War of the Rebellion: Serial 016 Page 0671 Chapter XXIV. CAMPAIGN IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA.

Search Civil War Official Records

and overwhelm Jackson's corps before Longstreet come up, and to accomplish this the most persistent and furious onset were made by column after column of infantry, accompanied by numerous batteries of artillery. Soon my reserves were all in, and up to 6 o'clock my division, assisted by the Louisiana Brigade of General Hays, commanded by Colonel Forno, with a heroic courage and obstinacy almost beyond parallel, had met and repulsed six distinct and separate assaults, a portion of the time the majority of them men being without a cartridge. The reply of the gallant Gregg to a message of mine is worthy of note: "Tell General Hill that my ammunition is exhausted, but that I will hold my position with the bayonet." The enemy prepared for a last and determined attempt. Their serried masses, overwhelming superiority of numbers, and bold bearing made the chances of victory to tremble in the balance; my own division exhausted by seven hours' unremitted fighting, hardly on e round per man remaining, and weakened in all things save its unconquerable spirit. Casting about for help, fortunately it was here reported to me that the brigades of Generals Sawton and Early were near by, and sending to them they promptly moved to my front at the most opportune moment, and this last charge met the same disastrous fate that had befallen those preceding. Having received an order from General jackson to endeavor to avoid a general engagement, my commanders of brigades contented themselves with repulsing the enemy and following them up but a few hundred yards.

During the night of the 29th my brigades were engaged in refilling cartridge boxed and generally putting themselves in condition for the morrow's fight. Brigadier-General Field was severely wounded, and I regret that his invaluable assistance was in consequence lost to me during the balance of the campaign. His gallant bearing and soldierly qualities gaves him unbounded influence over his men, and they were ever ready to follow where he led. The command of his brigade devolved upon Colonel [J. M.] Brockenbrough, of the Fortieth Virginia. The gallant Forno was also stricken down with, as was supposed at the time, a mortal wound. Colonel [H. B.] Strong succeeded to his command. General Pender was knocked down by a shell, but, as once before, refused to leave the field. Archer's horse was killed under him. Branch, Pender, Brockenbrough, and Strong were brought from the front and placed in reserve.

On the 30th, about 2 o'clock, the enemy again made an attack along our whole line. The attack on my part of the line was gallantly resisted by Archer and Thomas, Gregg still holding the extreme left. This onset was so fierce and in such force that at first some headway was made, but throwing in Pender and Brockenbrough, their advance was again checked and eventually repulsed with great loss.

Later in the evening I sent a message to General Jackson that I had ordered my whole line to advance and it was approved, and he directed me to advance en echelon of brigades, refusing my left. This order was promptly carried out, Pender, Archer, Thomas, and Branch steadily advancing. Branch, on the extreme left, thrown considerably back, met no resistance; Brockenbrough, on the extreme right, being separated from his own division by one or two of Taliaferro's brigades, advanced in conjunction with them. Gregg and Strong were held back to meet a threatened movement on my left. The three brigades of Pender, Archer, and Thomas, however, held together and drove everything before them, capturing two batteries, many prisoners, and resting that night on Bull Run, and the ground thus won was occupied that night. These brigades had penetrated so far within the enemy's lines that Captain Ashe, assist-