both parties entered the ditches beyond almost together. At the railroad and in these ditches a large number of prisoners were captured and sent to the rear, among whom was one colonel and several officers of minor grade. A battery posted to the left on a hill about 200 yards distant from the last ditches referred to, tempted the troops still farther into the field, firing as they advanced toward it upon men and horses with such effect as to cause a portion of the battery to be withdrawn and the remainder to be abandoned. The prize was virtually in the hands of these gallant men, being abandoned and within 75 yards of the place where they stood, but at this moment a heavy line of the enemy advanced on our right flank [learned since to have been General Birney's division], and seeing that all had been accomplished which was in the power of these men to do, I communicated the order to them to retire to the protection of the woods. In the heat of the contest these four regiments may have gone too far, but brave men in that important struggle feel that they scarcely went far enough.
Colonel Atkinson, in command of the brigade, participating fully in the enthusiasm of the charge, was wounded in the arm above the elbow soon after entering the field, and fell into the hands of the enemy. Colonel Lamar, wounded by having a part of one his fingers shot off, retired from the ground, and Major [C. W.] McArthur succeeded to the command, leading the regiment into the open plain, assisted by Captain Peter Brenan. Colonel W. H. Stiles, commanding his regiments through the entire fight. I have the pleasure to state did his duty and did it well.
I cannot forbear to mention in terms of unqualified praise the heroism of Captain E. P. Lawton, assistant adjutant general of the brigade, from the beginning of the advance until near the close of the fight, when he received a dangerous wound and was unavoidably left in the open plain where he fell. Cheering on the men, leading this regiment, or restoring the line of another, encouraging officers, he was everywhere along the whole line the bravest among the brave. Just as the four regiments emerged from the neck of woods referred to, his horse was shot under him, and in falling so far disabled him that thousands less ardent or determined would have felt justified in leaving the field, but, limping on, he rejoined the line again in their advance toward the battery, but soon received the wound with which he fell.
It is gratifying to me to be able to record that officers and men generally behaved with a courage characteristic of the Southern soldier, continuing for the brigade a well-deserved reputation. The report of casualties will testify how severe the fire was through which these brave men passed in driving the enemy before them.
The Staunton Artillery, commanded by Lieutenant A. W. Garber [attached to this brigade], at 4.30 o'clock was ordered to the extreme right of our lines, and was actively engaged on the plain about two hours, when the batteries of the enemy ceased firing. The officers and men behaved with coolness and gallantry. Lieutenant Garber had his horse shot under him during the engagement, but suffered no loss of his men.
I am extremely gratified to mention that by the activity of Surg. George F. Cooper, senior surgeon of the brigade, although with limited transportation, our numerous wounded received prompt attention.*
I have the honor to be, major, your obedient servant,
C. A. EVANS,
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.
Major S. HALE,
Acting Asst. Adjt. General, Ewell's Division.
Lieuts. Thomas B. Settle and Joel D. Wilson, Thirty-first Georgia, reported killed.