. Major Milgivery & Hazard subsequently made to me the statement contained in my paper. They clearly pointed out Gen. Hancock as the complaining general and Gen. Hancock's letter leaves no doubt in my mind. Still, Gen. Hancock had been severely wounded in the battle and was absent from the army. Gen. Meade evidently did not decide to make a point of the matter - or rather evidently did decide not to make trouble - the victory was won. No possible benefit could arise from discussing what "might have been," nor any useful result to the service from personal or official bickering. I therefore dropped the matter entirely, although I ??? that I was not only 'chagrined' but much vexed that the legitimate worth of my morning's work had been thrown away by Gen. Hancock's precipitation(?) and want of reflection, and with it the opportunity to "score a point" for the special benefit of the artillery as well. This feeling was again roused when I saw how little my forbearance was regarded and I wrote my reply with some touch of bitterness, which I cannot say I much regret for it was only natural, but which I acknowledge is not in the best taste.
[End of letter]