these regiments were broken and fell back. They were soon rallied and taken back to their positions. The increasing volleys of musketry and the rapid falling of shells from the numerous batteries of the enemy, in spite of all my efforts to keep them longer in position, caused them to give way a second time. It being obvious, indeed, that so small a force could not long maintain a contest against such heavy odds, they were formed in the rear and carried back in good order to the county bridge, and with the force stationed there recrossed the river. To defend the bridge the two guns of [J. B.] Starr's battery, [Company B, Thirteenth Battalion North Carolina Artillery], under the command of Lieutenant [T. C.] Fuller, were placed near it, and Colonel Marshall's regiment lined the river bank below and Colonel Allen's occupied it above, while Colonel Shaw's was placed in the rear as a reserve. For the defense of the railroad there was placed in position on the north side of the river Colonel Pool's battalion with several pieces of artillery. After the above-stated disposition had been made, possibly an hour later, one of General Evans' staff informed me at the county bridge that he desired to see me. On my going back to the field where he was posted he told me that it was all important to hold the county bridge and that I must do it. I replied that I was satisfied the dispositions made were sufficient, and on my asking as to the defense of the railroad bridge he declared that all was secret there, but renewed his order to me to hold the county bridge. Not long after my return to it I was informed that the railroad bridge was on fire. After it was burned the cannonade of the enemy ceased.
At a latter period General Evans again sent for me,and on my going back to his station he ordered me to advance across the bridge with my entire command and attack the enemy and feel his strength. The Sixty-first North Carolina Regiment, of my brigade, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Devane, having by this time arrived, it with three already under my command and the two field pieces above mentioned were moved across the river. Skirmishers were thrown forward in all directions and the enemy was found to be posted from the river for 1 1/2 miles along the railroad in line of battle, well protected by the high embankment of the road in front of them. The regiments of Shaw and Devane and the two guns were moved along the county road while I carried as rapidly as possible the regiments of Marshall and Allen down the river bank and placed them in line within less than 300 yards of the enemy's right, but in a position where they were pretty well protected from the artillery. They were instructed to lie down, to make no reply to the enemy,and no attempt to pass the open field between them and the enemy until they hear our attack on the right. As soon, however, as that occurred they were ordered to rise and with a shout to move, forward at a run and carry, if possible, the embankment behind which the enemy were posted.
Rejoining the other two regiments I let them along the county road and from it by the cross-road through the open field against the enemy's left wing. I formed them in line of battle, the right of Colonel Shaw resting on the cross-road while his left and Colonel Devane's extended toward the enemy's center. One of the field pieces, unfortunately, from the giving way of the bridge, fell into a ditch and was not gotten out in time to take part in the action. The other piece moved along the road on the right of our line and was itself protected on its flank by skirmishers who covered the ground for several hundred yards. Before we reached the railroad, however, the enemy abandoned it and we occupied