Monday, December 17, 2012

December 18, 1862 (Thursday): Official Notice Taken

General T. R. R. Cobb
Near Fredericksburg, Va.,
December 18, 1862
     The general commanding the First Corps desires to express his gratitude for the good conduct of his troops in the late encounter with the enemy. They had so often attested their valor upon the battle-fields of Virginia and Maryland that he looked for nothing less than steadiness in them when the shock of battle should come; yet notwithstanding he knew them to be steadfast veterans, they still kindle in him a new admiration by the remarkable firmness with which defended Marye's Hill. A more frightful attack of the enemy has not been seen during the war; they approached within thirty paces of your lines, again and again returning with fresh men to the assault. But you did not yield a step; you stood by your posts and filled the field before you with slain. The general commanding congratulates the troops upon the humiliating retreat to which the invader has been forced. Every such disaster to his arms brings us nearer to the happy and peaceful enjoyments of our homes and our families; at the same time he hopes to interest officers and men of this command in the afflictions which have come upon the people of Fredericksburg. Their conduct from the time the two armies appeared before the town has [been] marked with the most self-sacrificing devotion to their country; and now that their homes have been sacked by the foe let not their patience and cheerfulness under these calamities remove from our mind the remembrance of their losses and their wants. The general therefore directs that the commanding officers of this corps will open subscription lists for the relief of the sufferers of Fredericksburg.
     By command of Lieutenant-General Longstreet:

    G. M. SORREL,
    Assistant Adjutant-General.

His Excellency FRANCIS W. PICKENS,
Governor of South Carolina:
    SIR: While South Carolina is mourning the loss of the gallant and distinguished son, General Maxcy Gregg, permit me to join in your sorrow for his death. From my first acquaintance, when you sent, him with his gallant regiment to the defense of our frontier in Virginia, I have admired his disinterested patriotism and his unselfish devotion. He has always been at the post of duty and of danger, and his services in this army have been of inestimable value, and his loss is deeply lamented. In its greatest triumphs and its bloodiest battles he has borne a distinguished part. On the Chickahominy, on the plains of Manassas, at Harper's Ferry, Sharpsburg, and Shepherdstown he led his brigade with distinguished skill and dauntless valor. On the wooded heights of Fredericksburg he fell, in front of his brigade, in close conflict with the advancing foe. The death of such a man is a costly sacrifice, for it is to men of his high integrity and commanding intellect that the country must look to give character to her councils, that she may be respected and honored by all nations. Among those of his State who will proudly read the history of his deeds, may many be found to imitate his noble example.
     I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,

    R. E. LEE,

General H. COBB:
    GENERAL: I beg leave to express my sympathy in your great sorrow. Your noble and gallant brother has met a soldier's death, and God grant that this army and our country may never be called upon again to mourn so great a sacrifice.
Of his merits, his lofty intellect, his genius, his accomplishments, his professional fame, and above all his true Christian character, I need not speak to you, who knew him so intimately and well. But as a patriot and soldier, his death has left a gap in the army which his military aptitude and skill renders it hard to fill. In the battle of Fredericksburg he won an immortal name of himself and his brigade. Hour after hour he held his position in front of our batteries, while division after division of the enemy was hurled against him. He announced the determination of himself and his men to leave their post until the enemy was beaten back, and, with unshaken courage and fortitude, he kept his promise. May God give consolation to this effected family, and may the name and fame of the Christian statesman and soldier be cherished as a bright example and holy remembrance.
    With great esteem, your obedient servant,

    R. E. LEE,

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 51, Part 2, Pages 663, 1067, 1068.

The conclusion of a battle brings administrative duties.  For General Longstreet the paying of due honors to his troops.  For Lee, expressions of sympathy to South Carolina's Governor for the loss of Maxcy Gregg and to Howell Cobb for the loss of his brother, T.R.R. Cobb.


No comments:

Post a Comment