be executed General Longstreet himself overtook me, and directed me to carry the whole of my brigade to a position designated by him, to the left and rear of Fort Magruder, and await further orders. I proceeded in that direction, General Longstreet himself going to the right in the direction of a heavy musketry and artillery firing which was going on. In a few minutes, and before my command had proceeded far toward its destination, I received an order from General Longstreet, through one of his staff officers, to send him two regiments, which I obeyed by sending to him the Second Florida Regiment and the Second Mississippi Battalion, under the command of Colonel Ward, of the Second Florida Regiment. With the remainder of my command, being my brigade proper, I proceeded as near as practicable to the position designated by General Longstreet on the left and rear of Fort Magruder, and formed my regiments in line of battle on the crest of a ridge in a wheat field, and near a barn and some houses, with a wood some 200 or 300 yards in front, in which position we were not in view of any body of the enemy, though we were soon informed by the firing from a battery in or beyond the woods toward Fort Magruder that a portion of the enemy were in our front.
In a short time Major-General Hill arrived, and having ascertained that the enemy had a battery in front of us, he informed me that he wished me to attack and capture the battery with my brigade, but before doing so he must see General Longstreet upon the subject. General Hill and myself, with my aide, Lieutenant Early, then rode to the front to see if what appeared to be a small stream at the edge of the woods would offer any obstacle to the advance of my brigade, and having ascertained that it would not, General Hill went to the right to see General Longstreet and I proceeded to inform my regiments that they would, upon the return of General Hill, advance to the attack of the enemy's battery and troops in front, and to give them directions as to their conduct. In a short time General Rains' brigade came up and took its position just in rear of and close to my brigade, and some pieces of artillery also came up, which I was proceeding to place in position, but General Hill returned and, after informing me that the attack was to be made,himself posted the artillery so as to cover the retreat of my brigade if it should be compelled to fall back.
As soon as General Hill had completed his dispositions he gave the order to the two regiments on the right to move forward, which I presume was intended for the whole brigade, but the order was not heard by me or the regiments on the left; but seeing the regiments on the right moving and General Hill with them, I ordered the other two regiments to move forward, and the whole brigade was thus put in motion, the Fifth North Carolina Regiment being on the right, next to it the Twenty-third North Carolina, then the Thirty-eighth Virginia, the Twenty-fourth Virginia being on the left. General Hill being on the right and accompanying the brigade, I placed myself on the left with the Twenty-fourth Virginia Regiment for the purpose of directing its movements, as I was satisfied from the sound of the enemy's guns that this regiment would come directly on the battery. The brigade advanced through the wheat field and then through a thick woods, about half a mile in all, when it came upon an open field in view of Fort Magruder, at the end of which farthest from the fort the enemy had taken position with a battery of six pieces, since ascertained to be Wheeler's New York battery, and some two or three pieces from another battery called Kennedy's, which were supported by a brigade of infantry, under the command of Brigadier-General Hancock. In this