On the morning of August 23 I was ordered to support with my brigade the batteries under the command of Major [John J.] Garnett, who was attacking the enemy at Rappahannock Station, with further instructions to attack the enemy should he appear on the south side of the river. Receiving a message from Captain Squires, commanding the battery,m that the enemy were in a small redoubt which they had thrown up the night previous, I immediately ordered an advance to drive him from his position, but on the approach of my troops he soon retreated across the railroad bridge before we were in musket-range. I here ordered the Malbeth Artillery (Captain Boyce) to advance, occupy the work, and to open fire on the enemy across the river. This point, however, Captain Boyce found untenable, as the enemy's batteries swept the entire hill and work. He was compelled to retire with the loss of 4 wounded.
The entire loss of my brigade in this engagement was 27 killed (enlisted men), 7 commissioned officers and 75 enlisted men wounded.*
The coolness of the men and of the officers of the brigade excited my highest admiration. Many of them, having never been under fire before, sustained a severe fire of grape and shell for more than three hours without breaking line of battle.
On the evening of August 29 this brigade engaged the skirmishers of the enemy in considerable force on the south side of the road near Groveton, and rendered efficient co-operation to the commands of General Wilcox, on the left, and General Hood, on the right, in driving the enemy from his position. The enemy falling back and the darkness of the night concealing his movements, I formed my brigade in the camp of the enemy until ordered to fall back by the major-general commanding. Leaving a strong picket in my front, I withdrew about a mile to the rear.
On the morning of August 30, the enemy presenting himself in large force near Groveton, I was ordered to take command of the troops formed immediately on the right of the road, embracing Whiting's division, Brigadier General J. B. Hood commanding; Pickett's brigade, Colonel Epa Hunton commanding, and my own brigade. I would state that just before the actin commenced Pickett's brigade was ordered to the support of General Kemper. My command now consisted of three brigades, which were disposed as follows: Evans' brigade, with the left resting on the turnpike, under the command of Colonel P. F. Stevens: Hood, with his command, on Stevens' right. In this position my command rested until about 4 p. m., when General Hodd was ordered to advance, Colonel Stevens supporting his left. The command soon became warmly engaged with the enemy, who seemed to concentrate a heavy force on the right of the road and opened a heavy artillery fire on my whole line from right to left. After advancing more than a mile the command of
*A tabular statement shows the losses to have been as follows:
Command. Killed. Wounded. Total.
Holcombe Legion 7 25 32
17th South Carolina 1 3 4
18th South Carolina 4 22 26
22nd South Carolina 7 20 27
Washington Artillery 8 14 22
Total 27 84 111