brigade to a wooded ridge a little to the left and rear. The first part of this order had scarcely been executed when the Federal skirmishers made their appearance, immediately followed by their main body, so that the action at once became general.
The brigade sustained for some time a fierce attack by doubtless many time their number. It has subsequently been ascertained that General McClellan's army, consisting of at least 80,000 men, assailed our position, only defended by General D. H. Hill's division and a part of General Longstreet's corps. The left was the first to fall back, and finally the right was forced to retreat, being without support. Many renewed the contest a little farther to the rear, and stoutly disputed the approach of the enemy, but it had now become so dark it was impossible to distinguish objects, except at a short distance. About this time two regiments of Jenkins' brigade came up, and, the probable position of the enemy being pointed out, they advanced to the attack with great gallantry. Just as these troops moved forward, I was ordered to bring off my brigade, which I did.
It is due to the brigade to say that it went into the battle of Boonsborough under many serious disadvantages. It had marched (a portion of the time rapidly) between 22 and 23 miles before it went into action, much oppressed by heat and dust; reached its position a short time before sunset under a disheartening fire of artillery, and was attacked by a much superior force as soon as it was formed in line of battle. That it bravely discharged its duty is fully attested by the number of casualties which occurred during the engagement.
I had been placed in command of the brigade only a few days before the battle of Boonsborough, and, therefore, was personally acquainted with few of the officers, save the regimental commanders. I cannot, therefore, mention names, but can only say I saw several in connection with them, both by words and example, encouraging and cheering on their men in the hottest of the fight. For further information on this subject you are referred to the sub-reports, herewith inclosed.
Colonel Stuart, as I formerly mentioned, was detached with his regiment (the Fifty-sixth Virginia) before the action commenced. His accompanying official report will show the part taken by his command.
Lieutenant McIntire, Eighth [Nineteenth] Virginia Volunteers, acting assistant adjutant-general; Lieuts. Elliott Johnston and A. C. Sorrel, First Georgia Regulars, acting aides-de-camp, composed my staff. It is with much pleasure that I acknowledge the zeal, intelligence, and bravery with which they discharged their duties pending the battle.
We have to mourn in this action many of our companions as killed and wounded, who go to swell the list of noble martyrs who have suffered in our just cause. It was lot to be acquainted with but one of the officers who fell on this occasion-Colonel John B. Strange, Nineteenth Virginia Volunteers. His tried valor on othe fields, and heroic conduct in aminating his men to advance upon the enemy with his latest breath, and after he had fallen mortally wounded, will secure imperishable honor for his name and memory.
I herewith furnish a list* of the killed and wounded, and have the honor to state that the delay and imperfection of my report with regard to details have been occasioned by my being relieved from the command of Pickett's brigade before the reports of regimental commanders could
*Not found, but see Numbers 205.