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[455] fire of the thousands of muskets which they so dauntlessly confronted under the immediate leadership of Bee himself. Its brave colonel, E. J. Jones, was dangerously wounded, and many gallant officers fell, slain or hors de combat.

Now, however, with the surging mass of over fourteen thousand Federal infantry pressing on their front, and under the incessant fire of at least twenty pieces of artillery, with the fresh brigades of Sherman and Keyes approaching, the latter already in musket range, our lines gave back, but under orders from General Bee.

The enemy, maintaining their fire, pressed their swelling masses onward as our shattered battalions retired; the slaughter, for the moment, was deplorable, and has filled many a Southern home with life-long sorrow.

Under this inexorable stress the retreat was continued, until arrested by the energy and resolution of General Bee, supported by Bartow and Evans, just in rear of the Robinson house and Hampton's Legion, which had been already advanced, and was in position near it.

Imboden's battery, which had been handled with marked skill, but whose men were almost exhausted, and the two pieces of Walton's battery, under Lieutenant Richardson, being threatened by the enemy's infantry on the left and front, were also obliged to fall back; Imboden, leaving a disabled piece on the ground, retired until he met Jackson's brigade, while Richardson joined the main body of his battery near the Lewis house.

As our infantry retired from the extreme front, the two 6-pounders of Latham's battery, before mentioned, fell back with excellent judgment to suitable positions in the rear, whence an effective fire was maintained upon the still advancing lines of the Federalists, with damaging effect, until their ammunition was nearly exhausted, when they, too, were withdrawn in the near presence of the enemy and rejoined their captain.

From the point previously indicated, where General Johnston and myself had established our headquarters, we heard the continuous roll of musketry and the sustained din of the artillery, which announced the serious outburst of the battle on our left flank; and we anxiously, but confidently, awaited similar sounds of conflict from our front at Centreville, resulting from the prescribed attack in that quarter by our right wing.

At half-past 10 A. M., however, this expectation was dissipated by a despatch from Brigadier-General Ewell, informing me, to my profound disappointment, that my orders for his advance had miscarried; but that, in consequence of a communication from General D. R. Jones, he had just thrown his brigade across the stream at Union Mills. But, in my judgment, it was now too late for the effective execution of the contemplated movement, which must have required quite three hours for the troops to get into position for the attack. Therefore it became immediately necessary to depend on new combinations and other dispositions suited to the now pressing exigency. The movement of the right and centre, already begun by Jones and Longstreet, was at once countermanded, with the sanction of General Johnston, and we arranged to meet the enemy on the field upon which he had chosen to give us battle. Under these circumstances, our reserves not already in movement were immediately ordered up to support

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Barnard E. Bee (3)
Edward Richardson (2)
D. R. Jones (2)
Joseph E. Johnston (2)
Imboden (2)
James B. Walton (1)
Sherman (1)
James Longstreet (1)
Latham (1)
Keyes (1)
E. J. Jones (1)
R. S. Ewell (1)
N. G. Evans (1)
Bartow (1)
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