I ordered Major John Seddon, First Virginia Battalion, with his command, and the Forty-eighth Virginia to take position on the road from Groveton toward Manassas to guard against any flank movement on me from thence. The Forty-second Virginia, Captain Penn, I threw forward as skirmishers, and held the Twenty-first, Captain [William A.] Witcher, to support the only two pieces of rifle artillery I had, which had been placed under my command by [Lieutenant] Colonel [L. T.] Brien, First Virginia Cavalry. My own, being smooth-bore, I held in reserve and in rear. Riding forward, I got on a high hill to the right of the road and discovered the enemy in force, their skirmishers pushing rapidly on me. I instantly brought up the rifled pieces and Forty-eighth, and after a race beat the enemy to the hill and opened on them, driving in their cavalry and skirmishers; but finding them place several guns in position, which they served with rapidity and accuracy, and pressing their infantry on me, I called on Major Seddon, and with his re-enforcement determined to hold the hill, which was the key of the surrounding country. This I did, and drove off the advance down the Warrenton road, but after some time discovered them on my extreme left forward Manassas. Thus obliged to retire, I did so toward Groveton, where I received an order from Brigadier-General Taliaferro to report him. Before I could do so Major-General Stuart ordered me to take position in a skirt of woods near by and to the west.
In the afternoon I discovered the enemy's train passing to the left toward Manassas and opened upon it with two pieces very briskly. Farther progress was stopped for them over that road.
Being ordered then by Major-General Jackson to report to my command I started in that direction, but being pushed by the enemy's cavalry and skirmishers, I ordered the Forty-eighth Virginia, Lieutenant V. Dabney, *to drive them back, which was done quickly and gallantly.
That night, by General Jackson's order, I held the crossing of the Sudley [Ford] road over the old railroad, and at daylight, being so ordered, rejoined the division, then commanded by Brigadier-General Starke, General Taliaferro having been wounded the previous evening. By him I was ordered to clear the woods we had just left, but into which the enemy's skirmishers had lodged. I directed Lieutenant Dabney, with Twenty-first, to support him. They did their work at once and well. Our line of battle was then formed, facing the east, parallel to the Warrenton road, fronting it and to the west of it, Ewell's division being on my left and Starke's brigade on my right. This place was not attacked until the afternoon. Our line was on the crest of a ridge covered with timber, and in front of the wood in the open ground was the embankment in one place and the cut in another, according as the ground lay, of an unfinished railroad.
In the afternoon the enemy carried the embankment to my left, and while I was trying to rally some men not of my command came close on me and between my command and the railroad cut. The men were lying down at the time in ranks, concealed, and unexpected. I ordered a charge, and with a yell the Second Brigade went through them, shattering, breaking, and routing them. The struggle was brief, but not a man faltered, and with closed ranks their rush was irresistible. They drove the enemy into the railroad cut and out of it. Just then Brigadier-General Starke came gallantly heading the Fourth Brigade, and together we went after the fleeing foe. In a skirt of wood in front a
*Twenty-first on rolls.