On passing from behind one of these long ledges, we discovered the enemy moving with flankers thrown out on his right flank.
I directed Colonel William Smith
, whose regiment, the 49th Virginia, was in the lead, to open fire on the flankers, which was promptly done, and they ran in on the main body, which was taken by surprise by the fire from the unexpected quarter from which it came.
I now saw two or three brigades moving in line to our assistance, at the further end of the woods, and my brigade was faced to the front as soon as the whole of it had passed from behind the ledge, and opened fire on the enemy, who commenced retiring towards the-pike in great confusion, after delivering one or two volleys.
I had not intended to move to the front in pursuit, as I saw a brigade of the troops coming to our assistance moving into the woods at its further end on my right so as to come upon the flank of mine if it advanced, and I was, therefore, afraid that both would be thrown into confusion by the collision, and that mine would be exposed to the fire of the other.
Moreover the enemy's other column was advancing on my left, held in check, however, by Grigsby
with their men, aided by the 31st Virginia Regiment, which was on that flank.
The brigade, however, without awaiting orders, dashed after the retreating column, driving it entirely out of the woods, and, notwithstanding my efforts to do so, I did not succeed in stopping it until its flank and rear had become exposed to the fire of the column on the left.
I then saw other troops of the enemy moving rapidly across the plateau from the pike to the column, opposed to Grigsby
, and I ordered my brigade to retire a short distance, so as to change front and advance against the enemy in that direction.
Just as I was reforming my line for that purpose, Semmes
' brigade, and two regiments of Barksdale
's brigade, of McLaws
' division, and Anderson
's brigade of D. R. Jones
' division came up, and the whole, including Grigsby
's and Stafford