the woods behind this point, in hopes of being able to establish batteries of howitzers, which, by a canister fire, might soon check the enemy's infantry in their advance through the woods. But I found the ground unfavorable, being intersected by a deep ravine, and the undergrowth so thick as to require more time to clear it away than we had before the action began. The instructions given to Captains Brockenbrough and Davidson were to reserve their fire for the enemy's infantry at close range, and not to engage his batteries unless he advanced them to the support of his infantry; and then they were to concentrate their fire on the advancing battery, and not to fall back from their position so long as our infantry supported them. The enemy opened the attack by the fire of some twenty-five or thirty guns directed upon Lieutenant-Colonel Walker's position, and from about sixteen guns (afterwards increased to twenty-four) upon our batteries at and near Bernard's cabins. The officers in charge of these batteries obeyed their orders, and, the enemy's fire not being replied to, he advanced his skirmishers in very heavy line upon the points occupied by the commands of Captains Brockenbrough and Davidson. These were soon driven off by canister, and tile exact positions of our batteries being thus disclosed to the enemy, he directed a heavy artillery fire upon them, and advanced one of his batteries near a chimney in the centre of the plain. This fire was replied to by our batteries, and soon two of the enemy's batteries were withdrawn, and their places supplied by others of longer range. About this time two of our rifle-guns, belonging to Captains Wooding's and Caskie's batteries, were disabled, by their axles breaking from the recoil of the gun, and had to be withdrawn. All this time the enemy's sharpshooters annoyed us greatly, working around to the right of Captain Brockenbrough's position whenever driven from his front, and pertinaciously readvancing whenever they could, under the shelter of their artillery fire. Though they were once or twice repelled by canister, when advancing imprudently, they were so well protected by the accidents of the ground, and so feebly opposed by our own sharpshooters, that they could not be entirely dislodged, and caused heavy loss in our batteries, both among men and horses. Captain Brockenbrough was wounded while gallantly discharging his duty, and Captain Wooding badly shot while acting as gunner to one of his pieces. Being badly supported by the infantry in their rear, after severe losses in officers, men, and horses, the batteries of Captain Brockenbrough's command were withdrawn, as they would have been lost so soon as the enemy seized the point of woods to their right and rear, as they did. The ammunition in Captain Raine's battery (commanded by Lieutenant Statham) was so defective (from the bad fuses, I think) that, none of its shell bursting, it was withdrawn, and its place supplied by the Chesapeake artillery, of three guns, Lieutenant Plater commanding, while a section of Captain Latimer's battery, under his own charge, was sent still farther to the front and left. These latter pieces were excellently managed, and, though losing heavily from the enemy's sharp-shooters, drove back their lines with canister, and caused them great loss by an uncommonly accurate and rapid shell fire, as they were driven back by General Law's brigade, in their attempted advance. Lieutenant McKendree, of Carpenter's battery, exhibited noticeable resolution and composure in managing his battery. On the right the enemy, after furiously cannonading Lieutenant-Colonel Walker's position till they imagined his batteries crippled, advanced their infantry. One body moved towards the point of woods in our centre, and the other with its front parallel to the road from Hamilton's Crossing to the river road. When distant about eight hundred yards, Lieutenant-Colonel Walker's batteries opened upon them with great effect, and, at the same time, fifteen guns, composed of sections from the batteries of Captain Poague, (Lieutenant A. Graham commanding,) Captain Watson, Captain Smith, Captain Garber, one gun of Captain Dance's battery, and the Louisiana Guard battery, three guns, were thrown into position in the plain to our right, so as to cross their fire with that of the guns of Lieutenant-Colonel Walker, being specially designed to check the advance of the enemy towards the road from Hamilton's Crossing to the river road. These pieces were under the immediate command of Major Pelham, and were admirably managed and bravely fought, and perfectly accomplished their object. All these batteries did not go in at once, but were added as the weight of the enemy's fire seemed to require it. Towards the close of the day, as the enemy's infantry — driven from the woods by our own — fell back in confusion across the plain under the severe and accurate fire of the guns of Lieutenant-Colonel Walker and Major Pelham, some of the batteries of Lieutenant-Colonel Walker's command, being short of ammunition, and the men exhausted from working with diminished numbers, were relieved by a section of Lusk's battery, Lieutenant Dowell commanding, and a portion of the corps reserve, under Colonel J. Thompson Brown. I shall have to refer you to this officer's report as to what batteries they were, as I knew but one of them--Captain Poague's. They went in under a heavy fire, and, though suffering much, were bravely fought. Some guns of Major-General D. H. Hill's division artillery were put in at this time on our right, by his chief of artillery, Major Thomas H. Carter. As these batteries were unknown to me through their officers, I shall have to refer you to that officer's report as to which they were. They moved up with the rest, under heavy fire, and were well served. It would perhaps be invidious to attempt to discriminate among officers and men, where there were so many fine examples of courage and devotion; and I fear I may have already done injustice in mentioning some to the exclusion of others, but I trust the reports of other officers will set it all right. I beg, however, to call your special
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Doc . 62 .-Hoisting the Black flag — official correspondence and reports.
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