firing in order that I might ascertain definitely; not a shot was being fired by the foe. I sent a messenger to Colonel Kelly, commanding brigade, to acquaint him with the fact and to suggest that, if the other regiments would reform and advance to the line occupied by me, we could probably carry the enemy's position without further opposition. The messenger could not find him. I then went myself, and ascertaining that the other regiment had formed some distance to the right, I moved by the flank and formed on the prolongation of their line.
Being told by Colonel Hawkins that Colonel Kelly had a short time before been summoned suddenly from the field by General Preston without time to notify me of the fact, I assumed command of the brigade, and, changing direction to the right, advanced toward the enemy at right angles with our first line of advance. Colonel Trigg had in the meantime, and after the enemy's fire had ceased, moved his brigade up a depression between us and the main position of the enemy, and to his command some of them were about surrendering.
My regiment captured about 20 officers and men, who, by my directions, were turned into the ranks of one of Colonel Trigg's regiments as it afterward passed to the rear with prisoners, but without any notification on my part to the officer in command.
It had now become quite dark, and it was my intention so soon as Colonel Trigg's brigade (which passed by the right flank between my regiment, near the right of which I was standing, and the two other regiments) had moved to the rear to advance our brigade to the ridge finally occupied by the enemy, and there await Colonel Kelly's return; but ascertaining when Colonel Trigg's command had passed back that the remaining regiments of Kelly's brigade to the ridge finally occupied by the enemy, and there await Colonel Kelly's return; but ascertaining when Colonel Trigg's brigade had gone with them (I supposed at the time by directions of Colonel Kelly, but I subsequently ascertained that he was still absent) and that my regiment was thus left alone on the field, I,accompanied by Lieutenant Terrett, of Colonel Kelly's staff, moved my regiment so as to sweep over the scene of our conflict, and gathering a portion of our dead and all of our wounded, caused details from my regiment, assisted by the infirmary corps, to convey the latter to the foot of the ridge, and the former to the division hospital established near by. Colonel Kelly afterward returning, the brigade was collected together and we all slept upon the battle-field.
To the accident of Colonel Kelly's absence from the field and my ignorance of the fact was owing our failure to capture the prisoners and standards taken by Colonel Trigg, for had Colonel Kelly remained, or had he notified me of his departure, our brigade would have been promptly advanced to the ridge occupied as a final position by the enemy and the prisoners secured by us.
The men of my regiment were engaged in their first battle. They acted with the courage and firmness of veterans. The list of casualties tells of their noble endurance and terrible exposure. Every field and staff officer and one-half of the balance of the regiment killed or wounded indicates the nature of the conflict and affords the best evidence of the constancy of my men.
I cannot close this report without allusion to the gallant conduct of my acting lieutenant-colonel (Edmund Kirby), who was killed early in the action. With the words "Drive the, boys! drive them!" on his lips he fell, pierced by four balls, while nobly leading my right wing. In his death the regiment has lost an able officer and one full of promise. A son of the late Colonel Reynolds Kirby,