A hasty conversation with Brigadier-General Garland satisfied me that I was the ranking officer in that part of the field, and I at one assume command and ordered into line all the troops near me.
It was by this time quite dark. Learning from a staff officer who then rode up that a charge was to be made on the extreme left of the field, in which assistance was needed, I at once commenced to move by the right flank all the troops over which I had assumed command toward the point indicated. After marching 200 or 300 yards the shouts of victory from our friends announced that the last battery of the enemy had been taken and the rout complete. I then halted in the midst of the battle-field, and ordered the men to sleep on their arms.
During all the time above indicated, after the brigade was fairly engaged, the two regiments on the left [Thirty-first and Thirty-eighth Georgia] were beyond my reach and under the immediate directions of my adjutant-general, Captain E. P. Lawton. In emerging from the wood these two regiments found themselves in the hottest part of the field, where our friends were pressing on the enemy toward the left, and joined them in the contest at that point under a murderous fire. Steadily on did they press, doing great execution until the last cartridge was expended, and then joining heartily in that last charge after night-fall which resulted in the shouts of victory already referred to.
The conduct of these two regiments, officers and men, and of Captain E. P. Lawton, who led them, cannot be too highly appreciated, and the list of killed and wounded, for the short time they were engaged, attests the danger which they so gallantly faced. Captain Lawton had his horse killed and received a slight wound in the leg. Lieutenant Colonel L. J. Parr, in command of the Thirty-eighth, had his arm shot off near the shoulder, and Major J. D. Mathews was severely [it is feared mortally] wounded. Colonel C. A. Evans, commanding Thirty-first Regiment, received a slight flesh wound, and a number of other officers were killed and wounded, as appears by the annexed list.
Early in the action, and soon after entering the wood, my volunteer aide-de-camp, Captain Edward Cheves, while riding by my side, had his horse shot down. He promptly rose to his feet, announced to me his safety and his intention to keep up with the brigade on foot. He followed on toward the left, where the Thirty-first and Thirty-eighth were so hotly pressed, and while gallantly pursuing the line of his duty he fell pierced through the heart by a rifle-ball. Though a mere youth, he had exhibited a degree of zeal, intelligence, and gallantry worthy of all praise, and not one who fell on that bloody field has brought more sorrow to the hearts of those who knew him best.
To the members of my staff I am much indebted for the promptness, energy, and gallantry they displayed in conveying orders and pressing on the different parts of the line which were beyond my personal supervision.
Where the engagement was so general and the numbers so large and all acted so well it is difficult to enumerate instances of personal gallantry. For some of these, however, and for the parts taken by different portions of my brigade I beg leave to refer to the reports of the different commanders of regiments, herewith submitted. I beg leave to refer also to the annexed list of killed and wounded.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. R. LAWTON,
Captain A. S. PENDLETON,