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[287] and drove it back to the railroad. In the mean time, a large force had penetrated the wood as far as Hill's reserve, and encountered Gregg's brigade. The attack was so sudden and unexpected that Orr's rifles, mistaking the enemy for our own troops retiring, were thrown into confusion. While in the act of rallying them, that brave soldier and true patriot, Brigadier-General Maxcy Gregg fell, mortally wounded. Colonel Hamilton, upon whom the command devolved, with the four remaining regiments of the brigade and one company of the rifles, met the enemy firmly and checked his further progress. The second line was advancing to the support of the first. Lawton's brigade, of Early's division, under Colonel Atkinson, first encountered the enemy, quickly followed on the right and left by the brigades of Trimble, under Colonel Hoke, and Early, under Colonel Walker. Taliaferro's division moved forward at the same time on Early's left, and his right regiment, the Second Virginia, belonging to Paxton's brigade, joined in the attack. The contest in the woods was short and decisive. The enemy was quickly routed and driven out with loss, and, though largely reenforced, he was forced back and pursued to the shelter of the railroad embankment. Here he was gallantly charged by the brigades of Hoke and Atkinson, and driven across the plain to his batteries. Atkinson, continuing the pursuit too far, his flank became exposed, and, at the same time, a heavy heavy fire of musketry and artillery was directed against his front. Its ammunition becoming exhausted, and Colonel Atkinson being severely, and Captain Lawton, adjutant-general, mortally wounded, the brigade was compelled to fall back to the main body, now occupying our original line of battle, with detachments thrown forward to the railroad. The attack on Hill's left was repulsed by the artillery on that part of the line, against which the enemy directed a hot fire from twenty-four guns. One brigade advanced up Deep Run, sheltered by its banks from our batteries, but was charged and put to flight by the Sixteenth North-Carolina, of Pender's brigade, assisted by the Fifty-fourth and Fifty-seventh North-Carolina, of Law's brigade, Hood's division. The repulse of the enemy on our right was decisive, and the attack was not renewed, but his batteries kept up an active fire at intervals, and sharp-shooters skirmished along the front during the rest of the afternoon. While these events were transpiring on our right, the enemy, in formidable numbers, made repeated and desperate assaults upon the left of our line. About eleven A. M., having massed his troops, under cover of the houses of Fredericksburgh, he moved forward in strong columns to seize Marye's and Willis's hills. General Ransom advanced Cook's brigade to the top of the hill, and placed his own, with the exception of the Twenty-fourth North-Carolina, a short distance in the rear. All the batteries on the Stafford heights directed their fire upon the positions occupied by our artillery, with a view to silence it, and cover the movement of the infantry. Without replying to this furious cannonade, our batteries poured a rapid and destructive fire into the dense lines of the enemy as they advanced to the attack, frequently breaking their ranks, and forcing them to retreat to the shelter of the houses. Six times did the enemy, notwithstanding the havoc caused by our batteries, press on with great determination, to within one hundred yards of the foot of the hill; but here encountering the deadly fire of our infantry, his columns were broken and fled in confusion to the town. In the third assault, the brave and lamented Brigadier-General Thomas R. R. Cobb fell at the head of his gallant troops, and almost at the same moment Brigadier-General Cook was borne from the field, severely wounded. Fearing that Cobb's brigade might exhaust its ammunition, General Longstreet had directed General Kershaw to take two regiments to its support. Arriving after the fall of General Cobb, he assumed command, his troops taking position on the crest and at the foot of the hill, to which point General Ransom also advanced three other regiments. The Washington artillery, which had sustained the heavy fire of artillery and infantry with unshaken steadiness, and contributed much to the repulse of the enemy, having exhausted its ammunition, was relieved about four P. M. by Colonel Alexander's battalion. The latter occupied the position during the rest of the engagement, and by its well-directed fire, rendered great assistance in repelling the assaults made in the afternoon, the last of which occurred shortly before dark. This effort met the fate of those that preceded it, and when night closed in, the shattered masses of the enemy had disappeared in the town, leaving the field covered with dead and wounded. Anderson's division supported the batteries on Longstreet's left, and though not engaged, was exposed throughout the day to a hot artillery fire, which it sustained with steady courage.

During the night, our lines were strengthened by the construction of earth-works at exposed points, and preparations made to receive the enemy next day. The fourteenth, however, passed without a renewal of the attack. The enemy's batteries on both sides of the river played upon our lines at intervals, our own firing but little. The sharp-shooters on each side skirmished occasionally along the front.

On the fifteenth, the enemy still retained his position, apparently ready for battle; but the day passed as the preceding.

The attack on the thirteenth had been so easily repulsed, and by so small a part of our army, that it was not supposed the enemy would limit his efforts to one attempt, which, in view of the magnitude of his preparations, and the extent of his force, seemed to be comparatively insignificant. Believing, therefore, that he would attack us, it was not deemed expedient to lose the advantages of our position, and expose the troops to the fire of his inaccessible batteries beyond the river, by advancing against him. But we were necessarily ignorant of the extent to which he had suffered, and only became aware of it

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