I was now ordered to move forward and carry the heights. The brigade advanced in good order, passing through the first wood, and immediately on reaching the field, came under a heavy fire poured in from the height in its immediate front, and extending to the right and left for a space of more than 300 yards. In spite of this galling fire, the open field was crossed in fair order, though many fell killed and wounded. The wood was reached, ravine crossed, and ascent commenced. The enemy were now to be seen behind their breast-works, and from which they kept up a steady and well-directed fire. The regiments on the right and left here suffered from a heavy flank fire, and the enemy, seeing that our front was but a short one, brought troops upon the right of the brigade, forcing the men back. Many of the enemy's troops were driven back by our fire, but fresh troops being immediately thrust forward, the opposition could not be overcome, and the brigade was forced back along its entire front, leaving many of their dead and wounded within a few feet of the enemy's intrenchments. The brigade was again rallied and a second attempt made, but with like want of success. A third time they were ordered to make the effort; formed and moved forward some distance, when the order was countermanded, and they retired to a point along an old road immediately in rear of the position where they were halted to rectify the alignment before their first advance upon the enemy. While remaining here tow efforts were made by other commands to carry the same point, resulting in each instance in failure. During the remainder of the day we were moved to several positions both in the front and rear line, but were not again actually engaged, although experiencing some loss from stray balls, &c.
Lieutenant-Colonel Walker, Tenth South Carolina, received a painful wound while urging his men forward. His conduct was, as usual, cool, brave, and unassuming.
Captain Getzen, commanding Nineteenth South Carolina, was severely wounded, as also Captain Horne, second in command of same regiment.
The loss in officers, as will be perceived by the accompanying lists of casualties, had been exceedingly severe, thus showing how faithfully they endeavored to discharge their duties.
Lieutenant George A. Jennison, acting assistant-adjutant-general, and Lieutenant W. E. Huger, aide-de-camp, of my staff, were both severely wounded and forced to leave the field, thus leaving me temporarily without any assistance. They were both conspicuous for their courage and energy, and even their temporary loss will be severely felt by this command.
For the failure of the command to carry the point that they were ordered against I can scarcely blame either officers or men. They fought as gallantly as I have ever seen them do, but were outnumbered to too great an extent, and the position of the enemy, naturally a strong one, and rendered doubly so by their engineering skill, caused their able and well-sustained efforts to fail in any satisfactory results.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. M. MANIGAULT,
Captain H. J. CHENEY,