War of the Rebellion: Serial 016 Page 0585 Chapter XXIV. CAMPAIGN IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA.

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the fight no troops except a few small parties were visible. After some inquiry I was told by a man who seemed well informed that the regiments had gone down on the right to support Stuart's cavalry in its pursuit of the enemy. I galloped in that direction for about 1 1/2 miles, as I thought, when I came in sight of the cavalry, and saw that no infantry was near it. I then returned, and soon after reaching the same field I observed a brigade approaching led by a general. To him I advanced, and found him to be General D. R. Jones, accompanied by General Drayton. They were bringing General Drayton's brigade into action. General Jones informed me that the three regiments were then under the immediate command of General Toombs, who had shortly before that time reached the field. I also learned that they were not then engaged in the action and would not be again; that after a long and hot fight, with heavy loss to the Seventeenth, they had been ordered back a little, to be replaced by fresh troops. I concluded then that instead of going to the Seventeenth (which alone was, by the recent arrival of General Toombs, left me to command) I would report to General Kemper and ask him to let me serve him as an aide. I did so, and he kindly accepted my offer, and I remained with him until the battle was over and he left the field.

It will have been perceived that it was impossible for me to have any personal knowledge of the part taken by these three regiments in the action, as I was not with them. I learned, however, from the best sources that their conduct was excellent, in a high degree promotive of the general happy result on the right and in the highest degree creditable to themselves.

The loss of the Seventeenth was very heavy, it being 101 out of not more than 200 carried into action. Major John H. Pickett, who commanded the regiment, fell late in the fight, desperately wounded by a ball through the breast. Hardly had Captain [A. C.] Jones, the next in rank, assumed command before he was killed by a ball through the temples.

The Second Regiment was commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Holmes and the Fifteenth by Colonel William T. Millican. Both of these gallant officers have since been killed in battle. They fell at Sharpsburg.

Major Pickett's wound has kept him from every kind of duty. The consequence is that we have now for reports of the conduct of these three regiments to depend on officers none of whom, except Captain French, was in command during the action, and he but for a short time near its close. It is to be expected, therefore, that the regimental reports must be less full and perfect than they would have been but for those casualties. I beg, however, to invite your particular attention to them, as they fill a vacuum in my own report. They are the reports of Captain Lewis, for Second Georgia; that of Major Shannon, for the Fifteenth Georgia, and that of Captain French, for the Seventeenth Georgia.

It only remains for me to bring to your notice the conduct of the Second Company of Washington Artillery, commanded by that ever-ready and excellent young officer Captain Richardson. And in respect to its conduct I must refer you wholly to the report of Captain Richardson himself, for I was during the whole battle so otherwise engaged that I could not witness its action. That action was, however, from all that I hear, admirable.

I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

HENRY L. BENNING,

Colonel, Commanding Toombs' Brigade.

Major A. COWARD,

Assistant Adjutant-General.