Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 04.djvu/39

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Defence of Batteries Gregg and Whitworth.

to follow the movement to the rear. The enemy followed closely, firing an occasional shot from a battery; this was responded to by some of our guns. The depot was reached and line of battle selected, nearly parallel to the railroad; its left being nearer to it; the right rested close to a house to the left of the road over which our troops had marched, the left near a church. It ran along an open ridge sloping to the front to a small stream six or eight hundred yards; beyond the stream was a similar ridge, save that it was covered with trees. Our men sought slight protection from piling up rails taken from neighboring fences. The enemy soon occupied the wooded ridge, the intervening space being about a half mile; they lost no time, but rushed forward in a disjointed manner, yelling furiously. Our artillery opened fire upon them, but without effect. They came up against the right still yelling. When at a convenient distance they received a cool, well-directed and destructive fire, that thinned their ranks, arrested the advance, and soon sent them to the rear in great disorder. The Confederates now gave vent to a wild and derisive yell. A second advance was soon made, and with better order and a more creditable exhibition of courage. They assailed this time our left, drove in the skirmishers, and came up at a sweeping charge cheering vociferously, but were again repulsed, driven clear off from the field, and this time followed by a line of skirmishers.

There was a respite of an hour or more, save a desultory artillery fire, during which the enemy could be seen massing in front of our left. Once more they came against the left flank, attacking us simultaneously in front, which they were enabled to do from their preponderating numbers. Our left was driven in. The front attack at the same time being vigorously pressed, our ranks were thrown into great confusion, the men nevertheless displaying their usual individual courage, though now unavailing. "With ranks disorganized, many killed, wounded and captured, they were forced from the field, and with no friendly fortified line close in rear to receive them,