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[45] turnpike and Sudley road, and formed his small force under cover of a detached wood. Here he was soon assailed by greatly superior and continually-increasing numbers, against which he and his little band held their ground bravely. The change of direction at Sudley Ford was so strong that the portion of the column beyond the stream, when the firing commenced, was almost parallel with the line of battle. This greatly expedited the deployment of the Federal army. Burnside's brigade, leading the march, attacked first, and was soon joined by a part of Porter's and one of Heintzelman's regiments.

The noise and smoke of the fight were distinctly heard and seen by General Beauregard and myself near Mitchell's Ford, five miles off; but, in its earlier stages, they indicated no force of the enemy that the troops on the ground and those of Bee, Hampton, and Jackson, that we could see hastening toward the firing in the order given, were not competent to cope with.

Bee, who was much in advance of the others, saw the strength and dispositions of the combatants, and the character of the ground around and before him, from the summit of the hill south of Young's Branch; and, seeing the advantage given to this position by its greater elevation than that of the opposite ridge, on which the enemy stood, by its broad, level top, and by the extent of open ground before it, he formed his brigade, including Bartow's two regiments and Imboden's battery, there; but, being appealed to for aid by Evans, then fully engaged, and seeing that his troops, that had suffered much in the unequal contest, were about to be overwhelmed, he moved forward

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