their rear, and, when they were well out of sight of the enemy, the line was formed and the two brigades marched to the Ragland House
were there halted, and the men were directed to divest themselves of knapsacks, blanket-rolls and other baggage; an order which to the veteran plainly bespoke serious work, and that in the near future.
In a written statement made by Colonel Venable
in 1872, referring to the carrying of the message from General Lee
to General Mahone
, he says:
‘He sent me directly to General Mahone
(saying that to save time the order need not be sent through General A. P. Hill
), with the request that he would send, at once, two of the brigades of his division to the assistance of General Johnson
I rode rapidly to General Mahone
's line, and delivered my message.
He immediately gave orders to the commanders of the Virginia
brigades to move to the sailent and report to General Johnson
The troops moved promptly, the Virginia
brigade (General Weisiger
) in front.
We rode on together, at the head of the column, General Mahone
giving instructions to his officers and inquiring as to the condition of things at the sailent.
When we reached the peach orchard, in rear of the Ragland House
, noticing that the men were encumbered with their knapsacks, he halted the column, and caused both brigades to put themselves in battle trim.
While the men were throwing aside their knapsacks he turned to me and said: “I can't send my brigades to General Johnson
—I will go with them myself.”
He then moved the column towards the opening of the covered way, which led to the Crater salient.
I left him at this point to report to General Lee
, who, meantime, had come to the front.
I found him sitting with General Hill
, among the men in the lines, at a traverse near the River
When I told him of the delivery of the message, and that General Mahone
had concluded to lead the two brigades himself, he expressed gratification.’
Leaving the Ragland House
, we marched along the edge of the hills skirting Lieutenant Run
to New Road, or Hickory street, and entered this road a hundred or two more yards east of the brigade, then marched westwardly to within a few yards of the bridge over this run, and then filed northwardly down the ravine on the east side of