It is proper here to state that Captain Preston was wounded, and Edward Bagby, aide-de-camp to Colonel Goode, commanding brigade, was killed while serving this gun, and that Captain A. F. Bagby, with Company K, Thirty-fourth Virginia Regiment, then took charge of it and served it with fine effect until near the close of the action.
The first charge having failed in completely dislodging the enemy I ordered all of my available forces to press steadily on both flanks with a view to their final expulsion.
Between 11 and 12 a. m. a second unsuccessful charge having been made by Wright's brigade, of Mahone's division, I proceeded to concert a combined movement on both flanks of the crater, to which most of the enemy's troops were now drawn. By arrangement a third charge was made a little before 2 p. m., which gave us entire possession of the crater and the adjacent lines. This charge was made on the left and rear of the crater by Sanders' brigade, of Mahone's division, by the Sixty-first North Carolina, of Hoke's division, and Seventeenth South Carolina Regiments, of this division. The last two regiments, under Major Culp, of the Seventeenth South Carolina Regiment, Elliott's brigade, advanced on the right of Sanders' brigade. These movements on the left were all placed under the direct supervision of General Mahone, while I proceeded to the right to collect what troops I could from the thin line on that flank to co-operate in the charge and divide the force of the enemy's resistance. The time allotted only permitted me to draw out the Twenty-third and the fragments of the Twenty-second South Carolina Regiment, under Captain Shedd. They moved gallantly forward as soon as the main line was seen advancing on the left, and entered the crater with the troops of that line, capturing 3 stand of colors and about 130 prisoners. Previous to this charge the incessant firing kept up by our troops on both flanks and in rear had caused many of the enemy to run the gauntlet of our cross-fires in front of the breach, but a large number still remained, unable to advance, and perhaps afraid to retreat. The final charge was therefore made with little difficulty, and resulted in the complete re-establishment of our lines and the capture of many additional prisoners.
To Major-General Hoke I am indebted for some sixty men of the Twenty-first South Carolina Regiment, who occupied about 1 p. m. a portion of the works on right of Baxter road, from which my troops were moved to the left, and also for Colonel Radcliffe's Sixty-first North Carolina Regiment, which re-enforced my command in the morning and joined the charge, as already stated.
To the able commander and gallant officers and men of Mahone's division, to whom we are mainly indebted for the restoration of our lines, I offer my acknowledgments for their great service. It is not, however, my privilege to make any further report of the operations of that division than is necessary for a proper understanding of those of my own command.
To the officers and men of my command, whose steadiness, determination, and courage held in check for five hours a greatly superior force elated with success, and aided to inflict on them a chastisement so memorable, my admiration and gratitude are due. It is believed for each buried companion they have taken a twofold vengeance on the enemy, and have taught them a lesson that will be remembered as long as the history of our wrongs and this great revolution endures.
The troops of this division I would invite to a lesson yet more profitable, in view of what may lie before them. They have learned in practice that which has been taught them by theory and historical example--