evening before (directed that General Parsons, moving in front, should halt the head of his column at the point from which he was to make the assault until the head of General McRae's column should reach its position on the left, when both columns should advance simultaneously to the assault.
During the brief halt just alluded to, and just as I had ordered General McRae forward, the lieutenant-general commanding rode up and asked why the assault had not been made. I explained the facts to him, and thinking that time, enough had elapsed for General Parsons to ascertain why he was not advancing. He replied that he was waiting for General McRae to get into position.
Meanwhile General McRae had moved his brigade into its position, but (owing to the difficulties and necessities of the ground) farther to the left than had been originally ordered and explained to General Parsons, and with a high ridge interposing between it and Parsons' brigade, so that the latter officer could not see that it had gotten into position. I immediately directed one of my staff officers to communicate these facts to General Parsons, and to order him to make the assault without any further delay, as General McRae (to whom I had sent orders to that effect) would be advancing before he (General Parson) could receive my order.
Both brigades moved forward on the instant, rapidly, steadily, unflinchingly, and in perfect order, under a storm of Minie balls, grape, and canister, which were poured upon them not only from the Graveyard Hill in their front but from the fortified hills upon the right and the left, both of which were in easy range. The enemy gave way before the impetuous assault of the attacking columns, which, entering the works almost simultaneously, planted the Confederate flag upon the summit of the Graveyard Hill.
Each brigade had done its allotted duty with equal zeal, devotion, and gallantry, and each is entitled to an equal share of the honor which justly attaches to those who discharge their duty as these men, did, fearlessly, well, and successfully.
Being in possession of the hill, and finding that the captured guns had been shot-wedged, I directed my chief of artillery to bring forward the pieces which I had left behind. This he did as promptly as the difficulties of the ground would permit, but not until it was too late for them to be used in the action.
Meanwhile a heavy fire was concentrated upon the hill from the four fortified positions, which the enemy still continued to hold, and from the hill-sides and ravines, under cover of which their sharpshooters delivered a well-directed and very effective fire, while the gunboat which lay in front of the town kept up an unintermitting discharge of its heavy guns. Perceiving at once that the surest way to relieve my men from the disastrous effects of this galling fire was to aid General Fagan to take the enemy's works upon my right, and receiving information at the same time that gallant officer had been repulsed in every attempt to assault those works, I sent to General Parsons an order directing him to move his brigade forthwith to the re-enforcement of General Fagan. He replied to the officer by whom I sent the order that General McRae (who was by his side at the time) would, with my permission, go to the assistance of General Fagan, while his (Parsons') brigade, being the stronger of the two, would hold the Graveyard Hill. Before this reply was brought back to me, I sent another of my staff, by direction of the lieutenant-general commanding, to deliver to General Parsons an order