About 1 o'clock, the main attack was made by heavy and rapid discharges of artillery. Under the protection of this warm and well-directed fire, his infantry in heavy force advanced, seeking the partial protection of a piece of wood extending beyond the railroad. The batteries on the right played on their ranks with destructive effect. The advancing force was visibly staggered by our rapid and well-directed artillery, but, soon recovering from the shock, the Federal troops, consisting of the main body of Franklin's grand division, supported by a portion of Hooker's grand division, continued to press forward. Advancing within point-blank range of our infantry, and thus exposed to the murderous fire of musketry and artillery, the struggle became fierce and sanguinary. They continued, however, still to press forward, and before General A. P. Hill closed the interval which he had left between Archer and Lane it was penetrated, and the enemy, pressing forward in overwhelming numbers through that interval, turned Lane's right and Archer's left. Thus attacked in front and rear, the Fourteenth Tennessee and Nineteenth Georgia, of Archer's brigade, and the entire brigade of Lane fell back, but not until after a brave and obstinate resistance. Notwithstanding the perilous situation in which Archer's brigade was placed, his right, changing front, continued to struggle with undaunted firmness, materially checking the advance of the enemy until re-enforcements came to its support. The brigade of General Thomas, posted as before stated, moved gallantly forward, and, joined by the Seventh and part of the Eighteenth North Carolina, of Lane's brigade, gallantly drove back a Federal column which had broken through Lane's line.
In the mean time a large force of the enemy penetrated the wood in rear of the position occupied by the brigades of Lane and Archer, and came in contract with Gregg's brigade. Taken by surprise, Orr's Rifles were thrown into confusion. It was in the act of rallying this regiment that Brigadier General Maxcy Gregg fell in front of the Rifles, mortally wounded. General Gregg was a brave and accomplished officer, full of heroic sentiment and chivalrous honor. He had rendered valuable service in this great struggle for our freedom, and the country has much reason to deplore the loss sustained by his premature death. Colonel Hamilton, upon whom the command of that brigade now devolved, hastened to meet the emergencies of his position, and with the four remaining regiments and one company of the Orr Rifles [Lieutenant [J. D.] Charles'] gave the enemy a warm reception. The enemy was not long permitted to hold the advantage which he had thus gained. The second line came promptly to the support of the first. Lawton's brigade, commanded by Colonel [E. N.] Atkinson, subsequently by Colonel [C. A.] Evans; Trimble's brigade, commanded by Colonel R. F. Hoke, and Early's brigade, commanded by Colonel [J. A.] Walker [all under the command of Brigadier-General Early], and the Forty-seventh and Twenty-second Virginia Regiments, of Colonel Brockenbrough's command, were already rushing with impetuous valor to the support of the first line. In Taliaferro's command, his right regiment-the Second Virginia, of Paxton's brigade-became engaged with part of the enemy, which, after a slight resistance, retreated. The combat in the wood was brief and decisive. The farther advance of the enemy was checked. He was driven with great slaughter from the wood to the railroad, the two regiments of Brockenbrough's command, Archer with the First Tennessee and Fifth Alabam Battalion, and the three brigades commanded by Colonels Hoke, Walker, and Atkinson, pursuing the retreating Federals to the railroad, where they made a brief stand, when Hoke and Atkinson charged upon them with impetuosity, destroying many in