so long deferred, I have confined myself to a plain, simple statement of what you did under my own eye. So far from attempting, I have avoided highly drawn pictures of gallantry displayed in this action.
If I have succeeded in making that statement intelligible, your deeds, more than any expression of admiration on my part of your conduct, are relied on for that justice which has so long been your due. To sum them up in brief, you advanced over three lines of the enemy, two of them in position behind obstructions of felled timber or slashings, and all of them in superior numbers to you. Although checked and borne down by the weight of fire of the third, without falling back, you rose and continued the advance to a successful result, the only instance of the kind that I know of. When after the third conflict your line was broken, it was done by your own eager and wild pursuit of the enemy, after a terrific contest, and after the loss of one-half of your captains.
While in the condition of an advancing, wild, yelling mob, an unexpected volley was poured into your right flank, which had only the happy effect of recalling those on that flank to their senses, for they at once became heedful of orders, and with wonderful promptness, presented a solid front to this fresh foe, and held them at bay until the balance formed on them, and in a short time charged and swept him from the field.
All this without once falling back to reform your lines, or yielding at any time an inch of the ground gained.
This advance of more than a mile from where you met their first volley, over four lines of the enemy was effected in less than two hours. The extraordinary prowess of the Second Brigade (Anderson
's) on this field excited at the time comment in best informed army circles, and was discussed by our trained and experienced regular officers in terms of highest praise and admiration.
Yours was the leading regiment in this famous advance of Anderson
The fight made by the Sixth South Carolina Regiment on this field was, in the opinion expressed by General Anderson
himself, after the close of the war, ‘unsurpassed.’
I concur in that opinion.
Considering the difficulties encountered, it was the most rapid in achieving results, and the best and most effective, fair, square, open-field righting that I ever saw. We had nothing to do with the general plan of battle; knew nothing of it, and are not responsible for general results.
Our orders gave us our part to do. Never were orders executed more energetically, promptly or thoroughly.
To all who have followed the story, it must be apparent that such