In this manner several miles of ground were passed over, the enemy being speedily dispossessed of their intrenched positions.
The general and staff turned off the dirt road about 1 1/2 miles from the point of starting, to the right, into and across a cleared field, when, on seeing Colonel Warren being carried out, wounded, I was directed by the general to carry the order to take command of the brigade to the first ranking field officer of that brigade that could be found. Lieutenant-Colonel [S. D.] Thurston, commanding Third North Carolina troops, was the first officer found, and to him was the order communicated. Finding him on the point of falling from exhaustion, I gave my horse to him, and followed the regiment, up to that time nearly entire and well kept together, for about an hour, when I took my horse again and rejoined the general. I found him about 4 miles from our point of starting, on the Plank road near a small Yankee hospital, endeavoring to reform the division into regiments and brigades.
It was now nearly 9 o'clock, quite dark, and all firing ceased, except an occasional musket and gun. The position of this point was very near the front-probably not more than 400 to 500 yards. Upon joining him, I assisted in the work of reforming the division and gathering up the scattered men of the division. I subsequently brought down to him about 1,000 men belonging to the Second and Third Brigades, collected by Captain [W. C.] Hall and myself, but principally by him. Much of the Second, Third, and Fourth Brigades had been rallied by the general by his own personal efforts and those of the staff around him. The time of my joining him with the above-mentioned men was probably between 10 and 11 p. m.
Soon after joining him with the above men, I went down the road to the front to where two pieces of artillery were on picket, for the purpose of looking after some of my pioneers, who had been ordered to follow and stay with the two leading pieces which opened the engagement. While here, I heard on the right (distance 800 to 900 yards) the rumbling of artillery, the commands "Guide right," "Guide left, forward," &c., and a great hum of human voices generally. I presumed them to be Anderson's and McLaws' divisions, whom I knew to be posted in that direction. The thought hardly came and went before a few scattering shots fell, and then a heavy volley of musketry. This proved the above sounds to be coming from the enemy, who soon opened with artillery, firing shot, shell, canister, grape, and shrapnel. General Pender, who occupied a part of the front, became actively engaged. General Lane got scared, fired into our own men, and achieved the unenviable reputation of wounding severely Lieutenant-General Jackson and wounding slightly Major General A. P. Hill. Our own brigades, such as they were, were formed into line at once by General Colston, and ordered to support General Heth, who was expecting soon to be actively engaged. The firing from our infantry lasted about fifteen minutes, which was heavily replied to by the enemy. That from the enemy's artillery lasted probably half an hour. During their fire, the road being filled with our artillery, horses and drivers became panic-struck at the tremendous fire they were under, which panic communicated itself to some troops of another command, and would have resulted in a perfect stampede but for the personal efforts of General Jackson, General Colston, his staff, and others, who soon congregated around him. General Nicholls was severely wounded in the foot by a shot or shell, necessitating probable amputation. The cannonade and musketry were probably caused by a large force of artillery and infantry endeavoring to pass farther from left to right, for fear of getting outflanked again and possibly cut off, a