|Page 1094||Chapter LIX]OPERATIONS IN N. C., S. C., S. GA., AND B. FLA.|
square to the front against them, he doubtless thought would strike the right flank. This line covered Major-General Claytons front and about half of Palmers, but from the direction, while its left came within a few yards of Clayton, its right barely came within range of Palmer. It was easily and handsomely repulsed. About 2 oclock Major-General Hill, commanding Lees corps, directed me to be in readiness to move forward and attack the enemy in fifteen minutes. While the necessary preparations were being made he directed me to postpone the attack for . He then informed me that my division would be the division of direction for the army. My experience with this army has convinced me that one of the greatest obstacles in the way of our success in assaulting the fortified positions of the enemy has been caused by a failure to keep the commands prop- erly aligned, and to move them straight to the front. I had just estab- lished markers between Palmers line of battle and the skirmish line, when I received notice from General Hill that it was time to advance. I accordingly moved out at once and in perfect order. In, I suppose, about 600 yards Palmer struck the enemys first line, which he carried without a pause, and within a short distance encountered their second line, which he assaulted with equal gallantry and success. He then moved on in pursuit, followed by Pettus. Near the second line Gen- eral Palmer captured a piece of artillery. After moving ~apidly to the front for abont three-quarters of a mile, throngh a dense and tangled undergrowth, General Palmer halted to collect his men, who were necessarily somewhat scattered, and to readjust his line. At this time, owing at once to the impetuosity of their advance and the difficulties of the ground, to which I have alluded, the first line, so far as I could observe, of the whole army was considerably broken and confused. Before halting Palmer had crossed to the left of the Goldsborough road. It was then directed that he should return to the right of the road. About iialf of his brigade had done so, and was being filed parallel to the road, when it was halted by direction of Major-General Hill. While in this position a brigade (Bakers, General Palmer states) came up, its line being exactly at right angles to that portion of Palmers which had crossed the road, and cutting his brigade into about equal parts. Hence, to meet a sudden emergency, I presume, as the order was not communicated through me, and I did not know of it until it was put into execution, General Hill directed General Palmer to move forward at once with that part of his brigade which had not been sepa- rated, in the manner above described, from him. For the narrative of the particulars of this movement, and of the gallantry displayed by his troops in this renewed assault upon two more intrenched lines of the enemy, I refer you to General Palmers report. While affairs were thus progressing, General Pettus had executed my orders to the letter, and in spite of all obstacles had kept his com- mand thoroughly in hand, well aligned, and ready to move in any direction. When he reached the Goldsborough road, anticipating from the firing that his services might be needed on the left of the road, I directed him to cross it in that direction, which being done, he again moved forward. Afterward, the fire growing hotter and extending to the right toward the Goldsborough road, his line was advanced con- forming thereto. At this time General Bate stated that the enemy were on his flank and in his front, and asked for assistance. Pettus was halted and a line formed, which prolonged General Bates, whose left rested on the Goldsborough road. Troops of Lorii~gs command were soon moved up so as to connect with Pettus left.
|Page 1094||OPERATIONS IN N. C., S. C., S. GA., AND B. FLA.|