been permanently repulsed, he would not have suffered so severely as he afterward did, in the trap which he entered on the Plank road. That his position proved a snare, attended with such loss to himself, is undoubtedly due in great measure to the energy and good judgment with which your command was thrown upon his rear.
Early on Monday, 4th, you had resolved to reoccupy the heights, and accordingly pushed forward your lines. I attended near you for any artillery service. No resistance was met with; the enemy had abandoned the Telegraph road and its adjacent hills. He was observed, however, in some force on the heights along the Plank road. Colonel Andrews, therefore, brought up his long-range guns, and, by a well-directed fire, drove back that force, while some of your brigades reoccupied Marye's Hill and the plateau beyond. A charge was now made by your troops to carry the hills immediately to the west of the Telegraph road, and it was on the point of succeeding by the position being found flanked by the enemy farther to the northwest, it proved desirable not to thus expose the troops just then. Their withdrawal was, however, attended with some loss. It being now obvious that should the enemy be left free to mass his force against you on the Plank road, and at the same time operate from beyond the river, your command would be in extreme difficulty, I took the responsibility of sending, in addition to messages sent by yourself, an aide to General McLaws, understood to be advancing against this force of the enemy, explaining to him the situation, in order that he might press from above. General Lee, in person, returned by the aide his view, which were communicated to yourself.
To co-operate in the plan now formed for assaulting the enemy's position, I had some batteries placed as far forward as practicable, between the Telegraph road and Guest's house, and sought, but could not find, a fit position for the Whitworth. After the signal, one of thse batteries (Ross', of Lieutenant-Colonel Cutts' battalion, general reserve) rendered some service in annoying the enemy while Hoke's brigade made its brilliant charge.
Nothing further was left to the artillery on this line. Your infantry drove the enemy from point to point, while he was hard pressed by the divisions from above, so that, under cover of night, he sought safety across the Rappahannock at Banks' Ford, having suffered severely, and barely escaped destruction.
The reports of Colonel [J. B.] Walton, Colonel Cabell, and Lieutenant-Colonel Cutts, exhibiting in detail the operations of their respective commands, are herewith forwarded. These commanders render favorable testimony to the conduct of the officers and men under them. That testimony is, I doubt not, in each case just. The Washington Artillery Battalion, although well sustaining, I am satisfied, its long-established reputation for gallantry and skill, bore, from its position, the heaviest share of loss. Those who were captured will, it is hoped, be speedily exchanged and restored to their posts of duty and honor, and the battalion renovated in equipment and efficiency.
The section of Parker's battery, under Lieutenant Brown, was, I believe, no less faithful. It was often under my inspection, and always did well until captured by the enemy, who came upon them in rear. Captain Patterson's guns were fought until ammunition failed. Captain Fraser, whom I saw much under fire, elicited warm approbation by his cool self-possession and ready power for emergency. Captain Carlton is also entitled to honorable mention for the persistent gallantry and efficiency with which he used his guns.
52 R R-VOL XXV, PT I