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[297] distant, and soon opened with a brisk fire of shells upon our battery near the church; the two batteries fired some fifteen or twenty minutes, when ours was withdrawn, for the want of ammunition. The enemy then threw shells to the right and left of the church, through the woods, endeavoring to reach our infantry. These latter were well protected while lying down, and no casualties occurred from explosions of shells. The enemy's artillery ceased to fire near five o'clock P. M. Their skirmishers then advanced, and a spirited fire ensued between the skirmishers for some fifteen or twenty minutes. Ours then retired, firing as they fell back; the enemy's skirmishers pursued, followed by their solid lines of infantry, and still a third line in rear, on either side of the road. As they advanced from the tollgate, were open fields, and the ground slightly ascending; these fields continued to within about two hundred and fifty yards of the church, and then woods, thick, but of small growth. When the front line of the enemy reached this wood they made a slight halt, then giving three cheers, they came with a rush, driving our skirmishers rapidly before them. Our men held their fire till their men came within less than eighty yards, and then delivered a close and terrible fire upon them, killing and wounding many, and causing many of them to waver and give way. The enemy still press on, surround the school-house, and capture the entire company of the Ninth Alabama stationed in it, and pressing hard upon the regiment in rear of the school-house, throws it into confusion and disorder, and forces it to yield ground. The Ninth Alabama regiment in rear of this regiment spring forward as one man, and, with the rapidity of lightning, restores the continuity of our line, breaking the lines of the enemy by its deadly fire, and forcing him to give way, and following him so that he could not rally, retake the school-house, free the captured company, and in turn take their captors; the entire line of the enemy on the right of the road is repulsed, and our men follow in rapid pursuit. The regiment that had given way to the first onset of the enemy now returned to the attack and joined in the pursuit. The enemy did not assail with the same spirit on the left of the road, and were more easily repulsed, and now are followed on either side of the road, which is crowded with a confused mass of the discomfited enemy. With a good battery to play upon this retreating mass the carnage would have been terrific. There was no rallying or re-forming of this line. Another line came up the plank road at a double quick, and filing to the right and left, formed line in front of my brigade. This line was scarcely formed before they were broken by the fire of my men, and fled to the rear. The pursuit continued as far as the toll-gate. Semmes's brigade and my own were the only troops that followed the retreating enemy. In rear of the gate were heavy reserves of the enemy. Our men were now halted and reformed, it being quite dark, and retired, not pursued by the enemy, leaving pickets far to the front in the open field.

The vigor of the enemy's attack at the church was doubtless due to the fact that they believed there was only one brigade to resist them, and that they anticipated an easy affair of it; while the number of dead and wounded left on the field attests the obstinacy of the resistance of our men--two hundred of the former and more than one hundred and fifty of the latter; and largely over two hundred prisoners not wounded, and one Federal flag captured. Thus ended this spirited conflict at Salem Church--a bloody repulse to the enemy, rendering entirely useless to him his little success of the morning at Fredericksburg. The rear of our army at Chancellorsville was now secure and free from danger, and the Sixth army corps of the enemy and a part of the Second were now content to remain on the defensive.

I beg to assure the Major-General commanding that the conduct of both officers and men of the brigade was in the highest degree creditable. They were furiously attacked by superior forces, and not only stood their ground but repulsed the enemy with great loss, pursued him, and, encountering a second line in their pursuit, they scattered and dispersed this body also; night and want of ammunition prevented a further pursuit. This success, so brilliant for our men, was dearly earned by the sacrifice of the lives of seventy-five of the noble sons of Alabama, and the wounding of three hundred and seventy-two, and forty-eight missing, an aggregate of four hundred and ninety-five; of the missing, the most fell into the hands of the enemy, wounded in the early part of the day near Stansbury's, and afterwards at the toll-gate. Six officers were killed and twenty-three wounded. The killed were Captain R. A. McCrary, Eighth Alabama, a valuable officer, much lamented by his regiment; Captain W. C. Murphy, Ninth Alabama, highly distinguished at the battle of Williamsburg, where he received two severe wounds. He fell at Salem Church in the thickest of the fight, and in advance of his men. Lieutenant Harper, Tenth Alabama; Lieutenant Strudwick, Eleventh Alabama; Lieutenants Bankston and Cox, Fourteenth Alabama, all fell fighting with the heroism of veteran soldiers, against greatly superior forces of the enemy. Among the severely wounded are Colonel Royston, Eighth Alabama; Colonel Pinkard, Fourteenth Alabama; Major McCord, Fourteenth Alabama; Captain Cook, Tenth Alabama; Lieutenants Barksdale and Cobb, Lewis's battery; all alike distinguished for their intelligence and valor.

I cannot call to your notice all officers that are deserving of especial praise, for the conduct of all was excellent; I will, however, report that the five regimental commanders, Colonel Royston, Eighth Alabama, and after his severe wound, Lieutenant-Colonel Herbert, who commanded the Eighth Alabama; Colonel Pinkard, Fourteenth Alabama; Colonel Forney, Tenth Alabama; Colonel Sanders, Eleventh Alabama; Major Williams, Ninth Alabama, were intelligent, energetic, and gallant in commanding, directing, and leading their men. The brigade slept on the field at Salem Church on the night of the third instant,

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