War of the Rebellion: Serial 027 Page 1035 Chapter XXXI. THE MARYLAND CAMPAIGN.

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of the ridge just at the head of the gorge before mentioned. This they had not time to do, and hence I ordered it back.

Just before this, I heard that some Confederate troops had joined my right very nearly. Finding that the enemy were forcing my right back, and that the only chance to continue the fight was to change my front so as to face to the left, I ordered all the regiments to fall back up the gorge and sides of the mountain, fighting, the whole concentrating around the high peak before mentioned. This enabled me to face the enemy's right again, and to make another stout stand with Gordon's excellent regiment (which he had kept constantly in hand, and had handled in a manner I have never heard or seen equaled during this war), and with the remainder of the Fifth, Third and Twelfth Alabama Regiment. I found the Twelfth had been relieved by other troops and closed in toward my right, but had passed in rear of the original line so far that, upon re-establishing the line on the main peak, I found that the Third alabama came upon its right. The twenty-sixth Alabama, which had been placed on my right, was by this time completely demoralized; its colonel ([E. A.] O'Neal) was wounded, and the men mangled in utter confusion with some South Carolina stragglers on the summit of the hill, who stated that their brigade had been compelled to give way, and had retired. Notwithstanding this, if true, left my rear entirely exposed again (I had no time or means to examine the worth of their statements), I determined, in accordance with the orders I received about this time, in reply to my last request for re-enforcements, to fight on on the new front.

My loss upon to this time had been heavy in all the regiments except the Twelfth alabama. The Fifth Alabama, which had occupied the left center, got separated into two parts in endeavoring to follow up the flank movement of Gordon's regiment. Both parts became engaged again before they could rejoin, and the right battalion was finally cut off entirely. The left and smaller battalion, under Major Hobson's gallant management, though flanked, wheeled against the flanking party, and, be desperate fighting, silenced the enemy so far as to enable his little command to make its way to the peak before mentioned. In the first attack of the enemy up the bottom of the gorge, they pushed on so vigorously as to catch Captain Ready and a portion of his party of skirmishers, and to separate the Third from the Fifth Alabama Regiment. The Third made a most gallant resistance at this point, and had my line been a continuous one it could never have been forced. having re-established my line, though sill with wide intervals, necessarily, on the high peak (this was done under constant fire and in full view of the enemy, now in full possession of the extreme left hill and of the gorge), the fight at close quarters was resumed, and again accompanied by the enemy throwing their, by this time apparently interminable, right around toward my rear. In this position the Sixth Alabama and the Twelfth suffered pretty severely. The latter, together with the remainder of the Third Alabama, which had been well handled by Colonel [C. A.] Battle, was forced to retire, and in so doing lost heavily. Its colonel (Gayle) [B. B.] was seen to fall, and its lieutenant-colonel [Samuel B.] (Pickens) was hot through the lungs; the former was left on the field, supposed to be dead; Pickens was brought off. Gordon's regiment retired slowly, now being under and enfilading as well as direct fire and in danger of being surrounded, but was still, fortunately for the whole command, held together by its able commander. After this, I could meet the enemy with no organized force except Gordon's regiment. One more desperate stand was made by it from an advantageous position. The enemy by this