had was placed so far on our left and in such position that I do not think five of the enemy were touched by a shot from it, and, besides, the enemy in his approach attacked first near our center my regiment [and] soon after Colonel Pickett's, while entirely protected by the cover of the woods. He was able to pour in all his fire on us from the woods, while the artillery, although firing wasted every shot among the trees firing at an unseen foe, the shot ranging from 20 to 30 feet generally above the heads of the enemy. Surely artillery should have been son placed as to fire on an advancing enemy before he is in proper distance to pour in the fire of his musketry. If the artillery had been placed with the open field in front of it, supported by our infantry, and the [enemy] compelled to pass over in approaching it, it might have sent destruction into the ranks, of the enemy, instead of simply scathing or shivering the trees of the forest as it did, doing no other damage whatever.
Such are, briefly as I can write it, some of the leading objections that present themselves to the plan of the battle adopted by General Pillow on the 7th. I have looked over the field once since the battle, and my conclusion then was that it would be very difficult to place our troops in a position where they would be more exposed to the fire of the enemy, except Colonel Bell's regiment, and perhaps Colonel Tappan's, and where he would be less exposed to injury from our fire.
These are the opinions I formed at the time, and have never seen any cause to change them. I may not be able to make my objections so clear as I would desire, from the difficulty of presenting the topography of a field distinctly in words, but I am confident that each objection I have presented to the position would be palpable to almost any man who would examine the ground or make himself at all familiar with it.
Perhaps it is proper to say that in giving distances I cannot be understood to do more than approximate to the true or precise distance, as I have only formed my opinion of these things from a survey of the field hastily made on the day of battle, as a matter of course, and in passing over it once since.
I have hastily written these things during repeated interruptions, and fear I have failed to express my views as clearly as is desirable, but the main objections are perhaps given in such form as to be understood.
I shall cheerfully contribute, and with great pleasure, too, to the cause of truth in this matter, as I think the public have had a most imperfect and incorrect impression made as to the true state of the facts of the battle of the 7th.
Most respectfully, yours, &c.
THOMAS J. FREEMAN,
Colonel Twenty-second Regiment Tennessee Volunteers.
HEADQUARTERS FIRST DIVISION, W. D.,
Columbus, Ky., February 23, 1862.
Twenty-second Regiment Tennessee Volunteers:
The following are the questions I propose to propound to you, and which you were pleased to say you would answer:
1st. Were your ordered to charge the enemy with the bayonet during the day of the battle of the 7th November? If so, did your regiment reach the enemy's position or did it stop short?