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[363] shall hereafter reply more particularly to this complaint, but at present will notice other portions of the narrative.

After some explanations of his position with reference to certain redoubts to the left of our line on that day, Colonel Bratton says:

The enemy, however, did not advance on me; but late in the evening our friends did — Early's brigade charged my works from the left and rear. Nobody, either officer or scout, had come to the front to reconnoitre, and they did not even know where the enemy were. They charged me (two regiments of them) across the line of the enemy, one regiment against each of the works that my troops occupied. I did not know that they were near until they emerged from the wood on the charge, and seeing their mistake I rushed out to stop them and change their direction before they were exposed to the fire of the enemy; but they would not heed, and on they went until they reached my redoubt, when they for the first time learned where the enemy were. Two of Early's regiments were stopped in the wood and proper direction given to them (the Twenty-fourth Virginia and Hoke's North Carolina regiment). The two that charged my works were the Fifth North Carolina and a Virginia regiment commanded by a Lieutenant-Colonel Early--a brother, I was told, of the General. The Fifth North Carolina charged across the entire front of the enemy to the redoubt occupied by my two companies, and on finding it already ours, with scarce a halt, changed direction and advanced most handsomely against the enemy (my two companies joining them in the charge) to within, I think, at least fifty yards of the enemy's line, when they encountered a small fence, partly torn down by the enemy, and unfortunately halted and commenced firing.

Now it is utterly impossible that this statement can be accurate — nay, it would be difficult to find an equal amount of error in a like compass — and however well intended the narrative may have been, its inaccuracy renders it valueless as a historical paper.

First. There was never a moment during the whole encounter when the Fifth North Carolina regiment was in position to “charge across the line of the enemy,” or to “charge across the entire front of the enemy to the redoubt occupied by ‘Colonel Bratton's’ two companies.” No moment of time occurred when any portion of the enemy was, or could have been, on the flank of that regiment. It was face to face with his line of battle long before it came within reach of his small guns, and it so remained until it retreated under the order of General Hill, and it several times turned and delivered fire and received that of the enemy while retiring. No such charge “across the entire front of the enemy” was made — no such “change of direction” as that described occurred; and no such demonstration

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J. A. Early (3)
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