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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
Page 178 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

About 3 o'clock p.m. the enemy opened fire upon one advanced section, in command of Lieutenant Butler, which was soon withdrawn, and with the regiment retired to the rear to join the battery. The battery was placed in position to sweep an extended field, over which it was necessary that the enemy should advance to the attack.

In about an hour's time the enemy opened upon us with shot, shell, and other missiles, to which Captain Thompson replied most gallantly. For the space of an hour the firing was unremitting. In the obscurity of the smoke it was communicated to me that the battery was endangered. I at once gave the order to charge, which was responded to by my men leaping the fence and moving forward at double-quick in better order than at an ordinary drill. The alarm was false, and I withdrew to my original position.

Very soon afterward General Kearny, as also Captain Thompson announced danger to the battery. Again the order was given to charge, and again the regiment moved forward, passing the battery, and were halted 50 feet in front, the enemy retiring to the woods and houses beyond. The order was given to lie down and open spaces for the artillery. Within good range of our "Austrians" and the continued fire of the artillery we hurled into the enemy a perfect storm of shot. The enemy, however, replied vigorously and presented an obstinate resistance. The contest was thus carried on for an hour, when Captain Thompson announced to me that his ammunition was exhausted and the necessity of withdrawing his battery. To cover his withdrawal, as the enemy had been made emboldened by heavy re-enforcements, I ordered again a charge. At once the men sprang to their feet, and with leveled bayonets dashed upon the enemy. The conflict was short, but most desperate, especially around the buildings. It was muzzle to muzzle, and the powder actually burned the faces of the opposing men as they contended through the paling fences. The enemy fled, and I withdrew my force back to the position occupied by the battery-one piece of which still remained upon the field. I was here informed that another force was relieving us, and retired to our original position at the fence. Night was coming on. We had been under fire for five hours, in action half the time, and our loss very heavy.

We are indebted to a detachment from the Thirty-seventh New York Volunteers for assistance during our last charge, and I would be pleased if I could name the officers in command. At the same time I regret to state that our charge was much impeded by a fire on us from our friends.

The non-commissioned officers and privates whose conduct deserves commendation is too great to enumerate. I will, however, endeavor to keep their conduct in view for reward.

Among my commissioned officers I most especially refer to the Department the names of First Lieutenant G. W. Gray and First Lieutenant H. P. Fulton, as distinguished for their gallant conduct. First Lieutenant and Adjt. George P. Corts was again distinguished and slightly wounded.

The following list of killed and wounded speaks for those enumerated: Killed-enlisted men, 10; wounded,85; missing,23. Killed-commissioned officers,1; wounded,6. Aggregate-killed, wounded, and missing,125.

Respectfully submitted.

ALEX. HAYS,

Colonel Sixty-third Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers.

Lieutenant E. R. ROBINSON,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.


Page 178 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
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