[From the New Orleans Picayune, December 13, 1903.]
THE BATTLE OF FORT GREGG.
By Captain A. K. JONES, of Port Gibson, Miss.
(See Ante Vol. XXIII, Southern Historical Society Papers, p. 74.)
It may be justly said there was no defense in any war, at any time, which crowned the defenders with more luster than that of Fort Gregg.
The story of the two hundred Mississippians who defied, and held at bay for two hours, five divisions of the enemy, will forever be recalled with the proudest satisfaction.
There has never been a more determined assault, and there will never be a more determined defense.
Those men were as valiant and strong of soul as the Christian martyrs of old.
Nothing in the annals of war excels their conduct, and their names should be inscribed on the new Capitol walls at Jackson, Miss.
Captain Jones has recorded a great event, which the people of the South cannot too highly appreciate.—Editor Picayune.
All who are familiar with the history of the Army of Northern Virginia know that but for the stubborn defense, unparalleled, at Fort Gregg, made by the i2th and i6th Mississippi Regiments, on Sunday, the 2d day of April, 1865, checking the advance of the Army of the Potomac, flushed and jubilant over the defeat and capture of the whole right wing of our army, and now pressing forward upon Petersburg, General Lee would have been compelled to surrender in his trenches; for it was a physical impossibility to have withdrawn his army across the Appomattox except under cover of night.
General Lee, in his dispatch of that day to the Secretary of War, said:
"It is absolutely necessary that we should abandon our position to-night. It will be a difficult operation, but I hope not impracticable."
The battle of Fort Gregg was the last great battle between the two armies, and was decidedly the bloodiest of them all. On the