previous next

[672] my brigade was posted near a fence, about half a mile west of the main road running to the village of Groveton, uniting with General Jackson's command on my left at the railroad embankment. General Pryor's brigade was placed on the right of mine, and General Wilcox's a short distance in the rear to support the other two. The other brigades of General Longstreet's division continued our line of battle to the right, and extending a considerable distance beyond the turnpike running through Groveton. Immediately in our front, and extending a considerable distance to our right, was an old field, from a half a mile to a mile wide. The troops remained in position here from an early hour in the morning until about three o'clock in the afternoon. While in this position, my brigade was subjected to a very heavy fire from the enemy's artillery, which was placed in the woods on the opposite side of the field lying in our front. Two of our batteries, placed on a hill about the centre of my brigade, and just in the rear, returned the enemy's fire during most of the time.

The enemy were observed during the forenoon passing down the turnpike from the direction of the stone house, and filing to the right and left of our lines. About three o'clock P. M., one brigade was seen emerging from the woods on the opposite side of the field, advancing in the direction of General Jackson's right and my left. The advance was steady and unchecked under a very heavy fire of the batteries supported by my brigade, as well as from others placed on the left and right of the turnpike road. This brigade of the enemy was followed by two others, (under the same heavy fire of our batteries,) which advanced to within forty or fifty yards of our lines. Here they came to a halt, and returned the fire of our infantry for about thirty minutes, when they commenced the retreat across the field in great confusion. The fire of our artillery upon the retreating foe was rapid and destructive. As soon as the retreat commenced, our troops were ordered to advance. One of General Jackson's brigades advanced on our left, and my brigade, General Pryor's, and General Wilcox's moved forward in line of battle on its right. We reached the woods in front, and passed through the skirt of woods, over six hundred yards wide, when we came to another old field some half a mile, or three quarters, in width. Here we found, on the opposite side of the field, the enemy drawn up in line of battle, with several pieces of artillery turned upon our troops, and directing a rapid, heavy, and destructive fire both upon the right and left of our lines. At this time, General Wilcox, who had, as senior Brigadier, been directing the movements of his brigade, General Pryor's, and mine, was ordered by General Longstreet to move rapidly with his brigade to the right, to the support of General Hood. This left me the senior Brigadier on the left of our lines. Very soon after General Wilcox left with his brigade, Major Walton, of General Longstreet's staff, announced to me that Colonel Thomas, commanding a brigade of General Jackson's division, had been sent to reinforce me, and that other troops were coming up for the same purpose. Generals Pender and Archer very soon arrived with their brigades, and I immediately directed my brigade to be moved to the left, so as to extend beyond the enemy's right, and Generals Pender and Archer to form on the right of my brigade. This was promptly done. Colonel Thomas's brigade was held in reserve, with one regiment of General Pryor's. As soon as our line was formed, an advance was ordered. The whole line moved forward in rapid and gallant style. The enemy fled, after the first well-directed fire, through the woods, in the direction of the Stone House. All the pieces of their artillery were left upon the field and captured. These brigades continued the march in pursuit of the enemy. Passing through a skirt of woods, they reached another field, some three quarters of a mile wide, on the farther side of which the enemy were discovered again in line of battle, with one or two pieces of artillery placed upon a commanding eminence, which were turned upon our troops as soon as they made their appearance. These brigades were again put in line of battle in the edge of the woods, and Colonel Thomas was directed to move with his brigade to the left of our line, to prevent a flank movement by the enemy, and their reenforcements from coming up a road running on our left and extending in front to the turnpike near the Stone House. These dispositions having been made, our lines advanced. The enemy fled precipitately, doing us no injury except with their artillery, scarcely returning the fire of our infantry. Having driven them from this position, any further movement was prevented by the darkness of the night. It was now fully dark, and our troops bivouacked upon the ground until morning.

The enemy's artillery was served with great skill and effect upon our troops during the entire engagement, to which our greatest loss on the left must be attributed. Our troops, whose conduct came under my observation, behaved with great coolness and courage during the whole engagement, which lasted about four hours. The Dixie battery, under command of Captain Chaplain, attached to my brigade, was placed on the left of the turnpike, near the village of Groveton, where it performed good service during the day.

When General Wilcox left the field, and the command of the troops on the left devolved on me, I placed the command of my immediate brigade under Colonel Posey, who was the senior Colonel present.

To the members of my staff, who were with me on the field, Captain Barksdale, Lieutenant Parker, and Captain C. N. Featherston, I feel indebted for their efficiency and promptness in executing my orders.

The list of the casualties in my brigade is herewith transmitted, as well as lists of those who particularly distinguished themselves during the engagement.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

W. S. Featherston, Brigadier-General, commanding.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Groveton (Virginia, United States) (3)

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: