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[165] regiment being bare-footed and absolutely unable to keep up with the rapid march over the rough and rocky roads. For several days the ration-supply for the boys had been roasting-ears, hard-grained at that. At one point in this fight the brigade wavered, and it occured through a mistake, or an order from some one not authorized to give it. While the line was advancing and driving the enemy before it a voice was heard: Cease firing—you are shooting your own men, at the same moment several hands being seen along the line waving as if to indicate a sign for retreat. At this critical juncture the fire of the enemy in front increased, and a ‘run back’ by the brigade was the consequence. No explanation was ever known for the mistake, ‘ruse’ or whatever it was. The loss of the regiment in the two battles of South Mountain and Sharpsburg was about 45 privates and non-commissioned officers wounded and 15 or 20 killed; and of commissioned officers from 3 to 6 wounded; none killed. Assistant Surgeon Jordan was killed at South Mountain.

General Lee awaited a revival of the attack next day, but the enemy declined to advance, and learning that reinforcements were coming forward to McClellan, who had been put in command again after Pope's defeat at Manassas, General Lee withdrew his forces and recrossed the Potomac on the night of the 18th of September, 1862. After returning to Virginia, the army of Lee remained for some time spread out in encampment from the vicinity of Martinsburg to Winchester, in a country noted for productive farms, rich in choicest fruits of the pasture and watered by never-failing streams. The work of recruiting now commenced, and the effective force of the army was soon increased, the 23d getting its share by enlistment of conscripts and return of men who had been sick and wounded. After resting for a period of weeks along the banks of the Opequan, we find the regiment being moved by rapid marches to meet the enemy at Fredericksburg. The part it took at Fredericksburg was not very prominent. After the death of Garland, the brigade was commanded by General Alfred Iverson, a Georgian. After the battle of Sharpsburg, and while around Fredericksburg, General Rodes commanded the division. At Chancellorsville the regiment was on the extreme left, and was conspicuous in turning the enemy's right and accomplishing Hooker's defeat. Its loss was heavy at Chancellorsville. Its Major, C. C. Blacknall, was wounded here, and fell into the hands of the enemy, was confined in the old Capitol prison at Washington, at the time the Confederate spy, Miss Belle Boyd, was there; but was exchanged in time to return to the army before Gettysburg. The loss

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Robert E. Lee (3)
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September 18th, 1862 AD (1)
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