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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 628 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII

other by gunboats. We could only reach the first line of batteries by traversing an open space of from 300 to 400 yards, exposed a murderous fire of grape and canister from the artillery and musketry, from the infantry. If that first line were carried, another and another still more difficult remained in the rear. I had expressed my disapprobation of a farther pursuit of the Yankees to the commanding general and to Major-Generals Jackson and Longstreet even before I knew of the strength of their position. An examination now satisfied me that an attack could not but be hazardous to our arms.

About 2 o'clock, I think, I received a note from General Jackson, inclosing one from Colonel R. H. Chilton, chief of General Lee's staff, saying that positions were selected from which our artillery could silence the Yankee artillery and as soon as that was done Brigadier-General Armistead would advance with a shout and carry the battery immediately in his front. This shout was to be the signal for a general advance, and all the troops were then to rush forward with fixed bayonets. I sent for all my brigade commanders and showed them the note. Brigadier-General Rodes being absent sick, the gallant Gordon was put in command of his brigade. That accomplished gentleman and soldier Colonel C. C. Tew, Second North Carolina Regiment, took command of Anderson's Brigade. Garland, Ripley, and Colquitt, and these two colonels were present at the interview. Instead of ordering up 100 or 200 pieces of artillery to play on the Yankees, a single battery (Moorman's) was ordered up and knocked to pieces in a few minutes. One or two others shared the same fate of being beat in detail. Not knowing how to act under these circumstances, I wrote to General Jackson that the firing from our batteries was of the most farcical character. He repeated the order for a general advance at the signal of the shouting from General Armistead. As well as I could learn the position of our troops the division of Brigadier-General Whiting was on my left Major-Generals Magruder and Huger on my right, and Major-General Holmes some miles in our rear.

While conversing with my brigade commanders shouting was heard on our right, followed by the roar of musketry. We all agreed that this was the signal agreed upon, and I ordered my division to advance. This as near as I could judge was about an hour and a half before sundown. We advanced alone; neither Whiting, on the left nor Magruder and Huger, on the right, moved forward an inch. The division fought heroically and well, but fought in vain. Garland, in my immediate front, showed all his wonted courage an enthusiasm, but he needed and asked for re-enforcements. I sent Lieutenant-Colonel Newton, Sixth Georgia, to his support, and observing a brigade by a fence in our rear, I galloped back to it and found it to be that of Brigadier-General Toombs. I ordered it forward to support Garland and accompanied it. The brigade advanced handsomely to the brow of the hill, but soon retreated in disorder. Gordon, commanding Rodes' brigade, pushed gallantly forward and gained considerable ground, but was forced back. The gallant and accomplished Meares, Third North Carolina Regiment, Ripley's brigade, had fallen at the head of his regiment,and that brigade was streaming to the rear. Colquitt's and Anderson's brigades had also fallen back. Ransom's brigade had come up to my support, from Major-General Huger. A portion of it came, but without its brigadier. It moved too far to the left and became mixed up with the mass of troops near the parsonage on the Quaker road, suffering heavily and effecting little. Brigadier-General Winder was sent up by Major-General Jackson, but he came too late, and also


Page 628 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
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