of any movement on my right and to fill a vacant space between my left and what was named to me as the Block road. My main body was thus reduced to five companies.
About 1 p. m. my vedettes were driven in, closely followed by the enemy's skirmishers. At the same time I discovered that the enemy were moving to my right, and would attack me with a front of at least one brigade. Before I could make any preparation to place a force in his front at that point, my skirmishers became warmly engaged. I had engaged the enemy but a short time when my vedettes on the right reported that the enemy were about to pass my right flank. I immediately ordered the regiment to fall back, and moved to the right, to place my self in his front near the road. At the same time I ordered two pieces of artillery, which were then passing, to move in position on the hill above the furnace, without caissons, and placed about 40 men in the road to cheek the advance upon the train. As soon as the artillery moved off, I ordered the regiment to retire, and formed them in the railroad cut to the left of the road, having previously established a line of skirmishers to protect their retreat from that point. The regiment was brought from that line with a very slight loss of prisoners. By this time the train was virtually saved, as far as I have been able to learn. No part of the train was lost except a caisson, where the horses were wounded and the tongue broken. The time between the first fire of the skirmishers and when the regiment left the furnace was about forty-five minutes.
After forming in the railroad cut, I received orders from General Archer, who had arrived and taken command, to hold my position until he ordered me to leave. I sent word to General Archer that I could hold my position if my flanks were protected, especially my left. About thirty minutes afterward, during which time there was a spirited duel between a battery of Colonel [J. T.] Brown's regiment and the enemy's battery on Furnace Hill, General Archer withdrew his skirmishers from my left. He then sent me orders to move out quickly, but I did not receive the order to leave until the enemy had taken the railroad on my left and nearly surrounded me. i ordered the regiment to fall back but it was too late to bring out the regiment, except those that escaped after the enemy closed upon us.
As far as I have been able to ascertain, my loss in prisoners was 26 officers and 250 enlisted men. This includes my killed and wounded; how many of either I am not able to state. I only know of my own knowledge that Lieutenant [T. P.] Forester and Lieutenant [R. E.] Lawhorn were badly wounded, and 1 man killed and several wounded. Most of my officers having been taken, I am unable to give a correct list of the casualties during the time I engaged the enemy at the furnace. I neglected to state that my colors were saved, which I desire to mention in connection with this.
While I regret that the regiment was not saved to participate in the engagement of Sunday, yet I feel satisfied that every effort was made to save the train and extricate the command knowing that I was attacked by a division (Kearny's) of the enemy, which was afterward confirmed by the Yankee prisoners.
Hoping that I may shortly be able to meet a command in which I nave so much confidence.
I am, major, with great respect, your obedient servant,
E. F. BEST,
Colonel, Commanding Twenty-third Georgia Regiment.
Major HEROS VON BORCKE, Assistant Adjutant-General.