Having pushed the enemy about 400 yards, or so much of his force as a little exceeded my line in length, I found that a considerable force was left on my left flank, and that it was firing upon my rear. Turning back the two left-flank companies of the Thirty-eighth, a few well-directed volleys dispersed those immediately annoying us, and the line being reformed we continued the advance. The axis of our march not being exactly parallel to the turnpike, and the dress being to the right, some divergence had occurred between the two portions of the Ninth Virginia. I accordingly crossed the left portion of that regiment to the right of the road, ad, moving the Thirty-eighth obliquely, re-established the connection. A Napoleon gun posted on the turnpike had annoyed us much, firing grape and canister during our advance and while we were in 50 yards. The rapid movement of the Ninth and Thirty-eighth prevented its being carried off and it was captured.
We had reached a point about 50 yards from the cross-roads, beyond which I had been ordered by General Ransom not to proceed, when a heavy force of the enemy opened again upon the left flank and rear. I directed the left-flank companies to be retired, and while the gallant Colonel Cabell was executing this order he fell mortally wounded, and many men and officers were laid low. Some misapprehension of the orders and the difficulties of the ground caused a little confusion, but no panic. Wherever the voices of the officers or myself could be heard above the din of battle, then men cheerfully and promptly obeyed. I found, however, that it was necessary to from the whole regiment to the left and rear to face the flanking attack, and as a large part of it (say a third) had not readily been collected, I directed a staff officer to bend back the left-flank companies of the Ninth in addition. Having seen this partially executed I returned to that part of the Thirty-eighth not in line, and restored a part of them to the right, in no instance meeting with reluctance to rejoin the action. I am thus minute in detailing this part of the Thirty-eighth's behavior because I have heard that injurious deductions have been drawn from its conduct, and having explained why its victorious march was arrested, I must, in justice to it, add further that I have never seen troops fight better, nor behave with superior steadiness under so fierce an onslaught on their flank and rear.
While the advance of the left had proceeded so well, White dashed his line of skirmishers over an open field for about 1,000 yards against a battery supported by a strong line of infantry (at least a brigade), but was unable to take it, though he silenced the guns and drove the infantry from the open ground. heavy forces of the enemy were brought forward and he was forced to retire. Halting in his original position and resting for a few moments, he again advanced at the charge and retook the position first gained. The dense morass on his left made it necessary for him to double his line there and prevented Aylett (Fifty-third) from connecting closely. Aylett's advance had left a part of the enemy's line between the two regiments, and a heavy fire on the rear and flanks of both followed. White retired his left to face it, and Aylett his right for the same purpose. Re-enforcements came to both flanks and front of the enemy, thus nearly encompassing the three left regiments and forcing the line back slowly and reluctantly. The whole retired in good order. While collecting the Thirty-eighth, I found myself in a fe hundred yards of the position occupied by General Ransom, and my