War of the Rebellion: Serial 016 Page 0600 OPERATIONS IN N.VA., W.VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

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were reforming I rode to the crest of the ridge in front of me and saw two entire regiments descending rapidly into the valley. The time lost in reforming my men enabled these retreating regiments to gain shelter in the woods on the far side of the field.

It is proper that I should state that the field in which my command was now being formed was swept by a brisk artillery fire about 1,200 yards distant, the men being but indifferently protected by the ridge in front. This fire was borne by the men with great coolness, no disorder or embarrassment being perceptible. Being now occupied in forming the command for an advance across the field into the woods where the enemy had retreated and for the attack upon the battery to our right and front that was delivering a most annoying fire upon us, I was ordered by the major-general commanding to move with my brigade to the right of the turnpike to the support of General Hood. I now directed General Pryor, who was near me, to confer with General Featherston and to indicate to him my plans for the further pursuit of the enemy. For information as to the services of these two brigades in the subsequent part of the action I beg to refer you to the reports of their respective commanders, herewith inclosed.

In obedience to the orders above mentioned I marched my brigade to the right of the turnpike and advanced on that side. In all of this change of position (in all more than 2 miles) the brigade was exposed to a heavy fire of the enemy's artillery, and at two different parts of the field I had to bear off to the rear, so as not to obstruct the fire of our own artillery. This caused some little delay in my advance. On the right of the turnpike the enemy seemed to have been driven back even faster and farther than on the left. Seeing no person to tell me where General Hood was engaged I continued to advance as rapidly as possible, frequently at double-quick time, and in direction of the most advanced and heaviest firing. At length, having crossed a deep ravine and risen to the summit of the ascent on the far side, the portion of the field where the musketry fight was an open, level field and then a short and abrupt descent to the stream. While crossing this field we were exposed to a close artillery fire of the enemy from a battery in front of where our men were then engaged. In addition to this two brigades of the enemy's infantry, who were approaching obliquely the field where the musketry was then raging, reaching the crest of a hill and seeing my brigade moving to the same point halted and fired a volley deliberately at my men, but at near 500 yards distant. They fired one after the other; the leading brigade moved to the rear after firing through the intervals of the second. The balls in each case came near, but inflicted a trifling loss; 2 or 3 men wounded slightly. It was now late sundown. My men crossed the little stream near which the fight was then still raging, passed through the woods skirting it, and then changed direction to the left, so as to occupy the same line that our troops were then occupying. They were then thrown into the woods and cautioned to be careful not to fire upon our own men, who were then engaged. My men entered where Wright's brigade had been engaged, and near where General Toombs had been engaged (this was the first time that my men had been engaged in close musketry fight) on the right of the turnpike. The fighting here was soon over, but the musketry was of the heaviest kind while it lasted. The firing continued till after dark for more than half an hour and then gradually ceased. The artillery continued to fire after the musketry had ceased, but by 8.30 [o'clock]