Sunday, January 12, 2014

January13, 1864 (Tuesday): Hill Puts Things To Right

Bristoe Station ( Robert Yates)

Orange Court-House, January 13, 1864.
Major General H. HETH,
Commanding Division:
    GENERAL: Having been informed that it was probable some misapprehension existed in regard to your management of your division at Gettysburg, Falling Waters, and Bristoe, it is but simple justice to you that I say your conduct on all those occasions met with my approbation. At Gettysburg the first day's fight, mainly fought by your division, was a brilliant victory. You were wounded that day, and not again in command of your division until the retreat commenced. At Falling Waters the enemy were kept at bay until the army had crossed the Potomac, and the prisoners taken by the enemy were stragglers, and not due to any fault of yours. At Bristoe the attack was ordered by me, and most gallantly made by your division; another corps of he enemy coming up on your right was unforeseen, as I had supposed that other troops were taking care of them. I write you this letter that you may make such use of it as may be deemed advisable by you.
    Very respectfully,

    A. P. HILL,

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 51, Part 2, Page 811.

Gettysburg was already becoming a source of great discussion in the press.  Heth was taking blame for bringing on combat at Gettysburg on the first day when Lee wanted to avoid a general engagement.  At Bristoe, Heth had attacked at the railroad embankment with great loss.  But Hill rightly took responsibility for that and was generous in assuring his responsibility was known.


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