War of the Rebellion: Serial 027 Page 1036 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXI.

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time were nearly on top of the highest peak, and were pushing on, when Gordon's regiment, unexpectedly to them, opened fore on their front and checked them. This last stand was so disastrous to the enemy that it attracted the attention of the stragglers, even, many of whom Colonel Battle and I had been endeavoring to organize, and who were just them of the flank of that portion of the enemy engaged with Gordon, and for a few minutes they dept up a brisk enfilanding fire upon the enemy; but, finding his fire turning from Gordon upon them, and that another body of Federal troops were advancing upon them, they speedily fell back. It was now so dark that it was difficult to distinguish objects at short musket range, and both parties ceased firing. Directing Colonel Gordon to move his regiment to his right and to the rear, so as to cover the gap, I endeavored to gather up stragglers from the other regiments. Colonel Battle still held together a handful of his men. These, together Regiments, were assembled at the gap, and were speedily placed along-side of Gordon's regiment, which by this time had arrived in the road ascending the mountain from the gap, forming a line on the edge of the woods parallel to and about 200 yards from the main road. The enemy did not advance beyond the top of the mountain, but, to be prepared for them, skirmishers were thrown out in front of the line.

This position we held until about 11 o'clock at night, when we were ordered to take the Sharpsburg road and to stop at Keedysville, which we did. We had rested about an hour, when I was ordered to proceed to Sharpsburg with all the force under my command-Colquitt's brigade and mine-to drive out a Federal cavalry force reported to be there. On the way Colonel [R. H.] Chilton, chief of General Lee's staff, met me with contrary orders, which required me to send only a part of my force. The Fifth and Sixth Alabama were sent. In a few minutes, however, we received orders from General Longstreet to go ahead, and did so; found no cavalry.

In this engagement my loss was as follows:

Killed...................... 61





The men and officers generally behaved well, but Colonel Gordon, Sixth Alabama; Major [E. L.] Hobson, Fifth Alabama, and Colonel Battle, Third Alabama, deserve especial mention for admirable conduct during the whole fight. We did not drive the enemy back or whip him, but with 1,200 men we held his whole division at bay without assistance during four and a half hours' steady fighting, losing in that time not over half a mile of ground. I was most ably and bravely served during the whole day by Captains [H. A.] Whiting and [G.] Peyton and Lieutenant John Briney, who composed my staff.

On the 15th, after resting on the heights south of Sharpsburg long enough to get a scanty meal and to gather stragglers, we moved back through that place to the advanced position in the center of the line of battle before the town. Here, subsisting on green corn mainly and under an occasional artillery fore, we lay until the morning of the 17th, when began the engagement of September 17. The fight opened early, on the left, but my brigade was no engaged until late in the forenoon. About 9 o'clock I was ordered to move to the left and front to assist Ripley, Colquitt, and McRae, who had already engaged the enemy, and I had hardly begun the movement before it was evident that the two