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[113] and prepare to load. Thus formed, the line from left to right is: The Twenty-fourth Virginia, Colonel Terry commanding, the writer the major; the Thirty-eighth Virginia, Lieutenant-Colonel Whittle; the Twenty-third North Carolina, Colonel Hoke, and the Fifth North Carolina, Colonel McRae.

The rest of the division, with the Second Richmond Howitzers, were also there to support and assist.

Hill will lead the two North Carolina Regiments on the right and Early the two Virginians on the left. So he, with his staff, takes position in front of his own old regiment, the Twenty-fourth, and its field officers, all mounted, do likewise. The orders are given to load and the guns are loaded, and then ‘Fix bayonets,’ and the bayonets are fixed. Early makes a little address before we start. He says we are to capture a battery ‘over there,’ pointing to the woods in front, and then gravely adds ‘that the safest place after getting under fire will be at the guns themselves, and so I advise you to get there as quickly as you can.’ Expectation is on tiptoe, and many a gallant heart in generous emulation resolves to be the very first to touch those coveted guns. With only these few words of pause to form, load and gain a little breath, the order ‘Forward’ is given and the line moves on.

The General did not know the exact position of the point of attack, and the line of advance was oblique when it should have been direct. The disposition of the supports was equally faulty and they gave no aid, for lack of which the assault failed. As there were no skirmishers advanced, and from Early's address before we started it was understood that we were then right upon the enemy; that the battery we were to take was just beyond the road, and that in a minute or two we would be under fire and fall upon the foe.

With this impression it was difficult to restrain the Twenty-fourth from a wild, impetuous dash at the start, and as it was, General Hill says, they got upon the field too soon and made the attack before he was ready, but nevertheless, they moved off steadily well in line, and with quickening step entered the woods in front. Here the miry ground, tangled underbrush and briars and fallen timber somewhat impaired the alignment which increasing excitement, rising higher every moment which we thought would bring us into action, rendered it still more difficult for the officers to correct. The Twenty-fourth, however, kept well together and continued to move rapidly on, but others to their right were not so quick and here began

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Yorktown D. H. Hill (2)
Jubal Anderson Early (2)
W. C. Whittle (1)
W. R. Terry (1)
Duncan McRae (1)
Hoke (1)
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