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[61] resolved, without regard to orders, to make the movement before contemplated. I found Colonel Oates with his two regiments facing the enemy, and protected by a pile of logs. His line was nearly at right angles to that of General Perry, who, I was surprised to see, had not changed his front. His left was projecting toward the enemy, a hundred yards or more beyond Colonel Oates. The skirmishers were already firing. There was a gap between Colonel Oates' right and General Perry's line. This was hastily filled with the Fourth Alabama, now hardly one hundred strong, and the other two regiments were hurried to the left of the Forty-eighth. The position was a strong one. I had no fear in regard to an attack in front, but felt sure that the line was too short to meet the advancing force. Captain L. R. Terrell was sent in haste to General Lee to explain the situation and ask for help, and I hastened to General Perry to induce him to change his front, so as to bring his brigade in alignment with mine. This would have doubled the front presented to the enemy, and extended me far enough to the left to give my flank the protection of the swamp, which has been frequently mentioned. It would probably have thrown one battalion across and down it, so as to deliver a flank fire upon the enemy as they advanced upon our front. General Perry readily consented. Five minutes time was sufficient for the movement, but even that was denied us. Before the movement could be begun, the storm burst upon us with the greatest fury. The part of the Florida brigade which projected to the front, melted away, the men falling in promiscuously with mine. The fire of the enemy was returned with the greatest spirit, and the soldiers exhibited a sort of exultant confidence — a feeling which I was far from sharing with them. They seemed anxious to charge the enemy. An advance movement was actually begun without orders at one time by the Fifteenth, and at another, I believe, by the Forty-fourth. Captain Terrell returned with the tidings that reinforcements would soon arrive; but would they be in time? The ammunition of the men began to be exhausted. The direction of the firing to the left indicated that my worst apprehensions were likely to be soon realized. I hastened thither, and arrived in time to find the Forty-seventh doubling back and the enemy pouring round its flank. I endeavored to steady and reform it with its front so changed as to, face them, but they were too near at hand and their momentum was too great. Nothing was left us but an inglorious retreat, executed in the shortest possible time and without regard to order.

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W. F. Perry (4)
William C. Oates (3)
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