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[55] by accident after the war, informed me that a number of his wounded were left on the field in the morning, and were borne back after the ground was recovered, and that they all concurred in the statement that six or seven lines of battle had advanced over them, and had been rolled back by a single line of Alabamians. It is possible that the peril of their situation acting upon their imagination magnified the number.

The conduct of the officers and men had been above all praise; but fortune had been very lavish in her favors to us. It was fortunate that the nature of the ground was such that we burst like a thunderclap upon the enemy and turned them into flight, before they had time to inflict any injury, or to see that there were no supporting lines behind us. It was fortunate that the success of Colonel Oates had been so complete in his movement on the extreme left of the enemy; and that the regiments had moved forward in diverging lines, thus extending our front so as to equal that of the opposing force. It was fortunate that, in ascending the hill beyond the swamp, the men had been screened, to a considerable degree, from the enemy's fire by the nature of the ground; and, finally, that the Fifteenth regiment had arrived on the left at the crisis of the engagement, and delivered its decisive blow.

I have been somewhat minute in my account of what the left regiments of my brigade did that morning, because no one else, who had a right to speak, witnessed it; or, so far as I am aware, has ever heard of it to this day. The only accounts I have seen of the battle on the left of the Plank road conveyed the impression that the attacks of Gregg and Benning left little or nothing for Law's brigade to do but to march up and occupy the ground which had been won. No one is to blame for this, for no one knew any better. Those two able men and brave officers were my comrades in arms and my personal friends. They are both sleeping in the tomb, one of them a martyr to the lost cause. I would be among the last on earth to “abate the tithe of a hair” from their merited honor. With their gallant comrades, they accomplished everything that was possible, and still, for the reason that their lines were too short, left untouched and unshaken the greater part of the dense masses that were pressing steadily forward, some of which, themselves unseen, would in a few minutes have been in point blank range of General Lee and “Traveler.”

But I seem to have forgotten the noble old Fourth and its younger companion, the Forty-seventh. I did not see them during the engagement,

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William C. Oates (1)
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H. L. Benning (1)
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