ties in the Fifth North Carolina, commanded by me on the 5th in the battle near Williamsburg:
About 3 p.m. my brigade was formed in line of battle, composed of the Fifth North Carolina, on the right; Twenty-third North Carolina (Colonel Hoke) next; the Thirty-eighth Virginia (Lieutenant-Colonel Whittle) next, and Twenty-fourth Virginia (Colonel Whittle) next, and Twenty-fourth Virginia (Colonel Terry) on the extreme left, with orders from General Early to ascertain the position and charge a battery of the enemy supposed to be stationed in the woods in our front. After the formation of the line we were moved forward by the direction of Major General D. H. Hill, with instructions to approach the enemy close with trailed arms, without firing, until close upon him.
The line passed down into a marshy ravine and my regiment found itself in a dense undergrowth composed chiefly of pines, which made the advance in line difficult. On the verge of the field beyond I halted and reformed the line and examined for the enemy's battery. Not seeing any indications of his presence, I advanced the line about 100 yards into the field, and as soon as I did so a battery, situated at a distance of 700 to 900 yards on the left opened upon us with shell. I immediately changed the direction of the line so as the face toward this point, and found that this battery was posted in a skirt of woods near a redoubt around and in which there appeared to be at least a brigade of the enemy. As soon as I made this movement I found that the line was broken, and I could neither see Colonel Hoke, with the Twenty-third North Carolina, nor Lieutenant-Colonel Whittle, with the Thirty-eighth Virginia. The approach to the battery was through an open field of soft earth, without any cover for my troops, and feeling great anxiety, I dispatched my adjutant (Lieutenant McRae) and Major P. J. Sinclair to General Hill, with a request to be informed what battery I was to charge. Major Sinclair returned with an answer that I was "to charge the battery which opened on us, and to do it quickly." I immediately put the line in motion, and the men sprang off at a rapid pace.
About this time a regiment, which I found afterward to be the Twenty-fourth Virginia, Colonel Terry, engaged the enemy at some 300 yards to my left, in front, and drove him out of some houses toward his redoubt. Finding the Twenty-third and Thirty-eighth still absent, I saw the necessity of connecting my line with this regiment to support it, and at the same time get the cover of the houses referred to. I ordered my line to advance, obliquing to the left, and when I found my men advancing too rapidly and sufficiently obliquing, I ordered a halt, passed to the front of the line, and urged my men to move less rapidly and to press more sensibly to the left, and, to compose them, I ordered them to lie down. The enemy had now commenced to fire upon us with rifles, which began to be fatal, and this moment I observed Captain Early, General Early's aide, some distance on my left waving me on. I then pushed on. My color-bearer was first struck down, when his comrade seized the flag, who fell immediately. A third took it and shared the same fate; then Captain Benjamin Robinson, of Company A, who carried it until the staff was shivered to pieces in his hands. Under this fire of grape from the battery and volleys from the infantry the regiment continued to advance until I found a slight shelter of a low fence within 100 yards of the redoubt. The fire was terrific; my men and officers were falling on every side. The Twenty-fourth Virginia, on my left was suffering in line proportion. I had delivered my first fire at the distance of about 150 yards, and my men were now firing with effect upon a body of the enemy who were retreating into the redoubt.