division commander asking that re-enforcements might be sent to the support of these two regiments. It was now near 5 p.m. My request was promptly complied with, and Colonel George T. Ward, Second Florida, and Lieutenant-Colonel [John G.] Taylor, Second Mississippi Battalion, both under command of Colonel Ward, were ordered in on the left of the Ninth Alabama. These troops had been engaged but a few minutes when the gifted and chivalric Ward fell, pierced through the breast with a Minie ball.
The Fourth North Carolina, Colonel [George B.] Anderson, and the Third Virginia, Colonel [Joseph] Mayo, reported to me quite late, near dark, and while it was raining violently. They were held in rear, it being near dark, and after dark rejoined their proper commands.
Night closed the contest. On the right we had met the enemy on ground selected by himself in a dense forest some 400 or 500 yards wide. He was driven from this back into the fallen timber over this, and through an open field beyond the Yorktown road, and again into a dense forest. A battery of six rifled pieces was captured, a few prisoners, and many killed and wounded.
The brigade was engaged from 9 a.m. until dark. Did not leave the field until 11 p.m.; reached camp 12.30 a.m., and at 2 a.m. resumed the march in retreat for Richmond. It will be seen that the troops were on duty for fifteen hours, exposed to heavy, drenching rains, and more than half of this time fighting, and mostly close musketry.
The conduct of both officers and men in this their first collision with the enemy was in all respects worthy of commendation, fighting with a courage and spirit that could not fail to inspire the utmost confidence as to our final success in our war for independence.
Among those that call for special notice are the lamented Colonel C. H. Mott, Lieutenant Colonel L. Q. C. Lamar, Captains Macon, [Thomas J.] Hardin, Coffey, and Lieutenants Jones and Lindsay, Nineteenth Mississippi; Lieutenant-Colonel Woodward, Major Forney (left in hospital at Williamsburg with a serious wound), and Lieutenant Shelley, Tenth Alabama; in the Ninth Alabama, Captains Warren, Smith, Gillis, and King. The companies of the first two were the first to enter the captured battery.
Captain Gillis, greatly distinguished for courage, displayed an example of coolness set to his men. He was mortally wounded.
Captain Murphy, of the Ninth, conspicuous for pertinacity and courage, [was] painfully wounded in the arm. He remained in the field, [and] commanded his company until shot through the body and borne from the field.
I am indebted to my staff-Captain Harris, assistant adjutant-general, and Lieutenant Reading, aide-de-camp-for services promptly and cheerfully rendered at all times during the battle, their duties taking them frequently under close musketry fire.
The brigade surgeon, Dr. Peel, and the different regimental surgeons were on the field, conveniently located for prompt care and attention to the wounded, and were attentive and skillful in the discharge of their duties.
A list of casualties having been previously forwarded, it will suffice to state that my loss was 231 killed and wounded.
I am, sir, respectfully, &c.,
C. M. WILCOX,
Major G. MOXLEY SORREL,
38 R R-VOL XI