War of the Rebellion: Serial 037 Page 0104 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI.

Search Civil War Official Records

the route passed over the previous night. The DIVISION, being the left of the army, the movement was commenced by its left brigade ([S. D.]Lee's), in rear (right) of which followed the THIRD Brigade. The regiments were promptly brought into position and the line established, moving by the left flank. When the brigade had proceeded about two-THIRDS of the distance toward the Raymond road, its left being about 500 yards from that road, it was halted by order of the major-general. The brigade line was established on a succession of slight ridges overlooking a clear field. Strong parties of skirmishers were at once thrown out beyond this field, with directions to penetrate the woods on the other side and engage and hold in check those of the enemy. This they did under the efficient management of Lieutenant-Colonel [J. F. B.]Jackson(Thirty-NINTH Georgia) commanding. Shortly after these dispositions were made, word was sent me by General Lee that, in consequence of the direction, coupled with the request that I would move by the flank to preserve the interval between us. The major-general(present with me directed this to be done, and I moved on the required distance. After making two or more of such moves (my left having by this time crossed the Raymond road), I was informed by the major-general that Lee had bent the left of his line toward the rear, the two branches making an angle more or less obtuse, and was directed to accord my movements with his. Having sent forward an officers of my staff to notify the officer commanding the skirmishers of the change of direction of the line, and to direct him to make their movements to correspond, I at once proceeded from the center to the extreme left of my brigade, to superintend the change. The directions above referred to were communicated to the officers in command of the skirmishers, but owing to the distance of this line in advance, the inability in a wooded country of determining the point at which the change of direction should be made, and especially to the fact that they were unable to keep up communication with the skirmishers of Lee's brigade, they were unable to follow up the movements, and later in the day were unable to follow up the movement, and later in the day were unable to keep up communication with the skirmishers of Lee's brigade, they were unable to follow up the movement and later in the day were forced, after a gallant contest, in which they suffered severely, to retire toward the right. In its movements by the left flank the brigade had entered a wood rather open for the first few hundred yards, but gradually becoming denser. Arrived at the point where the brigade on my left had filed to the left, it was nearly a right angle. Here my left regiment (the Thirty-NINTH Georgia) was promptly turned into the new direction. The whole of this regiment and four companies of the next (the Thirty-fourth Georgia) had succeeded in getting upon what MAY be termed the SECOND front of the square, when the halting of Lee's brigade necessitated the same on my part. It should here be stated that the three left regiments (the Thirty-NINTH, the Thirty-fourth, and the Thirty-sixth) had each three companies at the front as skirmishers, in addition to which the Thirty-fourth and Thirty-sixth had each one company absent on detached service, thus leaving only six companies of these regiments in line. A halt having been made as above stated, and the two sides of the square faced outward, notice was at this movement given me that Lee (whose brigade was concealed from my observation by the density of the wood)was moving forward. I immediately advanced the SECOND front, with a view to keep abreast with the supposed movement. The brigade had advanced but a few paces when I was informed that the reported movement by