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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 19, Part 1 (Antietam)
Page 1037 Chapter XXXI. THE MARYLAND CAMPAIGN.

latter had met with a reverse, and that the best service I could render them and the field generally would be to form a line in rear of them and endeavor to rally them before attacking or being attacked. major-General Hill held the same view, for at this moment I received an order from him to had and form line of battle in the hollow of an old and narrow road just beyond the orchard, and with my left about 150 yards from and east of the Hagerstown road. In a short time a small portion of Colquitt's brigade formed on my left, and I assumed the command of it. This brought my left to the Hagerstown road. General Anderson's brigade, occupying the same road, had closed upon on my right.

A short time after my brigade assumed its new position, and while the men were busy improving their position by piling rails along their front, the enemy deployed in our front in three beautiful lines, all vastly out stretching ours, and commenced to advance steadily. Unfortunately, no artillery opposed them in their advance. Carter's battery had been sent to take position in rear, by me, when I abandoned my first position, because he was left without support, and because my own position had not then been fully determined. Three pieces, which occupied a fine position immediately on my front, abandoned it immediately after the enemy's skirmishers opened on them. The enemy came to the crest of the hill overlooking my position, and for five minutes bravely stood a telling fire at about 80 yards, which my whole brigade delivered. They then fell back a short distance, rallied, were driven back again and again, and finally lay down just back of the crest, keeping up a steady fire, however. In this position, receiving an order from General Longstreet to do so, I endeavored to charge them with my brigade and that portion of Colquitt's which was on my immediate left. The charge command, did not move forward with the others, and because Colquitt's men did not advance far enough. That part of the brigade which moved forward found themselves in an exposed position, and, being outnumbered and unsustained, fell back before I could, by personal effort, which was dully made, get the Sixth Alabama to move. Hastening back to the left, I arrived just in time to prevent the men from falling back to the rear of the road we had just occupied. It became evident to me then rear of the road we had just occupied. It became evident to me then that an attack by us must, to be successful, be made by the whole of Anderson's brigade, mine, Colquitt's, and any troops that had arrived on Anderson's right. My whole force at this moment did not amount to over 700 men-most probably not to that number.

About this time I noticed troops going in to the support of Anderson, or to his right, and that one regiment and a portion of another, instead of passing on to the front, stopped in the hollow immediately in my rear and near the orchard. As the fire on both sides was, at my position at least, now desultory and slack, I went to the troops referred to, and found that they belonged to General Pryor's brigade. Their officers stated that they had been ordered to halt there by some dolby, not General Pryor. Finding General Pryor in a few moments, and informing him as to their conduct, he immediately ordered them forward. Returning toward the brigade, I met Lieutenant-Colonel [J. N.] Lightfoot, of the Sixth Alabama, looking for me. Upon his telling me that the right wing of his regiment was being subjected to a terrible enfilanding fire, which the enemy were enabled to deliver by reason of their gaining somewhat on Anderson, and that he had but few men left in that wing, I ordered him to hasten back, and to how his right wing back out of the old road referred to. Instead of executing the order, he moved briskly to the rear of the regiment and gave the command, "Sixth Alabama, about face; forward march." Major Hobson, of the Fifth, seeing


Page 1037 Chapter XXXI. THE MARYLAND CAMPAIGN.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam)
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