best information that could be obtained, it commanded the second position of the enemy at Melzi Chancellor's house. After taking the heights at Talley's, if the enemy showed a determined front on the next ridge, my men were to be sheltered until our artillery could come up and dislodge them. Under no other circumstances was there to be any pause in the advance. As there was possibility of pressure on my right flank, Ramseur was directed to watch that flank carefully, thus leaving Colquitt free to push ahead without fear from that quarter. For similar reasons, the left regiment of Iverson was placed perpendicular to line of battle, with orders to follow the advance by the flank.
At 5.15 p. m. the word was given to move forward, the line of sharpshooters being about 400 yards in advance. In consequence of the dense mass of undergrowth, and orders not having been promptly given to the skirmishers of Rodes' brigade, some little delay was caused when the main line reached the skirmishers' line. This latter was put in motion again by my order, and soon after the Alabama brigade encountered the fire of the enemy. At once the line of battle rushed forward with a yell, and Doles at this moment debouched from the woods and encountered a force of the enemy and a battery of two guns intrenched. Detaching two regiments to flank the position, he charged without halting, sweeping everything before him, and, pressing on to Talley's, gallantly carried the works there, and captured five guns by a similar flank movement of a portion of his command. So complete was the success of the whole maneuver, and such was the surprise of the enemy, that scarcely any organized resistance was met with after the first volley was fired. They fled in the wildest confusion, leaving the field strewn with arms, accouterments, clothing, caissons, and field-pieces in every direction. The larger portion of his force, as well as intrenchments, were drawn up at right angles to our line, and, being thus taken in the flank and rear, they did not wait for the attack. On reaching the ridge at Melzi Chancellor's, which had an extended line of works facing in our direction, an effort was made to check the fleeing columns. For a few moments they held this position, but once more my gallant troops dashed at them with a wild shout, and, firing a hasty volley, they continued their headlong flight to Chancellorsville. It was at this point that Trimble's division, which had followed closely on my rear, headed by the brave and accomplished Colston, went over the works with my men, and from this time until the close of the engagement the two divisions were mingled together in inextricable confusion.
Pushing forward as rapidly as possible, the troops soon entered a second piece of woods thickly filled with undergrowth. The right, becoming entangled in an abatis near the enemy's first line of fortifications, caused the line to halt, and such was the confusion and darkness that it was not deemed advisable to make a farther advance. I at once sent word to Lieutenant-General Jackson, urging him to push forward the fresh troops of the reserve line, in order that mine might be reformed. Riding forward on the Plank road, I satisfied myself that the enemy had no line of battle between our troops and the heights of Chancellorsville, and on my return informed Colonel [S.] Crutchfield, chief of artillery of the corps, of the fact, and he opened his batteries on that point. The enemy instantly responded by a most terrific fire, which silenced our guns, but did but little execution on the infantry, as it was mainly directed down the Plank road, which was unoccupied except by our artillery. When the fire ceased, General Hill's troops were brought