Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 06.djvu/186

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Southern Historical Society Papers.

ward, and passed to the left oblique entirely down the northern or northeastern side of Round Top without encountering any opposition whatever. After I had reached the level ground in rear of Vincent's Spur, in plain view of the Federal wagon trains, and within two hundred yards of an extensive park of Federal ordnance wagons, which satisfied me that I was then in the Federal rear, advancing rapidly, without any skirmishers in front, I saw no enemy until within forty or fifty steps of an irregular ledge of rocks—a splendid line of breastworks formed by nature, running about parallel with the front of the Forty-seventh Alabama and my two left companies, and then sloping back in front of my centre and right at an angle of about thirty-five degrees. Our foes, who had so suddenly and mysteriously disappeared from Round Top, had evidently fallen back to a second line behind this ledge, and now, unexpectedly to us, this double line poured into us the most destructive fire I ever saw. Our line halted, but did not break. As men fell their comrades closed the gap, returning the fire most spiritedly. I soon discovered that the left of the Forty-seventh Alabama was disconnected—I know not how far—from the right of the Fourth Alabama, and consequently the Forty-seventh was outflanked on its left, and its men were being mowed down like grain before the scythe. Just at this time Lieutenant-Colonel Bulger, a most gallant old gentleman over sixty years of age, commanding the Forty-seventh Alabama, fell severely wounded, and soon afterwards his regiment, after behaving most gallantly and sustaining heavy losses, broke and in confusion retreated back up the mountain.

Just as the left of the Forty-seventh regiment was being driven back, I ordered my regiment to change direction to the left, swing around and drive the Federals from the ledge of rocks, partly for the purpose of enfilading their line and relieving the Forty-seventh. My men obeyed, and advanced about half way to the enemy's position, but the fire was so destructive that my line wavered like a man trying to walk against a strong wind, and then, slowly, doggedly, gave back a little. Then, with no one upon the right or left of me, my regiment exposed, while the enemy was still under cover, to stand there and die was sheer folly; either to retreat or advance became a necessity. My Lieutenant-Colonel, J. B. Feagin, had lost his leg; the heroic Captain Ellison had fallen, while Captain Brainard, one of the bravest and best officers in the regiment, in leading his company forward, fell, exclaiming: "Oh God! that I