Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 18.djvu/319

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Operations on the Rio Cfrande, February 21, 1862. 319

time a second message was received, through Captain John Phillips, from the Major informing me that large masses of the enemy were in his front and threatening an attack. As his force was but small, I was fearful that he would be overpowered before we could reach him, and accordingly pushed forward guided by Captain Phillips as rapidly as our horses could carry us to his relief, and found him gallantly maintaining a most unequal contest against vastly superior numbers. Dismounting my command we formed on his right and joined in the conflict. For near two hours we held our position in front of an enemy now known to be near five thousand strong, while our own forces were not over seven hundred in number. Immedi- ately upon reaching the field Captain Frazier joined the command to which he belonged, where he did good service during the remainder of the day. Upon opening fire with the light Howitzer battery under Lieutenant John Reilly, it was found to be ineffectual against the heavier metal of the enemy ; it was therefore ordered to cease firing and be withdrawn under cover. At about I o'clock Captain Teel, with two guns of his battery, reached the ground. Being placed in position on our right, opened a galling fire upon the left flank of the enemy ; whereupon the enemy commenced a furious cannonade upon him from their entire battery, consisting of eight guns. So heavy was their fire that the captain soon found himself with but five men to work the two guns. A bomb exploding under his pieces had set the grass on fire. Still this gallant officer held his position and continued his firing upon the enemy, himself seizing a rammer and assisting to load the guns. Seeing his situation, I ordered Lieutenant Reilly with his command to join him and assist in the efficient working of his guns. During the balance of the day this brave little band performed the duty assigned them. Judging by the heavy firing on the left that Major Pyron was hard pressed, Captain Teel, with more of his guns, which had just reached the ground, was despatched to his relief. Major Raguet, with four companies of the regiment, was ordered to maintain our position there. I remained on the right with the balance of my command and two pieces of Teel's battery under Lieutenant J. H. McGuinness, to hold in check the enemy, who were moving in large force to turn our flank in that direction. About this time Major Lockridge, of the Fifth regiment, arrived on the field, and reported himself with a portion of that command. He was 'ordered to join our troops on the left. During all this time the fire of the enemy had been extremely heavy, while owing to the shorter range of most of our guns our fire was reserved until they