Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/125

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Battle at Reams Station. 119

who reversed the ancient method of fighting with artillery at a long, and safe distance, and brought it to its highest perfection, always ad- vancing to the front line-of-battle when the occasion demanded?

After the capture of the breastworks, General McGowan's brigade was sent in on the right. That generous-hearted old hero, declined to make any official report of the conduct ot his brigade, giving as a reason therefor, that he "supposed he was only sent in to keep the North Carolinians in the pursuit, and gather up the spoils of war which had been captured by them." His unselfish example was well worthy of imitation.

Mahone's old brigade subsequently advanced over the same field, but the hard fighting was over.

The Federal loss in this battle was between six hundred and seven hundred killed and wounded, two thousand one hundred and fifty prisoners, three thousand one hundred stand of small arms, twelve stands of colors, nine guns and caisons. Among the prisoners captured was General Walker, of Hancock's staff, who surrendered to Lieutenant Kyle. Kyle here, as elsewhere, was in the very front of the assaulting column.

The Confederate loss was small, and fell principally upon Lane's brigade. In the second and final assault it was about five hundred in killed and wounded. The result of this brilliant engagement was hailed with great rejoicing throughout the South, and shed a de- clining lustre upon the Confederate battle flag, upon which the sun of victory was about to go down forever. General R. E. Lee pub- licly and repeatedly stated that not only North Carolina, but the whole Confederacy, owed a debt of gratitude to Lane's, Cooke's, and McRae's brigades which could never be repaid. He also wrote to Governor Vance expressing his high appreciation of their services. From his letter I make this extract :

HEADQUARTERS ARMY NORTHERN VIRGINIA,

August 29, 1864. His Excellency Z. B. VANCE,

Governor of North Carolina^ Raleigh :

I have frequently been called upon to mention the services of North Carolina soldiers in this army, but their gallantry and con- duct were never more deserving of admiration than in the engage- ment at Reams' Station on the 25th ultimo.