The 12th Virginia was part of Longstreet's flanking force advancing perpendicular to the Orange Plank Road. As the troops approached the road, they ran into a small forest fire. Members of the right of the unit went around the right end of the fire, crossed the road and entered the woods. The left portion of the regiment went to the left of the fire and stopped before reaching the road. When the right portion realized they had left behind the rest of their command, they turned around and moved back toward the road. As they did so, the men of the left of the regiment saw soldiers approaching and opened fire, which drew a response.