58 Southern Historical Society Papers.
infantry, who had made their escape from the right. They begged to go to the rear, and we hesitated whether to let them go or make them stay and help to defend the fort; but concluded that in their demoralized condition it was better to let them go, provided they left their guns with us, which they readily consented to do.
While we were getting into position, "on the right by file into line," beginning with company A, of the i6th, which arrangement placed my company on the opposite side of the driveway from com- pany A, and its duty to protect the entrance, I was told that Gen- eral Wilcox wanted me. When I got to him he had dismounted, and was standing in the entrance way. He asked me if I was the commanding officer. I replied that Colonel Duncan was. He said: "Send for him."
Before Duncan arrived he got on his horse so that he could be better heard, and then in loud, exciting voice, said:
" Men, the salvation of Lee's army is in your keeping; you must realize the responsibility, and your duty; don't surrender this fort; if you can hold the enemy in check for two hours, Longstreet, who is making a forced march, will be here, and the danger to the army in the trenches will be averted."
The artillery of the Federals cut short his speech. The response was: "Tell General Lee that Fort Gregg will never be surren- dered."
The cannonading lasted about thirty minutes. Our two pieces did not fire more than two shots before both guns were dismounted, and the gunners took shelter in the bomb-proof.
When the cannonading ceased, the infantry advanced in beautiful order until they got in range of our rifles, when we pelted them right merrily, and so effectively that they retired out of range; but soon their lines were reformed, and then they came in a run. Their battle lines were three-fourths of a mile long, but before getting to the fort they were solid masses of men.
In these charges there was no shooting but by us, and we did cruel and savage work with them. When they got in twenty-five or thirty yards of the fort they were safe, for we could not see them again until they appeared upon the parapet.
Those that first reached the fort were content to lie quietly in the ditch, which was about fourteen feet wide and about eight feet deep, and about eleven feet to the top of the parapet.
When General Gibbon saw that the fort was not captured, he