hill, about seventy yards in front of the intrenched enemy. Here the firing became so fearful that the men threw themselves upon the ground and commenced returning the fire with spirit. Seeing the inequality of the contest, a charge was ordered, which was obeyed with promptness. Here our gallant General (Pickett) fell, badly wounded, while nobly urging on our boys. Colonel Withers was also badly wounded, at the head of his regiment, and Colonel Hunton was sick, though he did not leave the field, I understood afterward, the command thus devolving upon me even before I was aware of it. The enemy were driven from a triple row of defences, (first, from a deep ditch; second, from an abatis just beyond ; and third, from the last line of defence, a barricade upon the top of the hill.) The brigade captured a battery of splendid Parrott guns, and several hundred prisoners. The long lists of killed and wounded will show the determined manner in which the brigade conducted itself. We were relieved about dark, and went back about three quarters of a mile, where we bivouacked. The brigade entered the battle with one thousand four hundred and eighty-one men and officers, (1481,) and lost, in killed and wounded, four hundred and twenty-six, (426,) including forty-one (41) officers. Too much praise cannot be bestowed upon the men and officers for their gallant conduct upon this occasion, and it is hard to discriminate where so many deported themselves so well; yet there are a few cases which cannot pass without honorable mention. Among the most deserving, I submit the cases of those who acted preeminently brave. Lieutenants Hutcherson and J. Thomas Green, Eighth Virginia regiment, Lieutenant J. D. McIntire, of the Nineteenth Virginia, acted with a coolness and bravery never surpassed. Captain Boyd, Lieutenant Shepherd, and Sergeant Gilmer, of the Nineteenth Virginia, also acted with conspicuous bravery. Sergeant Gilmer, while urging his men over the breastworks, and calling upon them to follow their Colonel, and to remember “Butler,” fell, badly wounded. Also, Color-Corporal Lee, of the Twenty-eighth Virginia, and Captain Jefress, of the Fifty-sixth, behaved with marked bravery. Privates Thacker, company “G,” and Henry Melton, company “F,” Nineteenth Virginia, deserve notice. I omitted to state that a good many of the brigade did not hear the order to “halt,” when given, and kept on in pursuit of the flying foe. When about six hundred yards from our advanced lines, these, who were joined by many stragglers from other brigades, were charged by a squadron of United States cavalry; but our boys, though scattered in every direction, waited until they approached within about seventy-five yards, when a volley caused them to break and fly in all directions, leaving many men and horses dead upon the field. They did not attempt a second charge. Respectfully, your obedient servant,
John B. Strange, Colonel, commanding.
Operations in the battle of June 30.
headquarters Third brigade, Second division, July 15, 1862.Major: I have the honor to report the operations of the Third brigade in the engagement of Monday, June thirty, 1862. It was brought up confronting the enemy on the Darbytown road, in line of battle, about four P. M., under command of Colonel Hunton, Eighth regiment Virginia volunteers; was then halted and ordered to lie down, while skirmishers were thrown forward to ascertain the exact position of the enemy's forces. Soon after, Captain Dearing's battery came into position directly in front of us, and opened with such a destructive fire that one of the enemy's batteries was soon forced to retire to another position, leaving, as it afterwards appeared, a limber upon the field. We were then exposed to a most furious cannonade for an hour or more, sustaining, however, but little damage. About five o'clock, Colonel Hunton gave the order to charge, to which the respective regiments responded with alacrity; but after proceeding across an open field, exposed to grape and shell, we entered a skirt of woods, where we were halted, and then ordered to march by the right flank, which was done, until the brigade had crossed to the right of the Darbytown road, when we changed direction to the front, but over such broken ground and through an almost impassable marsh, as well as encountering a brigade in full retreat, which forced its way through our ranks, that the command was thrown into confusion. After passing through the marsh, the line was again formed; but before starting forward, a column of the enemy, posted in the woods on our right flank, opened fire upon us, while the batteries threw a shower of grape into us through the open field in front, to avoid which, and gain cover, we marched by the left flank, by order of Colonel Strange, who, at this point, took command, by request of General Pickett's aids, as Colonel Hunton had become separated from the command, not being able to keep up on account of exhaustion, proceeding from his enfeebled condition, to a point of woods which afforded shelter, to within a few hundred yards of the enemy's batteries. I then ordered the brigade forward in line of battle, under cover of this wood, and on emerging from it, discovered a large force approaching one of the batteries, which seemed deserted. Thinking our forces were in the wood in front engaging the enemy, as there was hot firing there, I assumed that these in their rear were friends, until convinced to the contrary by the open, honest display of the “old flag;” whereupon I ordered a fire and a charge, drove them from the battery back to their line in the woods beyond. I regret, though, that in this fire, we had to kill nearly all the fine horses attached to the battery. Upon capturing this battery, Adjutant McCullock, of the Eighteenth regiment Virginia volunteers, asked my permission to turn the guns on the retreating enemy; but
Major G. M. Sorrell, Assistant Adjutant General:
Major G. M. Sorrell, Assistant Adjutant General: