Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/19

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Burgess's Mill, whore the j)lank road crossed our line. On the 28th of March the firing became hot and heavy, we felt that something had given way on our left. Sheridan's mounted infantry (miscalled cavalry) was bearing on Five Forks, and General Pickett was ad- vanced to that point at the head of Gravelly Run fork, on the White Oak road; and General Meade's corps of 25,000 men was advancing in our front across Arthur's creek. Ransom's and Hunton's brig- ades were taken from our division, to reinforce Pickett at Five Forks and Evans' old brigade, of South Carolina, then commanded by General W. H. Wallace, and our brigade were alone left at Hatcher's Run. On the 2Qth March, our brigade was ordered into line of bat- tle at the point near Burgess' Mill, where what is called the Military road, forks with the plank road to Dinwiddie C. H., and General Wise was ordered to advance quickly "on the Military road, to Gravelly Run, guiding by the centre, and to fight everything in our way." We threw the 34th and 46th on the right of the road, and the 26th and 59th on the left. Within six hundred yards from the place where the brigade was ordered forward, we struck the enemy obliquely, diverging from left to right. They were in four lines, which we charged and broke, and drove the first upon the second and the second upon the third, until the four lines were massed in our front, in a dense growth of pine thicket on the right and a heavy growth of oak, with an undergrowth of Black Jack, on the left of the road, at the distance of ten to twenty paces on the left and thirty on the right. But the line of the enemy being so much longer than our own, the angle at which we struck them gave them an enfilade fire on our left; nevertheless, under the order to lie flat and shoot from a rest on the elbows, we maintained the dreadful conflict for one hour and a half, \vhcn the 59th and 26th were obliged to break; but they soon rallied on General Wallace in reserve at the forks, came up again with his brigade to the aid of the 46th and 34th, until Wallace and the 26th, 5gth and 46th were again broken and gave way, leaving the 34th alone under fire, where it stood and fought to within thirty paces of the enemy's artillery until thrice ordered to retreat. We fell back again to the parapet at Hatcher's Run, rested the 30th there, and on the 3ist again were ordered to fall in on the left of McGowan's Brigade and charge the enemy. The 59th were left to guard the trenches, and the 26th, 34th and 46th went into the charge. They, with McGowan's Brigade, did good execution in staggering the overpowering columns of Meade, and in delaying their advance to Five Forks. In these two fights a number of the