wounded and a large number of his command captured or killed, our entire front was soon cleared of the enemy.
I discovered on the report Lieutenant Colonel Minetree,1 in command of the Forty-First, that the Twelfth had been lost.
I halted the brigade, reported to Mahone, and went forward myself, to see if I could find where the Twelfth was. We had halted only about sixty or seventy yards from the road, but there was a dense woods in front of us and a great deal of fire and smoke.
In fact, I do not think I have ever seen a battle-field where there was more destruction to life and more horrors than that of the Wilderness.
Captain John R. Patterson
, who, as first lieutenant of Company E, Twelfth Virginia regiment, commanded that company in the action, in a statement furnished by him, says:
I distinctly remember seeing Colonel Sorrel attempt to take the flag from the gallant Ben. May.
This occurred when we near the plank-road.
Before we reached the plank-road I recollect looking down the line to my left, and seeing Sergeant George J. Morrison, of Company A, one of the best soldiers in the regiment, throw down his gun and start to the rear.
Although we were then driving the enemy, the thought flashed through my mind that, if such a man as George Morrison was going to the rear, the bottom of the fight must be out on that part of the line; but as we advanced, swinging around to the left, I learned that he had been shot through the body.
Just before I saw George Morrison, as above narrated, I remember hearing General Mahone, who at the time was riding immediately in rear of our part of the line, about ten feet from where I was, whilst we were pressing forward under heavy fire, say in his accustomed calm and imperturbable tone, “Steady in the Twelfth!”
Our regiment crossed the plank-road, and I remember seeing numbers of the enemy in utter confusion and route running through the woods.
In a little opening about twenty yards in our front, a single man appeared, when one of our boys next to me raised his gun to shoot him, when I said, “Don't shoot!
We will catch him.”
Just then the Federal soldier dodged behind a tree, and as we approached jumped out and started to run again.
I then said to the