Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 33.djvu/343

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Gen. Edward Johnson at Spotsylvania. 339

A dozen Yankees could have caught me, for they were on all sides. I ran about amongst them until I came upon an artillery horse of Carter's battery, jumped on him, and sinking in my spurs, galloped to the rear, with bullets buzzing around me. As I galloped away in this fashion, the Yankees sent shots after me, but I escaped unhurt. Many of our men were now running back, and the line was breaking.


As I was thus getting away, and I had not gone but a few hun- dred yards to the rear, when the first man I met facing toward our lines was General R. E. Lee. He was mounted on Traveller, and with his hat off was endeavoring to halt the retreating men. I saw in a moment that General Lee did not know the extent of the trouble in front, and hailed him with the exclamation: General, the line is broken at the angle in General Johnson's front." His countenance instantly changed, and he said: "Ride with me to General Gor- don" (General Gordon was in charge of. Early' s division in re- serve, General Early being in command of A. P. Hills, the Third Corps). I rode with General Lee about two hundred yards or more to our left rear, as we faced the enemy, and quickly came upon Pegrams's brigade (which was under Colonel J.* S. Hoffman), and which had Gordon's old brigade, under Colonel C. A. Evans, on our left. We soon found General Gordon, who was forming his men, with a skirmish line in front, and the regiments were aligning behind them. General Lee met Gordon in front of Pegram's bri- gade, and then there was the scene of "Lee to the rear," which has been so often described, Gordon exhorting and the men clamoring for General Lee to go back. As Lee retired through Gordon's line Pegram's Virginia brigade, and both that brigade and Evan's also moved forward.


General Lee then said to me: "Major Hunter, collect together the men of Johnson's division and report to General Gordon." I immediately called for Johnson's men who were scattered about the valley, Captain Virginius Dabney, of General Johnson's Staff, as- sisting me. I saw Captain Harman, of the Second Virginia Infantry, and other officers, who actively exerted themselves to get the men