Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 7.djvu/506

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25
CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

of the combat the Potomac river was the line between the Northern and Southern armies in the vicinity of Leesburg, where, and from that place to Goose Creek, Evans' brigade was stationed. On October 20th, in obedience to orders, Gen. Charles P. Stone, commanding the Federal forces on the opposite side of the river, made demonstrations at Harrison’s Island and Edwards Ferry, sending a small reconnoissance toward Leesburg from the former and shelling the Confederate forces within range on Goose Creek. Colonel Barksdale’s Thirteenth regiment, at the latter point, was again under fire on the morning of the 21st, and withdrew to a position near Fort Evans, not far from Leesburg, where Capt. L. D. Fletcher’s company was detached to reinforce the other wing of the brigade. Later in the day Barksdale advanced toward Edwards Ferry and encountered the advance of General Stone, who with a considerable force was approaching Leesburg from that direction, and brisk skirmishing followed, which checked the enemy in that quarter.

Meanwhile, a body of infantry and artillery had crossed the river at Harrison's Island, under Colonel Devens, later in the day under Colonel Baker. Upon their first advance beyond the Jackson house, the Federal troops were met with great resolution by Capt. W. L. Duff, Seventeenth Mississippi, on picket duty in that vicinity. With 40 men he took a good position at the foot of a hill, and "ordered the enemy to halt five or six times,” as he reported. "The Federals responded each time ‘Friends,’ but continued to advance within sixty yards, when I ordered my men to kneel and fire, which they did with deadly effect, completely breaking his line. The second time he fell back, but, getting reinforcements from the reserve, rallied and maintained his position about twenty minutes, when the whole force fled in confusion to a thicket of woods." Duff then discreetly retired to a position commanding the Leesburg road,