regiments being nearly exhausted, as was that of Colonel Thomas's brigade, I directed them to maintain their ground at all hazards, and use the bayonet if necessary, and they did not waver for a moment. I did not order an advance from this position, because it would have had to have been made under great disadvantages, and with great danger of being attacked on the right flank. The position of these troops was, all the time, until the enemy had entirely given way, in advance of the line, and I was satisfied that they could accomplish more by maintaining their position than by advancing. A little before dusk, the last of the enemy's regiments left the ground on the advance of our troops to the left, into the cornfield, and we were left masters of the battle-field. In a short time, I was informed by Major-General Hill, who came where I was, that General Jackson's order was to advance in pursuit of the enemy on the Culpeper road, and that his division was advancing. I informed him of the fact that the whole of my ammunition was exhausted, and that my brigade was much fatigued, and in some confusion; but as he expressed the opinion that I ought to advance, I collected the brigade and did advance, until I was met by General Ewell, who had come up from the right, and was by him ordered to wait until the other two brigades of the division came up on the road from the right, and follow them, which I did, and was shortly after halted and ordered to bivouac for the night. Johnson's battery, attached to this brigade, had accompanied the Seventh and Eighth brigades, and its movements were under the direction of the Major-General commanding the division. I have since ascertained that the giving way of the regiments on my left, which has been mentioned, was caused by the fact that the brigade on their left gave way before the enemy's infantry, which advanced through the wheatfield, and that the enemy got into the woods on their left and fired into their rear. This disorder was confined to the Twenty-fifth, Thirty-first, and part of the Fifty-eighth Virginia regiments. Colonel Walker, who was on my extreme left, maintained his position with his regiment, the Thirteenth, and part of the Thirty-first Virginia regiment, until they were alone and the enemy were firing into their rear in the field. He then ordered them to retire; but he again formed them, and brought them forward, and contributed very largely to the final repulse of the enemy, advancing as far as any of our troops were advanced, until after the conclusion of the fight. I call especial attention to his report. He is a most efficient and gallant officer, who is always ready to perform any duty assigned him, and the men of his regiment are capital fighting men, there being none better in the army. When Colonel Walker is in front, with his men deployed as skirmishers, I feel secure against an ambuscade. I respectfully and earnestly recommend him for promotion to the position of Brigadier-General. Lieutenant-Colonel Terrell, of the same regiment; Lieutenant-Colonel Skinner, commanding the Fifty-second Virginia regiment; Lieutenant-Colonel Jackson, commanding the Thirty-first Virginia regiment, (severely wounded;) Major Kasey, commanding the Fifty-eighth Virginia regiment; Major Higginbotham, commanding the Twenty-fifth Virginia regiment; and Captain William F. Brown, commanding the Twelfth Georgia regiment, all acquitted themselves with great gallantry. The brigade generally acquitted itself well. The disorder in some of the regiments was, as before stated, after the troops on their left had given way, and the enemy had gotten on their flank and rear; and it was after Lieutenant-Colonel Jackson, of the Thirty-first, and Major Higginbotham were both wounded and carried to the rear, leaving their regiments, which chiefly participated in the disorder, without commanders. The conduct of the Twelfth Georgia, with which I was more than any other, elicited my especial approbation. It is a gallant fighting regiment, and I have had occasion before to notice its good conduct. Its commander in this action, Captain William F. Brown, who is over sixty years of age, displayed great coolness, courage, and energy. He is eminently deserving the command of a regiment, and I recommend him for promotion to fill the first vacancy that may occur among the field officers of the regiment. Captain Lilly, of the Twenty-fifth Virginia regiment, with a small body of his regiment, (Twenty-fifth Virginia,) including the color-bearer, attracted my attention by the gallantry displayed by them in advancing among the foremost after the regiment had got into disorder. A body of men, from the Twenty-first Virginia regiment, around their colors, advancing in the same way, attracted my attention by their gallantry. I was particularly struck by the bravery exhibited by the color-bearers of these two regiments, who, with these small bodies of men, were waving their flags in the very front, as if to attract a fire upon them, and advancing all the while. Captain Brown, of the Chesapeake artillery, and Captain Dement displayed great courage and efficiency, themselves loading and firing their pieces, when their men were exhausted. I was attracted by the conspicuous gallantry exhibited by Colonel Taliaferro, of the Twenty-third Virginia regiment, who I saw urging his men on. My staff officers, Major P. Hall, A. A. General, Lieutenant S. H. Early, A. D. C., and Major A. L. Pitzer, volunteer A. D. C., displayed great courage and energy in carrying my orders under fire, and in rallying and encouraging the troops. They were everywhere on the field where there was danger, each having his horse struck under him. There were doubtless many cases of individual gallantry upon the part of officers and men, to which I am not able to do justice, and I do not wish it to be understood that they are intentionally overlooked.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Foreign accounts of the fight.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.