Numbers 361. Report of Brigadier General John Bratton, C. S. Army, commanding Bratton's brigade, Field's division.
Camp near Williamsburg Road, January 1, 1865.*
We remained in this position [New Market Heights-July 30] without pickets well out in front, enjoying freedom from the presence of the enemy, until the morning of 13th [14th] of August, when the enemy assaulted, and after three efforts succeeded in driving in my pickets capturing and killing some of them. It was here that Captain Beaty, of the Palmetto Sharpshooters, one of the most efficient officers of this brigade, fell mortally wounded. The enemy in his front were successfully repulsed, he was slain, and some of his men captured by the enemy, who had driven in the pickets on our left and came up in rear of his lines. I mention this as due to the gallant officers and men who were captured there. Our picket-line was finally driven in, pretty badly mutilated. The enemy opened a furious cannonade upon our main line, which, however, did not last long. Our skirmishers were advanced, and they threatened his left, resting near the Yarborough house, which perhaps induced him to withdraw. While this was occurring here it seems that the enemy were moving heavy columns up the Darbytown and Charles City roads, which necessitated a sliding of the whole division to the left. I was ordered to follow and keep up connection with the brigade on my left. This was done, and night found my brigade with its right resting upon the Drill house, extending along New Market Heights beyond the Libby house.
On the next morning the affair on the left became more serious. The enemy succeeded in taking a portion of our line about Fussell's Mill. My already-attenuated line was depleted to furnish force to drive them out. Two of my regiments-the Fifth South Carolina, Colonel Coward, and Second South Carolina Rifles, Colonel Bowen- were sent down without delay and (I was told by others than themselves) rendered most effective assistance in driving the enemy away and recovering our line. While this was going on on the left the enemy assaulted my line near the Libby house, by were easily repulsed by the picket-line, aided by the artillery on the heights. In the afternoon I received orders to take command of the whole line from the left of my brigade to Chaffin's farm. I found on this line the City Battalion, detachments from Scales' and Thomas' brigades, and Johnson's old (Tennessee) brigade, numbering in all about 1,000 men. I went out to the picket-line to discover what troops were there, and reached Cox's farm, Signal Hill, where I had been informed the picket-line was established, in time to meet the enemy coming in by way of Double Gates, but could see or hear nothing of our pickets, who ought to have been on this part of the line. I learned afterward that the line for some distance to the left of Double Gates to the river was occupied by detachments from the City Battalion and Johnson's brigade. They unquestionably behaved badly-ran away from their posts, and could not give any intelligible report of what had occurred when they were found, which was not until some time after dark. Knowing little or
*For portion of report here omitted, see Vol. XXXVI, Part I, p. 1065, and Vol. XL, Part I, p. 766.