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[115] was already driving the enemy before them, and when it does emerge 'tis far away to the right, and in rear of Longstreet's left.

Thus, as it leaves the woods, the Twenty-fourth Virginia, alone and unsupported, with both flanks in the air, finds itself confronted by ten guns, defended by five regiments of infantry, with a strong redoubt in their rear. Clinging instinctively to the timber, bordering the field on its left flank, so as to mask its weakness as well as might be, and opening out its files to cover the foe's broad front, these fearless mountaineers break at once into the double and charge with a wild cheer that thrills through every heart. At once they are heavily engaged. In opening their files several of the largest companies on the right became detached, and mistaking a redoubt held by Colonel Bratton for the objective point, rushed towards it. But the remainder go straight on, and the brunt of the affair falls upon the left wing, led by the writer, they being closest to and moving directly upon the foe, and receiving the fire both from front and flank. The advanced force delivered steady volleys at most uncumfortably short range, but soon give way, retreating towards the redoubt. As they retire, the guns, which have already been hurried back, again open; and these Virginians, but a portion of the Twenty-fourth Regiment, weary and breathless, already shattered by shot and shell, receive Hancock's whole fire of musketry, shell, grape and canister, as, pressing over the field with undaunted courage, they approach nearer and nearer the foe. None halt or hesitate, but all rush forward with a vigor hardly to be paralleled, and now with a silence that would do honor to the first veterans on record, though to many 'tis their first fight. A spirit of death or victory animates every bosom; and mindful of Early's advice, each one anxious to be the first at these guns, they still press on, not so quickly, perhaps, as they would have done had they not been exhausted by their run through field and forest, but still without delay, and the enemy all the while gives way before them, though some of his regiments tarry longer than others.

The leaden hail was fearful; it poured in from front and either flank, and for the first time was heard the barbarous explosive bullet which the Yankees introduced and used. The artillery, too, was well served, and soon both grape and canister were cutting through the wheat with a terribly suggestive sound, carrying down many a brave spirit, and men and officers fell dead and wounded on every side. Yet the advance is maintained; down a slope first, and up again on the further side—still on and on. The regiment soon finds

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Virginians (1)
James Longstreet (1)
Winfield Scott Hancock (1)
Jubal Anderson Early (1)
J. R. Bratton (1)
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