Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/176

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172 Southern Historical Society Papers.

shared its fortunes through it all thence again to the lines at Peters- burg, and down to the end.

The next righting done by the brigade was as a part of Early's command in that truly great march on Washington city. The bri- gade was in all the battles of that command, and made the flank movement with Gordon's Division at Bell Grove and Cedar Creek. In this battle it had a hand-to-hand conflict with the 6th Army Corps. It captured, with the aid of Battle's Brigade, of Alabama, six pieces of artillery, which were gallantly defended by the artillerymen, who died at their posts rather than surrender. The brigade was ordered to take position in front of Middleburg, where it remained during the day, having skirmished with cavalry in front. That evening Gen- eral Sheridan, having taken command of the Federal troops, made his attack on the left flank of the Confederate line. The brigade was in position where it could see the line as it broke, first at the point held by Gordon's Brigade, and then at that held by Ramseur's Bri- gade. These brigades retired from the field in great confusion. Johnston's Brigade was the only organized body that retired from the presence of the enemy with its line unbroken, halting and firing repeatedly as they were pressed upon, being the only organized force then of the Confederate army.

After falling back near Cedar Creek, General Pegram sent an or- der to Johnston to cross the bridge " and follow the road towards Strasburg. General Johnston sent a message to him that it would be impossible to cross the bridge, as the breastworks built by the enemy commanded the bridge completely, and that the enemy would occupy them before he (Johnston) could cross; but that he could cross below, and preserve his brigade intact. A second staff officer from General Pegram commanded Johnston to bring his brigade across the bridge just under the command of those breastworks, which, in the meantime, had become occupied by the enemy, and thus, while the brigade was attempting to cross the bridge, a hot fire was poured into their line from the breastworks. Being totaly unprotected and at the mercy pf the enemy, the brigade fell into confusion, and re- treated under cover of the darkness. On the retreat up the valley, the brigade was covering the rear, followed by Sheridan's cavalry, in the flush of victory and determined to put the Confederates to rout, if possible. Thus was the command, from morning until night, fol- lowed and harried by a persistent foe; when the retreating column,, attenuated as it was, had reached a point near Mount Jackson, Gen-