Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/346

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342 Southern lli.^<>ri<-ul Society Papers.

consisted of Gibbons' and Miles' divisions, and in the afternoon of the 25th he was reinforced by the division of Orlando B. Wilcox, which, however, arrived too late to be of any substantial service to him. Gregg's division of cavalry with an additional brigade com- manded by Spear, was with him. He had abundant artillery, con- sisting in part of the loth Massachusetts battery, Battery B, ist Rhode Island, McNight's i2th New York battery, and Woemer's 3rd New Jersey battery.

On the 22nd Gregg was assailed by Wade Hampton with one of his cavalry divisions, and a sharp contest ensued. General Hampton, from the battlefield of the 22nd, sent a note to General R. E. Lee, suggesting an immediate attack with infantry. That great com- mander, realizing that a favorable opportunity was offered to strike Hancock a heavy blow, directed Lieutenant-General A. P. Hill to advance against him as promptly as possible. General Hill left his camp near Petersburg on the night of the 24th, and marching south halted near Armstrong's Mill, about eight miles from Petersburg. On the morning of the 25th he advanced to Monk's Neck Bridge, three miles from Ream's station, and awaited advice from Hampton. The Confederate force actually present at Ream's station, consisted of Cooke's and MacRae's brigades of Heth's divisions, Lane's, Scales' and McGowan's brigades of Wilcox' s division, Anderson's brigade of Longstreet's corps, two brigades of Mahone's division, Butler's and W. H. F. Lee's division of cavalry, and a portion of Pegram's battalion of artillery.

Being the central regiment of the brigade, MacRae's line of battle was formed on it, as was customary. Just previous to the assault upon General Hancock's command, the regiment was posted in the edge of a pine thicket, about 300 yards from the breastworks held by the Federal troops. When the order was given to advance, the men threw themselves forward at a double-quick in a line as straight and unbroken as they presented when on parade, and without firing a gun, mounted the entrenchments and precipated themselves amongst the Federal infantry on the other side, who seemed to be dazed by the vehemence of the attack, and made a feeble resistance after their ranks were reached.

A battery of artillery captured by the regiment, was turned upon the retreating columns of the enemy. It was manned by sharp- shooters of the 44th, who had been trained in artillery practice. Captain Oldham, of Company K, sighted one of the guns repeat- edly, and when he saw the effect of his accurate aim upon the dis-