previous next

[302] him. At this time the enemy opened a similar terrific fire of artillery to that which had taken place just before my withdrawal, which caused much confusion and disorder, rendering it necessary for me to place guards across the road to stop stragglers. Shortly after this occurrence I was informed that Lieutenant-General Jackson was wounded, and also received a message from Major-General Hill that he likewise was disabled, and that the command of the corps devolved on me. Without loss of time I communicated with Brigadier-Generals Heth and Colston, commanding respectively the divisions of A. P. Hill and Trimble, and made the necessary arrangements for a renewal of the attack in the morning, it being agreed that the troops were not in condition to resume operations that night. Just at this time, (about two o'clock,) the enemy made an attack on our right, but being feeble in its character, and promptly met, it lasted but a short time. Very soon after, Major-General J. E. B. Stuart, who had been sent for by Major Pendleton, A. A. general of Lieutenant-General Jackson, arrived on the ground and assumed command. I deem it proper to state that I yielded the command to General Stuart, not because I thought him entitled to it, belonging, as he does, to a different arm of the service,--nor because I was unwilling to assume the responsibility of carrying on the attack, as I had already made the necessary arrangements and they remained unchanged, but because, from the manner in which I had been informed that he had been sent for, I inferred that General Jackson or General Hill had instructed Major Pendleton to place him in command, and for the still stronger reason that I feared that the information that the command had devolved on me, unknown, except to my own immediate troops, would, in their shaken condition, be likely to increase the demoralization of the corps. General Stuart's name was well and very favorably known to the army, and would tend, I hoped, to reestablish confidence. I yielded because I was satisfied the good of the service demanded it.

On the morning of May third, being the rear division, I established my line with Rodes's and Iverson's brigades on the left of the plank road, as before, Ramseur's brigade on the right, then Doles's, and finally Colquitt, on the extreme right. The attack was renewed about six o'clock A. M.; and soon after I received orders to move forward, which I promptly obeyed, first giving directions to each brigade commander to push forward until the enemy was encountered, and engage him vigorously, moving over friend and foe alike if in the way. At the moment of starting, our cavalry reported a strong demonstration of the enemy on our extreme left, and Colquitt was detached to oppose it. He was subsequently moved to the extreme right, to support a portion of General A. P. Hill's troops, and ultimately got heavily and handsomely engaged on the left of my division, as will be seen hereafter. On account of the dense forest, the undulating character of the ground, and the want of an adequate staff, it was not in my power, during the subsequent movements, to give a great deal of personal attention to the actions of any of my commands, except Rodes's and Ramseur's brigades, which were next to the road; but my orders were faithfully executed by each brigade commander. Moving forward steadily, with no material stoppage except that occasioned by the tangled undergrowth, they soon encountered a heavy fire of artillery. Pressing on, they soon overtook the second line of battle, then at a halt, except the Stonewall brigade, which was moving (under orders) from the left to the right of the plank road. I ordered Colonel O'Neil not to wait on this movement, but to advance his brigade over the second line. At this moment Colonel O'Neil was a fragment of a shell, and in person I made his right regiment (the third Alabama) press forward through the troops, and sent a staff officer with directions to Colonel Hall, who succeeded to the command, to continue his advance. The first line was in turn overtaken and passed; but the confusion arising from passing the two lines caused the two regiments on the left of this brigade to become separated from the others. These two moved obliquely to the right, under the immediate command of Colonel Hall, and encountered the fire of the enemy's infantry, posted behind a barricade on the right of the road, and not more than two hundred yards from the epaulements on the heights. At this juncture, a portion of Iverson's brigade and a portion of Pender's troops, under the immediate command of Brigadier-General Pender, coming up, he ordered them all forward. The enemy was compelled to abandon the barricade and fall back; and pressing on, Colonel Hall's two regiments,--the Fifth and Twenty-sixth Alabama,--together with the Twenty-third North Carolina regiment, Colonel Christie, carried the heights in magnificent style, planting their flags inside the works. In this charge the gallant Lieutenant-Colonel Garvin, of the Twenty-sixth Alabama, fell, desperately wounded, inside the works. In the mean time the residue of Rodes's, Iverson's, and Pender's troops, moving forward, to the left of Hall and Christie, were met and repulsed by the enemy, thus leaving the flank of the party on the heights exposed to an overwhelming force. They were compelled to fall back behind the plank road, with loss of over one hundred men, and both Alabama flags. A second line of battle having been assembled along the log breastworks on the left of the road, composed of parts of the Third, Sixth, and Twenty-sixth Alabama, the Fifth North Carolina, under Lieutenant-Colonel Lee, who had just joined it, and other scattering troops, I ordered it, through Major Whiting, to attack — moving parallel to the plank road. Hall immediately attacked the epaulements again with his two regiments, and gallantly carried them; but the troops just mentioned, who had attacked farther to the left, being again repulsed, he again fell back to the breastworks. Whilst this was transpiring in front, the enemy made an attack in force on my left and rear. This attack was met by the Twelfth Alabama, Colonel Pickens, Colonel Lightfoot, of the Sixth Alabama, with a small portion of his regiment, and some troops of

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.
Alabama (Alabama, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
May 3rd (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: