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[429] had originally formed) standing fast at or near the position they had occupied in the beginning, and near the line from which my advance was begun. I was informed that this regiment had remained from the first in that position, having received no subsequent orders to move forward. I trust I shall not be understood as alleging or intimating ally delinquency upon the part of the Second brigade, and I certainly do not undertake to say at what time that brigade, commanded by Colonel Jenkins, advanced; but, if its advance was simultaneous with my own, it must have happened that the lines of advance of the two brigades were so divergent as to leave a wide interval between the right of the one and the left of the other. Whatever were the operations of the Second brigade, they were doubtless in keeping with its proud character in the past, and that of its gallant commander. All that I undertake to state positively in this connection is, that the right regiment of the Second brigade did not advance for a long time after my brigade had been moved forward, and that at the time when my command had obtained virtual possession of the enemy's position, no Confederate troops were anywhere visible except my own. It now became evident that the position sought to be held by my command was wholly untenable by them, unless largely and immediately reenforcecd. The inferior numbers which had alarmed the enemy and driven him from his breastworks and batteries soon became apparent to him, and he at once proceeded to make use of his advantage. While greatly superior numbers hung upon our front, considerable bodies of the enemy were thrown upon both flanks of my command, which was now in imminent danger of being wholly captured or destroyed. Already they were capturing officers and men at different points of my line, principally upon the right. No reinforcements appeared, and the dire alternative of withdrawing from the position, although of obvious and inevitable necessity, was reluctantly submitted to.

Owing to the difficulties offered by the wilderness through which the brigade had advanced, the task of reassembling and re-forming the regiments was attended with much trouble. I sent out details as speedily as possible to direct officers and men where to re-form, and as soon as this task was accomplished, imperfectly it is true, but as effectually as was possible at so late an hour of the day, I repaired to General Longstreet's headquarters as soon as I could find them, and, under instructions there received, it now being night, I proceeded to select a suitable position on the road in the rear, at which stragglers could be arrested, and such of my men as had not then come in could be re-collected.

I should have mentioned before, that soon after my command was overpowered, and before all of it had fallen back, General Branch's brigade was found coming up, and General Branch was shown by me into the position which my gallant men had vainly sought to hold against overwhelming odds; and immediately afterward the Third brigade of this division, Colonel Hunton commanding, took position on Branch's right. If it had been possible for these brigades to have advanced simultaneously with my own, the victory of the day would have been achieved on the right of our line with comparatively little difficulty, and at an early hour. When my line emerged into the open field in front of the enemy's batteries, the Seventh Virginia, commanded by Colonel W. T. Patton, gallantly assisted by Lieutenant-Colonel Flowree and Major Swindler, was in good order, considering the difficulties of the ground over which it had passed; and this regiment and the First Virginia, nobly sustained by such portions of the other regiments as had come up, made the first daring charge which drove the enemy from his position. Seven companies of the Seventeenth Virginia were unavoidably delayed for some time by the almost impassable nature of the swamp at the point at which they crossed.

Praise is due to Colonel Corse, Seventeenth Virginia, and to Lieutenant-Colonel Hairston, Twenty-fourth Virginia, as well as to Colonel W. T. Patton, Seventh Virginia, (who acted with eminent gallantry,) for discharging their duties with the utmost fidelity and bravery.

The same praise is accorded to Captain K. Otey, commanding Eleventh Virginia; Captain Norton, commanding First Virginia; Lieutenant-Colonel Marye and Captain Simpson, of the Seventeenth, fell into the hands of the enemy, while discharging their duties with conspicuous gallantry. I am satisfied all the field officers did well. I especially commend the good conduct of Captain W. T. Fry, my A. A. General, and Mr. A. Camp Beckham, who acted as my volunteer Aid-de-camp.

Among those reported to me as deserving especial notice for gallantry on the field, are Captain Joel Blanchard, company D), and Lieutenant W. W. Gooding, company K, Seventh Virginia, who were both killed, Lieutenant W. E. Harrison, company A, Sergeant-Major Tansill and Color-Sergeant Mays, both wounded, and both of whom had distinguished themselves in the battles of Williamsburg and Seven Pines ; First Sergeant William Apperson, company C, who was killed, and private George Watson, company F, who has also repeatedly distinguished himself for bravery, all of the Seventh Virginia regiment.

Captain James Mitchell, company C, and Lieutenant Logan Robins, company B, First Virginia regiment, both of whom were wounded; Lieutenant W. R. Abbott, company E, and Lieutenant E. T. Dix, company K, Eleventh Virginia, both of whom were killed; Lieutenant Calfee, company G, of the Twenty-fourth Virginia, who was killed within a few paces of the enemy's battery, and Captains Bentley and Nowlin, of the same regiment. I doubt not there are many others, omitted in the reports, who equally distinguished themselves. The list of killed and wounded is made up of the very best officers and men of which my command could boast.

The following is a recapitulation of the losses of the day, of which full returns have already been rendered:

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