War of the Rebellion: Serial 016 Page 0594 OPERATIONS IN N.VA., W.VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

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bridge across the Rappahannock River. I moved my command forward promptly and reported to General Evans. He first ordered me to advance one regiment in conjunction with one of his to storm the hill occupied by the enemy's battery. Before the order was executed he ordered me to advance my whole brigade in line of battle to the west of a wooded slope in front of and to the right of this hill. On reaching this position he ordered me to continue to advance through the open field toward the hill referred to. The enemy in the mean time had withdrawn their battery and crossed the river. On reaching the open field I saw in rear of this hill about 100 of the enemy moving by their left flank, and supposed I would have the pleasure of an open field fight, but this small party was all of the enemy I saw on our side of the river, and long before we were in range of them they disappeared, and in a few moments the railroad bridge was blown up and set on fire. Continuing to advance across the open field for nearly half a mile under the fire of four batteries I placed my brigade in line on the field, my left regiment (the Eighth Georgia, Lieutenant-Colonel [John R.] Towers commanding) and the Holcombe Legion, of Evans' brigade, occupying the hill where the batteries of the enemy had been posted. We remained in this position, my right extending across the open field, for at least five hours, under a heavy fire of shell, grape, and canister, the officers and men behaving in the most gallant manner. My own horse was killed near the position the enemy had occupied on the hill.

Continuing our march, we reached Thoroughfare Gap August 28. My brigade was in front. I ordered Colonel [Benjamin] Beck, with his regiment (Ninth Georgia), in advance and to send forward two companies as skirmishers. Moving in this order, the brigade was halted by order of General Longstreet some half mile from the Gap and Colonel Beck ordered to proceed through the Gap on a reconnaissance. Proceeding cautiously, he drove a mounted picket before him, killing 3 of them, and cleared the pass, moving some quarter of a mile beyond, and held his position until attacked and driven back by a whole brigade and a battery. The brigade was ordered forward, and moving rapidly to the front, I found Colonel Beck falling back very slowly before the large force of the enemy and caused him to form his regiment on the right of the railroad, and formed the other regiments on the left as fast as they came up in the following order: The First Georgia Regulars, Major [John D.] Walker commanding; Eighth Georgia, Lieutenant-Colonel Towers; Seventh Georgia, Colonel W. T. Wilson, and Eleventh Georgia, Lieutenant-Colonel [William] Luffman. Having thus formed my line and advanced my skirmishers to the front, I ordered the line to advance, which was done in the most gallant manner, the men climbing the rough mountain-side on their hands and knees to reach the enemy, occupying the crest of hill, and delivering a murderous fire in their faces as they made the perilous ascent. From the nature of the ground and the impenetrable thickets of laurel and brush none of the regiments except the First Georgia obtained a favorable position, but the regulars succeeded in getting a good position and inflicted a very severe chastisement on the superior force of the enemy. Captain [John G.] Patton brought down 5 with his pistol, killing 3 of them.

The regulars in this affair (officers and men) behaved with distinguished gallantry, as they have on every occasion in which they have men the enemy, and I only regret that our army is not composed of just such men.

On August 29 we bivouacked in the vicinity of the Manassas battle ground, but were not engaged during that day.