Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 04.djvu/177
Official Reports of the Battle of Gettysburg. 169
my brigade, the whole line commenced ascending the rugged steep and (on the right) crossing the gorge. The ground was difficult rocks in many places, presenting by their precipitous sides, insurmountable obstacles, whilst the fire of the enemy was very heavy and very deadly. .The progress was, therefore, not very rapid, but it was regular and uninterrupted. After awhile the enemy were driven from their three front guns. The advance continued, and at length they were driven completely from the peak, but they carried with them the three rear guns on its sum. mit, its sudden descent on the other side favoring the operation; so that we captured only the three front guns. These were ten- pounder Parrots. A number of prisoners also were taken, more I suppose than one hundred.
The peak being thus taken and the enemy'e first line driven be- hind his second, I made my dispositions to hold the ground gained, which was all that I could do, as I was then much in advance of every other part of our line of battle, and the second line of the enemy on the mountain itself was in a position which seemed to me almost impregnable to any merely front attack, even with fresh men. Indeed, to hold the ground we had appeared a diffi- cult task. The shells of the enemy from the adjacent mountain were incessantly bursting along the summit of the peak, and every head that showed itself was the target for a Minnie ball.
Several attempts by flank movements were made to dislodge us, but by the gallantry of the regiments on the right and left they all failed. We held the position until late next day, when we were ordered back to the crest of the wooded hill from which we first saw the enemy on the day before.
Our loss was heavy, not less than four hundred in killed, wounded, and missing. Of this number, an unusually large pro- portion were killed and badly wounded. Among the killed were Colonel John A. Jones, of the Twentieth Georgia, and Lieutenant- Colonel William T. Harris, commanding the Second Georgia.
Colonel J.nes was killed late in the action, not far from the captured guns. After the enemy's forces were driven from the position and they had themselves opened upon it with shell from their other batteries, a fragment of one of which, glancing from a rock, passed through his brain. He had behaved with great cool- ness and gallantry. He fell just as success came in sight. Colonel 4