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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 12, Part 2 (Second Manassas)
Page 592 OPERATIONS IN N.VA., W.VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

plant a battery of two guns on an eminence slightly to our left, distant between 400 and 500 yards. My sharpshooters were seasonably directed to prevent the movement, which they did in admirable style and spirit in the space of less than five minutes, killing and wounding many men, among them a captain, and all the horses attached to their gun-carriages, which they succeeded in carrying off the field by hand. A second effort was made plant another battery upon a height just to our right, from which they in like manner were speedily driven. The gallant and lamented Lieutenant-Colonel Holmes, commanding Second Georgia Regiment, led his command to our support at this juncture and gave us valuable assistance in thwarting the enemy's purposes and plans in erecting a battery upon the latter eminence, by readily sending forward, on request, to my aid all the men with long-range guns of his regiment, consisting of some 30.

The loss sustained by the Twentieth in the whole affair was 2 men killed and 10 wounded, 2 of the latter mortally. Had my command been five minutes later in gaining the top of the hill the enemy would have had full possession of the pass, and a loss now which does not number exceeding 40 in the entire brigade would in all probability have been quintupled over and over again ere we could have effected a passage. What was saved by the conduct of the regiment tot he command of Major-General Jackson may be conceived (albeit inadequately) in the gallant part borne and the heavy losses sustained by the troops of General Longstreet's corps in the bloody and brilliant engagement at Manassas two days later.

On the 30th, at Manassas, we were not ordered into the fight until about 4 p.m., when we were directed to support Brigadier-General Kemper, who occupied a position a few hundred yards in rear of what is known as the Chinn house. The Twentieth advanced a distance of more than 2 miles, a large part of the way in double-quick time, exposed for two-thirds the while to a terrible fire of shell and round shot in front and flank. Passing to the left of the Chinn house, leaving the other regiments of the brigade to the right by a left-oblique movement, we entered a dense pine thicket and drove out in great confusion and slaughter two regiments of the enemy and captured a battery of two pieces on the right. On emerging from this thicket we were ordered by yourself to charge a battery of six guns, which were playing with fearful havoc upon line. With what resolution, alacrity, and enthusiasm the order was obeyed yourself can testify, for you conducted the charge in person and inspired the men with new zeal by your heroic example. Although almost overcome with heat, thirst, and fatigue, with ranks already thinned down to less than 300 all told, they drove the cannoneers from their guns, held the position, confronting seven hostile flags, supported by at least six times their own numbers, and only retired (in good order and under orders) when thoroughly enfiladed by a battery on our right before, or rather in flank of, which it were madness to stand. Having retired to a ravine some 200 paces distant, a desultory but telling fire was kept up on the battery and regiments supporting it until the enemy fled from their position, taking shelter in the distance and the darkness of the night.

It was in this charge that we lost 3 valuable, brave, and efficient officers-Lieuts. Robert Jordan, C. H. Culbreath, and J. F. Spear-killed on the field.

Captains [E. M.] Seago, [S. W.] Blance, and [W. F.] Denny, and Lieutenants [T. S.] Fontaine, [J. T.] Scott, [John M.] Granberry, [J. L.]


Page 592 OPERATIONS IN N.VA., W.VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 12, Part 2 (Second Manassas)
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