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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 354 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

My baggage wagons were ordered to be sent off on the morning of that date, as the battery was supposed to be going into action. I sent my battery wagon and forge with my wagons; also my sick and worthless men. The battery was marched out a short distance in the evening, and remained in harness until about 3 o'clock on the morning of the 27th. After two or three intermediate positions it was finally posted at about 12 m. for the engagement of that day. The position was a beautiful one for artillery and thoroughly commanded the road leading from Cold Harbor. There can, I think, be no doubt if that position had not been taken and strongly held by artillery our right would have been turned before 2 p.m. As it was, the enemy did not get possession of that ground until fully 7 in the evening. Immediately on my right was posted the Fourth Infantry; on my left the Third, covered by the neck of the woods on our left of the road. By this position the extreme right rested on ground inaccessible to the enemy.

Before 1 o'clock he appeared on the bluff about 1,000 yards or less in our front, first with cavalry drawn up to charge down the road. I opened fire at once, and almost immediately getting the range, the cavalry was broken in confusion and a fire of artillery was commenced in reply. About a half hour after the first firing Tidball's battery came into action immediately on my right. The enemy was soon silenced under our combined fire. During the afternoon he several times changed position and reopened fire, but was in each case soon silenced.

Between 5 and 6 o'clock a line of infantry was seen crossing the road at double-quick to gain the wood on their right. At the same time their artillery opened fire to divert our attention from them. The artillery fire was, however, entirely disregarded, and a most destructive fire from our batteries was brought upon their infantry while passing and the woods they had gained were thoroughly shelled. Some of our infantry soon after became engaged with the enemy in the wood, but were forced to retire before greatly superior numbers. As soon as the wood was evacuated by our troops the guns of both batteries were turned obliquely upon it and a tremendous fire of canister from twelve guns poured in, with the effect of sensibly diminishing the fire of the enemy on our immediate left and front and causing them to gain ground rapidly to their right. Their loss during this fire must have been very heavy.

About 6.30 p.m. they gained the open ground in their front of the wood, and opened a fire of musketry at close range upon the battery. No order had been received to retire, but it soon became very evident that the position was no longer tenable. A very few moments more would have lost my guns. Both batteries were limbered to the rear, and at about 7 p.m. I left the field, immediately after Captain Tidball. The enemy very soon occupied the ground. It was getting quite dark, and the battle closed. During the day there was fired from my battery something over 1,000 rounds of ammunition, and not one round was fired without deliberate aim. At least such is my belief, based upon very close observation of the fire.

My battery was not again immediately under fire until the 30th ultimo. On that day it was in position on a point of While Oak Ridge, immediately overlooking a plain was a thick line of woods. About 5 p.m. a battery of the enemy opened fire from its concealment on the edge of the wood. I immediately answered with case-shot and shell. The enemy apparently concentrated most of their fire upon my battery, probably because it was the most conspicuous, and I had 2 men and a horse killed


Page 354 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
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