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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 680 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

all hazards. On this spot, barely large enough to hold the brigade, we stood and fought, with intervals of cessation, from 8 o'clock in the morning until dark. We repulsed many successive charges, I believe seven, the enemy constantly throwing fresh columns upon us, and persisting in his effort to carry the point with the utmost obstinacy. During the different struggles of the day the regiments were relieved and shifted as occasion required. The space covered by the brigade was so small, and the distance between the regiments so inconsiderable, that I would not be able, if it were necessary, to state all the movements which were made. I can only advert to the positions of the respective regiments at one or two important junctures during the day.

In the morning the regiments of the brigade were posted as follows: The Thirteenths South Carolina Volunteers, Colonel O. E. Edwards, on the right; to his left the First South Carolina Volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel [Edward] McCrady, jr.; to his left the Twelfth South Carolina Volunteers, Colonel Barnes; to his left the Fourteenth South Carolina Volunteers, Colonel McGowan, the latter regiment being thrown back along the fence bordering the field above referred to, and Orr's Regiment of Rifles, Colonel Marshall, behind the center in reserve. General Gregg and his staff and all the field officers were on foot. The fight was commenced by us. From the noise which came from the woods across the railroad and the constant firing of the skirmishers we knew that we were in the presence of the enemy, and General Gregg sent out Lieutenant-Colonel McCrady with his regiment to ascertain his location and number. He had gone but a short distance into the woods beyond the railroad cut when he fell upon a large column of the enemy and return. General Gregg having thus discovered them, directed the First and Twelfth Regiments to advance and drive back the enemy. These regiments commenced the advance together, but as the enemy threatened to flank the line on both the right and left they soon separated. The First, in order to protect its threatened right, inclined to the right and handsomely drove the enemy up the railroad. Colonel Edwards (the Thirteenth) supported Lieutenant-Colonel McCrady in this movement, and gallantly held his exposed position on the right near this railroad for the greater part of the day. The Twelfth being pressed by a heavy column on its left flank, Colonel Barnes changed front to the left, and charging in the most spirited manner drove the enemy down the railroad, breaking and routing them as often as they attempted to make a stand. When he had driven off the enemy and was returning Colonel Barnes was joined by Colonel Marshall, who had been sent to his assistance, and the two regiments again charged and drove a heavy body massing near the railroad.

All the regiments were at this time recalled by an order not to advance, and in so doing bring on a general engagement, but to hold the position and act on the defensive. These dashing charges in advance were entirely successful, and at 12 m. our front was cleared of the enemy, but they soon began to close around us again. It happened that there was an interval of about 125 yards between our right and the left of General Thomas' brigade. Opposite to this interval the railroad cut was very deep, and the enemy, getting into the cut at some point beyond, crawled unobserved down the excavation to a point opposite to this interval and in very heavy force made a sudden rush to enter this gap. The attack from that quarter was unexpected, and for a short time seemed likely to succeed. The assailants succeeded in getting nearly across the point of woods to the field on the northwest, thus for a moment cutting off and isolating our brigade, but it was only for a moment. The Four-


Page 680 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 12, Part 2 (Second Manassas)
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