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[86] their guns, and leaping the stone fence charge up to the top of the crest, and drive the enemy's infantry into a rocky gorge on the eastern slope of the heights, some hundred yards in rear of the enemy's batteries. We were now complete masters of the field. Just as we had carried the enemy's last and strongest position, it was discovered that the brigade on our right (Perry's) had not advanced across the turnpike, but had actually given away, and was rapidly falling back to the rear, while on our left we were entirely unsupported — the brigade (Posey's) ordered to our support having failed to advance. My advanced position and the unprotected condition of my flanks invited an attack. The enemy immediately passed a heavy body of infantry — under cover of a high ledge of rocks and stunted undergrowth — from the gorge, and emerging from the ridge upon my right, equi-distant from the stone fence and the Emmettsburg turnpike; while a large brigade advanced from the woods on our left, and, gaining the turnpike, moved rapidly along that road to meet the force upon my right and rear. The enemy's converging lines were rapidly closing upon our rear. No supports could be seen coming to our assistance. With painful hearts we abandoned our captured guns, prepared to cut our way through the closing lines in our rear. This was effected in tolerable order, but with immense loss. The enemy rushed to his abandoned guns as soon as we began to retire, and poured a severe fire of grape and cannister into our thinned ranks as we slowly retired down the slope and into the valley below. I continued to fall back until I reached a slight depression, a few hundred yards in advance of our line of the morning. Finding that the enemy was not disposed to advance, a line of skirmishers was thrown out, and a little after dark my command moved to the position taken in the morning.

I have not the slightest doubt but that I should have been able to have maintained my position on the heights and secured the captured artillery if there had been a protecting force on my left, or if the brigade on my right had not been forced to retire. We captured over twenty pieces of artillery, which we were compelled to abandon.

Of our sixteen hundred and odd that went into the fight, five hundred and fifty-four were all that answered afterwards — over one thousand men of a small brigade killed, wounded or captured.

I do not recollect an instance in ancient or modern warfare where so small a body of troops, entirely unsupported, as this brigade was, has accomplished so much. Charging through an open field for more than a mile; attacking a superior force posted on a mountain; climbing the side of the mountain; driving the enemy from behind a stone wall; shooting the gunners and capturing the cannon; then, when surrounded, litterally cutting their way out; retiring in good order, preventing the enemy from pursuing them. This Wright's brigade has done, and the few surviving heroes may well be proud of their achievement. Although I knew their character,

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A. R. Wright (1)
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William F. Perry (1)
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