War of the Rebellion: Serial 016 Page 0582 OPERATIONS IN N.VA., W.VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

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blood-neither of which did the state of affairs then existing admit of paying.

The Second Georgia was ordered by me to take post on the right of the Twentieth and throw out pickets as far to the front as possible. This order was admirably executed by Lieutenant-Colonel Holmes, who posted each picket himself in person an far down the mountain side. The two regiments were small-the Second very small-and when stretched to the utmost they were far from being long enough to occupy the line required by the ground, and therefore the right flank was still without protection. I directed Colonel Holmes to reconnoiter the ground in his front as far forward as he could, and if he found the way clear to advance his pickets as skirmishers out of the wood into an open ravine behind the house at the foot of the mountain, the ravine being perpendicular to the mountain and running far enough into the fields for its mouth to be nearly or quite opposite the left flank of the enemy's battery. In about half an hour he had made the reconnaissance and had got his skirmishers were, and to send these beyond the house to the crest of the ravine ridge, from which crest the enemy were visible, and then to post his regiment in line behind them and near them. All these orders were executed by him with great promptness and judgment. After giving him these orders I put the Twentieth in motion to connect with him on his left. This movement was completed at about sunset. Thus the two regiments had swung around, so that their right was now on the flank of the enemy.

Soon after the new line of pickets showed their heads on the crest of the flanking ridge in the field the enemy ceased firing and moved to his rear with his whole force. The two regiments remained in their last position without any change until after night, as I had received an order while they were taking up that position from General Jones to support General Drayton in an attack which he was about to make on the enemy from the front. The retreat of the enemy prevented that attack from being made.

The conduct of both officers and men was everything that could be desired, and to particularize any of either would, I almost fear, be doing injustice to the rest. I will, however, venture to say that the conduct of Lieutenant-Colonel Holmes, Major Waddell, Captain E. M. Seago, second in command of the Twentieth, and Lieutenant Thomas, commanding its skirmishers, especially of Colonel Holmes, repeatedly attracted my attention.

The two other regiments-the Fifteenth and Seventeenth-ceased to be under my immediate command after I was ordered to seize and hold the mountain. I am certain, however, from trustworthy information, that they well performed the part assigned them, which was to remain passive in their place in the gorge while the action was going on in front. They did so. This place was much exposed to the shell of the enemy, from which they suffered considerably.

I am, major, your obedient servant,

HENRY L. BENNING,

Colonel, Seventeenth Georgia, Commanding Toombs' Brigade.

Major A. COWARD,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

N. B.-Thoroughfare and Manassas are put in a single report for the Twentieth Georgia by Major Waddell, who commanded the regiment, that report accompanying my Manassas report.