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[111] Preston's Twenty-eighth Virginia and Kemper's Virginia battery also appeared in time to join the South Carolinians in holding, with hot contention, Howard's brigade, Sykes' battalion of regulars, and the accompanying artillery and cavalry of McDowell's right, but were not strong enough to drive them back. The hour of three in the afternoon had now come, and it was time to strike a last telling blow to decide the fortunes of the day. Providentially for the Confederates, E. Kirby Smith's brigade of 1,700 fresh and rested soldiers, the last of the available reinforcements from the army of the Shenandoah, had reached Manassas Junction, by rail, at midday. They were 6 miles in the rear of the battle, but officers of the general staff were at hand to guide and hurry them to the critical point of the pending contention, the Confederate left of the field. Just as that brigade entered the wood to the left of the Sudley road, a Federal bullet seriously wounded General Smith, and the command devolved upon Col. Arnold Elzey, a most efficient successor, who, guided by Captain Harris of the engineers, marched his brigade to Beauregard's extreme left and then, moving forward, met the Federal advance just coming into the open fields of the Chinn farm, and, aided by Beckham's Virginia battery, poured upon it a destructive fire which held it in check in the forest on the northward slopes toward the turnpike. Just then McDowell made another strenuous effort to turn the Confederate right by sending Keyes' brigade across the turnpike near the stone bridge, and thence southward, under cover of the spurs from the Henry plateau, to a favorable point for attack. Latham's Virginia battery, in position to guard that flank, met this advance with a galling fire, aided by Alburtis' Virginia battery, which Jackson had hastened to his left and supported by broken fragments of troops collected by staff officers. These repulsed this movement, and showed McDowell that it was useless to attempt to turn that flank of Beauregard's army.

Still unwilling to yield the field, McDowell formed from fresh men that came up a new line of battle, formidable in numbers and in length, and crescent in outline, across the Sudley road, on the heights to the north of the turnpike, and throwing forward a strong line of skirmishers, proposed for a third time to assault the Henry plateau; but his intention was quickly thwarted

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