companying reports of the commandants of regiments and the battalion.
JESSE S. BURKS,
Colonel, Commanding Third Brigade.
Captain A. S. PENDLETON,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Valley District.
P. S. - For the information of the major-general commanding I will state that very few of the wounded men are mortally wounded, and the most of them will be fit for duty in a short time.
Numbers 37. Reports of Lieutenant Colonel John M. Patton, jr., Twenty-first Virginia Infantry.
CAMP NEAR MOUNT JACKSON, VA.,
March 26, 1864.
SIR: In obedience to orders from headquarters I beg leave to submit the following report of the part borne by the Twenty-first Regiment Virginia Volunteers in the battle near Winchester, on the 23rd instant:
On reaching the field of battle we were ordered by you to support the Rockbridge Artillery, commanded by Captain McLaughlin, and, in company with that battery, were shortly afterward ordered into position. In marching to this position the force was exposed for a considerable time in an open field to a severe fire from the enemy's artillery, as also afterward when under cover of a hill in a rear of the battery. The enemy's guns were admirably served, their shell bursting in many instances at close quarters, but fortunately with no loss to the regiment, except one man slightly wounded and another stunned for a moment.
McLaughlin's battery was admirably posted on a height equally commanding with that of the enemy's, and my regiment remained immediately in their rear and in supporting distance during the space of two hours or more. While the artillery fight was progressing Colonel Echols' regiment was on the left of our position, and was about this time suddenly attacked by an overwhelming force of the enemy's infantry. As soon as the musketry was heard the major-general commanding, who was near us at the time, ordered me to form line of battle in the direction of the fire and support Colonel Echols in case he was driven back; this occurred very soon.* I threw the regiment forward into line on first company. The movement was well and promptly performed; yet so quick were the movements of the enemy that the regiment received a volley from them before it was quite finished. I immediately ordered the fire to be returned, and from this time forth the rattle of musketry was incessant. Meantime a large portion of Colonel Echols' regiment rallied on our left flank, and this small force for a considerable time held back an overwhelming force of the enemy. The enemy were twice driven back and were substituted by fresh troops.
By this time the ammunition of the regiment was nearly exhausted
* See postscript to Patton's second report, p. 404.