and General Bowen was summarily ordered in that direction, without warning either to myself or to General Buford, commanding a brigade of my DIVISION next to him. Not long after, I was ordered to send a brigade to the left, and General Buford went at double-quick. While passing Bowen, two regiments were detached and went into the fight with that command, Buford continuing on to the left (see his report annexed). In a half to three-quarters of an hour one brigade was ordered to be left on the road, and the other to be taken by myself to the left. This was most earnestly requested to be done by Colonel [W. T.]Withers, in command of the artillery, who feared the capture of his guns. He tells me that he was gratified in being able to state that my force arrived sooner than he expected, and in time to save his artillery. But for our prompt arrival, every piece would have been lost, as the whole sustaining force had, except a few bold skirmishers, been driven back.
Upon the approach of [W. S.]Featherston's brigade, in rapid march, a considerable force of the retreating army having been rallied behind him, the enemy, who was advancing upon the artillery, fell back in great disorder, colonel Withers pouring in a most destructive fire upon him. It was here that we witnessed a scene ever to be remembered, when the gallant Withers and his brave men, with their fine park of artillery, stood unflinchingly amid a shower of shot and shell the approach of an enemy in overwhelming force, after his supports had been driven back, and trusting that a succoring command would arrive in time to save his batteries, and displaying a degree of courage and determination that calls for the most unqualified admiration.
Upon my arrival upon this part of the field, I found the whole country, on both sides of the road, covered with the fleeing of our army, in many cases in large squads, and, as there was no one endeavoring to rally or direct them, I at once placed my escort under an efficient officer of my staff, with orders to gather up the stragglers and those in retreat away from the road. This duty was performed with great energy and success. It was also determined that under these circumstances it was necessary, in order to save large numbers of men and guns, as well as to be able, in case the emergency should arise, to retire the army in safety and good order to the ford over Baker's Creek, along the only road open to it, that a vig-directed attack should be made upon the enemy. At this moment I met General [S. D.]Lee and Colonel Withers, and was satisfied, from information obtained from them, that by such an attack upon the enemy's right during the panic which had befallen his center we could overwhelm it, retrieve the day, certainly cut him off from the bridge on our extreme left (of which it was highly important we should hold possession), and save our scattered forces. Dispositions were at once made for the attack, in which General Lee lent a cordial and able assistance. This fine officer, with General [M. E.]Green and portions of their gallant brigades, we found fighting the enemy where all others, except the brave Withers, had been driven back, and contesting every step of the enemy's advancing columns, green declaring he never would have been driven back but for the fact that he had not a cartridge left. While thus engaged, I received an order for the forces to fall back, and my assistant adjutant -general, who had been dispatched to General Pemberton for orders, returned stating that the general said that the movement must not be made; that I must order a retreat and bring up the rear. Officers were immediately sent to advise those not yet informed to retire, and as rapidly as possible, in the direction of