six guns-three belonging to [Captain William M.] McGregor's battery, one to Breathed's, and two to [Captain Marcellus N.] Moorman's. About 6 o'clock on the evening of that day, by direction of the major general commanding, I moved forward four pieces to a position indicated by Brigadier-General [A. R.] Wright, with the view of driving back a line of the enemy's infantry from the heights, about 1,200 yards in our front, that General Wright might occupy the ground with his brigade. It was supposed that the enemy had little or no artillery at this point, and that three or four guns would be sufficient for the purpose in view. The immediate effect of our fire was to scatter the enemy's lines, and at the same time to draw upon us a storm of shot and shell from eight or ten pieces of artillery, well masked by the high, rolling ground on which they were placed. I caused the fire of our guns to be directed against these batteries, and, I think, with some effect, as it was not many minutes before the rapidity of the firing on the part of the enemy was so much diminished as to render it certain that some of his pieces had been compelled to retire. The enemy had the advantage of position in every respect, and it was impossible for us to form a positively correct idea of the effect of our shot. We continued to occupy the position for about three-quarters of an hour, when I received instructions from General Wright to withdraw the pieces.
I do not think that men have been often under a hotter fire than that to which we were here exposed. One gun of McGregor's battery, commanded by Lieutenant [Robert P.] Burwell, had every man about it wounded except 1. The axle of another gun of the same battery was cut nearly in two. Our total loss was 2 killed and 1 officer (Lieutenant Burwell) and 5 men wounded; 3 horses were disabled.
The coolness of the officers in charge of the pieces entitles them to great credit. Captain McGregor and Lieutenants Burwell, [C. E.] Ford, and [F. H.] Wigfall all did their parts well, while the men at the guns all behaved gallantly.
While we were engaged at this point, Captain Breathed, who had been sent with General Fitzhugh Lee's brigade to a point farther to the left, opened fire on the enemy on Talley's farm, about 1 1/2 miles above the furnace, with two rifled guns. The enemy were within short range and in heavy force, but without artillery. Breathed beyond doubt succeeded in doing them a great deal of damage. Citizens living near the point the next day represented their loss at more than 100 killed and wounded. No one hurt on our side.
On Saturday morning, the 2nd instant, the Horse Artillery was moved over to the Orange Turnpike road, within a few hundred yards of where the enemy's right flank rested, and held near this point until General Jackson's corps came up and the attack was commenced. The ground at the point indicated is of such a character as to render it almost impossible to employ artillery, except along the road, and the enemy, to increase the difficulty, had blocked up the road at several points with fallen trees. Under instructions from Major-General Stuart, I had placed two pieces in the turnpike, under the command of Captain Breathed, and held them in readiness for the advance of our infantry. Two other pieces immediately in rear were kept as a relief to Breathed from time to time, the width of road not allowing more than two pieces in action at once. Captain Moorman's battery was still farther in rear, to be brought up in case of accident. I was directed by the major-general commanding, as our line started forward, to advance with them, keeping a few yards in rear of our line of skirmishers. This we did not entirely succeed in doing, owing to the narrow space in which the pieces