About 10 o'clock Major-General M. L. Smith and the others sent out to examine the enemy's position reported that the left of the enemy's line extended but a short distance beyond the plank-road.
Special directions were given to Lieutenant Colonel Sorrel to conduct the brigades of Generals Mahone, G. T. Anderson, and Wofford beyond the enemy's left, and to attack him on his left and rear (I have since heard that the brigade of General Davis formed a part of this flanking force), the flank movement to be followed by a general advance, Anderson's brigade on the right and Wofford's on the left, Mahone being in the centre.
They moved by the flank until the unfinished railroad from Gordonsville to Fredericksburg was reached.
Forming on this railroad, facing to the north, they advanced in the direction of the plank-road till they encountered the enemy in flank and rear, who was then engaging the brigades of Gregg, Benning, and Law in front.
The movement was a complete surprise and a perfect success.
It was executed with rare zeal and intelligence.
The enemy made but a short stand, and fell back in utter rout, with heavy loss, to a position about three-quarters of a mile from my front attack.
I immediately made arrangements to follow up the success gained, and ordered an advance of all my troops for that purpose.
While riding at the head of my column, moving by the flank down the plank-road, I became opposite the brigades which had made the flank movement, and which were drawn up parallel to the plank-road and about sixty yards therefrom, when a portion of them fired a volley, which resulted in the death of General Jenkins and the wounding of myself.
I immediately notified the commanding general of my being obliged to quit the field, and the command devolved on Major-General Field.
To the members of my staff I am under great obligations for their valuable services.
They conducted themselves with their usual distinguished gallantry.
Much of the success of the movement on the enemy's flank is due to the very skillful manner in which the move was conducted by Lieutenant Colonel Sorrel.
General Joseph B. Kershaw
, in his report (Rebellion Record
, Volume XXXVI, part 1, page 1061), says:
The lines being rectified, and Field's division and Wofford's brigade, of my own, having arrived, upon the suggestion of Brigadier-General Wofford a movement was organized, under the orders of the