As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.
I believe God snuffed out the last ember of victory for the Confederacy at the Wilderness in 1864 in one of those tragic events which seem impossible to have ever taken place.
The events which had taken place were General Longstreet had attacked and rolled up the Union forces, and was sweeping forward in staggered lines, as he rode along with his staff on the road to command the final mop up of the Union forces.
With General Longstreet rode General M. Jenkins of the Cavalry, who like most Confederates had been quite despondent since the Tennessee campaign which Longstreet effectively checked Sherman and Grant, overcoming Braxton Bragg's failures.
"I am happy ; I have felt despair of the cause for some months, but am relieved, and feel assured that we will put the enemy back across the Rapidan before night."
All was victory for the Confederates, and the final push simply needed to be put forward by General Longstreet, when an explosion of musket fire on their left in the trees killed General Jenkins instantly, in uttering his last words, killed others in the command, and one mini ball almost lifted General Longstreet from the saddle.
The mini ball had passed through his throat and driven through to his shoulder.
Captain Doby and the orderly, Bowen, of Kershaw's staff*, were killed. General Kershaw turned to quiet the troops, when Jenkins's brigade with leveled guns were in the act of returning the fire of the supposed enemy con- cealed in the wood, but as Kershaw's clear voice called out " F-r-i-e-n-d-s r the arms were recovered, without a shot in return, and the men threw themselves down upon their faces. At the moment that Jenkins fell I received a severe shock from a minie ball passing through my throat and right shoulder. The blow lifted me from the saddle, and my right arm dropped to my side, but I settled back to my seat, and started to ride on, when in a minute the flow of blood admonished me that my work for the day was done. As I turned to ride back, members of the staff*, seeing me about to fall, dismounted and lifted me to the ground. Orders were given General Field, the senior officer present, to push on before the enemy could have time to rally.
By one of those things of war, General Longstreet had overridden his forces in the necessity of pushing ahead his other troops, and in that instant, the entire battle changed as did the Confederacy end.
General Longstreet was the consummate commander, still giving orders and refusing to abandon the field. He does not mention the entire events, but others do in letters to fill in the scene. The General when helped down from the horse he was riding, was leaned against a tree, where an officer stated that Longstreet blew the bloody foam from his mouth, and began giving orders.
General Lee appeared to take command, and General Longstreet was taken by stretcher to the rear, as the troops passed by saying he was dead as his hat was covering his face. With his good arm, he lifted the hat and waved it to assure his troops that he was alive and for them to fight on.
This is when the problem arose, as the Wilderness was nothing but tangles and it was impossible for the lines to advance uniformly. General Longstreet knowing he had the Union in rout, allowed the troops to advance in order to drive them from the field as they were not going to fall back and regroup. General Lee though refused to continue on, and ordered his lines reset, which took hours to accomplish. The Union commanders sensing no pursuit, halted, regrouped and halted the Confederate advance.
All victory and tactical advance was negated. The Confederacy had by Lee snatched stalemate from victory and lost her greatest General.
General Longstreet was nursed back to health in a very slow process. His right arm was not usable, and years later he still could not write with that hand, nor hold it very long in position from the pain.
The General would return to active duty, after recuperation, including riding horseback. He was there for the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, and his rear guard is where General Lee sought protection as the war closed, and the Union army was still not attacking General Longstreet.
So many what ifs are involved in this moment the war changed. What if Longstreet had rolled up the Union lines, had gained such power under Lee, that he would have been in position to implement the saving graces for the Confederacy for the South to run Lincoln's War to defeat for Abraham Lincoln in 1866 AD in the year of our Lord?
It is why the events took place, and whereas General Jackson and General Stuart were not spared, General Longstreet was to tell the hidden history of the Civil War.
This is the story of American Hero, Lt. General James Longstreet.