John H. McGaughy commanding, being a part of Wood's brigade, was formed, in line of battle as the left center regiment of that brigade, the Forty-fifth and Thirty-third Alabama Regiments being on the right and left, respectively. As soon as the line of battle was formed, each regiment was ordered to throw forward a company of skirmishers of sufficient strength to cover its front. As soon as our skirmishers had been deployed, we were ordered to advance with a caution from officers of General Wood's staff that a part of Liddell's division was in our front, and that we would pass them lying in line of battle before we commenced firing. We moved forward with our skirmishers about 100 yards in our front, who soon encountered the skirmishers of the enemy and drove them back. Still expecting to pass a line of our own men, we withheld our fire until we had advanced close on the enemy's line of battle, when passing our skirmishers, we charged their line, our right wing closing with them, capturing about 40 prisoners and driving them back, and after a severe struggle for a few minutes longer on our left, we drove back in confusion their whole line in our front.
About this time Major McGaughy gave the command to "march in retreat." which was obeyed in bad order, the regiment retreating in confusion to where Jackson's brigade was lying in line of battle, where it rallied, forming first on the right of this brigade and then dressing on the Forty-fifth [Alabama] Regiment. I then asked Major McGaughy why he gave the order to retreat. He replied that the Forty-fifth Alabama Regiment, the battalion of direction was falling back and that he had been ordered to be guided by the movements of that regiment. As soon as the men had been rallied and formed, Major McGaughy again gave the command to advance, when we moved forward to the position from which we had first driven the enemy, and, re-entering the fight, after an engagement for half an hour, were left in possession of the field.
I will here state that Companies E and G acted badly, except First Lieutenant Guy, Sergeant Jennings, and 2 or 3 privates from Company E,and First Lieutenant Jones and Second Lieutenant Stanley and a few privates from Company G, who remained with the regiment until the close of the fight. Lieutenant Roberts, Corporal Armstrong, and Privates Curry and Jones, of Company D, left he field and did not return until Monday (21st) after the battle. Captain Archer, Company G, while in my presence made no effort to rally his men when ordered to halt, but led them in the retreat. I attribute the confusion in our retreat to a want of the proper command over their men on the part of the officers of Companies E and G; to the darkness of the night; to the failure of the left wing to hear the command "retreat", they believing that the right wing was being driven back, and to the fact that just previous to receiving the order to retreat our line was fired into several times from the rear. After moving forward the second time, our left was subjected to a heavy enfilading fire and suffered heavy loss from the enemy, who was posted behind breastworks of logs to our left.
In the last attack both officers and men discharged their duties gallantly, never for a moment faltering until the enemy had been driven from the field. This being accomplished, we advanced a short distance and were ordered to send out a company of skirmishers as a picket guard and encamp as we were for the night.
It is due the officers and men who failed to return and participate in the second engagement to say that they were formed, looking for