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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 42, Part 1 (Richmond-Fort Fisher)
Page 882 OPERATIONS IN SE.VA. AND N.C. Chapter LIV.

Lieutenant Lewis, Palmetto Sharpshooters, had his leg broken and was captured. He has been heard from; is doing well, but his leg was amputated. The service has sustained a loss in these three officers.

My command behaved to my satisfaction on this occasion, and officers and men have my thanks for their gallant and spirited conduct.

To my staff I am indebted for their prompt and efficient services. I was deprived of the valuable services of my assistant adjutant-general, Captain Sorrel, early in the action. His horse was killed under him, and he was so much injured by the fall as to necessitate removal to the rear. Captain Lyle, acting inspector, and Lieutenant Judge, aide-de-camp, acted with usual gallantry and rendered most useful assistance.

I left my brigade on the crest from which this last charge was made, and did not get back to it until the 20th of November. During my absence it had been engaged twice, on both occasions successfully resisting assaults of the enemy. You are referred to Colonel Walker for a report of these actions. I found it on my return on a new line between the Charles City and the Williamsburg roads fortifying. Since we have been engaged in erecting winter quarters and strengthening our works until the 10th of December, when we were ordered out to the front on what turned out to be a reconnaissance of the enemy's line about Deep Bottom. Found on New Market Heights, between the Libby house and Big Springs, a large, isolated fort, with ditch and strong abatis around it. This was an outpost, and not the right of their line. Their right rested on the marsh of the Four-Mile Creek, below the Kingsland road. An immense area of forest about the Drill house had been felled. The fort and these lines seemed to be thinly manned, but obstructions in they way of felled timber, abatis, &c., were immense. A little after dark we were ordered back to camp.

In this day's work I lost 11 men and 1 officer in killed, wounded, and missing.

We remained quiet in camp, fortifying and completing winter quartermasters, until the night of the 22nd, when we were ordered off in haste to Gordonsville. I left camp at 11.30 p.m., and started on the first train from Richmond with two regiments (Second [Rifles] and Fifth), but did not reach Gordonsville until 10 a.m. I moved my two regiments out with all proper speed on the Madison turnpike, when I was informed by a staff officer that General Lomax was confronting the enemy. I found him about two miles out, and the enemy drawn up from 600 to 800 yards in his front. There was in one place a solid mass of them, covering, probably, two or three acres of ground. I told him that I had two or three regiments of infantry at hand to assist him, and suggested that as we could not shift as rapidly as horsemen that he put us in the position most important to be held. He replied that the position on the Madison turnpike was the all-important point, and pointing to the massed enemy, said, "The are now preparing to charge." I immediately put my regiments in position, one on either side of the road, readily put my regiments in position, one on either side of the road, relieving the cavalry who moved out on the flanks. We were all ready now, and as they were slow about the charge, I sent out a company of sharpshooters into a tongue of wood about 150 yards in front of our lines to kill some of them. About this time one of my regiments, by some mistake and without my orders, opened a scattering fire upon them. Before I could stop it they made the mass of the enemy deploy and retire out of range. It (the mass) was not more than 600 yards from my line, and I might have opened fire upon them with effect, and would have done so but for the hope and expectation that they would


Page 882 OPERATIONS IN SE.VA. AND N.C. Chapter LIV.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 42, Part 1 (Richmond-Fort Fisher)
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