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[149]

After the return of the army to Virginia the three Florida regiments were assigned to a distinct brigade and put under the command of Col. E. A. Perry, promoted to brigadier-general. The brigade remained in Anderson's division, in Longstreet's corps until after Chancellorsville, and then in A. P. Hill's corps. The Florida brigade during the remainder of the war achieved a reputation for gallantry second to none in the glorious army led by Robert E. Lee. At Fredericksburg December 11, 1862, the Eighth regiment, under Capt. David Lang, went to the support of the two Mississippi regiments at the river, where the Federals were endeavoring to lay their bridges, and, as General McLaws reported, β€˜it acted gallantly and did good service.’ For a long time this little band of heroes under Barksdale prevented the crossing of the river, despite the terrible fire of musketry and artillery with which the enemy endeavored to sweep them away. Toward noon Captain Lang was severely wounded and Capt. Thomas R. Love took command, and the position was maintained until they were ordered back at 4 p. m. A detachment of three companies under Captain Baya fought in a very exposed position, and he, Lieut. H. C. Simmons and 20 men were captured. The companies under Captain Lang lost 7 killed and 24 wounded. The remainder of the brigade was not actively engaged. During the early part of the brief and decisive Chancellorsville campaign Perry's brigade was on duty near Fredericksburg, and on May 1st and 2d engaged in exhausting marching and skirmishing, joining the remainder of the division in time to march to the Furnace at daylight on May 3d. They took a gallant part in the fighting of the 3d and 4th, and General Anderson in his report paid a special tribute to β€˜Brigadier-General Perry and his heroic little band of Floridians, who showed a courage as intrepid as that of any others in their assault upon the enemy in his intrenchments on the 3d, and in their subsequent advance upon Chancellorsville.’

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