Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/110

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104 Southern Historical Society Papers.

ward movement, the Seventh having the left of the line, the First next on its right, then the Eleventh and Twenty-fourth, in order named, to the right.

Soon single shots were heard, telling that the skirmishers were at work. Faster and faster the shots rang out, and the bullets com- menced whistling through the air, or rather the fog. Then the steady rattle of musketry announced where Gracie's men had struck the ene- my's main line. A battery of four brass Napoleons, Martin's battery, commanded by Captain D. A. French, had been placed in position by Major Francis J. Boggs (formerly captain of Company H of the First Virginia) on the brow of the elevation about two hundred yards in front of the enemy's line and just to the right of our brigade. This battery now opened, sending its iron messengers over the heads of Gracie's men and crashing through the forest into the enemy's line.

Our brigade by this time had passed the elevation on which the Willis house stands, and came to a halt about fifty or sixty yards in rear of the Alabamians. The bullets intended for them made gaps in our ranks, and many of our men were stricken down. C. A. Wills, of Company I, fell here mortally wounded, shot through the body. While laying down he placed himself close against me, using me for his breastwork, when the fatal bullet came, passing just over me and through him. Hearing the sound I jumped up, thinking I was surely struck, but feeling nothing and seeing how it missed me I congratulated myself on my escape. W. W. Turner and Sergeant George E. Craig, of my company, were both wounded in the head. The latter went off with the blood streaming down his face, and, nearly reaching safety in the rear, was again wounded in the thigh, when, as he said, he forgot all about his wound in the head and ran till he got to the hospitital.

Lieutenant E. W. Martin, of Company H, was disabled, shot through the thigh, and others were injured.

The position at this time was as follows : The Seventh on the left of the Stage road, the First across it, the Eleventh and Twenty- fourth to the right of the road on the slope of the hill. Gracie's men had not succeeded in dislodging the enemy, their position being too strong for them. Only one regiment, the Forty-first, on the left of the first brigade, had driven the enemy from its front. They came in contact with the eight companies of the Ninth New Jersey, who, after a brief contest, vacated the position held by them on the east of the road, whereby the right flank of Heckman's brigade was left open and exposed.