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[174] fire by rank was very effective, as piles of dead were left in front of this company.

William Biggs was a daring and intelligent officer, distinguished on many occasions. As a journalist after the war, he became a fearless champion of the rights of his people.

General Kirkland says that General Johnston, in a speech in Savannah, discussing the discipline in our armies, referred to Biggs' ‘fire by rank’ as the only exception to the irregular fusilade of fire by file which he heard during the war.

General Johnston paid a high compliment to the brigade while the fight was going on. Captain C. A. King, of Hardee's staff, rode up to headquarters with a report from the front, and General Johnston asked, ‘Who is responsible for this heavy firing?’ King replied, ‘The enemy are attacking Kirkland's Brigade.’ Whereupon General Johnston turned to General Hardee, and said, ‘I am glad of it. I would rather they attack Kirkland than any one else.’

On the same day the North Carolina Brigade of Junior Reserves on Kirkland's left and temporarily attached to his command—all boys under eighteen years old—fought heroically, with all the spirit and ardor of youth, and shouting with every volley. The conduct of these youths and their able commanders was greatly praised throughout the army.

Sherman failed to break the Confederate line, and Johnston, finding the immense host concentrated in his front, withdrew to Smithfield without being pursued, and Sherman turned towards Goldsboro for supplies and recuperation. Sherman in his report treats this as a drawn battle—equivalent to admitting a defeat, as his forces outnumbered Johnston's four to one.

Every State in the South and almost the entire North, was represented on the bloody field of Bentonsville. The gallant Kirkland and his surviving followers will always feel proud of the record they made there. With this engagement our conflicts in the field were ended. The retreat began which ended in Johnston's surrender, and the brigade was disbanded at Center Church, Randolph county, North Carolina.

May the blessings of Providence attend every survivor of this devoted band ‘unto his life's end!’

Charles G. Elliott, Late Captain and Assistant Adjutant-General. Norfolk, Va., November, 1895.

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