Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 04.djvu/203
Operations of General Patton Anderson's Division.
ened to do us much damage, and, but for the courage and skill of Deas' skirmishers, backed by the indomitable energy and perseverance of the officers in charge of the line, would, doubtless, have compelled us to retire to a position nearer our main line. The embrasure from which this piece was fired was so mantled and the cannoneers so well protected that it was almost impossible for our sharpshooters to do more than confine them to their works, without preventing the free use of the piece. Day after day did they use it with damaging effect upon our rifle-pits only sixty paces from its muzzle frequently leveling the earth along the line for forty or fifty yards and literally covering our men in the pits with the debris. Our casualties from this source, however, were trifling. At night the men would work heroically and repair the damages of the day. After several days spent in this mode of annoying warfare, by concert of action among the shapshooters of our line along the front, and to the right and left of the piece in question, it was completely silenced and withdrawn from position.
Similar instances of persevering skill and courage were manifested daily upon other portions of our line along Brantley's, Sharp's and Manigault's front. In one instance Brantley's men, by rolling logs ahead of them and by digging zig-zag trenches, approached so near the enemy's rifle-pits as to be able to throw hand grenades over his breastworks; and on another occasion Sharp's pickets held their position against a line of battle after those on their right and left had given way. Firing between the parties on the two picket lines was constant during the day, and? not unfrequently, continued throughout the night. Our scouts, whenever the darkness of the night favored such operations, penetrated the enemy's picket line, and kept us well advised of all his important movements.During this time the main line was constantly being strengthened. The trenches were enlarged, the breastworks were made wider and stronger in every particular, while every available obstruction within the reach of the troops was resorted to and made use of to render the line as strong as possible. Abattis of the most substantial kind, chevaux-de-frise and palisades of approved styles bristled along our whole front, giving confidence to our troops and speaking defiance to the foe. Four weeks, in the month of August, were spent in perfecting these works of defence