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[458] posted in the railroad cut. Colonel McElroy joined in the charge with his regiment and it was most gallantly executed, the Fifty-seventh leading and the others supporting. The enemy poured a severe fire upon them for a while from which the Fifty-seventh especially suffered severe loss, but the advance was unchecked and the Federals not liking the prospect of close quarters soon abandond their position and retreated across the field towards their batteries.

The whole object of the charge was accomplished when the railroad cut was regained, and to pursue it farther was an unnecessary expenditure of blood, but the Confederate officers had not learned at that time the necessity of economizing their men, and the men, in this case, were fighting their first battle with an ardent emulation of their veteran comrades who were spectators of the charge. Without halting at the railroad cut, whence the enemy had retreated, they pushed boldly across the level plain and pursued him within three hundred yards of his guns, along the line of the Bowling Green road. During this advance, a force of the enemy opened an oblique fire upon it from the ravine of Deep Run, but the Fifty-fourth and a portion of the Fifty-seventh changed front to the left, and soon silenced them. The Fourth Alabama also advanced in front of Latimer's guns at this time to support the charge, but was not engaged. Having more than accomplished his object, General Law at length withdrew his small force to the railroad, which position was afterwards held unmolested by various parts of Hood's division, until the enemy recrossed the river.1

As the conflict on Saturday had been continued with such pertinacity until restrained by night, its renewal was confidently expected on the morning of the 14th, and it seems that it was indeed only averted by the urgent entreaties of General Sumner, and after a column of assault had been already formed.2 Disgusted at the failure to carry the position, General Burnside had determined to undertake the business himself, and was about to lead in person the Ninth corps, formed in a close column by regiments. It would certainly have been an interesting tactical experiment to have tried the effect of thirty-six lines, where the usual formation of three lines had so signally failed; but there is

1 In this charge the Fifty-seventh North Carolina lost one hundred and twenty-four men and the Fifty-fourth North Carolina lost forty-seven. The Sixteenth North Carolina, of Pender's brigade, lost fifty-four killed and wounded in the whole affair. Private V. S. Smith, of the Fourth Alabama, an acting officer on General Law's staff, and a most excellent soldier, was killed, and General Law had his horse killed under him.

2 Swinton. Army of Potomac, p. 253.

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