Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 08.djvu/244
232 Southern Historical Society Papers.
nently exposed to the fire of the enemy's skirmishers and sharp- shooters. During the afternoon of this day I was directed by Major-General Early to hold my brigade in readiness at a given signal to charge the enemy in the works on the summit of the hill before me, with the information that a general advance of our en- tire line would be made at the same time. A little before 8 o'clock P. M. I was ordered to advance with my own and Hoke's brigade on my left, which had been placed for the time being under my command. I immediately moved forward, and had gone but a short distance, when my whole line became exposed to a most ter- rific fire from the enemy's batteries from the entire range of hills in front and to the right and left. Still both brigades advanced steadily up and over the first hill and into a bottom at the foot of Cemetery hill. Here we came upon a considerable body of the enemy, and a brisk musketry fire ensued. At the same time his artillery, of which we were now within canister range, opened upon us. But owing to the darkness of the evening now verging into night, and the deep obscurity afforded by the smoke of the firing, our exact locality could not be discovered by the enemy's gunners, and we thus escaped what, in the full light of day, could have been nothing else but horrible slaughter.
Taking advantage of this, we continued to move forward until we reached the second line, behind a stone wall at the foot of a fortified hill. We passed such of the enemy who had not fled and who were still clinging for shelter to the wall to the rear as pris- oners. Still advancing, we came upon an abatis of fallen timber and the third line disposed in rifle pits. This line we broke, and, as before found, many of the enemy who had not fled, hiding in the pits for protection. These I ordered to the rear as prisoners, and continued my progress to the crest of the hill.
Arriving at the summit, by a simultaneous rush from my whole line, I captured several pieces of artillery, four stands of colors and a number of prisoners.
At that time every piece of artillery which had been firing upon us was silenced. A quiet of several minutes now ensued. Their heavy masses of infantry were heard and perfectly discerned through the increasing darkness, advancing in the direction of my position. Approaching within a hundred yards, a line was dis- covered before us, from the whole length of which a simulta- neous fire was delivered. I reserved my fire from the uncertainty of this being a force of the enemy or of our men, as I had been