War of the Rebellion: Serial 013 Page 0736 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

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or encouraged by the example of some of their men who fired upon us as they retreated, rallied on a hill opposite us and renewed the attack with great vigor. Suspecting the command to cease firing was either a ruse or an error, I withdrew a short distance in the underbrush, and reformed my line as best I could under an extremely severe fire. By the time this way accomplished the enemy had almost traversed the field and reached the edge of the undergrowth from which we had driven them. As they advanced they poured a deadly and incessant fire into my line. I met them again, pushing my line almost to the edge of the undergrowth, when, besides the fire in my front, I was subjected to a threatening fire upon my right flank. In this emergency, without, so far as I could discover, supports either on my right or left flank, I deemed it prudent to retire, which I did, moving by the right flank. I carried the men to the rear of our original position, collected the scattered, reformed the line, and took position, by order of General Kershaw, on the edge of the wood in front of our first position, where, after throwing out pickets, we slept on our arms without fires until morning.

Early in the morning we recovered and buried the dead and also brought in all the wounded.

A list of casualties is herewith submitted.* It will be perceived that my loss was heavy both in officers and privates. Among the mortally wounded were Lieutenant Ray and Captain S. M. Lanford, both of whom, especially the latter, were officers of promise.

Among the killed was Lieutenant Colonel B. C. Garlington, who fell while urging the men to the charge. He was an officer of fine judgment, cool courage, and commendable energy. We deplore his loss both as a gentleman and soldier.

The conduct of the whole regiment, privates and officers alike, was satisfactory and praiseworthy. The heavy loss sustained in the fight, of about two hours' duration, sufficiently attests the gallantry and fortitude of the command in withstanding such a heavy fire.

Conspicuous for gallantry was Captain D. M. H. Langston, who, though severely wounded, continued with the regiment throughout the fight.

It is proper to state that Major W. D. Rutherford, who had been assigned early in the day to the command of a portion of the skirmishers, rejoined the regiment late in the engagement, and bore himself (as did all the officers, both line, staff, and field, who came under my observation) worthily and honorably.

Before concluding this report it is proper to say that I inquired into the origin of the unfortunate command "Cease firing," by which the repulse of the enemy was prevented from being most complete, and I find, much to my gratification, that it did not originate in my regiment. I considerable the promulgation of such an unauthorized command, so far as I could learn, by an officer, conduct so culpable as to call for a court-martial. Happily, I am relieved, conduct so culpable as to call for a court-martial. Happily I am relieved by my inquiries from the unpleasant duty of preferring charges against a brother officer.

I am, yours, very respectfully,


Colonel Third South Carolina Regiment.

Captain C. R. HOLMES,

Assistant Adjutant-General.


*Embodied in Kershaw's report, see p. 730. It shows "carried into action" 37 officer and 431 men. See also p. 978.