unable to learn anything of the situation until Johnston's brigade met in the woodland between the McCool house and the Salient with the head of the enemy's column.
Brigadier-General Johnston was wounded, and his brigade was soon overpowered and driven back. I at once discovered that the situation was critical, and ordered Colonel Evans to move his brigade at a double-quick from its position near the trenches to the McCool house, and sent a staff officer to ascertain the position of Pegram's brigade, and, if possible, to withdraw it to the same point. This was promptly done. The fog was so dense that I could not ascertain the progress of the enemy, except by the sound of his
musketry and the direction from which his balls came. At this point (the McCook house) I ordered Colonel Evans to send in three of his regiments to ascertain the enemy's position and check his advance until the other troops could be gotten into line. The attacking column, it was ascertained had advanced considerably to the right of this point, and the temporary check given by these regiments afforded only time enough for moving the remainder of Evans' and Pegram's brigade farther around to the right. A line was soon formed near the Harris house, and these two brigades ordered to attack. They charged with the greatest spirit, driving the enemy with heavy loss from nearly the whole of the captured works from the left of Wilcox's division to the Salient on General Johnson's line, and fully one-fourth of a mile beyond. Several of the lost guns were recaptured by the Thirteenth Virginia Regiment, of Pegram's brigade, and brought back to the branch near the McCool house. Unfortunately, the artillery officer to whom these guns were reported failed to find them and bring them off. The enemy still held a portion of the line to the left of the Salient, and during the night of the 12th the troops were withdrawn to a new line in rear of the Harris house. The loss in these two brigades was not heavy.
I regret that a report of the casualties in these engagements has not been furnished me by the brigade commanders. Two of these brigades are not now under my command.
I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. B. GORDON,
Major CAMPBELL BROWN.
Numbers 288. Report of Major General Edward Johnson, C. S. Army, commanding division, of operations May 12.
RICHMOND, VA., August 16, 1864.
GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following statement concerning the events of May 12 last at Spotsylvania Court-House, which immediately preceded the battle:
On the night of the 11th, in riding around my lines, I found the artillery which had occupied a position at the Salient-a point which with artillery was strong, but without it weak-leaving the trenches and moving to the rear. In inquired the cause of the moving, and was informed that it was in obedience to orders, and that a general