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[438] right; General Lee met the brigade and rode at its head until under fire, when a round shot passed so near to him that the soldiers invoked him to go back; when he said, ‘If you will promise me to drive those people from our works, I will go back,’ the brigade shouted the promise, and Colonel Venable says:
As the column of Mississippians came up at a double quick an aide-de-camp came up to General Rodes with a message from Ramseur that he could hold out only a few minutes longer unless assistance was at hand. Your brigade was thrown instantly into the fight, the column being formed into line under a tremendous fire and on very difficult ground. Never did a brigade go into fiercer battle under greater trials; never did a brigade do its duty more nobly.1

A portion of the attacking force swept along Johnson's line to Wilcox's left, and was checked by a prompt movement on that flank. Several brigades sent to Ewell's assistance were carried into action under his orders, and they all suffered severely. Subsequently, on the same day, some brigades were thrown to the front for the purpose of moving to the left and attacking the flank of the column which broke Ewell's line, to relieve the pressure on him, and recover the part of the line which had been lost. These, as they moved, soon encountered the Ninth Corps, under Burnside, advancing to the attack. They captured over three hundred prisoners and three battle flags, and their attack on the enemy's flank, taking him by surprise, contributed materially to his repulse.

Taylor, in his Four Years with General Lee, says that Lee, having detected the weakness of the ‘salient’ occupied by the division of General Edward Johnson, of Ewell's corps, directed a second line to be constructed across its base, to which he proposed to move the troops occupying the angle. Suspecting another flank movement by Grant before these arrangements were quite completed, he ordered most of the artillery at this portion of the lines to be withdrawn so as to be available. Toward dawn on the 12th, Johnson, discovering indications of an impending assault, ordered the immediate return of the artillery, and made other preparations for defense. But the unfortunate withdrawal was so partially and tardily restored that a spirited assault at daybreak overran that portion of the lines before the artillery was put in position, and captured most of the division, including its brave commander.

The above-mentioned attacking column advanced, under cover of a pine thicket, to within a very short distance of a salient defended by Walker's brigade. A heavy fire of musketry and artillery, from a

1 Letter from Colonel C. S. Venable, Southern Historical Society Papers, Vol VIII, p. 106, March, 1880.

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