After Lieutenant Sill had reached a point far enough, as he thought, to place my command beyond the right flanks of our front lines, I marched in double-quick to the front and reached our front lines immediately behind Colonel Coburn, who rode back to me and informed me that several other lines were in his immediate front. I then turned to Lieutenant Sill and asked him if I must move still farther by the flank, and replied I must, and led on, informing me that as soon as he reached a point where he thought I could make the attack he would halt me. After marching some distance, about far enough to pass our lines in front, we halted, fronted, and then discovered the other two regiments were not up. Lieutenant Thomas had been sent in the beginning of the formation of the lines of battle to hasten the colonels of the Seventieth Indiana and One hundred and second Illinois in forming, they being in thick brush and forming slowly. All my orderlies I had sent back to hurry up my aides with the balance of the line, for I thought it a golden opportunity to punish an insolent foe and do valuable service to my country if I could succeed in carrying out your order to attack on the flank. When we faced to make the attack and the order regiments were not in sight, I asked Lieutenant Sill if I must attack before they camp up; that I was ready and willing to do it. He replied he doubted whether I ought to attack until the others came up. I then asked him, "What shall I do?" He told me to rest my regiment near the fence and he would go back, hasten up my other regiments, and report to General Butterfield for orders, and to do nothing until I received further orders.
When I started my aides back to hurry on the fourth and fifth regiments on the line with the third, I expected each moment the return to me of one of them, and I then intended to send him to bring up my first and second in a second line to support my first line. None of these things were fully completed, from causes to me unknown, unless my rapid movement of the Seventy-ninth Ohio to the right of my front line and the dense undergrowth caused these regiments and my aides and orderlies to lose sight of the direction taken by me, and to lose to me the finest opportunity that I ever had to win some little glory for my command and do valuable service to the country. Lieutenant Sill never returned. Dark overtook me and the Seventy-ninth Ohio where Lieutenant Sill us, or near that place, and at that point an order from the general ordering me to report to him was received, which I did as soon as possible. When I reached the point where Lieutenant Sill me to halt and face toward the enemy's flank a captain came to me and informed me that he had a line of skirmishers between me and the enemy. I ordered him to withdraw them forthwith and he started to do so, and was to report when it was done. He never reported before not succeeding in carrying out the order to attack than I did. All orders I promptly obeyed, and this order to attack was one I was more anxious to obey than any other ever given me.
Your obedient servant,
W. T. WARD,
Brigadier General, Commanding 1st Brigadier, 3rd Div., 20th Army Corps.
Captain J. SPEED,