my position hazardous. No enemy was then visible to the in my front; so I effected a change of front on my first company, which threw my line in a slight hollow that afforded me protection from the artillery fire then raging, and left me in a position to co-operate on the enemy's flank and in any movement against his force in that direction. I directed my men to lie down under cover of the hill in front, while I kept a strict watch for any demonstration of our forces in his front. It was not long before our line advanced most beautifully through the woods up the open slope beyond. The enemy's line broke, and immediately I advanced up the hill across a small road, climbed a fence, and passed to the summit of a hill in a freshly plowed field, where I opened fire upon the enemy. Soon he was re-enforced, and, under the heavy fire of artillery and the press of fresh troops, our line on my right, that just before advanced in such admirable style, fell back so far that I retired to the road a had just crossed. There I halted and fired for a time, until a farther retirement required me to fall back to the hollow in which I had before changed my front. There I remained until the movements of the enemy and the absence of proper supports determined me to retire to the woods. I send officers out to ascertain the position of our forces. They could find no force, and I retired into the open field near where our line was first formed. There Lieutenant W. D. Farley, aide-de-camp, informed me that I was without proper support, and advised (from his knowledge of the condition of our forces) me to take up my position there behind a rail fence, running about parallel to the woods. I then acquainted both Brigadier-General Kershaw and Major-General McLaws with my position, and requested orders. I was directed to remain in my position, and, at my request, General McLaws assisted in replenishing my cartridge-boxes. I remained here for over an hour, when the cross-artillery fire of the enemy became so severe that Brigadier-General Kershaw moved that part of his brigade at that point farther to the left and in a southerly direction, and about a quarter of a mile from the first position occupied by us that day. The line then formed was where the woods joined a corn-field, and its direction made an obtuse angle with the direction of the first line. My command remained on this line until we began our retrograde movement on the night of the 18th.
The conduct of my command was highly gratifying to me. They were even unusually manageable, and preserved such order as I never before saw on a battle-field. They came out of the action in almost as good order as that in which they entered. Where nearly every one did so well it is difficult, if not individous, to distinguish particular persons.
Appended is a list* of casualties resulting from the action.
Very respectfully, yours, &c.,
JAMES D. NANCE,
Colonel, Commanding Third South Carolina Regiment.
Captain C. R. HOLMES,
P. S.-The difference in the number of men carried into action on the 17th and 13th is to be explained by stating that a large detail was left at Harper's Ferry to bring up rations.
N. B.-It is proper to state that during all the maneuvers I have attempted to describe, my command was under fire of artillery or small-arms, or both.
*Embodied in tabular statement, p. 862.