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[86] first saw the enemy, as above described, and a considerable number of the enemy being gathered in knots at short range (about seventy-five yards distant) on our left flank and firing into it, this caused the left of the Sixth Virginia regiment to double back until it had gotten to be twenty-five or thirty ranks deep. At this time General Mahone dashed up on his horse and in a clear shrill voice, which could be heard above the rattle of the muskets, asked, “What regiment is this in this confusion?” Being answered that it was the Sixth Virginia, he exclaimed, “The Sixth Virginia regiment of my brigade — that splendidly drilled regiment — in this condition?” It is needless to tell that the men were in their places as quickly as possible, and promptly moved forward.

The brigade having swung around to the left, we soon had the entire force of the enemy on the south of the plank-road routed, leaving in our hands a large number of dead and wounded, among the latter General Wadsworth, whom I remember seeing lying on the ground as we passed along. I reached the plank-road with the Sixth regiment, where we halted and commenced to re-form on the south side of the road. I saw coming down the plank-road from the west General Longstreet and staff, followed at some little distance by a column of men, which extended as far as I could see, and was moving at a double quick. General Longstreet, when about one hundred yards to our left, left the plank-road with his staff and others, moving diagonally into the woods on the north of the road in our front. He had with him a large and beautiful headquarter flag (which was something new in the army). I was now on the extreme left of the brigade, ordering the sharpshooters to assemble on the left, when I heard someone say, “ Look out, boys, they are coming back! There they come! There they come!” General Mahone was at this time to my right, saying to the men, all of whom as well as General Mahone, thought those in the immediate front were the enemy advancing, “Steady, men, steady! Get in your places! Get in your places!” Suddenly one or two of the regiments to my right opened fire. This firing soon ceased, as the men found out they were firing upon their friends, but not until they had killed General Jenkins, mortally wounded Ben. White,1 of the Twelfth Virginia, and wounded General Longstreet and others severely.

So much time elapsed after the wounding of Longstreet and before General Anderson assumed command, the enemy had time

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James Longstreet (4)
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