and finally gave way. A few of the men got up to the works of the enemy and some inside of them, where they found the enemy being re-enforced while their own commands were retiring, and they had consequently to abandon the posts they had won. I never saw a more gallant charge, or one that so fully promised success. The officers and men all behaved with great intrepidity in charging through an open field under a very heavy and well-directed fire. I can only account for the failure to take the position held by the enemy by the halting to destroy the fence [and] by the obstacles encountered in the dense growth of small trees causing a few to fire and breaking up the impetus with which they had been hurled upon the charge, and which should have carried them over the works. It is true the loss had been heavy in passing the open field, and the line had on this account grown thin, and there were no supports. I reformed a portion of the brigade near the enemy, but finally drew up in our works and prepared to go forward again. Brigadier-General Deas, commanding first line, ordered me to remain in the works until, by order of Major-General Clayton, I took position near the railway from which I had moved originally. I never saw a better spirit manifested then when called upon to reform for the purpose of making a second attack. Every officer and man was in his place and ready to advance.
My loss was very heavy in this assault. In fifteen minutes I lost nearly half my command in killed and wounded. Conspicuous among all the officers in the charge was Colonel J. C. Lewis, commanding Sixteenth and Twenty-fifth Louisiana Volunteers, who fell mortally wounded at the head of his regiment, within a few paces of the enemy. He was a zealous, brave, and intelligent officer, and throughout the campaigns of this army had exhibited a most determined and patriotic spirit. I have also to announce and to regret the death of Captain S. Aycock, Twenty-fifth Louisiana Volunteers; Captain R. P. Oliver, Sixteenth Louisiana Volunteers; Lieutenant T. J. Scott, Fourth Louisiana Volunteers, and Lieutenant Morgan Edwards, Sixteenth Louisiana Volunteers, all of whom were killed within arm's reach of the enemy's trenches.
I refer you to the reports of regimental commanders for more minute details. I may justly compliment each one of these commanders for his bearing upon this day.
The Fourth Louisiana Volunteers, Colonel S. E. Hunter commanding, struck the most important point upon the line, and if the force had been greater just there, if it had been massed, the enemy's line would, have been broken. This regiment made a very gallant assault.
I feel that I should not close without commending the gallant bearing of my staff officer-Captain George Norton, assistant adjutant-general, and Lieutenant Cartwright Eustis, aide-de-camp, as well as Captain A. L. Strurt, assistant inspector-general, whose horse was killed under him within a few paces of the enemy's breast-works. My courier (Sergt. John Hidden) also bore himself without real to danger, having his horse killed while he was cheering on the troops distant but a few paces from the enemy's line.
I have the honor to remain, your obedient servant,
R. L. GIBSON,
Captain J. M. MACON,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Clayton's Division.