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[214]

Forming in a column of fours, the order to charge was given, and on they dashed, at a splendid pace, full in the face of a withering fire of small and large arms. A number of horses fell in a few instances, and several of the men; but on they sped, heedless of the breaks in their column, up to within forty paces of the Federal line, when the advance became entangled in an impracticable morass across their path, from which it became impossible to extricate some of the horses. The boldness of this movement, however, appeared to produce some effect upon the enemy, and Cheatham, advancing with his indomitable division at this time, the Federals, after some resistance, were borne rearward again in a good deal of confusion.

Forrest now, having made a detour around the marsh, galloped through the infantry and threw his regiment upon the disordered mass of Federals, with the effect to scatter them a good deal more and hurry their pace, manifestly toward the river.

Meanwhile, to the rightward, the Confederate general-in-chief, taking part at a critical juncture in the charge of a brigade, and by his intrepid presence giving a resistless momentum to the onset, received a rifle wound in the leg—a mortal wound, as it proved, presently, for the want of timely surgical aid. The Governor of Tennessee, by his side when struck, caught the fainting soldier in his arms as he sunk from his saddle, exhausted by an apparently painless loss of blood. A moment after, his aid-de-camp and brother-in-law, Colonel William Preston, of Kentucky, came up, and Sidney Johnston, with scarce a murmur, died in his arms. The scene of this untoward death was a wooded, secluded hollow, and the loss of their chief was not known to the Confederate Army until that night, nor even generally then.

About the time of this calamity the reserves, under Breckinridge, were thrown vigorously into action. Bragg had applied, through his aid, Colonel Urquhart, for a diversion to his rightward against some batteries which were distressing his front and keeping his men at bay.

Breckinridge's Brigades were drawn up on the gentler part of the slope of a ridge when the order for their advance was given. Clad in a dark blouse, the general himself sat on his

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W. C. P. Breckinridge (2)
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