regiment was badly drilled, and it took some time to execute this simple maneuver.
The Yankees were now rapidly falling back to an abandoned earth-work on the edge of the woods, several hundred yards from the earth-work from which General Early had ordered a regiment to his support. The Twenty-fourth Virginia and Fifth North Carolina were pressing on vigorously through the heavy ground, exposed to a most murderous fire, but not halting or faltering for a moment. There was but one possible chance of success, and that was to push rapidly forwarded, under the crest of the hill, the regiment (Sixth South Carolina, I think) which General Early had ordered to his support, so as to gain the flank of the earthwork, while the troops in the woods should gain its rear. I found the South Carolina regiment halted, and in spite of my efforts and those of my staff, together with the active exertions of Captain Early (of the general's staff), the movement was made slowly.
We had gone but a short distance when the Thirty-eighth Virginia joined us, having emerged from the woods contrary to orders. These two regiments moved on, but the attack of the Twenty-fourth Virginia and Fifth North Carolina was made without their co-operation and ended in a bloody repulse.
Colonel McRae lost his lieutenant-colonel, John C. Badham, a gallant and accomplished officer, and one-half of his men. Colonel W. R. Terry and Lieutenant Colonel Peter Hairston, Twenty-fourth Virginia, were severely wounded, and a large proportion of officers and men were struck down. The other regiments were withdrawn to the cover of the woods, where, to my surprise, I found the Twenty-third North Carolina halted. Why this halt was made I never knew.
The turning of the Yankee position was still deemed practicable, but I soon found that the confusion was so great, arising mainly from the want of drill and discipline, that all idea of farther advance was abandoned.
Rains' brigade was brought into the woods and all our wounded removed from it, after which we retired back to the wheat field. It was now fairly dark, and the division remained in line of battle all night, without fire, during a cold and wet rain. The night was one of almost unparalleled suffering. With two divisions McClellan had received such a check that he immediately telegraphed for re-enforcements, stating that "Joe Johnston is before me with an army greater than my own."
Longstreet, on our right, aided by my two regiments, had been completely successful, not only checking, but driving the Yankees, capturing many fine pieces of artillery and taking about 500 prisoners.
On our left we had been less fortunate. We unquestionably lost more men than the Yankees and failed to take their guns, but we drove them back nearly a mile and made an important diversion in favor of our troops on the right, which were at that time sorely pressed. It was afterward ascertained that McClellan was so much alarmed by this movement on our left that he hastened there in person with every available man he could bring up.
The courage exhibited by the Fifth North Carolina and Twenty-fourth Virginia made, too, a wonderful impression upon the Yankees, and doubtless much of the caution exhibited in their subsequent movements was due to the terror inspired by the heroism of those noble regiments. History has no example of a more daring charge.
I have always regretted that General Early, carried away by his impetuous and enthusiastic courage, advanced so far into the open