Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 08.djvu/516

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504 Southern Historical Society Papers.

only a small force lie was to "pick it up;" if the enemy proved too strong for him he was to retire across the creek, under cover of the line held by General Benning. I was instructed to communicate with General Benning, and to control the road so as to prevent reinforce- ments from moving up it, towards the railroad ; and in case Colonel Bratton's command had to retire, to hold my position until he could withdraw his troops. Sending a courier to remain with Bratton's com- mand until it commenced moving, when he was to notify me, I returned to my command. In a short time I received information that Brat- ton was in motion. My line was at once ordered forward and took position on the wooded slope overlooking the road, the left thirty or forty and the right one hundred and fifty or two hundred yards from it. Here I remained nearly an hour; this time was employed in strengthening the position by the construction of rail and log breast- works, before the firing began on the left. In the meantime, General Benning had come up on my left in rear of Colonel Bratton, while the latter had moved on against the camp of the enemy. Soon after the fighting on the left began, I was notified by Colonel Sheffield of Forty- eighth Alabama regiment, commanding my brigade on the occasion, that a column of troops was moving from the camp on my right along the road in front. I directed the skirmishers to retire to the line of battle, and allowed the head of the column to get opposite to my left, before firing. One volley scattered it in the fields beyond the road where it attempted to reform and move on, but a second fire again dis- persed it.

While this was taking place, other troops were coming up from the right, and our position having now been disclosed, they turned to attack it. Their line of attack was formed obliquely to our own their left coming in contact with our line first, and striking it near the right. This caused their left to be forced in upon our position by the other parts of their line as it advanced. The first attack was easily repulsed. The second was made in heavier force, with a like result at all points of the line except one. This was at the junction of the Forty- fourth and Fifteenth Alabama regiments. Here the enemy, forced in by the right of their line upon a vacant space in our own (caused by detaching a company for service as videttes between my right and the river), broke through the line. Parts of both regiments gave way. By the exertions of Colonel Sheffield, and with the assistance of the Fourth Alabamat which had cleared its front of the enemy, the line was re-established and the enemy driven from it. Before this second attack took place the firing on the railroad had ceased, and a message was brought me by Cap*