Tenth Georgia Volunteers. Having halted the Fifth Louisiana and reformed it in the thick wood through which the advance had been made, and discovering troops not more than 40 yards in front, and being necessarily uncertain as to whether they belonged to our army or that of the enemy, I directed Private Maddox, Company K, Fifth Louisiana, to advance, and challenge, "Whole are you?" to which the reply was," Friends." Hearing the reply, I demanded, "What regiment?" and was answered, "Third Vermont." Thereupon the order was given to commence firing. After the firing had continued for some time with spirit, hearing firing immediately in our troops might become engaged with each other, it being then quite dark, I gave the order to cease firing, to reform the line, and for the men to rest on their arms.
After thus resting for half an hour, and the battle having terminated by the cessation of all firing, I, at about 8.30 o'clock, conducted the Fifth Louisiana and the Thirty-second Virginia back to camp, whither the Tenth Georgia had just repaired.
During the engagement Colonel Hunt, of the Fifth Louisiana, suggested a charge, which was promptly declined, owing to the darkness, the thick wood, and the great risk of coming in contact with portions of our own troops. The enemy fled from the field, it is trued, but under such circumstances I was unwilling to pursue, thereby jeopardizing unnecessarily valuable lives and incurring the great risk of encountering other portions of our own army.
Much of the time the enemy were engaged at a distance of not above 40 yards. Their heavy comparative loss doubtless resulted mainly from the greater efficiency of our smooth-bore muskets with buck and ball at short range, the superior steadiness of our men, and the precision of their fire.
A list of casualties has been heretofore forwarded to division headquarters.
Cumming's regiment, being longer and more severely engaged, suffered incomparably more than the two others and inflicted heavier loss on the enemy.
Although these three regiments carried into action only 755 men, no less than 400 of the enemy's dead were found on the field the next morning in their front, his wounded having been removed during the night.
The loss of the Fifth Louisiana was only 6, while more than 100 of the dead enemy were counted on the field immediately in its front.
The loss of the Thirty-second Virginia was also small, and the damage to the enemy nearly in the same proportion with that inflicted by the Fifth Louisiana.
In the early part of the action Captain Clemons, assistant adjutant-general, was thrown from his horse and stunned. Captain Briggs, aide-de-cam, rendered me valuable service on the field throughout the action. Lieutenant Redd, volunteer aide, while bearing an order to Colonel A. Cumming, Tenth Georgia, found himself under a cross-fire from the Fifty-third Georgia and the enemy. His horse was three times hit and his coat perforated in front by a bullet. Lieutenant Cody, volunteer aide, also actively participated. Lieutenant Cody bore an order to Manly's battery to move forward and take position on my right, which Captain Manly found impossible to do, owing to the darkness and the impracticability of the ground. Three of Manly's horses were wounded in his effort to get into position.
46 R R-VOL XI, PT II