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[423] I had not advanced more than two hundred yards, when I found that two of my regiments were on the right and two on the left of the road, (Long Bridge road,) which ran in the direction of my line of march. The woods on either side were so thick as to prevent my seeing well the extreme right and left regiments. The road, now descending slightly for some distance, at length crossed a small stream, in the bed of which rails had been thrown to fill it up, so as to allow wagons and artillery to pass. This stream, on the right of the road, was boggy, and with a dense growth of trees in it, rendering it difficult for the regiments on this side to make their way through it. We were now under a close fire of artillery, the grape-shot coming thick and fast through the trees. Having crossed the little stream above referred to, (on the left the woods were less dense, being small and scattered pine,) and, ascending slightly for some distance, we came to a field on the left of the road, and the enemy's infantry, in the woods on the left of this field, opened a brisk and close fire upon the left regiment of my line. This regiment, the Eighth Alabama, halted and engaged the enemy at this point. In this field, about three hundred yards to the front and one hundred yards to the left of the road, was a house, and beyond the house, about two hundred yards more, was a six-gun battery of the enemy. This battery had an open field of fire, the ground in front being perfectly level. The Eighth Alabama being engaged with the enemy, the Eleventh Alabama, the next regiment to it, continued to advance, and entering upon the open field, came within full view of the six-gun battery on this side (the left) of the road. This battery began at once a rapid discharge of grape and canister upon this regiment. It did not halt an instant, but continued to advance steadily and rapidly, and without firing, until it approached within two hundred yards of the battery, when it gave loud cheers, and made a rush for the guns. Halting for an instant in front of it, they fire upon the battery and infantry immediately in rear of it, and then make a successful charge upon, and take, the battery. The enemy's infantry, all in the woods, in heavy force beyond, and two hundred yards distant, and in the woods skirting the field to the left of the battery and not so far, and here, in like manner, in strong force. The enemy have a direct and flank fire upon this regiment, now at the battery. The two regiments on the right of the road continued steadily to advance through the woods, which extended along the road-side to within one hundred yards of a second six-gun battery, this battery being nearly opposite to the one on the left of the road, and some two hundred yards distant from it. Halting for a few minutes in the woods fronting this battery to deliver their fire, these regiments, the Ninth and Tenth Alabama, charge upon and take this also — the enemy's infantry supports being driven back. Both these batteries were now in our possession, having been carried in the most gallant manner, the men and officers behaving with the most determined courage and irresistible impetuosity. The taking of the battery on the right of the road was not attended by such a bloody strife as followed the assault and capture of the one on the left; for here the enemy had not the heavy pine forest so close in rear and on one flank, in which he could retire, re-form, and then renew the conflict, with increased numbers. On the contrary, the pine was in our possession, and our men, under cover of it, were within one hundred yards of, and in front of, the battery. The field extending far off to our right, and the timber in rear of the battery being more distant, other brigades, too, were on our right engaging the enemy, but none on our left and near the batteries.

The battery on the left of the road was the first taken. The Eleventh Alabama had experienced severe loss in crossing the open field while advancing against this battery. Here the enemy, at first repulsed and driven from the battery, retire to the woods, both on our left and in rear of the battery, and from there, under shelter of the woods, and with superior numbers, deliver a terrible and destructive fire upon this regiment. With its ranks sadly thinned, it heroically stands its ground, and returns the enemy's fire with telling effect; the latter, under cover of trees on our left flank and directly in our front, confident and bold from their superior strength, and seeing this regiment isolated and unsupported, now advance from their cover against it. Our men do not fly from their prize, so bravely and dearly won, overwhelmed by superior numbers ; but with a determination and courage unsurpassed, they stubbornly hold their ground, men and officers alike engaging in the most desperate personal conflicts with the enemy. The sword and bayonet are freely used; Captain W. C. Parker had two successive encounters with Federal officers, both of whom he felled with his sword; and, beset by others of the enemy, he was severely wounded, having received two bayonet wounds in the breast and one in his side, and a musket wound breaking his left thigh. Lieutenant Michie had a hand-to-hand collision with an officer, and, having just dealt a severe blow upon his adversary, he fell, cut over the head with a sabre bayonet, from behind, and had afterward three bayonet wounds in the face and two in the breast — all severe wounds, which he survived, however, for three days. Many of the men received and gave in return, bayonet wounds.

Having assaulted and carried this battery, and driven the infantry into the woods to the left and beyond, they hold it until the enemy re-form and return in superior force ; and now they resist in a hand-to-hand conflict with the utmost pertinacity. There are no supports for them; no reenforcements come, and they are at length forced to yield and retire to the pine woods on the right of the road, and in rear, some one hundred and fifty or two hundred yards, the enemy not pursuing, having left dead upon this field, in the battery and its vicinity, in front and in rear beyond it, Captain J. H. M. Wath, Captain S. E. Bell, Captain T. H. Holcomb, Captain W. M. Reatton,


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J. H. M. Wath (1)
W. M. Reatton (1)
W. C. Parker (1)
Michie (1)
T. H. Holcomb (1)
A. B. Cohen (1)
S. E. Bell (1)
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