Numbers 347. Report of Lieutenant Colonel F. E. Harrison, First South Carolina Rifles.
CAMP GREGG, VA.,
May 11, 1863.
CAPTAIN: I herewith furnish a brief statement of the action of my regiment in the engagements of Saturday night and Sunday morning, the 2nd and 3rd instant.
At 10 o'clock on Saturday night, the brigade, Orr's regiment in front, filed off to the right of the Plank road and formed line of battle. Orr's regiment (Rifles) rested about one-half mile from the Plank road. Companies D and H were thrown out as skirmishers in front, and the regiment lay under arms during the night.
About sunrise on Sunday morning, the whole line was ordered to advance, wheeling a little to the left so as to keep parallel with the Plank road. The regiment, our line of skirmishers in front, moved forward rapidly, the enemy shelling our line heavily. The skirmishers, failing to oblique to the left, moved straight forward and drove in the pickets of the enemy in front of his battery, on our right; our skirmishers, then firing at the cannoneers, forced the battery to retire. They then fell back before a heavy line of the enemy, and a few of them rejoined the regiment. The regiment moved forward steadily, inclining slightly to the left, and crossed the breastworks of the enemy diagonally. About 100 yards in front of the breastworks, the enemy appeared in heavy force on our right, we being the right of the brigade. We wheeled to the right and engaged them for about half an hour, holding our position until the enemy, passing through a gap between our right and General Archer's left, flanked the right wing and forced us to retire. We fell back to the breastworks, and finding them untenable, because of an enfilading fire from the right, the right wing crossed the branch, a portion of the left remaining in the breastworks and assisting to hold them until the supporting line moved up and drove the enemy back. The regiment, being very much scattered, was ordered to fall back and reform. Retiring to the road beyond the branch, I collected a portion of the regiment, and reported to Colonel [D. H.] Hamilton, then commanding the brigade. We were then ordered to cross the Plank road and hold a position on the left, which we did until the afternoon.
Our lamented colonel, James M. Perrin, led the regiment into action, and preserved throughout his wonted coolness and Christian courage. While falling back he was mortally wounded, and has since died, universally lamented by the regiment and all who knew him.
Major [G. McD.] Miller likewise acted with his accustomed gallantry, and was severely wounded.
The conduct of the entire regiment, both officers and men, was laudable. The color-bearer, G. S. Bell, of Company A, bore the colors gallantly until severely wounded, and almost at the same instant the entire color-guard was wounded.
The regiment being ordered to charge, Sergt. L. A. Wardlaw, of Company B, seized the colors and bore them far to the front, planting them in the face of the destructive fire from the enemy, and calling on the regiment to follow. While bearing them with such conspicuous gallantry, he fell, it is feared, mortally wounded. The colors were instantly raised by Private [T. R.] Puckett, Company B, who bore them until he fell, severely wounded, while the regiment was retiring. Captain [J. T.] Robertson, of Company B, who was assisting our then wounded colonel,