Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/175

This page needs to be proofread.


7'A, '//-,////.//,//./ .V-/-/A r,,,;,i;,i,i //I////I//VA 171

the Stonewall brigade line, and the angle from which Edward John- son's division had been driven. The brigade made a charge in the woods and was confronted with three lines of battle not more than fifty yards apart, and there could not have been less than 5,000 men in the three lines. The insufficient number of men to meet such a force was so apparent that when the brigade struck the enemy's first line, an officer from a New York regiment dashed out and demanded the surrender of the brigade; he was immediately shot down, and another came up to the brigade with like command, only to share the same fate. Instead of surrendering, an officer of the command seized the colors of the 23d Regiment and the brigade was ordered to charge. They charged, driving back the left of the enemy's line, and passed on, entering the angle of the breastworks, out of which they drove the enemy, and re-captured that part of the line. The whole Confederate line was then restored by the aid of other troops. General Johnston, while making observations from the top of the breastworks in the angle, was shot in the head and carried from the field.

In the charge to re-establish General Lee's line at a point known as the Salient, Colonel Garrett, of the 23d, was killed. Colonel W. S. Davis, of the I2th North Carolina, was placed temporarily in command of the 23d regiment, about this time. Individual inci- dents are not lacking, only the facts and circumstances are not in hand, to give prominent place to certain persons in these critical at- tacks. We would mention that Corporal E. S. Hart, of Company D, was flag-bearer of the 23rd at Spotsylvania, as he had been in previous engagements. In the hands of Hart, while he was able to be "on his pegs," that flag was never lowered except once, and that was when he was knocked down with the breech of a gun by a Federal.

The second Cold Harbor battle was not participated in by the 23d, but about this time it, with the brigade, was detached from Lee's army and sent into the valley under Early to meet Hunter. Captain Frank Bennett, of Anson county, was acting colonel of the regiment, and in that celebrated campaign the command was spoken of as " Bennett and his invincibles." It has been impossible, and will be, to report accurately the losses of the regiment in the campaign just closed, or in that now just opening before our command. The career of General Robert D. Johnston's Brigade, in the brilliant campaign with Early, is but a history of the 23d Regiment, which constantly