Twenty-second," his next inquiry was, "Where are my headquarters?" The opinion of the officers thus addressed was at the time that Colonel Kiddoo did not know where he was nor recognize his inferior officers. This peculiar state of his mind appeared to continue during the next day, reaching its climax in the charge late in the afternoon, which ended so disgracefully.
Some time in the afternoon of the 27th ultimo, the brigade halted and formed in column by division near the Williamsburg road. Here, preparatory to going into action, we equalized companies, by Colonel Kiddoo's command. After changing direction to the right, and marching in column by companies for some distance, we deployed, formed line of battle, advanced in line of battle, and by a few changes in the direction we arrived in a wood road, when Colonel Kiddoo gave the command, "By the left flank, double-quick, march." During our progress in that direction, Colonel Kiddoo, going from the right to the left of the battalion, spoke to several company commanders to the effect that "this is all right, but contrary to orders. I take the responsibility myself. In front of us is the last fort on the right of Richmond, and nobody in it to oppose us. This is the sublimest thing in nature; this is the sublimest day of my life. We will all be in Richmond, to-night," &c. The left of the battalion now reached a fork in the road, and, under Colonel Kiddoo's direction, tried first one, then the other, and lastly the first branch of the road again, the whole battalion keeping up the double-quick step. Colonel Holman, now coming up to Colonel Kiddoo near the left of the regiment, remonstrated with the latter and more persuaded than ordered him to desist going in that direction. After some gesticulating Colonel Kiddoo submitted to Colonel Holman's order to move to the right, and to accomplish this, gave the command to countermarch the battalion. While this movement was under execution, the whole of the left company having countermarched, he ordered the whole battalion to "right about, double-quick, march." The companies executed the command successively and as soon as the several commanders found out what was wanted, the left company meanwhile countermarching back and trying to gain the lost distance. During this double-quick to the right, Colonel Kiddoo, riding along the line toward the right, expatiated on this change of direction in the following terms: "This is none of my orders; I protested against it. We will all be bagged here. The whole of the battalion will be cut up," &c., within the hearing of officers and enlisted men. As was to be expected, the several companies, and the files in the same, lost considerable distance in executing these strange tactics in face of the enemy. When Colonel Kiddoo next arrived at the right of the battalion, and while the latter was marching obliquely to the enemy's line of works, he gave to the right company the command: "By the left flank; go on." The right of the battalion being comparatively on open ground charged across it, and, being unsupported, laid down of their own accord, close to the enemy's line, while the center and left of the battalion struggled through about 150 yards of thick underbrush, emerging in the open space almost in single file, or in groups made up of members of different companies, Colonel Kiddoo, in the meantime, exhorting the men to go on, for God's sake, promising every one a brigadier-general's commission. The attack failing by thus being deplorably managed, the men fell back in confusion, but in no great haste, most of them being so exhausted and worried as to be unable to double-quick bask to the shelter of the woods from whence they came.