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[101] line. But realizing that, if not supported, such a small force would soon be crushed by the overwhelming numbers opposed to it, he threw forward his entire command and engaged the enemy with surpassing valor, Imboden's battery playing at the same time with telling effect.
A fierce and destructive conflict now ensued [says General Beauregard]. The fire was withering on both sides, while the enemy swept our short, thin lines with their numerous artillery, which, according to their official reports, at this time consisted of ten rifled guns and four howitzers. For one hour did these stout-hearted men of the blended commands of Bee, Evans, and Bartow breast an uninterrupted battle-storm, animated surely by something more than the ordinary courage of even the bravest men under fire. It must have been, indeed, the inspiration of the cause, and consciousness of the great stake at issue, which thus nerved and animated one and all to stand unawed and unshrinking in such extremity.

Two brigades of Heintzelman's division, with Ricketts's light battery of six 10-pounder rifled guns, now opened fire on Imboden's command, which had been increased by two rifled pieces from the Washington Artillery, and two guns from Latham's battery.

Evans's eleven companies, Bee's and Bartow's four regiments, two companies of the 11th Mississippi, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Liddell, and six pieces under Imboden and Richardson, were the only forces we had to confront two divisions of four strong brigades, of which seventeen companies were regulars of all arms. Despite this fearful disparity in numbers our troops still maintained their position, constantly breaking and shattering the enemy's ranks. But now came Sherman's and Keyes's brigades of Tyler's division, six thousand strong, adding number to number, and forcing our line at last to give way, though only when ordered to do so by the heroic Bee himself.

Our losses were heavy in officers and men. The 8th Georgia and the 4th Alabama suffered terribly. Colonels Jones and Gardiner were dangerously wounded; and many other noble-hearted patriot soldiers there fell, killed or disabled, under the murderous fire directed against them.

From Generals Johnston's and Beauregard's headquarters, which occupied a central position about half a mile to the rear of Mitchell's Ford, could be distinctly heard the clattering roll of musketry and the incessant din of artillery, bearing witness to the heavy onslaught made upon us on the left. Anxiously, but confidently,

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Imboden (3)
N. G. Evans (2)
Barnard E. Bee (2)
G. T. Beauregard (2)
Bartow (2)
Tyler (1)
Sherman (1)
Ricketts (1)
Edward Richardson (1)
Liddell (1)
Latham (1)
Keyes (1)
D. R. Jones (1)
J. E. Johnston (1)
Heintzelman (1)
Gardiner (1)
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