78 Southern Historical Society Papers.
left of our brigade charged, and is therefore supposed to have been wounded by our brigade.' '
"About twelve months ago I made a copy of the account of this action given in my diary and 'sent it to Leroy Edwards. From his reply acknowledging its receipt I make the following extract:
" ' The fight that day, the burning woods, our marchings and coun- ter-marchings before and after the engagement, are well in my mem- ory, and are accurately recorded in your diary. Our company was not one hundred yards from the spot where Longstreet was wounded and General Jenkins was killed; indeed, the same volley that dis- abled these generals likewise struck down two of the color-guard of the Twelfth regiment. I cannot forget the gallantry of May * (our ensign) at that critical moment, when our men (Sixteenth Virginia?) were striking us down, nor do I forget gallant May's bearing when Sorrel (of Longstreet' s staff) asked May to let him (Sorrel) carry the colors of the Twelfth, and May's indignant reply. This inci- dent occurred before we reached the plank-road. May was knee- deep in a swamp, and Sorrel's horse was floundering in the mud. At this moment young Lee, of Company E, was wounded. We soon reached the plank road and hastily dislodged the enemy.
[Here follows a diagram, which we omit.]
" ' This rough drawing presents my recollections of the swamp or marsh in which the May and Sorrel incident occurred (I. A.) and about the location of Lee when he was wounded. Our advance was then to the plank-road, where we found some hastily-constructed earthworks, breast-high, and where we met very little resistance. The organization of the regiment, and, indeed, the brigade, was then very imperfect. Soon after passing over the breastworks (k. k. k.) we were recalled to the plank- road. I remember John Patterson's voice in the call. As soon as we reached the plank-road on the advance, Sorrel galloped down the road to our left, and soon after our return to the road at k. k. k. May was waving the Twelfth flag and warning our friends (Sixteenth Virginia?) who were advancing to the plank-road. It was immediately after two of our color-guard were shot down, at M, that I heard of General Longstreet' s wound.
- Mr. W. W. Tayleure, of Brooklyn, New York, who was first sergeant of
the Petersburg Riflemen, writes : " Ben. May stood upon a stump with his lithe graceful form, a smile upon his face, waving our battle-flag until it was recognized. It was a beautiful and grand sight ; one for an artist."