been called in. My understanding of the order was that we were to make the attack on the enemy. The general himself giving the order to march, we moved off up the hill through the pines, and, on reaching the open field above, the Twelfth Regiment continued the march across this field toward a branch or hollow 200 or 300 yards in front of us, where the enemy was known to be. We did not advance, however, more than 100 yards before a battery [the position of which I was not before aware of], situated in a piece of shell and grape shot upon us, wounding and stunning 5 or 6 men the first volley.
I now discovered that the First Regiment had halted at the edge of the pine thicket, and saw at once that to attempt to reach the hollow under this fire, and then to encounter the enemy there, or to change front and march alone against the battery, would be sacrifice the regiment with little or no damage to the enemy. This being the situation of the regiment, I immediately marched by the left flank down the hill to the branch, turned, and marched up the branch, through a dense thicket and under a heavy fire of shell and shot, until I got opposite the pine thicket through which I had gone before entering the open field. We were now out of range of the artillery, and here I formed the regiment in line as soon as I could, being joined by the two companies who were out reconnoitering the movements of the enemy when we commenced the advance.
The regiment was now marched in line through the pines up to the edge of the open field and took position on the left of the First Regiment. Scarcely had we got in position before a greatly superior force appeared in front of us, and an engagement immediately ensued, being commenced by us. We held our position obstinately for a time, but, in consequence of overwhelming numbers, we were driven back a short distance, suffering seriously in killed and wounded. Although our numbers were much reduced, and our line somewhat broken, the greater portion of the command was soon rallied, and recovered our former position at the edge of the open ground.
Again we poured a vigorous fire into the enemy and maintained our position for some time, but owing to the great disparity of numbers we were again forced back, sustaining a heavy loss in officers and men.
The entire command by this time was well nigh exhausted and greatly reduced. I myself, from exhaustion and from a wound which I received in the thigh, causing considerable pain, was unable to take further command. I am not able of my own knowledge to say what part any portion of the command took in the fight after this time, yet from reliable information I am fully convinced that some did fall in with other commands and continue the fight. Captain Bookter, with Lieutenant Talley and others of his company, joined an Alabama regiment, commanded by Colonel Cantey, and while this regiment Captain Bookter and several of his men were wounded.
The conduct of the command as a whole was gallant and commendable. We had when we left Mechanicsville about 430 muskets, including many who were indisposed. Taking from this number those who tired out during the march of the day, I am sure that we did not carry more than 400, if that, into the fight.
The casualties, a list of which accompanies this report, are 17 killed and 131 wounded, making a total of 148 killed and wounded. Among the killed was First Lieutenant J. W. Delaney, commanding Company B. He was killed in the first conflict at the edge of the pine thicket. By