Barksdale’s Mississippi Brigade’s division commander Gen. Lafayette McLaws wrote his wife, Emily, from his Hagerstown, Maryland headquarters on Tuesday, July 7.
“Since I wrote you last we have had a series of terrible engagements out of which God has permitted me to come unscathed again.”
He recounted the Battle of Gettysburg and the death of General Barksdale and the severe wounding of General Semmes, the death of Colonel Carter of the 13th Mississippi, and the severe wounding of Colonel Griffin of the 18th Mississippi, and Colonel Holder and Lieutenant Colonel Fiser of the 17th Mississippi.
“The loss in my division was near twenty four hundred, the heaviest of the war, and many of the most valuable officers in the whole service have been killed.
“I think the [July 2 attacks were] unnecessary and the whole plan of battle a very bad one. Genl Longstreet is to blame for not reconnoitering the ground and for persisting in ordering the assault when his errors were discovered.
“During the engagement he was very excited[,] giving contrary orders to every one, and was exceedingly overbearing. I consider him a humbug—a man of small capacity, very obstinate, not at all chivalrous, exceedingly conceited, and totally selfish. If I can it is my intention to get away from his command.”
Still, he added, the divison’s soldiers, though tired and foot sore from their long withdrawal, were “not disheartened.”