it shell the woods in various directions. Anderson soon became partially and Drayton hotly engaged, but Ripley did not draw trigger; why, I do not know. The Fourth North Carolina (Anderson's brigade) attempted to carry a Yankee battery, but failed. Three Yankee brigades moved up, in beautiful order, against Drayton, and his men were soon beaten and went streaming to the rear. Rosser, Anderson, and Ripley sill held their ground, and the Yankees could not gain our rear.
Affairs were now very serious on our left. A division of Yankees was advancing in handsome style against Rodes. I had every possible gun turned upon the Yankee columns, but, owing to the steepness of the acclivity and the bad handling of the guns, but little harm was done to the "restorers of the Union." Rodes handled his little brigade in a most admirable and gallant manner, fighting, for hours, vastly superior odds, and maintaining the key-points of the position until darkness rendered a further advance of the Yankees impossible. Had he fought with less obstinacy, a practicable artillery road to the rear would have been gained on our left and the line of retreat cut off.
Colonel [J. B.] Gordon, the Christian hero, excelled his formed deeds at Seven Pines and in the battles around Richmond. Our language is not capable of expressing a higher compliment.
General Rodes says:
The men and officers generally behave wee, but Colonel Gordon, Sixth Alabama; Major [E. L.] Hobson, Fifth Alabama, and Colonel [C. A.] Battle, Third Alabama, deserve especial mention for admirable conduct during the whole fight. We did not drive the enemy back or whip him, but with 1,200 men we held his whole division at bay for four hors and a half without assistance from any one, losing in that time not more than half mile of ground.
He estimates his loss at 422 out of 1,200 taken into actin, but thinks that he inflicted a three-fold heavier loss on the Yankees. Colonel [B. B.] Gayle, of the Twelfth Alabama, was killed, and Colonel [E. A.] O'Neal, Twenty-sixth Alabama, and Lieutenant-Colonel [S. B.] Pickens, of the Twelfth, severely wounded.
Major-General Longstreet came up about 4 o'clock with the commands of Brigadier Gens. N. G. Evans and D. R. Jones. I had now become familiar with the ground, and knew all the vital points, and, had these troops reported to me, the result might have been different. As it was, they took wrong positions, and, in their exhausted condition after a long march, they were broken and scattered. Our whole left was now fairly exposed, and the Yankees had but to push down to seize the turnpike. It was now dark, however, and they feared to advance. All the available troops were collected behind a stone wall, to resist an approach upon the turnpike from the left. Encouraged by their successes in that direction, The Yankees thought that it would be an easy matter to move directly up the turnpike; but they were soon undeceived. They were heroically met and bloodily repulsed by the Twenty-third and Twenty-eighth Georgia Regiments, of Colquitt's brigade. The fight lasted for more than an hour after night, but gradually subsided as the yankees retired. General Hood, who had gone in on the right with his two noble brigades, pushed forward his skirmishers and drove back the Yankees.
We retreated that night to Sharpsburg, having accomplished all that was required-the delay of the Yankee army until Harper's Ferry could not be relieved.
Should the truth ever be known, the battle of South Mountain, as far as my division was concerned, will be regarded as one of the most remarkable and creditable of the war. The division had marched all the way from Richmond, and the straggling had been enormous in consequence