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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 570 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

being in rear of the column, except one brigade. The march was slow and tedious; firing was heard on the right. Between 4 and 5 p.m. I received orders from General Ewell to move up rapidly. I ordered the ordnance wagons and artillery to halt and move the brigade from the column, filing the right through a wood and swamp, directing the head of the column to the point where I heard the heaviest fire. On reaching a clear field near Cold Harbor I formed my command and led the head of the column near the Telegraph road, where the brigade was massed by regiments. Finding Major General A. P. Hill, senior officer present, I reported my arrival and asked for orders; he directed me to remain in my present position. In a few moments he directed me to detach two regiments to support a battery. I ordered Colonel J. W. Allen, Second Regiment, and Colonel W. S. H. Baylor, Fifth Regiment Wirginia Volunteers, to move forward and execute this order, which was rapidly done.

After waiting some half hour I was ordered by General Hill to charge the enemy's line with my command. I immediately formed line of battle with the Thirty-third Regiment, Colonel J. F. Neff; Twenty-seventh, Colonel A. J. Grigsby; Fourth, Colonel C. A. Ronald; the Irish Battalion, Captain Leigh, who was near, and moved forward. As the line advanced Colonels Allen and Baylor formed on the left, and the entire line moved forward in handsome style through a swamp and thick undergrowth of laurel and bushes. On emerging from this, finding the line somewhat broken in consequence of this swamp, I ordered all troops whom I found in front to join this command, making the line continuous. Lieutenant-Colonel Gary, Hampton's Legion: Colonel B. T. Johnson, First Maryland Regiment; Twelfth Alabama Regiment; Fifty-second Virginia, Lieutenant Colonel J. H. Skinner; Thirty-eighth Georgia, Captain and Assistant Adjutant-General Lawton, commanding, joined this line and moved in splendid style over the field, the enemy retiring before it long ere it was possible to use the bayonet. The Second and Fifth Regiments Virginia Volunteers moved so rapidly they got in advance of the line, receiving a heavy fire, which thinned their ranks, depriving them of some of their best officers. Nothing daunted, they held their ground until the line came up, and moved on with that same impetuosity and determination.

Here that gallant officer Colonel J. W. Allen, Second Regiment, fell mortally wounded, while leading his command in the charge. He was a true soldier and gentleman, whose loss to hiss regiment, country, and friends will long be mourned, though falling in so sacred a cause. His patriotism and noble character had endeared him to all. At the same time that meritorious soldier and gentleman Major F. B. Jones, of same regiment, fell mortally wounded. His mild and gentlemanly manner had long since endeared him to all, and deeply is his loss felt and regretted.

The line advanced steadily under the fire of two batteries and much infantry, and the enemy were driven some 300 yards beyond McGehee's house; this being beyond their last position, the line was halted. The lateness of the hour [about 9 p.m.] and ignorance of the country prevented any farther pursuit of the enemy. At this time Major General D. H. Hill came on the field, and I relinquished the command to him. Upon consultation with him it was decided to retire the line of battle to the crest just in rear. This I did, and took the necessary precaution to guard against any surprise.

I cannot speak too highly of the officers and men of my brigade, in which, for the time, I must include the Irish Battalion, Captain Leigh.


Page 570 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
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