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Gen Lee was about leading a charge to recover the lost ground, but the men insisted upon his going to the rear. A soldier who was in the fight at that point writes the following: The 12th of May, 1864, will be ever memorable and remembered as the day of one of the most bloody and obstinate struggles which have ever market the annals of war, or added fresh horrors to this most cruel contest. Before daylight we were moved up to the support of Hayes's and Stafford's brigades in the works, and scarcely had the gray tinge of morning began to dispel the darkness of a damp and drizzly night, when, after the three cheers which we knew to be the precursor of a charge, and a brief scattering are on our right, we were astonished and mortified to see the troops in that direction pouring out of the works in the woods, showing that the enemy had there broken a passage. The enemy poured their concentrated masses through the gap, and moving on the flank with great celerity, were swiftly driving till before them in panic and confusion. Instantly Pegram's and Gordon's brigades were formed a few hundred yards to the rear of, and at right angles to, the line of works. All saw that a crisis was upon us. If we failed the consequences would be disastrous in the extreme. In this exigency, Gen. Lee rode forward in front of our line, his position being opposite, at the time, to the colors of the 49th regiment of Pegram's brigade, and only a few yards from where your correspondent stood. Not a word did he say, but simply took off his hat, and as he sat on his charger I never saw a man look so noble, or a spectacle so impressive. At this interesting moment, our gallant Gordon, spurring his foaming charger to the front, seized the reins of Gen Lee's horse, and turning him around, said, "General, these are Virginians!--These men have never failed! They never will! will you boys?" Loud cries of "No !" "No !" "Gen Lee to the rear." "Go back!" "Go back!" "Gen Lee to the rear!" hurst from along the lines; and as one led the General's horse to the rear, Gen Gordon gave the command, "Forward, Charge!" And with a shout and yell the brigades dashed on, thought bog and swamp, and briars and undergrowth, to the breastworks. The enemy struck with dismay start to flee, but we were upon them like a storm, and their first line of battle withers before our impetuous onset and the cool marksmanship of our men. "Hurrah ! the works are ours!"
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