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[56] but, fortunately, have before me an account of the fiery ordeal through which they passed, written by Colonel Bowles, the gallant commander of the Fourth. I give it in his own language, making some unimportant abridgments.

After describing the formation of the line in the open field and in the presence of General Lee, he says: “Soon after entering the woods, my skirmish line encountered the enemy and opened fire. The main line soon came up, and I ordered a charge. The men advanced firing. After going about one hundred yards, we came upon the enemy's advanced line of works, made of logs. Here my men fired about ten rounds, when the enemy ceased firing and advanced upon me. We met them with a counter charge, Major Campbell following with the Forty-seventh. We advanced two hundred yards or more through a hailstorm of lead, and found ourselves on a second line of logs. The Plank road was in view all the time. We had been here but a short time when it became evident that the enemy south of the Plank road had passed our right flank, and a heavy fire from that direction was soon opened. About the same time Lieutenant-Colonel Scruggs came to me and reported that the Forty-seventh had given way, and that the enemy were pressing by my left flank also. I immediately ordered a retreat. The enemy saw it and advanced rapidly, delivering a severe fire. We reached the first line of works referred to above, and my men were quickly reformed, the Forty-seventh taking position on my left. The enemy had reformed also, and were evidently preparing to advance upon us. I resolved to anticipate them, and ordered the Fourth and Forty-seventh to charge. They obeyed with as much gallantry as soldiers ever displayed on the battlefield. The enemy gave way, and we again found ourselves on the advanced line of works. About this time a Federal officer came up the road within a few steps of my right, and was shot from his horse. It proved to be General Wadsworth, of the United States regulars. Soon afterwards the Twentieth Georgia regiment moved up and formed in rear of my right, parallel to the road. It was hardly in position before the enemy, just across the road and in full view, opened a deadly fire upon it and drove it away. By this time my ranks were terribly thinned. The position was evidently untenable, owing to the presence of the enemy upon the right. I therefore ordered a retreat, and fell back to the first line of works. Here I was soon afterwards joined by the Forty-seventh Alabama and the Twentieth Georgia regiments, which had reformed farther to the rear. Shortly afterwards ”

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Wadsworth (1)
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P. D. Bowles (1)
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