Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/141

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the left, we came to several pieces of artillery and caissons which had been abandoned, and near them I found a soldier of this county R. D. Burruss, by name badly wounded, who belonged to the 46th Regiment, Virginia Volunteers, Wise's Brigade (this regiment I had commanded for about two years'). He informed me that nearly all tin- brigade had been killed, wounded, or captured, around Pe- tersburg, or on the retreat.


After going a short distance further, I came to a group of mounted officers, consisting of Generals Ewell, Custis Lee, Barton and others. In a few moments the artillery of the enemy opened on us. For myself, I must confess I felt somewhat excited, but General Ewell remarked in his ordinary tones: " Tomatoes are very good; I wish I had some." This remark, under the circumstances, at once calmed my excitement, and with great difficulty I restrained my disposition to laugh.

In a few minutes we were moved to the right, and as the ground was rough, hilly and thick with trees and undergrowth, I dismounted and turned my horse over to my orderly.

We proceeded a half a mile or more and were halted a little below the crest of a steep ridge, with a deep ravine in front of us, and another ridge opposite us as high, if not higher than our ridge. From our position the opposite crest was distant some 200 to 300 yards. On our extreme left (being the left of the entire corps) was the naval battalion, under Commodore Tucker, then came my little command of some ninety muskets, then came the command of Col- onel Crutchfield (who was killed not far from where I stood). My belief has always been that there was a considerable interval between Crutchfield's right and the next command. I think the troops named above numbered not more than 600 muskets.


Soon after we took our position the artillery of the enemy opened upon us, but the range was too high and did no damage, except to the tree tops. After the artillery had ceased firing a line of skir- mishers appeared on the crest of the opposite ridge, but soon retired from a brisk fire opened by our line. After they retired a long line of infantry appeared on the opposite ridge. Our men opened on them and for a time there was brisk musketry fire on both sides. We had the advantage of position ; the enemy were shooting below