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[337] J. V. B. Girardey's Georgia Brigade, on the north side of James river, in front of Richmond; returned to Petersburg, on the south side, and on the 21st of August fought the battle of the Weldon Railroad, where the writer was severely wounded, left for dead on the battlefield, and taken North, without his consent, to spend the winter. From the 30th of July to the 21st of August, 1864, Harris' Mississippi Brigade lost 14 killed, 103 wounded, and 131 missing in battles around Petersburg. During this time Lieutenant-Colonel S. B. Thomas, than whom a braver or truer soldier never existed, commanded the bloody 12th Regiment. I cannot speak of the operations of our command after that time, having, as I said before, been wounded and taken prisoner.

A historian of the war, however, by no means partial to the troops hailing from the cotton States, in narrating the events that occurred in the last desperate struggle before Petersburg, says:

‘Receiving no assistance from its twin brother (Fort Alexander) Fort Gregg, manned by Harris' Mississippi Brigade, numbering 250 men, breasted intrepidly the tide of its multitudinous assailants. Five times Gibson's Corps surged up and around the work—five times with dreadful carnage they were driven back. I am told that it was subsequently admitted by General Gibson that in carrying Fort Gregg he lost from 500 to 600 men; or, in other words, that each Mississippian inside the works struck down at least two assailants. When at last the work was carried, there remained out of its 250 defenders but thirty survivors. In these nine memorable days there was no episode more glorious to the Confederate arms than the heroic self-immolation of the Mississippians, in Fort Gregg, to gain time for their comrades.’

On the 16th day of April, 1865, after I was exchanged, under directions of President Davis, I gathered together a number of old veteran soldiers belonging to our brigade, at Greensboro, N. C., who were absent on furlough at the time of the battles before Petersburg, and were returning to their respective commands, and formed them into a company, as the President's mounted escort, accompanying him and his cabinet as far south as Washington, Ga., where we were dismissed on the 4th of May, 1865.

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