Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 14.djvu/157
Report of Conduct of General Steuart's Brigade. 151
in which stood a dwelling, and there meeting the enemy immediately attacked.
The work here was sharp and quick, resulting in the repulse of the Federals across and out of Doles' s works, and their occupation by Steuart. It was, however, soon discovered that Steuart did not cover Doles' s entire front to the left, and fifty or more of the enemy were having a happy time enfilading the lines left and right. Lieu- tenant Robert Lyon with "H" company, Third North Carolina — the then left company — was formed across and perpendicularly to the line, and moving promptly down the left, drove them off". Before this could be accomplished the Third North Carolina, on the left, had suffered severely ; many men were wounded, its sergeant-major killed, and colonel seriously wounded.
Thus matters stood at night-fall on the loth, when the writer was carried to the hospital ; he there learned the brigade was moved back during the night to its original position, remained inactive throughout the nth, and was captured, together with its division and brigade commanders, in the early morning of the 12th.
General Edward Johnson, the division commander, in his report of this memorable morning, written on the i6th August following, vir- tually admits if the troops to the left of Steuart had held their ground with the same tenacity, the result would have been different, as the artillery could have gotten into position in the sahent. He has this to say about Steuart: " The first assault was made on Steuart's front, which, after a fierce conflict, was repulsed ; a second narrow but deep column then assaulted the salient; the artillery being absent, the troops were overpowered and gave away, when the enemy poured through our lines in immense numbers, taking possession to the right and left of the salient."
Lieutenant-Colonel W. M. Parsley, commanding Third North Carolina that morning, and who was captured in his works, says: " Steuart faced by the rear rank and continued to fight inside the lines until a second column attacked him in front, when, finding himself between two fires at short range, he was compelled to surrender."
Thus, on the 12th day of May, 1864, in front of Spotsylvania Courthouse, ceased to exist Steuart's brigade, composed of men who had followed various commanders from Manassas, in i86i,the Valley campaign with Jackson, down to Richmond and on through the several conflicts of '62, '63 and '64, not only without spot on their colors, and having the confidence of their leaders, but also complimented and honored for their endurance and heroism.