in the woods, distant 150 or 200 yards, I thought that there was evidently a mistake as to the order, but seeing Colonel Russell's regiment preparing to move, I ordered my regiment to charge.
The whole line charge up some 70 yards, when after a few rounds, we fell back by order to our original position. This was the only charge made by my regiment while under the command of General Pillow, and it was the only charge made by the troops in general line of battle. I am satisfied the troops [enemy] were at least 75 yards distant when we halted in the charge.
Colonel Freeman states: "We charged about 50 yards into the timber, where we saw the line of the enemy, which was then 75 or 100 yards distant from my own men." He adds: "We did not reach the position of the enemy nearer than this."
Colonel Pickett states he received "but one order to charge, and charged once only"; that his regiment had "fired some seven or eight rounds only before the order to charge was received," but does not say he reached the enemy.
Colonel Vaughan of the remaining regiment,says: "During the engagement the Thirteenth Regiment came to no direct bayonet charge, and if an order was given to charge, it was not received by the Thirteenth Regiment."
Comment upon such testimony is unnecessary.
I have now followed this reckless egotist through the extraordinary statement of his characteristic letter, and on the points of material consequence have taken pains to supply the written testimony necessary not only to disprove his allegations, but to fasten upon him a defiant disregard of the obligations of the truth.
He does me but justice in saying that the reason why I did not throw over a larger force from Columbus was that "I was apprehensive of another attack upon the Columbus side." I was apprehensive, of it and with reason; and it was because I feared it that I deemed it prudent to postpone to the last moment diminishing my force on the really important side of the river. I believed then as now that a plan of attacking both sides of the river had been concerted.
The proofs in my possession did not allow me to doubt it before the battle commenced, and the denunciation of the officers charged with attacking Columbus from the Kentucky side for failing in that attempt, to say nothing of other evidence which came to light after the battle, was conclusive on that point. The denunciation alluded to emanated from an officer of high rank in the Federal Army, and was heard by one of my own officers while a prisoner during the enemy's retreat.
The secret of the assault contained in that part of the letter of General Pillow devoted to the battle, of Belmont is found in the necessity he felt for some one on whom to visit the blame which so properly attaches to his conduct for the egregious blunders committed by him in that battle-blunders which were obvious to his colonels at the moment they were committed-not one of whom supported him in the choice of the position taken by him, but the contrary. He neither took advantage of the standing timber nor of the abatis lying along the river front, nor of any one of a series of ravines lying parallel to the lines of the enemy's approach, but, as stated in the answer of Colonel Freeman (vide Numbers 24), "posted his troops in an open field, on the top of a ridge," just in advance of those ravines, uncovered, to be attacked by the enemy under the protection of the standing trees and abatis.
At such a disadvantage, it was not difficult to account for the speedy and disastrous termination of the fight or the mortifying scenes witnessed on the river bank at 12 m., as described by Captain Trask (vide Numbers 40) and seen by all. Such a mode of accounting for it did not suit the