Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 06.djvu/156

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Southern Historical Society Papers.

front, and about 2 o'clock P.M. reached the point in the Wilderness where the column had halted in the presence of the enemy. Poague's battalion of artillery was in position on an eminence in a little old field on the left of the road. Heavy firing at some distance to our left and front indicated an engagement of General Ewell, who had marched down the turnpike parallel with and between the Plank road and the river. In order, as I supposed, to co-operate with General Ewell, our division left the Plank road at Poague's artillery, and, filing square to the left, advanced about half a mile, and reaching open fields, formed line of battle looking towards the right of General Ewell, then in sight. The brigades of Generals Lane and Thomas advanced some distance. My brigade was formed perpendicular to the line of advance to support it. Whilst in this position a heavy fire of musketry was opened on our right at the Plank road upon the division of General Heth. An officer of Lieutenant-General Hill's staff in a few minutes galloped up, and in the absence of General Wilcox (who was with Generals Lane and Thomas) ordered me to return at once to the Plank road. As the fire was very heavy, I did return hastily without waiting for the orders of Major-General Wilcox. As I approached the point of fire, I met General Lee, who directed me to proceed down the Plank road and report to General Heth, who was conducting the fight. I did so, and was directed by him to deploy my brigade on both sides of the Plank road, and, if possible, drive the enemy down towards the Brock road. I was instructed to put three regiments on the left and two on the right of the road; but as the formation was made under fire, I soon perceived that the enemy pressed heaviest on the right of the road, and I therefore took the liberty to place three regiments on that side. The Twelfth (Colonel J.L. Miller) on the extreme right; on his left the Rifles (Lieutenant-Colonel McDuffie Miller); on the left of the road the Thirteenth (Colonel Brockman); and the Fourteenth (Colonel Brown) on the extreme left. In this order we pressed through the dense undergrowth, and, passing over the line of General Heth, which was lying down, charged the enemy and drove him some distance—four or five hundred yards—the whole extent of our front. A battery in the road fired two or three rounds of grape after the charge commenced, but as we approached the guns (two) were hastily removed (leaving one caisson) down the road by hand, and were not used again. We passed over the dead and wounded of the enemy, and through his lines, until our