War of the Rebellion: Serial 074 Page 0774 THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN. Chapter L.

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under a deadly fire a few wavered and the rest lay down. The line was unbroken, and although the position was a trying one, every inch of ground gained was resolutely maintained. A staff officer was sent to request the reserve line to be pushed forward without delay. After waiting some time for the reserves to come up-perhaps not so long as it appeared to those exposed to this deadly fire at such close range-another staff officer was sent back with an urgent appeal for them to be brought up immediately. In the mean time both men and officers in the front line were suffering severely. Each moment brought death and wounds into their ranks. On every part of the line officers were constantly falling while engaged in encouraging and urging the man to remain firm until assistance should arrive, and by their conduct setting examples of heroism and courage seldom equaled and still more rarely surpassed. The second line came up in rear of Dead and Brantly, but the ranks of the latter had been so thinned by the fire to which they had been exposed that the two lines combined were unable to make any farther advance. Unwilling to abandon the attack while a reasonable hope of success remained, and believing that with the assistance of a couple of good brigades the enemy's left could be forced back, a staff officer was sent to General Lee to ascertain if the necessary assistance could be spared from other portions of the field. In the mean time every effort was made to hold the ground already gained. Stragglers were pushed up to the front and the slightly wounded were encouraged to remain there. While engaged in these efforts a color-bearer was discovered some short distance behind the front line, with a number of men scattered about through the pines near him. On inquiry he reported himself as color-bearer of the Thirteenth Louisiana Regiment, and stated that he had tried to get the men to follow him to the front, but could not prevail on them to do so. The officers of the regiment were then called for, but none responded. The color bearer expressed great desire to carry the colors forward, and upon my directing him to do so, he did advance them gallantly, calling upon his comrades to follow. I regret to say that but few responded. When the conduct of officers or troops justifies it, I deem it to be a duty no less imperative to censure than to praise, and it is under a sense of this duty that I relate this circumstance. I would not be understood as imputing reprehensible conduct to the whole regiment, whose color-bearer I have alluded to, for I know than on other fields that regiment had acquitted itself with the highest honors; but I do say that if the men in question did belong to the Thirteenth Louisiana Regiment, as represented to me, they are unworthy comrades of a gallant color-bearer, and that they reflect discredit upon a gallant regiment from as gallant a State as shines in the Southern constellation.

Regarding the extreme right of my line as in great danger, and desiring to hold our position there until assistance might arrive, I now proceeded along the line from Brantly's right toward Sharp's position. At this time the troops of the front line were lying down within sixty yards of the enemy's breast-works and at many points much nearer, keeping up a hot fire upon everything that appeared above the defenses. From these defenses the enemy, too, poured an unremitting fire upon the assailants. Though at a distance from them, Sharp's gallant Mississippians could be seen pushing their way in small parties up to the very slope of the enemy's breast-works. Officers could be plainly observed encouraging the men to this work.