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Second Manassas.

Report of Colonel M. D. Corse, Commanding Kemper's Brigade.
[The following important report does not appear in the Army of Northern Virginia reports, printed by the Confederate congress, and has never been in print at all so far as we know:]

headquarters Kemper's brigade, September, 1862.
Brigadier-General J. L. Kemper, Commanding Division:
General,--I submit the following report of the operations of Kemper's brigade, which I had the honor to command during the battles of Groveton (August 29) and Manassas No 2 (August. 30th, 1862).

On the morning of the 29th this brigade marched with the others of your command from its bivouac near Thoroughfare Gap, and halted about three miles east of Gainesville about 12 o'clock. We were at once placed in line of battle, in rear of Jenkins' brigade, near the Manassas Gap railroad. After remaining in this position for a short time, the brigade moved forward, east of the railroad. The Twenty-fourth Virginia was here detached and sent to support Rogers' battery, stationed near the------house. The rest of the brigade, by your order, was then moved west of the railroad, forming line of battle a few yards from the outskirts of a wood. The Seventh Virginia went forward in skirmishing order across a field, some three hundred yards to the front. In the last movement the brigade was subjected to a heavy shelling from a battery of the enemy, distant about twelve hundred yards. Remaining in this position for half an hour, I received through your A. A. General, Captain Fry, an order to move forward, and to the right; to withdraw the Seventh, connect it with my line, and occupy a wood in front, distant four hundred yards. In obeying this order, the brigade was forced to move in full view of the above mentioned battery, which kept a constant fire upon us. Nothing daunted, however, the line moved steadily forward and took the position designated. I threw [539] out Captain Simpson's company (Seventeenth regiment) as skirmishers to the front and right. In a short time he encountered the enemy's skirmishers on our right and in rear of our line. Not being aware that any of our troops were on my right, and seeing the enemy a few moments before display a considerable force in front, which at once moved to the right under cover of a wood, I deemed it prudent to fall back a short distance, feeling assured that the enemy was in force behind his skirmishers. I now sent Major Herbert (Seventeenth regiment) to ascertain whether or not we had any troops on my right. On his return, he informed me “there were none immediately on our right.” At this time Major Palmer rode up, and I made him acquainted with the fact. I informed him of our situation, and suggested that some troops should be placed on our right. He went off, and in a short time General Drayton (with his brigade) reported with orders to relieve me. I then moved east of the railroad, and connected with the Twenty-fourth in line in rear of the house, keeping in front a line of pickets until the morning of the thirtieth, connecting with General Drayton on the right, and Colonel Benning, commanding Toombs' brigade, on the left.

At 3 o'clock Colonel Hunton (Eighth Virginia), commanding Pickett's brigade, brought the order that this brigade, with the others of your command, were to occupy (at 5 o'clock P. M.) a wood near the Chinn House, in front of the line then occupied by Jenkins and Hunton. General Jenkins, Colonel Hunton and myself then rode forward and viewed the ground. It was agreed that they should advance and occupy the position, while I would support them. At half-past 4 o'clock your aid, Captain Flood, brought me an order to move forward in haste to the support of Jenkins and Hunton. I promptly obeyed, and over-took the two brigades advancing. I at once put my command in line about two hundred and fifty yards in rear of the two advancing brigades, keeping my distance as they moved forward. Near the Chinn House, while under fire of the enemy's infantry and artillery, I pushed forward, changing front so as to cover the ground just before occupied by Hunton's (Pickett's) brigade. In passing the Chinn House it was necessary to face the Twenty-fourth regiment (Colonel Terry) to the left and file to the right. After passing this obstacle it came into line beautifully, and the whole line then became hotly engaged. At this time, discovering a battery of the enemy to the left and in rear of the Chinn House, I ordered a charge of the whole line. The order was gallantly responded to and brilliantly executed, the enemy being driven from their guns. Great gallantry was displayed by all engaged. Lieutenant-Colonel [540] Skinner (First Virginia), dashing forward in advance of the whole line, was the first to reach the battery, and I saw him dealing deadly blows with his sabre to the Yankee gunners. The steady veteran Terry, with the gallant Twenty-fourth, delivered a destructive volley into the enemy's ranks on our left, and pushed forward to the charge. The valiant Patton led the heroic Seventh Virginia. Its list of casualties in officers and men gives proof they were where the battle raged fiercely. Colonel Patton, Lieutenant-Colonel Florence, Major Swindler, and Adjutant Patton all fell, severely wounded in this brilliant onset. The ever-ready First, as usual, did its work manfully. Major Clements, with the war-worn Eleventh, moved forward with veteran firmness. The Seventeenth, led by the ardent Lieutenant-Colonel Marye, advanced in perfect line. Just before reaching the battery Colonel Marye fell, wounded severely (leg since amputated), and, under the command of the intrepid Major Herbert, the regiment continued the charge.

The charge was a success, the enemy was driven from his guns, his infantry supports scattered, and his battery taken.

My line was now somewhat broken, owing to the impetuosity of the charge, and seeing the enemy advancing his reserves, I dispatched my assistant adjutant-general, Captain Bryant, and aid de camp, Captain Beckham, to you for aid, which was promptly furnished. Samuel Coleman, private, company E, Seventeenth Virginia, in the hottest of the fight, wrested from the hands of the color-sergeant of the Eleventh Pennsylvania regiment, his regimental colors and handed them to me. These colors I have already had the honor to forward to you. At this juncture, having received a wound in the thigh, and finding that my horse was tottering under me from a wound through his body, I turned over the command to Colonel Terry, reported to you, and with your permission, retired from the field.

Never was a brigade commander more gallantly and efficiently supported by field and company officers and brave men. To the gentlemen of my staff, Captains Bryant and Beckham, I return my thanks for gallant and efficient aid in the hour of need. To enumerate the acts of individual courage, would too greatly lengthen out my report, and lest I might omit to mention many who were meritorious, I now bring it to a close. Suffice it to say, that officers and men discharged their respective duties well and faithfully, and while we owe thanks to Almighty God for the success to our arms on this occasion, we have to lament the loss of many good men. [541]

Herewith I hand the reports of the regimental commanders, from which I condense the list of casualties given below. loss.
First Virginia Regiment24622212531
Seventeenth Virginia Regiment 55439 4348
Eleventh Virginia Regiment123853 6164
Seventh Virginia Regiment 1212536 4153
Twenty-fourth Virginia Regiment1451063 7378



I remain, General,

Very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

M. D. Corse, Colonel Commanding Brigade.

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