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[125] Before the brigade proper could become engaged we were ordered back to the Plank road to the support of Heth's division. On reaching that point, the other brigades of our division (Wilcox's) having already been put into action, General Wilcox ordered us to the right of the road. As the brigade was filing into the woods the enemy's sharpshooters advanced on the left flank and opened fire. I at once ordered Colonel Barbour to deploy his, the Thirty-seventh North Carolina regiment, to the left and parallel to the road to protect our flank. While giving these instructions the rest of the brigade was halted in rear of Scales's by Major Palmer of General A. P. Hill's staff. I was soon after informed by General Hill in person that a part of Scales's brigade had given way, and I was ordered to move forward and re-establish the line, letting my left rest on McGowan's right. After cautioning the Seventh, the left regiment, to be careful not to fire into McGowan, the order for the advance was given, when the brigade, its left being about one hundred yards from the Plank road, moved handsomely forward with their usual battle yell. The advance was necessarily slow, as we had to move through a swamp filled with dense undergrowth and dead fallen trees.

The Thirty-eighth North Carolina regiment of Scales's brigade, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Ashford, took position in our line between the Eighteenth and Twenty-eighth regiments on the right, and assisted us in driving the enemy back and out of the swamp. Our corps of sharpshooters fought on the right with the Eighteenth regiment.

The enemy, reinforced, flanked us on the right, and on attempting to get in our rear, Colonel Barry broke back two of his companies and was soon afterwards forced to change the entire front of his regiment to meet the enemy in that direction. The enemy pressed this regiment so heavily that he was compelled to retire at dark. While these movements were going on, on the right, the Seventh regiment, which was on the left and under the impression that McGowan was in front — none of us at that time were aware that McGowan had withdrawn under orders from Generall Wilcox — reserved its fire and pressed forward to within seventy-five yards of the enemy, who were massed in strong force on the high ground beyond the swamp. Here a terrible fire was opened upon it, and when it had become hotly engaged, the enemy, under cover of the darkness and dense smoke which had settled in the swamp, threw out a column on our left flank. When this column had gotten within a few paces of the Seventh, it demanded its surrender, and at the same time fired a destructive volley into it, which caused its left flank to fall back in considerable disorder. This exposed condition

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McGowan (4)
C. M. Wilcox (3)
Alfred M. Scales (3)
A. P. Hill (2)
William H. Palmer (1)
Heth (1)
Jonathan H. Barry (1)
William M. Barbour (1)
F. A. Ashford (1)
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