Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 7.djvu/464

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437
CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

he was made lieutenant-colonel of the regiment. He was with his regiment under Kirby Smith in east Tennessee in the summer, fall and winter of 1862, and then, going to Mississippi with Tracy's brigade, was in the gallant fight made against Grant at Port Gibson, May 1st. There the five left companies of the Twentieth, under his command, obstinately resisted every effort of the enemy to dislodge them, until flanked. In a daring attempt to bring off Captain Pratt and a portion of his company from their advanced position, which they yielded with great reluctance, he was cut off and captured, but soon had the good fortune to rejoin his command. At Baker's Creek, May 16th, his gallantry was mentioned by S. D. Lee, the new brigade commander. During the siege of Vicksburg he won additional laurels. At the time of the Federal assault of May 22d, a small body of the enemy obtained a lodgment in a redoubt on S. D. Lee's line, and it was necessary to drive them out. The work was so constructed that the Federals were perfectly protected, and the only means of dislodging them was to retake the angle by a desperate charge, and either kill or compel the surrender of the Federal party by the use of hand-grenades. A call for volunteers for this purpose was made, General Stevenson reported, "and promptly responded to by Lieut.-Col. E. W. Pettus, and about forty men of Waul's Texas legion. A more gallant feat than this charge has not illustrated our arms during the war." In the face of a concentrated fire of shot, shell and musketry, the little detachment, Pettus at the head, musket in hand, rushed upon the work, and almost before their heroism could be realized had captured the Federal flag, and the enemy soon surrendered. After the death of Colonel Garrott, Pettus commanded the regiment, and was surrendered with it, but was exchanged later in the year 1863. On September 18th he was commissioned brigadier-general, and assigned to succeed S. D. Lee and the lamented Tracy in the command of the heroic brigade distinguished