separated, and maintaining regimental or company organizations under such cover as the ground afforded.
The cannonading still continued, and supposing that whenever it ceased the enemy would charge, I devoted my time to gathering up and forming my troops to be prepared for the charge. This work was exceedingly difficult, as it had become dark, and many brigades were mixed up in the woods and roads on this part of the battle-field. In the mean time General Kershaw came into the field with his brigade near one of my regiments (the Second Georgia), which still remained in very good order, and my adjutant, Captain Du Bose, proposed to him to unite that and some other companies of other regiments with his command in the attack on the enemy's batteries, to which he assented, and this command, under Colonels Butt and Holmes, accompanied by Captain Du Bose and Major Alexander (my quartermaster, who acted as one of my aides on the field), advanced with General Kershaw's brigade beyond the edge of the woods into the open field, but, under the destructive fire of the enemy's cannon and small-arms, wavered and fell back into the road skirting the pine thicket. It was during this charge (which was also participated in by part of the Twentieth Georgia) that the heroic Colonel Butt (colonel of the Second Georgia) fell, and the command devolved upon the gallant Colonel [William R.] Holmes, lieutenant-colonel of the regiment. In this position in the road this portion of the command remained for some ten or fifteen minutes, when a heavy musketry fire was poured into them from the left flank, and they retreated in disorder. Captain Du Bose, Major Alexander, and Captain Troup, of my staff, were on this part of the road, and used their best exertions in rallying the troops, and succeeded in joining me with about 200 men.
After these disasters, finding that the enemy did not charge and that the troops were generally in disorder and there not being an organized body of troops on the plateau in front, I gathered up my command and marched it back to the road where we entered the battle, and encamped them as near thereto as the convenience of water would allow.
In all of these movements, and especially during the time my brigade occupied the open plateau in front of the enemy's batteries, my losses were very severe, the total being 194 in killed and wounded out of about 1,200 carried into action, a report of which has heretofore been forwarded to you, and a more detailed one will be furnished as soon as it can be made out, the wounding of two of my regimental adjutants and the sickness of another and constant marches since having retarded the work. I am happy to add that the disorders which did arise were due rather to the difficulties of the ground and the nature of the attack than from any other cause, and that as far as my observation went they extended to all troops engaged on the plateau in front of the enemy's guns. This is further evidenced by the fact that at reveille next morning over 800 of my command answered to their names at roll-call, leaving under 200 unaccounted for, many of whom soon made their appearance.
I consider the conduct of the officers and men highly praiseworthy and honorable to themselves and the army.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier General, First Brigade, First Division, Army of the Potomac.