Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/45

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adequate to praise them as they deserve. But while I have an opportunity to speak, the living must not lose, through my silence, their claim to the gratitude of their country, nor the dead that hon- orable mention which belongs to the soldier who tails in a righteous cause.

I have before stated that my battalion was on the extreme right of the brigade. Its right rested on the road by which we had marched after crossing the creek. On the other side of the road was a dense pine thicket, which concealed all beyond from view. Perhaps you will recollect passing the command early in the engagement, and telling me I might feel secure about my flank, as Kershaw's Division was beyond the thicket; as I understood matters, with his extreme left covering our flank, his line being at right angles to ours.

After re-establishing Major Stiles' Battalion, I passed up to our right. I had scarcely got there, when I perceived a large body of the enemy advancing through the thicket diagonally upon our flank, and already within about forty yards. They could not have been seen at a greater distance, so close were the trees. I had but eighty- five men, but I could not leave the spot, nor was there a moment to spare. I changed front instantly (receiving, as the movement was made, a volley which proved fatal to several), and took position in a wide and shallow gully at the road-side. Perceiving that the superior numbers of the enemy would enable him to destroy us by his fire, I ordered bayonets fixed and attacked.

Through the extraordinary gallantry of the men, the attack was entirely successful. Many of the enemy were killed with the bayo- net, and the rest were driven off in disorder, after a desperate strug- gle, distinguished by many acts of individual heroism. Lieutenant G. M. Turner, though previously wounded on the skirmish line, joined in the charge, and was shot down in the act of saving the life of a comrade. Lieutenant W. D. Grant took a regimental flag from the hands of its bearer, and was prostrated by mortal wounds imme- diately after delivering it to me. Sergeant George James is reported to have taken another, and fell shortly after. Captain G. C. Rice was overpowered by an officer of the enemy of greatly superior size and strength, in Confederate uniform, and was shot by him on the ground, after he had surrendered. Lieutenant W. H. King revenged him, and was himself killed on the instant. Sergeant C. B. Postell, with three or four others, was surrounded by a party of the enemy, and refusing to yield, was killed with all his comrades. Lieutenant