the studied hurrahs of the Yankees, and drove the column opposed to it down the hill, across the railroad and out into the open plain, advancing so far and with such ardor as to cause one of the enemy's batteries to be abandoned. This brigade was, however, compelled to fall back from this point by the approach of a large column on its right flank, which proved to be Birney's division of Stoneman's corps and Hooker's grand division. In a very few moments after ordering the advance of Lawton's brigade, I also ordered Colonel Walker forward with my own brigade, as I was informed Lawton's brigade would not cover the interval in the line. This order was executed in double-quick time, and Walker encountered the enemy in the woods to the left of the place at which Lawton's brigade encountered one column, another having turned General Lane's right flank, and his brigade having given way in consequence. This column was quickly driven out of the woods by Walker, across the railroad, and into the plain beyond; but, perceiving still another column crossing the railroad to his left and entering the woods, he withdrew the brigade back to the railroad, and took position on it, detaching, at the same time, the Thirteenth Georgia regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel Terrill, to attack the last-named column of the enemy on the flank. About the same time General Thomas, of General A. P. Hill's division, with his brigade, attacked this column in front, and, under the two fires, it was driven back, with considerably slaughter. As soon as Lawton's and my own brigades were ordered forward, I directed Colonel Hoke to move with his brigade (Trimble's) to the left of Hays's, on the same line; but he had hardly got into position before I received information that Archer's brigade was giving way, and I ordered Hoke to advance to his support, obliquing to the right. This was done in gallant style, and Hoke found the enemy in possession of the trench which had been occupied by General Archer's brigade, on the crest of the hill, and in the woods in rear of it. Hoke attacked the enemy vigorously, and drove him from the woods and trench to the railroad in front, in which there were reserves. He followed up his attack, and drove the enemy from the railroad, which was a strong position, some distance in front, capturing a considerable number of prisoners, and afterwards securing several hundred stands of arms. He advanced his brigade to a fence some distance in front of the railroad; but perceiving his danger of being flanked by the enemy, who had brought up large fresh columns, I sent an order to him to fall back to the original line, which order, however, he anticipated by retiring in good order, leaving two regiments and a battalion on the railroad, and occupying the trench on the crest of the hill with the two other regiments and the Thirteenth Georgia regiment, which latter, having failed to accompany its brigade on account of a misapprehension of its Colonel, had been ordered forward with Hoke's brigade, and got up in time to occupy the trench, but not to participate in the charge. Just as I had ordered Colonel Hoke forward, I received a message from Lieutenant-General Jackson to advance to the front with the whole division; and I thereupon ordered General Hays to advance in rear of Colonel Hoke with his brigade, which movement was promptly executed; the enemy, who had discontinued his artillery fire while his infantry was advancing on the hill, having reopened his batteries, so that this brigade was exposed to a galling fire while advancing. This brigade did not engage in the infantry fight, because, by the time it reached the front line, the enemy had been effectually repulsed. The movements of the three brigades which were engaged are necessarily described separately, because they engaged three separate bodies of the enemy. They were, however, moved forward in rapid succession in the order stated, and were, in fact, all engaged at the same time, though commencing their several engagements at different times in the same order in which they advanced. The railroad makes a circle in passing from the right of our position around to the left, so that Lawton's brigade, in passing to the front, with Walker's and Hoke's respectively on the left and right of it, was thrown into the apex of an angle, and having the start of them both, it was necessarily thrown farther forward than either of the others when it crossed the railroad and advanced into the plain. This exposed its flanks; and hence it was that this brigade was compelled to fall back, as before stated, which, however, it did not do until its commander, Colonel Atkinson, and Captain E. P. Lawton, the Assistant Adjutant-General, were both disabled by wounds, and its ammunition was almost entirely exhausted. Seeing this brigade falling back, I halted it on the hill in the woods immediately in rear of the place at which it had first met the enemy, and caused it to be reformed under the command of Colonel C. A. Evans, of the Thirty-first Georgia regiment, and, fearing that the enemy might follow through the same interval with a fresh column, I sent to General D. H. Hill for reinforcements, and he sent two brigades forward. Before, however, they arrived, Brigadier-General Paxton, of General Taliaferro's division, had filled the interval left open by the falling back of this brigade, by promptly moving his own brigade into it. I then sent Lawton's brigade to the rear to replenish its ammunition. Being posted at first in the second line, I did not have any immediate use for the batteries of the division, and therefore, after placing them under the charge of Captain Latimer, as stated, I requested Colonel Crutchfield, chief of artillery for the corps, to make such use of them as the emergencies of the day might require. In a short time he detached two batteries to a position on the left of General A. P. Hill's line; these were Captain Latimer's own battery and Captain Brown's battery, both being under charge of Captain Latimer, who accompanied them. These batteries did not operate in my view, but I am informed that they did excellent service, Captain Latimer having repulsed the enemy with canister after a regiment of infantry sent to support
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Doc . 62 .-Hoisting the Black flag — official correspondence and reports.
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.