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[114] of these four days the Fourth North Carolina (Major Grymes commanding) was sent to our assistance. I mention these circumstances to let it appear, in justice to my command, that their previous labors had been heavy and wearisome when they were assigned to lead the advance on the left of our attacking forces and bring on the engagement which followed.

In obedience to your orders for making the attack, I formed my brigade in the open field in front of our previous position on the left of the Williamsburg road in the following order, to wit: Fifth North Carolina, Colonel McRae--180 rank and file; Thirty-eighth Virginia, Colonel Edmonds--350 ditto; Twenty-third North Carolina, Colonel Christie--350 ditto; Twenty-fourth Virginia, Major Maury--450 ditto; Second Florida, Colonel Perry--435 ditto. The Second Mississippi battalion, Lieutenant-Colonel Taylor, 300 strong, were deployed as skirmishers along the edge of the woods in front of the brigade, with general orders to keep one hundred and fifty yards in advance. The foregoing estimate makes the total strength of the brigade on that day 2,065, exclusive of Captain Bondurant's battery, left subject to Major-General Hill's own orders — since, being compelled to advance by the main road on my extreme right, I could not superintend it. In the foregoing order, upon hearing the signal the line of skirmishers promptly advanced into the woods in front, and the brigade followed, moving by the right flanks of regiments at deploying distance and taking direction from the right, which was ordered to keep in a short distance of the Williamsburg road.

Meanwhile, General Featherston's brigade (Colonel Anderson commanding) moved a quarter of a mile in rear as a support, whilst General Rodes and General Raines moved in corresponding position on the opposite side of the road.

My line of skirmishers had advanced only a few hundred yards when they encountered that of the enemy. The difficulties of the ground were almost insurmountable. The recent rains had formed ponds of water throughout the woods with mud at the bottom, through which the men waded forward knee-deep and occasionally sinking to the hips in boggy places almost beyond the point of extrication. The forest was so thick and the undergrowth so tangled that it was impracticable to see the heads of the several regiments as they moved forward, and the deploying intervals were in consequence very imperfectly preserved. Still all pushed onward with alacrity — so fast, indeed, that when the skirmishers became heavily

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Richard Taylor (1)
Rodes (1)
Raines (1)
William F. Perry (1)
D. A. McRae (1)
Dabney H. Maury (1)
A. P. Hill (1)
Grymes (1)
Featherston (1)
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E. G. Christie (1)
Bondurant (1)
Joseph R. Anderson (1)
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