march, were placed that night in line of battle on the field, where the enemy had been successfully met and overcome by General Longstreet's division, during the day. My brigade occupied the second line, in support of Griffith's brigade, now commanded by Colonel Barksdale, both on the left of the Williamsburg road. The lines were scarcely formed when the morning of the first July summoned us to another march in pursuit of the enemy, who had again disappeared during the night. We had not proceeded far, when, meeting with the command of General Jackson, it was found that no enemy was in our front; and, returning by the position from which we had marched in the morning, we reached the battle-field of the first. Here, a portion of my command — the Georgia legion — was placed in support of the artillery. The remaining regiments were posted in the ravine to the right of Mrs. Carter's house. Shortly after the battle commenced, another regiment of my command — the Sixteenth Georgia--was detached and sent forward to occupy a ravine on the right, to prevent any attempt of the enemy to advance in that direction. My command was thus posted at three different points, rendering my own position, in endeavoring to look after each, an embarrassing one. Whilst at this point, I received a message from General Armistead, who occupied, with his brigade, the advanced position in our front, that he needed support, and I immediately moved to his support, with the remaining regiments of the brigade, the Twenty-fourth Georgia, Second Louisiana, and Fifteenth North Carolina. To reach that point, we had to pass through the open field in our front, under the fire of the enemy, which was done in double-quick and good order, and had to pass through dense woods and almost impassable ravines, which separated us from General Armistead's position; all of which was done in quick time, and with alacrity, by the three regiments. On reaching this point, I immediately posted my command on the crest of the hill in front of the batteries of the enemy, which continued to pour a deadly fire upon that point, as well as the entire distance we had traversed from the ravine near Mrs. Carter's house. Our duty was to prevent any advance of the enemy, and to unite, at the proper time, in the effort to carry the batteries of the enemy. We had not occupied this position long, when General Magruder was informed that the enemy was advancing in our front, and, under his order, I at once advanced these three regiments to the open field in front of the batteries of the enemy. The advance of the enemy was repulsed, and the regiments united in the general assault on the batteries. The conduct of both officers and men, throughout, was all that could be asked, and even more than could be expected of men. The best evidence I can offer of the daring and courage of the men of my command, is the fact that, after the battle, their dead were found mingled with those of other brigades nearest the batteries of the enemy. It was at this point in the battle, that Colonel Norwood, of the Second Louisiana, whilst gallantly leading his regiment, fell, severely, but I am happy to say not mortally, wounded. Major Ashton, of the same regiment, had seized the colors of the regiment, after three brave men had been shot down in the act of bearing them forward, and was bravely cheering on his men and rallying them to their standard, when, pierced by several balls, he fell and died instantly. In the same action, the brave and gallant commander of the Fifteenth North Carolina, Colonel Daw, was severely, but not mortally, wounded, and his regiment deprived, for the present, of his invaluable services. At a subsequent period of the battle, the Sixteenth Georgia, previously detached, was brought into the action, and, like their comrades, was found among the foremost in the fight. The Georgia legion, though under the fire of the enemy during the entire day, were not brought into the action because of their position in support of the artillery. It is but justice to the men of my command to state the fact that, for more than forty-eight hours previous to the battle, they had had neither rest nor food; and though their ranks had been greatly reduced by exhaustion, there was no murmuring or spirit of complaint, as long as there was an enemy in the front. We commenced the march from the Burnt Chimney on the morning of the twenty-ninth June, with twenty-seven hundred men; but fatigue and exhaustion had so reduced our ranks, that less than fifteen hundred were carried into the battle of the first, and of that number, nearly five hundred are in the list of killed and wounded. I would add that the Troup artillery (Georgia legion) were with my brigade during all of its operations, and did effective service. On Tuesday their position was such, that, while exposed to a galling fire, they could not reply with safety to our own men. The coolness and composure of the men were commendable. I annex a list of the casualties in each regiment. It is due to the members of my staff to say that they acted with coolness and energy, and to my entire satisfaction.
Howell Cobb, Brigadier-General.
General Toombs's reports.
headquarters First brigade, First division, in the field, July 7, 1862.Captain: In pursuance of the following order, “The divisions to your right have been ordered by General Magruder to feel the enemy in their front, with strong pickets, and to follow up, to the utmost, any advantage which may offer, or success which may ensue. You are ordered to do the same, taking as your signal for advance the commencement of the movement on your right,” I placed my brigade in position to be ready to advance whenever the signal should be given. At a few moments past seven P. M. on the twenty-seventh of June, a heavy firing was heard on my right, within the points indicated by the
Captain A. Coward, Assistant Adjutant-General.
Captain A. Coward, Assistant Adjutant-General.