On the morning of the 21st, intelligence having been received that the enemy had crossed the river at Edwards Ferry in large force, and it being expected that they would advance upon Leesburg by the road from that point, this regiment was ordered to move from its position at the Burnt Bridge upon Goose Creek, where we had been bivouacked during the preceding day and night, and to take a position upon the right of the road in order to meet and repel him.
The Eighteenth Regiment Mississippi Volunteers was posted on the left of the same road, and Colonel Barksdale, with the Thirteenth Regiment Mississippi Volunteers was ordered to advance through the woods lying between the road on which we were posted and that leading from Leesburg to Kephart's Mill, where it was expected that he would be the first to meet and engage the enemy. We remained in this position from about 7 o'clock a.m. until between 2 and 3 o'clock p.m., when the Eighteenth Mississippi Regiment was ordered to move up the river in quick time to a point opposite Harrison's Island, where the enemy had crossed in large numbers and made an attack upon the Eighth Virginia Regiment and some detached companies from this and the other Mississippi regiments which were stationed at that point.
About 3 o'clock p.m. I was ordered to advance rapidly to the support of these regiments, which were the engaged with a greatly superior force of the enemy, and accordingly we moved at a double-quick a distance of more that 2 miles to the field, when, perceiving that there was an interval of about 200 yards between the two other regiments, I immediately occupied it with my regiment. Learning that Colonel Burt had been dangerously wounded and borne from the field, I conferred with Lieutenant Colonel T. M. Griffin, commanding the Eighteenth Mississippi Regiment, and formed my regiment on the center of our line, in the edge of the woods, and immediately in front of the enemy, who were drawn up in the woods upon the opposite side of a small field, at the same time requesting Colonel Griffin to form the Eighteenth Regiment upon my right, which he did promptly. One company of the Eighteenth Regiment which was on our left fell into our line and continued to act with us in that position.
While we were forming our line, the Eighth Virginia Regiment, which, together with a detached company from this and one from the Eighteenth Regiment, was engaged with the enemy upon our left, made a gallant charge upon their right wing. At the same time Colonel Hunton, commanding that regiment, informed me that his ammunition was exhausted.
I then ordered the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Mississippi Regiments to advance without firing until they were close to the enemy, and then to fire and charge. This order was gallantly obeyed. The two regiments moved forward slowly and steadily under a heavy fire, but without returning it, until we had crossed the field and penetrated the woods in which the enemy were posted, and to within 40 or 50 yards of their line, when we poured in a close and deadly fire, which drove them back and continued to advance, loading and firing until the enemy were driven the seek shelter beneath a high bluff immediately upon the brink of the river, and some of them in the river itself.
A few shots were fired into them while in this position, when they begged for quarter and asked to surrender. I ordered our men to cease, and told the enemy that if they desired to surrender they must send up one of their superior officers, to which they replied they had no such officer, and all of them had been killed. I then told them to send up their captain, when one captain came up, bearing a white flag,