John Gordon

John Gordon says:

I think one reason many recent students have doubted the veracity of Gordon's later account has to do with the fact that although, according to Gordon's version, the two generals had a discussion, that Barlow makes no mention of this in his July 7 letter to his mother. To excerpt from this:

"A force came up against our front in line of battle with supports in the rear. We ought to have held the place easily, for I had my entire force at the very point where the attack was made. But the enemies skirmishers had hardly attacked us before my men began to run. No fight at all was made. Finding that they were going I started to get a head of them to try to rally them and form another line in the rear. Before I could turn my horse I was shot in the left side about half way between the arm pit and the head of the thigh bone. I dismounted and tried to walk off the field. Everybody was then running to the rear and the enemy were approaching rapidly. One man took hold of one shoulder and another of the other side to help me. One of them was soon shot and fell. I then got a spent ball in my back which has made quite a bruise. Soon I got too faint to go any further and lay down. I lay in the midst of the fire some five minutes as the enemy were firing at our running men. I did not expect to get out alive. A ball went through my hat as I lay on the ground and another just grazed the forefinger of my right hand."

Now the key part:

"Finally the enemy came up and were very kind, Major Pitzera, Staff officer of Gen. Early had me carried into the woods and placed on a bed of leaves. They put some water by me and then went on to the front again."

I think that many have concluded that since Barlow does not mention Gordon that the incident did not occur. I think that, just maybe, some brief exchange took place, as the presence of a fallen and possibly fatally wounded Federal general would have excited notice on Gordon's part, if he was passing by. However Gordon had a great deal to attend to, and I suspect that at the very least he "embellished" the exchange in later years.