order given in presence of General Gracie and myself, with portions of our respective staff officers and his own, and a number of soldiers and camp followers, in hearing, afforded too many witnesses as to its terms for me to have any difficulty in firmly establishing it beyond cavil.
Soon after moving, an impracticable swamp on my line of march required a detour to the right, which leaving General Gracie's right unprotected he extended his line a short distance, about 100 yards, across and to the right of the turnpike. After passing the swamp I deployed again to the left, rejoining General Gracie, who did not withdraw his line across the turnpike. After proceeding some 1 1/2 or 2 miles I received an order from General Ransom to wait for my brigade, which had been ordered to follow about a mile in rear of the skirmish line. The brigade and General Ransom arrived about the same time. Colonel Shingler, commanding cavalry regiment, joined us almost immediately afterward, and he-not a guide, as stated by General Ransom-reported that my skirmishers did not reach the railroad by a bout half a mile, this being about the point of greatest divergence of the two roads. General Ransom, in a violent and highly offensive manner, inquired of me why I had not obeyed his order in covering the ground to the railroad, and without waiting for a reply ordered me to have the gap filled. i sent one of my staff officers to the brigade, about 200 yards distant, to take two companies and fill the gap. General Ransom states that after waiting a considerable time he inquired of me whether the gap was filled, to which i replied that it had been; whereupon an officer remarked, "The two companies shave just stated," and pointed them out at not more than 80 yards distance. The officer charged with the execution of the order rode at speed to the brigade, and taking two companies from a point not over 200 yards from where we were, started them in a diagonal line toward the position they were to occupy; and finding it difficult to accompany them on horseback, on account of the thick undergrowth, returned along the road to meet them. As he reached our position he heard General Ransom's question and my answer, and in corroboration pointed to the companies just passing.
I cannot state with precision the terms of General Ransom's question. The considerable time which he speaks of did not exceed five minutes. I understood, as did my staff officer,t he question to refer to the movent of the troops, not to their arrival at their destination, a point more than a mile distant, and it was answered by us both accordingly. Under the circumstances the time which had elapsed and the distance to be marched, such a question as that stated by General Ransom to have been asked by him would have been preposterous. This simple statement of fact is the only reply I deem necessary to make here to the insinuation contained in his allegation, and I will not imitate his want of charity by ascribing his impressions or his statements to any other cause then an impatience of temper, which perverted his observation of time or his recollection of what had passed. General Ransom complains that I reported to him my line of battle formed, which he says was tardily done without knowing that one regiment was in place. Colonel Fontaine's (Fifty-seventh Virginia) had been detached, as stated by General Ransom, and sent to the extreme right of the Fourteenth by his order, and was placed by him under the command of Colonel R. H. Chilton, a staff officer, together with Dunovant's dismounted cavalry; knowing which, I of course no longer considered it as being under my command,