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[105] 25,000, while we could only oppose them at the beginning with about 8,000. Slowly but surely the heavy column kept on its march, pressing our line back by the weight of numbers, and moving on in the settled purpose of turning our flank, and attacking us in the rear. Gallantly, however, did our army struggle for the right, and, despite of odds, regiment after regiment threw itself in the way, disputing the ground inch by inch, regardless of the fact that its predecessors had been cut to pieces or dispersed. A battery harassing our lines, the Eighth Georgia regiment was ordered to take it, and right well did they do so; but a myriad of Yankees seemed to rise up, who had hitherto been concealed, and pouring in their fire upon our column, it seemed to melt away like snow beneath a summer's sun. Colonel Gardner was here shot down and taken prisoner, but afterwards retaken by our men later in the day.

The Eighth, compelled to retreat with nearly half its number wounded or killed, the attack of the enemy was met by the brigade of General Bee, composed of Mississippians and Alabamians, and one regiment, I think, of Tennesseeans. Later in the day Colonel Bartow was shot near this spot, while leading the Seventh Georgia regiment, commanded by Colonel Gartrell. General Bee's brigade could not withstand the fierce tornado of shot and shell sweeping through its ranks, and slowly retired, fighting bravely all the time. The Fourth Alabama regiment suffered terribly, all of its field officers being shot down, and two (Colonel Jones and Major Scott) left upon the field. Colonel Jones was captured, but afterwards retaken during the rout. Falling back upon the position taken by Hampton's Legion, whose prowess can clearly be shown by the heaps of dead in front of their line, a momentary check was thrown on the enemy's approach.

They had now retreated to the brow of the hill, where the brigade of General Jackson was lying perdu, and this was the most critical point of the day. Fighting for hours under a hot sun, without a drop of water near, the conduct of our men could not be excelled; but human endurance has its bounds, and all seemed about to be lost. Our reserve was yet miles distant from the scene of action, whilst the enemy's reserve kept pressing on. From the knoll near the Lewis House, the two generals had remained anxious spectators of the conflict; but the time had come for action, and plunging their spurs into the quick-footed steeds, away went the generals and their staff into the thickest of the fight, Coming up first to the Alabamians, who were without a field-officer, General Johnston placed the color-bearer by his horse's side and moved on — each and all of the staff, with the generals, viewing with each other in words of encouragement to the men to come on. And well-timed was this movement.

Already our line upon the hill-top was giving way, but, incited to fresh deeds of heroism by the appearance in their midst of our generals, apparently bringing up reinforcements, they pitched into the fray with redoubled ardor, and from that time yielded not an inch of ground. General Beauregard, riding over to the left, took charge of operations there, displaying his reckless bravery by riding everywhere in the face of the enemy's fire, and having his horse killed beneath him, fortunately escaping uninjured himself. The tide of battle thus checked, away went General Johnston's staff to hurry up the reserves, and assign them to proper positions. They first were met two miles back, covered with dust, and coming at double-quick. On they went, plunging into the midst of the fray, and the sunshine of certainty did not gleam from beneath the murky clouds until General Kirby Smith arrived with a portion of his division upon the ground. Coming from Winchester, he heard the roar of the battle, and without waiting for orders he at once disembarked his men, Colonel Elzey's brigade, and marched hurriedly to our assistance. Colonel Kershaw's and Colonel Cash's regiments arrived upon the ground at the same moment, and with these, 4,000 men, General Smith promptly took the extreme left and turned the tide of battle.

The enemy had so far turned our flank as to have gotten entirely behind us, and nearly 4,000 were marching up to attack us in the rear; seeing this, General Smith determined to cut them off, and would have done so but for his misfortune in being shot through the neck with a grape-shot just as Colonel Kershaw was within twenty yards of him for the purpose of receiving orders. His plan of cutting them off was, consequently, not carried out, and they were enabled to join the main body, hotly pursued by our men. General Jackson's brigade had been lying for hours sustaining with unflinching courage a most terrific fire. The general had his horse shot under him, and a finger of the left hand shot off, but, cool as a cucumber, he still urged his “boys” to be steady, and steady they were, when they charged and butchered the Fire Zouaves and other regiments right and left. The general has a way of holding his head up very straight, and his almost invariable response to any remark, is “Very well,” whilst his chin seems trying to get up towards the top of his head. The writer remembers, in the midst of the fight, to have seen the general rallying his men, while his chin seemed to stick out further, and his “Very wells” seemed to sound more euphoniously than ever; and when the writer wished to pour a little whiskey upon the shattered finger, he was told that it was “of no consequence,” and away went the general, with a battery following him, to take position in some advantageous spot. If any one was ever entitled to a sobriquet, the general certainly deserved that of cool.

It is worthy of mention, that in all the vicissitudes


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