War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0588 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

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them, I did not feel at liberty to move away more than a single regiment, especially as I was informed by an aide of General Anderson that it was General Hill's brigade which had been directed to re-enforce General Wilcox. Thus, with one regiment-the Fourteenth Louisiana, Colonel Jones, 400 men-and three companies of the Eighth Alabama, 120 men, Lieutenant-Colonel Irby commanding, I moved forward 600 paces across an almost impenetrable abatis, and entered the woods in which the enemy were engaged somewhat to the right of General Wilcox's position. Being on the extreme right of our line, I deemed it prudent to place Lieutenant-Colonel Irby in position to observe the enemy and to intercept any attempt to flank us as we moved forward to the attack. Throwing forward two companies of the Fourteenth Louisiana as skirmishers I pressed on through the wood. Very soon my skirmishers encountered the enemy in force and were driven in; whereupon I deployed the regiment and pushed on at a charge. We were received by so close and overwhelming a fire that we were staggered and embarrassed for a moment, but the regiment speedily rallied, resumed the forward movement, and drove the enemy before us. We pressed on, fighting with intermittent severity for at least a mile for the point at which we originally encountered the enemy. Apprehending lest we might possibly become detached from our line, and by our advanced position be mistaken for the enemy, I determined to halt and hold the ground then in our possession.

Meanwhile I went to bring Lieutenant-Colonel Irby's command. I did this myself, because no other person knew his position, but by reason of our own change of ground I was unable to find him. I returned to the Fourteenth Louisiana, where I was soon joined by Major O. K. McLemore, with three companies of the Fourteenth Alabama and 40 men of the Thirty-second Virginia Battalion, under Captain Segar, in the aggregate 150 men. This force took position on the right of the Fourteenth Louisiana. Not long afterward we were again assailed by the enemy with extreme fury and pertinacity, but my command held the ground with admirable courage and tenacity. After a combat of a half hour's duration the enemy desisted from the fight.

At this moment Lieutenant-Colonel Lamar, of the Nineteenth Mississippi, just issuing from a severe but successful struggle, came up with his regiment, and reported that he had been sent to my assistance. Two of his companies I threw forward to my right to arrest a reported flank movement of the enemy; the balance I held in reserve. In this position we remained until 8 p.m., when, in pursuance of instructions from Brigadier-General Pickett, I moved my command from the field.

Of the operations of Lieutenant-Colonel Irby's command, I know nothing personally. From reports submitted to me by Captains Phelan and Loughry I learn, however, that Colonel Irby's [command] was carried into action by order of Major [General] Longstreet; that he encountered the enemy in great force; that he fell at the first volley; that imitating his heroic example, his command behaved in the most admirable manner, and that they maintained their ground to the close of the battle.

I regret very much that the detachments from the Eighth and Fourteenth Alabama Regiments and Thirty-second Virginia Battalion fought mainly beyond my observation, because I am thus denied the privilege of signalizing to the major-general commanding the many instances of good conduct and courage which they exhibited. I saw enough, however, of Major McLemore's bearing to perceive in him the