#82d – Brig. Gen. S. R. Gist, Maj. R. A. Howard, Capt. A. Vander Horst

20 01 2009

Supplemental Report

Report of States Rights Gist, R. A. Howard, and A. Vander Horst


General [Barnard Elliott] Bee was ordered to Camp Walker on Saturday, July 20, where he remained with his command until Sunday morning.  About 5 o’clock a.m. Sunday, General Bee received orders from General [Pierre Gustave T.] Beauregard to advance his command to the left of General [Thomas Jonathan] Jackson’s Brigade and to support either General Jackson’s or [Philip St. George] Cocke’s commands near Stone Bridge.

Immediately he put his Brigade, consisting of the Second Mississippi, Colonel [William C.] Falkner; the Fourth Alabama, Colonel [Egbert J.] Jones; two companies of the Eleventh Mississippi under command of Lieutenant-Colonel [Philip F.] Liddell; and a battery of four 6-pounders under Captain [John D.] Imboden, in motion and advance in pursuance of his orders until he came up with General Jackson’s Brigade, when he formed his command in close column by Division on the left of Jackson and to the right of Cocke’s command.

General Bee, in a few minutes after taking his position, was informed that the enemy had [illegible] their turning our left flank; he instantly sent his Brigade in motion and advanced by the left flank in the direction of the enemy passing by General Cocke’scommand, after a conference with him.

After advancing about one mile, General Bee formed his line of battle by placing the battery of Captain Imboden in the right and near to a house on a small eminence; Colonel [William M.] Gardner’s Regiment to the left of the battery; Colonel Falkner’s Regiment to the right of the battery; and Colonel [Egbert J.] Jones’ Regiment to the right of Colonel Falkner.  [He sent] forward the two companies of Lieutenant [Philip Frank] Liddell to support a battery attached to the command of General [Nathan George] Evans at the request of General Evans, who approached and conferred with General Bee at the moment of his formation of line of battle.

At this time, Evans’ Brigade was to the front and right of General Bee’s Brigade and about engaging the enemy.  Evans requested General Bee to advance to his assistance as his force was small.  General Bee instantly advanced the regiments of Colonel Falkner and Jones to his assistance.

A portion of Evans’ Brigade about this time engaged the advance guard of the enemy.  General Bee advanced his regiments to the front and right about 400 yards, formed the Second Mississippi in line in rear of a piece of woods and the Fourth Alabama on a line of fence to the right about 150 yards in advance of the Second Mississippi Regiment and on the right of Evans’ line.

General Bee was just before this informed by Evans that a column of the enemy was advancing on his right and rear.  General Bee ordered the Second Mississippi Regiment to advance through the woods and engage the enemy, the regiment of Evans, supposed to be the Fourth South Carolina Volunteers, having at this time retired from their position in front.  He also ordered the Fourth Alabama regiment which was there under fire to advance and led them in person, under a most disastrous fire to the top of the hill in front of the former position of the regiment.

At this time the Second Mississippi, the Fourth Alabama, the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Liddell and Imboden’s Battery were engaging the enemy with great vigor.  General Bee retired his line after a close and severe engagement with an overpowering force of the enemy for on-half to three-quarters of an hour.

From this period to his fall from a mortal wound, General Bee led each regiment and seven companies of his command into the hottest fire.  He displayed almost superhuman energy in rallying his forces and charging again and again.  His staff are of the opinion that General Bee first retired his line in consequence of the information given him by Evans, that a column of the enemy were cutting him off by the rear and right, which information was an entire mistake, as the column proved to be friends.  For the last action of the regiment, in the after part of the day, we would refer to the reports of the commanding officers.

General Bee fell whilst leading two companies of the Second Mississippi under Captain [Merritt B.] Miller and a portion of the Fourth Alabama regiment into the midst of the enemy’s fire.  He was borne from the field by his staff and died the next day.  He testified again and again to the bravery and gallantry of officers and privates of his command after he received his death wound.

His reputation is a rare one; his memory will live forever and we confidently entrust both to his successor in command of his Brigade and friend, General [William Henry Chase] Whiting.

S. R. Gist,

R. A. Howard,

A. Vander Horst

[National Archives]