300 yards on each side of the road for 300 yards in front of the guns, and tossed the rails into the road to destroy the effect of the enemy's ricochet firing and to deprive him of the cover of the fences. The fences on the sides of the woods were taken down and laid in heaps on the embankment in front of his men.
All these arrangements were made, and it was 11 o'clock before he was joined by Lieutenant-Colonel Reid and the seven companies from below. Two of these, under Major Lee, were placed at River Bridge, with one piece of McComas' artillery, with directions to destroy it and stop the enemy there of he should attempt to get into our rear by coming up the west side of the river. Lieutenant-Colonel Reid and three companies of the Third Georgia (and by Colonel Ferebee's report the North Carolina Militia) were placed about a mile in the rear at the meeting of an old road, to protect that passage and serve as a reserve. The remaining five companies were deployed in open order across the road on the right and left of the artillery, protected by the ditch and fence rails on the banks.
The smoke from the burning buildings and fences was rolled toward the enemy, thus masking the position. At 11.45 a. m. the front of a heavy column of the enemy was seen passing through the smoke and Captain McComas opened a destructive fore upon it, which checked its advance for half an hour, when it again approached under the fire of a 12-pounder, but soon retired entirely out of sight in considerable confusion. Up to 3 o'clock thrice had the heavy columns of the enemy been beaten back by the heavy fire of Captain McComas' artillery, and our only casualties were one man wounded and one wheel injured.
At 3.15 p. m. the enemy again advanced and deployed two regiments to their right, our left. These regiments, after advancing toward us, were driven back by the well-directed fire of Captain McComas' artillery and Captains Nesbet's, and Musgrove's companies. Captain McWhorter's fire also caused the Zouaves on our right to retire, and this attack ceased by 3.35 p. m. Our loss up to this time was very slight, while that of the enemy was very severe, as we could plainly see them fall, and they had raised the hospital flag on a building in rear of their line.
They soon advance again, two regiments skirting the woods on our left, and approached near enough to engage the skirmishers. One company from the right was moved over and Colonel Reid ordered to send one company from the reserve. The enemy deployed in the open field and bore down rapidly, but the heavy fire of musketry caused them to waver, and they fell back to the fence. Three regiments and a field piece were in the center and the Ninth New York Regiment on the right. The fire was now brisk from one end of the line to the other, and the enemy were held ion check, when just at this moment Captain McComas was killed by a Minie ball, and his men, who for four hours had fought with most indomitable courage, became panic stricken and left the field, taking their pieces with them. Colonel Wright succeeded in rallying the and getting two pieces and a few men in position, and the enemy had advanced so close that canister was fired on the, with effect and they again fell back. The ammunition in the limber-boxes was exhausted, and during the temporary absence of Colonel Wright the artillery left the field.
The enemy made a charge upon our line, but the steady fire at close distance (Colonel Wright estimates it at 50 yards) caused them to break in confusion Colonel Wright now fell back in good order to the intrench-