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August 28th

Marched with the army to old Manassas battle-ground, and thence to near Page-land, where, at sunset, the advance columns of General Pope's army were attacked by Jackson's and Ewell's divisions--General A. P. Hill being near Sudley's mills.

My brigade occupied the left wing of our attacking force--General Lawton's brigade on my right, General Jackson's division on the extreme right. General Early's brigade, not engaged that night, as the enemy had not advanced to his front, was a fourth of a mile to my left, and somewhat in the rear.

On the order of General Jackson to advance, my brigade moved forward in beautiful order in line of battle, across an open field, soon met the fire of the enemy, and returned it briskly, but not effectively, as the opposing force was under the brow of the plain. It soon grew dark, and the contest was fiercely maintained for an hour by both forces, with severe loss on both sides. About 8 o'clock a charge was ordered, when the Twenty-first Georgia, Major Hooper, and Twenty-first North Carolina, Lieutenant-Colonel Fulton, gallantly advanced in the face of a terrific fire of musketry--Colonel Fulton taking his flag and displaying most conspicuous bravery. The fire was the more fatal from.the circumstance that the Fifteenth Alabama, being in a skirt of wood, did not advance — not hearing the order. This exposed the two regiments to a front and cross fire from the enemy, who outflanked them, and whose position under the hill enabled them to see the forms of our men against the sky. They rose up when our line was within thirty steps, and delivered a most deadly fire, in which Colonel Fulton was mortally wounded.

The two regiments held their ground most resolutely, until ordered to fall back to the fence, forty steps in the rear, where they continued until evening, retiring across the turnpike, three-fourths of a mile.

The Fifteenth Alabama, in advancing to the front, passed through a skirt of woods and halted at the fence bordering an open field, in which troops were seen. A doubt was expressed whether they were our own or the enemy's — many voices cried out, “Don't fire on our own men” ; others said, “They are Yankees.” In this uncertainty, [308] certainty, only one company on the left opened its fire, and continued it doubtingly at intervals. Unfortunately, Captain Feagan, who was on the right, believed them to be our men, and took no prompt means to discover their character, and thus lost the opportunity of delivering a destructive fire upon them.

The Twelfth Georgia advanced to the fence, opened fire rapidly against a force in front, receiving a galling fire in return, and held their ground until the close of the action. Neither the Twelfth Georgia nor Fifteenth Alabama heard the command to charge.

The left of the brigade was exposed during the whole action to the rapid discharge of a small piece of ordinance, or 6-pounder lightly charged, throwing balls and slugs and case shot, which, if well aimed, would have swept our men from the field — but the hail of projectiles passed mostly above us, like blasts of a hurricane.

I cannot refrain from the remark, that I have never known so terrible a fire as raged for over an hour on both sides. The dead and wounded bore next morning melancholy evidence of its severity. The Twenty-first Georgia had that afternoon called the rolls in my presence, and found two hundred and forty-two men in ranks; the next day, at noon, but sixty-nine men could be found for duty. The same fearful proportion was lost by the Twenty-first North Carolina. But three captains in both regiments escaped death or wounds. In this action General Ewell was wounded.

I cannot omit to mention here the truly gallant and heroic bearing of Lieutenant-Colonel Fulton in this as in former engagements. He fell in the desperate charge mortally wounded, and died the same night, requesting in his last moments that the Confederate flag he had himself borne should be displayed before his failing sight.

The Confederate States army had no braver officer or kinder hearted gentleman. His State should cherish his memory, and tell her sons in all time to emulate his patriotic virtues.

The Twenty-first Georgia and Twenty-first North Carolina regiments, or the shattered fragments left unhurt, were left next day to bury their dead.

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