My brigade consisted of the following-named regiments, all from North Carolina:Twenty-fourth, Colonel Clarke; Twenty-fifth, Colonel Rutledge; Twenty-sixth, Colonel Vance; Thirty-fifth, Colonel Ransom; Forty-eighth, Colonel Hill; Forty-ninth, Colonel Ramseur. Colonel Hill's regiment was absent on duty with the brigade of General Walker. The effective force present was about 3,000.
Between 2 and 3 p.m. the brigade left the Quaker road and was put in line of battle, by General Huger's order, about 1 1/4 mile from where the action was then going on. The ground occupied was a belt of woods bordering a small stream. In this position we remained exposed to the bursting of an occasional shell until about 5 p.m., when a messenger reached me from General Magruder, asking that I would go to his support. The summons was not obeyed, but I sent word to General Huger to get instructions. His reply sustained my action. In about half an hour another order from General Magruder arrived. General Huger was present, and under his dictation I informed General Magruder that orders to me must come through General Huger.
The engagement was now very warm and extended along our whole front. At 7 p.m. I received word from General Magruder that he must have aid, if only a regiment. The message was so pressing that I at once directed Colonel Clarke to go with his regiment and report to General Magruder, and at the same time sent my aide-de-camp, Lieutenant Broadnax, to General Huger for orders. Lieutenant Broadnax brought me somewhat discretionary orders, to go or not, but not to place myself under General Magruder.
The brigade was at once put in motion by the right flank, as the line we had been occupying was at right angles to that upon which the battle was raging. Colonel Clarke's regiment had already gone; Colonel Rutledge next followed, then Colonel Ransom. Colonel Ramseur and Colonel Vance all moved to the scene of conflict at the double-quick. As each of the three first-named regiments reached the field they were at once thrown into action by General Magruder's orders. As the last two arrived they were halted by me to regain their breath, and then pushed forward under as fearful fire as the mind can conceive.
In the charge made by Colonel Ransom's regiment he was twice wounded and had to be taken from the field. The lieutenant-colonel, Petway, then took command, and in a few moments he fell mortally wounded. Colonel Rutledge's regiment went gallantly forward, and the colonel was seriously stunned by the explosion of a shell and the major severely wounded. The fire was so fierce that the three regiments were compelled to fall back under the crest of some intervening hills. At this juncture I arrived with Ramseur's and Vance's regiments, and ordering the whole to the right, so as to be able to form under cover, brought the brigade in line within 200 yards of the enemy's batteries. This was upon our extreme right. The hills afforded capital cover. I had no difficulty in forming the line as I desired.
In going to this position I passed over a brigade, commanded by Colonel Anderson, from Georgia, and requested him to support me in the charge which I was about to make. This, to my sad disappointment, he declined to do.
It was now twilight. The line was put in motion and moved steadily forward to within less than 100 yards of the batteries. The enemy seemed to be unaware of our movement. Masses of his troops seemed to be moving from his left toward his right. Just at this instant the brigade raised a tremendous shout, and the enemy at once wheeled into line and opened upon us perfect sheet of fire from musketry and the