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A forest of glittering bayonets,

and beyond, floating proudly from the captured works, eleven Union flags. Estimating rapidly from the hostile colors the probable force in his front, he at once dispatched his courier to bring up the Alabama brigade from the right,1 assuming thereby a grave responsibility, yet was the wisdom of the decision vindicated by the event.

Scarcely had the order been given, when the head of the Virginia brigade began to debouch from the covered-way. Directing Colonel Weisiger, its commanding officer, to file to the right and form line of battle, Mahone stood at the angle, speaking quietly and cheerily to the men. Silently and quickly they moved out, and formed with that precision dear to every soldier's eye — the Sharpshooters leading, followed by the Sixth, Sixteenth, Sixty-first, Forty-first, and Twelfth Virginia2--the men of Second Manassas and Crampton's Gap! [291]

But one caution was given — to reserve their fire until they reached the brink of the ditch; but one exhortation — that they were counted on to do this work, and do it quickly.

Now the leading regiment of the Georgia brigade began to move out, when suddenly a brave Federal officer, seizing the colors, called on his men to charge. Descrying this hostile movement on the instant, Weisiger, a veteran of stern countenance which did not belie the personal intrepidity of the man,3 uttered to the Virginians the single word--

1 This was “Jimmy Blakemore,” well known in the Army of Northern Virginia as one of the most gallant lads in the service. In critical events Mahone would entrust to him the most important messages, and in no instance did he fail him.

2 The Virginia brigade moved up left in front, which accounts for the order of the regiments. Before moving out of the covered-way, each regiment was counter-marched on its own ground. Singularly enough, the enemy also moved forward left in front.--Cf. Report on the Conduct of the War, p. 193.

3Captain Hinton came up and reported that he had reported to General Mahone as directed, who said that I must await orders from him or Captain Girardey (who was then acting on Mahone's staff.) A few moments later Girardey came up to us. Just at that time I saw a Federal officer leap from the works with a stand of colors in his hand, and at last fifty or more men with him, as I supposed purposing to charge us. I repeated my orders to Girardy and told him that if we did not move forward promptly all would be lost. He agreed with me, and I then requested him to report to Mahone the circumstances and that I had moved forward. I then gave the command,” Attention, “” Forward. “The men sprang to their feet and moved forward at a double-quick, reserving their fire, as ordered, until within a few feet of the enemy, when they delivered a galling fire and then used the bayonet freely.” --Ms. Report of Brigadier-General D. A. Weisiger. Statement of Captain D. A. Hinton, A. D. C., Adjutant Hugh Smith and other officers. General S. G. Griffin, U. S. Volunteers, says: “The rebels made a very desperate attack at this time.” --Report on the Conduct of the War (1865), vol. i, p. 188.

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Mahone (5)
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