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[32]

I threw a few shells into the woods in front of my skirmish line, but except an occasional slight demonstration along that line, nothing of consequence occurred during the rest of this day.

I regret to have to report, however, that Colonel Rhett, of the First South Carolina artillery, commanding this brigade, mistaking a body of the enemy's cavalry for a party of our's of this arm, rode in advance of the picket line, to communicate with them, and was made prisoner.

I was directed by Lieutenant General Hardee, that in the event that the enemy moved forward in the morning, I should hold the position occupied by Rhett's brigade, now commanded by Colonel Butler. First South Carolina infantry, until it was no longer tenable, and then fall back upon the position occupied by Elliott's brigade, which I had placed in position behind a narrow swamp some two hundred yards in rear of the first line — which second line was to be held by my division as long as practicable; after which I was to retire upon an extended line, being prepared for defence by light works, some six hundred yards in rear, and which was in part occupied by General McLaws' division. At seven o'clock on the 16th the enemy advanced in considerable force, and the cavalry pickets, which had been re-established, retiring, he soon appeared in my front and advanced to the attack.

Our skirmishers, under the command of Captain Hugenin, First South Carolina infantry, received the advance very handsomely, and retired with coolness, contesting the ground well, to the main line. On the right of my line; and well advanced, the houses and grounds of Smith's plantation were occupied by two companies of the First South Carolina artillery, who held the position with great. determination.

The enemy now established batteries over a rising ground beyond the swamp in our front to the left of the main road, and shelled our lines with great determination and vigor, and made several successive attempts upon our lines with their infantry, chiefly pushing our left — in all of which they were met with a gallant resistance, and were repulsed.

About eleven o'clock he severely pressed our left and threatened to turn it; at the same time he massed additional troops, extending his line to our right, finally lapping and turning it, when, in consequence of the heavy attack, and the impossibility of extending our line, already deployed to its fullest extent, I directed the troops to be withdrawn to the line held by Elliott's brigade, which was accomplished,


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Rhett (2)
Stephen Elliott (2)
A. J. Smith (1)
Lafayette McLaws (1)
Hugenin (1)
W. J. Hardee (1)
W. B. Butler (1)
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