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[443] Virginia Volunteers; this was done under a heavy fire of musketry, with promising steadiness. The 7th Virginia, under Lieutenant-Colonel Williams, was then formed to the right, also under heavy fire, and pushed forward to the stream, relieving the 1st regiment Virginia Volunteers. At the same time two rifled guns, brought up with Early's brigade, were moved down in the field to the right of the road, so as to be concealed from the enemy's artillery by the girth of timber on the immediate bank of the stream, and then opened fire, directed only by the sound of the enemy's musketry. Unable to effect a passage, the enemy kept up a scattering fire for some time. Some of our troops had pushed across the stream, and several small parties of Corse's regiment, under command of Captain Marye, met and drove the enemy with the bayonet, but as the roadway from the ford was too narrow for a combined movement in force, General Longstreet recalled them to the south bank. Meanwhile, the remainder of Early's infantry and artillery had been called up; that is, six companies of the 24th regiment Virginia Volunteers, under Lieutenant-Colonel Hairston, and five pieces of artillery, one rifled gun, and four 6-pounder brass guns, under Lieutenant Garnett, which had been previously sent to the rear of General Longstreet. This infantry was at once placed in position to the left of the ford, in a space unoccupied by Hays, and the artillery was unlimbered in battery to the right of the road, in a line with the two rifled guns already in action. A scattering fire of musketry was still kept up by the enemy for a short time, but that was soon silenced.

It was at this stage of the affair that a remarkable artillery duel was commenced and maintained on our side, with a long-trained, professional opponent, superior in the character as well as in the number of his weapons, provided with improved munitions and every artillery appliance, and at the same time occupying the commanding position. The results were marvellous, and fitting precursors to the artillery achievements of the 21st of July.

In the outset our fire was directed against the enemy's infantry, whose bayonets, gleaming above the tree-tops, alone indicated their presence and force. This drew the attention of a battery placed on a high, commanding ridge, and the duel began in earnest. For a time the aim of the adversary was inaccurate; but this was quickly corrected, and shot fell and shells burst thick and fast in the very midst of our battery, wounding, in the course of the combat, Captain Eschelman, five privates, and the horse of Lieutenant Richardson. From the position of our pieces and the nature of the ground, their aim could only be directed at the smoke of the enemy's artillery; how skilfully and with what execution this was done can only be fully realized by an eye-witness. For a few moments their guns were silenced, but were soon reopened. By direction of General Longstreet, his battery was then advanced by hand out of the range, now ascertained by the enemy, and a shower of shell, case, and round shot flew over the heads of our gunners, but one of our pieces had become hors de combat from an enlarged vent. From the new position, our guns, fired as before, with no other aim than the smoke and flash of their adversaries' pieces, renewed and urged the conflict with such signal vigor and effect, that gradually the fire of the enemy slackened, the intervals between their discharges grew longer and


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James Longstreet (3)
J. A. Early (2)
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