Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 06.djvu/93

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Reports of the Battle of the Wilderness.

Report of General Goode Bryan.

Brigade Headquarters, August 14th.

Major J. M. Goggin, A. A. G.:

Major–I have the honor to submit the following report of the action taken by the brigade I have the honor to command on the 6th of May, in the battle known as the battle of Wilderness run. The command being in camp near Vediersville on the night of 5th, was put in motion towards Parker's store, on the Plank road leading to Fredericksburg, at one o'clock on the morning of the 6th, and after a rapid march of three hours reached the road and was immediately pushed to the front down the Plank road. Some considerable confusion having arisen in a portion of Lieutenant-General Hill's corps, the march of the brigade was much obstructed by stragglers from this corps, and was forced from the Plank road into the woods in its march to the front. At one time, some fears were entertained that the many stragglers to the rear would cause some confusion in my own command, and that I should be unable to get them in good order to the front. These fears were soon removed, for both officers and men aided me in the endeavor to stop the tide of stragglers to the rear, whom they marched boldly to the front. About a mile down the Plank road from Parker's store, I was ordered to file to the right of the road and form line of battle with my left resting on said road. Here again the discipline of the command was severely tried, for while forming line of battle in a dense thicket under a severe fire of the enemy, the line was constantly broken through by men hurrying to the rear; but having advanced my sharpshooters under the command of Lieutenant Strickland, of the Tenth Georgia, to the front, he checked the enemy and allowed me to form line of battle, the men forming quickly, notwithstanding the cry of the stragglers.

At the command forward, the gallant fellows sprung forward with a shout, driving back the enemy's first line without firing a gun. The second line of the enemy was behind a line of log breastworks, which checked for a moment our rapid advance, but after a few well directed volleys, the enemy broke from the entrenchments, the command pursuing to the distance of about a mile to a swamp, where, the enemy being reinforced and my ammunition being reduced to only five rounds, I ordered the command to fall back to the enemy's log breastworks, which I held till relieved by General Jenkins.

I cannot speak in too high terms of the bravery manifested by my command under the trying circumstances under which it went into the fights. Each brigade forming separately under a heavy fire, the line constantly being broken through while being formed, the dense character of the woods in which the line was formed, rendering it impossible for either men or officers to see the char-