War of the Rebellion: Serial 068 Page 0217 Chapter XLVIII. SOUTH SIDE OF THE JAMES.

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staff and couriers being absent carrying orders, and having no mounted person near me, I felt it my duty to inform him that my left flank was turned, what disposition I had made and was making to meet it, and to request that horses be sent forward to remove the captured gun. Before I had communicated more than the first part of my errand he directed me to return.

Shortly after rejoining (I had been absent from the immediate line about three minutes) we were forced back beyond the gun, which again fell into the enemy's hands and was used. A large force (I saw two colors and could tell from the sounds that their line was much longer than two regiments) gained the left and rear. I at once retired the whole across the morass and took up the position occupied before the assault. The movement was executed in perfect order and so secretly as not to draw the fire of this force. After a desultory fire of artillery on our new position the enemy withdrew, leaving us the field.

In the absence of the reports from the subordinate commanders I am unable to give the numbers and designation of the prisoners. They represented two division, and said that the whole corps (Tenth) was on the field-a statement verified as to numbers by the reconnaissance of a most reliable officer. The same cause prevents me from doing full justice to the merits of the officers engaged. The skill and gallantry of Colonels Aylett, White, and Phillips were conspicuous. Lieutenant-Colonel Cabell fell in the midst of the action while nobly discharging his duty, and Captain Griggs, who succeeded him, well supplied his place. The difficulties, so much enhanced by the overwhelming force of the enemy, were sufficiently great to call forth the qualities of the regimental commanders and taxed them heavily. To say they were equal to the demand is no slight praise.

The conduct of the troops was admirable. All officers agree that there was less straggling than they had ever known. They engaged a force five times their number on ground selected by the enemy and presenting unusual obstacles, drove them 1,000 yards, yielded the ground gained only after an obstinate conflict, and remained masters of the field. I have omitted mention of the part borne by the Fifth-seventh, as it was detached and not engaged under my observation. I am glad to be able to state that Colonel Chilton, under whose immediate command it was placed, commends its conduct. Inclosed please find a list of casualties. I am indebted to Captains Darden and Thom and Lieutenant Lyons, all of my staff, for efficient services.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. M. BARTON,

Brigadier-General.

General S. COOPER,

Adjutant and Inspector General.

[Indorsement.]

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF RICHMOND,

May 21, 1864.

This report should have been sent through me. In my report of General Barton's case it will be remarked upon.

R. RANSOM, JR.,

Major-General.