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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 629 Chapter XXIII. SEVEN-DAYS' BATTLES.

went to the same belt of woods near the personage, already overcrowded with troops. Finally Major-General Ewell came up, but it was after dark and nothing could be accomplished. I advised him to hold the ground he had gained and not to attempt a forward movement.

The battle of Malvern Hill might have been a complete and glorious success had not our artillery and infantry been fought in detail. My division batteries, having been three times engaged, had exhausted all their ammunition and had been sent back for a fresh supply. If I had had them with me with a good supply of ammunition I feel confident that we could have beaten the force immediately in front of us. Again the want of concert with the infantry divisions was most painful. Whiting's division did not engage at all, neither did Holmes'. My division fought an hour or more the whole Yankee force without assistance from a single Confederate soldier. The front line of the Yankees was twice broken and in full retreat, when fresh troops came to its support. At such critical junctures the general advanced of the divisions on my right and left must have been decisive on my right and left must have been decisive. Some half an hour after my division had ceased to struggle against odds of more than 10 to 1 and had fallen back McLaws' division advanced, but to share a similar fate.

So far as I can learn none of our troops drew trigger, except McLaws' division, mine, and a portion of Huger's. Notwithstanding the tremendous odds against us and the blundering management of the battle we inflicted heavy loss upon the Yankees.

They retreated in the night, leaving their dead unburied, their wounded on the ground, three pieces of artillery abandoned and thousands of superior rifles thrown away. None of their previous retreats exhibited such unmistakable signs of rout and demoralization. The wheat fields about Shirley were all trampled down by the frightened herd, too impatient to follow the road. Arms, accouterments, knapsacks, overcoats, and clothing of every description were wildly strewn on the road-side, in the woods, and in the field. Numerous wagons and ambulances were found stuck in the mud, typical of Yankee progress in war.

The actual loss in battle was, in my opinion, greater on our side than on that of the Yankees, though most persons differ with me. The advantage, in position, range caliber, and number of guns was with them. The prestige of victory and the enthusiasm inspired by it were with us. Their masses, too, were so compact that shot, shell, and ball could baldly fail to accomplish a noble work.

My division was employed during the week after the battle in gathering up arms and accouterments, burying our own and the Yankee dead, and removing the wounded, of both armies. We then returned to our old camp near Richmond, with much cause for gratitude to the Author of all good for raising the siege of that city and crowning our arms with glorious success.

The following list of killed and wounded will show that we lost 4,000 out of a little less than 10,000 taken into the field.

Among these we have to mourn those gallant spirits Colonel Robert A. Smith, Forty-fourth Georgia; Colonel M. S. Stokes and Major T. L. Skinner, First North Carolina; Colonel Gaston Meares, Third North Carolina Colonel T. J. Warthen, Twenty-eighth Georgia; Lieutenant-Colonel [Franklin J.] Faison, Twentieth North Carolina, and Captain Thomas M. Blount, quartermaster of the Fourth North Carolina Regiment, who fell while


Page 629 Chapter XXIII. SEVEN-DAYS' BATTLES.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
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