General L. May 11th

Want to share one of the two most important documents I have found about the cause of the events of May 12th.

Credit goes to the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond Va. A newspaper article taken almost certainly from the diary of Maj. Robert Hardaway whose artillery battalion was supporting Robert Rodes Division. Bold print is used to complete the obvious names that he abbreviated.

Wednesday, 11th – Day comparatively quiet. Just before dark, Colonel C.(arter) informed me that Gen. Long had ordered all the guns out at dark. I informed General Ramseur, and went over to Gen. Lee’s headquarters to find Gen. Long. He (General L.) told me he did not intend for the guns to be brought out until the troops left. I then sent word back to General Ramseur and Captains D.(ance), J.(ones), and G.(raham), not to move until the troops moved, but the orders for N.(elson), P.(age), and C. were not changed, and all moved out that night and left the troops on Johnson’s line without artillery. [This was the cause of the disaster which happened to Johnson’s Division – Ed. Whig] Just at night General Ramseur had a report from Major O.(ates) commanding his sharpshooters, that the enemy was using axes in our front.

There are only two places where it is not obvious whose name he abbreviated. But I don’t think either one really makes a difference.

After saying he went to General Lee’s headquarters to find General Long he wrote: “He (General L.) told me he did not intend for the guns to be brought out until the troops left” While it could have been either Lee or Long, it doesn’t change things. Long certainly would not say something contradictory to Lee’s wishes in his presence. Yet Long certainly told Cutshaw before he left him that afternoon that his battalion was not to move before the troops of Johnson’s division did.

Then after saying “I then sent word back to General Ramseur and Captains D.(ance), J.(ones), and G.(raham), not to move until the troops moved,” he says “but the orders for N.(elson), P.(age), and C. were not changed, and all moved out that night and left the troops on Johnson’s line without artillery.” Here the C. could be either Col. Thomas Carter, or Maj. Cutshaw. But we can surmise he meant Carter who was in charge of the artillery in the Mule Shoe. He left the Mule Shoe along with Nelson and Page. Cutshaw  left his guns and gunners in position that night. However after conferring with Gen. Edward Johnson as to when his troops would march he took his horses and sick back to camp, thus at least obeying the letter of his orders if not the spirit. Hardaway personally returned to camp leaving his horses with the guns. Therefore We believe that it is most likely Col. Thomas Carter that Hardaway meant.

This account ties in very well with the information from Cutshaw and those under his command.

Well. Is this the smoking gun?

About Russ

Avid student of military history as well as amateur historian. Has a keen interest in archaeology. Founded his company Roadraceparts.com in 2004.
This entry was posted in 1864, Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse, Bloody Angle, Overland Campaign 1864 and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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