Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/174

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170 Southern Historical Soriely Papers.

House. General Grant was now in command on the other side. The regiment had a part in the battle of the Wilderness.

Brigadier-General Johnston joined his command on the Rappa- hannock just before the battle of Mine Run, and participated in that fight, although the brigade was not actively engaged, as it was a mere skirmish. The brigade reached the army, from Hanover, just before the battle of the Wilderness. It participated in the engage- ment with Gordon's Brigade, turning the right flank of the Federal line. The brigade, in making the flank attack, penetrated to the rear of the enemy with some 300 or 400 men, but was recalled, and escaped through the line and took part in the exceedingly bloody action of next day.

At Spotsylvania C. H. the brigade was held in reserve to support any point of attack along the line. In the morning the line occupied by Daniel's and Doles' Brigades was assailed, and they were driven from their breastworks. Johnston's Brigade re-carried the works and re-established the line. This was done in the presence of General Robert E. Lee. The troops refused to make the charge until Gen- eral Lee withdrew from the field, he then being at a very exposed point.

In making this charge a contest arose between two of the brigade officers, which proved that the race, (if not always) is sometimes to the swift. Major Brooks, of the aoth North Carolina, and Captain James F. Johnston, aid-de-camp to General R. D. Johnston, were the participants. A flag of the enemy had been planted on the breastworks occupied by Doles' Brigade, now held by three lines of battle. In the charge made to retake the works, each of these two officers made a dash for the flag. Brooks reached out his hand just in front of Johnston and seized the flag, carried it back to the rear, and presented it to General Lee with the request that it be sent to North Carolina as one of the trophies of the brigade. It was sent to North Carolina, with a letter from General Lee very complimentary to North Carolina troops.

After the recapture of the line of breastworks the brigade was again withdrawn, occupying its position in reserve until the line held by Major-General Edward Johnson was carried by the enemy. John- son's Brigade was ordered to re-take that line of works. The enemy had crossed over where the Stonewall brigade had been located, and after penetrating 200 yards inside the Confederate line with three lines of battle, were occupying a thin piece of woods just in rear of