War of the Rebellion: Serial 013 Page 0697 Chapter XXIII. SEVEN-DAYS' BATTLES.

Search Civil War Original Records

halted my line for the purpose of rectifying it and of allowing many of the troops whom I was to support to pass me and form. These objects were but imperfectly accomplished by me, as well as by the rest of the troops within my view, from the great confusion and disorder in the field, arising much from the difficulties of the ground over which they had to pass and in part from the heavy fire of grape and canister and shells which the enemy's batteries were pouring in upon them. But having accomplished what could be done of this work and that portion of Colonel Anderson's brigade immediately in my front having advanced farther into the field, I ordered my brigade to advance. It moved forward steadily and firmly until it came up with the troops in advance, who had halted. I then ordered it to halt and ordered the men to lie down, which they did, and received the enemy's fire for a considerable time, when an order was repeated along my line, coming from my left, directing the line to oblique to the left. This order I immediately and promptly countermanded as soon as it reached the part of the line where I stood and arrested it in part. I saw that the immediate effect of the movement was to throw the troops into the woods and ravines on the left of the plateau and necessarily throw them into great confusion.

Amid the turmoil of battle it was difficult to trace orders to their proper source, and, an erroneous impression prevailing in two of the regiments that the order came from General Jones, the Twentieth and Second Georgia Regiments and a part of the Fifteenth Georgia Regiment executed it and marched rapidly, and as they approached the woods in considerable confusion over the fence into the road and woods, finding that a large portion of the command had under this mistake executed the movement, and a portion of my right (the Seventeenth Georgia Regiment) having up to this time been prevented by troops in their front from coming up, and one company of my left (Captain Sage's) having, from the difficulties of the ground and the interposition of other troops, been prevented from getting into line on the plateau, and seeing the importance of getting my command together, I ordered those troops whom I had prevented from executing the left oblique movement to unite with the command on the left, and the whole to form themselves and await further orders and events.

I then passed down my right to put them also in position. A portion only of it had emerged from the woods and were ordered in position. Passing up the edge of the woods, I ordered such of the broken parties as had been separated from their commands by the troops retiring from their front to join their command on the left, and failing to find the balance of the Seventeenth and the missing company of the Twentieth, I remounted and passed down my left, which, together with the rest of the command which had joined them, were under the direction of my adjutant, Captain Du Bose, and Major Alexander, and my aide, Captain Troup. They had formed in part on the road to the left of the plateau and in the woods and ravines in the rear thereof, seeking such protection as the ground afforded, they being under a severe fire from the enemy's artillery.

The stream of fugitives was pouring back over my line, frequently breaking it and carrying back with them many of the men. I immediately began passing up and down my lines and in the rear, ordering and bringing back those who had thus been swept away, but it frequently happened in bringing them back the positions of those they had left had been changed by the same and other causes and left them out of their proper positions. I continued these efforts until all the troops in my front on the plateau had disappeared, my own regiments mostly