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[224] the road to return to Bethel encountered the Yankees, numbering about ninety, who were entrenched behind a fence in the field, protected by a high bank. Our advance guard fired on them, and in another moment the North Carolinians were dashing over the fence in regular French (not New York) zouave style, firing at them in regular squirrel-hunting style. The Yankees fled for their lives, after firing for about three minutes without effect, leaving behind them three dead and a prisoner. The fellow was a stout, ugly fellow from Troy, N. Y. He said that he had nothing against the South, but somebody must be soldiers, and he thought he had as well enlist. None of our men were hurt.

This bold excursion, under the very guns of the enemy, determined the authorities at Old Point to put a stop to it and clean us out from Bethel. This determination was conveyed to us by persons who came from the neighborhood of the enemy. On Monday morning, about six hundred infantry and two guns, under General Magruder, left the camp and proceeded towards Hampton; but after advancing a mile or two, received information that the Yankees were coming in large force. We then retired, and after reaching camp the guns were placed in battery, and the infantry took their places behind their breastwork. Everybody was cool, and all were anxious to give the invaders a good reception.

About nine o'clock the glittering bayonets of the enemy appeared on the hill opposite, and above them waived the Star Spangled Banner. The moment the head of the column advanced far enough to show one or two companies, the Parrot gun of the Howitzer battery opened on them, throwing a shell right into their midst. Their ranks broke in confusion, and the column, or as much of it as we could see, retreated behind two small houses. From their position a fire was opened on us, which was replied to by our battery, which commanded the route of their approach. Our firing was excellent, and the shells scattered in all directions when they burst. They could hardly approach the guns which they were firing for the shells which came from our battery. Within our encampment fell a perfect hail-storm of cannister shot, bullets and balls. Remarkable to say, not one of our men was killed inside of our encampment. Several horses were slain by the shells and bullets.

Finding that bombardment would not answer, the enemy about eleven o'clock tried to carry the position by assault, but met a terrible repulse at the hands of the infantry as he tried to scale the breastworks. The men disregarded sometimes the defences erected


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John Bankhead Magruder (1)
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