orders of Brigadier General R. H. Anderson, commanding the division, I formed my command in line of battle on the right and nearly perpendicular to the road, one regiment of the Second Brigade being posted in line between my left and the road. My command constituted the extreme right of our general line of battle and was posted upon the rear edge of a dense body of timber, the Seventeenth Virginia Regiment (Colonel M. D. Corse) occupying the right; the Twenty-fourth Virginia Regiment (Lieutenant-Colonel [Peter] Hairston commanding) the left; the First Virginia (Captain G. F. Norton commanding) the center; the Eleventh Virginia (Captain K. Otey commanding) the right center; and the Seventh Virginia (Colonel W. T. Patton) the left center.
Soon after getting into position I received orders from Major-General Longstreet to use the utmost care in guarding against any movement of the right regiment, to change front to rear on his left company, so that his regiment formed an obtuse angle with the line of the brigade and fronted obliquely to the right. I also caused two companies of this regiment to move forward from Corse's new front as skirmishers, under command of Captain Simpson. After advancing several hundred yards these skirmishers were halted upon the rear edge of an open field, a good view of which was commanded from their position. I also posted Rogers' battery of four pieces upon an open eminence near the right of my line and in supporting distance of Corse's regiment, the position being such as to command an extensive field upon my right.
About 5 p.m. an order being received from Major-General Longstreet to advance my line, I immediately in person ordered Colonel Corse to change his front forward, so as to bring the right of his regiment up to the brigade line, and sent my staff along the line toward the left, so as to insure the simultaneous advance of the entire line. The brigade advanced in line of battle steadily and in good order, notwithstanding the unevenness of the ground (which in places was almost precipitous), the entangled undergrowth which filled the woods, and the firing of one of the enemy's batteries located directly in front, which rapidly threw shell and round shot over and almost in the midst of my command.
The advance continued to be conducted in good order until, very soon coming upon the pickets of the enemy and driving them in, the men seemed to be possessed of the idea that they were upon the enemy's main line, and in an instant the whole brigade charged forward in double-quick time and with loud cheers. Nothing could have been more chivalrously done and nothing could have been more unfortunate, as the cheering of the men only served to direct the fire of the enemy's batteries, as the movement in double-quick time through dense woods, over rough ground, encumbered with matted undergrowth and crossed by a swamp, had the effect of producing more or less confusion and breaking the continuity of the line, which, however, was preserved as well as it possibly could have been under the circumstances. But a single idea seemed to control the minds of the men, which was to reach the enemy's line by the directest route and in the shortest time; and no earthly power could have availed to arrest or restrain the impetuosity with which they rushed toward the foe, for my orders, previously given with great with great care and emphasis to the assembled field officers of the brigade, forbade any movement in double-quick time over such ground when the enemy were not in view. The obstructions were such as to make it impossible for any officer to see