company between the Second Georgia and Fiftieth Georgia, and the other half under a Lieutenant near the lower ford, to prevent or retard the passage of the enemy at this point. This command held its position with fidelity and firmness until withdrawn by my order. This position was important, and had been guarded by a cavalry regiment, with an infantry brigade in its rear, up to Tuesday evening, when both were removed to another position on the field of battle, and left the crossing unprotected, except by the small force I was thus enabled to place there. Finding that the battery belonging to my brigade (Captain Richardson) was placed too far in my rear to render me efficient service in defending the passage at the bridge, I applied to General Longstreet for another battery. He ordered Captain Eubank's to report to me, who was placed in my rear about half way between the river and Captain Richardson's battery, and rendered efficient service as long as he remained in that position. The enemy opened on my position with his artillery, on Tuesday evening, and continued it until dark. The damage was but slight. My own skirmishers and the company from General Hood's brigade crossed the river, and were actively engaged with the enemy's skirmishers the most of this day. On Tuesday night the enemy advanced his artillery and infantry much nearer my position, and on Wednesday morning threw forward his skirmishers and light infantry, in greatly increased numbers, and before eight o'clock drove in my pickets, and advanced with heavy columns to the attack of my position on the bridge. This position was not strong; the ground descended gently to the margin of the river, covered with a narrow strip of woods, affording slight protection to the troops; its chief strength lay in the fact that, from the nature of the ground on the other side, the enemy were compelled to approach mainly by the road which led up the river for near three hundred paces, parallel with my line of battle, and distant therefrom from fifty to one hundred and fifty feet, thus exposing his flank to a destructive fire the most of that distance. At between nine and ten o'clock the enemy made his first attempt to carry the bridge by a rapid assault, and was repulsed with great slaughter, and, at irregular intervals, up to about one o'clock, made four other attempts of the same kind, all of which were gallantly met and successfully repulsed by the Twentieth and Second Georgia. The Fiftieth Georgia and the half company from General Jenkins's brigade, before referred to, were on the right of the Second Georgia, rather below the main point of attack, and. rendered little or no service in this fierce and bloody struggle. After these repeated and disastrous repulses, the enemy, despairing of wresting the bridge from the grasp of its heroic defenders, and thus forcing his passage across the river at this point, turned his attention to the fords before referred to, and commenced moving fresh troops in that direction by his left flank. The old road, by the upper of the two fords referred to, led over a hill on my right and in my rear, which completely commanded my position, and all ingress and egress to and from it, below the bridge. My communications with the rear, above the bridge, were beset with other, but scarcely less difficulties. This approach could have been very successfully defended by a comparatively small force, and it was for this purpose that I so often and urgently asked the aid of a regiment on the day of the battle, not having another man available for that purpose. Not being able to get any reinforcements for the defence of these two fords, and seeing that the enemy was moving upon them to cross, thus enabling him to attack my small force in front, right flank, and rear, and my two regiments having been constantly engaged, from early in the morning up to one o'clock, with a vastly superior force of the enemy, aided by three heavy batteries, the commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Holmes, of the Second, having been killed in the action, and the only remaining field officer, Major Harris, being painfully wounded, and fully one half of this regiment being killed or wounded, and the Twentieth having also suffered severely in killed and wounded, and the ammunition of both regiments being nearly exhausted, and Eubank's battery having been withdrawn to the rear nearly two hours before, I deemed it my duty, in pursuance of your original order, to withdraw my command, and place it in the position designated by you, opposite the two lower fords, some half mile to the right and front of your line of battle. In pursuance of this order, Colonel Benning, who had commanded the remnant of the brigade during the action with distinguished gallantry and skill, withdrew these gallant regiments to their new position, ready again to confront and battle with the enemy. The Fiftieth Georgia and the company from General Jenkins's brigade were at the same time ordered to the same position, and were led back by their respective officers. This change of position was made to my entire satisfaction, and with but small loss, in the face of greatly superior numbers. Before these troops had reached their new position, the Fifteenth Georgia volunteers, under the command of Colonel Milligan, the Seventeenth, under the command of Captain McGregor, of my brigade, Major Little, with five companies of the Eleventh Georgia, (Colonel Anderson's brigade,) all of whom had been detached several days before to guard ammunition and other trains, arrived on the field, and were also placed in the new position before designated. The Twentieth and Second were then ordered to the ammunition train to replenish their cartridge-boxes. Though the bridge and upper ford were thus left open to the enemy, he moved with such extreme caution and slowness that he lost nearly two hours in crossing and getting into action on our side of the river; about which time General A. P. Hill's division arrived from Harper's Ferry. I then received your order that as soon as General Gregg (of General A. P. Hill's division) arrived and relieved me, to move my command and take position immediately on
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Foreign accounts of the fight.
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