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[Vii.]

near battle-field on Jones' Farm, October 4, 1864.
1 * * * Last Friday we had actually started for the north side of the James, and had crossed the Appomattox, when we were ordered back and sent to the right, as parts of the Fifth and Ninth [412] Yankee corps had advanced and driven our cavalry from the works recently constructed near the Peebles House. We moved out on the Boydton Plank-road, then to the left on the Harman road, and formed line of battle on the road leading from the Harman road to the Jones farm. McGowan and I formed the advance; McGowan being on the left of the road supported by Archer, and I on the right supported by McRae. It was a beautiful sight to see my sharp-shooters deploying in my front at a double-quick and boldly pushing forward. They engaged the enemy, and were sending back prisoners before we had formed the main line of battle. Their performance was witnessed by a great many outside of our brigade, and it elicited numerous compliments. It was very gratifying to me to hear these brave men thus highly complimented. The whole Yankee force gave way before our general advance and were easily driven back to the breast-works thrown up by them at the Pegram House in advance of those at the Peebles. They left the ground strewed with their dead and wounded, while our loss was small. Their dead are now estimated at two hundred and fifty, which, according to the usual calculation, one dead to seven wounded, would make their wounded one thousand seven hundred and fifty. We captured five hundred, all counted and receipted for; and, strange to say, the killed and captured were greater on the right of the road, where the much-laughed-at North Carolinians did the fighting. One of my regiments captured in Jones' cellar one ‘big dog,’ sixty privates and one officer. My right passed beyond some of the Yankees, and when we opened an oblique reverse fire upon them they all ‘skedaddled,’ and in attempting to get from us ran into the cavalry and were captured, many of them surrendering to McGregor's Horse Artillery, so he told me. Hampton got five hundred of this demoralized and panic-stricken crowd. I have never seen Yankees make better time than they did. My entire loss in this engagement was one hundred and eleven.

That night McRae and Archer were withdrawn and joined their division. The plan was for Heth's whole division to move on the ‘Squirrel Level Road’ next morning and attack them in flank, while McGowan and I were to make a feint in front. When Heth's guns were heard next morning, Brander's guns opened an enfilade artillery fire on the advanced works at the Pegram House, and threw the enemy into confusion. My sharp shooters seized upon this opportunity and dashed into their works at a double-quick and captured over two hundred prisoners, including some dozen officers, [413] amongst whom was a colonel. We held this work until dark, and then fell back to our old position through the mud and rain. Heth did not meet with the anticipated success, although his was to have been the main attack. Stockton Heth, his aid, tells me that the enemy had fortified at right angles, and instead of taking them in flank, as was expected, it was like assaulting a work in front. They got only about twenty prisoners. That afternoon the cavalry had a fight on the right, and I suppose it was in this fight that General Dunnovant and Doctor Fontaine were killed. I am truly sorry to hear of the doctor's death; he was such a gallant man, and seemed to be the life of his family. Colonel Barbour, who was wounded by a stray bullet last Friday, just before we advanced, has since died. My aid, Lieutenant Meade, behaved very handsomely. Others than myself noticed him, and I have heard him spoken of in the most complimentary terms for his gallantry. Captain Nicholson took Captain Hale's place, and it was his first active fight under me, and he, too, behaved nobly. I selected him for my inspector-general on account of his face, which I thought was full of character. I was not mistaken, and I am very fond of him. * * *


1 See Southern Historical Society Papers.—History of Lane's North Carolina Brigade, Vol. IX, pages 354-489.

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