History of Lane's North Carolina brigade.
Second Manassas campaign.
After the battles around Richmond
, this brigade encamped below that city for a short time and was then ordered to Gordonsville
, near which place it remained until just before the battle of Cedar Run
, in which battle it bore a very conspicuous part, as will appear from the following report:
After a long, rapid and weary march, we reached the battlefield at Cedar Run
on the afternoon of the 9th of August, and took the position assigned us in line of battle by General Branch
in the woods to the left of the road leading to the run — the right of the Thirty-seventh resting on the road, the Twenty-eighth, Thirty-third, Eighteenth and Seventh being on its left.
The Twenty-eighth, Thirty-third, Eighteenth and Thirty-seventh moved cheerfully and irresistibly forward, and in perfect order, through the woods upon the enemy, who “had succeeded in flanking the first (Stonewall) brigade of General Jackson
's division, which was rapidly giving way.”
The enemy's infantry were soon driven from the woods into the field beyond, and both infantry and cavalry were finally driven in great disorder from the secne of action.
“Many prisoners were taken, and many others deserted their colors and voluntarily surrendered themselves.”
After advancing in line beyond Cedar run
, we were half-wheeled to the right and marched across the road, through a field of corn, and over an open field until we reached the left of the forces under Brigadier-General W. B. Taliaferro
, where we were halted.
It was then dark, and the infantry firing had ceased in all directions.
During the entire engagement the officers and men behaved as well as could be desired, notwith-standing the disorderly manner in which some of the troops we were ordered to support fell back.
, of the First Virginia (Irish) battalion, tendered me their services on the field, as they had been left without a command.
I put them in charge of two companies of the Twenty-eighth regiment, previously commanded by sergeants,
and both discharged the duties assigned them only as brave men can do.
Our loss was twelve killed and eighty-eight wounded.
I did not see the Seventh regiment after we were ordered forward, and as Colonel Haywood
is absent, I will submit so much of Captain Turner
's report as relates to the part taken by his regiment in this engagment:
When the brigade moved forward, this regiment, for causes unknown to the writer, did not move for several minutes, and consequently was considerably behind the brigade.
We were finally ordered forward, but had not proceeded more than one hundred yards when we were halted and the line dressed.
By this time the brigade was entirely out of sight.
We marched forward and were again halted and the line dressed.
We next wheeled to the right, and marched into a road running nearly perpendicular to our original line of battle.
Colonel Haywood at this point left the regiment to look for General Branch.
The command then devolved upon Captain R. B. McRae, who, hearing heavy firing in our front, was just on the eve of ordering the regiment in that direction, when Colonel Haywood returned with orders from General Jackson.
We then marched by the right flank to a wheat-field on the left of the Culpeper road, and formed on a hill in rear of and nearly perpendicular to the brigade, which was then at the bottom of the hill and in the same field.
We marched forward at a double-quick to the support of General Taliaferro's division, which we found engaging a force of the enemy concealed in a corn-field.
We had fired several rounds when the enemy broke and fled.
We pursued them about three-quarters of a mile, taking about thirty prisoners, including two commissioned officers, when we were halted by General Taliaferro, and marched to a point on the Culpeper road, where we joined the brigade and bivouacked for the night.
The regiment sustained a loss of one man killed and one wounded in this engagement.
Shelling across the Rappahannock--August 24.
On Sunday, August 24th, the Eighteenth regiment was ordered to the support of McIntosh
It lay during the whole of the day under a very heavy fire of the enemy's artillery, but sustained no loss.
The Twenty-eighth and Thirty-third regiments were sent under my command to support Braxton
's and Davidson
's batteries, and to prevent, if possible, the destruction of the bridge
across the Rappahannock
near the. Warrenton White Sulphur Springs.
I threw a portion of the Twenty-eighth far in advance into an open field, as far as practicable, to act as sharpshooters, and kept the rest of my command sheltered behind a hill.
We had only three wounded, although we were under a very heavy shelling all that day. The remaining regiments were also under fire a part of the time.
We reached Manassas Junction
the morning of the third day after the above shelling, when the Eighteenth regiment was detached “to guard the captured stores,” and the rest of the brigade was halted not far from the depot near an earthwork to the left.
While resting and awaiting an issue of Yankee rations, the enemy were seen advancing upon our position in line of battle.
immediately put his command in motion and moved by the flank to the left of a battery planted near the earthwork.
Our artillery opened upon them, soon put them to flight, and we pursued them rapidly in a diagonal direction across the field in rear of the hospital and some distance beyond Bull run
, but never overtook the main body, as the Crenshaw
battery advanced more rapidly than we did, and poured charge after charge of canister into their disordered ranks.
We succeeded, however, in capturing a large number of prisoners.
Manassas Plains--August 28, 29 and 30.
Next day, after marching through Centreville
and across Bull run
, on the Stone Bridge
road, we were ordered from the road to the right into a piece of woods, fronting a large open field in which one of our batteries was placed.
As soon as the engagement was opened on our right, General Archer
's brigade, which was in front of us, moved from the woods into the field up to and to the right of the battery, where it halted.
Our brigade also moved a short distance into the field in the same direction, when the enemy opened a left enfilade artillery fire upon us. General Branch
then ordered the Twenty-eighth regiment to continue its march, and directed me to halt it in rear of General Archer
, while he moved the rest of his command some distance to the left.
The whole brigade, “with no protection whatever, stood this artillery fire for several hours in the open field.”
The Eighteenth at one time was ordered to the support of General Ewell
, and was marched down,
but as “the enemy had been driven from the field it was not put in.”
None of us were actively engaged that day, and about night-fall the whole command moved into the railroad cut, where we slept upon our arms.
Next day we were marched a circuitous route and brought back into an open field near the spot where we had spent the night.
, who was in command of his battery in front of us, notified General Branch
of the presence of the enemy in our front.
, of the Seventh, was immediately sent to the left of the battery with his company to act as skirmishers.
Soon after General Branch
ordered me to take command of the Twenty-eighth and Thirty-third regiments and dislodge the enemy, who were in the woods beyond the field of corn.
On passing beyond the small cluster of woods to the right of the Crenshaw
battery, we saw the enemy retreating in confusion before Captain Turner
We continued to advance until we saw General Gregg
's brigade in the woods to our right.
It was here that I learned the enemy were in force in the woods, and that General Gregg
had been ordered not to press them.
I deemed it advisable to inform General Branch
of these facts, and was ordered by him to remain where I was. I had three companies at the time deployed as skirmishers along the fence in front of us, and connecting with those first sent out under Captain Turner
The enemy advanced in strong force upon General Gregg
soon after we halted, and General Branch
, with the rest of his command, advanced to his support.
The Thirty-seventh first became actively engaged.
The enemy opened a deadly fire upon this regiment.
The Eighteenth, under Lieutenant-Colonel Purdie
, and the Seventh, under Captain McRae
, went to its assistance, and the enemy were driven in disorder beyond the railroad cut. The enemy were repulsed in two subsequent attempts to drive these regiments from their position.
The Thirty-third, under Colonel Hoke
, also fought well in the woods to the left of these regiments, and once gallantly advanced into the open field in front and drove the enemy back in disorder.
Up to this time the Twenty-eighth had not been engaged, and as the other regiments were nearly out of ammunition, General Branch
ordered it to join him, intending to make it cover his front.
The order was not delivered properly, and the regiment went into action on the left of General Field
It advanced boldly into the woods, driving the enemy before it, although exposed to a direct and left enfilade fire, but fell back
when it found itself alone in the woods and unsupported.
The men, however, rallied and reformed in the open field and advanced a second time, when the enemy were not only driven beyond the “cut,” but entirely out of the woods.
Never have I witnessed greater bravery and desperation than was that day displayed by this brigade.
We were not actively engaged the next day, but held our position under a heavy artillery fire and very heavy skirmishing until late in the afternoon.
We then followed up the enemy until about.
10 o'clock P. M., advancing in line through a body of woods to a large hospital, in which the enemy had left many of his wounded.
Our loss in this three days battle was thirty killed, one hundred and eighty-five wounded, and one missing.
Ox Hill--September 1, 1862.
The pursuit was continued the whole of Sunday, and on Monday afternoon, about four o'clock, we came up with the enemy at Ox hill
, near Fairfax Courthouse, on the Alexandria and Winchester turnpike
, where the engagement was immediately opened.
This brigade pressed eagerly forward through an open field and a piece of woods to the edge of another field, where we were for a short time exposed to the enemy's infantry fire, without being able to return it. An attempt was made to flank us on the right, and the Eighteenth regiment was immediately detached from the centre of the brigade and ordered to the right to prevent the. movement, which it did, sustaining a deadly fire unsupported.
The enemy's direct advance was through a field of corn, in which he sustained great loss, notwithstanding most of our guns fired badly on account of the heavy rain which fell during the engagement.
On learning that our ammunition was nearly out, General Branch
made known the fact, and was ordered “to hold his position at the point of the bayonet.”
We remained where we were until dark, when the whole command fell back to the field in rear of the woods.
The Twenty-eighth, cold, wet and hungry, was then ordered back to the field of battle to do picket duty for the night, without fires.
This engagement is regarded by the brigade as one of our severest.
The enemy's infantry used a great many explosive balls.
Our loss was fourteen killed, ninety-two wounded, and two missing.