Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/212

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208 Southern Historical Society Papers.



Delivered before Plckett Camp, Confederate Veterans, Richmond, Va., on March 8th, 1897, by Hon. John Lamb.*

The deep interest taken by old soldiers in the delineation of any of the battles through which they passed, and the even deeper interest manifested by the younger generation, who never heard the sound of a hostile gun, is an encouragement and an inspiration to those who have the good fortune, after the lapse of so many years, to be able to call up some of the salient points in one of the most re- markable contests of modern times. The witness of any event, when asked to relate it, is apt to have his imagination fired, and thus to color the facts. There is unconscious exaggeration. Hence historians attach small value to memoirs written long years after the occurrence of events, and we naturally take with ' ' a grain of salt ' ' the enthusiastic utterances of our speakers on occasions like this. For- tunately, however, we have here the carefully prepared reports of the corps, division, brigade, and regimental commanders, on either side, written at the very time of the engagement; and by carefully considering them we can arrive at a correct and intelligent opinion of the results. Only a few have the time or the taste to examine such reports critically, and we find in this fact the importance of your camp organizations, and the necessity for encouraging such efforts.


While Daniel has graphically described the battle of Gettysburg, and thus added, if possible, to his fame as an orator; and McCabe, in the most beautiful word painting, has pictured the Crater in all its thrilling horrors, and helped to immortalize the heroes who figured in and around that pit of death; and Robinson, with his philosophical mind, has drawn from the Wilderness a history and

  • Captain Lamb took part in the seven days' fighting around Richmond.

He was a member of the Charles City Troop, to which he refers, and was courier to General Magruder at the battle of Malvern Hill. He repeatedly crossed the field that day under the hot fire of the Federal guns, but escaped unhurt.