Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 7.djvu/596

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118
CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

stagger before the weight of lead and iron that was hurled against them. They were encouraged to go forward by the example of their officers, and a battery was taken. A number of prisoners also fell into our hands. Artillerists, who felt confidently secure in the strength of their positions, were captured at their pieces, and others were taken before they knew that their guns had fallen into our hands. One company entire, with its officers and colors, which had been posted in a log house near the battery in front of the Twenty-ninth Mississippi, was captured by the Twenty-seventh Mississippi while the pieces were falling into the hands of the Twenty-ninth."

Now, approaching noon, the hitherto unchecked progress of Hardee and Polk was arrested by Van Cleve's fresh division on the pike, and the Federals began to form a firm line to support the division of John M. Palmer, which still held its place in front across the pike. Palmer and Chalmers faced each other, the pivots on which the armies wheeled. "Chalmers’ brigade had been called on to encounter a measure of personal suffering from exposure beyond that of any other in my corps," wrote Polk. "The part of the line it occupied lay across an open field in full view of the enemy, and in range of his field guns. It had thrown up a slight rifle-pit, behind which it was placed, and to escape observation it was necessary for it to lie down and abstain from building fires. In this position it remained waiting the opening of the battle for more than forty-eight hours, wet with rain and chilled with cold; added to this the enemy's shot and shell were constantly passing over it. Not a murmur of discontent was heard to escape those who composed it. They exhibited the highest capacity of endurance and firmness in the most discouraging circumstances. The general movement from the right having reached it at ten o'clock, it was ordered to the attack, and its reserve under General Donelson was directed to move forward to its support. This charge was made in