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[174] moving on less than half a mile a shell, much to my surprise, passed over my line, and then others in rapid succession. They had been fired by the enemy at our skirmishers. My line was concealed from the enemy by an intervening hill and the cut of the road, so 1 continued to move on unharmed. When I had almost reached the ford of Hazel river I recieved a request from General Hill to wait for his artillery and let it follow me. I accordingly halted. After waiting for some time there came to me, instead of artillery, another message from General Hill to the effect that it was necessary to drive the enemy back from their position in the mountain, and that he wished me to move my command on their flank and rear to the road by which they had come, and thus cut off their retreat, and to do this bly a route which the bearer of the message, Lieutenant Stannard, would show me.

The request seemed reasonable. The enemy had evidently got artillery into a mountain position, difficult to be carried by a front attack, from which position they commanded the road at several points, including, I think, the ford, and thus, unless dislodged, could greatly annoy troops and trains passing by, if not stop their progress. My command was the one most conveniently situated to execute the suggested movement. I thought it right, therefore, to accede to General Hill's request.

Signifying this to Lieutenant Stannard, he went forward as guide, and I followed him with the brigade and the 4th Alabama regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Scruggs. The route was so well chosen that we passed through the enemy's picket line and got near enough to the road in their rear to command it before they discovered us. Before fire was opened, Captain Newell, Second Georgia, commanding the skirmishers, reported to me a battery considerably on my right, just across the road in a field. I moved to the right in the woods to get near it and seize it before it could run back. The wood was thick. I got the right of the brigade opposite the battery, and then ordered an advance in line of battle. When the line emerged from the wood the battery was gone. It had run back the way it came, having found out our presence by the fire which had opened between their skirmishers and ours. Our line fired upon such of the enemy as were in sight. Those of the latter who were not disabled fled in confusion to the opposite wood, where, on the left, was another battery, as I had


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A. P. Hill (3)
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