Not being in command in the commencement of the battle of the twenty-seventh of June, and my attention being chiefly directed to my company, I of course am not able to furnish as complete a statement of that portion of the engagement as I otherwise would have been. At about five o'clock, on the evening of the above-mentioned day, the order was passed down our line to accelerate our pace, which my regiment promptly obeyed, casting away all articles which encumbered them. Thus, alternately marching and double-quicking, we entered the battle-field. Here we formed line with the rest of the brigade, our right flank toward the enemy. We then marched in column in the direction our right previously occupied, and, by the execution of the movement forward into line, found ourselves in line of battle, face to face with the enemy, at the distance of about three hundred yards. Thus we marched under a most terrific fire, to within about one hundred and eighty yards of a body of four or five thousand regulars. It was here that our Colonel and Major were wounded, and the command devolved upon me. In obedience to orders received from Captain Lawton, I commanded my men to “fire and load, lying,” which order they promptly executed, until nearly all the cartridges were expended. At this critical point of the engagement, we were directed by the above-mentioned officer to charge, he leading in gallant style. My regiment executed the above-mentioned command with such good will that they passed completely through that portion of the enemy opposed to them, and carried a battery of five pieces beyond. Our loss was very severe; but my command bore it like veterans, and never, in the entire engagement, was there the least visible hesitation amongst them. My officers and men all behaved so well that it is impossible to distinguish those worthy of being mentioned. In the action of the first of July, my regiment was not actively engaged; but were, nevertheless, exposed to a very severe shelling for some time, losing a few men. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
William H. Battey, Captain, commanding Thirty-eighth Regiment Georgia Volunteers.
Report of Colonel Douglass.
camp near Magruder's Mill, July 28, 1862.Captain: In the battle fought below Richmond on the first instant, the Thirteenth Georgia regiment participated as follows, viz.: The brigade was not ordered forward until nearly sunset, and had but little chance to do much fighting. As soon as orders came to advance, the Brigadier-General commanding at once led us in the direction indicated. We were marched by the right flank, through a strip of woods, and across a field. While in the field, the regiment was exposed to a very severe fire from the enemy's batteries. Having received no specific information as to where the brigade should go, or was needed, the Brigadier-General was left to judge from the firing where to carry his command. Halting the column, and requiring the men to lie down, he went forward to endeavor to gain the necessary information. Finding this impossible, and the firing from the enemy's batteries becoming hotter, and from our friends in front of us weaker, he ordered me to move forward the regiment, and charge the battery in front of us. Across the fence and road, and another fence, and into the woods beyond, the men went with a shout. The bursting of shells was so incessant as to render it almost impossible for commands to be heard. Night had come on, and no line could be preserved. We kept on, regulating our course as best we could by the reports from the enemy's batteries, of which there were several, and placed some distance apart. From this cause, and not being able to see anything, not even a creek in front of us, or a fence over which we scrambled, the regiment became very much scattered in the woods. Only about seventy-five or one hundred succeeded in reaching the field in which the batteries were located, and these did not arrive at the same time. A small number under Major Baker, who were the first to enter the field, were joined by a part of the Eighth Louisiana regiment, and charged nearly to the enemy's lines. Before reaching their farthest point occupied, their number was increased by a few more under Adjutant Hill, who had gotten up time enough to join in the charge. They were received by a deadly volley of musketry, and also a fire from the enemy's batteries. A good many were killed and wounded — among the latter, Major Baker, whilst behaving most gallantly. Lieutenant E. L. Conally, of company A, was wounded at the same time, and, so far as I can learn, acting with great courage. One non-commissioned officer and several privates, in the excitement of the charge, entered the enemy's lines and were taken prisoners, but afterward, when the enemy retreated, escaped and returned to the regiment. After the fall of Major Baker, the men were ordered to fall back about fifty yards. The line was re-formed by Adjutant Hill, and soon orders were received from Major Lewis, of the Louisiana regiment, for all to fall back to the crest of the hill next to the woods. Here I met them; but it was so dark that no man could be identified five paces off. Here I also met Brigadier-General Lawton, who had gotten separated from us, and made his way to the field by a different route, and one which we afterward saw was the proper one to have been taken. The balance of my regiment that crossed the road and entered the wood, did not, with a few exceptions, succeed in finding their way out. Those who had made the charge, near to the batteries, I found intermingled with fragments of other regiments — Virginians, North Carolinians, and Louisianians. Brigadier-General Winder sent an order to us to hold the hill we occupied until morning; and this was sanctioned by General Lawton, who left me in command of all present, and went back to bring forward the left companies of my regiment,
Captain E. W. Hull, A. A. G.:
Captain E. W. Hull, A. A. G.: