War of the Rebellion: Serial 068 Page 0211 Chapter XLVIII. SOUTH SIDE OF THE JAMES.

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our left, and soon silenced the Yankee battery, and their column was plainly seen retreating toward Ware Bottom Church, leaving but about a regiment deployed as skirmishers. I advised that our troops should be thrown across Bake-House Creek, seize the heights on the opposite side, and try to penetrate as far as the cross-roads near Mrs. Kitty Ashbrooke's. The heights were gained and the troops halted. With Colonel Jones, of the artillery, and one courier I rode up to Coleman's, and from that point could see a regiment of Yankees in the woods near Hancock's house.

On my return General Wise told me that the cavalry reported a heavy column of yankees coming down the pike and trying to turn his left. I told him that if the report were true he had better make his fight in the railroad cut, with Bake-House Creek in his front, as this creek was almost impassable, from the thick and tangled under-growth on its banks. This movement he approved; but, to my surprise, although I had expressly advised leaving our line of skirmishers on the crest to the north of the creek, I found everything retiring on the Swift Creek road. I inquired the meaning of this, when General Wise told me that he had been ordered by General Whiting in person to retire to a line in rear to be designated by him. I went to General Whiting and succeeded in getting the troops sent back to the railroad cut, and again repeated the suggestion to develop the Yankees' strength by a strong line of skirmishers. A personal reconnaissance on the left proved that the cavalry report, as usual, was erroneous. I wrote to General Whiting that there was not more than a small regiment of yankees in our front, and that it ought to be brushed away immediately. I then sought General Martin at Craig's house. While at this place General Whiting that there was to more than a small regiment of Yankees in our front, and that it ought to be brushed away immediately. I then sought General Martin at Craig's house. While at this place General Whiting rode up and directed General Martin to withdraw his skirmishers. I said to him, "General Whiting, you cannot occupy this place if you withdraw your skirmishers." He replied, "Your don't think that I intend to remain here?" I answered that I did not know what his intentions were. He then ordered General Martin to withdraw his brigade as soon as the skirmishers got in. General Martin suggested that the troops should be retired before the skirmishers came in. General Whiting said, "It makes no difference; there is no enemy in our front."

Some half hour later I met General Whiting on the turnpike. Wagons, ambulances, artillery, and infantry were all jammed together on that road. i told him that the Yankee regiment, which could still be seen in our front, might make terrible havoc of this confused mass. He asked whet he ought to do. I replied that I had written to him two hours before to press the Yankees. He said, "I did not receive your note." Fearing that General Whiting might be embarrassed by the seeming divided responsibility of my presence, and feeling that I could accomplish nothing more, I retired to Dunlap's house, when I learned that the troops were ordered to recross Swift Creek.

It is due to General Whiting to say that I saw no evidence of alleged intoxication; that he exposed himself gallantly on the field, and that his errors were acknowledge with a frankness, generosity, and magnanimity above all praise.

Respectfully submitted.



Captain JOHN M. OTEY,

Assistant Adjutant-General.