skirmishers engaged, and hardly had the musketry opened before the men on the left of the turnpike and just in front of Perdue's house began to pour out.
About fifteen or twenty minutes after the attack Lieutenant-Colonel Cabell, Thirty-eighth Virginia, was mortally wounded and passed me gong to the rear. Almost immediately I discovered large numbers of men fleeing to the rear from the left of the turnpike, and General Barton rode up tome and reported that his left was being turned. I told [him] to go back and press his men to the left; the movement was toward the left, and that we were closing that way every minute. The exodus from the field still continued. I saw General Barton several times on the turnpike and in the open field, riding about, seemingly without object. I was near him; saw no effort to close to the left, and nothing done to check the stragglers. Finally, after about an hour from the beginning of the fifth, which was no at any time hot, General Barton reported to me that his line had been pressed across the turnpike to the right, and that he was flanked. General Gracie was ordered to the right, and in reaching it capture some 40 or 50 of the enemy-all that were met in his movement tot he right. The regiment on the right of Bermuda Hundred road, under General Chilton, had done its work well, but the rest of the line of this brigade acted feebly, and from my observation General Barton was incapable of making it act more vigorously. The reports of my staff officers confirm my impressions. I was provoked that General Barton should leave his lie to report in person the second time that he was flanked. The result of Gracie's coming in and meeting little opposition, together with the fact of the enemy's not attempting to press so signal an advantage, convinced me that General Barton was not equal to a proper management of troops under the ordinary emergencies of battle.
To sum up: First, General Barton was advancing his line of skirmishers with over half mile of his proper line without a man on it; second, when directed to complete the line he reported it so before the men necessary to that end had hardly started; third, tardiness in putting his men in position; fourth, reporting line formed before knowing that one regiment was in place; fifth, not knowing that his front was covered by the skirmishers of another brigade; sixth, reporting his flank twice turned and not throwing his troops to that point, as directed, and general want of apparent vigor. Of his gallantry I have no question, as he was under fire all the time, and if injustice has been done him an investigation will prove it. The facts above stated can be substantiated above question. My conclusions may be wrong, but I do not believe it.
I shall have occasion to notice the report of General Barton, which was sent directly to the Adjutant and Inspector General, when I send in a report of the combat.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. RANSOM, JR.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF RICHMOND, May 23, 1864.
General S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector General:
GENERAL: A full report of the causes for removing General Barton from his brigade was made on 21st. Upon a thorough investigation