and driven him from his breastworks and batteries soon became apparent to him, and he at once proceeded to make use of his advantage. While greatly superior numbers hung upon our front considerable bodies of the enemy were thrown upon both flanks of my command, which was now in imminent danger of being wholly captured or destroyed. Already they were capturing officers and men at different points of my line, principally upon the right. No re-enforcements appeared, and the dire alternative of withdrawing from the position, although of obvious and inevitable necessity, was reluctantly submitted to.
Owing to the difficulties offered by the wilderness through which the brigade had advanced the task of reassembling and reforming the regiments was attended with much trouble. I sent out details as speedily as possible to direct officers and men where to reform, and as soon as this task was accomplished-imperfectly, it is true, but as effectually as was possible at so late an hour of the day-I repaired to General Longstreet's headquarters as soon as I could find them, and under instructions there received-it now being night-I proceeded to select a suitable position on the road in the rear at which stragglers could be arrested and such of my men as had not then come in could be re-collected.
I should have mentioned before that soon after my command was overpowered and before all of it had fallen back General Branch's brigade was found coming up, and General Branch was shown by me into the position which my gallant men had vainly sought to hold against overwhelming odds, and immediately afterward the Third Brigade of this division, Colonel Hunton commanding, took position on Branch's right. If it had been possible for these brigades to have advanced simultaneously with my own the victory of the day would have been achieved on the right of our line with comparatively little difficulty and at an early hour.
When my line emerged into the open field in front of the enemy's batteries the Seventh Virginia, commanded by Colonel W. T. Patton, gallantly assisted by Lieutenant-Colonel [C. C.] Flowerree and Major [A. A.] Swindler, was in good order, considering the difficulties of the ground over which it had passed, and this regiment and the First Virginia, nobly sustained by such portions of the other regiments as had come up, made the first daring charge, which drove the enemy from his position. Seven companies of the Seventeenth Virginia were unavoidably delayed for sometime by the almost impassable nature of the swamp at the point at which they crossed.
Praise is due to Colonel Corse, Seventeenth Virginia, and Lieutenant-Colonel Hairston, Twenty-fourth Virginia, as well as to Colonel W. T. Patton, Seventh Virginia (who acted with eminent gallantry), for discharging their duties with the utmost fidelity and bravery. The same praise is accorded to Captain K. Otey, commanding the Eleventh Virginia, and Captain Norton, commanding First Virginia. Lieutenant Colonel R. H. Marye and Captain R. H. Simpson, of the Seventeenth, fell into the hands of the enemy while discharging their duties with conspicuous gallantry. I am satisfied all the field officers did well. I especially commend the good conduct of Captain W. T. Fry, my assistant adjutant-general, and Mr. A. Camp Beckham, who acted as my volunteer aide-de-camp.
Among those reported to me as deserving especial notice for gallantry on the field are Captain Joel Blackard, Company D, and Lieutenant W. W. Gooding, Company K, Seventh Virginia, who were both killed.