Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/122

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

116 Southern Historical Society Papers.

they opened a tremendous fire of small arms, with a converging fire of artillery along McRae's whole front. It was all in vain. McRae' s men, in a line almost as straight and unbroken as they presented when on parade, without firing a gun, threw themselves forward at a double-quick, and mounting the entrenchments, precipitated them- selves among the enemy's infantry on either side, who seemed to be dazed by the vehemence of the attack, and made a very feeble resist- ance after their works were reached. Lane's and Cooke's men, stimulated by the shouts of McRae's brigade on the right, redoubled their exertions and advancing with great rapidity through the fallen timber, were close under the works when McRae struck them. In fact, portions of the three brigades crossed the embankment to- gether, and the glory of the victory belongs equally to them all. Nor were our cavalry idle spectators of the fight. As soon as it was evident to General Hampton that Hill's infantry had commenced the second assault with the three North Carolina brigades, he ordered his entire force, which had been dismounted, to attack the enemy in flank and rear. This was done most gallantly and successfully. General Rufus Barringer, of North Carolina, commanded W. H. F. Lee's division with marked skill and gallantry, whilst Colonel W. H. Cheek, of Warren county, led Barringer's brigade with his accus- tomed dash. The cavalry vied with the infantry in their headlong assault upon the enemy's lines. The Second North Carolina, under General W. P. Roberts, of Gates county, carried the first line of rifle-pits on the right, and the cavalry all swept over the main line. Their works stormed in front, their lines carried in flank and rear, the enemy's infantry gave way at all points and abandoned the field in confusion and without any appearance of order. In truth, the Federal infantry did not show the determination which had generally marked the conduct of Hancock's corps. Not so with the Federal artillery. It was fought to the last with unflinching courage. Some minutes before the second assault was made, General McRea had ordered Lieutenant W. E. Kyle, with the sharp-shooters, to concen- trate his fire upon the Federal batteries. Many men and horses rapidly fell under the deadly fire of these intrepid marksmen. Yet still the artillerists who were left, stood by their guns. When Mc- Rae's brigade crossed the embankment, a battery which was on his right-front as he advanced, wheeled to a right angle with its original position, and opened a fire of grape and canister at close quarters, enfilading the Confederate line; General McRae immediately ordered this battery to be taken Although entirely abandoned by its infantry