HEADQUARTERS THIRD SOUTH CAROLINA REGIMENT,
Camp Jackson, July 12, 1862.
SIR: On Tuesday, the 1st instant, early in the afternoon, according to orders from Brigadier-General Kershaw, I formed my regiment and took position in the brigade in line of battle in the Long Bridge road, where we remained about an hour or two, when we were moved forward by the left flank, and formed a new line of battle to the left of a deserted dwelling situated in an open field, and fronting the road just mentioned, my left resting on the fence running along a thicket of small pines to the east of the house. We were subjected to an annoying artillery fire in this position for some time, but fortunately without damage, before an order for an advance was given. At length it came, and my regiment, with the others of the brigade, under General Kershaw, move forward in line of battle through the woods to our left, and under a very severe fire of grape, shell, and musketry, toward a battery of the enemy strongly supported by infantry, and favorably posted on an elevated and commanding plateau immediately beyond the Quaker or Willis' Church road. Although the fire under which we passed was exceedingly severe my command moved into position in the Quaker road with a steadiness and order which would have been worthy of older troops. Here we were halted and directed to lie down for protection behind the fence and hedge-row on the side of the road and in rear of a line of troops which had preceded us, and who were likewise seeking shelter from the terrific artillery and musketry fire of the enemy. While in this position a North Carolina regiment came up, part of it lapping over the left of my regiment. Shortly after its arrival one of its officers arose, and in a loud voice proposed the hazardous and rash experiment of a charge, to which proposition I gave no heed, if for no other reason because my superior and immediate commander was on the ground. Not long afterward this regiment retired. About the same time a fire was opened upon our right rear by our friends, which produced some confusion in the ranks. At this juncture Major Rutherford proposed to go to the rear and inform the officer in command of our position. I approved the proposition, and suggested that he take with him a stand of colors, that he might the more promptly and safely check the fire, which he did. The fire still continued, and at this moment, if I am not mistaken, the regiment on my left (the Second South Carolina) retired.
Major Rutherford did not return, and feeling some apprehension for the safe delivery of my message I called for a volunteer to bear the same message to the officer commanding the troops who were firing into our rear that had been intrusted to Major Rutherford. Corpl. T. Whitner Blakely, of Company I, promptly respected, and taking the same route soon came up with Major Rutherford, by whom he was directed to bear the message giving notice of our position. This he gallantly did. He reported afterward that the regiment was the Twenty-sixth Georgia, whose commanding officer promptly changed the direction of his fire when he received my message. By this time (my left having been exposed by the retirement of the Second South Carolina Regiment) the enemy was pressing on the left toward the road, and when I discovered that they were coming into the road on this flank that part of our line on the extreme right was retiring, and being thus situated, without hearing any orders, I deemed it prudent to retire myself.
47 R R-VOL XI, PT II