Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 06.djvu/187

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177
Gettysburg—The Battle, on the Right.

could see my mother," and instantly expired. Lieutenant John A. Oates, my beloved brother, was pierced through by eight bullets, and fell mortally wounded. Lieutenants Cody, Hill and Scoggin were killed, and Captain Bethune and several other officers were seriously wounded, while the hemorrhage of the ranks was appalling. I again ordered the advance, and knowing the officers and men of that gallant old regiment, I felt sure that they would follow their commander anywhere in the line of duty, though he led them to certain destruction. I passed through the column waiving my sword, rushed forward to the ledge, and was promptly followed by my entire command in splendid style. We drove the Federals from their strong defensive position; five times they rallied and charged us—twice coming so near that some of my men had to use the bayonet—but vain was their effort. It was our time now to deal death and destruction to a gallant foe, and the account was speedily settled with a large balance in our favor; but this state of things was not long to continue. The long blue lines of Federal infantry were coming down on my right and closing in on my rear, while some dismounted cavalry were closing the only avenue of escape on my left, and had driven in my skirmishers. I sent my Sergeant-Major with a message to Colonel Bowles, of the Fourth Alabama, to come to my relief. He returned and reported the enemy to be between us and the Fourth Alabama, and swarming up the mountain side. By this time, the Federal reinforcements had completely enveloped my right. The lamented Captain Frank Park (who was afterwards killed at Knoxville) came and informed me that the Federals were closing in on our rear. I sent him to ascertain their numbers, and he soon returned, accompanied by Captain Hill (subsequently killed in front of Richmond), and reported that two regiments were coming up behind us, and just then I saw them halt behind a fence, from which they opened fire on us. At Balaklava, Captain Nolan's six hundred had "cannon to right of them, cannon to left of them, cannon in front of them that volleyed and thundered"; but at this moment the Fifteenth Alabama had infantry to the right of them, dismounted cavalry to the left of them, infantry in front of them and infantry in rear of them. With a withering and deadly fire pouring in upon us from every direction, it seemed that the entire command was doomed to destruction. While one man was shot in the face, his right hand or left hand comrade was shot in the side or back. Some were struck simultaneously with two or three balls from