engaged. That fine officer, his men, and officers, behaved well and rendered an effective fire; but the enemy soon ascertaining the exact range and bringing up heavier metal, Captain Bondurant sustained a loss of 2 killed and 1 mortally wounded, since dead, making 3; 14 wounded and 28 horses killed and disabled. He was now relieved and sent to the rear, having fired nearly all his rounds. Captain Bondurant had also been engaged at Mechanicsville on Thursday evening.
Major-General Jackson arriving on our part of the field, a change was made in the disposition of our infantry forces equivalent to a change of front to rear on the left, battalion of my brigade, the expectation being that the enemy would be rolled back upon us and received by us in this new position. The sounds of an active engagement were now heard going on immediately in front of the last position, and perceiving that the result was doubtful, brigade after brigade after brigade of our division was ordered to proceed toward the sound of the firing. To do this all had to cross an open field several hundred yards wide under a vigorous enfilading fire of artillery and gain a skirt of timber covering a ravine some half mile in front. This brigade was ordered forward last to go to the support of the others, this being deemed more judicious on the whole than to charge the enemy's batteries and infantry supports already referred to.
Reaching the skirt of woods referred to, I there found the rest of the division lying unengaged under cover, the fight being still farther on in another woods, separated by an opening of 800 or 1,000 yards. General Anderson's brigade the first sent over, seems to have driven some of the enemy from the belt of woods in which I found the division. Owing to the necessity, of prolonging lines to left or right as the brigades came up, I found that several regiments were detached from their brigades and that there were several lines of our troops in the belt of timber in reserve to each other.
Communicating with General Anderson, we ascended out of the ravine to commanding open ground, from whence we could see the engagement in front of us. We perceived a line of fresh troops brought up at right angles to our position to the edge of the woods in our front and pouring volley fires into a line screened from our view by the woods. We concluded, from our imperfect knowledge of localities, that the line we saw must be the enemy and that their flanks was fairly exposed to us. In the absence of superior commanders we were consulting as to taking the responsibility of ordering a charge on this exposed flank of the enemy across the intervening open fields under the heavy fire of artillery when Major-General Hill joined us in person. We pointed out to him the situation and explained our proposed plan, which he at once adopted and ordered the charge to be made without delay, as the evening was already wearing late. Under the order of the general of division all the brigades were to advance, and accordingly no time was lost in sending back detached regiments to their brigades. This will account for the fact that I found on the left and under my general supervision the Third North Carolina, Colonel Meares, of General Ripley's brigade, and one of the regiments of General Rodes' brigade. By a change of position, unnecessary to be detailed, I had placed Colonel McRae, with the Fifth North Carolina, on the left of my brigade, and the line being a long one with the additions stated, I requested him to exercise a general supervision over the troops on the left, subject to my orders.
The whole line now moved forward with rapidity and enthusiasm.
41 R R-VOL XI, PT II