effect from General D. R. Jones, next on his left, and who was to have followed his movement.
It was, however, then too late for the enemy was already pressing with vigor my extreme left under General Evans at the Stone Bridge. I thus had suddenly or on the spur of the moment to charge my whole plan of battle with troops which had never yet fought and could scarcely maneuver. My heart for a moment failed me! I felt as though all was lost, and I wished I had fallen in the battle of the 18th; but I soon rallied, and I then solemply pledged my life that I would that day conquer or die! Immediately everuthing appeared again clear and hopeful, although the worst was yet to come. About 3 p. m., finding that the enemy had retaken the plateau of the Henry house, I ordered my reserves (three regiments) forward and charged at the head of one of them. We drove back the enemy, about five times our number, and held the position until the re-enforcements from our center and extreme right of the morning had arrived and deciced the fate of the day. The enemy commenced flying about 4.30 p. m., and the President arrived on the field about half an hour latter, in time, however, to enjoy that agreeable sight. You will excuse, I hope, these details, which are given only furnish you clearer insight into the memeorable events of that day. I beg to remark here that the report of that battle sent you is more a full history of it than a mere report, which would have contained only the leading facts; moreover, I had not much experience in such matters. I am happy to hear that you appreciated so well and truly my two most worthy friends, Johnston and Price. I would serve with pleasure under either of them. I hope you will yet meet also with another one, Breckinridge, than whom there is not a nobler soul.
With my kind regards to all at home, I remain, very truly, your friend,
G. T. BEAUREGRD,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF VIRGINIA,
March 26, 1863.
His Excellency Z. B. VANCE,
Governor of North Carolina:
SIR: Your letter of March 19*, by your aide-de-camp, wioth reference to the trial of soldiers who returned to this army under your proclamation of January 27, has been received. I received no copy of that proclamation, and only became aware of it upon receiving the proceedings of courts-martial before which deserters from the North Carolina regiments were tried. Although I supposed that its provisions extended only to the Department of North Carolina, still, as it appeared probable that the men might have acted under its promises, I at once remitted the penalties inficited by the courts and restored the men to duty. I also directed that no charges should be preferred against soldiers who returned to duty under similar circumstances. I am glad to receive a copy of your patriotic call, and hope that you will do all in your power to keep our ranks full.
I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
* See VOL. XVIII, p. 928.
44 R R-VOL LI, PT II