Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/383

This page has been validated.
Ransom's Brigade.

The pickets gave us a parting shot and retired quickly. We returned the compliment and pushed forward. When within fifty yards of the enemy's works of defence the writer was brought to the ground by an enfilading shot from the left from Fort Williams, which was pouring down a leaden hail upon our advance. But Ransom's main line was up, silent, grim, unbroken, irresistible, firing not a shot. It swept on and over the enemy's works, and then, as if every energy had been pent up for that supreme moment, the men gave forth such a yell as only Confederate victors could give. But the voices of 500 comrades, equally brave, who had started on that perilous march, were not heard in that exultant shout. They lay dead or wounded on the plane.

General Hoke had well held the enemy to its defences on the western side, but by the success of Ransom, its lines were untenable, and all of the enemy who had not been captured retired to Fort Williams. This stronghold continued the struggle a few hours longer, and then surrendered, making the Confederate victory complete.

It was the fortune of the writer to occupy a place in the line which defended Marye's Hill at Fredericksburg, and to witness the repeated onsets of Burnside's thousands against that strong position. Well does he remember how Meigher's celebrated brigade from New York, selecting a somewhat different point of attack, and advancing in column under cover of some buildings, sought by a rush to penetrate our lines only to recoil wellnigh destroyed by the blow which it received. But not upon the famous field of Fredericksburg did he see anything which surpassed the conduct of Ransom's Brigade at Plymouth. Indeed, the late Colonel Duncan K. McRae, of North Carolina, declared that it was very similar in many respects, and compared favorably in all respects, to the storming of the Malakoff in the Crimean war.