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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 535 Chapter XXIII. SEVEN-DAYS' BATTLES.

below Dr. Friend's house, whence, with a field glass, I distinctly saw the enemy in very large force and in battle order upon an open slope, some 2 miles below Dr. Gaines' farm, and portions of our own troops gradually advancing, as if feeling their way along the difficulties of the left bank. The powerful array of the former and the cautions progress of the latter induced me at once to send a duplicate dispatch, through the nearest general, to the commander-in-chief, notifying him of the observed position and strength of the enemy. My two aides, Acting Lieutenant Charles Hatcher and Cadet Taliaferro, who bore these dispatches across the difficult swamp, deserve honorable mention for the alacrity, resolution, and success with which they performed the task.

After some time a return message came from the commanding general, directing that our longest-range guns should be made, if possible, to play upon the observed position of the enemy. Arrangements to this end had already been made, and two powerful rifled pieces, under Captain Dabney, were on their way to the best place accessible, just below Mrs. Price's. At the house near this latter position I met the President, General Magruder, and other offices, and informed them of the facts thus notices. Finding with the large guns too little ammunition, I dispatched an aide, Lieutenant Peterkin, to have hastened from Richmond a sufficient supply. The trust he discharged with exemplary energy.

Meanwhile a sharp artillery contest commenced between some of our batteries on Dr. Garnett's field and those of the enemy behind their breastworks, bringing numerous shells about our position. This contest was most gallantly waged on our side under the general direction of Lieutenant Colonel S. D. Lee, and participated in with great spirit by Captains Lane and Woolfolk, and by Captain Kirkpatrick and Lieutenant Massie, with a portion of Huckstep's battery, the two latter being specially commanded by Major Nelson, whose calm and cheerful courage under a very hot fire was of utmost service to our inexperienced men in their post of extraordinary exposure. The other portions of Major Nelson's command were also greatly exposed, though favored with no opportunity of returning fire.

The two large rifles, under Captain Dabney, being posted as far forward as practicable, and committed, with instructions, to the charge of Major Garnett, in due time opened upon the enemy across the stream; with what effect we could not determine. Returning to the better post of observation below Dr. Friend's I advanced the course of events till the fierce encounter, which late in the afternoon gave the field of our victorious troops [was over]. Immediately thereafter the President requested me to conduct him to General McLaws' headquarters, and I have gratefully to record his preservation under a warm fire from the enemy's batteries which we encountered on the way.

Saturday, June 28, my first care was directed to getting into position at Dr. Garnett's guns of sufficient to silence the enemy's heavy batteries. Major Richardson's two large guns were ordered forward, and preparations made for the immense Blakely rifle, which it was found could not be adjusted for use earlier than the following morning. Having again visited General Huger's front, and found nothing new, I returned and remained at Mrs. Price's, while Lane's, Dabney's and Woolfok's guns dislodged the enemy from stronghold near Golding's.

This day having passed with no decisive information on our side the Chickahominy as to many events the other side and there being with us no little suspense, the President about sunset requested me to bear


Page 535 Chapter XXIII. SEVEN-DAYS' BATTLES.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
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