other during the early morning, but about nine o'clock it began to rise, and then the artillery fire opened, which was just as my division was moving into position.
The enemy's fire at first was not directed towards the place where my division was posted, but after a short interval the shells began to fall in our vicinity, and the division remained exposed to a random but quite galling cannonading for two or three hours.
Shortly after noon we heard in our front a very heavy musketry fire, and soon a courier from General Archer
came to the rear in search of General A. P. Hill
, stating that General Archer
was very heavily pressed and wanted reinforcements.
Just at that moment, a staff officer rode up with an order to me from General Jackson
, to hold my division in readiness to move to the right promptly, as the enemy was making a demonstration in that direction.
This caused me to hesitate about sending a brigade to Archer
's assistance, but to be prepared to send it if necessary, I ordered Colonel Atkinson
to get his brigade ready to advance, and the order had been hardly given, before the adjutant of Walker
's battalion of artillery came galloping to the rear with the information that the interval on Archer
's left (an awful gulf as he designated it) had been penetrated by heavy columns of the enemy, and that Archer
's brigade and all our batteries on the right would inevitably be captured unless there was instant relief.
This was so serious an emergency that I determined to act upon it at once notwithstanding the previous directions from General Jackson
to hold my division in readiness for another purpose, and I accordingly ordered Atkinson
to advance with his brigade.
I was then entirely unacquainted with the ground in front, having been able when I first got up to take only a hasty glance at the country to our right, and I asked Lieutenant Chamberlain
's adjutant, to show the brigade the direction to advance.
In reply he stated that the column of the enemy which had penetrated our line