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[304] Church, one mile in advance. This regiment was the first engaged, resisting the enemy's advance by a destructive fire from the church, the graveyard, and the woods. Their force was checked, and they did not pursue the regiment. which soon after retired, finding itself outflanked on right and left, and narrowly escaped being entirely cut off, from the failure of cavalry picket to do their duty. Colonel Courtnay's own pickets, thrown out as a precaution, though told the cavalry was on that duty, alone saved the regiment. In retreating in good order, he passed the enemy's flanking forces on the right and left, within long gunshot range, and succeeded in reaching my position with trifling loss. Colonel Canty was placed on the right of the two regiments before named.

Half an hour later, the enemy were seen to advance, with General Blenker's old brigade among the regiments, as prisoners informed me, the Eighth New-York, and Bucktail Rifles from Pennsylvania, driving in our picket before a heavy fire. I ordered the three regiments to rest quietly in the edge of an open wood, until the enemy, who were advancing in regular order across the field and hollow, should come within fifty steps of our line; the order was mainly observed, and as the enemy appeared above the crest of the hill, a deadly fire was delivered along our whole front, beinning on the right dropping the deluded victims of Northern fanaticism and misrule by scores. The repulse of the enemy was complete, followed by an advance, ordered by me, in pursuit. As the enemy's rear regiments had halted in the wood on the other side of the valley, I deemed it prudent, after the field in our front had been cleared, to resume our position on the hill and await their further advance. Remaining in our position some fifteen minutes, and finding the enemy not disposed to renew the contest, and observing from its fire, a battery on the enemy's left, half a mile in advance of us, I promptly decided to make a move from our right flank, and try to capture the battery, as I reported at the time to General Ewell, who at this stage of the action sent to know our success, and to ask if I wanted reenforcements; to which I replied: “I had driven back the enemy, wanted no aid, but thought I could take their battery, and was moving for that purpose.”

I accordingly, in person, moved the Fifteenth Alabama to the right along a ravine, and, unperceived, got upon the enemy's left flank and in his rear. Marching up in fine order, as on drill, I had, on leaving this regiment, ordered the other two to advance rapidly in front as soon as they heard I was hotly engaged with the enemy. These regiments, before the order was executed, stood calmly under a heavy fire of the enemy's artillery directed at the woods. The Fifteenth Alabama, completely surprised the forces in their front, (the enemy's left flank, and drove them, by a heavy fire, hotly returned, from behind logs and trees along the wood to the westward. Meantime the Twenty-first Georgia and Sixteenth Mississippi moved across the field and fell in with the remainder of the enemy's brigade, which had re-formed in the woods to our left, and delivered a galling fire upon the Sixteenth Mississippi, which omitted to turn up the woods to its left, after the main body of the enemy, thus exposing. its men to enfilading fire. Colonel Mercer, of the Twenty-first Georgia, came to their timely rescue, and both soon gallantly drove the enemy out of the woods, killing and wounding large numbers.

On marching to the right flank, with the Fifteenth Alabama, I found parts of the Thirteenth and Twenty-fifth Virginia regiments, under command of Colonel J. A. Walker, of Elzey's brigade, had been ordered to my support, by General Ewell. I ordered Colonel Walker to move on my right through the woods, and advance on the enemy in line of battle perpendicularly to his line, and in rear of the battery. Unluckily, as the woods tended to his right, he marched directly on, fell in with my regiment, (Fifteenth Alabama,) and lost time by having to move by the flank, to regain his position. In doing this, he was exposed to the view of the battery, which turned its fire on on him with galling effect, compelling a resort to the woods. At this time the right wing of the Fifteenth Alabama had advanced, unperceived, under my direction, to within three hundred yards of the battery, there playing rapidly over their heads, on the Thirteenth and Twenty-fifth Virginia. Perceiving the Sixteenth Mississippi and Twenty-first Georgia had advanced, I gave orders to charge the battery. Upon reaching the top of the hill, I found it had limbered up, and rapidly retired; having lost several horses by our fire. Five minutes gain in time, would have captured the guns. This was lost by the Mississippi regiment in misconstruing my orders.

Another brigade of the enemy supported the battery two hundred yards to its left. Our right advanced into the open ground, and at the time the Alabama and the Thirteenth and Twenty-fifth Virginia reached their positions, this force was driven back by their united action, and retired with their battery. After some minutes' brisk fire by the enemy's sharp-shooters, their entire left wing retreated to their first position, near Union Church, on the Kisseltown road. At this time, General Taylor with his brigade joined me. He had previously been ordered to my support, and I had directed him to march up in the open ground, between the woods, but he passed too far to the right, and lost time by falling in behind the Thirteenth and Twenty-fifth Virginia regiments. I called General Taylor to an interview, on an eminence in view of the enemy, then a mile distant, where a battery with an infantry force, of what strength we could not discover, was in sight. I proposed to move forward and renew the fight. General Taylor's reply was, that “we could soon wipe out that force, if it would do any good,” but proposed to return his brigade to camp, as he had that morning marched rapidly to Port Republic and returned, and his men needed rest and food. I replied

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R. Taylor (3)
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