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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 1023 Chapter XXXI. THE MARYLAND CAMPAIGN.

pike, and which had been their position previous to the advance. These efforts, however, were only partially successful. Most of the brigade took no further part in the action. Garland's brigade (Colonel McRae commanding) had been much demoralized by the fight at South Mountain, but the men advanced with alacrity, secured a good position, and were fighting bravely when Captain [T. P.] Thomson, Fifth North Carolina, cried out, "They are flanking us." This cry spread like an electric shock along the ranks, bringing up vivid recollections of the flank fire at South Mountain. In a moment they broke and fell to the rear. Colonel McRae, though wounded, remained on the field all day and succeeded in gathering up some stragglers, and personally rendered much efficient service, The Twenty-third North Carolina Regiment, of this brigade, was brought off by the gallant Lieutenant-Colonel Johnston, and posted, by my order, in the old road already described. Ripley's brigade had united with Walker's and fallen back with it behind the ridge to the left of this road and rear to it. We had now lost all the in the morning. But three of my brigades had been broken and much demoralized, and all of the artillery had been withdrawn from my front. Rodes and Anderson were in the old road, and some stragglers had been gathered up and placed upon their left.

It was now apparent that the Yankees were massing in our front, and that their grand attack would be made upon my position, which was the center of our line. I sent several urgent messages to General Lee for re-enforcements, but before any arrived a heavy force (since ascertained to be Franklin's corps) advanced in three parallel lines, with all the precision of a parade day, upon my two brigades. They met with a galling fire, however roiled, and fell back; again advanced, and again fell back, and finally lay down behind the crest of the hill and kept up an irregular fire. i got a battery in position, which partially enfiladed the yankee line and aided materially to check its advance. This battery was brought up y my aide, Lieutenant J. A. Reid, who received a painful wound in the discharge of that duty.

In the mean time General R. H. Anderson reported to me with some 3,000 or 4,000 men as re-enforcements to my command. I directed him to form immediately behind my men. That gallant and accomplished officer was soon wounded, and the command devolved upon General Pryor. The Yankee fire had now nearly ceased, and but for an unfortunate blunder of Lieutenant-Colonel [J. N.] Lightfoot, Sixth Alabama, no farther advance would have been made by them. General Rodes had observed a regiment lying down in his rear and not engaged. he says:

As the fire was 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 halted by somebody; 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 Lightfoot, Sixth Alabama, looking for me. upon his telling me that the right wing of the regiment was exposed to a terrible enfilade fire, which the enemy was enabled to deliver by their gaining somewhat upon Anderson (General G. B.), I ordered him to hasten back and to throw his right wing back and 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 this, asked him if the order was intended for the whole brigade. He said, "Yes," and thereupon the Fifth and the other troops on their left retreated. I did not see their retrograde movement until it was too late to rally them, and from this reason: Just as I was moving on after Lightfoot, I heard a short strike Lieutenant Birney (aide), who was immediately behind me. Wheeling around, I found him falling, and that he had been struck in the face. he found that he could walk after I raised him. I followed


Page 1023 Chapter XXXI. THE MARYLAND CAMPAIGN.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam)
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