War of the Rebellion: Serial 039 Page 0840 N.VA., W.VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXVII.

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About 8 o'clock a heavy column of the enemy were seen moving up the river, evidently for the purpose of getting possession of Taylor's Hill, which, if successful, would have given him command of the position which I held. But this was prevented by the timely arrival of General Hays with four regiments of his brigade. The enemy, having thus been foiled in his purpose, turned the head of his column down the river again; but it was impossible to tell whether he had abandoned the attempt or intended to advance again on the same position with a still heavier force.

General Wilcox had now reached Taylor's Hill with three regiments of his brigade, one of which he promised to send to the right in case it should be needed. This regiment was sent for, but there was not sufficient time for it to come up before the action was over. With a line as extended as this, and in consideration of the small number of forces at my disposal, and the uncertainty as to the point against which the enemy would hurl the immense force he had massed in town, I deemed it proper that the regiments should remain as they then were and await the happening of events. Very soon, however, the enemy came out from his hiding-place, and moved in three columns and three lines of battle, 20,000 strong, against the position held by my brigade. At the same instant, Colonel [B. G.] Humphreys was assailed on the left, Colonels [W. D.] Holder and [J. W.] Carter and the Louisiana regiment on the right, and Colonel [Thomas M.] Griffin in the center.

After a determined and bloody resistance by Colonel Griffin and the Washington Artillery, the enemy, fully twenty to one, succeeded in gaining possession of Marye's Hill; at all other points he was triumphantly repulsed. But seeing the line broken at this point, I ordered the Thirteenth and Seventeenth [Mississippi] and --- Louisiana regiments to fall back to the crest of Lee's Hill, to prevent the enemy from getting in our rear. This they did, resisting his approach at every step, and, with the aid of [John C.] Frasser's and [H. H.] Carlton's batteries, both of which were handled with the most consummate skill and courage, finally succeeded in checking his advance. The Twenty-first [Mississippi] Regiment, with the remainder of the Eighteenth [Mississippi], after Marye's Hill had been taken, fell back, and rejoined the brigade on the hills. The distance from town to the points assailed was so short, the attack so suddenly made, and the difficulty or removing troops from one part of the line to another was so great, that it was utterly impossible for either General Wilcox or General Hays to reach the scene of action in time to afford any assistance whatever. It will thus be seen that Marye's Hill was defended by but one small regiment, three companies, and four pieces of artillery. A more heroic struggle was never made by a more handful of men against overwhelming odds. According to the enemy's own accounts, many of this noble little band resisted to the death with clubbed guns even after his vast hordes had swept over and around the walls.

His loss, from reports published in his own papers, was 1,000 killed and wounded, but, according to statements from intelligent citizens, it reached 2,000. Upon the pretext of taking care of their wounded, the enemy asked a flag of truce after the second assault on Marye's Hill, which was granted by Colonel Griffin, and thus the weakness of our force at that was discovered. It is proper to say that Colonel Griffin, who is a brave and gallant officer, granted this flag of truce without consulting me.

The next morning the line of battle was formed on the Wire road, General Gordon in front, General Hays on the left, and my brigade on