promptly in motion, left in front, and soon was halted nearly opposite Ezra Church and a line formed for attack by Lieutenant-General Stewart's order, the left resting on the road by which I had moved out, and the right slightly thrown forward not far from the Poor-House. reynolds' brigade was on the right and Cantey's on the left, while Brigade-General Quarles was directed to remain in reserve near the road and to watch closely the left flank. These dispositions made, and later being informed that my right would be protected by troops of another command, I move forward shortly after 2 o'clock and attacked the enemy with orders to drive him to Ezra Church. I found him in strong position and large force on a hill short distance in front, and failed to dislodge him after a vigorous and persistent effort, in which I lost 152 officers and nearly 1, 000 men, considerably over one-third my force. The enemy occupied a line of great natural strength, and had thrown up temporary works for their protection. As far as the trees and undergrowth would permit us to see beyond my left, his line defected to protect his flank, extended, and soon after my command became engaged it was discovered by Brigadier-General reynolds, commanding the right brigade, that there were no troops connected with him on the right, and he deployed two companies to cover the wooded space between him and the nearest brigade of Lee's corps, some distance to his right. Having met Lieutenant-General Lee on the field, I brought to his attention the gap on my right, and sent a staff officer to notify Lieutenant-General Stewart of it Also, and in reply received from the latter a message to the effect that Lieutenant-General Lee would send a brigade to that point. There-upon I ordered Quarles' brigade to be move up on my left, except Forty-second and Forty-ninth Tennessee Regiment, under command of Colonel W. F. Young, which I retained in rear of my center for its support and for the protection of a section of Darden's artillery, which was then being employed. Brigadier-General Quarles, seconded by Yates' battery, which was so posted as to aid him, made a bold and bloody assault, but his command was checked by the strong force in his front and the unopposed troops which lapped his left and poured into it a damaging flank fire.
If it had been possible for the daring of officers and the desperate fighting of the men to have overcome odds in numbers and strength of position as we encountered that day all long my whole line, the enemy must have been beaten, but double the force could not have accomplished what my division was ordered to undertake. Seeing this a staff officer was dispatched to Lieutenant-General Stewart, who near by, to notify him of my situation and to say that my command, now greatly reduced, now greatly reduced by losses sustained in assaulting this superior force in strong position, could not drive it from the works it held without assistance. He sent me instructions to hold the position I then occupied till Major-General Loring's command was in position on the Lick Skillet road and then to withdraw to his rear, and soon after he notified me to withdraw, Loring's line being complete. Before this order was executed, the lieutenant-general commanding having been wounded, his command devolved on me, and I directed Brigadier-General Quarles, to whom the command of my own division then passed, to complete the execution of the order for withdrawal, but to from on the left of Loring's division instead of going to its rear, the movements of the enemy making this change necessary. This was accomplished about 4 o'clock,