Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 06.djvu/266

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Southern Historical Society Papers.


and difficult of ascent; a natural fortification, rendered more formidable by deep entrenchments and thick abatis—Jones' brigade in advance, followed by Nicholls' and Steuart's. General Walker was directed to follow, but reporting to me that the enemy were advancing upon him from their right, he was ordered to repulse them and follow on as soon as possible.

The opposing force was larger and the time consumed longer than was anticipated, in consequence of which General Walker did not arrive in time to participate in the assault that night.

By the time my other brigades had crossed Rock creek and reached the base of the mountain, it was dark.

His skirmishers were driven in and the attack made with great vigor and spirit. It was as successful as could have been expected, considering the superiority of the enemy's force and position. Steuart's brigade, on the left, carried a line of breastworks which ran perpendicularly to the enemy's main line, captured a number of prisoners and a stand of colors, and the whole line advanced to within short range, and kept up a heavy fire until late in the night. Brigadier-General Jones and Colonel Higginbotham, Twenty-fifth Virginia, were wounded in this assault, and the command of Jones' brigade devolved upon Lieutenant-Colonel Dungan.

Early next morning, the "Stonewall" brigade was ordered to the support of the others, and the assault was renewed with great determination.

Shortly after, the enemy moved forward to recapture the line of breastworks which had been taken the night previous, but was repulsed with great slaughter. Daniel's and Rodes' brigade (Colonel O'Neal commanding) of Rodes' division having reported to me, two other assualts were made; both failed—the enemy were too securely entrenched and in too great number to be dislodged by the force at my command.

In the meantime, a demonstration in force was made upon my left and rear. The Second Virginia regiment, Stonewall brigade and Smith's brigade of Early's division were disposed to meet and check it, which was accomplished to my entire satisfaction.

No further assault was made; all had been done that it was possible to do. I held my original position until ten o'clock of the night of the 3d, when, in accordance with orders, I withdrew to the hill north and west of Gettysburg, where we remained until the following day in the hope that the enemy would give us battle on ground of our own selection.

My loss in this terrible battle was heavy, including some of the most valuable officers of the command. Major J. W. Latimer of Andrews' battalion, "the boy major," whose chivalrous bearing on so many fields had won for him a reputation to be envied by his seniors, received a severe wound on the evening of the 2d, from the effects of which he has since died. Major B. W. Leigh, my Chief of Staff, whose conscientious discharge of duty, superior attainments and noble bearing made him invaluable to me, was killed within a short distance of the enemy's line. Major H. K. Douglas,