Louisiana, to advance and challenge, “Who are you?” to which the reply was, “Friends.” Hearing this reply, I demanded, “What regiment?” and was answered, “Third Vermont;” whereupon the order was given to commence firing. After the firing had continued for some time with spirit, hearing firing immediately in our front at a distance of some hundred yards, and apprehending that our troops might become engaged with each other, it being then quite dark, I gave the orders to cease firing, to re-form the line, and for the men to rest on their arms. After thus resting for half an hour, the battle having terminated by the cessation of all firing, I, at about half past 8 o'clock, conducted the Fifth Louisiana and the Thirty-second Virginia back to camp, whither the Tenth Georgia had just repaired. During the engagement Colonel Hunt, of the Fifth Louisiana, suggested a charge, which was promptly declined, owing to the darkness, the thick wood, and the great risk of coming in contact with portions of our own troops. The enemy fled from the field, it is true; but under such circumstances, I was unwilling to pursue, thereby jeopardizing unnecessarily valuable lives, and incurring the great risk of encountering other portions of our own army. Much of the time, the enemy were engaged at a distance of not above forty yards. Their heavy comparative loss doubtless resulted mainly from the greater efficiency of our smooth-bore muskets with buck and bullets at short range, the superior steadiness of our men and the precision of their fire. A list of casualties has been heretofore forwarded to division headquarters. Cumming's regiment, being longer and more severely engaged, suffered incomparably more than the two others, and inflicted heavier loss on the enemy. Although these three regiments carried into action only seven hundred and fifty-five men, no less than four hundred of the enemy's dead were found on the field the next morning in their front — his wounded having been removed during the night. The loss of the Fifth Louisiana was only six, while more than one hundred of the dead enemy were counted on the field immediately in its front! The loss of the Thirty-second Virginia was also small, and the damage to the enemy nearly in the same proportion with that inflicted by the Fifth Louisiana. In the early part of the action, Captain Clemons, A. A. G., was thrown from his horse and stunned. Captain Briggs, Aid-de-camp, rendered me valuable service on the field throughout the action. Lieutenant Beall, volunteer Aid, while bearing an order to Colonel Cumming, Tenth Georgia, found himself under a cross-fire from the Fifty-third Georgia and the enemy. His horse was three times struck, and his coat perforated in front by bullets. Lieutenant Cody, volunteer Aid, also actively participated. Lieutenant Cody bore an order to Manly's battery to move forward and take position on my right, which Captain Manly found it impossible to do, owing to the darkness and the impracticability of the ground. Three of Manly's horses were wounded in his efforts to get into position. The Fifteenth Virginia, Tenth Louisiana, and Fifty-third Georgia were held in reserve. I am, Captain, Very respectfully, your servant,
Paul J. Semmes, Brigadier-General.
Battle of Crew's farm.
headquarters First brigade, Second division, Crew's farm, July 4, 1862.Captain: I have the honor to report the part borne by my brigade in the battle of Crew's farm, on the first instant: Immediately after the commencement of the battle, and some time before any engagement with small arms, by order of Major-General Magruder, my command was moved up and held in reserve in a ravine about twelve hundred yards from the enemy's batteries, at which place it was subjected to a shelling unsurpassed for severity in any conflict during the war. Between five and six o'clock P. M., Captain Latrobe delivered an order from Major-General Magruder to me, to move to the support of Brigadier-General D. R. Jones's division. My brigade was flanked to the right about three hundred yards, and then advanced in line of battle. The advance commenced a distance of not less than eight hundred yards from the enemy's guns. The right of my line, consisting of the Fifteenth Virginia, and Thirty-second Virginia, and part of the Fifth Louisiana, advancing in an open field, in full view of the enemy's guns, and being much exposed to his missiles, distance was taken to the left, so as to bring these regiments under cover, first of the wood, and then of a hill in the open ground in front, as far as practicable. Colonel August, commanding the Fiftieth Virginia volunteers, and a number of his men, were wounded, and two men, of the Thirty-second Virginia volunteers, killed. My own coat, whilst I was in front of the Fifteenth Virginia, was cut by a fragment of a shell. Major Walker, of the Fifteenth Virginia volunteers, was soon after killed, while advancing with his regiment. Having passed beyond the centre of the line, and judging that sufficient distance had been gained to the left, the advance was resumed. Finding myself in front of the Tenth Georgia volunteers, and the left of the Fifty-third Georgia, the fence separating the wood from the open ground was passed over, and the Tenth Georgia volunteers, then under command of Captain, Holt,--Colonel Cumming, while gallantly leading his regiment, having been previously stricken down by a fragment of a shell and stunned, and borne from the field,--and company K, of the Fifty-third Georgia volunteers, Lieutenant McCowan commanding, were halted and re-formed immediately on the right of our disabled batteries, which had ceased to reply to those of the enemy. The line, being re-formed, was moved obliquely to the right, and most of the time for a distance of not less than five hundred
Captain J. S. McIntosh, Assistant Adjutant-General:
Captain J. S. McIntosh, Assistant Adjutant-General: