War of the Rebellion: Serial 016 Page 0687 Chapter XXIV. CAMPAIGN IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA.

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sharp fire took place, in which several of our men fell. Our skirmishers were driven back before the superior numbers of the enemy, who were advancing in force upon us, and retiring formed in their places upon the wings of the regiment. They had scarcely done so before the breaking of the bushes and the orders of their officers, which could be distinctly heard, told of the approach of the enemy, still concealed by the heavy brush; and now began the terrific work of the day, which only ceased with its close. From the dense growth which still shielded them from our view the enemy poured in upon us a deadly fire. Our men had seldom better direction for their aim than the bushes from which the fire was poured in upon them. They were made to lie down and rise only to fire. Volley after volley was poured into them, but still they stood. The enemy dared not cross the railroad cut, though in force vastly superior to our own. At length, after vainly endeavoring to force us from our position by their fire, they were compelled themselves to retire in confusion. As they fell back, however, cheers in the distance told us of other and fresh troops advancing to our attack. On they came. The same terrific fire; the same endurance upon our part, with the same result. Again the effort was repeated by other troops; again they were repulsed. Yet again other troops were thrown upon us, they again were driven back.

The greater portion of the day had now been spent and we still held the ground, but none doubted that the great struggle was still to come. The cheers were soon again heard and the breaking of the bushes as they advanced. Upon our left, too, this time they came in force up the railroad cut, and were soon on us with a fire both from front and left flank. This time they were in force also to cross around upon our right and endeavor thus to cover the cut. Here as they advanced they came upon Thomas' brigade, posted in the thicket on our right. A short resistance was made and Thomas' brigade gave way. As the enemy followed them they came upon the right flanks of Edwards and ourselves. We had no time to form a regular line to meet them, but such as proved itself equal to the task was soon filled up. I directed Companies A, C, and L to well to the right, which, with their reduced numbers, just filled in the space between Colonel Edwards and ourselves. He, too, formed some of his men to the right. The enemy pressed in on us in pursuit of Thomas' men, but here they met desperate resistance. They came upon us in 10 and 20 paces, but our men stood gallantly to their posts. The work of death was terrific, but as each man fell his place was filled by another. Here Captain Barksdale, Lieutenants Munro and Hewetson, and Sergeant Smith, of Company C, distinguished themselves by their gallantry and efficiency; but this unequal fight could not long have been maintained. Fortunately, just at this time Colonel Barnes, with the Twelfth, came to our assistance. With a shout the Twelfth came charging with the bayonet, and the Georgians having rallied behind and supporting them, the enemy broke and were driven back across the cut and far into the wood from which they came.

It was now about 4 o'clock, and though wearied, we knew the struggle was yet to be renewed. They soon came, now in still greater force, but our little band, though greatly exhausted, yet met them with as much determination as ever. Our men fell fast around us. The Thirteenth, after exhibiting the greatest endurance and courage during the day, at last gave way and retired from our front, and upon the First was hurled the full force of the enemy. They pressed on, crossed the cut, and slowly compelled us, step by step, to yield the long-coveted