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Secured the Key.

The next day the Confederate troops extended the line to the Appomattox river, but not without sharp fighting and some severe losses of men and officers. The lodgment at Howlett's, however, as heretofore described, had secured the key to the situation, and this enabled the Confederates to force back Butler into his entrenchment all along the line, where he was kept closely shut up until the lines were finally evacuated in 1865.

Failure on the part of the Fifteenth Regiment to drive back the enemy at Howlett's and hold that position, as it did, on the evening of the 16th of June, might have worked disastrous consequences to the Confederates the next day, for the position was a strong one, and well fortified. It was flanked by the river, with precipitous banks, and could be guarded by Federal gun-boats, so that it would have been well nigh impregnable if properly defended by brave and adequate forces. Butler could have placed these there in a few hours. McCabe's history and the orders issued by General Lee at the time will throw interesting light on this important transaction.

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