Today in History:

1107 Series I Volume XLVII-I Serial 98 - Columbia Part I


driven back beyond a slough, whicli served for a time as a kind of breast- work to our persistent pursuit. Our line cleared it, however, with but little delay, and was still advancing when I was ordered by General ilardee, through a staff officer, to halt and await further orders before moving. My command when halted was some distance in advance of our main line of battle. The left of the flanking division having been driven back, my right was again exposed. To guard against a flank movement in that direction, and in order to relieve it from isolation and connect with main line on my left, I retired it and placed the Second Tennessee Regiment [Provisional Army] in advance, with its right thrown back as a guard to its exposed flank. The enemy was in view, and taking advantage of this retrograde movement, turned and advanced upon us, but after a sharp contest was driven back again, which repulse we in turn followed up until re-enforcements came to his assistance, by the aid of which he drove us back a short distance and formed a strong line, which our single line was too weak, from casualties and exhaustion, to successftilly attack. The two opposing lines being in easy rifle range kept up a constant fire. These facts I made known aiid renewed my application for re-enforcements to enable me to advance. McLaws division after sundown passed throngh my lines and halted a few paces in its front. Had these fresh troops been thrown in an honr earlier our victory would have been more complete and more fruitful of advantage. The firing continued until dark. My lines remained stationary until about 9 oclock that night, when, in obedience to orders, we buried our dead, cared for our wounded, and returned to our intrenched lines. In this battle there were but few stragglers from my command, and not a man stopped to plunder the knapsacks of the enemy, which were lying in numbers behind his breastworks. I am much indebted to officers and men of the corps for their prompt and gallant conduct. Though entering this fight after a long and wearisome trip, a retreat from a disastrous field, few in numbers, with- out th~ complement of officers, and much embarrassed for the want of efficient reorganization, the corps not only exhibited the innate metal of its material and maintained its ancient battle prestige, but encircled its brow anew with laurels gathered from the Atlantic slope. I cannot confer too much commendation upon my division com- manders, Brig. Gen. James A. Smith and Colonel Kenan, of [Sixth] Florida Regiment, both of whom were equal to every emergency, and inspired their commands by the proper example. Colonel Kenan lost a leg at the close, in the thickest of the fight, which deprives the coun- try of the services of a most gallant and efficient officer. I am doubly grieved to mourn, in conjunction with other casualties, the loss of the young, gallant, and lamented commander of Tylers bri- gade, Bates division, Maj. W. II. Wilkinson. For four years under my eye he has borne himself with modest grace, becoming dignity, and marked gallantry. He fell at the head of his brigade, leading the last charge of the day. I am indebted to Colonel Moore, of North Carolina, for assistance as volunteer aide on this occasion. To no one of my command am I more especially indebted than Capt. J. Cobbs, of the [Fortiethi Alabama Regiment, who was on duty with me as assistant adjutant-general. Wheu his horse was killed under him he promptly took his place on foot and continued the discharge of his duty with persistent energy and peerless resolution.