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[428] as that of the first instant, in readiness to be thrown into action at a moment's notice.

Upon the thirtieth ultimo, the division was halted in the vicinity of the enemy, on the road leading through Frazier's farm, and under the orders of Brigadier-General R. H. Anderson, commanding the division, I formed my command in line of battle on the right, and nearly perpendicular to the road; one regiment of the Second brigade being posted in line between my left and the road. My command constituted the extreme right of our general line of battle, and was posted upon the rear edge of a dense body of timber the Seventeenth Virginia regiment (Colonel M. D. Corse) occupying the right; the Twenty-fourth Virginia regiment, (Lieutenant-Colonel Hairston commanding,) the left ; the First Virginia, (Captain Norton commanding,) the centre; the Eleventh Virginia, (Captain Otey commanding,) the right centre, and the Seventh Virginia, (Colonel W. T. Patton,) the left centre. Soon after getting into position, I received orders from Major-General Longstreet to use the utmost care in guarding against any movement of the enemy upon my right, and I at once caused Colonel Corse, of the right regiment, to change front to rear on his left company, so that his regiment formed an obtuse angle with the line of the brigade, and fronted obliquely to the right. I also caused two companies of this regiment to move forward from Corse's new front, as skirmishers, under command of Captain Simpson. After advancing several hundred yards, these skirmishers were halted upon the rear edge of an open field, a good view of which was commanded from their position. I also posted Rogers's battery of four pieces upon an open eminence, near the right of my line, and in supporting distance of Corse's regiment; the position being such as to command an extensive field upon my right. About five o'clock P. M., an order being received from Major-General Longstreet to advance my line, I immediately, in person, ordered Colonel Corse to change his front forward so as to bring the right of his regiment up to the brigade line, and sent my staff along the line toward the left, so as to insure the simultaneous advance of the entire line. The brigade advanced in line of battle steadily and in good order, notwithstanding the unevenness of the ground, which, in places, was almost precipitous, the entangled undergrowth which filled the woods, and the firing of one of the enemy's batteries, located directly in front, which rapidly threw shell and round shot over and almost in the midst of my command. The advance continued to be conducted in good order, until very soon, coming upon the pickets of the enemy, and driving them in, the men seemed to be possessed with the idea that they were upon the enemy's main line, and in an instant the whole brigade charged forward in double-quick time, and with loud cheers. Nothing could have been more chivalrously done, and nothing could have been more unfortunate, as the cheering of the men only served to direct the fire of the enemy's batteries; and the movement in double-quick time through dense woods, over rough ground, encumbered with matted under-growth, and crossed by a swamp, had the effect of producing more or less confusion, and breaking the continuity of the line, which, however, was preserved as well as it possibly could have been under the circumstances. But a single idea seemed to control the minds of the men, which was to reach the enemy's line by the most direct route, and in the shortest time and no earthly power could have availed to arrest or restrain the impetuosity with which they rushed toward the foe, for my orders previously given, with great care and emphasis, to the assembled field officers of the brigade, forbade any movement in double-quick time over such ground, when the enemy were not in view. The obstructions were such as to make it impossible for any officer to see more than a few files of his men at one view, and it was apparent that any effort to halt and re-form the entire brigade would be futile, and would only serve to produce increased confusion. But whatever the error of the men in advancing too rapidly, in disregard of previous orders to the contrary, it was an error upon the side of bravery. After advancing in this way probably ten or twelve hundred yards, crossing two bodies of woods, and a small intermediate field, the line suddenly emerged into another field, facing a battery of the enemy, consisting of not less than eight pieces, distant but a few hundred yards, while the enemy's infantry were found protected by an imperfectly and hastily constructed breast-work, anti a house near by. At the same time, it became apparent that another battery of the enemy was posted a considerable distance to our left. These two batteries and the enemy's infantry poured an incessant fire of shell, grape, canister, and lead upon my line, and did much execution. Still there was no perceptible faltering in the advance of these brave men, who rushed across the open field, pouring a well-directed fire into the enemy, driving him from his breastworks and the battery in our front. The guns of the battery were abandoned to us for the time being, and my command was in virtual possession of the chosen position of the enemy. A more impetuous and desperate charge was never made than that of my small command against the sheltered and greatly superior forces of the enemy. The ground which they gained from the enemy is marked by the graves of some of my veterans, who were buried where they fell; and those graves marked with the names of the occupants, situated at and near the position of the enemy, show the points at which they dashed against the strongholds of the retreating foe. It is proper to be stated here, that the left of my line was entirely unsupported, and greatly to my surprise and disappointment, for I had supposed that the movement of my brigade was part of a general advance of our entire lines. Up to this time no firing was heard upon my left, except the firing of the enemy, which was directed upon my line with telling effect.

Afterward, at a late hour, I found the right regiment of the Second brigade (on the right of which I

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M. D. Corse (5)
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