But the enemy, discovering that the handful of men in their front was not the twentieth part of their own number, pressed forward and nearly enveloped the Fifth Georgia, forcing it back. The Georgia reserves and a section of artillery were then sent by Gartrell to the support of the Fifth Georgia, but it was too late. The entire line soon gave way, destroyed the bridge immediately under the guns and within easy and effective musket-range of our works at Coosawhatchie.
Major John Jenkins, whom I had sent forward to ascertain the position of the enemy, was conducting the battalion of cadets under Major White into action-and that gallant body of youths was moving at double-quick, manifesting the enemy, which they subsequently so handsomely sustained in action, and would in ten minutes have opened fire on the enemy's right-when our line gave way, as above stated, and the cadets were withdrawn to the railroad. The enemy having secured a footing at the junction of the Gregory's Point and State roads, immediately commenced entrenching, and I had no troops at hand with which to attack them that evening.
During the night of the 6th I concentrated on the railroad near the Tullifinny trestle all the available troops I could collect- being Forty-seventh Georgia and a battalion of the Thirty-second Georgia Regiment, a company of the First South Carolina Artillery, the battalion of cadets, and one of North Carolina reserves that had just arrived, and Bachman's battery of artillery-and ordered Colonel Edwards, the senior colonel, to attack the enemy with that force at daylight the next morning. General Gartrell was ordered to make a spirited demonstration of attack from Coosawhatchie as soon as he should hear Colonel Edward's guns, and if Edward's attack proved successful, to press forward the attack from Coosawhatchie with all vigor. Colonel Edwards attacked as directed, with the result shown by his report, herewith forwarded. * The demonstration from Coosawhatchie was not made with any spirit, and their effort to dislodge the enemy failed. Not having a sufficient number of reliable troops to renew the attack, I endeavored, by defensive works, to hold the railroad, and the enemy was thus unavoidably allowed time, of which they availed themselves, to strengthen their position on Gregory's Neck.
In the meantime I had ordered Brigadier General B. H. Robertson from his subdivision to the immediate command of the troops from Bee's Creek to Pocotaligo.
On the morning of the 9th the enemy, endeavoring to get possession of the railroad, vigorously assailed our left near Tullifinny trestle, and were repulsed. Later in the day they concentrated and attacked our line near Coosawhatchie, and were again repulsed. Failing in this attack, they never renewed it, but strengthened their position within less than a mile of the railroad, and established several batteries, with which they endeavored, but unsuccessfully, to prevent us from using it.
On the 11th, under instructions from the lieutenant-General commanding, Brigadier-General Taliaferro was assigned to the immediate command of the troops from Bee's Creek to Pocotaligo.
I have stated thus minutely the operations of very small bodies of troops during the 6th, 7th, and 9th, because the result of those operations decided my subsequent action. If the Forty-seventh Georgia Regiment and the section of artillery which I ordered up from Grahamville within an hour after my arrival at Pocataligo had been sent to
* See p. 447.