Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/74
68 Southern Historical Society Papers.
pected at the ravine between Battery Gregg and Battery 45. Lines retaken.
" March 26-28th. Working on new fort in front of Gregg.
"March 29th. Enemy moving on our right. Heavy firing in front of Petersburg 10 P. M."
Pardon the egotism if I refer to the fact that the artillerymen did me the honor to call the new fort the last one built on the lines of Petersburg Fort Owen." I try not to give way to the vanity of using the personal pronoun in recalling events of the war, but for my present purpose I cannot well avoid it sometimes.
This was the situation at daybreak on the 2d April, 1865, when Lieutenant Battles and I emerged from the Gregg house, where we had tried to get a night's rest, but had been kept awake by the terri- ble noise of the cannonading in front of the city, to say nothing of our anxiety in regard to the right of the army, that we had heard had been overwhelmed at Five Forks the evening before.
McElroy was in Gregg with his dismounted artillerists ; Battles was in "Owen" with his two guns and their cannoneers, and to the right and left, along the entrenchments, were infantry of Lane's and Thomas's commands, I believe, stationed several yards apart.
As we walked towards the front line we heard what appeared to be a scattering skirmish firing off to our right; presently infantry- men began crossing the field to the rear hurriedly, our cannoneers laughing and saying, "They are chasing rabbits." Presently a can- non-shot was fired from the direction in which we had heard the musketry, and a solid shot plowed up the ground in front of our guns. We then knew our lines had been broken, and the sun would rise upon an eventful day. Cautioning Battles to keep a sharp look- out, I went over to " Gregg" to see that McElroy was all right, and thence to the Gregg House for my horse. It was not long before a thin skirmish line of the enemy passed over our now depleted front, capturing the whole of Battles' detachment, and possessing them- selves of his two guns. But McElroy opened upon them with his little force, and they retired, leaving the guns behind, but taking with them their prisoners. I saw one gallant fellow of McElroy's run, all alone, from "Gregg" to " Owen," and load and fire one round at the retiring enemy. I wish I knew his name. McElroy immediately took possession of Battles' guns, and prepared to act