Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 08.djvu/165

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History of Lane's North Carolina Brigade.

but as "the enemy had been driven from the field it was not put in." None of us were actively engaged that day, and about nightfall the whole command moved into the railroad cut, where we slept upon our arms.

Next day we were marched a circuitous route and brought back into an open field near the spot where we had spent the night.

Captain Crenshaw, who was in command of his battery in front of us, notified General Branch of the presence of the enemy in our front. Captain Turner, of the Seventh, was immediately sent to the left of the battery with his company to act as skirmishers. Soon after General Branch ordered me to take command of the Twenty-eighth and Thirty-third regiments and dislodge the enemy, who were in the woods beyond the field of corn. On passing beyond the small cluster of woods to the right of the Crenshaw battery, we saw the enemy retreating in confusion before Captain Turner's skirmishers. We continued to advance until we saw General Gregg's brigade in the woods to our right. It was here that I learned the enemy were in force in the woods, and that General Gregg had been ordered not to press them. I deemed it advisable to inform General Branch of these facts, and was ordered by him to remain where I was. I had three companies at the time deployed as skirmishers along the fence in front of us, and connecting with those first sent out under Captain Turner.

The enemy advanced in strong force upon General Gregg soon after we halted, and General Branch, with the rest of his command, advanced to his support. The Thirty-seventh first became actively engaged. The enemy opened a deadly fire upon this regiment. The Eighteenth, under Lieutenant-Colonel Purdie, and the Seventh, under Captain McRae, went to its assistance, and the enemy were driven in disorder beyond the railroad cut. The enemy were repulsed in two subsequent attempts to drive these regiments from their position. The Thirty-third, under Colonel Hoke, also fought well in the woods to the left of these regiments, and once gallantly advanced into the open field in front and drove the enemy back in disorder. Up to this time the Twenty-eighth had not been engaged, and as the other regiments were nearly out of ammunition, General Branch ordered it to join him, intending to make it cover his front. The order was not delivered properly, and the regiment went into action on the left of General Field's brigade. It advanced boldly into the woods, driving the enemy before it, although exposed to a direct and left enfilade fire, but fell back