Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 9, Number 2, May, 1999 Page: 101
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Reminiscences of the Old Brigade
The enemy passed the entire day in march-
ing back and forth, seemingly hunting for the
weak point in our lines. But the manner in which
Col. Green has maneuvered his force has kept
them in the dark, and made them think we had
three times as many men as we really had.
''hey have kept up a very heavy cannonad-
ing at intervals; the small arms have been brisk,
but as yet not one of us has been hit. The ma-
neuvering of the two armies has been grand,
and to us, interesting. But this is not the way
we have heretofore fought battles.
The point they have now selected as our
weak point is the very one I would have se-
lected at a single glance at the field. For here a
mound runs down into the valley within 400
yards of our right, on which they can plant their
cannon and play upon us over the heads of their
own men during a charge.
After we got to Coopwood the enemy kept
wasting their forces, and Fulcrod and Bennett
kept conversing for about one hour, when the
enemy withdrew and went into camp about a
mile above us.
What this meant was afterwards explained
when the enemy captured our empty wagons
and the guard that morning. They were in doubt
about how many men Col. Green had. Among
the prisoners they captured at the wagons was
a boy of Co. C, the 5th., named John Henry.
They concluded to pump him, as he was a boy,
and I give the incident just as related by Lord
to Capt. Shannon;
They went to where he was setting cross
legged in his rags, watching the movements and
Lord inquired, "Sonny, how many men are
there down there?" Henry replied: "You'd bet-
ter go and see, or ask Col. Green. But I'll tell
you, captain, they've got enough to whale your
lay out." Seeing that they could get nothing
from him, they started with Bennett's battery
down on our left, when Henry said: "Oh, cap-
tain, are you going down there?" pointing to
us. "Yes," was the reply. "Then," said he,
"you'd better keep them things (pointing to the
cannons) out of sight of those boys, for if they
see them they'll take them away from you cer-
tain. They've got six down there now that they
took away from you."
This made them believe that we had more
men than we really had, and made them cau-
tious. Still there would have been a very bloody
fight and many on both sides would have been
killed, for Col. Roberts, who was command-
ing the Federals, had ordered an assault on our
right, and was massing his forces for that pur-
pose; and was just about starting on the charge
when Gen. Canby come up and stopped it. Col.
Roberts even begged Gen. Canby to let them
charge us. But he replied that he had no men to
lose. Roberts replied that we were already
whipped. Canby replied that Gen. Sibley was
whipped, but his men were not, and could not
be whipped; that he could drive us out by star-
vation, and that he was going to do it. Roberts
then said that there was not so many men killed
in charging, that we lost but few men in the
charge at Val Verde. To which Canby replied,
"that there those men were charging us now
we would be charging them, and the table would
be reversed," and finally he said to him, "'They
whipped us at Val Verde in the open field; they
whipped us at Glorietta, when we were behind
the best breastworks that nature ever made, and
it's folly to talk about our whipping them when
they've got the breastworks. You might start
these men on that charge, but not one single
man would ever reach that wall alive. Besides,
even if I could take it, I don't want to lose the
men necessary to do it, when I can accomplish
the same object without losing a man," and Gen.
Canby was right.
This closed the battle. When the enemys
retired Col. Green threw our lines forward
nearly to their camp, and the two sentinels lines
were not over fifty yards apart. As to how it
looked to those of our men on the other side of
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 9, Number 2, May, 1999, periodical, May 1999; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151406/m1/53/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed May 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.