Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 04.djvu/35

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Defence of Batteries Gregg and Whitworth.

The enemy moving by the flank, crossed the Boydton plank road near the Pickerell house, north of it; then continuing the march across an open field of six or eight hundred yards halted, faced to the right, and preparatory to their advance, fired a few rounds from a battery. Several pieces of artillery were placed in rear of Harris, and opened fire on the enemy over a mile distant; they moved forward unchecked, and but little annoyed by this fire.

The fragments of Thomas' and Lane's brigades were withdrawn; a portion placed in the plank road, here deeply worn, and extending to the left, connected at Old Town creek with the right of Brig-Gen. Cox's North Carolina brigade; this was partially entrenched.[1] A second detachment from these brigades was posted on the lines beyond or east of the Boydton plank road, and about 200 yards from Battery Gregg, this part of the line being along the bank of Old Town creek. The enemy had placed a battery supported with infantry near a house in a field seven or eight hundred yards beyond the creek. It had been posted so as to have Gregg and Whitworth in the same line, and shots that passed over the former could and did strike the latter, four or five hundred yards beyond.

The lines of battle of the enemy, imposing from their numbers and strength, advanced. Slowly but steadily our artillery that in rear of Harris' brigade was withdrawn, and the brigade, after a slight skirmish, retired.

  1. The following note from General Cox will show how weak we were. I had written to him to request that he have his skirmish line connect with mine:

    "Battery 45, Hd. Qrs. Brigade,
    "April 2d, 1865.

    "General: Your note was received; I will have my skirmish line connected with yours. The enemy are massing heavily on my left. My men are now deployed at 20 feet. 1 will, therefore, be compelled to move to my left, and wish that you would extend your line to this battery, in order to keep up a proper connection. As you are aware, it is of vital importance that this line should be held.

    "I am, respectfully,

    "W. M. Cox,