Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/179

This page has been validated.
163
Brilliant Page in History of War.

way into a slight ravine which ran parallel with the enemy's line of fortifications and also our own, in which was the fort, now famous as the "Crater," and then occupied by the enemy."


SITUATION EXPLAINED.


As we came out of the covered way we were met by General Mahone, himself on foot, who called the officers to him, explained the situation, and gave us orders for the fight. He informed us that the brigades of Virginians and Georgians had successfully charged and taken the works on the left of the fort, but that the fort was still in the possession of the enemy, as was also a part of the works on the right of it, and we of the Alabama brigade were expected to storm and capture the fort, as we were the last of the reserves, it being necessary to retain our other two brigades in the main trenches. He directed us to move up the ravine as far as we could walk unseen by the enemy, and then to get down and crawl still farther up until we were immediately in front of the fort, then to lie down on the ground until our artillery, in the rear, could draw the fire of the enemy's artillery, which was posted on a ridge beyond their main line and covering the fort. When this was accomplished our artillery would cease firing, and then we should rise up and move forward in a stooping posture at "trail arms," with bayonets fixed, and should not yell or fire a gun until we drew the fire of the infantry in the fort and the enemy's main lines, and then we should charge at a "double-quick," so as to get under the walls of the fort before the enemy could fire their park of some fifty pieces of artillery stationed on the hill beyond their works. He further informed us that he had ordered our men, who then occupied the works on either side of the fort, to fire at the enemy when they should show themselves above the top of the fort or along their main line, so as to shield us as much as possible from their fire.

As we were leaving him he said: "General Lee is watching the result of your charge."


BRIGADE MOVES FORWARD.


The officers then returned to their places in line and ordered