with the first. This was on Monday, May 4. Skirmishing was continued throughout the day, and strong lines were thrown out. In the evening, Colonel [B. D.] Fry was put in command of the brigade, upon assuming which he sent the First Tennessee out as skirmishers. Covering the front of the brigade as nearly as I could judge (it being dark), we took position about midway between our line and that of the enemy, being about 400 yards from each.
About 12 o'clock a firing was commenced on the right of our right, and continued down the line toward the left. I am not able to say whether the firing was commenced by the enemy or our own troops; but several rounds were fired by both sides, resulting in no loss to our regiment. A few men were panic-stricken and retired to the trenches; most of these were from one company. I will here state that I have been engaged with several bodies of skirmishers; that they in general consider the individual responsibility too great; generally very cautious, and apt to start on trivial accounts - especially is this the case at night - but I must say, in justice to the regiment, that, with the exception above mentioned, no regiment could have behaved better. In passing up and down the line after the firing, every man was at his post save these few, while I was informed that the regiments on our right and left had retired precipitately.
Next morning (May 5) we were relieved by the Fourteenth Tennessee, and retired to our position in the trenches. Remaining here until the evening of the 6th, we were put in march for our old camp.
The prisoners in the regiment were liberated to go into the fight, and fought well. I here give you a list of the killed, wounded, and missing of the regiment.*
We carried into action 249 guns. After the last charge, and when the brigade had formed, our roll was called, and we numbered 249 less 100, of whom the greater number had been killed and wounded.
We have to deplore the loss in killed from this regiment of brave soldiers and good men.
This report is longer than I desired, but as this, perhaps, is its least fault, you will, I hope, excuse it, though I might be more lengthy and speak of many events which I have not mentioned. I might speak of the drenching rains upon us while in the marshy bog behind those breastworks; of the many horrible sights (I mean horrible to citizens); of the roaring of mighty-cannons belching forth their deadly shot and shell so thick and fast as to cause the very earth to shake and tremble round about; of the countless dead, and the torn, scraped, scarred, and mashed-up timber, so as to make the escape of a single individual impossible. But as these descriptions suit not my taste, and would be of no use to you, I leave them out of view.
If in this report I have caused you to remember anything of advantage, then I have accomplished (for the most part) my object. Some mistakes may be made in speaking of roads, as it was night while we were traveling on some of them, and I made no notes during the fight.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
N. J. GEORGE,
Brigadier General J. J. ARCHER,
Commanding Fifth Brigade.
* List shows 8 men killed, 5 officers and 46 men wounded, and 2 men missing. But see Guild's report, p. 807.