No. 180. Abstract from Inspection Report of Patton's brigade, for September 29.
This brigade, under the command of Brigadier General John Echols, entered upon the campaign of 1864 with 2,150 men and a full complement of officers on May 6. The brigade was then well armed, equipped, and provided with a full supply of clothing, and in a thorough state of discipline and efficiency. The commanding officers of the battalions and regiments composing the command were able and experienced officers-graduates of military schools. Two of them, viz, Colonel G. S. Patton (Twenty-second Virginia Regiment), LieutenantColonel G. M. Edgar, were graduates of the Virginia Military Institute, and the third, LieutenantColonel Clarence Derrick (Twenty-third Virginia Battalion), was from West Point. The company officers generally were intelligent men, well acquainted with drill, guard, and picket duty, and all requirements necessary to an efficient soldier. The military bearing and appearance of the brigade was soldierly and imposing.
In this thorough state of organization and discipline the brigade opened its campaigning with the battle of New Market, on May 13, under Major-General Breckinridge. From that time the Valley District has been the scene of its military operations to the present, with the exception of a short campaign with the Army of Northern Virginia around Richmond, in which it bore a conspicuous part in the bloody battle of Cold Harbor and in several other engagements of less importance.
During this campaign the brigade sustained heavy loss in killed and captured, both officers and men. Among the wounded was the gallant officer, Captain John K. Thompson, Company A, Twenty-second Virginia Regiment, who here received his third wound; he is now again with his command.
The morning report exhibits total for duty of 266 and an aggregate of 275. This great and almost unprecedented reduction in five months is due exclusively to the casualties of war. In the hard-fought battle of Winchester, on the 19th, the brigade organization was almost broken up. Colonel George S. Patton, commanding the brigade, an officer of highest gallantry and standing and a gentleman irreproachable in character, was left in the hands of the enemy mortally wounded. LieutenantColonel C. Derrick, the commanding officer of the Twenty-third Virginia Battalion, and LieutenantColonel G. M. Edgar, of the Twenty-sixth Virginia Battalion, were captured while gallantly attempting to rally their commands, thus leaving the brigade without an officers, the most gallant and efficient, either met their deaths on the battle-field or fell captive into the hands of the enemy. The discipline and general efficiency of the brigade is much impaired by the loss of the brigade and battalion commanders. The officers now with the command are, with a few exceptions, very efficient and anxious to contribute all that is in their power for the good of the brigade. They have not, however, commanded heretofore an organization larger than a battalion.
The adjutant's department has heretofore been conducted with great system and care, and complete records of orders and files of papers were preserved prior to the commencement of the present campaign. All of these papers were captured by the enemy on the first occupation of these papers were captured by the enemy on the first occupation of Staunton, and during this campaign the supply of stationery has been so limited that it has been a matter of impossibility to pay that attention to this department that military usage requires.