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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 719 Chapter XXIV. CAMPAIGN IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA.

who had moved up the north side of the Rappahannock almost simultaneously with our forces. About 12 m. I received information that the enemy (Sigel's division) had thrown a force across the river to our side, and soon after learned that they had surprised our wagon train and captured some ambulances and mules. I immediately sent the Twenty-first Georgia Regiment (Captain [T. C.] Glover) to recover the property and drive off the enemy. In this he was successful, and besides captured some prisoners, from whom I received important information, viz, that the enemy had thrown one, if not two, brigades across the river to annoy us on the march. As General Ewell's division was 5 or 6 miles in advance and General Longstreet's division the same distance in the rear, I deemed it most prudent to hold my brigade on the defensive and endeavor to protect the trains. I accordingly disposed the three regiments (my only force) so as best to effect this object. The enemy made no further attempt to molest us.

During the afternoon by reconnaissance and verbal information I ascertained the position of the forces thrown across the river, and decided to attack them as soon as the advance of General Longstreet (Hood's brigade) should reach my position to support me, if necessary. At 4 p. m. General Hood arrived, when I directed him as his troops came up to occupy my position and hold them in readiness to support me should I send for aid. I at once advanced toward the enemy's position, skirmishers well in front, who soon met those of the enemy and drove them back on their main force, which I noticed was posted in such a position as permitted them to be flanked on the right and left by a surprise. The Fifteenth Alabama (Major [A. A.] Lowther) and Twenty-first Georgia (Captain Glover) were ordered on the enemy's flank by a slight detour, unobserved, while the Twenty-first North Carolina (Lieutenant-Colonel [Saunders] Fulton) advanced under my immediate command in the center. After a sharp conflict with the Twenty-first North Carolina the enemy were driven back to the hills on the river, where they made another stand. At this point, supported by their artillery on the north side of the river, they made an effort, by the blowing of trumpets, beating of drums, and cheers, to encourage their men to charge. The command was given to drive them at the point of the bayonet. Our men boldly advanced with enthusiastic cheers and drove the opposing forces into the river and across it in great disorder, to seek protection in General Sigel's camp and under his guns, which opened a furious discharge against us without serious injury. Our men pursued them closely and slaughtered great numbers as they waded the river or climber up the opposite bank. The water was literally covered with dead and wounded. Over 100 prisoners were captured, and among the dead was found one colonel. Deeming it useless in the absence of my artillery to continue the contest longer, after half an hour's occupation of the battle ground I retired unmolested and encamped 1 1/2 miles distant, leaving General Hood, who had taken no part in the contest, to look after the enemy.

The battle lasted two hours, during which time we drove the enemy 1 mile. I can speak with pride and admiration of the admirable spirit displayed by the brigade, which went into action with that determined valor which had often before aided to secure victory. It is specially due to Lieutenant-Colonel Fulton, Twenty-first North Carolina, that I should mention the conspicuous gallantry with which he took the colors and led his regiment to the charge; and to the important services rendered by Captain W. C. Hall, assistant adjutant-general, and Lieutenant W. D. McKim, aide, in assisting me to dispose of the regiments for the


Page 719 Chapter XXIV. CAMPAIGN IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 12, Part 2 (Second Manassas)
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