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[482]

Lieutenant-General Hardee directed me to make my position as strong as possible, and told me that he relied upon our brigade to hold the right of his line. The men climbed up the small trees, bent them over, and, using pocket-knives to cut across the trunks, succeeded in a half hour in making a first-rate abatis of little trees, interlaced thickly, and held by half their thickness to the stumps. Along my line I brought up rails and logs from the rear, and made a tolerable breastwork. As we were bent-back to cover the right of the corps, the direction of my line exposed us to an enfilade from the other side of the railroad cut, and to protect my companies against this I built traverses of logs on the left of my left companies. These proved our salvation. Rapid firing began in my front about 4 o'clock, and in a half hour my skirmishers came in, closely followed by the assaulting line of the enemy. The assault seemed directed mainly against the positions on the right and left of the railroad, and only reached to the centre of the Twenty-fourth. It was handsomely repulsed—Major D. F. Hill directing the fire of the companies on the left with splendid effect.

Again, at 5 1/2 o'clock, the enemy moved forward along the entire front of the Twenty-fourth. I fired by rank, and rapidly, and the movement was checked. But on the west side of the railroad the firing was heavy and the fighting continuous, and I soon saw that the position on that side had been carried—the enemy occupying the works.

Unfortunately the battalion of sharp-shooters was retired just at this moment, without orders from brigade headquarters, and the enemy promptly moved up on our side and occupied Whitley's works, and fired wildly over my left, now protected by my traverses. During this fire Hill was killed, and many of our men wounded.

An assault being made from the front, Companies B, Lieutenant Easterling, G, Lieutenant Beckham, and K, Lieutenant Siegler, were driven from my left, after a gallant stand. Beckham being nearest me, I ordered him to rally his company at once and retake his place before it would be too late. He responded with his usual gallantry, and, assisted by yourself and my Adjutant, Lieutenant Holmes, I rallied my men and we retook our position-occupying the traverses on the left.

For the gallant assistance offered by yourself and by Lieutenants Holmes, Beckham and Easterling in effecting this I feel myself greatly indebted.

Seeing the urgent necessity of driving the enemy from the position


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R. F. Beckham (3)
Holmes (2)
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Easterling (2)
Whitley (1)
Siegler (1)
W. J. Hardee (1)
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