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[355] admiration of a large group of general officers who witnessed the gallant dash. One of them remarked that it was the handsomest thing of the kind he had seen during the war.

My line was formed just beyond a stream of water, and the ground in front, particularly on the right, was rising, and served, somewhat, to shelter my men. I put the Thirty-third regiment on the right, as I feared a flank movement in that direction, and I had unbounded confidence in the bravery, coolness, and judgment of its Colonel, R. V. Cowan. I made known my fears to Cowan and instructed him, should such a movement be attempted, to manceuvre his regiment at once to meet it and not to await orders from me. Not long after leaving him, and a short time before the general advance, there was heard a volley and a shout on the right. A large body of the enemy had formed perpendicular to Wooten's line of skirmishers, under the impression, I suppose, that it was my line of battle, and were advancing rapidly. But Cowan was on the alert, his men were brought to attention, and when the Yankee line was nearly opposite his colors, he moved his command to the top of the hill, and with a well directed, converging, flank fire, broke the whole line and sent them back in great disorder into the hands of our cavalry, which had been posted still further to the right.

We encountered the main body of the enemy at the Jones House, and after a short but obstinate resistance, drove them back, in the greatest confusion, to the Pegram House. I never saw a richer battle field, as oil-cloths, blankets, knapsacks and the like, were scattered in every direction by the retreating foe; some of whom in their flight actually cut their knapsacks from their shoulders, as evidenced by the appearance of the straps.

In passing through the garden I had occasion to order forward a man who had stopped to plunder, when a real soldier arose from one of the walks to my left and said that he was neither a plunderer nor skulker, but was there with his brother who had just been wounded. I went to him, and finding that his brother had been shot through the head, was unconscious and was dying, I replied, you know the orders — the ambulance corps is detailed to take care of all such cases — but as I know what it is to lose a brother under similar circumstances I cannot order you forward. I passed on, and when about to enter the woods beyond the garden, this brave fellow overtook me and remarked, “Here I am, General, I have thought over what you said and I am going to the front.” He did go quickly forward, and I soon lost sight of him, as my presence was required on the right, where my flank was again

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R. V. Cowan (3)
F. M. Wooten (1)
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