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[368] North Carolina in that charge. They were both under my command; they charged simultaneously — the Twenty-fourth against the right of the enemy's line posted in the woods, the Fifth North Carolina against the left and centre in the open field; and both retreated simultaneously, by my order, in obedience to an order from General Hill, sent through my Adjutant, and againt my recommendation.

As to the unfortunate stoppage of the Fifth North Carolina regiment at the fence, and the firing, it will need a detailed statement of the affair to place it in its true light, and it is time that this was done in the interest of history.

In order to a proper apprehension of the situation, the reader must imagine four regiments, constituting Early's brigade, in line of battle, facing east, in the following order, counting from its left: The Twenty-fourth Virginia, Colonel Terry; the Thirty-eighth Virginia, Colonel Whittle; the Twenty-third North Carolina, Colonel John H. Hoke--the Fifth North Carolina being on the right. Fronting the brigade was a strip of wood of about two hundred yards' width; beyond which was a level open field, in shape of a parallelogram, about half a mile wide, running north about a mile and a half to a fort or redoubt, the extreme left of a line of works to the left of Fort Magruder--this last named work being at the skirt of this field and to the southeast of Early's brigade when formed as above described. There were two redoubts between Fort Magruder and the extreme left fort above mentioned. One of these — the nearer to this left redoubt — was advanced out into the field towards the east. In this were the two companies of Colonel Bratton's regiment. The other was to the west and rear of this, on the western skirt of this parallelogram, which ran north and south.

When the brigade was thus in line, General Hill made a short address to the command, informing it that a battery of the enemy was in the front beyond the woods, which was annoying Fort Magruder by a flank fire — and about Fort Magruder the main fighting was going on — and he desired the brigade to attack this battery and capture it, instructing the men to use the bayonet as the most efficacious mode of attack. The brigade was put in motion-thus in line of battle — through this strip of woods, and when near the opening the Twenty-fourth Virginia--with which General Early was-came upon the enemy, who had penetrated to the (our) left of the redoubt then occupied by Colonel Bratton and towards its rear. This regiment engaged the enemy promptly and drove him

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Samuel Early (3)
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