No. 329. Report of Lieutenant George McKendree, Carpenter's battery.
DECEMBER 23, 1862.
GENERAL: In obedience to orders, I submit the following report of the part taken by this company in the action of Saturday, the 13th instant:
On the morning of the day above mentioned, about 6 o'clock, we were conducted by Captain Brockenbrough, then acting chief of artillery, to a position in front of General Branch's [Lane's] brigade, being supported by the Seventh North Carolina Regiment, which was posted alongside of the railroad, about 100 yards to our rear. We were instructed to hold our position until our support had passed to the front, and then, if necessary, to move to another point some 300 yards to the rear. As soon as we arrived on the ground, the battery was prepared for action, but remained silent, according to orders, until about 9 a.m., when we observed the enemy advancing on our right in considerable force [infantry], when we, in connection with Captains Braxton's and Wooding's batteries, immediately on our right, opened a brisk fire on the advancing column, which caused them to waver and break for a time, but soon reappeared, at the same time advanced several batteries on our left and front to within short range, and opened a destructive fire of artillery on our batteries. When I observed them advancing with artillery on our left, attempting to enfilade our position [which they had partially succeeded in doing], I at once dispatched a messenger to the commanding officers of two batteries to our left and rear, requesting them to begin firing at once, and, if possible, dislodge the pieces thus advanced. Soon after, one or both the batteries began a very slow fire, but without either driving the enemy from his position or attracting the firing in that direction. The fire was so destructive that we were soon compelled to continue the action with three pieces instead of four, and still later withdrew another piece, and placed all the available men I then had to the two remaining guns, and thus continued the action until our skirmishers were driven to the rear, and the infantry of the enemy rapidly advancing, which, being observed by Captain Brockenbrough, he called on our support to come to our rescue, which they promptly did, passing some 20 yards to our front, and held the enemy in check until we could limber up our two remaining guns; which being done, we retired in good order some minutes after the other batteries had left the field, this being about 11 a.m. We left one caisson on the field for want of horses to haul it off. I then took a commanding position some 300 yards to the rear of my first, and sent the orderly sergeant [having no commissioned officer to assist me] to halt the two pieces first sent from the field, and which were then moving off with Captain Wooding's battery. He soon returned, informing me that Captain Brockenbrough was riding at the head of the retiring column. Supposing that he intended me to follow, I then moved on; when I came up with him found that he had been severely wounded, in consequence of which he was retiring. He then ordered me to take command of Wooding's battery in connection with my own, which I did, and reported to General A. P. Hill for orders, who directed me to go to the nearest open field in rear, get as many pieces ready for action as practicable, and await further orders. Late in the afternoon received an order from General Taliaferro directing me to return to a point on the left near the one occupied in the morning, and