Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/242

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236 Southern Historical Society Papers.

The three field officers were present, and but few shots were fired without their permission, the men repeatedly saying, " May I fire?" " I think I can bring him." They were all in high glee, and seemed to enjoy it as much as boys do rabbit-shooting. Cap- lain Winthrop, while most gallantly urging on his men, was shot through the heart, when all rushed back with the utmost precipita- tion. So far as my observation extended, he was the only one of the enemy who exhibited even an approximation to courage during the whole day.

The fight at the angle lasted but twenty minutes. It completely discouraged the enemy, and he made no further effort at assault. The house in front, which had served as a hiding place for the enemy, was now fired by a shell from a howitzer, and the outhouses and palings were soon in a blaze. As all shelter was now taken from him, the enemy called in his troops and started back for Hampton. As he had left sharp-shooters behind him in the woods on our left, the dragoons could not advance until Captain Hoke, of Company K, First North Carolina Volunteers, had thoroughly ex- plored them. As soon as he gave the assurance of the road being clear, Captain Douthat, with some one hundred dragoons, in com- pliance with Colonel Magruder's orders, pursued. The enemy, in his haste, threw away hundreds of canteens, haversacks, overcoats. &c. ; even the dead were thrown out of the wagons. The pursuit soon became a chase, and for the third time the enemy won the race over the New Market course. The bridge was torn up behind him and our dragoons returned to camp. There were not quite eight hundred of my regiment engaged in the fight, and not one-half of these drew trigger during the day. All remained manfully at the posts assigned them, and not a man in my regiment behaved badly. The companies not engaged were as much exposed and rendered equal service with those participating in the fight. They deserve equally the thanks of the country. In fact, it is the most trying ordeal to which soldiers can be subjected to receive a fire which their oiders forbid them to return. Had a single company left its post our works would have been exposed ; and the constancy and discipline of the unengaged companies cannot be too highly commended. A detachment of fifteen cadets from the North Carolina Military Insti- tute defended the howitzers under Lieutenant Hudnall, and acted with great coolness and determination.

I cannot speak in too high terms of my two field officers, Lieu- tenant-Colonel Lee and Major Lane. Their services have been of