suggested that I should order a retreat; but this seemed impracticable.
My dead and wounded were then greater in number than those still on duty.
Of 644 men and 42 officers, I had lost 343 men and 19 officers.
The dead literally covered the ground.
The blood stood in puddles on the rocks.
The ground was soaked with the blood of as brave men as ever fell on the red field of battle.
I still hoped for reinforcements.
It seemed impossible to retreat; I therefore replied to my captains: “Return to your companies; we will sell out as dearly as possible.”
made no reply, but Park
smiled pleasantly, gave me the military salute, and replied: “All right, sir.”
On reflection, however, a few moments later, I did order a retreat, but did not undertake to retire in order.
I had the officers and men advised that when the signal was given every one should run in the direction from whence we came, and halt on the top of the mountain.
When the signal was given, we ran like a herd of wild cattle right through the line of dismounted cavalrymen.
Some of my men as they ran through, seized three or four of the cavalrymen by the collar and carried them out prisoners.
On the top of the mountain I made an attempt to halt and reform the regiment, but the men were helping wounded and disabled comrades, and scattered in the woods and among the rocks, so that it could not be done.
This was just about sunset, and the fighting all along our line had pretty well ceased.
At this time there were no Federals on Round Top
. They never occupied the top of it until near dark.
I was on foot, and in my exertions to reform my regiment on the top of the mountain I was so overcome with heat and fatigue that I fainted, and was carried back near to the point from which our advance commenced.
It was now dark, and here we bivouacked for the night.
After all had got up, I ordered the rolls of the companies to be called.
When the battle commenced, four hours previously, I had the strongest and finest regiment in Hood
Its effectives numbered nearly 700 officers and men. Now 225 answered at roll call, and more than one-half of my officers had been left on the field.
Some of my men that night voluntarily went back across the mountain, and in the darkness penetrated the Federal
line for the purpose of removing some of our wounded.
They reached the scene, and started out with some of the wounded officers, but were discovered and shot at by the Federal
pickets, and had, in consequence, to leave the wounded, but succeeded in