Benjamin F. Parmenter to Brother
Yours is at hand and I take this my first opportunity to answer the same I
suppose ere this you have read all the accounts of the battle more correct
descriptive and graphic than I could write if I should try My own opinion of the
affair is that it was illtimed in the first place next good generalship never
would have thought or asked of us to attack from seventy five to eighty thousand
troops in their own grounds with six weeks to prepare themselves in besides
having the advantage of entrenchments and earth works thrown up all along
through the woods and knowing their own ground and
we did not with forty five thousand You may say that our folks did not know any about it but they did When we halted on the hill some six or seven miles this side of the line of battle I had an opportunity of seeing the officers in command P E Chase heresaw and old acquaintance of his a Lieutenant in the cavalry service he told Chase of the numbers on both sides as I have before stated Another cause of our defeat was that our men did not sufficiently understand the ground so they could take advantage in choice of ground in taking position one other defect was our artillery was not strong enough to attack them then we should never have attacked theme without a larger force of cavalry to cover our retreat in case we were defeated For the above reasons I claim we should never
have offered them battle under the circumstances. But above all the officers who commanded us were not of the right stamp They were men who would do better justice to good dinners than to command armies with success.
Our armies must undergo a thorough reformation in respect to officers before we
attain any great success in our arms unless it is by a preponderance of numbers
untill we are better officered There are men in our regiment who hold
commissions who are not fit in the least degree to hold them I wish the thing
could be brought home to the know ledge of our folks in Vermont of the true
state of the case In the realities of war place should never be given except
for merit If the State of Vermont cannot do better in by importing Cols. than they have done by taking one of Fairbanks scale agents all I can say is they will reap their own reward in the end.
There are many things I might mention but this will suffice for the present
We had a hard time of it in the fight I wrote Pollie today you must read that for further information. I would like to hear from you often and will write as often as I can Letters and papers are a source of great consolation to the boys here and our folks I wish would write us oftener and we will answer as often as we can with our convenience. This is written in a hurry and in the dark.
B F Parmenter