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[77] Longstreet on the left and rear of Fort Magruder. . . . In a short time Major-General Hill arrived, and, having ascertained that the enemy had a battery in front of us, he informed me that he wished me to attack and capture the battery with my brigade, but before doing so he must see General Longstreet on the subject. . . . General Hill being on the right and accompanying the brigade, I placed myself on the left with the Twenty-fourth Virginia Regiment for the purpose of directing its movements, as I was satisfied from the sound of the enemy's gun that this regiment would come directly on the battery. . . . In an open field, in view of Fort Magruder, at the end farthest from the fort, the enemy had taken position with a battery of six pieces. . . . supported by a brigade of infantry under the command of Brigadier-General Hancock. In this field were two or three redoubts, previously built by our troops, of one, at least, of which the enemy had possession, his artillery being posted in front of it, near some farmhouses, and supported by a body of infantry, the balance of the infantry being in the redoubt, and in the edge of the woods close by. The Twenty-fourth Virginia Regiment, as I had anticipated, came directly upon the battery. . . . This regiment, without pausing or wavering, charged upon the enemy under a heavy fire, and drove back his guns and the infantry supporting them to the cover of the redoubt. . . . I sent orders to the other regiments to advance; these orders were anticipated by Colonel McRae of the Fifth North Carolina Regiment, who was on the extreme right of my brigade, and marched down to the support of the Twenty-fourth, traversing the whole front that should have been occupied by the other two regiments.


General Early, having received a severe wound soon after the Twentyfourth Virginia Regiment charged the battery, was compelled by exhaustion from loss of blood and intense pain to leave the field just as the Fifth North Carolina Regiment, led by its gallant colonel, charged on the enemy's artillery and infantry. Of that charge General Early writes:

This North Carolina Regiment, in conjunction with the Twenty-fourth Virginia Regiment, made an attack upon the vastly superior forces of the enemy, which for its gallantry is unsurpassed in the annals of warfare: their conduct was such as to elicit from the enemy himself the highest praise.

This refers to the chivalric remark made by General Hancock to Dr. Cullen, left in charge of our wounded, viz., ‘The Fifth North Carolina and Twenty-fourth Virginia deserve to have the word immortal inscribed on their banners.’ Colonel McRae, who succeeded to the command after General Early retired, states in his report that he sent to General Hill for reenforcements in order to advance, and in reply received an order to retire; that his men were holding the enemy to his shelter in such way that they were not at all suffering, but when he commenced retiring, the enemy rose and fired upon his men, doing the greatest damage that was done. Some of them obliqued too far to the right in going back, and met a regiment of the enemy concealed in the woods, and were thus captured. General Early writes: ‘The two regiments that united in the assault were not repulsed at all. They drove ’

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J. A. Early (4)
D. H. Hill (3)
McRae (2)
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James Longstreet (1)
Cullen (1)
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